Thursday, August 28, 2008
The competitive Mormon reminds me a bit of those 13-year-old—I mean, 16 year old (wink, wink)—Chinese gymnasts. In the rare moments they screwed up, they looked like they bore the burden of a billion shamed Chinese.
So it was for Keith, who was in the bottom 2 last week. It seemed like all of Utah, and at the very least the entire Osmond clan, was hanging in the balance of his performance. The man was stressing. (Doubly ironic then, that his catch phrase of the week was “no worries.” Kid, you got worries up the wackadoodle, as Suede might say.)
“I want to change the way the world dresses!” Keith proclaimed. (Note to self: If the world starts dressing with ostrich feathers obscuring their asses, I’ll join a nudist colony.)
“Apparently, I have no taste,” he moaned at one point. Later, he explained that all the designers wanted to win, but he felt like he “deserved it more than they do.” Not wanted it more—deserved it more. Mmm-kay.
As the show started, the designers were given their marching orders to head to a rooftop at some unknown address. Naturally, they assumed Mariah Carey would be waiting.
But once they got to the address, it was a parking garage, not a swank condo, and they slowly made their way up the freight elevator, huddled together like the Scooby Gang, expecting to see something truly ghoulish once the doors opened.
Instead they saw. . . the Saturn Vue!
For a brief, nauseating moment, I thought their assignment would be: Design an outfit inspired by the Saturn Vue. That would be beyond jumping the shark—it would be getting mauled by the shark after you jumped.
But no, their assignment was to rip up the cars and make an outfit out of what they scavenged. Cool.
Spoiled Kenley seemed upset that her car was filled with car parts. Yes, Kenley, floor mats and seatbelts and carburetors. Not a taffeta ribbon to be found.
Back to the studio they went, where Keith’s brilliant concept was to design something with absolutely no style or point of view. Good plan, Keith!
Korto meanwhile was doing something fabulous with woven seatbelts which looked very “mod” as Tim Gunn said, until she decided to add the signature Korto dojo sleeve. I have to say, I was screaming at my TV, “nooooo!” (Shows what I know—the judges loved it.) But it did look a bit like a scarecrow. Still, this was no excuse for Terri to start ROFL with glee. Seriously: Rolling? On the floor? Because you thought a competitor’s design sucked? Classy. (Jerell’s response to this—“She’s got 2 faces and 4 patterns”—was a great line, only slightly spoiled by the fact that Terri isn’t two-faced, she’s just mean.)
Next, Stella got a phone call from her boyfriend Ratbones. I must say, if his name was Arthur, I would’ve been surprised. Ratbones—pretty much what I expected.
“I love you,” she whined, in the same nasal, Debbie Downer voice she always uses. Ah, sexy time.
Blayne, who might have some sort of catch phrase chip in his head, cheerfully quipped: “I had to kick it into high gear, Saturn Vue style!”
Oh, and there was also some drama about Kenley’s model dropping out that I didn’t really pay attention to because I was so obsessed with Keith’s self-sabotage. He snapped at the other designers for even thinking of using his sewing machine and, when he found out that his model had the temerity to sit in her dress—“I gave her one simple task!” (what next? the “simple task” of not breathing?)—he had a hissy fit. The man was clearly coming unglued.
Nina Garcia was off, so the replacement judge was—squee!— season three contestant Laura Bennett. She did not disappoint, wearing her signature sternum-bearing neckline. As far as I could tell, though, she was not pregnant.
Stylist Rachel Zoe was the guest judge.
I have to give credit where credit is due: I loved most of the designs this week. My favorite was Jerell, but I had no problem with Leanne winning. That mini dress was gorgeous.
For some reason, Terri seemed to be channeling Stella with her rocker get-up—if Stella was more talented, that is. She was safe. (But had to be smarting just a little bit that Korto was in the top three—burn!).
As for Stella, she outsmarted herself, Keith-style, and tried to show she could do classic elegance. This is like asking Amy Winehouse to do classic elegance. It just ain’t happening.
