Monday, April 7, 2014
It wasn’t on my bucket list but, in hindsight, it feels like it should have been: “I want to irk Gloria Steinem and cheer Miley Cyrus in one day!” Imagine telling someone that! I’m sure the response would be “Not a chance.” Despite the odds, on Saturday, I managed to achieve both of these things.
That afternoon, the Columbia Daily Spectator — the undergraduate newspaper for Columbia University — hosted the Columbia Women’s Leadership Conference.
As the first female chair of the Spectator’s board of alumni trustees (and, I think, the second woman on the board), I made it a point to attend. Well, “chair” is what the students call me. When I wrote new bylaws for Spectator in 2010, I used the word “chairperson.” But when I introduce myself in casual conversation or email, I delight in using the word “chairman.” I wrote about this on the blog previously. For decades, I have carefully used gender-neutral or gender-inclusive terminology, because, when women are shut out of a lot of roles, it is crucial to use words that indicate being male isn’t required for the job. Most of those words have now become commonplace and I still use them 99.999999% of the time: firefighter instead of fireman, police officer instead of policeman, flight attendant instead of stewardess, spokeswoman/spokesperson instead of spokesman.
My one exception is chairman, applied to me only, of course. I enjoy giving people that tiny un-PC shock, especially since it does nothing to change the fact that I’m a woman in that role. A rose by any other name, you know! I partly credit bad-ass Empress Wu, the 7th-century Chinese ruler and one of my jewelry inspirations, who, during her lifetime, called herself “emperor” — the only female ruler of China to do so. I fucking love that. I felt like she was saying, “I’ll take your job, I’ll take your title and I’ll take everything else I want too.” It aggravates me that history insists on calling her “empress” now. Figures! No one could push her around during her lifetime, but after she was gone, people stripped her of the title she chose for herself.
Historians have referred to Wu as a “dragon lady,” as a pejorative, but after I decided she’d be proud of that, I was inspired to make the best dragon jewelry I could come up with in her honor.
I’ve also co-opted the insult “man-eater” for my Maneater ring series, which I most recently wrote about here. What can I say? Is it so surprising that someone who made swear rings and an IDGAF necklace likes to mess around with bad words of all kinds?
Anyway, there were two excellent panels at the conference. The first one featured my gorgeous and groundbreaking friend Lynn Povich, the first female senior editor at Newsweek magazine.
Not a lot of conference panels impress me, but this one was full of good advice.
Susan Lyne, the chief executive officer of AOL, who was also on the panel, made many excellent points.
The second panel was just as good.
Kat Cole, the president of Cinnabon, has a particularly fascinating biography. The daughter of a single mother and an alcoholic father, she got a job as a Hooters girl in high school. By 19, she dropped out of college to concentrate on opening international Hooters franchises. By the time she was 26, she was an executive vice president at Hooters. She wound up going back to school to get her MBA, without ever getting an undergraduate degree. By the age of 32, she was president of Cinnabon, the pastry company with close to $1 billion in annual sales. After the event, I listened to her chat to some attendees who were asking her about her background at the very un-PC Hooters. She pointed out that, because Harvard MBAs weren’t beating down the door to work there, she got an opportunity she wouldn’t get anywhere else. During her panel, she noted that she “looked bad on paper”: alcoholic dad, struggling mom, college dropout. But when she got a foot in the door, as she did during her waitressing job, she was able to blow people away with her hard work and intelligence.
Another thing that stuck with me was the lesson she said she learned when her mother finally left her father.
The panels were the lead-up to the keynote conversation between Jane Eisner, the first female editor-in-chief of the Forward, and feminist activist and icon Gloria Steinem. Gloria had celebrated her 80th birthday on March 25, and she looked AMAZING.
So much for style experts who say you shouldn’t wear black after a certain age.
Gloria was well-spoken and funny and brilliant. I took video from the second row. I don’t know why it’s practically inaudible! If you put your ear to the speaker in a quiet room, you might be able to hear what Gloria is saying here.
I agreed with every word Gloria said about every subject. I’ve always admired her immensely. So it was clearly the angry ghost of Empress Wu who prompted me to go up to Gloria at the reception later and introduce myself as “the first female chairman of the Spectator.” That led to this:
Gloria, looking at my student-provided ID badge reading “chair”: “You mean ‘chair.’”
WendyB, cheerfully: “Personally, I prefer chairman.”
Wendy: “It irritates people.”
