31 August 2007

thank you for visiting the Parker

Tonight's was the last episode of Welcome to the Parker, which I have found oddly enjoyable to watch (I love John the concierge, and Nathan the room service guy, for no apparent reason). Tonight the big non-surprise was the "we're letting you go" of Michael Twomey. The only surprise was that it happened in the first 15 minutes of the show.

Two guests were featured this week: Chris Anthony, a photographer/prima donna, who does what looks like pretty neat gothic/faux-victorian kinds of photography. He turned out to be a royal bitch, and came off like an asshole. The best bit about his stay at the Parker is that he brought along his hair stylist...............and it was DR BOOGIE! my favorite contestant on Shear Genius!

the other guests were a family of assholes; the parents (who had been together for 15 years) were renewing their vows in some shoddily planned ceremony organized by their lame children (the two boys are 16 and 18; so I wonder who their parents actually are?). The younger girls came off as bratty rude children, and were indecisive, poorly organized and weirdly demanding. yuck. but the vows were renewed and the mother cried while clutching her designer white poodledoodle or whatever the hell it was.

The show - and series - ended with the Parker holiday party. AGAIN, we were subjected to the clueless self-promotion of Twit and Twat the cocktail waitresses (danielle? andrea? angela? who cares?). These were the two "A-listers" who gave Annette a makeover and bitched and snarked about her appearance.....and patted themselves on their faux-tanned backs over how great they made her look in the end. Neither Twit nor Twat is terribly attractive; Twit especially, the blonde, has a face like a horse's ass. but whatever. Their screen time was weird; I felt like the show was trying to make fun of them, but at the same time, giving those bitches any screen time at all is just playing to their desires. Neither has the brains god gave a goat, so I'm sure they would only see "LOOK WE'RE ON TV! OMG!!!" and not understand how crappy and self-centered they appeared.

Darling Nathan looked great in his suit.
John the concierge can't dance for beans.

Michael Twomey, the show tells us in little blurbs, is now happily catering high-end horse show events. um, okay.

Andrea, his buddy and senior sales manager at the Parker, left the Parker not long after Michael did.

everyone else is still there, working away at pleasing unruly, entitled guests and maintaining an aura of happy chic!

I enjoyed this show, and I'm sorry it's ending, but I don't think I'll really miss it. I really enjoyed seeing all the "behind the scenes" stuff, especially in the details and logistics of running a swankery. And I like the Parker's "happy chic" aesthetic (thanks, designer Jonathan Adler). In particular, I loved the casual dining/poolside bar Lemonade Stand. Something about that just signalled vacation, relaxation and fun indulgence.

30 August 2007

who's that girl?

thesuperficial has pictures of Hayden Panettiere in France. I've never seen Heroes, and don't plan to, but I don't get the fuss over this chicklet. She seems to me to be just an excuse for guys to ogle a barely-legal chick in a "legitimate" way, instead of lurking around high schools.

Plus, her clothes are godawful ugly. This shirt looks like she borrowed it from Bea Arthur during her Golden Girls years; the gold lame thing makes her look like a knickknack from Wayne Newton's house.

29 August 2007

a pointless historical crush

for awhile now, I've been mildly interested in the tv show M*A*S*H. i've seen one or two episodes, and was intrigued and amused, but more than that, the final episode of the show plays an important role in a book i love, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

two nights ago, I finally saw that episode, all 2+ hours of it.

and it confirmed my suspicions:

I have a massive, massive crush on Captain BJ Hunnicutt (played by Mike Farrell).

I do not have a crush on the current Mike Farrell, who at 68 is older than my own parents. I admire Farrell's political activism.

But the 70s Farrell, the one who plays Hunnicutt?

i can't explain it. I don't especially like mustaches. He's much more ... butch... than my usual "type." but somehow, he's just...beyond dreamy. And when he starts wearing black converse high-tops instead of army boots, it's even worse. That tall, lanky build (he's 6'3") is my ideal.

i want to watch all 174 episodes in which he appears.
over and over again.

weirdly, the internet features very few pictures of him - plenty of Mr Farrell as he appears now, but not so many as Hunnicutt.

this is very unfortunate.

