Archive | Age Matters

The Me Decade

I was having one of those glorious Brooklyn Saturday mornings. I was all gussied up in my Brooklyn Saturday morning finest: a floor-length geometric Meg skirt; an enormous blue-beaded Senegalese necklace; sloppy silver Birkenstock knockoffs (Birkenstockoffs); dirty hair piled high with blue extensions and an orange zinnia; and a bright purple bra visible through my cropped tee. It was a punk-rock homage to the ’70s moms I’d wished were my own–the kind of outfit I really can’t wear to film screenings or Talking Pictures tapings or Ruby Intuition sessions. The kind of outfit in which I feel most myself.

So was I ever feeling grand as I buzzed through my Brooklyn Saturday morning routine. It had been a week of good, hard work in this Summer of Reckoning, and I was relishing a rare day off. I drank Americanos with my Muppet Critics; fetched produce and flowers at the Greenmarket; fed the birds and myself over at Red Hook Fairway; read my book about ’60s directors by the water. I drove the long way home, following the river with my left arm dangling out the window, Biggie and early Mariah pouring into the air. At a red light, I said—Admit it. You love your friends to bits but you are your best friend. You trust yourself. You always want to do the same things as you, you find the same things funny, you have the same values, you like the same music, and you want to be quiet at the same times. You may be impatient and messy and even occasionally imperious but you dig you. It was an odd but not unpleasant revelation. Knee-deep in my early-middle age, I finally appreciated my own company enough that I’d avoid others before I’d ever avoid myself.

To cement the moment, I smiled cheekily in the rearview mirror–hey, good-lookin’!–only to notice I was wearing a crazy-lady, half-lipsticked grin. The universe’s sense of humor being what it is, the world’s most beautiful man picked that moment to bike by, and as he gave me the world’s most beautiful eye-fucking, the light changed. Flustered, I stalled my car, and everyone behind me began honking. I had to laugh. I knew that, as my best friend, it was now my duty to make fun of myself–pride do goeth before a fall! I didn’t mind. I knew I still liked me.

Leave It to Slim: Lauren Bacall, 1924-2014

Leave it to Lauren Bacall, who died August 12 at age 89, to slink out the back door just as the whole country was distracted by the news of Robin Williams’ suicide. The lady knew how to make an entrance and – maybe more importantly – she knew how to make an exit, too. But though she led an astoundingly full life, I’d still like to catch her by the well-tailored sleeve and whisper, “Not so fast, Slim.” We didn’t just lose the only person who could hold her own with Humphrey Bogart. Fast-talking dames everywhere just lost an important big sister.

She was born Betty Perske, a nice Jewish girl in Brooklyn, and we could argue it was her father’s early disappearance that led her into Bogie’s arms when she was nineteen years old and he was a hard-drinking, thrice-married forty-four. But anyone who’s seen the duo’s onscreen chemistry knows that’s too pat an assessment. Bogie was more than twice her age, sure, but those two were of a piece. Certainly no one could match his supreme self-possession until she fixed him with that famous come-hither stare. No wonder director Howard Hawks, whose wife discovered Bacall on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, marketed her as “The Look.” Continue Reading →

A National Holiday for Julia

August 15 marks Julia Child’s 102nd birthday. That’s hardly a banner anniversary – remember the media celebration two years ago for her centennial? – but Julia Child deserves a red-carpet bonanza every year. Certainly her birthday should be recognized as a national holiday by the food world. If not for the late cookbook author and television host, its media empire wouldn’t exist – at least not in all the glory that it currently enjoys.

Yes, we have Julia to thank for all the Americans who eat something besides TV dinners every night. (The powers-that-be at Swanson may not feel so grateful.) But we also have Julia to thank for the glut of food porn, er, television that comprises an industry unto itself. The entire Food Network should credit Julia as its real founder. Without Julia, there’d likely be no Emeril Lagasse, Jamie Oliver, Tom Colicchio, Barefoot Contessa, or Pioneer Woman in our public eye. There’d probably not even be an Anthony Bourdain or a “Hell’s Kitchen.” (There’d still be a Rachael Ray, though. With her aggressive cheer and predilection for shortcuts and catchphrases, Ray always seems one gelatin mold away from being the new Betty Crocker.) Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy