July 1, 2011


Seems Like Only Yesterday...........................

British Vogue 1990 (Photo: Peter Lindbergh, Hair: Odile Gilbert, Make-up: St├ęphane Marais)
L to R: Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford

New York, NY: Ted Haggard would rise to preach his sermon every Sunday, for over 20 years, in his super-church with 14,000 members, confident his audience would support his call to arms against homosexual sinners. George Rekers, the Baptist Miami Minister, anti-gay campaigner and Focus on the Family founder, had no idea that a Miami newspaper reporter would be waiting for his international flight to land, at Miami's airport,  to confirm that the minister took a 20 year old male escort, who advertised his services on, with him for a 2 week vacation.  

That's gossip I enjoy. I like hearing about the hypocrisy, that seems to permeate the ranks of anti-gay GOP evangelicals. They deserve the negative publicity, and I'm waiting for the day that one of these hate messengers, in a bid for redemption, decides to tell the truth. I hope he will admit that he's gay, doesn't need to run to a religious rehab, and admits that he was wrong, and is going to look for a supportive and loving partner. HA! One can dream........ Our country has a great deal of tolerance for individuals who sin, and are looking for redemption. Don't you think so? How ironic is it, that many evangelicals don't have a propensity to forgive, but still preach the gospel?

I was looking at the news headlines early this afternoon, and thought that Dominique Strauss-Kahn would be dominating the headlines, but I was wrong. I went to the front pages of google news, and yahoo news, and Strauss-Kahn had articles written about his case, but there were some other names that caught my eye too. Supermodels don't generate news headlines very often, but today was an exception. On a day when a world famous wealthy politician and alleged rapist, was released from house arrest, more people were searching for news about a supermodel, an athlete, and an actor, than a disgraced white-haired French politician.

Super what?
When I hear the word supermodel lately, the first image conjured in my head is of fingernails scratching a blackboard. It's not because I have a problem with the term, it's because I have a problem with how people use it today. If I hear Janice Dickinson anoint herself as the world's 1st supermodel again, which has no element of truth whatsoever, I will have to scream. Yet again!

Actresses and media personalities have replaced working models, on the cover of fashion magazines. They accept the work to promote other business ventures, and to solidify their “brand.” There are models working today who have made more money, than the supermodels who captivated us in the 1980's and 1990's, but none of them have the beauty, brains, mystery, work ethic, and intrigue, that still surround the originals.

If you ask someone who works in fashion, to define a supermodel, and assure them you will not print or reveal them as a source, they will usually whisper the names in your ear. “Christy, Linda and Naomi,” they'll say. They are the original supermodels. A true fashionista will always add Cindy and Claudia to the exclusive club too, and while their images in magazines and on billboards, are not as ubiquitous as they were in the 1990's, they remain affectionately etched in our minds. All 5 of the supermodels are still working today. 
(Photograph: Peter Lindbergh, Hair: Odile Gilbert,
St├ęphane Marais)

Christy, Linda, and Naomi, have been gracing the cover of fashion magazines for 25 years+, and while I couldn't find exact numbers, it has been estimated that they have been featured on over 1,400 magazine covers combined. No other models individually or collectively come close to that figure. Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Naomi Campbell, often called 'The Trinity', and Tatjana Patitz and Cindy Crawford, appeared together on the cover of British Vogue in 1990. Photographer Peter Lindbergh's cover catapulted everyone but Patitz, to super stardom (she worked but did not achieve the same level of success). Subsequently the same year, George Michael cast all 5 in his music video for Freedom '90, and the former WHAM! frontman had a huge hit with the video and single.

Looking at these photos, and thinking back, makes me a little nostalgic. I remember standing in my favorite spot, with a Parliament cigarette in one hand, and a beer in the other, behind the main bar and up a step, at the legendary Village watering hole known as Uncle Charlie's Downtown, in late 1990. The New York Times described the bar as  "one of the first gay video bars of the MTV generation". It was the most popular gay bar in Manhattan. Does anyone else have memories of Uncle Charlie's Downtown?

I remember seeing the video for Freedom '90, and how mesmerized I was by the hot women in the video. The West Village bar was immensely popular and always crowded 7 nights a week, with most of the bar patrons dressed in business suits. I would meet my friends there after work,  more often than not, and this night I made a mental note to buy the Freedom '90 EPtv commercials, thumbed through Vogue and Harper's at the corner news stand, and would walk through Times Square, to look at the many billboards they frequently graced.

As a young junior executive in a large retail organization, I had no idea that the trajectory of my life would intersect with a few of theirs. That's a story for another day, but my exposure to these hard working, professional women, who jokingly said they wouldn't get out of bed unless they were paid a large sum of money, made a lasting impression. While they joked about not getting out of bed for less than $10K or $15K a day, that wasn't true at all. Editorial shoots for Vogue, Harper's and others paid very little, but were their ticket to bigger ad campaigns. They wouldn't go home until the client was happy, no matter how long a shoot took. They would work day and night to ensure that a client had the photos that would do the brand proud.

