Sunday, March 31, 2013

Healthy Body Zine Excerpts

Hi dolls,
Last time I posted one of my old zines it was the final addition of the zine I did throughout high school, Sweetheart.  In college I took a zine break for awhile and then I put out one based on the Boss's Dancing In the Dark lyrics, but that was written in the eye of the storm of a hurricane of self-exploitation of my vulnerability, so it's too gross for me to read and I'm sure would be for you too.  Then in I think the spring of 1998 or thereabouts I stopped drinking etc for a few months and The Healthy Body was written during that (boring) time of my life.  But it also sort of grosses me out/embarrasses me to read, so here are just a few pages that I kind of like. 
Princess Robin


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Meat on My Bones

I am tall and flat-chested, and when I was younger I was always too thin.  I didn't mind how it looked, but as a feminist I have always had an issue with the way so many strangers and people I knew were always signaling to me this sense of proprietary approval of my skinniness.  Especially when I finally started dating, I thought it was irritating when someone who liked me complemented my skinniness.  I remember someone saying that he thought huge breasts look disgusting, which I disagree with, but I also didn't like to know that my look of undernourishment was so appealing or that anyone would assume I'd be flattered to have a big-breasted woman maligned on my behalf.  Now I am chubby.  It started when I moved to Philly where people are less conscious of their weight than in L.A. (and where there were so many good restaurants within walking distance).  Then when I got pregnant, obviously, I gained more weight and now, voila, chubbiness.  It feels more natural for me to be a chubby woman, and somehow more in line with my sense of aesthetics and my dislike for normals; there are so many times (A DAY) where the conversation around me at work or wherever turns to long discussions about dieting, and I'd so much rather be talking about Edith Wharton or yarn or Boardwalk Empire.  When I was skinny I feel like I was a sort of success story whenever I was unlucky enough to be included in a dieting conversation but now that I'm chubby it's like a wordless way to say "This is a boring topic to me." The downsides are that I don't really like how it looks and that it's a little unhealthy.  Maybe those downsides sound monumental, they didn't feel like a big deal to me until I just reread them right now.  At the same time, I always feel like a visitor to Earth, and so it's been kind of neat to know how it feels both to be a skinny woman and then a chubby woman, like from a detective-y point of view, like "so this is what this experience feels like."  I would like to be healthier to live a long time, but other than that, I can't really decide if it's better to be to skinny or too chubby, and I never do things in between.

Monday, March 18, 2013


bad roads bad snow bad bridges could turn a once bad man religious.  
(Silver Jews)

see the luck I've had could make a good man turn bad.
(The Smiths)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Alphabetical List of Film Recommendations

A Thousand Clowns
Dinner for Schmucks
Elephant Man
(the) Fall
Georgy Girl
I Heart Huckabees
Joe Vs. the Volcano
Killing of a Chinese Bookie
Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Midnight Cowboy
Night of the Iguana
(the) Outsiders
Please Give
Quick Change
Royal Tenenbaums
She's So Lovely
Times Square
(the) Usual Suspects
Vanilla Sky
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
(no X's!)
Yellow Submarine

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sweetheart #11

we've come to the end of the Sweetheart zines, accompaniment to my high school years.  this last one was published in March 1997, and I graduated that June.  Read it and literally weep.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Renate Druks

There are some stories I would like to tell that I don't because it seems too hard to start at the beginning, or else there is too much detail there that I didn't appreciate at the time and too many cool things I let slip through my fingers when I had the chance, so I just try to move on, to avoid pangs of regret.  My stepmom's friendship with the artist and old Malibu art scene personality Renate Druks is one of these stories.  

