Farrah and MJ {RIP}

“Oh Sh*it, I can’t handle another part of my youth dying today!”Anonymous comment on SF Gate

I’ve been feeling weird about about the deaths of these two people today — sad, obviously, but also wistful. Then I read the quote above and really got it: it’s about the loss of my youth.

I was not an obsessive fan of either Farrah or Michael, but they were both such powerful figures in the landscape of my childhood. The poster, the hair, Jill Munroe, the Jackson 5, moonwalking, Off the Wall. I know they both moved on to more newsworthy things (basically going cuckoo for cocoa puffs), but my mind had frozen them exactly how I wanted to remember them — when they had the heaviest influence on me.

I so love this photo of Farrah, because I remember how much it made me want to be like her. Besides looking joyful and happy, she’s riding a skateboard and dressed like a tomboy. A gorgeous tomboy. She’s sporty and pretty! Maybe I could ride my skateboard and play soccer and boys might like that about me!

I also have her to thank for giving me a new hairstyle to aspire to so I could shake the dreaded Dorothy Hamill wedge my parents forced upon me. I am still on my quest for the perfect feathering technique.

Michael was so sweet and lovely in his prime. Before Wacko Jacko and vitiligo (uh huh) and the Hair on Fire Pepsi Commercial. I vividly remember watching the Motown special with my family and all of our jaws dropping watching him dance. And within five minutes my brother and I in our socks sliding around on the kitchen linoleum screaming “Look, look! I’m doing it!”.

Eddie Murphy killed with his impression of a crying Michael singing She’s Out of my Life (“Tito, get me a tissue”…oh the many times we got stoned in college, watched Delirious and laughed like crazy). Still, that song to me is one of his most tender (and rare) expressions of real emotion. Hasn’t everyone felt that stomach wrenching pain of love lost? He just nailed it.

And…just try not to bust out in a rockstep when you hear Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough. Not possible! That song gets everyone (including your funky elders) out on the dance floor. It’s booty-shakin’ magic.

Some thoughts on the past year

Highlights

1. Validation for my love of Journey (“Hold on to that FEE-eh-lee-eh-hen…”).

2. Trips to Maui and Kauai with friends and family.

3. Low rise (butt-crack muffin top) jeans finally over.

4. The humor of Judd Apatow + Company finally appreciated (including “Undeclared” on DVD)

5. Finally finished the bathroom renovation.

6. “Challengers” by The New Pornographers

7. Felix turns 2 and now we have conversations.

Lowlights

1. Mom getting totally inebriated at French Laundry.

2. Missing all the good shows on Showtime (and wondering why we even bother with HBO).

3. Lack of exercise leading to poor health and getting stuck in the sofa.

4. Moving out of one demographic and into another.

5. More frequent hair coloring.

6. Rob’s truck getting sideswiped out in front of our house.

7. Not getting out enough.

Reunited and it feels so good…

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Anyone who has known me for a while knows that am (and have been) a huge Crowded House/Neil Finn fan. They were one of the first bands I discovered when I went off to college…I’m sure I heard them on the radio (probably SF”s “The Quake“, when they still played awesome music) and immediately rushed out to Rasputin Records to buy the cassette tape. Once I got a player at at school, I followed up with the compact disc.

I saw one of their first shows touring the states, at a place called Wolfgang’s, in North Beach, which eventually burned down in a fire (it came back many years later as the 7th Note). Small club, small crowd, but I was there with my closest girlfriends, fawning over Neil as he and Crowded House perfomed literally 10 feet away from us. I just remember being so excited about the band and the music and feeling like they were playing the music just for us.

