May 27, 2016

Summer Recess

Kindergarten mischief maker GSL circa 1969. Photographer had just asked this dashing young man who smuggled in the whoopie cushion...?

Fret not ladies, GSL is back safe and sound. We had to go dark on account of Russian hackers trying to glean GSL's next move.  The Den's Security Apparatus suggested a complete internet blackout to flush them out.

We were successful.

Vladimir Putin was our first and most obvious suspect as his whole tough guy persona is just jacking GSL's style.....everybody knows GSL was taking his shirt off in Siberia back in the Go-Go '80s....when it was sexy.

Vladdy, GSL was slapping guys around on Judo mats back when you were a mid-level KGB flunky reading Nancy Reagan's mail.

Happy Memorial Weekend Everybody as The Den breaks for Summer Recess however we will be making occasional appearances as needed.

May 11, 2016

Sunset Boulevard Part II

Madge looks sensational here.

A follow-up to this post that got near record high page views. The comments got rather spirited too. Recent developments require an update.  My tone was quite harsh and it wasn't until I was responding to Stephen Andrew in the comments section when I remembered what had soured me on Madonna. I couldn't find it during a YouTube search but back in 2011 (or possibly 2012) she was premiering either a video or entire concert tour live on YouTube on a Saturday Night around 7pm Chicago time....obviously timed to get maximum viewership. I had someplace to go but waited around to watch the live performance YouTube so heavily promoted. I remember thinking of how millions of mothers were likely introducing their pre-teen daughters or sons to the pop idol Mom loved when she was their age.

I remember her.

Madonna marches onstage and in the very first sentence (or so it seemed) dropped what clearly was a pre-planned and gratuitous M-F bomb. I was disgusted and so disappointed and thought of those mothers with that needlessly awkward moment they shouldn't have had to deal with during family hour.


I read of Madonna's erratic behavior on her recent tour...especially the Australian leg of that tour. In one instance, she pulled a random 17 year old girl onstage and then pulled down her shirt exposing her breast.  It turned out the 17 year old girl loved being in the International spotlight for a couple of days. Enough has been said about that already and Madonna has had some family issues to deal with in the public spotlight which can't be easy.  Geniuses like Madonna are wired differently and are genetically predisposed to erratic behavior. She is too talented and had astonishing Artistic output as a performer to have her career be most remembered for a tragic ending.  Whatever missteps she's made are far outweighed by her positive contributions. I hope she can get people around her that are helpful.

Sean & Madonna. Two enormously talented and volatile performers.
Let's hope they both continue to share their great gifts for many years to come

During the comments section of that previous post, there was a spirited exchange along with a rumored allegation regarding Sean Penn physically abusing Madonna and it lowered my then very high opinion of him. Just a few days ago, Sean Penn won a settlement from Empire Creator/Director Lee Daniels who also made those false allegations only during an interview.  Lee Daniels issued a formal apology and in the settlement donated an undisclosed amount to Haiti for ongoing support of those 2010 earthquake victims.  Madonna provided a sworn affidavit stating that Sean Penn never abused her. As I stated in this post, I was with Sean Penn when he worked tirelessly for months on his own dime in Haiti back in early 2010.

Here is Sean Penn after the devastating Haitian earthquake in early 2010. I had an unfavorable opinion of him prior to watching how hard he worked over several months when no cameras or press were around. My high respect now restored after learning he never abused his ex-wife.

May 08, 2016

Man Talk: The Sausage Pinch

Sandra Dee, best known for her role as Gidget, knew how to get dolled up and exude classy youthful glamour.

The Den has noticed that the fair sex could use a bit of guidance when negotiating the wheels of justice.  The one area of real concern is known colloquially by police officers as The Sausage Pinch....which is not a type of Fire Island Foreplay by the way. A Sausage Pinch is just a low-level arrest that includes a baloney sandwich and night on cold steel. GSL has had 3 of those baloney sandwiches and nights on cold steel (the most recent about 25 years ago) so we feel duty bound to share our expertise.

Are you familiar with New York/Palm Beach Socialite Tinsley Mortimer?

Here is Tinsley Mortimer with her trademark cross ankle pose....long line at the loo? The Den gives Ms. Mortimer high marks but we know who does better...

Tinz, listen sweetheart, this is what casual elegance looks demonstrated with the eponymous MaiTai Shim

Not one to rest on her laurels, MaiTai is constantly expanding her repertoire with this luscious lefty move here.
As you can see, a bit less pronounced so we refer to this as The MaiTai Southpaw Skim
btw, I just had my Mother's Day phone call with Mum dressing for church in her new Rose Stole...
 a girl from Mansfield, Ohio never outgrows the thrill of finding a parcel on her doorstep from France
thanks MaiTai, Mum loves it!

