Prepare to be overly stimulated this week. Don’t say I didn’t warn you:
- Hurricane Michael Relief: In case you haven’t heard, this deadly storm raged across Florida last week and was the most powerful storm to hit the continental US in 50 years. Thousands are without power, many without supplies or even a home to go back to now. I donated directly to a friend organizing a drive (@JessicaLauther on Venmo), but you can also support via United Way Worldwide and more. Every bit helps these people in need.
- Boss’s Day: Without sounding like a totally insensitive douche canoe during this transition, I have to acknowledge my incredible team for their Boss’s Day wishes yesterday. I was showered with appreciation from my small-but-mighty team of 10, and have already put their thoughtful gift to good use. I’m grateful every day to be surrounded by such talented and creative people, and this was yet another reminder of how caring they are, too. Thanks, team!
- “A Simple Favor”: I’m often behind the trend on new movies because I don’t like crowds and am super snobby about picking my seat at the theatre. ← See what I mean? I just saw this twisted, darkly humorous take on the Darcey Bell novel and I was floored. Kendrick and Lively make for quite the pair, with outstanding supporting performances by Golding, Rannells and Smart(!). Do yourself a favor and see it.
- “Shallow” – Lady Gaga + Bradley Cooper: You can’t have gone anywhere the past month without hearing about “A Star Is Born,” Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Bradley Cooper’s dog or this heart-wrenching song. While I have yet to see the movie (remember, I don’t like crowds), I dare you to listen and not get goosebumps. I feel fortunate to have seen Lady Gaga perform when she was in SF last year, and I would pay every damn penny over again to hear her live another time. Uh-may-zing.
I feel like a broken record when, week after week, some national news takes precedence over my thoughts and heart. It’s nothing compared to what the people directly affected are feeling. And I don’t expect the world to be all sunshine and rainbows. But is anyone else completely exhausted by all of this hatred and violence?
I studied journalism — I know that “if it bleeds, it leads.” Yet it feels like we can’t even get so much as a day anymore without some terribly traumatic event being splashed all over the news, social media and our day-to-day conversations. Such conversations are important. I’m not denying that. But I do wonder how long we can possibly continue to shout (into vacuums) at each other, when not many seem willing to listen?
- Help Heather and Other Charlottesville Victims: The President may be reluctant to say it, but I’m not: White supremacists are domestic terrorists. There is no room in this country for such ignorant bigotry and violence. Don’t @ me comparing this to Black Lives Matter. Seriously. Pour your energy into something useful, like donating to help the victims in Charlottesville, Va.
- Lady Gaga: I can think of very few artists who are so consistently vocal about being inclusive and accepting of all humans. I’ve been a fan of hers for years, and finally had the chance to see her perform live Sunday night — her first-ever stadium show in the US. She spoke about Saturday’s events, of course, and brought 40,000 to their feet — and many of us to tears as well.
- “The Cure” – Lady Gaga: Something about this recent release of Gaga’s really strikes a chord with me. Maybe it’s because all we need to hear sometimes is, “I will be right by your side.” Whatever the reason, it’s been stuck in my head for days and I’m not mad about it.
- The Summer of Love: Isn’t it ironic, Alanis? Don’t you think? I walked into the de Young Museum’s exhibition about The Summer of Love on Saturday, having no knowledge of the Charlottesville events. An hour later, and I couldn’t unhear the news. What a blissful hour it was, though; exploring fashion, art, culture and more from one swinging summer that defined San Francisco 50 years ago.
George Zimmerman has a girlfriend and Adam Levine is People‘s Sexiest Man Alive? My friend Kaley said it best — the world is going insane. What’s a girl to do when everyone else seems to be losing their mind? Earbuds in, music on, disappear from society. Here we go:
- SNL – “Worst Cover Songs of All Time”: This season had its hits and misses, but I cannot stop watching this hilarious infomercial for awesomely bad cover songs. Nathan Lane takes the cake by far!
- AcaBelles – “Royals”: I still haven’t seen “Pitch Perfect” (the horror!) but these ladies from FSU straight up kill Lorde’s song. Now, how do I do that mouth-drum thing?
- Phillip Phillips – “Gone, Gone, Gone”: I didn’t think this horribly named young man could do any better than last year’s smash single, “Home.” Boy, is my face red. Let’s just say obsession is putting it mildly here.
- Avicii – “Wake Me Up”: Full disclosure: I confuse this song with ol’ Phillip squared on a regular basis. The key difference? This one gets me pumped like none other.
Click the links above to watch, or enjoy the three I can embed (thanks a heap, SNL).
After one of the best long weekends I’ve ever had, it’s safe to say my motivation for anything is long gone. That won’t really do, though, when you have 300+ work emails, four freelance assignments and a blog to upkeep! Wah, woe is me.
