Toddlers, Tiaras and Tavi

It rained for two straight days this week at the Open so instead of watching my boyfriend stomp around the court like a bull, I’ve been forced to entertain myself in other ways.  Somehow all this free time didn’t convert itself into productivity.  Far from it.  Instead it manifested in a mini marathon of Toddlers and Tiaras.  (Don’t hate me—hate the weather in New York or—preferably—hate the parents of these little terrors.)

I cannot find a single redeeming thing about this show.  The children are freaky.  The parents are overbearing, desperate and deeply disturbed.  I mean, really, what part of investing time and energy into parading your small child in makeup and inappropriately adult Dynasty dresses doesn’t cry out for serious time in a shrink’s office?  I had resisted T and T when it debuted because I had a more than mild obsession with the whole JonBenet Ramsay thing and figured I had already visited this topic ad nauseum.  Apparently I underestimate my capacity for schlock.

I somehow pulled myself away from the Cars and Stars pageant in Indianapolis and turned my attention to the Internet where the now teenaged blogger and fashion world castoff Tavi Gevison debuted her “magazine” Rookie.  To have the audacity to call Rookie a magazine is beyond grandiose.  It is a blog.  By a 15-year-old.  Modeled on a magazine popular in the 90’s.  It is also a blog that is basically a teenage girl’s take on a decade during which she mostly wore diapers.  It is quite boring and unoriginal, yet the New York Times Magazine profiled Tavi and Rookie last Sunday and according to the NYT Tavi, who was originally supposed to do a reboot of Sassy with its founder Jane Pratt, instead parted ways with Pratt upon the advice of This American Life’s Ira Glass and his nosy parker wife because they were looking out for Tavi’s best interests.  Someone should have looked out for this kid a long time ago and left her in school instead of allowing her teeny granny self to sit in the front row at haute couture shows.

After the announcement about the new version of Sassy there was a flurry of cloying expectation and requisite anticipatory press.  So what happens next?  Is it a magazine?  Is it great?  No.  And double no.  It is, however, a lot like Sassy in that it takes all of its cues from grunge rock and phony teen angst (don’t hate on other girls—love them!)   In fact if I were Jane Pratt I just might be peeved at the potential Eve Harrington storyline here.  Peeved enough to call old Ira Glass up and give him a piece of my mind anyway.  Maybe he would put me on This American Life and I’d kill two life goals with one vitriolic phone call.

Toddlers and Tiaras and Tavi all share what I see as the “my kid is mediocre/not that cute/a terrible athlete yet I’m going to tell her she shits sparkly rainbows” syndrome.  If you’ve ever been to a Little League game or a toddler pageant you know what I’m talking about.  Everyone gets a fucking medal or a crown.  The winners get a slightly bigger, gaudier prize, but no one is left out.  How the hell will these children ever figure out that they are C students at best?  That’s just it.  They never will.  They will continue to blow their own horns and shoot fairy dust out of their asses until they get their own reality series like the Kardashians and make kajillions of dollars, pointing their fingers at me and laughing all the way to the bank as they pass me by in my pauper’s cocoon of good taste and judgment retirement home.

Well, at least I got one good idea out of the rain delays.  I’ll call it Crabby Acres: A rest home for those with discriminating taste.

Thanks God it stopped raining in New York and I can go back to watching real athletes compete for one trophy and one prize at the US Open.  VAMOS RAFA!

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Welcome to Wimby May I Take Your Order?

It’s June and in Los Angeles that can mean only one thing: seasonal depression.  I, like the rest of my fellow Angelenos, have been feeling a little blue.  And then a couple of things happened to cheer me right the flip up.

Wimbledon started yesterday and with it came all the joys I can eke out of a good two-week long procrastination period.  What’s not to be thankful for about that?

Wimby is usually pretty sedate outfit-wise, so I feel the need to give serious props to my gals Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Venus Williams for keeping my eyes hemorrhaging with some early in the tournament offerings.

