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- 06/29/15--09:30: _Scenes from The Cul...
- 06/29/15--09:30: _Wino Forever: Winon...
- 06/29/15--10:30: _Amy Schumer Defends...
- 06/29/15--11:00: _Hood By Air Continu...
- 06/29/15--15:30: _Model Crush Monday:...
- 06/30/15--04:00: _Active Child Finds ...
- 06/30/15--04:30: _Watch Billy Eichner...
- 06/30/15--04:52: _Pre-Gaming with Hos...
- 06/30/15--06:30: _Bachelorette Episod...
- 06/30/15--07:00: _Santigold Returns w...
- 06/30/15--08:00: _Inside the Bizarre ...
- 06/30/15--08:10: _Grace Jones Will Fi...
- 06/30/15--09:00: _The New Royals: Kay...
- 06/30/15--09:20: _Let's Guess What Ki...
- 06/30/15--10:00: _"I'm Not Even Trise...
- 06/30/15--10:00: _U.S. Girls Tackle t...
- 06/30/15--10:47: _Kendrick Lamar is D...
- 07/01/15--04:15: _A/S/L: Exploring We...
- 07/01/15--05:00: _Premiere: Scout Wil...
- 07/01/15--05:45: _The 10 Weirdest "Ce...
- 06/29/15--15:30: Model Crush Monday: Sam Lever
- 06/30/15--04:00: Active Child Finds Out Where the Wild Things Are In "1999" Video
- 06/30/15--04:52: Pre-Gaming with Host Extraordinaire Cameron Cooper
- 06/30/15--06:30: Bachelorette Episode 7: The Rains of Castamere
- 06/30/15--07:00: Santigold Returns with the Fire New Track "Radio"
- 06/30/15--08:10: Grace Jones Will Finally Release Her Memoir This Fall
- 06/30/15--09:00: The New Royals: Kaya Stewart Debuts Her New Video Jonah
- 07/01/15--04:15: A/S/L: Exploring Web 1.0 with Arabelle Sicardi
- 07/01/15--05:45: The 10 Weirdest "Celebrities" Of Yesteryear
The Culture Whore reliably throws some of the most insane and eclectic parties in Brooklyn's underground queer nightlife scene. For Pride, they teamed up with Philly collective Factory Girls and it was major, filling 2 floors and 3 rooms at a grimy rental space in Bushwick until hours past dawn. They called the party "0 @ S 1 S" and invited a sprawling list of the scene's weirdest and cutest hosts, performers, queens and DJs. Check out our pics, below.
The Amy Schumer "backlash" -- or, at least, a harder look at her after what felt like months in which the comedian could do no wrong -- is real. With sketch after sketch on her show being picked up and run as "perfect" by media outlets (including this one), funny appearances at award shows, and a generally higher, mainstream profile for her ongoing project, it was inevitable that she would eventually come under increased scrutiny (no honeymoon period lasts forever). Recently, The Guardian published a piece in which writer Monica Heisey claims that Schumer has a "shockingly large blind spot around race." (Check out the original essay for examples and context.) Schumer responded on Twitter:
Put down your torches before reading this so you don't catch on fire. pic.twitter.com/JyRQGvFuX8-- Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) June 28, 2015
The use of the phrase "blind spot" in the original comments is helpful here -- it implies that, with a little more information and willingness to learn and empathize from everyone involved, the problem would, if not go away, at least be a lot more manageable. Time to put the work in.
I think Schumer DOES have a blind spot on race. I also think she does lots of sharp & daring jokes about white female cluelessness & racism.-- emily nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) June 28, 2015
As Hulu moves more aggressively into making its own original television, it's been able to get into bed with better and higher-profile talent. Case in point: the upcoming series Difficult People, which is produced by Amy Poehler and stars Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner as obnoxious friends in New York. It's a rather well-worn scenario, but the trailer -- which is sparsely focused on the pair interacting at one particular event -- seems to recognize this, and draws attention primarily to Klausner and Eichner's banter. Watch the trailer below, and prepare for the series, which debuts on Hulu August 5. [via Huffington Post]
Hailing from Atlanta, OAK stylist and go-to party host Cameron Cooper is a big presence, a bundle of fashion inspirations, wild anecdotes and quippy one-liners. And his apartment is equally as intriguing, a heavenly, all-white Williamsburg sanctuary filled with an assortment of knick-knacks from artist friends collected over the years -- something that's not too difficult to imagine considering he rolls with the likes of Ladyfag and jewelry designer Zana Bayne. We spent a Friday night before one of Ladyfag's 11:11 parties to document his "getting ready" process -- white eyelashes, white wine and all.
