The Crush Letter No 74: DEVOUR

The Crush Letter No 74: DEVOUR

. 15 min read

I'm Dish and I write a weekly newsletter about life, friendship, love and sex in midlife.  Because it's so much cooler than they said it would be.  Hell yes, sign me up for the Dish.

Hello Crush,

You're the one that I want.

Olivia Newton John died last week. I liked Grease, but honestly, I was surprised and a bit dumbfounded by how powerful the outpouring over her death was.  Vulture television critic, Jen Chaney, speaking on the culture podcast  into it made sense of it [starting at 29:05]:

"I think it has a lot to do with both her arc within the movie Grease, which paralleled her arc as a musical artist, where she started out as the "girl next door." As she moved on with her career she started to lean more into more adult, more sexy material. In the movie Grease she makes the transformation ostensibly to win over Danny Zuko, which is not the best message. But as an artist I think she made that decision of her own accord and that is how she wanted to express herself. On a subconscious level that really resonated with a lot of girls ... that you could be the kind of girl who wears all black leather but still be sweet and nice ... that you could contain multitudes."

For women of a certain age, Chaney believes it was Olivia who first gave us permission to own and live all the parts of our selves. I have had my own ongoing intense struggles with this, most acute in my early 30's as my career was advancing, as I wrote about in one of my earliest essays for The Crush Letter You're Wearing A Turtleneck, Again? On Learning to Love Being Sexy & Smart in Midlife. I wish my evolution had happened sooner and with less searching and hesitation, but I thank Olivia for her contribution to it.

Here's Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, as Sandy and Danny, in the You're the One That I Want video from Grease.

Oh, and about the podcast into it. It hasn't yet appeared on our DEVOUR list but that's only because Lisa Ellex (who co-writes it with me) and I make a concerted effort to fully imbibe whatever we recommend. into it is a new "uncensored, uninhibited and unbothered" pop culture guide from Vulture and New York Magazine hosted by Sam Sanders, a long-time radio and podcast host, most recently for NPR. I've listened to all three episodes so far, and its sound effects were a bit too chaotic and buzzy for me, but I was all ears into the discussion of the indie movie studio powerhouse A24 in episode two and I expect the show to have great access and go deep. Will keep you posted CRUSH, of course.

Have fun.


If you're new here (welcome!), I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.


In This Letter.  +DEVOUR.  What to do, read, watch, listen to & know about.   +Ways We Say I Love You Without Saying “I love you.” By Dish Stanley “I got us your favorite pizza tonight.”   +Amplify: Sex with Emily Podcast: {No.9} Ask Emily: I Can’t Orgasm Without… How to approach difficult conversations with your partner relating to your sexual needs.  +Social Media I Loved This Week. By Dish Stanley Committed to asking myself this before saying "yes" to anything. +Our Song of the Week  Get it from the main vine


DEVOUR {things to do, see & have}

Watch. Keeping hope alive. A Love Song (select theaters). Writer-director Max Walker-Silverman makes his feature film debut with this poignant tale of loss, loneliness and re-learning late-life love. Simply stunning work by Dale Dickey and Wes Studi who portray childhood sweethearts reuniting at a Colorado campsite after decades of enduring life’s hardships. These understated, no-frills performances have so much brewing down below, making this a truly beautiful piece of cinema.

A Love Song | IMDb
Trailer 1

Chuckle. Hotter than five-alarm chili. If you read last month’s DEVOUR (and we know you did!) then you’re hip to the new HULU series, The Bear, starring Jeremy Allen White. Here’s The New Yorker cartoonist Emily Flake’s take on what’s cookin’...

{Reshare on The Bear – in case you missed it:}

Watch. It's a Hot "Yes, Chef" Summer. The Bear (FX/hulu) follows a James Beard-winning chef who leaves the haute restaurant scene of New York City to return to working class Chicago to run his late brother's sandwich shop. In the opening scene we see the lead character 'Carmy,' played brilliantly by Jeremy Allen White, releasing a large, menacing bear out of its cage even though the bear appears to be ferocious and dead-aimed at Carmy. Why? Why would someone do something so clearly self-destructive? What demon is Carmy battling? It's a question we spend some time intensely considering, to our benefit. The Bear is many things: a story of guilt and grief, a psychological drama, a family saga, a homecoming story, a heartbreaking dark comedy, a foodie show for those of us still grieving Bourdain, a contest of cultures (between toxic bro and evolved masculine), a love letter to working class Chicago. It moves at a gripping, sometimes exhausting, compulsive pace with lots of yelling and insults, which is a backdrop that serves many of its themes as well as one of its most insistent story lines – the restaurant is in debt and every single day is a fight to keep the lights on. The propulsive cadence could feel like it's too much, but it isn't because The Bear is also emotionally nuanced, touching and the writing is sophisticated.

