DEVOUR {things to do, watch, see & have}

DEVOUR {things to do, watch, see & have}

. 78 min read

In our monthly DEVOUR column we share all the things we think you should eat up.  Here's some snacks from the last few months, but to get all of us, subscribe.

Listen. “Hard.” Real-life Stories from Viagra Users from the Death, Sex & Money Podcast. Anna Sale, host of the podcast Death, Sex & Money shares real-life stories from Viagra users and the people in their lives.  From a 24-year-old gay man with erectile dysfunction to a woman’s experience with her Viagra-using husband living with prostate cancer, the series explores how Viagra came to be and how it impacts the lives of those living with erectile dysfunction and their partners.

Hard: Erectile Disappointment | Death, Sex & Money | WNYC Studios
In the first episode of a three part series, we hear stories about when bodies don’t do what we want or expect during sex—and how that impacts our relationships.

Read. Letters of Note: Martin Scorcese's Letter to the Editor of the New York Times on Why Foreign Films Are Critical. From Who’s That Knocking At My Door? To The Irishman, Martin Scorcese has directed 25 feature films, and 16 feature documentaries, and produced 200 films. Cited among some of the greatest filmmakers ever made, he is a film historian with a passion for and dedication to factual storytelling. His next release, Killers of The Flower Moon, his first film in the Western genre, is set in 1921 Osage County, Oklahoma– a long way from Mean Streets. This timeless Letter to the Editor written by Scorcese was published in 2017 and is featured in the series Letters of Note.

Diversity guarantees our cultural survival
Martin Scorsese on the importance of foreign film

Listen. Bonnie Raitt Just Released Her 18th Album & It's Quintessential Raitt. She takes up themes of mature love, heartbreak, longing, loss, and regret with many of her usual music crew. If you are a Raitt fan, it is quintessential, peak Bonnie Raitt. I first read about the album in the WSJ article (below), whose Mark Richardson called the title track Just Like That a masterpiece. I agree. A masterpiece. Touching, deep, tender, and sentimental, it is nothing short of a trip around the heart. I cried the first time I listened to it. Raitt is a gift that keeps on giving; I’m so grateful. Her upcoming tour dates are here.

‘Just Like That . . .’ by Bonnie Raitt Review: Still Vital
The singer’s new record—her 18th—features her stunning voice on a variety of new compositions and covers.

Listen.  January 2020 TED’s How to Be a Better Human series. If you’re lonely in your partnership or marriage, you are not alone. Marriage researcher Carol Bruess, Ph.D. explores how it’s possible (and oh, so common) to be together in a loving relationship yet still feel unconnected to your partner.

Are you lonely in your partnership or marriage?
Most relationships in which loneliness has taken up residence can be shifted to a better reality, says marriage researcher Carol Bruess. All it takes some patience and effort.

See. Milton Avery's First Retrospective in Thirty Years. I once owned a print by American modernist painter Milton Avery that was lost in a flood. I think about it to this day and so I was delighted to see this international tour of the artist’s work happening now through June 5, 2022. On loan from private collections and the Milton Avery Trust, these rarely seen paintings are the first retrospective to be seen in thirty years. The exhibition will tour internationally as well as on a mobile tour. Get your tickets here

Need more Milton? Get the tour companion book!

Watch. Slow Horses Is A British MI5 Spy Series of a Different Sort. (Apple TV+)  Gary Oldman plays Jackson Lamb, a cynical, washed-up former master spy who manages a team of MI5 flunkies in this jaded twist on the Brtish spy thriller. Based on a series of books by British novelist Mick Herron (called by many the finest spy writer since le Carre), it focuses on the underbelly and inner workings (or non-workings as the case may be) of MI5 and--most speicfically--on the betrayals within the agency as they perform their singular versions of the power grabs we associate more with corporate politics. Oldman's performance as a failed spy is all the richer for having decades earlier played Smiley in the movie adaptation of le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The cast also includes many other outstanding performances, including Kristin Scott Thomas as MI5's head of operations (gunning for the top job). Pro tips: two things you absolutely must do: (i) put subtitles on (some of the accents are indecipherable), and (ii) get to the end of the second episode before making a thumbs up/down call. The first 1 1/2 episodes start slowly (after an initial thrilling chase scene), but boy, I was hooked by the third episode.

Watch the Trailer Here

Listen. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss Say the Most Exquisite Things in This Interview & They're Going On Tour. I stumbled onto this lovely interview with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss while channel flipping through my car radio.

Led Zeppelin's frontman Plant and bluegrass legend Krauss surprised us all by harmonizing for for their hit album Raising Sand in 2007. They followed that (finally) in 2021 with Raise the Roof, which has (to my mind) one of the most exquisite, tender and haunting harmonies, Quattro. Beyond the enjoyment of hearing their happy banter during this conversation, they each drop some lyrical wisdom. (Plant about Krauss): "There's a sort of beautiful, muted serenity about her [Krauss] when she's singing and performing. There's a sparkle in her voice and a sparkle in her eyes. It's good to stand alongside a woman with such a gift." (Krauss on singing with Plant): "When we sang together it was so different from any other combination. Through the years I've done a lot of harmony singing--bluegrass is based around that. We're so different and it makes something really romantic, the sound of us singing together. Such different places we come from. It's something really new." Surprising facts I learned: Krauss has more Grammy's than any other female musician (27) other than Beyonce. She is going to be harmonizing on a Deff Leopard album coming out soon.

This conversation was just a joy to listen to. Says Plant about their upcoming tour: "Despite the gathering years we might be able to kick it up and create a little bit of a storm." Dates are here.

Listen here; the interview starts at 11:35.

Follow. Designer Carla Rockmore (@carla.rockmore) Dubbed “the modern-day Carrie Bradshaw,” Carla Rockmore is a Dallas-based fashion designer who started making videos from her closet (it’s bigger than my house) after CoVid halted the debut of her jewelry line.  Rockmore’s videos are a blast to watch as she often pairs couture with a cotton tee and then tops it off with a cherry from her personal jewelry collection (also bigger than my house).  Though she believes that women should not dress the same at 54 as they did at 24, her fashion sense is youthful and relevant. One of my favorite ensembles, watch here

Rockmore is also blessed with a gift for interior design.  Here’s a peek into her “foyer”

Read more about Carla in the NYT The Rise of the Over-50 Fashion Mentors.

And here’s a preview of her soon-to-launch fashion partnership with Amazon

Play. “The Game of Life: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Edition.” Don’t know what to do with yourself until The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel returns for Season 5 on Amazon Prime? Then play “The Game of Life: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Edition.” With all the components of the original, The Game of Life – including a numbered spinner, cars, and those cute little pegs – this version is set in late 1950s New York City and features locations seen on the show. Think you’ve got what it takes to make it as a stand-up? Take this board game for a spin! Buy it here

Listen. The 100th Anniversary Edition of The Velveteen Rabbit & Why It's Never Been Out of Print. Little children can have big questions.  For that matter, so can adults. In 1922, author Margery Williams Bianco posed the question, “What does it mean to be real?” in her now-classic The Velveteen Rabbit.  The book has never gone out of print, and here NPR’s Elizabeth Blair examines why the story has endured.

Listen here

Follow. These Two Roman Gods Are Living La Bella Vita. If you like Rome or Italian food or having fun or well-dressed men, but especially if you like watching well-dressed enjoying any or all of the foregoing, then you'll want to follow the insta feeds of @walter0810 and @valeriotailor. I love it all, and especially love it when Walter and Valerio team up together to double the good views :-). These gentlemen have developed quite the following. These gentlemen from Rome have developed quite the following, and beyond their sexy Italian looks and style, they give some great neighborhood glimpses of Rome. They are worth checking out.  (Hat tip: CRUSH Reader Mike T.)

Read. The Good Left Undone. Feature and documentary film director, producer, television writer, playwright, and New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani releases her newest novel, The Good Left Undone, this month. Set in the Italian coastal town of Viareggio during the brink of World War II, The Washington Post calls it “a lush, immersive novel about a hardworking family of Tuscan artisans with long-held secrets.” Scandalosa! Read more here

Another Follow That Will Convince You How Fire It Is To Be Over 45

Who: Rosanne Cash @rosannecash
What: Singer, Songwriter, Author, Activist
Why: Because she so gracefully does it all.

Content: Musical moments, friend and family photos, concert dates
Three-time Grammy winner and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, Rosanne Cash, is a published author of memoirs, essays, short stories, a children’s book, an outspoken advocate of gun control, and a mother of five. Her 1981 release “Seven Year Ache” was her first of eleven number one hits to reach the U.S. country charts.

A dedicated supporter of artists' rights in the digital age, Cash is an active board
member of the Content Creators Coalition. She was instrumental in a winning victory for recording artists when in 2014 she testified before The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on intellectual property rights and Internet music licensing.

To honor and preserve the home of her father – the late, great Johnny Cash – she
works with Arkansas State University on the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home project,
which has restored her father’s childhood home by raising funds through annual music festivals. Here is a recent Boone, NC concert with her husband, guitarist John Leventhal, she performs her father’s song, “Long Black Veil.” Follow Here

Watch. This Postcard from 1969 by Neal Foard. Here. It's an example of masterful storytelling, and it's the story we as a country and as human beings need now. "Now matter what you see in the movies or on t.v. or read in the papers, you listen to me, that's how people really are ... keep the faith." and "There's nothing wrong with us that can't be fixed by what's right with us." Neal is an advertising and marketing creative who has mastered communication, who has some good, honest, uplifting things to say. Follow him on instagram @nealfoard.

Photo Credit to Jerrod Harris/Getty Images

Read (& Applaud). Mackenzie Scott Has Given $3.8 Billion to 465 Organizations Since June. Overall, she has donated $12 Billion to 1,257 wide-ranging groups. She published a Medium post this week sharing which organizations have received grants, as well as a little about her approach: "[A]s always, our aim has been to support the needs of underrepresented people from groups of all kinds," she wrote. I am so inspired by Ms. Scott, and so grateful for the hope that she has given to so many. Here's her Medium post:

Helping Any of Us Can Help Us All
The increasing stridency of opinions in the news can be divisive. But lately I’ve heard something different in it. Turned up so loud, all I can notice is how similar it all sounds. The universal…

Watch. The 92nd Academy Awards on March 27th on ABC-TV. What do Licorice Pizza, Power of the Dog, and Belfast have in common? They’ve all been nominated for the 2022 Oscar in the three categories of Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (original/adapted). What’s more, each of these films is a period piece in which writers/directors Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Jane Campion (Power of the Dog), and Kenneth Branagh (Belfast) have developed brave, young, male protagonists, each setting out on a journey of a major discovery. With stunning performances by Cooper Hoffman (son of the late, great Phillip Hoffman), Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Jude Hill, this is a trifecta of beautiful filmmaking.