*Nota Bene: The Den does not accept free or discounted merchandise not afforded others and are proud
to be full paying customers of The Magnificent MaiTai.

The Tinz has had a rough couple of months. Here she is in the Palm Beach Pokey.

Here is the mugshot from Tinsley's Sausage Pinch...very unpleasant experience obviously, but not the end of the world.
You'll be fine Tinsley and now The Den will be sponsoring Sausage Pinch Workshops to instill better coping skills during those trying circumstances.

In a Den Exclusive, I'll share a few dets on GSL's first sausage pinch. This happened around 1986/87 with GSL presiding over a Rat Packish group of guys with weekends ring-a-ding-dinging in at The GSL Compound Friday evening with gas grill warming slabs of babybacks and Bar at full battle stations. A young divorcee had just moved in next door and was desperately trying to ingratiate herself into our group in general and GSL in particular but made 2 deal breaking tactical blunders.
I immediately nicknamed this eager interloper 'Gidget' based on a vague, but quite flattering resemblance, which she absolutely loved and began referring to herself as 'Gidget' but her slim, top heavy figure couldn't support a 3rd person. On the first night of our acquaintance, she had an indiscreet tryst with GSL's favorite whipping boy.

Our Gidget crashed GSL Friday Night Cocktail Hours in tube dress, big hair, and FMPs that
had plenty of 'Walk of Shame' miles.

I don't know when this happened but my Estella and Gidget crossed paths and, predictably, it didn't go well. Gidget saw Estella as a rival and Estella saw Gidget as a cheap floozy.

GSL's Gidget learned the same lesson of many a Vegas Showgirl. You don't get to be Frank's main squeeze by sleeping with Joey Bishop and badmouthing Ava Gardner.

GSL was trying to gently keep Gidget at a distance but she was relentless and hitched a ride with us one night when making our rounds at local night spots.  At one club, Gidget got herself into a catfight with a bouncer's girlfriend and was promptly tossed out but she didn't go quietly even when the cops came. Johnny Babes, informed me Gidget had been arrested and was being taken to the downtown lockup and since she rode with us, we felt obliged to go spring her.

The Man In Black knew a thing or 2 about Jailhouse Accoustics

Upon arrival (Johnny Babes, as always, driving with GSL riding shotgun) at the downtown lockup, a very well lubricated GSL approaches the graveyard shift magistrate and can see back in the processing area, as Gidget is being fingerprinted while crying like a teething toddler in Wal-Mart.  GSL started howling with laughter at this spectacle and the no-nonsense magistrate said "Get the hell out of here before I lock you up too!" so GSL leaves via a side door he failed to notice was marked: DO NOT ENTER RESTRICTED ACCESS and then discovered he was locked out when trying to reenter. GSL put his pie-eyed mug up against the little window and started making faces at the enraged magistrate who didn't take kindly to having smart ass white boys creating a circus atmosphere in her workplace. She called in some muscle to have GSL taken into custody.

GSL also did a couple of 1 Night Engagements at the Cook County Jail in 1988 and 1991 and we hear a couple of bootleg recordings are fetching a  pretty penny on ebay.
Above: BB King with Lucille.

GSL had long heard about the wonders of Jailhouse acoustics. After being printed and mugshot, GSL, who suspected he had the makings of a top shelf Drunk-Tank Crooner, started wowing the assemblage with a medley of tunes that included everything from Tin Pan Alley to Negro Spirituals. Johnny Babes had used all our ready cash to spring Gidget and couldn't even muster a quarter to payphone my father so called him collect at 3am and as 'Sire to GSL' later recalled, with retellings of the story that continue to this day, when roused out of bed with Johnny Babes curious appeal, he overheard familiar echos as his son brought the house down with a stirring rendition of Nobody Knows.

Below is a recording of the same Tin Pan Alley ditty GSL dazzled the drunk tank with. That magistrate wasn't amused when I requested she fetch me a top hat and cane.

GSL wishes every devoted mother a festive and delightful Mother's Day!

Mother's Day 1967. Forty-nine years later, those 2 boys (DRL left/GSL right) gave their mum a nice rose stole for Mother's Day..

May 06, 2016

Boy Wonder

38 year old Ben Rhodes aka "Boy Wonder of the Obama White House"

**WARNING: Not an iPhone friendly blogpost but please give full attention when laptop/desktop accessible if Foreign Affairs of interest.

