Friday, April 22, 2011

Like "Water for Elephants"!!!

I made this promo video for Bravo about the costumes in the movie "Water for Elephants". Okay, so I did it basically so I might possibly get to go to the premiere and lay my eyes on Robert Pattinson in person. I got to go to the premiere...I got to see him in person...totally worth it. Who wouldn't let this guy bite him?

Seriously, this is actually a good movie, with BEAUTIFUL costumes, set in the early thirties at a fabulously gritty traveling circus.

Go see it.

Reese who?

Seeya soon, Chris

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thumbs Up? The Curse on Cursive...

Help! Am I the only one who feels the country is on the slippery slide to Hell? Case in point, read this, as reported by ABC News:

"Forty-one states have so far adopted the new Common Core State Standards for English, which does not require cursive. Set by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA), the standards provide a general framework for what students are expected to learn before college.

States are allowed the option of re-including cursive if they so choose, which is what Massachusetts and California have done.

But the latest to contemplate abandoning the script is Georgia, where teachers and administrators will meet in March to discuss erasing the longhand style from its lesson plans, says Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza.

The argument is that cursive is time-consuming and not as useful as the keyboard skills students will need as they move on to junior high and high school."

In the musical "Bye Bye Birdie" there is a song titled, "What's the Matter with Kids Today?". I guess it could be sung throughout the centuries for every generation. No cursive writing? Who will be able to sign their own name? Text. Texting. Sexting. All it takes is two thumbs and a lowered understanding of the English language. Spelling? Oooops, who needs that? Where U At? Dear God, what is happening in the world?

Do teachers not remember what cursive teaches us beyond just a writing style? Neatness, concentration, control over motor skills, and maybe even an appreciation for art, beauty, and vision? Since it opens the way to drawing, painting, and many other forms of hand-eye visual coordination, how can we cheat (cripple!) future generations by leaving out this important feature of their education? Maybe I am a little crazy about this, but I honestly remember drawing my first butterfly in the margins of my First Grade writing exercises.

I guess kids today will have to learn to draw with their thumbs on a tiny keyboard. Good luck. My only solace is that by the time this has an impact on our culture and society, I will be long dead.

Sleeping underground and dreaming of butterflies.

Seeya soon, Chris

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nene Leakes--I Gush!

Here's how it's gone so far: I loved her on Season 1 of "Real Housewives of Atlanta". Then she got scary-ass full of herself and seemed like she believed her own hype--hated it! Then she went off into another realm with boob jobs, a nose job (see my blog below!), a book, and now every television appearance imaginable. But then, there was last Sunday night....

Nene has been appearing as one of the contestants on this amazingly juicy season of "Celebrity Apprentice". Even Donald Trump's hair can't distract from the voracious cat fights brought about by stroke-of-genious casting: Dionne Warwick, Star Jones, Nene Leakes, and for sheer freak factor, LaToya Jackson. That's right, put four black women in a cage and let 'em go at it. Of course, this is basically the premise behind the massive success of "Real Housewives of Atlanta", so it's no surprise that Nene is outshining those other "amateurs".

Star "Bobble-Head" Jones always looks as if she has just smelled a bad fart or has just farted herself. Her head is gigantic, and she is so full of herself that it is amazing she didn't learn more about how to behave on television from her time on "The View". Dionne Warwick, we discover, is more like Whitney Houston than we ever wanted to know. I am truly sad that such a legend went on reality television only to have the world find out she is an amazingly self-centered megalomaniac. Ungracious, bitchy, back-stabbing, nasty, conniving, and rude? Our Dionne? Didn't she know the way to San Jose? My perception of her is ruined forever.Yes, Whitney, crack is whack....but so is your aunt Dionne. Latoya Jackson? Dear God, what a mess...and that fact was spelled out to her in no uncertain terms last Sunday by a certain Miss Nene Leakes.

After LaToya won a challenge as the project manager for the women's team (even though she did a terrible job and everyone knew it) the women retire to the area outside the board room where Nene spills the "T" (truth) on LaToya. That she: is a weird little girl playing dress-up in the body of an old lady, is a fifty-plus year old woman who has only gotten anywhere because her last name is "Jackson", and is a freak of nature and calls her "Casper the Ghost" because she pretends to be so white. Nene then tells her that if she can't take it, to go and fuckin' hide in the bathroom, because that's where she belongs. Delicious. The NBC executives must have had dollar signs spinning in their eyes when they saw this scene.

Now, is Nene a bully, or a truth teller? Both, I suppose. But haven't we all wanted to say to LaToya Jackson that she is a talentless freak that lived off the fame and infamy of her brother, and is probably at least as crazy? Name a LaToya Jackson song...can you? Nene put a voice to the collective mind of the world Sunday night, and I believe, will continue to do so because people LOVE the truth. Especially when someone else is telling it about someone else.

So, is Nene the next big thing? Like many speculate, will she be the next Oprah? Only she'll be the Oprah who doesn't suck up to celebrities. Or pretend she's not a lesbian. Can't you just hear Nene interviewing Oprah? "Girl, please! Get yourself out of the closet! Bloop!"