- Typhoon Relief: Take a moment to support the American Red Cross and its efforts to aid the thousands affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. It’s the least we can do, but it’s a little something to show support to those in need.
- Bill de Blasio: My first election season here was nothing if not memorable. Voters selected de Blasio, the first Democratic NYC mayor in 24 years, and I look forward to seeing what craziness will come.
- S’mores: First you take the graham; you stick the chocolate on the graham. Then you roast the ‘mallow. When the ‘mallow’s flaming, you stick it on the chocolate. Is there anything better than this childhood classic? My recent food choices would say, NO.
- “Applause” – Lady Gaga: I really didn’t want to like this song, but the reigning queen of quirky just pumps out those earwigs. Of course, the ridiculous Kia Soul commercial helps, too.
It’s time for the next installment of my latest series, wherein I complain about first world problems — AKA things I should be grateful I have access to but annoy me anyway.
Today’s post is inspired by the ever-bitter Ben, of the aptly named Ben’s Bitter Blog. Check out his rants for guaranteed grumblings and — more importantly — laughs.
Women wear high heels for a variety of reasons: to add height, feel sexier, complete an outfit or make a statement. But what often comes with this killer footwear is a plethora of problems that last long after the other shoe drops.
The long-term effects of wearing high heels are far from fabulous. From corns and callouses to bunions and EXTRA TOES, I have to ask: Why do we put ourselves through this pain?
Yikes. A. Bee.
But I walked behind a woman yesterday who struggled so much for those three blocks, I wanted to hail her a cab to put her out of her misery. The forecast suggested a downpour, yet she actively chose to traipse through New York in stilettos she couldn’t handle.
Down goes Frazier.
I love dressing up as much as the next girl, but I can’t defend the trend of hobbling along for the sake of wearing sky-high shoes. The styles that used to be reserved for special occasions are now everyday office wear, and I don’t get it.
While I agree that a great pair of heels (any shoe, really) can make a statement, I do not think beauty is pain. If you’re struggling to walk, let alone stand — trade ’em out for a wonderful wedge or (gasp!) seductive sandal.
And even if you can rock any heel height without fail, give your poor tootsies a break at least twice a week to minimize damage. Feet are gross enough without the swollen skin and blistered bunions. You’re welcome for that visual.
Returning host LL Cool J tucked his ears into a Kangol hat and shared a handful of awful puns to bring music superstars together tonight.
His personal stories were long-winded and confusing, though not quite on par with Jodie Foster’s now infamous Emmy speech.
The red carpet coverage was entertaining, but can we all back off from pushing the social media stuff? Hashtag: It’s overkill.
The Fashions: Some snoozes, some surprises
- Finally dressing her age, Taylor Swift’s flowing gown was stunning. And that’s the only nice thing I’ll say about her tonight.
- Jennifer Lopez clearly missed the restricted dress-code memo (and later joked about it). Honey, your cooch is loose. Oh also? You’re FORTY-THREE.
- Usually adventurous Beyonce donned a bland pantsuit, but she’s Queen B and looked gorgeous anyway. Former DC3 band mate Kelly Rowland wowed in my fave dress of the night.
- Katy Perry said she channeled Priscilla Presley, and I think The King himself would be pleased with her tribute. Va-va-voooom — but where were notoriously wacky Lady Gaga and Nicki Manaj?
- Katy’s BFF Rihanna looked far more glamorous than I’ve seen her in a while, and first-timer Carly Rae Jepsen slinked and sparkled in a gorgeous gown.
- No idea what Adele was thinking, but I’ll allow post-pregnancy brain as her excuse.
The Performances: Where actors prove their relevance for attending
- Taylor Swift opened with that awful never, ever song — in a surprising departure from her sickly sweet scenery. Still no rhythm, Tay Tay. Like, ever.
- Sir Elton John and Ed Sheeran collaborated to perform a dazzling rendition of the latter’s hit single “The A Team.”
- Neil Patrick Harris included Barney Stinson trademark “legendary” in his introduction of fun. for their sweet ballad, “Carry On.”
- Quintessential douche John Mayer stood with icon Bonnie Raitt. They announced Miranda Lambert and tour mate Dierks Bentley’s too-loud dual duets. Say that five times fast!
- Is Johnny Depp homeless now? He sure looks it. Mumford & Sons strummed and sung an electric “I Will Wait” to shift our focus away from Depp’s derelict designs.
- Beyonce and Ellen DeGeneres paired up perfectly to introduce OMG JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. His “Suit and Tie” world premiere was simply fantastical, even better in, you guessed it: black and white. Jay Z joined in because he can and we loved him for it.
