Friday links

30

  • These portraits—of an eclectic group of New Yorkers in their apartments, are just great. (The Guardian)
  • The best character actors working today. (Vulture)
  • 30 cover songs that are (arguably) better than the original. I love a good cover, and this comes with a playlist, which is fun. (Kottke)
  • Check out the excellently trippy designs of Verner Panton, who is most famous for creating the iconic Panton chair. (Messy Nessy Chic)
  • This week’s episode of Everything is Fine with Cat Marnell was a polarizing one, so listen in to see what all the ruckus was about. And subscribe to our Patreon for special episodes and more exclusive content! (Apple Podcasts)
  • An interesting conversation with artist Cindy Sherman, on her first non-photographic work. (Vogue)
  • A year after the world shut down, three frontline workers look back. (Elle)
  • I enjoyed this piece (and the awesome accompanying pictures!) on artist Birgitta Bjerke, who made some crazy-cool crochet garments for British rock stars in the 60s. (Collector’s Weekly via Go Fug Yourself)
  • Everything there is to know so far about season three of Succession. (Town & Country)
  • The stylish senior citizens of Chinatown: this is just a delight. (The Cut)

 

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30 Thoughts on Friday links
    Caroline
    26 Mar 2021
    10:37am

    Love all these links Kim!
    However a good playlist still makes my day. I get that buzz I would get when a friend would make you a mixed tape back in the olden days.

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    HickfromStyx
    26 Mar 2021
    11:02am

    I wasn’t going to mention Cat Marnell again, but since you did…As this interview was going on, I was winding up some family history research for a relative by marriage. This had been a long project, off and on for years, mainly to find out what happened to a great-grandmother who seemed to vanish off the face of the earth. She didn’t. I found her unmarked grave, and then more information opened up with her surviving relatives’ DNA. Once I discovered names, I turned to old newspaper articles from the time of her death. Speaking of addictions and mental illness, it is not all fun and games; none of it is fun and games. This family had numerous tragedies, many of them going back to the bottle: runaway children during a time when it couldn’t have been easy for young children to run, broken marriages, suicides, abuse, poverty, crime, war deaths, war orphans, marginalization and then great-gran. Generations carried on with the train wreck, and I use that word deliberately because great-gran jumped to her death from a trestle bridge used for rail traffic, in view of a city full of people. Never have I seen a family scarred by so many tragedies, so well-documented in newspapers. This is the other side of addictions and mental illness. It is not pretty. It was compelling, so I was driven to learn more and more, but like most train wrecks, it was entirely awful. Addictions consumed generations of this family. Substance abuse is nothing new. The story is not one of redemption, for it seems this has become the family’s firmly-entrenched modus operandi now. They have no regrets. They see nothing wrong with any of it. It is the way they are, and that is exactly what they say to anyone who questions their behavior. All except for one person who stopped to ask why. For every Cat Marnell, there are probably dozens of others who do not jet off on holidays and come out the other end of addictions relatively unscathed, living in a fine NYC apartment. Theirs is a one-way trip to the abyss, summarized in a few sentences in a newspaper, due to the public nature of it. Lives are ruined. Children are traumatized. This is humanity’s ugliness, not to be glamorized and glossed over. And then there is Cat Marnell. She got away lucky from the mostly-unexplained-whatever in the interview because she had money and privilege. Does she know how exceptional this is?

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      Kim France
      26 Mar 2021
      1:22pm

      HFS, I am sorry the Cat episode was so upsetting to you, and I’m troubled to think that you believe that we did not treat the topic of addiction with enough gravity, because I believe that we did. We discussed shame, we discussed accountability, and responsibility, and we discussed the enabling that went on as well. We talked about the fact that her actions hurt others. Cat was very clear on the fact that she’s happier being drug-free. I can’t quite figure how you think we glamorized or glossed over the seriousness addiction. The fact that her background allowed her a softer landing than some have is something I think Cat is acutely aware of, and she doesn’t deserve to be attacked because of that background.

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        kimbersam
        26 Mar 2021
        5:52pm

        I can’t figure out where all this anger is coming from either. While I read Cat’s memoir, I listen to podcasts about addiction/sobriety where I don’t know every tiny detail about the subject and it’s fine. Life isn’t always fair, or pretty. People are sometimes grateful for their privilege or they are not. Some people have tragic lives that end terribly. Some get a soft landing. As a host, your responsibility is to let her tell her story and you did. Regardless, something about Cat hit a nerve with many people.

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        HickfromStyx
        26 Mar 2021
        2:05pm

        Not attacking her, but the interview gave no context, without reading her book. That is what I mean by glossing over and glamorizing. There was an end without the middle. There was no context. It came across as another celebrity-type interview in a podcast series that had been about giving context and depth to our lives at a certain age. Lives have beginnings and ends, but mostly a middle. The middle was missing.

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          cw
          26 Mar 2021
          4:17pm

          I tried (without much success) to say that the Cat podcast left me feeling like I was in a conversation in which I had no part––I didn’t know who she was, I didn’t know her memoir so I just felt like I was eves dropping in a not horrible way, but I was relieved when the podcast was over. So I believe you are on to something, HFS, by saying there was no context for those of us not familiar with Cat Marnell. In any case I do always look forward to the EIF podcasts because I always come away with something and that’s a good thing.

