Tuesday, September 24, 2013

If You Are Old Enough to Have Worn It the First Time

Everyone knows I am a slave to fashion. I cannot get enough of designer clothes and high-end accessories. I just die for Project Runway. Friends are always asking me for fashion advice.

Yeah right.

I don’t know a peplum from a bodice from ruching, and I heard those terms because of Fashion Police. I only watch to see what Joan Rivers will say and to see if Kelly Osborne will form her own opinion or just keep repeating what George Kotsiopoulis just said. Giuliana Rancic and I agree on everything!

What I do know is that if you can remember when it was in style the first time, you are too old to wear it the second time. This is why I don’t wear platform shoes – that and the fact that I would look like Herman Munster. I will stick with the Lurch look for now. I also don’t wear hip hugger jeans. There isn’t enough dungaree material on the entire Eastern Seaboard to get around these childbearing hips. Actually, I don’t even own a pair of jeans – not even “Mom Jeans.”

When I am on the red carpet and they ask me whom I am wearing, I answer, “Walmart Fall 2013.”

I have a friend who wears his pants really high, and I once heard him say, “Banana Republic really knows me.” I wonder if they know he has a serious camel toe?

Anytime I attempted to be fashionable, it was a disaster. The problem has always been my size. Big, they understand, but tall, nobody gets. Also, big and tall stores cater to men who need casketwear. One must look good for his viewing.

During my senior year, it was a fad to wear a skinny tie with a T-shirt. I did that, and I looked like a mental case. All day, people kept asking me why I was wearing an old tie from the 1960s. I chalked it up to being fashion forward. Delusional much? That was the only time I tried a fad. Seriously. The only time.

Shoes were always a problem because no one sold my size. I wore what looked like orthopedic oxfords throughout high school. I had one pair of sneakers and one pair that was not sneakers – the grandpa needs to straighten his hammertoes orthopedic oxfords. That was it. To this day, I do not walk into shoe stores. They depress the hell out of me. It wasn’t until I discovered online shopping that I found shoes in my size. Now, I have more than two dozen pairs of shoes in boxes because if I find a pair I like in my size online, I buy every pair they have.

My hair is the bane of my existence. Lucille Ball said that during an interview for Rolling Stone in the late 1970s. My hair is best described as a dirty Q-tip, which is why I have kept it short for more than fifteen years. My large bifocals/goggles, which are necessary for me to keep from banging into walls and stepping on small children, only make me look more like Nana every year. All that are missing are a Kent cigarette and an Eva Gabor wig. My brother would add to that a roll of Reeds mints in my purse. Remember Reeds mints? They were so good. They don’t make hard candy like they used to.

I am approaching my fifty-first birthday, a birthday I have dreaded my entire life. I am not dreading it for the normal reasons one dreads a post-menopausal birthday. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on my first birthday – November 22, 1963, which means this year will be the fiftieth anniversary of his assassination, and on a Friday, just like in 1963. I was born on Thanksgiving Day 1962, and my fiftieth was on Thanksgiving last year, which means the following year it is always the Friday before Thanksgiving. That entire day is going to be “where were you when Kennedy was shot?” all day long. Ucccchhhhh. Interesting fact, my mother shared a birthday with Jackie Kennedy Onassis, July 28, and Nana with Abraham Lincoln, February 12.

I seem to have lost my way again. Oh yes, fashion, hair, assassinations, now I know where I was, and 1963 seems to be a good place to start.

My favorite fashion era is the early 1960s. I love watching The Dick Van Dyke Show, not only for the brilliant writing, but for the fashions. Speaking of the writing, Carl Reiner is my idol. He wrote 90 percent of the episodes of that show, and I still think it is one of the top five best written sitcoms of all time.

A lot of my friends love the furniture from that show – all that Mid-Century Modern stuff. I like it, too, and I wouldn’t object to living in the Petrie house with all the furnishings, but my favorite furniture is from the Art Deco period, especially the Astaire-Rogers movies with all those square white sofas and chairs, big airy rooms, and flowing lines of all the accessories and especially the radio cabinets and dressers. My friend Ted has an entire home decorated in the Art Deco look. It is an amazing place, but what I discovered was that the furniture is not made for lounging (he agreed with me), which is why Fred and Ginger were always dancing – there was nowhere comfortable to sit.

