Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Tonight, the Committee to Protect Journalists presents its International Press Freedom Awards. The annual black-tie dinner, held at the Waldorf-Astoria, honors journalists from around the world who risk their lives to report from war zones and in defiance of brutal regimes. It also raises money for CPJ’s important activities, which include denouncing anti-press violations, providing assistance to targeted journalists, and advocating for press freedom worldwide.
In 2009, CPJ petitioned the Iranian government for the release of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari, who was arrested while covering Iran’s disputed presidential elections for Newsweek magazine. Bahari was locked in Evin Prison for 118 days, during which time he was tortured until he agreed to falsely confess to spying. (His Iranian interrogators told him they knew he was spying for four different intelligence agencies: the CIA, Mossad, MI6 … and Newsweek.) After escalating international pressure led to his release, Bahari wrote a book about his ordeal called Then They Came for Me. The book also reflects on his family’s difficult history in Iran: Bahari’s late father had been a political prisoner of the shah in the 1950s, while his late sister was locked up in the 1980s under the Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime.
This year, The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart made his directorial debut with Rosewater, the movie adaptation of Bahari’s book. (Bahari, who was blindfolded during interrogations, recognized his interrogator by the rosewater scent the man wore.) Stewart had a personal connection to Bahari and his story: During the 2009 elections, Bahari did an interview with The Daily Show correspondent Jason Jones, who did a hammy impression of a spy. Bahari’s jailers would later use that clip against him, unpersuaded that Jones was really a comedian. After all, why would the man say he was a spy if he wasn’t a spy, Bahari was asked. With the sense of humor that helped him survive solitary confinement, Bahari shot back, “Why would a spy have a television show?”
My designing friend Stacy Lomman and I went to a screening of the movie on November 12. I never got a good look at the movie’s star, Gael Garcia Bernal, but we shared an elevator with Bahari himself on the way to the after-party. During the party, I eyeballed Jon Stewart as he posed for photos with fans but I was too timid to approach him myself — and that was BEFORE my embarrassing Bill Clinton photo op. (I might be too traumatized by that to ever ask anyone for a photo again.) Instead, Stacy took an outfit picture of me standing next to a random car-related Burberry display we passed on our way out of the Stone Rose Lounge at the Time Warner Center. I’m holding a copy of the book, which has been republished as Rosewater.
What Wendy Wore
Dress: Vintage Ossie Clark (probably acquired in 2006)
Boots: Prada (2008)
I just realized that the first photo I have of this dress is from November 29, 2006 — eight years ago minus a couple of weeks — and that it was taken after another movie screening.
That 2006 movie was The Holiday, starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. Oddly, even though I didn’t remember the name of the movie, I was thinking of it recently after seeing Jack Black on television. Jack played the love interest for Kate Winslet in The Holiday and whenever I see him, I remember the horrible things people said about his suitability for a romantic role, because he doesn’t have the physique of the typical Hollywood heartthrob. So rude!
Here’s another photo of the dress taken by Jennine Jacobs of The Coveted in 2009.
I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of this Ossie. I still have to ask my friend Al Radley, the Ossie Clark expert, what year it was made.
Anyway, Rosewater the movie and the book have really stuck with me, particularly coming so close to the CPJ dinner. It’s always good to have a reminder that no matter how shiteous things can be in the U.S., we’re not going to be dragged out of our beds by police officers and locked up for complaining about it. The right to complain is priceless!
UPDATED TO ADD: I’d already finished and scheduled this post before the disappointing — but unsurprising — announcement that a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August (and this news comes less than a week after a New York City police officer shot Akai Gurley, an unarmed black man, in a housing project stairwell). Since Michael Brown’s death, my Twitter timeline has provided more meaningful coverage of the situation in Ferguson than any of the mainstream media outlets. Thank you to all the people who are using their freedom of speech to make sure injustice isn’t covered up by the authorities. The situation brings to mind the videotaped shooting death of Neda Agha-Soltan during the same 2009 Iranian election protests for which Maziar Bahari was present. The Iranian government tried to say it never happened, but we all saw it. The writer Tom Junod used the phrase “essential acts of witness” to describe the importance of journalists’ photos of the Nazi death camps, John F. Kennedy’s assassination, napalm in Vietnam and 9/11. Junod wrote in 2003, before the launch of Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Those are the tools of essentials acts of witness now. Use them.
Monday, November 24, 2014
One of the good things about being a jewelry designer is that I always have the appropriate accessories for any occasion, such as today’s official release of Shady XV, the double album celebrating 15 years of Eminem’s Shady Records label. Let me take a selfie ….
As Boo said to i-D magazine this summer:
“I’ve had to go through certain things where I’ve had to push a titty up or two to get things done, whereas a man doesn’t. He can just scratch his balls and shake hands with a CEO to get his deal signed.”
