Archive for October, 2009

October 28, 2009

MORE FAGS, MORE FUN

tom_kolovos_wordpressnewI’m pretty sure the Catholic Church doesn’t like gay people because in its experience gay people are a pain in the ass. Sort of how Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots) must have felt about Queen Elizabeth I.

Given that Jesus said not a single word in the Bible about homosexuality, the utter contempt that the Catholic hierarchy has for gays is in large part understandable because it is informed by its perverse experience of conflating  homosexuality with  the rampant unchecked pedophilia in its ranks and the laundry list of sins committed in the still persistent cover up.

In the movie “Heathers,” when Winona Ryder is asked point blank “why are you such a bitch?” the only possible answer is “because I can be.” You can’t imagine  what a terrorist bitch the Catholic Church is in the lives of gay people.  Consider, for example, the complicated dance between the Catholic Church and the breakaway factions of the Anglican Church (Episcopalians in the US), a dance which began back when Henry XIII picked a little fight with the Vatican over some women and their inability to produce little boy babies.

This week, the Pope and the entire Catholic hierarchy, which  has been/ still is pardoning and harboring child molesters in its ranks for God only knows how long, is now openly accepting  disgruntled homophobic married Anglicans priests and their congregations who object to such 21st century nonsense as openly gay or female clergy and gay civil unions (and  let’s not forget condoms) into the Catholic fold.

(I left the Anglican Church and all I got was this lousy T-shirt: YOU HATE GAY PEOPLE? WELCOME. PSSSST: AND IF YOU WANNA F**K SOME LITTLE BOYS TOO, NO PROBLEM! We’ve got a primo 9 year old or two with the body of 7  a year old. Right this way.)

This move, while characteristically reactionary, is not altogether unfathomable since historically the Church hasn’t exactly been in the vanguard of human rights or anything that might be called progress. Western history of the last 500 years can plausibly be seen as one giant bitch slap to the Vatican.

When you consider that Martin Luther declared “every man his own priest” and led  the Protestant Reformation which gave rise to the political theory of John Locke  which led to the Declaration of Independence, the much vaunted Vatican II  did nothing more than bring the Catholic Church straight into the 16th century.

Homosexuality, thus understood, is understandably a pain the ass.  So what could possibly be wrong with something to ease the pain? Think of homophobia as the Catholic Church’s answer to universal health care. Happy gay people and openly gay clergy? Not in this 16th century or any other.

It shouldn’t surprise the world, I suppose, that a German Pope who was a member of the Nazi youth, where homoerotica was more rampant than an Abercrombie + Fitch ad campaign, would throw a welcome party for homophobes. After all, the last time the Germans threw a party, they threw a Holocaust. “Burn, baby burn. It’s a disco inferno.”

Yes, the Jews were the first order of business of the Third Reich but gays were the second. You’d think that the Church would be inclined to learn from its mistakes. In a recent essay, Ginia Bellafante assessed the rise and fall of the subjects of  real estate reality shows lamenting that the Bravo hit Flipping Out “lays fraud to the idea that misfortune builds character and makes us better people. Mr. Lewis does not become a better person. He remains greedy, petulant, small-minded, arrogant without justification, ill-tempered, ungenerous — singularly detestable.” Il Papa is in the house.

Projecting his own Nazi past and the misery of pedophiles onto gay people is doubly detestable.  And no fun at all. Maybe next June “God’s Rottweiller” should go to Gay Days at Disney in Orlando and meet Kitty Meow for a Red Bull summit.

It might be instructive for the entire Church to see how “the happiest place on earth,” a creation of  a closeted gay man named Walt Disney, and the very place which once scorned gay people in the name of “family values,” now welcomes them by the hundreds of thousands each year during the first week in June.

Hey Ben, you don’t know what fun is until you’ve been bumping and grinding on a dance floor at  MGM studios, as you look up to the heavens and see  Kitty Meow, Chyna Girl and Power lip synch to the throbbing techno beat remix of Mary Mary’s spiritual “Shackles” (“take the shackles off my feet so I can dance, I just wanna praise You”)  and doing scissor kicks, each on a 3 story cherry picker, while climactically strategic fireworks explode  behind the Magic Kingdom. Unspeakable joy!

While the world has changed enough that gay tattooed love boys  can be found partying and tripping on the dance floor  to the drum and base beat (shirtless and flaunting their six packs, great America) at Gay Days, you don’t have to be Einstein, baby, to see that Pope Ben is flipping out.

