Tag Archives: The New York Times

Keep Your Pants On! Seriously.

O-kay!  Let’s just have it all out now, shall we?  Some broads — come with a past.

A huge past with multiple mistakes and redemptions.  The type of a past that often makes them fascinating, mysterious, and desirable to the other gender; and inspiring to their own.  She is that broad who is often flocked by male companions; whose lovers remain friends and whose friends wouldn’t mind a toss or two in between her sheet.  Getting a light in roomful of strangers for her long cigarette requires a single gesture:  perhaps, an eyebrow raise, or a parting of her lips.  She knows the power of her hair flip and the ability to regulate traffic — and to save hearts — with the shape and extension of her leg.  Typical to the feminine fashion, she may not know what she wants exactly, in the moment; but once she does — she knows very well how to get it.

Oh, she is fantastic!  Seemingly, she’s tried everything and would often surprise you with unusual skills, like spitting fires or riding tigers.  Or a stick shift.  Or a tractor and a tank.  She makes for a phenomenal traveling companion; because even if her standards of living have been raised high, she can easily let them go for the sake of an adventure.

Her style — has been tested for years.  She lives in her garbs, not just wears them.  They are her second skin.  Clothes are meant to have fun with — or be taken off.  Her scarves turn into blouses; skirts — into dresses; sarongs — into head wraps; and she always wears killer pants.  She is the one with the closet full of men’s dress shirts — small mementoes of her loves — and she can twist your mind with desire when she shows up to your bedroom in nothing but a raincoat.

The maintenance of her needs — hygienic, spiritual and financial alike — has been her own responsibility.  So, she will never burden a man with seeking solutions.  She needn’t be rescued, don’t you worry about her:  She’s got it covered, in spades!  Now, secretly she may wish to be cared for — by a failed parent or a capable partner — but you’d never know it until she’s down with a stomach flu or a broken ankle.  And I bet you, even then she’ll feed you her routine of:

“I’m fine, I’m fine.  Forget about it:  I’m fine!”

But being a power broad comes with tremendous consequences.  Any human existence filled with self-examination and high standards causes a few discomforts on the part of its witnesses; because it is hard to keep up with those in pursuit of personal perfection, isn’t it?  First of all, people with fascinating lives can be painfully annoying to the rest of us, because they reminds us not only of our failures but of our lapses in our own pursuits.

“Who the fuck does she think she is?!” some of us may wonder.  “What is she:  Invincible?”

Probably not, but her failures have not stopped her.  She will be the first to admit to her fuck-ups (and she won’t even cover them up with a diplomatic excuse of “a lesson learned”).  But somehow, she hadn’t lost the view of the big picture; so despite the detours and the surmounted losses, she is still seemingly well on her way.

To others, she may be inspiring (especially if she can downplay her power with “just being SO nice!”)  But even then, she doesn’t seem to aspire to that.  Because her friendships have been tested for years; and she’s learned that her true friends don’t give a flying fuck as to what she does with her life, as long as she is happy.  So, seeking their approval hasn’t been on the list of her needs in a long while.  As for others, if they want a piece of her — she’s down with it.  She will choose the ones to mentor, but as far as “inspiration” goes, she’ll leave that in the hands — and eyes — of her beholders.

O-kay!  Shall we continue having it all out now?

Here, we can all agree that a power broad’s dating life — will be painful.  But then again, it is painful for most of us, right?  Yes.  Hers, however, will be struck with an obvious loneliness, because her dating pool has been diminished by her pursuits, and not many partners can keep up with those.  Had she been a man, of course, her desirability factor would shoot through the roof; because “powerful men attract women, powerful women repel men”.

“Who the fuck do you think you are:  spewing out such generalizations?!” some of you may wonder.

Actually, I’m not the one spewing them out.  Last night, while hanging out on the couch of my Bohemian brother in a cloud of an apple-spiced hookah, I came across this lovely bit here, in the good ole New York Times:

When It Comes to Scandal, Girls Won’t Be Boys.