Read & Then Follow. A Personal Tribute to Well-Dressed Zaftig Gentlemen from Jason Diamond, the Hottest Guy I Follow.  I crush on guys who are bon vivants - guys who love to eat and drink, who are also frequently great cooks, are sensualists (and often, very often, phenomenal lovers).  One of my crushes is on Jason Diamond, who I first discovered when he wrote Searching for John Hughes in the New Yorker.  I follow him on Twitter where I can keep up with what he publishes, and his day-to-day moves, but he has a website that captures his essence in a broader sense - find it here. His most recent piece - for GQ - which he is well-qualified to contribute to regularly, is on "how to dress like a big guy." It is about his odyssey to shape his personal style, a guy who describes himself as "a big guy with weird proportions ... built for dealing with cold Eastern European winters." This piece is personal and smart and stylishly written and it's really an inspiration to all of us who feel like we aren't beautiful in the conventional sense. But Jason, let me tell you, I consider you very cool. Keep track of Jason (with me) on Twitter @imjasondiamond.

How Francis Ford Coppola Taught Me to Dress Like a Big Guy
From Biggie Smalls to James Gandolfini, large men can pull off looks with unique swagger.

Eat. Limited Edition Cakes from Saint Dolly Parton . Duncan-Hines and Dolly Parton have gotten together and launched a line of Southern recipe cake mixes and frostings that make it acceptable to shout out, “Let them eat cake.”If she only ever gave us Jolene that would have been enough, but Saint Dolly (Parton) has blessed us again in the sweetest of ways. Listen more about it here

Eat/Listen. The Brilliant Olivia Coleman Has Performed A Reading of a Letter Written By Queen Elizabeth II to U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960.  It's been said that Sir Lawrence Olivier could deliver a riveting performance just by reading the phonebook (remember those?).  Here's Olivia Coleman proving the point masterfully. The letter includes the personal recipe of H.R.H’s drop scones.  Now get out in that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans. Watch here

Watch. This Unexpectedly Engrossing Series About the Lakers, Even If You Aren't A Huge Basketball Fan. If you like period pieces, then shut off Gilded Age and tune into this. I have just started this series about the Lakers in the 1980's, and it is some high-quality storytelling with great acting. It opens in 1991 with Magic Johson's retirement after testing positive for HIV, but most of the series takes place in the glorious, messy late 70's, when the hedonistic Larry Buss (played perfectly by John C. Reilly) becomes the Lakers' new owner. My only gripe about the series is that I am a tv binger and have to wait a week for the next episode.

Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty | Official Website for the HBO Series | HBO.com
The official website for Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty on HBO, featuring interviews, schedule information, behind the scenes exclusives, and more.

Listen. Luca by Suzanne Vegas. For years, fans pondered the mystery of the song and the true identity of the subject. Here, Vega reveals the answers, 35 years later. Listen here

Suzanne Vega – East Harlem / Upper West Side, Manhattan
Suzanne Vega is that rare singer-songwriter whose work becomes part of the soundtrack of their hometown -- in her case, New York City. In this episode, Suzanne illuminates her childhood in East Harlem in the 1970s and how her experiences of the city, inside and out, flow through her work, even as sh…

Watch. An Adrian Lyne Erotic Psychological Thriller Trilogy, of Sorts. If you are a fan of the director Adrian Lyne (9 1/2 Weeks, Fatal Attraction, Unfaithful), then you've probably heard of his latest erotic film, Deep Water. It is adapted from a book by the master of the psychological thriller, Patricia Highsmith (The Talented Mr. Ripley, Strangers on A Train) about a miserably challenged marriage between a sexy nymph played by a seriously hot Ana de Armas and a brilliant inventor played by Ben Affleck. The good news is that we have a long-awaited entry in the genre of movies actually made for adults, and both de Armas and Affleck are seriously smouldering in this film. The story is ultimately about power and sex, and how sex is used for provacation and power within their relationship. There are a few murders too. It is one of Affleck's finest acting roles, but this psychosexual drama involving beautiful people at (lots of) beautiful parties  is not always compelling. I wouldn't have wanted to miss it, but it is more 3 stars than 4.

One thing it did for me, though, was get me going on a binge of Adrian Lyne erotic thrillers. After finishing Deep Water, I watched Unfaithful one night and 9 1/2 Weeks the next. They both stood up, in no small part because we haven't had a good mainstream adult erotic thriller in a while. I had forgotten how fantastically sexy and good Diane Lane was in her role as a happily married suburban housewife who succumbs to a highly charged sexual affair.  And 9 1/2 Weeks, which I hadn't watched since its release in the 80's, was a new and different kind of joy. The depiction of the obsessive BDSM relationship that develops quickly between Kim Basinger as a Soho art dealer and Mickey Rourke as a commodities trader, so shocking at the time it was originally released, is less charged now. But in another way, the film is more interesting and sexier, in part because there are no graphic sex scenes - those are only hinted at. What we do see is a complicated, sexually charged relationship as it develops into BDSM and many unforgettable sensual and fun scenes. Not to mention that the movie shows scenes of the truly gritty New York of the late 80's and has a a terrific soundtrack.

Because of the 9 1/2 trailer is age-restricted, we are restricted from resharing it, but you can watch it here

Follow / Pre-Order: Humans of New York Best Story on Tangueray Is Coming Out with A Book.  Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind the wildly popular instagram feed Humans of New York has shared many incredible stories about the lives of New Yorkers, but perhaps it was his series on the exotic dancer Tangueray that represents his greatest story. "Back in the seventies I was the only black girl making white girl money. I dance in so many mob bars ..." If you missed it, you can start it here. Tangueray and Stanton are coming out with a book, due to be published this upcoming July. You can read more about the book (and its audio version, which will be read by Tangeuray herself) and even pre-order it here.

The Plantkween

Follow. This Serenity-Obsessed Plantkween Will Bring Calm to Your Life. Plantkween (a.k.a. Christopher Griffin) @plantkween. With over 359,000 followers, the Plantkween reigns supreme. This “Brooklyn-based, Black queer, non-binary kween obsessed with the botanical serene” is a purveyor of pure joy. Inspired by her gardening grandma (“the ORIGINAL Plantkween”) Griffin chose her first plant by seeking out the one that appeared to be struggling most. Says Griffin, “I thought, ‘if I can make this plant thrive and grow, then I can grow and allow myself to continue on this journey.’” Indeed she did.  Griffin is Assistant Director at NYU’s LGBTQ+ Center and author of You Grow, Gurl published by Harper Collins. Yes, she still has that very first plant and says it’s her pride and joy.

Another Follow That Will Convince You How Fire It Is To Be Over 40. Our ever-growing list of FOFs (Fire Over Forty) is so burnin’ that we just had to spread the wildfire…

Follow. Lou Featherstone (48), The Fairy Godmother we all wished for! @luinluland_rent_my_wardrobe. The self-described “reckless optimist, sustainable stylist, and all-around general Lover of Life." Fabulous founder of Rent My Wardrobe, she’s a balls-to-the-wall broad whose personal collection of vintage (sustainable!) wardrobe is there for the taking (well, renting) right on IG. See something you like? DM Lou for sizing and pricing and – poof! – it will appear at your door.  And because too much is never enough…

Watch. The Mother-daughter produced series, Style Like U. Founded by ex-fashion industry stylist and anti-ageism activist Elisa Goodkind and her daughter, Lily Mandelbaum, their movement spawned the What’s Underneath Project –  documentary-style pieces, directed and produced by Goodkind and Mandelbaum, aimed to assist people “overcome personal challenges, feel safe to express their authentic genders and sexualities, break free from the oppression of ageism and racism, and in many cases, make the decision to keep on living.”  Some of our favorite episodes:

Cindy Gallop Is Not A Relationship Person And Cannot WAIT To Die Alone. Watch here

Victoria Pedretti Accepting the Gift of Her Sensitivity. Watch here

Kamil Oshundara’s Top Surgery Journey. Watch here

Lou Featherstone,  How A D*ck Pic & A Box of Vibrators Freed Lou Featherstone From The Expectations of Womanhood. Watch here

Follow. Artist Jean Smith. And they said it couldn’t be done.  Remember a few months back when I covered artist Jean Smith’s daily lottery?  {See it re-posted directly below.} Well, after one year of daily entries, I’m a winner!  Really!  Here she is in all her glory, hanging in my dressing room.  Follow Jean Smith on Facebook and you can enter daily to get yours.

{Repost.} Jean Smith, The Painter Art Collectors and Non-Collectors Alike Are Clamoring Over. Smith’s ultimate goal is to purchase the property where she can build the “Free Artist Residency for Progressive Social Change”.  To that end, she posts daily on Facebook for a chance to make a $100 purchase of one of her sought-after paintings of female faces. Smith also has a waitlist for collectors interested in purchasing three or more of the larger pieces for $600 each.  The NY Times covered the Canadian phenom in this January 2021 piece. Read more here

Jean Smith
P A I N T I N G S

Read. Nick Paumgarten of the New Yorker Becomes a Parrothead, Briefly. Considering retiring in one of the Jimmy Buffet-branded active lifestyle communities? Read this first. "We like the idea of being happy.

Retirement the Margaritaville Way
At the active-living community for Jimmy Buffett enthusiasts, it’s five o’clock everywhere.

10 Follows That Will Convince You How Fire It Is To Be Over 40.


Who: Lynn Goldsmith @lynngoldsmith
What: Celebrity Portrait Photographer
Why: For immortalizing our music icons and other fine faces.

Content: Images of a brilliant career, a life well-lived, personal journaling.
With a body of work that spans over fifty years, more than 100 album covers, and
pieces in the collections at museums including The Smithsonian and the Museum of Modern Art, Lynn Goldstein is the Godmother of Groovy. Shortly after graduating magna cum laude from the University of Michigan, Goldsmith became the youngest member ever to be inducted into the Directors Guild of America. In the mid-seventies, she formed her own company, LGI, the first photo agency to represent images of famous people in the entertainment industry. After 20 years of representing over 300 photographers worldwide, Goldstein sold the company to Corbis. She continues her work in photography to this day.

Who: Eminem @eminem
What: Grammy-winning Rapper, Songwriter, Recording Artist, Producer
Why: Because hard work and determination will get you everywhere.

Content: Music, Merch, Videos, Tour Info, and some stuff just for fun.
Hard to believe it but “Slim Shady” turns fifty this year. His rags-to-rage-to riches story is well known by now: living in his mother’s trailer with his wife and two-year-old baby, he places second in a rap contest, gets his demo into the hands of Dr. Dre, and the rest is history. Considered one of the greatest rappers of all time, he made his film debut in 8 Mile in 2002 and, with his single “Lose Yourself” from the film’s soundtrack and became the first hip-hop artist to ever win an Oscar. After a 2007 drug overdose, he took time off to treat his addiction and came back on the scene with the album, Recovery, which became the best-selling album worldwide in 2010. He is on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” as well as their “100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.” His charity work includes the Marshall Mather Foundation aiding disadvantaged youth, and during CoVid 2020 he donated “mom’s spaghetti'' (a reference to a line from his song “Lose Yourself”) to healthcare workers at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. Still can’t get enough? Peloton recently premiered their boxing class series featuring Eminem’s catalog and will continue using it across multiple fitness modalities. (Maybe not the best time to listen to his double-platinum hit, “Till I Collapse”).

