Minstrels Anonymous on Bandcamp

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Junkies For Obama

Well, the election is finally over and thanks to the hard work of every shrill liberal white girl on the planet President Barack Obama has been reelected for a second term. His fans are dancing in the streets because their hero will be around for another four years of rising unemployment, forced insurance payments, rising gas prices, a heavily censored administration and not one, but two concurrent wars created by Americans for Americans. Black Superman promised us four years of change, we definitely got change for the worse and the next four years will be more change for the worse. Thank you, Black Superman.

No one’s saying the other guy was better but it’s weak to think that Warbama was the better alternative. Either way everyone loses, and if you don’t believe me check the national suicide rate. It’s at the highest level in decades, in fact the highest since the Eighties when Ronald Reagan was President. Was the rising suicide rate what Warbama had in mind when he talked about change?

A lot of Black Superman’s fans rallied on Facebook, protesting Genetically Modified Foods. Many of these people are already taking steroids, taking ecstasy at shows or just doing drugs of all kinds to maintain their hipness quotient. I didn’t know there were such prioritized standards in harmful elements you could place in your body. Some of them even cried about Hostess Twinkies getting phased out(!). Talk about Genetically Modified Food. Change!


Drove by the El Rey Theater the other night and saw the marquee announcing the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion playing. When I saw them play there it was the mid-Nineties and there was a line going down the block waiting to get in. Fast forward to now and there were, at best, maybe twenty people standing in line. Sad, I know. I pulled into the supermarket a block away and as I walked up the staircase to the market a tiny mob raced out with Mr. Spencer holding a birthday cake in his hands. His entourage acted very important and almost elbowed everybody out of the way. I just thought it was a whole lot of fuss over a fading star. Sad!


There's something simultaneously exciting and surreal when you make outfits for celebrities and it shows up on TV shows like TMZ and tabloid magazines like The Star. Rebecca and I were hired to make Halloween costumes for stars Alexis Denisof and his wife Alyson Hannigan and their kids. They wanted outfits that looked like sea horses, which was right up our alley since I already wore a sea horse pendant around my neck.

Click on the next line to see the UK Daily Mail pictorial on their costumes made by us:
Alexis and Alyson Sea Horses

The project took a few weeks since we were dressing four members of the family of varying sizes (one was a newborn so that was a good challenge). They were very easygoing and open to our ideas so they were a pleasure to work for, plus they liked our choices of multicolored sequin fabric. They were not only a hit for the holiday but garnered tons of publicity from the "paps". It's one thing to let your clothes speak for themselves, it's quite another to turn jaded Hollywood heads around, but that's what makes Rebecca such a genius.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dig That Crazy Bird

The Scooby Dooby sisters, Millie and Ellie were oblivious to the fact that it was the third Thursday in November. Millie industriously painted a stiff, wooden chair with Duco house paint. At first she applied a red coat but then decided to go abstract and add small slashes of yellow and green, making the Jackson Pollock scene. Ellie busied herself brushing her hair 100 times, a favorite pastime particular to blonde girls.

Millie found herself stuck to her paint brush as her hair got stuck to the quickly drying paint on the brush. "Ow! Not cool! Sis!!"
Ellie found herself in a similar predicament when her brush got deeply tangled in her hair and she couldn't pull it out anymore. "What a drag! Sis!!!"

Millie raced over to her sister with a big paint brush dangling from her hair like a clunky ear ring. "Help, my branches are all stuck!"
"Mine too!"
Ellie began pulling the paint brush out of her sister's hair as Millie reached over to pull the hairbrush out of her sister's head. Both of them twisted and cussed as their groovy crash pad door opened and their rich, fat, gray-haired mother strode in wearing her customary pill box hat, silver fox mink stole and Cartier pearls.
"Oh, girls, what foolishness are you up to now?"
"Mother!!!" they wailed at the same time.
Mother Huntington rolled her eyes and grabbed a rusty butter knife from the kitchen. "How many times have I told you girls to cut that monstrously long hair of yours? Oh well, I suppose this'll do. Once I cut your hair and you change out of your rags you're coming home for Thanksgiving dinner".
"Mother!!" they both wailed.


