Monday, September 28, 2009

Girl Goddess #9

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I've reviewed another Francesca Lia Block book. This one was comprised of nine different stories, and I'm going to review the four that I read and reread the most. The good news is that I did have fun rereading and snarking. The bad news? I've got Love Potion #9 stuck in my head.

Girl Goddess #9

This story was written in a zine format. You remember zines, don't you? They're what girls with something to say did before we had blogs. This one's called Girl Goddess (and is the ninth issue, hence, Girl Goddess #9) and is written by two girls who call themselves Lady Ivory and Alabaster Duchess. Their faux names and their zine name come from song lyrics of a (thankfully fictional) singer, Nick Agate. In this issue of Girl Goddess, the gals explain how they got started and how they got to meet and interview idol Nick Agate. But first, an intro to our girls.

Alabaster Duchess describes her hair as "ebony." Her least favorite things are people who eat meat, people who are mean, and people who make fat jokes. Between this and the detail about how one day after school, some boys made fun of Alabaster Duchess's figure for being "too womanly and voluptuous," I'm seeing less punk rock Vargas girl, and more pale, tubby goth kid.

Lady Ivory is incessantly quirky. Her favorite things are "dancing around [her] room in [her] silver platforms from the 70's, reading poetry, having picnics in the backyard when the moon is full." And she's dyed her hair so many times, she doesn't even know what color was originally anymore. God, Lady Ivory, how many times did you rent Garden State and Eternal Sunshine before you got your delightfully quirky persona down pat?

May I present, Alabaster Duchess.

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And Lady Ivory.

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They write a letter to one of their favorite authors who passes their zine on to someone who knows Nick Agate. Eventually they get to meet him and interview him for their zine. How to describe Nick Agate, whose life ambition is to one day be described by Rolling Stone as a latter day David Bowie? Think the ego of Kanye West, the pale sunken chested allure of Sid Vicious, the sensitive pussitude of Connor Oberst. He features midgets, naked children, jugglers, and dancing trees at his concerts. He's also got pierced nipples and a tattoo of Venus on his back. And if you're wondering how we know these asinine details, yes, he did give his interview topless. At this point, the only thing that makes him less assy than he could be is that there's no detail about his tattoo having implants.

The girls ask Nick Agate about his position on drugs. Nick: "Let me put it to you this way, my body can handle a whole lot of shit. My veins are like gold-plated...My gut is like a crystal cave." Nick, baby, have you been listening to your personal physician again? Dr. Conrad "Seriously, baby, I can prescribe anything I want!" Murray can't write poetry for shit.

After the interview, Nick Agate's gorgeous, pale skinned girlfriend (Celeste) comes in, and since she makes Edgar and Johnny Winter look swarthy, our girls stop idolizing Nick Agate and get massive girl-crushes on his galpal and start to realize how douchey the world of rock stars is. I envy them for their moment of truth--even Tootie on the Facts of Life got one when she realized she spent every waking moment idolizing a member of the Jackson family whose greatest claim to fame in the 00s wouldn't be a huge memorial in death, or bringing sexy back to the Superbowl, but getting voted off Celebrity Big Brother.

I myself wouldn't realize how truly unworthy of my time rock stars were till my late teens...not till the dawn of reality TV when I got to watch Leif Garrett wrestle Vern Troyer on Celebrity Big Brother, or when I saw Ozzy Osbourne go through the bowel movements of an aging constipated bulldog for his lost Viagra tablets.

Celeste and Nick:

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Words to live by, (Nick Agate) "I just want to write songs that make people's flesh start dancing on their bones without them even realizing what's going on. I want to create something to take you into the fuckin' solar system." Hey, it's fifty percent less douchey than, "If I heard [my album] and it was made by somebody else, I would go to the bathroom and take a shit, because I would be scared." (Yes, that's Kanye.)

