Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Evidence of Southern Cuteness

This is my nephew, Robbie, and his cousin, Mary Eason. The level of cuteness is almost too much really and it is about to get worse. Behold:

I mean, the bow ... does it not induce nose-wrinkling and an urge to squish her? Mary has the distinguished title of being The Happiest Baby I Ever Met. That tune may change when she's 14 but for now, she is completely delighted with Everything. Her typical sing-song response, "Ooooooooooo!"

Robbie, meanwhile, cannot go anywhere without his cowboy hat. Exhibit A:

Children are cool. They're like miniature people only eight million times more lovable.

Also, just to prove that I am connected to said cuteness, here is me being loved by the women who birthed these angels. Robin Louise is to the left and she's a hoot. We don't have an official title (she's my sister-in-law's sister) so we just go with the term "Family." She monitors my progress in Southern traditions. Once, I accidentally became privy to a family secret and she patted by hand, "Lordie, you're a real Steel Magnolia now - keeping secrets!" It was like I'd moved up a belt color in karate or something, I was so jazzed.

The woman nuzzling my neck is my beloved sister-in-law, MaryAnn, a true pistol of a gal. I really got lucky here. My brother dated so many vacuous betties but, in the end, got smart and picked a fiery woman of substance. What a friggin' relief! I adore her.

"Miss the Mississippi and you ..... "

Thursday, June 21, 2007

On the Road: New York

I’ve spent the last few days in The Big Apple and, as always, it is deliciously red and crunchy. Previously in this space, I have professed my undying love for this great American city and every visit brings more details.

While there, I lived at the Roger Smith Hotel, art-minded lodging on the corner of Lexington and 47th, two blocks from Grand Central. There is the Roger Smith Lab Gallery, an art space attached to the hotel, with unadorned plate glass windows on the street-exposed corner walls. It is "a high traffic, fast paced, converted 'storefront' that features conceptual work and provides a venue for experimental national and international artists and curators and their ideas." Fair enough.

Late one night, after returning home after joyfully roaming around Times Square, I glanced in and noted a live naked women in a bathtub, carefully ‘bathing’ in gobs of dirt. There were lit candles, various bits of nature and a grey-pony-tailed photographer, hopping around, snapping away. The doors were closed but there were no curtains. Even without sound, I could see that Dirt Lady was bossing him around – her fingers pointing, her gums flapping. She was evidently The Artist. A European guy and I discussed it. A typical Monday night.

(By next morning, someone with a pink-brown lipstick stick had scrawled across the window a long diatribe of why it sucked. "You are doing more harm than good with that hippie bullshit ... ")

Earlier that same evening, I caught the legendary Les Paul, Father of the Electric Guitar, at his usual Monday night gig on Broadway, at the Irridium. He was celebrating his 92nd birthday and I managed to deliver a personalized birthday kiss – what a treat!

The night also included a spontaneous award presentation by the American Music Harvest, by an avid music fan in a white dinner jacket. Les was amazing on his signature guitar, despite two fingers quieted from arthritis; I may have emerged with a new appreciation for jazz guitar. Paul's back-up band was predictably talented as well, particularly his pianist, John Colianni, who used to play for Mel Torme.

Best of all were the stories that Paul told from his wild party days in 1950s Hollywood. Apparently, Bing Crosby had called him one day at 6:30 a.m. to talk about recording a song at 7:00 a.m. “What?!?” Les had said, “I don’t even vomit until 8!”

Despite having arrived during Gay Pride Week (it tends to follow me wherever I go) I would again like to stress that New York is also a fantastic place for Straight Pride. The place is positively teeming with sexual tension. I understand it is difficult to date there but as a visitor, I just can’t see it, I only see opportunities. I was propositioned and/or hit on a total of five times in three days – the same number that can be applied to my nine years in San Francisco. (Denver is a happy medium.)

Much as I love Gotham, I can see that living there is Work. The muggy crowded subways, the throngs of people and the long stair climbs to your wildly expensive shoebox apartment could wear someone down. Just like some humans, I can love them best from a safe distance. Still, I was loathe to leave my ridiculously high bed - I felt like Princess and the Pea - and NYC in general. It is the center of the American Universe.

Thanks to the United Airlines computer glitch, my flight from La Guardia was delayed. Once aboard, I planned to sleep but instead became absolutely riveted by the inflight movie, "Breach", it's not my fault that Chris Cooper is colossally talented. The plane touched down hours late and the captain announced that the outside temperature was a lovely 97 degrees. I wormed my way into sharing a cab with two fine young men from Jersey and eventually made it to my house at 7:15 p.m. I arrived at the Avenue Theater at 7:25 p.m. And then, 10 minutes later, this happened.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Word is, Black Men Ski

Came across this little ditty today and found it worth passing along. It's done by a brilliant dude named Stew, a modern-day raconteur. He calls his stuff "Afro-baroque" and it is charming and biting, witty and profound. His band is called the Negro Problem and he's been hired to write TV commercial soundtracks, cartoon ballads, and "song portraits" commissioned by fans.

