Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Here's the website for the program:
Monday, August 24, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Tonight was the long-awaited Miss Universe Pageant, and although the production value was lower than usual (which is already quite low), and the guest stars pretty much nobodies (Heidi Montag? who is she? and why can't she do a rudimentary choreography that looks like the aerobics for the elderly televised class that my sister and I happened to see in Miami one morning?) The judges included a real estate mogul called Lefrak (could he be the one to blame for the blocks and blocks of hideous apartments one passes going to and from JFK?), Andre Leon Talley, some guy that owns the Atlantis Resort, a series of people I've never heard of, Argentine model Valeria Mazza, and the host was a wax mummy featured Botoxed Billy Bush, and a woman I have never heard of.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Just recently I was wondering, what happened to that dapper man that was Foreign Minister under Hamid Karzai? I will admit that my areas of study are limited and Afghanistani politics is not one of them. (although it should be, given US military intervention in this country.) So although I know absolutely nothing about this gentleman's politics, I am glad that he is back in the news (he is running against his former collaborator to be the leader of his country), so that I can look at pictures like the ones above and below.
I know that it's incredibly shallow, but I love the way this man dresses. And as I discussed here before (see http://petitemaoiste.blogspot.com/2009/08/time-magazines-top-ten-worst-dressed.html ) there are plenty of world leaders that don't have a clue about fashion. I admit that some may think that there's nothing outstanding about the way he looks. After all, he dresses like a European businessman, an Italian count, a Spaniard emulating British aristocratic fashion. Yes, I will grant you that, but the fact is, he wears it well. The salt and pepper hair, the trimmed beard, the dazzling smile, the English cut blazers (even worn with jeans!), the pocket square, the lace up Oxford shoes!!!!
During my recent stay in Miami I was able to return to a beloved restaurant that I had not visited since I was a teenager, the Cuban institution, Versailles. Like its namesake, this place is a palace, in this case of huge portions of Cuban home cooking. (I had a sublime meal of picadillo, arroz con frijoles, amarillos, and a sugary cortadito at the end, no room for flan, sadly.)
Green polyester uniformed waiters and waitresses, their names embroidered over the breast pocket swiftly served delighted diners their calorie laden meals. Abuelitos in their crisp guayaberas lingered over buchitos of black coffee. Families shared a feast. I almost wept over the multi-page menu, trying to decide between the picadillo, the bistec empanado (which due to its size would always elicit the same exlamation from my father "Ea rayo, eso no es un bistec, es una sabana! - Wow this isn't a breaded steak, it's a bed sheet!"), the pastel de platano y picadillo, or the bistec de palomilla.
The decoration made me wish I could go back and do another doctorate this one in architectural history and / or cultural studies focusing on the restaurant's design. The interior is a 1970s Panopticon, all mirrored surfaces, walls, domes, labyrinthine rooms echoing each other, meals replicating themselves visually as they also proliferate in rapid succession throughout the tables. Chandeliers like the one in my abuela's dining room, glittering in the mirrors. Naugahyde chairs squeaking beneath me, paper place mats bearing the name "Versailles" in a Gothic font.
The hideously vulgar and sexist T-shirts give you an indication of the agenda behind most tourists' visit: drinking, hooking up, blacking out and or throwing up.
I've just returned from my first visit to South Beach. Like the wannabe socialites Alex and Simon on the Real Housewives of NY, who summer in St. Bart's because it's cheaper off-season, I hit the area in August. Although I was there to relax, tan, sleep, drool over the Art Deco architecture, visit the fabulous Wolfsonian museum of design and propaganda, eat Cuban food, and shop, apparently the majority of people there visit under the impression that it's the Cancun of Southeast Florida.