Mrs. Mattek-Sands commissioned herself a party frock from some dude named Alex Noble (who?) who claims to be a Lady Gaga costumer.  Judging from the horror show he crafted out of actual tennis balls, I’m going to bet that he made one early tin foil hat for Gag-me and has been cashing in on it as his claim to fame ever since.

All I could think of was Heidi Klum giving Mr. Noble the auf wiedersehen double kiss as she booted him from a Project Runway episode where the “designers” were given $100 and 30 minutes to shop for materials at Dick’s Sporting Goods.  In all her tragic glory BMS makes a damn good case for hot glue gun as a deadly weapon when left in the hands of an untalented queen.

Both Williams sissies are back on the court, which for me is a huge thanks God.  If that moonballer Woz remains at # 1 much longer without ever winning a slam, I swear I am going to start playing challengers at my ripe old age because apparently anyone can play on the WTA.

But I digress…I want to applaud Venus on her choice for her outfit on her first day back on court.  She thumbed her nose at those stuffy Brits and came dressed as an adult baby.   That terry cloth onesie she wore is sure to win her lots of fans over at www.bigbabyboy.com. (Caution: NSFW and seriously gross…don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

All I’m waiting for now is BMS and her teddy bear of a husband to come out of the closet as plushies.  Maybe they’re saving that for the US Open.  Please?


The Ridiculousness of Polo, Governor’s Island Edition

MJ:  Kirstie, you were incredible on Dancing with the Stars! You were robbed.  What brings you out here to the Polo match?

DK:  I’m not Kirstie you nincompoop.  It’s me, Lady Karan.  I came for the nachos.  Why are you here?

MJ:  Donna, sorry, I thought you were…oh, never mind.  Nachos?  Well, that explains the sombrero. But, um, I think you got it a little mixed up. It’s Nacho.  Nacho Figueras.  He’s a polo player?

DK:  Nacho?  Oooooh.  He’s a dreamboat.  Do you think he likes hot cougars like me in clingy asymmetrical jersey knits?

MJ:  I was just about to get into that seafoam romper.  Which begs the question, how the hell do you get into it?

DK:  Five.  Easy.  Pieces.  Don’t you remember anything?  Or was that early triumph of mine during one of your “lost” periods.

MJ:  Right about now I really wish I was still using.

DK:  Don’t I look hot? I am technically as old as the sun and you’d never know it from my face.  Did you know that once you get to be as old as I am you have to choose your ass or your face?  No, really.  Catherine Deneuve sends everyone an Oprah-endorsed memo once you turn 60 and then you pick—ass or face.

MJ:  FML.  Need.  Air.

DK:  Why don’t you loosen that tie?  Your face is starting to match my romper.

MJ:  Where’s Lorenzo?  His ironic mustache might not seem so ridiculous right about now.

DK:  I’m going to head on over to the buffet.  Do you want me to fix you a plate?

MJ:  Um, no thanks.  I ate in 1996.  I’m just going to head on over and see if they have face painting over by the ponies.


Dear Fashion Publicists

Originally posted April 16, 2010

Dear Publicists Who Keep Sending Me Emails Hawking Your Clients’ Wares,

I just have to ask the obvious question—have you ever read my blog? Yeah, I didn’t think so. You see, I’m not really a big “liker” of things. I’m not much of a cheerleader. I’m certainly not about to come to your showroom/runway show/sample sale to see what your supertalented client has created out of pipe cleaners and lint from her dryer. And I’m sure as hell not going to subject all three of my loyal readers to photos of the toilet-paper wedding-dress contest you got so rave-y about two weeks ago.

But you know something? This is clearly my fault. I have spent my time thus far on The Nines trying to give back when what I clearly should have been doing is talking about myself so you would come to know/love/barely tolerate me.

