The Crush Letter No 110: DEVOUR

. 13 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life, love, and culture for those 40+.  Because midlife and beyond is so much cooler than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

This week's CRUSH Letter brings our monthly DEVOUR column, which Lisa Ellex and I take great pleasure in pulling together for you. Enjoy!


In This Letter.    +DEVOUR.  What to do, read, watch, listen to & know about this week.    +AMPLIFY! Sex With Emily Podcast: {No. 11 } Making Scheduled Sex Hot   +Social Media I Loved This Week. By Dish Stanley     +Our Song of the Week What if I can’t wait any longer


DEVOUR {things to watch, read & listen to}

In our monthly DEVOUR column we share all the things we think you should eat up.

Listen.  Everybody Loves Elaine. Wiser Than Me is a new podcast brilliantly hosted by Julia Louis-Dreyfus in which she speaks to “older and wiser” women who very candidly share their life experience. Louis-Dreyfus’ questions are direct and insightful, and she even shares her own experiences and anecdotes.  In the season opener, Jane Fonda reflects on her 85-years, telling us what worked for her and what she’d do differently.  There were a couple moments toward the end that I found particularly gut-wrenching, as Fonda gets into how she can't maintain her equilibrium when she is in a relationship, and then how she feels about her body in relation to being intimate. Other guests include 80-year-old writer Isabel Allende (she likes a bit of weed before sex), Carol Burnett, Amy Tan, Diane von Furstenberg, Fran Lebowitz, Rhea Perlman, and more. Premiered April 11 on most platforms.

Listen To "Wiser Than Me" Here

Listen. The Song is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On). At The Pershing: But Not For Me by Ahmad Jamal is considered one of the most popular and influential recordings in jazz history. Sadly, the world became a bit less hip on April 16 with the loss of this great 92-year-old pianist and NEA Jazz Master.  Whether or not you’re familiar with his music, it’s time for you to listen to his live recording, At The Pershing: But Not For Me. Recorded on the night of January 16,1958 during his trio’s residency at Chicago’s Pershing Hotel, it remained on the Billboard Top 200 album chart for 108 weeks. With Israel Crosby on bass and Vernell Fournier on drums.

Watch. A stylish and original new suspense series about wine tasting. Drops of God (Apple TV+) is the story of a dysfunctional family whose family business is wine. It begins with a short, chilling scene of a young blindfolded girl being sternly quizzed (by her father, we guess) to identify the source of various edibles he places in her mouth. It is an almost terrifying moment when it appears the young girl, Camille, is not able to recognize one. Flash forward, that young girl is now a twenty-something in Paris who gets a call from her estranged, dying father. What ensues, episode by episode, is a competition that her father has set up between her and his protege (in Tokyo), who is considered the world's finest oenologist. Both were trained in wine tasting by her father - she the estranged daughter, he the "spiritual son." They are competing to inherit Camille's father's collection of wine, valued at $148M. The drama unfolds between France and Japan, and as the tension builds around the competition, family secrets are revealed. Only three episodes have been released so far, and the drama builds slowly. Absorbing, idiosyncratic, tense, exciting.

Watch. The new political thriller that is a mash-up with the I Love Lucy Show. The Diplomat (Netflix) is a twisty comedy about a marriage between the newly appointed Ambassador to England (played by Keri Russell) and her ambitious, charming, arrogant and charismatic husband (played convincingly by Rufus Sewell). Their marriage, we quickly learn, would be over but for their professional ambitions, and the union is tinged with equal parts slapstick humor, sexual playfulness and extramarital flirtations. I'll admit that it took me a while to get with the rhythm of the show as it ricocheted from humor to conspiracy. As a political thriller the intrigue built slowly — more in the style of West Wing and less in the style of the intense (more believable) political thrillers that I tend to prefer (and included on my list of Get Your Spy Thrill On) — but by the last episode, which ends with a tantalizing cliffhanger, I was hooked. There is some terrific acting by the hunky and well-dressed David Gyasi as the British foreign minister and Rory Kinnear as the British Prime Minister.

VIVA's October 1974 Cover

Listen. A podcast about a 70’s feminist porn magazine that failed. Stiffed is the story of VIVA, an erotic periodical for “intelligent women” launched, owned and (mostly) run by a man, Bob Guccione, founder of Penthouse. Over the course of its short life, its editorial vision bounced from that of Guccione’s, to his wife’s, Kathy Keeton. (Her personal story is in and of itself a circus act – we are told Keeton left South Africa for London alone at the age of 13, began supporting herself as an exotic dancer shortly after that, rose to become the highest paid stripper in Europe and it was while reading the Financial Times on a break in between performances that she meets Guccione, who convinces her to join him in the publishing industry). Eventually Patricia Bosworth becames its Executive Editor, a heavy hitter who had come over from Harper's Bazaar, and it included writing by feminist intellectuals Betty Friedan, Anais Nin, Nikki Giovanni and Simone de Beauvoir.