Who: Snoopdogg @snoopdogg
What:
Rapper, Media Personality, Entrepreneur.
Why:
Do you need more than he is Martha Stewart's unlikely bff?

Content:
It's his very own house party that you would likely never be invited to if it weren't virtual.  With the doors thrown open, you get all the rooms he's playing in (and that's a lot).  Music, NFT record labels, humor (lots of it, unfiltered), Snoop Youth Football League, his Momma, Martha & Snoop's Potluck Dinner Party (with Martha Stewart), his wine label "Snoop Cali Red".  Oh, and lots of pot.  His feet don't hit the ground ever.  His insta feed is a festival, and I absolutely appreciate partaking in all of it.

Isabella Rossallini

Who: Isabella Rossallini @isabellarossellini
What: Roman Goddess
Why: Because a mere mortal could not achieve what this Italian actress has done in one lifetime.

Content: Work, play, and all things Isabella author, philanthropist, activist, director, model, mother, and ex-partner of Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Gary Oldman, and Jonathan Wiedemann (with whom she has two children). Daughter of the screen legend Ingrid Bergman and Italian film director Roberto Rossellini. Unforgettable in films such as “Blue Velvet” “Big Night” and the short film, “My Dad Is 100 Years Old”, a tribute she created for her father in which she portrays Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock, and Ingrid Bergman. Now approaching her 70th birthday, Rossallini began modeling at age 28 and has been photographed by Bruce Weber, Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel, Helmut Newton, Francesco Scavullo, Annie Leibovitz, and Robert Mapplethorpe among others. She is the lead actor, co-writer, and director of the 18-episode web series, “Green Porno” in which she acts out the mating rituals and reproductive behavior of various animals. Her love of biodiversity inspired her to found Mama Farm in 2013, a members-only CSA on Long Island that uses regenerative agriculture to grow food from heirloom seeds with the goal of promoting conservation. As if that’s not enough there’s a B&B on the property complete with Frette linens! www.mamafarm.us Brava, Isabella!

Who: Tracee Ellis Ross @traceeellisross
What: Actress, singer, entrepreneur, daughter of Diana Ross
Why:
Because she is as bold, larger-than-life and glamorous as you will find in someone who is also very real.

Content:  The real life of Diana Ross's daughter is, predictably, more glamorous than ours.  That's fun to get a glimpse of, for sure, complete with nostalgic shots of growing up with Motown Royalty. But Ellis Ross is so very real too, and pokes fun of herself.  She does not hide her occasional (very slight, admittedly) belly fat.  Which makes her even more glamorous to me.

Bob Weir

Who: Bob Weir @bobweir
What:
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Founding Member of the Grateful Dead, live music master, fitness maestro, philanthropist
Why:
In addition to the links to live performances of a master, there is all the evidence one needs on the power of living a healthy life (physically and spiritually) that is aligned with your values. In his case, that includes a lot of philanthropy (education, the needy, the environment to name a few).

Content:
He is as active and vital musically, as he has been since he co-founded the Grateful Dead as its rhythm guitarist in the 1960's.  His health, fitness and wellness routine went viral at the age of 72.  He is also impossibly happy with where he is in his life and very much in love with his wife Natascha.  

We've already written quite a bit about the Men's Health series on Weir's workout routine.  Though Weir in concert many times (with the Grateful Dead, then with The Dead & Co.), it wasn't until I started following him on insta that I appreciated how dedicated he is to a fitness routine that allows him to play hundreds of three-hour concerts a year well into his 70's.  He has filmed his fitness routine on video for insta, but this series of Men's Health articles provide the background and depth worthy of the icon's dedication.  Fitness is one of the key components to being happy into your 70's for Weir.  The other two?  "A sense of purpose," and "meditation."

The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir Is Unbelievably Shredded at 72
Bob Weir stays strong and fit with CrossFit, Tabata workouts, and three-hour concerts.
Watch the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir Show Off His Intense Pre-Show Workout
The 73-year-old musician just shared a look at his training routine on TikTok.
How I Built My Body: Grateful Dead founder, Bob Weir
MH works out with a music and fitness legend
Paulina Porzikova

Who: Paulina Porzikova @paulinaporizkov
What: Supermodel, Advocate for Honest, Sexy Aging as Women
Why:
If a supermodel like Paulina can feel like she is being treated as if she's invisible as she ages (and she will convince you that she is, because she is quite articulate), then you know you're not making it up yourself.

Content: A lot of women have DM'd me with links to Porzikova's insta page with the message "you've got to follow her".  My friend Rachel shared a typical reaction: "She powerfully articulates that sinking feeling all of us women feel as we age.  That invisibility thing.  She rages against it, and is brutally honest." If you are for some reason unfamiliar with her story, Porzikova is a Czech-born Swedish-American supermodel who was discovered by a modeling scout at 13.  She married Ric Ocasek, the lead singer for The Cars.  After twenty years of marriage and two sons they separated, but she was caring for him post-surgery when she found him dead. She then discovered that she, along with two of his six sons, had been disinherited, which has resulted in a public legal dispute.  On her insta Porzikova talks openly about her grief and depression, as well as her refusal to get botox and other "tweaks" to her appearance (because she likes to honestly represent what a 56-year old face honestly looks like).  Those are compelling topics, compelling shared.  But what grabbed me was her striking response to @jamesorvin when he criticized her for posting a photo of her in a bikini.  For that, she has become hero to many of us, and I have it to show you (below) because she (it) speaks loudly and forcefully.  We are not supermodels, but damn, this is what we feel.

“V” (formerly known as Eve Ensler)

Who: “V” (formerly known as Eve Ensler) @eveensler
What: Playwright, Activist, Performer, Author
Why: Because she has our backs.

Content: Projects, memories, current events. Formerly known as Eve Ensler, “V” is the writer and creator of the Obie and Tony Award-winning The Vagina Monologues, touted by The New York Times as “one of the most important plays of the past 25 years.” To date, The Vagina Monologues has been published in 48 languages and performed in 140 countries. As an activist, “V” founded the movement V-Day, raising over 120 million dollars to end violence against women (cisgender and transgender), and One Billion Rising, the largest global mass action to end gender violence in over 200 countries. “V” commuted her activism to the Democratic Republic of the Congo where she opened the City of Joy, a center for women survivors of violence in DRC. To terminate her paternal identity, “V” changed her name after writing her memoir, The Apology, a cathartic work concerning the sexual abuse put upon her by her father.

Who: Ageist @weareageist
What:
David Stewart, Founder of Ageist, through his newsletter, podcast, social media and powerful photography, is pioneering a whole new outlook on what it means to age. "90 is the new 40"
Why:
The world needs to see us through a different lense. Stewart, a professional photographer, is showing us how we do that.

Content:
The kind of potent photographs and stories shown above of people living with unapologetic joy.  An infectious energy for moving forward.  The SuperAge podcast, which explores how we live our best lives, unbound by age, place or culture.  A science and data-driven approach to understanding longevity.  Tools to get you where you want to go.

Who: Caddis Eye Appliances @caddis_life
What:
A mission disguised as reading glasses.
Why:
You'll want to know how to answer the question, who do you want at your last dinner party. (A: Every real life person featured in a Caddis ad.)

Content:
Technically, they are an eyeglass company, but their mission statement says this "We want to have an open and frank conversation with you about how absolutely right on it is to be the age we are, right here and now.  CADDIS is calling bullshit on ... the notion of raging against the dying of the light ... Now is what we got, and now is pretty awesome."  So a few years ago a group of friends living in cool places across the country (California, Park City, Brooklyn, etc.) set up a warehouse in Salt Lake City and began shipping reading glasses out to the rest of us. To remind us that whatever age we're at, we're "all the way alive."  Every post (ad?) is an invitation to be their friend, and frankly you'll wish you could.  I do.  Hey, I'm hosting a dinner on March 12th ...

Play.  Lewdle, It's Like Wordle Only With Naughty, Profane NSFW Words.  Any game (or any thing?) that starts with "CONTENT ADVISORY: Lewdle is a game about rude words.  If you're likely to be offended by the use of profanity, vulgarity or obscenity, go play Wordle instead!" and I'm in!  I played it today and I had to use the Urban Dictionary link that Lewdle provides to explain the word to me, so let's just say I'm learning things.  It's game-ifying an expansion of my dirty word vocabulary.  Who knows, perhaps I'll be able to deploy some for some fun sexting, which I am a big fan of pre-date to get the whole foreplay ball rolling.  Lewdle is a new game that just hit 1 million players.  Join us!  It's free, it's available on any internet browser, new puzzles reset every 24 hours and you can find it here.

Read. The Viral Vibe Shift Article.  Here is the article by Allison P. Davis in The Cut that accelerated the whole vibe shift discourse thing over the last week, but the original source that Davis was vibing on is Sean Monahan, a professional trendspotter who is at 8ball.

Watch.  Inventing Anna, the Shonda Rhimes Netflix Production on Anna Delvey.  I just finished bingeing this 9-part series on Anna Delvey, who is really Anna Sorokin, a twenty-something fake German heiress who conned some major players in finance, hotels, entertainment and the art world. The series is based on Jessica Pressler's indefatigable reporting for New York Magazine and - first off - the story is a must-read.

How an Aspiring ‘It’ Girl Tricked New York’s Party People — and Its Banks
Somebody had to foot the bill for Anna Delvey’s fabulous new life. The city was full of marks.

Secondly, the series is not perfect, but it is entirely addictive.  Julia Garner does a fabulous job with what apparently is Anna's actual (weird) Euro accent and entirely haughty manner.  The story itself is incredible and the narrative carries a lot of weight in propelling things forward, including through a couple slower episodes (like an episode where we go on a trip to see Anna's German hometown).  It truly falls under the rubrik "life is stranger than fiction," but you will learn valuable things like how to check into extravagant hotels without a working credit card. "Do you accept international wire transfers?" is the phrase you'll need.

Follow. Elizabeth Earnshaw For Upping Your Relational Intelligence.  Hide a Love Note In Their Pocket. Complete a task for them that they’ve put off.  Play a board game.  Hands down the best Social Media site to follow if you are looking for day-in, day-out useful, thoughtful, practical suggestions and ideas on how to improve your relational intelligence, and your relationships, is Elizabeth Earnshaw’s instagram page.  Like this one on Things You Could Do Today to Make Someone Feel Really Special.   (My Mother used to put love notes  in my school lunch bag.  ("Hi Honey! Have fun at school today!")  It worked for me.)  If you want more in-depth advice from Liz, you’ll want to listen to What Makes A Relationship Work?, on which the captivating friends at Virra Life, Katherine Griffiths and Stefania Romeo, interview Liz.

