Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Knotted Panties? Stay Positive.


Harry posits “panties in a knot” as it refers to that brittleness that is often a consequence of fraught feminine sexuality, in reaction to my railing about the big dick that’s conquered the universe. I self edited the phrase from a piece last week because I am unable to visualize what consequence to physiognomy would result in that configuration of undergarment. Men have their own, and different brittleness about sex but for “panties in a knot” I will ascribe to the feminine incarnation of sexual fraughtness. This is a condition, the descent into which Kaz refers to as “dangerous onto self.” And onto others too I will add. It is a chick thing. From my knotty place springs harshness, giving honesty lip service, when I aim to be tender and loving and less doctrinaire about my own perception of truth.

The new Hold Steady cd, a limited edition with 3 extra tracks thanks to Himself’s diligence, arrived at long last. Our home listening system is unrestored since remodel and I have never been encouraged by my family to use it anyway. I eagerly grabbed the new album en route to car with my brood and all three noticed it in my clutches and returned immediately to house for IPods. I haven’t given it a fair listen but can say that it builds on the three previous recordings in a satisfying way. The verdict is out as to whether it is of the same quality of the previous releases. I expect, at the very first blush that it is. There is however, a harpsichord, an instrument I particularly detest, on one track which I will most likely forgive and if not, a number of my favorite records have a track I automatically skip. The album is aptly titled STAY POSITIVE.


I picked out affordable and stylish and slightly too large clothing for camp and for as long into the school year as growth sustains, at Target. I honestly don’t know if Target is really any better for the world than Walmart but I am a sucker for the cheap designy stuff they push. Clothes are a big thing in my family. In a lifetime of photo albums, my parents were always dressed, for better (the forties and fifties) or for worse (the sixties and seventies), in the mode, The fifteen year old and I have not seen eye to eye very much lately about fashion sensibilities and his most recent purchases were made on-line after a circuitous and agonizing series of compromises. I did not look forward to this prospect and we don’t have time to order camp gear online anyway. With enormous trepidation I picked out a few garments that I thought the 15 year old might not find humiliating to wear. I purchased jeans and shorts and a few shirts, intrepidly risking the return line at Target.

The fifteen year old eyed the bags suspiciously and then began fingering the garments like some potentially contaminated alien scat. I double checked that the receipt was in my wallet. The fifteen year old held up a pair of shorts, “These are cool.” There was one sort of combo Chinese/Russian comrade hat that was relegated to Spuds, but the rest of my choices were approved and a new sweatshirt made its debut at a teen party in Silverlake before I’d even had a chance to write his name in it. He even compromisingly accepted a pair of pre distressed denim jeans which were not horrible and only cost 9 bucks, as being o.k. for camp. He pointed out a hole and I know we were both visualizing fifty thousand pairs of jeans all being manufactured, each with an identical hole. It is comforting, after recent wardrobe skirmishes, to know that the tight pants phase will be over soon and that the fruit of my loins is refined enough to detest anything faux.



I bribed Himself with his favorite pizza in exchange for accompanying Spuds and me to see Wall-E in Glendale, U.S.A. We’d paid for our tickets when we discovered that it was Cruise Night , a huge car show with performances by Herman and the Hermits and the Surfaris. I would have been tempted to skip the movie if I’d known there was a sea of cherried out old Chevys for me to drool over but parts of the latest Pixar creation were staggeringly beautiful and I was grateful to see it on the screen. The only real flaw to this exquisite and disturbing post apocalyptic fable is that the genre requires a happy ending, which at least was followed by one of the most breathtaking closing credit sequences I have ever seen. Glendale is walking distance from Silverlake but 54% of the population is foreign born and 51% are registered as Republican. In Wall-E, the metaphor for the catalyst of earth’s ruin is the central ruling entity Buy N Large. The Glendale Buy N Large recently opened and it is called the Americana. It nearly conjoined to the behemoth Galleria, boding perhaps to crush commerce in that huge edifice and render it a pollen free, level walking course for the elderly.

The Americana is an open air shopping center with stores slightly more upscale than many of its Galleria counterparts and a number of medium end chain restaurants. It is sort of quaint and cutesy and meant to have a convivial public space feel, ala Universal City Walk and The Grove. For all of the square footage it occupies and the crowds it’s attracted for the last two decades, the windowless Galleria mall never provided any sort of satisfying sense of community. Himself strongly objects to public social interaction, particularly when it is intermingled with commerce and if he we had been born in another millennia, he would have sent me off solo to the agora for provisions and gossip while he was sequestered at home reviewing the Iliad for Amazon.

I find the Grove to be rather pleasant and enjoy the live music and hustle and bustle there. I also respect that the project came to fruition and the adjacent Farmer’s Market was preserved, completely intact. I get more gaga over local weekly farmer’s markets where I actually engage in the social interaction of buying food and meeting neighbors. I stay out of the chain stores at the Grove and am merely a passerby and not a participant but these evening gathering places have young sex in the air and provides one of my few opportunities to observe mating rituals. I couldn’t put my finger on why the Glendale version left me a bit chilly, God knows the hormones were flowing heavy, when Spuds pointed out that Americana is really just a clone of The Grove.

City Walk is an anathema to me because it is noisy and rowdy but I admire the concept, in the same way that I admire California Adventure. Each project, with no sparing of cheesiness, is an homage to Southern California, which for better or worse captures that special Hollywood thang. Similarly, the Grove feels like it fits with its charming neighbor, the Farmer’s Market. The Americana is, as Spuds astutely observed, simply a prefab soulless copy of the Grove, anchored by nothing and about as organic to Glendale as Big Ben or the Eifel Tower would be. Why can’t it friggin’ just stay in Vegas?

The post apocalyptic city in Wall-E and the blandly cynical Glendale Americana remind Himself of the general fuckedupness of things. And at the homestead and office and out in the world, there is much to put my panties in a knot. Himself thinks I am silly and trivial but cheap cute clothes and convivial commerce restore my flagging faith. It’s a chick thing.

3 comments:

Fionnchú said...

Idols of the Marketplace, as the non-artistic Francis Bacon warned, are seductive, not only to ladies with plastic in their cheeks or their purses but at the Armenicana, packs of mumbling teens. I watched hordes of dusky youth and sullen elders chatter in some desert tongue, and heard English far less than the brownshirts who once dominated the burg could ever have imagined in their most xenophobic reveries.

It's Americana, still. How it
s now earnestly marketed in a fake small town with a dead-end trolley on a backstage set. It's two blocks of logoed, franchised, retailed predictablity with all the semi(according to you)-upscale bauble merchants, a bazaar for our baggy-trousered, flip-flop donning, cellphone-glued generation of big spenders.

That's the (sub)urban agora today, but give me Homer. Simpson's ok, but I like the blind Greek too. However, I miss the lissome, erudite companionship of willing hetaerae, "eheu". Whores of Mensa, Socratic vintage. The Middle Eastern-Levantine aura of the Glendale boulevard belies such sophistication, save Brand Books to which I fled a minute or two after my meal with you and Niall. Thanks for the desired Fugazetta pizza at El Morfi, indeed my favorite. xxx me

Chris said...

Layne...as you know, music is like food....it doesn't all have to be interesting or challenging...it can be pleasing, nonetheless...it can be vanilla, truffle or anywhere in between...I have to confess that I can't see the connection with Bob Seger, as much as Nick Cave meets The Replacements playing Springsteen covers...but don't let the music intelligentsia at su casa kill your heartland music buzz.

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