I have never had a crush on someone from the past before. it is very strange, interesting, amusing, and mildly embarrassing.

but just LOOK at the man!
how hot is this???

28 August 2007

design*star Toolbag Todd

as of Toolbag Todd hasn't butched it up enough by ripping off his tshirt at every chance, and performing vaguely xtreme-sport tricks (skateboarding, handstands, handsprings), his official Q&A on hgtv.com provides even more adolescent masculinity-posing:

Dream design project: Maxim magazine's headquarters.

ugh. ew. and icky.

but then Todd throws me for a loop, by claiming art deco and nouveau as two of his favorite design styles. by "nouveau," I'm assuming "art nouveau," although maybe there is a design style called nouveau that I don't know.

this hurts me. art nouveau is probably my very favorite style of anything ever, and deco is high on my list.

they're also stereotypically queer styles.

oh Todd. why must you confuse me so? Gay or Straight ?

answer: it doesn't matter because either way, he's still a toolbag!!!

27 August 2007

design star 5: finally!

Tonight's episode of Design*Star was weird like all the rest have been....the final four were randomly put into two pairs, and assigned projects in Wayne Newton's guest house. I'll skip the vulgarity of Wayne's actual house (and the utter silliness of having him as a guest client on the show) and get right to the challenge.

Kim, who I like more by the minute, and Robb the jackass were paired to tackle the kitchen; Malibu-Kendoll Todd and Will got the livingroom.

Everyone agreed that the kitchen project was more of a challenge (judges, Wayne, and the contestants). What I don't get is, given this, why didn't the kitchen team get some counterbalance, like an extra 2 hours or something? so they had a bit of a pass, or maybe the other team was critiqued more harshly.

anyway, the main drama was the interaction between the Jackass and Kim. He was profoundly condescending, loud-mouthed, abrasive and nasty. Disagreements are one thing; a dominant personality is another. But Robb was just a prick, to Kim and in the "confessional" interviews, saying that "if she had even half a brain...." she would just ride his coattails. It was ugly. And because Robb has been so buddy-buddy with Todd, I wonder if there isn't a broad streak of sexism in him. The fact that I don't like his design style doesn't hurt, either.

Todd and Will created a gimmick in a well-appointed room. Todd built a rotating platform to contain the livingroom furniture. It was semi-cool, but mostly....a gimmick. The judges seem totally swept off their feet by Todd; I think he's like a perpetual 15-year-old who happens to be good at carpentry. The revolving platform is definitely neat, but it's heavy to move, and - well, I don't know. The DESIGN of the space is very nice, and that seemed to be Will's handiwork. Todd imagined and built the centerpiece, but the real design and decor of the room seemed to be Will's. I find Todd's surferboy schtick to be tired, unappealing and immature. WHY the judges like him is beyond me; it's like the teachers in highschool fawning over the kid who gets away with murder because he has a glib tongue.
I like Will, a lot. He knows his stuff, design-wise, and even though he doesn't come up with superflashy tricks, he has consistently presented solid, lovely spaces. His personality is quiet, but not "flat," though he obviously needs to work on his presentation skills. Then again, season one's winner (the adorable David Bromstad) had awful camera skills and still won.

Still, the platform seems more awkward than anything; 360 degree views are all very nice, but somehow it seems to be a bit clunky. I imagine myself barking my shins and ankles on that platform daily. I love the chair on the platform, though.

For starters, with that kitchen: I hope that rock looks better in person, because i just don't love it. I'm puzzled by the wine cooler on the righthand side of the stone piece; is that extra piece of wood on the right a cabinet? it looks off-balance and awkward, though the storage shelves are very lovely. The wooden framing is just too heavy for my taste.
Kim did a lovely job selecting accessories; I like the buffet very much, and I LOVE the two tile-esque pieces hanging it above it. The little dining set is only meh - the chairs seem a little insubstantial in the space; the room is just a desert between the entrance and the chairs. I loved the glass-tiled backsplash, but that may be because I love glass tiles. I'm not sure it was the best choice for the space.