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            y.k.
            26 Mar 2021
            10:28pm

            yes, i felt exactly the same way- that i had walked in in the middle of an interesting conversation. so after i finished, i went on my library app. long wait list, so I’ll be able to fill in the middle in about 4 weeks.

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              Praleen
              27 Mar 2021
              3:29pm

              It seems as though, even in a space expressly created for women to be seen, heard and felt, we simply cannot stop judging. Judging people based on extremely limited knowledge of them. Judging based on age, looks, earnings etc. What I got from the 43 minutes I listened to was that three women who hadn’t connected in years were revisiting a time that was painful and difficult for all involved. It left me impressed by the fact that all were willing to discuss their shared experiences and the roles they occupied in them, in front of listeners. It’s not up to us to validate, or invalidate their experiences based on things we project upon them. Period. Especially if we aren’t even willing to read Cat’s book, and instead distill the 43 minutes down to Cat’s third of the conversation, full of pain, awkwardness, and quite obviously nervous laughter. Perhaps the “auditory choreography”did leave some informational gaps, but I think that topic has been well discussed by now. Instead of picking her to bits, why don’t we send her love and respect for what is a difficult journey for anyone to make? How about some respect for Kim and Jen for asking about their own enabling or complicity? How can we possibly help or heal ourselves or others when we cannot stop judging?

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                Jackie
                28 Mar 2021
                8:00pm

                Thank you for so eloquently putting into words what I could not. I enjoyed the interview and was actually a bit shocked at all the blowback in the comments. Even without a lot of context, I found value in this conversation. The projections — and quite frankly — expectations that teeter on entitlement seem to come from many people these days. Maybe this is a fleeting symptom of prolonged lockdown – a temporary social setback of sorts? There’s a lot to be said for meeting people where they are and trying to extend a little sympathy and understanding, no matter who they are or from where they come.

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      MARGARET
      27 Mar 2021
      9:09am

      I think the fact that we are still discussing Cat is a clue to her (for want of a better word) marketability. Whatever else you want to think about her, she is a compelling person. I only know who she is because I read XOJane back in the day. I was way older their target demographic ( I am Jane’s age! Ha!), so I know why a lot of my fellow GOACA readers are puzzled as to who Cat is/was. I don’t believe the XOJane columns are still online now, but I wish they were. They really did, as someone said, upend beauty writing. So I followed the Cat saga with some interest as it unfolded. And I think a lot of people upset with her here are lacking context. Yes she is pretty and comes from money–that’s who can afford to live in NYC on the shit pay at beauty magazines. And YES she was enabled. I remember a Lucky piece where someone (Jean?) was touting Cat’s “perfect” and “cool” smudgy black eyeliner technique. In the accompanying photo it looked terrible, like it was slept in over a bad night. And now I realize it probably was! ANYWAY. Cat’s “hot mess-ness” was rewarded with jobs and fame and a publishing deal. It’s hard enough for addicts to quit when they hit rock bottom. What if your crazy becomes your brand? Her escape to Europe was apparently not some luxury vacation. She wrote about living in hostels and coming to terms with real life. And I don’t even know her, but I am so proud of her. Because recovery is fucking HARD. And it’s NEVER finished. And she is DOING it. I know why lots of you are mad about her being on here. You feel like she’s being celebrated. I guess because Kim and Jen knew her from way back, she is. And forgive me this, but maybe she should be celebrated? As should everyone who crawls back from hell. Maybe this podcast should have been a post-pandemic lunch at a nice restaurant for the three of them instead, but I, for one, was thrilled to know that Cat is doing well now. I am rooting for her. Sorry this is so long. I LOVE ALL YOU BITCHES!

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      Viajera
      26 Mar 2021
      3:09pm

      HickfromStyx, this is totally from the bleachers – I am just a fan of yours. I don’t know much about addiction (which was entirely luck, I think – I have had ancestors who got a wee bit too fond of the bottle, and for whatever reason, it didn’t get passed down, at least not yet). All’s I would say is that it seems to me to be the case – from observation – that some people are born with a genetic predisposition to addiction. So without in any way disagreeing with you or *excusing* anything, I would say that I can imagine how being unlucky that way might feel like just a bad lotto outcome. And if you’re one of these unlucky people, the only smart choice you can make is to never try anything. And who is that smart when they’re young? (I wasn’t.) Maybe that *is* just the way they are – in the genetic sense. They might know perfectly well that they ought to stop doing it. I think it is just very hard to do. Just for the record, I almost decided to erase this, in case it sounds flip, which is not intended, but otoh, I am sorry to see you upset. (I don’t have an opinion on the actual podcast though…)

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    Mamavalveeta03
    26 Mar 2021
    11:25am

    The NY’ers and their apartments is a fantastic photo essay! I kind of feel that I look like Flloyd when I’m in a full face of makeup. And that is one hell of a dildo collection behind Sur! Pivoting to the character actor discussion, does anyone else mistake the fab Dale Dickey for Lisa Emery from “Ozark”? Intentional casting, I’m sure.

