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Archive for April 2009


April 20 - May 20 Taurus
It’s that time again, Taurus cowpunks and all zodiac zydecats. Time for the Ponderosa Stomp! The 8th Annual P-Stomp pulls into New Orleans next week on Tuesday 4/28 and Wednesday 4/29. The lineup includes Wanda Jackson, Howard Tate, James Burton, Dan Penn and Bobby Emmons, Howard Tate, Otis Clay, The Hi Rhythm Section, The Remains, Question Mark and the Mysterians, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Kenny and the Kasuals, Deke Dickerson and the Eccofonics, and 75-year-old Lazy Lester, the patron saint of the P-Stomp, whose instrumental 1966 track for Excello Records provided the festival’s namesake. And that’s only a few of the musical acts. By the by, Flamin’ Groovies Cyril Jordan and Roy Loney haven’t played a full set together since 1971, but will perform this year at the P-Stomp, backed by the A-Bones! It’s the biggest P-Stomp to date, with an expanded 3-day conference and a Stomp-curated exhibition at the NOLA’s Louisiana State Museum at The Cabildo. The 2nd Annual Music Conference and Exhibit is presented in partnership with The Louisiana State Museum and The Rock + Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. From our friends at Norton Records: A daytime conference has been added to the Stomp. There will be interviews and panels with and about the music and artists featured on the festival. The conference happens at the beautiful Louisiana State Museum at the Cabildo. Much anticipated at Norton HQ is a Peanut buttery Tom Snyder style Q&A starring Question Mark with his biggest fan Miriam Linna firing questions at the Arsenal! (April 29 2:00 - 3:00 PM ) More info here. Schedule here. Tickets here. And New Yorkers, hearken unto this: the P-Stomp is pulling into Lincoln Center for 3 dates in July.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
I know Geminis are mindful that Mother’s Day is coming up very quickly on May 10. Because you twin people love your mamas! As it should be! Heads up for a really great deal on the perfect Mother’s Day Gift from One Meaning Couture, a new jewelry and apparel company. All OMC designs are based on the words “I love you” - 8 letters, 3 words, 1 meaning.  The numbers 813 form a butterfly shape– the symbol of change and renewal, and now, love. Company owners Karen Chesleigh and Ingrid Hobbs believe that love really can change the world. That change starts with their policy to give back 8.13% of all sales to a different highlighted charity each month. As OMC grows in sales, so will its charitable contribution – one day they hope to donate 81.3% of all proceeds to a deserving organization each month. During the month of May, in honor of Mother’s Day, OMC is donating 8.13% of all proceeds to the Get in Touch Foundation, which encourages girls and women of all ages to “get in touch” with their bodies in the crusade against breast cancer. Weekend Horoscoop* readers are invited to take 10% off their orders between now and May 10. Enter the word “horoscoop” at checkout and you’ll receive a 10% credit off your total purchase price!

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
As the Tribeca Film Festival pulls into town, it reminds us that we must support independent film every way we can, especially in these dark financial times. I know that those born under the sign of Cancer, the Crab, like to support quality, first-run independent film, n’est-ce pas? Well, pull up a chair and let’s talk about Gigantic Digital – a website committed to making these films available to everyone, everywhere, anytime. Employing the latest digital video technologies, their goal is to even the playing field for independent filmmakers. Throughout the history of independent film distribution, theaters that show them have been few and far between. The bigger problem is that only a tiny percentage of independent films are ever released at all. The cost of traditional film distribution is just too high for film companies to take a chance on unknown filmmakers, films without high-profile festival pedigrees or films without movie stars. Which is why you should buy tickets for the Tribeca Film Festival if you’re able to. And no matter where you are geographically, you can watch three days of indie productions at Gigantic Digital for a mere $2.99 – on your computer! Now playing: David Kaplan’s Year of the Fish, Wayne Price’s The Doorman, and Morgan DewsMust Read After My Death. Also, feel free to watch your fill of the site’s free content which they add to regularly. Thanks to Kathryn B. for this tip!

