Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Lady of The Camilias

I got my first job, at age 16, when I walked into a poster store in search of pictures of Louise Brooks. I started talking to the owner for a bit and he asked me if I could identify which movie a particular still had come from for him. I told him it was from the scene in Camille where Robert Taylor is hovering over a prostrate, bed ridden, banana curled Greta Garbo. He asked me if I wanted a part time job there, because he didn't know nearly as much about movies as he did about art and thought I might like to help him with that. Of course I did! Especially if I got a discount! I was very excited and told all my friends that I had been scouted for a very important job, curating movie stills at a poster store due to my vast expertise in cinema! For which I would be paid 6 dollars an hour under the table, which was much more than the minimum wage. Like, 80 cents more.

As it turned out, of course, the owner was just a creepy old dude who hired a succession of 16 year old girls with dark hair and large breasts to work at his store, and no one really cared what I had to say about things after all. Sigh. This would later turn out to be the story of my life. I spent most of the money I earned there in my 3 month stint on cigarettes and coffee, and of course some pizza to share with my friends who would hang out across the street spanging and being all punk rock and stuff in Oxford Square. Those were the days!
But I still really, really love Camille. It's definitely one of my all time favorite movies and I still sob every time I watch it. La Traviata, based on the same source material, also happens to be my favorite opera.

A long, long time ago, Alexandre Dumas, fils, son of Alexandre Dumas, pere (the Three Musketeers/Count of Monte Cristo one) had an affair with a bad ass courtesan named Marie Duplessis. Being a courtesan back in the day was probably the best (and most feminist) gig a woman could have. They weren't just hanging out on corners, or looking for dudes on Craigslist or getting paid crap tons of money to bang a Senator or what have you. They were way more educated than your average lady, they could read, play instruments, they spoke various languages (not just French and Greek), they held salons and wrote books. Marie Duplessis was one such lady. In her short time on earth (she died of consumption at the age of 23) she held many salons and was totally getting it on with not only Dumas, fils, but also Franz Lizst and a bunch of counts. Not so shabby. Better than I've ever done. And Alexandre Dumas, fils wrote a book about her called La Dame aux Camilias, changing her name to Marguerite Gautier. Almost immediately after the book was published, Verdi adapted it into the opera known as La Traviata (which means "The Fallen Woman") and changed her hame to Violetta Valery.

Maria Callas just fucking kills me. Kills me. And is absolutely an inspiration when it comes to nifty eyeliner.

Anyway, this is the storyline! Once again, I'd say "Spoiler Alert!" but it's not like you're actually going to bother watching it, so whatevs. Ok, so there's this chick, Marguerite/ Violetta/ whathaveyou, and she's a courtesan and has a fancy sugar daddy who is a Baron of some kind. Then she meets Armand/Alfredo and they fall madly in love, but she feels really insecure and worries about the whole having been a courtesan thing messing shit up. But they're so in love! Love, love, love, and he doesn't care because he loves her so much. Then they go to his country home and she meets his Dad. Daddy is specifically not cool with the whole her having been a courtesan thing (because he's an uptight old person) and plays on all her insecurities, telling her that if Armand/Alfredo stays with her, it will ruin his life and also the lives of everyone in their family. She feels really, really bad. Wouldn't you? I would feel like shit. So Marguerite tries to do what's best and totally gives Armand the Harry and The Hendersons treatment.
She goes back to the Baron for a while and tries to convince Armand that she really, actually wants nothing to do with him and doesn't love him, even though she loves him so much that she is willing to give him up. And Armand hates her because he doesn't know what his father said to her, and thinks that she went to go back with the Baron because she was a shallow ho who never really loved him anyway. Then Marguerite leaves the Baron and is of course destitute because that was pretty much her sole source of income.

And then she gets consumption. Of course! So she's all alone, dying and poor- and Armand figures out what his dad did and comes to her side just as she's about to die. And it's really fucking sad. Then she dies and Armand and his Dad both feel terrible, and everyone feels terrible because in spite of the fact that she was not perfect, she was a really nice and selfless person who only wanted to do the right thing, and now she's dead.

