Thursday, July 31, 2008

What a Gay Little Grommet: The Project Runway recap

Rain, it seems, is the great fashion equalizer. Even on Project Runway, the producers still resort to outfitting their cast in trash-bag-style ponchos in a rain storm. (All except Tim Gunn, of course, who wore a smartly fitted trench coat.)

So why were our little fashion warriors marching around NYC, hermetically sealed? They were on field trip to find inspiration in the Manhattan nightlife. (Not that there was much life out there—I thought they’d be photographing prostitutes, druggies, and Paris Hilton—but it was mostly just puddles and graffiti and wet magazines and stuff.)

Keith, we found out, is very competitive, Mormon, and gay. (Don’t laugh—that combination took Clay Aiken far .. .I kid, I kid.)

Stella, it seems, is so “rock and roll” she doesn’t know how to use a camera.

Stella also managed to be the first designer ever who didn’t know how to use Mood. “Who’s helping me?” she kept screaming at no one in particular. Meanwhile, Terri, who now has an actual speaking role (you go, girl!) was on the opposite end of Stella’s plaintive cries for help: “Give me three rolls and let’s bounce!” she said confidently when she spotted her perfect fabric. I’m sure, somewhere, off camera, Stella wanted to stab her with a grommet.

Back at the studio some truly horrible things occurred, mostly involving Blayne.

First, Blayne stared, bug-eyed, unblinking at Kenley, and it was the creepiest look in the history of looks. Kenley was amused at first, then concerned, and then genuinely afraid when Blayne said—and I wish I were kidding here—“I’m going to eat you.”
What was that? I mean, do people do that? Is that a thing? Even if there had been some sort of previous conversation between Kenley and Blayne, something along the lines of: “You know what would be funny? If we were at the studio and suddenly I stared at you like Children of the Corn and said, ‘I want to eat you.’” and Kenley said: “Oh yes, Blayne. That would be droll.” Even then it would’ve been bizarre. But the fact that this came out of nowhere—there are no words. (If Blayne had somehow managed to sport the plastic killer get-up that got Jerry auf’d in the premiere, I swear, I would’ve had nightmares for weeks.)

But Blayne was just getting started. Because an even scarier moment was about to take place: Tim Gunn learning how to say, “Holla at your boy.”
“What does it mean?” Tim Gunn asked.
Blayne, whose vocabulary is limited to catch phrases involving “licious,” answered thusly: “You know. It means, like, holla at your dog.”
Thank you, Oscar Wilde.
Somehow Tim figured out what it meant and tried it on for size. The producers, apparently, thought this was so charming, they even made it the poll question of the night: Should Tim Gunn replace “Make it work” with “Holla at your boy”? Remarkably, 13 percent of the Bravo viewers voted for Blayne’s horrid little catch phrase.

Other things I learned in the studio: Suede doesn’t just occasionally refer to himself in the third person. He always does. Even Terrell Owens occasionally drops in an “I” or a “me.” This is getting tiresome.

Also, had you heard? Stella likes leather. And “gay little grommets.” Also, she’s rock and roll. And here I thought Lilly Pulitzer was more her thing.

Finally, I learned that some people are fundamentally incapable of taking constructive criticism. Exhibit A: Emily.
When Tim Gunn saw her dress, he said the following: “It looks like a black dress with an oversized corsage.”
After he walked away, Emily said: “Tim gave me a mixed review.”

On the other hand, Tim also wasn’t too keen on Kenley’s dress—and I can kind of see why. I understand that it had a “point of view,” to me, it was just an ugly point of view. (As my friend Allison said, “goiter indeed.”) Shows what I know. And good on Kenley for ignoring Tim and sticking to her, uh, guns. She’s obviously an amazing artist—frankly I liked her photo more than her dress—with a strong voice and a winning, Veronica Lake-ish vibe. She’s my early favorite.

However, my favorite dress of the show belonged to Terri (yes, plucked from obscurity to be one of my new favorites). I just thought it was original and cool and, as Sandra Bernhard said, “Fierce!” (Speaking of Sandra, girl looked a little rough, huh? I mean, she was never a great beauty, but I could smell her bad plastic surgery all the way from Baltimore.)

