March 21 - April 19 Aries
While we all wait in breathless anticipation for the magical text message from Barack Obama telling us who his comrade in arms will be, here’s some news you can use. You pioneering, enthusiastic, fearless Aries folks can get your democratic groove on with the Democratic Dream Mug (Its not just a dream - it’s a mug! Pour in a hot beverage and the country goes blue. You’ll be surprised how good it feels!) for only $12.95 from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild. They came to be in the last decades of the 20th century, when two brothers found their inner creativity in the midst of a dwindling academic job market. Although they still contemplate truth and justice, it is their enduring goal to fulfill the materialistic desires of the funny and sophisticated everywhere! Even better, most of the proceeds go to unemployed philosophers (and their associates) and a portion also goes to a few groups working on profound causes. They have scads of fab gifts besides the aforementioned coffee mug – e.g. a box of Atone Mints, an Axis of Evil Puppet Set, the Shakespeare Naughty Pillow (This pillow features the some of the naughty bits of Shakespeare. You can rest your head on it and dream of “making the beast with two backs!” 100% cotton. Machine washable).
April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Ah you self-indulgent Taurean brethren ~ celebrate these fine August days with the best ice cream you’ve ever tasted. I’m talking about Häagen-Dazs Reserve Flavors, holla! Did you know that Häagen-Dazs was started in 1959 in the Bronx by a Polish immigrant couple, Reuben and Rose Mattus? The company began with three flavors – vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. The name was made up to look Scandinavian but is actually nonsense words. In any case, check out their Reserve Flavors; fleur de sel caramel (Fleur de Sel caramels covered in a chocolaty coating blended into caramel ice cream with caramel ribbons and French sea salt accents), pomegranate chip (a creamy mixture of tart pomegranate, sweet cranberries and ripe, sun-warmed grapes with melting chunks of intense dark chocolate), toasted coconut sesame brittle (slivers of toasted coconut steeped in rich cream and coconut milk, blended with crunchy pieces of ginger-infused sesame brittle), and more. Swoon……
May 21 - June 20 Gemini
You’re adaptable, you’re versatile, you’re lightning quick, and you’re Gemini! Looking into your future, I believe that you will find the website mediabistro.com to be a virtual salon of interesting information. It’s one of those delicious cyberstops where I go to look something up and two hours later I wake up as if from a dream after being totally engrossed with a boatload of other information I didn’t even realize I was looking for. The site states that they are dedicated to anyone who creates or works with content (that would be, um, everyone I know). Their greater goal is to revolutionize the way creative/content industry professionals relate. Therefore they’ve created the AvantGuild network; a new guild for the new guard in media . . . a new version of the 14th century guild system – so that talented professionals in related industries can meet informally, mentor each other, work on projects together, and more. Memberships are reasonably priced and include tons of perks but the best perk of all is that you can view vast quantities of material on the site only available to AG members. And my day always starts off right with The Morning Newsfeed, which you can sign up to receive for free. This is a list of smart media news culled from sources like AP, The New York Times, Washington Post, Hollywood Reporter, etc. etc. Oh and did I mention they also have amazing classes in several locations around the country, and online?
June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Cancerians tend to be moody, emotional, and intuitive. You’ll no doubt love the story of a man whose life was saved by the Rolling Stones. Retired baker Sam Carter, of Stoke, England, had lapsed into a coma after contracting a severe case of anemia. He had been given only a thirty percent chance of survival by his doctors. His wife played him his favorite song through headphones, Satisfaction, the first single he purchased as a teenager back in 1965, and Carter woke up from the deep deadly sleep he was in. He was quoted in the press, “I suddenly had a burst of energy and knew I had a lot more life left in me and that’s when I woke up - to the sound of the first song I ever bought. I would love to thank Mick and the rest of the Stones personally - I feel they really did help wake me from my coma.” Go, baby, go!
July 23 - August 22 Leo
Leos should be proud to count reporter Helen Thomas among them. She’s been a member of the White House Press Corps since the administration of John F. Kennedy. She asks the hard and brutal questions that GWB would apparently rather not answer and is now rarely called upon in press briefings. She has traveled the world with Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton, and covered every economic summit. In 1972, she was the only newspaperwoman to travel with President Nixon to China during his breakthrough trip. Celebrate her extraordinary life by watching Thank You, Mr. President (part of HBO’s terrific Documentaries series). The film was directed by Rory Kennedy, niece of JFK.
August 23 - September 22 Virgo
August 28, 1963 was the date of the historic March on Washington, which sees its 45th Anniversary this year. It’s interesting that this incredible event which changed all of our lives in both nuanced and electrifying ways happened during the time of Virgo, a sign mostly known for being careful, precise and quiet. Washingtonians can mark the occasion this year Thursday August 28 at the Historical Society of Washington, DC, located at 801 K Street NW. At 6:30 pm historian, filmmaker, and photographer Eric Kulberg will discuss his photographs in an exhibit that opens that evening and runs until the end of this year, March on Washington: 45th Anniversary. Reservations are requested, please call 202-383-1828.
