A Very Chairy Nightmare

This is what it’s been like for me:

Last night I dreamt that a guy named Hampton, or Harrington, with a portfolio in his hand and a hat cocked to the side of his head as if he was an old time reporter – think conservative writer Matt Drudge – came to my door trying to sell me something.

You know the type

I instantly backed away because he wasn’t wearing a mask.

But he kept talking and, when he saw I wasn’t responding to some right wing or religious claptrap he was peddling, he reached his arm out to jam the door and blurted out incredulously,

Wait, you haven’t heard of me????

I then gave him one of my famous eye rolls (Note: Okay, two) and slammed the door in his face.

My heart was beating fast and I was pissed!

This demented, unknown asshole —  how dare he infiltrate my safe space!

NOW!

Never mind this was my old apartment, located on the ground floor of a duplex from the sixties, that I haven’t lived in for 10 years.

Anyway, I turned from the door and went through the living room and then around the corner, past my bedroom, and through the hall to my home office, where I see Hampton, or Harrington, or whoever the f-k he claimed to be, actually crawling through my floor-to-ceiling door/window.

How he got it open, I have no idea, since as I recall there were bars on all those windows.  But these type of people, well, as we all know too well after the last four years, they have their ways, right?

If only Clooney was in this dream…

In any event, there I go running into the room where somehow this little sh-t has now somehow gotten his foot through the glass, ready to push him out and break the glass and sever his presumptuous soon to be dangling limb, if need be.

But before I can do anything I notice right next to him this cute little young woman, sitting at a large table she’s set up on the landing next to my doorway.  It’s got a large colorful tablecloth with a gorgeous set up of orange juice, muffins, teacakes, coffee, lemonade and the like, and she’s commandeered my entire area, ready to sell or perhaps even give it all away to a line of very clean-looking smiley people from, I’m guessing Indiana or some such Midwest state, certainly not West Hollywood, which is where my apartment was located.

A real Anna Camp type

I look at this woman, also mask-less and unsurprisingly sunny blonde, and think what the f-ck, but she just stares at me with this Up With People sort of smile and gestures to the o.j. and muffins.

Despite how good they look (Note:  Yeah, I have to admit that) I say to her almost tongue-tied:

What???  You can’t be here.  What are you doing here????

Hello? Hello?

Meanwhile, Hampton’s long leg has now almost touched the floor in my office, as I’m pressing the glass door closed against him and start yelling:

Get out!  Get out!   GET.   THE F-CK.   OUT!!!!!!!!

And then….

Well, I can’t tell you if I won or lost because then…

I WOKE.   THE F-CK.    UP.

But is it really?

Of course, missing from this dream was my husband of almost 32 years, who was living with me in that apartment.  God knows where those people stashed him.

Also gone was any semblance of anyone else to help me.  All that I saw was the phony sunshine being offered by these charlatans from a demented world that people were lining up to buy into in droves.

Does any of this sound, well, familiar?

Drink that Kool Aid

As I watched  Donald Trump this weekend immorally and probably illegally nominate someone who will arguably be the most conservative person ever to occupy a seat on the US Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, I couldn’t help but reconsider, in light of this dream, what I secretly thought about myself at several points in my childhood when I had feelings about things that, in a matter of time, would turn out to actually happen:

I have ESP!

Open 24 hours

Then I realized the ugly truth.  I’m not special and I’d bet all 65 million of us have at times in the last four years been having various versions of this very same…well, let’s just call it as it is…nightmare.

Amy Coney Barrett, as well as the young girl at the breakfast table, and even Hampton or Harrington, might seem perfectly sunny to hang out with.  In fact, this would be especially so as long as they bring those muffins and orange juice and we have all taken a cup of Instant Smile in order to avoid talking about anything meaningful aside from their glistening and hypnotizing, well, cleanliness.

Follow the light Carol Anne!

But if we dare to blink our eyes a few times or, god/gosh forbid, think, it quickly becomes clear that what we’re really feasting on is, in reality, the beginning of our own demise.  The homogenization of difference.  The demonization and illegalization of the essence of who most of the 65 million of us are, or certainly believe in.

Ms. Barrett and Mr. Trump smiled a great game from the Rose Garden Saturday afternoon.  Heck, so did even  Kellyanne Conway and Fox News’ Laura Ingraham from the audience, and when was the last time you could say that about the latter?

She looks better than I thought #shade

But make no mistake.  If you are female, if you are LGBTQ, if you are not guided by religion, if you are non-white, OR if you are at all an ally in any sort of way of any of the aforementioned above, you should be more than alarmed.

Not to mention, you can also now count yourself, as allies, among that infamous 65 million of 2016 whose beliefs and lives will truly be in peril. (Note: aka The Majority).