Aunt Flossie had the most Mid-Century Modern house of anyone we knew. Every piece exemplified the era. She had the sectional sofa in turquoise, the Scandinavian dining table with the high back chairs, a white plastic round dinette with round chairs and green cushions exactly like Laura Petrie’s, and those marvelous color TVs in the cabinets, remember those? Apparently, they are making a comeback. She even had the orange armless sofas that converted into beds in her den. I really loved that house. Aunt Flossie even drove the right car, a 1960 Chevrolet Impala hardtop coupe.

However, it was still the fashions I loved most. It started with Laura Petrie’s capris for me. Did you know they had her stop wearing them for a few episodes and there was a backlash, so it was written in by the network that she was to wear capris in at least one scene per episode? The real reason wasn’t the capri manufacturers but buttcup. What is buttcup? Well, let me tell you. Mary Tyler Moore had a great butt from years of dancing and good genes. When she wore the straight skirts in fashion at the time, they gave her an incredible buttcup, so incredible that Rob Reiner, then a teenager, once grabbed her butt. Every time she turned her back to the camera, straight men nationwide got a boner. The network didn’t know what to do about her great asset. On the pilot episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou showed up drunk at her apartment, she turned around at one point, and he told her she had a great caboose. This was purposely done to poke fun at how the network was all up in arms over her buttcup.

So you see, before Jennifer Lopez, there was Mary Tyler Moore. I wonder how many of you will search episodes on YouTube to see if you can find a scene with buttcup?

The funny thing about the fashions of the early 1960s is that the capris, straight skirts, flip hairdos and ballet slippers never really came back at exactly the same time. The 1950s styles have sort of swung in and out a few times; even the 1920s and 30s have tried a revival. The 1970s have attempted to make a sort of comeback or two, and thank God, the 1980s have been laid to rest, but what about those great early 1960s fashions?

What always fascinated me were the skinny, tight high water pants the men wore. Being six-four, I would kill for high waters to be back in style since most pants off the rack fit me that way.

Apparently, I have not been paying attention. One of my co-workers came back from a trip to New York with the fifth grader part-on-the-side haircut, then I saw Adam Levine on The Voice last night, and he has the fifth grader part-on-the-side haircut, too. I could so rock the fifth grader part-on-the-side haircut. Then yesterday, a guy walked by me in tight brightly colored pants cropped at the ankle and wearing penny loafers. I thought I had fallen into an episode of My Three Sons! Remember the opening credits with the high waters and a pair of sneakers, loafers and wingtips? I then spotted a dozen more Douglas sons.

Could it be true? Am I just a single shopping trip from dressing like it is 1963? Am I too old to pull this off? While the rule is if you can remember the first time … but isn’t it really if you were old enough to wear it the first time? OK, so I was in toddler clothes at birth and bigger than a five-year-old at nine months, but cut me some slack. After fifty years, I might just be fashionable for the first time!

There is the downside. If I did dress like one of Steve Douglas’s sons and have the fifth grader part-on-the-side haircut, I might look more like the creepy guy who lives at the end of the cul-de-sac, drives a white Ford Econoline van and has a train set in his basement.

With my glasses, Charles Nelson Reilly may be a better description. Oh God, it just gets worse.
Maybe I should just go to Casual Male Big & Tall and buy some casketwear.

If you are a slave to 1960s fashion, follow me, join me, or buy my books: www.miltonstern.com.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Whatever Happened to Talent?

I admit it. I don’t get most of today's music, but to be honest, I didn’t get much of yesterday's music either. I was never a fan of rock or heavy metal or folk or even country (until recently). I often think I was either born forty years too late or reincarnated too soon after my last time on this planet. I don’t use earphones, and I don’t listen to really loud music, unless of course, it is a show tune.

My preference is for crooners who can actually sing with an orchestra behind them – the bigger the belter, the better. I truly appreciate a good orchestra, and the movement to limit orchestra size for Broadway shows is a huge mistake and seriously affects the musical quality of the shows.

Back in the day, they didn’t have auto tune. They especially didn’t have those weird ear pieces, so they could hear what they sounded like. They knew they sounded good, which brings me to a point. If the ear piece enables you to hear how you sound to the audience, why do some of you keep singing?

If I were performing in concert, and I heard what Justin Beiber must hear in that ear piece, I would retire right then and there, walk off the stage and save the rest of the world from any more exposure to my antics. He hosted Saturday Night Livelast year, and he tried to show some dance moves and sing acapella. Oh my dear lord, he couldn’t sing, but the audience went wild. Is the entire world tone deaf now? I cannot even comment on his dancing, which consisted of sliding his foot across the floor. He looked like Cyd Charisse with Huntington’s Disease.

