Sunday, October 19, 2014
In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.
- Monday: Eminem showed off his new album art and the Shady XV cover just so happens to match my newest emoji earrings.
- Tuesday: Get a shot to the heart in honor of Pulp Fiction‘s 20th anniversary.
- Wednesday: What I wore, casual and dressy versions.
- Thursday: My adventures at the Global Citizen Festival in September.
- Friday: Thanks to Professional Jeweller for featuring my emoji jewelry.
- Saturday: I’m offering a special opportunity to buy a limited-edition silver acorn locket.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
There must be something in the air — maybe it’s the new Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit called “Death Becomes Her: A Century of Mourning Attire” — but a number of people have asked me when the silver version of my 18K-gold acorn-and-squirrel locket will be back in stock.
Here is the gold locket they’re referring to shown closed …
… and open.
As I explained in 2008, this design was inspired by antique mourning jewelry, in which the hair of the deceased was woven into bracelets or earrings or kept under glass in brooches and lockets. Acorns were a common theme in hair jewelry, because they were associated with immortality. The acorn cap was often woven in a crosshatch pattern, which reminded me of a cage. My cage thought made me envision an acorn-shaped prison for a squirrel. (When a big catalog company knocked off my exact acorn style in brass and tried to claim it was their own, I asked them, “What inspired you to do it this way?” They couldn’t answer and wound up paying me a small percentage of their sales. Mourning jewelry for the win!)
I’ve been amused by the inquiries about the return of the silver acorn locket because there never was a silver locket in the first place! While I did make a silver acorn necklace, it was a regular pendant. The cap didn’t unscrew like the gold version and no squirrel popped out.
I generally don’t do my most complicated pieces in silver because so much $100-an-hour labor goes into making a very limited quantity of a design like this. If I put that kind of labor into silver, I have to charge people for it, and we all wind up with rather expensive silver jewelry. I even planned to discontinue the regular silver pendant, but before I could take it off my site last month, a gorgeous customer in Australia ordered it. I didn’t want to let her down so I thought, “Okay, I’ll make one more silver acorn.” Just as I was about to start work, I stumbled across the original silver sample for the gold locket — meaning I had a working silver locket in hand. (My 2010 post on custom design explains why I sometimes make silver samples for my more elaborate jewelry.) I told the customer it was her lucky day: Not only would she get her acorn, but she’d get one with a squirrel inside.
Apparently, that sample acorn has taken root and led to growth spurt in acorn-locket demand. As a result, I’m now considering making a few silver acorn-and-squirrel lockets. I hope they will fall into the $500 to $600 range, though I’m not sure yet. If you’ve always wanted a silver acorn-and-squirrel locket, this is your chance! Hit me up now with your request via wbjewelry at hotmail dot com; I’ll price the piece and then do all the special acorn requests at once before discontinuing the silver design. On the fence? Sophie, the lucky Australian customer, emailed me today to let me know her necklace had arrived safely. Her verdict: “It is stunning.” I love getting emails like that. I also love making custom orders happen whenever I can, so let’s do this acorn thing, okay? Holla at me before the end of this month!
Friday, October 17, 2014
A big thanks to Sarah Louise Jordan for including my emoji jewelry in her story called “TRENDS: Jewels go POP!” in Professional Jeweller magazine!
Sarah calls my pieces “wearable” and says they’re “aimed at a tech-savvy and feisty customer base.” (I agree!) In an interview, I highlighted my personal favorite:
“One of the first emoji designs I did was a middle finger. The fact that it didn’t actually exist on the emoji keyboard didn’t stop me. I created my own design because that seemed like the most important emoji of all.”
Am I right or am I right about the middle finger being the most important emoji to have? (And where the hell are the new emojis we were promised for this summer?)
My most recent “they should be emoji but they’re not yet” designs are the serial-killer chainsaw and hockey mask earrings, which are perfect for Halloween. I have just a few left for October 31 delivery, so order immediately if you want them this month! (As I’ve also pointed out, that pair is great for Eminem fans and what better day to buy those than today — Em’s 42nd birthday?) I’ll be introducing two more badass emoji designs in November.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
I owe a big, belated thank you to my California-based Twitter friend John Laurente. Early last month, he asked me if I wanted his tickets to a September 27 Jay Z concert in New York that he wouldn’t be able to attend. I’d already seen Jay Z twice, but I was up for a third concert, so I said, “Sure!” John transferred the tickets to me via Ticketmaster.