Watch.  Catch Some Sundance Film Festival This Weekend.  The world's largest independent film festival kicked off virtually this past Thursday, meaning all of us can check out some buzzy movies and documentaries.  I was surprised that tickets are not unlimited, so by the time I went to get one for Call Jane it was sold out. (It's a true story about the "Jane Collective," an underground network of suburban women in Chicago in the 60's who help get access to illegal abortions.) But I did score single tickets (at $20 each) for My Old School, starring Alan Cummings in a film about Scottish boy leading a "double life" (and I am a sucker for anything Alan Cummings), Living, starring Bill Nighy in an adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's book set in 1950's London about how a civil servant's life takes a turn for the better when he learns he is terminally ill, and the one I am the most excited about, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. It stars Emma Thompson as a retired schoolteacher who has never had great sex and hires a younger sex worker to change that. Here's the link to the Sundance site.

See. Keith McNally, My Favorite Insta Follow, Saw This Play and You Should Too (if you're in London).  I have an "insta crush" on Keith McNally, the NYC restauranteur "Who Invented Downtown" (according to the New York Times). Balthazar and Minetta Tavern, two of my favorite places to eat in NYC, are his. At Balthazar if you eat solo, you get a glass of champagne on the house (unless you're eating at the bar).  And I eat there solo a lot, so I know this to be true.  His instagram feed @keithmcnallynyc is a hedonist's delight as well.  It is loaded with good food shots, swipes at big-wigs who no-show for reserved tables (Graydon Carter), tributes to his friends who were once big but are currently very out-of-favor (Woody Allen) and ongoing stories of what he and his staff witness on a daily basis in perpetually feverishly hot downtown NYC restaurants, and all (outstandingly!) without a politically-correct care in the world.

I could write a whole piece on Keith McNally's insta, and I think I will some day, but there is one time-sensitive bit I'd like to immediately share. And that is that Keith, currently in London, just saw Alan Bennett's 1973 sexual farce Habeus Corpus at one of his favorite theater's in London, the Menier Chocolate Factory.  In his short "review" he reports: "Underlying this very non P.C. play about the unbottling of sexual desires, is the inevitability of Death. Billed as a 'filthy farce from a less enlightened age" this light, Joe Ortonesque romp is the perfect antidote to these morally scrupulous times."

If I were in London, I'd race to the doors. And so I thought, in case any CRUSH Readers are there, you'd want to know about it.

And even if you're not in London, follow my love (Keith) for a vicarious revelation a moment, on insta @keithmcnallynyc.

Listen. Liz Lange’s “Just Enough” Family: It’s An Abbondanza.  If you want a riveting inside look at 80’s New York excess or the complexities of running a high-flying family business or the rise and plummet of one of the richest and most prominent families of the late 1900’s, this podcast is an overabundance of true-life entertainment (an “abbondanza,” as Liz Lange calls it).  Lange is the niece of Saul Steinberg who, as the most famous corporate raider of the 80’s, enveloped his family in riches, access and glamour, including his brother Bobby, Saul’s deputy and Lange’s father.  Lange (an entrepreneur and Founder of Liz Lange Maternity) is the primary storyteller, and together with her close friend Ariel Levy as host, they get family members and famous personalities to open up (a lot) about the family Steinberg's saga. Unvarnished doesn’t begin to describe this wild story of family pettiness and entitlement.  It's the eighties, so there's also some Studio 54, some antisemitism and "Uncle Mike" (Milken) thrown in for added thrills.  You’ll find yourself asking, “Why would anyone share such intimate dirt publicly?" so many times you’ll stop counting.  But then you realize this could be any family's inner squabbling, it's just that the rest of us have less at stake.  And would be far less honest about it.  One thing you won't do is stop listening.

Here's to Liz Lange and Ariel Levy for going where most of wouldn't.

‎The Just Enough Family on Apple Podcasts
‎Society & Culture · 2021

Listen.  Are You A Voyeur? The Secret Room Podcast: Episode Update.  In The Crush Letter No 34 we told you about The Secret Room: Voyeurism at its finest. Host Ben Hamm hears first-time confessions that will have you on the edge of your fainting couch.  From the law school drop-out who faked speaking German to become an international flight attendant, to the housewife secretly selling photos of her feet to fetishists, it’ll make you wonder whether you truly know even your closest loved ones.

Here's an update on a new favorite episode: #158 "Sugar Rush." Eralyn is a single mother trying to provide for two very young children and pay off medical bills while caring for her special needs child. Regular work outside the home proves impossible, so she takes her practical, no-nonsense attitude into a transactional affair with a Sugar Daddy. Where that takes her is a surprise to her--and us.  

If you are able to park your judgment at the door, this a fascinating and intimate glimpse at the terms, nature and complexity of one Sugar arrangement. In addition to considering the benefits and downsides for Eralyn, you're left wondering about it from her Sugar Daddy's perspective--and that of his wife.  He tells Eralyn that he and his long-term wife are no longer intimate, but she acknowledges that intimacy is an essential need for him. His wife has agreed so long as it is handled discreetly and at a distance. Fair enough all the way around, but you have to ask yourself: if one partner in a marriage is okay with entirely outsourcing the regular provision of this intimate, loving, physical and emotional service by another to their spouse, what does that say about the nature of marriage itself?

To dive into The Secret Room, start with our favorite episodes:

#158 Sugar Rush

76 "Celebrity Chicken Caper"
#128 "Fetish"
#117 "The Takedown"
#60 "My Secret Career.'

And (in case it's helpful) if I had it to do over, I'd pass on #146 "Reckless," and #137 "TORCH"

‎The Secret Room | True Stories on Apple Podcasts
‎Society & Culture · 2022

And while we are on the topic of  sugar arrangements, here's the repost of a quirky film we previously touted:

Watch. Shiva Baby: Ambiguously Anxious Among the Noodges. When you’re trapped at a shiva between your sugar daddy and your high school ex-girlfriend, what’s a girl to do? In Emma Seligman’s film Shiva Baby the main character Danielle, an unmoored NYU senior, veers between powerlessness one minute and taking control the next, like a hockey puck spinning in and out of a goal. Just when her Jewish Mother thinks she's in line Danielle darts upstairs with a bagel to proffer her transactional sex partner a freebie blow job.

Shiva Baby came on my radar when a friend who is a member of the screening committee for a prestigious Jewish film festival told me about the heated debate surrounding its eventual selection. “Nobody wants to see a Jewish girl sugaring,” said one committee member. “But it’s happening,” argued my friend. Not only that, it's really smartly written, directed and acted. Days later I mentioned the film to another friend over coffee and he responded, “Oh if you have a daughter at NYU, you know about this,” he said almost offhandedly.

Continue Reading Here

Read. Don't Sleep on This Article in the NYT About A Long-Term Couple's Sex Life In Their 70's. Theirs is a story whose contours are similar to those I have heard from many long-married friends: Dating, Love, Marriage, Young Kids.  Followed by Overwork, Underappreciation, Divergent Roles, Lack of Intimacy, Extramarital Affair(s). Except that this couple's attempts at intervention led to enough repair that they have remained married in their 70's, having the best sex of their lives.  Fascinating to get a glimpse of their arc as a couple at this stage, after all that they've been through, including the changes in their bodies (cancer, spinal stinosis, menopause, etc.).  What we learn about what's possible? An intimte life with less pressure, more ease, more exploration, more humor, more truth and more connection.  In other words, something to look forward to.  The Joys (and Challenges) of Sex After 70.

The Joys (and Challenges) of Sex After 70

Watch. Enough Said, An Intelligent Film About Midlife Love.  This 2013 gem is directed by Nicole Holofcener and stars James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Catherine Keener. The late, great Gandolfini will melt your heart in this grown-up study of mature love, loss, loneliness and hope. Dreyfus and Keener are at their finest. Catch it on Netflix.  Watch the trailer here.

Read.  Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: The Epic Story of the Making of the Godfather by Mark Seal.  Godfather-philes will go gaga over this behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Godfather as we near the 50th anniversary of its March 1972 release.

Author Mark Seal reveals in-depth conversations with director Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino, James Caan, Talia Shire, and others. Read why producer Al Ruddy’s car was riddled with bullets and which real-life mob members vied to make on-screen appearances (everybody wants to be in show business!).  More importantly, you’ll learn just how the masterpiece was made. Read here

Follow.  Jean Smith, The Painter Art Collectors and Non-Collectors Alike Are Clamoring Over. Smith’s ultimate goal is to purchase the property where she can build the “Free Artist Residency for Progressive Social Change”.  To that end, she posts daily on Facebook for a chance to make a $100 purchase of one of her sought-after paintings of female faces.  Smith also has a waitlist for collectors interested in purchasing three or more larger pieces for $600 each.  The NY Times covered the Canadian phenom in this January 2021 piece. Read more here

Jean Smith
P A I N T I N G S
2016 HBO series, Vinyl 

Read.  Do You Have A Jeff Goldblum Thing?  You’ll want to read this article from Airmail "Read here

Photo Credit: Airmail
Photo: HBO Max

And Just Like That, A Lot of Women In Their Sixties Just Up and Move to London.  We here at PrimeCrush were not overwhelming fans of a Sex and the City reboot when it was announced - see the story And I Wondered ... Do We Really Need a SATC Reboot? from Letter No 9 below, not to mention the results of our Reader poll here on who would be watching the Reboot (2/3 of us voted "I'm sorry I can't. Don't hate me.").  But as the author of a newsletter on midlife love and friendship, I considered it my job to watch the first two episodes.  

SPOILER ALERT:  The reboot was not well-written, smart or particularly funny so we won't be spending a lot of time on it here in our DEVOUR issue except to say that I, Dish, am decidedly "team Samantha."  In case you have been watching the epic Houe of Gucci movie since yesterday (it's long), the loyal, big-hearted, intrepid, sex-positive entrepreneur (she ran her own PR firm) is living in London.  Where (I'd guess) a lot of women of a certain age will consider going, now that we have all learned that "sexy sirens in their sixties are still viable there".  (F*ck all the implications there and more to come there from us and others, for sure.)

Specifically, on Samantha I posted a comment in a thread on Vulture's coverage:

" ... We are to believe that Carrie, who earlier needed to borrow $40k from a girlfriend to buy her apartment because she had spent all of her money on shoes and who is now quite wealthy (most plausibly as a result of her marriage to Big) ... has lost the loyal, financially successful friend Samantha (whose firm was successful based on having a whole host of big clients) because Carrie, one client, a writer, didn't need her public relations services?  Samantha was the opposite of petty:  she was big-hearted and loyal.  It is not just a preposterous story line that disrespects the characters' histories, but also a tired and disturbing trope on women's financial independence and friendships.  Ironically, the latter is the theme that we all celebrated in SATC.  And it makes us wonder: why would the show's producers/writers risk the integrity of the show (and its most importan theme) to extend a grauitous diss on Samantha/Cattrall?"

