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Some Thoughts on (Gentile) Atonement

Bathed in Marlow’s non-Kosher light

“Science? Magic? God? That power flows from within. From inside. What comes out when that pressure is heaviest? That’s the real magic. That’s what defines being a hero.”-Luke Cage

Someone should really make a documentary about me called The Bad Jew. Last year for Yom Kippur I ate lobster rolls. That’s like double traif. This year I’m at Marlow and Sons–perched on the edge of Jewish Williamsburg, no less–and I’m wolfing non-Kosher chicken salad with non-Kosher wine. Blame the shiksa in me. Gypsy blood! my grandmother would shriek when she was feeling especially resentful my father had married a six-foot blonde gentile. Whatever the cause, ever since I formally hung up my anorexic spurs I’ve had a hard time fasting. This year I made it to 1pm.

To some degree, I feel bad about my lapses. And more earnestly, I feel bad about a lot of ways I’ve been hurtful. About biting things I’ve said and promises I’ve not kept and people with whom I’ve not stayed in touch.  For the first two categories of sins, I always apologize. But I’ve yet to atone for my unplugging. I believe the kids call it ghosting. Continue Reading →

Charmless, I’m Sure

Here in NYC, yesterday was bright and sunny and hot. Some seemed to find it glorious but I found the 85-degree mugginess a bit much, especially because I’ve absolutely had it with my summer wardrobe and am just enough of a slave to social convention to wear clothes even when it’s very hot. I was shvitzing like a crazy lady by the time I met up with B, and I’d already been pretty wild-eyed.

We were at the Williamsburg Cinemas for Crazy Rich Asians, thus far the only halfway-satisfying rom-com of 2018. When I saw it last month, I’d liked it enough to agree to rewatch it with B, who’d just finished all the books. The problem was I was playing for the other team then.* This month I’m on far shakier ground in the love department, and the film grated hard. Venus is still only shadowed by its upcoming retrograde, but I’m already turning into a Cathy comic on lithium. That’s because this retrograde begins at the exact degree of Libra where my moon is located. In laylady’s terms, this witch is getting hit by a Mac truck in all areas of love and aesthetics.

Which is practically my whole life. Continue Reading →

Weather Fail, Feminist Film Fail (Oceans 8)

I ducked upstate this weekend to avoid the three-digit temps of NYC, not to mention the Mars retrograde kerfuffle (and, boy, do I have some stories for a later date). But even here in Hudson the weather’s been too swampy to do anything but cower in air-conditioning. Yesterday I fetched things from greenmarkets and farmstands: beets, tarragon, mint, cilantro, green cabbage, rainbow carrots, boston lettuce, cherries, blueberries. I thrifted: two dresses, one skort, one vintage slip, three milkglass candle holders, one pyrex pitcher, all for 20 bucks! I assembled meals: chopped greens and herbs and roasted chicken and beets, all dressed with plain yogurt and tarragon and mint and cilantro and lemon.

Twas an embarrassment of simple pleasures.

Today was too hot for that level of activity, though. So I decided to put my money where the women were: Oceans 8 at the local cineplex. The screening was well-attended, I’m happy to report, not only by my fellow retirees (lately I’ve been taking dowager chic a little too seriously) but, surprisingly, by a handful of fathers with their young sons and daughters. I’m less happy to report that the lady-packed sequel felt like another H-Wood sloppy second: boy director, boy co-writer, boysboysboys behind the camera. Every one of these brilliant female actors-Rihanna, Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Sandy Bullock, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway– were reined in by electric dog collars, the plot points and joke setups languishing on mobile fainting couches. I’m guessing this was meant to read as what my colleague Odie Henderson calls “ratpack laissez-faire.” Really it read as thorazine shambles.

It’s high time we female-identified people ran more shows from top to bottom.

Still, twas a much-needed visual model in feminine competence and solidarity, if one not nearly as funny as its individual performers. Cate and Sandy were searingly hot with sexual chemistry galore and a distinctly grownup swagger. Elliot Gould in a fur coat and Swifty Lazar glasses waddled through a much-welcome cameo. And the air conditioning? Killah.

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