There have been like 85,000 adaptations of this work, and the lead role was at one point considered to be like, the female equivilent of Hamlet. It's pretty much the original Hooker with a Heart of Gold story. But more than that, I think the reason it resonated so much and for so long and through so many things is that it has like, the worlds most emotionally satisfying ending.

Hear me out- yes, it's really, really fucking sad. A whole box of Kleenex worth of sad. But if one must die, I suppose the best thing you can ask for is that everyone who was ever shitty to you would feel really bad about said shittyness, and for everyone in general to come to the realization that maybe you really were the best, most noble person they'd ever met, and for those you loved to realize they love you. Also, Robert Taylor hanging out wouldn't be so bad either. See?

How You Doin', Robert Taylor?

Maybe it's just me and I'm a way spiteful person, but this is how I'd like to go. I'd also like to look as fabulous as Greta Garbo did on that deathbed. Although not so much with the banana curls.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

You Said They Didn't Happen, But They Totally Did: Goat Towns, Flying Lunchboxes and more

One of the things I, and those in my age cohort are most fond of, is reminiscing about crap that was on TV from our childhoods. In fact, I feel like according to most things I have read, it's the only discernable thing mentioned about our entire generation. I mean, sure- we all remember that type Jessie Spano took some NoDoz and freaked out, when DJ Tanner didn't eat for half the day and then fell off a treadmill, and that weird point in Family Matters where Laura started dating Stephan and we all stopped caring. But some of my best personal memories of shows are the ones that for some reason, no one else remembers.

Once upon a time, I saw an episode of Reading Rainbow in which Levar Burton went to a Goat Town where everyone was a talking goat- but like, a human/goat because they were basically just people dressed up in goat costumes- and he went to a goat bar where they served cans. Not cans with beer in them, just cans. Because they were goats, and that is what goats eat. That and the granola looking type stuff you get at the petting zoo from the thing that looks like a gumball machine.

I've had weird dreams about this Goat Town ever since. Unfortunately, whenever I tell people about the time Levar Burton went to the Goat Town full of strange human-goat hybrids, they tell me that this is a thing that I made up in my head. They say "There is no way, Robyn, that there was a terrifying episode of Reading Rainbow in which Levar Burton was magically transported to a town full of talking goats." And for those people, I have this to say:

From TV.com, bitches:

Reading Rainbow: Gregory the Terrible Eater

Goats are the topic of the day, as LeVar visits a children's petting zoo with goats to introduce Gregory, the Terrible Eater. Marilyn Michaels reads the story of a little goat who starts out as a picky eater but then overeats when his parents try to get him to eat new foods. Then, as LeVar goes to lunch, he finds himself in a strange diner occupied by goats and serving unusual dishes. Finally, a professional chef teaches a group of kid chefs to cook paella together.

Oh snap. See? I would never lie to you about Reading Rainbow. They say it was a diner, but it was totally a bar with a goat bartender in an old timey bartender get-up. You know, like with suspenders and arm garters and such.

Another thing I have often found myself defending the existence of is the anti-drug episode of Jem and The Holograms. No, really, I say- one of the girls in the Starlight Mansion takes a bizarre unnamed hallucinogenic pill that she got from some dude at the playground, and then her lunchbox turns into a bird and she tries to jump out the window. Isn't that what you do when you're on drugs? It's at least what Helen Hunt did that one time. In fact, when I bring this up in conversation, people generally say "No, Robyn, you're thinking of that time when Helen Hunt took PCP and jumped out of the window!" But I'm not. It happened, and YouTube can prove it:

I have no idea what the anti-drug stuff is like now- but I'm curious. Do very special episodes even exist these days? I don't know. I mostly watch shows about murder. They don't have a lot of PSA's inbetween those shows. If they did, it would probably be awkward. Also- what's up with Helen Hunt? Where's she been these days? Why didn't she ever do a wink wink nudge nudge cameo on Sex and The City given that she and SJP totally played BFF's in one of the most important films of our time, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun?" Accordng to Wikipedia, her next film is called "Soul Surfer" in which I have decided that she plays a 1980's style surfer chick who dies and becomes a succubus.