In those two sentences, Boo summed up my 16 years of work experience in the corporate world, except I had to do a lot more nodding and smiling than boob flashing.
Despite my track record of hiring, training and promoting women during those shitty corporate years, I’m probably a bad feminist, according to some standards. After all, I’m buying Eminem’s latest album mere months after irritating the great Gloria Steinem! But, fuck it, I’ve got to be un-PC me. My attitude is spelled out on the t-shirt I got at the National Portrait Gallery in London a couple of years ago.
Elizabeth I and Shady XV. I like ‘em both. (But I’d like that souvenir t-shirt better if it had a plunging neckline!)
Sunday, November 23, 2014
In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.
- Tuesday: My latest emoji earrings are the lips and the smiling poo. Did you know a pile of poo is a lucky symbol in Japan? Also, a few more memories of the recording of Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged, 21 years later.
- Wednesday: Oh, Oxford Dictionaries, I think “bae” is the word of the year. Do you see me making a “vape” necklace? Do you?
- Thursday: There’s video of me being embarrassed in front of Bill Clinton.
Thank you, Louise Hornor, for sending me this photo of the sign Bae Systems. Who else is on Bae Watch? Send me your Bae photos and I’ll post ‘em.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
The New Republic magazine celebrated its 100th birthday with a big dinner in Washington, D.C., last night and MrB and I were invited. Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker and, during the cocktail hour, Bill popped up a few feet away from us. He was immediately besieged by hand-shakers and photo-takers.
As the party organizers ushered everyone to their tables at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Bill lingered with a crowd around him. MrB and I lingered as well, as I began to wonder aloud whether I should ask for a photo too. MrB said, “Do it!” and I said, “I’m way too shy! I’ll feel silly!” Chris Hughes, the 30-year-old owner of the magazine, stopped to chat for a moment and was like, “Huh? Go for it!” Chris was one of the first employees of Facebook, which is how he became worth hundreds of millions of dollars and bought a magazine while still in his 20s. I figured if Chris tells you to go for something, it might be worth going for, so after the crowd thinned even more, I sidled up to Bill.
Now, I’ve mentioned before that MrB is an absolutely terrible photographer. Everyone has to have one flaw — obviously, MrB is perfect in all other ways — and this is his. No matter how many years I’ve used one camera, for instance, MrB never catches on to basics like which button to push in order to take a picture. It’s quite stressful, which is why I think I look a bit manic in many of my outfit photos. Last night, MrB was all cocky about my taking a photo with Bill until the moment he realized he had to wield the camera, at which point he got very nervous. I hissed, “Just push this big button here like you always do!!!” and made my move on Bill. The former president and I waited for about 15 painful seconds while MrB repeatedly pushed the button and no flash went off in the dark room. I figured I’d lost my chance and released Bill back into the wild.
When I snatched the camera back from MrB, I found he’d somehow hit the record button a full minute before trying to take the still pictures. As a result, I have this priceless video.
I need some time to recover before I can accurately rate this moment on my scale of celebrity embarrassment. Is this worse than mentioning Family Guy to Tom Brokaw … twice? I’m not sure anything can be as bad as antagonizing my feminist idol Gloria Steinem. Imagine if I had that on tape!
By the way, the “I love her” that Bill says as I’m desperately shaking his hand refers to my gorgeous friend Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel. Barbaralee is a big Democratic supporter. Her husband Carl Spielvogel was appointed ambassador to the Slovak Republic by Clinton in 2000, so I name-dropped her as I introduced myself.
The dress that will be forever linked in my mind to this mortifying moment was the purple Zang Toi trench gown that I wore to the Vanity Fair Oscar party earlier this year. It has a little train, which I used to sweep the floors all night.
Here’s the look from the front.
I thought I’d already worn this gown to the Committee to Protect Journalists International Freedom Awards last November, but I remembered incorrectly: It was another purple Zang Toi gown. That means, technically, I could wear this dress to this year’s CPJ dinner, which takes place next week, but I might have to wait another year for this dress’s association with awkwardness fades. Oh, did I mention that I spilled everything out of my purse on the way into the venue last night, right at the feet of some stern-looking police officers? It could have been worse, I guess; at least I wasn’t accidentally carrying anything illicit. But still!
As for what MrB wore, the important things were the cufflinks made by me, of course, and his fabulous Pucci bow tie. Here we are standing in front of a green screen that put us on a New Republic cover.
If you follow the journalism field at all, this story on the notorious fabricator Stephen Glass, published in the New Republic’s anniversary issue, is worthwhile reading.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The Oxford Dictionaries announced on Monday that the verb “vape” is its word of the year. Vape’s meaning: “to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.”
I’m disappointed that the noun”bae” — described oh-so-seriously as “a term of endearment for one’s romantic partner” — missed out. I thought all you needed in this life was love, not e-cigs!