- Maroon 5 led with “Daylight” before Alicia Keys brought it home with “Girl on Fire.” Adam Levine is better speaking, not singing. Alicia’s crooning (and drumming!) saved my ears yet again.
- Rihanna and Mickey Echo belted “Stay” to a silenced crowd. Finally, a Ri Ri song I don’t hate!
- 1 Broke Girl Kat Dennings announced The Black Keys, performing alongside Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Doctor John. Hipster magic was made and they lived happily ever after.
- Kelly Clarkson paid homage to Patti Page and Bonnie Tyler with respective renditions of “The Tennessee Waltz” and “A Natural Woman.” Get it, girl.
- The much-anticipated Bob Marley tribute kicked off with Bruno Mars and his lovable backup dancers, followed by powerhouse performers Sting, Rihanna and Damian and Ziggy Marley. Shout-out to everyone singing along, especially NPH and that one white guy with his arms crossed.
- The Lumineers nailed “Ho Hey” before introducing Jack White. The former was an entertaining escape; the latter was reminiscent of old jams to The White Stripes. Even Nicole Kidman said it was awesome.
- Newcomer Hunter Hayes warbled through “Wanted,” but I’m told that’s how it should sound. Carrie Underwood appeared with “Blown Away.” Yet another example of sound techs needing to check before they wreck!
- An acoustic and bilingual “Your Song” by Latin GRAMMY winner Juanes was soft and sweet before introducing Frank Ocean for “Forrest Gump.” Lieutenant Dan, ICE CREAM?!
- LL Cool J teamed up with Travis Barker and others to close the show. “WHADDUP” felt out of place, but I always enjoy a “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” nod.
The Winners: 3.5 hours of coverage, and only 11 televised gramaphones
- Spicy songsters Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull presented Best Pop Solo Performance to Adele for her live version of “Set Fire to the Rain.” In a 15ish-second speech, she held the award awkwardly and called J. Lo her good luck charm. Adorbs all around.
- Hot-this-moment Miguel and Wiz Khalifa worked the crowd in patterned suits before presenting Best Country Solo Performance to American (Idol) sweetheart Carrie Underwood for “Blown Away.” Her heartfelt speech was also short and sweet.
- Country’s favorite couple (right, guys?) Tim McGraw and Faith Hill awarded fun. with coveted Song of the Year honor for “We Are Young,” as performed with Janelle Monae. Many thanks were given to their fellow musicians, with Jay Z shouting back “You’re welcome!” Classic HOVA.
- Proud presenters Kelly Rowland and Nas announced first-ever Best Urban Contemporary Album winner Frank Ocean for Channel Orange. You mad, Chris Brown?
- Producer of the Year Dan Auerbach was announced by Pauly Perrette and my future first husband, Dave Grohl. They then honored Auerbach’s band mates, The Black Keys, with Best Rock Performance for “Lonely Boy.”
- Kaley Cuoco shouted alongside American Idol judge Keith Urban to present first AI winner Kelly Clarkson with Best Pop Vocal Album. She rambled and ran around like a crazy person. Perfection.
- Carly Rae Jepsen and Ne-Yo presented Jay Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean and The Dream with Best Rap Song Collaboration. Mr. West was absent, but Jay Z killed again.
- Best Country Album went to The Zac Brown Band for Uncaged, and their thanks to the fans brought roars from the crowd.
- Eyelash line creator Katy Perry joked and presented Best New Artist to fun., who should definitely change that period to an exclamation point (NPH)! Their pee jokes were great too.
- The man, the legend, the symbol, the cane: Prince! He handed over the GRAMMY for Record of the Year to Gotye and Kimbra for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” No surprise there.
- 2012’s GRAMMY cleaner-upper, Adele, presented Album of the Year to Mumford & Sons for “Babel.” Their flirtation with the crowd (and Adele) was both humble and humorous.
Before its In Memoriam segment, The GRAMMY Foundation announced a brand-new category, set to begin in 2014: The Music Educator Award.
And speaking of education, the touching Sandy Hook tribute brought a wealth of performers together — and the crowd to its feet.
Did you watch? How do you think it compared to last year’s event?
I was going to post about something entirely different today, but then the 54th GRAMMY Awards happened.
LL Cool J served as host, and he opened the ceremony with a beautiful prayer to honor the late Whitney Houston. The evening’s breakdown is as follows:
The Fashions: Another awards show, another competition for weirdest outfit between …
- Lady Gaga – We barely heard about her this year, but she still managed to carry a scepter, throw a fishing net over herself and call it a style.
- Nicki Minaj – Not as outlandish as I expected, Miss Minaj only had a few ensembles, the worst of which was her cape and accompanying priest.
- Katy Perry – Does the woman ever mix up the monochrome? She was all about baby blue, and it wasn’t really working.