Rave

This is written as a memorial piece to a girl that the nameless protagonist knew in high school. Our protagonist sang in a kiddie rock band until he stopped being cute (so I guess this is what happens if you have a Toddlers and Tiaras type mom, but you're not a girl). In his post Menudo days at a high school, he meets a hot girl who's a rock star groupie. They both feel like freaks, him because he used to be a kid star, and her because of all her rock star sex. Even though he would never tell her what to do, he hates that she has sex with all these rock stars who (in his opinion) aren't good enough for her. He secretly loves her and wishes he could rock her world. Years later, now that he's writing the story, he finds out that she overdosed when she was only seventeen.

Worst dialogue ever?
I said, 'You're so soft,' and she said, 'I have a special beauty secret. Rock star body fluids.' 'No way, Rave,' I said. 'By touching you they're getting their power,' and she just looked at me. Her eyes got really wet.
Rock star body fluids. I haven't been so skeeved since the time I read that Michael Jackson used to refer to ejaculate as "duck butter."

A snapshot of our two young freaks:

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Dragons in Manhattan

Tuck Budd is a young teenager in Manhattan who has two mommies--Izzy, a sexy six foot tall redhead, and Anastasia, who's very quiet and short-haired. They do socially relevant things like watching the play Angels in America and acting out parts of it in Central Park, and going to the shrine at Saint John the Divine to cry over the people who died of AIDS. But one day Tuck freaks out when she goes to a real school and gets teased, wanting to know why she doesn't have a dad like everyone else. She does some research and finds a baby book in Izzy and Anastasia's closet that contains a postcard of a hotel in San Francisco called the Pink Gingerbread. Tuck steals some cash from her parents and flies to Frisco to find herself and her father.

She meets a cast of characters and to make a long story short, she learns where she came from. Back in the day, Izzy was a guy with gender identification issues, named Irving Rose. But a guy who wanted to be a woman and was attracted to women. (Sigh. I blame this book for all the skeevy guys who, when I tried to blow them off with, "I like girls!" responded with, "Cool, I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body!") Irving Rose met Anastaisa in high school. Anastasia was a lesbian whose girlfriend was forced to move when her parents found out. So, Irving Rose asked Anastasia out and told her he was in love with her and wanted to be a woman. The two of them ended up getting married and conceiving a baby (Tuck) after which Irving Rose got surgery and became Izzy.

Incidentally, when Tuck got home, she gets no hide-tannin' for stealing and running. away from home And neither a a hymen check nor a drug test were in the works (either Izzy and Anastasia are super progressive or they just haven't read up on their Go Ask Alice).

Pixie and Pony

Pixie and Pony have been friends for years, and tonight is prom night. They, and their third friend, Pony's "BFF" Mini go to the prom, drink a lot, and fuck their beaux. Pixie reminisces about how Pony never really considered Pixie her "best friend" even though she always wished they could be best friends. They try really hard to be cool and quirky. Like on Pony's thirteenth birthday they have a pig party (make a pig cake, silk screen pig t-shirts) and on Pixie's birthday they have a peach party.

Anyway, basically Pixie feels that she's a hanger-on in Pony's way cooler life because Pony always has official best friends which change about as often as Pony changes lip glosses. At the end, Pixie says that she wishes they could be best friends. Pony replies, "'Best friends?...We are sisters.'" Well, that explains why you and your other best friend in elementary school stole Pixie's lunch bag and made her cry and why your first choice activities all involved your "real" best friends.

Pixie, I'm going to tell you the same thing I tell all awesome but overlooked girls with hot, bitchy best friends. I told it to Veronica when Heather Chandler dubbed her Pukeahontos at that awful college party, to Amanda Seyfreid when she decided to take a role playing second banana to Megan Fox, and to Thora Birch when Scarlet "I Reinvented Curves" Johansson got all those magazine covers post-Ghost World and Thora got bupkis. And that piece of advice is: diet coke covers the taste of Drano perfectly. (How come only Klepto McStealy listened?)

And scene! Expect California Girls! by the end of the week.

Monday, September 21, 2009

BSC #122: Kristy in Charge

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I know, I know what you're all thinking. Too many rich/preppy themed recaps. Where have your BSC recaps gone, Sadako? A nation of addled, twenty somethings turn their lonely eyes to you! On to what we know and love--the BSC! In honor of school being in, I present a very SMS themed BSC book.