Although Millie and Ellie were hip, card-carrying beatnik sisters they were strictly trust fund brats and had to put up with occasional inconveniences like family get togethers, i.e. Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner was held at the Huntington family's stuffy Park Avenue penthouse with the gray-haired squares sitting at the large dining room table and the youngsters sitting at the tiny Japanese-style table.

"Hubert's closing a highly lucrative account in Tokyo, even as we speak. They're selling low after that terrible war", Mother Huntington told the guests. "We're doing our part to help those unfortunate little Buddhist peasants". The guests nodded, grunted with a few "here heres" and sipped their expensive wine. There were several candelabras at the table even though the dining room had the brightest chandelier money could buy.

"Bodhisattva bebop", Ellie whispered to Millie. "Dad's making the Buddha scene".
"I dig, chick. I'm just jazzed Mom didn't get a chance to slash all our weeds".
"Zilch, baby. As soon as she copped my locks off that crazy brush I split out of the pad".
"Me too, baby. And she didn't get a chance to flip our threads, either!"
They both giggled, but Millie quickly frowned when Grimly the butler placed two heaping plates of Thanksgiving dinner in front of them.

"What's with the feast? Maaaannnn!"
"Hold the banquet, baby, I don't dig".
"Thanksgiving dinner", Grimly announced, "Per Lady Huntington's request". He dashed away, disgusted by the scruffy debutantes sitting Indian style on the floor by their meals. He looked back and caught a sight of Ellie taking off her moccasins and shivered with disgust, dashing into the kitchen.

Millie began industriously building an abstract sculpture out of her mashed potatoes and stuffing, building an upper tier of yams and stacking the rooftop with slabs of turkey.

Lady Huntington glanced over at her daughters' kiddie table, did a horrified double take and stopped her dissertation on Coco Chanel's latest collection.
"Millicent, what on earth are you doing?" Everyone at the adults table stared at them with smarmy disdain.
"I call it 'Ode To A High Rise'", Millie tossed her hair proudly. "Isn't it the most?"
Lady Huntington turned three shades of red and roared, "Child, you'll be the death of me yet!"
"Must they be here? The air has a faint...aroma...of narcotics", a silver-haired man with an enormously red face burbled.
"That's patchouli, Gramps!" Millie purred.
"Oh, alright, get out. Oh, these unruly children!" Lady Huntington poo-hooed.

"LET'S SPLIT THIS WAX MUSEUM!" Ellie grabbed Millie's hand and they promptly walked out the door, but not until Millie stopped at a bowl of fruit.
"Wax fruit!" Millie smirked, "You cats must be putting us on!"


Millie and Ellie made a detour home to their favorite coffee house, The Pony Espresso, where coffee, chess, and their hipster crush Scruffy worked. Dave Brubeck was blasting on the hi-fi and a few scattered beats were sitting around reading poetry and sketching with plates of food by their side.

"Dig that grocery store rebop, Sister", Millie whispered to Ellie, "Is today Food Day?"
"Gadzooks", Ellie scratched her head, "Foodarama, like feast-a-rooni".
Scruffy ambled up to them as they sat down at a table.
"Aloha, chicks", Scruffy brought over a tray with two espressos, the way the girls liked it, hot and strong. They thought Scruffy was hot and strong, too. "Got some atomic bomb juice, on the house".

Millie grabbed a chess board from the book case in the corner as Ellie asked Scruffy, "What's with the food scene, Daddy? I don't savvy, Pappy".
Scruffy stroked his groovy goatee and said, "You don't dig, Baby? Today's Thanksgiving Day. We give thanks for giving and today I'm making with the banquet scene".
"Coolness! Lay it on me, Hepcat".
"Grab a plate and pile on some grub - it's on the pub".

