Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nancy Doll - My Childhood Style Icon

Growing up in Franco's grim early 1970s Madrid, the Nancy Doll to a great degree acted as a palliative to a creepy psychologically sadistic nanny, a religious school where I had only one friend besides my sister, and the overall climate of repression that as I child I perceived as "quiet" and "grey." Nancy is way better than Barbie, as I learned to my regret when we emigrated to Florida in the late 1970s, because she is bigger, and has a better wardrobe. I treasure my little Nancy clothing catalogue from 1973 and died and went to heaven when I saw that a fellow fan posted them on You Tube. You can see the outfits we had to choose from, in true 1970s meets repressive, gender discriminatory and isolated dictatorship (women could not wear bikinis until the late 1960s) style. Don't miss the cloistered nun's outfit.

Lovely Obama Musical Propaganda

Obama '08 - Vote For Hope from MC Yogi on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Grim Exception

I have been feeling very anxious as the election nears, but maybe that's for the best, we don't want to get over-confident. It doesn't help that the cable channels seem to talk about nothing else. Except of course, for the tragic murders of the darling Jennifer Hudson's relatives in the South Side of Chicago. Sadly, her little nephew was found dead yesterday. But in the couple of days after they found her mom and brother, national calls were put out to try to find the boy. And then it struck me: this was the first Amber Alert I recall ever seeing on national cable seeking a black child. Is that what it takes to seek a child of color, a relationship to a celebrity? 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sarah Palin is not the Only Pageantry Schanda Out There

A priceless news item shared by a loyal reader & fellow follower of pageantry. First of all, I apologize for not having the money shot - ie. the mug shot, perp walk or any other police-generated imagery. Trust me, I looked. As a Mr. Blackwell aside, this look does not scream pageantry as much as it does table dancer in a truck stop bar. But I digress. Below is the story of Miss Louisiana's fall from grace.

Miss Teen Louisiana Arrested, Loses Crown
stumble digg reddit news trust
October 22, 2008 05:01 PM EST |

OSSIER CITY, La. — Miss Teen Louisiana lost her crown 11 days early after being arrested on charges of leaving a restaurant without paying and carrying marijuana. RPM Productions Inc., the sponsor, took back the title on Tuesday after learning that Lindsey Evans, 18, of Blanchard, had been arrested, president Paula M. Miles said Wednesday.

Evans will have to return her sash and crown, but won't have to return any other prizes or cash equivalents, Miles said.

"She's done a good job this year," Miles said.

A call to Evans' parents' house was not answered Wednesday.

Miles said she had been told that the three women with Evans told police that Evans, alone in the group, had paid her bill. But Bossier City spokesman Mark Natale said Evans admitted not paying.

Bossier City police booked all four on theft charges, three on drug charges and two on drug paraphernalia charges, he said.

Natale said Bossier City police were called to a Posados Cafe restaurant Saturday evening because a group had left without paying $46.07. The manager had found a pocketbook at the table, and police found Evans' driver's license and about 2 grams of suspected marijuana in it, Natale said.

He said officers recognized Evans from the photo when the group returned for the pocketbook.

Miles said she talked with Evans on Monday.

The next Miss Teen Louisiana will be chosen Nov. 1 at a pageant in Lafayette. Michelle Berthelot, Miss Louisiana USA 2008, will crown the winner.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

No comment

Breaking News: Another Reason to Mourn Mr. Blackwell's Loss

Today it was revealed that GOP operatives went on shopping sprees to give Mrs. Hockey Mom, the Pitbull with (very expensive designer) Lipstick on a make over in the hundred K realm. This is one occasion where Mr. Blackwell would be in his bitchy element. It is just devastating that during this national crisis - no, not the Second Depression, I mean the fashion Armageddon, we cannot rely on his guidance.

I guess even though Palin ushered in the Wal-Martization of the Crystal meth capital of the USA, Wassila, their clothes is no longer good enough. She can spend 150K on a make-over, and spend tens of thousands to take her kids on luxurious junkets using tax payer money, but she wanted to charge rape victims for their rape kits that take evidence of the assault, and reduced funding for kids with disabilities (like her son!). Clearly, she's got her priorities in the right place. 

