A Conversation with Lucinda Williams
Mike Ragogna: Hello there, Lucinda. How are you?
Lucinda Williams: Good.
MR: So, your new album is titled Blessed, and you brought in Don Was on production.
LW: Yeah, he was co-producing with Tom (Overby) and Eric (Liljestrand).
MR: Nice. The mix, of course, is the usual–a beautiful combination of country, blues, folk…
LW: Thank you. Yeah, I’m really excited about
Tag: True Blood
A Conversation with Lucinda Williams
Sharks have a severe image problem. Most people have probably never seen the beauty of a shark up close, but I have been fortunate enough to dive with sharks in Belize and Cancun. They are stunning, prehistoric animals that have been swimming the ocean for 400 million years. But when we hear the word shark, our imaginations project a much more villainous image that instills fear and has made at least one great movie. (Playing a vampire on True Blood, I can relate).
In reality, however, humans are the predators and sharks are the prey. We’re hunting many shark populations to the brink of extinction.
The demand for shark fins, which are used to make shark fin soup — a popular dish in Asia — leads to the killing of tens of millions of sharks around the world each year. Sharks aren’t furry or cute, so there just aren’t as many voices to speak for their conservation. I know my own feelings toward sharks changed after seeing the documentary Sharkwater, which exposes the shark finning industry while displaying the natural beauty of sharks. I visited the Philippines, too, which also opened my eyes about shark conservation. As trays of shark fin soup passed my table, I saw how voracious the human appetite for shark fins really is, and I realized how changed our oceans would be without sharks.
The whole world isn’t going to see Sharkwater, but there are ways to change public opinion of sharks and help populations recover — and it starts with you. Sharks weren’t put here millions of years ago just to be made into soup. We need them, and they need our help — sharks are part of our ecosystem for a reason.
As you read this, there is a bill awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate that would eliminate in U.S waters the barbaric practice of amputating shark fins at sea, and make our country an international leader in shark conservation. The Shark Conservation Act is likely to be voted on in the upcoming weeks.
With the clock ticking towards the end of the current Congress, it could also be ticking away the time sharks have in our oceans. It does not have to be that way. You can make a difference by contacting your senators and letting them know that they should support this important legislation before it’s too late for sharks.
Playing the top of the food chain on television is fun, but in real life that position has its responsibilities. I suspect sharks aren’t here just to be an appetizer.
Please join me in asking our senators to do the right thing for sharks.
This Tuesday night, you can do a little time traveling right on your living room couch when you watch Scream 2010 on Spike TV. Tune in and you will see Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Back To The Future, as well as Jimmy Kimmel’s final farewell to Lost, a pack of vampires from True Blood and Twilight, and what is quite possibly the single greatest Bill Murray cameo appearance since at least Zombieland.
Backstage the other night at the Greek Theatre as head writer for the show, I had the pleasure of meeting Christopher Lloyd for the first time, and catching up with Michael J. Fox who I’ve had the great honor of knowing a bit since the Spin City days. As an aging fanboy, Back To The Future is a movie I’ve probably watched during every one of those 25 years. In more recent years, Back To The Future is also a film classic that I’ve watched repeatedly and excitedly with my two young sons, who now love it just as much as I do.
Michael J. Fox — always one of the nicer guys on earth — kindly mentioned that he enjoys my Huffington Post playlists. Between Michael and George Clooney recently confessing to reading these playlists, I can now estimate that the average Huffington Post reader is a charismatic superstar actor with endless charm and a fully functioning social conscious. While I’m no advertising expert, that sure seems like a very attractive demographic.
As Marty McFly in the Back To The Future trilogy, Michael J. Fox plays a timeless hero. But as a Dad, you try to help your kids distinguish between heroes onscreen and off. I’ve taught my kids that Michael J. Fox is the real deal in both realms. Beyond being a great star, Michael is also a public figure who using his enduring fame to actually try and make the future brighter not just for himself, but also for so many others through The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. According to its mission statement, Michael’s Foundation is dedicated “to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today.”
