Project Rundown?
October 23, 2009

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There’s been a lot of smack-talking all over the internets about the dismal turn taken by this season’s Project Runway, its first at a new home over at Lifetime. Every week, on blog show wrap-ups and countless comments in response (my current fave – a wry poster who called the show “deeply adequate”), folks say the contestants aren’t as talented as past seasons, that Nina and Michael have been absent way too much and they blame it on changing the locale to LA, the move to Lifetime, the weather, the phases of the moon . . .who knows?

It’s not rocket science, people. The show is tired. T-I-R-E-D. The challenges are tired. The monotony is tired. Tim’s tired. Heidi’s tired. And a bit grouchy. The contestants are always tired. And a lot whiney. And guest judge Milla Jovovich hit the bull’s-eye last night, saying the runway results looked like they were from, “Project I-don’t-mind-it.” Zing!

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You look at the designers and think, “Is this the best they could do?” The drama, or lack of it, seems right out of high school (and not in a good Glee way), revolving around two cliched tropes of adolescence, mean girls and a dreamy guy. They’ve tried to make Irina (center, above) wear the bitch crown because she has frequently expressed a dim view of her rivals while single-mindedly racking up three wins so far. But last night when the group was all sitting around the “dorm” having drinks, she seemed to fit right in and nobody had their claws out

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Then there’s Logan, the hipster Seattle stud, who except for the impermeable Irina seems to have everybody crushin’ on him – on both sides of the camera. Lifetime’s producers dutifully indulge their Television for Women imperative by showing him shirtless or in a tank top at least once an episode. And of course he’s straight, to boot, making him a fantasy object for lots of the women viewers (and many of the men). But the dirty little secret is he’s not a very good designer and you can’t be blamed for perversely anticipating if this is the week he’ll be auf-ed.

As for the rest, the ladies were so alike that the only reason they are starting to register is because there are so few of them left. Except for Gordana, a generation older, who trembles, dithers, apologizes and complains, always weary. Even Heidi’s fed up, because she gives her a little scolding every week.  The two other men, as of last night, were tied in a race for the bottom  – weepy Christopher and creepy Nicolas. Both way missed the mark. Nicolas lost. Did anyone notice?

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A Neck of a Time
September 28, 2009

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This photo may seem like a little shameless pandering to male admirers of all sexes out there but is there any better way to bring up the subject of neck tattoos? I was standing in line at California Chicken waiting to order my Primavera Wrap the other day and the woman in front of me was sporting big cartoon-y tattoos all over her body including one that I swear looked just like a big blob on the side of her neck.  Then I ran across pics of the fitness model above who wasn’t content with chest and sleeve adornment and expanded it up the side of his neck too. I’m the first to admit I’m 2385048032_360b78b42aconflicted about tattoos, even large ones – they can be hot – but that day at the cafe I was beginning to feel, shall we say, neck and neck with the creeping signs of old-fogeydom. And I do live in L.A., where there most be more tatted skin than anywhere on the planet, short of some tribal enclaves in Borneo. But, to borrow from judge Nina of Project Runway, I’m afraid I don’t find neck tattoos aesthetically pleasing. Nonetheless, they’ve gone mainstream – a site called eHow.com even gives you seven simple steps to getting a neck tattoo. After noting in passing that they are dubbed “job blockers” and sometimes require a premium for the tattoo artist, the advice ends with step 7: “Be prepared to defend your neck tattoo.” Duh.

But back up a minute, maybe even that admonition is outdated, judging by the number of them around these days. I don’t really care, I guess, that a lot of people don’t worry about getting a job, or going to a funeral or flying in to visit dear old mom without giving her a heart attack just so they can look like a bad-ass, at least in their own mind. Remember past-season designer Jeffrey from the aforementioned 219111722_096c6fa3a5Project Runway, who got a lot of his dirty-rocker-trash-talking-villain-of-the-season cred from his big ole neck tattoo (which sported his son’s name as a kind of motley milestone). But every time I saw him on screen I just thought it was ugly. And a little sad. And maybe that’s why I’ve been obsessing over them lately.  This is what people will spend not a little amount of money, effort, time and even pain to achieve? This is their dream? This is what they think looks good? And don’t even get me started on eHow.com’s follow-up article, “How to Get a Breast Tattoo.”