Ironically, the allegedly East Coast Liberal Elite personified by what the GOP believes are the "uppity" Obama family cannot compete with Palin's swish wardrobe, purchased at shops like: Neiman Marcus, Sak's, Barney's and the like. She also bought clothes for her kids. McCain claims the clothes will be given away to charity. How can they give away used makeup and Palin's own hairstyles to the Salvation Army? Apparently, one news report revealed that Mrs. McCain (or, as I like to call her, Crack Head Stepford Wife Barbie, or Grown Up Joan Benet Ramsey) spent up to 350K on one outfit alone. It's staggering to me to know how much money one has to spend to look so very cheap. 

I must confess, with the deepest shame, that my lady friends and I had been marveling at the fact that we actually LIKED some of her clothes, particularly the blazers she wore in her embarassing interviews with Katie Couric, or the black suit she wore to the also embarassing VP debate. And the shoes were also very good. Now we know why. The hundreds of dollars spent on that Pageantry Hair, however, should be cause for a refund demand. I can only imagine that Mrs. McCain recommended her own technician from the Joan Benet Ramsey Memorial School of Hairdressing.

Here is the URL to a great article about this from The New York Times

Monday, October 20, 2008

Farewell, Mr. Blackwell

'Mr. Blackwell' dies at 86; compiled 'worst dressed' celebrity lists for nearly 50 years

I have looked forward to his 10 Worst-Dressed Lists for my entire life. It was a landmark that caused me to ponder two of my favorite things: fashion and celebrities. My life will suffer from a terrible void. Although I try my best (Fashion Citation) to follow in his bitchery and fabulousness, I can never equal or surpass his catty phrases and incisive descriptions of celebrity fashion schandisimos. And as I said earlier, during this NATIONAL EMERGENCY OF BAD TASTE that is personified in Caribou Barbie (Palin) and Crack Head Stepford Wife Barbie AKA Grown up Joan Benet Ramsey on VIcodin (Mrs. McCain), it's doubly tragic to be without Mr. Blackwell's viper's tongue.

Born Richard Selzer, the caustic self-proclaimed arbiter of taste wagged his finger at the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Britney Spears and even Queen Elizabeth.
By Mary Rourke, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 20, 2008
" Mr. Blackwell," whose annual "worst dressed" list dinged movie stars, music icons and European royalty and helped turn him into a household name from the 1960s through the '80s, has died. He was 86.

Blackwell had been in failing health and died Sunday afternoon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications from an intestinal infection, according to publicist Harlan Boll.

A onetime actor and model who turned to fashion design with limited success, Blackwell -- in his rankings of what he considered the most dreadful in design -- helped popularize the sort of dishy commentary that takes notable figures down a notch by poking fun at their personal style.

Actresses Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor made his list in the early 1960s. Taylor's "plump" figure and revealing clothes reminded him of "the rebirth of the zeppelin," he wrote in 1963. Loren, he wrote, dressed like "the Italian shop girls she portrays in movies."

More recently, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, whom he called the "Screamgirls" and compared to "two peas in an overexposed pod," made the list. So did Camilla Parker-Bowles, "The Duchess of Dowdy," in Blackwell's opinion.

This year Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham topped his survey. It was his 48th annual list.

Brigitte Bardot, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton and Madonna took heat from Blackwell more than once. So did Queen Elizabeth. "From her majesty to her travesty," he wrote of her.

Blackwell gave his first annual assessment of celebrities and their tastes in 1960, placing Italian actress Anna Magnani, star of "The Rose Tattoo" and "Wild Is the Wind," at the top of his worst-dressed list. He credited her for being "one of the most distinguished actresses of our generation" but said she dressed in "tramp clothes."

His comments were published in the American Weekly, a syndicated Sunday supplement magazine, after a reporter there called and asked him to name his 10 worst-dressed picks and to comment on them. Every year from then on he teased the famous, using "Mr. Blackwell" as a calling card.

He had launched his clothing business, House of Blackwell, in 1958, teaching himself how to drape fabric on a model. His day and evening outfits recalled the era of the contract movie stars who were dressed top to bottom by staff designers for the major Hollywood studios.

"The clothes were slightly overdone," recalled Sylvia Sheppard, a fashion editor for Women's Wear Daily during Blackwell's heyday. "He wasn't a creative designer."