Listen, I love The Secret Of My Success and Doc Hollywood as much as the next guy — frankly, I probably love them even a little more than the next guy. But beyond being a fan of the man’s work as an actor, I just want to say that Michael J. Fox is much more than another shining star. He’s someone who his kids — and all of our kids — ought to look up to as a true movie hero, a gifted actor who’s shown tremendous grace under considerable pressure in one of the role’s of his lifetime.
As far as I know, time-travel remains an pretty elusive goal, but making the future better for everybody with Parkinson’s disease seems like a very realistic and worthy priority. If our two political parties weren’t so busy with endless pissing matches, maybe they could do more about things like this that actually matter. Here’s hoping that the Michael J. Fox Foundation accomplishes each and every one of its honorable and important goals as soon as possible. That truly would be something worth screaming “Great Scott!” about. To borrow just one memorable line from Back To The Future, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
So here’s a forward-looking playlist for one of this world’s true heroes, the artist formerly known as Marty McFly — the one and only Michael J. Fox.
WELCOME TO THE FUTURE – Brad Paisley
LIVING IN THE FUTURE – Bruce Springsteen
SWEET LITTLE ROCK & ROLLER – Chuck Berry
JOHNNY B. GOODE – Michael J. Fox
THE FUTURE- Leonard Cohen
BACK IN TIME – Huey Lewis & The News
I CAN SEE YOUR FUTURE – Belle and Sebastian
YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND- McFly
HERE COMES THE FUTURE – World Party
TIME BOMB TOWN – Lindsay Buckingham
THE WALLFLOWER (DANCE WITH ME HENRY) – Etta James
LIGHT OF DAY – Michael J. Fox, Joan Jett & The Barbusters
DELOREAN – Fluc Capacitor
THE POWER OF LOVE – Huey Lewis & The News
BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY – Donald Fagen
THE HARD WAY – The Kinks
THE FUTURE – Michael Franti & Spearhead
TRACY – The Cufflinks
O LUCKY MAN! – Alan Price
POISON IVY – The Coasters
TWENTITH CENTURY FOX – The Doors
YOU GOT NO PLACE TO GO – Michael J. Fox
FOX ON THE RUN” – The Sweet
SOMETIMES THE GOOD GUYS FINISH FIRST – Pat Benatar
SHOOTING FOR THE MOON – Amy Holland
BLAME CANADA – South Park
WITHOUT US – Johnny Mathis & Denice Williams
SOMEWHERE IN MY FUTURE – The Motion
LIKE A FOX” – Manassas
HELP – The Beatles
BACK TO THE FUTURE” – Brad Paisley
Please time travel through your memories, and add your own songs for Michael J. Fox right here.
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First an apology that I dropped off the face of the planet last week and was unable to rubberneck Episode 7. Real life and my job intervened as I had to leave town for a few days for a certain Film Festival taking place in a border country. Suffice it to say that, although I felt sure it was inevitable, I felt bad to see Casanova go. He brought a certain je ne sais quoi? to the show that was quite hilarious. Also I very much enjoyed seeing Michael Kors make the rounds with Tim in the workroom. He seemed to be in his element with that added dimension and was completely engaged in the critiques. It was kinda fun to watch. And April’s win was nice. Her black gothy babydoll outfit was cute, even if it did look like Bonjour, Tristesse on acid.
This week the show begins with everyone (ok, Ivy and Michael D) tweezing their eyebrows in their pocket hand mirrors. Michael C dishes on Ivy to Andy and honestly, I can no longer feel sorry for him as he appears to be waxing more devilish by the day. A little faux Bo Diddley beat is the musical bed as the designers leave their digs for Parsons to hear about their newest challenge. Gretchen to camera: “You never know what’s going to happen on this show. All I know is I don’t want to be forced into making a corset.”
Gretchen’s corset face
The group joins Tim who is standing in front of a collage of photos of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in different outfits. La Gunn explains that their challenge this week is to create a look that is your own take on classic American sportswear, using Jackie O as their inspiration. They’ll have 30 minutes to sketch and a budget of $150 at Mood to shop with. Interesting. Whereas Peach might have actually shone at this, this group doesn’t have Jackie O’s aesthetic ingrained into their personal zeitgeist. Good thing they have the collage up there on the wall to refer to.