On Miranda (poor Miranda - who may have both a drinking problem and a sexless marriage):

"[The scenes of] Miranda [being so out-of-touch] were surprising, and not consistent with a show whose characters and stories literally moved the cultural conversation forward on single women, their friendships and sex lives.  How did these characters - once so forward-looking - become so outdated?  So out-of-touch with their peers (eg, today's women in their 50's who are closely tuned in)?  Not to mention the bizarre and confounding ignorance/micro aggressions of Miranda.  As if Miranda (of anyone), who cared enough to leave her safe corporate job to study human rights after being moved by current events would (notwithstanding her passion, intelligence and understanding of the historical moment) be so ignorant.  She - like all of us - may have fumbled a little as she educated herself.  But educate herself she would.  Miranda would not have been so utterly ignorant (not to mention self-involved).

It did offer some wonderful moments, most especially from Anthony "She's the Black Charlotte" and "This is a funeral, not the moth."  And it may be that once Carrie starts dating again, we'll get some of the spice and incisiveness this Reboot so desperately needs.  I'll stay tuned (it's my job!) and let you know when the water's warm enough for diving in.

Listen.  An Evening with Silk Sonic.  Lots of heavy breathing here in Dish-pad over the hotly anticipated debut album by Silk Sonic, the collaboration between Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, which dropped last night.  An Evening is smooth and slick, a motown, soul, funk mix-up.  The only complaint I have is that at nine songs, it is too short. The album is foreplay-length.  What are you thinking, guys, leaving me after getting me all lubed up?  I feel a new Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck coming on.  Beyond the highly talented musicality, another thing that is so enjoyable about the album is how much humor they dropped into the lyrics.  This from Leave the Door Open:  "I won't bite. Unless you want me to."  From Smokin' Out the Window: "Not to be dramatic but I wanna die."  From Fly As Me: "You deserve to be seen with someone as fly as me. Somebody this fly."  Download here.  I bet you can guess which album we got our Song of the Week from.

PS: Our last Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck is here, compliments of CRUSH Reader Sarah Vesperman.  (Thanks Sarah!)

Listen. NPR. Life Kit. “What Can We Learn From Our Jealousy”. It’s no fun when the green monster rears its head. Even in polyamorous relationships, jealousy can be an issue. Listen here to NPR’s Andee Tagle and a panel of relationship aficionados as they discuss the complexity of romantic jealousy and understand exactly where it comes from. Listen here

Cook. SOUPified Is The Cookbook To Get You Past Daylight Savings Darkness. Oh, the weather outside will soon be frightful, but this cookbook of soups inspired by your favorite dishes is so delightful! From Eggplant Parm soup, Crab Cake Soup, Bacon Cheeseburger soup, Philly Cheesesteak soup, Chinese Egg Roll soup, and even Guacamole soup, you’ll be “bowled” over by these 31 clever creations by author and chef Michele Di Pietro. Yum. I recommend the Butternut Squash Soup recipe. I make just two changes to this recipe: First, I substitute nut milk for the cream. Second, I put it in my Nutribullet soup apparatus and it emulsifies it to a creami(er) consistency. Purchase here


Read. Letters of Note, An Online Museum of Correspondence. Founder Shaun Usher describes his website as “an online museum of correspondence which has been celebrating the humble letter since 2009.” With a marvelous assortment of pieces usually penned in the original hand of a notable sender, these little gems reflect a moment of thoughts, wishes, dreams, rage, yearning, undying love, wit, or whatever moved the sender at the moment.

2013 saw the first Letters of Note book and it soon became an international bestseller. Volume two followed in 2015. 2020 brought the first of a series of themed Letters of Note books (all accompanied by audiobooks) and six titles followed in 2021.

Letters Live, an ongoing series of live shows in which selected letters are brought to life in venues worldwide launched in 2013.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

A college-immersed Martin Luther King’s 1948 letter to his parents. Read here

Helen Keller’s 1932 response to Dr. John Finley about what she “saw” at the top of the Empire State Building. Read here

Dorothy Parker’s letter to her publisher/lover, written from her hospital bed. Read here

Watch. Red Table Talk with Jada Pickett Smith on Facebook. Host Jada Pinkett Smith moderates these candid round table talks with her daughter, Willow, and her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Jones. This forum of three generations of women ignites no-holds-barred discussions on love, sex, mental health, self-esteem, blended families, and oh, so much more. In the episode, “Gweneth Paltrow Talks Sex”, the actress points out, “You can’t talk about women’s wellness without talking about sexual wellness.” She introduces sexual wellness coach and certified erotic educator, Jaiya who joins the table to discuss the “five erotic blueprint types” and demonstrates the “clitoral puppet” to promote being “cliterate literate”

I needed a nap after this episode.

Willow Smith’s polyamorous journey, watch here

Partake. Helmut Newton's Book Work.  Published in 2000, Work serves as the catalogue for the exhibition celebrating the 80th birthday of one of the most influential 20th century photographers.  Crush Reader Steve Kane sent in the recommendation for DEVOUR "to remind us all to stop being so goddam over-sensitive. Also because Newton is a genius."  I have work on my coffee table, and I look through it relentlessly for just those reasons.  {Thank you, Steve}

Here are some of the pages I flip to most often:

Read. Little Pieces of Hope, A Book to Lift Your Spirits. This debut work by Todd Doughty was inspired by the overwhelming response to his Instagram post -- a list of “happy-making things in a difficult world” -- on the day the WHO declared the pandemic. Little Pieces of Hope, a book of everything from essays and recipes to summer reading and playlists, is a compilation of three thousand individual items that is sure to make you smile. Dowdy believes we all “carry an invisible bag of rocks” and he hopes this book serves to lighten our load. The perfect holiday gift for these crazy, hazy times. Purchase here

Succession!  Is Gerri A Tease?  Or Is She Actually Not A Hot Mess? As you know from Letter No 33, I am very excited (as in downright dependent as if my own ego were riding on it) about the prospect of watching the sexual relationship between Roman Roy, Logan's spoiled and immature youngest son, and Gerri Kellman, Waystar's middle-aged maternal General Counsel with a "Sister Superior Nun" vibe, play out in Season Three.  This is not for pure entertainment value but rather, as a middle-aged woman, I selfishly applaud "our" (broadly speaking) depiction as sexual beings, especially naughty ones.  I think it's a more honest representation of the women I know than the stereotype.  Wisdom and self-knowledge are the new sexy, say I.

In last week's Letter, I gave you the youtube links to the key moments in Roman and Gerri's sexual history, but Vulture gives us the full timeline:

A Timeline of Roman and Gerri’s Succession Sexual Tension
For all you disgusting little slime puppies.

{Spoiler Alert.}  In this particular regard, Succession's Season Three was all tease in the most enticing way.  After Roman makes a show of taking himself out of the running for interim CEO (entirely unnecessary given that Logan is undoubtedly too shrewd to have seriously considered the chaotic Roman for the top job, and Roman too smart to think Logan would), he strongly backs Gerri.  I am using "show" quite purposely here because when Gerri is in fact named interim CEO the true intent behind Roman's move seems obvious.  Roman can be the "slime puppy" to Gerri's dominatrix.  

His goal is thwarted when he makes an unconvincing invitation to Gerri to fool around, and the plot twists.  She tersely shuts him down with this:

I am quite a successful person, Roman, and I remain so by avoiding mess.    Gerri Kellman

I am putting good, hard money down on Gerri stepping right into that mess.  Come on, Gerri, make a mess.  I need this for you.

We evidently have many Crush Readers with strong opinions on this subject.  I sat up when I read this one, in particular, written by a Reader who is a retired therapist. Interesting, since it is the case that the Roy kids' biological mother escaped from their Father to another continent, so it is worth noting that Gerri, as Logan's longtime confidante and ever-present-General Counsel, may have been a maternal figure to Roman (in particular), as the youngest.

Go.  AutoCamp Is the New Cool Weekend Trip Adults Are Taking. When I noticed on insta that a number of my funnest, gamest friends were doing weekends away with friends, lovers, and spouses at AutoCamp, I had to ask.  AutoCamp is an upscale "outdoor experience in modern Airstreams."  In other words, an upscale, hip campground.  With locations in photo-worthy locations like Joshua Tree, Russian River, Zion, and Cape Cod, these sites are in places you want to go.  From one Crush Reader:  "There are full-size walk-in showers, high-quality sheets and towels, a groovy, clean vibe, and a beautiful clubhouse where we ate our meals.  The clubhouse market has literally everything you need - we got a "steak kit" to grill, and it had pre-cut veggies, potatoes, and a steak sauce."  "I heard another "camper," say that they are going around the country and staying at all the AutoCamp sites and honestly, I could totally see myself doing that."  And if you think it is just for kids and families, according to another Crush Reader, it's not: "Actually better for a romp than kid trip.  Stay a couple of days, after that the novelty will wear off ... Get weird."  

Pro tips from Crush Readers:  "Splurge for the premium Airstream model.  The Master Bed in the premium models is great, but the tent has just a cot and the suites aren't airstreams."  "I'd say two people to a camper, max."  (hat tip, Mike T and Megan S. A set of CRUSH coasters coming at you both!)

AutoCamp: An Outdoor Experience in Modern Airstreams
At AutoCamp, we offer a luxury Airstream outdoor experience. Visit us in Joshua Tree, Sonoma, Yosemite, Zion, Catskills, or Cape Cod.

Read.  If You Missed the Men's Health Series on Bob Weir's Workout Routine, It's Not Too Late To Be Inspired. Along with 362k others (including Nathaniel Rateliff, I note), I follow Bob Weir's Instagram.  I have seen this founding member of the Grateful Dead in concert a number of times (with the Grateful Dead before Jerry Garcia died, then with The Dead) and his energy and athleticism are impressive.  But it wasn't until I started following him on insta that I appreciated how dedicated he is to a fitness routine that allows him to play hundreds of three-hour concerts a year into his 70's.  He has filmed his fitness routine on video for insta, but this series of Men's Health articles provide the background and depth worthy of the icon's dedication.  Fitness is one of the key components to being happy into your 70's for Weir.  The other two?  "A sense of purpose," and "meditation."

The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir Is Unbelievably Shredded at 72
Bob Weir stays strong and fit with CrossFit, Tabata workouts, and three-hour concerts.
How I Built My Body: Grateful Dead founder, Bob Weir
MH works out with a music and fitness legend
Watch the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir Show Off His Intense Pre-Show Workout
The 73-year-old musician just shared a look at his training routine on TikTok.

Try.  Add Some Color to Your Lips (& Be Kind).  The Lipstick Journey. In response to adverse situations, Elizabeth Taylor was known to say, “Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.” Next time you need to pull yourself together, you can help others pull themselves together when you make a purchase from The Lipstick Journey. The Lipstick Journey (named after the 2011 blog) founder and self-dubbed “lipstick junkie”, Anna Warner-Mayes, started the company in 2018 for cancer “thrivers” like herself. With each lipstick purchase you make, you can request to have one sent -- at no cost -- to a cancer fighter/thriver you know. If you don’t make the request, Warner- Mayes will send 100% of the net profit from your lipstick purchase to one of the various cancer organizations she supports (like “Imerman Angels” or “Gilda’s Club”). As if lipstick didn’t already give us enough reason to smile.