July 23 - August 22 Leo
I don’t think I know any Leos who aren’t rock & roll animals, so this one’s for you. Did you know about the Ravin’ Wire, a commercial free, not for profit project created and maintained by San Francisco-based filmmaker Bob Sarles? Sarles regularly posts fascinating articles about popular culture, music, film, television, new media, emerging technologies, obituaries, humor, politics, and anything else that strikes his interest at any given moment. Today on the site he’s spotlighting Greg Kot’s Chicago Tribune piece Why the Grateful Dead live on; a review of Ayelet Waldman’s book Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace; and an article about the new Bruce Springsteen exhibit at Cleveland’s Rock + Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. More about Sarles and his production company Ravin’ Films here. Mr. Sarles welcomes comments on posted articles; submissions for original and referred articles are encouraged. Please feel free to submit any articles for the Wire, or send feedback to ravinwire@aol.com. Join Ravin’ Wire on Facebook here.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Virgos tend to be know-it-alls. You know what I’m talking about. Well us tribal members call such folks yentas. And a certified yenta / veteran celebrity assistant from L.A. has taken it upon herself to start a great website called The Yenta Report. Loren Elkins, said Yenta, has assisted luminaries such as Faye Dunaway, Nathan Lane, Ellen Barkin, and Matthew Perry, to name a few. After many years of people asking her advice on where to find this, or how do I do that, she decided to start this fabulous online resource which dishes out advice on all kinds of L.A.-specific topics. Features include The Yenta Review (a weekly L.A. insider profile); Ask the Yenta (every week Loren answers three submitted questions in her weekly email newsletter); and The Yenta List (where to shop, eat, rent cars, and find cool stuff in the L.A. area). There’s even a blog. Thanks to Janice N. for this fabulous tip. Love you, mean it!

September 23 - October 22 Libra
Urbane, polished Librans love to be on the cutting edge of everything, including viral video. With that in mind, may I present to you one David Wain, comic genius / boy wonder. Wain was a member of the multiheaded sketch troupe that was behind MTV’s The State. Wet Hot American Summer, a summer camp comedy cult classic, was directed by Wain in 2001. Wainy Days, his hilarious web series, is both directed by Wain and also features him as the star. The storyline is about an oversexed, nebbishy Brooklynite who continually gets his heart broken in a series of really bad dates. Season 4 debuts on May 7 at My Damn Channel – be there or be square, as the saying goes. If you’re in or near New York City, you are so in luck. Wain will host Wainy Days Live at 92YTribeca (200 Hudson St.) featuring musical performances from past and upcoming episodes along with a passel of series cast members. Tickets are $15 in advance and can be purchased here.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
I know Scorpios are often drawn to the dark side, the monsters that lurk under the bed, horror movies, et de plus en plus. Possibly because Halloween falls within your birth sign. Well, folks, have I got a museum for you! How about a trip to Springfield, Illinois to visit The Museum of Funeral Customs? Talk about a once in a “lifetime” experience. Alas, the museum is under severe budget restraints at the present time and is only open by appointment. But make an appointment and go, because I’m absolutely positive you’ll be enthralled by this place. Among other things, the museum has a replica of the coffin that carried Abraham Lincoln from Washington to Springfield in 1865. Also on view are a 1920’s horse-drawn hearse, Victorian era mourning clothes, an embalming supply cabinet from the 1920’s, and prosthetics for preparing bodies in the mid-20th century. There’s also a one of a kind gift shop that sells coffin shaped key chains and chocolates. The museum explores death-related customs in different cultures. The Museum of Funeral Customs is located at 1440 Monument Ave. in Springfield, Illinois, a stone’s throw from Lincoln’s final resting place at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Call to make an appointment at 217-544-3480.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Sagittarians are friendly folk. You make a great friend and you love to make new friends. Well surprise, surprise – it turns out that making and keeping friends is good for your health. The New York Times reported this week that a 10-year Australian study found that older people with a large circle of friends were 22 percent less likely to die during the study period than those with fewer friends . .  And last year, Harvard researchers reported that strong social ties could promote brain health as we age. The Times article cites a new book called The Girls From Ames: A Story of Women and a 40-Year Friendship (Gotham), in which author Jeffrey Zaslow recounts the story of 11 childhood friends originally from Ames, Iowa, who eventually settled in eight different states. Despite the distance, their bond has stayed strong through the years. Two of the women recently found that they have breast cancer. One of those women is a high school teacher in Minnesota who found it easier to discuss her illness with her friends rather than her doctor, and maintains that her friends were instrumental in her treatment and recovery process. Turns out that a 2006 study of nurses with breast cancer found that women who had no close friends were four times as likely to die than women with ten or more friends. Karen A. Roberto, director of Virginia Tech’s center for gerontology, told The Times that “People with stronger friendship networks feel like there is someone they can turn to . . . Friendship is an undervalued resource. The consistent message of these studies is that friends make your life better.”

