Friday, July 9, 2010
(Note: There are what some would consider spoilers in this movie review. So if you want to see the movie completely "unspoiled," don't read any further!)
With my 100-calorie white cheddar popcorn bags safely tucked away in my purse, I was finally on my way to see the new documentary, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work. I knew that if I didn't sneak in a quasi-healthy snack option with me I would either cave and buy the movie theater hypertension-in-a-bucket popcorn with extra squirts of buttery flavored cholesterol or I would sit there miserable listening to the torturous sounds of everyone else blissfully munching away.
The theater was filled with innocent-looking grey-haired ladies wearing cluster rings on their fingers and cardigan sweaters draped over their shoulders. But looks can be deceiving. Those little old ladies might be sweet, pie-baking grandmas, but by the sounds of their giggling and guffawing, they loved a raunchy Joan Rivers' vagina joke just as much as the gaggle of gay men sitting two rows down from me.
After approximately twenty seven previews and commercials, the movie opened with an extreme close-up of Joan getting her makeup on. Joan baring her naked face--flaws and all--set the tone for the entire movie.
Although Joan is innately funny, she stresses how hard she works to create her seemingly off-the-cuff humor. Jokes don't write themselves and she doesn't have a team of writers working for her. Never comfortable resting on her laurels, she is constantly writing new material and trying it out every week in a hole-in-the-wall New York comedy club. And every joke Joan has ever written is typed up and literally filed away in a card catalogue organized by topic. You never know when you might need to find a prostitute joke in a hurry!
Like Liberace, Joan lives in a gilded, glittering palace … or as she puts it, how Marie Antoinette would've lived if she had money. Gaudy? Yes. But could you picture Joan living in a three-bedroom, two-bath brick ranch-style house decorated with Rooms-To-Go furniture? I think not. Joan says that working her ass off to support her lavish lifestyle is worth it to her since she loves her "creature comforts." Not mention that she's also supporting a large staff, her charities, family members, and she even pays to send some of her employees' kids to private school. That's a heavy load for such a tiny lady to carry.
Joan also claims to have a deep-seated need to constantly work in order to feel fulfilled, loved, and valued as a person. She will not turn down any paying job no matter where it is or how undignified the work might be. Her biggest fear is an empty date book.
Joan is keenly aware that she has become the butt of plastic surgery jokes. And while I understand her critics, at least Joan freely admits to it! Just in home shopping land alone, there is a plethora of nipped, tucked, sucked, and injected hosts and spokespeople who refuse to admit that anything other than a magic potion (which is available for 5 easy payments of $19.99, by the way) melted the years away. No man has ever told Joan that she was beautiful. Apparently that insecurity coupled with the pressures of show business have fueled her fetish.
But all the plastic surgery can't stop the sands of time from slipping away. The older you get, the people in your life who can remember the big milestones and the silly inside jokes begin to dwindle until no one is left. Sharing your memories keeps the people you love and the memories you cherish alive in your heart and at seventy-five, Joan is finding that there just isn't anyone left anymore who can "remember when …" with her.
Unfortunately for me, the documentary didn't focus much on Joan's jewelry line or her QVC visits. I was hoping for some interesting behind-the-scenes tidbits. Honestly, what would QVC be today if it weren't for Joan Rivers?
I will not call her an icon, a trailblazer, or a mentor since that would only piss her off. I will say that she is a brilliant comedy writer and performer who has made her own luck through a helluva a lot of hard work and perseverance.
Lightning might not strike often, but--as Joan would advise--if you want to get hit, you gotta stand out in the rain.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Barnacles on the pier
So I'm back from my vacation and about as caught up on emails and laundry as I can probably ever hope to be. It never ends, you know!
To put it as politely as I possible can, this vacation sucked.
I've never been a big fan of vacations in general--they're expensive, take forever to plan, take longer to recover from, and usually prove to be more stressful than just getting up and going to work. My idea of the perfect vacation involves staying at a nice hotel with tasty (albeit probably ridiculously expensive) room service a stack of all those books I haven't had time to get around to reading and another stack of movies. I wouldn't have to cook, clean, be anywhere at a certain time, or take care of anyone else. Oh, to dream the impossible dream!
That, however, was not my vacation. The family wanted to go to the beach. In order to avoid tar balls and oil slicks, we decided to head to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. I found a small hotel that had an oceanfront room, which would let us bring the dog along for the trip (she loves to travel and I hate having to board her.)
So far, so good ... but then we got up before the crack of dawn in order to hit the road early. We probably at least should have waited until the sun came up.