September 23 - October 22 Libra
Need hundreds of songs about presidents, elections and politics? Looking for songs for a June wedding — thousands of songs classified by 42 love topics? May I clue you flirtatious, diplomatic, urbane Librans into the Green Book of Songs by Subject. Search their database – which classifies songs of all genres (including novelty records, TV themes, and commercials) by more than 2,000 themes, concepts or topics – and is continually updated. Professional Desk References, Inc. publishes the best-selling Green Book Of Songs Of Songs By Subject: The Thematic Guide To Popular Music and the GreenBookofSongs.com® Database subscription service. The project is the ongoing work of Jeff Green, currently VP of Aircheck, a Nashville-based trade publication company and previously Executive Director for the Americana Music Association in Nashville. He’s assisted by my dear friend Lauren Virshup, who oversees the company’s extensive business operations and contributes significantly to the GreenBookofSongs.com® Database content and search tools. Believe me, you’ve never seen anything like this. C’est magnifique!
October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Scorpio Sister Marie Antoinette was born November 2, 1755 in Vienna. The 2006 bio film produced and directed by Sofia Coppola won the Academy Award that year for Best Costume Design. The film was actually made at the Palace of Versailles where the real Marie A. lived out her life as Queen of France. The movie is a stunning visual riot of colors and textures and is quite breathtaking as long as you don’t invest too deeply in its version of the truth. Oh and by the way Marianne Faithfull (visit Capricorn to see more about her) plays Marie’s mother. One of the film’s most endearing qualities is the soundtrack, brilliantly culled of 1980s New Wave bands with a few tracks from the present with the same sort of dreamy trancy feel. It’s our download of the week; you’ll eat it up with a spoon (along with your Haagen-Dazs reserve ice cream). Bow Wow Wow, Gang of Four, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the magnificent Plainsong by the Cure are only a few of the yummies in this delicious box of confections.
November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Sagittarians will no doubt enjoy indulging their insatiable search for knowledge on the Snopes.com website. This is one of those endlessly fascinating islands on the world wide web, calling itself The definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation. Wikipedia says it is the most widely-known resource for validating or debunking urban legends, Internet rumors, email forwards, and other such stories of uncertain or questionable origin in popular American culture. The site is run by Barbara and David Mikkelson, who were married after meeting on the newsgroup alt.folklore.urban. They also founded the San Fernando Valley Folklore Society. The Snopes site is meticulously organized by topic and also features a message board for users to post questions about urban legends.
December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Capricorns have every reason to be proud of their comrade/sister Marianne Evelyn Gabriel Faithfull, who is one of my all-time heroines. Briefly: her maternal great-great-uncle was Austrian nobleman Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (his novel Venus in Furs inspired the word ‘masochism’), her mother was a Baroness; while a convent schoolgirl she was discovered at a party by irrepressible impresario supreme Andrew Loog Oldham; she became a successful pop singer after the release of the Jagger-Richards ballad AsTears Go By was released in 1964; she became Jagger’s long time girlfriend; she was the famed “Girl in the Fur Rug” at the 1967 Redlands drug bust at Keith Richards’ country home; she became a heroin addict; she almost lost everything; she crafted the brilliant Broken English album in 1979; and yes, there’s more. A lot more. Read her autobiography Faithfull; her life reads like a modern-day gothic novel. A new album will be released at the end of next month. And if you get the chance to see one of her rare appearances, don’t think twice; just go.
January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
All eyes will be on Denver, Colorado next week when the Democratic Convention comes to town. Here’s a tip for you independent, humanitarian, intellectual Aquarians; the nearby town of Arvada (7 miles NW of Denver) is home to Black & Read, 4000 square feet of books, games, vinyl, and CD’s. Rows and rows of scifi, classics, reference, philosophy, and more. Stacks and stacks of multi genre CDS and vinyl. Sounds like heaven to me! All hail the independent book/record store. Support them wherever you find them. They are, unfortunately, a dying breed.
February 19 - March 20 Pisces
If there’s one thing that Pisceans love, it’s knowing what’s going on. In fact we can be a little bit on the controlling side, n’est-ce pas? Well thanks to Jeff Stark and his cohort Alita Edgar, you can be on top of just about every interesting cultural / art event in the vast boroughs of New York City. Their weekly list, Nonsense NYC, is a discriminating resource for independent art, weird events, strange happenings, unique parties, and senseless culture in New York City. Everything from street events to bike rallies to outlaw dancing to burlesque to open mikes - Nonsense covers the stuff that has no name, or a name that you feel really awkward and self-conscious saying out loud, like “underground.” They use what they call the rule of three in listing events; three different things going on in the event: DJs, bands, dancers, costumes, fire performance, theater, film, art, projections, fashion, an unusual space, or a host of other intangibles. Quoth the team: We believe that there is more to life in New York than getting drunk at slick new bars. We were frustrated when we moved here and couldn’t find a reliable source of alternatives, even though we knew that there were creative people making cool shit happen. Almost more annoying was the fact that certain groups we knew about weren’t always aware of one another. Our solution was to start a weekly list . . . Our goals are to help make New York a more interesting place to live, to encourage others to do the same, and to have more fun than just about anyone else. We’re particularly drawn to participatory culture, amateurism, and urban folk art. Subscribe here. And they accept donations, so send one in! They’re doing great work and deserve to be paid for this!