Friday, May 29, 2009

Oh that's what Prince wrote

A few hours after watching Jay Leno -- with guests Billy Crystal and Prince -- I turned on Red Eye and saw Billy Zoom. O the nostalgia! My head almost exploded. And I couldn't help thinking that if you had asked me back in 1986 who of all those guys would age least gracefully, I would never have chosen Crystal. He seemed so real. Now? With no gray hair and a puffy face? Eh.

The Hope Diamond, the Star of India, the Crunk Ain't Dead necklace

In a way, this Wall Street Journal story is funny: "The recession is cramping the style of hip-hop artists and wannabes -- many of whom are finding it difficult to afford the diamond-encrusted pendants and heavy gold chains they have long used to project an aura of outsized wealth." And in a way, it isn't. I mean, this is someone's version of the American dream we're talking about.

What I wonder about, though, is if anyone will use this situation to flip the image of luxury jewelry. To play up the human rights abuse angle of the gem trade and equate jewelry with, say, wearing fur. Can gems ever become vulgar? Can wearing jewelry ever be repositioned as a sellout -- a betrayal of poor, oppressed people of color? Couldn't this stick, given that the most precious gems are often found in the world's most impoverished regions and mined by the world's most impoverished people? We all know about conflict-free diamonds and the Burmese ban but because gem-wearing ladies in Manhattan never get splashed with red paint, no one seems to care. Is human suffering not as compelling as animal suffering? Would the "environmental pollution" story play better? Are gems just too pretty? Or are hip-hop superstars just not that influential?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The bad news for Texas

No one likes our hair: "It looks like Jessica Simpson has broken her addiction to her longtime hairdresser. Ken Pave...usually insists on doing her hair for major shoots, but most magazines don't want to work with him because he's the king of 'Texas' hair, charges so much and isn't considered 'timely.'"

"14% of the folks moving out of California are moving to Texas"

I don't normally look to Ross Perot Jr for demographics info but that's a pretty interesting fact, right? Ooh! And here's a fun guessing game: "one major company is currently circling us, the CEO hunting for a mega million dollar pad –at least $40m."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dallasites: slightly more dancy than singy

The ratings: American Idol's "two-hour extravaganza averaged 504,868 D-FW viewers, falling just short of Tuesday night's elongated Dancing with the Stars finale on ABC (518,154 viewers)." Was it "the presence of Dallasite Melissa Rycroft as one of Dancing's three finalists?" Or was it the gorgeous French guy? (Hint: Gorgeous French guy.)


A sex shop? In the Park Cities? Do tell!

Also please note: the owner says that anything "offensive will be in the rear."

Whoopi Goldberg may be the only person left who's buying jewelry from a shopping channel

She's "addicted to" the Gem Shopping Network. Well, who isn't? That mirrored carousel is hypnotic! And "sphene" is fun to say! But other networks seem to be getting away from high-end jewelry: "Pilates equipment is in, diamonds are out....HSN customers, almost all of them women, are spending more on products they can use to improve themselves, use with their families, or can save them money.... Anything carrying a whiff of selfish indulgence tends to sell worse." ShopNBC "expects margins to improve this year as it...repositions its core jewelry business around more moderately priced items, with higher margins and broader appeal." And even though it's Gold Month on QVC -- I am so late getting my Gold Month greeting cards out -- they seem to spend much more time on Joan Rivers and Kenneth Jay Lane (and in the near future, possibly, horrifyingly Rachel Zoe).

But it's interesting to read what HSN thinks women are into now: Chief Executive Mindy Grossman "senses a desire among stay-at-home moms to become entrepreneurs. HSN will help launch a show this fall with Kelly Ripa and TV channel TLC called 'Mom Inc.' that features real-life moms inventing products."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh! American Idol's own creator wants it to be politicized.

For each finalist's second performance last night, Simon Fuller chose 60s protest songs. The hell? Those songs are beautiful and they may have relevance now but they're odd choices for a feel-good, celebratory, Cinderella-like evening featuring two really likable young guys. Why task them with message anthems? Didn't it kinda bring down the room?

It almost made the other TV finale watchable. Speaking of which, I offer ABC -- for free -- this idea for a hot new spinoff series: Dancing With the Gorgeous French Guy. Done right, no one would even fast-forward through the commercials.

The dumpster in front of the GrandStatlerHilton

Why is it there? Who's dumping stuff? What are they dumping? It's not the cool stuff, is it? I mean, they aren't touching the Mondrian windows, are they? And how does this fit in with that whole historic preservation effort?

I fear for this building. No one's going to throw money into a restoration now. And a new city-owned hotel at the other end of downtown will make the Grand seem even lonelier and more out of the way. It might be time to give up. There'll be no re-opening. No girls in mink chaps. Maybe all we can hope for is a really neat-o implosion. Or is the Grand too full of asbestos for that? Dammit!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Can we please not politicize American Idol?

Please? And is Lehane really wise or funny for name-dropping Dick Cheney -- Mary Cheney's dad -- in this matter? Besides, isn't every finale a study in contrasts -- Carrie vs Bo, David vs Archie, Jordin vs what's his name? If morality were truly an issue with viewers, unwed teen mom Fantasia would never have won.