"Zana Bayne is one of my best friends. She made this hat -- and actually started her collection when she moved into my apartment...I'll attach the dreamcatchers to it, even though that wasn't her intention. She thinks it's just me being ridiculous."
"Zana also made [a pair of white bracelets] specifically for tonight. Our on-going joke is that I'm going to keep asking her for more until I have them in every color. Like, I had her make red ones for a Christmas party."
"I actually used to own a vintage clothing store called 'Now Playing' around here on Havemeyer in like '04, '05. I closed it because it wasn't fun anymore."
"Ladyfag and I met at the Cock, right after she moved here. I remembered seeing her at Room Service, crawling on the floor, dancing, and being like, 'Who is that girl? She is so crazy!'"
"Make-up is hard. I am horrible at make-up. That's why I just do shapes. [My favorite look is] to take circle stickers and paint over it and take it off, so then you get this negative space."
"[My roommate and I] make costumes for a non-profit dance company called Salvatore LaRussa Dance Theatre. This year is their 10 year anniversary, and we've been working with them for 4, 5 years."
"I was always going to parties in Atlanta, since I was a kid...the first party I went to in NYC was Limelight in '93 when I was visiting."
"I actually moved here around 9/11. It happened and I stayed around [Atlanta] a few more days and then drove my U-Haul up a few days later while they were doing recovery around the Towers."
"I love an all-white look, especially in the club because it's dark and everyone else wears black, so you look like a white, ghostly figure snaking through the crowd."
"But sometimes it takes a village."
This season of The Bachelorette is giving me SAD. Every episode starts off all dark and gloomy with someone complaining to or about Kaitlyn (most often to her face!) and it's just bumming me out. I want to see Kaitlyn and Chris Harrison taking a sunlit morning stroll in some garden, bumping elbows and speaking in hushed tones and cautious smiles about her journey. But! Here we are, and we open with Shawn in Kaitlyn's room. He says this:
"Are you in love with me?"
Kaitlyn, looking incredulous: "You can't put me on the spot like that."
Shawn, putting her on the spot just like that: "Yes or no?"
Kaitlyn: "I'm falling in love with you."
Whoo, boy! Shawn, thou shalt not ask that to The Bachelorette's face (or anyone's face, really) so early into your "process." This is Shawn pushing his luck. Her constant reassurance of him combined with her fear of his finding out about Nick, and what he would do with that information, makes for a ball of ick. "It feels wrong. It feels like I'm constantly disappointing people...my heart would break if Shawn left, but this is why I have to explore every option. If someone can't be here they might not be the person for me," she says. Watch your lean back, Shawn -- that sounds reasonable given the strange situation in which she finds herself.
I'm glad to see Nick and Tanner taking me up on that morning garden stroll idea. They gossip about Shawn (so glad Tanner told Nick that Shawn calls him "the other guy" -- that'll bug him) and Tanner continues to be the Greek chorus we love. "I think Shawn thought he was at the top of the totem poll, so he's threatened by Nick." Succinctly put, sir.
It's on to the dreaded two-on-one, and I for one don't want to see sweet, sneaky-funny Joe go through this. JJ unfortunately lost his villain title early on and now he's just a putz. "Today is the biggest day of my recent life," JJ says, realizing he can't put this date above the birth of his daughter.
Joe uses this opportunity to tell Kaitlyn that he, too, is falling in love with her. "I know that you could feel the passion when I kissed you...you're worth putting it out there for...I'm falling in love with you," he says, to which she seems pleased-ish. JJ uses his time to tell Kaitlyn he cheated on his wife three years ago. Kaitlyn sends JJ home. Joe, however, doesn't immediately get a rose -- she makes him sweat it out and be southern and charming through dinner before he emerges victorious.