I was also glad that cute little Leanne rallied with her amazing ribbon skirt.

I have NO idea why Stella keeps coasting by on her Hot Topic hot messes.

Frankly, I would’ve rather seen Jennifer get the boot for her frumpy “clock” dress, but Emily’s obtuseness did her in. Maybe you can ignore Tim when you’ve got mad skillz like Kenley. But Emily, you’re not Kenley. And as a result, you’re auf wieldel-licious.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Get Ur Dream On

I had a dream last night that Missy Elliot was running for president and when she lost I got very upset and, choking back tears, said to my friend Marge: "I'll have you know that Missy Elliot is an amazing woman with a brilliant intellect!"
Your guess is as good as mine.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shiny, Tight, and Short: The Project Runway recap

Oh, Project Runway giveth, Project Runway taketh away. First, they show us hot little Wesley ironing shirtless and I think (Suede-style): “Maxie can get used to this!”
THEN, they cruelly snatch him away.

But I’m ahead of myself.

“Your challenge is with green fabric!” Heidi announces at the start of the show. And I’m thinking, “green dresses?” (and Stella is thinking, “green leather?”) But no, from the better-late-than-never file, Project Runway has finally discovered the Environmental Movement! Hooray! (I’m sure it’s just a temporary condition. We’ll be back in fur and high-quality tulle in no time.)

What’s more, it’s a model free-for-all at Mood, because they’ve been tasked with picking the fabric, a situation that inexplicably concerns Stella, a woman who last week thought that a tissue-paper thin trash bag was her ticket to runway stardom.

For some reason, perhaps because they took the whole green thing too literally—green things grow in the ground . . .which is brown . . .right?—three of the models choose mud-brown organic silk. Ah, model logic.

So Wesley, Leanne, and Joe are on Team Ugly Brown Fabric. (thank you, Jerrell.) This will come into play later.

Okay, I hate to pile on Blayne, who’s gotten a lot of bad press for his perma-tan and his forced catch phrases (we discovered this week that the suffix “licious” knows no limits) but what was up with that tortured Darth Vader (oh, sorry, Darth-licious) metaphor? If you want to make the metaphor for beautiful on the outside, lethal on the inside, there are plenty of handy ones available: thorny rose, steel magnolias, Trojan horse, etc. But Darth Vader looked like the scary evil bad guy on the outside! Oh, why do I even bother?

Anyway, all the designers were scrambling feverishly to make it work and poor Korto heard the words you never want Tim Gunn to say: “This is the outside of the dress?” and Daniel was so jumpy he was actually spooked by the dulcet, soothing voice of Tim Gunn. (By the way, I can totally see why Keith made Daniel’s bed for him. I want to make Daniel’s bed. He’s such a darling little lord of the manor. I’m surprised he doesn’t wander around the studio clutching a teddy bear, Brideshead-Revisited-style.)

Onto the judging, where—with apologies to Sarah Jessica Parker and Posh Spice—Project Runway went more-A-list-than-ever with Natalie Portman. Hello, Padme. (So NOW the Darth Vader reference makes sense.)

Many nice dresses on the runway. I was surprised that Daniel wasn’t in the Top 3, because I really dug his black frock. Stella certainly won points for “most improved”— really, she had no place to go but up—but that was hardly Top 3 material, in my opinion.

So it came down to Kenley’s chic champagne colored dress (although I am so OVER those fru-fru neck-pieces) and Suede’s undeniably adorable deconstructed cocktail number.

I was actually happy to see Suede win. You could say he went from hot mess, to hot dress! (See Blayne, I can make catch phrase too!).

Now the bottom three: Was it any coincidence that two of three stooges were on Team Ugly Brown Fabric? I think not.

Glad that Korto didn’t get axed, because she couldn’t have taken it—and frankly, neither could I.

So crap. It’s the proverbial rock and a hard place. Or, as Blayne might say, “Caught between Han Solo and Chewbacca.”