My dad and stepmom inherited all her artwork and personal effects when she passed away, and I think the heavy ghost of Renate was too much for them, too, because they have longterm loaned her artwork and effects to Mike, a Renate aficionado who has done a remake of Renate's 1973 experimental short film Spaceboy.  Mike is sort of the curator of her stuff for right now, and I feel like my entire family sort of relies on him to show the proper homage to and interest in her and her work.  I can't overestimate how hard it is for me to explain how cool her story was or how interesting it was to be involved with her when she was alive; I'm so lazy about it I'm going to lift her Curriculum Vitae from the website I run for her artwork (and I didn't even write this; it was written possibly by her and was on some yellowing piece of paper clipped to a roll of posters of her "Our Lady of Malibu" painting):  

"Born in Vienna Austria in 1921, Renate Druks first studied art at the Vienna Art Academy for Women and later at the Art Students League in New York City.

After her formal training Ms. Druks  embarked on the life adventures that would further shape her craft, taking up residence in Mexico where she spent three years of intensive self study, painting tirelessly and developing her own techniques and personal style.  By 1950 Renate Druks had moved to Malibu California, then a rural strip of coastline,  where she built a house and studio.  
Ms. Druks first major solo-artist show, at the Lane Galleries in Westwood California, opened in 1957 and brought "instant" success, and critical acclaim. Ms. Druks showed and sold her paintings exclusively at the Lane Galleries until 1965.  Thereafter, Ms. Druks exhibited at several galleries in the Los Angeles area including the Image and Myth, Mascagnis, the Malibu Art and Design Gallery, and the Municipal Art Gallery in Barsdall Park.                                
Later, the Malibu home became the showplace where patrons and collectors gathered to view, commission and purchase Ms. Druks' work. The home also became a well known salon for avant garde artists, actors, film makers, writers and theatre personalities.  Visitors to the home and studio included: Kenneth Anger, Don Bachardy, Barbette, Louis and Bebe Barron, James Bridges, Colleen Dewhurst, Doris Dowling, Galanos, Rudi Gernreich, Gerald Heard, Curtis Harrington, John and Joan Houseman, Christopher Isherwood, Jack Larson, Henry Miller, Dudley and Virginia Murphy, Jose Quintero, Harry Partch, Virgil Thompson, Mary Wigmam, Rupert Pole, and good friend Anais Nin.  Ms. Nin and Ms. Druks had been friends since the famous "Come as Your Madness" masquerade ball, thrown at the Malibu home in 1953   Indeed Kenneth Anger's film "Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome" grew out of this ball.  Ms. Druks acted in the film, designed makeup and assisted in the production. The portrait above depicts Anais Nin in her costume.

 Later, Ms. Druks produced and directed several films of her own Including "A Painter's Journal" which showed in 18 West Coast art theatres."

This is also from our website (I think my dad wrote this before I took over):

"Renate Druks is a painter who creates stylized life forms that manage to capture on canvas the caricatured essence of men and women who pose as her subjects.  Like D.H. Lawrence before her, she manifests an uncanny understanding of all sentient life and assembles fantastic amalgamation of women and animals eerily metamorphosed into complementary figures.
Renate Druks' Romantic Realism paintings, however marginally related to the psychedelic influences in the arts at the time, became very popular during the 1960's and 1970's for album covers, movie posters, book covers and magazines.

Collector Herbert Cobey, formerly a Director of the Brooklyn Museum, had this to say about Renate Druks work : Renate Druks, in my opinion, in certain particular ways, is the finest artist in the United States today and one of the best in the world. "  

Arthur Miller said this:  "Real imagination, good drawing and personal technique."

Anais Nin effused: "In the paintings of Renate Druks, one can contemplate what happens when the imagination is allowed to run free.  She is painting the whole mythology of woman in relation to the animal both wild and domestic.  Look at the paintings of Renate Druks. Enter her world of women, animals, trees, rocks oceans and mountains never seen before.  It is her dream in which we can participate with all our senses.  Emerging form it we can say to ourselves: We have seen the Beauty and the Beast and the Beast was beautiful too.  The true meaning of Romantic Realism is the painting which reveals the romanticism which lies around  us in our reality." "