Back to you, Shawn! Apparently off-camera in San Antonio, Kaitlyn told Shawn that he was the one, and it's got him feeling all types of ways. For her part, Kaitlyn is beginning to feel fed up with all the entitlement and gerrymandering she's had to do. "Certain people are like 'why aren't you validating me all the time,'" she tells Joe.
Cue to Shawn taking it upon himself to visit Kaitlyn in her room yet again. First of all, can we make an effigy of that ugly couch and send it and all it represents out to sea? Nothing good has happened on that thing. Shawn times his visit to coincide with Kaitlyn giving yet another emotional interview, for real-deal crying. She, yet again, is terrified Shawn knows she slept with Nick. Nope! He's just feeling your run-of-the-mill, group dating show blues.
"After we came down to my room in Texas and we talked off-camera, you said some things to me that made things very difficult. When you look me in the eyes and say 'I think you're the one' it's tough," he says. Kaitlyn initially is relieved he's not about to give her the scarlet letter, before she hits on the real issue. "Maybe it's my fault for reassuring you too much," she says. "It's hard for me" Shawn protests, to which she (accurately) hits back with "It's hard for everyone...I've been so reassuring to you and I haven't been like that to other people."
But Shawn, you see, likes her more than the other guys. At this point Kaitlyn has transformed that sofa of sin to a pristine white couch and is basically lounging back with a glass of barolo, because she has transformed into Olivia Pope, and Shawn is getting handled. "When this stuff happens it makes me question us," she tells him, and he's backpedaling. "I'm going to work at this whole thing because it's worth it. I want you more than anything." This, you might note, is a bit different than last week when he told Kaitlyn that she was being "stupid" and "ruining everything." #Dating
More backstory on this San Antonio off-camera tribunal, which needs its own footnote at this point. Apparently Ben H. was there, too (this will come into play), but Kaitlyn focused all her attention on Shawn and did say those things to him. The validity of those feelings is sounding a bit iffy, however. "In that moment and in that time, that's who I could picture myself with, so I said something like 'yeah, you're it.' It's definitely a regret that I've had, and it's led to problems." No kidding. This is why I really like Kaitlyn. She's made some total bonehead moves, but it's weird and exciting to watch an actual human navigate this totally unfathomable, bizarre experience. It's just nice to be reminded this is super weird.
Known "handsome devil" Ben H. also needs to talk at Kaitlyn a lil bit. I actually still don't totally understand what happened at #SanAntoniogate, but bear with me. Apparently Ben H. was initially in on this weird San Antonio hang, but he left the room to shower, and apparently while he was doing so Kaitlyn told Shawn he was the one for her. I think. "That night has really altered everything for me, and not in a great way," she tells him, because Ben needs to make sure he's not just "spinning his wheels." Kaitlyn is "extremely disappointed in herself" for putting them both in that situation, and I'm confused again. Anyway, they make out.
Ugh, Nick. He's just squirrely and I can't take it. Nick is freaking out, because this could potentially be the second time a lady says "thanks but no" after sleeping with him. "A concern of mine is you talking about it [the sex] with other people," she says. "You can talk about the date, but not how romantic it was, and I think maybe some people were..." she trails off. Seems like some of the fellows picked up on the potential subtext of Nick telling them how "intimate" the date was, though he tells her to her face he never used that word. Then he starts fidgeting and crying. "I spend time with you and I leave with this confidence, and then I remember I was once the overconfident guy," he says and I have to say, Nick is good at laying it all on the line. They make out.
Man, this episode is like the mumblecore movie of my nightmares! Can't we make the guys be human cannonballs or something? Kaitlyn and Shawn go 'round and 'round again. "What concerns me is how you fight through these situations," she tells him as breakup music plays. "That night what I did, I shouldn't have done." They basically agree to take a "break," which I've never seen before. "We need to take a step back and decide if this is something we can get back to," she says. But Shawn just sees having 2.5 large fights after dating someone for a couple months as a "bump in the road."
Oh, the rose ceremony! So nice to see you, what, an hour in? There's been virtually no sunlight on this gloomy, emo episode. The voice of the people, Tanner, and sensitive hunk Ben Z. go home, and his exit is :( "'This is a girl my mom would have been proud to meet...a cool girl, an amazing woman. Having that forever love is everything to me...I've just got to find her. I'm trying, I'm trying." I'm confident in you, Ben Z.! Just go to virtually any bar after this show and you'll be fine. Don't bring Ian.
