Wednesday, June 03, 2015

freeze frame

Dear everyone,

Mildly complicated and gently momentous news! This is my last post in this space, here on Blogger. But The Gallivanting Monkey is now alive and well elsewhere in its new home on my proper new website, and there's a new post over there as we speak, and more new posts will keep appearing, and maybe I will keep up this blog in its new form forever.

It's a teeny bit bittersweet, leaving this old home. I started this blog just about exactly ten years ago, right before I married Dave. I was pregnant here, a new mom here, pregnant again here, miscarried here, was pregnant again here, and went through all kinds of transitions and ups and downs–as you do in a decade—all the while finding my voice and learning how to write.

Now that I'm getting paid actual human dollars to write for actual other places, I need a home on the web to represent me properly, and this lil' ol' Blogspot address doesn't cut it. I thought about making another website AND writing here anyway for the hell of it, but it felt wrong. Posting here now feels like working on a stack of old recycling. Stale chi, you know? Bad Feng Shui. This space no longer feels right to me.

This old blog will stay up, though, just because why destroy a thing? I had a great writing mentor, Jack, who always says, "Don't throw yourself away."  I shan't. So much of myself is in here. I'm going to let it sit here like a box of nice old letters.

Man, how dumb. I'm tearing up a little, and I'm stalling about wrapping this post up and directing you over to the new place. It's a WEB ADDRESS, Tina. Come on. But it's time.

Okay. Come over to the new place.

G'bye, you old horse.

Damn it.


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

the illuminated oscars

Welcome, traveler, and let me take you to a time so deep in your memory that we can only access it via hypnosis, which I am going to do to you now. Yes. I'm going to do hypnosis to you.

Let your eyelids become heavy.
They want to close.
They can't. Stop them. You're reading something.
Let them almost close.
Let it be so that someone on the ceiling would look down and wonder, "Are that person's eyes closed?"
Think of what you had for lunch yesterday.
You're going back in time.
Now, go farther.
Go back three days.
What sorts of clothes were you wearing?
Were the styles different?
What were hemlines like?
What sorts of cars did people drive?
It was an earlier time. You are there.
Now, go farther.
Three days farther back.
Don't be upset with yourself if you can't see much.
We are talking about a far back time.
Just feel what it was like back there. Feel the feelings of it.
Were you struggling?
What might you have been struggling against?
Might it have been the elements?
You may have been a farmer, or a sailor.
It's time to leave this time. Let go of the struggle.
We're going farther back now.
I don't know when you're reading this,
so I don't fucking know how far back this is going to have to be
so I'm calling it at three more days.

We're going back three more days.

The printing press.
The plague.
The Renaissance.
Genghis Khan.

Open your eyes.
Look around you.

It is February 22nd, 2015. You are there. Yes! Believe it! It is the 87th Annual Academy Awards, prior to the existence of photographers, probably, in such a long-ago news cycle. You see people dressed in the shiniest clothing of their time moving along what appears to be a river of blood, or juice, or nail polish. They are like gods and goddesses! Feast your eyes because you won't retain this because memory is fickle and you live in March 2015 or beyond. Let yourself feel sad because you don't know what good fortune brought you here to this Holy Red River of Celebrities, even though you know full well it was me and my amazing hypnotizing. In any case, you know that nothing lasts.

Except this! What you see before your eyes is—oh, shit, I have to bring you back to the present. BANG! 

I threw a brick on the floor to wake you up.

Except this! What you see before your eyes is The Illuminated Oscars, a hand-illuminated document hand-illuminated by an ancient artisan, because it is even fancier and older and farther back in time to illuminate than it is to illustrate. These pictures are now preserved forever. That ancient artisan, by the way, was I. Long did I toil, armed only with Paintbrush®™, anal-retentively hand-pixeling every pearl and tassel and square-inch of tulle, which, by the way, was the most fun I've nearly ever had. I have a passion for it! I have a passion for making dumb drawings of ladies, and I always have.

(Drawing men I find very difficult. When it comes time to draw men, I have to fight the instinct to just pile squares on top of rectangles and give them frowny eyebrows and call it a day. But I wrestled my weakness to honor one man today. My drawing does not look like this man! But none of these drawings necessarily look like anybody, so he's in good company.)