By the way I need to divulge here that Mondo (swoon) is nattily attired today in a red and black striped sweater and the cutest black and white tights. See below.
Christopher feels he has it in the bag, because classic American sportswear is what he does. Andy’s worried that his aesthetic is imbued with Asian influences which might not mix well in this particular challenge (duh) but Jackie O was a risk-taker without even knowing it (his words) so “it’s going to be a statement piece.”
Tim reminds them before he lets them loose at Mood to “think quality taste style sophistication elegance…expensive.” Mondo reminds us that the fabrics speak to him, “those bolts of fabric have voices and they say come over and pick me up and I usually do.” This time he hears the dulcet tones of a bright purple and black houndstooth and I like where he’s going with this. Meanwhile, at the cash register, Michael D is having second thoughts, which never portends well: “Crap! Did I make the right choice?”
Back in the workroom, Michael C is hamming it up in the sewing room with a swath of gold fabric around his head, very Sophie’s Choice meets September Issue. “I think it’s very Jackie O, don’t you?” he giggles. Full disclosure: I’m really over him, and wouldn’t care a fig if he was ejected at this point.
Gretchen’s oversharing as usual, this time she’s “concerned” about Mondo’s look. She feels that because of the materials he chose, he “might not be hitting the nail on the head with this one.” (Snicker…sorry, can’t help it given the eventual end of this episode). Meanwhile Mondo is worried about his original design so he decides to make a skirt and top instead.
Michael D opines that “this is either going to be really good or really bad.” He doesn’t like sportswear so wants to make a look that is a little dressier using sportswear fabric. Oh, my. I really don’t like where this is going. Meanwhile Valerie is hysterical over his quips. “He’s the funny that I wish I could be.”
“For this challenge I decided to channel the earliest Americans – the Puritans,” Michael D intones (still sporting his Butterfly McQueen headscarf by the way), pretending he’s defending himself before the judges. His outfit is looking more and more like a 1960′s version of Big Love, sans bonnet (Also, per Christopher, The Crucible). “I’m not sure what’s going on but I really really don’t care at this point because I think I’m losing my mind.”
Valerie tells us that she feels like she is “the Susan Lucci of the show. I’ve been in the top like four times and have not won a challenge yet.” Sadly I feel Valerie’s glory days are behind her after the last few weeks, and she has to really step it up to matter again. I no longer feel like she’ll make it to the end, though I hope she makes a turnaround. Mondo tells the camera that Valerie has to get feedback from everyone on her work and her design decisions, which is the kiss of death. Confidence is everything on this show (and in life, come to think of it).
Ivy thinks that some of the other contestants “don’t really know what sportswear is.” “To me Michael C’s look looks very cocktail and I would have to say the same thing for Christopher’s.” Meanwhile Michael C is draping the aforementioned gold scarf around his blue backless dress and asking Andy, “That looks too flight attendant stewardess doesn’t it?” Andy says kind of but he’s not all that concerned because it is, after all, a competition. And everyone is still hoping for Michael C to slip up and be gone.
Meanwhile, Andy – oh Andy. He’s working on a pair of huge cargo pants that even he admits he could fit into one leg with his model. He declares, “a fashion forward person takes risks.” Which means he’s going five hundred miles an hour, I guess.
Tim arrives for his mentoring check-in. As he takes a look at Christopher’s form fitting dress, April shares to camera that it looks like her grandmother’s clothes, which I take to mean that her grandmother is very similar to, say, Lily van der Woodsen Bass on Gossip Girl. Tim thinks Valerie’s fitted-almost-a-legging pant could be “pretty vulgar” and she should “be very mindful of the fit.” Michael C has whipped up two dresses because he’s worried that one might be too cocktail but actually they both are and don’t resemble sportswear in the least little bit. OK, we get it – you can sew fast. (Even if Valerie does say later your looks are very Donna Karan).
