Harry Styles appears to have paid homage to George Michael after getting lyrics to his hit track Careless Whisper tattooed on his ankles. (continue reading…)
The New York Times last week issued an entertaining challenge to some of our best-known poets: to Write a poem on Twitter, subject to its 140-character limit. You can read the (mixed) results of this daunting challenge. Former poet laureate Robert Pinsky punned on the word “characters,” Claudia Rankine boldly meditated on the tsunami and Elizabeth Alexander fully embraced Twitter’s unique dialect and syntax (which I loved). For Alexander, the Twitter forum was “just enuf 2hold/1 xllent big word.”
But if The New York Times fancies itself to be on the cutting edge of merging literature and technology, it would be wrong (continue reading…)
Avenues Chef de Cuisine Curtis Duffy stopped by The Interview Show, hosted by Mark Bazer, at The Hideout, to discuss his cooking philosophy, winning two Michelin stars and the de facto tasting menu he makes for his children at home.
Video of the interview is below.
(The next Interview Show is Friday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m. at The Hideout.
read full news from www.huffingtonpost.com
A couple of years ago, in that rosy flush of a little success and a whole lot of dreams (and fueled, I must admit, by a few too many margaritas), I did something stupid.
I had just sold my book to a big time publisher. I had been published before, to little acclaim, and had spent a lot of years writing and wondering if I’d ever be published again. Turned out, I would be, and this was nothing short of a miracle on the Lourdes scale to me. So a little celebration was in order.
On a neon-lit street in South Beach, standing — all right, swaying — in a tattoo parlor, I promised my husband, myself, a taxi driver and several bemused bystanders that I would get a tattoo — an Alice in Wonderland themed tattoo — if (not when) my novel, Alice I Have Been, hit the New York Times Bestseller list.
Flash forward a couple of years (continue reading…)
I am 60 years old — not a 40-is-the-new-60 type but a real, un-airbrushed 60.
I start with that for two reasons: one, because I never thought I would get this old, and two, because I must prove that I have enough life experience to write about tattoos.
When I was a kid, I had an uncle who was covered with tattoos. His were the first tattoos I can remember. Uncle Buddy’s best tattoo was the hula girl on his shoulder that he could make “dance.” I’d been a hula girl in my Bluebird summer program, but I sure didn’t dance like that. The naughty part was Miss Hula had misplaced her coconut shells. Yeah, she was topless in 1959. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.
When I would ask my mother why Uncle Buddy had those magical tattoos, she always replied, “If there was trouble to find, my brother found it.” Uncle Buddy had given a teacher a hot foot (if you have to ask what that is, stop reading now), wasn’t much of a student and loved boats. It was a natural fit that he joined the Navy before he finished high school. The tattoos came from his ports of call.
Years later, he’d tell me that his tattoos reminded him of that exciting time during the war. My father had gone to war also but had enlisted in the Air Force. When I asked my mother why didn’t daddy have any tattoos, she’d give me one of those I’m-only-saying-this-once stares and say, “Because your father was an officer.”
When I was 27, I was going through a war of my own. I was getting divorced from my
high school sweetheart and decided that part of my newfound freedom was doing exactly as I pleased. Janice Joplin had a tattoo, and so would I. There was only one tattoo parlor in the small town I lived in; however, the tattoo artist was a man named Lyle Tuttle, who had been famous in San Francisco for years. I imagined he must have given both my uncle and Janice their tattoos.
When I arrived for my appointment, Lyle’s exact words were, “Don’t get many customers like you.”
“Well what kind of people do you usually get?” I asked.
“Sailors, rock stars, degenerates…”
Oh my, this was better than I hoped for. Maybe it was my Gucci bag or my Calvins that set me apart? Who cares? I got my tattoo.
It only hurts a little when the needle pricks the skin, and it leaves only traces of blood droplets. There is outlining and then filling in the colors. It took about two hours. Where is my tattoo? Sexy enough for a lover to enjoy, but nowhere the PTA could see. I wasn’t a member of the PTA, but at 27 I didn’t know what was around the corner, so I planned ahead. I could end up in the suburbs again. My first day of my tattooedness, I was told to keep the bandage on and to not shower. I couldn’t wait to see it.
I stopped by my parents’ house on the way home. My mother had bought me some new clothes. I think she figured that if I was going to be divorced, she’d step right back in and dress me again, and trust me, she was also plotting my next wedding.
Privacy in an Italian family is never a high priority on the list. It most likely is never on the list to begin with, so as I am trying on my new wardrobe, my mother bursts through the bathroom door. She sees the bandage and screams, “You’ve been stabbed, that lazy bastard husband stabbed you!” Oh dear.
“Mama, Randy didn’t stab me. I got a tattoo,” I said.
“Let me see it!” There was an audible gasp. I was glad I’d gone with a tasteful rose, and not my first choice, a bloody heart with a knife through it, reading, “Expect no mercy,” a warning for the next soldier…
“Do me a favor, Denise,” she sighed calmly as she gingerly replaced the bandage. “Don’t ever show or tell your father.”
“Ok, Mama, I promise… But really, Mama, don’t you think it’s pretty?”
“I think I’d rather you’d been stabbed.”
It seems to me like it’s been decades since that day. And it has. There’s a tattoo parlor
on every corner in Los Angeles. Movie stars have tattoos of their kids instead of writing their children’s birth dates in the family Bible. Tattoos are art, imagination, whimsy and freedom.
