Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Monday, April 29, 2013

(kiss my shades)

He was fucking crazy.

It was what we loved and hated about him.

Will came wrapped in an emotionally broken package, carelessly stapled together with an over-consumption of liquor.

Almost everything that poured out of his mouth was fiction. He was in a rock band. He had his graduate degree in art. He was going to be famous.

I knew him long before we became friends. But I remember the minute it changed. We were standing outside Jonny's downtown loft one winter evening, sipping champagne and tipsily reciting lyrics from Hand in Glove.

"I used to hang out with Morrissey back when I lived in LA," Will casually told me, flicking a spark of fiery cigarette ash onto the snow-covered sidewalk.

I laughed at him. It wasn't true. But I didn't care.

"You're gorgeous," he told me seriously, looking into my eyes.

I smirked back.

We spent most of our nights running around town, chugging wine from the bottle and puking in alleys. We danced in neon-lit gay bars. We snuggled together, watching horror movies. We climbed rooftops for no reason. We were such an all-American pair.

The man with tattoos. The girl in the sun dress.

Lounging on the sprawling lawn outside the art museum one summer afternoon, he asked me to run away to St. Louis with him. It'll be fabulous, he said. We need to run away together, Jenny Bunny, it would be so fabulous.

So fabulous, so fabulous.

I laughed into the sky.

"So fabulous," I whispered, watching the clouds stare back at me.

A warm spring evening, we met at one of our usual hangouts. He was with a boy.

"I'm so in love," Will said, gazing at the cute curly-haired guy smiling back at him. "This is it. This is the rest of my life."

"When did you two meet?" I asked.

"Two days ago," Will said, dreamily.

I smiled.

They stayed together for more than a year.

At 2 a.m. on a chilly fall night we found ourselves at a park overlooking the river. Sitting on a rock.

"I love you, Jenny Bunny," he said.

I love you too.

"You're the most fabulous girl I know," he said.

You're sweet.

"Let's run away together," he said.


"Santa Fe," he said.


(But we stayed.)

It wasn't long before his life completely spun into oblivion. Drunk nights led to emergency room drama. His temper got out of control. He used people, especially his boyfriend. We all started to avoid him.

And the lies. So many exposed. What was real? What was fake? Who was he? Did he exist?

After a nasty break-up with his boyfriend, he moved back to his hometown, a few hours south.

He called me several times. Laughing. Talking. Lying.

And then we had our first and only fight. Bitterness was spit at each other. Goodbye.

We were out of each other's lives.

I thought I would never see him again. And I was right. I'll never have that chance.

Two days ago, his life was taken away as recklessly as he lived it.

And as I'm still trying to digest this reality, all I can do is think about those two words he always brought up.

Run away.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Siblings to the Stars

It would suck to be the sibling of a mega-celebrity.

Well, I'm sure there are a ton of perks though. Exotic vacations. Extravagant gifts. Movie premiere invites.

But, would you really want to be stuck in the suffocating shadow of your brother or sister your entire life? Your identity, everything about you, would be stripped away forever. You would never escape it. The world would only know you as a footnote.

Well, here are five siblings who have decided to step outside of that shadow.


Alex Watson

Holy. Fucking. Gorgeous.

This is Emma Watson's younger brother, Alex. I know she's 23 so I'm really hoping he's legal. Otherwise my thoughts aren't.

When his sister played Hermoine in the Harry Potter movies, he played an extra.

And now he's a high-fashion model.

Unfortunately, there isn't much useful information about Alex online. The only "biography" I could find was super creepy fan fiction claiming Alex had been sexually abused by his uncle and forced to consume nothing but rain water for 30 hours as a child. It's a delightfully disturbing tale, if you want to read it here.

But I don't mind not knowing much about Alex. Photos tell a thousand words. And his photos are telling me things I can't print here.


Her sister, Beyonce, is a diva. But Solange is an artist.

A musician in her own right, Solange has a more indie-like vibe that can be felt through her music and videos. While Beyonce is simply an untouchable Hollywood icon, her little sister is definitely like the cool girl at the party you really, really want to hang out with instead.

I kind of have a crush on her.

I'm obsessed with her hair.

And her style is ridiculous. She's kind of like the Edie Sedgwick of our generation. Quirky. Playful. Chic. But still approachable.

The 26-year-old has a nine-year-old son from a teenage marriage. And while she doesn't support teenage pregnancy, the devoted mom said she wouldn't trade her experience for anything in the world.

Now that's class.

Doug Pitt

You can't get any more famous than Brad Pitt. Which is why I find his brother, Doug, so fascinating.