Gloria: “I’m one of those people.”
Bwah! I should have had an inkling things would go wrong because this took place in the same building where, over 25 years ago, during my undergraduate career at Columbia College, I spoke to a women’s studies professor I admired tremendously about switching my major from English to her department. The only problem was that I liked fashion, and I liked writing, and I thought maybe I would write about fashion someday. Were fashion magazines compatible with women’s studies? No, I was told. They’re oppressive, they’re objectifying, they make women anorexic, etc. I walked out near tears, because I didn’t think it was going to be possible for me to unlike fashion on command. Eventually, I decided I liked what I liked, and I would have to be a fashion-liking feminist with a degree in English. Like Sammy Davis Jr., I gotta be me!
By the way, after I graduated, I did not go to Vogue or another Conde Nast magazine, though I did have several interviews and take the mandatory typing test that they had you take because of all the secretarial duties you’d be handling in your “editorial” role. I didn’t do anything related to fashion. Instead, I accepted a job at a business-news wire service — a truly frightening environment where I was one of only three women on the main news desk for a while. (And I was terrified of one of the other women.) I learned fast to be as tough and nasty as the guys, which earned the admiration of the old dudes, though a few years later a younger guy tried to block me from a job in a different department by telling them I was a bitch. Typical. I wonder what Professor-No-Fashion would have thought about that job. Was THAT the right move? Did I deserve a gold star for being groundbreaking or a slap on the hand for being too much like a man? What are the rules here? Someone let me know … so I can break them more efficiently
Back in the present day, after antagonizing Gloria, I ran off to get ready to see another kind of icon, Miley Cyrus, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. I couldn’t find a women’s studies professor to take an outfit picture of my Columbia outfit, but it was the exact same ensemble I wore to another Columbia event in 2012, so who cares. For Miley, I changed into a version of my recent concert outfits.
What Wendy Wore
Shearling vest and arm warmers: Stacy Lomman (2012)
Shorts: JC de Castelbajac (2013)
Tights: Pretty Polly (2014)
Boots: Fiorentini + Baker (2013)
Purse: Prada (purchased on eBay in 2008)
Lipstick: Doll by Ka’Oir
I almost didn’t get the Miley tickets, but then I remembered how much I regretted missing Britney Spears at her peak. A performer only has one chance to be THE cultural obsession/nemesis and this is Miley’s time. When I got to the stadium (with MrB, who happily came along), I nearly cried from the cuteness of the audience. Jon Pareles of the New York Times nailed it in his review — called “Bad-Girl Pop Idol Is All Heart” — of Miley’s Thursday concert in New Jersey:
“On the evidence of her arena crowds, Ms. Cyrus, for all her raunch and bravado and tight unitards, isn’t attracting the male gaze; instead, she’s a heroine for women who want a good time on their own terms.”
It was like my first Madonna concert in 1985 all over again. (On Saturday, the queen herself was there to eyeball the newcomer. Amy Odell tweeted several pictures of Madonna.) The crowd again was mostly young girls, flaunting their puppy fat in belly shirts and carefully doing their hair like their favorite singer. Sure, the specifics were different. In the ’80s, the Madonna wannabes tied their messy curls hair with lace. The Miley-ites wore two topknots, like Miley did during her controversy-causing, star-making turn at the MTV Video Music Awards last August at Barclays. Where the Madonna crowd wore leggings, the Miley crowd wore Miley-inspired short shorts. Madonna’s fans had loads of accessories: fingerless lace gloves, dozens of rubber bangles, rosary necklaces, Boy Toy belts and Madonna-inspired dangling star or heart earrings. Miley’s fans were pretty streamlined. But they screamed the same, they danced together the same, they sang all the words the same. They thrilled to Miley saying sexually provocative things that parents don’t like, because it’s no fun to go out with your parents, so you need to like someone they can’t stand. Some of the girls were wearing pot-leaf-print tops and leggings, like Miley, but I think I caught one or two wimpy whiffs of pot the whole night. Definitely nothing compared to the contact highs I suffered while seeing the Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode, all of whom cater to a much older crowd. Hell, someone’s granddad even lit up inside Carnegie Hall when I went to see Neil Young this year. Carnegie Hall! Have some goddamn respect, Pepaw!