I've never been to Aspen nor have I ever been a black man in ski pants but as Your Rocky Mountain Correspondent, I feel obliged to pass along all things CO-related.

But mostly, Stew is just worth knowing about.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Allow me to brag for a moment ...

My good friend, Tony Dokoupil, wrote today's lead story on Some interesting legal troubles/free movie promotions for Michael Moore's new film which focuses on the broken American healthcare system, appropriately entitled, "Sicko."

I met Tony when he was an intern at my company a few years ago, just after his graduation from George Washington University, where he was the valedictorian and a star baseball player. For some odd reason, he decided that I was interesting enough to speak to. Meanwhile, all the women in the office - starved from a diet of each other and gay men - tried to figure out the best way to seduce the new Hot Young Thing.

Truth was, Tony just wanted to talk about writing and writers, words and books. I'd give him random assignments ("Give me 500 words on an emotion - any emotion. Have it on my desk by Monday morning.") so he could practice. It was a joy. His talent grew by leaps and bounds and well, he's arrived!

Anyway, I'm busting my pride seams today like a mother hen and had to squawk about it so ....


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

This Just In - Reaping and Sowing Sucks

Okay, enough is enough.

As a child of Los Angeles, I’m certainly no stranger to celebrity fascinations. I remember dropping off a note (pre-cell phone/Internet, kids!) to a journalist friend who was trapped at Camp OJ – the media shanty town that surrounded the LA County Courthouse during the OJ trial in 1995.

A big iron gate kept them penned in and lots of trapped, tired journalists milled about under the scaffolding, imprisoned by their own relentless assignment. The word “phalanx” was often used by the LA Times to describe them; a word which I still feel only applies specifically to this group. I recall an exhausted-looking man with a press badge reaching through the bars and half-jokingly grabbing my arm, “Tell my wife I love her!” They had lost touch with the Real World and it wasn’t funny anymore.

Furthermore, in the mid-80s and early 90s, I drove limos in LA and Hollywood to work my way through college. The rear view mirror revealed plenty. There were many, many nights of babysitting drunken entertainment executives and coked-up herds of bimbii, all searching for fame and recognition or at least some silky coattails to ride on. That’s what they were there for, to become one of the popular kids, or to at least break into ‘certain circles.’ Most of them ended up in porn.

Still, in observing the media frenzy surrounding Paris Hilton, I feel the need to break down what is behind it. Even she is mystified, though I fear it doesn’t take much to confound a girl who right up there with W. in trying to make pathetic ignorance seem cool. My favorite trick these days is to make light conversation by asking, “So, been keeping up on the Paris Hilton saga?” which elicits a solid, “No!” Then, a detailed discussion immediately ensues; the latest incarceration tidbits are exchanged. I tried this with my mother recently, “I heard that when the Sherriff’s department went to pick her up, she was planning a party!” she tsked-tsked. “Poor little rich girl is learning some lessons.”

I’ll admit, it was fun for awhile – nowhere near the Tom Cruise Media Meltdown ‘05, of course – but when I saw a photo of her really sobbing, I felt sick to my stomach. Did I feel sorry for her? Not really. I still envy Martha Stewart’s incarceration every time I look at my overloaded nightstand; oh, the reading I could get done! Also, I knew that Martha was and remains a major Bad Ass, a bootstraps kind of gal, and the experience would prove to be a minor speed bump and an inevitable best seller.

Miss Hilton is another story. She is an empty-headed twit whose only contribution to society has been an Internet sex tape, mocking nice people who live simply and paying the rent of thousands of paparazzi. This is the image she herself has created so why do I twinge when Sarah Silverman publicly mocks her? Furthermore, why did Sarah herself “feel dirty” when she did it? (Sorry guys, tried to link to the MTV Awards video and got this: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Viacom International Inc.")

It certainly isn’t empathy for the person itself. I’m glad this bobble-headed nitwit is getting her soul scrubbed down by a dirty cell. I mean, 45 days? That’s it?!? She ain’t no fucking Princess Bride worth rescuing, that’s for sure. Still, the public is almost savage in its joy for her situation. I think it’s because we LOVE a good come-uppance, especially when it happens to the stupid, the blonde, the young and the rich. (Sadly, this is the same reason that sexy blonde co-eds who disappear are covered more in the news than numerous darker-toned victims who have met a similar fate.)

To paraphrase an old proverb, PH has made her bed and now must lie in it – only it is harder and colder than she ever imagined. Admittedly, there is something soothing about the privileged getting cut down to size – taken to an ironic extreme, this is exactly how democracy is supposed to work. In a confused sob, Paris alluded to this herself in trying to deflect her previously beloved cameras to the Important Stuff, namely, the “men and women serving our country in Iraq.” Pushed to the edge, this was the first we’d heard that she cared about anyone but herself or had an inkling about the dirty, bloody struggles in the real world.

If I may venture yet another theory: This is about the great balloon pop. I learned this from my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Burhans, when whined to him about the latest dastardly dead of the evil Tommy Bootsma. “Kid,” he growled, “life isn’t fair. Get used to it.” I found out later that Mr. B was going through a bitter divorce and had plenty of life lessons to share. His cold deliverance of this useful fact stuck with me and boy, was he right. At the ripe old age of 26, Miss Hilton is finally learning this lesson in a grand, crazy-ass way and that is why we celebrate.

