Questions, Comments and Concerns: Dirty Dancing (2017)

Dirty Dancing was the coolest, most grown-up movie when I was eight years old and it was an entirely different movie. The 1987 film was a mainstay of sleepovers and cable tv throughout my ’90s childhood, and it’s where I learned about family summer camps, partner dancing and I guess also abortion. [Traci saw it for the first time as an adult – read her pop culture blind spot post here.] Thirty years (? and also !) have passed since the release of the original Dirty Dancing. Since then we’ve been treated to 2004 sequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, a stage musical that I saw only because it was part of my season package, and now ABC’s TV movie treatment. The 2017 version of Dirty Dancing loosely adapts the original screenplay, makes it a musical – sort of – and stars Abigail Breslin as Baby, Sarah Hyland as Lisa, Debra Messing as mom Marjorie (in what I can only assume is a bid to make us feel even older than we did when we realized Dirty Dancing was 30), Colt Prattes as Johnny and Nicole Scherzinger as Penny, among others. I wanted to like it a bit, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea.

Question: Does this meta-Dirty Dancing framing device serve any purpose?

Dirty Dancing (1987) is the story of a young woman going to family summer camp in 1963 to learn about dancing and herself.

Dirty Dancing (2017) is the story of a 30-something woman going to a stage musical in 1975, of a movie that in the actual universe was released in 1987 (but don’t worry, the 1975 musical still has INCREDIBLY ’80s-looking posters),  which is the story of the time she went to family summer camp in 1963 to learn about dancing and herself.

Maybe ABC just wanted to show off their green screen technology:

Places I’ve seen a more accurate depiction of a person standing on a street in NYC:

(1) New York, New York in Las Vegas

(2) Epcot

(3) Sesame Street

(4) snowglobes

Comment: Baby is an early adopter of Betty Friedan-era feminism

Neither a question nor a concern, just mentioning that the first dialogue is a convo about The Feminine Mystique for whatever reason.

Concern: A costume designer hates Abigail Breslin, a cute young lady

Or is completely unable to tailor clothing to a non-hanger-shaped human. Not sure which would be worse. Two more inches and some work on the darts, PLEASE.

Comment: At least Baby still has anachronistic hair

One of my tv/film pet peeves is anachronistic hair in period films. It was especially prevalent in films of the 1950s to 1980s, but even in this 2017 version Baby has hair that would’ve looked positively nutty in the early ’60s. Still not as bad as Jennifer Gray’s ’80s perm.

See also: Jennifer Gray’s 80s-style jean shorts, crop top, keds combo.

 

Question: How many former So You Think You Can Dance contestants do you think are in the Den Of Vice where the employees go to sing and dance after-hours?

They do a good job.

Comment: Baby looking bemused while wearing Wendy Darling’s nightgown is my vibe during this whole movie.
Question: Honey, what’s this, what’s happening, what’s going on here?

A word on fashions of the late ’50s and early ’60s. Foundation garments were still a THING and ’50s-’60s silhouettes are immensely flattering on ladies with boobs, butts, etc. because the waist is emphasized. These ill-fitting costumes without a proper foundation are just all wrong – even if a fashion-clueless teenager might have looked dowdy by accident, there’s no real need to do that here. Making such an adorable girl dress like my grandma after she gave birth to her fifth child in 1960 ought to be a crime.

Concern: Everyone is really crabby at Baby. Constantly.

Baby: I’ll pay for your abortion.

Johnny: Literally buzz off forever, Baby.

Comment: White struggle: learning to move/clap on the twos and the fours.
Comment: What gets me is, I KNOW Abigail Breslin can sell a dance number.

While I’m watching the classic log scene, I’m blown away by how stilted the dance sequences are, and not just in a “Baby’s just learning to dance” way. I don’t know what to blame – the choreography, the direction, the chemistry – but I stop short of blaming Abigail Breslin because we all remember how she totally sold that iconic dance scene in Little Miss Sunshine.

Question: Is anyone watching Dirty Dancing for middle-aged parents coping with a stilted, loveless marriage?

Doesn’t matter. That’s what you’re getting.

Comment: The scene with Penny and Baby dancing is kind of cute.

The Penny/Baby friendship chemistry is a hundred times better than the Johnny/Baby romantic chemistry. Then they start singing, which is a thing that happens in this production. It’s fine. Oldies, not original songs, which is the way to go I think.

Concern: I have to wait for the end of Johnny and Baby’s mambo performance to find out if it was supposed to have gone well or not.

The audience cheers.

No lift, though.

Started on the two.

Success?

Question: Why was Johnny in prison?

I mean, Johnny was in prison for car stuff. But WHY, you know?

Comment: White struggle #2: Having to leave family camp early.

Not my particular struggle (the idea of my parents ever spending money on something like a family resort-camp is laughable), but presented like it’s a very real tragedy here. Debra Messing pointedly sings They Can’t Take That Away From Me, which is how women in 1963 showed their emotions when their vacation and marriage was about to be cut short.

Concern: Is Debra Messing’s lawyer in her rolodex?

Marjorie wants a divorce and says “I called my lawyer” (and also “I’d rather be alone than lonely”), which causes me to hop on the memory train and get off in the era before cell phones and internet. She either had her lawyer’s number written down or memorized, or the main office had a yellow pages for her home region. Then she either had to use the office phone or a pay phone. Which is all to say that she wants this divorce hard.

Concern: Talk-singing.
Comment: Baby has to tell her whole family she slept with Johnny in order to absolve him of stealing a watch.

And THAT is why you don’t go to summer camp with your family.

Question: Could the costume designer be trolling us?

All of the ’60s styles that would look gorgeous on Abigail and they do this:

Comment: The last half hour of the movie.

Hulu keeps freezing, but I caught the last hour on live TV so we’re good.

The parents aren’t getting divorced because the dad sings the same song the mom did earlier, which is the magic formula to undo divorce feelings.

Debra Messing gets a nice dress. Abigail Breslin gets a better dress than before.

Sarah Hyland learns how to play ukulele and instead of the fun warbling off-key song from the original, we are treated to her singing Bob Dylan. Yes, just a week or so at Kellerman’s and she’s a Betty Friedan-reading, Dylan-listening folk singer with an interracial love interest. As Hairspray – another ’80s flick set in the ’60s with a (better) 2000s remake – would say, Welcome To The 60s. (Marco, Lisa’s friend who teaches her about ukulele and probably love, is cute and charming, played by newcomer J. Quinton Johnson. I like him. And Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright) Is probably one of my top 10 Dylan songs, anyway.)

The less said about the closing song, the better. I’m just going to say this: the spoken phrase “I had the time of my life” segues into the sung phrase “I had the time of my life.”

Concern: Oh. This framing device, again.