Curiously, the judges didn't talk much about the actual DESIGN. No one mentioned the refrigerator that didn't make it in on time. Wayne Newton and his wife Kat seemed to like both spaces very much. The judges ended up focusing more on personality because!
tonight was the night when the contestants presented their spaces on camera. I found Robb and Todd both far too butch. "sweet" is not the adjective I'm EVER going for in ANY interior design, unless it's a room for a baby or an old lady who loves roses. I really do wonder what KIND of show HGTV wants for the winner of this contest; David's wasted on Color Space, and his "sidekick" is a drip (even though I adore David, I rarely watch that show). I keep picturing those Manly Shows like "over your head" and such, where some dudely type fixes all your troubles without making you look whipped by your wife who wants all pink floral decorations.

Will explained the space, which was more than Todd did - all Todd said, essentially, was "Cool dude! check this sweet platform! it spins, dude!" Will discussed texture and design.

Robb just sucks.

Kim was FABULOUS. her presentation was cute, pleasant, intelligent and witty - and she is obviously a natural on camera. I really do love her; she's so damn normal and talented!

Robb's elimination showed even MORE of what an asshole he really is. I can't believe the judges left him in this long; Scott and SparkleJosh were far better designers, in my book, and a thoroughly repugnant personality is enough to get kicked off a hosting challenge. Robb's final word, of the judges' decision, was "Fools." He's like the Arrogant Hung of Top Chef fame: he never, ever saw that he was wrong, or that maybe there was some justice in the judges' decision.

what a freaking tool. I am SO glad that jackass is gone.

But I feel weird about the final three. They are a really disparate bunch; it's apples and oranges, really. Last year, with Alice and David, i felt like it really did come down to their final design. Both had lovely personalities and presentations. This group of misfits, though - I dunno. Kim is the only one I'd want to watch, but Will definitely has skills, and a kind of quiet presence that *I* appreciate, from inside my own introversion. I'd also love to see a Black guy hosting a design show. Or a Black woman.

In the end, neither of these designs from tonight's show was especially mindblowing. Robb's attitude was mindblowingly appalling, and thankgod, for once, the judges agreed with me, and he was cancelled.

I am firmly on Team Kim from now to the bitter end, and I will be voting!!!!

26 August 2007

mom of the year

Okay, well, MY mom wins Mom of the Year every year hands down, but you know: I really admire Angelina Jolie (and now Brad Pitt's) parenting.
Those star-shaped sunglasses are, somehow, proof to me that this woman not only knows what she's doing with her kids, but loves doing it.

My sister and I got shaped glasses when we were little, too; mine were hearts, hers were blue stars exactly like these.

It's the little things; these kids get the big things, obviously, because their mom is loaded. But the little things are what makes me admire Jolie as a mom!

Also: star glasses are awesome!

25 August 2007

design star episode 4

I missed the first showing of this, and didn't get to see the rerun until Friday night (unlike Bravo, HGTV doesn't rerun its shows ad infinitum).

I am HORRIFIED. Las Vegas might be a sexy dynamic new location, but it's also apparently totally devoid of taste.

I'm not really into high-end decor. Top Design sat crookedly with me in part because the designs and furnishings were TOO upscale; the aesthetic was far beyond my means and my interest. I watch design shows to steal clever ideas that I might replicate one day. Staging a booth in which the MAIN FEATURE, and really only item of interest, is a $5,000 chair, is NOT within my reach.

That said, I'm also not appallingly low-class and tacky in my design preferences, either. So Episode Four's challenge - design a wedding for two people with no taste - was just horrific.