Just past midnight, GSL was monitoring geopolitical developments, as he always does, and came across the most startling newspaper article on the inner workings of a White House since the days just after the September 11th attacks. I knew it would cause a huge reaction in the Foreign Affairs community and it has been abuzz all day. I have been volleying messages with one journalist (although this distinction may now be very much in question) conspicuously mentioned and she is likely in DEFCON 1 aka "Cocked Pistol" mode in terms of her professional integrity but she told me she was misrepresented. That may be the case and I'll be interested in hearing her version of events.

Here is the NYT article causing all the fuss.

Here is Pulitzer Prize winning and former Wall Street Journal & Washington Post Foreign Affairs/Defense Columnist Tom Rick's rather heated reaction.

The article isn't even due to formally run until Sunday's New York Times Magazine goes to press but will be very significant to the soon to be revised assessments of the Obama Administration.

Pride goeth...?

May 03, 2016

2016 Met Gala Honor Roll

The Den loves Mother/Daughter pics and these two stole the show last night.
Proud mother Anna Wintour with beautiful daughter Bee Shaffer.

Last night's Met Gala for the Costume Institute was themed Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology which isn't the easiest theme to dress for. The many reviews I've read thus far have not been favorable but The Den will not concern itself with the many lowlights.

These were the very best dressed from the 2016 Met Gala.

Jessica Chastain
Obviously the gorgeous Jessica Chastain heeds the GSL Dictum that a woman is never more beautiful than when smiling.
We are so tired of seeing those frozen pose pouts rehearsed endlessly that only look phony and ridiculous.

Broadway Star Allyson Williams in Peter Pilotto.

Another pic of Allyson Williams..

Rosie Huntington-Whitely

Naomi Campbell

Aussie Supermodel Jessica Hart
Another pic of Jessica Hart.

Lily Aldridge

Another look at Bee Shaffer's stunning dress.
Another look at Anna in Chanel.

Please share which Met Gala attendees caught your eye.

**If anybody knows the designers not identified with these frocks, please let me know so their superb work can be recognized. The Den considers Fashion at this level High Art.

In the spirit of Mother's Day week, I wanted to share this:

Ivanka Trump, 5 weeks after giving birth to her 3rd child.
Modified Jumpsuit by Ralph Lauren

I saw the most charming video of Ivanka getting dressed for the big night with her daughter providing style input
regarding lippy,handbag, shoes.

May 02, 2016

Anna & The Met Gala

The Den's Absolute Fave Fashionista.
Anna is eager to redeem herself after last year's misstep.

Girls, it's that time of year. Tonight is the Met Gala, Fashion's Super Bowl, although recent years have been disappointing.  Den Fave Anna Wintour serves as Official Hostess and has carte blanche over everything from guest list to floral arrangements.  My Estella & I have always been on opposite sides of the Anna Divide. 'Stella likes Anna but considers her personal style a 'mess'.  GSL thinks she's an All Time Great and of course, he's right. Anna does lay an egg from time to time but all the Greats are entitled to have an occasional off day.

 Anna from last year, As I noted then. you clip those shrubs down by 2/3 and this would have been the crown jewel
of the Costume Institute's permanent collection the following day.

The theme for tonight's Met Gala is Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology. This doesn't sound promising does it.

Anna can rock the leopard, No wonder Faux Fuchsia's a fan

It is every Fashionista's dream to make The Den's Met Gala Honor Roll (see last year's Honor Roll here.) so by Wednesday we shall grant immortality to several ladies who really shine tonight.

Anna is not one of those silly girls who whack off her hair every time she and boyfriend have a tiff.

It's Anna's party and she can cry if she wants to or listen to GSL's sage counsel.

What Anna does better than everybody else is work interesting colour and texture and stays away from bore me to tears black. As Den Stylist Extraordinaire, Trudye, has noted, she'd do well to add a smile every now and then.

Anna back in the day when she apparently had GSL on her mind. You're right Trudye, a smile really does enhance her whole look.
Estella was first to introduce GSL to Laura Ashley many decades ago and I absolutely love the look of this Laura Ashley type frock and notice how lovely she looks; in  contrast to her usual forbidding vibe.
With beautiful daughter Bee Shaffer.  Any woman who's a devoted Mum has GSL as a fan.
Another thing that just came to my attention; in addition to working colour and texture so well, Anna ACCESSORIZES beautifully and not just with pieces that lean on provenance to bestow glamour. The Magnificent MaiTai introduced GSL to the power of accessories. I ordered one of MaiTai's fab sequined stoles in rose now en route for Mother's Day which will look preternaturally lovely on my dear mother and those wonderful ladies at church (several being my former Sunday School teachers) will shower her with praise....especially when they find out how she got it.