Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Looking good on the Red and Green Carpet

A week or so ago I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite designers and pro-social champ, Kenneth Cole. Since it launched I've kept a link to his fantastic blog, Awearness, on the resources page of my site, and now his compilation book of celeb effort in the social responsibility space is out and I got to go to the shindig.

I have to say, it was pretty cool to be at the book party, rubbing shoulders with Diane von Furstenberg and Rosario Dawson, but I was a spontaneous gu
est of my friend Jack, from that other great site,, so I was not exactly dressed red-carpet ready. But I threw my shoulders back and put my best foot forward only to have the first person I met be Peter G, president of Bruno Magli shoes. Luckily, he actually complimented my Steve Madden boots.

Then I met the lovely and very nice Starley Murray who slipped me one of her mini mint lip glosses, which is actually part of her "red carpet" line. More
important, I learned that most of the celebs and people there are all doing their parts, to greater or lesser degrees, to give back, including Starley, who helps women put their best FACES forward with image classes and donates part of her proceeds to domestic violence prevention. Their mantra is:
"We believe that Image is more than what you wear; Image is how you represent yourself in life."
(PS: There are lots of companies who do good and lots of good companies that are organic. Let me know if you want a download on how sustainability is a subset of corporate social responsibility. For example, if you want a good organic/sustainably cosmetic line also check out Josie Moran Cosmetics.)

At least I WAS wearing my favorite Kenneth Cole watch, which I ungracefu
lly basically shoved in the poor man's face and said, "I LOVE this. And I know I'm not your mother, but I'm PROUD of you!" He kind of sheepishly smiled, trapped in the corner next to effusive me. He does so much, though, I couldn't help but "kvell."

But I embarrassed myself even more when I complimented Stanley Tucci for his terrific talent, when I heard myself also then compliment the good job he did on his body. But come on...didn't you see him in "Frankie and Johnny..." on Broadway?

We all do what we can.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Where does the time go? What has come and gone since my last post six months ago?
Well, sadly, one of the best things on this planet has gone. My soulmate-close friend: the brilliant, beautiful Melissa Martin, who was killed in a motorcycle accident on vacation in Hawaii.

She was an adventurer, passionate about marine biology and horror movies, and funny as hell. Melissa taught herself how to emerge from troubled times that might have cowed a lesser person and instead take a giant bite out of life. She will always be my inspiration, venturing forth from practically demure when we met as singing waitresses in San Francisco, to leveraging her talent to become a successful commercial actor, to leveraging that experience to build one of the best (and first all-digital) commercial casting agencies in Los Angeles. And in between doing things like learning to jet ski, salvaging and refinishing furniture, and having a kid at 40.

The spirit of exploration and the drama or destruction that can go with it, or in its wake seems to be a theme now. I've never quite been able to express why I've been fascinated with historical photos or landscape paintings. But an article in yesterday's NY Times helped me figure it out better. I have always loved the peephole into the past; the ability to see what was there before. From the photo I have of my NYC street corner as it was in 1928, to the way the Hudson looked when Church painted it in the 1800s, or the imagined or recalled look of the plains when only Native Americans enjoyed the land. Now I understand a little bit better. And it has to do with loss.

Writer Miles Unger does a great job of helping me understand this all because of his review of an art exhibit of art from the 1800s to about 1930s, that just opened at the Peabody Essex, in Salem, MA, called "To the Ends of the Earth: Painting the Polar Landscape." He says, "most artists were also acutely aware of their potential for spoiling the wilderness whose beauty they captured on canvas.

And I just love this summary:
“To the Ends of the Earth” traces a mournful journey, from the earliest encounters with a strange and wondrous new world to more contemporary views where once-terrifying vistas have been reduced to fragile ecosystems just barely hanging on after centuries of human assault. There are still artists who draw sustenance from these austere landscapes, like the photographer John Paul Caponigro, whose images capture the eerie, otherworldly quality of those distant shores. But with each new revelation about human mismanagement, it gets harder to find a spot on earth, no matter how distant or inhospitable, that doesn’t come with muddy footprints on it."

It's the good news, bad news of adventuring. We want to know and see and experience. But it isn't without its risk and destruction.