Through the years, I’ve proceeded to see them every time they came to town, I’ve bought all the albums and limited edition EPs, joined the fan club, and followed the separate solo work once the band broke up. I even called in sick to work one day just to drive out to The Plant in Sausalito in hopes of getting into a “secret prizewinners only” concert that Neil was performing for KFOG a few years ago. I had no idea where this place was, but a fellow fan (that I only just met through the Fan Club) knew how to get there. Once inside, I was psyched to see that Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors was recorded there. Seemed like it hadn’t changed much at all since the 70’s. Anyway, it was worth it as we were grudgingly included in the group of 20 people or so for that private concert and meet and greet with Neil and his band. He’s fairly short, by the way.

Coming back to the present….Ah. So Rob and I went to see Crowded House (semi-reunited) Sunday night at the Paramount. Interesting crowd–I wasn’t as old as I thought I would be (among the other fans). As usual, lots of women. This was really obvious especially during the sing-a-long parts–the voices were predominantly female! Or maybe guys just don’t think it’s cool to sing-a-long to a sensitive singer/songwriter’s work…not macho enough.

It was a lovely concert. Everyone’s voices were on and the harmonies were tight. After all these years, I *still* got the chills hearing “World Where you Live” (my favorite song). Lots of cheerful and fun banter on the stage (especially between Neil and Nick, with Mark Hart playing the straight man). I had forgotten how much they could ROCK as well! I don’t think anyone could stand still during “Locked Out”. The new drummer fits in well. And Neil’s now 23 year old son Liam was in the band playing guitar, piano, and singing harmonies with dad. It’s amazing to hear harmonies among family members (parent/child, siblings) as it’s just so natural for their voices to fit together. One of the songs from the new album has a killer acoustic piano intro that has the same power as Hey Jude. And I don’t know of any other bands that are unselfconscious enough to do an impromptu medley of disco songs in the middle of a set. They are THAT fun and THAT spontaneous. Every show I’ve ever seen has been different.

So, in many ways, following this band has made me feel like I’ve come around full circle. Sitting there listening to the music with my eyes closed, I was easily taken back to past shows when I was young(er)…goofy and giddy with my college friends, as a wannabe hipster young adult, with ex-boyfriends I had dragged to the shows, with new fan club friends, and now, many years later, with my husband sitting next to me. For me, being able to share this band that has always meant so much, with him, was a nice moment. It doesn’t matter that he probably slept through most of it.

Mid life fashion crisis

I’ve become frighteningly aware of the fact that there are more than a few things that I can’t pull off wearing anymore, at my age.

Like…

–Tee shirts with humorous text…unless they’re *really* subtle. Shame because I’ve practically lived in them the past decade, having been a graphic designer. It’s like a uniform.

–Anything from the 80’s revival. I totally understand what was meant by: “If you wore it for real the first time around, you are too old to be wearing it now.” I SO want to do the pointy flats, skinny jeans and slouchy horizontal striped sweaters, but it’s just a TERRIBLE look for someone like me.

–Levi’s 646 big bells. I love the cut of these and they are much more flattering than 501s, but alas I’m too old to try and evoke the look of the stoners from my high school. The bells are just too big (14″ i think?) and I can’t take all that swishing around down there when I’m trying to dash across Market street to catch the BART. Maybe I can find a compromise that is less extreme?

–Blue eyeliner. I guess I’m sticking to neutrals now (brown, black). You’d think that after all these years I’d clue into the fact that no one is going to think my eyes are actually blue. You’ll be happy to know that I DID give up the teal eye shadow that went along with it, years ago.

–Ironic dressing in general. One of my favorite things to do back in my fashionista years working at the Gap (where everything hinged on what you were wearing) was to take the dorkiest item and with a big dose of attitude, wear the hell out of it. I was young, fearless, and, um much smaller then. I remember thinking from the fashion models we worked with that they could make the ugliest thing look cool…because they wore it like it WAS cool. Alas, I can’t do that anymore. Dorky items continue to look dorky on me now, and that makes me both dorky and embarrassed.

Finally.

This if the first day of the rest of this blog…

I thought it would be great to finally have a creative outlet for all that pent up energy, and I now realize I have nothing to say.

Is that bad?