Monday, May 23, 2011


Christopher Titus is fucked up.

I'm sure he'd be the first to admit that. A comedian that tells jokes about domestic violence, suicide, molestation, rape, death and his own struggles with addiction and pain, is not something you think would be all that funny. But he is. And that's why I've been a fan of his for over a decade.

His stand up is more like a one man show, telling stories about his life. He talks about his schizophrenic mother who shot her last husband (she was acquitted) then later killed herself in 1994. His father who married 6 times and was more than harsh to him at times. (He died in 2001 of a heart attack)The only person he doesn't speak much of is his sister Shannon, who killed herself in 2004. He's been beaten, cheated on, divorced, and fallen into a bonfire, hands first. I know it doesn't sound funny at all, but here's why it is.

For other fucked up people, who have had some bad things happen to us or have made some bad choices, we understand other fucked up people. If you've ever woken up some place you have sworn you've never been before.... If you given more than 2 eulogies in less than 6 months... If you have found yourself in an abusive relationship... If you have had any moment where you think to yourself, "This is so fucked but it's my life..."  then you are part of the club. And Titus is a proud member of that club.

Going to one of his shows is like going to church, therapy, school and stand up all in one. Sometimes the things he says are so close to home, you laugh not to cry. Many times, I have wanted to jump up and scream "Hallelujah!" or "Yes! Exactly!".  His stand up is brutal at times, taking bits from his sometimes tragic circumstances to stage, where his monologues stop and we all sit there in silence while he stands on stage, head bowed. Part of the act, yes, but poignant none the less.

Titus and me
After his shows, I feel exhausted, in a good way, like after a long run or a good cry. And even with all the shit that's rained down on him, he's still positive and ends with signs of happiness.

I've been a fan since I was a teen and over 10 years later I'm still coming to the shows. He's more than just a funny comic; for the damaged people (like myself), his shows are my proof that overcoming is possible.

So bring it on Professor/Dr./Pastor Titus. I'll see you at the next show.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

God Save the McQueen

I would kill for one of his dresses.

Well, I would definitely kick someone in the shins or cut in line. I would probably run though Times Square naked.  I would definitely pay, if I had the money. (Will work for red feather strapless dress with white tulle underskirt.) He was new, shocking and so inspiring in a sometimes uninspired landscape. (Tommy Hilfiger, I'm looking at you.) His clothes were like stories, portals into a stories, into the bodies of characters. Never was there a boring piece. It was art.

Even if you don't follow fashion, you have probably seen his work. A blatant ripoff of a wonderful McQueen dress was featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 1), not to mention on the red carpet, covering Lady Gaga, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Obama, and if you've been keeping up with all the silly royal wedding madness, Katherine Middleton's wedding dress was based on a McQueen design.

For his 2004 ready-to-wear collection, instead of the standard runway, McQueen staged an extravaganza, reenacting "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?". Models and dancers started the show with exuberant dancing moves, and ending with a sole dancer, barely keeping her head up, then collapsing on stage. McQueen and the choreographer carried her off stage. Not only was the staging ingenious but the clothes themselves were beautiful and innovative.

I personally loved that he dress the common girl to the first lady. He had a line at Target a couple of years ago but also creates dresses that retail in the tens of thousands. And he knows and loves women. Now, you might want to argue that after seeing some of the contraptions he puts his models in but I would argue right back. You can't look at some of his beautiful dresses and say he doesn't worship our bodies. The chest-plated outfits and high collars, I argue, are statements, art speaking about changing our shapes via harshness. But that's just one girl's opinion.

In this month addition of Bazaar, close friend Annabelle Neilson wrote about "Lee" (his true given name) on the one year anniversary of his death. In the article, she seems still in shock about the whole thing, her retelling scattered and grief-stricken. She spoke briefly that he had promised her that he would never go the way of Isabella Blow. 

Isabella Blow was a editor, style icon and muse for the fashion forward. She suffered from depression after the people she helped get started in the business left her behind, infertility and money issues, not to mention her ovarian cancer and bipolar diagnoses. She drank weed killer that finally ended her life but, according to Daily Collegian, before that she had attempted to do so by jumping off the Hammersmith flyover in London (breaking both her ankles), car accident, getting horse tranquilizers, drowning and overdosing on various pills. The woman was determined. And in the end, so was Alex.

Alexander McQueen meant something to me. It was as if he knew how I wanted to dress; the secret wish that I could be like the girls on his catwalk. They were romantic, tough, sexy, and highly strange. I would often see a dress and fall deeply in love with it only to find out that it was a McQueen. ("Of course it's a McQueen!" I would shout in the middle of the grocery store magazine aisle.) Dripping in style and never compromised, he never pussy footed around the concept. He was brave. And that's what I wanted.

I'll miss you, amazing designer, visionary and fabulous person.