Hotsy Totsy members: Juliet Clark - Ray Davis - Anselm Dovetonsils - Christina La Sala
Current Report - Topical Index - Annals
Responses are welcome. Unless otherwise requested, your message (minus your email address) may be excerpted for the benefit of the Club.

The Hotsy Totsy Club

1999-09-13. . . Cholly Kokonino reporting

Mondays got you down? All you need is a good dose of Bossy's Time Management, courtesy of Constance Kandle's Nonprofit Chronicles and Bossy the Clown:
Bossy likes to check in with her staff for a little chat at the start of each day. This morning she had a lot to talk about: she's been feeling a little under the weather; her best friend is still getting a divorce, which is very stressful for Bossy; she went to an interesting class on rose pruning this weekend; she's not sure whether to take time off next week to get a mud bath; she has too many houseguests. By the way, what is Constance doing?

Constance: "I thought I'd take a few minutes to reorganize these files."

Bossy: "I don't want you spending your time on that. Every minute counts. Now, I've got to go and make some phone calls -- you know how hard it is to get plane reservations at this time of year..."

+ + +

Guns should be outlawed because then only outlaws will have guns, and at least outlaws have professional reasons for knowing how to use them properly. The last thing we need is ordinary citizens with guns: have you ever seen how those people drive? Besides, to live outside the law you must be honest, and I know you always say that you agree.

. . . 1999-09-21

Wendy Beck says, and how right she is, "Here's something that'll cheer you right up":
Miss Kentucky, Heather Renee French
Miss America 2000

After Competition Quotes:

What are your first thoughts?
"I think that this is a victory for our veterans and my immediate goal is to work on funding for those that are homeless."

What inspired your platform?
"When you see a man cry and then feel his trust as he tells you his story keeps you inspired, believe me."

Wendy suggests we give French a big hand, but I'd rather have her feel my trust. Hot-cha-cha-cha!

+ + +

. . . 1999-09-20

Cholly's just back from Los Angeles, and the big news in the LA Weekly seemed to be cosmetic surgery, which takes up as much space as the Web and sex combined in San Francisco papers: thirty large ads before the movie listings. Breast implant before-and-after shots, skin abrasion, nose breaking, bone scraping, hair reshaping, wrinkle stuffing, lip puffing, liposuction, hard questions ("Incision - Underarm vs. Nipple Vs. Bellybutton?"), and one thing so awful I don't even know what it is and I don't think I want to, either:

If you are self-conscious about showing
"THE FULL MONTY" there is a solution
Our board-certified gynecologist of the Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation
Center of Los Angeles can completely re-sculpt and rejuvenate the
vagina with a one-hour laser procedure.

Complimentary Power Pill with consultation!

This is the most disturbing mystery I've wanted to keep mysterious since reading the conclusion of Chinese Gastronomy's entry on "live monkey brain of Kwangtung":

"Any sauce?" we asked. He just shrugged. "The usual soy sauce and ginger." He went on to the description of another small horror called "Three Peeps" -- a descriptive name which requires no further elucidation. It was served with the same sauce.

. . . 1999-09-23

Simcoe, among other eminent weblogs, has pointed to one of those attacks on the fraudulence of Modern Art that crop up about as often as my gout. This one drags out dusty whipping-boy Mapplethorpe, but distinguishes itself by spending more time on the blandly corporate-friendly Gilbert-and-George, who apparently once managed to outrage someone. Probably the same guy who wanted to ban the Pet Shop Boys.

Yeah, so the art world of teachers, curators, critics, trust funders, and investors is absurdly indiscriminate. So journalist pundits aren't? We're given a choice of blindnesses -- are you philistine or are you gullible? -- that assume homogeneity among objects made and displayed by people and homogeneity among the people who look or prod at the objects.

As a gullible philistine, I apply the same pair of criteria to all art whether Ancient or Modern: Is it pretty? And is it funny?

