“Of Course Sex Sells (You F%*king Idiot)” on The Style Con

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The following is an excerpt from my piece “Of Course Sex Sells (You F%*king Idiot)” as seen on The Style Con:

For a student of fashion and a person well-versed enough in pornography, I am fucking garbage at this game. Earlier this week, Nss Magazine released their online “Fashion or Porn” quiz, much to the delight of fashion whores and perverts everywhere. It goes a little something like this: A tiny fraction of an image is revealed on a page – a gaping mouth, two breasts smashed together, someone administering a titty twister in extreme close-up – and you use your best judgment to determine whether it’s, you know, porn or fashion. Easy? Not really.Out of 40 images, I only achieved five correct guesses in a row, mostly because I had seen in them in previous plays. Play it yourself and you’ll find yourself mistakenly answering “PORN” instead of “FASHION” more often than not, punished with an Operation-like “wrong” buzzing noise and a wide shot of some slooze’s shaved labia in gruesome detail. And even when you’re right, your “reward” is still said labia, but at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing what some stranger’s “O” face looks like.

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“A Man. A Mustache. A Mantra – Emiliano Zapata” on Harry’s Five O’Clock

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The following is an excerpt from my regular series “A Man. A Mustache. A Mantra” as seen on Harry’s Five O’Clock Mag:

“Out of the earth that shook with a cry ‘Conquistadores!’ comes Zapata, the Robin Hood of Mexico. The man with a circle around his name, a machete in his hand, and fire in his blood. Taking by storm and holding by fury. Where he rode they conquered.” – ¡Viva Zapata!

In the ‘50s, the gringos and gringas of Hollywood became belatedly infatuated with Emiliano Zapata, one of the most prominent figures of the Mexican Revolution, which started in 1910 and lasted nearly a decade. Starring what would now be an incredibly politically incorrect, hyper-tanned Marlon Brando and written by John Steinbeck, the film, ¡Viva Zapata!, tried to capture the essence of the man who was hailed in his country as a visionary; a peasant who rose in the ranks to become a leading man of the people. 

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Field Trip: “Hey, Christina Aguilera. Say Something Else” on Lady Clever

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The following is an excerpt from my piece “Hey, Christina Aguilera. Say Something Else,” as seen on Lady Clever:

I keep waiting for the tears to come. Computer in lap, radiating my ovaries so that I one day produce children with three legs, I stand at the ready, prepared for the flood. “Heartbreaking!” Huffington Post warned me. “Cry!” commanded MTV. Even a friend whom I generally consider a human being of good taste and intelligence reported that it rendered her to tears. But here I am, weeping held at firmly bay, like a heartless, unmoving, emotionally blunted rock.

Xtina, you will have none of me.

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“Death to Autofill.” My piece in the latest edition of Cartel VII.

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The following is an excerpt from my essay, “Death to Autofill,” as seen within the e-pages of Cartel VII. (Don’t worry, it gets funny eventually.)

This place has fucked me up.

I was sort of normal when I moved here, just like everyone is sort of normal when they move here. Now I’m deranged, the gnarled, emotionally-mutilated product of a city known for chewing up its inhabitants and spitting them out. And it does. It literally feels like that, at least in that there has been much saliva exchanged over the course of the last four years.

I came to New York when I was newly single, eager as a pound dog to find a new home. But instead of homes, I found outhouses, poles to be tied to, backyards to wander when I wasn’t busy pawing at the glass door looking into someone else’s living room. All of these places – these homes disguised as men – were temporary, invariably horrible in their own special way. But each, for some shard of a moment, some fraction of a second, every single one had been mistaken for something promising. The drug addict producer. The cokehead narcissist. The probably-gay financier. All so full of potential! So smart, so handsome, so saturated with redeemable qualities I’d hoped our future children would inherit!

I so eagerly bought in. I met the boys. I gave out my number, but I didn’t play the game – at least I didn’t play it right.

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Field Trip: “Bad Drinks with an @TwitterCelebrity” on Lady Clever

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The following is an excerpt from my piece “Bad Drinks with an @TwitterCelebrity” as seen on Lady Clever:

The night is going bad. Appallingly bad. More bad than any bad interaction I have ever had with another human being over the course of my nearly-thirty years. On a scale of one to ten, this is a nuclear meltdown, one that will destroy future generations of plants, animals, people, leaving everything to roam the earth with nine legs and a fistful of eyeballs. No one will be spared. This is, by all accounts, the worst blind-work-date-drink I have ever had.

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STRIP CLUBS AND DOLLAR BILLS (RIHANNA STILL GOT HER BALMAIN CAMPAIGN)

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The following is an excerpt on my coverage of Rihanna for Balmain, as seen on The Style Con:

Rihanna ups her campaign game, graduating from Armani Exchange to Balmain for their Spring/ Summer 2014 campaign. Shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin in what looks like a never-before-used ‘80s Russian bathhouse designed by Sol Lewitt, the two released images channel some major Gianni Versace circa Reagan-era decadence. Gold! Gold! Gold! More goddamn gold!