Interesting, right?  She and my stepmom became friends a long time ago when my stepmom worked at the Malibu grocery store and artist's hangout Renate went to, and Renate asked to draw her.  They were friends from then on.  My stepmom had a full life before I ever knew her, though, so there were a lot of people she knew or things she did that were commonplace for her but that I didn't know about for a long time, and her friendship with Renate was one of those things.  When Renate was a lonely old woman, my stepmom visited with her every Friday and took her out to eat or to LACMA, and when I was home from college, I went on 3 of these excursions.  She lived in a studio apartment in Hollywood filled with her giant paintings (she was very interested in using large canvases) and plants, a little futon in the corner surrounded by her large canvas fantastical landscapes.  She wasn't pleasant though, and even though old people deserve to be unpleasant or self-pitying, I wrote her off a bit because of it.  Then when I moved back to L.A., she had to go into an old folks home because she had a mini-stroke, and I got to move into her studio apartment for a few months, to sort through her belongings for what she needed at the home, what could be given to charity, and what items needed to be packed up and stored.  Living there was one of the highlights of my life.  Not only was it within walking distance of my favorite bar (and other fun things – it was 2 blocks west of the famous intersection of La Brea and Hollywood Blvd), but there was nothing cooler than getting a bit stoned and looking through her beautiful old things, her little mementos from the childhood of her deceased son (a 19 year old suicide who appeared in a Kenneth Anger film), her paintings, even a memoir she started once (she was an Austrian jew who married a rich old doctor, enabling her to move to the United States before the Nazis took Austria).  

She was living in a nice assisted living home only a few blocks away and I visited her to drop things off for her (like socks and shampoo) and keep her company, but if she enjoyed my visits, she had a funny way of showing it.  She was very unhappy about aging, and acted as though she didn't like to do anything but keep her own company.  While she was still alive, I got a gallery owner interested in showing her work, and there was an art show of her work and Dame Darcy's in the summer of 2005.  Renate didn't attend it, and I was out of the country, but my dad and stepmom were there and they told me how excited Dame Darcy and her entourage were by Renate's work and that they wanted to go visit her in the home and all these other nice things.  Big Surprise, that was the last they ever heard from Dame Darcy and there were no visits to Renate, who got more and more unhappy with aging, until she aged herself out of life, December 2007.  

Vanity and Obsession, 1973

One thing that really bums me out about Renate is all the missed opportunity.  For instance, she was very lonely for her peers (many of them were dead or else she felt forgotten by them), but when I was staying at her place, she often got calls from concerned old friends who wanted to see her – she told me not to give anyone her new phone number to them though, so I just took messages to give to her, and she never reached out to any of these friends.  But why?  Her last years could have been so much happier.  

Also, when I google her now, I see so much interest in her, and also as the facilitator of the website for her artwork, I get emails asking about her, like is she still living, how can people find out more about her work, all this interest – I wish it'd been there when she was living and she could have known about it.  I also regret that I haven't been able to keep better track of her little tchotchkes that I kept for myself when she passed.  I had this beautiful pair of earrings she made while in Mexico, for instance, and they were seriously my good luck earrings, and somewhere along the way I lost one of them.  I've also lost track of other little things of hers that were unique and uniquely her.  We have a few of her paintings hanging up though, and when people ask me about the artist, I don't know where to begin.

Promotional photo of Renate with the stars Katharine Ross and James Caan in front of Druks' painting for "Games"

Friday, March 8, 2013


Today's contest is for a purse, scarf or set of coasters (your choice) handmade by me, and all you have to do to enter is guess at which age I lost my virginity.  JUST KIDDING!  I find the subject of virginity loss totally repulsive.  REALLY what you have to do if you would like a chance to win a homemade gift is to submit a beautiful line or paragraph from a novel or poem (make sure to credit the writer in your submission, which you should put in the"Comments").    The most beautiful one wins.
Good luck!

(oh, just to clarify, virginity itself isn't a gross topic to me, just society's prurient obsession w/ virginity loss as well as some of the sexist myths that go along w/ it, like the idea that if a woman doesn't bleed the first time, she's lying about her virginity, etc).

