Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Todd Oldham Blows Chance at Iran Ambassadorship, Risks Impeachment as Gay Ambassador By Declaring He's Not One of the "Laddies Who Brunch"

Todd, Todd, Todd.

Well, you can't say we didn't work for you.

Have you any idea how much time we spent preparing our special report to President Bush on what an eligible and desirable bachelor you were for a Special Ambassadorship to Iran, especially now that the diplomatic crisis is heating up?

Well, it was a lot of time. We even sent our letter to the White House in a furry pink envelope woven from the tails of vintage 1980s My Little Ponys.

And it was all for naught, because you just had to go and talk to New York magazine and, in answer to their question, "Who should be the next president?", say, "Anyone that tells the truth and isn’t hateful would be welcome at this point."

Oh, how we groaned when we read that. We had been hearing from senior administration officials that your ambassadorship was in the bag, and just like that, they've stopped calling.

Muchas gracias, Todd. That's just the kind of thanks we get. And all those little plastic Barbaros? They died in vain. Well done, Todd.

Of course, you didn't just stop there.

We're also hearing from the highest gay authorities that articles of impeachment could be drawn up at any moment and that you could be removed from your position as Gay Ambassador for the comment, made in the same interview, that you are opposed to brunch because "so often it's like Sunday-morning prison with a big bill at the end."

Oh, Todd, we can't bear to see you self-destruct in public like this, and on the day Top Design is premiering, too. We have Isaiah Washington's crisis-management team at the ready; they say we can even get you a spot at the same gayhab clinic. Think about it. Call us.

“Why Don’t You?” Wednesday

Possums, Wotan’s Day is upon us once more, and it is once again time to put on your best Kay Thompson-in-Funny-Face accent to read aloud this week's “Why Don't You?” suggestions by Diana Vreeland.

Without further ado, Why Don't You…

* Practically empty your bedroom, leaving only a box-spring bed and over it an enormous bouquet of Mexican altar flowers of crimson striped carnations, japonica, roses, lilies? Decorations, Ltd., has these flowers.

* Consider building on the roof of your country house an outdoor room or terrace—and go up there at night as you would in Tunis to enjoy the night breezes?

* Have a white monkey-fur bedcover mounted on yellow velvet?

* If you have a greenhouse, raise Japanese cherry trees or white lilac trees and put them around your bed against brown Coromandel screens?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Pink Navy Political Plea, Wherein We Ask the President to Mullah It Over and Change His Tune—to “M-, M-, M-, My Chadora”

Dear Mr. President,

You may not know this about us, but we have done extensive reading of the great political writers, everyone from John Stuart Mill (On Liberty) to Sly and the Family Stone ("We Are Family"), and in that spirit, knowing that you worry greatly about "the axis of evil," we have a modest proposal for you.

Take a look at this photograph of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and tell us truly, Is this really the way to conduct diplomatic overtures? Don't get us wrong; the boots, the coat, all fabulous. Very East Berlin after dark; very "hard diplomacy." But Carine Roitfeld and the Kreuzberg S&M swingers can't be your only audience; you must also think of the people.

This is where we come in. Our proposal? Top Design host Todd Oldham for Special Ambassador to Iran.

Hear us out. Todd--a fellow Texan (well, as much a Texan as you, Mr. President) who is variously described as the "reincarnation of a 1940s housewife," "a hybrid of Peewee Herman, Howdy-Doody [ed.- Hmmmm]steeped in the broth of Schiaparelli," and "a self-taught Texas boy who's maintained his manners in the midst of big money and bigger egos"--would be the perfect person to resolve the diplomatic crisis with Iran.

For one thing, Todd has actually lived in Iran. As he recounts, "One day we were playing in the creek and my dad said, 'Do you want to go live in Iran?' And after we figured out what that was and where it was, we said, 'Sure.' And off we went." Todd lived there for "[f]our years as a kid. When the Shah was still around, and it was a very lovely, beautiful, inspiring experience, I still hold dear today. It's very much in my heart."

Now, it is our belief, Mr. President, that if Todd Oldham could be set loose on the Iranians, decorating black chadors with his trademark colorful geometric compositions (which, being non-representational, also have the virtue of being Koranically correct), the entire diplomatic crisis with Iran would be over. We include a photograph for your visualization needs.

To our way of thinking, when the Iranians feel like they're da bomb, they will no longer want the bomb. We think even Andrew Sullivan would agree with us.

Thank you for your attention to our proposal, Mr. President.

