Archive for November, 2009

November 28, 2009

If lovin’ you is wrong

If you’re disappointed with Levi Johnson, who recently proved in Playgirl that he’s got as much  to offer between his legs as between his ears, then maybe you should shift your attention from Ricky Holly/NoWood to somebody who deserves it: Billy Currington.

He’s the country singer/songwriter whose current single “(God is great, beer is good and) People are Crazy is about as pithy as it gets.

Pithy, not pissy. Pissy would be Adam Lambert, who is blaming everything from Out magazine to  homophobia for the mismanagement of his career. It takes some balls going between and betwix there –all rogue/ all victim/all the time–and puts him on the fast track to  be the Sarah Palin of the gay/music world.

Apart from his instantly hummable songs which would sound right at home on a George Strait CD, what distinguishes Mr Currington  is his membership in the growing crop of  hunky country crooners who flaunt their big guns and gym toned bods and who, with studied nonchalance, look like they stepped out of the pages of Details magazine.

Call them countrymetrosexuals. Yes, I just made that term up, truthiness be told, and, no, it’s not an oxymoron. Tim McGraw and  Keith Urban are the most conspicuous of the breed. Red state or blue state, redneck or blue blood, it turns out the girls go crazy for a sharp un/dressed man.

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Mr. Currington must be doing something right because he’s become a fixture on the list of men who use their bodies as much as they use their voices to build a music career  and, as a result, also a fixture at the top of the charts. His video for the song “Must be doin’ somethin’ right” shows him completely comfortable with using his  “On the Waterfront” sexuality, pushing the envelope about as far as any mainstream  white male singer has since Chris Isaak‘s “Wicked Game” video.

And push he does. Unlike in “Wicked Game”, where the camera mostly devours and fetishizes Helena Christiansen as she shows off her body for (the male gaze and) Mr Isaak, in ” Must be doin’ something right,” the camera devours Mr Currington’s buff bod which is being shown off for the female gaze.

When you watch this video  you will be struck by how rare this display of male sexuality is in music videos while the female equivalent is almost obligatory for most female superstars, no matter their race, genre or, in Mariah‘s case, age. (Susan Boyle, beware.)

After his preposterous over the top gay underground visual extravaganzaon the American Music Awards was roundly criticized, Mr Lambert fired back that there was a double standard being applied to him because he was gay , pointing to  Madonna and Brittney Spears as examples of performers who have used overtly sexual imagery in their performances, including a same sex kiss for instance, without having to face the wrath of the censors.

He’s only partly right. Yes, conspicuous (and caricatured) displays of gay male sexuality  on network television (but not cable) make America uncomfortable in  2009. So do “wardrobe malfunctions.” Just ask Janet Jackson. But he’s fundamentally  doing somethin’ wrong when he refuses to factor in that America is just now becoming comfortable with routinely fetishizing the male anatomy for the consumption of the female viewer, with (who would have guessed) countrymetrosexuals leading the way.

(See also the ads for Emporio Armani underwear featuring David Beckham.)

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It’s going to take some time before America embraces Mr. Lambert kissing male keyboardists let alone orally sodomizing dancers onstage. In the meantime, Adam, if you want to entertain us, start by keeping it in your pants and  record a few good songs and an album that doesn’t get panned by critics.

It worked for  Tim and Keith and Billy.

November 25, 2009

*What a difference a year makes (or That Night and Today)

I know it  seems  to those of you who read this blog on a regular basis that  I’m prone to hyperbole but,  actually, I’m a master of understatement.

Stop laughing.

Consider how restrained I was, both on television and in print, in describing how much I didn’t like Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown.

I was so restrained, especially on television, that people actually called me afterwards to ask me privately if  I really liked the dress or not.

I danced around that question in every sociopoliticaleconomic way possible that the anchor, Zoraida Sambolin, had to “bottom line” me as well. Did you like the dress or not, Tom?

Once I saw the dress on the night of the inauguration I knew that I couldn’t say that I liked it, because who in their right mind would, right?

I also knew that I couldn’t possibly go on television and write a blog for NBC saying I hated it because who in their right mind would want to hear such a thing, especially from someone who has styled her in the past?