On one hand, we have Wesley—oh, the things I could do to that man (even his prissy, uptight name evokes dirty thoughts)—with his “shiny, tight, and short” dress, according to Nina, the epitome of cheap. On the other hand, we have little elfin, she-Pan Leanna, a woman who never met a remnant she didn’t like.

Can’t they both stay and one of those middle-of-the-pack, no discernable personality designers (Joe and Terri, I’m talking to you) go? But no, it wasn’t meant to be for little Wesley. He’s gone from our lives. But, apparently, not gone from Daniel’s life, if you believe those internet rumors. Ah, hot pocket gay designers in love. Bless.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Do-Over Rule

Here’s something I like about people:
This morning, I watched a well-dressed woman leave the Evergreen Coffee House and proceed to trip over her high heels and spill her non-fat latte all over the curb (and her purse and her legs).
She didn’t actually fall, she just kind of stumbled. (This was a latte tragedy, not a medical one). Anyway, she straightened herself up and went back inside the coffee shop.
It just so happened that I was on my way to get my own non-fat latte at the time. I got behind her in line.
“Do you think they’ll give me another one?” she asked.
“Can’t hurt to ask,” I replied.
So she gets up to the counter.
“I spilled this,” she said—holding out her empty cup sheepishly.
“Oh no!” said the girl behind the counter. “What was it?”
“A double skim latte,” the woman replied.
And they proceeded to make her another one—for free.
This post is not necessarily to praise the Evergreen Coffee House, although it is a lovely place, but to praise a certain American phenomenon that I like to call the “do-over” rule. (Actually, this form of lunch-counter empathy may not be exclusively American. If any of my French readers—heh—have had a similar experience with a cafĂ© au lait, please report back, tout suite!).
The point is: There’s no reason, logically, that this woman should’ve been given a second latte for free. She paid for the first one, dropped it due to her own lousy choice in footwear, and now wanted a replacement.
And yet—they always give you the free latte, don’t they?
They look at that empty cup (or ice cream cone) and think, “Wow, that sucks."
And you got yourself a free latte. God bless America.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Picnic Time! The Project Runway recap

Don’t blame yourself if you missed last night’s season premiere of Project Runway. Nope, blame Bravo. Look, we all understand that the Weinsteins have pulled a Bob Irsay (shout out to my Baltimore readers) and are planning on forcibly moving Project Runway to Lifetime, quite possibly the least sexy, least high fashion, least
gay network on cable TV. (Not since Padma Lakshmi married Salmon Rushdie has there been a union more inexplicable.)

We understand that you are going through the various stages of grief (stage number 3: file a lawsuit!). But that is still no reason to
not promote this season at all. I mean, bupkis! No magazine ads, virtually no TV ads, no Tim Gunn appearances on The View. Seriously, did this season come as a surprise to Bravo, because it sure came as a surprise to me.

That being said: Yay, the bitch is back! I shudder at the thought of what it will be like next season (a big tea cozy challenge?) but this season, it’s same as it ever was—almost to a fault.

One of the problems with not just Project Runway, but any reality show, is that the longer they are on the air, the more meta they become. So last night, we had contestants talking about how “surreal” it was to walk down the street with Tim Gunn—“I’ve seen so many cast members walk down the street with him and now it’s me!” We had little tanning booth abuser Blayne already trying to trot out Christian-style catch phrases, like “girlicious” and—ugh—“Holla at your boy” (in one of the season previews we even saw Tim Gunn awkwardly wrapping his lips around that catch phrase—no, Tim Gunn, no! Step away from the tired b-boy speak!). And of course, we had the inevitable Tim Gunn impression—hottie model Jerell’s incredibly weak “make it work!” which sent the colorful Kenley into spasms of uncontrollable laughter.

It’s way too early to get a sense of anyone as a designer, but my early favorite is Daniel, who is not only the cutest Daniel since, well, Vosovic, but does wonders with a Dixie cup.