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Our album of the week is a new release from the brilliant Ian McLagan, Never Say Never on 00:02:59. CBS Sunday Morning’s Bill Flanagan, music critic and rock writer, had this to say: Never Say Never mixes mischief and heartbreak, dancing on the bar and crying in your beer, in perfect proportion. The album is a collaboration with Glyn Johns, Mac’s old pal from Small Faces and Faces days. The self produced and directed album features McLagan’s award winning Bump Band: ‘Scrappy’ Jud Newcomb, Don Harvey and Mark Andes. Patty Griffin graces Never Say Never with her soulful vocals, and both Patty and the Tosca Strings can be heard on the final track, the heart wrenching When The Crying Is Over. If I know Capricorns like I think I do, you’ll enjoy this great new set of songs from an old friend. You can catch him doing some live shows in the next couple of weeks on the west coast. Tour dates here.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Times are tough for everyone. We know this. I also know that Aquarians are very responsive to new, unique ways to solve problems. So I have a unique way for you to approach this depressing, scary, sad financial meltdown that’s reached it’s evil tentacles into the lives of all of us. It’s going to surprise you. But I ask you to give it a try. You’ll be amazed. What is this trick? It is learning how to be thankful. Re-learning the lost art of gratitude. Karen Krakower Kaplan writes in the Health Leader, the online wellness magazine of the University of Texas Health Science Center: Gratitude is the gentle recognition, rediscovery or “re-remembering” of the simple abundance around you . . . Gratitude is noticing the extraordinary in the ordinary. And then taking the nanosecond to feel it. Kaplan gives us 7 steps to connecting to gratitude and, through gratitude, abundance. Honestly, it works. I’ve tried it; I know. Even if you think you have nothing to be grateful for, make a list – you will find something – and it will turn your life around.

February 19 – March 20 Pisces
The Pisces of the Week is Sir Michael Caine, who is back in the spotlight with a new film; John Crowley’s Is Anybody There? Caine plays a retired magician who has been shunted off into a rest home as he experiences the slow darkness of the mind that is Alzheimer’s. Caine, now 76, says it is one of his favorite roles in his long career of over a hundred films (two Oscars, mind you). And this is from the man who starred in The Ipcress File, The Man Who Would Be King, The Italian Job, Educating Rita, Zulu, Billion Dollar Brain, Alfie, etc. etc. etc. Caine was born Maurice Joseph Mickelwhite, Jr. on March 14, 1933. He is also known for his wickedly funny asides, like “The best research for playing a drunk is being a British actor for 20 years” and “I’m a sort of boy next door. If that boy has a good scriptwriter.” The British ska band Madness included a song called Michael Caine on their 1984 release Keep Moving. At the urging of his daughter, a fan of the band, Caine contributed vocal samples to the song. The music video can be seen here.