Inspired by the recent Twitter scandal of a one inventive politician (although not so, when it came to metaphors), the piece was dedicated to badly behaving male public figures.  Although never in the mood for sex scandals, even I haven’t been able to ignore the recent missteps by the few politicians unable to keep their hormones from affecting their ethics (or even, their common sense of judgement).  And yes, the Times bit particularly focused on why women rarely find themselves in such predicaments:

“Female politicians rarely get caught up in sex scandals. Women in elective office have not, for instance, blubbered about Argentine soul mates (see: Sanford, Mark); been captured on federal wiretaps arranging to meet high-priced call girls (Spitzer, Eliot); resigned in disgrace after their parents paid $96,000 to a paramour’s spouse (Ensign, John);  or, as in the case of Mr. Weiner, blasted lewd self-portraits into cyberspace.”

And so, along with the Times pontificator Sheryl Gay Stolberg, I found myself wondering last night about the reasons for such an obvious statistic.  Still, as at the time of every one of these scandals, I wasn’t tempted to wag my finger at the male politicians:  I come from a collectively horny nation — and family; so passing judgements would make me look like a hypocrite.  But that is the very reason that a broad like me would never run for an office, in the first place.

Because you see, I AM that woman with a past; and that past comes with consequences.  I would never want for my fuck-ups (NOT “lessons learned” by the way!) to resurface and tarnish the dignity of my beloveds — or of my political party.  I surely still want to create change in this world, but I just might have to do it via my career as an entertainer, a writer, or a philanthropist — but NOT a politician!

The Times journalist seems to agree:

“Women have different reasons for running,” she writes, “are more reluctant to do so and, because there are so few of them in politics, are acutely aware of the scrutiny they draw — all of which seems to lead to differences in the way they handle their jobs once elected.”

Last night, I decided to leave it to the big dogs to pontificate on the gender-related statistics and differences.  In the mean time, while I continue to aspire to my personal perfections and altruistic objectives (some of which are indeed drawn from my rich past), I must surrender to my own consequences:   my very limited dating life; the loss of acquaintances to their judgement and fear; and the departure of my suddenly repelled male companions while I give ’em all my routine of “I’m fine, I’m fine!  Forget about it:  I’m fine!”  But such is the pickle of life, ain’t it:  A man or a woman is free to make choices, but it is consequences of those choices that make a man — or a woman.

My Life — and Sex — in Art

“What’s it all for?” a comrade of mine and a regular reader of my rant blog was interviewing me last night in the midst of a chaotic nightspot filled with beautiful children at play.  “I mean:  Why are you doing it?

When I started self-publishing my words on the first of this year, I had already been writing on a daily basis — for years.  Years, my magnificent reading eyes!  As a child, I was always the smallest creature in every classroom, quietly and perpetually jotting things down in my journals.  Motha blamed it on my lack of siblings; but I think:  I was just meant to write.

I am story collector, you see.  In the fashion of my motha’s nomadic people, I’ve bounced all over the world, passing by tragedies — sometimes getting caught in them — then retelling those tales, to a human ear or to an empty page.  Why else would I be granted a life that has made me a witness to dozens of world-changing events of the current and the last century?  And if that weren’t enough:  Why would I be given a hand of lacking a home — or a home country — or a family, or any other predictability, or insurance?  (These are valid questions, my comrades, although I am no longer seeking an answer.)

Since my landing in LA-LA six years ago, writing became more of a regimented daily activity; and when this Russian says “daily,” she means, “every bloody day.”

(Well, to be more precise, she actually means:

“Fuck my birthdays, fuck your birthdays!  Fuck national holidays and vacations!  Life’s too short!  Do something about it!”  Which makes V — an intense lil’ cunt on a mission; but y’all already starting to pick-up on that, I suspect.)

But not until my good-hearted and boyish comrade’s interview last night had I actually formulated the objective of my rant blog:

“Well, I want to make a living at art,” I said; but judging by my comrade’s face, I quickly realized I was being all Russian-mysterious and overall too vague for his American ear.  So, I elaborated.  “If this thing takes off as a column or a paid blog, with a steady following — great!  A book deal?  Even better!”

My comrade was beginning to nod.  Phew!  At least, I was on the right track of being understood — an event of rarity in my daily life.

“So, you’re trying to make money?” he said.

The socialist in me got a bit uncomfortable with being simplified this way, so I had to grope for my own balls — just to remember I still had some:

“Well…  Yes!  I want to be a working artist. But I also revel in the act of DOING it.  You know?”

He didn’t know.  My boyish friend still looked as if I was breaking down the gist of quantum physics for him, but I found myself somewhat surprised at the sound of my objective:  To do art — for the sake of doing it. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it?

