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Archive for the ‘Style’ Category

Megan DiLullo, Erika Rae, and Lenore Zion

Girl, You’ll Be a Bond Woman Soon, or, Happy Birthday Rich Ferguson, TNB Style

November 3rd, 2009
by Megan DiLullo, Erika Rae, and Lenore Zion


Rich Ferguson, because it’s your birthday and because you just make being a Bond Girl so insanely cool, we’ve run a little contest in your honor: Who Makes the Best Bond Girl?

As you will see, several of the TNB guys have slipped into something a little more comfortable in your honor. So, quiet your inner Wai Lin, have a martini and leave your briefcase tear gas canister and testosterone at the door.


Steve Sparshott

Enid from the Block

October 23rd, 2009
by Steve Sparshott


Enid was my local crush, as opposed to, say, a music crush, like Laura Veirs, or a back-in-the-day crush, like Janeane Garofalo. I miss Enid. Not terribly, not like a limb, more like a bus - there’ll be another one along in a while. Crush might be too strong a word.

Suzanne Burns

Diary of a First Book, Entry 4: Still Loving Morrissey and Shopping at the Gap

October 23rd, 2009
by Suzanne Burns


Don’t ever agree to your book being published if you have a fear of public speaking. I can say that, over the past five months, I have almost completely conquered this fear. I have beaten it out of myself. My husband has stood by, helplessly watching the self-berating, doling out the necessary Kleenex and gelato cups, weighing in on every outfit I’ve tried on. My vain (in more ways than one) attempt at looking just the right combination of serious literary writer and hot-ass bitch has culminated in committing the worst of sins: I bought a black T-shirt from the Gap.


Brandon Gorrell

The Gimmicks of American Apparel vs. the Gimmicks of Urban Outfitters

October 21st, 2009
by Brandon Gorrell


I have listed comparisons of what I feel are significant gimmicks of American Apparel and Urban Outfitters.


J.E. Fishman

Hair Today

October 7th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman


By happenstance or predilection, I am generally surrounded by people who embrace change with the enthusiasm of a koala hugging a porcupine.  For example, my parents stayed on the same floor of the same hotel every winter in Boca Raton for more than a decade before moving there from Great Neck.  And for the past ten years, they’ve stayed in the same hotel in Great Neck every summer when they’re not in Boca. (more…)

Claire Bidwell Smith

A Thousand Words: Why and Why

September 8th, 2009
by Claire Bidwell Smith


Home was Los Angeles. And my life there was one of aimless, tipsy grieving. My father had died six months before this story begins and ever since I’d been casting about listlessly. One of my best friends, Lucy, lived down the street and we spent many a day together, drinking cocktails before 5pm and pondering the meaning of our mid-twenties. One such afternoon we decided that the best possible solution to our problems would be to go into business together importing t-shirts from Thailand. This may have just been an excuse to conduct “business meetings” over Bloody Marys at a restaurant in Culver City called Dear John’s, but whatever the case, we forged ahead with the plan.


Peter Schwartz

Faith Isn’t Stupid

September 4th, 2009
by Peter Schwartz


I’ve been noticing with greater and greater alarm that atheism is getting more and more popular in literary and academic circles. In fact, the majority of writers and scholars believe that anyone who believes in God must be naive and stupid. You aren’t smart enough, aren’t sophisticated enough to realize that God doesn’t exist and that life is pretty much shit. As the old saying goes, misery loves company. Now I don’t claim to be some highfalutin intellectual (fingers corn cob pipe thoughtfully for effect) but my great grand-daddy left me with at least this much sense: anything that makes you miserable ain’t all that good. (more…)

Zoe Brock

A Thousand Words: My Childhood, or, Plastic Tits and Ass

September 2nd, 2009
by Zoe Brock


I am about eight years old in this photo. The little boy I am towering over is about four. His name is Louis. The 1950’s love-bot next to poor, distraught, little Louis is, indeed, yours truly. For the record Louis did not want to be wearing that frilly dress and bonnet, but I can be very persuasive. Even as a child I had a thing for men in drag.

When I look at this picture I feel profound joy. I smile at those skinny legs, laugh at that proud expression, and am filled with a sense of pride and love for my silly little self. I want to hug me.

There was no adult help in the conception and preparation of this get-up. It was my own creation, my own vision, a vision of a sullen housewife, perhaps, or maybe a haughty hooker. I’m not sure. I have no idea what I was thinking, but I know I loved it. I loved that blond curly wig, those red prostitute heels, that green synthetic monstrosity, those strap-on, plastic, Dolly Parton tits with their enormous pronounced, engorged nipples. I remember the hilarity that ensued whenever I donned that outfit and slunk into a room of adults. I didn’t understand why it was funny, but I loved the reaction.


