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Thursday, April 17, 2014

We wore some seriously oversized tops in the 1980s. Giant t-shirts, giant vests, giant button-front shirts, giant sweatshirts, giant jackets. Size mattered!

Some time ago, I caught a rerun of Cheers that brought back fond memories of the too-big look. Cheers is great for any kind of ’80s style spotting, of course, but guest star Carol Kane’s oversized sailor top in the 1984 episode “A Ditch in Time” is a real classic. It’s huge!


Even the collar is ginormous.


Carol played a mental-hospital acquaintance of Diane’s who stalks bartender Sam Malone.

Carol Kane has so many other amazing credits, and you can’t miss her distinctive, high-pitched voice whenever she’s on screen. When she appeared on Cheers, she was riding high after winning Emmys in 1982 and 1983 for playing Simka, the wife of Andy Kaufman‘s Latka Gravas, on the show Taxi. Previously, she’d been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for the 1975 movie Hester Street. She also played Allison Portchnik, the first wife of Woody Allen’s Alvy Singer character, in 1977′s Annie Hall.  “No, that was wonderful! I love being reduced to a cultural stereotype,” she says sarcastically after Alvy tries to pick her up with an unfortunate spiel that starts, “You’re like a New York Jewish, left-wing, liberal intellectual …” If you’re a little younger, you might remember her as Grandmama Addams from 1993′s Addams Family Values. Just last year, she had a cameo on Girls. But her most important role was as the gal with the punch line in The!Best!Movie!Scene!Ever!, which happens to appear in 1979′s The Muppet Movie. My dad and I were so thrilled by this scene and repeated it so much that I can STILL recite it from memory.  The majority of the scene is played by three great actors: Madeline Kahn, Telly Savalas and Kermit the Frog. Click the photo of Carol Kane below to hopefully see the clip.


Click Carol!

I’m so sick of important YouTube clips going dead! Especially my Family Guy ones. My blog is filled with embedded Family Guy clips that have been taken off YouTube. In case the Muppet Movie clip is removed, here’s a backup. In case both clips are removed, here’s the dialogue. The scene takes place in El Sleezo Cafe.

Madeline Kahn, sultry: Hello, sailor, buy me a drink?
Kermit: Well, you see, I’m not a sailor, I’m a frog.
Madeline: Oh, cut the small talk and buy me a drink.
Kermit: I don’t even know you.
Tough-guy Telly Savalas: Hey. Did you make a move with my girl?
Kermit: No, sir.
Madeline: He did too. He touched me.
Telly: Ugh. Wash up, you’ll get warts.
Kermit: That’s a myth.
Telly: Yeah, but she’s my “myth”!
Kermit: No, no, myth, myth!
Carol Kane: Yeth?

Why this didn’t win every award including the Nobel Prize for Frog Dialogue is beyond me! Anyway, I’m pleased to report that 30 years ago, MrB sat next to Carol Kane at a New Year’s Eve dinner — he thinks it was Dec. 31, 1984 — and found her to be very nice. I’m displeased to report that MrB neglected to shout, “Myth! Myth!” at her to see if she instinctively said, “Yeth???” What a missed opportunity!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I braved yesterday’s late spring chill in an age-inappropriate Stephen Sprouse mini. This is what happens when one hasn’t done the laundry OR the dry cleaning in a very long time.

sprouseWhat Wendy Wore
“Pillow sweater”: Dsquared (purchased at Chalk, 2012)
Skirt: Vintage Stephen Sprouse (possibly purchased in 2006)
Boots: Prada (2008)
Lipstick: Pleasure Bomb by MAC

It was worth freezing my knees off in the sleet to meet gorgeous rapper Gangsta Boo at a Bacardi-sponsored party last night. The event was the Tribeca Rooftop, where MrB and I got married in 2001. I hadn’t been back there since, so it was fun to see it hadn’t changed. (Today, Boo and I hauled out my wedding album so she could see the stairs where we stood last night and admire my crazy cake.) I’m disappointed we didn’t manage to take a real photo there — just this silly Instagram bathroom shot of me, Boo and gorgeous Tracy G. from Sway’s radio show.


LOL. We couldn’t quite get it together.

I wore the same outfit earlier in the day for a meeting at Spring. I fell madly in love with Fred, one of Spring’s top executives.


Me and Fred.