From what I could see, Miley’s fans were mostly high on life and music and the excitement of dressing like a bad girl. As I predicted on my blog and the Huffington Post, the controversy ruined Miley’s career as much as it ruined Madonna’s, meaning not the tiniest little bit. It made her a star. All the things that she’s been criticized for — her wagging tongue, her animal costumes, her twerking, the foam #1 hand that was actually from Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” video until Miley stole it out from under him during their duet at the VMAs — are now Miley’s distinct image, very visible during the show. I love that she made her entrance by sliding down her own giant tongue. (Note: I am convinced that Missy Elliot once also made an entrance through a huge replica of her own face, but I can’t find it anywhere. Please tell me if you know anything about that!) At around 1:45 in this video, you can hear the already hysterical female audience lose its collective mind as Miley appears.
All those years as Hannah Montana turned Miley into a seasoned professional. She owned the crowd, whether she was lounging on a giant bed with her dancers like Madonna in 1990; dancing with a little person or a plushie; weeping about her recently deceased dog; advising the audience to check out Bob Dylan’s discography; or performing godmother Dolly Parton’s classic country hit “Jolene” with some NSFW ad libs.
“She put on a great show and seemed to be having fun doing it,” declared MrB later.
I left Miley’s concert certain of one thing. The next time I accidentally irritate someone awesome with my imperfect feminism and strange sense of humor, I won’t slink away feeling morose. Nope, not me. Instead, I will proudly sail off on a giant hot dog …
… into a shower of confetti.
In fact, that’s the only way I’m going to make an exit from now on.
- For all of my Miley Cyrus concert pictures, click here.
- For my well-researched Huffington Post story about how society comes to accept controversial performers such as Miley, Madonna and Elvis, click here. It’s worth it just for the 1956 remarks on Elvis.
- For more great quotes about old musical scandals that didn’t fit into my HuffPost story, click here.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.
- Monday: Noah and my own personal weatherman.
- Tuesday: Emoji rings!
- Wednesday: The official debut of my Bull and Bullfighter Maneater ring.
- Thursday: Wearing my Lillie Rubin coat in 1997 and 2014.
- Friday: I’m going to miss David Letterman.
Since Letterman announced his pending retirement, I’ve been unable to stop watching his classic clips. In 2012, Vulture helpfully put together 19 of them for this slideshow. Check out Letterman tormenting customers at a Taco Bell drive-thru, one of my old favorites. “I am one Taco Supreme away from being employee of the month!”
Unfortunately, the clip featuring Dave’s phone buddy, book publicist Meg Parsont, has been taken down. Meg worked in a windowed office across the street when Letterman was on NBC. She appeared on the show more than 20 times. In 1991, People reported a typical on-air conversation:
Dave: “How are things over there in the Smith & Wesson building?”
Meg: “It’s the Simon & Schuster building.”
Dave: “Things going okay with you and your boyfriend Timmy?”
Meg: “It’s Tony.”
Dave: “Okay, Meg, now will you open your window and toss some stuff out for us?”
Meg: “Well, I guess so.”
She was paid $100 for her appearances, which often ended with a gift being sent to her office. Her favorite, People reported, was the Valentine’s gift of actor Billy Dee Williams bearing roses, perfume and a six-pack of Colt 45 malt liquor. Others included a live turkey and Samoan fire dancers. There’s a cute interview with her here, in the 2009 book Dave’s World: The Unauthorized Guide to the Late Show with David Letterman. (“I don’t really find any sexy about him,” she said, when forced to answer questions about whether she found his hair or gapped teeth sexy.)
Now I need to waste a couple of days looking for my favorite Mujibur and Sirajul clips. I better get cracking!
Friday, April 4, 2014
I’m very sad about David Letterman retiring! Even when it comes to television hosts, I’m like Stewie on Family Guy.
Dave was so different and shocking when he first got on the air. The parents kept watching Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and the kids all switched to Letterman. People forget how revolutionary Letterman was. Because everyone has copied him, he now seems mainstream, but he was the one who changed everything. He is the TV host version of Never Is the Next New Thing™!
In 2011, Rolling Stone published a great story on the first year of Late Night With David Letterman on NBC, explaining how radical it was.
Personally, I still haven’t recovered from Dave’s 1983 visits to the stores Just Bulbs and Just Shades (starting at 1:49 in this clip of classic bits).
Then there was 1984′s Velcro suit.
And it was good to learn what happens when bowling balls are dropped off a five-story tower onto a water bed.
Years later, Letterman showed he could be serious with his moving post-9/11 monologue (note: the show aired on Sept. 19, 2001, before the final casualty count was known).