Tim likes Andy’s experiment, which I have to say is the best word for it. “It’s a very beautifully draped cargo pant. It’s you.” He’s not very into Michael D’s look and we get the famed Tim Gunn hand to mouth face. “I mean, the more I look at this it’s Annie Oakley, it’s Annie Get Your Gun” both references probably zing over Michael D’s head in the same way that Jackie O must have if he really believes she would ever have worn something like this). Michael D comes back with “I don’t want people to think she’s also got a ruler and she beats children, do you know what I’m saying, I mean it could go there” to which Tim doubles over in laughter and then whispers “that could be the other side of her.”
Mondo’s calling his fetching outfit “First Lady Fabric” then “First Tranny.” YES! April shares that Jackie Kennedy would never wear Andy’s weird pants. “I don’t care what time period it is.” Late in the day Exhaustion Giggles are setting in as Andy puts a black lace mask around Michael D’s eyes. “Michael Drummond, I can’t tell if I should be harvesting wheat, or smacking you with it,” Gretchen intones, channeling La Klum. “All of a sudden, it’s Prairie Home Sex Shop.”
Ivy is so behind with everything she can’t even give her model something to try on, and her buddy Gretchen tells the camera that she thinks Ivy is a “beautiful tailor,” but doesn’t think of her as “one of the more forward designers in the room.” I’m now allowing myself to fantasize about the next season when the show will no doubt have Gretchen blog episodes in the same way that Laura Bennett is doing now. That will be worth reading, n’est ce pas?
When our little friends rise and shine for the runway day the next morning, April thinks the girls are all in the clear, and that Andy’s look is “more Jackie Yo! than Jackie O.” Michael C is buttering Andy up by telling him that the judges will think if Jackie O was alive today, she’d probably wear pants like Andy’s because she was such a risk-taker. Yeah, right.
Mondo, meanwhile, is dressed in a pink shirt and tie, a denim vest, and a cute little blue knit newsboy cap. His roommates, Michael D and Christopher, think he kind of looks like Jackie O “if she came back as a tranny.” And off they go to Parsons.
As the usual runway morning madness ensues, Tim enters the room to make an announcement. “I’m so happy about this little twist you have no idea!” It turns out they have to create an outerwear item to go with their look, 15 minutes of sketch time and another budget of $150 for Mood. Michael D is pleased because as a knitwear designer, “I am Captain Outerwear” (remember this later).
Mondo’s not hearing the fabrics talk too clearly this time. He’s a little bit deer in the headlights. Michael C picks out a roll of fabric and Gretchen comes over and takes it right out of his hands, saying, “I’m grabbing that actually.” The color is oatmeal, which may as well be renamed Gretchen, since it’s a staple of her palette. Michael C tells the camera he could have been a bitch about her grabbing the fabric out of his hands, but he rises above that kind of stuff. Christopher is having a crisis de coeur about using leather, but he thinks it’s his only option as the other stuff he could use for a shrug looks too cheap. He later wonders if the leather was male or female, and reveals he has never sewn leather before.
Gretchen likes Michael D’s jacket on top of his Big Love skirt which tells me he is irrevocably doomed. (Spoiler alert – he is). Michael C made a beige jacket but he feels it looks like a terrycloth towel so he has to make another look. Gretchen tells the camera that in every challenge, Michael C creates multiple outfits and waits until Tim comes in and tells him what to do. “He has no conviction or vision.” Mondo feels like Harry Potter as he tries out the cape cloak he made. Christopher: “You are Harry Potter.”
Tim Time. He is very concerned about Michael D’s skirt. “I had it on my model yesterday and it looked really good,” says MD. Tim obviously does not believe this. “It did? The skirt?” He shakes his head and puts his head in his hand. Michael D reveals to us the Gauges of Tim Gunn.
There’s this one
And this one
To Andy, Tim kvells, “this is the most you you’ve been all season.” But he is concerned about the crotch. “Jackie Kennedy would not have a camel toe.” Michael C brags that he made three jackets, oh yeah, and three other dresses too. Eyebrows are raised and you could cut the disdain in the air with a pair of pinking shears. Tim tells Christopher that his dress is so form-fitting “it looks kind of anemic.” Christopher tells us “a little piece of my soul is dying every second.”