We’re back in 1975. A baby-faced 30-year-old Baby leaves Dirty Dancing, the smash 1970s musical, and runs into Johnny, who stars in it? Directs it? Choreographed it? The musical is based on her book. Their romance belongs to the past, just like the last three hours of our lives. Baby has a husband and young daughter (who really does resemble young Abigail Breslin) who is probably way under the target demo to be watching Dirty Dancing or to care about her mother’s coming-of-age summer. Baby FINALLY has makeup, hair and clothing that suits her. I kind of wish they went full This Is Us and set the bookends in the present day with Abigail Breslin aged up to 70 years old, watching this telefilm from her living room as a grandchild distractedly live-tweets it. Now THAT is an unnecessary framing device I could get into.

 

Mr. Rogers Is Pure In Heart

Every time a disaster strikes or our faith in the good in the world is tested – and it feels like it happens on a weekly basis now, doesn’t it? – the quote from Mister Rogers starts going around:

Like most pithy sayings, it’s popular because it’s true. After every single man-made or natural disaster,  follow-up stories include the first responders and private citizens rushing to help whomever they can, however they can.

I think there’s another reason we see this quote come up so often, though, and that’s because of who said it: Fred Rogers, the beloved host of the PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was such a deceptively simple show that I’m not sure it could be made now. Fred Rogers, a nice man, comes home, puts on a warm cardigan that his mother made, slips on his sneakers and talks to children. It’s the last part that’s still revolutionary (as much as I love changing into my comfy clothes when I get home). Fred Rogers talks to children, as though they’re real people, because they are. Then he meets people doing their work and learns about the things they know how to do and are interested in. Then he plays pretend in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

These are the reasons we keep going back to Mister Rogers when times are tough. Fred Rogers talks to everyone as though they are important, listens to people and is interested in them, and believes in make-believe. Very few people in the media offer this to children, and barely any offer it to adults (our Blog Patron Saint, Amy Poehler, maybe – these figures exist, but they aren’t always easy to find). Let’s look at this a little closer, if only because it’s a positive thing to be discussing at a time full of negative things:

Fred Rogers Recognizes That Children (And People!) Are Important

Right now all episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood are streaming on Twitch. I have kept several episodes from the 1960s and 1970s on in the background as I’ve gone about my work this week, and it’s exactly as I remember from my early childhood in the 1980s and 1990s. Mister Rogers – I know we can call him Fred but he’s Mister Rogers forever to me – offers constant affirmations that his audience is exactly right just as they are. This is probably the genesis of the “everybody is special” movement that some folks like to complain about, but when you watch Mister Rogers you can’t help but realize that that’s exactly true. Every single person is different from every single other person, and that in itself is a wonderful thing.

Sometimes I feel like Mister Rogers was saying these things as much for the parents watching as the kids. Or, could he have seen into the future, the 30-year-olds live-streaming from their desks at work during a particularly dire news cycle.

Scratch that: sometimes he directly addresses the grown-ups, because I think he realizes that adults can feel just as uncertain of themselves as preschoolers:

Adapted for adults, the same message:

As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has–or ever will have–something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.

This affirmation that who you are and what you do matters to your community keeps us coming back to Mister Rogers. In sociology terms, he deals in spheres of influence. Maybe you can’t fix the big troubles in the world, but you can make your neighborhood a better place. Fred said it best:

But how do we make goodness attractive? By doing whatever we can do to bring courage to those whose lives move near our own–by treating our ‘neighbor’ at least as well as we treat ourselves and allowing that to inform everything that we produce.

Mister Rogers also realizes that big concepts, like language, aren’t too big for children. They’re actually just right, because children are learning about them for the first time:

With just a few words changed, it’s just the thing adults need to hear, too:

“What matters isn’t how a person’s inner life finally puts together the alphabet and numbers of his outer life. What really matters is whether he uses the alphabet for the declaration of a war or the description of a sunrise–his numbers for the final count at Buchenwald or the specifics of a brand-new bridge.”

Mister Rogers Is Interested In The World Around Him

It’s not Mister Rogers, it’s Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. In every episode, Mister Rogers would learn about different members of his community: artists and athletes and puppeteers, but also folks in those everyday jobs that fascinate children so much. Yo Yo Ma was a pretty cool guest, but so were teachers and trash collectors. We all lost our cool over a mail carrier every single episode (Mr. McFeely was fantastic, after all). This is the cynicism-free attitude I love to see and try to remember to display. We don’t know everything about everything, and sometimes the most fascinating thing in the world is just to understand what someone other than ourselves finds fascinating, or how a stranger fills their time. I don’t get many chances to visit crayon factories like Mister Rogers did, but I can still ask questions and listen to answers. “Everybody is special” isn’t a call to self-importance, it’s a call to remember how important every single person you meet is.

Mister Rogers Loves Make Believe

… and I do, too. As a child I’d spend hours in my backyard imagining I was growing a World War II victory garden or traveling the Oregon trail. My basement was a garden-level apartment I lived in all by myself. Once I was “too old” for make-believe I was in acting classes, where I found the other kids who hadn’t stopped pretending, either. But as Mister Rogers tells us, each person is different. I have never known a child who didn’t love make believe, but I have known a lot of children who need help with it. When I start pretending with some of my nieces and nephews, I see that spark of “I didn’t know I could see things that way!,” the same spark we adults get when a comedian frames a familiar concept in a new way. Some kids get a refrigerator box and instantly turn it into a bus, spaceship and, well, refrigerator box – but one they’re trapped inside on a mail truck on an expressway careening into the ocean. Other kids need an adult to hand them some markers and safety scissors and ask them what they think that box could be. That’s what Mister Rogers does.

In Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the Neighborhood of Make-Believe provides a ready-made framework to pretend. There is King Friday, Henrietta Pussycat and my grouchy favorite, Lady Elaine. Children know that they’re all puppets and they know that a fun grown-up is making them come to life. This is infinitely better than puppets alone. Kids learn that we have the power to make scenarios and characters exist where nothing did before. Somebody versed in childhood development might tell you that this is teaching cause and effect or concrete versus abstract, but I think pretending is an end unto itself. For the kids and grownups who need a little push to pretend, Mister Rogers teaches us that make-believe is magical, fun, and available to us any time, anywhere.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Disasters that occur continents away are still hard to take, and that’s because of something Mister Rogers knew all along: we are all neighbors. While we all have Mister Rogers on the brain, let’s try to heed some of his lessons. Listen, look, and create. Let’s go make a snappy new day.

The Fastest-Falling Baby Names Of 2016 (And Why Your Kid Will Hate Them In 2029)

Welcome to our annual Social Security Baby Names post! It’s finally the time of year when we learn the legitimate, officially-compiled United States name statistics for the previous year. Potential parents, name-changers or pet owners, take note. If you want to know whether the name you love is obscure or top-of-the-charts, skyrocketing or plummeting in popularity, unisex or gender-specific, these are the stats you’ll need, and they’re all available online thanks to the Social Security Administration.