This sets the stage for the dreaded accolade of Collective Fashion Citation. There are a couple of schools of thought on trauma. Either you try to forget it and move on, or you go there to process it and move on. I am opting for the latter, forcing myself to recall the fashion, which burned my sight like acid. The aesthetic highs and lows were extreme: beautiful beaches, water, sky, gorgeous Art Deco everywhere, and bad bad bad fashion.
The women were the worst offenders. A plethora of tramp stamps, bedazzled bikinis, triquinis, stripper shoes with lucite heels, mesh dresses, shorts revealing half of the butt cheek, fringed suede booties, white lycra leggings, skintight denim mini dresses, enormous earrings and bracelts worn on the beach, bedraggled platinum blonde weaves drooping and crying out for a hot oil treatment, long toe nails with elaborate French manicures, a male and female couple in matching flowery bathing wear (he with a banana hammock, those were quite popular). A grisly parade of flesh.
The men were either undergroomed - such as the Italians with grave manscaping issues (such as backs resembling the brown shag carpet in Burt Reynolds' bachelor pad circa 1972), or grave over-manscaping issues (Latinos and gays with eyebrows plucked like a 1950s debutante). They either wore miniscule banana hammocks or oversized and long shorts.
The demographic was: gays, Italians, youngish people from the North East (particularly NY and NJ), French, and a smattering of either Portuguese or Brazilians. The Italians made me rethink my former adulation of them as the most stylish beings on earth, with the best-looking men. Tragic.
There was a lot of public drinking at the beach, and itinerant boys approached gaggles of girls in thong bikinis with boob implants and bad tattoos about a great party where, for sixty dollars, they'd be picked up in a limo, taken somewhere to eat a meal accompanied by all the alcohol they could drink, followed by VIP treatment at a club and bottle service which consisted of Grey Goose and plastic cups. Nice. Fortunately, this only took place on the weekends, during the week it was much quieter and the partying was limited to restaurants on Ocean Drive and presumably, in clubs at an unknown location.
I was tucked into bed watching real estate porn - House Hunters International - and turning in early so as to get more beach time in the morning, and stamina to walk up and down as many streets as possible, photographing the cool Art Deco buildings. Perhaps the club hawkers didn't approach my sister and I because I was either reading SEMANA, HOLA magazine's slightly less chic sister publication, or Evelyn Waugh, and she was reading a book about Marxist philosophy. Also, I think nerdy girls with glasses and retro bikinis with major rear coverage are not the demographic they are after!
Thursday, August 13, 2009
TIME Magazine has posted a top ten worst-dressed leaders' list and lord knows I read a lot of funny things on-line but this tops anything I have seen lately. Fittingly I have discovered it while struggling to find words to describe schandisimo portraits of bloody dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco (oddly not featured in the list).
Safari Wear in the Hermit Kingdom
Iran's Members Only President
Given Iran's strict religious culture and the series of grim-faced, dourly dressed clerics that have been the face of the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution, one might expect more of the same from newly re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But Ahmadinejad's relaxed, man-of-the-people approach to fashion has garnered almost as much attention as his hard-line politics.
Like most Iranians, the President does not wear a necktie — a rule that was set in place by Ayatullah Khomeini, who banned them for being decadent and un-Islamic and for contributing to the spread of Western culture. Instead, he opts for simple cotton shirts topped with his trademark, a $30 Chinese-made khaki windbreaker purchased from a Tehran bazaar. The windbreaker, commonly dubbed the Ahmadinejacket, is widely derided for its similarity to the Members Only jackets that were briefly popular in the West in the 1980s; still, it has become popular among supporters hoping to emulate the President's look.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Newscaster Gloria Soltero makes an impassioned plea against the government of Luis Fortuño (or Luis Infortunio as wits refer to him) and his incessant and ruthless cuts of Island arts and culture organizations. Tu TV is like the PBS of Puerto Rico. According to Wikipedia (I know, I know) it first aired in 1958, so it was "The first educational TV station in Latin America" and it is non-commercial and affiliated with PBS.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
And the grisly aftermath, when Teresa is more inarticulate than usual in her rage:
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
CRÍTICA: LLAMADA EN ESPERA
Estrella de Diego
Llevo semanas literalmente pegada al ordenador, presa de unas noticias que, inscritas en la pantalla, llegan frescas, como surgidas de las fauces mismas del acontecimiento. Me he acostumbrado de tal manera a la información continua e inmediata que en las noches de insomnio me levanto a mirar si ha pasado algo nuevo. Lo miro desde el ordenador de casa, en una pantalla prestada, a oscuras en el cine con mi iPhone. Es ese flujo lo que engancha; es el carácter abierto, inacabado de las informaciones lo que conmueve nuestra imaginación contemporánea; saber que siempre va a pasar algo más que va a llegar en secuencias, paso a paso, como los suspiros. Es el hueco descubierto por los psicoanalistas que ha encontrado en Internet un sitio donde abismar los vértigos.