And if all that isn't enough, appreciate it for its soundtrack. One of the best things I've read about The Bear is this Uproxx piece Inside the Delightful Dad Rock Soundtrack of 'The Bear' by Steve Hyden. He writes about the power of the "resolutely unhip" soundtrack, which includes Genesis, Pearl Jam, John Cougar Mellenkamp, Counting Crows, Radiohead. "If you watch enough prestige TV ... you no doubt understand what these shows are supposed to sound like. They almost always cater to the sensibilities of of the elite upper-class viewers." The show's "normy" music track is not just refreshing, its subversive. The fact that we recognize - more than recognize, have powerful emotional relationships – with the music adds to the show's impact. Hyden interviews two of the show's lead producers as they share why each song was selected. If you love the show, you'll really appreciate this fresh take on its music.  

Read. This review in Hyperallergic of a film about a book club in Buenos Aires that has discussed the same book for 20 years. Not long ago I sat next to an interesting gentleman at the bar at Pammy's, a pint-size restaurant offering a delicious food experience in Cambridge, MA. He has been a tenured professor in the Economics Department at Boston University for over two decades, about as long, he told me, as he has been a member of a book group comprised of the same six people dedicated to discussing Dante's Inferno (which is only (mind you) part one of Dante's Divine Comedy. Why they stopped at part one, he didn't say.) If you, like me, find subcultures fascinating – or you just wonder who would do that for so long and with the same people – then the film Le Temps Perdu is for you. Truth be told: I haven't seen the film (its initial release is very (very) limited, not surprisingly). But I'll be hitting it just as soon as it hits a streaming channel. In the meantime, this article in Hyperallergic begins to provide answers. I am tempted to even try to track down my Pammy's bar-mate to forward to him ...

The Book Club That’s Been Discussing the Same Proust Novel for 20 Years
At first, simply watching people read In Search of Lost Time might seem dull; by the end, you’ll be itching to read or reread it yourself.

Read. Stripped Down: How Burlesque Led Me Home. After a successful career as her performance persona, Rev. Legs Malone, Anna Brooke has stepped off the stage to explain it all for you in her book. With a Masters's Degree in Contemporary Art, she began her journey into the fine art of burlesque in 2006 in the U.K., toured the U.S. and Western Europe, and became widely known on the downtown New York City burlesque scene where she worked until 2016. With a focus on body and sex-positivity and personal expression, Brooke has spent the last decade teaching this “healing art” nationally and internationally. Her book, like her classes, “shares the raw truth of who we are at our core.” See for yourself here.

Watch. A different kind of Extended Encounter. Tales from the Tube - Episode 3:Mind The Gap. After the 2007 passing of her husband, actor Oswald Laurence, Dr. Margaret McCollum made a daily outing down into London’s Embankment tube station to hear the public announcement Oswald had recorded a half-century prior, warning riders to “mind the gap.” After a half-century, Transport For London began to replace the tapes with new digital announcements until, one by one, Laurence’s announcements were phased out. The devastated widow approached TFL and requested a recording of Laurence’s announcement. She was presented with a CD of the announcement and the good news that TFL had decided to return the recording to the northern line platform. Ask and you shall receive!

Watch. Cliteracy 101 - Everything you wanted to know about the clitoris but were afraid to ask. As she illustrates her interactive installation on the clitoris, artist SophiaWallace asks “How is it possible that we landed on the moon and walked around 29 years before we discovered the anatomy of the clitoris?” Find the answer to this and other clit-gitimate questions in this TEDx talk from 2015. Like the parable says, “Don’t hide your light under a bushel.” Watch here

Watch. Bethenny Frankel takes down  Kim Kardashian’s new skincare line. This is how it is done, CRUSH. A master class in how you share a candid review of a popular new product that doesn’t fully work. “It’s bulbous … it’s impractical … I don’t live in a round house,” is just one of the funny lines about the make-up's packaging in this totally useful tik tok video. When Frankel finally gets past the inventive but ridiculous packaging to the substance of the skincare products — eye cream and exfoliator — she has a few nice things to say, but not enough (to my mind) to justify the products’ high prices.  Her review is fair, and it’s a ride (worth taking).
Watch it here.

Share. Next time you’re shopping for socks, underwear, and t-shirts, consider Bombas. Did you know that homeless shelters are in need of those items (in that order!)? For every article you purchase from Bombas, they’ll donate the same to a shelter – no matter how many you buy. To date, they’ve donated over 50 million items. Nice to know that you can buy the things you need while helping to keep someone’s tootsies warm! PS: they have the most fabulously groovy tye-dyed ski sox, and I put a pair in everyone's holiday gift last year. What a hit!

Listen. Health News from NPR. You Know, Sex Raised by a children’s librarian and a sex therapist, sex educator Cory Silverberg’s new book, You Know, Sex (co-authored will illustrator Fiona Smyth), was written for young people approaching puberty, and their parents and caregivers. Recognizing that young people are barraged by sex in the media, advertising, the internet, and in pop culture, Silverberg has focussed on giving young people the opportunity to think through their feelings about sex, not just the mechanics of it, and important topics like gender identity, disability, consent, power dynamics, asexuality, and sexual trauma. Listen here.