Not familiar with “bae”? Then, clearly, you’re not following my Twitter timeline! I’m up to here in “bae”! Anyway, Time Magazine offered this explanation of the word in July when Pharrell’s video for his song “Come Get It Bae” came out.
Naturally, I already have a “BAE” necklace in my collection.
I do all the hot words! You can browse all my letter necklaces here. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, holla at me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com and ask for a custom piece, like the mermaid necklace my gorgeous client Kathy requested.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Thanks to NME for reminding me that Nirvana recorded its MTV Unplugged special in New York on Nov. 18, 1993 — 21 years ago today. As I’ve said before, I was there, sitting next to Kate Moss in the front, due to my friend Frank, who was shooting the still photography for show. You can see his photos from that night on Getty Images here.
I had to go to the taping straight from work so I brought clothes to change into at the office. I was 25 and working for the Wall Street Journal, and I was sure I would look like some old fuddy-duddy next to all the hip MTV people. I can clearly remember wearing my motorcycle boots from 8th Street with my black jeans, but for some reason I can’t recall what top I wore. I guess the only sweater that mattered that day was Kurt Cobain’s shabby green cardigan. That one was displayed in Seattle a few years ago. It’s also number 27 on this list of 70 greatest sweaters of all time. Yep, there’s officially a list for everything now.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Got questions about emojis? New York Magazine has the answers in Adam Sternbergh’s story called, “Smile, You’re Speaking Emoji.” Among other things, the smiling pile of poo emoji gets a thorough explanation. (In Japan, a pile of poo is a pun-inspired symbol of good luck. The smile was added by someone at Apple.)
The story also explains what the hell happened to all those new emojis — including the middle finger — that we were promised this summer. It turns out that the Unicode Consortium, which creates emojis, did its job and encoded the new designs. The next step is for Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc., to add the new emojis to their operating systems. Sternbergh reports, “Apple’s iOS 8, for example, does not have the latest emoji, and the company has declined to comment on when they might go live.” Oh! Get on it, Apple!
While you’re waiting for the big emoji rollout, you can shop for some new emoji earrings on my website. The lips and smiling poo emoji stud earrings that I did especially for the stylish pop-up store Story in New York earlier this fall are now available to my online customers around the world. The lips are available in silver …
… and in gold-plated sterling silver.
The lucky poo is available in sterling silver on the site.
If you’d like to custom-order a gold-plated (or 18K gold) version, holla at me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com.
Like my other emoji studs, these earrings are sold as singles so you can mix and match. If you want a matching pair, be sure to order two. To browse all my emoji and “this SHOULD be an emoji” jewelry designs, click here.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.
- Monday: Wishing I went to the Concert for Valor, actually seeing FKA twigs.
- Tuesday: Don’t ask FitzRoy where the kitten went.
- Wednesday: Wearing a 10-year-old dress to a 25th-anniversary dinner.
- Thursday: Does anyone else remember Wonderama?
- Friday: At last, another worthy boob-bow dress.
Friday, November 14, 2014
If I owned this dress, I’d want to wear it one night and then wear my Guy Laroche butt-bow dress the following night. I’d cover all my bow bases in two days!
I kind of regret not getting the last butt-bow dress that I posted, now that I look back at it.
That’s a hot bow.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Recently, I messed up my iPod and ended up with all my music in the cloud instead of on the device. (I don’t listen to music on my phone because I need the phone battery to send 50 billion emails a day and to play the Kardashian Hollywood game. We all have our priorities.) As a result, I’ve been going through my music and downloading whatever I need to listen to at the gym. This morning, I came across the 1974 song “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin.
Not a gym-appropriate tune, but hearing it again made me remember that I’d seen Chapin — who died in a car crash in 1981 — perform it on television once. I felt sure that it was on the long-running kids’ variety show Wonderama. During the years I watched that show, it aired on Sundays and was hosted by Bob McAllister. Before teh Interwebs, in order to confirm this factoid, I would have had to hit the microfiche at a library to scour old newspapers for any mention of Chapin’s guest appearance. Today, I just used Poodle to confirm within seconds that Chapin and his kids were on Wonderama on Jan. 30, 1977. Interesting to know that I barely recall what I did two days ago, yet I have a vivid memory of a show that went off the air in December 1977.
I’m glad I looked up Wonderama, because once or twice I’ve had a song called “Kids Are People Too” stuck in my head for a day. Now I know it was the closing theme for the show.
I never thought of Shazam-ing that earworm before. And, now that I think of Shazam the music identification app, I remember I used to watch Shazam the superhero television show, which, like Wonderama, went off the air in 1977. There was a female superhero named Isis on that show; I liked her the best. I put up with Shazam‘s Captain Marvel to get to Isis.
Check out the opening credits.I like the anti-prejudice message from Isis that started this episode.
I also like her headpiece!