Over the weekend, I accidentally wore a jacket/shirt combo from 2012. Yesterday, I knowingly wore the same outfit that I wore to a Madonna concert in 2012. If it works for Madonna, it will work for a party, right?


Same outfit, 2012. Click for original post.

I  like my 2012 brick-wall background better than my 2014 hallway background, but I decided the sleet wasn’t going to make for a very enjoyable outfit-photo session!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I watched Game of Thrones Sunday night (OMG, right?!!) then switched to the MTV Movie Awards right on time to see Eminem and Rihanna perform “The Monster.” Having seen the only part of the awards I was interested in, I then turned the television off and went out for some non-poisonous wine.

I definitely didn’t see enough of anything related to the MTV event to bestow one of my coveted Best Dressed/Wear What You Want awards. I take those seriously, y’all. I have to do the research before I hand one of those out. But I have made up a new award for actress Lupita Nyong’o. She wins The Dress Wendy Wants award for this Chanel dress.


Photo via Lainey Gossip. Click for the original post and to see MANY more pictures of the dress, including the fabulous back view.

You KNOW I would wear this one! It’s embellished, colorful, ruched, and it has a turtleneck with an open back. It’s so me! I suppose Lupita had to send it straight back to Chanel, so there’s no chance of her giving me a hand-me-down. Dang.

Anyway, I’m glad to see that Lupita has extended her winning fashion streak past the Oscars. Well done, lady!

Monday, April 14, 2014

I’ve got the perfect necklace for the folks at US Airways, who sent out a tweet that personifies the meaning of “Not Safe for Work.”


Click to purchase my NSFW necklace.

If you haven’t seen the photo, you can cautiously approach it via this Buzzfeed story. To give you a hint about what you’re going to see, Buzzfeed says the picture is “originally from a German-language amateur porn and shock site.” Buzzfeed also reports that the image trended on Reddit last week and was tweeted AT the airline earlier today.

UPDATED TO ADD: Funny Twitter responses to the US Airways tweet!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Last night, I wore my Moschino jacket with trompe l’oeil stitching over a Zandra Rhodes museum t-shirt with a similar design.

buttons2resizeWhat Wendy Wore
Jacket: Moschino (acquired from eBay in 2009)
T-shirt: From the Fashion and Textile Museum in London (2006, probably)
Jeans: Acne (2008-ish)
Boots: Celine (2012)
Purse: Prada (2007)

I thought, “Wow, this top and jacket match so well, I’m amazed I haven’t worn them together before!” But it turns out that I have worn them together before — in 2012.


October 2012. Click for original post.

How quickly we forget!


Another photo from last night, creatively composed by Stacy Lomman.

However, I do have vivid memories of the adventure we had searching for the Fashion and Textile Museum where I bought the t-shirt. You can read that tale here. For some reason, I didn’t mention in the original post that the poodle accompanying us didn’t smell too fresh!  A long car trip with a stinky poodle is something that sticks in one’s mind.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The New York Times Magazine this weekend has a fascinating story on one man’s search for information on two female blues singers of the 1930s: Elvie Thomas and Geeshie Wiley.  There are fewer than 10 surviving copies of their three known record releases and you can hear one of the songs on the New York Times website.

Click here to read the story and listen to “Motherless Child Blues.”

In case you missed anything on the blog this week, here is the list of my posts. There are a couple of long ones!

Friday, April 11, 2014

My gorgeous rapper friend Gangsta Boo finished up her tour with her group, Da Mafia 6ix, and came back to town to promote “Bitchy,” her new collaboration with other fabulous wimmin rappers La Chat and Mia X. She’s been spending a lot of quality time at hip-hop SiriusXM channel Shade 45, and I’ve been dressing her up in my jewelry and tagging along with her.

On Wednesday night, we visited DJ Kay Slay again, then we went back yesterday morning for Sway Calloway‘s show. Sway is a music-industry icon. In the 1990s, he gave both Notorious B.I.G. and Eminem their first radio airplay on his local show. (Now he works for Eminem, because Shade 45 is Em’s channel. Lesson: Be nice to people on their way up, because they could offer you a good job someday!) In 2000, he joined MTV as a music-news reporter and was there for some of the channel’s peak years including the “Choose or Lose” bring-out-the-vote campaign in 2004. More recently, he stayed cool while Kanye West had an on-air meltdown.