I won’t go through all the many ways we should be panicked at the nomination and likely immoral confirmation of this woman.  Read these links and simply let the facts do it for you:

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

Exhibit D

Blessed be the fruit

But what I will do is encourage you all to remember that though dreams and nightmares are personal works of fiction, they spring from the reality of your mind.

Now more than ever in the next five weeks heading up to this election it’s important that each and every one of us trust in our minds, in our own ways of thinking, and especially in our own instincts on impending danger, and take any actions available to save ourselves, our compatriots and, most of all, even our fellow citizens/enemies from the worst of themselves.

Or shall I say, all of ourselves???

Alice Cooper – “Welcome to My Nightmare”

 

Culture Vulture

Each week pop culture seems to offer an irresistible topic of conversation.  Perhaps it’s the online, multi-tasking, Facebook and Twitter-heavy world we live in, but more and more it’s easy to feel that there is not just one topic but six or seven or twelve to choose from — many of which are not so much amusing, but, well, alternately awful, trivial or downright distasteful, and only occasionally uplifting.  And unfortunately, quite reflective of the world we currently live in.

In honor of this predicament, this week and this week only (unless I decide to do it next time cause that’s how this stuff rolls in 2012…uh, don’t worry, I won’t) we present a mash up of the nonsense for the week ending March 23rd  .  At least as it looks from the seat of a chair, which can be cushy or hard, depending on what’s happening and to whom (who?).

Television encores: “Mad Men” returns and “Smash” is renewed.

Hello gorgeous

Does one counter the other?  I’m not so sure. The NY Times on Friday gave what we consider an unfair review of the first “Mad Men” of the new season – noting that because it has spawned so many 60s nostalgia themed spin-offs, there is no irony left when filmmakers show “an adult smoking a cigarette with one hand and holding a baby in the other.” Like many reviewers and non-fans, this critic misses the point.  No great film or TV show is ever really about the time period.  That is just the window dressing.  It is always how interested you are in the characters and what they, and they alone, uniquely do in said time period.  The challenge of TV is keeping the people and situations interesting through season after season – a whole other story in itself.  Oh, and in actuality it is that very FAMILIARITY with characters and their world/era that make people want to watch and commit to a television series.   You can wear out your welcome if you don’t come up with engaging twists and turns and new and bizarre crises but you want to also feel you can depend on – something.  Therefore, the verdict is out for me if that is the case with the new season of “Mad Men” because

  •  a. I have not yet seen the first episode of the best-written show on television. (It is – deal with it)
  • b. Past seasons have all managed to work their magic in strange and even more surprising and unusual ways than the one before (“Past as prologue” – as the NY Times writer so wisely pointed out in her review) and
  • c.    Cultural critics love to diss critical darlings after a certain point in time because it’s just more fun to write diss than bliss  (as I can attest from my past, present and obviously future life as a vociferous cultural vulture).

Bottom line: Don’t assume that because something is familiar it’s growing tiresome.  If that were the case there would be no happy long-term relationships.  Which there are.  Again, you’re gonna have to trust me on that one.

Oh, right  -– I forgot about “Smash.”  Uh, it was renewed for a second season.

They're multiplying

Yes.  It was.

Despite the fact that It

  • a.  Loses a lot of its audience from the number one show in the U.S., “The Voice.”
  • b.  It’s expensive to make and
  • c.  It’s a string of soapy clichéd clichés.

But NBC needs a hit and the show’s idea was the brainchild of Steven Spielberg, the King of All Entertainment, who also serves as executive producer.  Enuf said.  Because still, I don’t want to criticize a show where you get to hear Bernadette Peters do a song from “Gypsy” or any number of real Broadway performers do their thing on national TV.  No gay man in his right mind would do that because you would run the risk of getting barred from what is said to be the upcoming movie version of “Gyspy,” starring Barbra Stresiand currently being written by “Downton Abbey”’s Julian Fellows.  Yes, I’m fickle.

Interent killed the newspaper star:  Variety is for sale.

This might not seem like a big deal to you but it is to me because – well, being a Variety reporter was my first real journalism job out of college.  Once known as the “Bible of Show Business,”  Variety  has seen its audience erode due to 24/7 news and competition from the snarkiest entertainment blogs known to man and has been officially and publicly put on the market by its parent company of the last few decades, Reed Business.  Variety was founded just past the turn of the century by the Silverman family, who owned the paper when I worked there (some years past the turn of the century).  Like most mom and pop businesses, they eventually gave into the corporate giants chasing them, and said corporate giants eventually found or find themselves in the familiar position of shedding their once valuable asset due to the “changing times.”  Bob Dylan once wrote in the 60s, “the times they are a changing.’” This was seen as both a good and bad thing.  But I’m just not sure which is the case here.