The two girls ambled over listlessly to the buffet table. Ellie put two cubes of yam, three teaspoonfuls of cranberries and half a slice of pumpkin pie. Millie piled on a tablespoonful of bread pudding and half a slice of mince pie. She grabbed three pecans for later if she got hungry.
"I'm gonna get so stuffed", Ellie mumbled.
"I dig, like my plate is jammed like Grand Central Station", Millie peered at the meager helpings.

They put their food down and started playing chess. Scruffy walked up and said, "Happy Thanksgiving, chicks".
"Yeah, like Happy Thanks for Giving, Scruffy. You're the most and squares are toast".

An old math professor came in and started reciting some way out poetry about the Mayflower and Pocahontas being a real gone squaw and the pilgrims wearing those crazy toppers and the two girls felt warmer than they felt in months. The food grew cold on their plates but they couldn't guzzle their coffees fast enough! Like, Endsville.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Smell Check 2012

If I can toot my own horn I just want to say this is the fifth year I've written my annual "Smell Check" blog post, and the scents gets smellier and more adventurous with each passing year. Some designers have made it perfectly clear they don't give a hang whether this cologne makes you smell too girly, and I say fuck-eeennnn ay!

Christmas is coming like a money magnet on wheels so if you're looking for a way to spend your money on your man and make him smell good, too, here's my perfume smelly Two Cents:

L'Homme Libre (Yves Saint Laurent): "The Free Man" smells like citric attorney smell verging on raid insecticide. By the way I'd like to know who green-lighted the cityscape behind the model. It looks like Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy hit it. How about something a little more exciting and upbeat? You're only trying to sell 4 million units of mediocre odor.

Sexual Pour Homme (Michel Germain): Cheekily advertised as "Passion inducing aphrodisiacs", I didn't exactly org over the scent however I did find it rakishly impudent in its blending of honey, cinnamon, scandalwood (sic) and cardamom. I think I smelled cardamom (???). Tres sensuale. BTW, this smelled better than Sexual Fresh Pour Homme. Vive la difference.

Mont Blanc Legend (Mont Blanc): Mont Blanc is known for making quality pens and watches. Their fragrance is okay for guys who like to watch THE GAME, play POKER and smoke CIGARS and think Las Vegas, "Frank" and strippers are faboush. I will not elaborate.

Euphoria (Calvin Klein): One of Calvin's muskiest efforts yet, okay in my book, I like a good musk husk on me. The container kind of looks like a liquor flask, and hits flavorful notes of Chilled Sudachi, Ginger Pepper Cocktail, Raindrop Accord, Cedar Leaves, Black Basil, Sage, Brazilian Redwood, the ubiquitous Patchouli, Suede Note, and Amber. Whew! Calvin wins again, damn it.

Mark Ecko Blue (Mark Ecko): Cologne makers are rockin' the accent marks like I haven't seen since the hoary days of Heavy Metal. Ecko with an accent grave over the "O". What did I think of it? Stay away from bees when you wear this or you'll turn into a pin cushion.

Amber Pour Homme (Prada): Touted as "a rich, complex amber intermingles with the clean, fresh scent of barber's soap". I think I smelled some tabac, too, always a winner in my book. Macho without being numbskull obvious, I liked this a lot. Amber Pour Homme Intense, on the other hand, totally lost me because it added patchouli, bergamot and vanilla to the mix, smelling like an olfactory car crash. What a mess!

Burberry Touch (Burberry): This is the vanilla-cum-bubblegum scent that expands if you sweat, but I'm getting nauseous just thinking about it. Burberry make great clothes but their colognes are underwhelming.

Spicebomb (Viktor & Rolf): I don't care what this smells like, any cologne bottle shaped like a hand grenade about to explode looks awesome. But if you want to be a baby about details, here goes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf, Pink Pepper, Lavandin, Chilli, Saffron, Elemi, Vetiver, Balsam Fir, Tobacco Accord, White Leather Accord. I don't even know what "Balsam Fir" or "Elemi" are supposed to smell like but I'd give this one a go anyway because leather and tobacco scents are on board. So am I!