For the past several years, we’ve operated off of the same premise: there are no bad names (pretty much!), just perfectly nice names that your child may arbitrarily decide to hate once they’re 13 years old or so. For the 2013 stats, we told you why your kids would hate their most popular names of the year by 2026. In 2014 and 2015, we turned our attention to the fastest rising names which – sorry! – plenty of kids will decide to dislike for no reason at all around middle school. It felt like time to switch things up, so this year we’ll talk about why the fastest-falling names of 2016 will earn your tween’s ire at the end of the roaring 2020s. I probably don’t have to tell you, but these reasons are completely silly and made-up: all of these names are fine and any kid should wear them well.

Girls

5. Neriah

Change in popularity: down 344 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: On the negative side, your little Neriah – melodic, easy-to-pronounce yet still uncommon Neriah – will read the Bible and learn that Neriah was a boy. On the positive side, if you chose Neriah because it’s a Biblical name… at least Neriah’s reading the Bible?

4. Kaitlynn

Change in popularity: down 381 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: Wishes you’d spelled it Katelynn.

3. Katelynn

Change in popularity: down 402 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: Wishes you’d spelled it Kaitlyn.

2. Caitlyn

Change in popularity: Down 462 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: There are too many ways to spell Caitlyn.

Oh, plus after the Revolution Of 2021, Caitlyn Jenner is somehow the President Of The United States and she’s not doing a great job. Not the WORST job, but that won’t be saying much in 2029.

1. Caitlin

Change in popularity: Down 542 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: A Caitlin by any other spelling (and boy, are there SPELLINGS) is still a Caitlin… unless you’re a traditionalist who prefers the Irish pronunciation instead of the Americanized “kate + lin” pronunciation, which for some reason your Caitlin is.  Substitute teachers are a nightmare.

Boys

5. Yaakov

Change in popularity: Down 213 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: I can’t think of a single reason Yaakov would be declining… traditional Hebrew name, lots of great namesakes, no bad pop culture references. All that makes me think that there must be some really annoying Yaakov out there whom a lot of people know. Once Bad Yaakov comes to your town, your little Yaakov will resent his name forever.

4. Freddy

Change in popularity: Down 222 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: This one pains me, as Fred and Freddy (as nicknames for Frederick, Alfred or Wilfred) have always been favorites of mine. But if you have a 9-year-old boy you see the problem here: the rapid rise of Five Nights Of Freddy, a weird, violent video game that for some reason all of the kids I know, who don’t actually play it, know everything about. Once your Freddy sees the game and has nightmares for months, it’s all over.

3. Triston

Change in popularity: Down 230 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: In the Gilmore Girls fandom, there’s Team Jess and Team Dean, but there’s a smaller, waspier team: Team Tristan. Your Triston is NOT on it.

2. Aaden

Change in popularity: Down 239 places

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: Thanks to the many spellings of Aidan, there are a few others on your Aaden’s baseball team. No big deal! Except his coach insists on setting him apart by pronouncing it AAAAAHHHH-den. You did not have that pronunciation in mind.

1. Jonael

Change in popularity: Down 475

Why your kid will hate it in 2029: Jonael was one of the fastest RISING names just a year ago. Your astute Jonael realizes that this will date-stamp him to a particular birth year, and he’s anticipating that when he’s middle aged everyone will realize precisely how old he is. He’s an old soul, your Jonael.

 

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: The Handmaid’s Tale

This weekend you could turn on your TV  to watch a totalitarian regime use self-serving but ostensibly biblical rationale to oppress women, the LGBT community, intellectuals and others – or you could turn the news off, flip over to Hulu and watch the first five episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale. We suggest the latter.

If you aren’t familiar with Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, you won’t need to know much before you watch the Hulu series. Creator Bruce Miller wonderfully establishes the setting and reveals information at a pace that will answer all your questions in time. The Handmaid’s Tale depicts life in Gilead, a quasi-biblical military dictatorship established in the former United States after the constitution was suspended sometime in the near future. With the birth rate drastically low, low-status fertile women are assigned to Commanders as “Handmaids” to bear their children if the commander’s wife is unable to conceive. There’s no real choice in the matter: the other option is to get shipped off to the “colonies” and clean up nuclear waste. The Handmaid’s Tale focuses on Offred (Elisabeth Moss) and her experiences with her commander (Joseph Fiennes), his wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) and fellow Handmaids (Alexis Bledel [Ofglen], Madeline Brewer [Janine], Samira Wiley [Moira]).

The Handmaid’s Tale Is So Timely It Will Scare You

Since Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985, it’s always had unsettling echoes of reality … but sometimes it’s extra prescient. In 1985 America was experiencing the rise of the Moral Majority – a far-right backlash to developments both negative (the rise of street drugs, the growth of the AIDS epidemic) and positive (the gains made by the ’70s Gay Liberation Movement and the reproductive rights developments in Griswold v. Connecticut  and Roe vs. Wade). The back-and-forth between periods of social progress and reactionary periods of regression are familiar to anyone who’s opened a history book. An adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale probably would have been well-received in the 90s or early 2000s, but the Hulu adaptation feels almost necessary now. With news stories about an Oklahoma bill requiring a man’s permission to get an abortion, the commodification of children in unethical surrogacy and adoption contracts, and gay men being rounded up into camps in Chechnya, it’s not hard to envision a future like Gilead.

In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood makes it clear that not long has passed between its 1980s publication and the establishment of Gilead– she refers to cassette tapes, 1950s military surplus and 1970s magazines all still in existence. Likewise, the Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in the near future: in flashbacks to Offred and Moira’s recent past, there are references to Tinder, Uber and Craigslist. If Gilead looks familiar it’s because it should – Atwood has commented that everything that happens in The Handmaid’s Tale has already happened somewhere in the world. Even smaller details are accurate, such as the Handmaids’, wives’ and Marthas’ (housekeeper/cook/maid) old-timey outfits —  they’re spot-on when you look deep into the trenches of some Christian Fundamentalist movements or the FLDS church, where womens’ wardrobes are a kind of Little House throwback.

The Handmaid’s Tale Is Probably Going To Win All The Acting Awards

… or at least it should. If you watched Mad Men you already know that Elisabeth Moss can do everything, but if not we’re letting you know: Elisabeth Moss can do everything. She seamlessly switches from young, carefree Offred, to Offred as a Handmaid concealing her distaste for the regime, at once defiant and compliant. Moss excels both in scenes without dialogue and in voice-overs (I especially enjoyed the voiceovers after re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale and getting to the epilogue — no spoilers, but I forgot about that part). Joseph Fiennes is just as the Commander should be: he’s clearly part of the regime, but you can’t help but have some questions about him. Yvonne Strahovski is delightfully icy as Serena Joy. I admit that when I read The Handmaid’s Tale I was expecting something a little more Tammy Faye Bakker, but she’s actually perfect for a 2017 version. I can just picture Serena Joy as the Pinterest-perfect upper-class housewife before Gilead.

