Hello, Beloved DamesPals! We come bearing further glad tidings about Our Queen!
Only one week after singing her praises for personal growth and elegant activism, we’re back with more pro-Emma Thompson feelings. Namely, we cannot wait to see her in Late Night, Mindy Kaling’s debut as both a screenwriter and a leading lady, the freshly-released trailer for which looks scrumptious:
Before it came into our lives, we missed it so bad!
It looks like a funnier, more cogently & overtly feminist take on The Devil Wears Prada and we are DYING for June 7th to get here so that we can go watch it. For Emma Thompson’s blazers alone (BLACK SEQUINS!! BLUE PORCELAIN FLORAL!!!! CREAM SILK WITH ZEBRAS!!!!), it will be worth the price of admission. And that chic pixie-with-a-pompadour haircut? To die.
Future live footage of Your Dames racing to watch this movie
Dame Sophie’s Cri de Coeur
I can still hear him murmuring plaintively, cajolingly: Brennnnnnnnn
The dream of the 90s continues to die, little by little. This week in Mortality Is Bullshit, Luke Perry’s death hit me pretty hard! It’s impossible to overstate the significance of Beverly Hills, 90210 in the cultural landscape of my high school years, and it’s been genuinely delightful to see him again each week on Riverdale, where he played Archie Andrews’ lived-in yet still quite foxy dad, Fred. (Shout-out to Riverdale for giving teen icons of the 80s & 90s substantive work and for giving today’s teens an easy point of entry to those actors’ earlier work in the aggressively fever dreamy world they’ve cooked up on that show. My 13 year-old and I love to watch together and peel back all the many layers of cultural allusions.) Here’s a round-up of the best remembrances of him I’ve read so far. I’m sure I’ve missed some good ones; please do @ me with your favorites that didn’t make this list!
Jessica Morgan’s remembrance over at Go Fug Yourself captures the significance of Beverly Hills, 90210 in a culture that had no teen soaps to speak of. Try to imagine a TV landscape without The OC, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Riverdale, all those DC shows! Without 90210 (or Bev, as one girl in my homeroom called it) “there would probably be no CW at all, honestly — and Dylan was its heartthrob, the perfect trope of the Sexy Bad Boy With Hidden Depths; Misunderstood With Terrible Parents, Sensitive and Thoughtful and Hot, Who Doesn’t Even Make Fun of You When You Have an Unfortunate Accident With Sun-In Leave-In Hair Dye.” At first blush, Dylan seemed like the kind of boy you’d warn your kid off from dating, but like Ryan Atwood and so many others after him, he was primarily a sweet kid who needed structure and consistency. It’s remarkable when an actor can simultaneously embody capital-T trouble and maximum vulnerability, and it’s a skill we underrate, because who cares about that combo pack? (I know who, and so do you.)
Obviously, Rob Sheffield’s take is perfect, and reveals an encyclopedic knowledge of 90210 and Perry’s career as a whole, which I deeply respect. Similarly, Linda Holmes’ remembrance strikes a just-right balance of true appreciation and the gentlest possible acknowledgement that Perry got very famous by taking seriously a role that in lesser hands would have only been worthy of mockery. This special episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour featuring Sarah D. Bunting does a lovely job of assaying Perry’s contributions, while Richard Lawson’s appreciation in Vanity Fair chimes out a lovely & true grace note: “I’ll tell you what hasn’t dimmed: the pure wonder of Luke Perry cocking his head and furrowing his brow as Dylan contemplates some surfer insight with charmingly self-important seriousness. Perry’s magic still has deep power.”
Off-screen, by many accounts, Luke Perry was an absolute doll who maintained a decades-long family friendship with Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, was a genius of jollying along kids who were about to melt down on airplanes, and was quite pro-union, as befits a true son of the Rust Belt. RIP, dreamy prince of worker solidarity.
The past is gone, and it’s also ever-present in our shared memories. Living with and through that paradox, particularly through a shared grief experience, is one of the best/worst/best and most deeply bittersweet things I know.
Some other things on my mind this week, in the style of the indispensable Ann Friedman Weekly: getting to hear Nicole Chung speak about her beautiful and moving memoir, All You Can Ever Know, available at a bookseller and/or library near you; Jolie Kerr’s annual March tradition of daily bed-making (aka LAMOB), featuring special tips for banishing weird smells from your sleep chamber; getting so swept away by this review for Patrick Radden Keefe’s new book about The Troubles, Say Nothing, that I promptly bought and dove into a copy; Marjorie Ingall’s thoughtful dive into the role of sensitivity readers in contemporary publishing; how we really need to pause before we continue to shit all over Ilhan Omar and maybe concern ourselves more with the distinction between embracing Jews and “supporting Israel”; and being just two days from seeing John Mulaney live at the local enormous high school performing arts center!!! [Ariana Grande’s ex-fiancé and Kate Beckinsale’s (????) current flame Pete Davidson will also be there, apparently.]
Dame Margaret’s Half-and-Half of Happiness
Live footage of Dame M. within 15 minutes of hitting send on this here newsletter
For some reason (perhaps my Lenten abandonment of the snooze button?), my brain feels like it’s oozing out my ears today, so I’m going to give you one half FRESH LINKS and one half thoroughly vetted, lightly updated recommended purchases that were previously exclusively to our paying subscribers. My hope is that you’ll enjoy both parts, but regardless of your enjoyment THIS IS ALL I CAN PROVIDE TODAY, I AM SO SORRY, I HOPE YOU STILL LOVE ME.