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    Jax
    26 Mar 2021
    8:27pm

    Kim, a very odd thing happened. idk if it’s just me. I can’t see the Mar 23 post on utility jackets in your blog, but I can still find it here: https://www.girlsofacertainage.com/shopping/all-the-cutest-utility-chore-jackets-i-could-find
    Its not coming up between the Mar 24 post on sneakers and the Mar 22 post on the EIF podcast. Thought you might want to know, in case, it’s not just me.

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      Jax
      26 Mar 2021
      8:30pm

      Hmmm… I just tried it from another browser and it did show up then. Maybe it’s just me. 🙂

      I love character actors, btw, so thanks for sharing that story. Margo Martindale (her most delicious stint may be on Bojack Horseman as “herself”) may be my most favorite one on a long list , and raising a Friday martini to Jessica Walter, another favorite, RIP.

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    HickfromStyx
    26 Mar 2021
    9:58am

    I love those stylish citizens of Chinatown, but what I love even more is their substance, community-mindedness and ability to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done. They are leading full lives.

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      Tahe Z
      26 Mar 2021
      10:26am

      I love them for all the same reasons, too. But I especially love Mr. Gui Zhi Li’s amazing sweater vest.

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        Tahe Z
        26 Mar 2021
        10:30am

        Ack, I meant Ms. Gui Zhi Li!!

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    Viajera
    26 Mar 2021
    2:58pm

    The crochet article was fantastic. Big fun. … … … Also the list of covers – I disagreed too but I can’t remember which regarding. It was still fun to see. A *much* longer list would be the list of covers which should never have been recorded. But who has the time?

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    Ellie
    26 Mar 2021
    2:13pm

    A fun playlist, but there are some fighting choices in there! Anyone who says any version of “Jolene” is better than Dolly’s better be ready to defend themselves

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      Liz
      26 Mar 2021
      2:52pm

      Right? I was kind of annoyed by how many female original songs were replaced by “better” male versions. So typical.

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        Jennipher
        26 Mar 2021
        8:51pm

        I love Yael Naim’s cover of Britney’s “Toxic”. It is so full of mood, slowed down and scratchy. A woman covering another woman’s song. They are all over the place……
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6kfGTykZN8

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        Ellie
        26 Mar 2021
        3:28pm

        Things that make you say Hmmmm …

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      MaryAlice
      26 Mar 2021
      3:32pm

      To be honest, Miley Cyrus’s cover of Jolene blows any other cover out of the water. I was shocked that they didn’t include it. It’s the only one that stands up to Dolly’s, in my opinion.

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        Liz
        26 Mar 2021
        5:25pm

        Oh yeah, Miley is so good at covers. Some of those definitely should have been on this playlist. Her version of “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” is better than the original. Vulture once ranked them all and I may have spent way too long listening to them. I’m not a fan of Miley’s own music, but her voice is killer:

        https://www.vulture.com/article/miley-cyrus-covers-ranked-worst-best.html

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          Jax
          26 Mar 2021
          11:54pm

          Agree 100% on Miley’s voice.

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      Rae
      26 Mar 2021
      3:33pm

      I imagine Dolly herself is happy to have folks try their hand at any of her songs but NO ONE can top her original recordings of Jolene.

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      Jax
      26 Mar 2021
      11:53pm

      I haven’t looked at that list yet, but really??? on a version being better than Dolly’s?!? I don’t mind the White Stripes version and I liked Miley Cyrus’, but none of them beats Dolly’s original.
      Also, I’m in the minority but I much prefer Dolly’s original I Will Always Love You to Whitney’s belter version. Whitney’s was an athletic achievement, but Dolly’s is a heartbreaker.

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    Clatie
    28 Mar 2021
    12:14am

    I submit X’s “Soul Kitchen” as superior to the Doors original. For me, anyway.

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    BWE
    26 Mar 2021
    4:05pm

    I would say that the tone of Cat the podcast seemed somewhat casual at different points. I think that in some way her manner of speaking made a serious conversation sound a little less serious. I am in my 50s and while I did have a subscription to Lucky that’s where my connection to her career ends. I did not think that the podcast was in any way disrespectful of your audience but it was not as interesting as others have been such as Alison Stewart.

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    KK
    30 Mar 2021
    9:33pm

    Oh man. I’m a screenwriter – I was given Cat’s book to consider adapting a few years ago.
    I love a complicated female going through it story (Fleabag)-and I have a ton of compassion for people who are addicts -and for Cat –

    But in the end, I found the whole thing profoundly sad and just…empty –
    It felt like she WAS enabled by a lot of older female editors in a way that felt exploitative/ icky – performing her addiction for them – and honestly, not feminist. At all.
    I just didn’t want to ‘live’ in that story. Or have a hand in mythologizing it to other young women.

    Cat still seems to mythologize it to herself. Wow…

    I wish her well (truly) – but I still think it’s sad.

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About

Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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