The real revelation, though, is Alexis Bledel as Ofglen. We’re both longtime, reunion-panel-attending Gilmore Girls fans, but having only seen Alexis as Rory I didn’t really know what range she is capable of. In one instant you can see why Offred believes that Ofglen is totally sold on the Gilead lifestyle, and in the next you understand that Ofglen is a rebel. Ofglen is both unbreakable and quietly devastated, and Alexis’s innocent appearance is used to better end here than it is in Gilmore Girls; as Vanity Fair noted, “she’s less Bambi here and more trapped bird.”

For what it’s worth, in my notes I wrote “somebody should have told me Samira Wiley was in this,” so I’m telling you now. If Poussey was one of your favorites in Orange Is The New Black, you’ll absolutely love Samira as the ebullient Moira in The Handmaid’s Tale. If Moira’s character in the Hulu series has the same outcome as Moira in the novel, I can’t wait to see it, but at least through episode 5 she is seen only in flashbacks.

The Handmaid’s Tale Works Really, Really Well As A Show

Many books suffer in film adaptations, and I think even more suffer in television adaptations. However, the Hulu limited series is the perfect way to adapt The Handmaid’s Tale. The format has allowed for expanded stories of some of the characters — for instance, Ofglen has a bigger backstory and a different fate in the show; we have filled in Moira and Offred’s history, but there is still more of Moira’s future to come as of episode 5. Although some characters have been altered or expanded on a bit, every change preserves the spirit of the book. Bruce Miller also made the wise choice of adding in details to show that we aren’t too far off from 2017. Now that The Handmaid’s Tale has been renewed for a second season, I do wonder how the comparison to the book will pan out. Does the first season encapsulate the whole novel, or will the season end partway through? If you have read the book, you’ll know that the Epilogue gives fodder for how the show could continue if season one does end with the book.

Still, I’d argue that all of the best adaptations succeed because they can be enjoyed on their own merits, and that’s my belief of The Handmaid’s Tale. The whitewashed lighting and beautiful set and costume design lend a real cinematic feel, and the writing includes plenty of time for suspense and speculation — but it doesn’t go full Lost and add a ton of elements that the viewer doesn’t have time to make sense of. Even the songs at the end of each episode are perfect. It’s dystopian fiction without any teens being sorted, and it’s grounded enough in reality that you won’t feel like it’s set on a different planet. The Handmaid’s Tale is a series so gripping that when I remember it’s Wednesday and a new episode is up, I’m more than happy to switch off the news. Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, bitches.

‘Anne With An E’ Thoughts, And Other Anne Reading

Where my kindred spirits at?

We are mere days from the Netflix premiere of ‘Anne With An E,’ but I had the pleasure of viewing the first two episodes earlier this spring when my Canadian TV signal was coming in. There’s a lot to be excited about,  so I’ll just mention a few things now:

  • In an epic Meeting Of The Canadian Cultural Icons, the opening titles of ‘Anne With An E’ are set to The Tragically Hip’s Ahead By A Century, giving the song a new meaning and perfectly encapsulating Anne.
  • The aesthetics are phenomenal. The ‘Anne With An E’ production strove for authenticity in its sets and costumes, but certainly also to meet a modern appeal. To wit: the puffed sleeve dress won’t look as ’80s as the one in the (dearly, deservedly beloved) Megan Follows version. Yes, that ’80s dress was historically accurate, but the choice was one that complimented a 1980s aesthetic; the choices in this production, similarly, are historically accurate but complement a 2017 aesthetic. That is to say that many of the rooms in Green Gables are beautifully bare and folksy, like a Kinfolk spread. Both the CBC and Netflix premieres included flower crowns and a flower wall. The town shots of Avonlea are a little more ‘gritty’ and a little less Little House on the Prairie. The colors are at once washed out and sepia-tinged. It’s just PRETTY, in a way any production set in Prince Edward Island should be. You can see what Anne’s swooning over.
  • ‘Anne With An E’ does depart from the books, for better or worse. I hate to bemoan too much imagination in a discussion of Anne of Green Gables, of all things… plus the (dearly, deservedly beloved) Megan Follows version strayed from the books in its own ways. With this adaptation helmed by Breaking Bad writer Moira Walley-Beckett, safe to say things are considerably darker. There are two arguments to be made here. The first is that Lucy Maud Montgomery knew darkness as a child, as her mother died when she was very young and her father effectively abandoned her, but chose a light and optimistic outlook in the Anne novels. The second is that the darkness is implicit in the Anne series anyway. We know Anne was overworked and abused in her earlier placements, and we knew of her loneliness in the orphanage. Her use of imagination as an escape permeates Anne of Green Gables, especially. She does face rejection and fear abandonment; she cannot remember being loved.
  • However, some plot devices that were used to increase the dramatic tension in ‘Anne With An E’ felt unnecessary. The classic Anne debacles – the hair dye, the ridgepole, the Lady of Shalott business, good Lord, the cordial – are enough.
  • I think Anne Shirley was always a feminist, but ‘Anne With An E’ couches that in more modern terminology. For instance, Anne tells Marilla that girls can do anything boys can. It struck me as anachronistic, but then I remembered my niece who I’ll be watching this with and realized that it’s not for me. I’ll take some improbable dialogue if it’s to a good end, especially in a children’s series. I’d compare it to the 1994 adaptation of Little Women that way.

  • Finally, if there’s one reason to give this adaptation of Anne a chance, it’s Anne herself. Amybeth McNulty is the closest to the Anne of my imagination of any actress so far. Anne is aged up to 13 in this series, and Amybeth really does look like a 13-year-old who sees herself as scrawny; it was hard to suspend disbelief when the wonderful Megan Follows looked 17 in the first movie. Amybeth has just the right intelligence and spirit behind her eyes to make a convincing Anne, effectively conveying Anne’s disappointment, trauma and high-flying spirit. If I was 15 I’d totally want to be bosom friends with her.

The take-away: ‘Anne With An E’ – or any Anne adaptation – won’t meet muster for some fans of the 1985 CBC series Anne of Green Gables, but there’s a lot to love if you judge it on its own merits. I’ve loved Anne since I first read Anne of Green Gables in second grade, and I enjoyed the episodes I saw of ‘Anne With An E’ enough that I’m anxious to see the rest of the series. You could say that some liberties were taken with the stories, but you could also say that there was plenty of scope for the imagination in the original texts.

Other Anne Reading
Marilla Cuthbert Was a Creepy Church Hag

My analysis of Marilla Cuthbert – whom I love, of course – as a creepo who kind of did try to buy a child to do chores. And if you have enough cash-money to buy a human child, you can buy her the ugly sleeves she wants, right?

Gilbert Blythe, Dream Man or D-Bag

Is Gilbert Blythe a swoon-worthy match for Anne or a total jerk who should leave her alone? Both? Neither? Or is the problem with Anne herself? Join me on the journey to unravel basically every weird romantic situation I’ve ever been in.