March 21 - April 19 Aries

Whether you’re a Ram or not, no matter what your Zodiac persuasion may be, if you’re one of the three people on this earth who seemingly have not yet seen Susan Boyle’s appearance this week on Britain’s Got Talent, please take a few minutes to see what all the fuss is about. Susan, a 47 year old unemployed church volunteer from Blackburn, Scotland, is a now an overnight sensation due to her incredible performance of I Dreamed A Dream from the Broadway show Les Miserables. She’s gone viral, cats ‘n kittens. It’s such a pleasure when something like this happens; her undeniable talent cut off the judges at the knees. And those judges included both Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan, two fellows not known for their unmitigated support of anyone. They practically laughed her off the stage before she started to sing. Susan, unmarried, never even been kissed, her only companion her 10 year old cat Pebbles, has completely turned the snarky world of reality TV competitions upside down. Mark Blankenship insightfully writes on the Huffington Post: Watching an older person—especially an older person who doesn’t seem very hip—prove she still has time to emerge from her cocoon is exciting because it reminds us that we can still sort through our own problems.No matter how old we are, we’re dealing with something, and it’s refreshing to be told that that’s okay.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Taureans love music and culture. It’s part of the fabric of their lives in some fashion, every day. Therefore I need you to get out there tomorrow, Saturday April 18, and celebrate Record Store Day. This is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day; hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances. Festivities include performances, meet & greets with artists, parades, DJ’s spinning record, and more. Metallica officially kicked off Record Store Day in San Francisco on April 19, 2008 and Record Store Day is now celebrated the third Saturday in April. A Record Store Day participating store is defined as a physical retailer whose product line consists of at least 50% music retail, whose company is not publicly traded and whose ownership is at least 70% located in the state of operation. (In other words, real, live, physical, indie record stores–not online retailers or corporate behemoths). Participating stores across the U.S. can be found here. A list of stores taking part across the world can be found here.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Geminis delight in constantly learning about new and interesting things. So the blog of the week is for you: I give you Harriet’s Tomato … all food, all the time. Blogger Michele Gentille attended Culinary Schools in Paris and Burgundy before working at resorts, restaurants, and embassies the world over. She freelances as a chef and food writer for the Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York, and The New York Times. She’s currently working as a sous-chef at a scientific research station at the South Pole. This week’s post is about keeping vegetables at 100 below zero: When these greens fall on the ground, they shatter like glass…and straight out of the bag they stick together in freeform sculpture. Gentille wrote in February about the pleasures of eating fresh donuts at the South Pole station, where 43 souls are currently working: None of us can leave. It’s too cold for an airplane to land and the station is officially closed for winter. We have only each other…and some really good donuts…to keep us amused for the next 8 months. Fascinating stuff! Read more here.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Those born under the sign of Cancer have a world of hurt inside them. There’s so much going on these days to be sad about, Lord knows. Besides the fact that our economy is in a free fall, our environment is totally messed up, people are getting guns too easily and shooting innocent people for no reason, um, you name it, times are tough. But every once in awhile there are the Susan Boyles who blow our minds with their amazing talent and the Sully Sullenbergers who land planes on the Hudson and the myriad other underdogs who rise to the top and capture our fancy. All hail to them. And all hail to Ashton Kutcher, who went toe to toe with media giant CNN in a race to sign up Twitter subscribers to his feed and won the challenge today when his millionth subscriber signed on. “Twitter allows people to share, to connect in a way that they weren’t able to connect before,” said Kutcher. He used the Twitter war to raise global awareness and big bucks for Malaria No More. See? There are some things we can still smile about.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Hey Leo - you are the sort who like to do fun things and have them count for something. So here’s something you can do tomorrow night - Saturday April 18 - if you’re in New York City - and even if you’re not. It’s the 15th anniversary of A Night to Remember - The Kristen Ann Carr Fund Annual Gala at the Tribeca Grill. The Kristen Ann Carr Fund honors the life of a remarkable young woman who died way too young of sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. The Fund raises money to both provide education for physicians about sarcoma and improve the quality of cancer patients’ lives. They do a tremendous amount of great work. If you can go tomorrow night to the star-studded event, go; tickets are $500 and a few are still available here. If not, make a donation anyway to a wonderful cause that’s really making a difference.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Trustworthy. Genuine. Committed. All synonyms for Virgo. Virgos hate to leave their comfort zone but you know what? Every once in awhile it’s a really good idea to jump out of the zone and give your psyche a shake. Did you know that the world’s weirdest events are found in Finland? Apparently so. There’s the Air Guitar World Championship, the Kutemajarvi Sex Festival, the Ant-Nest Sitting Competition, and last but by no means least, the Milking Stool Throwing Contest. And that’s only four on this list of 13 crazy Finnish events. Go book your flight now.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
I’ve got two words for you Librans out there: Ice. Cream. Mark it on your calendars; next Tuesday April 21 is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s. As a way to thank their customers for the support and to celebrate 31 years of scooping the chunkiest, funkiest ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet, Ben & Jerry’s will happily give it away that day as they do every year. The hours are noon to 8pm, and participating locations can be found here. Try a new flavor that you’ve been wondering about! Enjoy an old favorite! I scream, you scream, no matter what zodiac sign we are, we all scream for ice cream.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Hey Scorpio; Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? Check out this list of the 10 best poetry books compiled from recommendations of independent booksellers across America. Our indie bookstore of the week is Fahrenheit’s Books on 210 S. Broadway in Denver, Colorado. ‘Cuz we love their name and their site is awesome. They both buy and sell used books and maintain an eclectic collection that specializes in Vintage Paperbacks, SciFi, Metaphysics, History, Western Americana, and Fiction. They also sell some titles on the AbeBooks.com website. Hours are Tues. to Sat. 11am to 6pm and Sundays noon to 5pm. Find more great indie bookstores on the Indie Bound website.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
There are websites, mes cheres, and there are websites. But there is only ONE My Damn Channel, n’est-ce pas? Sagittarians have that constant need to be on the cutting edge, so I target this entry at you centaurs. Veteran TV and radio exec Rob Barnett started this site back in the Wild Web West days of 2007 (seems like years ago don’t it?) and it’s risen consistently way above the fray to provide some of the best and most freshest viral video anywhere. David Wain’s hilarious Wainy Days (Season 4 launches in May), Harry Shearer’s side-splitting social commentary music videos, and the viral juggernaut You Suck at Photoshop by boy geniuses Big Fat Brain, all make their home here. Then there’s Don Was, a record producer of no small reknown, who has his own digital studio parked right here. Monday April 20, My Damn Channel will roll the curtain up on Pilot Season starring Sarah Silverman, Andy Dick, Isla Fisher, and David Cross. And hey! You Suck at Photoshop is up for another Webby Award in the Online Film and Video section under Comedy: Long Form or Series - register and vote right here.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Our Capricorn of the Week is the lovely singer-songwriter Jill Sobule, who just released her seventh studio album this week on April 14, California Years. Now here’s a CD you can buy on Record Store Day, tomorrow! Entirely financed by her fans to the tune of 75K, Jill’s new album was produced by the aforementioned redoubtable Don Was. Entertainment Weekly says, Pop’s original girl-kisser has a lonesome diarist’s ear for observational, self-conversational lyricism, whether she’s drunk-Googling her exes (both boys and girls) on ”Wendell Lee” or fantasizing about running off and growing old with the waitstaff on ”Sweetheart.’ Oh and by the way, any album that includes a song titled “Where is Bobbie Gentry?” already has my full attention. Go, girl! She’s touring through April and May to promote the record - check out the dates here.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809 in one-room log cabin to two uneducated farmers, Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks. Making him one of the most famous Aquarians who ever lived. Daniel Wolff’s fascinating tome, How Lincoln Learned to Read: Twelve Great Americans and the Educations That Made Them examines the training, formal or otherwise, of Lincoln and 11 other unique Americans in an effort to identify what makes for a “good education.” From Lincoln’s obsession with books and newspapers to Elvis Presley’s fascination with movies and soundtracks, Wolff ties these and other personalities (W.E.B. DuBois, George Washington, Abigail Adams, Helen Keller, JFK, and more) together with common historical threads, discerning how each was able to surmount difficulties and make his or her mark. Enriched by historical details of the Civil War and world wars, the Great Depression, and the rise of unions, and backed by extensive primary sources, Wolff’s essays provide enlightening glimpses into the often-serendipitous process of education. This makes for a fascinating read. Buy it at the aforementioned Fahrenheit’s Books in Denver or click over to Amazon and purchase it here.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Pisceans are generally idealist dreamers who can, if allowed, live in a fairy tale world of knights and dragons. I betcha you’ll thoroughly enjoy the HBO film Grey Gardens due to premiere tomorrow, Saturday April 18 at 8PM. In 1973, the famous filmmaking brothers Albert and David Maysles entered the strange world of Jackie O’s relatives Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale. Spending six weeks with the reclusive mother and daughter who chose to live in squalor and almost total isolation in a decaying, 28-room mansion in East Hampton, the Maysles captured their day-to-day life in its raw, uncensored, captivatingly honest moments for a multiple award-winning documentary entitled Grey Gardens. Now, using that film as a framework, director-writer Michael Sucsy’s Grey Gardens offers a wry, behind-the-scenes look at the Beales and their unique mother-daughter bond. Drew Barrymore stars as the daughter and Jessica Lange stars as the mother in this hotly anticipated HBO Films production about the early years of the mother-daughter duo, as well as chronicling the making of the iconic documentary by the Maysles brothers.