As runway day dawns, Michael D is freaking. “I don’t want to go home, that’s all I’m asking, please don’t send me home.” Mondo says kindly, “I don’t think you’re going home, Michael Drummond” and tells camera that he thinks Michael D is probably the most artistic designer in the group. (Alas, not this time.) Christopher loves Mondo’s runway day outfit, which is kind of like he stepped out of the Lollipop Guild in the Wizard of Oz. He says it was inspired by the Cotton Club. Michael D says he’ll give him a dollar if he’ll tap dance, so Mondo gives us a little soft shoe. He’s wearing a white t-shirt and suspenders, little black shorts, black and white knee socks, a chunky punky stud bracelet, mascara, and has his hair lacquered in place.
Here’s an awesome gif of Mondo tapdancing created by those fantastically creative people over at Jezebel.
At the workroom, Tim comes in to recite the litany of product placements and send in the models. The usual backbiting and Michael C hating commences, Andy worries about the crotch of his cargo pants not fitting, smokey eyes all around in the makeup room, Christopher worries about the shrug he made, and ten minutes before the runway the zipper in Mondo’s skirt breaks and he almost loses it. Gretchen shares with us that she’s concerned about “50 percent of the room…Andy’s is pure Andy but doesn’t read Jackie at all…Michael C’s is a cocktail dress with a mom jacket over it….Christopher’s outer piece is just odd.” She’s of the mind that more than three could be in the bottom this time.
Hey by the way it looks like some great footage ended up on the cutting room floor this week of Andy trying on April’s look. Quite possibly in the Exhaustion Giggles timeframe last night.
The guest judge this week is Mad Men actress January Jones, who knows a thing or two about period piece clothing, one would think. Heidi starts the show.
He thinks it hit all the notes and is pleased. I think it’s pretty much a snoozefest but does fit beautifully and the dress, at least, channels Jackie well. You’re cute and safe, CC, and I think there’s something there but in future you better step it up big time to stand out from the madding crowd (And they are. Madding that is).
Seems very gothy vampire to me (and very April). She’s happy with it and thinks it fulfilled the challenge. I can’t really see Ms. Onassis in this number at all though perhaps the Vampire Queen of Louisiana from True Blood would like it, but c’est moi. I never thought you’d make it this far, Savannah Girl. I’m watching you closely.
Ivy’s all puffed up thinking it’s very original, different, expensive looking, even stupendous. It gets the Gretchen seal of approval. The sunglasses and chignon certainly don’t hurt.
He’s a little nervous, since it’s clearly a cocktail dress. He thinks the model looks great. Again with the schizoid hem. This is really ugly, and that jacket doesn’t match in the least. Again color me surprised that he gets away with this.
She feels good about this, I’m quizzical as to me this is as far off the mark as Andy’s look in a whole different way. January Jones has a bit of a knitted brown in a reaction shot. Earth to Gretchen: get over yourself. Your two wins are now far in the past, and you’re way too obsessed with this beige/oatmeal/fawn palette. The writing’s on the wall, sister.
Nina has a face on her you don’t ever want Nina to have – kind of like she’s figuring out a math problem. Michael D must have seen this because he perceptively whispers, Oh God I’m dead, and then Bye Guys to the group. To which they all nervously laugh.
She honestly thinks this looks good. I will now officially declare that my love affair with Valerie’s work is over. Ish! I’m still rooting for you, sort of, and hope you pull out of this slump you’ve been in.
He is sweating because the fit is really off on the crotch area but he thinks it’s great overall. Oy vey ismir!
He is 150 percent happy with the look and says “I think I’m gonna win this one.” Earlier, Michael D told the camera “if you took Jackie Kennedy to the desert and gave her some mescaline to eat then you would have Jackie Kennedy in Mondo.” Oh yes and oh yes.
The judges declare Michael C, April, and Gretchen to be safe. (Wait, what? Gretchen? How long is she going to get away with this sub par crap??!) In the dishing area Michael C tells April and Gretchen he is astounded, he really thought he might go home for sending down a cocktail dress with a denim jacket on the runway. He smarmily brown-noses Gretchen, telling her that he could imagine Jackie Kennedy in her outfit so he doesn’t understand why she is merely safe and then turns around and tells the camera it’s total bullshit, he doesn’t think JK would ever wear any of those pieces.