Anne of Green Gables 2013

Several years ago there were rumors of a modern-day Anne of Green Gables adaptation. I tried to parse out what, exactly, that would look like. Mr. Phillips and Prissy Andrews? Yeah, that’s a Dateline special waiting to happen.

Questions, Comments, Concerns: Anne Of Green Gables

Because I’ve never skipped an Anne of Green Gables adaptation, I wrote about the PBS version that aired in November of 2016. Takeaway: it was fine, I guess.

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Best Dressed: Met Gala 2017

It’s the first Tuesday in May, and you know what that means –  it’s Met Gala best dressed time! As we discussed yesterday, this year’s theme is a little different. Rather than a concept like China: Through The Looking Glass or Manus x Machina: Fashion In The Age Of Technology, or a fashion house whose founder has passed away, like Christian Dior, last night celebrated Rei Kawakubo, the 74-year-old Japanese founder of Comme des Garcons. If you’re not familiar with CDG, here’s your crash course:

  • Rei favors avant-garde silhouettes. The most famous example is probably the 1997 “lumps and bumps” collection. It’s not unusual to have a large fabric protrusion, for example. The most recent collections have included heavily-constructed architectural looks with a lot of jutting angles and giant circular capes or skirts reaching as high as the model’s chin. For instance:

  • While all colors have been represented in CDG collections, Rei’s signature is a bright scarlet red – she did a whole collection in the color in 2015.

With such offbeat influences, last night’s red carpet should have been a total blast. Unfortunately, it was more of a thud. We love a classically pretty dress at, say, the Oscars, but the whole fun of the Met Gala is in the theme, which a lot of attendees didn’t really adhere to. That’s why while there were other very nice gowns at the 2017 Met Gala, our best dressed picks are the looks that – while not always as visually appealing – represent the spirit of Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garcons.

Rihanna in Comme des Garcons

This is typical CDG, a mass of floral blobs snaking up to Rihanna’s chin, with what looks like a stiff bodice hanging off her leg. It’s the kind of creation that you don’t get to wear unless you’re a runway model and I’m glad Rihanna saved her safer, prettier looks for another night.

Tracee Ellis Ross in Comme des Garcons

Tracee’s sporting a more wearable CDG piece — still a conceptual fabric cocoon, but one that moves with her. Rei’s designs usually stretch the idea of what is beautiful and what is odd or grotesque, but the more I look at this, the more I think it’s straight-up delightful.

Rami Malek in Dior Homme

We’ve mentioned before that Rami is one of our male fashion favorites, and it comes down to his use of color and fabrics. This is a great example of how it’s possible to pay tribute to a designer without wearing them. This is the same shade of red that was all over CDG’s Spring 2015 runway and Summer 2015 ready-to-wear collections, and the black brooch echoes CDG’s blobby shapes. Yeah, I said blobby. Also, I know the phrase “impeccably tailored” gets thrown around a lot but it’s utterly warrented here.

Katy Perry in Margiella

This landed on a lot of Worst Dressed lists, but between the color and the avant-garde construction, I think it’s one of the best for this specific occasion. It’s CDG-influenced but not a knockoff — the filmy, lacy dress is less architectural than most CDG collections.

Solange in Thom Brown

Yes, this is pretty close to how I dress between December and March in upstate New York, but it’s also nice and on-theme, with the bubbly look being an homage to the inflated lumps and bumps-era CDG.

Julianne Moore in Calvin Klein By Appointment

Another fun dress playing off of a loose interpretation of CDG. I love the playful, feathery construction.

Lena Dunham in Elizabeth Kennedy

This made my list because it’s billowy and bulky -very Rei Kawakubo – but is more of a classic gown than you see out of Comme des Garcons; it’s a nice way to tie the theme into a slightly more ‘normal’ silhouette.

Halle Berry in Atelier Versace

I think maybe a good shorthand for how to add a touch of Comme des Garcons style would be to think sea creatures. Whether a bloated jellyfish or zebra mussels on a reef, something in most CDG collections reminds me of the wackier forms of underwater life. That’s what this gown does for me.

 

Throw Your Own #FyreFestival For Under $50

Imagine Coachella. Now imagine a more upscale version of it, promoted with the ritzy allure of a pricey island getaway. Got it? That’s what attendees of the inaugural Fyre Festival were expecting. Okay, now imagine the Tom Hanks movie Castaway, except with crowds and feral dogs. That’s what attendees got. Price tag? A cool $12,000. If you’re confused but intrigued, welcome to the club.

It all started in late 2016, when rapper Ja Rule began promoting a new “boutique, luxury festival” in the Bahamas. 400 “influencers” were compensated for promoting the fledgling festival on Instagram. Here, have a promotional video:

There was supposed to be music, boats, models on boats, jet skis, models on jet skis, a friendly island pig, snorkling through shipwrecks, gourmet chef tents, workouts on the beach, and workouts on the beach with models.

The reality:

Poorly-constructed tents, sandwiches that are just cheese on bread with some naked lettuce, angry feral dogs, disgruntled locals and beach-garbage. One tweet used the phrase “pee everywhere.” You can’t always get what you want, even if you paid $12,000 for it.

Now, if this were a totally rad ’90s kids movies, this is when the festival-goers would fix up the site with ingenuity and elbow grease, throwing the BEST festival of all-time and making friends along the way.

Unfortunately, as I’ve known since I tried to make objects fly with my brain after watching Matilda, life is seldom like a 90s kids’ movie. The festival is effectively cancelled. The guests marooned on the island are probably getting some kind of hotel accommodations, and it looks like nobody else will be flying out to join them. It’s like reverse-Survivor: everyone just wants off the island. Or is it more like a millennial take on Lord of the Flies, an experiment to see whether Instagram influencers can convince people that Caribbean Hell is actually a good time had by all? I’d say it’s more akin to a good old-fashioned grift: planners put forth minimal cash and, well, planning and hoped things would come together well enough, earning a steep profit on everyone’s $12,000 ticket.

If you’re watching from home and wonder if you could through an even cheaper version of the Fyre Festival, the answer is yes. Here’s how you can recreate the experience at home:

Venue: Your Backyard
Cost: Free

Sure, it’s not as flashy as the Bahamas, but to be fair it looks like nobody is really enjoying the Bahamas at this festival anyway.

Lodging: Rental Tents
Cost: $10/each

The cheapest dome-style camping tents run about $10 and honestly look better than the disaster relief tents at Fyre. Cram as many as you want in the backyard.

Wildlife: Feral Dogs
Cost: Free

It’s probably hard to find and wrangle feral dogs, but if you want to find a plain old mean dog I know just the thing. Based on my experience, all you have to do is walk your mild-mannered dog down a residential street on a nice day. At least one dirtbag dog will come charging out of its house at you. Grab it. That dog is coming to the festival.

