Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Circle of Life

One of the best things about blobbing is this: you "meet" people on the blobs who introduce you to ideas, places, and things you otherwise would have la dee dah-ed yourself in a navel contemplating stupor right on by.

Like these:

Right now, in my closet, reside four pair of boots (oops, make that five), including a beloved pair of beat up cowboys it's going to rip my heart out to try and replace when they finally do the final dance of destruction, which, with any luck and the talents of my long-suffering cobbler (is that still a word?), won't happen until long after I'm dead, cremated, and scattered over Neiman's.

But these. These! I didn't even know I wanted them until The Pirate emailed me a month or so ago and told me she'd just scored a pair at Dillards for some fifty bazillion percent off and now they were hers, all hers! Hmmm . . . I thought. I don't have a pair of Frye Harness Boots . . .

Then two weeks ago I was placing an order at Amazon for a couple of novels I've been wanting to read. You know how when you go on Amazon and on the home page they welcome you by name AND include a short little list of books/CDs/perfumes, etc. that they think you'll be interested in? This time, Nina Garcia's The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own popped up. And it was only, like, a few bucks, so I tossed it in my cart.

Yesterday, basking in my post-Thanksgiving feast glow, S.B. in his chair watching the LSU/Arkansas game, Ivan snoozing in the sun, I tucked myself in for a long afternoon of do-nothing-but-read-on-the-sofa and, well, read the entire thing. And there, on page 94, #33 on Nina's list of 100, was, once again, the Frye Harness Boot.

Now, before you think I just run around drinking the fashion Kool-Aide from every corner lemonade stand in existence, know that there are a few things I have managed to avoid over the years that Nina also heartily recommends. Like caftans. And red lipstick. And aviator sunglasses. I'm a big girl. I totally grok to the difference between fashion pushover and to thine own self being true, I don't care how absolutely funny and charming Nina's writing is (And it IS! Who would have thunk it? You should go out and purchase the book for the lively writing alone, regardless of whether you are barely able to make it out of your pajamas and into a pair of Levis each morning. For instance, when extolling the virtues of having at least one A-line dress in our closets, thus speaks Nina: "Eat, ladies. For we always have the A-line.")


The question becomes: do I need a pair of Frye Harness Boots or do I not? I would be helping the economy, you know. Frye has been around since the mid 1800s and is one of the few American owned and operated shoe making operations in existence. No Chinese melamine in them soles.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Can a Poor Boy Do?

There was a time when I believed that Guns N’ Roses, and most specifically its front man, Axl Rose, just might save the world. Or at least rock and roll. In the two-point-five-second-long interim between the decline of the ‘80s Aqua Net bands and the palate-cleansing onslaught of grunge, in slipped Guns N' Roses, who held high for one brief moment the banner of good old-fashioned rock and roll excess. Which, okay, may not have saved the world, but it was still a heck of a lot of fun.

I don’t know if all rock stars need this particular formula to thrive, but it seems to have worked for Axl Rose: one part abusive childhood mixed with one part savant-like I.Q. slowly simmered with one part culturally flat-lined suburban backdrop against which to rebel. Wait out the early teen years and you have a temperament designed to assert itself as loudly as possible in as many ways as possible to as many people as possible. Not as a musician but as a rock star. And if something musically significant happens along the way, well, then, cool.

Which, strangely enough, it did.

The thing about Guns N’ Roses is that it’s members could play and Axl Rose could sing. Thanks to a youth spent messing with his choir teachers, he managed to cultivate a range that could go from baritone to falsetto in the three minutes flat it took him to welcome you to his jungle. Most importantly, though, Axl Rose could front. On stage, he radiated a sibilant, sinewy sexuality of the kind not seen since Mick Jagger and which caused even smart girls in it only for the music (ah-hem) to puddle themselves senseless in his presence. Off stage, Rose was a predictably royal pain in the ass, with a big mouth and requisite misogynist streak, which at first came off as tongue-in cheek (who can forget the hilarious “I Used to Love Her”?), then not so much (his nasty public bitch slapping sessions with Courtney Love, for instance), and then just downright sad given über model and fiancé Stephanie Seymour’s charges of physical abuse.