Greetings dear readers! We’re taking an Easter break this weekend but we’ll be back next week with an all-new Weekend Horoscoop* ~ next week the column will be cross-posted both here and on the Huffington Post.

Meanwhile here are some things that tickled my fancy this week:

President Obama hosted the first ever White House seder. He also included gay and lesbian families in this year’s traditional Easter Egg Roll on the White House lawn. Okay in case you haven’t realized it, he’s pretty much my dream man.

I’m thrilled that Mandy Stein’s film, which I worked on doing archival research and clearances, Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB, gets its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this month.

Today, Saturday April 11, is International LOUIE LOUIE Day. Here is how to celebrate.

And finally, I think it’s actually Spring at last.

Spring has returned.  The Earth is like a child that knows poems.  ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.  ~ Christopher Morley, John Mistletoe

April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.  ~ William Shakespeare

O Best Beloved, our first anniversary actually was on March 14 but I was otherwise occupied during the ides of March - therefore this weekend I am celebrating with the first ever Best Of column! Here’s some zodiac nuggets you might have missed the first time around.

March 21 - April 19 Aries
It’s that Aries time of year ~ birthday time, Ram people! It’s also time for Passover and Easter. Well, fellow Hebrews; I have a question for you. Have you believed for lo these many years that because you’re of the Jewish persuasion you’re totally unable to get your religious groove on with rosary beads? Thanks to Brooklyn designer and Nice Jewish Girl Carlen Altman, may I assure you that is no longer the case. Altman makes these mitzvah beads by hand and offers a variety of styles, even providing a glow in the dark option for the more adventurous amongst us. Such a bargain! Good Yom Tov!