At this point, if Adam loses, it might not have anything to do with values and everything to do with judges' favoritism, Katy Perry's cape and the kinda demeaning, dumb, sensationalist media coverage. Or with Kris' brains. Because that guy is smart.

Dov Charney won, didn't he?

It's doubtful that Woody Allen would have agreed to be part of an American Apparel ad campaign -- at least one running in US cities -- for any amount of money. So maybe it was evil-brilliant to simply use the image and have the insurance company pay out $5 million after the fact. Of course, Charney can't be content. He has to blather on, making 1st amendment claims, refuting charges of sexual harassment and generally creeping out everyone on the planet. Can't help himself.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Faith Popcorn's Wampum Economy

Is bartering truly a new development -- a reflection of our times -- or is everyone just now taking notice because of Faith Popcorn's press release to the world?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

"This classy take on chair dancing will leave you with a whole new respect for the chair"

Oh, how I envy the writer on the PoleLaTeaz account!

What it'll be like to work with a client who took bailout money

This WSJ story about Freddie Mac's David Kellerman is extraordinarily sad. And throughout, there are little glimpses of what the future will be like for everyone doing business with a bailed-out company: "the government conservatorship has made working at Freddie and Fannie even more trying, current and former employees say. No major decision involving hiring, firing, compensation or the pricing of mortgages can be made without prior approval from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates the two giants. Even fairly minor matters, such as decisions on whether to participate in panel discussions at conferences, require FHFA approval."

Is that what's in store for agencies who take on GM, Chrysler or bank work? Are there any agencies who will take on GM, Chrysler or bank work?

A criticism of Barbie that I failed to anticipate

Nylon's Katy Perry item is meant (I think) to be a tribute to the genius of Bob Mackie but then, in the comments, this happens: "you guys shoulndt even put something about the barbies… they are NOT earth friendly.. I know it has nothing to do with the post.. but at the same time you guys are giving publicity to one of the things that costs more to become biodegradable… it takes 100 years just one barbie.. to become please… just try not to post things that has to do with barbies.. no more publicity for those gurls..thanks"

The most surprising thing about the Dirk Nowitzki girlfriend story

He lives on Strait Lane? Doesn't that make him neighbors with H Ross Perot? Those block parties must be awesome.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I become hypnotized whenever Tova Borgnine is on QVC

From Deep Glamour's Virginia Postrel:"more than just about any other genre of advertising, perfume ads traffic in glamour. You can't, after all, show a picture of a smell. Instead, you create an atmosphere that represents something about the dreams that smell promises to fulfill."

In print and in :30 TV, that's challenging enough. But it made me think of Tova Borgnine, who somehow manages to create a kind of atmosphere even on a bland set, just by talking slowly and spritzing a fragrance -- again and again -- in an arc over her head. Tova has a Gabor-sister sort of glamour but it's the spritzing motion that's key. It's a masterpiece of choreography. Have you seen it? (Click on "videos.") Mesmerizing. And apparently successful, since QVC bought the brand from her for seven figures a few years ago.

Also interesting is this question -- "is Unilever...cleverly packaging utilitarian deodorant as glamorous perfume?" Maybe so. Maybe this is the next logical step after Procter & Gamble sold lavender-scented detergents as aromatherapy.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Anybody want a do-over on the NorthPark expansion?

Have you noticed that the mall's Bailey Banks & Biddle now sells only closeout merchandise? They don't take checks. They don't allow returns. It feels so outlet store-ish. I guess, given the current retailing climate, that's better than a vacant space but still. It's NorthPark! Maybe they should have kept that old El Fenix and stayed little. And safe.

Did you hear? Tom Hanks sold the Mosquito Rodeo!

Your comments crack me up.

Friday, May 01, 2009

So would you want Tom Hicks involved in your political campaign?

Given his much-publicized current difficulties and given that his most famous financial move of all-time was signing ARod, are you better off passing up his support? I mean, on the one hand, having Tom Hicks as your treasurer might help you sue your opponent -- who maybe, kinda deserves it -- but it doesn't always help get you elected. (Ask Rudy.) You know? I think I'm starting to feel sorry for Mr Hicks. But not too much.

"Rodriguez, while playing in Texas, had a clubhouse attendant put toothpaste on his toothbrush after every home game."

Because Mr Hicks brought Alex Rodriguez to the Texas Rangers, it's nice to see him mentioned here: "Tom Hicks, the owner of the Rangers, is quoted in the book as saying that Rodriguez used to tell him 'negative things' about other players in baseball, including those he suspected of using steroids."

Then there's this: "The Rangers were also required to send a basket of food to the controversial All-Star's hotel suite during road trips....Many Texas teammates kept their distance from A-Rod, who they saw as a spoiled superstar."

The Mesquite Rodeo was not a good investment for Tom Hicks

Bought it for $10 million. Sells it for less a decade later. The city of Mesquite seems relieved.

I don't want to jump to conclusions or anything but I'm beginning to think Mr Hicks is a nice man who brings near ruin to any sports franchise he touches.