Equinox, Time To Rock!

Katharine Hepburn has given us, as a (Dames) Nation, so very much.
The world’s most essential hangover gif, for example:

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Among the first five ever saved to Dame Margaret’s iPhone.

One of the most delightful pieces of ephemera she provided we have published previously, and it is her brownie recipe-- reportedly delivered along with an imperious pep talk to a miserable Bryn Mawr student-- courtesy of the NY Times. What we did NOT know is that said recipe was also home to the New York Times’s most infamous online comment:

“This has been my go-to brownie recipe for 30 years. In the ’80s, an acquaintance in Germany to whom I brought some of the brownies, and who considered herself a great cook, asked for the recipe but was never able to get it to work. She kept asking me what she was doing wrong and I was never able to solve her problem. Eventually, she moved to the U.S. and stole my husband.”

This past week, New York Magazine did #GodsWork and tracked down the woman behind that comment to get the whole story and, surprise, it’s just as great as the comment implies. And goes very well with our favorite viral story of last week, Marie-Claire King’s account of how her husband left her the same week she secured the grant that permitted her to discover the BRCA1, the marker gene for those with a hereditary susceptibility to breast cancer, which features the best 3rd act celebrity cameo since Neil Patrick Harris revitalized his career in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

The moral: men are garbage (with one or two notable exceptions), brownies are great (as long as you don’t put in too much flour), welcome to our newsletter (a statement which requires no parenthetical) (but have we ever passed up a parenthetical? Sure have not & are unlikely to ever!).


LONGING GLANCE ALERT! We’re Livetweeting CAROL on 10/15!

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Yes, friends, it’s time for another live-tweet of a splendid film. For October, we’ve chosen the very justly lauded romantic period piece Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as women who fall in love in New York in the mid-1950s. Please do join us!

When: Sunday, October 15, 7:30 pm ET
Where: each of our respective cozy pillow forts & on Twitter, using #carol (don’t worry, we’ll use #haroldtheyrelesbians, too)
How: Netflix or DVD


WELCOME, AUTUMN!

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On this day of blessed equinox, we are ALL Stella.

  • What is more autumnal than making tea? Nothing. And what could make making tea better than listening to Liam Gallagher swear about how he’s forced to do it for himself cause these days “you fucking little smartasses download your fucking tunes for nish”? Also nothing-- except perhaps for our imagined Harry Styles response video, wherein he will make tea in a manner so odd and so imbued with open-hearted joy that even Liam will be converted to the virtues of DIY. We pray for this to be so, speedily & in our days, and let us say AMEN.

  • As there is no love language more central to both of Your Dames than mix making, it just so happens that we have TWO celebrating fall: Autumnal Ennui & Luxury on Spotify and Marching Like a Grandfather Clock on YouTube. They are both so important. Please listen to them and tweet us your favorite songs or videos from each, thank you.

  • It’s PRESTIGIOUS FILM SEASON and this year has a great looking collection. This week’s Pop Culture Happy Hour about the premieres they caught at the Toronto International Film Festival has us giddy with anticipation!

  • Dames Nation, in the immortal words of DJ Khaled, I (Dame M.) played myself this week. I got DEEPLY INVESTED in two new mystery series featuring phenomenal lady detectives, each of which only has TWO BOOKS OUT at the moment. As Eliza Hamilton would say, IT’S NOT ENOUGH! That said, is ANYTHING more appropriate for fall than a good mystery novel? Especially ones that are as great as these four were on audio? I say unto you again: nay, there is NOT A THING more great.  The series in question are Darcie Wilde’s Rosalind Thorne mysteries and Sherry Thomas’s Lady Sherlock series. Both take place in London in the 19th century, both are written by authors who started out writing romance novels (novels which, at least in Sherry Thomas’s case, are QUITE EXCELLENT-- start with Private Arrangements), and both feature: full-realized main characters with depth, wit, and derring do to spare; supporting casts full of fascinating villains, intriguing love interests, and exquisite friends; just the _right_ amount of historical context (enough to ground the story and show that homework has been done, but never so much that the plot slows); and-- BEST OF ALL-- genuinely compelling mystery plots that are well-paced and surprising. If you have previously taken (and been grateful for) my recommendation of Y.S. Lee’s The Agency quartet, these books are for you.