Dinner: A Sad Cheese Sandwich With Lettuce Pile
Cost: $5-10

Guests were promised custom chef-created meals and actually received a sad piece of American cheese on soggy bread next to some naked salad. We got this. You can get a pack of American cheese and a loaf of cruddy bread at the dollar store for a buck each. (I bake my own bread for less than a dollar a loaf, but that’s too nice for our purposes). A head of romaine and a few beefsteak tomatoes later, you’ve got a meal, sort of. By my estimate you could serve ten people this ‘dinner’ for a grand total of about $5-7, with the price only increasing slightly the more people you add.

Atmosphere: Some Garbage and Fire
Cost: Free

Because I guess there are just piles of garbage everywhere? Probably also bees. Just leave an open soda out, the bees will come.

True to the festival’s name, things are on fire.

Bathrooms: Pee Everywhere
Cost: Free

We are told there is pee everywhere, so.

Authentic Island Experience: A Sunburn
Cost: Free

Dont’ wear sunscreen. Boom. You have the same sunburn you’d get in the Bahamas, just cheaper.*

*Oh my goodness, don’t do this.

 

 

Seating: Folding Chairs
Cost: $1/chair

Furniture-wise, everyone was expecting luxurious cabanas with draped canopies and artisinal woven blankets. Based on photograph evidence, they got folding chairs. I googled folding chair rentals, and the most basic model will set you back a dollar a chair. Only budget for one chair per person, or fewer if you’d like exciting tension.

Entertainment: Not Blink 182
Cost: Free

Sure, your festival won’t have Blink 182, but you know what? As of yesterday, neither will Fyre Festival.

Activities
Cost: Free

Ideas:

  • Everyone competes to get the most Instagram likes. There can be Team Luxury who has to frame the experience as something more swanky than mere plebes can imagine, and Team Despair who makes everything look even shadier than it already is.
  • Two teams compete to get a passing plane or helicopter to rescue them.
  • Stay Away From The Feral Dogs. Prize: don’t get bit by a feral dog.
  • Makeovers, maybe? Everyone can use their fashionable outfits from when they thought they were going somewhere nice to have fun.

Coachella 2017 Fashion Wrap-Up

Another Coachella is in the books, and once again we chose to enjoy the festivities from the relative comfort of our living rooms (what can I say, I can’t even go out in the upstate New York sunshine for more than a half hour without consequences). We may not be wearing flower crowns and using porta-potties in a desert, but we still love keeping tabs on the performances, the celebrity interactions and especially the outfits. Coachella is a time when anything goes — it may not always look good, but that’s not the point. It’s a time when you can mix and match outlandish colors and patterns, over-accessorize, and pull out that hat that’s just too floppy for ordinary use. Let’s have a look at some of the fashion moments of Coachella 2017:

Actual Musicians

The Gucci tank top and sunglasses: pretty expected. The crystal bodysuit: next level. Rihanna never disappoints.

Tennis (Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley) proves that the venn diagram of hipster style and your parents’ photos from 1984 now just forms a circle. Dad jeans, white tourist sneakers, and my mom’s old perm – finally stylish again after all these years.

Brian D’Addario of The Lemon Twigs is picking up where Harry Styles left off, reviving the plaid suit from ’70s car dealerships to rockstar glam. This one’s from the Gucci heritage collection.

Kehlani performs and potentially ushers in the return of the ultra wide leg pant.

I’m the first to admit that I don’t know who Tacocat is, but if you asked me to come up with the quintessential Coachella performance outfit, this would be it.

Lorde knows if you can’t wear space pants to Coachella, where can you?

Thundercat usually has some kind of a fanciful hat, and I’m calling this one a tribute to Luna Lovegood. Actually, I’m calling Coachella in general a tribute to Luna Lovegood.

Disney (Channel) Princesses

One of my favorite 90s throwback looks is the floral sundress, and Selena Gomez’s dress looks almost exactly like a little number I sported c. 5th grade, 1996. She looks fresh, summery and comfortable. The Weeknd has some dressed-down Justin Timberlake Canadian Tuxedo vibes, which isn’t a value judgment, it’s just something I’m seeing.

Found my throne 😍😝

A post shared by Vanessa Hudgens (@vanessahudgens) on

Continuing in the grown-up Disney starlets portion of our post, Vanessa Hudgens is a Coachella regular and I love this bright, draped take on a caftan.

This look from Vanessa Hudgens plays it a little less safe, and I can just hear Jennifer Lopez as Selena saying “it’s a BUSTIER!” Two things you saw a lot of in crowd photos: that black hat and chokers.

Ok here we go! #coachella2017

A post shared by Ashley Tisdale (@ashleytisdale) on

Speaking of looks not everyone can pull off, Ashley Tisdale rocks some high-waisted mom jeans with brown booties, a denim jacket and another Selena-style bustier, and it looks cute and casual, not to mention practical with all of that sand and dust and sunlight.

Prettiest Little Liars

Take a bow #revolvefestival @revolve

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Troian Bellisario looks sweet, summery and sunshine-ready. This may be the look with the best crossover-potential to your normal summer lifestyle.

Shay Mitchell documented the weekend on YouTube, with a camera crew, makeup artist and hairstylist… which can sound like a lot until you remember that for celebs, Coachella isn’t just a weekend trip, it’s a business opportunity to pair with sponsors and raise their profile. Plus, Shay seems like such a sweet person that I can’t even get too salty that her weekend wardrobe is bigger than my wardrobe in general.

A post shared by Ashley Benson (@ashleybenson) on

 

Ashley Benson debuted neon-pink ombre hair at Coachella. I don’t know about all of you, but I am not at ALL sick of the neon/pastel/rainbow/mermaid hair trend. Love it.

Early 2000s Nostalgia Corner

Paris Hilton has been going to Coachella since some of the younger attendees needed afterschool babysitters, and celebrated her 10th year at the festival with a beweled rainbow dress, cat ears, heart sunglasses and rainbow butterfly wings.

Ashlee Simpson leaned more towards the put-together LOOK style with a heavily embroidered jacket and matching studded blue pants. Evan Ross always looks good, although his shirt is that print that every stylish old lady had a scarf version of in the late 80s … although the Dynasty throwback is probably intentional.

Prime Time Players

Sophie Turner’s muscle tee is literally a tee that says “muscle,” which I kind of love. The faded strawberry-pink hair and pink booties tie it together in a look that’s casual enough to actually hang out in the sand.

☀️ #coachella ☀️#popsugarcc ☀️

A post shared by Yara (يارا‎) Shahidi (@yarashahidi) on

✨Full moon moment ✨#coachella #hmpartner

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Yara Shahidi is one of our blog favorites, and it’s because of looks like this. It’s fun when people go off-the-wall for festival fashion, but Yara always looks pulled-together and accessorized to just the right level.

 

Emma Roberts is getting her inner Anne Shirley on, because those are some puffed sleeves. My favorite part is the tie front though.

Apparently Ariel Winter’s long pink ‘do is a wig, which has got to be a lot easier on your hair if you just want a quick change-up for the weekend.