But to be a fashion designer was never his top priority. As Blackwell recounted in his autobiography, "From Rags to Bitches" (1995), he aimed "to become my most unforgettable creation: king of the caustic quote, arbiter of good taste and bad, the ultimate mix of madness, marketing and media attention."

His finger-wagging fashion reports were a twist on the annual best-dressed lists that were popular in the 1940s and '50s. Fashion expert and author Patty Fox said recently that Blackwell was the first she knew of to take an irreverent approach. Dozens of variations followed.

While Blackwell claimed he was "not unkind," his critiques ranged from merely catty -- "Words fail me!" he wrote in 1963 of screen ingenue Sandra Dee -- to cutting: -- "Do-it-yourself kit with the wrong instructions!" he pronounced about the fashion taste of Hollywood sex kitten Elke Sommer in his 1973 list.

"The list has whimsy," he insisted. "It's camp."

At times he published his choices for the best-dressed women of the year. Joan Crawford and Audrey Hepburn ranked in the 1960s, Nicole Kidman later on.

He announced his verdicts at an annual news conference in his Hancock Park home. Several times in the early 1970s, he was invited to expand on his choices as a guest on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." In the 1980s and '90s, he commented on Oscar fashions during televised coverage of the Academy Awards.

He included men, particularly if they dressed in drag on screen or stage. Comedian Milton Berle got dinged in 1996 for his "padded brassiere and corseted rear." Boy George, the pop singer who wore lipstick and eye shadow, and Elton John with his feathered capes got caught in Blackwell's radar in the 1980s.

Some of Blackwell's targets fired back. When he took aim at country singer Barbara Mandrell in 1981 ("Yukon Sally playing the Alamo"), she sent him a jeweled lapel pin that spelled out "Big Mouth." He wore it proudly.

Others, including Jayne Mansfield, turned to him for advice. In 1961, after criticizing the actress with the hourglass figure for her "plunging neckline [that] has become a bare midriff problem," he supplied her with a wardrobe for her role in "Promises! Promises!" a 1963 movie best known for Mansfield's nude scenes.,0,6367465.story

Friday, October 10, 2008

The End is Near Part 3

The end is near, again, and again, and again. 

Headlines and articles herald the end of nationalization of banks and incipient socialist reform under BUSH of all people, noting that Europe, Asia and the IMF are rethinking their emulation of, or participation in, US models of "laissez-faire capitalism." Reagan-Thatcherite Univesity of Chicago School loosening of regulation and "trickle down economics" are now being evaluated as we plunge into a global depression probably worse than 1929. In truth I cannot say that I understand this phenomenon other than to know that "laissez-faire capitalism" is unjust and that of course it was bound to fail, and now I probably won't be able to afford to retire until I am 95, if I live that long. 

Yet I know that am one of the privileged few that has a home, a job, health insurance, some savings that are worth less and less but they still exist. 

Since I am a student of visual culture and media representation, I am fascinated by the ways in which this crisis is most frequently depicted through images of desperate male traders. The "masters of the universe" as Jay McInerney baptized them in the 1980s, are now seemingly suffering from a collective meltdown. The financial industry's version of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Akin to what New Yorkers suffered after 9/11? Similar to what the majority of vets coming back from Irak manifest? (even if that Stepford Wife Cindy McCain, in a Marie Claire interview, denies that PTSD exists and claims her psycho husband was "trained" to serve and thus unaffected emotionally, blaming the problems of other vets on their immaturity and lack of military education). 

I'm mesmerized by the ways in which this profession is gendered male, and how we expect a certain invulnerability, arrogance, confidence - their collective bluff, much like a poker game, sustained our belief in our own collective economic power and invulnerability. Rarely do you see shows of emotion in men in the US. This is why Biden's choking when discussing the death of his wife and child in an accident was so jarring and riveting. This is why people loved the dictatorial confidence of Giuliani, the platitude-driven reassuring down-homeiness of Reagan and now Bush the Second, and why I have drunk the Kook-Aid for Barack Obama's empathetic yet masterful in control poise. We all want a "daddy" to tell us everything is under control.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vote for Hairdresser Lula and Claudio Henrique -Barack Obama!

One of my loyal readers and fellow connoisseur of hilarious and absurd naming practices sent me the article below, which had me in hysterics. Enjoy!