Home | Thelipstickjourney
Supporting cancer research and always non-toxic and cruelty-free, The Lipstick Journey is a collection of creamy, decadent liquid lipsticks created to bring your story to life with the transformative power of color.

Watch. Sex and Love Around the World (2018). CNN journalist Christine Amanpour's 6-episode documentary on how love and sex are perceived and practiced in Berlin, Tokyo, Accra, Shanghai, Dehli, and Beirut. Eye-opening and provocative and Amanpour ask HARD questions. Presently streaming on several platforms, including HBO Max and Amazon Prime. It’s difficult to choose a favorite episode, but if it’s the bondage you fancy, check out Berlin! Watch here.

Watch. The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix 2020) 7 episode miniseries. If for some reason you missed this heady dramatization of Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel about fictional teenage chess protege Beth Harmon when it debuted last year, hunker down as the days grow shorter and tune in. Actress Anya Taylor-Joy made chess so sexy that Goliath Games reported the late 2020 release of the show led to a 1,048% increase in chess sales over 2019. Raised in a Christian orphanage where she discovers her talent for the game (along with her taste for tranquilizers) Harmon grows into a brilliant, young woman struggling with her addictions in the male-dominated world of the 1950/60s chess circuit. Roger Ebert calls it “a triumph”. Watch here.

Watch. Together (U.S. premiere August 27, 2021). Ever wonder what all the other couples were doing during lock-down? This made-for-U.K. television film peers into the London home of one couple’s stressed marriage over 15 months of pandemic life. The ten-day production schedule shot in a single location gives this dark comedy a stage play feel. Released in U.S. theatres in August, it’s well-written by Dennis Kelly, directed by Stephen Daldry (The Hours and Billy Elliot), and stars James McAvoy and Sharon Horgan as the couple, with Samuel Logan as their young son. Britain’s The Guardian calls it “an absolute wonder”, and The Wall Street Journal echoes, “Together succeeds on several counts -- the fluency of the language, the topicality of the premise, and the energy brought to it by the writer and director.” "Savagely funny" and "completely devastating", is a grave subject matter to which we can all relate. Watch here. Here is an interview with the cast as well.

Watch. Pasta Grannies (YouTube). Nothing says “amore” like Italy and pasta, and this is the real deal. The YouTube phenomenon was created by its host, Vicky Bennison, who travels throughout Italy (and surrounding islands) to document women who still practice the tradition of making pasta by hand. Bennison narrates in English but the guests speak Italian (there are English subtitles). Great opportunity to see the different regions of Italy and hear the different dialects. Authentic, handed-down recipes from women with fabulous names like Giggina,
Enrichetta, Pina, Grazia, and Concettina! Also recipes for some non-pasta dishes as well as the occasional dessert. With a new video every week, you can subscribe here and never miss an episode. If you’re ambitious enough to handcraft your own pasta, pick up Pasta Grannies: The Official Cookbook, released in October 2019. In the meantime, take a peek at 86-year-old Antonia making bucatini with sardines here.  91-year-old Maria making lasagne here, and 101-year-old Concettina making raschiatelli (aka “fusilli”). Be sure to listen carefully to the story of her husband’s “leg” here.

Listen. Playing On Air Podcast. Love theater? Love radio? Then you’ll love these brilliantly crafted plays written for public radio. Well-known playwrights and screenwriters have their work performed by some of the most respected actors of our day. Founded in 2021 by producing artistic director Claudia Catania to “share the quality theater with the public”, Catania arouses our imagination with the lost art of listening. One of our favorite episodes is “Banshee” written by John Patrick Shanley (winner of the 1988 Best Original Screenplay Oscar for the film Moonstruck), with a cast of Geraldine Hughes and Aiden Quinn. Listen here

Listen. Where Should We Begin? Podcast. Step inside relationship and sex expert Esther Perel’s office and listen in on a session between Perel and an anonymous couple as she counsels them on various issues. Perel interstitches live session recordings with her re-cap and assessment. The New York Times writes: "it feels more like an unraveling mystery story than a relationship advice show." In this episode, a long-time married couple who have been exploring consensual non-monogamy comes into a crisis when the woman falls in love with another woman. Perel delves deep into the couple’s past to allow them to understand how they relate to each other in the present. Says Perel, “The power of the relationship was less about the autonomy and more about somebody who, for the first time, you felt you can let go in their arms and they’ll keep you from falling. And when you have that experience for the first time, it’s irresistible.” Listen here. Other favorites:
Season 1, Episode 6 “There’s You There’s Me and There’s Us”
Season 3, Episode 6 “Happily Divorced”
Season 4, episode 6 “When I’m Manic I Cheat”

Listen. George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass (50th Anniversary edition re-released August 6th). Considered Harrison’s “masterpiece”, the triple album was originally released in October 1970 as the musician’s first solo flight after the disbanding of The Beatles earlier that year. Digitally enhanced and lovingly constructed by Harrison’s son, Dhani, the collection now includes multiple outtakes and jams not found on the original. Listen here

Follow. - Amy Sedaris on Instagram. Just for a giggle! Each morning, actress/writer/comedian Amy Sedaris posts something unique, hilarious, or stunning. It’s a genuine feel-good moment.

Watch. The Movie That Humorously Dissects the End of A Quintessentially NYC Marriage: before/during/after.  A middle-aged theater actress discovers that her under-employed husband has been having an affair.  Witty, humorous, and very, very real, I approached this movie with some reservations.  The friend who told me about it actually texted me as she started it, saying "I don't know why I'm watching this, but you may be interested" and I quickly started it, and then by the end, she sent me a text saying she "loved, loved, loved it."  I did too.  There is an entertaining series of therapist-caricatures that the main character interviews that add smart levity.  It is very much like a smart update to the 1978 movie An Unmarried Woman starring Jill Clayburgh, with the same themes of heartbreak, betrayal, resilience, and transformation, all with a great deal of New York humor.  (Hat tip to kt.) Trailer here.

Watch.  On the Verge: Four Midlife Women Living & Friending in L.A. On the Verge, the confection of French actress Julie Delpy, loosely depicts the lives of four female friends of a certain age living in L.A.  Its stars are a recognizable list of talented actresses:  Delpy as a French-American chef/restauranteur, Elisabeth Shue as a clothing designer, Sarah Jones as an anxious empty nester, and Alexia Landeau as an unemployed flake.  Is there a word for female friendship comedy?  A “sistermance”?  A “femme-com”? That’s what this is.  It is a glance at the lives of four women dealing with the barrage of midlife shit we all face; serious topics are taken up (empty marriages, empty nests, empty bank accounts, etc., etc.) but all with a touch of a pastry chef who folds in a sense of humor.  It is a series of easy (if not often ridiculous) 30-minute bite-sized episodes, and despite a "really?" muttered here and there, I have found myself partaking in one a night as a way to brush off the day. (Netflix) Trailer here.

Listen.  Sports Podcast Three-Point Range.  Hosted by three old friends from University of North Carolina – San Diego Padres baseball scout Kimball Crossley, Chicago Sun-Times and Forbes.com writer Mike Beradino and UNC journalism professor Tim Crothers – this sports podcast offers both deep-in-the-weeds coverage of current events and quirky, philosophical and values-driven takes on the meaning of sports.  Their discussions often sit at the nexus of where athletic accomplishment, character and heart meet capitalism.  Go for the sports talk, stay to witness the great camaraderie, respect and friendship these guys share from years of friendship.  I love these guys, and witnessing the gentle rubbing they give each other when they disagree, which they often do.

In the latest, Crossley, who refers to himself tongue-and-cheek as a "thinking man's sports fan" offers his own lyrical derision of the NFL's announcement of a 17-game regular season to the tune of Janis Ian's "Seventeen."  Appropriate apologies to Ian are included (and required).  Adding to the fun, at least one, if not both, of the other two are not familiar with Ian's classic.  {Sigh.}  (NB: Ian says that she wrote the song at a time when she was "really weird looking" which is reason enough to love it.  Here's a good live version.)

Best lines:  "Remember those who win the game / Still end up living lives with pain / With team doctors of poor quality / Who misdiagnose encephalopathy"

Three-Point Range
Three old college friends -- San Diego Padres baseball scout Kimball Crossley, Chicago Sun-Times and Forbes.com freelance writer Mike Berardino and UNC journalism professor Tim Crothers -- share their unique viewpoints on sports issues both contemporary and timeless. Hilarity ensues. Follow them on …

Watch.  Adriana Trigiani's Rollercoaster Interviews with Other Authors.  There is never a dull moment in this two-hour rollercoaster where best-selling author Trigiani interviews other authors about their new works.  Watch one of the smartest and funniest minds you'll meet get inside the minds and hearts of the likes of Matthew McConaughy, Julianna Margulies, Tia Williams, Bill Persky, Craig Ferguson, Peter Duchin, Lorenzo Carcaterra and Rosella Rago – and marvel at her uncanny ability to bring out original, fun and revealing shares.  I'm telling you, most cocktail parties are not as fun as Trigiani's live show.

The only place to see Trigiani's full interviews is on her LIVE stream on facebook (where multiple hundreds of thousands of followers regularly tune in).  Her facebook page is here.  

You can see edited, shorter versions on Trigiani's youtube channel here (but for the full party, try to tune into the live version!).  On youtube, start by checking out a favorte – this pandemic interview with the fabulous and hilarious actor, vocalist and stand-up comedian Mario Cantone (also known as the interior decorator in SEX IN THE CITY): watch Season 3, Episode 17 here.  (You have to be a subscriber.)

And here's Trigiani's website:

Adriana Trigiani | Intro
Adriana Trigiani is the New York Times bestselling author of 18 books in fiction and nonfiction. She has been published in 38 countries around the world.

Listen. The Secret Room Podcast.  Voyeurism at its finest. Host Ben Hamm hears first-time confessions that will have you on the edge of your fainting couch.  From the law school drop-out who faked speaking German to become an international flight attendant, to the housewife secretly selling photos of her feet, it’ll make you wonder whether you truly know even your closest loved ones.

Start with our favorite episodes: #76 "Celebrity Chicken Caper," #128 "Fetish," #117 "The Takedown," and #60 "My Secret Career.'

And (in case it's helpful) if I had it to do over, I'd pass on #146 "Reckless," and #137 "TORCH"

‎The Secret Room | True Stories on Apple Podcasts
‎Society & Culture · 2021

Read.  A Short Erotic Story Aloud To Yourself (Or Someone Else) from "Coming Soon: Women's Orgasm Erotica".  I am making my way through this recently published, latest compilation of erotica edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.  Bussel has edited over 60 erotica anthologies over the last 20 years, including six volumes of "Best Women's Erotica of the Year."  (Most of which I am going to admit were read aloud to me by an ex over a few years. Sometimes I actually miss him.)  Coming Soon has a range of stories from tame to more kinky, bondage to scifi to love in a retirement home. My early favorite is I'm Her by Henry Corrigan, which hits my personal sweet spot for erotica:  short, suspenseful, slightly quirky and straightforward sexy.