Between work and travel, I never looked into what the concert was all about. I came back from a trip to Paris two days before the show and was vaguely thinking, “I better find out where this thing is,” when I got an email from Ticketmaster. I wasn’t going to any old Jay Z concert — I was going to see Jay Z headline the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, which was also going to include performances by Alicia Keys, the Roots, Fun., Carrie Underwood and No Doubt. The event was general admission — no assigned seating — and 60,000 people were expected to attend. I was like …
I’m all about being right up front at general-admission concerts and I’m prepared to suffer to make that happen. But who would suffer with me? I contacted my new friend Jessie, veteran of many general-admission concerts, whom I met while waiting in line to see Eminem and Rihanna’s Monster Tour in August. As I expected, she already had a ticket, but it was one that required entrance on the west side of the park. The east-side entrance gets you closer to the stage, so we agreed to use my east-side tickets and meet outside the park at 8 a.m. for a concert that would get underway at 4 p.m. When we got there, there were maybe 50 people in front of us and a lot of cute dogs going for their morning walks. At about 1 p.m., the line was marched very briskly through the park to the Great Lawn where — thanks in part to Jessie’s Olympics-worthy sprint down the entire length of the lawn, past the security guards yelling “No running!” — I ended up in the second row. I can’t remember where this overhead shot of crowd came from, but the arrow shows where we were.
We sweltered in the heat until the show started with DJ Tiësto. At that point, all of us in the front learned an important lesson about the need for ear plugs on any occasion when one is standing right by the speakers while EDM is played loud enough for 60,000 people to hear. I like EDM but I’m positive no music ever needs so much bass that the air visibly vibrates. We were relieved when he went away and Alicia Keys came out.
In between acts, there were speakers — ranging from celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman and Katie Holmes, to the many world leaders in town for U.N. week — talking about Global Citizen’s efforts to end extreme poverty by 2030. I was impressed by the focus on the needs of women and girls and the fact that people cheered enthusiastically for that. The major fundraising topic of the day was running water and toilets. While health problems stemming from lack of sanitation are serious for everyone, there are special risks for women. The organization WaterAid reports on its website:
“One in three women worldwide risk shame, harassment and even attack because they have nowhere safe to go to the toilet. Sandimhia Renato from northern Mozambique … has no access to a toilet. She walks 15 minutes every day to defecate in the bush, having to cross a dangerous bridge where she knows women are attacked at night.”
There is also a big impact on girls’ education. As WaterAid says:
“Many adolescent girls … frequently miss school, or drop out altogether, because of a lack of private toilets. Sabina from Nepal told us: ‘Before the school had latrines we used to go to the bush – we used to hide under the bamboo. During menstruation it was really difficult, so we used to go absent and stay at home instead.'”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — who has pledged to end open defecation by ensuring that every household and every school in India will have its own toilet by 2019 — spoke to reaffirm his commitment. Vaccinations were the other big issue: Erna Solberg, prime minister of Norway, pledged more than $1.2 billion over six years for vaccinations in poverty-stricken countries.
After the show, I came across some comments by self-identified right-wingers complaining about the festival, and I had to LOL. You’re against toilets? Really? We lefties are the only ones who want to poop privately? Okay then. No toilets for you conservatives! By the way — because I check these things — Global Citizen doesn’t spend all its money on the festival, which is now in its third year. The entertainers donate their time, while the big costs of the event are picked up by corporate sponsors and private donations. VIP tickets can be purchased but vast majority of the tickets are won in a drawing after people earn points by taking social actions on GlobalCitizen.org, including signing petitions and emailing world leaders. You can also earn points by buying Global Citizen’s IMPACK Action Pack for $27, which includes this sassy bathroom sign.
For more information on how Global Citizen spends its money, check out its annual reports here. (According to the 2013 annual review, admin and fundraising was a very reasonable 14% of the organizations spending.) In response to my emailed inquiry, Global Citizen’s director of communications told me that the organization isn’t yet on charity-evaluator Charity Navigator because that requires three years of audited accounts and Global Citizen hasn’t been around that long in the U.S.
