Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mary's YA Book Review Korner

Hey there! You may remember this voting option from my post a few posts back, and though I think only like one or two people voted for this, I think it's a good potential series for this blog. (It did receive more votes than Mary's Zombie Movie Review Korner, though, which was quite notably unpopular.) Potentially these reviews fall under the "not related to fashion" category except that this book totally relates to fashion.

Our selection today, generously lent to me by Gaby, is Freak Show by James St. James, one of the original "club kids" and author of Disco Bloodbath (best title ever!) that true/fictionalized account of the club kid, special K-fueled murder story that was turned into the movie Party Monster with Macauley Culkin. In case you never saw that, it's one of those movies where you're like, "I think this is the worst movie I've ever seen...or maybe that's what makes it great!" Actually, I think it was pretty bad, but everyone says that Macauley, despite appearing like a horrible actor, really portrays club kid/murderer Michael Alig very well. I kind of doubt this because I think Macauley cannot act, but I have a soft spot for him because he seems relatively artsy and non-pretentious, he was in Home Alone and he turned out to look like an Aubrey Beardsley-drawn doomed Victorian consumptive rent boy(uh, ignore Seth Green), and, for whatever reason, I find this very attractive.

Anyway, St. James kind of is really scary looking, and has had a lot of Botox and is partial to appearing on America's Next Top Model wearing a clown suit, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book. The story follows high school senior Billy Bloom, who moves away from his artsy friends in Conneticut to a conservative town in Florida, and becomes a victim of the wealthy football player and cheerleader hiearchy.

Billy is not really a drag queen- he refers to himself as, among other things, a "gender obscurist", spending his time in outrageous costumey, over-the top looks, from swamp monster to ultra-prep. What I found so inspiring- empowering, even, is that Billy Bloom expresses himself through fashion, but not in that trendy, designer-y way we are encouraged to, but creatively, inventively, and uniquely. His personal style becomes both a parallel to his horrible situation at his new school as well as his own artistic way of fighting back against the "Aberzombies." I too spent much of high school trying (with mixed results) to look as different from my classmates as everyone else, and cannot help but applaud this non-traditionally aggressive way to make yourself heard.

Freak Show is written in this ultra-chatty way with zillions of references and caps lock and exclamation points and a new paragraph every sentence, and at first I didn't think i would be able to make it through many pages of that, but I think the tone fit the book quite well. It's sort of like a lightweight teenaged fairy tale, but doesn't gloss over all the horrible abuse Billy suffers at the hands of his drone-like tormentors. Plus, a lot of the references are pretty funny. This story could easily be made into a wonderful film for teens, kind of like a Hedwig/Beautiful Thing hybrid, that I personally would enjoy watching. More importantly, I think this is one of those YA books with a genuinally positive and unique message, and think both boys and girls of varying genders would benefit from it.

Edited to Add: Photo of Macauley Culin and Seth Green. Sorry for the delays! I can only do these posts through HTML so it's really easy to screw up and then Blogger just made it disappear until I fixed it.

PPS: Is that Janeane Garafalo on those Weight Watchers ads? If it is, ohmygod.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Oversized Flannel + Radiohead= :(

Here's Mary Kate at a Radiohead concert. Ew. Don't you ever feel like you are intimidated by hipsters sometimes because you have this idea that they have really advanced taste in music but then it turns out they just want to listen to whatever was popular when they were 14 because it's retro now? Not that I'm intimidated by Mary Kate. Even I could probably knock her down.

Anyway, what the hell is up with this outfit. This is a large man's shirt with either something very short or nothing underneath, and a peace pin. I don't need to say why this is bad. It's obvious from the way it looks. But I will say that I'm sick of seeing people carry around heavy leather bags with summery outfits. (Not that this outfit is summery, exactly, but I assume if you're pantsless it's probably hot out.) It looks totally inappropriate. Claudia Kishi, who wore many a man's shirt as a dress/tunic, would have at least paired it with a homemade tote bag decorated with single pierced earrings and glitter glue.

PS: On second thought, I can see some tattered strings hanging from her crotch area, indicating she is wearing cutoffs. I should have assumed that's what was underneath, because anytime someone looks like they're wearing a shirt as a dress it turns out there are some crotch-length cut-offs underneath. You know, to keep things classy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Liked It: Nothing Compares 2 90's Alterna-Stars

I am in New York sort of doing rock camp this week (as well as laboriously counting up the votes for my previous post) so I can't write a lot this week.

However, I felt kind of offended by this post on Go Fug Yourself, which disses on 90's tween (and uh, ethereal mystery girl in movies such as Donnie Darko) star Jena Malone, noting that she can't decide whether she is the "second coming of Lori Petty, or auditioning for a Sinead O'Connor biopic."

I say this is a positive thing. Jena Malone does not look styled in the least. She looks like someone in her late teens/early twenties who has carefully chosen to wear real, not-even-laced-up-all-the-way combat boots and a mohawk as some sort of fabulous, angsty "fuck you" to both, you know, Amanda Bynes and the people who praise Amanda Bynes for looking like a pageant contestant. I love the look on her face- you know, the look that says, "This is dumb."

Because it is dumb. It's dumb that we expect girls as young as thirteen to be perfectly buffed, shined and styled by some withered, tanorexic harpy or any other kind of stylist who has chosen the hippest, most flattering, but also least risky fashion-wise (but also most sexy) clothes for this underage individual to wear. It's wrong that we have teen stars that we are supposed to look to for style and sex appeal when they are, pretty much, children. But we all know that.

[Cue most horrifying photo of Miley Cyrus found in first page of Google image search.]