Watch old MGM movies (as opposed to new ones) and you will notice all Cyd Charisse ever did was lift her leg and have a bunch of queens in tuxedos drag her all over the room. Yet, we always applauded and cheered. I try that every Thursday night, but no one ever applauds. Once, I pulled a groin muscle.

Back to Bieberhead – this little shit walks around shirtless with his underwear all out for the world to see with hunched over posture trying to be all ghetto and gangsta. Seriously? Your effeminate hairless ass is from Canada, you freak! Is it obvious I really cannot stand him?

Then, there is his buddy, Miley Cyrus. Here is what is sad about Achy Breaky’s offspring. She can actually sing, but she wants to be all cool rocker chick with her three-pack-a-day voice. What I want to know is how she went from Hannah Montana to Hannah the Ho Needs an Ointment? I cannot begin to tell you what I thought of her VMA performance, but I hear Robin Thicke had a fungus on the front of his pants even his dry cleaner wouldn’t touch.

As shocking as her performance was, this was not the first time for the VMAs. Madonna humped the stage in a wedding dress while singing “Like a Virgin,” as if she ever were one. Talk about a no-talent. Have you ever heard Madonna actually sing? Go on YouTube and look up “Madonna,” “Oscars,” “Dick Tracy.” She sang “Sooner or Later” by Steven Sondheim. It was a bigger train wreck than the ones they have in Mumbai. That is why they call her a performer. However, unlike Bieshit and Cyrcyst, she can dance.

There are others I don’t get. Who is this Drake guy? He isn’t even good looking, he does incoherent rap, and he is all the rave. Women want to have sex with him. If I were a woman and I heard him rapping, I wouldn’t let him perform cunnilingus on me with that mouth.

Speaking of incoherent, what is up with Kanye West? Other than marrying that ho of all hos from the family of hos, Kim Kardashian. I have seen him perform – if that is what it is called – and I cannot make heads or tails of what he is doing. Is this rap? It sure as hell ain’t singing. He sounds like someone who is beginning his methadone treatments. I saw him being interviewed and talking about how God blessed him with his talent. If God blessed me with his talent, I would become an atheist.

My favorites are the ones who sound good on the radio but suck live. One of my favorite groups is Maroon 5 and not because Adam Levine is one hot Yid. When they first started out, they sounded great live, but ever since that skinny stud started working on The Voice, his voice has not been live-worthy. As a matter of fact, they started one episode of The Voice with all the judges singing together, each having a line of a song. Usher, Shakira and Blake sounded good, then it was Adam’s turn, and he sounded like a cat getting a pap smear. This is the case every time he sings live on television lately. He was on Ellen a few weeks ago, and my television may have been on too loud because my neighbor's cat committed suicide.

Oy, two cat jokes in one paragraph.

I know I should just switch channels or turn off the radio, but something happened a few weeks ago that made me more aware of just how many no talents make millions, get handed Grammys like M&Ms and are praised for their heavenly blessed art.

My beloved Eydie Gorme died. I have all her albums – all of them. I think she had one of the most beautiful and powerful singing voices ever. When I posted her obituary on Facebook, I was surprised at all the negative comments I received – all of which I deleted. One called her a “has been lounge singer.” I joke about a lot of things but never about the death of an icon. What was most surprising was that those who made the comments had never actually heard her sing. So, I posted a few clips. One of those negative nellies watched a clip and summed it up, “WOW! I never knew.” Yeah, you never knew because you grew up thinking a skinny white kid in baggy pants and no respect for anyone or himself who cannot sing or dance without electronic enhancements was a good singer.

A music teacher many years ago showed his choral class a clip of Judy Garland singing “Old Man River” from the closing of the first episode of her television show live. After watching it, one student asked if she was still alive, and another responded, “No one with that kind of talent who sings like that is still alive.” Yep.

Someone commented on a Judy Garland clip on YouTube once: “What is that warbling in her voice.” I responded, “It’s called VIBRATO, moron!”

Although she has the busiest vagina in the entire Western Hemisphere, I do like Taylor Swift’s music. No one dumps a guy through song better than she does! I also like Bruno Mars (a real crooner's voice), Pink (she can really sing!), Justin Timberlake (he is also a great entertainer), and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (I don't know why).

If you warble or have no vibrato, follow me, join me or buy my books: www.miltonstern.com.