  • Rounding things out, what is autumn without cozy baked goods & easy to prepare comfort foods? Nothing at all! Some of Dame Sophie’s favorites include the best honey cake recipe in all the land (pro tip, this recipe yields a massive cake; if you split it across several loaf pans, you can freeze two and enjoy it later), Swiss chard pancakes (also great made with bok choi), and shredded beet & carrot salad. In fact, if good, tasty, quick recipes are what you crave most of all, Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast is a very good place to start.

PS:

I say, did someone ring for tea?



Does Dame Margaret Find Trends, Or Follow Them? The World May Never Know

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Welcome to your time, you lovable and indecisive aesthetes!  

  • So, as previously established, I am like into astrology now. THANKS, CHRISTINA AND KAMILLE! I feel like I came to this decision independent of external cultural forces, but I also appear to have come to it just as astrology is having something of a moment, so I'm having something of a crisis about whether I am a trend SETTER or a trend FOLLOWER. I think I'm just like... the latest possible early adapter. But however I came to believe in THE CONTROLLING SWAY OF THE STARS, believe it I now do, which makes both Rosa Lyster’s guide to making a hater like astrology and the Astro Poets’ new astology-based advice column absolutely essential reading for me.

  • Also somewhat related to Adore Delano and RuPaul’s Drag Race-- i.e. the primary way basic bitches like myself learn of fun gay slang and start to use it with obnoxious abandon-- this terrific Atlas Obscura piece on Lubunca, a secret Turkish queer slang that has been used by the LGBTQ community in Turkey since the late Ottoman era, its evolution, and the way its growing visibility in Turkey effects queer communities there combines history, linguistic research, and the push and pull of cultural appropriation in a way that renders it the purest possibly #Damesbait.

  • One of the musical highlights of my life was seeing Mavis Staples performwith two of my favorite bands (Lake Street Dive and Lucius, respectively), so when my beloved #Damespal Elon Green revealed that he had interviewed Mavis for The New Yorker, I was predictably delighted. The resulting interview encapsulates everything that makes Ms. Staples such a sustaining delight: her warmth, her indomitable spirit, her grounded but unstoppable optimism, her sense of humor about herself-- she is really just the best. AND it’s also the first place I learned that Bob Dylan once proposed to her? Which is probably the best thing I’ve ever heard about Bob Dylan, TBQH, don’t @ me.

  • And speaking of black artists, this past weekend, professional and amateur artists alike took to Twitter to share their work under the hashtag #drawingwhileblack. The resulting visual feast is predictably glorious. Browse through while listening to Tanika Charles’s excellent album Soul Run to have the best Sunday morning possible.

  • And, going back to Atlas Obscura, did you know that nearly all of California’s orange trees can be traced back to one tree in particular, and that somehow it’s still alive? And you can visit it? Because that’s all true and it feels like the feminist rebuke to The Giving Tree I’ve been looking for my whole life.


Dame Sophie’s Linky-loos

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This is not the gif I went looking for, but it is the gif I needed.

  • I want to kick this week’s list off with some links to agencies providing aid and assistance to people in Puerto Rico, which experienced a near-miss with Hurricane Irma two weeks ago, and faced the full Category 4 wrath of Hurricane Maria this week. The entire island is presently without electrical power and residents have been warned not to expect full restoration of power for a good six months. It’s impossible to imagine residents of Florida or any other of the lower 48 states being told that, and it’s worth thinking about why that might be (you don’t need more than one guess, trust me). Meanwhile, what Mexico City seems to need most at this point in post-earthquake recovery is expertise in infrastructure evaluation & rebuilding. If you can help our neighbors in the global south in the ways they’ve identified as what they need, please do.

  • Past guest editor & perennial #DamesFav Julia Carpenter’s recent piece How To Cry At Work (Without Losing Respect) is so important to me. I loathe & won’t stand for the idea that human beings can’t experience major emotional responses in the workplace. I recognize that in many workplaces, it’s not safe to cry, and I also believe that’s something those of us in a position to change SHOULD change. If you find yourself mid-career in a supervisory or even just a mentor position, you can create opportunities to make it clear to junior colleagues that checking all emotions at the door isn’t a requirement for a successful career. Over the years, I’ve definitely seen a shift in some workplaces (and perhaps even more significantly, in workplace literature - places like the Harvard Business Review and Ask A Manager - there’s a ton of reasonable & humane advice in posts marked with the Work Habits tag, in particular) towards acknowledging that people are humans with a full range of emotional experiences that we bring with us everywhere we go, and I believe that’s a step in the right direction. As always, my personal philosophy is It’s All Right To Cry, with the friendly amendment of If You Need To & Maybe Not Right At Your Desk, Though.