Así que me engancho voraz a las noticias que van llegando desde Neverland. Tampoco significa nada concreto: antes fueron Berlusconi e Italia. Como amantes de repertorio, las obsesiones se van sucediendo sistemáticas frente a la pantalla, unidas por lazos sutilísimos que, en las noches de insomnio, se configuran claros y contundentes. En el fondo, me digo, el ataúd vacío de Michel Jackson se parece en lo rocambolesco al vaudeville italiano. Se parecen Jackson y Berlusconi en sus caras falsas, su pelo prestado, la pasión por los menores —o eso dicen sus respectivas esposas—. O se parecen, al menos, en Internet que lo iguala todo, sin jerarquías, sin controles, sin tino. Mezcla intrépida de aluvión infinito que tragamos sin tiempo para saborearlo.
Pese a la brevedad de las sensaciones —o por esa misma brevedad— llevo días siguiendo la noticia de la muerte del gran mito del Pop —aunque no el mejor, porque el título habría debido corresponder a Prince si Jackson no hubiera salido de escena tan ostentoso—. Corro tras la noticia que se instala en mi pantalla mientras me he ido a por agua a la cocina. Hasta entro en un concurso absurdo, yo, que me las doy de seria. Me decepciono cuando no me toca la entrada al funeral-concierto —costaba incluso más que la reventa de Tomás en la Monumental—. Mejor, pienso, resuelta a retomar mi vida. Luego te toca y menuda pereza llegar hasta allí, toda apretada, con la compañía de bajo coste de turno. Una señora, con lágrimas en los ojos, declaraba su perplejidad ante las cámaras: “A mí nunca me ha tocado nada y ahora me toca esto…”. Es esa perplejidad tan contemporánea la que nos emociona, la incapacidad misma de entender qué hacemos allí, de qué modo tan radical ha cambiado la Red nuestras vidas.
Lo voy rumiando mientras me asomo a YouTube —Nuestra Señora de YouTube—. Vuelvo a ver Thriller —no me canso nunca de verlo—, uno de los mejores videoclips de los ochenta. Es más: una de las obras maestras de la década. Nada de buscar la esencia de aquella época en esta o la otra corriente artística —ni apropiacionismo, ni neopop, ni neoconceptual—. Hasta la llegada de MTV —el canal sólo de videoclips en sesión continua, a su modo fragmentario y abierto como la pantalla del ordenador— los destellos de relato, rápidos y eficaces, musicales con un final también casi siempre feliz, irrumpían en la pantalla casera. Se colaban entre los anuncios y los esperábamos con ansiedad antigua, regusto a “peticiones del oyente” en la radio: un momento de distracción y la canción se había desvanecido fugaz. Ahora, por fin, se han saciado las ansiedades: en la Red podemos regresar a cada fragmento de realidad con la frecuencia que decidamos. La esencia fragmentaria del medio lo permite y ahí radica la paradoja: recuperar a la carta cada cosa del mundo con la velocidad malsana de la noticia.