Cole Sprouse called out Coachella-goers for appropriating fashion like Native American headdresses, so it is no surprise that he dressed completely appropriately in this deconstructed, rumpled white tunic. What DOES come as a surprise is that Cole Sprouse is now a handsome adult man, even though I do know that that’s how time works. Guess I should be watching Riverdale?

Pop Culture Blind Spot: Hello Dolly

Welcome back to Pop Culture Blind Spot, where we examine beloved films and tv shows that we definitely should have seen by now. Up today: Hello Dolly, a movie musical totally missed by this person who loves movie musicals.

What I think I know about Hello Dolly: It’s from the 1950s but set in that time all mid-century musicals were – approximately 1908, or whenever Main Street Disney is supposed to be. It’s about Barbra Streisand… doing vaudeville, maybe. The only thing I know is the song Hello Dolly, and by that I mean the part of the song where they say Hello Dolly, well hello Dolly.

Let’s see how wrong I am!

Right out the gate, this was made in 1969, making me nearly twenty years off in release date. I guess I should have been tipped off by the fact that Babs would have been a child in the ’50s.

But it IS from the era I was thinking of-ish: New York City, 1890! I’m already into it by the Ken Burns-y fade-in they do from a still photo of a 1908 street scene to live motion.

The continued opening shots showing people’s feet as they skip, hopscotch and trip-trap about are fantastic. This leads me to look up who directed this… Gene Kelly?!? WOAH. I had no idea he directed, too. Talk about a quintuple threat.

Premise: Dolly Levi (Barba Streisand) is a matchmaker with great hats.

Ambrose (Tommy Tune), doing a nerd voice, wants to marry scroogey rich Horace Vandergelder’s niece Ermengarde. I assume Ermengarde was meant as a nerd name even in the 60s. Ermengarde has a great fuchsia hairbow and a nice complexion.

 

Horace: You are a seven-foot-tall nincompoop!

Ambrose: That’s an insult!

Horace: All the facts about you are insults!

Horace, re: his clerk Cornelius’s announcement that he’s 28 and 3/4 years old: “That’s a foolish age to be at. I thought you were 40.”

Horace (Walter Matthau!) ‘s plan is to get married.  He illustrates that through a cringey song about how it “takes a woman” to do thinks like dump ashes. He describes women as both “fragile” and “frail” but also capable of doing the garbage work he doesn’t want to do like “clean out the drain in the sink”,”washing and bluing and shoeing the mare” and “cleaning the stable.”

Okay, here’s what Horace is. He is to husbands as Marilla Cuthbert is to mothers: he’s more or less trying to buy another human for chores. It sounds like what Horace needs is a maid or a handyman. I assume that in 1969, as in 2017, this song read as a joke about how horrible Horace, the two male clerks and the chorus of singing men behind him are. Men in general I guess.

The scene with Barbra Streisand reading Horace’s palm turned me into a Barbra Streisand fan.

Apparently the frail sturdy chorewoman Horace has in mind is Irene in New York. Dolly sing-explains that SHE wants to be Horace’s wife-maid-stableboy.

Barnaby and Cornelius, the nerdy clerks, are going to New York and aren’t coming back until “they’ve each kissed a girl.” Barnaby is 19 and a half to Cornelius’s 28 and 3/4 so “for me it’s not so urgent.” I should probably mention that they’re in Yonkers, which I guess looked like the Old West in 1890, so it’s not much of a commute. Dolly sends them off to meet that hussy Irene and her shopgirl. I see what you’re doing, Doll.

About to close down the saloon early. Or feed shop. Grainery? General store.

Put On Your Sunday Clothes is the best number so far. “Put on your Sunday clothes when you feel down and out,” sing a bunch of Newsies from a time when ‘Sunday clothes’ meant anything. Ladies dance with parasols, a film industry requirement for all technicolor musicals made before 1970. A family in all white emerges from a Queen Anne-style house and for a second it’s like we’re in a Ragtime crossover. The ladies do a tiptoe move with their bustles that’s the late Victorian precursor to twerking. People talk-sing and you can show that to any old folks incredulous about modern rap musicals. Everyone departs on a train, another one of those midcentury musical requirements.

Parasols. Newsies. Bustles. Trains. Yep, all accounted for.

We meet Irene and her galpal Minnie mid-scene with some quality chuffa:

Minnie: A banana a day keeps the doctor away.

Irene: You mean an apple a day.

Minnie:Who ever heard of a doctor slipping on an apple peel?

Established: shopgirl Minnie is an idiot and Irene’s used to it.

 

Irene Molloy (Marianne McAndrew) would be played by Kristen Wiig if this was made now.

Irene is so much cooler and smoother and better-looking than Cornelius and Barnaby, who is so dense he introduces himself as a hat, plus her shop is unnecessarily large and decorated in sophisticated grays. Minnie Fay is right about on the guys’ level though.

Expensive.

“Forgive me for saying this, but you should see Yonkers.” NEVER.

Everybody is doing that annoying trick where they mention the other person’s significant other to see if they have one. I always secretly like when guys do that, though, because it saves me the trouble about lying about a boyfriend to get them to stop talking.

Horace shows up at the shop to mack on Irene. Dolly shows up in her flashiest purple dress in Old New York and tries to act unassuming. Sorry. Make that the flashiest purple dress in the world. It’s what Prince would have worn if he was a woman in 1890.

Horace is shocked that Cornelius comes into New York City. Again, from Yonkers. In 1890, when there were trains. Dolly talks Cornelius up,  and it’s funny (” Who took the horses out of Jenny Lind’s carriage and pulled her through the streets?”).

Does this take place in one day? Also is there a term for musicals that take place in one day, because it seems like there should be?

Horace is going to march in a parade with “the kind of people I can trust – 700 men.” I remain confused as to why he doesn’t just hire a chore boy.

Barnaby is the Niall Horan of this musical: affable, charming, boyish and underrated.

While searching for images of Danny Lockin I found this FASCINATING info about what happened to him after Hello Dolly – pic links to article. Woah.

Anyway, right?

Not to make too much of Irene’s giant hat shop but it’s so big you can swing a lady in a hoop skirt without hitting anything. Which they do. If I had that kind of hat shop money I’d never get married.

Dolly has so much purple, including a little purse and a feather boa and a giant hat, that she’s like a purple muppet. She has some LONG acrylics as well, just like the Victorians did. They are her “getting back in the dating game” nails. She’s widowed.

I thought Horace was talking about a metaphorical parade, but there’s actually a giant parade. Once again, it looks like Main Street Disney. Women are there too, including some suffragettes (another requirement of technicolor musicals) but Horace goes anyway. Babs sings about parades, which is one of her specialties.

Along with Niall Horan, Barnaby also has some Mark Hamill vibes.

Niall, Cornelius, Irene and Dumb Minnie sing about how elegant they are, a thing I think you’ll notice elegant people never do. Like how smart people don’t talk about being smart. They make a fun friend group and I would 100% watch a spinoff movie of Minnie, Mark Hamill and Cornelius bumbling about and Irene having to be the only adult in the situation.