Stella was joined in the Bottom Three by Blayne, who had a cute concept (loved the shattered mirror pieces) but his garment was ill-fitting and there was way too much wickety wack. “I hate those car wash outfits!” Michael Kors quipped of the swatchy skirt.
(An aside: Did you catch that Heidi said that a broken mirror was “seven years with no sex”? Those Germans are hard core, man. )
Rounding out the bottom: hapless Keith, with his ugly, pointless outfit. The end was nigh—and inevitable.
Oh well, Keith. Look at it this way: You did better than any Mormon ever on Project Runway! So you got that. As far as changing the way the world dresses? Might as well start with Utah.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I’m not the kind of Hillary supporter you’ve been reading about: You know, the ones who defiantly refuse to support Obama or who take umbrage at a million of his perceived slights. Frankly, I don’t want Hillary to be vice president. Better she becomes a kick-ass supreme court justice. As for Obama’s apparent coolness toward her? They were bitter rivals. What do you expect, a sudden love fest?
Just like I said I would, I slapped a (rather fetching, if I do say so myself) Obama sticker on my car the minute he secured the nomination. Bottom line: I’m a Democrat first, a Hillary supporter second. And besides, I love Obama. (I just would’ve loved him that much more in 2016. )
That being said, I knew that Hillary was going to be a good soldier and toe the party line at last night’s convention. I just didn’t know how her speech would make me feel.
It started with that video tribute done by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the same woman who brought us “A Man From Hope.” That video was almost too good. Yes, there was a fleeting image of Obama—a veritable “where’s Waldo” moment—but for the most part, it was all Hillary all the time. Showed her feminist-geek Yale years, her time as first lady, her closeness with Chelsea, her galvanizing rallies on the campaign trail. Reminded me of why I loved her.
Then, her speech. It was a weird disconnect seeing her up there, because it seemed like a victorious moment. She looked great, sounded great, seemed so confident—she really has found her voice. But she was still just the opening act. It was hard not to reflect on what could’ve been. So yeah, I was bummed.
(To my buddy Mike, who still finds her cold and off-putting: She may not be warm in the Oprah sense, but I sincerely believe in her brilliance and her passion for the working man and I admire the hell out of her strength.)
Yes, I could’ve done without the countless cuts to Bill Clinton over acting from the audience (he broke out more variations on the Clinton lip bite—proud lip bite, sad lip bite, amused lip bite, resolved lip bite— than I even knew existed), and his mouthing of “I love you” was a definite gag-me moment, but I still kinda love him, too.
Beyond that, I think Hillary did what was asked of her.
Could she have been more clear that she wanted her supporters to vote for Obama? No, I don’t think she could have.
Could she have been more effusive and personal in her praise of her former rival? Sure.
Again, I think if she had laid it on thick—talking about some deep friendship that doesn’t really exist—she would’ve seemed disingenous.
As for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits who still won’t vote for Obama? I feel your pain, but get over it, ladies!
Honor Hillary by voting for him. And be sure to watch his speech on Thursday. He’s the kind of speech giver who can make you want to run through a brick wall for him. Or, at the very least, drive a mile or two to the local polling place.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
How can it be that we are in the 6th episode of the fifth season of Project Runway and this is the first damn time we’ve had a drag queen challenge? I’m not sure I want to live in a world where Brooke Shields gets to be a judge before Ru Paul.
Better late than never, I suppose.
In they marched (or should I say Marched. . . last season’s teddy bear Chris March was there, too, in some sort of Ride of the Valkyries extravaganza)—with names like Hedda Lettuce and Sharon Needles and Annida Greenkard, as Heidi Klum eyed her competition suspiciously.
“She does have a nice set of legs,” Heidi acknowledged tersely of a 7-foot pitcher of water named Sherry Vine.
“I’ve been waiting for this challenge!” enthused Terri, like it was some sort of annual occurrence.
First up, a consultation with their clients followed by a trip to Mood, where each designer bought enough fabric to outfit the entire cast of Dream Girls.