Our next thing of importance is not so much a TV show, as the puberty movie we watched in 5th grade when the boys went out to go play baseball. Apparently, my school in Mass was pretty much the only one to ever show this one, because no one else I've ever run into has seen it. Ok, so basically the premise is that the chicks who played the orphans in the Broadway production of Annie reunite to come together and tell you about how they're totally menstruating now and what that's all about. Naturally, this led to my friend Angela and I making up a song that went something like:

"Your period will come tomorrow, when you're wearing white shorts and it's gym daaaaaay! You'll get cramps!"

You know, because we were totally mature like that. I mean, it wasn't like we hadn't read "Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret" yet or anything, so this was all old news. Anyway, it does in fact exist and was called "Growing up on Broadway" and there is an IMDB profile for it and everything, so there. The other movie they showed us, which I have yet to be able to prove the existence of, involved an especially artistic mom making ovary shaped pancakes. Which was nothing if not impressive. Less impressive was the older sister who said cramps and PMS were a figments of the imagination. Bitch.

Now, this last thing- I've always known for a fact that it existed because I saw the commercial 80,000 times when I was a kid and one of my best friends and I were very fond of singing the jingle all the time. But still, I've had many deniers. For you deniers, I present: A PSA for cheese. Sung by a man possibly made of cheese, dressed as a cowboy:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Thing About Sondra London

It's not as if we all haven't dated some, shall we say, "questionable people" in our lives. I mean, I guess I can't speak for everyone, but lord knows I haven't always had the best judgement ever.
But usually, I can at least say "Well, it's not like he was a serial killer or anything."

Not so for Sondra London!

So, dig this: back when she was in high school, she dated this one dude, Gerard John Schaefer who had many hobbies, including screwing in graveyards, talking about how his neighbor was a dirty whore because he could see into her windows and sometimes saw her naked, and also needlepoint. Ok, not needlepoint. Like any highschool couple, they had long, heart to heart talks about his intense urge to kill and mutilate women. Which is totally normal and not a red flag of any kind, right?

Anyway, she eventually broke up with him because his sad stories about wanting to kill ladies were totally cutting into her good time (actual quote, pretty much), and not because she thought he might like, kill her or anything. Luckily for her, he didn't. He did, however, kill like, 30 other women. So, she did what any person who found out her high school boyfriend turned out to be a serial killer would do. No, she didn't seek therapy, she published a book of his short stories and drawings. And um... the letters he wrote her detailing how he killed a bunch of ladies. Romantic, right?

But, surprisingly, things once again did not work out, so Sondra jumped back in the saddle and found herself a new love. Who, um, was also a serial killer. On trial. For killing people. Serially.

Ok, sure, we all love a bad ass. Usually not for the reason you think- I mean, I don't like arrogant assholes because I'm so impressed by their manliness or whatever, I like them because I'm an arrogant asshole and I feel importantly about punching my own weight. I like a fair fight- so I can't exactly go around dating mangenues (I invented this word just now, by the way. See! Man + ingenue= mangenue).

HOWEVER. It's one thing to be a little more into a dude after he tells you he's been in a bar fight recently, or has a really clever comeback to some snarky thing you say. It is another to be more into him after he kills a bunch of people. The other thing is that Sondra, and many other serial killer groupies I've read things from, seem to be way into this idea of the killer as a "scared little boy." Which, um, is kind of gross when you think about it, really.

I digress. Like I said, she fell in love with another serial killer- this time, her true love was Danny Rollings, the Gainesville Ripper. Who sang a weird country song to her in court during his sentencing, claimed to have been possessed by a demon or something, and also liked to rape and behead his victims and then pose them like "The Thinker." They were totally, totally in love, and were in fact engaged for several years, and may or may not have been married. He died by lethal injection in 2006. Also, for a while, London had some internet bitchfest with The Happy Face Killer, and, according to him, sent him pictures of herself in a leather teddy.

This is the thing though. I don't dislike this lady at all. In fact, she seems weirdly intelligent and I'm just completely fascinated by her. Sure, sometimes she gets dressed up in weird KISS face paint and sings songs about how serial killers are people too, but at least she's interesting. You can talk about her at cocktail parties.