Benedict XVI (or as he will properly be known in American human rights circles, Benedict Arnold II) is guilt tripping on  internalized self loathing  and bumping and grinding to the drumbeat of the ideology of the Nazi party of his youth. “No blacks no Jews and no gays.” No if and or but for the grace of God there go I.

But what do I know? I’m just a boy standing in front of a Pope asking him to love me. ( I’ll follow you around until you love me, Papa, Papanazi.)

Good thing I refuse to kneel.

TheBestDressedList.com

TomKolovos.com

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October 18, 2009

Every picture tells a story, don’t it?

tom_kolovos_wordpressnew

All dressed up and nowhere to go? You’re not alone.

You’ve got the 4 models in the Victor Skrebneski produced fashion feature in the 27th anniversary issue of Today’s Chicago Woman to keep you company.  Spread on the floor, each in a 2 page spread,  in various stages of orgasmic exhibitionism which every couture clad professional gal surely finds herself now and again and again, the first model appears to be using her bejeweled bangled hand to pocket pool herself and, when she reappears at the end, she’s using her entire forearm to anally….WTF?

“Success stories don’t get much better than this” proclaims the cover. Really? Yes, the caption does, in all fairness, refer to the real estate agent on the cover but who cares about her and her success when Skrebneski locates the multiple listing service in your G spot?

In stark contrast, and  as conceived by Maurizio Cattelan and  photographed by Pierpaolo Ferrari, the cover of the November issue of W magazine is  part of what the editors describe as a “politically and religiously charged portfolio” starring Linda Evangelista.

I can’t guarantee that what you’ll find inside the pages of the 4th annual “art issue” has any more or less artistic merit than what you find inside Today’s Chicago Woman, but  I am sure that the cover photo has a  politically charged urgency that taps into the global zeitgeist and that stops you dead in your tracks as it sets your mind racing.

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Here’s the surreal juxtaposition of Linda”I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day” Evangelista, the most cinematic of the 80’s “greed is good” supermodels, a good deal more rotund  than current standards allow but no less the superb “still actress” she always was, holding a cardboard sign that declares “IT MUST BE SOMEBODY’S FAULT.”

As obvious as the cardboard sign is to read (and agree with if it refers to the global economic meltdown), what it means depends on how you read it. For starters, where in that sentence is the correct inflection? (Fans of the masterful film writer and director John Sayles will recall the “I didn’t ask for the anal probe” scene from Passion Fish.)

And how does one read that sign given the rest of the images in the photo?

She’s is, after all, wearing an Oscar de la Renta dress and $1,699,000.00 in De Beer’s diamond jewelry including a double cross. She’s perfectly manicured, coiffed and made up but the expression on her face is alarmingly vacant.  What, if anything, is really bothering, bewildering and bewitching her? An American flag can be seen  clearly affixed to a building behind her. The gaze of the suited black male is ambiguously affixed to her? To us? To the studly white uniformed male intruding in the right foreground?

Who is she? Victim? Perpetrator? Prophet? Judge? Jury? Grand Inquisitor?  Who are the men and who are they to her?

And what is IT? The spectacular fall of the supermodel? The divulsion of the unregulated derivative/Bernie Madoff ponzi economy?  The inability of Miley Cyrus to, like,  construct a proper sentence in, like, English ? The collapse of the luxury goods market? Is she sympathetic or pathetic?

Life imitated art Thursday night, making the timing of the politically and religiously charged portfolio even more prescient, at a town hall meeting in New Orleans where President Obama was asked by Tyren Scott, a  4th-grader, “Why do people hate you? And why, aren’t they supposed to love you, if God is love?”

The President came up with an unfortunately  simplistic and patronizing answer, as if to prove that you can graduate from Harvard and teach at the University of Chicago, but you’re still not smarter than a 4th grader. When Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd have lost any semblance of faith in your competence, you’re just stroking your own oversize ego when you declare:

“First of all, I did get elected president, so not everybody hates me; I got a whole lot of votes. A lot of it is what’s called politics, where once one party wins, the other party feels like they’ve got to poke you a little bit to keep you on your toes. So you shouldn’t take it too seriously.”

Seriously, Tyren, IT MUST BE SOMEBODY’S FAULT. And after 9 months of on the job ineptitude on foreclosure reform, health care reform, banking reform, immigration reform. ‘don’t ask don’t tell” reform and evisceration of every campaign promise by special interest politics, the fault lies squarely with Barck Obama. Location, location, location.

Good art sometimes thrives on ambiguity and even derives its meaning from it. Political leadership does not.