Back out on the runway the following designers are ready to face the music: Valerie, Christopher, Michael D, Mondo, Ivy, and Andy. Valerie’s up first. The judges are curious as to why she put a jacket over a jacket. MK says “it has no impact at all, it’s just sad looking.” Valerie says she wanted to keep it really simple, to which MK returns, “Simple doesn’t mean boring.” Heidi finds the colors drag it down even further. January says “the ankle boot confuses me with that length of skirt.” Nina’s all, “any time that you want to make a design reference it’s pleating and zippers…some of the best things are very simple and have no design gimmicks to them.” And take THAT, Susan Lucci!
January loves Christopher’s dress, “this was my favorite.” They all like the dress, but the wrap well not so much. Heidi says it looks like a dirty old rug. They all agree it looks better without.
Michael D is next. He states that he wanted to make something modern but something that could also transcend to the past. Whaaa? MK goes in for the kill: “She’s an old lady on top and a cheerleading ice skater on the bottom. I’m mesmerized that you can take the inspiration of a woman who frankly looked fabulous for four decades and now suddenly she’s in a mall. The skirt is so unbelievably unflattering, the top underneath the jacket is just an insane concept – that you would think that that has anything to do with American sportswear. I think it’s insulting.” The others aren’t quite as stinging, but they all echo MK’s concerns. Not flattering, surprised, top doesn’t fit, it looks sloppy, etc.
Next up on the chopping block only not really: Mondo. Even Heidi has noticed how cute he looks today in his outfit. She jokes that she wants to hear all about his look but she means his look, not the model’s. Mondo reveals that he has a photo of Jackie Kennedy in his kitchen. (Whew! Someone in the group actually had a preconceived idea of JK!) Mondo was very observant that last week on the runway his look was called cheap, so he wanted to make sure this week that didn’t happen. Heidi loves the plum fabric inside the cape jacket which perfectly matches the houndstooth skirt. “It’s fun, yet it’s still elegant and chic,” quoth Nina. “Really well done,” January chimes in. By all accounts, a home run.
Mondo’s Look and Mondo’s Look
They all like Ivy’s look too, except for the jacket – not so much. Ivy agrees that the coat is too small. January loves the tailoring, the seam on the blouse, the twisted tuxedo pant. Nina says it was smart to keep the palette black and white and she loves the shoes. They all like the outfit without the sheer gray jacket, which Heidi feels confuses the eye. “There’s almost too much design in the top.”
Andy is next. This critique makes Michael D’s look like the reception to a big dinner. Andy tells the judges that he felt there was a chicness about Jackie O, she wasn’t afraid to have her own style, hence of course his look which veers into the realm of cray-cray. Heidi starts by saying she is having a hard time keeping it together because “I want to burst out and crack up, especially for this challenge, to come up with this? I feel like I’m on a different planet….I don’t see it at all. At all. At all.” (yes, she repeats this three times) MK moves in, “I mean come on, if someone said to me the inspiration was MC Hammer meets the Beverly Hillbillies’ Grandmother, I mean that’s what that looks like. The fit is horrific. And then the ankle boot, I mean come on!” La Klum agrees the boots look like they’re from the 1800′s. (It’s called Steampunk, kids) MK on the boots, “It’s like she’s making soap or something.”
Nina asks Andy to take “the terrible vest” off the model. Andy does. “This is just a trainwreck,” sighs NG. MK twists the knife by saying Andy obviously had a problem with the silk jersey of the top also, it’s not fitted enough to be fitted and it’s not draped enough to be draped. “It looks like a mistake.” Andy: “I did want to take a risk, so….” MK responds, “Oh, you took one.”
At this point the group traipses off to the dishing area allowing the judges to further slice and dice. Obviously they hated Valerie’s look (boring, nothing special, no design, no imagination), Andy’s (ill fitting, ill appropriate, from top to toe it’s a mess) (they also question why the model is wearing Nicole Kidman’s boots from Cold Mountain and her hairstyle from Far and Away), and Michael D’s (terribly unflattering, overthought, ill fitting).