Stella, who had at first faced this challenge with her usual gloom with a soupcon of misery (“this is a real tough one”), was changing her tune. “I like . . .” she began. “LEATHAH!” screamed back the entire viewing population of Project Runway, their cocktails poised at their lips. “Slick,” Stella finished. Wow. What a letdown.
Back at the studio, Blayne was annoying everyone with his licious-based Tourette’s.
“I’m annoyed-licious,” said Keith. Hey, that Mormon has a sense of humor.
And Suede’s dearly departed grandfather was possibly a drag queen—or a farmer, hard to say—because he came to Suede in a vision and told him to scatter lettuce seeds all over Hedda’s garment. Nice advice, gramplicious.
A few minutes later, a bunch of men from Bravo accounts payable visited the studio—wait!?! Those are the drag queens? Geez, I mean, I knew that drag queens weren’t in costume 24/7, but I thought they’d be a little more fabulous than this. Undercover, I guess.
I knew that Hedda Lettuce was going to be trouble. She was giving Suede a whole salad’s worth of grief about his outfit, even suggesting that the long gloves meant Suede was too lazy for sleeves. Snap.
Later, Suede commiserated with Tim Gunn who sassily advised: “Tell her you’ve been to a different rodeo!” God, I have no idea what that means, but wiser words have never been spoken.
Onto the most hilarious and awesome runway of all time, with the aforementioned Ru Paul as judge. Suffice it to say, these queens put the regular crew of walking stick figures to shame.
I have to give credit where credit is due: I may have no love for Joe but I did love his winning Ann Margaret on the Love Boat jumpsuit. The fact that he put a nautical little belt over Varla Jean Merman’s bidness was just so. . .magical.
(Yes, the irony was not lost on me that the only straight man in the competition won the drag challenge.)
Despite Joe’s big win, my top two have not changed: Korto and Terri both worked it out. In particular, Korto really broke out of her comfort zone with the sculptural sequined cocktail dress and detachable skirt she designed for Sweetie. Terri kept her winning ways going with her kabuki-meets-the-catwalk number.
But onto the bottom.
Jerrel had a “good bar mitzvah moment” (but a bad drag moment) with his proportionally off and kinda sickly-looking cocktail dress.
Oy, Keith . . . again with the swatches? Must everyone of your outfits look like some variation of a drowned mallard? Not good.
And Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. . . you didn’t use sequins because they’re too “gaudy”? You’re designing for a drag queen, for Christ’s sake. It’s supposed to be gaudy! Oh well, I guess you can lead a boy to the trailer park, but you can’t make him buy a Pink Flamingo.
Jerrel was declared safe, which meant the Bottom Two was Keith and Daniel.
Now I understand that a lot of gay men have taken a shining to Keith, who does absolutely nothing for me. Seriously, that overly buff, bandana-as-headband look is so over. Now Daniel on the other hand—with his little boy pout and his artfully askew ties—well, my love for him knows no limits.
So we had a moment. Beefcake pinup vs. 98-pound-weakling pinup. The entire female and gay male population held its collective breath.
And Daniel is . . . out.
Wesley, you lucky bastard.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Q: If Daniel says he has high end taste often enough, does that make it true?
Q: Is it appropriate to cackle at Daniel when he makes that statement in front of the judges, especially if you are supposed to be his “best friend”?
A: Damn, girl. That’s cold.
And so, I believe, ends the short-lived, but beautiful in its own way, friendship between Janeane Garofalo and Elijah Wood—a.k.a. Kenley and Daniel—the cackler and the pouter, the ironic pin-up girl and the Wes Anderson-style miniaturist. Daniel may not, indeed, have high end taste (it’s been all downhill since his Dixie cup triumph) but can Kenley have a wee man’s back?
The show starts with Daniel working out (all together now: Daniel works out?) with his cute little pint-sized hand weights as the competitive Mormon lifts a ginormous barbell by his side. (Are steroids prohibited in Mormon culture?).
Then, back on the runway, Heidi tells the designers that they will be working with a powerful and glamorous woman. The ideas fly fast and furious: Hillary Clinton, Nancy Grace, Heidi Klum and. .. (sound of record needle screeching) Sharon Osbourne. I’ll give you one guess to figure out which designer was hoping for the Princess of Darkness.