Welcome to the jungle, kiddo. It’ll prove to be the best thing that ever happened to your charmed little life.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Annual Summer 'Do

Normally, I try to avoid posting pet photos - it is annoying, cloying and that is what CuteOverload is for.

However, my dark unruly beast, Simone, got the shave of her life this morning and I just had to share. (It's about to get very hot and she's made of thick black fur - that has to be uncomfortable.) I tried out a mobile pet grooming service because it seemed like the weirdest way for my best friend to get the most bizarre haircut; I was right.

Crystal, proprietor of Crystal's Clips, pulled up in her trailer this morning and whipped out the longest extension cord I've ever seen. Her throaty smokers' voice meant business, "Did you fill out the form I sent you?"

Poor Simone. Formally a fierce feral creature from the streets of Alameda and now a coddled lady of leisure, she was completely blindsided. However, she has not forgotten one filthy word her former street vocabulary. She sounded like a kitty sailor in an angry drunken fight. Imagine a string of guttural feline expletives, outbursts of fanged violence and a few desperate attempts at prison break and you'll get the full picture. (She was named for another fiery creature, Nina Simone, who most definitely would not have stood for such treatment.)

Eventually, the Lion Cut was complete. You might be asking, "Heather, what in god's name is the point of the furry booties and puff tail?" Answer: None. This aspect is for my entertainment only and yes, I would surely pull similar stunts if I had children.

Anyhoo, I now have half a cat and cannot stop laughing. Crystal added an orange bow and now The Mighty S looks like a decorated rat with a blob of naked hanging fat. Of course, now that the coiffing nightmare is over, the cats' sensual side is immensely pleased and she's rubbing on everything, purring all over the place. Happy to have survived, I'm sure.

However, I have noticed that she is avoiding mirrors. Also, I am refusing to let her outside today for fear that the other cats would kick her shaved lil' ass.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Cleaning House: "My Britney Moment"

I'm trying to get myself seriously organized, photographically speaking, and I've got huge amounts of useless shots that are best deleted. However, I'm giving each one a final bit of glory, no matter how unappealing they might be, hence:

Classy, eh? This was actually taken by my pal, Asa, when she and I were both drunk and dateless at the company holiday party several years ago. Somehow, it made it on to the group server and was enjoyed by all so this is not actually its public debut.

I've tried to make this as small as possible but I can assure you that all my lady bits were contained so don't bother enlarging. Worst of all, I'm pretty sure this was accompanied by an angry political rant to the tune of "Brick House."

Confession: I'm mostly posting this as insurance against any ridiculous soul-crushing political ambitions I may ever entertain; this unfortunate angle should probably nip it in the bud. However, I remain immensely proud of my choice in hosiery.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Yesterday, I celebrated the first anniversary of my Denver move. I’m feeling big BIG love for the Centennial State these days. I’m not known for my clever decisions but coming here definitely makes the top five. And, as much as I have grumbled about him in previous posts, I gotta give credit to MonkMan for intersecting my life and introducing me to this beautiful place; Colorado simply wasn’t on my radar prior to our meeting.

So, last night, I threw myself a little shindig and must have had a good time for today, I’m a bit wobbly – grateful, but wobbly. My little treehouse of an apartment hosted pals from different factions of my life – my go-getter crew from Up The Creek, my fellow Rodents and some blogger pals, including my co-lieutenants, HDW and Kath. (Please note how HDW and I insist on hogging the lens, nearly suffocating dear Kath, who threw out the first life raft here in Denver, bless her cheery soul.)

Here's another with me, Dave and Amy - they'd asked me to pose with the huge wooden Fijian penis that surreptitiously resides in the living room. Sometimes, it makes men nervous though Dave seems quite confident. Hmmmmmm . . .

In preparing for the party, I suddenly became my mother in buying way too much food for a small affair and ending up with a ridiculous surplus. I may have to start a Party Closet like my mother’s (pictured here.) The thing is, if she had more empty closets – there would simply be more Party Closets. The woman already has 2.5 refrigerators and a large freezer full of frozen chicken wings and Swedish meatballs just waiting for the right occasion. When I finally purchased spray cheese late last week, I knew the transformation was complete.

Despite learning my chemistry lessons the hard way (who knew that lemon Jell-O shots and Lime Sherbet Rum Punch don't mix?) I began my second year in D-Town by planting my first vegetable garden. God only knows what will survive but I plan to nurture it and cheer it on best I can. If staring and hovering is what it needs from me than they should all be fine.

Finally, near the end of the day, I decided that enough was enough and treated myself to some emotional closure. I finally sent that gol' dern thank you note to MonkMan, letting him know my joy in living here. It had become a mantra of sorts for me, "Gonna send that fucker a thank you card!" I'd say whenever a new discovery presented itself. His warm response offered sincere gratitude and heartfelt apology. One door closes and another opens - and this one has a better view.