Anyway, back to the show! You can glimpse Questlove’s hair behind the drums during the Roots’ performance.
Fun. did a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
And it was sometime after that — around 6:30 p.m. — that Jessie and I looked at each other in a “How are we going to make it to the 9:30 p.m. end of this” moment. I mean, I knew I WOULD make it, unlike the couple of fainters we had in the front rows early on, but I wasn’t sure how it was going to happen. Fortunately, Carrie Underwood gave me a second wind. She’s a performer I wouldn’t have gone to see normally, but I really enjoyed her.
Her No. 1 fan there was a 6’8″ guy (I asked!) who slept out overnight to make sure he could be up close for her. He had the decency to fall back a couple of rows early on rather than hang onto the first row where he would have blocked everyone’s view, but we all cleared a path for him to get up front for Carrie. You can hear him yelling, “I love you Carrie!” at the end of my video above. Earlier in the day, he yelled “I love you, Jessica!” at Jessica Alba so loudly that she looked right at him and said, “Thanks!”
I was super-excited for No Doubt. I’ve seen Gwen Stefani as a solo act, but never saw the whole group before. They opened with “Hella Good.”
I loved Gwen’s Terri Nunn-style platinum and black hair.
I also loved seeing bassist Tony Kanal emote next to Gwen, particularly because I once fell down a rabbit-hole of Internet comments that were slamming Gwen for writing songs about her relationship and breakup with Tony back in the ’90s and “forcing” him to perform them with her. To me, he looked like a guy who was fucking thrilled that he could play rock star rather than working a straight 9-to-5 job.
But the highlight was Sting coming out to perform “Message in a Bottle” with the band. I took this photo — like all the photos in this post — by zooming in to the stage. It is NOT from the big video screens! My inner photojournalist is proud.
You can see the rest of my good No Doubt photos here.
Finally, Jay Z came out with his instantly classic “Empire State of Mind.”
The audience went crazy for him.
All day, the kids around me (for real, some of them were 30 years younger than me) had been speculating about Beyonce turning up, and when she did, they nearly exploded.
Beyonce actually did explode right out of her shirt, but she handled the wardrobe malfunction calmly, like the pro that she is.
I’ve got some more Jay Z photos in this Flickr album.
When the show ended, Jessie and I walked back through the Great Lawn saying to each other, “I can’t believe how many people were here … I can’t believe how close we were!” A sea of concertgoers swept us out of the park and deposited us on 79th and 5th Avenue, right next to Jessie’s car, and she gave me a lift home. Our next concert is FKA twigs in November. That will be much smaller, but the weather will be colder, so it will be a new kind of general-admission challenge for me. I’m game though!
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
At the beginning of this month, I went to my friend Shawn Love’s one-woman play, My Private Revolution. Shawn describes her work as “a rhythmical and powerful journey addressing social issues and celebrating the power of individual choice. It’s about overcoming abuse and finding healing and forgiveness. A thought-provoking, transformational and heart-wrenching play filled with drama, music and dance.”
I’m so proud of Shawn for putting this together: writing the script, finding the right people to work with, raising funds and performing. If you want to support an emerging artist, the next shows are this Wednesday through Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. The play is at the Davenport Theater at 354 West 45th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. You can buy tickets at the box office before the show, or if you’re going with a group, you can buy tickets here.
After we saw Shawn’s play, we walked by the theater showing Kinky Boots, and I took advantage of the opportunity to pose as Lola the drag queen.
In reality, I wasn’t wearing anything quite so interesting, though I am very fond of my pre-2005 hairy, purple Versace jacket.
I’ve worn this jacket a lot, though I was most fanatical about taking photos of it in 2010.
What Wendy Wore
Dress: Castelbajac (2014)
Shoes: Miu Miu (2010)
Purse: Prada (2007)
Like the New York City nightclubs described by Bill Hader’s Stefon character on Saturday Night Live, this dress has everything: barbed wire, scissors, screws, razor blades, studs, safety pins and brass knuckles! Plus an oversize zipper that amazed my father.