Coming Soon: Women’s Orgasm Erotica
Multiple orgasms? Oh, yes! What does it feel like to climax? Coming Soon: Women’s Orgasm Erotica offers wild and thrilling tales of female sexual pleasure that explore that question in a variety of wondrous ways. From a fetish that will appeal to any book lover and a waitress who’s seduced by her v…

Watch.  Pretend It’s a City (Netflix 2021).  These seven episodes, produced, moderated, and directed by Martin Scorsese, had me laughing out loud during a time when there was nothing to laugh about. Scorsese follows deliciously prickly author Fran Leibowitz as she recounts her decades living through the good, the bad, and the ugly of magnificent New York City.  If you haven’t caught it yet, it’s not too late.  If the pull of New York speaks to you, know that this work will no doubt be archived among the best of classic New York documentaries.

Read.  Joe Pinsker Interviewing Oliver Burkeman on Why We Really Want to Manage Our Time Better.  I am tiring of efficiency advice because I've noticed that becoming more efficient has inevitably resulted in me doing more shit (not less). More shit because I "created" time with the increased efficiency that I ended up using to do yet more things I didn't really want to do.  (Oh, I probably have just enough time fit in a wax ...) But in this interview in The Atlantic, Burkeman, the author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, shifts the horizon.  "The average human lifespan is absurdly, terrifyingly, insultingly short."  Burkeman calls us out on the lies we tell ourselves about how we spend the time we have.  The truth?  That "we will die not having done a tremendous number of things we care about; that every commitment we make to a person, place, or line of work rules out countless others that may fulfill us ..." says Burkeman.  We need to consider efficiency in light of the deeper understanding of what it is for:  to focus our lives on the people and things most meaningful to us.  That's advice I need to adopt as a mantra.

The Best Time-Management Advice Is Depressing But Liberating
You can make time for things that matter, or you can make time for more email.

Listen.  The Podcast "Solo" On The Power of Seeking No Power.  "Power? No thanks, I'm Good."  Solo is the thoughtful podcast series hosted by Peter McGraw on "the single person's guide to a remarkable life."  In this episode McGraw speaks wth Timothy Krieder, a writer and cartoonist, who explains why the freedom to say what he thinks and to command his own time is all the power he needs.  This episode raises the stakes on defining what power is - and argues that giving up opportunities to pursue power in order to gain freedom is a power in and of itself.

The Power Of No Power
Tim Kreider talks about working in solitude and dedicating more time to his artistic endeavors, fueling his creative and imaginative side even further.

Listen.  The Podcast Series Good Sex.  Is about much more than just sex - good or bad.  Because sex is much more than just sex.  It is ultimately about a lot of really important qualities and experiences, like empathy.  Good Sex episodes offer a series of half hour opportunities to rummage around in somebody else's most intimate desires, conquests, linergie drawer (whatever).  In one of my favorites, the comedian Luis Galilei shares the ups and downs on the sex expectations on Latin Lovers.

‎Good Sex: Luis 👐🏼 — “Do you like how I touch you here?” on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Good Sex, Ep Luis 👐🏼 — “Do you like how I touch you here?” - Jul 27, 2021

Listen.  Everything Is Fine podcast on How to Have A Happy Marriage.  You may or may not know that Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue have been married over 40 years.  And that they host a podcast called Double Date where they "drop in" on famous couples who have had long marriages, Sting & Trudie Styler, Ray & Ann Romano, John McEnroe & Patty Smyth, to name a few.  You can pick something up from every episode.  

But what I may love just as much is this Everything Is Fine podcast where hosts Kim France and Jenn Romolini interview Marlo Thomas to get the broad view on what makes a happy marriage.  Some recurring themes to longstanding, happy marriages:  understanding that sometimes, with some issues, you have to choose to be happy rather than right; dropping the petty things that bug you; both people have to really want to be in it for the long haul and willing to do the work; and lots of sex.  For me the best quote from the episode is Marlo Thomas talking about why she waited until the age of 42 and meeting Phil Donahue before getting married:  "I thought that marriage was not a roomy enough place for two whole people. That marrige was a place for 1 and 1/2 persons was my theory. The 1 person (either male or female) was the one who had the dream and was following the dream, and the other person {eg, the "half} was their manager, the quiet spouse."

To skip the enjoyable banter between friends France and Rommolini and get right to the married/Marlo piece start at around 10:30.

‎Everything is Fine: It’s Marlo Thomas! on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Everything is Fine, Ep It’s Marlo Thomas! - Jul 12, 2021

Everything Is Fine is a series for women on life over 40, hosted by Kim France and Jennifer Rommolini.  It is the best at what it does, which is offer up an honest, interesting, explicit look at everything in life that their sophisticated and urbane over 40 audience might be interested in.  Follow them and their podcast on insta @eifpodcast @kimfrancenyc @jennromolini.

Read This.  Before Spicing Up Your Romantic Life, Married Couples. (And everyone else.) Don't ask me how, but I had come across this article in Married Christian Sex promoting the idea of adding a sense of danger to your sex life by having public sex. To, you know, keep married sex exciting and married couples together. It is from 2014, and is really quite a practical (and detailed) list, if not hysterical. For instance "If your wife is shy [I guess the site presumes that is the husband trying to spice things up], try starting your public adventures slowly with a blow job. She won't need to undress at all. Assuming she swallows, clean-up will be easy." (There's a mouthful to swallow there, starting with why a shy wife would be more relaxed giving a public blow job than, say, receiving a much more potentially subtle stimulation up her skirt, but anyway, that's not what I want to focus on.) I don't even want to focus on the many other nuggets in this list, or on the site altogether - which I got a lot out of. What I do want to make Christian Married Couples (and everyone else) aware of is this disturbing list recently published by Tyler Cowen in Marginal Revolution:  Some Major Cities Ranked By Surveillance Cameras per km. They are not what he (or probably anyone) expected. Boston, NYC and Baltimore CRUSH Readers, beware before you bare.

Read. The 100 Greatest Rock Stars Since That Was A Thing in SPIN. This is a highly subjective (and entertaining) list of the greatest "Rock Stars" from somebody with the taste and life-experience to know – Bob Guccione Jr, the publisher of SPIN.  You might fairly quibble with where certain rock stars notch on the list. I do – Ozzy Osbourne #72 over Jerry Garcia #87, for instance. (Really? Did Ben & Jerry's name an ice cream after Ozzy?). But the top ten all belong in the top ten, to my estimation. And Guccione inarguably gets #1 right. Take your shot at his list here.

And if you like Bob Guccione Jr's "Rock Star" list you may enjoy his list of the 5 Things That Turn Him On from Letter No 11, or his personal essay on Hefner we published in Letter No 15.

Read. Harper's Bazaar on How Patti Smeed Started An Electric Hairstlye Trend. She is a retired nurse from Tennessee, and she's obviously cool as all get out.

The Tweet That Launched a Thousand Dye Jobs
A reminder that color doesn’t fade with age.

Read.  NYT's 50 Reasons to Love Joni Mitchell's "Blue."  Blue, released in 1971 when she was only 27, was Mitchell's fourth studio album, written and produced entirely by her.  Among many other accolades, it was named third in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.  Blue is a poetic untangling of the nature of passionate relationships.  There are lots of hints at juicy details in the NYT article (and then you kind of had to piece things together). It was written during a heated love affair with James Taylor (who was very much addicted to heroin at the time and played guitar on four songs on the album), which love affair took place on the heels of her break up of her long love affair with Graham Nash - and on the heels of her having fled to Greece, she has said, to escape the pain of that unwinding, as well as the limelight that had just begun to envelope her, a woman who had lived "in a box of paints."  (Where she had yet another love affair.) Blue has some of the most poetic lines in rock. "You're in my blood like holy wine." "only a dark cocoon before I get my gorgeous wings and fly away" "I want to talk to you / I want to shampoo you / I want to renew you again and again." "crown and anchor me / or let me sail away" and "He loved me so naughty left me weak in the knees."  (That last one Nash, who Mitchell ended things with by note from Greece (where she had picked up with another lover), humorously gloats was written about him. (Who wouldn't.) )

In the NYT article 25 musicians, including former lovers James Taylor, Graham Nash and David Crosby, share personal revelations about Blue, its making and how she and the album changed their lives. For instance, Crosby admits that the first time he heard Blue "I felt like quitting the business and becoming a gardener." He goes on to argue that "The music is where she's just vastly superior to Bob [Dylan] ... They're both brilliant poets, but she's 10 times the musician and singer that he was." (So is her old lover implying she deserves the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Dylan?)

Song of the Week. "You're in my blood like holy wine." In the video linked to below, Mitchell is singing Case of You from Wembley Arena in 1983 at the age of 40 with a deeper voice and (what seems to me) a more zen energy than earlier live versions. This performance is over a decade after Blue was released. There seems to be, over a decade later, some form of acceptance of the intensity of her great love affairs with Nash and Taylor (and more) - love, loss and of the limelight. In other words, time has done some healing from a life lived very much outside the paint box.  (Of course, I might be reading a lot into it.)

There have been some moving covers of this exquisite love song, like this live one by Brandi Carlile at Madison Square Garden that she dedicates to her wife. But my favorite cover was sent to me by my friend kt, a music impresario, and it is by Prince here. If he were alive he no doubt would have been interviewed in the NYT article celebrating Blue's 50th anniversary. (Such a loss.)

To watch the video below on youtube go here.

(To link to this fabulous video on youtube see the link above.)

Read. Who's Your Zaddy? In Brooke Hammerling's Pop Culture Mondays. Wondering what a "zaddy" is? Hammerling explains it in detail in her weekly pop culture takedown (which I've been reading since day 1 of publication because I love a well-curated and opinionated pop culture exposition. No more going to get a weekly manicure just so that I can read People.) In short, from the URBAN DICTIONARY a "zaddy" is:

"A fine handsome and sexy ass intelligent man that makes you smile and drip every time you see him. He knows how to handle business in and out of the bedroom. You low key want to have his baby! He makes all parts of you excited including your mind."

In order to fully understand the zaddy thing, read Hammerling in full because she goes into the origins of the term and names names of men that many consider zaddies. President Obama, Don Draper, Idris Elba are a few. And it would appear that Law & Order star Christopher Meloni is a major zaddy. As Hammerling makes clear, "zaddy" status is in the eye of the beholder, but it is some obvious combination of fashion, swagger along with some measure of gravitas/take-seriousness.  

I'd like to throw in a couple for consideration:

Scottie Pippen, just featured in this GQ article about his new bourbon, whose new look I dig and who I love seeing more of after having binged The Last Dance last year.

Scottie Pippen Has Something to Say: On Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons and More
The six-time NBA champion has a new bourbon. And a memoir coming soon. And some candid thoughts about great players past and present.

Also this guy. Franco Mazzetti, whose every post on instagram demands my ardent attention.