Here’s Boo on Sway’s show. Highlariously, you can see me on the left starting at about 11:35, as Boo considers turning over her phone to me. As you’ll see, she decided she couldn’t bear to be parted from it.

On the way in, we were excited to meet actor Billy Bob Thornton. I refrained from doing my mediocre Slingblade impersonation.

Say "French friend potaters!"

Say “French friend potaters!”

Boo did so well on Sway’s show that he invited her to stand in for him with his crew today, while he is in Vegas. She talked about the latest celebrity gossip with Tracy G. and Heather B., and then DJ Wonder played a massive Boo set. I have to figure out how to download that. Anyway, with all of this, “Bitchy” has gotten a ton of airplay.

Here’s the official “Bitchy” video. If you’re not familiar with Gangsta Boo, you’ve probably at least figured out from her name that her music is hardcore. If you’re a delicate flower who does not want to see anyone waving a gun in a music video, don’t watch it. You’ll probably swoon and no one carries smelling salts these days.

“Bitchy” is actually pretty low-key compared to Da Mafia 6ix’s recent “Beacon N Blender” video. Boo wasn’t sure she should show ME that one. She did want me to see that she was wearing the big 666 necklace I custom-made for her, but she thought I might freak out out about the rest of the video. I insisted on seeing it and found it very educational. Now I know what it takes to have a thriving cocaine business! Note to self: Look out for thieving employees.


Click the screen cap of Boo and her necklace if you want to see the whole video.

I love that one of the comments on the video on YouTube is, “The Po Po gonna pull over everybody in this video!!” Nah, but really, I’ve seen Breaking Bad. I can handle this.

Just goes to show you that there’s some Wendy Brandes jewelry for everyone. If you’re going to the Oscars, I’ve got you covered. If you’re going to the penitentiary, I’ve got you covered too!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

In 2010, I caught a Law & Order rerun in which an actress was wearing the short version of a long Yigal Azrouël dress I own. This week, the episode came around again! Unfortunately, I missed the one chance to get a full-length photo of the dress, but you can see the top of it in this picture.


And here I am (again) wearing the dress in 2002.


Click for original post.

The pattern was placed a little differently, but that dress is unmistakeable! The episode aired in 2002, same year I got my dress. Nice to know the Law & Order costume peeps were very up-to-date on their crazily-patterned dresses.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I wrote two long blog posts this week already, so I won’t do another today. In case you missed the Monday and Tuesday posts, here they are:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Twenty years ago today — April 8, 1994 — the body of 27-year-old Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was discovered in the greenhouse of his Seattle home. He had killed himself with a shotgun on April 5.

kurt cobain crop.jpg

I cut the front-page obituary out of the New York Times and put it in a scrap book. I wrote the date of death on it rather than the date of the story publication.

April 8 was a Friday. I was working at the Wall Street Journal at the time, and my work week was Sunday through Thursday, so I was at home. As soon as the story came across the wire services, a colleague called me to break the news. It was someone with whom I had a very difficult professional relationship at times, but he was very nice when he called. He knew how crazy I was about the band. The colleague — and everyone else at work — had seen me fussing over what I was going to wear when I went to the taping of Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged episode the previous November. I had to go straight from the office and I couldn’t possibly go to MTV in a suit, looking like the corporate person I was, so I’d brought along jeans and motorcycle boots to change into.

As I’ve mentioned before, a very sweet guy who was doing the still photography for Unplugged brought me to that taping. I think he had to pretend I was assisting him to get me in, so I held a spare camera bag and protected his working space like my life depended on it. When MTV VJ Kennedy encroached on a spot that my friend wanted to stand in, I shooed her away. I was okay sitting next to Kate Moss though. I remember when we came in, the MTV crew was moaning and groaning, expecting a late night. The Stone Temple Pilots had taped their Unplugged recently, and they had to keep doing multiple takes of their songs. Everyone was bored and no one could leave — not even people in the audience. You couldn’t have the audience mysteriously fluctuating from song to song when this thing aired on TV. But Nirvana ran through their set with hardly a hitch. One thing that stands out in my mind was that Kurt was musing aloud about what song to do next and a would-be comedian called out, “Kumbaya!” Kurt thought someone had yelled, “Hurry up!” and was quite miffed.

My favorite song from the evening is still the cover of blues singer Lead Belly‘s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night.” I like that you can see Kurt smiling over someone’s offer to sell him Lead Belly‘s guitar for $500,000 before he starts the song. You can also see a little smirk on his face in a photo taken by my photographer friend here.