Caravaggio and Botticelli and Pollock and Jess are in their different ways all very pretty and very funny. Piero della Francesca isn't exactly funny but he gives me a funny feeling, which is extra points. Duchamp is King of Comedy. Mapplethorpe is always pretty but only funny once in a while; I mostly think of him as a society portraitist, like Annie Leibovitz except prettier. "Piss Christ" was astonishingly pretty, which made up for the dopiness of the joke. On the other hand, the Koonses and Kellys remind me of those "Far Side" rip-offs in the paper: slick and inept at the same time. For sheer entertainment value, you're unlikely to find anything in the local art collections that'll compare to George Herriman. But that would've been at least as true 100, 200, or 300 years ago.

Art critics should explain why they think a particular piece of art is pretty or funny. Art teachers should explain how to make particular pieces of art prettier or funnier. Otherwise they're just being blowhards and they're well on the way to a successful career. And why all this fuss about the stuffed horse? I bet there are stuffed animals in plenty of English museums. Not to mention the House of Lords.

+ + +

As long as I'm reacting to recent Simcoe items, here are a few anti-biography rants (one, two, three), with, I'm sure, more to come.

. . . 1999-09-24

The Man Can't Bust Our Music: (via Obscure Store)

Dysfunctional Family - 09/24/99
In the shadows, a smiling girl with a ponytail speaks and holds her hands beneath a toddler's head as if about to lift him. The toddler, eyes closed, grasps a glass half-filled with some white substance. A thin wavering line glows above the toddler's smirking mouth.
"Look what happens when I squeeze Toddler."
"I don't know why they bother with enemas -- this barium stuff tastes great!"
"Another gutter-slut trained and ready, Ma."

+ + +

More news from the L.A. Weekly: When asked whether he reads poetry, noted spritual guide Michael Tolkin responded, "I'll read whoever gets published in The New Yorker or the London Review of Books or whatever intellectual journals have poetry in them. I don't know what it is about poetry, but I like it. I like geniuses. In collected works, I'm drawn to the last 15 pages or so. I like seeing what people wrote before they died."

+ + +

Don't you know about the bird? Everybody's heard that bird's the word.

. . . 1999-09-27

Irony Watch: Cholly and his lovely chaffeuse spent their first night in Los Angeles at a Douglas Sirk double feature. This being L.A. and all, there was a Special Live Guest: a German actress who had studied with pre-cinema Sirk in the 1930s and who had appeared in Sirk's best-known theatrical production: The Silver Lake, by Georg Kaiser and Kurt Weill, which opened a month after the Nazis took power and closed after thirty noisy performances.

Wandering past the concession stand between shows, Cholly found the Special Live Guest engaged with a couple of audience members and quickly took pen and pad in hand. After all, how many chances do you get nowadays to talk to an actor from the Weimar Republic?

Alas, we all get plenty of chances nowadays to talk to boring blowhards, and the audience member who held the floor (fittingly, an architect by trade) was determined to keep it by demonstrating, over and over again, his astonishing command of film history and style. And alas again, Cholly was much too befuddled by fatigue to figure out a way to reposition the conversational spotlight, finally giving up and returning to Tarnished Angels when the architect informed the actress that Quentin Tarantino admired Douglas Sirk's style and then began explaining who Quentin Tarantino was.

Earlier, the architect had explained that Sirk's Universal pictures were worth watching because of their "irony," and graciously invited Cholly to agree with his opinion. A last alas, for, although the "happy ending" of All I Desire and the cold-blooded spiritual vampires of Magnificent Obsession positively glow with irony, irony is not the principal achievement of Sirk's weepies: Sirk doesn't exactly approve of movie romance, but neither does he keep his distance. What he finds of interest in romantic melodrama is its unique ability to diagram the inevitable misunderstandings and failures resulting from the human need to connect: the clashes of familial, social, and sexual duties; the unresolvable conflict between the abjection of neediness and the desire to be worthy of love; the cocoons that digest their inhabitants. And he diagrams those tangles full-out with every aspect of the film from narrative structure through set design to composition of individual frames -- although, OK, not so successfully with the soundtrack music, but that's always been the curse of post-1939 Hollywood production....

... an' anotha thing ...... then again ...

Copyright to contributed work and quoted correspondence remains with the original authors.
All other material: Copyright 1999 Ray Davis.