Month: April 2016

Prince Taught Me My Dirty Mind Was Just Fine

Prince was the first man I ever loved. When I heard Prince’s first album, For You, I was a chubby 12-year-old girl with thick thighs, an ample rear and a dirty mind. I was an honor student whose tendency to correct my teachers and point out their flawed logic in class got me called to the principal’s office for insubordination. I was the girl the boys in school either ignored or called fat, while men in cars drove behind me as I walked home, shouting out of cranked-down windows what they’d like to do to my pre-teen ass. I sat next to my dad on the sofa every weekend, watching sports with him while quietly lusting over the quads and abs and glutes of my favorite players. As the youngest of six kids, I read everything my siblings read, from their biology textbooks to porn magazines, and I listened to all the music they listened to, from hard rock to jazz to pop to easy listening to R&B. Musically and culturally, I was ready for …

How Prince Brought Unlikely Music Fans Together – and Turned Us Purple

The world turned purple when Prince died. Civic buildings and bridges in his Minneapolis home town and around the world were awash in his signature color. On Saturday night, heading out of San Francisco south on highway 280, with Sirius XM’s Prince tribute channel on the radio, we passed a suburban mall’s roadside message board flashing Prince’s glyph, the control tower and international terminal of San Francisco International Airport glowing purple ahead of us in the distance. As a fragmented society, we agree on so little, culturally. But we agree on Prince. And we agree on how to celebrate him. By allying himself so inextricably with a color (and, later, a symbol — turns out, he was a branding genius), Prince left us with a natural way to express our grief and love for him in the public space, writ large and without words. It may feel like no artist’s passing has ever been so publicly and universally mourned , but that’s not entirely true. When John Lennon was murdered in 1980, the shock of it …

tuenight prince penny wrenn

I Rarely Play Any Prince Songs. So Why Am I Crying?

The day of Prince’s death, I, like you and everyone you know, was distraught. For hours, my despair was haughty and demonstrative. But late last Thursday night, there was a pause in my grief. It came around 11 p.m., which is just about the time that my aunt said this: “But I never hear you play any Prince songs….” Her voice trailed off, stopping short of a direct accusation. But the implication had been cast, and it was damning enough to stop my mourning in its tracks. Was I not enough of a hardcore Prince fan to be in such hardcore distress? In the wake of a famous musician’s death, the only thing worse than being outed as a non-fan is being outed as a semi-fan acting like a fanatic. I know diehard Prince fans. Fans who go to the annual Prince vs. Michael Jackson Soul Slam dance parties. Fans whose homes are decorated with lithographs en homage to the purple one. Fans who can tell you every member of every one of Prince’s offshoot …

tuenight prince paisley park studios neil gladstone

What’s Inside That Vault at Paisley Park?

In 2006, I walked through the front door of Paisley Park for arguably one of the un-coolest reasons ever: as a member of a team filming self-help videos for AOL. That’s because in addition to being the Purple One’s lair, Paisley Park is a production studio for hire. I wasn’t there to record soul tracks, but to tape a segment with the author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” I expected the 65,000-square foot facility to resemble a Wonka-esque factory, but the outside looked more like a shiny white office park. In the wake of Prince’s death, his inner circle is undoubtedly debating the facility’s future, including turning it into a museum. Ten years ago, parts of the inside already seemed like a shrine. Off the lobby was a hallway with a timeline of Prince’s major accomplishments, featuring larger-than-life images of his bikini-bottom Controversy years and jazzy period when he put on more clothes and dropped from pop culture consciousness. The car grill from the cover of Sign ‘O’ The Times was hanging in the …

tuenight prince caroline edgar

Prince Gave Me a Condition of the Heart

In the mid-‘80s, when I’d get home from school, my parents were still at work. Sometimes I’d eat cereal and watch TV or get on the phone with friends. But very often I’d pull out Prince’s 1999 and play “D.M.S.R.” on the family turntable and dance across the dark brown wall-to-wall carpet in my living room, using the staircase landing as a stage. I gave Purple Rain its due, too. I mean, it was the ‘80s; who didn’t? But “D.M.S.R.” was my jam, and I played it over and over and one more time after that. I only danced in my living room when I was alone, not because I was shy — I love dancing, and I’m good at it — but because it was like a meditation that I didn’t know I was doing. It was me creating a space where I could be my authentic self and let it all out, long before I could put words to what I was doing. My parents were music lovers who bought records all the time, …