The Performances: Much-anticipated and mostly memorable, this year’s performers were …
- Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band opened, without so much as a crotch shot. (Anyone else still haunted by that?)
- Bruno Mars brought the funk with a shout-out to Whitney that was reminiscent of his VMA tribute to Amy.
- Chris Brown still looks and sounds like a 16-year-old, but his dance moves are getting more interesting. Full disclosure: I kept waiting for him to fall from his Aggro Crag tower.
- Reba looked timeless as she introduced Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson for “Don’t You Wanna Stay?” Their mics were uneven, and Kelly’s stylist seriously needs to be fired.
- The Foo Fighters performed “Walk” outside the Staples Center, and Dave Grohl still has my heart. ‘Nuff said.
- Rihanna and Coldplay are generally two of my least favorite popular music performers, so I can’t be unbiased here. My ears didn’t bleed, which was new.
- Hey, Ryan Seacrest: Thanks for the puns, champ. Maroon 5 began with “Little Surfer Girl” — just when I thought Adam Levine’s voice couldn’t get any worse. Foster the People’s “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was spot-on. And for their 50th anniversary, The Beach Boys put out “Good Vibrations,” while everyone in the audience looked really, really white singing and dancing along (even future hubby John Legend).
- Stevie Wonder forever remains a baller. Speaking to Whitney, playing the harmonica, singing a little … oh, and he introduced Sir Paul McCartney’s sleepy performance of “My Valentine.”
- The Civil Wars gave a stellar acoustic opening for Taylor Swift, who still hasn’t learned to dance. I’d tell you what she sang, but they all sound the same to me.
- Always-gorgeous Kate Beckinsale partnered with LL to introduce always-offbeat Katy Perry, proving once again that her songs are all slow as shit but layered over upbeat tracks.
- Gwyneth Paltrow welcomed Adele back to the stage — and “Rolling in the Deep” never sounded so good.
- Taylor Swift looked even more dowdy introducing a medley of Glen Campbell songs (does she even know who he is?). The Band Perry, Blake Shelton and the rhinestone cowboy himself came together for a toe-tapping trifecta. Campbell got a little lost at the end, making him all the more endearing.
- Following the In Memoriam tributes, Jennifer Hudson brought the crowd to its feet with an emotional “I Will Always Love You.”
- Remembering Don Cornelius, Soul Train legend, were Chris Brown, David Guetta and Lil’ Wayne in an LSD-induced dance-off. Bonus: The Foo Fighters rocked with “Rope” and a little help from DeadMau5.
- Drake introduced Nicki Minaj for her super-confusing mash-up, which went into a short film and “The Exorcism of Roman” — both were disturbing at best.
- Luckily, Sir Paul McCartney closed out the night with “Golden Slumbers” and redeemed the stage from Nicki’s head-scratching show.
The Winners: Only nine golden gramaphones were shown, those being …
- Presenters Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt began with “A Sunday Kind of Love“ by Etta James. Best Pop Solo Performance went to Adele for “Someone Like You,” and the crowd roared for the comeback queen’s victory.
- Fergie’s acting skills are still lacking, but she and Marc Anthony presented Best Rap Performance to Kanye West and new daddy Jay Z, who were not in attendance.
- Victor Cruz salsa danced his way into presenting Best Rock Performance with that girl from “NCIS” and fellow Giant Mario Manningham. Foo won for “Walk,” and Dave Grohl’s acceptance speech was wonderful — urging musicians to CREATE, instead of FABRICATE — no complaints here.
- Common and Taraji P. Henson presented Chris Brown’s “Fame” with the GRAMMY for Best R&B Album. As per usual, he opened his mouth and sounded like an idiot.
- NPH was suited up for Adele’s Song of the Year award, thanks to played-every-minute powerhouse “Rolling in the Deep.”
- Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley awarded Best Country Album to trio Lady Antebellum for “Own the Night.”
- Carrie Underwood sparkled alongside legend Tony Bennett, singing “It Had to Be You.” They then presented — a witty and admittedly uncomfortable — Bon Iver with the GRAMMY for Best New Artist.
- Lady Antebellum returned to the stage, awarding Record of the Year to clear favorite Adele for “Rolling in the Deep.” Her speech was a bit awkward, but you gotta love the way Brits say “fank you.”
- OG Diva Diana Ross received a standing O before presenting Album of the Year to Adele for “21.” Another standing O and a very emotional speech (with a “bit a snot”) later, the curtain fell.
And special props to Betty White, who won her first GRAMMY at just 90 years old.
I asked myself no less than 10 times why I was watching the awards, but I just couldn’t help myself. From tragedies to triumphs, it was one hell of a show.
No — here’s looking at you, kid.