PS- Watch this. All of it. There are three parts!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Judy Henske is My New Favorite Person

Holy fucking crap.

As I am an obsessive researcher of things, and as I grew up with a very hip mother who totally schooled me on all things related to the 60's and 70's, especially things related to music and Woody Allen, I cannot believe that somehow, I had never heard of Judy Henske before today.

I am absolutely freaking out.
Ok, so I was googling around, trying to figure out which big band singer it was that sang this really amazing version I once heard of "My Melancholy Baby" and I see something in my results that says something about "Judy Henske, Queen of The Beatniks." Huh. How have I never heard of this woman, I wonder- you know, because I did totally go through that phase in 7th grade where I wanted to be a beatnik, and because despite the fact that I grew up and realized that I didn't actually like Jack Kerouac as much as I liked walking around with a copy of "On The Road" and looking cooler and smarter than the jerks at my school... I tend to enjoy a lot of music that was popular amongst the beats at that time, such as Odetta.

SO. I look her up. And holy crap. Holy crap. She is the best ever. Listen!

In addition to having pretty much one of the most kick ass voices I've ever heard, Judy is 6 feet tall, and was the inspiration (partly!) for the Annie Hall. At least in the way that Annie Hall was a singer and from Chippewa Falls. Apparently, Judy opened for Woody on some tour (she also used to open for Lenny Bruce), and they dated, and also one time they spent an entire day trying to move pages of the dictionary with their minds. She was in a movie called "Hootenanny Hoot" with Johnny Cash. She did not want to be a "dulcimer girl" or a "sparkly dress singer" and she wanted drums. She says hilarious things before all of her songs, and she used to stamp her foot so hard while singing that they had to put welcome mats on the floor by her to prevent the wood from chipping. She lived on a sloop! The reason Jack Nitzche, the Rolling Stones producer, christened her the "Queen of The Beatniks" was because you couldn't actually put a label on whatever it was that she was doing.
You must hear all of these things! She's supposed to be "folk" I suppose, but she sounds more like some amazing combination of like, blues and rock and punk and showtunes all at the same time.

There are only two pages of YouTube videos for her, but I suggest you listen to everything that's there, and also maybe download some stuff on ITunes, because it is in fact there. I do not understand how she is not the most famous person in the whole world. How is it possible for someone to be that entirely awesome to be someone I haven't heard of, when I so love things that are awesome? Why is there so little information on her! Why! She writes awesome, bad ass songs about bears eating people for godsakes! She's friends with Frank Zappa! And she was also on The Judy Garland Show!

Anyway. This is Judy Henske. She is ridiculously amazing and without question, my new favorite person ever.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Thing About Jezebel (The Movie, Not The Website... Or he Person)

As a child, my love of Bette Davis sometimes verged on the histrionic and obsessive. I'm probably the only kid who grew up in the 80's who partially took up smoking in order to be more like her. I suppose there are worse people an 8 year old could aspire to be like, like Miley Cyrus or whatever -- Bette was tough, she was glamorous, and she was fearless.

One of the first Bette Davis movies I ever saw was Jezebel, for which she won an Academy Award in 1938. I assumed, upon seeing it, that I would understand it better as an adult, because at the time- though I was thrilled by it, as I was by anything Bette Davis did- I did not so much get what the hell was going on. As it turns out, I was wrong.

(Spoiler Alert! But again, probably for something you'll never get around to seeing.)

So, in the movie, Bette -- every bit as much a Yankee as I am -- plays a Southern Belle named Julie, and she's got this boyfriend, Henry Fonda, who is being kind of a douche to her. In order to get him back for said douchey-ness, she wears a red dress to a dance.

Antebellum Southerners must just have had some weird red-dress-phobia or something, because I think she looks lovely. The same thing happened in Gone With The Wind when Scarlett made out with Ashley in the basement and Rhett made her go to a party in a red dress so everyone would see her for the giant awful whore that she was... or something. I didn't actually get that either. I should probably state that I also don't quite understand the Bible thing where they hate Jezebel because she wears make-up. To this day, there are religious women going around with full-faces of makeup and men who are married to them, being all "Yeah, that one Bible lady was definitely the worst for having worn make-up! It is very bad that she did that!" People are weird.