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
During the Taurus transit in 1967, May 1 to be exact, was the date of Elvis Presley’s wedding to his long time girlfriend Priscilla Beaulieu. And thanks to Mattel (they’re swell) you can now purchase a set of Elvis & Priscilla wedding day Barbies, dressed in tiny replicas of their wedding attire, though the Priscilla doll could use a lot more eye makeup and her bouffant hairdo isn’t as frozen in place as the real Mrs. P’s was that day. The packaging also contains a sticker reading Direct from Graceland. I don’t know about you, but this is one of those times where I just say – I don’t care what I have to do without; I gotta have this item. Then there’s the added bonus that though the real-life Elvis-Priscilla union only lasted 5 years, your dolls will live forever in the first romantic blush of their wedding day.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
I’m going to just come out and say it and I know there is at least one Gemini or two out there that will understand. I am a pen fetishist. There - I said it - and I am not ashamed. A good pen is everything to me. And I recently discovered one that is as close to perfect as they get; it glides over the page; it seems to encourage my recalcitrant hand to write more and better. That would be the Uniball Bold 0.8mm Vision Elite. I recently bought a pack of them at Staples and I’ve been hoarding them like a miser - when someone asks to borrow a pen, it’s not this one that I give out in case I don’t get it back. Declarative statement on the package: won’t leak in flight.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
The novel Whistle Down the Wind was published in 1958 by Mary Hayley Bell, wife of actor John Mills and the mother of actresses Juliet and Hayley Mills. The story was made into a movie in 1961 starring Hayley as a young farm girl who finds an escaped convict (sexily played by Alan Bates) sleeping in the family’s barn and believes him to be Jesus Christ. She and her brothers and sisters attempt to keep him a secret from the grownups so they don’t find him and crucify him again. The book is stunning, spare, and haunting. The film will break your heart. Apparently it’s now been Andrew Lloyd Weberized into a Broadway musical set in the American South but I urge you to check out the original book and film. What can I say, Moonchild? Your overemotional, moody side will truly dig Mary Hayley Bell’s sweet masterpiece.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
If there’s one thing that Leos go ga-ga over, it’s rare 50’s and 60’s movies and TV shows. Aren’t you lucky - The Video Beat! is just about the most fun you can have with your clothes on. This web site specializes in the aforementioned. To quote them: When you order from The VIDEO BEAT! you’re not just gettin’ a hard to find movie, you’re gettin’ a full evening’s worth of high-cultured, jet-propelled rock and roll entertainment 100% guaranteed to make you the host with the most! Crazy man! Check out LSD: Insight or Insanity from 1966 or Marijuana - Sonny Bono’s anti-drug film from 1968 which he hosts wearing what looks like gold lame pajamas. I think we all need to see the 1968 TV Special Noel Harrison is Where The Girls Are. Guests include The Byrds, the Association, Cher, Don Adams, Professor Irwin Corey, and Rob Reiner. Highlights: a comedy skit about Transcendental Meditation; Noel Harrison visiting Sunset Strip nightspots like the Haunted House. They just don’t make television like this anymore.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
So don’t say I never told you anything, Virgo boys and girls. Here’s the coolest most awesome gift idea of all time, brought to you by……the U.S. Post Office. Say what?!?! Seriously, you can upload a photo and make your own personalized stamps. Perfect for holiday cards, or gifts! Talk about branding for your company. Talk about an awesome way to send thank you cards for wedding presents. Talk about a unique way to send out new baby announcements. The possibilities are truly endless. You can buy them in seven different postage denominations ranging from postcards to package rate stamps. You can even buy them in production rolls of up to 10,000 stamps for large mailings. I think this is the greatest idea ever, and I’d love to know who thought it up over there at the U.S. Postal Service, because I would love to send them a handwritten thank you note with a Snoop* du Jour photo stamp.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
Let’s talk about one of our favorite Libras, John Winston Ono Lennon. Back in 1969, 14 year old Beatle fan Jerry Levitan interviewed John in the hotel room in Toronto that he and Yoko stayed in during one of their Bed-Ins for Peace. Now, 38 years later, Levitan has produced a short film about this encounter which he calls I Met the Walrus, during which he interviewed John about peace and non-violence. Using the original interview recording as the soundtrack, director Josh Raskin presents a visual element in which Lennon’s words are beautifully illustrated by Alex Kurina and James Braithwaite. It will take your breath away.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Yes, we’re in a recession. Yes, money is scarce. But if you have it, now is the time to travel because they’re practically giving away plane tickets these days in a frenzy to get you to buy them. And I’ve got just the destination for you passionate, obsessive Scorpios:  Consider a trip to Barcelona, one of the finest cities on this planet of ours. And while there you must not miss anything designed by Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926). His eccentric, warped, neo-psychedelic Gothic style is unique and years before its time. He’s known as the leader of the Art Nouveau moment in Spain, but that doesn’t even come close to describing what his work is like. He designed a park and sculpture garden (La Parc Guell) along with several buildings, and the redoubtable La Sagrada Familia cathedral. See them all and marvel at this man’s twisted, innovative genius.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Sagittarians know from crazy crazy love. Therefore this week’s download is targeted to our self-indulgent, sociable, flirtatious centaur friends. The song is Bernadette by the Four Tops and is a testament to complete and utter jealousy and obsession. This 1967 Motown hit was produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland and recorded at Hitsville USA. The stellar lead vocal is of course by the unbelievable Levi Stubbs. Listen to the raw urgency in his voice as he cries, Bernadette! They want you because of the pride that it gives; But Bernadette, I want you because I need you to live.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
It’s because of your really great sense of humor, Capricorn Goat People, that I urge you to spend some “time” playing hide and go seek with “superfluous” quotes. First get your feet wet with The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. For instance: Leave the Light “On” (??); “Labor Day Weekend” (is it or isn’t it??); “Best Coffee in Town” (so I guess it really isn’t). Hours of fun can be had here and you’ll find yourself with a whole new “lease on life.” Once you get into the swing of this, you’ll see them everywhere. All hail the “Internet”, also known as the “World Wide Web,” Mother of a Quadrillion Obsessions.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
O Aquarians, you share your birth sign with the ultra-hip, ultra-amazing, legendary Andrew Loog Oldham. While working for Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein in the early 1960’s, Oldham found the Rolling Stones and turned them into the greatest rock and roll band in the world. He was 19 years old at the time. He became the band’s co-manager and assisted them in creating the most compelling music of their storied, lengthy career. He’s done five million other incredible things as well. Read about him, track down his two books (Stoned, and 2 Stoned, both currently out of print), read his blog, listen to him liven up the satellite airwaves daily on Sirius’ Channel 25 Underground Garage.