Still, you couldn’t deny the power of the music. Appetite for Destruction was as near perfect a rock and roll album as it gets and it has never dulled. Admit it. You still grab an imaginary Bic lighter and pump both fists in the air whenever “Paradise City” comes on the radio. The follow up EP, GN’R Lies, was similarly compelling. But by the time most of us got around to both Use Your Illusion albums and survived the full eight bazillion minutes of “November Rain” without going postal on our neighbors, we were flagging. I know I was. Not even a brilliantly menacing rendition of Wings’ “Live and Let Die” could revive me.

Although, I did purchase tickets for their 1992 Stadium Tour, a tripartite effort that included Faith No More and Metallica. Guns N’ Roses outshone them both. The day the music both lived and died for me? A few minutes after midnight, August 27, 1992, when the last notes of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” drifted out into the dark desert skies over Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces.

I haven’t idolized a rock star since. At least not in the same way. Sure, interesting things followed. Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain, for one, but for all their exceptional musicality – don’t me wrong, I’m fans of both – were way too sensitive/serious to be dangerous. Chris Cornell, lead singer for Soundgarden, was probably the most gorgeous man to ever stand in front of a microphone, but at the end of the day he went home to his wife of a bazillion years and their passel of Schitzus. Admirable? Sure. Fodder for fantasy? Uh, no. Besides, grunge had arrived. The world was no longer neon pink or raging red. It was gray. And plaid. The party was over.

Sure, great music has been made since Axl Rose pulled a Howard Hughes at his Malibu mansion, some of it much more sublime than anything produced by Guns N’ Roses. But with the exception of maybe Courtney Love, few rock stars have asserted themselves in the band’s wake. At least none as gleefully over the top, as wild, as downright unbiddable. Even Marilyn Manson comes off as way more corporate-calculated rather than $hocking and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were welcome dinnertime companionship in most of today’s homes, we’ve become that tolerant. No thanks. When I was in high school and I brought boys like Axl home? I wanted my parents to be upset. Not sit them down over appetizers and a nice Cab Sav.

At any rate, did you hear? Guns N’ Roses, who never officially broke up, has finally managed to release Chinese Democracy, a recording that took, what, 14 million years to make? Moi’s prognosis after a cursory listen is, sad to say, meh. Although, I’m happy to report that Axl, despite the persistence of those weird-ass corn rows, remains in astonishingly fine vocal shape.

Still, though: someone, anyone, please. Take me back to paradise city.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mute Monday: P is For

Once, they were America's most beloved canine companion.

Stars of stage and screen . . .

And not just friends, but heroes, loyal companions to the end.

So why the hate, the fear, the banning, and abuse? 
They are, after all, just dogs.

So all we are saying, is give pits a chance.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Soundtrack to Moi's Life

What song follows you around?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tequila Sunrise

What's the saying? It's happy hour somewhere on the planet?

* * *

One of the reasons I supported Ron Paul in the primaries is because he is both practical and rational, especially when it comes to the so-called War on Drugs. The man is a doctor, so he knows first hand the damage caused by substance abuse. Still, he does not believe it is the gooberment's job to legislate what we can and cannot put in our bodies. As long as you don't make the rest of us pay for your whack on crack headed behavior, have at it.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I want drugs legalized so I can go all Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds on myself. Other than alcohol now and then and some Vitamin I a couple times a week, I don't do drugs. I don't even smoke pot. Can't and won't. When I'm high, I get super duper paranoid and eat everything in sight. So a troop of Albuquerque's finest busting in on me while I'm slumming in pilled fleece and digging out the last remnants of Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby with my fingers? Not a good look por Moi.

Regardless, I remain oh-so-puzzled why marijuana, despite being one of the least harmful drugs you can put in your body, remains illegal. Certainly alcohol tattoos more insidious paths of destruction through people's lives, right? But I don't hear any Washington suits clamoring to outlaw Dewar's.