So anyway, Bette Davis shows up at the dance with Henry Fonda and, predictably, everyone freaks the fuck out. But seriously -- these are people in the freaking antebellum South- do they really have room to talk? Or to be offended by anything? I mean, these are people who owned human beings as slaves. It's like Jefferey Dahmer walking off in a huff because someone used the wrong fork.

At the dance, Henry Fonda continues to be a douche and despite the fact that Bette is all "Oh shit, maybe this was a bad idea, maybe I'll just go home and change," he decides to teach her a lesson and make her parade around in the red dress and dance and such, because red-dress-wearing harlots must be appropriately humiliated. Ew. Henry Fonda is pretty much the worst boyfriend ever.

Afterwards, the whole town shuns Bette Davis for the red dress incident and Henry Fonda dumps her and moves to NY. She pines for him the whole time, and at no point does the film indicate that he might be overreacting just a little bit, or that he might be a little bit of a jerk. In fact, he's sort of portrayed as a stand-up guy, which I totally don't get. The old South was basically Opposite Land.

Then one day he comes back, and Bette Davis is all "Oh my god, I am so unbelievably sorry for having worn the wrong dress! I've changed my ways! I'm sorry!"- which makes me feel embarrassed for her, because really, how can wearing the wrong dress to a stupid party be that big of an offense for anyone that they should have to beg for forgiveness? But Henry Fonda is like, "Oh, sorry Bette Davis, too little, too late. I have a new wife and she isn't a red dress wearing hussy like you are." He introduces the girl and she's pretty lame and uninteresting. No big surprise, really.

At some point Bette gets all "Well, screw you, Henry Fonda" and asks one of her suitors to challenge him to a duel, and somehow he ends up fighting Henry Fonda's brother instead, and then the suitor dies in the duel. Then people really hate Bette Davis, because she used her magical red dress wearing lady bewitchin' magic to make him do it. And yeah, that part was pretty shitty, but I think people had duels pretty much all the time back then, and it's not like she held a gun to anyone's head or anything.

Then there's an outbreak of yellow fever, even though that was actually a thing that happened way later than when this movie was taking place, and Henry Fonda gets it, and he has to go to the special island for people with yellow fever. For whatever reason-- even though at no point do we ever see Henry Fonda being anything but a jerk to her-- Bette Davis is still insanely in love with him. I guess we're supposed to assume that he was actually amazingly great before the red dress incident? Because she loves him so much, she volunteers to go out to the special camp and take care of him, as a means of atoning for her red-dress-wearing, duel-forcing ways. His wife tries to act for a second like she wants to go, but you know she doesn't, because she's kind of a wimp, really, and is afraid of all the scary poor people that will be over there on Yellow Fever Island. That is pretty much the end, and it is probably safe to assume they both die.

The moral of the story is that people in the Old South were way the hell fucked up, and that Bette Davis was punk rock. I think.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Thing About Madama Butterfly

If you are like most people I know, you are way into telling me that you want to come see an opera with me, and want me to tell you all about it, but in the way that you and I both know this is never going to happen. That's cool. I'm going to tell you about Madama Butterfly anyway.

(SPOILER ALERT!!! But not really! Because it's kind of famous!)

Madama Butterfly is maybe one of the most rage inducing works of fiction ever. Most people will tell you it's really sad- I, however, will tell you that it will mostly make you feel like punching someone in the face. Two people, really. The fictional person Lt. Pinkerton, and the real life person, Rivers Cuomo. The latter, I name, because he named a whole Weezer album Pinkerton, and totally romanticized Lt. Pinkerton, which is way the hell horrifying (even more horrifying than the uncomfortably racist lyrics! Almost!) when you know the story.