On the group date they're off to Killarney, and Kaitlyn chooses Jared as her ride or die while the other guys board the paddy wagon. Kaitlyn hits the curb a few times (who cares! It's a rental!) while she and Jared have a perfectly nice time together. I get why she chose Jared, because, as Mary J. says "no more drama," but she will crush him like a bug, make no mistake.
"I feel like I got back on track tonight," Kaitlyn says, as Chris Harrison ominously makes his way up the stairs. At this point, typically, Kaitlyn will send two more fellows home and then proceed to meet the families of the four remaining men. But not this time! "Be honest with me: Do you think you're ready to go visit four families?" Harrison asks her. She tells him, vaguely, about whatever happened in San Antonio, and that she also brought Nick back to her hotel and she "really regrets it.""That's good, we all screw up" Harrison murmurs as he half-comforts her. Does he know she means they did it? I bet he does! This is where it gets weird for me:
"Let's just tailor this to your experience and how it's going. You have already had off-camera time with some of these men, and I think it's important to get some of these other relationships up to speed, and I think you need off-camera time to get to know them," Harrison says. "That's what the fantasy suite and these exotic dates are all about." No, they're all about having sex, Chris Harrison! Kaitlyn will have her three overnight dates next week, apparently has the blessing to bang on all of them, and then she'll cut one more and meet the families of the final two men.
So...is Kaitlyn too skanky to meet four families? Or is this just the most "fair" solution? I truly don't know, but I dig this development -- time to weed 'em out, because there's no way it's not Shawn and Nick at the final. Chris Harrison breaks the news to the guys, who will have three dates this week before they are cut in half. The first group date goes to Chris "cupcake," and you know this guy is about to get the axe since the last thing Chris Harrison said to Kaitlyn was to be extremely judicial in who she keeps.
They take a helicopter to see the countryside and then have a picnic at the edge of a cliff, because that is the ideal place to breakup with someone. Seriously -- did Chris cupcake get voted Most Stable by the show's psychologists? Because when Kaitlyn drops the hammer, as we knew she would, he breaks down sobbing into his scarf cliffside. "I really wish you could be in my life, Kaitlyn" he tells her, before later telling the cameras that Kaitlyn is "wrong, and I don't think she knows what she wants." That seems true, Chris cupcake! Anyway, she Instagrammed something nice of the two of them last night, so all is well. God, this episode felt long.
On to next week! Shawn and Nick (finally!) get into it, Kaitlyn again may or may not tell the men she boned Nick, Jared is crying, and Nick and Shawn fight some more.
Welcome to our column The New Royals, in which we introduce you to the noteworthy youngsters we know are destined for fame. Some will actually be from royal or princely families, others will be the brethren of showbiz's kings and queens. Whatever the case, they'll be fabulous.
If musical talent is hereditary, then Kaya Stewart must be a genius. The daughter of Eurhythmics' Dave Stewart, Kaya has been around music all her life -- she wrote her first song at the age of 6, and at the ripe old age of 15, she's signed to Warner Brothers and going out on the Warped Tour. We chatted about her career in anticipation of debuting her new music video, "Jonah," which you can watch after the interview.
Zodiac sign: Pisces
Occupation: Artist (singer/songwriter)
Hometown: London, but I live in LA
School: I'm home schooled through an online program
Discovered: On Soundcloud when I was 13
What's the story behind the song "In Love With a Boy"?
I wrote "In Love With A Boy" when I was 13. I never felt like I really fit in, so music and songwriting was a way for me to escape. We had a huge math final, and I was terrible at math, so I knew I was going to fail. There was a boy in my class I really liked, so I decided to flip over my math final and write a song. By the end of the class, I hadn't finished any of my final, but I was so excited I went home as fast as I could and recorded it.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
The first song I ever wrote was when I was 6 years old. It was called "Under the Moon." We had just moved from London to LA at the time. One day I want to get the song tattooed on my ankle.
Did you grow up with tons of music in the house?