I remember during Fashion weeks in Milan, New York and Paris, they had days when they were booked for 6 or 7 runway shows in one day, at different venues, all over whatever city they were in. They would rush from show to show, because they made commitments, and had their own professional ethos. Whether their hair was fried, their bunions inflamed,their bodies often  tired, jet-lagged and exhausted, they would show up to work with a smile and would do their job. Some designers couldn't get press for their early collections, and couldn't pay the models anything beyond $50 to $75 to walk. The supermodels knew, better than the young designer's, that they attracted the press and a crowd, and that they could put a young designer on the map, and they did that whenever they could.

On yahoo's front page this afternoon, I looked at the “trending now” list in the upper right hand corner of their page, to see what search terms people were using. At the number 2 spot was Linda Evangelista, number 3 was Salma Hayek, and right behind them was Irish actor Jonathan Rhys-Meyers. I was surprised and worried at the same time, to see Linda's name trending on yahoo and twitter.
Linda looks damn good after almost 30 years in the business.

Linda has never been in the news much, and avoids the press. While her contract as the face of L'Oreal, and recent print campaigns for Prada and Dolce & Gabbana, have kept her in the public eye, she cherishes time with her son, family and friends more than nights out on the town. She will do press for the HIV related charities that she works hard for, but avoids press lines otherwise. Since Ugly Betty was cancelled, I had no idea what Salma Hayek was up to, and why  people were searching her name. I knew that Jonathan Rhys-Meyers was no longer gainfully employed, as The Tudor's ended their run on Showtime. So I decided to look at the headlines.

The first headline was “Salma Hayek's Husband Fathered a Baby with Supermodel Linda Evangelista.” ACK! Linda has always had a good line prepared when anyone asked about her son's paternity. If she was in court this was serious, as she would try to avoid it altogether, if she could. She has never employed a PR rep, doesn't have a big staff of people at her beck and call, and her focus and primary responsibility is being a Mom.

If you take the time to read the stories, the baby was conceived when the baby daddy was single, and born before the billionaire baby daddy asked Hayek to be his wife. Dead beat billionaire baby daddy (dbbbd) neglected to show up in Court, and isn't paying child support or being a baby daddy. One news article had a photo of Linda leaving the Manhattan Court, looking sad and dejected, and my heart really goes out to the beautiful model, gay icon and mother.

British Vogue 1991: Linda, Christy, Cindy
This story really has little to do with Salma Hayek, except that she is currently married to dead beat billionaire baby daddy. If the baby daddy was a service station attendant, or a marketing manager, there would be no news, and a warrant would have been issued for his arrest for failure to appear. But dbbbd just has to show up for the next court appearance.

A prominent gay blog reported that Jonathan Rhys-Meyers was hospitalized after an apparent suicide attempt, while other news outlets reported Rhys-Meyers relapsed, after he completed treatment in a residential rehab facility, in May. I can't comprehend why news outlets have to report this, and why people are googling the actor's name.

Both of these stories are sad, and somewhat tragic. Linda Evangelista does not need billionaire baby daddy dead beat's money, she doesn't want publicity, and wants to preserve and protect her private life. She wants bbddb to take care of his obligations, and acknowledge their son, and be in his life. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is in his London home beating himself up over his mistake, and doesn't need the glare of world wide publicity, to make him feel worse. He has sought help in the past, and he will continue to get help. The varying speculation about what transpired will do nothing but cause him shame and embarrassment, and will humiliate and isolate the talented Irish actor. I think we have to learn to allow a public figure, who isn't out proselytizing or judging others, and isn't preaching about sins and sinners, to enjoy a private life.
Google Trends US at 3:50pm July 1st, 2011

NHL Hockey player Max Talbot jumped to the front of google search trends at about 4pm, because he signed a huge $9M dollar contract extension with the Philadelphia Flyers. Bravo Max Talbot! I'm glad there are so many NHL hockey and Flyer fans (go Devils!).

I'm optimistic that one day soon, google trends will reflect American voter's interest in the current state of our nation, extending the debt-ceiling limit, and disenchantment due to a lack of vision, compassion, and the unrelenting bigotry exhibited by Republican candidates for President. I hope a groundswell of support develops around the need to extend social programs and safety nets for children, seniors, and the needy. And I'm hoping that Linda and little Augustin, and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, will be allowed to have a private life, and that the press will respect their wishes.

While we can do little about celebrity gossip, these other pipe dreams will only happen if you bring it up and talk about it! Write Congress, call your representatives, chat with a friend and neighbor, and try to make a difference.

I have to stand and applaud the fact that the Los Angeles Dodgers are 10 games out of first place – behind the San Francisco Giants. GO GIANTS! and Fear the Beard! And have a GREAT 4th of July!

Feel free to email me if you have any recollections about Uncle Charlie's Downtown. I'd love to hear them!

Written and posted by Haightmale on the blog "Tie-dyed Jive in the (415)"

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