The couple had extremely different desires: she wanted a lavender sparklepony wedding, he wanted "50s rockabilly/vegas style." She was, evidently, willing to cave totally. The design presentations were not spectacular; Kim's and Will's were the two that seemed most tasteful, as well as meeting the desires of both bride and groom. But based on the strength of stacked, gigantic revolving red dice, bride & groom chose the design of the Odious Robb.

The couple loved his design, though it didn't really incorporate much of the Princess Dream Wedding. Instead, it was big, tacky and hideous. Giant poker chips. Huge playing cards. Garish.

Vegas garishness is one thing for, say, the strip: the outside of casinos and bars and clubs. Everything is big and outsize in vegas - and it's where postmodernism got its start (sort of). But, as others have pointed out, Robb's design was painfully literal in its Vegasness:
The ugly arch reading Viva Las Vegas is neither clever nor stylish. It's perched on gigantic, ugly-colored stacks of poker chips, which were then draped to hide their ugliness, instead creating a BOWER of ugliness. The "flames" behind the dj booth look like something a 13-year-old would put in his basement/video game room. The lavender tablecloths and violet and white feather boa drapes are just ugly; and the feathers reminded me of the tweeny first design Robb participated in, the "living lounge" of ugliness and wasted space in their apartment. It looks like Claire's Boutique and PacSun and Hot Topic all had a baby together, and THIS room is what that baby vomited up.

I was really undone by the bride's excitement over the giant revolving dice. The fact that "they spin" seemed to just blow her mind. The fact that they are also enormous, cheap and tacky evidently didn't bother her, nor did the flashing red lightcubes in martini glasses which were used as centerpiece vases.

The fact that the couple was pleased with their space demonstrates their shitty taste. What's upsetting is that TWO people were eliminated based on the crappy needs of two tacky people. Christina's design ignored the "rockabilly" and focused instead on a My Little Pony sort of froth of lavender, so I guess she didn't meet their needs. BUT, and I think it does matter, her design wasn't awful. It's not like she created something that looked like baby poop. And the outsized poker chips, and Shirtless Todd's enormous guitars, looked like hell. (Now that I think of it, why did our two most butch manly contestants feel the need to go so......big? Compensating for anything?).

Sparkle Josh is my beloved, and losing him over this challenge....is horrifying. His style is not my style, but he does have taste and he can shop and choose accessories well (not everyone can). I actually LIKED his dollar store room; it reminded me a lot of Matt's early room on Top Design (which I also loved).

This is Matt's Top Design room, which is chic, tasteful and a bit glam (and definitely a "celebuteen" room - precisely the kind of girl he was designing for).

And this is Sparkle Josh's room. Everything in it came from the 99 cent store, except: couch, coffeetable, end tables, single lamp and bookcase. Matt's budget was considerably higher. Looking them over, the palette is the main similarity, but I find both rooms rather charming in similar ways.

The remaining Design "Stars" are not stellar. Todd and Robb have abrasive, obnoxious personalities and lame design. If you're a 13-year-old boy, you probably think they are fantastic dudes and designers. For the rest of us: ugh. Will is a very tasteful and quiet designer, but his personality is too hidden so far - I can't see him hosting a show. Kim is the only one I'd actually tune in to watch: she's cute, smart, talented, enthusiastic.

But none of the four is a Design Star.

raison d'etre

This is my new blog, meant to be a public, all-purpose, multi-functional blog. It's where I plan to drop my thoughts on Bravo shows, books, films, gardening, pop culture, the occasional snippet of politics, music and anything else that crosses my mind. This is not my introverty diaryesque blog, nor is it my "professional" blog (which is where I write about children's literature and related subjects).

The coral and bells is a seventeenth-century multifunctional toy and objet. Ostensibly, it served as a baby's rattle and teething stick, but it also signified wealth and status, and is an object of beauty in its own right. I chose coral and bells for my blog title because the coral and bells represents, and IS, so many things (then, and now when it is a rare object, found almost exclusively in museum collections).

welcome, and enjoy!