It's not right, my friends. But what is also not right is that once, in a long ago time that I've already written about fifty times but still cannot emphasize enough, the idea of the second coming of Lori Petty was not so far-fetched. (In case you didn't know, Lori Petty was the spunky, offbeat- some might say "weird"- star of such films as Tank Girl and League Of Her Own.) There was a time when starring in a Sinead O'Connor biopic might have been a wise career choice. It's a biopic I personally would see! She ripped up a photo of the pope on live television! She had a shaved head! Everyone called her a "bitch!" It was such a big deal!

So I would like to give "props" to Jena Malone for forging out her own path in these difficult times for young starlets. I can only hope that the tide will, eventually, turn, and the demand for plastic, lithe-limbed pubescent girls in $1200 dresses will give way to a renewed appreciation for the artsy, the unique, and the unstyled. Until then, I shall complain a lot, light some candles at my shrine of Christina Ricci's old face, and, of course, await the Second Coming of Lori Petty.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thing That is Nice

Sorry to interrupt from my regular posting, but I felt the need to post this surprisingly awesome video MTV took of Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, a non-profit camp that I volunteer at. Everyone was a little wary of MTV coming and fucking shit up, but they actually failed to put any major MTV-ish spin on it. I do find it ironic that the "VJ" who is introducing it is ex Top Model contestant Kim Stolz, who used to look a lot better when she was a hipster lesbian but totally sold out and grew out her hair and started wearing dresses for MTV. They totally un-rock camped her, really. Anyway, enjoy!

PS: MTV sucks.
And after:

Way to turn a cute dyke into a Russian ho who went to my high school. (No offense to Russian hos.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Choose Your Own Adventure

So sometimes I dream up post topics that I do not manage to write posts about. Below are some post ideas I have thought about putting into action, some of which while high. Since I seem to be having trouble getting these off the ground, I would like my reader(s) to vote! You can pick as many as you want! Which of these varied topics would YOU be interested in hearing more about? Please take the time to vote, valued readers! Conversely, if there is a topic you would like me to cover not mentioned in this totally complete list, let me know of that too.

1. Homophobia and Sexism in MTV's Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew

2. The Jonas Brothers Vs. The Bay City Rollers

3. Space Funk: A Fashion Movement

4. Fashion Blogs: Why are 90% of Them Exactly the Same/Mention Teen Vogue Far Too Much?

5. Mary's (Mostly YA) Book Review Korner

6. Mary's Zombie Movie Review Korner

7. Freaks and Geeks: Best Show Ever?/Why I Hate Judd Apatow and Everything He Stands For and I Also Hate Seth Rogan Who Does Not Deserve to be Famous

8. Project Runway, Bravo's Commodification of the Gays, Why Tim Gunn has Sold Out, More on Why I Hate All the Judges, and the Proliferation of Neon-Obsessed Hipsters on Season 5

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

40s and 50s Novelty Print Swimsuits

Summer is sort of almost over, but vintage novelty print swimsuits are eternally wonderful. You may have already my many other novelty print themed posts, as they are some of my favorite things. Why novelty prints are no longer considered acceptable for nice clothing these days baffles me. Should prints of telephones or household items be relegated to pajama fabric? No, I say. They're capable of so much more.

This delightful swimsuit is decorated with that classic summertime pastime, the barbeque. I recently bought a set of glasses from the 50's with a very similar pattern.
Pretty fantasic!

This is for a young kid (see, we've always sexualized female children!) but the unusual shape and ruching is really what made me save this photo. I personally wouldn't categorize floral as a novelty print, unless the flowers had eyes.
This amazing swimsuit makes me think of hanging out in the Deco part of Miami in the 40s, wearing flowers in your hair and big platforms. Obviously it's weathered a few storms, but I think the detail on this suit is pretty amazing and unique, like the pink ripples the flamingos are standing in.

Yeah, that's right. This swimsuit has RECORDS all over it. The color combination and print almost looks 80s, but that's just because the 80's copied the 50's a lot. Also, unfortunately a kid's suit.
And lastly, this glorious suit, whose print you can't really see, but whatever. This had shooting stars all over it, and is pretty much the swimsuit I would have murdered somebody to get in high school. I did not win the auction, though I probably should have as this swimsuit is worth its weight in gold to me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Street Style Sightings: It's Come to This

I have a lot of posts that I am planning on making but have not found the time/energy, but, in this case, I feel I have a photo which should mostly speaks for itself. The day before I took this, I was discusing yin yangs (Or is it ying? Whatever, I say.) and whether they would soon "be back." (I predicted, with the current climate/rage for all things we wore twelve years ago , that they would indeed.) You may recall the yin yang fad of '96, when you had to have ying gang stud earrings. I had a pog with a psychedelic yin yang, and, for a colloborative student-painted mural completed that year, some of the cooler boys opted to paint what I think was a flaming yin yang, despite the fact that the mural had an undersea theme. They were hot, I tell you. Because they represented a beautiful, harmonious Eastern philosophy, like Feng Shui and Bhotan Rice Candy.

Anyway, the point is, dude is wearing a 1980's grandma shirt with fringe and practically puffy sleeves; one of the many Jerri Blank-esque items that now seem to adorn the bodies of hipsters/everyone else because the lines are clearly deeply blurred at this point. I will not pretend I didn't recoil in horror at this guy's shirt, but what capped it off, the day after the aforementioned conversation, was the Claire's (ne Dara Michelle) yin yang pendant he had fastened around his neck. 4 serious.

When will this madness end? Only with saving the stuff we bought last month and then rewearing it now because last month is like so ironically cool all over again.