Enough! Let's go.

Normally, procedure would be to open a post like this with talk of Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne, but when you're illustrating the thing yourself,  you cut to the goddamn chase. There will be no spare people in this post. (Giuliana Rancic and Kelly Osbourne! You are not spare people to the people who love you. You are only spare here.) I've chosen only the people who spoke to me on some level, whether it was because I loved their outfits or I have strong feelings for them as individuals.

Except, uh, with this one. I'm opening with Meryl Streep because I had this idea that I was going to illustrate each of the female nominees, and I started down that line but then Laura Dern's dress was too metallic and complicated, so I changed course. But I'd already done Meryl Streep. She's also first here because hers was the first drawing I made and thus the clumsiest. It's only upward from here! Maybe. I'm sorry, Meryl Streep. You don't deserve to look like this. Anyway, there you are in exactly the kind of thing you would wear.

Greetings, Emma Stone! The color of your dress was so perplexing, somewhere between stomach acid and pee. This says a lot about your general beauty and seasonal color awareness, because there are probably four people in the world who can wear that shade and not have people run at them with a mop and bucket. (God, I was nervous to represent your knee. Who draws knees when you can draw pants and skirts that cover them? But that business kind of looks like a knee, right? This good knee luck will never happen again, as you will soon see.)

I may not always love watching Scarlett Johansson act, because it bugs me that the kind of husky voice she has is supposed to be the only kind of sexy voice in the world, HI OH WHOA I TALK LIKE SULTRY TURKISH COFFEE I'M GOING TO SAY SOMETHING ELSE IN AN EVEN LOWER REGISTER WHOOOA MUDSLIDE, but she sure does have a sick body. And her voice didn't bother me in Her. And she was pretty good in Don Jon. (We won't discuss Match Point.) (I HATED MATCH POINT.) (And that's all I'll say.) I don't have to feel one way about her. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. Somebody said that once, probably in a normal voice like everybody normal has.

I'd like to just briefly give the finger, by the way, to whomever it was that caused this year's red carpet trend of actresses wearing their hair slicked back, or pulled back tight in buns. I began these drawings before the red carpet was underway since I wanted to save time and I had an idea who I was going to draw, and so I took some risks and guessed at some hairstyles. Obviously this was stupid, and I had to erase a lot of hair. Anyway, updos and slicked-back hair are hard to draw, you bastards. Anybody who wore it down this year,  I love you more than I love the others.

This is all to say that Scarlett Johansson is the sexiest green vegetable in the world here. The fit of the dress, the verdant bib-jewels, it's all so good. If she hadn't slicked back her hair, I would consider mailing her a twenty dollar bill.

What a very interesting summer picnic Keira Knightley went to at the Oscars. What a rustic, rustic picnic. Pregnancy is well known for  making people dress as though they're wandering about in a meadow, and Keira Knightley is cashing in that chip very hard. She has words on her dress. Perhaps the dress is like a literary Baby Mozart deal, nourishing her child in utero. Her dress appears to be made out of very natural paper towels. But I think it's probably cloth, because I don't know if you've ever tried to embroider your paper towels, but you give up in frustration after a couple of hours.

Here comes a game! See if you can see what part of the body I'm trying not to draw because they're hard.

I was this close to giving David Oyelowo a giant bubble of gum for him to blow that obscured most of his face because this doesn't look like him. Like, at all. Well, we knew this would happen. He's a man! But I had to draw him because he looked so thrilling in his cranberry finery. I spent approximately ninety hours trying to get his stubble right, and then I had to admit defeat and move on. Just be glad he's not a square on a rectangle.

La la la, hurray! Lady Gaga has absolutely everything going for her here as far as I'm concerned. One of the Three Musketeers lent her his dish gloves, and the ocean sent a starfish to her house to personally hand her The Little Mermaid's very best coral scrunchie to wear for the occasion. In a good way! Her dress is in a delightful new shape, and even though I cursed its texture as I drew it, it gave me Japanese fairy tale feelings.