I’ve been to a taping of the Letterman show a few times. I know I went to one in June 2003, when Adrien Brody was a guest. I think the one I went to in 1999 was May 19, when Tom Selleck was a guest, because Courtney Love was on the following day. I also went another time in the ’90s with my gorgeous sister. I happened to be wearing my leopard Betsey Johnson jacket and we both swore we saw it when the camera panned the audience during a show that taped and aired a couple of days later. Very strange!
I hope that CBS finds someone who is NOT a white man in a suit to replace Dave. We’re all stocked up on those. For years, I’ve wanted to see Chelsea Handler move to one of the big networks and with her E! show, Chelsea Lately, ending, the timing is perfect. I swear, if it’s another white dude, when CBS chief Les Moonves goes home, I’ll be under his bed, like Eminem when you sell his autograph on eBay.
In the meantime, I will stock up on Paul Shaffer fire alarms.
UPDATED TO ADD: This is a good tribute to Dave’s groundbreaking ways AND good inspiration for looking up classic clips. Thrill Cam, here I come. I also like this list of musical moments, which includes my almost-husband, Paul McCartney, and a Beastie Boys performance that always springs to my mind when I hear “Ch-Check It Out.”
Thursday, April 3, 2014
I recently dug up this photo of me in Dublin in September or October 1997. I’m wearing a vintage Lillie Rubin coat that I got at Allan & Suzi on the Upper West Side.
Check out the red-jacket-wearing photobomber in this one, staring at me as if he’d never seen a woman in a great vintage coat preparing to traipse around Dublin for Guinness and Oscar Wilde quotes. Sheesh.
I just so happened to wear the same coat to a meeting in midtown this Monday.
What Wendy Wore
Coat: Lillie Rubin (purchased between 1992 – 1995. Previously seen here.)
Turtleneck: Dsquared (2012)
Skirt: Versace (pre-2005)
Boots: Jil Sander (pre-2005)
Purse: Saint Laurent (2013)
Jewelry: My own designs
I also wore that Versace skirt to dinner on Sunday night. I’m shameless about wearing a skirt or a jacket two days in a row. I figure the people I’m seeing are different, so the clothes can be the same! For dinner, I didn’t have to be so covered up, so I wore a Versace top that I’ve worn with the skirt many times. In fact, I have pictures of that top and skirt combo from 2004 and 2012. Those pictures are straight-on, so I decided to get a side view of the skirt on Sunday.
I’ve always loved the straps around the skirt. I got this when I was working at Lehman Brothers. I believe I wore it to work once, during a holiday week when I knew no one would be around. Between the straps and the slit, it was much too wild for that buttoned-up, corporate environment on a typical day. I thought I was being sooooo outrageous when I wore it. Now that I regularly wear a necklace that says IDGAF, I look at this skirt and think, “Is it too stuffy?”
Anyway, back to the photo of the coat that started this post. I made that trip to Dublin with my gorgeous sister, Terri Berry. We really enjoyed the Guinness factory! After Dublin, we moved on to London. This was not long after Princess Diana died in a car accident. The sea of flowers left outside Kensington Palace immediately after her death was gone, but small crowds still gathered …
… and left tributes.
From this photo, it appears that I brought along the Betsey Johnson leopard jacket that I also still own.
And from this photo, it appears that Terri Berry suffered an enormous disappointment at the Tower of London.
Terri Berry takes instruments of torture very seriously.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
According to the zodiac calendar, Taurus birthdays begin on April 20, making this the perfect month for the official blog debut of my Bull and Bullfighter Maneater ring.
Actress Leven Rambin already tweeted a photo of the ring from Elton John’s Oscar party last month.
Leven had borrowed it from gorgeous singer/songwriter Skylar Grey, who was the official wearer of the ring that night.
Skylar wore the ring with a Galia Lahav gown and earrings by Samantha Wills.
This is the fourth of eight rings I’m planning for my Maneater series. The rings are inspired by my lifelong interest in powerful women. My signature Wendy Brandes jewelry line started with pieces that were named after real-life bad-ass women, including the warrior queen Xenobia and the 12th-century Empress Matilda. A lot of these strong women have been called “dragon lady” or “man eater” in pejorative ways. A tough man is just a guy doing his job, but there always has to be some kind of mean-sounding name for a tough woman, right? I got to thinking that some of these wimmins might have relished being called these names. I’m sure 7th-century Empress Wu would have been like, “Ha ha ha! Dragon lady! YOU’RE RIGHT!” before she executed the guy who spoke those words.