Certainly, no one in Chicago. Certainly, no Democrat. Certainly not the friends who begged me– begged me, I swear– not to say anything bad about the dress which everyone else apparently instantly fell in  love with in the blogoshere and on television that night. Why risk pissing people off, Tom? Would it kill you to say something nice?  Yes, Tom, about the dress. Do you want everyone to hate you?  Are you nuts? Say something nice, for God’s sake!

So I stayed up a good deal of the night  (I had to get up at 4:30 in the morning to get to the studio) trying to figure out how I could balance giving my honest professional opinion without  offending public opinion. (Actually, I do that all the time but no one notices. Hmmm.)

So I said what I said and I wrote what I wrote.

I think I acquitted myself quite honorably, if I do say so myself.

Why do I bring this up now, you say? I bring this up today because I now have undeniable proof I was right about that dress and because not a  single  sighted person in the universe can  begrudge me that certitude. I knew the night of the inauguration that she was capable of looking and should have looked– with proper counsel–so much better.

How good could/should she have looked?

Look at Mrs Obama last night at the state dinner for the Prime Minister of India wearing an exquisite custom gown by Naeem Khan. Look at the hair and the makeup and the jewelry (especially those stunning Bochic earings) too.

Now stop looking. I dare you.

Do you see today what I saw on the night of the Inauguration? I’m pretty sure you do now. You don’t have to say a thing.  I understand perfectly.

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November 25, 2009








And you thought I had something to say. LMAO

November 23, 2009

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN SING: Live Like You’re Dying at the American Music Awards

Last night’s American Music Awards was such a train wreck of unfulfilled expectations that you could hardly blame one for thinking that the Obama administration, not Dick Clark Productions, must have been responsible for it.

I say that (only partly) because I’m not exactly sure that Dick Clark is even still alive. But when dead people who released no music this year win 5 awards (Michael Jackson), being alive was kinda beside the point at this spectacle.

So, for the most part, was singing live.

Things got off to an ominous start when Paula Abdul welcomed the audience into a dead microphone.

Then out came Janet Jackson who is apparently so grief stricken over Michael’s  death that she was inspired/used it as an opportunity to revive her decade long moribund career by dropping 20 pounds and a new greatest hits CD so she could lip synch and show off dance moves so dated that they’re in clear danger of being eligible for a revival.

Later in the show Jeniffer Lopez took pretty much the same route considering her career has been on life support  since “Waiting for Tonight,” which in 1999 turned out to be the anthem for ushering in the new Millennium. Last night she sang about leaving an uncooperative lover as she puts on impossibly expensive and vertiginous red soled  killer heels (Louboutins). Only  problem: she fell flat on her fabled asset while attempting her Katie Holmes-like dance moves and this morning she’s suffering  from a bruised ego (if not also a hip).

The highly cloying Taylor Swift who won 4 awards last night was on hand only via satelite from London where she was rehearsing for a concert at Wembley Arena. Keeping her off stage was perhaps the smartest move the producers could have made, considering she undeservedly (again) won the evening’s biggest award. Now the smartest thing she should do is call Debbie Gibson for career advice. And swiftly, as she’s at about minute 13 on her fame trajectory.

In the battle of the country divas, Keith Urban won handily over Carrie Underwood because he’s prettier and he showed more cleavage.  But he also fared better because he  didn’t scream his trite lyrics  and his performance didn’t look as if someone had shaken a  snow globe so that the awkward  moving Ms Underwood could appear as if she was engaging/engaged in some sort of dance number.

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And herein lies the problem with much of last night’s telecast.  Most of the performers were overreaching for visual images instead of connecting to an audience– as if the overwrought visuals could possibly make up for  poorly written songs, the inability to carry a tune or just sheer lack of stage presence.

That’s what music videos are for.

The  performers who acquitted themselves with any dignity were the ones who actually sang.  By that I mean live and into their working microphones, most notably  Kelly Clarkson, Jay Z with Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston.
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Coincidentally these were the 3 performances which brought down the house before the kitchy  and already overexposed Adam Lambert failed and, let’s be very clear, failed miserably to blow the roof off the place, as had been hyped.