When I came home from dinner, I realized I had missed Stefon’s return to SNL! Thank goodness for YouTube.
I found the line, “That TV channel at the hotel that’s like … about the hotel” to be particularly highlarious. I’ve always been weirded out by that channel, especially because it seems like the remote is deliberately hidden somewhere to prevent you from turning it off. Congrats on the pregnancy, Stefon!
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
It was 20 years ago today that Pulp Fiction was given a wide release. Time flies when you’re a bad motherfucker!
The movie was the first independent film to gross more than $200 million. When it came out, critic Roger Ebert gave it four stars and called the screenplay (which won an Oscar) “so well-written.” More recently, Vanity Fair summarized Mark Seal’s story on the making of Pulp Fiction this way:
“Pulp Fiction was a shot of adrenaline to Hollywood’s heart, reviving John Travolta’s career, making stars of Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman, and turning Bob and Harvey Weinstein into giants.”
The “shot of adrenaline” is a reference to the scene that became notorious when it supposedly caused a man to faint during the movie’s screening at the New York Film Festival.
If you want to pay tribute to that scene with your earlobes, I’ve got the perfect studs for you.
Hey, it’s better than expressing your Pulp Fiction love with a watch!
Rolling Stone has organized interesting facts about the movie into an A-to-Z list here. And New York Magazine’s Vulture blog has a lengthy interview with Steve Hibbert, who played the masked sex slave known as the Gimp. I feel like a Gimp expert now. I’d rather think about blueberry pancakes, so here’s a great scene that doesn’t get as much love as some of the hilariously violent ones: pancake-loving Fabienne (Maria de Medeiros) talking to her boxer boyfriend Butch (Bruce Willis) about pot bellies and oral pleasure.
Now I’m thinking of all the other great Pulp Fiction moments I’d like to mention here. There are too many! If you haven’t seen Pulp Fiction (to my amazement, I’ve met people who haven’t!), do it: It’s a modern classic. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again! And again! This movie is like pie. To partially quote Fabienne, ” Any time … is a good time for pie.”
Monday, October 13, 2014
Time for me to apply for a job at the Psychic Hotline! I’m feeling wonderfully prescient after Eminem took to Instagram to reveal the album art for November’s Shady XV album.
Back to basics! Here's the cover for #SHADYXV out 11/24.
A hockey mask and chainsaws! Just like the hockey mask and chainsaw earrings I officially debuted 10 days ago.
Of course, these earrings are also suitable for horror-movie fans. You can read my blog post to learn about the history of hockey masks and chainsaws in film.
I only made 20 pairs of these earrings for Halloween delivery and a good number of those are sold, so buy now if you want yours for October 31!
Sunday, October 12, 2014
In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.
- Monday: FitzRoy and Purrkoy have a meet-and-greet.
- Wednesday: Fleetwood Mac at Madison Square Garden.
- Thursday: Lots of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks links.
- Friday: What NOT to do at work, courtesy of Microsoft’s Satya Nadella.
- Saturday: Happy birthday, BarbaraB!
After doing my Fleetwood Mac posts, I realized I have a not-bad photo of the band taking its bow at MSG on Monday.
And here’s a vintage shot of Stevie Nicks that I had saved to my desktop because it shows her top hat … and general gorgeousness.
If you don’t have Stevie’s 1981 No. 1 solo album, Bella Donna, click the album-art photo below to get it. Man, when this came out, I was obsessed with those boots! And her hair. Basically, I wanted everything in this photo except the bird.
Later, Stevie said she never got to enjoy the success of Bella Donna because it hit No. 1 on the same day her dearest friend, Robin Snyder Anderson, died of leukemia days after giving birth to a premature baby. This led to a strange episode in which Stevie, wild with grief, married Robin’s widower, Kim, in a misguided effort to look after Kim and the baby, Matthew. Divorce quickly followed and Stevie didn’t see Matthew for years … but on Monday, she dedicated “Landslide” to her “stepson Matthew.” It was a nice thing to hear!
Friday, October 10, 2014
Sixth-century B.C. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu — the father of Taoism — said, “He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know.”