Do you remember when she sang "The Sound of Music"? She opened her mouth and there it was, the sound of music. I kept waiting for something different to happen, but it didn't, and she just sang it, and while there was debate about how well she sang it, I don't know anything about special singing facts so she sounded like she was singing it great to me.

Sweet, adorable Lorelei Linklater from the real best movie of the year, which was of course Boyhood, I couldn't get your face right either. I really kind of fucked you up. I apologize.

Oh, Lorelei, your body language killed me with your little hunched-up shoulders, so beautifully not-red-carpet-practiced. And your slit up-to-there and your sheer bodice made me feel so maternal I almost got pregnant looking at you. Oh, heavens! My baby! Cover up! What's happening?! Are you using condoms? Is your boyfriend going to to be that party? Don't tell me! No, tell me! I'm not slut-shaming her, so don't start. She can do what she likes. But you can't stop my uterus from contracting about it.

Game time! If you guessed "hands", you guessed right. This is where I gave them one last go and then gave up. I let her flip me off with her wilting hand as one little parting gesture of protest about my poor hand-drawing skills.

 I loved Margot Robbie's look so much that—what do you know?—my heart flew out of my chest and got all convenient up there.

If you think there's something more difficult than doing justice to Lupita Nyong'o in Paintbrush when you're not even properly an artist, then you're wrong, unless you're talking about dealing with cancer or scaling Everest or being a single mom or a coal miner or a lot of other things. After this post, I expect there will be a law passed that you're not allowed to draw Lupita Nyong'o unless you get a special certificate. But, again, I had no choice. Lupita Nyong'o in a dress made of pearls? I'm supposed to pretend like that didn't happen? 

*Little known fact: the skirt portion of the dress was not a skirt but an actual basket full of pearls, which is of course why she's sticking her hands in there. There aren't any other reasons. 

You guys, if you could have SEEN the gestures Rosamund Pike was making all the way down the red carpet, you would have fainted. They were so obscene. I could not in good conscience show them here. Also, this is where my knee luck ran out. She looks like she fell down over and over in the weeks leading up to the Oscars. She may require surgery, even. 

Fuckin' Felicity Jones dress texture pearls in cups all over the fuckin' top, GOD. GOD, NOMINEES with your TEXTURES. She was born with triangles for hands, so that's sad. 

Well, so listen. Nobody bitches about the Venus de Milo. If Marion Cotillard wanted arms she should have worn a dress without a repeating pattern. 

It's bright here around Nicole Kidman. This "photograph" is "overexposed". You don't really know what's going on with her right hand, and her left hand, hey, if it grew into her dress and a flower grew out of it, are we going to be able to verify that?  

Some people thought her red belt ruined her outfit, but her red belt is WHY I'VE TAKEN THE TIME TO DRAW HER ASS IN THE FIRST PLACE so they're wrong. 

Congratulations to Julianne Moore for winning Best Actress and being wonderful all the time! Condolences to Julianne Moore about that super-localized raincloud and carnivorous plant that follow her around everywhere. And, finally, my thanks to Julianne Moore and Chanel for keeping the texture to a bit of a low roar. 

Hoo boy. So. Patricia Arquette is somebody that I generally adore, and she deserved that Oscar, and I was thrilled along with everybody else when she spoke from the podium about the ERA, and then I'm in the camp that says she fucked it up in the backstage interviews. And then she fucked it up again with her response on Twitter afterwards, all "Don't tell me about privilege because I grew up poor." STOP SAYING THAT, FELLOW WHITE PEOPLE. JESUS. THERE'S ECONOMIC PRIVILEGE AND THERE'S RACIAL PRIVILEGE. THEY ARE DIFFERENT. IF YOU ARE WHITE, YOU HAVE ONE OF THEM EVEN IF YOU GREW UP EATING PEBBLES AND LIVING IN A BOOT. 



 She wore stuff, and I don't know. I'm done. 