There is all sorts of tumult at VIVA all the time, including tension between the feminist intellectuals writing for VIVA and the more “working class” and flamboyant Guccione and Keeton. The magazine's feminist staff works in the same space as Penthouse, which is decorated with vulva-shaped ashtrays and nipple-shaped buzzers. The magazine, and Guccione, are at the focal point for clashes between feminists who embraced a mantra of sexual enjoyment and those who were anti-porn.

Author Jennifer Romolini, the show's host, makes great use of the ample material, which is deeply researched and includes interviews and clips from many key players. It is more than a deep dive into the sub-culture of a feminist porn magazine, although it is that and that's fascinating. It is also a reflection of the conflicts we still see in our culture around women, sex and porn.

‎Stiffed: Introducing: Stiffed on Apple Podcasts
‎Show Stiffed, Ep Introducing: Stiffed - Mar 23, 2023

Watch. Martin Scorsese’s documentary about David Johansen Personality Crisis: One Night Only (Showtime). It’s been said that one has the same odds of making it in show business as getting struck by lightning.  If there’s any truth to that, then David Johansen’s been struck twice.  From Johansen’s glory days on the punk scene as frontman for the New York Dolls, to his invention of his alter ego, Buster Pointdexter, director Martin Scorsese chronicles the performer’s success and struggles in his latest documentary, Personality Crisis: One Night Only. Hot, hot, hot!

Watch. A docuseries on Tupac Shakur. Dear Mama (FX). When gunned down in 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur had released 4 albums over his 7 years in the music industry. With his message of human rights widely accepted across rap and mainstream audiences, he is still considered one of the most influential rappers of all time with total record sales in excess of 75 million.  In this 5-part Hulu docuseries, Dear Mama, director Allen Hughes examines the relationship between Shakur and his mother, Black Panther activist, Afeni Shakur whose life – wrought with activism, incarceration, drug addiction, and teenage pregnancy – shaped her son’s own journey.

Listen/Read. Because breaking up is hard to do. NPR: 5 Things To Remember When A Friendship Ends. Unfortunately, we can all recall the pain of having romantic relationships come to an end. But friendships are an important, altogether different animal and mourning friendships that come to an end is a hurt of a different kind. Sometimes, the hurt never ends. In The Crush Letter we’ve written a lot about friendship in midlife — The Midlife Friend Audit: You Need Good Friends. But Who Is Good?;  “Don’t Touch My Hat.” Midlife Men & Friendship, Depression & Loneliness; The Dynamics of Friendship: Can Singlehood Withstand the Trials of Friends with Kids?; and a series on friendship called The Friendship Files, so we jumped on this podcast episode. Here, NPR speaks with Marisa Franco, author of Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make — And Keep — Friends.

5 things to remember when a friendship ends : Life Kit
Not all friends are meant to last forever. Here are 5 things to remember if you’re processing the loss of a friendship — or trying to save one that matters to you.

Listen. Never Say Never. Everything But The Girl retired in 2000 with lead singer Tracey Thorn announcing she’d never again perform live. She married musical partner Ben Watt in 2009 and they raised a family, but as a band they remained musically mum. The couple produced a plethora of solo projects, and now, 24 years after their last album, they’ve released their 11th studio album, Fuse. In a recent Culture / Comments we had shared that one of the singles from the album had dropped, but the full album is now here. A bit heavier in their usual style of electronic/dubstep/dance vibes (though Thorn insists the band shies away from categorization) but with the added attraction of some deep storytelling.  Thorn’s voice is better than ever, thick and rich as raw honey. One particularly moving track is “Lost,” that sets us up, draws us in, then leaves the rest to our imagination. Finally, Thorn’s performance pangs come to the forefront on the album’s closing track “Karaoke.”  Could she be getting her act together and taking it on the road? Time will tell.

Listen. If you love a parade, then you’ll love The Evening Tea. If you grew up reading Parade, that nationwide Sunday Newspaper magazine distributed in more than 700 newspapers in the United States, you've no doubt read the column of journalist Dotson Rader. Between 1982 and 2018, Rader spoke with hundreds of notables for the column and banked thousands of hours of recorded interviews. Today, he and writer Tym Matusov are in the process of unearthing the archived tapes to produce the podcast, The Evening Tea– fabulously raw interviews that make us feel as if we’re naughtily eavesdropping. The interviews – most uncut and uncensored – are riveting. To date, the tapes have produced 16 podcast episodes that include an early interview with Beyonce, Norman Mailer on the craft of writing, Hillary Clinton at the White House, Samuel L. Jackson on marching in Memphis when MLK was killed, Betty Ford on recovery, and Freddie Prinze, Jr. Believe me, each episode is a gem!  Available on Youtube.