TheBestDressedList.com

tomkolovos.com


October 11, 2009

Love in the Time of Cholera (2009)

tom_kolovos_wordpressnew

Hopelessly inarticulate, short, portly, poorly dressed, perpetually sweaty, his face toxically red from razor burn but not shame, graduate from the “don’t expect a Supreme Court justice to come from there anytime soon” John Marshall Law School, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has got to be looking at Barack Obama right now and laughing at him as if he wereBeyonce Clown from YouTube.

Because they don’t give Nobel prizes to the likes of  Henry Kissinger over Gandhi (or political immunity to child molesters  like Roman Polanski) anymore, Richard Daley was overlooked by the Nobel committee.

Chicago politics is infamous for corruption.  Well articulated pleasantries, transparency and full disclosure were run out of this town long before the gentrification began. (We’re happy enough not to be Florida, the state responsible for the coup d’etat that was the 2000 election.)

Daley, the Father and  the Son, and the wholly spirited voters can proclaim we built this city in 6 decades.  And on an unusually warm night last November, we rested on our laurels as the whole world watched us rebuild this city, Barack, and all.

Daley was named as best mayor in the US–and it wasn’t because of his ability to put together a  stirring sentence in proper English but because he gets things done.  It was  because he was able to put the right cronies–sorry, civic minded supporters– including his brother into the Clinton administration, in the right place at the right time to get what he wanted: to make this scrappy little two horse town (which his father had inherited as a one horse town) into a world class city, critics, ethics, the media, his constituents, longtime friends, and common decency (anyone remember how callously and shamelessly he ruined Miriam Santospolitical career so he could save his own?) be damned.

There’s a fine line between a benevolent dictator and  Dick Cheney, and Rich Daley knows exactly where that is.

It’s a safe bet to say that with the possible exception of his wife, no one loves Richard Daley.  A handful of people may have good reason to hate him, but everyone fears Richard Daley. More accurately put, people fear that he has and can use political clout  against them if they don’t line up behind him. That, my dear, is called effective leadership. Perhaps Daley will buy Obama a copy of Machiavelli’s The Prince for Christmas.  Or perhaps Oprah might add Gabriel Garcia Marquez to her book club. We  can put the books on lay away  for him since the city doesn’t have enough money at the moment. (Blame it on Rio.)

As Bill Clinton and George W Bush showed us, we will tolerate, admire even, highly flawed individuals in politics if they know how to fight, fight back and fight dirty even as, or despite that, they cleanse their souls of their inner demons well within public view, whether it’s to compensate for being daddy’s abandoned little lamb or the black sheep of the family.

The racist lunatic fringe of the Republican Party (hard to miss) and drug addicted talk show hosts (hard to miss but hard to imprison?) who rant about deporting immigrants while they run the Hispanic maid, who they forced into being  their drug runner, out of the country so she can’t be found by prosecutors, don’t fear  Obama the man. They fear the effects of the changing racial demographics that will  challenge their social order. No one fears  President Barack Obama.

As Jimmy “lust in my heart” Carter and George “kinder and gentler” Bush proved, we’ve got only so much political tolerance for an ineffectual do gooder. We like leaders willing to get down and dirty. There comes a time when we tire of you running your mouth about your “achey breaky heart” — just ask all those pissed off queens last night at the Human Rights Campaign Fund gala who paid $1000 a person to be patronized–and we want to see you put up a fight.  And win.

All love, most especially political love, is conditional. Put out or get out. Put up or shut up. Just do it.

And as Lady Gaga so aptly  sang to the crowd last night, “baby when it’s love, if it’s not rough it isn’t fun.”

TomKolovos.com

October 9, 2009

Lindsay Lohan wins surprise Nobel Peace Prize as Creative Director of Emanuel Ungaro

tom_kolovos_wordpressnew

Yes she can. Don’t laugh. After today anything is possible. Chic happens. All you need is a vision board.

Stop laughing and compare, side by side, the statements of Mounir Moufarrige, the chief executive of Emanuel Ungaro and Thorbjorn Jagland, the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee , as published in The New York Times.

ON MR OBAMA: “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” the committee said in its citation. “His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.”

“Obama has as president created a new climate in international politics,” the committee wrote. “Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.”

ON MS LOHAN: The market for luxury goods has been so bad, he said, that hiring a traditional designer would not make enough of a difference to get people into his stores. With retailers cutting their orders by 30 percent or more this year, there was little chance that Ungaro could survive without getting more attention. He said he did not believe that Ms. Lohan’s history of well-publicized personal problems would get in the way of her job at Ungaro or have a detrimental impact on the brand.

At that moment, his cell phone rang. It was a security guard telling him that Ms. Lohan and her sister, Ali, had gone downstairs into the store to try on some clothes. The store, in fact, was now mobbed.