Terre D'Hermes (Hermes): Hermes takes a break from making pony saddles and pocketbooks to give you this manly cologne. It smells like leather - what a surprise! - and burnt wood. If you're a fireman you'll either love it or it'll remind you of work. Back to the riding crop drawing board for you, Hermes.

Serge Noire (Serge Lutens): If I combined the finest smelling incense, the tastiest curry dinner and dynamite sex it would be Serge Noire. Even if you're not from Morocco you'll probably cave in to this musky Mediterranean melodrama.

My taste in colognes isn't for everyone, but even if you don't agree with my opinions always test a cologne before you buy them. A lot of people buy these things because they're popular, throwing caution to the winds as to whether they're actually nice to breathe in. Make a point of testing these things before you drop $75 on them. Sephora has the best testers and no irritating sales people breathing down your back (Hello, Macy's!) so you can make your own decisions. You'll be glad you did, Stinky.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Bittersweet Life (Korea, 2005)

"A Bittersweet Life" from Korea might very well be one of the most beautiful ultra-violent films ever made. The cinematography and art direction are so sumptuous while displaying scenes of painful violence are impressive in a weird way. Nevertheless, it is an excellent action film, the kind you just don't see very often anywhere.

Directed by Jee-woon Kim, A Bittersweet Life is a crime film that strides through different tones of romance and glamour before it descends into a maelstrom of brutality and torture. Byung-hun Lee stars as Kim Sun-Woo, a sort of clean-up man for a crime boss and casino owner named President Kang (played by Yeong-cheol Kim). Because of his close proximity to the inner cricle of President Kang, many of his peers are insanely jealous of him.

The trouble begins when Kang assigns Sun-woo the task of killing the man his mistress is having an affair with. Sun-woo not only doesn't carry out the task of killing the man but develops a crush on the girl himself. Although he doesn't proceed with romance he somehow enrages Kang with jealousy, who now has decided to take out his anger on Sun-woo instead.

What follows is an unrelenting stream of double-crosses, terrifying brutality and gunplay that builds and builds, culminating in a twenty-minute shootout at the nightclub. Beautiful but bloody as hell, what makes it even more bizarre is the introduction of a hitman who shows up out of nowhere just in time for the final scene. Weird!

The centerpiece of the film is the scene where Kang's goons beat the crap out of Sun-woo and then in the dead of night during a thunderstorm bury him alive under six feet of slimy mud. After a miraculous dig back up to terra firma, the gang are sitting there waiting for him so they can finish him off in a dingy werehouse. They don't: Sun-woo's escape scene might be one of the most exciting action scenes I've ever seen and has to be seen to be believed!

The ending to the film is pretty strange and almost felt like a cop-out and has been talked about among the movie's fans over and over again. I'll let you be the judge of it, but at any rate "A Bitterseet Life" is one of the best action films ever made and Byung-hun Lee delivers an outstanding performance.


Robert Altman may no longer be with us but as long as films like "The Anniversary Party" are being made his spirit lives on. Acted, written and directed by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming, the film is a sharp and vicious satire about boorish Hollywood lifestylers. The anniversary party is for a newly reunited couple who are celebrating a mere six years of unstable marriage together.

Just like the best Robert Altman film there's lots of guest stars from Kevin Kline to Parker Posey to Jennifer Beals, the party bitch to Jane Adams from "Happiness" with surprise appearance from Phoebe Cates (who almost takes the film) to Gwynneth Paltrow, who plays the hot young actress who's been cast as the Leigh character Cumming has written in his novel.

Leigh turns in her best performance ever and Cumming is brilliant, especially in the bizarre ecstasy scene - the ecstasy referred to as "dolphins" with the partygoers responding by manically diving into the pool. It ain't a party until somebody tries to kill themselves and John C. Reilly is the unlucky bastard that tries it. There isn't a single false note in this picture and I really wish I could see it again right now.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Rubber and Leather T Chronicles

When you’re discussing fashion you don’t hear the word “mystery” come up very often, but if there was any way to describe my sense of style in the mid-Seventies it was pretty mysterious. I was the kid in high school who wore a leather jacket and jeans on Monday, suit and tie on Tuesday, and just to confound my teachers and classmates wear an industrial shop apron the next. And we didn’t have a shop class in my school!

