A Welcome and a Definition

Culture Vulture: "A person with a strong, sometimes obsessive, interest in the arts." Culture Vultures spend a lot of time observing the world. This is where those observations come out.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Were they? Were there not?

I posted about a month ago about my love for Cary Grant and touched his rather complicated relationship with Randolph Scott. Grant and Scott lived together for most of the 1930s and tended to be rather open that they were more than friends. However, Michael Musto did a column showcasing some of fan photos! Even in the naive 30s, they must have raised a few eyebrows.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My, that's a big brain you have....

Some people say the most important sex organ is the brain. While I'm not completely sure about that, I know I think it's sexy when someone I like actually acts like he has a brain. Really, charm is only charming for about 15 minutes, then you need to actually know something. For a change of pace, I thought I would list some of my favorite hotties who would stimulate your brain as well. In no particular order:

1) Ari Shapiro

When I said in no particular order, I admit I was lying a little because Ari is definitely number one. Besides being the White Correspondent for NPR and an openly gay man, Ari also moonlights as a singer for the group Pink Martini. He does serious news stories but also doesn't shy away from doing pieces about and beneficial to the gay community. He can also be fabulous when needed, as everyone saw when NPR spoofed Lady Gaga's Telephone. Ari is indeed, darn near perfect. *sigh*

2) Gavin Newsom

I think many a gay man has a crush on Gavin Newsom. The mayor of San Francisco, Newsom is currently running as Lieutenant Governor of California. Newsom become well-known for taking openly flouting the gay marriage ban in California, and marrying people in City Hall. Newsom has actually made gay rights an important platform to his candidacy, despite being "openly straight" (not that we hold it against him). It's always nice to have a good-looking face attached to your cause.

3) Andrew Ross Sorkin

Unless you tend to be an avid watcher of news shows, you may have never heard of Andrew Ross Sorkin. He's a reporter for the New York Times and wrote the widely popular Too Big to Fail, about the situations that led up to the Wall Street bailouts. I think he's got a nerdy-hot thing going and he's appeared on both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, which totally ramps up his cache. When I googled his name to find this picture, the related searches they listed were "Andrew Ross Sorkin wife" and "Andrew Ross Sorkin shirtless" so I must not be the only person who thinks he's sexy.

4) Jay Brannan

Jay Brannan has made a cult following of fans by singing angst-ridden ballads usually associated with women's folk music. Brannan is also well-known for his appearance in the movie Shortbus, a John Cameron Mitchell movie. He's as talented as he is hot. I recently saw him for the first time in concert and was really impressed. He literally made me a fan overnight.

5) Anderson Cooper

You can't do a list of brainy hotties and not mention AC. He's practically the poster boy. He is smart, and travels to the third world countries to cover disasters and also fights injustice with his CNN show. And to the top it all off, he looks totally hot doing it. What's left to say?

I'll give you a moment to wipe the drool off your keyboard...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Clarissa Explains it All

Unless you were an avid watcher of the Food Network between 1999-2003, you have probably never heard of Clarissa Dickson Wright, one half of the duo known as the Two Fat Ladies, stars of a cult cooking series by the same name. On the show, Clarissa and her partner in crime, Jennifer Paterson would travel around England cooking for in various locales. It was very funny and very British.

One of their signatures was making this hideous British food ladened with enough butter and cream to clog a canal. In the clip above for instance, they make kedgeree, a weird combo of fish, curry, rice and cream that was popular for breakfast (yes I said breakfast!) in imperial India. Sadly, Jennifer Paterson died rather unexpectedly in 2000 and the series was canceled.

I finally was able to get a copy of Spilling the Beans, Clarissa's memoir that came out a few years back. Even if you have never heard the name Clarissa Dickson Wright, the book is a fascinating read. Clarissa was born into an affluent family of power and money but was plagued by an abusive father. She became a barrister (a form of lawyer) just to spite her surgeon father. When her mother died suddenly, she took solace in alcohol and drank away a promising career and a large inheritance. After the life of her life died unexpectedly, she finally managed to sober up and worked as a domestic for various households (many less affluent than the one she grew up in). Cooking for a living brought her back to life, and created the second act of her life as a well-known cook and television personality.

To give you some idea how much Clarissa drank, years after she got sober she was diagnosed with ailments related to quinine poisoning. The quinine poisoning came from drinking tonic water, mixed with her gin. To get quinine poisoning from tonic water, you would have to drink gallons of it for years on end.

Clarissa doesn't pull any punches, she's mostly upfront about her issues. She's a little diplomatic with The Two Fat Ladies years and her relationship with Jennifer Paterson but that's seems to be the norm in these memoirs. Many people I think are afraid to "break the magic." Other than that, definitely worth a read, especially if you enjoyed the Ladies as I did.

Monday, September 6, 2010

End of the Summer

Today is Labor Day, traditionally the end of summer season. I tried to create a little end-of-summer reading list for myself about a month ago. While I am always reading something, I thought I would try to do something a little more formal this time around. My life has been in major upheaval lately (I had to move unexpectedly and still don't have a permanent place to live), so I fell a little short of my reading goals. Here's a little breakdown of what I read and did not read:

Sellevision (Augusten Burroughs): I've mentioned in a recent post about my love of Burroughs, yet I had never read his only published novel. I had very mixed reviews of the book and was not sure what to expect. However, I was so drawn in I read the book in 2 sittings. The novel is about various characters who are hosts on a TV shopping channel called Sellevision. I think some of my love for the novel stemmed from a brief fascination I had with HSN and QVC as a young teenager (That was painful to admit, by the way!). There's a lot of sarcastic and dark humor that pervades the novel, making it a clever take on consumerist culture.

Magical Thinking (Burroughs): This was actually a reread. I think this is one of Burrough's most underrated books. It's a collection of essays which draws from more from Burroughs as an adult than as a child, unlike many of his previous books. My favorite essay is "Mark the Shrink," about his relationship with a therapist.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon): I have a small confession to make: I am actually still reading this book. I had heard about this book and several people had recommended it to me, but I did not know that much about it. However, now that I am reading it, I understand why people like it. This novel tells the story of Christopher, a severely autistic teenager who is accused of killing his neighbor's dog. The book is told exclusively from Christopher's perspective, and gives some interesting insights about autism. I love when I can learn about a topic I know very little about through a novel or a movie and this one fits that criteria.

Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand): I thought I would have more time than I did when I borrowed my mother's copy of Atlas, hoping to fill a knowledge gap of never having read a word of Rand. Unfortunately, a whole host of events in my life and the intimidating size of tome caused me to never open the book. I am taking classes this fall, as well as teaching a new class, so I am not sure I will get to it any time soon.