Draped in Furs, Exuding Glamour

From the frigid Northeast of America, Dames Nation, we greet you!

Fittingly enough for the brutal cold snap much of the U.S. is suffering from this week, our must-read is all about fur coats: a masterful piece from Jasmine Sanders’ in the New York Times, “A Black Legacy, Wrapped Up In Fur”. Setting out to untangle the roots of “an image that had become almost archetypical: a black woman in an American city, usually Chicago or Detroit, in a big mink coat”, Sanders has produced a truly exquisite, broad-reaching article. She weaves together seemingly disparate, often ugly strands from American culture— everything from our history of settlement & attempted genocide of Indigenous people to our racist red-lining housing policies to climate change— while honoring the experiences and aesthetics of Black women, for whom high-quality fur coats have long been a manageably affordable, portable, and bequeathable marker of prosperity, sensual joy, and self-respect. We did not share the piece exclusively to use these gifs of the ever regal Aretha draped in her many furs, but also we aren’t fool enough to pass up such a golden opportunity when presented.

May we always remember her thus: draped in fur and ready to fuck shit up, vocally speaking.

We hope you enjoy this piece— and the many others herein highlighted—- as much as we do.

Live Tweet Announcement, MOONLIGHT, February 10th

Looking forward to screaming “KISS!!!!!!!” at two men with insane chemistry on screen and actually getting to see them do it!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we will be watching Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning, utterly flawless, profoundly moving romantic drama/coming-of-age story, Moonlight. We can think of no finer way to celebrate love OR process our shared rage over Jenkins’s exquisite follow-up, If Beale Street Could Talk, being DRASTICALLY under-nominated by the Academy. JOIN US! The details are as follows:

When: Sunday, February 10th at 7:30 PM EST

How: Either streaming for free from Amazon Prime, or renting it from the digital platform or library of your choice!

Where: With the hashtag #MoonDames on Twitter.

Dame Margaret’s Cinematic and Musical Miscellany

  • This year’s Oscars— happening three weeks from Sunday— seem likely to be a bleak affair for this loyal (if skeptical) viewer. The two likely front-runners for best picture, Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book, are both lackluster from an artistic standpoint, and ethically compromised as this week’s episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour does a good job of documenting. One bright spot, though, is the many nominations for Black Panther, whose remarkable, predominantly female creative team I will be rooting for at every possible moment thanks in no small part to this excellent New York Times’ profile of them and their relationship with the movie’s director, Ryan Coogler. I’m pulling particularly hard for Hannah Beachler, the first African-American to ever receive an Oscar nomination in the category of Production Design. After reading this terrific interview with Filmmaker Magazine, I bet you will be, too— especially when you learn that, in addition to this, she was also responsible for the production design of Beyonce’s LEMONADE. She is a wonderful reminder that, even if the Big Awards don’t always reflect my taste or values as well as I’d like, there are still artists creating work I love at all levels of Hollywood.

  • Speaking of people who create work I love, Kelly Conaboy of The Cut continues to charm me to almost an unreasonable degree, even when doing something as prosaic as telling you the proper way to both burn and extinguish a luxury candle.

  • Out of the blue, this old interview with Joanna Newsom from around the time her debut album, The Milk-Eyed Mender, was released came across my Twitter feed, and it was a joy to read. She’s such an interesting, weird person, with so much more specificity and texture to her creative process than The Discourse has ever really given her credit for. Her music is decidedly Not For Everyone, but it remains Somehow Entirely My Shit, and it was great to have a reason to revisit it.

  • And finally, speaking of music that’s Somehow Entirely My Shit, meet Yola, a British singer whose 1970s country soul sound lights up every pleasure center in my brain, recently profiled to great effect in Rolling Stone (who describe her as “if Dolly Parton and Phil Spectre made an album at Muscle Shoals”), and whose debut album will be released in three weeks (on 2/22). Picking which of her three singles to highlight was hard, I love all of them, but I settled on “Love All Night (Work All Day)” because of her exquisite orange-red lip in the video:

Dame Sophie’s Best Efforts At Germ-Banishing Via...The Magic of Links?

Friends, I would love to watch a Room With A View sequel about underappreciated minor character Minnie Beebe. Until the day The Secret brings my hopeful wish to fruition, I share this iconic gif, which for the last month has frequently felt like live footage of me, talking to me, about me. Let’s go out to tea, INDEED.