Petite Maoiste-Michelle Obama

'Barack Obama' contests Brazil elections against 'Chico Bin Laden'
Six candidates in Brazil's local elections have "adopted" the name Barack Obama to help set themselves apart from hundreds of rivals.

By Andrew Downie in Sao Paulo
Last Updated: 7:46PM BST 01 Oct 2008

Claudio Henrique-Barack Obama is one of eight candidates who have taken up the Illinois senator's name during local elections in Brazil. However the three candidates who registered to contest the polls as Obama and another three who are now called Barack - or in one case Barak - Obama, have some stiff competition if they hope to stand out.
More than 200 hopefuls contesting the municipal polls next weekend have renamed themselves after Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the country's popular president with an approval rating of 80 per cent.

Others have selected monikers from the wild to the ridiculous. There are candidates named after animals (Cattle Ana, Elephant Without a Tail), vehicles (German in the Lorry, Jeep Johnny), kitchen utensils (Big Charlie Knives, Golden Fork), US presidents (Bill Clinton, Jorge Bushi) and infamous Middle-Eastern leaders (DJ Saddam, John Bin Laden, Chico Bin Laden, Luis Bin Laden). King of the Cuckolds, Kung Fu Fatty and The Second King of Prawns will also contest the polls.
Claudio Henrique dos Anjos registered the name Claudio Henrique-Barack Obama as the one voters will see on the ballot after people started comparing him with the Democratic candidate.

"I am black and I wore a suit on television and people started to tell me I was just like that Barack Obama guy in the United States," said Mr dos Anjos, who is running for mayor of Belford Roxo, a city on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
"It was a great idea, more and more people are paying attention to my campaign. People can see that I have plans and programmes, not that I am just some guy out for power."

Brazilian politicians often adopt unusual names at election time. Candidates are allowed to either register in their own name or a chosen one. Many use their long-held nicknames but some adopt outlandish identities to grab attention.
Lula's personal approval rating hit 80 percent this week, higher than any president since polling began more than 20 years ago, and many candidates have added Lula to their name in the hope that some of his success will rub off.
One man went as far as changing his name to President Lula. Others call themselves Ambulance Lula, Radio Lula, Singer Lula, Hairdresser Lula and Here Comes Lula.

Few have a real chance at election. But the Brazilian Barack Obama is confident both he and his namesake are in with a good chance of victory. "He is doing a bit better than me but things are changing and I think we'll at least get into a run off," said the Brazilian version. "I've got a harder task than he does, he's already nine points ahead of McCain. And I don't have $64 million in my campaign chest."


Royal Portraiture Remains a Means of Communication

Recently, I wrote about the paradigm shift in representations of monarchy ushered in by the Princesa de Asturia's rhinoplasty. Not only did the Royal Family throw their non-blue-blooded daughter-in-law under the bus by admitting to the press that she'd had work done, but now she suffers the additional indignity of news articles asking people to vote on whether before or after looks better! Today articles pointed out that her wax figure in Madrid's renowned museum (an entire entry, no book, could be written about that site!) has been suitably altered. If only Goya were alive. 

More on the Debate

Sunday, October 5, 2008

SNL on the VP Debate - HILARIOUS

Best of Sarah Palin

Get the latest news satire and funny videos at


Friday, October 3, 2008

La Lloroncita

Quetcy Alma Martinez De Jesus, artistic name "La Lloroncita," somehow was unknown to me until about a half hour ago when one of my genius friends, whose expertise straddles Siglo de Oro literature, recondite areas of Spanish philology, HOLA! magazine semiotics, and, apparently, teen-aged Puerto Rican songstresses of the 1960s and early 1970s, shared the video below. La Lloroncita earned her name according to the bio I read (URL is below) for her ability to cry on cue, and the "cita" because she is about 4 feet tall. Damn, if those were the qualifications, I could have a hit career in my future. Apparently, she was a protege of the fabulous Myrta Silva.

She decided to leave her success behind for a discreet private life, much like Marisol, now Pepa Flores, did in Spain. I am glad she did because to see this video, as she entered puberty, no one thought to advise her to wax that mustache. On a serious note, she was singing an affecting song about her father's tour of duty in Viet Nam, in a sentimental fashion that indirectly points to the colonial aspects of having men fight in the war who in many cases could not vote in US elections.