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“From Nada to Prada: Soo Joo Park on The Style Con”

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The following is an excerpt from my piece “From Nada to Prada: Soo Joo Park” on The Style Con:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock with scant access to magazine stands or high-speed Wi-Fi, you’ve probably heard of Soo Joo Park. The Korean-born, California-bred model made it big in the fashion world in 2013, following a we-don’t-fuck-around bleaching of epic proportions. The result? A new-and-improved Soo Joo, rocking an elfin, Orlando Bloom circa Lord of the Rings vibe — you know, if Orlando Bloom was a lady babe who looked bangin’ in Chanel. But torching her strands within an inch of its life seems a tiny price to pay for the success that came as a result. What girl wouldn’t risk getting her hair a little crispy in exchange for Chanel and Tom Ford campaigns?

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Field Trip: “Just Do You” on Lady Clever

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The following is an excerpt from my piece “Just Do You” on Lady Clever:

When my brother was in the second grade, his teacher pulled my mom in for an afterschool meeting to discuss something of exceeding import: his birds. “You see these?” she asked my mother, pointing at an army of black-crayoned “v”s on construction paper with accusatory menace. “Yes?” my mom said, confused as to where this was going. “Well, there’s clearly something wrong with your kid,” came the response.

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Introducing… Bad Cherry

 

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Cherry van Winkle goes to Art Basel : A Work of Fiction

Cherry van Winkle storms into the glass and marble lobby of an FBO off of Miami International, wearing the same clothes from last night. There are cigarette holes burned into the back of her Alaia dress that she will not see until she gets back to New York, the result of four ill-spent hours in a dark French pop-up club filled with bored Angelenos chain smoking cigarettes and feigning the molasses-like apathy of heroin addiction. Heroin is back, they tell her. Cherry van Winkle doesn’t get it.

“Where is my plane?” Cherry screams, her voice cracking through the air like lightning. “Where is my fucking plane?!”

In truth, the plane does not belong to Cherry. The plane belongs to a man who splits his time between Connecticut and New York and sometimes Monaco, depending on the tax breaks. He lets her borrow the plane wherever she wants on account of him being married and on account of that time she threatened to send all of his (highly unimpressive) dick pics to The Post. The man in question made millions of dollars on faulty mortgage loans, robbing the American people blind so that he could purchase Cherry van Winkle – and a handful of others — a litany of designer handbags and dresses like the Alaia one she is currently wearing, all of which lives in the closet of an apartment he also pays for. The cost of maintaining Cherry van Winkle is less a testament to her worthiness, and more to the extent of un-impressiveness of the aforementioned dick pics.

The man is an old man, 77 years old, with de-elasticized skin that resembles the delicate silk crepe de chine of the finest ‘90s Calvin Klein gown (of which the late Caroline Bessette-Kennedy would have surely approved). At least this is what Cherry tells herself after she and the ancient rich man have copulated, which she makes sure only to happen on a quarterly basis. Sometimes she throws in a bonus bang, but only if she has been adequately sedated. Her drug dealer has roofies.

Her drug dealer also has coke, which is good. Because after a week at Art Basel spent not buying art and partying until 7 in the morning, Cherry van Winkle is very, very, very tired. The coke, however, only exacerbates the sea of aggression living inside of her. So does the Adderall, which Cherry has been taking on a regular basis since 2008, even after she heard something about how chronic Adderall abuse destroys your intestinal tract, so that one day you will need adult diapers. No, this insignificant scientific hearsay does not stop Cherry van Winkle, a young woman forever on the quest of being exceptionally popular and frighteningly thin. Because, in life, there is beauty or nothing, even if it means you are rotting on the inside.

You see, when beauty is gone, when the fat coats your bones and softens you like an old, agreeable woman, all purpose is lost. Kill yourself. That’s what Cherry van Winkle’s mother used to tell her, a creed she herself lived by (and died by) when Cherry was only nine. To this day, Cherry still does not understand this. Her mother, in her opinion, was never a very beautiful woman, so it stood to reason that she should have either A) Killed herself long before Cherry was even born, or B) Continued into old age not caring about something she was incapable of possessing. Sometimes Cherry thought she’d be a little less fucked up if she had had a different childhood, but everyone wishes for that.

Having received no adequate answer regarding the status of her airplane, Cherry walks into the bathroom and does three lines of blow off of a credit card with someone else’s name on it. Cherry van Winkle’s name is not Cherry van Winkle. It’s Charlene Wotkowski. She is from Ohio. The credit card has a limit of $2,000 because of student loans she never paid off from a college she didn’t bother getting a degree from. But Cherry van Winkle doesn’t care about her credit score because she has the old man and his private plane, her Alaia dresses and a three-bedroom apartment that costs her nothing. Technically.