February 19 – March 20 Pisces
Alice Austen, Piscean, born March 17, 1866, was a photographer from the age of 10 almost until she died at the age of 85. She took amazing, stunningly beautiful photos of her family and surroundings as well as contemporary life in New York City. The Austen family fortune dwindled so grievously after the stock market crash of 1929 that she had to declare herself a pauper. Her photographs were discovered and published in Life Magazine and the money enabled her to live out her last years in a nursing home. Her childhood home is a national historic landmark on Staten Island and well worth a visit.

I am trying to figure out why I love this show so much. I certainly cannot relate in the slightest to the high school experience of these characters. I personally am not friends with anyone remotely like these people. It’s probably a safe bet that less than one percent of the population of the United States really lives in the rarified air that these self-absorbed spoiled brats inhabit. And yet . . .

So to recap; last week Chuck and Blair had a sexy love scene straight out of a lurid romance novel in which B whispered, “Take me now.” Ever the contrarian, Chuck said, “Why?” to which B countered in her existential way, “to prove nothing matters.” Chuck spurned her then, saying, “That’s not the Blair I want.” All of which sent B straight into the sleazy arms of Carter Baizen, who kind of makes Chuck Bass look like an illustration from a turn-of-the-century children’s book.

Also last week Serena was photographed outside a club with her buddy, Supermodel Poppy Lifton. And Rufus had a strange encounter with the couple who claimed their adopted son (the biological offspring of Rufus and Lily) drowned. Vanessa urged Nate to go back and reunite with his family (the Vanderbilts, don’t ya know) and then was kicked to the curb as Nate took a summer internship to further his career instead of going backpacking with her around Europe. Oh yeah, and Blair and Nate kind of had a roll in the hay and Chuck found this out by eavesdropping in the hallway.

Our cheery narrator informs us that “mornings are simply more fun on the Upper East Side” as the show opens this week. Dan enters the loft’s living room with a fan letter he received due to his New Yorker story, after which Rufus announces they’re all having breakfast at Lily’s that morning. Little J is excited because they’ve got tons of different flavors of jam at Lily’s house. I love how the Humphrey family continually play the poverty card like this, even though they’ve got this amazingly huge loft in Brooklyn right next to the bridge – that would be DUMBO, a very expensive area, in case you didn’t know.

So Vanessa shows up with what my mother would call a puss on her, because she hasn’t heard from Nate in over a week since the big Vanderbilt party where he was welcomed back as the prodigal grandson, and then Nate sends her an email telling her to meet him at his place and off she goes. Meanwhile Serena, who had run out to buy some overpriced pastries for the breakfast with Rufus’ family, runs into Poppy on the street, who has jetted in from Spain with her new boyfriend and they’re in town for a few days before heading back.


This show is always totally overripe with great dialogue and terrific scenes, but once in a while they even top themselves. As everyone gathers around the food on the table at Lily’s place – standing, not sitting, for breakfast – Chuck enters the room, but says he isn’t staying because he has an appointment.

Dan quips, “What does Chuck Bass do at 8am? It’s not like you work out.”

Chuck: “I do my cardio in the evenings. The morning is for business for which I am late. So if you’ll excuse me – “

Eric: “Does this feel like a sitcom to anybody else?”

Dan: “It feels like a reality show.”

Chuck: “Good. So I can vote you off.”

Dan: “Good.” After Chuck exits, he then adds: “It would almost be scary if it wasn’t wearing plaid.”

But I digress . . . So Serena announces that she wants to throw Little J a big Sweet Sixteen, Serena-Style, tomorrow night at Lily’s place (and though Rufus’ loft is big, it could fit into this place about three times. On each floor.). But Jenny’s not into it. She prefers a small gathering, board games, chili, a few friends. So that’s that. Only it’s not.