Ugh, guess whoooo still feels like warmed-over garbage? Yes, good guess, it’s me! I can report, after careful study every single year for the last four-plus decades of my existence, that cold germs really do take at least 7-10 days to work their way out of one’s system. There is no hurrying these li’l viruses, they are like toddlers who instantly go limp in your arms the second you indicate it’s time to leave the house when they don’t wanna. Attempt to chivvy them along, and what do they do? Go straight to your lungs, bearing little care packages of phlegm, that’s what. They are terrible bodily houseguests & I hate them. Here’s the content keeping me sane while I wait them out:

  • Longtime readers know my love of music podcasts nestled at the intersection of silly & erudite. Lavish my ears with encyclopedically nerdy music facts and goofy jokes & banter, and my heart will be yours forever (see also: U Talkin’ U2 To Me?). Enter Who Cares About The Rock Hall?, a podcast hosted by comedians Joe Kwaczala and Kristen Studard, all about one of my very favorite problematic faves, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In each episode, they talk about things like the current year’s nominees, the current class of inductees,  induction ceremonies of years gone by, and so on, liberally peppered with silly asides and impromptu sing-alongs. If this sounds eye, rolling, move right along, but if this is your thing, it is really going to be your thing. I found it thanks to one of Joe’s 31 Videos For His 31st Birthday, the one that shares for posterity the true & correct original choreography for Marc Almond & Soft Cell’s classic single “Tainted Love”.

    • Extra credit for those so inclined: this episode of the Longform podcast featuring an interview with Joe Hagan, who wrote the unauthorized biography of Rock Hall founder Jann Wenner, Sticky Fingers.

  • As I remarked to a friend earlier this week, I have a lot of thoughts about laundry. I could happily live the rest of my life never folding a single item of clothes ever again, but I truly do love to sort laundry & shepherd items through the cleaning & drying process. I love process, I’m a frustrated chemist, I love the semi-arcane knowledge acquisition necessary for knowing how to treat nylon vs viscose vs silk, and I also just love having clean clothes. I also love knowing about weird or obscure jobs, so please imagine my glee when I got to read this piece in the New York Times about Germany’s Hans-Jürgen Topf, King of Rock & Roll Laundry. (pro tip for vintage clothing lovers I just learned today from the Jolie Kerr piece linked above: Dr. Bronner’s is great for getting that weird, yet instantly identifiable Eau de Mustiness, Perfumes & Cigarettes of Yore, and Body Odor out of your thrift store treasures!)

  • About twice a year, I will clear off my bedside table & its several strata of books. This would seem like a perfect, low-stakes activity for a contemplative sick day, but this year, my To Be Read Pile has very hopefully jumped the confines of my bedside table and done some exuberant expansion on the floor next to the bed, resulting in my not yet summoning the energy to do the total reset I definitely need to do. One of the books I’m keenest to make space for one weekend in February is Midnight Chicken (And Other Recipes Worth Living For), by Ella Risbridger. It’s a combination of cookbook and personal essays/memoir, and it caught my eye when I saw Nigella Lawson rave about it a few weeks ago. More recently, cherished DamesPal & Guest Editor Emerita Alyssa mentioned it as a particularly good book about food and grief, which has piqued my interest further. Something about this time of year makes me long to learn more about how people carry the memories and spirits of their dead loved ones with them. It’s sad, and it’s hopeful, like the slow daily ticking upwards of minutes of sunlight as we finally head towards spring.

  • I’ve watched both of the currently available documentaries about Fyre Festival (one each on Netflix and Hulu), and recommend watching both to anyone interested in scammers, late-stage capitalism (with a super-fun dash of contemporary colonialism, wheee), and how we all — all — use technology to convey what we want about ourselves. To the latter point, this week’s Call Your Girlfriend digs deep on Instagram, which drove most of the hype about the ill-fated festival. I found Aminatou’s comments about how the quality of her Instagram Stories is sometimes a direct result of an unsettled mental & emotional state particularly resonant and troubling. I know good & well I’m not going to be using Twitter and Instagram less in 2019, but I do want to check in with myself more regularly to make sure I’m using them in a way that feels healthier.

  • And finally, everyone’s favorite nonbinary hero of Antifa, Gritty, is now featured on iconic book covers. A thousand blessings on the house of the photoshop genius who brought us these wonderful gifts.

A significant portion of my daily diet lately, as depicted by Charlotte Anabar

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