tuenight prince

Margit’s Note: The Prince Issue

Over the weekend, I watched the MTV broadcast of Purple Rain (more than a few times). Listening to the song, “Beautiful Ones,” I was thrown back to my shag-carpeted, high school-era bedroom, lifting the needle to play the song over and over, tearing up over an unrequited crush, caterwauling along with Prince. “Do you want him? Or do you want me? Cause I want you…Baby, baby, baby listen to me…” Prince was passion. Purple, ruffle-sleeved passion. He evangelized it. Over-the-top emotion infused his lyrics, music, guitar licks and that knowingly seductive glare (that Fred Armisen hilariously captures in his SNL impression). And as impressionable youngins, we learned everything we ever wanted to know about sex from Prince. Wendy? Yes, Lisa. For me, along with Bowie (stop taking them away!), Prince was a musical vanguard who launched my own fascination in the possibilities of music and sound. Like any true artist, he’s given us a gift that will outlive his time on planet earth. And, guaranteed, if we’re all still here we’ll be dancing to “1999” in …

That Time I Was Totally Naked On Stage

I don’t recall the first time I undressed on a stage. Probably college. Taking clothes off in the presence of others is not unusual for an actor; you do an onstage costume change with dim lighting between scenes or a love scene in which you unbutton your shirt until you’re left in your bra or, lordy knows, your character is arbitrarily described in some super sexy way and the costume designer has given you a skirt so short you can’t sit down without flashing the front row. Even if you don’t strip on stage, you certainly do behind the scenes. Every actor has done the lightening fast scene change that requires one stagehand to rip off your clothes, one to Velcro on your new outfit and one to swap your wigs — all while you’re holding your arms straight out, breathing deeply and switching dialects for your next character. There’s no time to worry about anything other than whether or not your underwear is clean. (Remind me to tell you about the time I unexpectedly …

The White Zins of My Past

There are two types of pink wine: rosé and white zinfandel. Even the casual drinker knows they are only related by color and barely even at that. I wasn’t one of those kids who went to keg parties in the desert in high school — I was too busy in choir and theatre rehearsals or running track meets or working at the IHOP to have time for it. And, honestly, I thought I was better than those kids. (I was an early adopter of snobbery.) Aside from an unfortunate incident that involved a couple of older private school boys, a missed Roger Waters concert and a bottle of Almaden Mountain Chablis, I didn’t really drink at all until I went away to North Texas State University for college. It was my first time away from home and I was living in the “artists’ dorm,” so naturally two days in I ended up at a Sigma Tau Gamma party and the next thing I knew I was a “little sister” of the fraternity. Again, I thought …

An Open Letter To Dark-Skinned Black Women Who Don’t Blush

Blushing is overrated. When I think of women who get red in the face (the cheeks and sometimes the forehead, too), I think of, well, white women. Not blushing is probably nothing that you ever felt insecure about. You probably never envied your towheaded colleague, who’s all Renee Zellweger (back when she looked like herself) and Nicole Kidman (back when she looked like herself) and Naomi Watts wrapped into one, as she was giving a PowerPoint presentation at work but forgot one of her lines or was stumped by a tough question from your boss and the embarrassment made her face turn into a stoplight. White women can have their blushing and all the conscious emotional advertising that comes along with it. (“Look at me, I’m nervous! Look at me, I’m flustered!”) Before I continue down this road of appreciation for non-blushers, let me say: God bless the blushers. Seriously. If they get red in the face at the right time, the whole world is awwww-ing at their feet. “Look at you! You’re blushing. How …

8 Items We’re Pink-ing for Spring

Now that it’s officially spring, we are so ready to bust out a bare leg and embrace the SUN. It’s about this time we start thinking pink — a color that’s never a wrong choice when things heat up. So we asked our contributors, beauty and fashion experts for a few blush-hued items they are coveting this spring.   1. Flower Transforming Touch Powder To Creme Blush in Tickled Pink   This Flower Beauty blush is the only blush I’ve used since testing it a year ago. It’s amazing, and all I want is for Drew Barrymore to make it in a smaller size so I don’t have to pack this gigunda blush when I travel (but I always do). I have at least three backups in case it gets discontinued. $12.33, Walmart   — Amber Katz, Beauty Blogger and Founder of Rouge18.com   2. Kate Spade Passport Holder I haven’t traveled internationally in at least five years, but I’ve had to whip out my passport a lot in that time whenever I complete tax forms or an I-9 for a new assignment. Thanks to …