In an important reminder that Hollywood will almost always let you down, only a few weeks after I wrote in praise of his screwball comedy What’s Up, Doc?, director Peter Bogdanovich sat down for a long interview with Vulture and reminded me (1) that he’s a dreadful, predatory creep and that (2) Hollywood is toxic cesspit designed to protect misogynistic ego-maniacs like him. Whether it’s Orson Welles sleeping in Bogdanovich’s guest house or Bogdanovich sleeping in Quentin Tarantino's (admittedly both reality TV series I would probably watch), the piece drives home the Brotherhood of Art white male directors manifested for one another and said Brotherhood’s conviction that women were disposable ornaments and nothing more. All of which made me grateful that, before going on a possibly permanent hiatus, Karina Longworth’s podcast You Must Remember This processed one piece of this interview through its typically feminist, intersectional lens: the murder of Dorothy Stratten. After reading this interview, I would kill for Longworth to do an entire season re-examining Bogdanovich’s legacy, from his ex-wife’s claims to shaping his three most influential films to his dismissive claims concerning Cher’s acting ability. Maybe if all of Dames Nation wishes along with me, we can manifest it via The Secret.
Then, in an important reminder that not all your faves are terrible, legendary investigative reporter Jane Mayer both (1) released a searing, must-read article on the unprecedented degree of enmeshment between Fox News and the Trump White House (a powerhouse report which has already led to one resignation and could lead to criminal charges) and (2) was the focus of a charming profile from Elle that included the following winning anecdote: “In the early ’90s, [Mayer] returned from a reporting trip to discover that the lawyer she’d been living with had taken up with her ‘polar opposite,’ Laura Ingraham, now a Fox News host. The new couple refused to return Mayer’s dog, so one day, when they weren’t home, she and Abramson drove over, and Mayer climbed through the pet door to retrieve it. (‘She’s a lot of fun,’ Abramson tells me. ‘I don’t want you to make her seem deadly serious.’)” So, you know, every once in a while, your favs are exactly as great as you hope they’ll be.
First up, let me give a more informed recommendation for the terrific— and shockingly affordable!— backpack I got this summer on Amazon: the Himawari Travel Backpack. After using it for nine months, I am fully in love with it. It’s held up beautifully to everything from international travel to music festivals, . The wire frame at the mouth lets it open really wide and stay open without additional support, which is always handy, and the zipper on the back lets you access all the sedimentary layers of the bag even at its most full. And, best of all, It looks so cute that I get compliments on it constantly, especially with the row of enamel pins I added to the front pocket.
This recommendation is less a product endorsement and more a lifehack: these rainbow mesh nylon pouches have the potential to change your life. HOW, you ask? By using them as modular purse essential pouches. This serves two purposes: first, by gathering all your odds and ends into pouches within your purse, you cut down on digging enormously, especially for heavy items like your keys. Second, it makes it really easy to assure that all the things you actually need are with you when you switch from one purse to another. These particular bags are cute, surprisingly sturdy (mine has last 8 years of hard wear without visible weathering), and by dint of being transparent, make it easy to see exactly what’s inside, and where in the pouch it’s gotten to.
You know how in romantic comedies, Meg Ryan or whomever always has a very coherent pajama collection and looks absolutely adorable in it? Well, I have spent my whole life chasing that aesthetic and, after years of trial and error, I finally have the perfect pajama wardrobe. The contents:
The most important thing is a pajama set that actually fits. As a small woman with narrow shoulders, short arms, and a short torso, most commercially available pajama sets look comically overlarge on me rather than winsomely boxy. Which is why I was so relieved and delighted to discover that L.L. Bean offers their flannel pajama sets in petite sizes. Although currently only available in an array of woodsy plaids, from time to time cuter patterns (like my piped and polka dot set) become available, and they’re worth their slightly high price tag. Three years in, both my pairs are still in beautiful shape despite the fact that I spend like… 60% of my time in them.
That said, I have also had great luck with more affordably priced jersey shortie sets from Target, now the heart of the extremely good sleepwear line they launched this week (and from which I have already bought an irresistible green floral robe). The jersey fabric these shortie pajamas are made from is outlandishly soft and possessed of a beautiful drape, meaning that they look every bit as adorable on as I could ever hope— at least in the short sleeve, short shorts variety. At full length, the jersey can drag and cling, so I stick with the shortie sets, pairing them with Uniqlo’s HeatTech leggings and pajama cardigans when the weather begins to turn cool. They are available in solid colors pretty much year round, and periodically also in cute patterns, like this adorable yellow-and-white stripe. I own four pairs of these pajamas and will happily buy more as further prints become available.
And then, the pièce de résistance: a glorious floral silk kaftan for vastly less than you would expect courtesy of Silk & More on Etsy. This listing lets you pick any of the shop’s designs in any of the silk fabrics offered, and this one allows you to add pockets— for $46 (including shipping!), I got a floor-length empire-waist kaftan (style #8) in yellow floral silk, with pockets, and it’s stupidly glamorous and comfortable and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Two Bossy Dames is brought to you by:
Great pieces of imaginary art, like those celebrated by Jenny Jaffe on Twitter. Our favorites are “Pop Goes My Heart”, written by the Fountains of Wayne guys for the Silver Basic-ranked romantic comedy, Music & Lyrics and the entire soundtrack to the 2001 movie Josie and the Pussycats, particularly “Shapeshifter”, coincidentally also written by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne and— yet more important— Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo!
John Prine @ing Alex Trebek with a tweet of encouragement, thereby creating the ultimate "when your dad signs his texts Love, Dad" moment, combined with working one of his own lyrics into the tweet, which we find darling/hilarious/a cute flex
Louis Tomlinson’s magnificent, stadium-ready grief banger “Two Of Us”, which executes the best maneuver of all good songs, rendering his very specific grief universal. No more tears left to cry? Lolsob, I don’t think so!
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