"Bloop!" is Nene's trademark expression for "there, I just told the truth." So, I can definitely say I'm a little scared of Nene, but I want to see more of her. I think we all should.


Seeya soon, Chris

Monday, April 11, 2011

House Tattoos?

An Ogden Nash poem from my childhood goes like this-- "I think that I shall never see a billboard lovely as a tree. Unless, of course, the billboards fall...I'll never see a tree at all"

When I saw this story on CNN about a company that will help you from house foreclosure in trade for covering your home with an advertisement, I couldn't fucking believe it. Everybody's got an angle. Can you imagine how many of these might pop up in the U.S. if the economy doesn't improve soon? It will be like living in a huge aisle in the grocery store, with towering shiny people selling us tampons or dog food on the neighbor's garage door. Nowhere to look, nowhere to go to escape the Madison Avenue cranksters who thought this up.

Not everything bad is bad for everybody. This is a painful lesson to learn in life--someone profits from war, corporations make millions from mistakes, and ad agencies will cover your house with a douche ad for a few mortgage payments. Yuck.

America is quickly becoming a sad place, but I never thought I'd see it come to this. I have a couple of friends that have lost their houses to foreclosure--I wonder if this had been available to them if they would have done it. Will anyone do it? This should just be called "Dignity for Sale". There is no help without a catch, no compassion without compounded interest, and certainly no free lunch.

Am I the only one outraged by this? I live in New York City where everything is already a billboard...I guess the suburbs can't be far behind. We have wrapped cars, wrapped busses, projections on the sides of buildings...what's next? I loved the advertisement covered world of "Blade Runner".

I just don't want to live in it.

Seeya soon, Chris

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why I Heart Tabatha Coffey

Well, if you don't know by now, here's the big news: I got my own show on Bravo. Yes. Really. My OWN show. I can't really beleive it either.

Here is a press thingy that makes it seem more real.

It is going to be called "Mad Fashion" and it will premiere at the beginning of July. That's all I know about it, except for the fact that it has dominated my life for the last nine or ten months (hence the drying up of my blog). We started filming in late January, and hopefully we will be wrapped (Ooooh, I just love using TV talk now, like I have been doing this my entire life!) by the end of May. And yes, I have been working my guts out. One of the things that has come with this wild ride is the fact that I am now, or soon will become, one of those "Bravolebrities". Don't get me wrong; I'm not complaining. It pays better than being no kind of "-lebritiy". Being in this select group brought me to one fabulous night last week when I got to meet HER. Yes, her, Tabatha Coffey.

Now, on the set of my show we are all big Bravo fans, but we really love Tabatha and love to do her Aussie accent and quote her all day long and laugh our asses off while doing so. Our favorite line? In response to an ungrateful client whose salon she just completely renovated after the woman complained that she didn't get the full sized refrigerator she was after, Tabatha says:

"Here's your full size refrigerator--Fuck Off."

I wet my pants a little every time I think of it. I got to meet and work with the fabulous Tab at a Bravo promo shoot (that lasted 12 hours) and she is everything you would hope she would be--funny, warm, bitchy, cold, evil, stand-offish, fabulous, nasty, chain-smoking, vain, gorgeous, acerbic, and marvelous to be around. Don't get me wrong--I mean all these things as compliments. She is That's why I love Tabatha. She is just herself. For better or for worse she doesn't care what you think and she's not going to edit herself for anyone. That's why I laugh so hard at that quote--that she had the sheer balls to say it. She is also a fabulous example of gay people on TV; you either you know it or you don't. She doesn't care and it doesn't matter. Case closed. How refreshing.

So, as I venture off into TV land, I can only hope that I am perceived the same way. I try to be just who I am and not change that for anybody. To be any other way would be hiding, untruthful, and just plain tiring. And just not any fun. We have fun on our show, and I hope you come along with us for the ride.

One last parting shot from the blonde goddess:

"I'm the only woman who gets away with saying 'Pussy' on National Television."

Gotta love her.

Seeya soon, Chris

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Mad Men: I Didn't Like It (Don't Hurt Me!)

Am I the only person on earth who thought this episode bordered on disaster? I thought a lot of the acting looked like they were shooting a rehearsal. There are visual anachronisms all over the place, in dress, hairstyle (Peggy's hairdo is still a couple of years away from popularity, and her "boy toy" young Brad Pitt look-alike co-worker has a ridiculously modern haircut! ), set design and art direction. Roger really has a space-age office from the 70's? Yes, these things were entering the mainstream no too soon after the 1964 World's Fair, but I found it out of place and off-putting.

As for Don's "well appointed" new "digs" in the West Village? I know the writers and creator are going for heavy symbolism here, with Don's private life being squalid and dark, but I don't buy it. That neighborhood in the 60's was hedonistic and somewhat dangerous. He brings his kids there? His old beatnik girlfriend had a nicer place. Old, dark, beat up decor that smacks of "furnished apartment"? Don has more money than ever, has been used to a fabulous lifestyle for quite some time, and I would think that when he asked Joan to find him an apartment that she would not ever find him that dump, no matter how hard they want to drive home Don's private tortured symbolism. He polishes his own shoes? Please, he gets them polished at the train station or at work like everyone else in that time period.