Why I’ve Aged out of Embarrassment

Lately, I’ve grown increasingly pissy about this aging thing. Frankly, I can’t find much to like about getting older. My back aches, my hips are tight, I sleep too little and eat too much. My skin is dry, my hair is gray and I can’t see a thing without a pair of reading glasses, which I can never find. But there’s one aspect of aging that I’ve happily embraced: Almost nothing embarrasses me anymore. For most of my life, I’ve been hyper-conscious of drawing unwanted attention to myself by performing poorly. I cringed over every perceived shortcoming, constantly comparing myself to others. Somebody was always better at something. Well, that will always be true, but the difference now is I care a lot less. At this point, my heroes aren’t necessarily the best or brightest. My role model is Popeye who proudly proclaimed, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.” This doesn’t mean I no longer give a hoot about trying to be a better me; I’ve simply become more accepting …

Interview: Artist Raven Schlossberg on Women’s Bodies, Kicking Ass (NSFW)

Raven Schlossberg’s world is a psychedelic, technicolor utopia of sexual symbols — think The Garden of Eden on acid — with woman as subject and object both.  The collage artist, born in Paradise, California in 1973,  has been exhibiting her paintings for over 20 years, with solo exhibitions in New York, Dallas, Berlin, Frankfurt, Bonn, Konstanz, Basel and Paris. I first saw her work in an exclusive gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, children in tow, and found myself knocked out by their loopy genius. My daughters, as well, were mesmerized. Raven was kind enough to talk to us about her work: what inspires her, what it means to her, and in keeping with this week’s theme, whether her own work makes her blush.   Your images of naked (or semi-naked) women in your artwork are consistent — what do they represent to you? First of all, I absolutely love the female form. I love its beauty, mystery and power. In my work, I celebrate the eroticism and dynamism of the female body, often nude or semi-nude as part …

I’m The Embarrassing Parent I Never Wanted To Be

You know the look. The I-can’t-believe-you-just-did-that look. The one that makes you feel like no matter how tiny your infraction, your teenager will forever remember this embarrassing moment. The problem is, it’s challenging for me to refrain from breaking into song-and-car-dance when Uptown Funk (or even Funky Cold Medina) comes on the radio. It doesn’t matter if a friend of my 15-year-old daughter’s is in the car, a random cute boy is biking by, or we are at a stoplight with a car full of her peers right next to us — this type of music gets into my soul and beckons me. Yes, I have officially become the embarrassing mom. [pullquote]Anytime my daughter catches a glimpse of this boy on our way to or from school, she reaches over, holds my arm down so I won’t attempt a wave, and says, “Don’t even think about offering him a ride, Mom!”[/pullquote] It’s a legacy. Growing up with my dad was like being in a room with Rodney Dangerfield— loud red overcoat, green and red plaid …

Rachel’s Note: What Embarrasses This Erotica Writer?

Our guest editor this week is erotica author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel You might think someone who writes about sex for a living wouldn’t be prone to blushing, but I most certainly am. When I’m faced with situations where I don’t know how to respond, my extremely pale cheeks turn traitor. I feel heat sweep across my face before anyone else can confirm it. The source could be a compliment, a flirtation or a faux pas, but most often, I blush in a professional context, when I’ve taken my sexy words off the page and read them to a live audience, unfiltered. Merriam-Webster’s first definition for blush reads, “the red color that spreads over your face when you are ashamed, embarrassed, confused, etc.” But I think there’s more to it than that. I wouldn’t say I’m any of those qualities when I blush; rather, it’s my body speaking up for me in a way my mind can’t. Most of the time, I’m not blushing because I’m embarrassed; I’m embarrassed that I’m blushing. In my …

tuenight censored deb rox self-censorship

Policing My Mouth: On the Art of Self-Censorship

My second grade teacher, the truculent Mrs. Dunham, masking-taped my mouth shut. She pulled the shrieking roll of tape all the way around my head thrice in front of the entire class. My crime? Announcing in the middle of math drills that the Bookmobile was circling and circling the parking lot because its regular spot was blocked and it had nowhere to park. My classmates’ faces silently told me they were on my side and that I had shared news they needed immediately. What would the driver do? Why was that truck in the Bookmobile spot? It was almost Bookmobile time, so time was of the essence! Someone needed to go do something before the Bookmobile drove away! Mrs. Dunham didn’t want to do anything except punish me for talking. Again. So while the Bookmobile looped like a man without a country, the class beheld the new spectacle of me called to the front of the class while Mrs. Dunham attempted censorship via brown tape. Around it went, sticking to my hair but not truly …