Hooded Racism: Trayvon Martin

A 17-year-old Black youth named Trayvon Martin was apparently gunned down in central Florida this week by a man on Neighborhood Watch who was suspicious of the young dark-skinned man in a hoodie and on the phone with his girlfriend who, it turned out, was armed with nothing more than a pack of Skittles and some iced tea.  There is a 911 phone recording where the Neighborhood Watch guy clearly calls the deceased a racial epithet.  There is also a strict Florida law that allows those feeling in danger and in the presence of a potential criminal to stand their ground and defend themselves.  Among all of this, aspiring Republican presidential nominee Rick Santorum campaigned at a shooting range the next day and when the former senator cocked his gun and began gunning down a paper target of a man, a random woman from the crowd yelled “pretend it’s Obama.”  At best, these are indeed very confusing times, as Dylan implied.   At worst, well – you can fill in the blank.

Sugar Rush or Toothache? Food Network’s Sweet Genius

“Sweet Genius,”  a TV show where four dessert makers endure three grueling tests of their chocolate, baking and candy-making skill under the critical eye of host Ron Ben Israel – a dessert mogul who looks like Dr. Evil, talks like a Bond villain, and presides over the festivities in a set that resembles the underground lair of Willy Wonka’s evil twin — returned to the air after a too long absence.  Yes, I watch this crap because it’s fun.  But not as much fun as it was last season.  The show was a surprising limited hit over six episodes and the network has had time to think about it and in its full season two decided to make its host less demanding, less dictatorial and the show much less weird (e.g. they eliminated the odd computer voice that ominously analyzed the water and salt content of each food on a conveyor belt).  In other words, they’ve done what most film and TV production company’s like to do – round out the edges to appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore losing the very reason people loved the “asset” to begin with.  By the way, my TV writing student Alyssa makes much better cupcakes for class each week than any dessert I’ve seen on the show this year and she covers the cost of her own ingredients.  Just sayin’.

My Tribute to the Hunger Games

Girl's got range

The biggest thing in the movies this weekend is “The Hunger Games” and I assigned it to all the film writing students to see because you can’t ignore a cultural phenomenon if you want to be in the biz. I told them they need to go in with an open mind and open heart because no one sets out to make a bad movie.  However, and this is just between you and me – the film looks deadly dull and hopelessly overproduced with elements and themes from about five different movies I saw in the 1970s when I was in college.   This is not the attitude I want to pass on and I can only hope that I will be pleasantly surprised at the theatre when my (somewhat) open mind is fully expanded to a higher state of love and acceptance.  But I seriously doubt it.

One Final Note from Ms. Houston

Whitney Houston had cocaine in her system at her time of death, and it was revealed in an autopsy that the cause of death was drowning (in her bathtub).  Ms. Houston  also had marijuana, alcohol, Xanax and a muscle relaxer in her system. Still, most of us secretly believe that fame, fortune and a little bit of exceptional superhuman talent at something are the holy grail answers to pretty much all of our problems and most likely everything else.

Hottest Inmate: Clooney swoons even in jail

George Clooney got arrested for demonstrating about atrocities in the Sudan.  He paid a fine and is out on the street once again as he continues humanitarian work while earning gazllions of dollars making pretty much any movie he wants.  Fame, fortune and talent are not necessarily a bad thing and perhaps can mix well – depending on how the mixing is done and by whom.  I’m being serious here.

Flour Power: Kim K’s unfortunate encounter

cleanup on aisle 3

Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian was flour bombed.  (I’m now joking but this is true).  Definition of Flour bombed?  This means you’re walking the red carpet wearing a dark-colored designer outfit and someone dumps a bag of white flour on your head and your ultra chic suit.  If you have dark hair, this is even more spectacular because of the color contrast, as it was here.  Said Kim “bomber” was arrested but Kim isn’t pressing charges.  Do not take this as a defense of Kim’s legitimacy or evidence that I consider her a talent of any kind.  Or want to analyze her fame or fortune quotient, which are obviously quite higher than mine.

A Flashy Girl from Flushing

I drive down the famed Sunset Strip on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood and keep seeing a larger than life Billboard of Fran Drescher with the ad line, “The Mouth is back,” and the title of her second season TV Land  comedy – “Happily Divorced,” about a woman who was married to her high school sweetheart for years only to recently find out he was gay.  But they’re divorced and they’re still close friends.  Yes, this is based on Fran’s real life and Fran and I, we share a lot.  She’s from Flushing, Queens as I am.  She’s Jewish, as I am.  Her ex-husband is gay, as am I.  We’re also roughly the same age and I found her hilarious on “The Nanny,” as I’m sure she found herself too.  Then, why, oh why, couldn’t I laugh even once at her new show???  Also, I wonder — does this mean my shtick is tiring for people who have been in my life for decades and are much like me?  Am I boring everyone around me, physically and virtually, even my readers?  How do you know when you’re dull, boring and beside the point?  I worry about this and vow to do better not only with my talents but with limited fame and fortune.  But for now, well, can I just have a cupcake?