Since it was so early and we were just walking from the front door to the car sitting in the driveway, my son decided to walk in his bare feet. He was planning on going right back to sleep anyway, so why bother, right? Wrong. Tragedy ensued when his foot landed squarely on the decapitated head of a rotting mouse. Apparently, one of my cats sneaked outside and caught himself a tasty snack--generously leaving the remnants for us as a present on the porch! As Rachel Ray would say, Yum-O!
Have you ever tried to wash the smell of rotting mouse head off the foot of a screaming child at five in the morning? It's good times, folks.
The dead mouse head pretty much set the tone for everything that followed. It was roughly 100 degrees, 100% humidity, and zero cloud cover. Basically, if you weren't in the water at all times, you were frying like a piece of greasy bacon. I feel like I spent most of my time in the hotel room bent over the bathtub trying to hand wash all the sand and salt out of everything.
On a positive note, evenings on the beach were pleasant and there were a handful of highlights to the trip. 1) I got to try the buffalo chicken pizza at Ultimate California Pizza, which was awesome and totally worth cheating on my diet. 2) The fireworks display shot off from the pier right outside our balcony was great and much more than I expected. 3) Visiting the QVC Outlet.
Oh, yes, Queen Bea never stops working! You know I had to take the opportunity to see and touch all that amazing, amazing, amazing QVC merchandise for myself.
There were tons of kitchen things--Temptations (or however it is that they like to spell it), Cook's Essentials cookware, and even some of the expensive Polish stoneware. I even got to visit a Keurig they were selling. I missed my Keurig terribly!
There was a ton of clothes, but of course the extra long rack of sparkly Quacker Factory apparel was impossible to miss. All the usual suspects were there--Dialogue, Motto, and Susan Graver--along with a smattering of the designer duds. And I don't care what the Q says, the sizing is NOT uniform even within a particular line. I don't even know if it's possible to have perfectly uniform sizing. Women's bodies and the fashions that clothe them are just too complicated for a standard set of numbers to apply to everything.
Oh yeah! I almost forgot. Surprisingly (to me anyway) there was quite a bit of Spanx for sale. I do love those body shapers, but I was in no mood to deal with Lycra.
I don't know if everyone is returning their Birkenstocks or if they're clearing out old stock or what, but the Q Outlet hit the freakin' Birkenstock mother load. I have also never seen so many Birkenstocks in one place before! And the prices were good too. If you're in the market for some hippie sandals, it's the place to go.
There wasn't much in the way of beauty products other than Ojon. Although after all the uproar over reselling used cosmetics, the Q probably wants to steer clear of that category completely.
There was a good selection of purses and probably worth a visit for all those hardcore Dooney collectors. And let me tell you, those B. Makowsky purses that have become ubiquitous on QVC really do feel like butter--battuh! I don't know if he massages cocoa butter on his cows every day or what, but it is truly some amazing stuff.
Of course, I had to hover around the jewelry counter for an inordinate amount of time. I think that I drove the nice jewelry ladies crazy. I really hate bothering them, but they set it up so that you have to ask them to take out each piece one by one. They were very sweet and helpful though. Like Judith Ripka always says, you have to play with your jewelry! There was a little bit of everything, but it seemed like the more expensive the designer, the less of it they carried. Or maybe the good stuff just goes fast?
The huge QVC sign over the bathrooms pointing you to where the Q store actually is. Queen Bea allegedly went into the bathrooms looking for QVC.
I finally settled on a cute pair of Veronese dangly earrings. Cute earrings that don't cost a bloody fortune are immensely good for Queen Bea's soul. And, Lord knows, I needed a little pick-me up!
The trip home involved not one, not two, but three major bumper-to-bumper, down-to-one-lane, might-as-well-put-the-car-in-park-cause-we-ain't-movin'-any-time-soon traffic jams. There were also multiple stops because people were having "digestive issues." I will spare you the details on that one. And the worst part was just trying to leave Myrtle Beach. We ended up getting caught in some heavy traffic--no, this wasn't one of the traffic jams, just congestion--in the blazing sun. The car's air conditioning just couldn't keep up and the dog nearly had heatstroke. Needless to say, it took forever to finally get home.
The ocean itself was beautiful, but I have no plans to be returning to the beach any time in the foreseeable future--or ever, for that matter!
(By the way, I do have a winner for the Float Life's a Beach Giveaway, but the winner will not email me back. If I don't hear from her today, I'll choose another winner. So if you entered, please check your email!!!)
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Not that I don't love Liza with a Z, but after watching last night's rather disjointed performance on HSN, I do believe Liza might be sharing a locker with Paula Abdul in the greenroom.
I'll give her this though, at least Liza refused to tow the home shopping party line by insisting that we all stack 27 bangle bracelets on each arm. Seriously Bobbi, sometimes one really is more than enough!