But no, the glamazon was none other than Brooke Shields herself, quite possibly too nice a woman for this ugly fashion racket. (More on that later.)
The most remarkable thing about Brooke’s appearance was that it inspired Suede to quoth: “No one comes between me and my Calvins.”
Suede can say the word me!!!!
The designers pitched their outfits to Brooke, who made some questionable choices. For starters, she accepted the animal print suggestion from a girl who with a tattoo sleeve who was dressed head-to-toe in animal print (that would Kelli). Also, she went with Blayne’s bermuda short get-up because nothing spells glamour like a bermuda short. It’s possible that Brooke lost her sense of style somewhere in the Blue Lagoon.
They were working in teams of two, always good for some extra dramer. The partners broke down like this (team leader named first):
Keith and Kenley
Terri and Suede
Korto and (hiss, boo!) Joe
Kelli and Daniel
Jerell and Stella
Blayne and Leanne
The duos were supposed to create day-to-night outfits with a hint of bohemian glamour (whatever that is) and this prospect seemed to daunt and confuse the designers, because they made some butt-ugly get-ups. I mean, seriously. These things were hideous.
Onto the drama:
Terri thought that Suede couldn’t sew and managed to use the words “balls” “vajajay” and “titties” in one triumphant sentence, but they somehow worked it out.
Competitive Mormon Keith thought that Kenley should “shut her mouth and stick to sewing”—but was wise enough to take her suggestions and make his feather duster look more tailored.
Daniel thought that Kelli didn’t share his high-end taste and expressed his disappointment by created the world’s most jacked up pencil skirt.
Joe seemed to really dig Korto’s orange jacket until Tim came by and then, sensing Tim’s skepticism, he deemed the jacket big and poofy. Korto rattled off a new variation of the “throw your teammate under the bus” reality TV metaphor, kept her rage in check, and fixed her damn jacket.
Leanne, perhaps so stunned by the fact that she was making a pair of shorts, seemed to get along with Blayne.
And, biggest surprise of all. . .Jerell and Stella worked together famously. (Actually, this is the first episode where I really liked Jerell: He had the last pick of partners and, instead of making Stella feel like dirt, he immediately gave her a leather-related pep talk and seemed genuinely glad to have her on his team. Kenley, take notes.)
Down the runway they went. From ugly (Kenley and Keith) to uglier (Blayne and Leanne) to cover that thing up with a blanket (Kelli and Daniel.)
I actually liked Terri’s flouncy paisley blouse and—shocker—Jerrel and Stella’s tone-on-tone belted dress, but again, these are the lesser among evils.
Have I mentioned that these outfits were ugly?
Brooke, too, seemed to like Jerrel’s creation. How do we know this? Because of a subtle, but barely perceptible change in her demeanor? Because keen observers could see she was writing the words “Nice look” in her notes? Nope, because she smiled at him and mouthed a vigorous “Yes!” when his dress sashayed down the runway. Way to keep that poker face, pretty baby.
So, the top two were Jerrel and Stella and Kenley and Keith. I actually hated Keith and Kenley’s creation—hell will freeze over before I go anywhere wearing cascading brown feathers on my ass, but somehow they won.
The bottom two were Blayne and Leanne and Kelli and Daniel. The judges all agreed that Blayne’s outfit was a hot tanny mess (see what I did there?. . . with the tanny? I kill myself). But Blayne actually did the gentlemanly thing and said that the outfit was his concept and therefore, his fault.
Kelli’s outfit revealed questionable taste (on both Kelli’s part and Brooke Shield’s, if you ask me), leading Daniel to defend his well-documented high end taste and Kenley to laugh wickedly in his poor, confused face.