Gross! - Virginity Scene



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Let me List Stuff for Fun

I keep mentioning how I'm too embarrassed to read over most of what I wrote as a teen that's been in these old zines I'm posting.  Well one thing I do think is fun to read is my lists of things.  For instance I had a friend who was really into heavy metal and had pictures from magazines covering every square inch of her wall, and I cataloged who all the pictures were of and put that list in an issue, and later when she turned punk I cataloged and published the list of who all the new magazine pages were of (from Kiss to L7, etc.).  I have a bunch of DVD's, and tonight I began to catalog them, only making it thru 2 double-shelved shelves so far.  I still have another bookcase to go, another night.  Some of these dvd's were mine or my husband's before we met each other, some were bought impulsively while "on" something on a sadness shopping spree at Target, some were like Secret Santa gifts from work Xmas parties in Conference Rooms, some are my favorites, some are burned dvd's from a cat-lady friend of my mom's with indiscriminate film taste, and some are guilty pleasures.  I'll leave you to guess which is which. 

My Movies

Where the Wild Things Are…And 5 More Stories by Maurice Sendak (not the Spike Jonze thing)
Halloween 4
50 First Dates
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
This is Spinal Tap
Sixteen Candles
Edward Scissorhands
Bob’s burgers Season 1
4 disc set of the Lethal Weapon movies
Season one of Girls
Trio of Terror (some Vincent Price movie, Night of the Living Dead and something else)
Wedding Singer
Pick of Destiny
Raising Arizona & Fargo 2 disc set
The Lost Boys
The 4 Ocean’s 11 movies
The Office seasons 1 – 4
Ghostbusters 1 & 2
All of the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s
Yo Gabba Gabba “Music Makes Me Move” & “Dancey Dance Bunch”
Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
All 3 Lord of the Rings
All of the Harry Potters
Miami Vice (the movie)
Parks and Recreation Seasons 1 and 2
Billy Madison
Georgy Girl
Adventures in Babysitting
Men who Stare at Goats
The Red Balloon
The Graduate
Dirty Work
Wings of Desire
The 1st and 3rd Pirates of the Caribbean
Ozzie and Harriett
Sympathy for the Devil
Wedding Crashers
Human Nature
Clash:  Westway to the World
3 Dukes of Hazard episodes
About a Boy
Shaun of the Dead
Last Waltz
Mommy Dearest
Napoleon Dynamite
Army of Darkness
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
New York Doll
Muppets in Space and Muppets Take Manhattan
Baby Mama
Big Lebowski
30 Rock Season 1
Happy Gilmore
Knocked up
Vice Guide to Travel
Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels
She’s so Lovely
I heart Huckabees

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sweetheart #10

Originally published in August 1996, this is the penultimate Sweetheart zine.  As with the others, it's a bit too embarrassing to reread this stuff as I scan it and post it here -- it's the self absorption that I find embarrassing, even though I know that it's the defining characteristic of being a teenager and was at least a productive self-absorption.  Still, I glance at these pages and think 'my god, how could I ever have thought people cared about my thoughts and moods so much?'  Then again, I used to be really popular and it did used to seem like a lot of people cared a lot about my thoughts and emotions, so maybe that should be the take-away here.  One more Sweetheart left in this canon of riot grrrl angst.  then my college and early twenties zines to post ... then once I get all that out of my system and into the ether, I will start writing again, like in the present.  Goodbye writer's block.  I don't think I have written a short story since I used to work for this shady tutoring company a few years ago, a job I actually lost money on.  I wrote a story inspired by this household of dynamic little girls (and their parents, I guess) who were really amusing and intimidating.  My next story is going to be a life saving (like the novel THIS BOOK WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by A.M. Homes) 400 page novel about sad cat people and me and my family and feminism and sex and saints and los angeles and rural washington and pussies and rain and pill abuse and the alphabet and sitcoms and Rocky Horror Picture Show and babies' senses of humor and my own hairy armpits and friendship and pretty knickknacks.  A romance and one in a series of lucky 13