The kids at SMS are doing a week long project where some of the students will get the opportunity to take over a teacher's class and teach it for them. It's part of the TOT--Teachers of Tomorrow--Program. Cool, can the next book be BSC #123: Mary Anne and the PTA Disbanding in a Bloody Coup? Kristy gets to be a gym teacher along with Cary Reitlin, Kristy's arch nemesis. The two of them of course clash because Kristy's a Type A personality wrapped in a Japanese POW camp director wrapped in an Adderall laced Twinkie...and Cary Reitlin's a loose cannon with a heart of gold (you can tell because he's wearing a tie dyed shirt). The two kids end up working together and using teamwork. But there's no obligatory make out scene where it's revealed that it's sexual tension making them act up because A, they're thirteen and B, Kristy's still got her heart set on playing Gertrude Stein to Abby's Alice B. Toklas.

There's also a subplot where Mallory has to teach an 8th grade English class and ends up becoming SMS's loser du jour.
  • The gym teacher that Kristy is "replacing" is Ms. Walden. Everything about her--from the "Ms." to her habit of calling students by their surnames--is designed to be vintage butch dyke gym teacher. Let's introduce the reader to Ms. Walden, shall we? "'Thomas,' a voice barked from behind me." Ah. Frau Walden. Welcome. Ms. Walden goes on to give Kristy some tips. "'...don't expect much from these girls. This group isn't especially athletic...Some of them will try to fool you. They'll say they feel sick...Don't believe them. It's just a con job.'" Con job? Oh, Ms. Walden, my uterus would love to go a round with you the third week of every month. To be fair, it's probably been eons since you had enough body fat to expel so much as half an ounce of menstrual blood, so I can't blame you for assuming that we're all lying.
  • Ms. Walden tells Kristy to make sure the kids are wearing the proper gym uniform, how to line up, what exercises to have them do, and also to stand outside the locker room and feel the girls' hair to make sure it's wet and that they really did shower after class. Then Ms. Walden's got to go, because she needs to write Castor Semenya a letter complaining about the patriarchal powers that be, and if Castor's ever in Stoneybrook, she'd love to show her around all the hot night spots...
  • On her first day as a PE teacher, Kristy wears a lanyard with a whistle, plaid pleated shorts, and white sneakers that she polished with white shoe polish. Well, even if you flunk out of TOT, I've got good news. You're just been accepted to that pre-pre women's studies college program at Smith. ("But...I didn't even apply!")
  • Mallory tells Kristy that Ms. Walden wasn't so bad when Kristy complains about her. Back when Mallory had issues with gym (Mallory Hates Boys...and Gym), Ms. Walden was a bitch to her at first but then was more understanding when Mal got good at archery and encouraged her to try out for the SMS archery team. (Oh, alienate the loser until you realize you can use them for something--I see Ms. Walden subscribes to the Santa from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer school of thought.)
  • Kristy introduces us to all the BSC members by telling us which subject each member would best teach. Like Stacey=math, Claud=art. Apparently MA would be a great guidance counselor. To which I say, start smoking more pot and learning more Alice Cooper songs to connect with the kids. (Sorry, all my guidance counselor exposure comes from McKinley High's Mr. Rosso. I can't help it--the "counseling" at my high school pretty much consisted of "Mau! Didi Mau!" when we didn't want to take the extra chemistry class and roasting our nuts over an open fire if the Ivy League letter came back "wait listed.")
  • Kristy wears umbros during one of her classes. For warm up exercises, she tells the kids to do high kicks, but she can't really demonstrate because the Umbros tend to reveal your underwear. (Yes, seriously.) Kristy tells them to kick their legs higher and when the students point out that she's not kicking high, she yells at them and then starts to have some sympathy for the she-devil that is Frau Walden. You know, I always thought gym teachers would be a lot less cranky if they had better fitting undergarments. Also, surgical interventions--you know, for the sticks lodged up lots of rectums.
  • Also. I submit for your approval, Umbros.

