Monday, December 23, 2002


Photo caption: Fifty women spell PEACE with their naked bodies to protest war with Iraq.
Photo: Art Rogers.

Wearing nothing but afternoon rain, fifty determined women lay down on Love Field near Point Reyes Station, California to literally embody PEACE. They asked local
photographer, Art Rogers, to record the event, which he did from atop an
18-foot ladder. Women of all ages and walks of life took off their clothes
not because they are exhibitionists but because they felt it was imperative
to shock a seemingly indifferent nation and administration into breaking the
vicious cycle of war. Making their bodies figures of speech, they allied
themselves with the "Unreasonable Women" group, whose credo is that
reasonable behavior will not get their point across to the men of war.

"We have voted, we have held rallies and marches, with little effect. Now we
have taken this bold step to convey our feelings of desperation over war. We
had to spell it out for you," said Donna Sheehan, one of the organizers. Her
inspiration for the naked demonstration for peace was Helen Odeworitse, the
leader of 600 Nigerian women who forced Chevron Texaco to address their
needs earlier in 2002. They took over an oil terminal, held 700 workers
hostage and humiliated the corporation by threatening to remove their
clothes, a traditional shaming gesture. "As Helen said, 'Our weapon is our
nakedness'," said Sheehan. "We hope to effect change as she did, without
harming a soul."

Sunday, December 22, 2002


Well, it's a very cool movie, of course. But not quite as dangerous as it thinks it is, not quite as meta-ish as people have pointed out. Charlie Kaufman inserting himself and his twin into the story a staple of novel, a novelty in film.

The miracle is Chris Cooper, sans front teeth, full bore sexy, babbling about orchids in a piece of shit white van to Meryl Streep. You know he's smelly--he even manages to ACT smelly--and it doesn't matter.

Friday, December 20, 2002


And I felt grateful. I didn't know where it was going, where it would end up. I'm still not sure. I sat in the chair our dog Faith usually sits in, and wrote the first line. And two hours later got up, achy, stunned, thankful. It's been a while.


It was a very good year for movies. It was also the year we saw Tom Hanks in some very serious hats.


At the downtown Crate & Barrel, the sales clerk, named Ty, observe a brief moment of silence for Dinah Washington, whose voice pours through the store.

At the downtown Pottery Barn, the sales clerk, name unknown, but very Teutonic, asks me to spell my name, then shakes his head, [passes me a piece of paper, and says, "Spell it out for me, baby! I am an IMMIGRANT!"

Tuesday, December 17, 2002


Every year a wonderful singer/songwriter/musician, Richard Barone, who Jeff has interviewed, organizes an array of singers and musicians to perform a funky version of Handel's Messiah at the Bottom Line. This year, this night, he also brought the group to the remarkably restored Winter Garden, which was always, as my nephew Sam says, "awesome," but now features a view of the WTC site because of September 11th devastation.

The word peace was sung over and over, and it rose into the improbable palm trees and made the glass roof shudder.

Monday, December 16, 2002


Hanne Blank is a writer/editor/free speech diva maven icon. She has a groovy Web site, and recently, she and her beloved went to the movies with a digital camera. To quote Hanne, "to save my nerves from degenerating prematurely, we took the camera for amusement. malls are more tolerable when you pretend you are fellini."

Check it out.


It's never been any big secret to my friends that I have a crush on Al Gore. I've always had a thing for those nerd boys who you just want to get wild...though the last presidential election was full of non-fun, I still remember Jon Bon Jovi getting Al to dance till he sweated through his button-down shirt. And Saturday Night Live turned out to be an unexpected treat: Al doing a credible Trent Lott! Al in a hot tub romancing Joe Lieberman! Al confessing his secret pain to Stuart Smalley! All my nerd boy fantasies coming true.

So I'm sorry that he won't be running, because we finally got to see the Secret Al Gore journalists used to talk about--the poke-fun-at-himself Al Gore. But I'm glad he was enough of a nerd guy-grownup to clear the field early.

Saturday, December 14, 2002


It is happening again, as they used to say on "Twin Peaks." Vanity Fair's latest issue features an interview with the radiant Cameron Diaz which features the Standard Actress Eating Paragraph. You know, where we find out that Diaz, who is sort of a tomboy girl, eats like a Normal Person---"plays against type" when she orders soup and a vegetable and then "scarfs nearly a whole basket of bread."

Please entertainment journalist people, please stop. Allure magazine, that hardboiled beacon of journalism, found the Standard Actress Eating Paragraph so frequently in actress intervews, that they created a chart of various actress interviews and analyzed the Paragraphs. They are nearly all variations on the same thing...that despite the fact that the Actress resembles a matchstick, she eats like a longshoreman.

Here's my suggestion: if you can't stop, start writing the Standard Actor Eating Paragraph. "Edward Norton, delicate-boned and pale, inhaled a T-bone, and burped." The only time male performers get the scrutiny is if they are genuinely eccentric in their eating habits. Besides, it's all acting anyway. Who knows what actually stays on these performers' stomachs and what gets drugged/exercised/vomited/surgery-ed away?

Friday, December 13, 2002


Sigh. Saw "Frida," the film, yesterday, and whipsawed between awe (that director Julie Taymor can punch your eyes out with her visual splendor, which complements Kahlo's daring) and irritation (bad bio-pic dialogue, and a very fakey looking panzon stomach on Alfred Molina). Still, you have to like a movie where it's the guy who's sensitive about his weight, and it never comes up for the woman.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002


Well, I did it. I wrote/typed/spewed 50,000 words in a month. Through sickness, health, visits to a new niece, Thanksgiving, dog training, and husband-hugging. 50,000 words, and some of them even make sense.