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March 21 - April 19 Aries
Your pioneering, confident, energetic Aries self is probably looking at the calendar right now and saying, hmm – August – gotta hit the open road. It’s that time. Well, if you can afford the gasoline, go for it, you Ram you. If not, take a gander at Susan Session Rugh’s great new book Are We There Yet? The Golden Age of American Family Vacations. It’s a cultural history of the quintessential middle-class family vacation from the mid 40’s to the early 70’s. Rugh, an associate professor at Brigham Young University, presents a captivating subject in the first study of its kind. For those who remember being packed into the family car with your annoying little brother and driving across the highways of the USA, playing geography or other car games to pass the time, staying in little motels or camping out under the stars, learning about the country’s history by visiting its monuments, this book is a truly enjoyable read.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
May 1, 1967 was the date that Elvis Presley wed his long time girlfriend Priscilla Beaulieu. And thanks to Mattel (they’re swell) you can now purchase a set of Elvis and Priscilla wedding day Barbies, dressed in replicas of their wedding attire, though the Priscilla doll could use a lot more eye makeup and her bouffant hair do 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. Although 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
Rosanne Cash is our Gemini this week simply because she kicks ass and takes names. She was born in 1955 to country music legend Johnny Cash and his first wife Vivian Liberto right around the time Cash’s career was starting on its upward trajectory at Sun Records. She started her own career by singing backup for her dad, has written essays and fiction for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, New York Magazine and other publications, has a few books out as well, and is a Grammy Award winning singer and songwriter. Her most recent CD, Black Cadillac, received widespread critical acclaim in 2006 and she’s working on a new one now. Plus she’s an active and fascinating member of the blogosphere with Mrs. L’s Monthly. She writes about everything from books she’s reading to concerts she went to the best hotel room on tour, to outrage over school shootings, to the sorry state of the world, to family and friends and life.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
The Zodiac sign of the Crab brought us guitar virtuoso Nils Lofgren, whose career began at the tender age of 17 when he joined Neil Young’s band and contributed to the acclaimed platinum album After The Gold Rush. He’s played with all the masters, and in fact is a master himself, and by the way also – it so happens – the nicest guy in the world. He joined Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band in 1984 and used to be introduced onstage by El Jefe as “a man as sweet as life itself.” That’s no joke. Not only does Nils have a new CD out – The Loner-Nils Sings Neil – solo acoustic versions of classic Neil Young songs (available on his website) but he also has a online guitar clinic on his website with downloadable quicktime lessons for the unbelievable bargain price of $20 per session. Seriously, what are you waiting for?

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Find an awesomely cool birthday gift for your Leo friends at the wildly entertaining cyber-store Uncommon Goods. Everything from a set of Hula Rocking Glasses to a Dear Diary hidden compartment flask to the Secret Lives of US Presidents Trivia Card Game to adult sock monkey slippers – all here, and much, much more. Every time I break out the credit card to purchase a unique gift here, the accolades come back in spades. And best of all, they feature handmade, recycled and organic products and are a part of the Social Venture Network (along with Ben and Jerry’s and Google), a socially conscious network of business that value healthy communities and the human spirit as well as high returns.

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Intelligent, genuine, conservative Virgo – I have the perfect radio station for you folks. You’ll dig the blue jeans off of Sirius Satellite Radio’s brilliant Outlaw Country channel, Steven Van Zandt’s sanctuary for the rebels and renegades, rabble rousers and rogues of country music. They’re all here: Dylan, Loretta Lynn, Steve Earle, David Allan Coe, Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, and of course all generations of the Hank Williams Dynasty. DJ’s include Shooter Jennings, Cowboy Jack Clement, Dallas Wayne, and truckin’ music authority RigRocker. Come in, come in, breaker 1-9. Dial up this station and open a tall cold one.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
The sense of harmony and balance that is enjoyed by our Libran friends will thrill to a visit to Clayton, the Pittsburgh home of art patron and industrialist Henry Clay Frick. More than 90 percent of the original family artifacts still reside in this beautiful 23 room Victorian mansion that sits on a remarkable tract of land in the residential neighborhood of Point Breeze. Also on the property: Frick’s collection of vintage automobiles, and the full sized children’s play house. You can also have a lovely, sedate afternoon tea in the Frick Café and visit nearby Frick Park.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Scorpio, thy name is independence. Passion. Intensity. Well, all those and more can be found in the storied life and career of Pittman, NJ’s own Patricia Lee Smith AKA Patti Smith, American singer-songwriter-artist-poet. Get your seductive, art loving self over to the Film Forum to see Dream of Life, the just released intimate portrait of Smith by photographer Steven Sebring, who followed her around for ten years making this film. I still remember that revelatory moment when I first heard Land (from Horses) on headphones in my college listening lounge, and realized that this woman did, as she said, hold the key to the sea of possibilities. The word genius comes close. Ever since then it’s been, for me, a brainiac amour.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Sagittarians can satiate that nagging centaurian sweet tooth with a delectable treat from Tate’s Bake Shop – physically located in Southampton, Long Island but also available in many many retail outlets throughout the New York region. Truly, their goodies are TDF – cookies, cakes, brownies, blondies, pies, you name it… they have it, and no one does it better. The crispy baked just right chocolate chip cookies literally are heaven on earth. You can order online too. There’s even a cookbook available now which includes the chocolate chip cookie recipe.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
There are Capricorns and there are Capricorns. But there was only one Edgar Allen Poe, born January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. Celebrate his genius with a visit to Edgar’s Café on W. 84th Street, tucked away on the block between Broadway and West End Avenue, so named because Poe lived in this building in 1844 and 1845 and even penned The Raven here. This UWS landmark is dreamy and quiet, an oasis from the shopping frenzies taking place but a few steps away on Broadway. The salads and sandwiches are great, but they are mostly known for their many and varied amazing desserts and coffee drinks. Order yourself a slice of cognac pumpkin cheesecake and ponder over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, who knows there might also come a tapping, rapping at the chamber door, only this and nothing more. Or not…

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
The internets never ceases to amaze and delight, n’est-ce pas Mr and Mrs Aquarius? When prepping this column I often delve into the endless toybox the world wide web provides for inspiration. And it never disappoints. This morning’s discovery: Hotels of the Rich & Famous. This site reports on celebrity sightings at various establishments around the globe and also interviews the aforementioned R&F about their favorite places to park their multiple cases of Louis Vitton luggage. Did you know that Johnny Depp favors the St. Mary in Jamaica, the Hotel Jerome in Aspen, and the Beverly Hilton? Natalie Portman likes to hang her hat at the Ritz-Carlton in New York and the Portobello Hotel in London? That Hotel Borg is the favored dwelling of celebs and politicos since 1930 in Reykjavik, Iceland and has hosted William Faulkner, Ella Fitzgerald, and Marlene Dietrich?

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
Feed that squishy, romantic Piscean side of yourself with a visit to Only Hearts, long a staple on the Upper West Side (79th and Columbus) and now with a location in Nolita (Mott between Prince and Spring). Et voila, here’s a whole store full of heart-themed gifts from lockets to notecards to picture frames. Owner Helena Stuart has also started her own clothing line of what she calls inner outerwear, lingerie that can be worn as streetwear. Don’t forget the words of Kurt Cobain: She eyes me like a pisces when I am weak; I’ve been locked inside your heart shaped box for weeks.

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