They liked Christopher’s dress though they hated the shrug (Heidi called it “a dirty dish rag” in her notes), Ivy (sleek and elegant, she’s stepping up especially from the first week when she made that hideous flimsy gray blouse with Peach’s print pants – but the jacket this week doesn’t work), and Mondo (clean, classic, chic, outside the box).
To no one’s surprise (especially mine) Mondo is named the “clear winner” of this challenge. Christopher and Ivy are safe in a good way. Andy is safe but just squeaking by, and he’s still inexplicably pleased as punch with his look. The bottom two are Valerie and Michael D. Valerie is told that she missed the mark in a big way by Heidi, “Your look did not read chic sportswear” but rather “badly executed mallwear.” To Michael D, she says, “your look was an unfortunate mismatch and your proportions were way off. The top was ill fitting and the bottom was bulky and unflattering. And no woman wants that silhouette.” Michael D is out.
Tim comes in to the dishing area to wish him goodbye and good luck and “that damn skirt!” Michael D is resigned, but “at the end of the day I had to do what I wanted to do” to which Tim says, “you did, you stand by it and it was your Waterloo.” Michael D: “I have to go look that up now.”
Upstairs he goes to clean up his space and pack up his little Virgin Mary statue.
And sew it goes!
Next week: Drama! (I know, I know. That never happens)
Project Runway airs Thursday nights at 9pm ET on Lifetime TV.
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Welcome to Sucker Punch, the only blog post that ranks the gaudiest moments on this week’s episode of True Blood.
(Warning: Spoilers Ahead)
“I’m gonna be a minister’s wife!”
True, Lettie Mae’s assertion that she’s turned her life around by having an affair with her minister may not be the most important moment of this year’s season finale, “Evil Is Going On,” but for me, that declaration sums up a lot of what has made this season great.
For one thing, it’s a funny, tacky line, especially the way that Adina Porter delivers it, and True Blood would be nothing without its tacky humor and excellent acting.
But Lettie Mae’s pronouncement, made to Tara as they stand on Lettie Mae’s porch, also suggests a yawning chasm of desperation… of the pain brought about by misguided love. And if you’ve been reading Sucker Punch this year, then you know I’ve been following that very theme for weeks.
The Lettie Mae moment also captures the specific tenor of this episode. When she tells her daughter that she has found peace in the arms of a philandering man of God, you can see Tara’s heartbreak… and heartbreak ties everything together this week.
Because really, despite the murders and the screaming and the visions of demons, this is one of the saddest episodes of the year. It’s pretty gutsy to close the season on such a devastated note, but as I reflect on it, it makes sense. True Blood spent the last eleven episodes showing us all the ways that love can hurt people, and more to the point, it showed people doing crazy things because of that love. By ending the year in a (relatively) quiet place, the show gives itself the freedom to explore new emotional terrain in 2011. Instead of picking up at the same fevered point, it can take a breath and adjust its tone, if it chooses.
Lord knows, there are plenty of interesting places to go next year. For one thing, Tommy’s heartbreak led him to steal from Sam, and as we see, that breaks Sam’s heart, too. But then black oil starts pouring out of the cracks, and Sam becomes the same vicious bastard we saw in those flashbacks a few weeks ago. When he shoots his own brother in the back, he essentially ends his current life. Who will he become now? Tommy’s death was inevitable—he was clearly in the Maryanne/Rene slot—but I wasn’t expecting it to come at Sam’s hands. Kudos to Sam Trammell for pulling of this transformation, particularly after that dubious meltdown in Merlotte’s in episode 11.
On the “terrible family” tip… how about Hoyt’s Mama? Ain’t nothing good coming from her decision to buy a gun. And is she the one who put the creepy baby in Hoyt and Jessica’s new house? Because that really freaked me out. Or is the baby part of Jesus’ witchcraft? Or Holly’s?
At any rate, witchcraft will clearly dominate the fourth season, and I’m down with that. If nothing else, it may give Lafayette more screen time. He spends this episode tapping into his cosmic ability to see horrible visions of the future (or of people’s souls, or whatever), which suggests he may be a fulcrum for the upcoming witchy doings. His mama did warn him that people wanted his light, after all.
