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?


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!