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Why, gym teachers of the world, why? The better to show us your unshorn, Jheri-curlable leg hair?
  • Their second day, Cary and Kristy coach a soccer game together. Eventually they start arguing and then a physical fight breaks out among the players which gets Kristy and Cary to the principal's office. (And the European preteens reading this book roll their eyes because this barely constitutes a soccer riot, as there was no scrotum ripping and no one took a melon baller to the eyes.) In addition to this, Kristy didn't even hand in a lesson plan her first day. Gasp. Okay, let's count down how much time it takes before Frau Walden snaps and Kristy's bloody Umbro's are found stuffed in a gym locker in a "workplace related act of violence" a la Annie Le?
  • The kids in the the class Mal teaches make fun of her at first, but then they realize how smart she is and some of them begin to have a real appreciation for literature and the arts. No, psych, I was just playin' wit y'all. The kids revile Mallory as the loser she is. They leap on their desks on her last day of TOT, screaming, "Oh, Spaz Girl, my Spaz Girl!" And the awkward looking girls reading BSC books who love writing, wear glasses, and also longed for nose jobs all realized the ugly truth--that life sucks if you're not a Stacey or a Claudia.
  • Actually, it was stuff like "Spaz Girl" and Mal's transformation from ugly duckling to deformed swan who's been exposed to nuclear fallout in California Girls! that made me decide to switch my allegiance from the bespectacled outsider that was Mallory to the bespectacled outsider that was Daria. Hey. She had misanthropy, better hair and a nose so tiny and barely there that it probably made Michael and LaToya weep with envy.

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  • Predictably, Kristy learns that teaching gym (much like being a carrot) isn't as easy as it looks, and starts to turn into Walden Lite. And I think we're supposed to feel a little bad for Frau Walden. Sorry, ain't gonna happen. There's a little girl deep inside me with some dark memories who hasn't stopped screaming ("Mrs. Pommelhorse...I'd like to come down now!") and reading this book just made me want to curl up in a fetal position until my horrible gym memories go away. Pass the Repressitol, please.
  • MA and Stacey are also part of TOT, but since they couldn't cram in another "Stacey starts creaming herself over an older man who did his dissertation on the complete works of Nabakov and is pissing himself in fear to get away from her" plotline or a "Mary Anne is shy but eventually learns to assert herself" plot, we don't learn much about what happens to them. And of course, Kristy and Cary decide to work together by the end. They have some kind of soccer game where players have to cooperatively pass the ball to each other (teamwork, man), and it's basically the gayest thing since Kanye spent his spring break at Sea World. And, I reiterate, Mal was full of fail. She eventually ends up dropping out of SMS over this and going to boarding school. This post dedicated to Spaz Girl, with Love.
FTR, it's a certain blogger's birthday this Wednesday. In honor of the occasion, I might decide to return to my BSC roots and recap another one of the books that I have lying around my apartment. What do you guys think?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gossip Girl: Hell Is Other WASPs

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Sorry, followers. I've been a bad widdle blogger.

I decided to go with Gossip Girl next. Because otherwise I'd be unable to justify all the time I've spent checking these horrible literary abortions out of the library. I can't admit that they're addictive anymore than a certain reader of this blog can admit that he owns a copy of Ella Enchanted as wank fodder. For me, my official story is and has always been that Gossip Girl is a series I only ever so grudgingly love to hate on. So, I've taken the liberty of skewering the main characters of Gossip Girl like little mini kebabs for your enjoyment.

Blair Waldorf. Blair's a bulimic headcase whose father just came out and whose mother is about to marry a money lined greaseball. Blair and Serena used to be best buds, but Serena left for boarding school a couple years ago. With her gone, Blair got to rule the school. But Serena's back and Blair's not ready to play Dion to her former BFF's Cher again. Blair thinks of her life as a movie in that everything has to be perfect. Her goals include losing her virginity in the most ideal setting possible to boyfriend Nate (note to Blair--perfect background music for that? Blood on the Dance Floor) and getting into Yale.


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Note that Blair's positioning her feet perfectly so as not to let her stress induced regurgitation ruin last season's open toed Ferragamo's. And no, I can't take credit for that euphemism. It's a Blair original.