Accordingly, each Maneater ring has a triumphant animal on top and a man tucked away inside the band. I loved the way Jennifer Heebner, senior editor of jewelry trade publication JCK Magazine, described this in a blog post last June:
“The hidden companions, meanwhile, are masterfully captured in diminutive forms, with no choice but to await viewing from wearers by way of their subservient posts … “
Jennifer was writing about my first three Maneater designs: the Frog and the Prince, the Lion and the Hunter and Jonah and the Whale. The Bull and the Bullfighter was still a work in progress at that time. It started with a very rough sketch that focused on what I might be able to do with the ring’s band, which would represent the stadium. I wanted to show the seats and everything. My bull was just a tiny black blotch on the stadium floor.
I quickly realized the bull needed to be central, as shown in this later sketch.
The matador was sketched separately.
I gave these sketches to a model maker who hand-carved the bull, the stadium and the matador in hard wax. These wax models were later melted down to make molds in what’s called “lost-wax casting.” I previously explained that process here.
The wax models never come out exactly like the type of inspirational sketch shown here. You can draw absolutely anything on paper when you’re not taking into account the properties of the materials you’re going to use for the smaller, three-dimensional version of the design. When I want to have models match a sketch perfectly, I do a technical drawing, which would account for what is physically possible in both wax and metal. It would also have all the measurements, down to fractions of a millimeter. I’ve done technical drawings for designs, but usually I like to allow for a bit of spontaneity. In this case, I went with a bullfighter who is standing with his back to the viewer, his cape swirling in front of him. It wasn’t realistic to get in all the facial detail from the original sketch and even if I could do it, it would be so small no one would be able to appreciate it. (You can read more about sketches and technical drawings here.)
I figured my time was better spent on more meaningful tasks, such as the setting of the 429 diamonds used in this piece. The bull, which is made of 18K rose gold, is adorned with 350 black diamonds. Before the setter started working on the real gold bull, he practiced the layout on a silver model that was created from that lost-wax casting mold. For complicated designs like this, I often do a silver model as an intermediate step between the wax and the gold in order to make refinements to the design that can’t be done in wax. Another benefit of a silver model is the opportunity to play around with the layout of the stones — marking the spaces with pen and then drilling. I always keep that model for future use. Once the places for gems are figured out, the gold piece can be drilled and the stones set.
The black diamonds I used are very tiny: 0.8 millimeters to 1.2 millimeters in diameter. I can’t say the gem setters enjoy this type of work! It’s quite tedious to set hundreds of miniscule stones. The setters have to use loupes and microscopes so they can see what they’re doing.
The 79 white diamonds set in the 18K yellow gold stadium/ring shank are the same size as the black diamonds.
The white diamonds at the top of the ring, surrounding the stadium, are set upside-down to give the building an intimidating, spiky look. Here is the top view of the finished ring.
Here is the bullfighter, portrayed in 18K white gold.
And here is the first side-view photo of my finished ring. Well, I thought it was finished.
I had studied the ring intently before I sent it to the photographer. Then I studied the photo alongside the ring … for days. I had the urge to make a change, but one thing you don’t want to do with a time-consuming and expensive design is make any changes after completion. This ring was, indeed, very time-consuming and expensive to produce. The gold alone weighs a hefty 25 grams (there are 31.10 grams in an ounce of gold). I had multiple people working on the piece: a sketcher; a wax carver; a gem setter; and my main jeweler who supervised everyone else, assembled and finished the piece under my direction. I purchased a lot of diamonds, weighing 1.85 carats in all — 1.48 carats of black diamonds and 0.37 carats of white diamonds. Setting work of this quality can cost $10 a stone or more in New York City, and, like I said, I used 429 stones. That’s a minimum of a $4,290 cost to me just for setting the stones in the metal. (The figure excludes the cost of the diamonds themselves and all other work. You can read more about gem-setting here.) Still, a certain dissatisfaction nagged at me. My very first sketch of the ring had been all about having the bull inside the stadium and the finished ring still reflected that. Now I felt that the design didn’t give the bull his due and that he should be astride the stadium. I finally broke the bad news to my jeweler: He was going to have to take apart the three main metal pieces — the bull, the bullfighter and the stadium — and reposition them. “I’m not sure how I’m going to do this,” he said. “You’ll figure it out,” I replied. He did and I’m glad I took that last, crazy step. To see the ring in all its glory, you definitely need to enlarge this photo by the wonderful Ed Parrinello of SquareMoose.
