Jul 30, 2014

What I ♥ Today: Love & Compromise According To Eartha Kitt

...and this is why I adore Eartha Kitt.

In less than three minutes the auntie in my head drops some purrfect knowledge on what love and compromise means to her and what it should mean to a lot of others. This clip, which is probably posted on a ton of Tumblrs by now in .gif form, is culled from All By Myself, a 1982 documentary where Kitt reflects on her life and music. I've been looking high and low for the full doc, and like usual, we cannot have nice things because it's out of print. Still this abridged wisdom she shares will forever be imprinted in my mind because what she says is the haunting truth. We often times forget that ourselves matter in the process of love and relationships. We're so much in the process of loving someone else that we, ourselves, our ideals and our emotions, dissipate.

Kitt's rebuttals to the interviewer may seem a bit harsh, but every scoff, scowl, and laugh is valid. I'm learning that love is about being honest with yourself, that you have to truly like yourself in order to extend that honesty and like towards another. When Kitt says, “I fall in love with myself, and I want someone to share it with me. I want someone to share me with me" she's not tripping off of her ego, she wants to see herself, her all-true self reflected off of the person she's involved with, and have that honesty reciprocated.

Though I've never been in a serious relationship, from viewing my own parents and their 30+ year marriage I do see a lot of compromise, even sacrifice, in order to make things work between the two of them. I don't know the ins and outs of their marriage, because that's their business --- I'm just noting things on the surface--- but there are moments where I do catch the candor they share between each other, how comfortable they are with each other, and how they have a balance, where one doesn't outweigh the other even when things aren't so lovey-dovey.

With so much cynicism on romance and marriage these days it's hard to find someone who meets you at minds-level. Still even in my doubts and eyerolls, I hold onto the fact that as long I know myself, know what I want, and how I want to be treated that eventually I'll find a like-minded person who will understand that, and who I'll have no trouble understanding all their mechanisms as well. Knowing yourself and sharing that self with others is a deep and powerful thing and Eartha Kitt has that power on lock, and that's why we should open our minds to the real talk she's articulating here.

Jul 29, 2014

Nostalgia: Bye Bye Bye To Bop

'96 HOURS with *NSYNC'?! Sure you jest, BOP

After 31 years the technicolored teen magazine that brought you glorious centerfolds of "manly men" in curious poses is dunzo. Yep, Bop magazine is ending its reign and yes, you can come wall slide with me and shed all the tears while clutching onto your Leonardo DiCaprio nameplate necklace. This is some devastating news.

During the mid-to-late '90s into the early 2000s, I know Bop got a lump sum of my "hard-earned" allowance money. Like clockwork, every time I went to the grocery store with my Mom, I'd beeline to the wall of magazine at our local H-E-B and decide on what magazine to purchase. It was either between Bop, 16, or Teen Beat and it was a tuffff decision. But what was really tuffff, the absolute worst thing was having both sides of the pull-out poster or pin-up belong to two different boys you liked. Oh, what an agonizing decision that was.

Still there were good things that unfolded from Bop's newspapery pages. Like all the pin-ups you'd ever want were available and ready to wallpaper your room with or to trade with your friends. My best friend during my Bop years was a girl who lived down the street from me named Jessica and we were like pin-up dealers like our conversations on the bus went like "I'll give you three Rider Strong's for two Johnathan Brandis's". We were hardcore like that.

Also every school year in middle school I'd buy a binder with one of those clear covers, and then slip in a pin-up, or a ~*fancy*~ homemade collage of whatever heartthrob(s) I was crushing on at the time and tote it around. Ah, aimless youth how dare you race out of my grasp!

Jul 28, 2014

Rant & Rave: The NFL Scores Yet Another Touchdown For Sexism

So much shitty stuff has been going on in the NFL recently that Keith Olbermann drummed up a brilliant and epic rant against them (and the sports world in general) highlighting in fiery finesse the glaring fact the League hates women, but loves their money instead. The catalyst for his rant is over the pointless two-game suspension for Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, who earlier this year punched his then-fiancee Janay Palmer and then, as seen through surveillance cameras, was caught dragging her limp and unconscious body out of a hotel elevator. With all the unsettling visual evidence of the incident, the NFL collectively shrugged their shoulders and took a swig of Gatorade over the ordeal, because it's just another day in misogyny paradise for them.