Serena van der Woodsen. Serena's not a dumb blonde, exactly. Sure, she missed the first few days of boarding school because she jetted off to France. And no, she hasn't really taken any AP classes or done extracurriculars that should get her into a good school. It's just that she doesn't HAVE to. She's perfect at every task she tries, whether it's auditioning for student films, modeling various body parts on subway busses, and thwarting even the attempts of the likes of Perez Hilton and Richard Johnson to prominently display a picture of her looking even vaguely unkempt. And boys just seem to be unable to look at anyone else when she's around. This includes Blair's boyfriend who lost his virginity with Serena before she left for boarding school.

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Dan Humphrey. Token hipster boy who lives in Brooklyn with his younger sister and their father. Dan's in love with Serena because in this world, that's the litmus test for heterosexuality. If it takes more than a minute for your head to swivel when she enters the room, you'll never score more than a three on the Kinsey scale. Dan also writes poetry so abysmal that it made me wonder if Kanye West's new hobby is doing the poetry for teen girl books.

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Latest sample:

Wipe the sleep from my eyes and pour me another cup
I see what you've been trying to tell me all along,
Shaving your head and handling me (so delicately)
With satin and lace;
You're a whore
.

The only thing that would make this remotely edgy or even interesting is if you told me that Dan didn't write this poem for Vanessa, but for the Kool-Aid guy. (And yes, it does end up getting published in the New Yorker in Gossip Girl world.)

Jenny Humphrey. Jenny, Dan's younger sister, essentially has no personality. She's a freshman and extremely tiny except for her 34DDs. Cecily makes a point of writing about the gals so often that I suspect that she gave Jenny's treatment to her horny younger brother who regularly attends "I Was a Hentai Addict" treatment meetings. Jenny idolizes Serena and is a real hanger on.



Side note. I think the creepy CGI girl above is still less skeevier than Taylor Momsen (who plays Jenny on the television show). I can't be the only one who screams "UNCANNY VALLEY UNCANNY VALLEY, ABORT!" every time I see her her raccoon rimmed eyes gracing my computer screen, can I?

Vanessa Abrams. Vanessa's the token hipster girl. She's bald, she wears black, and she's an aspiring filmmaker. She just doesn't care about being a typical size two vapid blonde Heather wannabe. Vanessa, I want to like you because I can tell you're the kind of person who makes Blair's colon twitch. But you're the kind of person I hate because you've probably taken up permanent residence in Wes Anderson's rectum (along with a very perturbed gerbil). Vanessa also loses points for being in love with Dan.

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Speaking of Empire Records, the only thing that would make Vanessa less boring would be an encounter with a Lady Bic. (And for those of you who haven't seen this movie, no, I'm not saying she should go balder on her head or even South of the border. I'm just saying that at least one of these characters should kill themselves, and it might as well be the brooding Sylvia Plath meets Sophia Coppola one.)

Nate Archibald. Blair's accessory du jour who later dumps her for Jenny (she of the large rack) later. He smokes pot a lot, and Blair pretty much micromanages his life, right down to the fanatsy of two of them going to Yale and living in an off campus apartment.

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Things that are more interesting than Nate: Any redshirt on Star Trek, Keats' grecian urn, the cricket head that my friend Josh's cat vomitted up.

Chuck Bass. Chuck doesn't get nearly enough scene time as far as I'm concerned. (Cecily, I guess you're not as big a fan of the Sebastian Valmont type as I am.) I get the feeling that he's responsible for so many girls starting Take Back the Night marches in his honor. At some gala, he corners Jenny Humphrey in a bathroom stall (and angry feminists who thought they'd burned all the Harlequinns with heaving bosomed heroines just died a little inside). Earlier, he tries to get into a drunken Serena's pants in a suite at his family's hotel. He's got the charisma and looks of a Ted Bundy with the family connections of a Kennedy.

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He's the only character who does things other than smoke pot or contemplate which smokey eyeliner will change his life forever. I so want to play the Karla Homolka to his Paul Bernardo.

Hoped you enjoyed that! And for those of you wanting more BSC, I could be convinced. I've been trying to branch out since so many blogs have been doing that, but deep down, snarking Blair and Serena isn't as much fun as doing Claud and Stacey (Blair's spelling is impeccable and I can't resort to quipping that I'd like to deprive Serena of her Bloomie's card and her insulin stash).