To me they are very personal. To each his own. I work with cookbook writers who are grandmothers and have tattoos. In my circle of friends, I know everyone from rappers to Lutherans with tattoos. For crying out loud, who’s to know, maybe the Pope has a tattoo. If he does, I hope it’s the thorny crown; I love that kind of visual…
Over the weekend, a friend of mine was pulled off a Delta flight because he has the word “bomb” tattooed on his knuckle. It comes from a childhood nickname. Granted, my friend is heavily tattooed, big and a tiny bit scary if you don’t know him, but he’s a teddy bear. He also carries a $1,200 Louis Vuitton bag. Do terrorists really spend $1,200 bucks on a bag? The word “bomb” made another passenger nervous. My friend has 140,000 flight miles with Delta and yet, the decision was made to remove him from that flight. To me, that’s a customer service dilemma, not a security issue.
My question is, are we handling our freedom with the hard-won dignity we’ve fought for, or are we as bad as the maniacs we are afraid of? I think my Uncle Buddy would have some choice words on this.
Denise Vivaldo is the author of “Perfect Table Settings,” (Robert Rose Publishing, 2010). When not pondering tattoos, Ms. Vivaldo likes to practice her napkin folds.
Follow Denise Vivaldo on Twitter:
Could one health clinic provide care to over ten million residents throughout four different countries in one of the most rural regions of the world? Dr. Amy Lehman believes so.
Anything but an ordinary general surgeon, Dr. Amy Lehman is a human dynamo. She recently stopped by for coffee, and revealed much more than I could ever expect about her brilliant plans to build a floating clinic on the world’s longest lake, Lake Tanganyika.
How will Amy do this? Where is Lake Tanganyika? Dr. Amy Lehman reveals her plans — and more!
Caught in the Act: Dr. Amy Lehman from Creative Visions Foundation on Vimeo.
How you can help the Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic:
Join the team on Facebook.
Float the boat! Make a donation.
Learn more by listening to this piece on Worldview.
To learn more about the Creative Visions Foundation.
Follow Kathy Eldon on Twitter:
From the nape of her neck to just below her collarbone, Victoria Beckham has a famous line of Hebrew scripture inked onto her skin: “Ani ledodi vedodi li haro’eh ba’shoshanim.”
The verse, from the Hebrew poem Shir Ha’shirim, or in English, Song of Songs, means “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine, who grazes among lilies.” Beckham’s Jewish-inspired body art (her husband, soccer star David Beckham identifies as “half Jewish” since his maternal grandfather was Jewish) was noted in a recent New York Times profile of Mrs. Beckham and her burgeoning fashion line.
This tattoo, as NYT writer Ruth LaFerla portrays it, is more than just a meaningful emblem: it is an act of marital commitment.
There is a well-known Jewish taboo regarding tattoos — namely, that Jews shouldn’t get them — which makes the idea of a Hebrew tattoo seem nothing short of an oxymoron. But it is striking that the Beckhams chose to “cement” their marital vows with a permanent reminder from the Jewish tradition. And the choice to ink their flesh with a line of Hebrew poetry seems to signal something different than, say, a tattoo of a butterfly. Which made me wonder, in the eyes of Judaism: Are all tattoos created equal?
“There’s a mishna [in Makkot] that states that anybody who puts a lasting mark on their body is culpable, meaning they’ve committed a sin,” Rabbi Aaron Alexander, Associate Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University explains. “But then another rabbi comes in and says the only way you can become culpable is if you write the name of God.”
The prohibition against Jews getting tattoos comes from a verse in Leviticus that forbids gashing one’s flesh: “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves; I am the Lord.” The juxtaposition of the law with ‘I am the Lord’ is the reason some interpret the prohibition to mean ‘tattoos are fine, as long as they are not God’s name.’ The provenance of the prohibition, according to Alexander, is also related to ancient idolatrous practices of tribes surrounding the Israelites. But primarily, the prohibition against permanently altering the body is related to the concept of b’tselem elokim — that human beings are created in the image of God, and that such pristine perfection should not be altered.
“That’s the piece we deal with as moderns,” Alexander says. “What does it mean to see yourself in the image of God; to understand that your body is a gift from God, on loan from God? Judaism tells us, ‘you’re beautiful; there’s god in you’ — regardless of how society views a person — and if you see yourself that way, then your appreciation of that fact means you do not need to add human art. Your body itself is art.”
Just to be clear, Victoria Beckham is not Jewish, but her impulse to ink — and to do so Jewishly, is something plenty of Jews either do or desire. Even though Alexander would not condone Jews tattooing, he does allow that in another sense, body art can be seen as a godly act.
“I believe many people tattoo themselves in order to become part of the artistic nature that is the body, in service of the fact that their bodies are b’tzelem elokim and they want to be in partnership with that creative expression. In that sense, I get it and I’ve seen beautiful tattoos.”
Alexander added that rabbinic awareness of the dogmas surrounding b’tzelem elokim led to some of Judaism’s bodily practices like wearing tallit (prayer shawls) and wrapping tefillin (phylacteries). But those rituals, while related to the holiness of the body, are time-bound and transient. And the interesting purpose of Beckham’s tattoo, in particular, is that it exists precisely to connote permanence: a permanent mark to reinforce the aspirational permanence of marriage.
A noble aim, indeed; but not really a kosher one:
“While her intentions may be beautiful and meaningful and powerful in the context of her relationship, there has to be a place where we say, ‘This is sacred in and of itself,’” Alexander says. “My understanding of Jewish tradition would suggest she find a way to live out ‘Ani l’dodi’ so much so, it’s as if it is tattooed on her at all times, while keeping the perfect body God gave her intact.”
Well, at least on the point of Victoria Beckham’s perfect body, Rabbi Alexander’s assertion is beyond dispute.