Cherry walks to the coffee bar where a young man in a cheap suit asks her how her day is, a pleasantry that she ignores because Sloan Pierpont has just walked in the door with a rapper Cherry used to sleep with for drugs, back before she met the old man at a sham of a charity auction that supposedly bought glass eyeballs for children living in a country that didn’t even exist. The money went straight towards the charity of Georgiana Hayes’ wallet, the host of the bi-annual rob-fest with whom Cherry had become friendly with. Cherry sometimes thought about these fake children with glass eyeballs and she felt bad for them, even though there was no one to really feel bad for. It was a victimless crime, really. Assuming Georgiana wasn’t barren (which was a nasty rumor that had been floating around for awhile), her yet-to-be-born child would inherit her money. So, technically, one child would eventually benefit. Cherry had to justify this because Cherry never paid for anything when Georgiana was around, and to judge Georgiana, she would have to judge herself, and who the fuck wants to do that? Plus, Cherry really liked brunch, and brunch at the Carlyle, where they often went, was expensive.

A woman smelling of baby powder and Aqua Net approaches Cherry, her hands cupped in front of her and her head tilted to one side, eyes glassy and agreeable. This is how you approach rich people. She tells Cherry that the plane will be delayed for two hours because of weather in New York City. Cherry tells her to go to hell.

Sloan Pierpont and the rapper are now sitting in the corner, picking out filters for a picture of them on a yacht with Harry Brant that they will post on Instagram to a collection followers who both loathe and revere them. It will get 1,342 likes, along with comments like “your tattoo is wrong Chinese meaning” and “this sucks.” Cherry hasn’t seen the rapper in two years, after they ran into each other at a party at Milk Studios where the daughter of some designer was having a “show” for her “art.” Some years later, after the rapper has become extraordinarily famous, Cherry will feel a twinge of regret for all of those times she explained their brief, seemingly incongruous relationship by answering her friends’ judgmental, quizzical stares with, “Well, he’s not black black. He wears plaid.”

A familiar chemical tang has begun to drip down the back of Cherry’s throat, an unpleasant side effect of her very exceptional life. She fills up a paper cup with black coffee and scans the table, searching for something she cannot find.

“Don’t you have soymilk?” she asks. “Don’t you know what these do to your body?” Cherry van Winkle is appointing to the plastic containers of non-dairy creamer and tiny doses of half-and-half. This is the first time she has bothered to look the young man in the cheap suit in the face, something she generally tries to avoid. “You should have soy milk.”

The young man in the cheap suit briefly considers explaining the waste inherently involved in providing transient passengers like Cherry a fully stocked array of fresh milks, and how such a luxury is not economically feasible for this particular FBO. Instead, he says nothing, only cracks a dumb, blank smile at the raging, feral, blonde lunatic standing in front of him, wondering how people like this exist in the world, and live better than most. But in life, everyone gets theirs in the end. The young man in the cheap suit is currently a senior at Miami University with a double major in Organic Chemistry and Philosophy. By the time he turns 30, he will have invented a drug that stops people from liking things like Doritos, cutting the obesity rate by 75% and saving insurance companies trillions of dollars per year. Cherry, alternatively, will have moved back to Ohio, where she will spend most days considering her thickened, aged frame and think about what her mother told her some years back, but never have the courage to do anything about it.

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something like fires.

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I feel myself being marginalized, compartmentalized. Kept on a tiny shelf, a row on aisle ten of a grocery store. Work goes here, friends go here, love goes here. I miss young love, messy love, reckless love. The type of love I have no right to feel any longer. Because you make enough mistakes by 30 to know better and feel worse. Mistakes are the regulator, the noose you tie around a sore and ready neck sensitive to the familiar pressure of inevitable end. A skip, a fall, a hiccup, and it’s all over. And so you dangle loosely, the fiber of a rope chafing your chin while your toes cling to the edge of a wooden chair. Don’t move. Don’t move. Don’t love.

You break apart the gallon jugs, the liter jars. You learn to measure out love in teaspoons, little doses to see the effect you have on a person, how you affect another human being’s limbs, verbiage, motor skills. Too much and it kills them. Too little and they leave.

Oh, I miss that young love. The love that made me move into a house with a practical stranger, just because he put Clementines in my bag before I went to work, drove around with me in a gold car with stained floor mats to meetings that didn’t matter, windows down on a Los Angeles freeway. The love that put me on a plane to Paris after knowing someone 12 hours and 4 drinks, 1 comment about packing me in his suitcase and bringing me everywhere. I miss the love that burns like bonfires, sucking the oxygen out of a room and killing everything else inside.

I don’t want the right love at the right time – a person like a shoe that fits every curve, even your bad ones, the places where the bones shouldn’t grow. I want the wrong love at the wrong time, a love as practical as a Yugo with cracked leather seats and a leaky engine that you love because, goddamnit, you love Yugos — no matter what your friends say, your mom says, your brain says. The affinity is there. It lives in you like a dormant disease that’s waited your whole life to be released.

All I know I know is that those loves – the Clementines, the trips to Paris – are gone, and anyone who says love like that comes back is a liar. Because there is something called trust, which lives somewhere next to love. Trust is a sandcastle, made of millions of unseen grains. You cannot live inside a sandcastle; it is dense and impenetrable, a lump thing that is taken all or nothing. When it is swept away, all those million particles disappear. Trust has no architect. You cannot rebuild it. There is no blueprint, no rules, no way of recovering what is lost when it is lost. And so — after the storm hits, after the waves roll in, washing trust to sea — those little pieces of things you once had go off to make other sandcastles elsewhere or become pearls in gnarled mollusks.

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