My whole family is very musical, so there was always great music and songwriting playing in the house. I was so lucky to have such a talented family with such great taste in music, it definitely was a huge influence on my songwriting today.
Do you perform live a lot? What's been your favorite performance?
Performing live has always been my favorite thing to do. Although my dream is to perform to huge audiences, I love a small intimate performance. I recently performed at The Echo in LA. The crowd was so energetic and I didn't want the set to end! It was such a cool club with people who truly love music, and a fun show. Definitely one of my favorites. I am joining the Warped Tour for three weeks, starting July 15th.
What was the first CD you bought or downloaded?
The first CD I bought was The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I don't think that there is one song on the entire album that I don't know the words to.
How would you describe your style?
My style is a huge part of who I am. I love the idea of juxtaposition, and I think my style and my music is a perfect example of that. I would describe my style as punky and edgy with a rock n' roll influence, yet my music is empty and with an electro feel. Debbie Harry has always been a huge style influence for me. When I am on tour, or even just at home, I am always pulling up pictures of Debbie for inspiration.
Some of the most widely acclaimed movies of the year have been science fiction, a genre that is rapidly losing the stigma it once had when compared with supposed "cinema" or its ink-stained cousin, "literary fiction." So it's appropriate that, in one of the best pieces of Hollywood news in some time, novelist Zadie Smith is teaming up with filmmaker Claire Denis to go where neither has gone before: The pair are working with Smith's husband, poet Nick Laird, on what will reportedly be a film set in "a future that seems like the present." (Besides sci-fi, Denis is also making her first foray into English-language filmmaking.)
What kind of science fiction movie will Smith, Denis, and, kind of, Laird, end up making? A painstakingly crafted, broad in scope but narrow in focus look at interstellar immigration? (Kinda in their zone.) A near-future allegory about a Big Issue like most critically-acclaimed science fiction films these days? (In addition to Ex Machina, this loose subgenre includes District 9, Her, and Children of Men, and... eh.) A stealth remake of The Fifth Element? (Yes, please.) Until we know more details, we're left to do the one thing sci-fi does best: speculate.
Today, Kendrick Lamar continues his 2015 streak of making aggressive, dense art that's difficult to parse at first look (or listen), with the video for To Pimp a Butterfly's "Alright." The video, directed by Colin Lilley and The Little Homies, features many of the themes that have come to characterize Lamar's work this year. There are joyous depictions of black bodies (c.f. "King Kunta"), a fractured consciousness ("u," which is incorporated into the beginning of the video), and a depiction of Lamar himself as a deeply vulnerable superhero, attempting to make himself into a transformative figure while simultaneously unflinchingly acknowledge his flaws ("The Blacker the Berry").
Here, he alternately floats around and raps on a pile of money until a magical bullet from a white cop takes him out with a finger, in a manifestation of the "apartheid" he explicitly criticizes in an extension of the album's refrain. It's predetermined by the lyrics -- "gonna kill us dead in the streets for sure" -- and, like the rest of the record, it's tough to fully grasp initially. Is the video for "Alright" as great as it seems? Decide for yourself below.
The internet has been part of our lives for long enough that a generation of writers and artists has come of age with it, and used it as a tool to construct their creative and professional identities. But that also means that they grew up alongside an internet that today's teens would find foreign and scary, during the days when MySpace was the biggest social network, AIM buddy profiles were important social statements, and having your own GeoCities page was a big deal. Our column, A/S/L, asks the people who are best at the internet to tell us about their personal Web 1.0.
This week we talk to beauty writer and artist Arabelle Sicardi. Formerly BuzzFeed's Beauty editor and a writer for a vast array of publications that include Rookie, Refinery 29, The Daily Beast, and Jezebel, Sicardi is currently enmeshed in a battle over the appropriation of their* art by some dude at Yale and currently, possibly, writing a book.
*Sicardi prefers "they" pronouns
What was the first internet service you made an account for? Was there a specific reason you made it?
One of my first memories is of AOL chatrooms! Trying to sext at 10 and chickening out, haha. Neopets was definitely a huge part of my life for a long time though. And then the Teen Vogue forums and Harry Potter roleplaying forums. Basically after the age of 11 I stopped going outside.
What was your first screen name? Email address? What did they mean to you?
