“franco-ing” and a very important update on my boyfriend adrien brody, artist

and no, no, ALAS. he is not taking my unsolicited career advice and starring in a salvadore dali biopic so my unsolicited career advice still stands.

via adrien brody, instagram

via adrien brody, instagram

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a moment of reflection on our cultural loss: the importance of hair dryers in mid-20th century american life

because biographical research takes one to all manner of rando places, i’ve been thinking about hair dryers today.

this isn’t really sooooooo random. the magazines i’m writing about were believed, at the time, to be the province of “The ladies under the hair dryers in the nations beauty salons” and because beauty parlors and hair dryers are two things that have rather radically changed within american culture in the last half century, it makes sense to do some research into what they were like and reflect on the changes that have come. 


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did you know…

finding jackie has a facebook page? yeah, we do. and, yes, i use “we” in the royal sense. jackie would approve. so you should maybe like that. please? come, journey with me into an exciting world of celebrity, biography, adventure, and incredibly sexist advertisements.

holiday listening

condoms! diaphragms! dildoes in the halls of congress! new (um… SCANDALOUS) New Books in Biography interview with Dr. Jean H. Baker discussing “Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion,” plus obscenity laws and the contraceptive powers of crocodile dung. omg, perfect holiday listening.

movie magazines: a brief history in several parts (part 1)

At the outset of the 1960s, the popular press generally divided into two camps. There were the respectable mainstream publications such as Life, Look, Time and The Saturday Evening Post, which covered contemporary news. And then there were the so-called “women’s magazines,” which included such varied publications as Vogue, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan and McCall’s. In contrast to the big boys, the lady mags covered soft news, frothy subjects such as celebrities, fashion and family.

Because women comprised the bulk of their audience, the movie magazines were lumped in with the women’s magazines, though they were a distinct subset unto themselves. A special breed of magazines  invented by the film studios, the movie magazines were originally intended as a publicity tool. Providing a template upon which Us Weekly and In Touch would capitalize later, the movie magazines covered the misadventures, tribulations and lifestyles of television and film stars.

At the height of their popularity, there were upwards of forty publications, including Photoplay, Motion Picture, Modern Screen, and TV Radio Screen. They had little in common with Ladies Home Journal and Vogue.

Most often, the movie magazines were characterized as “tabloids,” but even this classification was misleading as the movie magazines were not tabloids in the truest sense. The term “tabloid” originally denoted periodical size but it had, by the 1960s, become synonymous with down-market sensationalized, special interest magazines.

In a report for the April 1969 issue of Playboy, Reginald Potterton cataloged the preoccupations of the mainstream tabloids: Justice Weekly “boasts an editorial obsession with just about every form of deviation known, short of bestiality and necrophilia; while Confidential Flash, the National Informer and Midnight range over as many bases as possible but incline toward ‘straight’ sex and horror-violence.”

While, in time, the movie magazines would push the boundaries of acceptable celebrity reporting, they never went to these extremes. The world they depicted was populated by glamorous stars seeking comfort in love, family and faith. Even back in the 1960s, celebrities seemed to want nothing more than to be normal. They longed to be Just Like Us.


the naked lady bar writing group’s sensei austin h. gilkeson has written a wonderful, amazing, incredible, tremendously brilliant story for which there are not enough glittering superlatives in all the world.

you can (and MUST) read it on page 35 HERE


when i met with yusha this last time, he looked me in the eye and said, she would have liked you. she would have liked that you’re doing this. 

i tabled that in my head. it’s an endorsement that will take time to process. sometimes i don’t even like that i’m doing this. i can’t imagine how jackie could.

i’ve been doing whatever you want to call my whole jackie thing for the last 17 years. that’s not an exaggeration. it’s been that slow of a burn.

after all that time, i’m pretty certain i know what i’m doing and i’m pretty certain i’m right. i’m pretty certain she was a feminist figure who, through her sense of adventure, quietly pushed the limits of what it was acceptable for nice women to do.

but there’s still just enough doubt lingering there to necessitate the word “pretty,” and that little “pretty” goes a long way in rendering all my certainty null.

if the jackie tapes are going to give me anything, it is the confirmation that she was, in fact, the woman i have come to know. the woman i have written about.

caroline kennedy told diane sawyer that the main lesson her mother would have wanted people to draw from her story was that life is an adventure, always. when she said this- thus, giving credence to everything i’ve ever written on a hunch- i felt a wave of the cockiness that must’ve compelled babe ruth to call his shot.

the “pretty” is dead. i know i’m right. someday, even if it’s a day still 17 years away, just you wait. i am going to knock one out of the park.