The new offices? Everyone keeps going on and on about how "new, open, and fabulous" they are. Really? They look to me like they were conceived to symbolize a rat's maze--all narrow corridors and right angles and walls, walls, walls. Even if they are made of glass. You'll notice we were shown the low ceilings over and over to close us in. We were also shown on at least two occasions that those walls are paper-thin; everyone can hear everyone else. As for the lack of a conference table? Roger can have an office full of the most cutting-edge expensively made furniture on earth but they can't afford a conference table? It just doesn't wash. Many things about the office are too modern: the yin-yang Miramekko peacock textile print behind Peggy's desk, Don's blue Italian Murano glass mod ashtray, Roger's mushroom desk and arc lamps. My guess is that they feel these things will fit in fine by the end of the season (late 1965) and were too cheap and/or lazy so they just plunked them there now.

I also don't buy the fact that Henry would spend one night in Don and Betty's old house. Not one. He convinced her at her attorney consultation about the divorce that he would provide her with everything--he didn't want Don owing her a thing. And now he's freeloading in their old house? Trying to screw Don's wife in their old bedroom? Has Matt Weiner ever been in a relationship? He magically erased Henry of his pride and Betty of her territorial nature as a woman.

Sorry to keep complaining, but the whole ham actresses-fighting-in-a-supermarket scenario rings false as well...if you've ever met or worked with an actor in NYC. Those two women would never have gone to the police. They are actresses hired by a big ad agency in New York--they would never jeopardize the possibility of being hired again. Never. The "ham" was the best symbolism of the night. I think a lot of the activity on this episode rang false because they propelled the action by what they wanted to show us quickly in one hour.

After watching this episode a few times, it still smacks of wrong in a lot of ways to somebody putting ketchup on a doughnut. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Happy Spanksgiving!" or...Mad Men Season 4 Premiere: Where the Hell is the Baby?

First things first--Don Draper's first date on tonight's premiere of Mad Men wears a beautiful white dress trimmed guessed! Ha! Okay, now that that's out of the way, there are a lot of puzzles and sizzles in tonight's episode.

Number one--All I kept wondering about the whole episode (practically from the first sentence when the Ad Age interviewer refers to Don as being married with "two" children) is what happened to the baby? Betty and her new husband (yuck, the two of them actually doing it!) don't have it, she says Carla has it, and Don certainly doesn't have it with the other two kids for the weekend. At one point when arguing about moving, Betty says, "...haven't the kids been through enough change?" Uh-oh...the last time we saw little Gene he was in Mama's arms flying to Reno for a D-I-V-O-R-C-E . Did little Sally freak out and toss him out the window? Wrap him in a dry-cleaning bag? Put him in the washing machine? She is definitely turning out to be a "Bad Seed" knock off. Hmmmm.....the mystery promises to unfold, because the baby isn't in any preview material for next week's episode.

Other things about this week's episode that I find disturbing: we have jumped to November of 1964, but the visual department of the show (not the costumes, though) seemed to have jumped to 1967 and beyond. I hate to say it, but for the first time the art direction rings false in several places, which makes me sad. Some random observances...Roger would NEVER have had a white vinyl and chrome chair with the white plastic signature mushroom mod lamp on his desk. It was like they walked through one of the doors in the office into 1968. Also, Don has an uncharacteristically mod Italian Murano glass ashtray on his coffee table. Again, 67-68. Peggy's hairdo is strictly 1966--the invention of Alexandre of Paris that appears originally in the 1967 movie "Valley of the Dolls" on Patty Duke. It was copied into the mainstream thereafter. Not that any of this is that big of a deal, it's just that the show is always leading the way in impeccable television. Tonight they showed some holes in their armor.

(While we're wondering about things)--will Sal ever come back? Everyone says "no", but I have a foolproof storyline that would work. Just hear me out: Sal has gotten another job doing something similar, but wishes desperately to come and be part of the new SCDP. But how can he, their main client is American Tobacco, headed by the closeted-homo Lee, who hit on Sal unsuccessfully in his last episode and had him fired. Somehow (there would be lots of fun ways to do this) Sal gets a piece of blackmail evidence against Lee (pics of him in bed with another man, etc.) and uses it to force Lee to get SCDP to hire him back as Art Director for the account. This would leave a fabulous power-play triangle between Don, Sal, and Lee. Think about it, Matt Weiner.....

And now, to the most erotic thing I believe I have ever seen on television--Don Draper having hot violent sex with a hooker on Thanksgiving. Not only did Don turn down every possible invitation for Thanksgiving, he turned them down to have a dirty-hot slutty red headed hooker come over (obviously, she's been there before) and ride his turkey leg. OMG! There he is, bare chested, on the botttom, screwing the daylights out of said hooker, when she slaps him! I almost made gravy in my pants. And then, to top it off, he says, "Harder!" Well sportsfans....I. Am. Speechless.

I need to go.....

See you next week for another episode,