After a Fashion

What do Osama Bin Laden, Aretha Franklin, and Blue Genie Art Industries have in common? Absolutely nothing, but go ahead and read about them anyway.

DRUNKEN FRAT BOY DRIVES COUNTRY INTO DITCH Exactly who is George W. Bush representing in this war with Iraq? Maybe he's trying to avenge the threats Saddam Hussein made against Bush père, but I don't know a single person who thinks this war is a good idea. Well, that's not quite true -- the mother of a friend of mine told me during the holidays that she wasn't exactly sure why Hussein was a bad guy, but she knew he was, and we should blow him to smithereens. Not even all the SUV drivers I know, for whom this war is critical in ensuring that the oil keeps on flowing to their gas-guzzling behemoths, think it's a good idea. We are being manipulated like puppets; not only does Dubya seem to confuse the war on terrorism with the war for oil, but based on garbled information, the country is thrown into high-security alert, and everyone goes scrambling for orange outfits and duct tape. Orange? Yuck. Let's just get on with this war so we can start wearing red outfits. Nobody looks good in orange. Then the president tells us to juuust relax, ol' Big Brother won't let his country down. Relax?! In an orange outfit? Are you crazy?! (Will I get locked up for asking that?) Won't let us down? I'm afraid he already has. He let us down by failing to capture Osama bin Laden, and so he creates this new crisis with Hussein, so we can get all hopped up about terrorism again and try and shove our flags up the asses of our allies. Not so fast, say the allies. Tony Blair and Dubya may share a sleeping bag and roast their weenies together, but France, Germany, and Belgium seem to take a more circumspect approach ... and many agree with them, including me. Therefore, when lapdog media outlets like AOL ask the question, "Are we being betrayed by our allies?" Hell no! Our allies are exercising the same good sense that we dearly wish George Bush would exercise. AOL seems to express that most virulent form of patriotism that seems to be running rampant -- the kind that is blind and frightening. One headline read, "War protesters: Tell us what you think of them." Us and them?! Sorry, AOL, I have to tell ya that I'm one of "them." Yeah, you know ... one of those simplistic freaks who thinks that maybe it's better to do away with needless SUVs so we don't have to slaughter another generation for Iraqi oil.

GRAMMY GRATUITIES Words that should never be uttered at an awards show: "My friend made this." Are you listening Avril Lavigne? Your outfit (and attitude) brand you as the rankest kind of amateur. You're nothing more than the Fiona Apple of today, and that's the nicest way to put it. But go ahead and have fun with your look, hon, your popularity timer has just about run out ... tick, tick, tick. Erykah Badu once uttered the words, "My friend made it," while looking like a big green mattress with its stuffing coming out. Erykah's new turbanless look is fabulous; due to the change of hair, we'll overlook the casualness of her outfit. As if we haven't seen enough of Kylie Minogue, she made us into criminals (or unwilling voyeurs, at the very least) by wearing a dress so short that even the program in her hand couldn't cover her shame. And Aretha Franklin? Well, Aretha is the Queen of Soul and can pretty much wear whatever she wants, but hon-eeeee, she looked hideous. It's bad enough that she wore a blond fall on her black hair, but the dress? She looked like a large floating iceberg. And then there's Eve. I haven't any idea whether Eve is talented or not, or what exactly Eve's talented in, but with some professional advice, she could be reliably awards-show dynamite. Unfortunately, the professional advice came too late for this year, but we'll keep our well-manicured fingers crossed for her. Frankly, I thought Paul Shaffer looked wonderful. Like a diminutive pimp, yes, but thank god he has the guts to dress with some style. 'N Sync sang a tribute to the Bee Gees using falsettos that were sooo high only dogs could hear them, and they looked so dreary (and ooold!) that they might as well have been 2003's version of the Mills Brothers. But if we want to talk about real old, let's talk about Simon & Garfunkel. It was wonderful to see them perform together again, but neither of them have ever had nice hair, and, well, time has not been good to them in that way. Art Garfunkel's comb-over resembled a bird's nest, and Paul Simon's apparently given up his decades-old quest to disguise his baldness, which is as it should be. Between them and James Taylor, who also performed, they could make some franchise of the Hair Club for Men very happy. P. Diddy was beautifully dressed; I think he's loathsome, but he has gorgeous clothes. And this young John Mayer who won Best Pop Male Vocalist? Never heard of him, but, ay-yi-yi, he's so handsome, writes so well, and has such a beautiful voice. And at 16, isn't he still jail bait? OK, so he really is older (and legal) ... maybe John can come over to my place before the Grammys next year, and I'll help him get dressed. Harvey Fierstein looked mmmarvelous as Edna Turnblad from Hairspray; Aretha should have gone to him for fashion advice for big-boned gals. A predictable and fairly mundane presentation all in all, with few musical surprises.

DON'T FORGET Saturday, March 1, is ArtErotica, the fundraiser for AIDS Services of Austin from 9pm until midnight at Blue Genie Art Industries (916 Springdale). Featuring music, wine, and dessert, plus an erotic-art auction with works from local and international artists. Tickets are $25. Contact Jay Billig at 914-5292.

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George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein, SUV, War on Terrorism, Osama bin Laden, Tony Blair, Avril Lavigne, Fiona Apple, Erykah Badu, Kylie Minogue, Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul, Eve, Paul Shaffer, 'N Sync, Bee Gees, Mills Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, Hair Club for Men

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