I am indeed a giver that way—always putting others ahead of moi. Well, today is the first day of the rest of my life, and I’m going to use this platform for purposes of self-promotion.

No more extolling the virtues of the Tinz. No more high praising Marc Jacobs for his body art. No more kind words of encouragement for young bloggers and their misguided parents. From now on, it’s all about me, me, me.

How’s about we start with some guidelines for actual press releases that would be welcome in my inbox?

1. Showgirls, animal acts, bearded ladies. Feel free to send me any and all releases that address your circus costumery. The more sequins, rhinestones and feathers the merrier.

2. What to wear when you’re transitioning. If anyone is coming out with a line of clothing for women who used to be men, please drop me a line. I will pay special attention to those following current sportswear trends.

3. How to beat the heat in FLDS underwear. It’s no secret that the long underwear the fundamentalist Mormon women wear must get really, really hot under those pastel dresses in the summer months. Why doesn’t someone come up with some cool tips for the gals of El Dorado? I’d happily share them with my readers.

4. Dress like your pet. Anyone have any creative ideas for a one-step-too-far story about people who don’t just look like their pets, they actually dress like them? If so, send them my way.

5. How to rock a wimple. Any releases on the obviously soon-to-be-hot trend of dressing like a nun (hey, you saw the last YSL show, too) will be rushed straight to press.

There you have it—a few friendly words about me. Stay tuned for my next post, which will feature slideshow of either ME: The High School Years or ME: Bad Hair Cuts Gone Wild.

Yours in harmonious flack-writer relations,

Cat


Desert Peacocks

Originally posted March 18, 2010

For the last few days I have been in the desert. I’m not really one of those people who just go to the desert when they want to chill out, because for starters, holy moly, it’s hot in the desert. And I am not sure how one chills in that skin-frying heat.

However, I put aside all of my pale-skinned fears and made my pilgrimage out east for a very special reason: The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Indian Wells is the largest non-major tennis tournament on the circuit, and the field is filled with names you know if, like me, you are obsessed with this sport: Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Verdasco, Roddick, Clijsters, Soderling, all the ‘ovas: Sharapova, Kuznetsova, Petrova, Safarova, Benesova, Pavlyuchenkova, various Lopez’s—they’re all there, and they are larger than life. Literally.

Tennis players are the opposite of actors. You know how you see an actor in real life and they are Lilliputian? You see a tennis player, and you are flabbergasted at how enormous they are. Each one is bigger, taller and thicker than they look on television.

Which brings me of course to what they are wearing. Now, I understand that they all have endorsement deals and are paid to wear what they wear on the court. But seriously, couldn’t someone, anyone, design something that doesn’t distract so blatantly from my enjoyment of watching these giants smashing that little green ball at each other?

Tennis was a country-club sport, sedate and polite in demeanor, and old-school tennis wear reflected this. René Lacoste’s Izod white shirt with the small crocodile logo, Big Bill Tilden’s long white pants and cable sweater, even Chris Evert’s yellow dress or Björn Borg’s pinstriped Fila shirt are all examples of a preppy chic that is completely gone from the game.

Today’s tennis is a bigger, faster, more athletic pursuit. And as the game has changed, so too has the clothing. Nowadays, you often have two players across the net from one another in exactly the same outfit, as they are both sponsored by the same company and are trying to sell the current season’s clothing to the club player who believes in at least looking like a pro even if he or she will never be able to play like one.

You also have big stars like Maria Sharapova, who designs her own hideous line for Nike full of ridiculous eveningwear-inspired tennis clothing.

There are a few tennis players who dance to their own drum—Bethanie Mattek-Sands being one of them. Unfortunately for those of us with eyes, Ms. Mattek-Sands favors an animal print, an exposed bra strap and some knee-high tube socks for a trailer-park-tennis look.

Then there is the biggest rivalry in current tennis—the one between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. I speak not of the on-court rivalry, which is intense and highly entertaining, but rather of their style rivalry. No doubt the marketers at Nike have cooked up this style rivalry, but real or phony, it is out there on the court for all to see.

