January Links

A selection of stuff I wrote this month ...

Met and fell in love with the photographer Ming Smith, who talked to me about modeling with Grace Jones, shooting Muhammad Ali when she was in college, and how she worked to change how black people were represented in American media. She is also the most wonderful, most intelligent, thoughtful, generous, sweet person ever. As I said, I'm in love.

Also here is a photo of us at her show at the Steven Kasher Gallery --- she (on the right) is ridiculously chic.

I got interview fashion-blogging heroes Tom + Lorenzo AND the Fug Girls about the first-time Golden Globe nominees. Highlight was when GFY's Jessica Morgan said that English Rose Claire Foy, of "The Crown," should hit the red carpet in PVC.

Talked to hat-maker Alberto Hernandez and Cam Newton about all the crazy headgear Hernandez makes for the flamboyant footballer.

I wrote about where you can get your hygge on in NYC.

And finally I went deep on the trend for boob-contouring.

 

Bye bye, 2016

I wrote a lot of articles in 2016. Some of them I liked, and some even helped restore my sanity and and faith in humanity during a hell of a year. Here are a few of my favorites:

Why Jackie Kennedy's Wedding Dress Designer Was Society's "Best-Kept Secret" Ann Lowe, who was the first black high-fashion designer in the U.S., with her own boutique on Madison Avenue and a clientele that included Rockefellers, DuPonts and, yes, the Bouviers — she made Jackie's debutante and wedding dresses. Yet, she ended up dying broke and forgotten at the age of 82. The Smithsonian's new African-American Museum, as well as FIT and some amazing costume historians, are working to change that.

Grandmas From Around the World Cook at this Local Eatery I traveled to Staten Island to interview some of the nonnas who cook at beloved neighborhood establishment Enoteca Maria. And boy, were these ladies not only a total delight but also totally inspiring. One had come from war-torn Syria three years ago, knowing no English; her daughter-in-law translated for her, and by the end of our chat all three of us were crying and hugging one another. It reminded me of why I so love New York City.

America's First Methodist Church More Than a Historical Landmark Back in January (of 2016), I went to a service at John Street Methodist Church, after hearing the pastor was working on a Bowie sermon. He told me that this year the church, the first Methodist one in the country, was celebrating its 250th anniversary, and I thought "Hmm... that might be a good story for the Post!" It only took 10 months to do it! This was a fun story to write (this place has had its share of entertaining factoids), but on a personal note, I found it helpful after the election to take a look at a place that has been a beacon of light and hope for the Manhattan community for such a long time. It's important to remember that these social community centers can be agents of change and places for healing and processing. And it's inspiring to see those that have managed to survive tumultuous times.

How Butter Became a Villain — and Why It's Actually Good for You Just in time for the holidays, I wrote about America's love-hate relationship with butter, the butter vs. margarine wars, and why fat actually isn't bad for you. Most surprising fact I learned: margarine was actually invented IN FRANCE. Sacre bleu!

'Miracle on the Hudson' Pilot Landed Us Our Children My first (and probably only) New York Post cover! And a rare uplifting, heart-warming one too, about a couple who re-found love after going through the crash on the Hudson River.

The Man Who Changed the Red Carpet Forever Just because I love the Oscars and Hollywood and fashion and history, and this has all of those things. 

 

There's a starman waiting in the sky ...

"This was not supposed to happen. Ever."

That was my reaction, too, when I heard the news today, that David Bowie — that beautiful, elastic, shape-shifting mad musical genius — had died, this morning, of cancer. The man had, just days ago, dropped his latest album, "Blackstar," as searching and radical and inquisitive and forward-looking as anything Bowie has ever done. He had a new musical, "Lazarus," playing Off Broadway. He starred in a bracing video (below), a parting gift of sorts, where he writhes blindfolded on what looks like a hospital bed, and even does a kind of robot dance. Who knew he was battling cancer the whole time? Bowie's relentless pursuit of art, the breakneck speed with which he ran toward everything new and exciting, made illness seem inconceivable, and his death like a vanishing or disappearing act. Surely, he had just shed one exterior for another. Surely, Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane/The Thin White Duke could not really be mortal. But, he hadn't. He was. And, it's so, so weird.

I came to Bowie rather late. I was in high school, and my best friend had rented "Velvet Goldmine," Todd Haynes' high-octane surrealist tribute to glam rock. (Fictionalized, but the lead character is an obvious Bowie stand-in.) I had never seen anything so strange and beautiful and sexy. It felt dangerous and reckless and freeing watching men kiss one another and transform into glittery beings and perform this shiny, electric, perfect music in platform shoes and eye makeup. I was never the same.

In college, Bowie's music followed me everywhere. At a coffee shop, studying to the crunchy riff of "Rebel, Rebel"; in a movie theater, as the plastic-soul incantations of "Young Americans" played over the closing credits of "Dogville"; in a friend's room, listening to her favorite song in the whole universe, "Starman," which I assumed was about the slightly unreal Bowie himself ("there's a starman waiting in the sky/He'd like to come and meet us, but he think he'd blow our minds"). I encountered photos of him with long hair and flowing folkie dresses; with a rust-colored mullet and face paint and metallic silver jumpsuit; in a dapper vest and crisp collared shirt and jaunty fedora. And each time I couldn't believe this was the same artist, that one man could have so many lives, could have such a prodigious capacity for imagination, could conjure so many worlds and personae.

I haven't even mentioned Bowie's acting career, but it makes sense that someone so fluid could morph so seamlessly into Andy Warhol (in "Basquiat"), or a romantic cello-playing vampire ("The Hunger"), or a spandex-clad goblin king ("Labyrinth"), or even Nikola Tesla ("The Prestige"). And there's, of course, his eerie, other worldly creature flung from space in "The Man Who Fell to Earth," a film that used his extraterrestrial beauty and hauteur and intoxicating impenetrability to wondrous, heartbreaking effect.

That slipperiness could make Bowie seem cold and alien, plastic and fantastic, even distrustful. But it always conveyed freedom to me: the freedom to be weird, to become whoever or whatever you want, to slip in and out of various guises and identities, unbound by age or gender or place or time or labels. That openness has to be why his music is so challenging and surprising and wonderful — why he continued pushing and experimenting till the very end. But it's also why it will live forever: because it gives us more ordinary dreamers and weirdos the permission to go in search of, or build our own, more adventurous, fabulous, and expansive worlds. RIP David Bowie.