I’m so sure that I still have the Unplugged laminate I needed to get into the show, but I haven’t found it yet. I save everything, so why not that? I’m going to keep looking.

It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed. I must say that if you’d asked me on April 8, 1994, what I’d be doing in 2014, I wouldn’t have been able to guess at all. Had I known, I might have been surprised but I wouldn’t have been disappointed. Kurt was only 10 months older than me. Over the years, plenty of people have written “what would Kurt be doing now” stories. I like to think they’re not able to come close with their guesses and, that if Kurt was still around, he would also be surprised at his life but not disappointed.

While I was working on this post yesterday, another story of a too-early death broke: Peaches Geldof, the 25-year-old daughter of Band Aid co-founder Bob Geldof and his wife, the late television presenter Paula Yates. I was enthralled by Paula way back when and collected her books in the 1990s.


Paula was passionate about motherhood and wrote child-oriented books including The Fun Don’t Stop: Loads of Rip-roaring Activities for You and Your Toddler. In her adult books, she still had a wonderful, funny, tolerant way of writing about children. From Paula’s 1995 autobiography:


All of the obituaries for Peaches repeat, naturally, how the early years of happiness came to an end when Paula left Bob for INXS singer Michael Hutchence; how Yates and Hutchence had a bitter custody battle with Bob over Peaches and her sisters Fifi Trixibelle and Pixie; how Paula and Hutchence had a daughter, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, in 1996, and how Hutchence was found hanged the next year; and how a devastated Yates followed him to the grave due to a heroin overdose three years later at the age of 41.


A photo of a young Peaches from Paula’s autobiography.

There was another tragic element of Paula’s life that hasn’t been touched upon in this first round of stories: the unhappy, unsettled childhood that may have pushed her down her sad path. Her mother was rarely around and her presumed father, Jess Yates, the presenter of a religious television program, left when Paula was eight. Shortly after Hutchence’s death, Paula was made yet more miserable by the public confirmation that yet another television presenter, the then-deceased Hughie Green, was her real father. (Green’s other daughter described her father as “a monster.”)

Like her mother, Peaches suffered from a chaotic childhood. She was 11 when Paula died and, in a 2012 interview, said she was so numb after that she didn’t start mourning until she was 16. After that were years of drinking, drugs, naked photos, a quickie marriage — the usual scandals for a child of celebrities — though Peaches also wrote for newspapers and magazines and followed her mother and grandfather(s) onto TV. More recently, she married musician Thomas Cohen at the church where her parents were married and her mother’s funeral was held. Her Instagram feed portrayed a doting mother to delightfully chubby sons Astala Dylan Willow, who will turn two this month, and Phaedra Bloom Forever, who is about to turn one (I can’t get over this butterball). Once again following in her mother’s footsteps, Peaches was starting a column on motherhood for Mother & Baby magazine. In a recent interview with the magazine, she said:

“After years of struggling to know myself, feeling lost at sea, rudderless and troubled, having babies through which to correct the multiple mistakes of my own traumatic childhood was beyond healing.

“I felt finally anchored in place, with lives that literally depend on me, and I am not about to let them down, not for anyone or anything.”

It seemed lately that Peaches was going to be a survivor like Kurt Cobain’s daughter Frances Bean, who wisely had herself removed from the custody of her mother, Courtney Love, in order to lead a less erratic life with her late father’s mother and sister.  I’m sad it wasn’t to be.

The cause of Peaches’ death hasn’t been determined yet. Her father released a heartbreaking statement signed by the family:

Peaches has died. We are beyond pain. She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us.

Writing “was” destroys me afresh. What a beautiful child. How is this possible that we will not see her again? How is that bearable? We loved her and will cherish her forever. How sad that sentence is.

Tom and her sons Astala and Phaedra will always belong in our family, fractured so often, but never broken.

Bob, Jeanne, Fifi, Pixie and Tiger Geldof.

One of the last photos Peaches posted to Instagram showed her as a child in Paula’s arms.


Click for source.

She captioned it, simply, “Me and my mum.”

UPDATED TO ADD: Because Peaches’ Instagram has been removed, at least for now, here is the butterball photo of her son with which I was so taken.


She captioned this, “Eating my dinner in bed is such hard work, mama.”

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