Ms Clarkson got a much deserved standing ovation for her performance of “Already Gone,” a song essentially about knowing when to cut your losses. And boy does she.  She came, she sang, she conquered. How a singer this good and this smart wasn’t the big winner last night is beyond me.  Although she didn’t sound as perfectly heartbreaking as she did on VH1 Divas 2009 , she performed early enough in the show that by the time Jay Z came on to imperially command the room with “Empire State of Mind,” an ode to New York City as much as to his own undeniable artistic empire, she had already set the standard for the evening.

And by the time Whitney Houston came out in a glorious Kaufman Franco white gown, with beatific white stage lighting and a bad wig, it was a good thing Ms Clarkson was already gone. There’s just no denying that Ms Houston has irreparably damaged her voice with years and years of drug abuse but last night  in a gut wrenching confessional that lasted  a few fleeting minutes she managed to  use the detritus to her advantage in “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength,” a song  about hard won lessons from your own resurrection.

That performance, at once delusional and pathetic but emotionally raw and brutally honest, brought to mind both Billie Holiday and Marianne Faithfull, women with drug ravaged voices which remain powerfully alive because they wear their heart on their sleeve and not because they wear us down with visual pyrotechnics.

November 19, 2009

Gucci Python Purse Porn

If you have to ask  then you can’t afford it. If you can afford it, you can ask  for 40% off Saturday November 21st at Gucci boutiques. Shh.

November 19, 2009

Bad Romance

2009 is the year of the bad romance (more to follow). This is the best music video of the year.

November 12, 2009

I’ve Seen a Million Dresses and I’ve Rocked the Mall

tom_kolovos_wordpressnewTis the season.

I’ve been scouring the racks for  killer party dresses and this one is one of my favorites. The runway photo doesn’t begin to do it justice. It’s the LBD of the 2009 holiday season. Wear it as shown or strip it down with gladiator heels or layer it under a killer boyfriend jacket.

Aura one shoulder dress by Rag and Bone $435. At Intermix and Rag and Bone.


And just in case you can wait till March 2010 to take delivery of one of the most spectacular gowns you’re ever likely to see, order this one form Naeem Khan. Price available upon request.


November 6, 2009


tom_kolovos_wordpressnewThis is an internet junk email joke that is just too good to not pass along, especially since the unemployment rate topped 10% today and we could all use a good laugh in these tough times. But don’t laugh too hard. This is pretty much the same way Sarah Palin got the 2008 Republican Vice Presidential nomination.

And considering reality TV couple Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt have written a book entitled  “How to Be Famous: Our Guide to Looking the Part, Playing the Press and Becoming a Tabloid Fixture,” consider yourselves lucky to be reading this instead!

To hoom it mae cunsern,

I waunt to apply for the job what I saw in the paper.

I can Type realee quik wit one finggar and do sum a counting..

I think I am good on the phone and I no I am a pepole person,
Pepole really seam to respond
to me well. Certain men and all the ladies.

I no my spelling is not to good but fi nd that I Offen can get a job thru my persinalety.

My salerery is open so we can discus wat you want to pay me and wat you think that I am werth,

I can start emeditely.  Thank you in advanse fore yore anser.

hopifuly Yore best aplicant so farr.



PS : Because my resimay is a bit short – below is a pickture of me.


Employer’s response:

Dear Bryan ,

It’s OK honey, we’ve got spell check.

See you Monday.

November 1, 2009

The Women (1929/1939/2009)

tom_kolovos_wordpressnewEven if Jodi Kantor’s  essay “The First Marriage” in the New York Times Magazine  didn’t have the misfortune of appearing in the same Sunday edition as  the extraordinary continuing series “Women at Arms,” which today highlighted the  difficulties women veterans face when diagnosed with with post traumatic stress disorder from the Iraq/Afganistan wars, it would still come off as a thoughtless, tone deaf and premature hagiography of Michelle Obama. (Yes, the real subject here is not the marriage but Michelle. Surprise.)