Listen. I’ve Got a Crush On You, Sweetie Pie. Countless songs have been written on the subject for a reason. Certified dating coach and host of The Dates & Mates Podcast, Damona Hoffman, believes that crushes are hardwired into our biology. “We are designed to want to connect, to mate and relate…” In this edition of NPR’s Life Kit, Hoffman offers advice on the most common crush scenarios: Listen here

Read. Finally, a thought-provoking positive perspective on the SATC Reboot And Just Like That. "The reboot brings more diverse characters ... but [they] function largely as bolsters for the main characters without much depth or their own," writes Kayla Maiuri in this recent essay for Electric Literature. That's true of Che, she goes on to say, who is a caricature of the non-binary, bisexual who is self-obsessed and sex-obsessed. What does feel accurate, according to Maiuri, is Miranda's "late-blooming queer mania". Miranda's story matters because it is so rarely depicted. "Watching Miranda navigate her identity--and messily--is validating and valuable for those of us coming out later in life." Read the whole thoughtful essay below.

Everyone Has Moved On and I’m Still Thinking About Miranda’s Coming Out Scene - Electric Literature
“And Just Like That” presents an honest portrayal of coming out later in life

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.9} Ask Emily: I Can’t Orgasm Without…

Episode Date July 16, 2021 (41 minutes)

This episode of Sex With Emily tackles the tough questions: what if you’re not quite sure that you’re straight—and you’re already married? How can you casually mention that you are interested in a threesome? Should you tell your partner how many people you’ve slept with, and is it any of their business in the first place? How can you mention that you might have a golden showers fetish, and where did that fetish come from? Dr. Emily offers some expert tips for smoothing over difficult conversations.

The Tough Stuff
From crying after sex to a partner who doesn’t enjoy oral to someone disgusted by their own taste in porn, Emily talks about why it’s important to be straightforward with our partners about what we like, what we don’t, and what we envision for the future of our sex lives.

Best lines:
8:30 “Tears are healing. Have a good cry this week. It’s good for you.”

Continue reading here.

Social Media I Loved This Week.  By Dish Stanley

This is most days:

Committed to asking myself this before saying "yes" to anything again.

See above. Also, the real reason I don't do calendly.

In other words, a comprehensive list of why I'm still single.

Song of the Week

Come and Get Your Love By Redbone

I was hanging with friends this week when this song came on my friend's playlist.  I instantly recognized it and started singing and swaying to its infectious sound and inviting lyrics. The single Come and Get Your Love reached the Top 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 Chart in 1974, and went certified gold.

Redbone was originally formed in Southern California by two brothers, Pat and Lolly Vegas. The band's name is from a Cajun term for multiracial individuals, as all of its original members were of Mexican American or Native American heritage, which they proudly reflected in their songs, dress and album art. Their sound was a unique blend of deep funk, Tex-Mex R&B, soul and Native American tribal beats.

Come and Get Your Love enjoyed a resurgence in 2014 when it played in a key opening scene in the mega-budget sci-fi film Guardians of the Galaxy. Like Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill, the contemporary placement of an iconic song won it new appreciation and a new audience. Come never had an "official music video" and it wasn't until two years ago that Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, released a newly made music video, getting an Emmy-nominated director, Juan Bedolla, and a Native artist, Brent Learned, to create it.

Why do a music video for a 1970's hit now? This is what Pat Vegas, one of the founders said:

"The time has come! ... The song has a deeper meaning of a spiritual, religious and universal love. When we say in the song 'Come and get your love, get it from the main vine,' that connects to Mother Earth. We are all longing for love."

In the video created by Bedolla and Learned, a mythic traveler moves through space and time from a reservation (presumably his home) to – ultimately – outer space. There is the suggestion of seeking love in all the wrong places, only to realize love was always there in front of us.

The official trailer is absolutely terrific; I love it. The band, its origin story and the song's theme of universal love and Mother Earth all feel so relevant to me. The art and imagery are creative and beautiful. Watch & listen here.

Read more about Redbone and the video in the Navajo and Hopi Observer at NHONews.com (where much of the above information came from).

Find it, find it, go on and love it if you like it. Come and get your love, Crush.

Dish Stanley XO,
Dish

You Won't Want to Miss A Thing. Here Are Links to Some Favorites.

+‘5 Things’ That Turn Our Crush Readers On. By Dish Stanley Hello, Crush! What turns you on? I’m thrilled to introduce you to this new recurring column where we share five things that light our fire. I’m kicking it off with my list above – and I’d love to hear from you! (Yes, you!) If you’d like us to send you a template to fill out, it’s really easy and fun, please email me at dish@primecrush.com. (PS you can publish under your alias.)

+Extended Encounters. By Lisa Ellex Her one-night stand lasted a three-decades-long story – but we want to hear
YOURS. In her column, Extended Encounters, Lisa Ellex talks to couples who have been together for upwards of thirty years. If you and your partner are among the fortunate few whose relationship has been witness to seven presidential elections, 19 wars, a global pandemic, and Keith Richards falling out of a coconut tree then Lisa would love to hear from you lisaellex@gmail.com

+Love/Sex/Moon Magick: A Series from PrimeCrush’s Resident Wiccan A regular column from our resident Wiccan Lynn Eaton

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










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