John Box

A Thousand Words: That One Shining Moment

September 1st, 2009
by John Box


For many of us, there comes a moment in our lives of such tremendous joy that we say to ourselves, “This is it. It does not get any better than this.”

If you’re an athlete, maybe you’ve just thrown the game-winning touchdown pass as time expires in Super Bowl XLIV.

If you’re an actress, maybe you’re receiving a standing ovation in Central Park after your debut performance as Lady MacBeth.

If you’re an average John, maybe you’ve just inhaled a fistful of cocaine in a bathroom stall at the Classy Cat.

Regardless of what the exact moment is, the Reaper could come for you at any time thereafter and all would be fine. You could leave this world without the faintest hint of regret, knowing that you’ve now lived a full and complete life.

This is a story of such a moment. (more…)

Colleen McGrath


August 7th, 2009
by Colleen McGrath


That people don’t look at each other here may account for the otherwise inexplicable disinterest in personal appearance in Berlin. That or city-wide depression. Nobody’s looking so who cares? Granted, in New York people look way too much. Gone are the days (and by days I mean the 80’s), when a woman can walk up Madison Avenue in sneakers and slide on pumps at her desk, oh no. You ride the subway and walk the whole distance in those puppies, no matter how far or you’re excommunicated from the club. Did you know you had to walk fifty blocks in stilettos to be considered a true New York Woman? You do. Do you see men coming to work in shorts and a t-shirt carrying a suit bag and changing in the men’s room before the big meeting? No, you don’t. That their shoes are generally not torture chambers doesn’t enter into the matter; you come dressed for your day. People are looking. From the minute you leave your house to the moment you get home, people are looking.


Erika Rae

By The Way…Dressing Up Emo Will Not Save You From Jury Duty

August 7th, 2009
by Erika Rae


Just in case you happened to be wondering: no, dressing up like a Marilyn Manson fan is not, in fact, an effective deterrent for jury duty.

I’m going to blame this one on the fact that I’m a Gemini. Allow me to explain.


James Bernard Frost

A Thousand Words: On the Wearing of Hats, Part 2

August 3rd, 2009
by James Bernard Frost


Two weeks ago, I posted an entry entitled On the Wearing of Hats, Part 1, in which I discussed the raison d’être for my daily wearing of a shit-brown-colored truckers’ hat. The entry sounded noble, but missed the entire point of my wanting to write it in the first place, which wasn’t to explain why I wear the hat, but rather to talk about the strangeness that has crept upon me ever since I took to wearing it.

I was born and raised in Irving, Texas, a giant, sprawling suburb of Dallas, Texas, whose claim to fame, something emblazoned in huge signs as you entered the city limits on any of its major freeways, was that it was the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

From my earliest recollections, I hated it.


Lenore Zion

A Relaxing Day at the Spa

July 24th, 2009
by Lenore Zion


I went to a spa for the first time the other day.

Booked myself a massage and a facial at Burke Williams. It’s very fancy, and when I checked in I was immediately escorted to the ladies’ locker room, where there were Jacuzzi baths and showers and a sauna and a steam room and dozens of beauty products and expensive blow dryers and fuzzy bathrobes and towels, all of which were available to me.

I’d been told when I made the reservations that I should come at noon, as this was when the spa opened, and I was free to spend the entire day there, soaking in various baths with other naked women. (more…)

James Bernard Frost

A Thousand Words: On the Wearing of Hats, Part 1

July 20th, 2009
by James Bernard Frost


Every morning for the last couple of years, not long after I get out of bed and look in the mirror, observing that, yes, it is another bad hair day, I have slipped on my head a trucker’s hat that reads, in shit-brown lettering, Stop ‘N Shop, Leland, MISS.

The mesh on the hat is a particularly unusual shade whose color I can only describe as swamp–its original shit-brown, in coordination with the screen-printed lettering, having greened from overexposure to the sun. The green is sort of iridescent, like a fly. The foam front of the hat is a fleshy tan. The bill is more of the shit-brown, creased from much use.


