Goldie and Liza Together Again

I kept a VCR for far longer than I should have because I owned a bootleg of  Goldie and Liza Together, the legendary (and mostly forgotten) TV special featuring Goldie Hawn and Liza Minnelli essaying some of the popular hits of the day. Or, the then-recent yesterday. But one of the joys of YouTube is that I now have a place to watch all my precious memories, rather than storing clunky VHS bricks in my home.

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Day Drinking Memories

The summer after I graduated college, I had a good time. My roommate basically lived at her boyfriend’s; I was single, 20, and in love with New York City. And most importantly, I didn’t have a serious job. Well, actually, most importantly I had friends without important jobs who were available to start happy hour early.

The only reason we were able to while away the extended summer hours of daylight was because a bartender at our bar loved having us there. That meant we’d buy our first drink, and all the rest for the night were free. (I did my best to even the score by getting older men to buy some for me, as well.) And we’re not talking about beer; my friend and I were drinking his special Cosmo recipe. Serious stuff. Knock-you-down-the-stairs-but-you-don’t-bruise stuff.

He was always happy to see us, even when my age and drinking took on a darker hue. At 20, I was a fun, boisterous drunk. At 23, I was getting surly and my bad choices were hot on my heels. By 25, I didn’t go to the bar anymore. But for that first summer, I had a place where I could hang out every night and meet new people or bring in dates and then walk them to the subway and make a beeline back to the bar to dish them. Hell, when I went to visit family for a week I got a call from the bartender asking if I was OK.

He died this week, apparently. This isn’t one of those stories where I bemoan losing touch with him and talk about how short life is; life can be long, and life is filled with people who drift away after meaning something important. So I’m sad, but I don’t regret our abrupt, abbreviated conversation last spring, the last time I saw him. I’m a different person than I was at 20. But I can still recognize the importance of the people and things that were important to me then.

Seagram’s Wine Coolers: Where the “Party” Starts

This is something that aired on the television sets of America at least once: Bruce Willis dancing down a neon-lit alleyway with several women because, even though the fancy bar he was at sells his favorite beverage, the Seagrams Wine Cooler, he just wants to take his Miami Vice jacket off and sing in a dive bar (while also still sipping a Seagrams Wine Cooler).

I had no idea these commercials existed, but there are a lot of them. Here are three more! Worth watching just for the sass that Sharon Stone (!) throws at Bruce in the final one.

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I’ve Been Busy Sowing Wildflower Seeds

Guys, I’m sorry I’ve been MIA. I’ve been working out what is a priority and what isn’t, and in general recovering from a busy fall. And even though you only love me for my big sunglasses and Dodge Dart Classic, I don’t mind. My sunglasses are half of my personality anyway!

That being said, did you catch Miranda Lambert’s cranked-up-to-12 performance of “Little Red Wagon” on the Grammys? That girl killed it, and served a pretty accurate representation of me at karaoke.

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Peacock Living

My day job is pretty much all-consuming (you try running a magazine and then finding time to talk about weird shit here). PLus, don’t we all have attention-deficit disorder by now? Didn’t I read that somewhere? Regardless, for style icons and tips on how to live a more organized, cleaner life, contemplate subscribing to my newly created daily newsletter, Peacock Living. But rest assured, things will still be popping up here!

Jagged Sophistication: The Empress of Emotion

tumblr_l0a92aFL0M1qby3a4o1_500_thumb[2]Hollywood, 1955

Everyone you thought dead was there.

Joan Crawford had eloped to Las Vegas with her fourth husband, Alfred Steele, but Billy Haines was having none of it.

“I told her an elopement took all the fun out of it for everyone else,” Billy told me over the phone when he called to invite me to the party he was throwing. “So I’m having everyone over to the house. Just something small. Cocktails around the pool.” He paused. “But black tie.”

He didn’t have to tell me. Any party for the Empress of Emotion required putting on the dog—even if it was allegedly just drinks with a few old friends by the pool. I hadn’t seen Joan in a few years, but she and Billy were still as close as they were in the old days at MGM. He remained undaunted by her increasingly terrifying demeanor, but I had long since lost whatever use I might have once held for her. Nowadays, all the news I got about Crawford was from Hedda, Louella, and Billy, still decorating her houses after all these decades.  Continue reading

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Jenny and the Jaws of Life

10174In case you’ve never read Jincy Willett’s brilliant short story collection Jenny and the Jaws of Life, please do. Here’s one of the best lines ever written by anyone anywhere:

I can’t sleep, and I’m not so much depressed as humiliated, both by slapstick catastrophe and by the minute tragedy of my wasted talents.

And then go out and read her subsequent three novels. And be thankful to have them to read now, because 15 years went by between Jenny and her next book, Winner of the National Book Award: A Novel of Fame, Honor, and Really Bad Weather.

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Dispatches From My Unfinished YA Novel

June pulled out a pack of Marlboro Lights from her backpack and opened the window that faced the woods. “Smoke?”

“Don’t mind if I do!” I said. She and I had been sneaking smokes for a few weeks now, inspired by how glamorous people in old movies seemed. She passed me a cigarette and lit it for me, then lit hers. We both inhaled, but only June started coughing.

“I can’t believe you don’t cough,” she said, wiping away tears. “Everybody coughs the first time they smoke!”

“Maybe this is what I’m good at,” I said. “Mrs. Wallis was telling us about resumes. Maybe I should put this under special skills.”

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