Let's kick back with some Behati Prinsloo. She had the easiest pulled-back hair to draw of the night. And isn't it nice to get to erase Adam Levine from a thing? (I just said that to make friends. That was wrong. Everybody hates him a lot, but I have to really be me. I kind of like the guy. He makes me laugh. I watch him on the teevee with Blake Shelton. I wish Blake Shelton were at the Oscars. I'd draw that guy, if you know what I mean. I mean that he's very sexy and that I would have sex with him. Except his wife would shoot me and Dave would be mad. But maybe they wouldn't if I asked them not to! DON'T SHOOT ME AND BE MAD, I'M JUST GOING TO HAVE SEX WITH HIM REALLY QUICK AND THEN STOP!) 

I hold the super unusual opinion that the Victoria's Secret Angel known as Behati Prinsloo is very pretty. I love the ballerina-esque thing happening here, and even more so expressed in red and black like this, and I enjoy her Flintstones necklace. Somebody played a goof on Behati Prinsloo and Adam Levine, though, by putting glue at the bottom of their swag bags. Whoops! (I should have written "swag" on those but I wrote "loot" instead. At the Oscars, they give you a little paper bag on the red carpet just like you get at a kid's birthday party. It's got bouncy balls in it, and fake tattoos. You couldn't pay me to change those bags at this point, though. But you can make me some offers anyway.) 

Ol' Reese Witherspoon is over here blowing nobody's minds again in a neat, trim dress. Sun's setting in the same place tonight. Death, taxes. I should have angled the black trim at the top the other way, but guess what? I should have done a lot of things differently in this life. 

Flying saucer flew by. 

Hannah Bagshawe is who, and she's the beloved of Eddie Redmayne, who won Best Stephen Hawking. There is SO MUCH TEXTURE here but that's why I loved this dress! Feather awnings, what?! Great! I didn't begrudge one pixel here. 

Some of you younger people might not know about Soap-on-a-Rope. Now you do.  

Who turned down the klieglights or the sun or what have you on the red carpet near Gwyneth Paltrow? Her pale pink dress did, that's who. Like I'm going to change all the background colors in all the other pictures for just her one dress so she doesn't disappear in a wall of pink. Dream on, hosers. She can stand around in dim light for a second. It's probably good for her skin. She can bask in the bright glow of that probably very detoxifying lemon. 

Many people objected to this dress and the giant flower shoulder growth. Yeah, well, lots of people object to Goop but I've asked for that fucking thing to show up in my inbox every week. I've had the flu followed by bronchitis and I've been sick for a month, and all I ever want when I'm sick is to live in a world where Downton Abbey and Goop come together and I can ring for Carson and say, CARSON! Please make Gwyneth bring me one of those Moon Juice smoothies she talked about in the newsletter last Thursday, and I also want some of the Spirit Truffles and chocolate Sex Bark. I am peevish and unwell. She should bring me some bone broth, too. I'll take my dinner in my redesigned yoga gazebo.

I like the dress. I like it. You want to fight? Wait until I'm over this asthma and then we can fight. 

Oh, god. Fuck it, you know? Sometimes good enough is good enough. 

I'm a little bit sorry I made Cate Blanchett's hair look like Guy Fieri's hair, but not a lot bit sorry. 

"What the hell is Lena Dunham doing here?" you might ask, right after you ask, "Who the hell is that?" Well, listen, anybody can "be" at the "Oscars" when it's all happening in a fake cartoon. A dear friend of mine expressed the wish that Lena Dunham could have been at the Oscars so she could see what she wore when she read this post. So Lena Dunham WAS at the Oscars and she wore TRIANGLES.  

And who on earth is this? Since we've established that anything goes on this fakey-wakey red carpet, C'EST MOI, CLOWNS. Am I this pretty? No. Am I this tall? No. (Are my arms this long? YES.) But I'm at the Oscars for the only time ever so I'll look how I like. I'm wearing some fucking angel wings because I wore them to a costume party once and they felt amazing. And I'm wearing kind of a tutu because Behati Prinsloo did and nobody stopped her. And I'm wearing blue eyeshadow because I like it. I kept it real with some gray in my hair, though, due to integrity. 

I know what they say. They say to look in the mirror and take one accessory off. I did that already. I was going to give myself a beauty mark, but I changed my mind.