Also, mad impressed with Beverly D’Angelo lookalike (and our big winner!) Kelli for her awesome dye-splattered skirt and push pin fasteners (not sure how I felt about that coffee filter bra thingy, though).

I also loved Suede, because he refers to himself in the third person, has a little useless tuft of blue hair, and his name is freakin
Suede. Also, he sent one of the most butt-ugly dresses I’ve ever seen down the runway. This is one to watch.

(Ditto on tanaholic Blayne—giiiiiirl, that dress had no alibi.)

Already, my heart aches for aging rocker chick Stella, whose insecurity pretty much bleeds all over the television screen. (“This is the first runway and it makes you want to vomit all over the place,” she said, later noting that if she went home first she’d be the “jackass of the world.” That’s the spirit!)

And what was up with all the damn table cloths? Really, people? Gingham? Could you be any less creative? I loved when Leanne looked around the work space with dismay and said, “I was surprised that others are using table cloths. I wanted to be different.”

If you wanted to be different, you should’ve rocked some sliced cherry tomatoes and kale like our girl Korto. Now
that was different (and oddly fashionable).

In the end though, certainly the most “different” outfit had to go to the loser Jerry. It was extremely obvious to me that this was an homage to the Huey Lewis scene in American psycho, right down to the couture-meets-blood-scrubbing rubber gloves. His is a genius that will remain unrecognized.

Auf wiedersehen, Jerry. Now go home and please try not to kill anyone.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Breakfast, lunch. . .and dinner at Wimbledon

Wowsa. Did anyone else catch that match? Never have I been so grateful to have my ENTIRE day hijacked by a televised sporting event. That was riveting stuff, people—best tennis I’ve ever seen, and I haven’t missed a Wimbledon or U.S. Open Final since I was 10 years old.

A few random thoughts on the match:

•I love John McEnroe to death, but where the heck was Mary Carillo? To me, when you combine his passion and knowledge of the game with her witty and literate insights, they are the absolute dream team. This gender segregation of coverage (she covered yesterday’s excellent woman’s final) is soooo 1972.

•Speaking of retro, thank God Wimbledon is finally installing a retractable roof on Center Court next year. I like tradition as much as the next gal, but our 7 hour epic journey could’ve been a much more reasonable 4 hour epic journey if they’d just had that damn roof. And hey, chaps, while you’re at it, you might look into these things called stadium lights. They’re awesome at nighttime.

• Rafa Nadal looks like a Japanese anime character come to life. Especially when he scrunches up his cute little face to make a shot.

•On the subject of Rafa’s hotness, I could devote an entire blog to his arms.

• But I’m still on the fence about the manpris.

•Roger Federer can hold his head high. After his humiliating defeat at the French, he could’ve totally folded here. Instead, he matched Rafa shot for shot, producing some of the most brilliant tennis I’ve ever seen. He sure as hell didn’t give his throne away—he had it forcibly taken from him in a coup. And he
almost lived to rule another year.

• The guts and concentration of tennis is mind boggling. Basketball may be my favorite sport, but to me there is no greater display of individual athleticism, skill, and fortitude than you see in tennis. I dare anyone to challenge me on this statement. And if you bring up golf (or God forbid, NASCAR) I will hurl.

• A big serve always seems like such an unfair advantage when the other guy doesn’t have one. It’s like Nada works his butt off to win a single point on Federer’s serve, and Federer just neutralizes the whole thing—BLAMMO!

•Something about my personality, I guess, but I’ve always loved the counterpunchers more than the offensive wizards. I tend to love the gutty, gritty guys who run down every shot and wear their hearts on their sleeves. My childhood favorite was Jimmy Connors. I lived and died with the feisty (but woefully under-skilled) Arantxa Sanchez Vicarrio. And now my new favorite is Nada.

•I think McEnroe was starting to cry when he interviewed Federer at the end of the match. And it was such a cute guy thing when he said, “I let Federer go because I, uh, could see he was starting to cry.” Dude, don’t lie. You were totally crying yourself. And it’s okay, Mac, that match made everyone emotional.