tuenight censored margit detweiler ovarian rhapsody

Ovarian Rhapsody: Side Effects, Unfiltered

I’m lying flat on the bed with just yoga pants on. My legs are propped up on a stack of pillows. I can’t muster enough energy to finish getting dressed this morning, so here I am, half nude. My mind wanders to that hilarious Bill Murray SNL skit about an out-of-shape Hercules and his bad back. “If I lie flat like this it will fix itself!” If only. My entire left side feels swollen and pricked with pins and needles — it’s probably neuropathy, a chemo side effect. Yet…  I can’t be sure if this is actual neuropathy or the fact that I have a recently developed a blood clot in my leg. Or that I now have a new toe infection because of the clot, because of the chemo, or because of surgery. Who knows. The icing on the cake? I have a cold so I’m coughing and hacking and sneezing out chunks of blood. The blood thinners I’m on, to combat the clot, make bleeding from any orifice a likely predicament. Today is one of …

tuenight censored bethanne patrick banned books

I Read Banned Books and Hope You Do, Too

When you think of the word “censorship,” what comes to mind? You might imagine a black bar over an image, a political speech, perhaps something sexually explicit. But you probably won’t think about a young Iranian girl, a sensitive teenaged boy or a character created by one of our country’s most revered authors. All of those — and many, many others — have been and are on lists of the most frequently banned books of the past. . .year. That’s right. Not past century or decade but just this past year. Even in modern society, we’ve made so little progress on some fronts that literature of great merit continues to be banned in some classrooms due to “controversial” topics. (The phrase “controversial subject matter” is actually used by more than one book-banning group to describe a volume on this list.) Banned books change with the times. Once, these titles were the most frequently challenged; in 2015, the five below have hit nerves. Notice that almost all of the books on the “older” list are now …

tuenight censored bangkok melissa rayworth

Life Lessons from Going Balls Deep in Bangkok

I am a hypocrite. A hypocrite holding a ping-pong paddle. On this night, the ping-pong paddle has just hit a ping-pong ball that is coming directly at me, as ping-pong balls do. But it is the ping-pong ball’s provenance that concerns me: It has just been launched from inside the vagina of a visibly bored, thirty-something Thai woman sitting spread-eagle on a dingy stage. For over a year, I have lived in Bangkok as an “expat,” a term I dislike intensely. I am, no escaping it, white privilege embodied. But I have tried to encounter the culture in which I now live on its own terms — terms of respect and deference, with an eye toward understanding the world better and being a worthy representative of my country in a far-off place. Curiosity has gotten the better of me, though. I want to understand the famously forbidden parts of the city I currently call home. And that curiosity has brought me to Patpong, a part of central Bangkok that is perhaps the most scarlet of …

F#$@ It. Why I Love to Use Dirty Words.

It was my use and vast knowledge of colorful language that led a former boss (now friend) to nickname me “TSJ” — aka Truck Stop Jody. As in, curses like a trucker. He told me that I introduced him to some words and phrases he’d never heard before, and wouldn’t dare utter in front of most people and all women. Except me. I’ve been experimenting with sailor-style language since elementary school. Even back then, I tested out a few gems on my dad (not yet knowing how offensive they really were, or how to use them appropriately, with fervor and panache). Me: “These pants are green. They’re horny!” Dad: “Never say that word. Who taught you that word? That’s not what it means.” Dad was not into dirty words. “Damn” was not allowed. Hell, “fart” wasn’t even allowed. We had to say we “beeped.” Early on, I think the excitement of cursing appealed to me. I got immediate attention, even though it wasn’t always positive. Back then, ANY attention was good. Both at home and …

tuenight censored

Margit’s Note: Nothing to See Here

Chances are when you hear the word “Censored”, you think of the PMRC, 1985, Tipper Gore, Frank Zappa, 2 Live Crew and the beginning of parental advisory labels — if you’re a Gen-Xer. If you’re under 35 you’re probably like, huh? It’s funny to think back on how little effect the PMRC ultimately had on shutting down artistic expression; you just have to watch a tv zombie get a spike through its eye or sing along with the “explicit” version of Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” to know we’re in a brave new world. We spent the night inside Sheena Easton’s coulda-been-censored  “Sugar Walls” and never looked back. Or, did we. (I mean, I didn’t. But anyway….) Censorship may have a shiny new banner. It was reported recently that Apple has developed new technology that automatically scans and removes swear words from music — and books. Of course that’s by choice, for now. Stand-up comics at colleges are being required to “keep it clean.” And as we watch social media grow in influence, we see governments try, try …