In a “you’re going to regret this for a loooooong time” moment, Satya Nadella, the chief executive of Microsoft, spoke without knowing at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Phoenix yesterday. He coughed up this awful advice for women who want raises: don’t ask for them. Here are his exact words as quoted by the New York Times:
“It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,” Mr. Nadella said, according to a webcast of the event.
But then he continued: “That, I think, might be one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for a raise have. Because that’s good karma. It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust. That’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to. And in the long-term efficiency, things catch up.”
Here is my reaction, illustrated by Napoleon Dynamite:
If it were true that not asking for a raise was the best way to make the big bucks, women would far out-earn men in the workplace, because women tend to be nice and polite and much less comfortable than men about asking for what they deserve. Or even what they don’t deserve! God knows you don’t have to deserve shit to ask for it! Starting with my first post-college job in 1989, one of the ways I’d steel myself to ask for money was by looking around me and observing what even the most incompetent men had the nerve to go after. If those fools were bold enough to ask for more money, why should I hold back when I was better than them? Yet, even with my being more assertive than the norm, I didn’t always get what I wanted. It must have been 1991 or so when I confronted my boss about a guy who was admittedly more experienced than I was, but who was hired after me and trained by me — to the extent I was able to get him to learn anything. I’m not a miracle worker, you know. I still had to save this guy from his own mistakes all the time. Nevertheless, he was promoted ahead of me. I pointed out the injustice of this to my boss, who, unable to counter any of the points I made about talent, finally, weakly, said: “Well, he has a wife and kids.” Then he said, “I didn’t know you wanted that job so badly.” He didn’t know? The only way I could have made it more clear was by tattooing it on my forehead. I immediately started looking for another job — though I made sure I got that promotion before I left.
As for good karma … well, some definitions of karma involve how your past or current deeds will affect your NEXT life, so if you want money during this existence, I suggest you don’t wait for karma to sign your paycheck. What I tell women is: If you ask, you might get. You don’t ask, you definitely don’t get. If you act like you don’t care, no one is going to step in and care for you (at work or in any other matter). Take a lesson from what my boss said: “I didn’t know you wanted” it. That’s always a good reason for not giving an employee something. Don’t take a lesson from the other thing my boss said about a wife and kids. Being married and having kids is only an advantage for a man who is perceived as being the breadwinner for his family (whether he is or not). Having a spouse and children will STILL be used against a woman, viewed as reasons she’s not sufficiently dedicated to her job. So, whether you’re asking for a starting salary at a new job, a raise or a bonus, don’t bring up your family, your cost of living, tuition, rent, medical bills, your Pekingese’s eye surgery or anything else of that nature. You deserve the money for the JOB THAT YOU DO. You don’t have to justify your worth in any other way (and besides, management will use all that personal stuff against you). You’re being paid for your work. If you think your work should be highly valued, then that’s your argument. You might feel uncomfortable making that argument, but that feeling lasts for the length of the conversation, while being underpaid can last your entire career.
As for Microsoft’s Nadella, he backtracked, of course, after Twitter came for him. First he tweeted that he’d been inarticulate and that the gender pay gap needed to be closed. Later, in an email to Microsoft employees, he said, “I answered that question completely wrong,” adding “If you think you deserve a raise, you should just ask.” I don’t know why he limited that concept to his own employees. Why not say that to the world if you really believe it?
Nadella’s original comment was made during a conversation with Microsoft board member Maria M. Klawe, the president of Harvey Mudd College. I was interested to see that even someone like Dr. Klawe felt she was less assertive than she should be when it comes to pay. Her comments, as relayed by the Times, were educational:
“When she was offered the position of dean of engineering at Princeton, Dr. Klawe said, she began discussing her salary only after accepting the job. The result, she estimated, was that she received about $50,000 less a year than she should have. Dr. Klawe said she had also handled her pay discussions with Harvey Mudd poorly, saying that she did not protest when she was offered less money than she thought appropriate.
‘Do not be as stupid as I was,’ she said, advising the audience to role-play with others before discussing compensation with potential employers.”
The role-playing is a good idea. When you do it, do what I do myself and what I always suggest to other women: Ask for what a man would ask for. You’ll always wind up setting your sights higher. Sad but true!