ON MR OBAMA: Interviewed later in the Nobel Committee’s wood-paneled meeting room, surrounded by photographs of past winners, Mr. Jagland brushed aside concerns expressed by some critics that Mr. Obama remains untested.

“The question we have to ask is who has done the most in the previous year to enhance peace in the world,” Mr. Jagland said. “And who has done more than Barack Obama?”

He compared the selection of Mr. Obama with the award in 1971 to the then West German Chancellor Willy Brandt for his “Ostpolitik” policy of reconciliation with communist eastern Europe.

“Brandt hadn’t achieved much when he got the prize, but a process had started that ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall,” said Mr. Jagland. “The same thing is true of the prize to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990, for launching perestroika. One can say that Barack Obama is trying to change the world, just as those two personalities changed Europe.”

ON MS LOHAN: Ms. Lohan represents a modern version of a fashion muse. She is an actress who is being paid — with a deal reported to be worth millions — to serve as artistic adviser, most unlike the classic image, for example, of Loulou de la Falaise, the dear friend of Saint Laurent and daughter of the model Maxime de la Falaise, who would gently nudge a bow and whisper to the great couturier that it looked chicer that way.

Mr. Moufarrige, during an interview in his office above the Ungaro store on Avenue Montaigne, argued that the controversy could still be good for the brand. He pointed out that he has made controversial hires in the past that ultimately were vindicated, noting that he replaced Karl Lagerfeld with Stella McCartney, the daughter of Paul McCartney, at Chloé in 1997. Though Ms. McCartney’s appointment indeed ruffled feathers among the French design establishment, she did have formal design training and has since gone on to develop a successful signature line.

ON MR OBAMA: “We have to get the world on the right track again,” he said. Without referring specifically to the Bush era, he continued: “Look at the level of confrontation we had just a few years ago. Now we get a man who is not only willing but probably able to open dialogue and strengthen international institutions.”

ON MS LOHAN: Mounir Moufarrige, the chief executive of the company, acknowledged in an interview that the move would likely create waves among French fashion purists, possibly even charges of bad taste, but he argued that the times called for a maneuver he likened to “electric shock treatment.” Sales of the high-end Ungaro collection have dropped substantially since Mr. Ungaro sold his business in 1996, and none of the designers hired to replace him since his retirement five years ago have managed to draw much attention to the label.

“She knows the difference between what looks good, what is not and what is cool,” Mr. Moufarrige said. “Celebrities today attract a lot of attention and having a moving, dancing, swinging, living doll is, we hope, going to bring down the age group at Ungaro while keeping the DNA.”

ON  MR OBAMA: “We are not awarding the prize for what may happen in the future, but for what he has done in the previous year,” Mr. Jagland said. “We would hope this will enhance what he is trying to do.”

ON MS LOHAN: “A designer alone is not enough to get us back where we were, unless I had Tom Ford or Phoebe Philo,” he said. “But there are not many of those, and they are taken.”

“We could spend two or three years with a designer and get a great collection again,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean people will buy it. Everybody’s got a nice collection.” But a celebrity, that’s another story, and one who draws the spotlight just for selling a line of leggings couldn’t do worse. “I looked at several, and they all had the same ingredients,” Mr. Moufarrige said. “If you are a celebrity, you may be controversial and prone to a lot of problems, but you attract a lot of attention.”

So, are you still laughing? I wonder if Kanye West will accompany Ms Lohan to Oslo in December.

TheBestDressedList.com

October 8, 2009

Penis and Serena

It’s a new game and we’re playing with new balls people.

After a year of poking around the the personal lives of  John Ensign, John Edwards, Jon “plus eight” Gosselin and the other johns, Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer and David Letterman, it’s almost impossible to believe that straight married guys have any willpower to keep it in their pants.

Levi Johnson, Sarah Palin’s once potential future ex son in law, is refreshingly making no bones about it and, with  a “you can put lipstick on a pig but it’s still a pig” humility, he officially announced today what was long rumored: he will pose naked for Playgirl.

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The announcement comes just as Serena Williams, the woman who declared at the 2009 US Open “there’s no dynasty without nasty,” is to appear nude on the cover of the “body issue” of  ESPN magazine.

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The aptly named Mr Johnson, you’ll remember, rose to prominence as the lesson-learned-the-hard- way  comeuppence to  hockey moms who simultaneously believe in immaculate conception and teaching your children that abstinence is a foolproof method of birth control.