Very truly yours,

Pink Navy

As Jonathan Adler Reveals State Secret, "Top Design" Gets in Trouble with the Gays

We shuddered a little when we turned to pinky-lifting website After Elton for their review of Top Design. Could it be? Is it really possible? Is Top Design in trouble with the Gays?

It certainly seems that way from what we read in the article, headlined "Bravo's Top Design off to a Shaky Start" (to which we say, Puh-leeze, is that the best a gay website can do in terms of a headline? For shame!):

Bravo's latest addition to the genre, Top Design, hosted by openly gay designer Todd Oldham, falls a bit short at first....In addition to Top Design's formulaic first episode, in which the show is bogged down by having to introduce the concept as well as its 12 contestants, the host and three judges, the show faces a dramatic challenge. Shows such as American Idol and Project Runway have a built-in theatricality that is difficult to replicate in a show like Top Design. The Project Runway model strutting her designer's stuff down a catwalk serves as a dramatic climax to each episode, and Top Design's before-and-after shots of the design space just don't have the same emotional kick.

Meeeow! "Falls a bit short"? "Formulaic"? Those kinds of cat-scratches can't be good for the Scalamandré cushions.

However, our favorite part of the article is the mini-interview with Jonathan Adler, who blows the lid off a state secret so huge that it threatens the very foundations of Gaymerica. The Pentagon Papers were nothing compared to this. We scurry for cover behind the pleather-covered shield of New York Times v. U.S. as we repeat Judge Adler's words, "Certainly, in the design world there are lots and lots of the gays."

Oh, Jonathan, just remember that loose lips sink pink navies (and won't get you asked on a second date).

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bravo New World

Not having entirely shaken the Top Chef bug, we were a bit taken aback when we saw this photograph of former America's Next Top Model judge Simon Doonan, Top Design judge Jonathan Adler, and Top Chef guest judge (that's an awful lot of tops, isn't it?) Suzanne Goin (best known in reality tv land as the woman who confronted a "Cheeto dick" with a, er, cocked eyebrow, a dry wit, and the original dentata opening). Not shown, but also present at the same party, was Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio. It's a bit like one of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books, where characters from one novel can walk about willy-nilly into another novel, but in a reality tv context, of course. This has done nothing to alter our impression of Mondo Bravo as an incestuous world of telegenic folks who set 'dars aflutter with their attitude of "gaybe, gaybe not."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

From Home Dec. to Homewreck: Can This Marriage Be Reupholstered?

First, a confession.

Sometimes, when we're all alone, and it's late at night, and singing along to Juliette Gréco's bump-and-grind version of “Mon Homme” has lost the power to chase off the sugarplum demons in our sooty soul, we throw on our Sulka dressing gown, make our way into the kitchen at Withering Depths, and there, back-lit by the open frigo door, we throw our heads back and, well, we... eat... whipped... cream... straight from the aerosol can.

It's shameful and frightful, but there it is. Still, as Diana Vreeland's father was wont to say as an answer to every crisis in life, “Worse things happen at sea.”

When it's Wednesday and the old existentialist crisis stirs up like a war wound from the siege of Mafeking, we do something that makes us feel just as good, but without any of the calories. We turn our suffering eyes to the rose-hued pages of the New York Observer and look for the week's vertiginously frivolous and addictive column by Simon Doonan, prince consort to Top Design's toothsome head judge, Jonathan Adler.

Unfortunately, this week's column brought no solace at all. Quite the contrary, in fact. Indeed, we rather worry that Top Design has claimed its first victim, the fairy tale marriage of mannequeen Doonan and mannikin Adler. But we'll let Simon tell you himself as he recounts what happened when, at the Winter Antiques Show opening soirée, he asked the wealthy and the weaselly for their opinions on what the Spanish (per Almodóvar’s Volver) so elegantly dub “telebasura” and we call reality television:

After these negative comments, the evening’s hostess, Margaret Russell, editor in chief of Elle Décor, was a beacon of fiery enthusiasm. “I started with Queer Eye—I just love reality television,” said she, lovely in simple black Lanvin and Prada.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that La Russell’s excitement could have something to do with the fact that she herself has thrown her chapeau into the reality arena. Starting on Jan. 31, Margaret—“Peggy” to her pals—will star in Top Design, Bravo’s interior-design version of Top Chef. And—further disclosure—the fact that I am ranting on about it in this paper could have something to do with the fact that my Jonny, Jonathan Adler, is the lead judge on the same show. Yes, my Jonny has a major TV gig!