Ok, so, Pinkerton is a naval officer from the United States- and he's all fascinated with all things Japanese. If it had been the 1990's, he would have been one of those dudes who never shut up about anime ever. He also would have been that one dude you know who went to Japan to teach English, and pretended that it was totally because he wanted to help people, and experience a new culture rather than the fact that he has creepy misogynistic and racist ideas about how things are there. Oh, and like, every time anyone says anything about eating sushi, he would go on for at least five minutes about how it's soooo much better in Japan as though you wouldn't have guessed that. I mean, they invented it, and they certainly have more access to fresh seafood thank we do in Chicago, so that's fairly obvious. Then you're like "Fine, whatever, I'm sure it's way awesome in Japan. I'm so sorry that I feel like having a tempura shrimp roll this evening, Debbie Downer." And then he orders in Japanese even though the waitress is from Iowa. Lt. Pinkerton is that guy.

So, yeah, he's that dude. And he tells his friend that he likes it there so much that he is going to lease a place there for 99 years with an option to cancel every month. Because, he says, that's how shit goes down in Japan.

Then he sees this chick Cio Cio San, and she's like, the hottest lady ever. Plus, the girl can sing. So can everyone though, being that this is an opera. So, he sends his rental agent down to tell Cio Cio San that he wants to marry her, with the same arrangement he has in mind with his house that he's renting. His friend, not being a douchebag, is like "Hey. That girl has feelings. You probably shouldn't do that to her." So Pinkerton is all "Oh, no, she totally knows what's up. That's how they do things down here. I should know, as I have seen lots of tentacle porn and have eaten lots of high quality authentic sushi." And his friend is all "Errr.... I think you might be wrong and sort of racist and ignorant, but whatevs."

So, anyway, they meet and she's like "My name means Butterfly in English. My family used to have money, but they lost it all and now I have to be a Geisha. Guess how old I am? FIFTEEN!"

Fifteen, people. Fifteen. That's not gross or anything. Then she's like "I brought all my stuff! Including the sword my dad used to kill himself like a month ago! In no way am I in any kind of fragile state of mind! ALSO- I am so excited to be marrying you that I converted to Christianity, and pissed off my entire family by doing so, yesterday."

So, they have a wedding, and during the wedding he's all hangin' out in secret with his crew and he's like "Heeeeeeyyyyy my fellow Americans! Let's toast to the time in the future where I'll have a REAL wedding! To an American bride who is not this chick!" But then, after the wedding, he's like "Oh my god. We are so in love. It's crazy how totally in love with you I am! Love love love love love! For real. In love. With you. The fifteen year old I met three days ago. You + Me 4EVA."

And then they live happily ever after! EXCEPT NOT AT ALL. Because one day he says "Hey Butterfly, going out for a pack of smokes! In America! Be back soon!"

Dude takes his time. Lots of time. Time in which the rent is supposed to be paid, time in which she has his BABY. And every morning she'd get up and look for him, and every night she'd pine for him... for like FOUR YEARS. That's some dedication people. Her maid is all "Seriously, dude is NOT coming back." But Butterfly believes that he will. Totally believes it. She sings this song about it, and this song will make you sob uncontrollably, sob to the point where you have snot running down your face and kind of feel like you might puke:


So, yeah, weirdly, Butterfly is right and dude does come back. Except that he comes back... WITH HIS WIFE. Some chick he married during the four years he was away in America. No, really. She was all pining, and raising his kid, and he comes back with a new wife! That sure is a thing that people who aren't the worst people ever do.

So his friend who is not so much of a jerk is all "Uh... HEY. Remember that time you married that 15 year old girl? Whhhelllll.... She's been pining for you for four freakin' years. Also, she has a kid. So! What is the worst thing a person could possibly do in this situation? If you guessed "Ask new wife to go to old wife and ask her to hand the baby over!" than you would be correct. That is what happens. New wife comes and tells Butterfly that she's poor and should probably give them the kid to raise. That's cool with you, right? After all, I am a fancy white lady! Yay imperialism!?!?!

But Butterfly is not cool with that. At least not until Lt. Pinkerton will come and see her (?????). Which he does, and then she gives him the kid, and then she kills herself with her Dad's suicide knife thing.

Now, personally, that is not the way I would have handled this situation. If anyone were going to be dying by a suicide knife thing, it would not be me. It would so not be me. It would probably be his testicles. And then him. That is how I roll.