While my dress sense came off a little confused, it was more eclectic than anything, a teenager’s refusal to be categorized and filed away in the social index of teen cliques.

It was 1976 and the era of glam rock was slowly fading away, my elephant flares and fluorescent six-inch heeled platforms losing their spark. I was looking for something different, and it came in the form of the new phenomenon coming from the United Kingdom: Punk Rock.

I saw exciting pictures of The Sex Pistols and their wild fashions, featuring ripped t-shirts held together by safety pins, tartan bondage pants with buckled straps, and those three-inch soled brothel creepers (again with the elevated footwear!). Since my twentieth birthday was approaching my father asked me what I wanted for a gift, and I asked for a plane ticket to London. After all, it was Bicentennial Summer in America, so what better way to celebrate than to visit our forefathers?

I read that The Sex Pistols had their clothes supplied from a boutique called “Sex” on King’s Row in Chelsea. I made it one of my first destinations for cool rock wear, something to replace my now-archaic Gary Glitter togs.

The “Sex” staff looked pretty wild but so classically British (i.e. very polite) like Jordan, who was great. She introduced me to the head designer and co-owner of the shop, Vivienne Westwood. Ms. Westwood was a very small, delicate woman with short, white hair spiked up high dressed in black leather trousers. She was one of the nicest and friendliest ladies I’ve ever met; for all her punk appearance she was absolutely charming and easygoing, no attitude whatsoever.

I spun around in circles in Malcolm (Maclaren) and Vivienne’s shop looking for something I could wear which would stand out anywhere, especially back home in America. Decisions, decisions!

Would it be the “Cambridge Rapist” t-shirt? No, not my style. Would it be the one with the two gay porn cowboys in a clutch? No, nyet, nope. One last look before I give up, and there it was: the most amazing thing I saw in “SEX”: a black leather t-shirt.

The black leather t-shirt was made of cowhide, not lamb or pig skin, and had thick metal zippers on both sides to help slide the thing on. Jordan recommended I put baby powder inside the shirt to make it even to slide in. One try and I knew I found my Vivienne Westwood original.

In addition to the leather t-shirt I also bought a great silver rubber t-shirt, also awesome, and both sporting the immortal pink label with “SEX” written in big black letters. What becomes a legend most? Clothes like these.

I wore these shirts at the two Sex Pistols shows I attended (the leather at an all-nighter at Islington Screen On The Green and the rubber at The 100 Club). I met Malcolm and tried to get him interested in a band I knew from LA, but he politely declined. They were called The Motels, so I think things worked out well for them, anyway. I also saw Vivienne, who remembered me and noted my new acquisition from her store.

Those days were about so much more than just punk rock: I look back on that summer of leaving my teenage years and entering adulthood with my leather “SEX” original. Thanks, Vivienne. By the way, I still have the shirt and I also now design my own rock clothes, all fabrics, leather a specialty.


High Heel Realness: Recently I drove to Lucha Va Voom from the wilds of Hollywood to Downtown LA on a Friday night, the only catch being that I wore my new Fluevog Prince George boots that sport 4-inch heels! It was a little scary, not just because traffic was so heavy but that I never drove in heels before. It was a real acid test, but I learned a lot from the experience.

When driving in high heels your heel is already in an elevated position with the sole of your foot bearing down on the accelerator. Just as you walk slowly and carefully in heels you should also be delicate in the application of your sole on the gas pedal. In other words, don't stomp it unless you want to get killed!

The foot should never stray too far away between the accelerator and the brake pedals, because once you get lost it's going to be a bitch getting that grand funk boot back in position. God forbid it could even get caught between both pedals, in which case you need to decide what kind of flowers do you want over your grave, roses or tulips?

Driving in heels should be approached as some kind of fine art, attempted with sensitivity and finesse, and even getting in touch with your feminine side.