In the end, Kelli was deemed tacky and looked like she was going to cut a bitch named Nina Garcia. But if was her time to be made aufwiedelicous.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Top 5 signs of Tan Withdrawal:
3. hoodie abuse
4. Beatles amnesia
5. “licious”-based Tourrette’s
Despite the fact that tan-aholic Blayne clearly needs to be strapped to a bed and detoxed, kicking and screaming, like Leo in The Basketball Diaries, he should be happy. Because the show has a new villain!
No, it’s not the Competitive Mormon (isn’t that one of the Summer Games?). And it’s not Stella, although for those of you who already have a Stella drinking game—drink everytime Stella says she “loves leathah”—detox is probably in your future.
No, it’s the Token Straight Guy ™—Joe. Last season’s TSG was Kevin—and despite having the most elaborate facial hair every seen on a man who makes sweet love to the ladies—he was awesome and went home too soon. This season’s is Joe, and grrrrrrr, I don’t like this straight man one bit.
For starters, he was just a little too stoked about the challenge, which involved cutie-patootie Apollo Ohno and the Olympics. The designers were instructed to make outfits for the Opening Ceremony, that is, if Team U.S.A. were all 100 pounds and female (this would give us a marked disadvantage on the pommel horse). Most of the designers were hella freaked out, especially Stella, who was only slightly comforted when Tim pointed out some Soviet Block pole-vaulter in a fur and leather combo, and Daniel, who only does high glamour.
But not Joe. Nope, Joe does sportswear! This is Joe’s change to shine! This is Joe’s chance to make a skort!
“Let the fashion games begin!” he said. Twice. And I wrote in my notes: 2 point deduction for catch phrase abuse.
Back at the studio, Joe had a tizzy fit because Daniel rethreaded his sewing machine, or something. All I can say is, he shouldn’t be so mean to sweet little Daniel, who found the whole ordeal so terribly, terribly vexing. (For some reason, I slip into Evelyn Waugh speak when I talk about Daniel.)
And despite the fact that Daniel really hadn’t done anything, except look like a drowned Little Lord Fauntleroy, Joe decides to sum up the experience like this: “There’s too much drama because there are too many queens around here!” And I wrote in my notes: 2 point deduction for homophobia. (If you’re following at home, Joe now has a score of negative 5—I gave him one extra demerit for attempting to revive the skort.)
In a shocking development, Stella decided to sum up her patriotism with grommets and leather, creating one of the funnier exchanges of the day.
Tim Gunn (appalled): You’re using black?
Stella (nasal): Why. . .is it bad?
Tim Gunn (unconvincingly): I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m just inquiring. (feigned casualness): ‘You’re using black?’
But to be honest, Stella wasn’t the only designer who was done in by this challenge. Most seemed to connect the Olympic Opening Ceremonies with a Speakeasy circa 1930, for reasons never quite made clear. Also, note to Daniel and Kenley: Blue and purple—two totally different colors.
Another thing I noticed: They were spending a LOT of time with Korto on this show. We learned about her background, how she had to escape from a brutal regime in Liberia, and how she derives all her strength from her husband and family. And I thought, Uh oh. This could be a loser’s edit. . . .
But, quelle relief, turns out, it was the winner’s edit! I did dig Korto’s cool red-white-and-blue vest with the wide-leg pants, although—for the second week running—I scored a perfect 10 to Terri, for her fabulous pin-striped blazer and striped-shirt combo.
I was thrilled to see that Joe didn’t win—burn, skort boy, burn!—and completely confused by Jerrell’s “meshugenah” hot mess (not to mention those annoying Peter Pan hats he sports)—maybe he ought to throw some more scarves on that bad boy. But mostly I worried for Daniel.
Usually, when Michael Kors comes out with a zinger like, “Your dress is from the People’s Republic of Cocktail Land” I howl right along with him. But in this case, seeing that he made poor Daniel cry, I was NOT amused, Michael Kors. Not one bit. (An aside: Do you think when Blayne sees Michael Kors, he inadvertently starts salivating? So close to the tanning booth and yet. . .so far.)
But Daniel survived. And Jennifer—who made an outfit more suitable for a particularly fashion-forward office temp than an Olympiad—was made auf wieldelicious. Go U.S.A.! . . . or something like that.