But what willFay Fay’s cousin do? She seems caught between becoming an annoying, whiny victim yet again and actually sucking it up, getting strong, and doing something with her life. Personally, though I thought she had a decently interesting arc this year, I wouldn’t mind seeing Tara disappear for a season. There are only so many more “angry crying” scenes that I can take, and God knows I can’t take any more scenes where Sookie and Tara talk about being friends but don’t actually behave like friends. “Sookie, I love you so much! But you know how you’re terrifed right now? Well, too bad, hooker. I’m going to steal my cousin’s car.” “Oh, Tara, that’s okay. I love you, too! And since I got pissed off at you for not helping Bill after you got raped by a vampire, I kind of understand why you’re bolting right now.”
Ahem. You get my point. I love this show, but they need to work that mess out.
Another danger zone? Godric. His entire sanctimonious character gets on my damn nerves, and when I saw him floating above Eric like some jailbait Jiminy Cricket, I thought I was going to scream. That is, until I realized Eric was going to ignore Godric’s wisdom. Sure, Eric believes that Russell will find peace if he dies, but that’s exactly why he drags him out of the sun and then buries him in concrete: He doesn’t want Russell to have peace. He wants Russell to suffer forever.
Now that is some complicated plot development! Eric’s heart is so broken that he will not give up his quest for vengeance. (Conveniently, his concrete plan also makes room for Russell to return to the show. Hooray!)
Along those lines, I can’t help but feel for Russell—ashy, ashy Russell—as he watches the remains of Talbot get poured down Fangtasia’s garbage disposal. The King of Louisiana may be a psycho, but he’s still got feelings. On the other hand, I love the look on Anna Paquin’s face as she gets rid of Talbot’s remains. Did anyone else notice that that’s exactly the way she looks in The Piano when she betrays Holly Hunter?
Speaking of Stackhouses… I don’t know what to make of Jason Stackhouse, Mayor of Petticoat Junction. Lay aside the potential DEA conviction and the fact that Crystal just got dragged off by her inbreeding werepanther brother. What is Jason going to do with the people of Hotshot? I’m glad this season has awakened his sense of honor and purpose, but is he up to this challenge? I have no idea where this story will go, and that makes me want to follow it. (But whatever Jason does in Hotbox, can he please do it without a shirt on? Thanks.)
Of course, I guess Hotbox is nothing compared to FairyTown. Now that Sookie’s broken heart and fear for her safety have convinced her to follow the light, I don’t know what to expect for her, either. I’m praying that there’s at least one scene in FairyTown that involves a Tori Amos song. Right? What other contemporary pop artist would be better suited for that soundtrack? Maybe a little “Professional Widow” as Sookie dances in the Fairy Club? Or some “Cornflake Girl” as she eats a bow of Fairy Food?
But I digress. Half the reason Sookie flees is because she doesn’t trust Eric, but the other half is because she doesn’t trust Bill. The writers made it clear weeks ago that Queen Sophie-Anne sent Bill to Bon Temps to kidnap Sookie, but actually hearing it confirmed by Bill is shocking. And learning (thanks to Eric’s tattling) that Bill arranged the parking lot assault that made Sookie need his blood? Why, that means that Bill was “saving” her just so he could track her. Damn. That’s cold.
However, I believe Bill when he says he fell in love with Sookie. (It’s just like The Bodyguard: Rule number two, never fall in love.) I also understand why brokenhearted Sookie can’t believe him. It’s just a terrible situation all around.
And then there’s moment whn Bill’s heart breaks—when he’s clutching Sookie’s doorframe, being magically pulled out her house as she rescinds his invitation across her threshold. What a perfect image for collapsing love: Hanging on by your fingertips, even though it’s obvious you’re about to be blasted into darkness. That moment gives the finale a resonant emotional undertow, and it is my final Sucker Punch of the year.
I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed discussing True Blood with you. This has been my favorite season of the show, and my enjoyment has been magnified by our interactions.
As we wait for season four, I’d love to keep chatting with you at The Critical Condition. I’ll be discussing all sorts of pop culture there, and you’re welcome anytime!
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