Jul 17, 2014

Impressions: 13 Lessons Learned From 'Orange Is The New Black', Season 2

I LOVE Orange Is The New Black with a fierce passion. It's got everything from fantastic storytelling to compelling characterization, and one-liners that will dress up anyone's sassafrassin' game. It's just an adventure to watch. When the second season premiered June 6th, the excitement I had couldn't be contained. Still I did something pretty lame as I didn't binge watch like I kept boasting I was going to do. I decided after watching the first episode that I wanted to let this season linger for at least a week. I was going to watch one or two episodes daily, peeling back the wrapper of each episode like I'm Charlie Bucket eating bite-sized pieces of a Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemellow-Delight Bar. Big mistake really, because I was growling for more, and trying to function throughout the following day became impossible. Sure I was able to digest the episodes better and not have everything blur into one glob of awesome, but I was just burnt toast the next day awaiting the 'what next'.

But *whoosh* I made it. I'm now completely finished with the season, and I'm coming up for air to deliver what I like to call ~ in-depth musing ~ as I laughed, gasped, fought the sky, and learned a lot of lessons --- 13 lessons really --- during this phenomenal  season. Hopefully by now, if you are a fan of the series like I, you're all caught up. If not, stop right now. Go to Netflix, find a bootleg site, I don't care, just go on and clear your schedule, kiss your kids, your spouse, and your Pillow Pet goodbye, and watch the season, and then come back here and let's go over what we've learned this season.

Jul 11, 2014

Nostalgia: A Fashionable Birthday Ode To Claudia Kishi

It's a little bizarre to be celebrating a birthday of a fictional character, but I'm always bizarre so... *throws glitter in air*

Today is Claudia Kishi's birthday! Who is that you ask? Well, if you had your nose stuck in a book and salivated over a book fair during the '80s and '90s, you know all about The Babysitter's Club book series by Ann M. Martin which followed a close-knit group of friends who started a babysitting business in the fictional community of Stonybrook, Connecticut.

I was obsessed with the books back in the day. I also watched the short-lived TV show, saw the 1995 movie in the theaters, joined the "super secret club", wore the gold charm necklace --- you get the idea. If this all sounds precious, believe me young adult fiction and the fandom surrounding it has gotten a lot more intense in the last decade or so thanks to stories about post-apocalyptic worlds, sparkly vampires, and John Green writing tomes for a whole new generation of emotional Kleenex clutchers. Books about young girls eating pizza, joining forces to babysit brats in their community to make bank off it was about as philosophical as it was gonna get for an '80s and '90s kid.

Out of all the members of the Babysitter's Club, Claudia Kishi stands out as being one of the most memorable, and for me, she was the one I identified with the most right down to her habit of hoarding junk food, her love of art, her obsession over Nancy Drew books, and also her flair for being horrible at math. Also we have the same closet. Yep. Soulmate.

Another (obvious) reason why I adored me some Kishi was her fashion sensibility which was detailed in the pages of the books, shown on the fabulous paint-brushed book covers, and seen on the actresses who played Kishi on screen (I preferred TV version Claudia). Scrunchies, vests, boots, leggings, bangles, and vivid colors --- Kishi brought some much needed panache to the circle of babysitters, and I'm not the only one who took notice. A Google search will lead you to other lovers of Kishi fashion, most notably the sometimes active, What Claudia Wore and Tumblrs like the defunct, The Claudia Kishi Diaries and Claudiavore.

I admit to wearing some badly printed sweaters and t-shirts, as well as jellies, overalls, and stirrup pants from way back when, and as much as some of that stuff should remain in the '90s, somehow I'm finding myself leaning back into the fold of a Kishi wardrobe. Pretty much because clothing stores and Pinterest keep telling me so. So I'm rocking the blue jean tops, buying the lace up boots, wearing printed shorts, and always and forever topping everything off with some funky cheap ass jewelry. Though I've ditched the scrunchies, my style is still somewhat rooted in Kishi Koture, as I just cannot get away from floral prints and weird earrings, and well, proud of it I am.

So in honor of the Babysitter's Club most stylish occupant (sorry Stacey McGill) and her birthday, I provided a run-down of outfits and accessories that would get the Claudia Kishi approval. I hope the list inspires you in to think outside the box --- or just worship at the alter of floral prints again. So let's all raise a candy bar to celebrate because well...