  • Armie Hammer is about to open the film Call Me By Your Name, which looks poised to become a modern coming-of-age classic queer romance. He’s also recorded the audiobook for the novel of the same title, which gives us the opportunity to appreciate his lovely speaking voice in isolation. Over at Vulture Hunter Harris offers us 20 Descriptions of Armie Hammer’s Voice in the Call Me By Your Name Audiobook, and it is every bit the Premium Goys Content™ we all need & deserve. For example: “Armie Hammer’s voice is so deep and viscous it sounds like when Beyoncé performs “Love on Top” live and she sings the chorus again and again and again and again, but that last time she sings “Baby it’s you,” she switches it up and goes to a lower key!” Relatedly, now seems as good a time as any to remind you that Tom Hiddleston’s recording of may i feel said he, by e.e. cummings, is very much worth a listen.

  • As someone who’s always lived in a major metropolitan area and who can, thanks to that geographic and socioeconomic privilege, think of five large, well-stocked supermarkets within a 10-minute drive of my house, this piece on the sociological and culinary importance of cake mix - shelf-stable, forgiving of ingredient substitutions, and almost infinitely remixable - in remote villages of Alaska was a moving reminder of just how varied and ingenious North American foodways and home cooks are.


The Harold Herald

~*~ Being a semi-regular round-up of the antics of His Grace, Harold Elizabeth Styles, Esq., once & future of One Direction, presently of Dunkirk and his current international tour of small venues. ~*~

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This guy is back. More on that in a moment.

HAROLDDDDDDDDD YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS TO US (but we’re glad you do)

  • TOUR TOUR TOUR! Harry’s tour of small venues has begun and things are looking goooood. If you’re not able to attend the shows, you can get pretty close, thanks to The Internet. For example, you can track set lists. He’s playing a mix of his own new material, two One Direction songs (including a rave-up of What Makes You Beautiful, cue Dame Sophie crying for a thousand years), and covers of Ariana Grande (Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart, a song he cowrote) and Fleetwood Mac. I’m waiting very impatiently for the inevitable cover of Shania Twain’s Still The One, teased on kazoo (yes, kazoo, the weirdo) at an event at the Grammy Museum last week, and let us not forget Ultralight Beam. There are also video highlights and a carefully tracked archive of his stage outfits (so many custom Gucci suits are in the offing. SO MANY.). If you have not yet familiarized yourself with his wonderful opening band, MUNA, please get on that right away. They’re covering Edge of Seventeen live and I’m glad I know about it in advance, because it would surely kill me dead where I stand without the benefit of this early knowledge.

  • This wordplay-loving goober figured out that an anagram of the first initials of all the members of his band spells C.H.A.S.M. I’ve decided that C.H.A.S.M. is definitely a hair metal band and look forward to catching them on their incognito tiny club tour in 2019.

  • Harry has opened an online store for his tour merchandise, and that’s great (I am 100% buying that custom moleskine notebook), but I’d be very remiss not to highlight a t-shirt of DamesPal Beth’s design, which cheekily repurposes the classic John & Paul & George & Ringo meme.

  • Did you know that many of Harry’s spectacular fashion choices can be traced back to iconic Cate Blanchett looks? Brilliant Twitter detective Fiona is tracking this splendid pairing in a long, glorious thread. The thought of them meeting on the red carpet, wearing accidentally-on-purpose coordinating looks is almost too much to contemplate, I honestly don’t know why I do this to myself. Also spotted this week & hugely important: a thread of Harry as Stevie Nicks album covers.

  • Once upon a time, as part of his Stage Hoe persona, Harry often pretended to be a whale at 1D shows. It makes sense that he would feel a kinship with the noble cetaceans, as they seem to have a gentle, alien intelligence, and so does he. It also makes sense because, like Harry, whales are _super-dramatic_, what with all their breaching and singing and spouting at the surface of the ocean. Well, guess what, friends? The Whale is back! St. Stevie bless us, every one!

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No, thank *you*, you sexy chesterfield!