My dad made me a Yahoo email account -- firstname.lastname@example.org, I think. I have no idea why he chose that name. I still remember the random gibberish password. I think Yahoo at the time had a good random password generator -- I don't think they have it anymore. It was surprisingly progressive given that two-key encryption wasn't a commonplace thing yet.
What was your most profound AIM away message (or rough equivalent)?
I strictly used Fueled By Ramen lyrics as my away messages. Very intricately -- special font and color choices, the longer the excerpt the more pissed/moody I was. My short lived screamo phase was also memorable. (Note to self/I miss you terribly etc., etc.)
(We asked Arabelle for a particular Fueled By Ramen song, and were directed instead to their favorite My Chemical Romance song. Please give it a listen.)
How many MySpace friends did you have at your peak? How many LiveJournals? (No lying.)
I was totally a scene kid on MySpace and did the whole [MySpace Friend] train thing. My MySpace name was Arabelle Arsenic -- I can't remember how many friends I had, probably like 600 to 800? I had a brief stint as a catfisher, also. That was excruciating. I was very insecure. I had two LiveJournals. I still use one occasionally. Was never big on LJ, though, I mostly lurked.
Who were the first people you thought were big deals on the internet, and did you ever interact with them IRL?
I think Jeffree Starr was really big on MySpace when I was obsessed with it, and Jac Vanek? The scene queens. I've been to a bunch of events with Jac and she's nice. I think we're just really awkward around each other because we're both used to having the best hair in the room. Ha.
Chart the history of your life in websites, by listing the most important site to you each year you've been online. How did each of those help facilitate your understanding of how taste functions and is created online?
Neopets -- for way, way too long, probably six years? Like all of my middle school/elementary school existence. I was obsessed with it and with guilds and the Help Chat, jockeying for prominence in the forums and making friends with the coolest people in the boards. I made some really good (superficial) friends and we looked out for each other, bought each other lab map pieces and stuff on our birthdays. It was a virtual gossip realm when I was too nerdy to actually hang out and gossip with people in my school at the time. I stopped caring when they froze my first and most precious account. I still have an account I think, it's probably 14 years old or something now.
(We attempted to find Arabelle's Neopets account, but discovered that, though their Neopets are -- hopefully -- safe, the website is sadly down.)
After Neopets I was super into Harry Potter Roleplaying Forums and totally lied about my age and stuff to be cool -- I wanted to be 17 or 21 so badly when I wasn't yet. Running forums gave me a huge sense of control and ownership. I cut my teeth as a writer in roleplay forums, I'd spend entire days writing or creating plotlines with other people. It helped me understand verbosity doesn't make you a better writer -- and sticking to one idea is much harder than doing whatever the hell you want until you're bored.
After HP forums I got super into Quizzilla/FanFiction.net and Teen Vogue forums when they still had them -- found fashion blogs that way, which I suppose started me off into fashion. I never read Vogue as a kid or Teen Vogue until I was in it, my parents never let me buy them. I developed my taste through fashion blogs and fashion books at the library and worked kind of backwards. I became a fashion blogger the same time I became a conscious fashion consumer. Now, I wouldn't consider myself a fashion blogger anymore, but it was a huge part of my life and I owe my life to it, probably.
What's the strongest relationship you've ever formed with someone you hadn't met IRL? Did it change if/when you met?
I guess it would be with Tavi! I think she's my oldest internet friend at this point? Which isn't to say it's the strongest since we're both really busy now, but it's the oldest, and she'll always be my sister. I think we've known each other for about eight years or something....since the start of fashion blogging. The O.G. Rookie crew -- her, Laia, Elizabeth, Hazel, me, we've known each other for a long time. These are the women I discovered feminism with and through, who were my sisters and support when I had none IRL. We are all IRL friends now. To be honest I wouldn't differentiate so much between IRL and internet friendships because at this point all my friends besides school friends, I've met via the internet or via someone I met on the internet. Internet friends are friends of choice and intention rather than circumstance, and I think that difference is everything. I am the child of WiFi culture. Meeting someone online isn't weird to me, it's just part of my daily habits.
When you were first online, did you ever create alternate identities?