He’s already posed shirtless whilst diapering his baby for GQmagazine. He’s escorted Kathy Griffin to an awards show, thus positioning himself, so to speak, to the gay marketplace.  So what’s  the big deal about extending his 15 minutes of fame and palling around with his “nothing comes between us and our Levi” fanbase, especially when the cold hard truth is he was “going rogue” way before all those posers hit the scene?

At least he’s got enough of a good head on his shoulders to acknowledge that, in his own still evolving first act of Going Rogue, no one will be reading the articles.

Sure, he’s hired a trainer and is spending 3 hours a day in the gym to prepare his body for public scrutiny, but that pales in comparison to Sarah Palin’s tough call to hire the co-author of a white supremacist’s book to ghostwrite her own book. What’s more salacious, posing nude or naked ambition?

Advantage Mr Johnson.

TheBestDressedList.com

October 4, 2009

Being Anthony Luciano

tom_kolovos_wordpressnewAristotle famously declared that “man without a city is either beast or god,”  by which he meant that communal participation is the defining characteristic of being human.

So when Anthony Luciano, the New York based accessories designer whose newest collection of lux handbags is flying off the shelves at Neiman Marcus, responds aphoristically in an email that “I’m not participating in the recession,” you have to  wonder if he is some glib beast whose head is stuck in the economic sand or, quite possibly, the incarnate deity that  every retailer could use  at the moment.

Anthony Luciano

Anthony Luciano

“I can only expand,”  he wrote in another email exchange, ” by saying I believe that even in tough economic times people are still drawn to beautiful and unique things which is what I do best. I have, of course, put more price conscious items into the line to attract a more discerning client but I will always do special custom made lux accessories.”


Eureka. Who needs any more bedazler logo crazed “status” bags? Who ever needed those in the first place?  In his current collection, Mr Luciano’s uses soft waxed and hand painted python to remarkable effect, producing, for instance, weightless hobo carryalls with over exaggerated leather tassels and irresistibly soft clutches with feminine floral touches. The waxing and painting produces solid colored  surfaces that remind one of licorice or liquid, even. Colored python skins have a subtlety akin to watercolors.

Even in July of last year someone had the good sense to point  out to Women’s Wear Daily that “if you want people to part with their money, they have to feel like they are getting something for it.” One wishes more retailers and designers shared WWD’s and Mr. Luciano’s insight. People don’t want basics in a down economy. They already have plenty of those. And they’ve already had it with  items whose prices bear no relation to craftsmanship.

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Even  if you’ve only recently started pinching your pennies, giving you something for your money is not a new concept for Mr. Luciano. Inside each of his handbags you’ll find he has sewn in a penny, his trademark since he started his company in 2000. “It’s an Italian tradition. When you give a handbag or wallet as a gift you should put money in it first for good luck.”

WHERE: Neiman Marcus Michigan Ave on Thursday October 8th and Friday October 9th
WHAT:  Meet Anthony Luciano and  watch him construct pieces by hand on the selling floor. Take the opportunity to collaborate with the designer and choose from a variety of hand picked frames from his vast collection to create a custom bag.  Anthony will help you choose the perfect leather and sketch a design and make your unique piece.

October 2, 2009

Who’s your daddy?

tom_kolovos_wordpressnew

If you weren’t able to make it to New York Fashion week this year, perhaps you can make it to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile on Saturday.

David Neville and Marcus Wainwright, the design duo behind the label Rag and Bone, will be making a personal appearance in Chicago, first on the 5th floor of Saks between noon and 2 pm and then at Intermix between 2 and 3:30pm.

This is the second visit by the lads to the Windy City in a year. Since they were last here at Hejfina in Bucktown, they have opened a second store in New York’s Soho neighborhood and both have become fathers for the second time.

It’s a testament to the speed with which this young label has ascended as a retail darling, and to the positive reviews for their  Spring 2010 show, that they  can swoop into town and, in a “who’s-your-daddy” show of force, land at both Saks and Intermix.

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While the Fall collection was inspired by a trip to Japan and the movies because, as Wainwright confessed, “I’ve always wanted a samurai sword and I’ve always loved Star Wars,”  Rag and Bone’s strength is in what he describes as “our English, military-school heritage mixed with a utilitarian, made-in-America ethos.”

The focus of their appearances in Chicago will be to promote the women’s line but guys don’t let that intimidate you. The lads make, among other things, some of the most covetable vests and leather jackets you’re likely to see, so you should run accross to the men’s store at Saks and invest in your future (stylish self).

Saks Fifth Avenue is located at 700 North Michigan Avenue and Intermix is located at 40 East Delaware in Chicago. Intermix will be offering  15% off any purchase of Rag and Bone.

TheBestDressedList.com