Image links to cute Hello Dolly post.

Here’s what I appreciate about the costuming here: everyone is head-to-toe color coordinated like a 1980s bridesmaid. Dress, cape, hat, shoes all dyed to the exact same color. Babs changes into what I guess is the most uncomfy loungewear invented, a lacy tan corset top with a lacy tan jacket over it with some giant sleeves. It’s kinda Stevie Nicks-esque and I’m obsessed. Her hair is a smooth orange dome with a ponytail at the end. This is her casual hairstyle.

Best I could do

Don’t worry, there are dancing waiters in red tailcoats.

I wonder if Mock Turtle Soup struck people as funny in 1969 too, but I bet it did. Just the idea that turtle soup was so in demand but so rare that people had to fake it.

“If I tell you the truth, would you let me put my arm around your waist?” Weird bargain but OK.

“I’ve never touched a woman before.” YOU DON’T SAY, CORNELIUS.

Don’t Barnaby and Cornelius sound like what a hipster couple would name their sons?

Dolly is BACK wearing a very gold beaded dress and a feather headpiece, which is what prompts everyone to sing Hello Dolly.

LOUIS ARMSTRONG IS IN THIS. I know everyone else probably knows that but I didn’t. He’s absurdly charismatic.

I kind of feel like the first hour, hour fifteen were jam-packed and then we’ve been marking time in this restaurant ever since.

There is a whole turkey on Dolly and Horace’s two-top table. Is this how rich people eat?

Cornelius dances with a fan like an idiot. On one hand, Irene can do better. On the other, they’re both having fun and he doesn’t take himself too seriously like ol’ Horace.

Horace almost fires Cornelius and Barnaby for being in New York even though I’m fairly certain he doesn’t own them like he will the chore-wife he wants to buy.

Falling in love “only takes a moment” but the song about it lasts seven.

Back in Yonkers, Barnes and Cornes quit. Cornelius is becoming a new Horace, and Barnaby is becoming the new Cornelius. Dolly and Horace are getting married. ALL the people you thought would get married in the first ten minutes will get married, but my, wasn’t it a fun journey to get there?

I just wish these men would stop singing about how it takes a ‘fragile’ woman to do chores, is all.

Bottom line: I see what the fuss was about – not so much the songs themselves (not too many showstoppers) but the character of Dolly Levi and Barbra Streisand’s performance, plus the supporting cast and throwback sets and costumes. This was delightful and a break from real life, just like a musical should be.

 

 

 

Handsome Men In Pastels And Florals: An Appreciation Post

Spring is in the air! Passover and Easter are here, tulips are popping up, days are getting longer, and it’s the perfect time to bust out some pastels or floral prints in your wardrobe. While I like lighter colors and flower patterns myself, there’s nothing better than a man confident and exuberant enough to wear FUN clothes (and while I’d argue that fun clothes shouldn’t require confidence, the Standard Man’s Wardrobe is admittedly pretty staid – and if that’s what you prefer, you do you). With trendsetters looking this fresh and sunny, though, maybe the general populace isn’t far behind!

Tinie Tempeh

This Gucci cotton crepe blazer is screen-printed with a gorgeous chinoiserie pattern, given a bit of edge with the gold chain and bare chest. Is he at a tea party? I love everything about this.

Taking it back to 2014, Tinie Tempah is at it AGAIN in Casely-Hayford, ankle pants and plain white tennis shoes. The man knows he looks good in a floral print.

Let’s be real. I’m presenting these gents in no particular order, but Tinie Tempeh’s at the top of the list because he’s the king of the floral blazer in my book. This Louis Vuitton brocade tux jacket fits like a dream and looks like one too.

Rami Malek

Rami is one of our blog favorites, and part of that’s because he’s such a consistently well-dressed man. It comes as no surprise, then, that he’s one of our repeat floral enthusiasts. This bright blue suit worn for his Time Off shoot makes his eyes stand out even more than they already do.

Listen. There is a middle ground for the man who likes the idea of florals but doesn’t feel comfortable in a brocade or chintz look, and that middle ground is the Hawaiian-style shirt. It’s summery, bright, and fun, but has been part of the menswear establishment for decades. Rami knows. This one’s by Sandro and has a gorgeous sheen in higher-res images.

Then there’s this alternative to the floral blazer or tuxedo jacket: a solid-color suit with a flower-print shirt underneath. And a polka-dotted pocket square for whimsy.

Jared Leto

Jared Leto made waves at the 2015 Oscars in the Givenchy tuxedo that’s somewhere between lavender and periwinkle. He even accessorized: that’s not a boutonniere, it’s a pink floral Fred Leighton brooch.

You know what? The long double-breasted coat feels costume-y to me, and I’m not feeling the slouchy socks, but that’s OKAY. The fact that Jared went for it in this very Lilly Pullitzer color-combo (in Gucci, no less) is great.

A$ap Rocky

One of the most common men’s floral staples the past few years has been the printed bomber jacket. In 2013, A$ap Rocky was years ahead of the fashion curve in this Balenciaga jacket and matching shirt.

Here’s a new one for our list: floral jeans that manage to look beautiful and not at all like my embroidered floral jeans from the Limited Too circa 1999. That’s probably because these are Gucci. And PAINTED. Love love love.

Bruno Mars

No apologies here: I still love Uptown Funk and I think the video was an instant classic, due in large part to the retro throwback looks — especially Bruno’s fantastic pink jacket.

And then there’s Bruno in last year’s Jane The Virgin finale, all flowy and flowery.

Nick Cannon

I’m no Nick Cannon stan, but I’d be remiss to leave off this dapper three-piece that’s like a cartoon version of an Edwardian man on Easter, which to be clear, is a compliment.

Harry Styles

Open strong, close strong: if Tinie Tempeh is a king of floral jackets, Harry is the Emperor Of The Full Floral Suit. Here he is in Gucci, 2015, keeping it December-appropriate in a cheerful red.

This Gucci suit Harry wore to the 2015 AMAs made my jaw drop in a good way. And since I’ve come to expect him to wear prints that are a bit extra, the part that surprised me was that he managed to make a flared leg look current. What can I say, I came of age in the early 2000s.

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It’s like a rockstar Minnie Mouse, which I’m good with and you should be too.

One more before we go: floral Gucci pants. These are Good Pants. And what’s that I see? Niall’s little yellow head, with a floral patch on his elbows? Harry’s enthusiasm for flower prints is downright infectious.

 

One thing I noticed when brainstorming this list was that most well-dressed men either wear florals and pastels regularly, or not at all. With the exception of the stray pink or light blue button-up or t-shirt, which barely counts IMO, it seems like these springy styles just aren’t a part of most mens’ day-to-day fashion lineup. But who knows? Maybe all fashionable gents are just one well-made pastel tuxedo jacket from entering the light side.