There are so many, really. Keith Richards, Pharrell, Daniel Levy, of course (here he is in GQ). So, who's your zaddy?

Read. The Crush Summer Reading List. Passionate CRUSH Reader Sharon Weinberg, Owner of The Chatham Bookstore in the Hudson Valley, NY, really knows how to pick them. From masterpieces to modern, we believe we have published the Summer Reading List of all summer reading lists. Check it out.

CRUSH Summer Reading List! From CRUSH Reader Sharon Weinberg, Owner of The Chatham Bookstore.
PrimeCrush Summer Reading ListCrush Summer Reading List!Passionate Crush Reader & Indie Bookshop Owner Sharon Weinberg, owner of the Chatham Bookstore in Hudson Valley, NY has created a summer reading list especially for Crush Readers. It’s a list in two parts: Everything Love and Erotic Lit: La…

Listen. Comfort Eating with Grace Dent. I can not get enough of this British podcast and the host Grace Dent and her very comforting and not so posh British accent. To give you a sense, she starts this first episode of the series by eating toast covered in "fish paste" which she thrillingly (somehow) inhales even though she admits it smells like cat food. The gist of the show is that Dent, a restaurant critic, asks famous people to admit to what they eat "behind closed doors."  She gets nosy. We all know that what you fix for yourself when nobody is watching reveals more about you than what you order "in public."  This will make you feel okay with your own weird shit.

S1 E1: Russell T Davies, screenwriter - podcast
Grace Dent and Russell T Davies discuss love at first sight, recent loss, and how Woolworth’s pork and egg pie is a metaphor for life itself

Read. Kelly James in Next Tribe on Why She's Not Remarrying. In the "been there, done that" ledger, I loved this well-written piece by Kelly James in NextTribe on why marrying the man she loves is not for her.

I Love Him But Not Enough to Get Married Again
Kelly James has been there, done that. Now after divorce, she’s happy to have a good man in her life, but not enough for remarriage.

Read. GLAAD's Media Reference Guide &  Glossary of Terms. GLAAD is a nonprofit that works in and with media to shape the narrative to promote LGBTQ acceptance. Their media reference guide includes a glossary of terms, among other things, that has helped me find the right words in conversations with loved ones.

Listen. An unreleased Prince song just came out. Born 2 Die has a lush and jazzy instrumental background – and a back story. Read about it in Pitchfork here.

Read. Background for reading Bob Guccione, Jr's Reflections on Hefner. I found this background, published in Time in 1969, on the difference between Playboy and Penthouse equal parts humorous, informative, quaint and relevant, especially this quote from the founder of Penthouse, Bob Guccione: "Playboy treats women like a child treats a doll. The basic difference between Hefner and me is that I genuinely like women." As a result, the piece continues, nudes in Penthouse are more lifelike. "They have moles and appendicitis scars, and sometimes their breasts even sag a little." Well nobody ends up with appendicitis scars anymore, what with the miracle of microscopic surgery, but the point was greatly appreciated.

In his essay, Bob Guccione, Jr mentions Gloria Steinem's brilliant expose on working as a playboy bunny. Here she discusses it decades later.

To read Steinem's original essay A Bunny's Tale (published in two parts), you can get Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  In A Bunny Tale Steinem takes on the conditions for women working on Playboy, but not the need for a sexual revolution itself. Of course she argued that women should define the contours of the sexual revolution, broadly speaking, and certainly for themselves. It feels like a powerful harbinger of #metoo and every conversation we've been part of on consent.

Nicolaus Mills argued in 2013 in The Guardian that A Bunny Tale remained relevant 50 years later.

Gloria Steinem’s ‘a bunny’s tale’ – 50 years later
Nicolaus Mills: Steinem’s groundbreaking article exposing the 1960s world of Playboy Bunny clubs is as fresh and relevant as ever

Read. Christian Pan reviews the classic erotic novel Vox on Christian Pan Erotica. Christian Pan Erotica "produces original and bespoke erotic fiction for people who enjoy having sex on the brain, who get aroused by language, and who seek quality fiction to turn them on."  Tucked into their "Dirty Words" tab are also reviews – of Nicholas Baker's classic Vox and Jane Boon's recent Edge Play.

Gateway Porn
Vox By Nicholson Baker 1992 (Random House) I don´t recall reading Nicholson Baker´s novella Vox when it first appeared in the early ´90s. I think it was a few years later, in 1998, during the impeachment of Bill Clinton, that it first appeared on my radar: when Special Prosecutor Ken Starr had subpo…

Be Inspired. Or unnerved. But Emma Thompson has this to say about her panties. I just finished Cruella, and I'm still processing the British actress's underwear revelations. In The Cut here.

Listen. Everything is Fine Podcast: Why Don't You Just F*ck Someone on Tinder?" I have been reading Kim France's blog Girls of A Certain Age for many years. France had a long career in magazines (including as the Founder of Lucky Magazine) and writes about how "to look chic and distinctive and sexy." She and her new cohost Jennifer Romolini also put out a terrific podcast: Everything Is Fine. On their most recent episode they speak with Nancy Jo Sales, author of Nothing Personal: My Secret Life in the Dating App Inferno. It's a sobering look at dating for women over 40, but (like all the Everything Is Fine episodes) it's also the enjoyable experience of sitting in on a conversation with some very smart, sophisticated women who have a great sense of humor and an even greater understanding of whatever cultural moment we are living through.

‎Everything is Fine: “Why Don’t You Just F*ck Someone on Tinder?” on Apple Podcasts
Award-winning journalist Nancy Jo Sales is our guest today. Nancy Jo has a new book, “Nothing Personal,” which investigates and explores the world of online dating and, specifically, her experience navigating life in the “dating app inferno” at the age of 49. Don’t forget: We have a Patreon! Sign…

Watch It. Mel Robbins. The Simple Secret to Having More Friends. Mel Robbins has shared a great series of short, deep takes on the nature, qualities and evolution of friendship, but I love this one (that she posted this week) because it backs it up to the beginning: how to attract more friends in the first instance. It seems to me that this is a legit starting point to understanding the structure of friendships, and that grasping this basic principle is a first order principle in all relationships.  (Most people are in their relationship with you - regardless of whether it is romantic, friendship, familial - in order to have their own needs met. If you are not meeting their needs (and vice versa), they'll leave. Somehow.)

Look It Up. Dame Products Intimacy Glossary. Dame Products, the sex toy company that gave us AER (the suction vibrator we wrote about in The Crush Letter No 1 ("like getting oral from a cloud")) also publishes a damn good Intimacy Glossary on their blog SWELL. A polyamorous friend recently used the term "compersion," for instance, and where'd I look it up? On Swell's Intimacy Glossary. ("The feeling of joy someone vicariously experiences when their romantic partner experiences pleasure with someone else. Basically the antonym of jealousy, compersion is most common among polyamorous and/or open relationships.") Among the other useful definitions, I found this on. (Oh and DAMN. I think I am in a situationship.)

Oh, and "NSA" (according to SWELL): "A 'no-strings-attached relationship' is similar to a "friends with benefits" relationship, but might be even more casual ... Still, there should be an expectation of kindness and respect in even the most emotioanlly hygienic arrangements." Here's SWELL's Guide to Respectful, No-Strings-Attached Sex.

Listen. WSJ's Anne Tergesen on Getting Thru Relationship Conflicts Over How to Invest for Retirement. As we all know, financial matters can be a major stresser in many relationships. I like how this episode of WSJ's Your Money Briefing focuses on the respective risk tolerances of the two people in a partnership, touches on how their respective personal histories might contribute to that and offers ways to manage through those differences. I also like the underlying implication here, which is the importance of both partners being involved in the decision-making around financial matters that are critical to security.

How Couples Can Work Through Retirement-Planning Disagreements - Your Money Briefing - WSJ Podcasts
Market volatility can cause tension within couples who have different approaches to investing their retirement funds. Retirement reporter Anne Tergesen joins host J.R. Whalen to discuss some ways couples can find solutions to disagreements and preserve their savings.

Listen. This Life Explains It All Podcast on Happiness & Mindset. Stefania Romeo and Katherine Griffiths are the enchanting and informative hosts of the podcast series This Life Explains It All, as well as the Founders of VirraLife, a modern wellness community . They just re-released their Science of Happiness podcast episode featuring Dr. Catherine A. Sanderson, Chair of the Psychology Department at Amherst College and author The Postive Shift: Mastering Mindset to Improve Happiness, Health and Longetivity. In this conversation Dr. Sanderson shares relatable, actionable insight and tips on how to be happier. She answers questions like: How much of your happiness is in your control? How much of it is predetermined? And how do shift your mindset when you are not predisposed towards looking at the bright side? How do you reframe anxiety? The power of placebo and mindset on health. There's been a lot out there about how to be happier, but this episode makes it stick. Listen to the Science of Happiness episode here.

Also Be First To Hear About The Next Know Thyself Series. VirraLife runs a self-care workshop series where a practitioner focused on a different wellness modality – using your subconscious mind, energy healing, the somatic nervous system, traditional Chinese medicine, etc. – shares tools in an intimate group setting that allows for questions and exercises. It offers a unique and personal introduction to a range of wellness approaches. You need to be a subscriber to their newsletter in order to be first to get the sign-up information for this highly sought-after series. Subscribe here.

‎This Life Explains It All on Apple Podcasts
This Life Explains It All is hosted by Stefania Romeo and Katherine Griffiths, founders of Virra, the support system for the modern woman. On this podcast, we’re sharing discoveries and resources in the world of holistic health and wellness and inspirational journeys. We are talking about everything…

Go! Or Dream About. The Wonderlust 100 is Wonderlust's Annual List of the 100 Most Exciting Places and Experiences on the Planet. A list as inventive and exciting to ponder as it would be to work your way through, Wonderlust has got everything covered from Miss Wong's Cocktail Bar in Cambodia to Skrova Fishing Center in Norway.

THE WONDERLUST 100: 80-75 | WONDERLUST
The Wonderlust 100: The Ultimate Travel Guide. Our Annual List of the 100 Most Exciting Places and Experiences on the Planet

Listen. Mike Troiano Makes A Racket About Nigella Lawson's Guilty Pleasures. CRUSH Reader @miketrap, who gave us his recipe for Bad Girl Pasta, posted a powerful piece on the new audio social app called Racket. An ardent admirer of domestic goddess Nigella Lawson (I am too.), Mike has been partaking in her latest book Cook, Eat, Repeat. (I am too.) In his brief Racket rant, he takes issue with a question she gets often about her guilty pleasures. And he also reads my favorite lines from her book: "No one should feel guilty about what they eat. Or the pleasure they get from eating it. The only thing to feel guilty about, and even then I don't recommend it, is the failure to be grateful for that privilege. I am very aware that the joy I celebrate in food is a privilege." Worth the 2 mins.

Stop asking Nigella about her “guilty pleasures” | Racket
Stop asking Nigella about her “guilty pleasures” by @miketrap

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter from Dish Stanley curating articles & intelligence on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us. Want the Dish?



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