Instead of sulking in his older brother's gorgeous shadow, the all-American Doug has made his family extremely proud in a different way.

The father-of-three is one of the most prominent businessmen in the Midwest and he is also one of the most influential philanthropists in the world.

His Springfield, Missouri based computer company just celebrated 22 years of service. He's earned every local business award the city could possibly bestow. And when he's not busy boosting Springfield's economy, he's giving back to the community.

He donates a TON of his time towards helping the homeless and disadvantaged children in the Springfield area.

In 2010, he was named the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Republic of Tanzania. The changes he has made there are astronomical and honestly, I can't even list them all here.

Oh, and did I mention that a couple years ago, Doug became the first American to descend Mount Kilimanjaro on a mountain bike? And that his good-natured humor earned him a viral video earlier this year?

The guy is a legitimate bad ass.

Lizzy Pattinson

While her younger brother, Robert, has been captivating the hearts of teenage girls around the world, 30-year-old Lizzy has been pursuing a music career.

Who needs vampires when you have vocal chops?

The gorgeous blonde has performed with the UK band Aurora and the German duo Milk & Sugar.

Her vocals can also be heard on various Twilight soundtracks.

She's garnered a devoted fan base in Europe, thanks to her famous brother. Many of his female fans attend her events, not only because she's super cool, but because he often attends to watch her perform.

I'm sure being a stunner has helped her career as well, famous brother or not.

Dave Franco

He's a stone cold hunk. No question about it. And, he's an actor. Basically, Dave is a cooler and younger version of his older brother, James.

I can live with that.

Surprisingly, it took a while for Dave to catch his break in Hollywood. Only a handful of his films have made waves, such as Superbad, 21 Jump Street, and Warm Bodies.

Riding on the coattails of his big brother in the movie industry couldn't have been easy. After all, even though James Franco is 35, he looks 28. And that's the age Dave is going to be in June. They're probably going after the same types of roles.

Fortunately, it looks like Dave's luck in Hollywood is improving.

His next movie, Now You See Me, is a bank heist thriller set to be released next month. It also stars Morgan Freeman and Woody Harrelson.

Not bad, Dave, not bad.

So what do you think of these superstar siblings? Which one is your favorite?

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence."

I'm sorry for the unexpected blog vacay.

I was drowned in work for a while.

And during the past week, I haven't really felt much like blogging anyway.

There is nothing like a tragedy to remind me we live in a world running rampant with complete idiots.

I'm not even talking about the Boston Marathon bombers. That's a given.

I'm talking about the others.

The ignorant. The hateful. The racist.

It breaks my heart every time I hear about a person randomly getting attacked for something that has absolutely nothing to do with them.

Ever since 9/11 my head has been rolling by all the racism bludgeoning our nation.

People being murdered at their place of worship. A place that is supposed to be the most sacred and safest of all. A sanctuary.

Women being physically assaulted and verbally humiliated in front of their young children.

Men being pushed in front of subway trains.

And then there are the people who make things worse simply by being on the internet.

You see, innocent people, who had absolutely nothing to do with last week's bombings, had their names dragged through the mud because of twitter rumors which got retweeted by the thousands.

Everybody wants to be famous. They all want to be the first important person to relay the "breaking news" on twitter. Without checking the facts. And in doing so, they destroy lives.

A careless click of a button might not mean anything to you. But to the person you're accusing of being a terrorist, it means their entire world. It means you have changed their future because you are linking their name to terrorism forever. You can't erase who writes about you on the internet. That shit stays with you for life. No matter how spotless you remain in the end.

Finally, there are the people who are simply, for a lack of a better word, stupid.

They don't bother to read the news. But they have opinions, dammit!

I'll leave you with a quote I recently overheard at the movie theater this weekend.

The man was talking to his wife.

"Well, you knew it was going to be the Muslims. They're all after us. But I really thought there was a chance they were gonna be from North Vietnam. Those idiots were supposed to nuke us last week!"

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Strangest Movie You Need to Watch

I fell in love with a movie over the weekend.

As I get older, it seems more rare that I come across films that mesmerize me so much they automatically get promoted to my favorites list.

So, I'm really excited.

The film is called House.

It is a Japanese fantasy/horror film from 1977. It is considered by many critics to be one of the strangest movies ever made.

Half of the people who watch it become obsessed with it. The other half deem it unwatchable because it's just too weird.

While I agree the movie is bizarre, it is exactly that element which makes it so endearing. I don't believe it is too weird to watch at all. It has an easy-to-follow storyline and charming characters and deliciously cheesy and over-the-top special effects.