Uche Ogbuji

Tongue of Warcraft, Part Two—Politics of Language

July 18th, 2009
by Uche Ogbuji


It’s common among the literati to carry around a bunch of grammar gurus, like¹ Erykah Badu’s Bag Lady. Usually you’ll find some mix of H. G. Fowler, E. B. White and Quiller-Couch, and perhaps some volume-by-committee such as The Chicago Manual of Style or Hart’s Rules.  I personally used to follow Fowler.  I would read from his The King’s English almost every day.  I enjoyed it only moderately, but I assumed it was a mandatory part of the writer’s daily diet and exercise.  I boxed like a fiend with Fowler in my corner.  I’d beat you down for any latent coordination of relative clauses, or any fused participle.

A funny thing happened early this decade. I realized I was in a quagmire and became disillusioned.  I’ve learned to make linguistic love, not war.  My attitude towards prescriptive grammarians has become “kiss my that-which-abusing, colon-and-semicolon-using, passive-voice-embracing arse, bitches!”


Colleen McGrath

Will the Real Sydney Bristow Please Stand Up?

July 12th, 2009
by Colleen McGrath


Lately I’ve been dreaming about being a spy.  It’s a nice change from the usual “somebody is chasing me” nightmare.  These days the tables are turned and rather than running through molasses from some unknown terror, I’m the one holding the machine gun.  Go me!  I’d like to think that the dream analysis is true and this represents my drive and ambition.  Sadly, I think it has a lot more to do with my recent Alias obsession.  Apparently my subconscious wants to be Sydney Bristow.  (more…)

J.E. Fishman

Dramatic Entrance

June 17th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman


She had my thing in her hand when the monkey swung in.

Like the monkey, I wish to make a dramatic entrance.

But what constitutes a great dramatic entrance?  Is it some thing or some act that rises above ordinary by its very existence or action?  Or is it an invitation for one’s imagination to go someplace it hasn’t been lately — or someplace it has never been?

The great dramatic entrance — whether it’s an opening sentence, an architectural feature or a theatrical introduction — has a come-hither quality, I think.   It startles one pleasurably with certain unspoken possibilities.

Some people’s flair for the dramatic goes way back.  Take the du Pont family, for instance.  They fled the French Revolution, it is said, and landed on these shores on New Year’s Day 1800 — kissing the still-new world on the first day of a new century.


Colleen McGrath

Naked Berlin

June 16th, 2009
by Colleen McGrath


Although I am loath to admit it, I am a prude.  I never would have thought myself to be uptight before now but being faced with the Freikörper Kultur has brought me up to speed.  I am 100% American prude.  What is the Free Body Culture, you might ask?  Why it’s the Society of Naked Germans, of course!  And with the advent of summer, the parks and lakes are overflowing with frolicking, happy nudists.  (more…)

Suzanne Burns

Stop the Presses: I Am a Poet!

May 25th, 2009
by Suzanne Burns


I just licked that big, all-consuming yellow envelope that holds, in its hopefully safe confines, my newest poetry manuscript. To be sent to an interested publisher in New York, a land almost as far, far away as Paris.

These are the first poems I’ve written in seven years. The first poems I’ve written that seem like grown-up, adult poems. (No, not adult in that way.)


Doug Mulliken

Reconciling the Man I Want to be With the Guy I am

May 25th, 2009
by Doug Mulliken


A while back Old Spice ran a print ad that showed Faye Dunaway lounging in front of a roaring fire, and at the bottom right of the spread there was the best tag line I’d ever read - “If your grandfather hadn’t worn it, you wouldn’t exist.”  I loved everything about the ad - Faye Dunaway!  Classic Old Spice! Roaring Fire!  None of this metrosexual shit - be a fucking man like your grandfather was!

It made me think of my own grandfather - he was one of the more interesting people I had ever met.  Like pretty much all the men in my family, he was big and barrel-chested and he had that old-man strength that always surprises you.  When he was younger he had dark hair, and there is a portrait of him my unlce has where he has a cigarette casually dangling from the side of his mouth and he looks like Ernest Hemingway.

He lived at the beach and he drank gin, all day every day.  Beefeater on the rocks.  And he loved classical music.  He should have worked at a classical music radio station - he could hear the opening stanza to any piece and know the composer.  It was kind of amazing.  After my grandmother died, he would sit late at night, listening to the classical music station, and rub his finger along the rim of his glass, staring blankly into the ice.

He was the first person to offer me a beer - I was 14 and spending the night at his house and he said “you want an Oranjeboom?”  Every time I see Oranjeboom now I think of that night, the sounds of the ocean and the classical music and the white carpet and the wood panels and the pale yellow Oranjeboom tall boy. (more…)