Entre nous, I’m actually starting to get a bit worried about my Jonny. Top Design has not even begun to air yet and he has already turned into a deranged spotlight-crazed Gloria Swanson–esque figure. The turning point was a recent West Coast Bravo press junket, where he hung out with his idols, The Real Housewives of Orange County— “They’re my new posse, now that I’m part of the Bravo family,” he bragged—and hasn’t shut up about it since. As his media star rises, mine, of course, is plummeting. If this show is a hit, I will end up in the Erich von Stroheim role, picking up his dry cleaning, chauffeuring him around and keeping my trap shut regarding my own former reality-show glories avec Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model.

If it so happens, possums, that Top Design is turning the Adler-Doonan ménage from a mariage "white-sale" to a mariage blanc, Raggaydy Andy Cohen of Bravo will have even more to answer for, and we will be forced to say, along with Jon Stewart, "Stop! You're hurting Gaymerica."

Thursday, January 25, 2007

“Why Don't You?” Wednesdays

Alright, so it's Thursday, not Wednesday, but cut us a little slack, as things have been hotting up over at Amuse-Biatch, and not just in Padma Lakshmi's dressing room.

This is the first installment of a weekly feature bringing you the best of Diana Vreeland's home decorating and lifestyle tips from her 1936-1938 “Why Don't You?” columns in Harper's Bazaar, all of which, we hasten to add, we have implemented here at Withering Depths.

And so, without further ado, Why don’t you…

* go to Dazian, the theatrical material shop, and get fake leopard skin for your bathroom floor and fake beige fur for your slipper chair?

* start a topiary garden of box or yew, and clip the bushes into peacocks and poodles? They stay green all winter and, brought inside in tubs, look lovely in a formal hall.

* have Vertès of Paris paint you the gayest possible fire screen?

* have a private staircase from your bedroom to the library with needlework carpet with notes of music worked on each step—the whole spelling your favorite tune?

* in your drawing room have a mirror table like Miss Constance Collier’s, with a diamond pencil so that your guests can sign their names in the glass?

* find a miniature Georgian chafing dish? Dip it in gold and use it beside your bed for cigarettes.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Welcome Aboard: Out of the Frying Pan, and Into the Biedermeier

Possums, has your pussy ever gone bad?

Oh, you know what we mean—started clawing the brocade settees, shredding the damask wall hangings, and ripping the watered-silk tabourets, all because its limited-edition Dina Lohan scratching post has been retired?

Well, then, you know exactly how we feel, now that Top Chef is coming to an end. No more of Padma Lakshmi's retina-searing fashion sense, no more glimpses of her, ahem, leetle pot belly, no more mispronunciations of “amuse-bouche” and “gelée” by all and sundry—in short, no more scratching post.

What are two scratching-post-deprived, never-declawed amuse-biatches to do? Fortunately, Bravo is following Top Chef with the launch of Top Design, a reality show competition devoted to interior design. And just like that, we fell out of the frying pan, and into the Biedermeier. Gird your loins, possums, for we have come to deplore the décor. And it's no use putting the plastic covers on the couches. Our claws can cut through anything.

‘So why Diana Vreeland as a muse on a blog dedicated to interior design?’ ask the fashionista possums in your midst. ‘After all, wasn't she a fashion editor?’

First of all, Anna Wintour be damned, Diana Vreeland wasn't a fashion editor; she was the fashion editor.

Now, Mrs. Vreeland also knew a good deal about home decoration, as we will demonstrate every Wednesday, and that alone would qualify her to be the marraine of this enterprise. But if you want to know why Diana Vreeland is the perfect person to break a bottle of Korbel fine champagne across the bow of the H.M.S. Pink Navy, you have only to take a gander at these two anecdotes recounted by Mary Louise Wilson:

“On another occasion, [Diana Vreeland] was laying out a photo spread of little silk and satin zippered evening jackets which was to be emblazoned with the words, ‘The Windbreaker,’ when she was informed at the last moment that ‘Windbreaker’ was copyrighted and not hers to use. She roared into the copy room again: ‘Quick! What’s another word for breaking wind?’”

“Yet another time she had a two-page photo of a nude sunbathing with a black straw hat on her derriere, and a caption that read: ‘Spend the summer under a Big Black Sailor.’ This issue apparently made it to the stands before it was apprehended.”
Need we say more? Possums, raise your glass of Korbel to Pink Navy and Big Black Sailors.

(By the by, no matter what Top Design judge Margaret Russell says in the previews, when your pussy goes bad, you can design the whole room around the cat.)