Here’s episode 8 with Hillary Clinton:

AMPLIFY! The 12 Sex With Emily Podcast Episodes CRUSH Readers Should Get On Top Of.  By Dish Stanley

This series highlights the best episodes from our favorite podcasts. One of them is Sex With Emily hosted by Sex Expert Dr. Emily Morse.  Every one is worth a serious listen, but I have picked out the 12 invaluable episodes that CRUSH Readers who want to be good in bed really.can't.miss.

Amplify: Sex with Emily Podcast: {No. 11  of 12} Making Scheduled Sex Hot

Episode Date: March 8, 2016 (48 Minutes)

Dr. Emily wasn’t always a proponent of scheduled sex. No, at first, she thought it was boring, soul-sucking, and passionless—many of the knee-jerk reactions many of us have when thinking about adding another item to our to-do list. But now, she’s a convert.

In this episode, Emily talks about how a sex schedule can save your relationship. And she also takes questions from listeners about communication issues and how popular anal sex has recently become (and what to do if you’re not interested).

Penciling In Pleasure

Planning out intimacy doesn’t mean it becomes a chore. We typically associate romance with spontaneity, and calendar sex is certainly not spontaneous. Yet, sometimes it’s necessary. Putting sex on the calendar simply means that couples who are busy will prioritize it.

Everyone can find time for sex—and putting it on the calendar keeps you both accountable. And Emily has specific, easy-to-implement tips for making the scheduled sex feel less like an entry in your planner and more like something you’ll both be looking forward to all day long.

Best lines:

10:36 “Make a rational schedule. You want to sit down with your partner, [during a] calm moment, outside the bedroom…and discuss how much sex you’d both like to be having because it has to be agreeable.”

12:02 “Sex begets sex. The more sex you have, the more sex you’re going to want.”

15:15 “Remember this is for you just as much as your partner. Sex is the glue in a relationship…so if your sex life has been dwindling or you’re challenged, schedule it. Even if you’re sleepy…that orgasm is going to feel so much better and put you to sleep.”

40:15 “Anal is acceptable. When I went to school…anal sex wasn’t even on the menu. It wasn’t even on the radar. Like, I would have been shocked if someone was like, ‘let’s have anal.’ About ten years ago is when it really started to become the hot thing.”

Listen to this episode if: You want reassurance that scheduled sex can be a game-changer rather than a mood-killer.

Listen Here

Read more on our other favorite Sex With Emily Episodes here

Social Media I Loved This Week

@mariotestino

@whatisnewyork

@hilarioushumanitarian

@wordgasmofficial

@teachergoals

Song Of The Week

"What If I" (Cook Brothers Version) by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

What If I was in Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats 2021 album The Future, but they just dropped this version as the first song on an album they will release in June. Rateliff said “We loved this song on The Future, but man is it hard for us to sing live. Not just me, but Pat Meese (drums, percussion, keys) are screaming their harmonies. So, we wanted another version to add to some of the other songs we held back from the full length.”

I’ve seen Rateliff & The Night Sweats live with a friend - it required a trek to what turned out to be the worst concert space I’ve ever seen a show in (Foxwoods) and we had pretty bad seats. Yet they were so good that everything bad about the night fell away.

Can't wait for their new album to drop.

Listen Here

Some Past Stories You Won't Want To Miss:

Spring Detox For Your Mind, Body & Soul. By Lauren D Weinstein
If spring is all about rebirth and renewal, now is as good a time as any for a full detox. Mind, body & soul ... among other things, it’s about forgiveness. Here’s a complete rundown. Spring has always been my favorite month. I marvel as I observe flowers push through the hardened
Culture / Comments. By Dish Stanley
A place to share loose thoughts & stray ramblings on what’s happening. It’s a new thing! Stay tuned as it evolves. Shiv’s Look. It’s a mess. I was with a couple of cool+stylish friends this week at the bar at Michael’s Genuine in Miami (okay, they were cool+
AMPLIFY! The 12 Sex With Emily Podcast Episodes CRUSH Readers Should Get On Top Of. By Dish Stanley
This series highlights the best episodes from our favorite podcasts. One of them is Sex With Emily hosted by Sex Expert Dr. Emily Morse. We’ve listened to her exciting repertoire and have picked out the episodes we think CRUSH Readers shouldn’t miss.
Dear Dish ...
Dear Dish, Re: In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss By Amy Bloom. I find the theme fascinating - to make a judgment about what constitutes a life worth living ... humans are not well equipped to imagine how others find/make meaning outside of their own particular experiences and

Dish Stanley XO,
Dish


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