Jul 9, 2014

Book Looks: The Leaning Tower Of 2014 Summer Reads

Its blazing balls of fire outside in the furnace that South Texas so it's time to keep my rumpus indoors and get some good ol' reading in. Reading is never something I do during a holiday season --- it's a year-round deal for me --- but this summer I found myself with a leaning pile of books on my bedside table and began to think, "yeah, I need to get to reading these", you know, before I buy nine more books (which is usually the case for me). Unfortunately, I don't get to escape to a beach to read them, because I'm well, poor, and don't know the right people. Still I'll ~imagine~ and share with whoever is out there what I'm reading at the moment, and maybe find some fellow book sniffers out there who are flipping pages in order to keep cool this summer. 

  • Bright Boulevards and Bold Dreams: The Story Of Black Hollywood, by Donald Bogle: An in-depth look back at important figures in Hollywood history who just so happen to be African-Americans. The book spans from the 1920s to the 1950s and it not only covers the important actors like Hattie McDaniel and Paul Robeson, but also dives into the back stories about the costume designers, architects, make-up artists, choreographers, screenwriters, directors, and even "the help" who built from the ground up their own private paradise in the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles'. Fascinating stuff.
  • Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See: The story of two sisters who due to their father's carelessness with money (go fig), are forced to become Chinese brides to American suitors, but a little something called World War II gets in the way. Be still my historical fiction heart.
  • The Wedding, by Dorothy West: Important back in the '90s for being Harlem Renaissance alum, Dorothy West's first book in about forty-something years at the time, but remains significant as a literary drama about a family in Martha's Vineyard who get all up in a tizzy when one of their own marries a white Jazz musician. Oh, and the story takes place in the 1950s, so yeah, this is big ol' issue. Saw the movie with Halle Berry and Lynn Whitfield eons ago, but wanted to give the novel some attention. 
  • Dust Tracks On The Road, An Autobiography, by Zora Neale Hurston: Alice Walker claimed that this book is complete fabrication. A real fanciful trip into delusion, that was geared as entertainment for curious White folk, and is possibly the worst thing Hurston scribed in her lifetime. Okay, I'm a few pages in and um, hmm, yeah, dammit Walker is kinda right as she does wax poetic about some magical White man who was there at her birth and helped her learn how to fish. Hurston completely spun the 'magic negro' trope and made it land on its head. Still I shoulder shrug to Walker and naysayers because Hurston was a craftsman at words who weaves a good story. Still, who wouldn't pad their autobiography with color coated lies?
  • Caucasia, by Danzy Senna: Another "sisters in peril" story this time set in the 1970s and follows a biracial family who just cannot get it together as the parents get knee-deep in the radicalism of 1970s Boston, split, and then divide the sisters up --- the father taking one to South America, and the mother masking the other sister's true racial identity. You know some ish is about to go down with a recipe of disaster like that.
  • Under The Ivy: The Life & Music of Kate Bush, by Graeme Thomson: To know me is to know that I adore me some Kate Bush, the kooky progressive rock queen of the '70s and '80s. She's more to it than having a hit song about Emily Bronte's classic Wuthering Heights and the Mother Goose-on-acid holiday specials she did back in the day (YouTube them). She's a fantastic songwriter and, to me, an awesome storyteller who writes songs about haunted houses, the war in Vietnam, and about her bearing witness to one of her ancestors being tried for witchcraft. Serious. I'm curious to see if this book will give me insight on the context behind those beloved musical novellas and Bush's provocative imagination. 
  • Theatre, by W. Somerset Maugham: Ah, Maugham. He always writes about discontented and fussy rich people, and after reading the brilliant bratty couple's quarrel that was The Painted Veil, I decided to check this one out as its about a self-centered actress who meets her match when a ~brooding stranger~ strolls into her world. Ooo, scandal.
  • Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs: Slave narratives don't exactly scream "summer reading", so this might get pushed back to those winter months of discontentment, but ever since seeing 12 Years A Slave and re-watching Amistad recently its duty to finally sit down and read a slave narrative and check my privilege and note how far we've come and how we still have a long way to go. 
  • Mo' Meta Blues: The World According To Questlove, by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson: Questlove's sorta-kinda-maybe-not memoir about his yellow brick travels into music and infamy and the soundtrack that backs this thought-provoking journey. Within a few pages, Questlove has gone to the top of my list of "People Dead or Alive That I Want To Eat Enchiladas With and Annoy With Questions", knocking Shelley Duvall down a slot. He is the music nerd of my dreams.

So what is everyone reading for the summer?