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W elcome to Hotel Satire, people and you gals. The Hotel is a place where men are in command and gals are for decorative draping, like fringe on a lampshade.Yes, throughout the ages gals have needed others to define them so that they remain inessential as nature intended—like fruit-flavored underwear.
The gals at the Satire Hotel try to follow the tonnage of gal advice in the various media because we have no clue who we are or what we want. We found the article (adapted from a book) called “The New Seasoned Women” in Parade Magazine of January 12, 2006 very helpful in that respect. The author Gail Sheehy knows all about the seasoned gal because she traveled around the country and talked to some of them.
It seems seasoned gals are, like a complex wine, “spicy,” “marinated,” “sweet,” “tart,” “sparkling,” “mellow,” and “open to sex, love, dating, new dreams, exploring spirituality and revitalizing their marriages as never before.” Whoa. Who knew? And also how new! Why has this happened to seasoned gals? Well, they were “wrapped up in their First Adulthood, when their focus was on nurturing children, husbands or careers—or all three.” Now they have reached a “Second Adulthood.” Gail tells us we can take three paths: sexual revitalization, new dreams, and spiritual explorations. Isn’t this fantastic? And so specific, too.
But let’s face it, Gals, the time when we are most in need of advice is in the Spring when we have to decide what to wear and what statement to make with what we wear so we can fulfill our primary function as decoration. And who better to tell U.S. gals about this than a bunch of (mostly) European men.
So, Gals, we are here to let you know what you’ve been fashioned into this Spring 2006. Oh, by the way, let’s all breathe a sigh of relief that those feminazis and femiteroristas of the 1960s/1970s, with their vague demands for self-definition and independence, didn’t succeed in preventing gals from being decorative objects, like silver buckles on a handbag or pillows on a couch or antimacassars on the back of an armchair. But we digress.
To get the last word on fashioning, we went, of course, to the fashion
news of record, the
New York Times Sunday Style Magazine
We could have gone with the
Boston Globe’s Spring Fashion
, which says gals are wearing prints (zigzags, paisleys,
and flowers), but that would not be the last word, would it? Although
we did like the outfit on the gal posed, inexplicably, next to a
bulldozer. Her Escada blouse was a steal at $895. We also loved
her $325 Yves Saint Laurent belt. The thing is, the
tell us what kind of look we should be going for, except maybe tough
and surly, plus reminding us to wear open-toed, high-heeled shoes
while operating heavy machinery. They do a bit more defining in
“Style Section” with a fashion
article cleverly titled, “The Rights of Spring.” Here
we learn that if we wear Calvin Klein’s abstract flower dress
or Diane von Furstenberg’s artichoke print on a pair of Bermuda
shorts that we are expressing the “right to exercise florals.”
When we wear Marc Jacob’s stripes we are dressing like a 1950s
housewife and expressing the right to bear stripes. This is good
to know, as we have often wondered how to exercise our florals and
bear our stripes.
But the Times is the final authority on fashion matters and they have lots to tell us. For instance, in the “SundayStyles” section of March 5, 2005, they tell us that we are “All Wrapped Up in Reassurance.” The author, Guy Trebay, writes about how conservative the fall line of fashions was and then reports, “An unconscious group effort seems to have taken place here [among designers] to assure the buying public that, far from being a sphere where transgression is encouraged or difference welcomed, French fashion remains stable, albeit as clunky as a Frigidaire.” Huh?! We don’t know what that means, but it must be important or the Times wouldn’t have published it, right? Trebay goes on to tell us that the current collections seem to suggest that women dress up like unmade beds or elements of architecture or down-stuffed duvets or flatware. “…or even try looking like Barcaloungers with colors resembling cervical supports.” The article features a gal with an armrest as a coat collar and a gal who appears to be wearing her bathrobe as a hood.
Moving to the Fashion Magazine , we learn such incredible things as “Black is the new green” and “Sometimes a Bag Is Not Just a Bag” and that “bag mania defines our acquisition-mad moment as surely as tulip fever defined 17th century Holland” and that Eve was “actually tempted” by bohemian chic jewelry and “In Fashion, as in life, it’s all in the twist.” Huh!?
We also learn that the artist Marina Abramovic drapes her body in Galliano creations, “along with a plastic skeleton to show that she acknowledges and accepts her own death.” Much admired by younger gals is the “Louisiana purchase” where designer Ernest Bellocq combines baby-doll gauzy dresses with New Orleans’ turn-of-the-century “red-light ladies” day look.
We particularly liked the “Do’s & Donas” collection of lace, ruffles, and toreador pants because “this spring, Spanish is spoken everywhere.” We’re not sure how they know that, but no matter. They title these outfits “La Conquistadors,” and “Spanish Acquisitions.” Wow! At Hotel Satire we have long dreamed of having an outfit that says “I’m into murder, torture, ethnic cleansing, and burning people alive.”
We also like the “desert bloom” fashions where “you may not be able to smell the roses, but you can wear them in some of the season’s vivid prints.” The gal in this series looked like a cadaver. We decided they were saying that gals, while wearing daisies, should also be pushing them up.
Another favorite was the fashion spread about shoes called “better than sex,” which states, “Not since the 16th century, when Venetian courtesans tottered about in chopines [high shoes with thick soles], have shoes been quite this satisfying.” We couldn’t agree more. Any shoe that promotes tottering, even outright teetering, is orgasmic, to say the least. We’ve also found that, when in doubt about what to wear, consult the 16th century and you can’t go wrong.
Our absolute favorite fashion concept was in the spread titled “Agit Props: and now, three cheers for the rebels and their puckish views of the world.” First, we have “Militarism” where we learn that rebellion seems to mean wearing military fatigues! (Jacket, $1,820; skirt and shoes, $2,430.) In “Survivalism: entwined in rope, any dress has other implications.” Yikes. We always wanted to be off balance and tied up. In “Colonialism: by cutting and draping tartans without a pattern, Rei Kawakubo tells today’s neo-colonialists: you’ve lost your way.” Oh, my, those crazy certainly neocolonialists should get a pattern—a print, florals, stripes, blood splotches, something, for chrissakes. In “Existentialism: hoping to dissolve the structure of clothing, designer Martin Margiela finished only one side of the dress, letting the other melt into a bolt of fabric (for $395).” Fantastic. Gals as unfinished, draped fabric bolts. Love it. In “Environmentalism: with his Edwardian jackets in army green and shopped up T-shirt dresses, Junya Watanabe hoped to invoke the punks, but made a different statement instead.” Hmmm. There’s nothing like the Edwardian period to invoke punks and nothing like punks to remind gals that their purpose in life is to dress up the environment! Much as we love these spring fashions, we think we prefer the pretty little Bottega Veneta shirtdress, a $6,800 reminder of June Cleaver.
Goodbye for now from Hotel Satire where gals are wearing the June Cleaver shirtdress this spring—along with survivalist existential Edwardian 16th century Venetian conquistador neocolonialist desert blooming militarist armchair collar. Or, as the Vera Wang ad reminds us, gals are essentially dummies for the meaningless draping and displaying clothes!
Lydia Sargent is an actor and playwright. She is a co-founder of South End Press and Z Magazine and served on the staff of the former from 19781988 and on the staff of Z from 1988 to the present.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; firstname.lastname@example.org; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; email@example.com; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.