Roger is supposed to be the elegant one. He floats above the court, feet barely touching ground, and Nike makes him ridiculous getups like the military coat from last year’s Wimbledon. (How this is elegant is beyond me.) Mostly what he wears is just this side of boring, though.

Rafa is supposed to be the fiery one who charges around like a bull (get it—Spanish, bull—which elicits a giant “oh brother” from me), so they put him in garish colors and odd stripe/check combos, like the white shirt with thin pastel stripes he is wearing at this tournament, and the inexplicable brown windowpane shorts that seem to, at best, go with another shirt.

In trying to make sense of this trumped-up rivalry I flashed on the other style highlight of my time in the desert—seeing former champion and broadcast legend Bud Collins every day. Bud let me take his picture in one of his typical mix-and-match peacock combos that got me thinking that maybe, just maybe, the folks at Nike are onto something with those shorts of Rafa’s. Vamos!


I Heart Johnny Weir and His Magic Sparkle Pants

Originally posted February 3, 2010

In case you haven’t heard, Johnny Weir, the flamboyant figure skater, now has his own reality show—oops, I mean documentary series—on the Sundance Channel. It’s called Be Good, Johnny Weir.

Do you like sparkles? Do you enjoy quadruple jumping and dizzying spins? Have you got a spandex fetish? Are you a fan of a trumped-up rivalry? How about a really good fake Russian accent? Or mascara on a man?

I highly suggest you tune in on Mondays at 10:30 p.m.

I think you’ve missed three episodes, but honestly I can catch you up right now. Small-town (Amish country, to be exact) boy first laces up a pair of skates at age 12 after seeing Oksana Baiul win Olympic gold. Despite very late entré into the vortex of sequins, boy excels at the “sport” of figure skating…and obviously at the art of shopping.

After winning some national and world medals, boy moves to very glamorous Wayne, New Jersey, to live with his “best friend” and train with famed Russian coach Galina. (She trained the one and only Oksana Baiul, natch.) Boy competes in many skating events—sometimes winning, sometimes losing to “archrival” Evan Unpronounceable. Boy says outrageous things to reporters. Boy does his hair. Boy puts on his makeup and some Dolce and Gabbana sunglasses and acts naughty for the camera. There, you’re all caught up.

What I can’t for the life of me figure out is just how little Johnny can afford all the designer merch and fur hats in which he is always flouncing around. In one scene, he is sitting on his bed with his mother, and he’s wearing John Galliano pajamas. Huh? Who on earth has Galliano newsprint PJs?

I know the Olympics allows professional athletes to compete (hello, Dream Team!), but just exactly how does Johnny make his money? You certainly don’t see his mug on any billboards or his butt, with its heart-shaped tan lines (watch the show—you’ll understand), in a Gatorade commercial.

And I could imagine that he comes from money except that thanks to the magic of television, we’ve seen the mom and the house he grew up in and even his mulleted dad…and I would wager it’s not family money that’s buying the little minx minks in Minsk. (Woo-hoo—alliteration!)

Johnny, his glittery (edgy!) outfits and his (I must admit) adorable personality have actually persuaded me to watch figure skating during the upcoming Winter Olympics. I know people are really into it, but you’d normally have to tie me to a Barcalounger and feed me Pringles to get me to watch figure skating. I am categorically against any “sport” that is judged. Gymnastics, diving, figure skating—you can have them all. Give me a real sport where you are timed or where you can score a goal/touchdown/point, and I’m all over it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must inform you that figure skating and I have something of a history. Not only did I have a poster of Dorothy Hamill on my bedroom wall (yes, I am ancient), I also owned several Danskin skating outfits and a pair of leg warmers, which I insisted on sporting despite the below-freezing temps at our local rink. I am a former figure skater. Yes, I said it. Judge away. I would if I were you.