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Astro PSA: Full Moon in Buzzy, Busy Gemini

I write from a neighborhood bar that has a great and relatively quiet happy hour. I’m drinking sazerac, mawing nuts, rereading the day’s pages, and listening to a man my age hit on a girl who at the very oldest is 25. I’d judge the shit out of him except when I walked in, he raised his eyebrows suggestively and I shook my head. Also the last person I snogged was half my age, which made them roughly 25 (ok, younger). If this paragraph didn’t land where you expected, welcome to my 2019. Though time is a construct.

Earlier today NYC was a storybook—-kids bobbing on parents’ shoulders, everyone bundled like toddlers in mittens and hats, and snow, glorious snow. But by midday it was back to bleak, urine-drenched, and sooty. Enter free-wheeling Sagittarius season and tonight’s full moon in Gemini. Both aspects remind us to be here now since linear time is basically the biggest myth of all and nothing else is real either save for the story you tell yourself. I don’t know about you but I’m feeling that inside and out. Even on television, at least Watchmen, the most momentous show anywhere right now (see what I did there?), the notion of linear time is being savagely imploded.

Fourth dimension is, like, so twenty-teens, y’all.

Taking place in the earliest hours of tomorrow–that’s 12/12 at exactly 12:12 am!–tonight’s “long cold night full moon” also exits us out of a cycle of karma since the number 12 is all about reincarnation. Ask yourself: What hard lessons have I begun learning this year that I can finally put to use? Venus, Saturn, and Pluto are conjuncting, which suggests the lessons may have taken place in our relationships and finances. Certainly that was the case for me, though ain’t that always the truth? Bottom line: we are moving past the limited thinking that we were taught kept us safe but really has been holding us back. Don’t be scared. Be glad–and dress warmly.

Little Women, Inner Children

Yesterday we taped the first episode of Talking Pictures since my back went kablooey (and yes that’s the official medical diagnosis). To celebrate I got it into my head to decorate my head, and so into my triple-braided bun wove pine cones and branches, baby’s breath, and tiny birds, an effect that raised more than a few eyebrows among the normally unflappable population of NYC. Chalk it up to the fact that I was reviewing the most recent iteration of Little Women, which I had approached with great trepidation and from which I had floated with great elation.

There have many, many film, television, and stage adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s Civil War-set saga about four Massachusetts sisters who are rich in love and poor in cash–it’s a YA novel with which I’m plainly obsessed–but this is the most ravishing and the first that does not betray the intense feminism of its author. Directed by mumblemouth millennial Greta Gerwig (cue my trepidation), it boasts an intensely good cast including Soirse Ronan as stalwart Jo, Meryl Streep putting her mugging to good use for a change as drolly disapproving Aunt March, Timotheeee Chalomet very right (if too slight) as Laurie, and Florence Pugh, channeling the authentically big emotions of her Midsommar character to animate Amy, the most bedazzled and entitled of the March girls. (Laura Dern is too Modern Millie for the Marnie of my dreams, but I’ve always been immune to her Lynchian charms.)

Make no mistake. This adaption is beautifully plated and well-heeled –the cinematography, costume, and production design as painterly as an Ivory-Merchant–but far less conventional than its predecessors. These little women live unsequentially, for example, which neatly solves the problem of how to tuck their many chapters into two hours. And sly nods abound to the compromises Alcott was willing to make for her characters but not herself. Not for nothing does Jo say what Alcott often did–“I’d rather be a free spinster rowing her own canoe”–though it’s a line the author never dared grant her stand-in, since selling her family’s story required filing down its edges. The ending frames this fact brilliantly ambiguously: An array of happy tableaus —all amber waves of grain and golden rays of light and every Jill with her Jack—haunted by a final spectre of Jo sola at the printers, clutching a volume of Little Women for dear life and in decidedly darker light. Thus the book’s warmth and wit is captured along with Alcott’s underlying message that a traditional happy ending for women has always precluded economic and creative freedom.

So, so good that I responded with the ecstasy rather than anxiety of influence that great art always inspires in me. (Sorry, Harold Bloom). Since I was a little girl, it’s been Star Wars double buns, Mrs Whatsit chic, Anna Karenina furs–a form of flattery, you could argue, the March girls would have practiced had they traipsed into the 20th century. So to present the film on-air I adorned myself with cameo, high collar, long skirt, transcendentally trimmed hair. All that was missing was a clothespin on my nose.

And wouldn’t you know the boys– with the exception of me, this episode’s panel was purely cistraightwhitemale–were so busy talking over each other that they barely found the time to manterrupt me, let alone register my Amy adornments? Christopher Columbus, I don’t give a fig. I’m reasonably sure the little women who most need my talking points will receive them.

Anyway I’ve yet to hear of a canoe propelled by the male gaze, though inner children will always be welcome aboard.

No Room to Let (Dowager Chic)

2002 me

This is a blunt story–which of mine are not?– and it probably deserves to live somewhere besides a blog post. But as is so often the case, I will begin writing it to the audience that exists in my head when I write here–namely, sensitive, smart, and roughly my generation, at least psychospiritually.

Four years ago I began a battle to establish my apartment’s rent stabilization. I’d moved into the building in 2002, a few months after September 11 had dashed my dreams of being a wife and a mother (a separate post; a separate book, really). There was a markedly different group of tenants  because back then third stop on the L Train did not mean hipster. It meant working-class families of mostly Italian, Dominican, and Puerto Rican descent. I was the only woman on the block living alone–definitely the only blond wannabe writer from Boston. Mostly I got along with everyone–oh, there was the time I got in a fight with a mafia princess over a parking space and her father came after me with a baseball bat screaming YOU FKING WHORE-but having grown up in Newton’s The Lake I knew how to hold my ground. Sort of. Continue Reading →

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