Meanwhile, Vanessa has rushed off to meet Nate per his email. Instead she ends up catching Blair leaving his place and giving him a goodbye kiss. (BTW, is it me or is Nate too beautiful to be a real person? Just curious.) Anyway, then Chuck pulls up in his smoked-window limousine and reveals that he sent V the text pretending to be Nate. “I see you got the email I sent from Nate’s account. His password has been soccer since the 5th grade.” He infers to her that they can do something about the B & N situation when she’s ready.

There’s another fabtastic scene where Chuck accosts Blair at school, as she’s wearing one of her French maid outfits. I don’t get it, is he still in school or is he running his father’s company? Well anyway, she tells him that she and Nate are just friends. He comments, “There’s no spark between you and there never was. You’re like a green twig and a soggy match, a rusty hammer and an icy nail.” Seriously – who writes this stuff? It’s right out of Bram Stoker!

Long story short, Dan is turned down by Yale’s financial aid department and Rufus considers selling the loft and moving in with Lily. Blair opines to Nate that Jennifer Aniston probably doesn’t even think about Brad anymore, he knew his fate was with Angelina so he moved on after having the tough conversation. To which Nate responds, “Is this your way of saying I should break up with Vanessa?” He tells her that he is having dinner that night with V to break it off. Blair wants to know why he can’t just text her instead. God, I love Blair!

Serena has decided to resurrect the Sweet Sixteen plan and ignore Jenny’s wishes on the matter mostly because Poppy has reminded her that she’s really in a rut. In this case, the rut is that she’s going through life more like a normal high school girl than a supermodel. “A girl like you should be on the arm of a costume designer one day and yachting around the Maldives the next, not making up and breaking up with the same high school boy and feuding with your frenemy,” advises Poppy sagely.


After Nate breaks up with Vanessa, she strides furiously into Chuck’s lair - and it is a lair. He’s lounging on the couch with the fireplace blazing behind him, attired in a smoking jacket and slippers, drinking a cocktail. God, I love Chuck! He sneers, “The just friends speech, I got it too, they’re making fools of us.”

Jenny and Dan get ready to go to Serena-ville with their crock pot of chili and stack of board games. B tells S that V and N broke up and B has realized C was a childhood fling and N is really her destiny.

The Eastern European doorman at Serena’s building is reading a copy of Guilty by Ann Coulter that was given to him by Blair’s maid Dorota. Yeah, like a doorman – especially in a white glove building – has time to read a book. Meanwhile, the party starts to take off Serena-style. As Jenny and Dan enter, they run into the Mean Girls (my favorite characters on the show besides B and C; they’re like the Shakespearean Chorus). They’ve eschewed their other boring party to come here instead because the great Poppy Lifton is here. “I’ve already been hit on by two Bronfmans and a gay designer,” says the meanest of the Mean Girls, barely disguising her excitement.

Little J is jacked that S ignored her wishes and redid the Sweet Sixteen party S-style. Horrors! There’s even pink cocktail napkins with Jenny’s name and birthday on them! Jenny decides she’s going to blow the whole thing wide open and sends a text to Gossip Girl that there’s a wild party and the world is now invited. Which is kind of like the countdown to a bomb blasting off.

To sum up; Vanessa and Chuck scope B & N snuggling at the party so V grabs Chuck and locks lips with him. B & N stare like they’re watching a car accident. Poppy’s all who are these plebes – “I know Jenny’s young but this is embarrassing” – so she and her serious girl posse stalk out to find a more conducive environment to their fabulousness. Kids are caught having sex in Serena’s bed; other kids prance around in the clothes they’ve stolen from Lily’s closet. The doorman is under siege as a rabid crowd tries to get into the building after seeing the Gossip Girl party text. At which point Rufus and Lily walk in.

By this time, the apartment looks like a remake of Satyricon was filmed there. Serena refuses to take the blame and leaves to go meet Poppy at a bar; Jenny admits she posted the party on GG and does a big old speech about how she chooses not to be a Park Avenue Princess on her birthday or any other day. Poppy invites S to go with her in the morning on the private jet to Spain. First S says she’s grounded, then she realizes she’s on Gossip Girl, not Beverly Hills 90210. She stays at Poppy’s place and before getting on the plane, sends Lily a text that she’s gone to Spain for a week.

Dan calls Scott, the writer of his fan letter, and also, unbeknownst to him, his half-brother. Scott’s dad answers the phone and deflects the call. Nate and Blair share a romantic kiss in Central Park as it snows. Vanessa and Chuck, big surprise, have spent the night together. And the screen goes dark. We’ve got a fortnight to wait until the next chapter of this gothic novel reimagined for rich, snotty, upper east side high school characters. Be there or be square. XOXO.