Oh of course. I catfished people when I was like a 12-year-old! Not out of malice, I was really insecure and terrified I wasn't pretty enough and I was rejected pretty constantly for one reason or another so it seemed like the only way I would be given love at the time. The internet is a breeding ground for constant invention. I have a lot of sympathy for my younger self, even if she embarrasses me. I learned a lot, and I owe myself to my embarrassments. I don't think there's anything really wrong with editorializing your life.... to an extent, of course. (No Dolezals ever, please.) But all of me is real, even the performed parts. I don't think I owe internet strangers the whole or entire truth about myself. The internet is a very entitled monster. I regret writing under my real name quite often, actually. People think they know you because they've read 800 words.
What's the most important thing you've learned from the internet?
Anger is an energy / Time is a flat circle / the human capacity for evil is infinite / you can find your girls wherever you go / kindness can win sometimes, if you're lucky.
Do you wish you had spent less time online when you were younger? Do you wish you spent less time on the internet now?
No / yes. I owe who I am to my endless time spent on the internet, and I love myself and am proud of what I've learned through it. I went to school, I am academically educated, but I'm self-taught in the things I care most about and make my living through -- I learned most of what I know about beauty and fashion, etc, through internet and publicly available resources. I'm grateful for that obsession I had when I was younger and the privilege I was given to be able to pursue these things to the very end.
But I mean of course it didn't come without consequences. My career has been media fodder, there are forums dedicated to hating and analyzing me and the people I love. I've had stalkers and hatemail and I met my rapist on the internet! The internet has ruined me in ways that if I had known, I would have never logged on in the first place. But I'm still glad I got sucked in to this garbage heap on most days -- isn't that strange and terrible? But you understand, I'm sure -- I owe everything to the internet, the good and bad parts. The good outweighs the bad, by far, by a million miles. I have learned to consume and experience it differently: less to share and prove myself, to validate myself and vie for space and power, and more to connect to the people I love and to remember what I want, the way I want to. I have a lot more secret spaces now -- portions of internet just for me. I think there's a luxury in not sharing everything. It is one of my greatest wishes to be more mysterious -- I'd like to be fog. Fog is terrifying.
You think there were no weird, offbeat celebrities before reality shows came along? You think Honey Boo Boo and the Kardashians are the height of bizarre? Well, that's a weird way to think. Let me take you back to the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, when a bunch of homegrown freaks permeated the media, to delightfully kooky effect. Here are 10 flavorful gems who attained the ultimate in wacky stardom.
THE SINGING NUN
One of the weirdest pop hits of all time was "Dominique," a 1963 French song written and sung by Soeur Sourire, aka Jeanine Deckers, the Singing Nun. The lilting, minimally arranged ditty about Saint Dominic proved irresistible, becoming a huge hit in 11 countries around the globe and making every nun stuck in a convent start fantasizing that she could be the next pop diva on the charts. But fame wasn't all it was cracked out to be for the unhappy Belgian sis. In 1985, Deckers and her girlfriend, Annie Pescher, made tragic headlines by committing suicide together. The reason was supposedly financial problems, not the fact that they had finally seen the awful Singing Nun movie starring Debbie Reynolds.
TINY TIM (1932-1996)
Born Herbert Khaury, Tiny Tim early on discovered that he had a taste for singing old standards in an unnatural yet arresting high pitched voice. He made a sensation on the wacky comedy show Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, where he'd pull his ukelele out of a shopping bag and trill "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" while smiling and touching his hair. In 1969, Tiny married a very naïve young woman named Miss Vicki on the Tonight Show, causing another freakshow ratings bonanza. The marriage, however, was a bit of a sham -- though Tiny had two more after that. But I'll give the guy this much -- his oddball act wasn't an act at all. He was a true outcast, not faking his weirdness for a second. In fact, the man wore adult diapers -- not because he had to, but for cleanliness' sake -- and he was obsessed with UFOs. He may have been one himself.
MRS. MILLER (1907-1997)
Elva Miller was the original William Hung. She became famous by singing in a shrill belt and doing so in such an off key, off-the-beat manner that she caused mass nausea with every note. The woman willfully massacred songs like "Moon River" and "Downtown," and with the latter, she actually made the Hot 100, the record-buying public obviously needing a good guffaw. And once she realized her appeal was in being bad, Mrs. M went along with the joke, singing even worse, if such a thing was possible. Meryl Streep is playing a similar character, the talentless socialite Florence Foster Jenkins, in a movie. But who'll be brave enough to play Mrs. Miller? Madonna?