I’ve said before that I want to make designs that are museum-worthy and I feel that this is my best effort yet. The Bull and Bullfighter ring is for someone who wants wearable art, but it’s not only about personal adornment. To quote Paloma Picasso, “Jewelry must serve a purpose and I think that purpose is empowerment.” I’m confident this ring achieves that. This is a special piece and, as such, can’t be purchased directly from my website. If you’re seriously interested and have about $30,000 to spend, email me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com.
The Bull and Bullfighter ring has already appeared in the March 2014 issue of JCK Magazine. Jennifer Heebner followed up her blog post on the first three Maneaters with a print story that focused on this particular piece. And guess what? I told her what the last four Maneater designs will be. Read her article to find out what those are.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
In the beginning, there were emoji earrings … and earrings that should be emojis.
Then there were customers who didn’t have pierced ears and needed their emojis in necklace form.
Now, thanks to a request from gorgeous customer Cara, there are emoji rings. Cara asked for two: the peace sign …
… and the ever-popular middle finger.
Of course, I’m always happy to customize. You can have any of my stud earrings — in silver or gold — turned into a ring. All you have to do is ask! Seriously, don’t be shy. Holla at me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com with your requests. You won’t regret it. Take it from Cara who emailed me:
“Omg OMG omg !!!! I got the rings!!! I’m IN LOVE!!! They are so freaking adorable!!!”
Cara got different size rings for different fingers, but mused that these would make great stacking rings. I thought so too. In fact, I took a photo of the rings stacked on my hand before I sent them off to her.
Here they are on Cara.
I’m making all the rings to order, so please allow at two to three weeks for delivery. And speaking of that timing, if you want my 18K gold bunny studs in time for Easter on April 20, order right now!
I do have silver bunny earrings in stock, but not very many, so … um … hop to it if you want them for the holiday.
If two bunnies are too many, remember you can also buy both the gold and the silver as singles. If you’re buying them as a gift, steal an idea from my customer John and present them in a colorful plastic egg on Easter Sunday. There aren’t many things that are better than an Easter basket carrying Cadbury Eggs …
… but jewelry beats chocolate. Even Cadbury chocolate!
Also new on the website: I’ve got sterling-silver letter studs for the entire alphabet.
If you’d like your letter studs in gold, use that wbjewelry at hotmail dot com email and make your request. All silver letters are $35 for a single, while 18K gold is $225 for a single. I can also gold plate silver earrings for a small additional charge.
Monday, March 31, 2014
It rained all weekend in New York City. During the deluge on Saturday, we were inspired to see the movie Noah, starring Russell Crowe. I’m still recovering from that. I don’t know if I liked the movie or hated it. It was … an experience. I supposed my best description is Game of Thrones/original Star Wars trilogy/Lord of the Rings/Transformers meets the Bible.
In real life, where boulders don’t come to life and build large ships and dudes aren’t 600 years old, MrB has been keeping me up to date on how much rain we’ve had and how much more to expect. I wondered out loud why he was suddenly so interested in the weather. He didn’t have a particular reason, but he did have a story to tell me about an exchange he had, as a young journalist, with George P. Shultz, former U.S. Treasury Secretary.
“As a kid reporter, it was the first time I’d ever asked a question at the Treasury press conference. I asked [George Shultz] what percentage probability did he give that a policy they were proposing would work.
He glowered at me with a smirk and said, ‘You’re trying to turn me into a weatherman?’
Everyone guffawed and I turned pink.”
Looking back, MrB says, “It was a good learning experience.”
And now it’s something that you all can think of when it rains.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
In case you missed it, I wrote a Huffington Post story on the independent cosmetics companies that are producing all kinds of fun lipstick colors, including green, blue and black. You can read it here.
And here’s what I published on my blog this week:
- Monday: My Marie Antoinette earrings are in Inside Weddings’ spring issue.
- Tuesday: I tried black, blue, green, purple, grey and neon pink lipstick for my Huffington Post story.
- Wednesday: I needed more extreme eyeliner to go with this blue lipstick from Pretty Zombie Cosmetics.
- Thursday: A 1986 photo shows a shirt that I still own.