And if I get to go to the Oscars, my mom gets to go to the Oscars, too, and furthermore she's going to win. In advance. On the red carpet, before it even starts. My mom has always referred to herself as a "frustrated Helen Hayes", so now's the time to get some goddamn dreams coming true. 

I told her about this plan and asked her what she wanted to wear. She asked for a tiara or some pink roses (No need to choose here! Sky's the limit! You get both!) and then she told me about a school play she was in when she was a child in Finland. She played the sun, and her cousin Leena played a hurricane, and she sang this song to some pussy willow branches, all "Go to sleep, it's not spring yet, I'll shine later" and word on the street was that she nailed it shut. Nobody in Northern Finland was going to play the sun after that. She owned it. So she thought she'd like her outfit to tip the hat to that role, which she's getting this belated Oscar for. 

I'd have dressed her in a big ball of shining white or yellow to be like the sun, but she's a Winter so she looks best in jewel tones. And I figured she didn't want to be shaped like a ball. I gave her some effulgence to make up for it. I also didn't mean to make her dress look like a bathrobe, but if a gold tiara and pink roses and some fucking effulgence isn't dressy enough for the red carpet, then good night. GOOD NIGHT. 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

feliz cumpleaños

Okay, now, sure. The title of this post doesn't mean what it would seem like I'd have something mean right about now. It means "happy birthday" and not "happy new year" — which, by the way, happy that, everybody. But my blog is going to have a very special birthday this year, and that birthday is going to mean some things around here, and I want to talk about those things right now. 

I'm going to be ten, you guys. ("I".) That's so big. In blog years, that's practically George Burns O'Clock. In lieu of booking myself into The Palladium, however, I'm going to take a step that I've put off for a long time for fear that everybody would think that I think I'm so fancy or something. I'm hiring somebody to make this blog look pretty and legit, and we're going to move it off Blogger, and I'm going to have a proper website as a writing person, and it'll be all bunched together in one place. Look what a big deal that isn't when I actually say it! What was I so freaked out about? None of you can possibly care. I know. I KNOW. It's only me. I'm the only one who cares. 

Anyway, yes. The Gallivanting Monkey will plow on, but it's going to do so in a nicer outfit. We deserve it. We're old. 

Also, though, another change is coming. You know how I've been writing here every Wednesday for the last year? Except for a very few of them? Well, listen. That's a-changing. Nobody's going to give a shit if I make the place look prettier, but some of you might care a little that there's not going to be a post every week any more. And if you do care, I appreciate that you do! I'm still going to post regularly, just not quiiite as regularly. It's for a good reason, I promise.  

I've loved posting every week here, by the way, even when my self-imposed deadline was looming a little heavy and I didn't know what I was going to say. I loved the deadline itself, the accountability to myself and to you guys. When a few bursts of big attention came to this blog early last year, I wanted to feel deserving of the new eyes on my writing here. I wanted to make it worth everybody's while. So I put a lot of love and care into writing my weekly posts. I got dedicated about it. 

And what do you know? Good things came of it! Opportunities came my way to write for other places, for not just good feelings but actual cash dollars. And more of those opportunities are on deck this year, which is very dreamy. I'll make more announcements along those lines when I have more concrete dates and places for you to go look, but I'm going to be writing for a different website on a weekly basis, and doing some other freelance stuff that makes me very excited. 

SO. The Gallivanting Monkey, like The Dude, shall abide. I couldn't abandon this place if I tried. It's brought me too much goodness. But it's going to abide a little more loosely, more like a couple of times a month, and not on a set schedule. Subscribe, maybe! You can do that, right? That's a thing, right? Don't I have a thing over there for that? Oh, lord, the savvy web people won't be getting here a moment too soon. 

Okay, so check back. I'm not leaving. I'm just slipping into something a little flashier and also more comfortable. A sequined Snuggie, if you will. (Just do.) This is a good decision. I can feel the freedom already and it makes me want to make even better things for you when I do post. 

Happy new year, you yous! Happy birthday to each of you, too, in advance, or today. You're all going to have birthdays this year. See, I know about you.