So that is the story of how Lt. Pinkerton is the worst. He is worse than the most objectionable dudes I've ever dated, he is worse than any dude on any episode of "Cheaters" or "Judge Judy" that I've seen, and he probably sucks more than your ex. You can talk about him at cocktail parties.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Thing About Serge Gainsbourg And France Gall!

Ok, so once upon a time in France (but still, actually), there was a teenage girl named France Gall. She sang songs and had really cool hair.

See? She was super freakin' cute. She sang a kind of music called "ye-ye" which was pretty much like, twee pop but from the 60's. And in French. So, anyway, she knew Serge Gainsbourg for some reason. You know who he is, right? Or like, you know who Charlotte Gainsbourg is. Or you know what a Birkin bag is?

Yeah, ok, so the Birkin bag was named after Jane Birkin, who also had awesome hair, and was married to Serge Gainsbourg. And he was pretty much like the Phil Spector of France. Sort of! He wrote songs, and was kinda creepy and predatory seeming, and one time he wrote a song for France Gall about how she was a singing doll made of wax, and that won her the Eurovision song contest. Then he wrote her this other song. This other song was called "Les Sucettes" and it was about lollipops. But not really! See? Unfortunately you have to watch the video on youtube (follow the link!) because embedding was disabled by request.

(*Edit!!- Also, you'll want to see this video version of the song, done as a duet with Serge. He plays the stranger your mom told you to avoid at the carnival. Seriously, kids, don't take candy from strangers. Duh.)

So, uh, if you don't speak French (which I barely can these days ayway), the lyrics are basically "Annie likes lollipops, anise flavored lollipops, Annie's aniseed lollipops give her kisses an aniseed taste. And when the barley sugar, perfumed with aniseed, slides down Annie's throat, she is in paradise." Gross. I hate anise, and anything remotely licorice flavored. Jaeger is totally gross, and if you buy me a shot of it, I will probably surreptitiously dump it on the floor. I don't understand how anyone can drink it by now- I mean, I can't be the only one who has smelled it mixed with vomit on a few too many hair holding back occasions by now. Ugh.

Ok, so duh. The song is not so much about lollipops as it is about blow jobs. But France Gall didn't know that, because she was just a teenager and not too bright. I feel like, at 18, I probably would have picked up on it, but whatever. I mean, really, dancing penis shaped lollipops? Really? Anyway, so when she caught on, she totally freaked out and didn't leave her house for forever due to the shame and whatnot.

Now, hypothetically, if that happened here and now... A) No fucking way would that shit get past the censors, and B) Serge would probably have to make a public apology, and then he and France would go on Oprah, and it would be all over the tabloids. But this was France, in the 60's, and pretty much everyone thought it was hilarious. Mr. Gainsbourg still tells the story like it was the most awesome shit he ever got away with. Even though, I mean, really- it was pretty gross and shady, and frankly kind of meanspirited. But whatever! It was France! In the 60's! It was a crazy time! For pervy old dudes, anyway! What's even weirder is that Ms. Gall is pretty non-chalant about it these days and kinda takes the position that it helps her career. She still won't sing any of the songs he wrote for her though. Weird.

So, that's pretty much the climax free story of France Gall and Serge Gainsbourg. Tell it at cocktail parties?

Oh My God. I'm Starting Another Blog!

Hi! If you're reading this, you probably know me already. You know, because I pretty much just started writing this right now and will post it on my facebook as soon as I am done. I've been writing a semi-feminist blog for a while now, and amazingly, I actually do have things to say about life that have nothing at all to do with my lady parts. Crazy, I know, right? However, most of these things have to do with deciding that a table full of my drunk friends really need to hear the story of Fatty Arbuckle! Or about how Joan Crawford didn't really beat her children! Or the plot of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!" starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt and the grasshopper that lived on Helen Hunt's head.

This will be a blog about that stuff. The stuff I have a tendency to over-investigate and over-think. I find it interesting, and perhaps you will agree with me. Perhaps you will not. I will tell you some stories about stuff that totally happened, or that happened in a movie, and you will laugh and you will cry and it will become a part of you.