- Saturday: I wore black lipstick to Lady Gaga’s surprisingly short concert at Roseland.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Yesterday was Lady Gaga’s 28th birthday, and my designing friend Stacy Lomman and I celebrated by going to the first of seven Gaga concerts at Roseland Ballroom. Gaga’s shows are Roseland’s swan song: The venue, which has been on West 52nd Street since 1958, will be razed and replaced with a residential tower.
Roseland has some elevated VIP/press standing room — from which I saw Hole perform in the 1990s — and limited upstairs seating, but most of the venue is general admission. Stacy and I got there quite early in order to jostle our way as close to the stage as possible. We ended up about ten rows away from the stage. Of course, there was one 6’3″ guy in the room and he was standing immediately in front of us — apparently there’s a rule that a 6’3″ guy must be standing in front of me at every concert I go to. Despite the giant’s best efforts to block my view at all times, I got a few nice shots of Gaga doing her thing.
Behind me were a couple of young girls who were practically exploding from the thrill of seeing Gaga — screaming, crying, expressing disbelief that they were in the presence of a goddess. You can hear them in this video. I was torn between laughing at them and thinking, “Awwww … how cute.” I remember being that way over Duran Duran. It made me all sentimental.
Gaga was in fine form and had a great rapport with the audience. I especially enjoyed her re-arrangement of “Poker Face,” during which she chatted about the song. “I couldn’t believe they let me say ‘Russian roulette’” on the radio, she said.
However, it was one of the shortest concerts I’ve ever been to — maybe an hour. I should have read this New Yorker story ahead of time, so I would have known she was only playing 12 songs.
Everyone was stunned when she stopped. Even the screaming, crying girls were disappointed. I overheard one person asking his friend, “Could it be an intermission?”
Not only was the show short, but Gaga performed “Yoü and I” at a piano in the VIP area, where a couple of dozen people were close enough to touch her and the rest of us (except maybe the tall guy) couldn’t see her at all. That would be pretty bothersome anytime, but especially at this quickie performance. And there wasn’t even any vomit! Damn, Lady Gaga, put some effort into this shit!
At least we got to enjoy a confetti shower …
… and you can’t beat these blinking buttons for a souvenir.
What Wendy Wore
Shearling vest: Stacy Lomman (2012)
T-shirt: Damien Hirst souvenir from the Tate Modern (2012)
Shorts: JC de Castelbajac (2013)
Tights: Pretty Polly (2014)
Shoes: Opening Ceremony (2013)
Rings: My own Gaga tribute design (2010)
Lipstick: Hautecore by MAC
Despite my disappointment about the length of this concert, I will still see Gaga whenever she comes through New York. After all, that’s my only opportunity to wear my Gaga rings.
If you’re going to one of the remaining Gaga shows, have fun, but consider how long you want to wait for a good spot for such an abbreviated performance. General admission is tough, yo! There’s a lot of pushing, it’s as hot as hell, we had no idea when she was going to start (around 9:15 p.m., as it turned out.). I wish I went to line up outside the venue either really early — say, 11 a.m. — to be in the very front row, or that I’d gone later and settled for standing wherever. As it was, I felt so close, but yet so far.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
I wrote about this 1980s floral shirt when I wore it in 2010.
Since then, it’s become my “hairstyling” shirt. As I mentioned yesterday, I own very few button-front shirts, so every time superstar hairstylist Julie Matos gives me one of her elaborate updos for a party or event, I wear this shirt so that I don’t have to mess up my hair taking off a pullover when I dress for the evening.
After months of searching, I managed to find a photo of the shirt from June 1986. It happens to be from the same London trip I wrote about in the 2010 post.
I had hair gel in that bag from Harrods — I wrote that on the back of the photo. Hey, I was serious about keeping my hair upright in the mid-’80s, and the U.K. had great products. As for the rest of the photo, I thought at first that it showed me wearing the single, watch-parts earring that I still have and posted in 2012, but upon further study, I realize that it was another earring that looked like ancient coins. I don’t seem to have that one anymore, but it was one of my favorites.
Along with the floral shirt photo, I found another photo from the trip, showing me posing with a souvenir punk doll. You can glimpse her orange mohawk and tartan bondage pants in the picture. My traveling companion and I named the doll Edie Enema. If you look closely at my outfit, you can see I’m wearing the black lace-up Peter Fox booties that I wrote about here. It’s a little hard to discern them against the striped, Wicked-Witch-of-the-East tights, but they’re there.
I wonder what happened to Edie Enema. Hmm. Maybe she’ll show up one of these days, like these photos!