Think about it, what would you do if tomorrow your favorite substance or product were outlawed for no good reason other than the government, in its infinite wisdom, decided you could not be trusted with its use? Say it wasn't marijuana or cocaine, but, oh, I dunno, Coca-Cola? Sugar rots the teeth you know. Bacon? Oy. A nightmare of saturated fats. Jell-O? Red dye makes the kiddies koo-koo. Pull it from the shelves. Lipstick? Lead poisoning. High heels? Wrecks the feet. Mini Coopers? Cars kill.

Any good intention, if stretched out far enough towards some arbitrary point in an infinite future eventually just becomes oppressive.

Instead, why don't we all just do what we did when I was in high school? Back then, we had a saying about drugs and their usage: "Dude, maintain."

Too early for a shot, do you think?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Needful Things

I don't have monkeys on my back. Instead, they live on my shoulders. But they are not the opposite sides of the same coin – one an angel, cautioning; the other a devil, urging. They are, instead, equally ill-behaved, clamorous, and single-minded in their goal to convince me to indulge my twin obsessions for shoes and art.

My monkeys sent me on an art buying spree this weekend. Luckily it was at the Recycled Art Festival, which meant I could feed the little buggers on only a few Andrew Jacksons and some change.

First of all, I'm sorry I don't have more photos. People were awfully precious about me whipping out my camera. Like the woman who made these amazing dolls that she crafted from people's cast off shoes. The best piece in her show was a likeness of Frida Kahlo, displayed dead and in her coffin, accompanied by one of her miscarried babies, a replica plaster cast of her teeth, and with a gilt edged mirror on the inside of the lid, so that even in death, Frida could ponder the meaning of her existence. I was desperate to take a photo of the piece for K9, but the artist was so reluctant, I didn't pursue it.


I can, however, show you one of my favorite artists in the show, Albuquerque resident and "jeweler" Kristin Diener. I've met her before and was delighted to see her again. We chatted for a while and I was struck anew by the difference between her sunny, matter-of-fact Midwestern demeanor and the dense, almost fetishistic quality of her work. I would love to be able to afford it.

But I managed to sneak in a few snapshots of the children's art exhibit.

Like these marvelous Day of the Dead Sculptures crafted by second graders in a local Santa Fe elementary school.

And these elegant sculptures, made entirely out of white cardboard by a fourth grade class.

And what I think was my favorite piece in the entire show, this gigantic paper mache elephant. Again, another class of second graders. I wish I'd taken some photos of the detail on this, but people were beginning to eyeball me real funny, so I stopped. But trust me, it was delightful.

And now, for Moi's purchases:

This halter top by Niña Feliz (happy girl in Spanish), a cooperative up in Arroyo Seco (a small community north of Taos), run by a group of women designers who “refashion” discarded clothing into wearable art. What attracted me to it was the exuberance of the stitching and the bright red velvet ties. It also fits perfectly – I paired it over a long sleeved tissue tee shirt and it looks marvy. In summer, I see it under a cropped crocheted sweater with skinny jeans and gladiators.

One of the artists I was most looking forward to was Julie Anderson, who makes her living designing costumes and unbelievable statement necklaces fashioned from vintage found objects. But what I love most are her Demented Doll Head purses, which I first saw in a Bruce Weber photo shoot for Italian Vogue a couple years ago. So enamored am I with these purses, that I must have vocalized that love in just the right way to Julie (either that or she was desperate to get my bat shit crazy ass self out of her booth) because she sold it to me at a deeply discounted price.

But that discount came with a price of another sort. I have to give her a name by the end of the week or suffer the consequences of Demented Doll Head juju. Any thoughts?

I'm thinking she looks an awful lot like an Anita to Moi.

And, finally, the piece that touched me the deepest. By a woman named Kim Kelly, a former participant in an Albuquerque-based art program for the homeless called Art Street. Kim, I hope you are safe and sound and still making art.

Monday, November 17, 2008