Archive | Style Matters

The Church of Scorpio New Moon

Dowager avenger

I was standing on the corner of Third Avenue and 21st Street yesterday when a woman came up to me wearing a floorlength cocktail dress, a sparkly headband, rubber galoshes, and a ratty mink coat, and told me—didn’t ask but told me–to open her bottle of Coke. After I did, I asked if I could take a photo of her since I so admired her outfit, and she said “fuck you” and sauntered off.

Obviously I took the pic. And obviously I loved her ultimate dowager chic. The exchange wasn’t just classic New York. It also was classic Scorpio Season.

I don’t know about you, but all I’ve wanted to do lately is burrow under the covers with a flashlight and a book. It’s not just the weather. It’s that the sun and, as of tonight, the moon are lurking in Scorpio, the sign of birth, death, and regeneration, with Mercury about to go retrograde in this sign as well. Continue Reading →

Blue Is Beautiful

Evie playing chess with Duchamp to make boyfriend Walter Hopps jealous. My guess is that it worked.

Once upon a time, the brilliant essayist Eve Babitz was also a painter. In the 1960s she was not only known for her magical groupie powers but for some of the key album covers of that decade–most notably a collage for 1967’s Buffalo Springfield Again. And although she had limited patience for movie stars (she did deign to fuck a young Harrison Ford, but then he was mostly a weed dealer and shoddy carpenter), she hobnobbed with some of America’s most-touted artists–among them Annie Leibovitz, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and Marcel Duchamp. (Only one of the aforementioned never saw her naked in person.)

But one day Evie put away her brushes for good. And the reason, at least according to every teller of the tale (including Eve, who is honest if not exactly truthful), can be traced to one seemingly offhand remark by Earl McGrath. A sort of Oliver Wilde-cum-Leonardo Da Vinci-cum Frank Abagnale Jr cad-about-town who quite possibly was her only true match and definitely her only worthy frenenemy*, McGrath gazed upon one of her paintings.

And after an exceptionally pregnant pause, said only: “Is that the blue you’re using?” Continue Reading →

A Parade of Cousins

Furry cousin

Ever since I uploaded my big green post, life has opened back up and I’m grateful. What I remembered–and it shouldn’t have taken so long to recall this fact–is that my adoration of strangers does not preclude other sorts of communion. Also I forgot my most ardent belief: we are all cousins.

The cousin dynamic is my favorite model of human relationship, because it implies an innate connection that, as my shrink puts it, “does not affect the matrix of your life.” Parents and siblings and children can fuck you up, but a cousin just lends life an extra glow. And if you don’t resonate, it’s no skin off anyone’s back. You wave across a room and leave it at that.

I always think about what my second cousin Martine Rothblatt said when we met. One of the first transgender women in the United States to undergo reassignment surgery, she had been a tall, brainy lad known by my dad as “Cousin Marty” when they were coming up. (Rubenfire was their grandmother.) Given how estranged I was from my clan, I’d been reading about Martine in gender theory classes and magazines (she’s also famous for launching Sirius Radio and the transhumanism movement) long before I realized we were related. After I did, I mentioned her in a book review, and she made her way to Brooklyn from Central Park Avenue South so we could meet in person. Continue Reading →

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