The movie is a cross between the Powerpuff Girls and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Or, what an old Disney movie would be like if it got high.

Intrigued yet?

The film revolves around seven adorable giggly teenage girls (with their own distinct personality traits, like the Spice Girls) who spend their school break at a haunted house.

Craziness, adorableness, and creepiness ensue.

The movie was a mega smash hit in Japan when it was released 35 years ago. Especially among children.

It really changed the tone for Japanese cinema at the time. The country had never seen a movie like it before. Critics weren't sure how to review it. Parents weren't sure if they wanted their kids to see it. Studio executives weren't sure if they were happy the film succeeded.

After all, the movie studio had spent the previous two years trying to put the film script on the back burner, hoping it would be forgotten.

When Nobuhiko Obayashi wrote the script earlier that decade, everyone thought it was a joke. No director in the Japanese film industry wanted to touch it.

Frustrated, Nobuhiko used social networking in order to promote his undeveloped film.

He spread the word about it to the media. He passed out business cards promoting the film. He released manga and book versions of the script. He even created a pop music soundtrack for the film.

With all the hype and publicity already surrounding the script, the studio had no choice but to allow Nobuhiko to film it himself!

Most of the actors he chose were virtually unknown. But when the film was released, they became movie stars overnight.

And the film to this day remains a cult classic. House is heavily discussed in film classes. It is showcased in independent movie theaters all over the world.

If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend netflixing House.

I think everyone could use a little weird in their life.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Which Disney Princess are YOU?

This is the last Disney post, I swear. (For now).

But it just occurred to me that you absolutely need to know which Disney Princess you would be.

This is vital. I made this quiz. Please take it.

So, which Disney Princess are you?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Disney Princess Fashion

All this talk about Disney has me thinking about fashion.

After all, what little girl hasn't fantasized about wearing Belle's gorgeous yellow gown? Or dreamed of rocking Jasmine's sexy harem pants?

I know I have.

Well, any girl can dress like a Disney Princess. It's actually pretty easy.

Below, I have put together some looks inspired by a few princesses.

I hope you like them!

Snow White

Sleeping Beauty

The Little Mermaid


Would you wear any of these outfits? Which Disney Princess is your style icon?

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Man Who Saved Disney

His name was Howard Ashman.

He had a glowing Broadway career before fate intervened.

He worked his way up the showbiz ladder during the mid-1970s and a decade later, he had not only created award-winning musicals, but had found a perfect professional partnership with composer Alan Menkin. Together, with Alan writing the music and Howard creating deliciously witty lyrics, they won awards and dazzled Broadway audiences with spectacular musicals, such as Little Shop of Horrors and Smile.

While the two 30-somethings were enjoying their theatrical success in New York City, there was drama brewing across the country.

Disney executives in Hollywood were panicking. The company seemed to be a sinking ship, with one box office disappointment after another. Ever since Walt Disney's death, the company had been struggling to maintain its magic. In the 1980s, especially, they watched in dismay as their animated movies, like The Great Mouse Detective, were overshadowed by films like An American Tail and Land Before Time,  both which were created by a former Disney employee.

Fast action was required. Disney executives turned their attention to a project, which had been tossed around since the 1930s. It was called The Little Mermaid. They wanted catchy Broadway-like songs to be the focus.

So, Howard and Alan were brought on board to liven things up.

It couldn't have been a more perfect fit.

The two immediately got to work, creating songs that mesmerized studio execs. They even brought in one of their former Broadway stars, Jodi Benson, to voice Ariel.

(Below is iconic footage of Howard guiding Jodi during the recording of "Part of Your World.")

At the time, they were just having fun. The two men had absolutely no idea they were creating Hollywood history.

But when The Little Mermaid was released, they finally realized their lives had changed forever.

Not only was the film a humongous box office smash and insane commercial success, it put Disney back on top. It won Howard and Alan two Academy Awards for best score and best song ("Under the Sea").

But the happiness was short-lived.

Three days after the ceremony, the two men were sitting in Howard's cottage, which he shared with his lover, an architect. Howard revealed to Alan that he was HIV positive. He had been diagnosed during the making of the Little Mermaid. Alan was devastated for his friend.

They also knew they needed to beat the clock to finish their latest project, Beauty and the Beast. Disney flew out their animators to New York to work with Howard. At first, the animators were annoyed because they thought Howard was just being a big shot, having them fly out to him. But when they arrived, it quickly became clear that Howard was seriously ill.

When his eyesight failed, Disney hired somebody to read for him. Within months, they had a speakerphone hooked up next to his bed. Despite his difficulties, Howard never stopped working.