You don’t have to be a raving fringe political lunatic (Liz Cheney comes to mind) to notice that even though Ms Kantor’s aim is to illuminate how the Obamas “mix politics and romance in a way that no first couple have before,” her tiresome analysis (and dubious premise) is short on history and long on the two-married-professionals-with-children cliches better suited to the ilk of celebrity rags and television chat shows.

And you don’t have to be Virginia Woolf to know that intelligent and ambitious  women have historically sacrificed so the men in their lives get ahead. (Wo)Man bites dog circa 1929.


Compared with the two most obvious political high wire duo marriages of the last century,  The Kennedys and the Clintons, The Obama’s balancing act comes off as cotidian. (Perhaps that’s the way in which it it’s “modern,”  by which Ms Kantor surely means contemporary, but as I said history is not her forte.)

There’s nothing here  that any one of us out here in a long term relationship hasn’t experienced and nothing newsworthy about the balancing act all of us have to achieve in  life once we grow up and realize that balance and compromise (if we’re lucky) is all there is. The Obamas spent a lot of time apart when Barack ran for political office. They weren’t making a lot of money. They couldn’t all be there for the girls’ activities.  Barack thought he could go it alone. Michelle never signed up to be a political wife. Michelle’s character and support were invaluable to Barack’s success. Yada yada yada.

You mean to tell us, Ms Kantor, that Pat Nixon knowingly signed on for the disgrace of Watergate? Laura Bush for the the alcoholism and coke fueled benders? Hillary for the public infidelities? Nancy Reagan for the 10 years of home nursing? Jackie Kennedy for the blood splattered head of her husband in her lap?

It simply does not occur to Ms Kantor that,  given what could possibly go wrong in a  political marriage, the way she portrays the Obama’s marriage as a  shiny new model of “modernity” just a year into the job, she’s completely overreaching.

Her obtuseness reaches its nadir when she walks “into the Hyde Park apartment the Obama’s bought when they married, hoping to find clues to their old lives. The cramped master bedroom,” she proudly observes, “had a closet barely big enough for one wardrobe. Where did Michelle keep her clothes?” Excuse  me?

The marriage of Jacqueline Bouvier into the crass Kennedy clan was seminal to the political career of JFK. So even if we start there, the very notion that Mrs Obama was intent on upscaling her husband’s office space, his venues for public appearances  and ultimately humanizing him by appearing in public and speaking on his behalf speaks both to the naivete of Ms Kantor and to the valuable image savvy of Mrs Obama.

The wide latitude that Mrs Obama can enjoy in her role  as First Lady, is in no small part due to the trailblazing legacy of Hillary Clinton, so it’s snarky on the part of Ms Kantor to  both oversimplify the comparisons between the Clintons and the Obamas and then to take cheap shots at Mrs Clinton’s expense. “While the Clinton marriage seems forged in shared beliefs about the promise of politics, the Obama union has been a decades-long debate about whether politics could be an effective avenue for social change.” Clinton bad. Obama good. Got it. Thanks.

She continues: Michelle “also played a vital role in heading off the most promising female candidate in United States history. It was essential for the Obama campaign to present some sort of accomplished female counterweight to Hillary Clinton, to convince Democratic women that they could vote for Barack Obama and a powerful female figure besides. Consciously or not, Michelle made herself into an appealing contrast to the front-runner. She was candid; Hillary was often guarded. Michelle represented the idea that a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago could grow up to be first lady of the United States; Hillary stood for the hold of the already-powerful on the political system. And Michelle seemed to have the kind of marriage many people might aspire to; Hillary did not.”

And then there’s this. Kantor reports that “as a first-time candidate, Barack could be stiff; friends remember him talking to voters with his arms folded, looking defensive. Michelle warmed everyone up, including her husband. “She is really Bill, and he is really Hillary,” one friend recently put it.” We get it. She’s not Hillary.

As I was reading the essay I was reminded how much of the seriously misguided effort by Ms Kantor could easily be remade as  a screwball comedy, let’s just say the George Cukor classic 1939 film of Clare Boothe Luce’s play The Women. It would take  some time to figure out which First Lady and in which way Ms Kantor has maligned whom so I could align them with the the cast of the film, but I think it could be done.

Jungle red mother.