MISS MILLER (1897-1990)
Not to be confused with Mrs. Miller, the unmarried Lillian Dorothy Miller became famous solely for sitting in audiences from the 1950s to the 1980s. (God! I've sat in audiences almost every night of my life, and never got famous for it. Not yet, anyway.) In her pill box hat and holding on to a lovely clutch, the woman sat there watching tapings of the Tonight Show, the Carol Burnett Show, and the Merv Griffin Show, becoming a celebrity just for her relentlessness, her look, and her no nonsense persona. A government typist until 1958, Miss Miller sometimes got to banter with the hosts or guests from her perch in the audience and was even brought onstage by Jack Paar at least once. But that didn't go to her little old hatted head. She gladly went back into the audience for many a Merv.
A blonde actress and singer who wasn't getting anywhere, Angelyne splashed herself on various L.A. billboards starting in 1984 and people started to take notice. The surgerized sasspot got some parts and bookings and was buzzed about to the point where in 2003, she actually ran for California governor, using her pink Maltese as her mascot. Alas, Angelyne lost to another cartoon character with even bigger tits, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
DR. RUTH WESTHEIMER
The pint sized German psychologist seemed like your cheery aunt as she went on talk shows and chirped about all sorts of incredibly dirty things. As a sex therapist, she served great messages about liberation and responsibility, and her perky demeanor helped it all go down easier, making her a superstar for all the world to get off on. The Wall Street Journal got it right when they described her as "a cross between Henry Kissinger and Minnie Mouse."
CLARA PELLER (1902-87)
Another feisty old bag, the Illinois-born manicurist and actress hit paydirt in 1984 with a Wendy's commercial where, at a made-up rival fast food place, she looked at a puny burger and exclaimed, "Where's the beef?" Her crusty, funny delivery made her a star, and "Where's the beef?" became the most overused tagline of the decade, often relied upon for a salacious innuendo that Dr. Ruth probably loved. Alas, Peller was fired after she did a commercial for Prego Pasta Plus spaghetti sauce and said, "Where's the beef? I found it! I really found it!" Wendy's correctly felt this showed that she found the beef somewhere other than Wendy's, so they axed her. Peller replied, "I've made them millions and they don't appreciate me." Yes, she had a beef.
LARRY "BUD" MELMAN (1921-2007)
An offbeat little man named Calvert Grant DeForest started appearing on Late Night With David Letterman in 1982, doing little comedy bits, sometimes involving heckling the host. (He also played Kenny the Gardener, a whole other lovably demented character.) An instant hit, "Bud" was very Ed Wood-meets-John Waters and one of those talk-show finds that made late nights more perversely appealing.
THE BARNUM & BAILEY UNICORN
In 1984, the B&B circus debuted "the living unicorn" named Lancelot and he became a sensation, even though he was clearly a goat -- or several goats -- with a grafted horn, not the mythical creature of our wildest dreams. As the public lined up to buy tickets to gawk at this creature, animal organizations cried cruelty and there were claims of fraud, followed by the circus taking out ads saying, "Don't let the Grinches steal the fantasy!" When they finally dropped Lancelot from their roster and the unicorn lost his proverbial horn, it was very Tennessee Williams. At least that's how I saw it.
JEANE DIXON (1904-1997)
Dixon was an entertaining crackpot with a syndicated astrology column and lots of nutty predictions that would appear in The National Enquirer, including macabre foreshadowings that rarely came true. She predicted JFK's assassination, though she had also predicted that JFK wouldn't even become President, so that kind of negates her triumph. Amazingly enough, President Nixon actually admired Dixon, met with her, and listened to her terrorism predictions! But one thing Dixon never predicted was her own death. That came as a surprise to everyone.
Runners-up: Charo, Liberace, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Mason Reese, Rodney Allen Rippy, Lucky Vanous, Max Headroom, Zacherle, Elvira, Pat Paulsen, Fabio, Senor Wences, Topo Gigio, Pee-wee Herman