When Disney executives held the first screening of Beauty and the Beast, they were stunned. The film completely blew them away. They visited Howard in the hospital, to tell him the great news, and were saddened to see he didn't have much time left. He was down to 80 pounds, had lost all his sight, and could barely speak. But he smiled when he heard the movie was going to be a huge success.

He died of AIDS at the age of 40, several months before Beauty and the Beast was released in theaters.

His second Academy Award was accepted by his grieving lover.

Before his death, Howard had written a few songs for his next project Aladdin. Those songs, "Arabian Nights," "Friend Like Me," and "Prince Ali" were all used in the film.

Years after his death, Disney would go on to have even more phenomenal success with Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, and Mulan.

Alan has also continued to have enviable success. He would go on to compose even more Disney films (most recently, Tangled) and win a record eight Academy Awards. Most recently, he was nominated for a Tony for his production of Sister Act The Musical. He is considered one of the most powerful and iconic figures in musical theater history.

Needless to say, his old friend Howard would be proud.

Although he has been dead for more than two decades, Howard's legacy has never been stronger.

His sister keeps a twitter, tumblr, and blog in his honor. And fans all over the world have fan sites and Facebook pages dedicated to him.

After all, your star doesn't just fade away after you become part of the world's childhood.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Real Snow White

Growing up, Adriana Caselotti didn't know a life without music.

The enchanted little girl and her big sister were educated in an Italian convent, while her famous mother performed opera. When the family moved to Los Angeles years later, her father established himself as a very prominent voice teacher.

One day, in 1934, Adriana's father received a call from a Disney casting director, who was looking for a little girl's singing voice for a "small project."

Although she was already 18, Adriana begged her father to let her audition. She thought it would be fun. Plus, the talented young singer dreamed of a life in showbiz. Living in Hollywood, fame was all around her, all the time, enveloping her with excitement.

Reluctantly, her father allowed her to audition.

When Adriana arrived at the Disney studio, she coyly lied to the casting director, telling him she was much younger. Nobody questioned the bright-eyed brunette. And when she opened her mouth to sing, she wasn't nervous one bit.

But her nerves might have been rattled if she knew that Walt Disney was sitting in his office, listening to the auditions. He wanted to hear the singers, rather than see them. When Adriana's highly trained, high-pitched trills filled the speaker system, he immediately sought out his producers. "That's our Snow White," he told them.

When Adriana was told she received the role, she was absolutely thrilled. When she questioned what the project was about, producers were dismissive. "It's going to be longer than our usual seven-minute long cartoons," they told the attractive girl. She accepted the answer for what it was worth and went skipping home to share the good news with her family.

She had absolutely no idea that she was going to be part of history.

You see, Walt Disney was creating the very first full-length animated feature film cartoon. And not just that, but also the very first Disney Princess.

Adriana went on to spend long, exhausting days in the studio, recording numerous songs and dialogue. She thought it was a little silly they wanted this much audio for a small cartoon, but as a polite, respectful employee, she never questioned them.

In the end, she received $970 (today, around $15,000) for her hard work. She was ecstatic.

When the film was finished and being publicized around the world, Adriana felt a little hurt she had been kept in the dark. She wasn't even invited to the film's premiere! Harry Stockwell, who played the voice of the prince, suggested they sneak into the premiere. So, they did. Hiding up in a balcony, Adriana couldn't believe her eyes when she saw all her favorite movie stars, such as Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland, give her animated persona a standing ovation.

Several months later, when Adriana's identity was exposed, media around the world wanted to feature the beautiful songstress. But, Walt Disney forbid it. He said he didn't want the illusion of Snow White to be spoiled.

Since she was under a Disney contract, Walt went even further to prohibit Adriana from appearing in any films or plays. He essentially destroyed her career, before it could even blossom. All to protect his princess.

Although she was devastated, Adriana did nothing but smile. She was naturally optimistic and could never remain sad for very long. She was always happy, all the time. Just like Snow White.

Eventually, many years later, Walt relented and allowed Adriana to do promotions for Disney. As an adult, she dressed up as Snow White all over the world, performing at radio stations, children's hospitals, and schools. She adored every minute of it.

Even as an elderly woman, whenever Adriana would see someone sad or depressed, she would start singing, "I'm Wishing" and immediately cheer them up.

Unfortunately, in 1997, Adriana died of lung cancer. She left behind no children and several broken marriages.

But her legacy lives on forever, captured in a magical fairytale that always promises a happy ending, even when the real world is falling apart.