Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cleaning day

I took Friday off to clean my apartment, which is something I do from time to time, though I do find my efforts futile in a way. I spent the whole day taking recycling downstairs, doing laundry, putting away clean clothes, and throwing things out. I also did two hours of cardio - an hour on my stationary bike, and one hour on the treadmill at the gym. While exercising, I sped-read my way through four months-worth of old New York Times's that I had stacked on my computer, and which had become an oppressive mountain of late. When newspapers stack up like that, I am consumed with terrible guilt - as a book publicist, I know that there might be some tidbit in one of the papers that I could parlay into a booking for one of my authors. So I can't bring myself to throw them out! That's why, when I finally got to the bottom of the pile, I was reading a New York Times from October 30, 2010. Once, a long time ago, I threw away an even bigger stack of papers and magazines that I had been saving in a plastic tub - at Vicki's suggestion - and I cried myself to sleep that night, and have been haunted ever since by what I might have found, what I might have been made to believe.

After a hard day like that, what better way to unwind than with a terrifying movie in which a hard-working book publicist is stabbed to death and then dumped off a building? That's why I went to see "Scream 4" with Chris and Kirk. Here I am, wearing a Helmut Lang t-shirt I'd found that day on the bottom of a drawer, along with my "punk-rock" pants from John Varvatos. If I ever get stabbed to death and dumped off a building, I hope I'm wearing Helmut Lang. What a fabulous way to die.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Richard was in town with his boyfriend Patrick, and we went to Westville for brunch. I commented on Richard's militaristic coat, and then I photographed him, as the military look is hot, hot, hot right now. I know Richard from Lehman Brothers, and, during my time there, the other assistants and I were always curious as to how Richard remained employed. Richard said during brunch that it was his perfectionism that made the higher-ups hate him, but I seem to recall that it was his penchant for taking off every single religious holiday on the calendar (and there are many). But who am I to grouse about someone's work ethic at Lehman Brothers? When I was there, I was cultivating a serious drug habit, and took a great many days off myself (once without any notification at all, which was shocking - SHOCKING - to Human Resources). I was also cultivating a serious inclination toward bluntly sexual office banter - once I told Ali Behbahani that my PIBs (public information books) were as "sweet as honey," while winking lewdly at him. That was really gross. And when Ted Kalem touched a fax machine near me once and said "That's hot!" I replied, sweetly, "Thank you." He gave me a dirty look. At our group head Gary's clam bake at his Westchester pool house, sitting across from Ali, wearing swim trunks, I literally exposed myself to him, and he turned pale. But what could they do? My boss was their supervisor, and he was a scary person. Once, I called him to give my two weeks' notice, and he intimidated me into staying! He literally refused to let me quit. These days, of course, I am old and tired, and being a sassy secretary doesn't hold the same thrill for me. I'm not even an assistant any more - although I was one for years after I left Lehman Brothers. Looking back, I really am sorry that I refused to do your expense report that time, Nik Puri! I'm sorry that I was so loud in the office, Marilyn and Armita. I hope you are still in touch with "Mr. Frank." Wherever he is, I am sure he is closing in on the bottom line as surely as if he contained a homing device within him. And I'm really sorry to you, Ali, for "taking it out." Richard, I'm glad we stay in touch, even though there isn't even a Lehman Brothers anymore. Most of all, for reasons that may be obvious to everyone, I'm sorry I never met Dick Fuld.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Show's over, Synergy

For some reason, I've been obsessed with 80s cartoon "Jem" lately. I know, I know, I'm old. And gay. I spent a weekend recently googling Jem, and discovered many unexpected things. Did you know that the woman who provided Jem's singing voice is now the bassist for the band Luna? Or that Christy Marx, the show's creator, may be thinking of reviving the show and doll line? I didn't, but I do now.

Jem's signature line, "Showtime, Synergy!", of course, was the signal for her computer, Synergy, to project a hologram of the Jem character, usually with pink hair and a sassy pink outfit (often with a sash) over Jerrica Benton's body. And then she would sing and dance with her band, and engage in a surprisingly lethal feud with a rival band, the Misfits. Sometimes I wonder if that's what drew me to Jem - the fact that she was just an illusion. Or was it because it was the first time I saw anyone wear a sash? Who knows?

Whatever the appeal, Jem really did it for me. I was thirteen when the show debuted, and I would rush home from high school and set up my little tape recorder next to the t.v. so I could tape Jem's songs. I still remember some of them by heart. The theme song. "Music is Magic." "Let the Music Play." Now that I think about it, I was perhaps a little too old even then to get that into a cartoon. And certainly, I had to keep my obsession a secret from my parents, who enjoyed punishing me by withholding access to my favorite things. (Plus, my mother had already chastised me for wanting to see "Dreamgirls," saying, "I don't know what kind of young man wants to see three woman on stage, singing." My mother was truly outrageous!)

Recently, in a meeting in our department at work, the topic of Jem came up. I grasped my imaginary star earring and said: "Showtime, Synergy!" I expected everyone's eyes to light up, remembering that immortal battle cry. Instead, I was greeted with embarrassed silence from the other members of the publicity department. Clearly, no one remembered Jem's lines, and, in fact, everyone wondered why I did. I was going to say Jem's other immortal line, "Show's over, Synergy!" but I figured the message behind that line could be inferred already, from the silence.