Now, don’t get me wrong:  I am fully fed-up with taking on endless, completely random and often hectic survival gigs.  I’ve had it with the tedious, mind-numbing office jobs, and restaurant jobs; and Shiva knows:  I’ve had enough of the self-abuse that comes from having to report to gigs where I’ll be lectured or patronized or, what’s worse, perpetually jammed into a box of a more convenient category by employers with bored or fearful mindsets.  So, yes:  I am ready to get paid for my art!

But what makes the grind of survival much more tolerable is that, in the very act of creating MY ART — it feels like the best life I could possibly ask for.

 

Last night’s conversation with my comrade got stuck with me for long enough to bring it home; and despite having had such a day — to call it day, I’ve kept myself awake by watching this tribute to Sidney Lumet:

 

 

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2011/04/09/obituaries/1194838961597/lwlumet.html

 

Allow me to recap the words I wish I had the wisdom to pass on to my boyish comrade (but then, I think he’d already had plenty of my intensity by now):

Reporter Tim Weiner: “How do you want to be remembered?”

Sidney Lumet: “I don’t give a shit!”

TW: “But what about the work?”

SL: “It’ll make its own way.  Nothing I can do about it any more.  [But] I’d like somebody to take notice of that…  That I wasn’t afraid.

And here is my favorite part, my lovelies; the part that I am only now starting to get the balls to admit to myself.  Because, as I have written this late morning to my lover (oh, but I do so like quoting myself!), who’s currently three time zones away from my heart:  Life — is chaos.  We try to slow it down by making sense of it, and sometimes by demanding justice (and that, more often than not, leaves us disappointed.)  The better route to commemorate a life or a person — is, but of course, with love.  We, artists, do it by commemorating completely random happenings of beauty; and it does take courage and fearlessness to commit a lifetime to doing it. And thusly, we live:

SL: “I don’t think art changes anything.  I do it because I like it — and it’s a wonderful way to spend your life.”

Does that answer your question, my young-hearted comrade?  Oh, and look at that:  You’ve just been commemorated.  Yourr velkom.

Take it away, Comrade Kanyeezy!

Hesbians of the World: Unite!

I thought I would wait till Friday to rant on this upcoming bit — kinda give you V’s lil’ Week in Review then — but the venom is rising quicker than I predicted.  This morning, it choked the living breath out of me before my alarm had a chance to wake me with its hideous drill at the regular five o’clock; then crowded my brain as the first waking thought.  And I pinky swear:  I’ve even started blackening my smooth electronic page with the tale of a girlfriend’s woes:  she loves him, he can’t commit, she’s torn, “Where is all this going?”, etc, etc, etc.  But a discussion of these valid and delicate and somewhat vague struggles in a heterosexual couple seems a tiny bit gratuitous when nearly every day of this week, I’ve hung my head with painful despair at the injustice and pure violence placed upon the men and women of homosexual orientation.

The week started with my introduction to an atrocious event I’ve never even heard of before.  It came as link on a Facebook page of a woman mentor I adore so much that every word she utters and every choice she commits I lap-up as my personal, private sermon.  That badass chick has devoted her life to traveling with her three gorgeous adoptive sons in tow, settling in primarily Third World Countries and teaching.  She is currently working with children and women in South Africa, blasting her always poignant, sometimes political and often humorous observations on the newsfeed.

“You go, with you badass self!” I always think when I read her words, wishing I could be just like her when I grow up.

So when the following link came to my attention, I treated it with immediate empathy:  https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_corrective_rape_6/?rc=fb.  To break it down for you, my comrades, it speaks of nearly a year old series of continuous attacks on South African lesbians by men on a mission to cure them of their homosexuality via “Corrective Rape,” and in the case of Eudy Simelane, murder — acts that the country’s government refuses to “prioritize as a specific project.”

“Corrective Rape”?  ‘Scuse me:  I gotta go hurl my guts out!…

…Okay, I’m back.

While dripping venom onto my keyboard, I hurry to acknowledge that you, my magnificent comrades and readers, aspire to comprehend humanity already.  Just by the response of those of you courageous enough to handle my rants on the daily basis, I am willing to conclude that, just like me, you prefer to see this world be dominated by kindness and compassion; you choose to understand it and, what’s most crucial — to learn about it.  So, you don’t really need my venomous heaves on the subject of rape — the most heinous crime the human race could think up.  But to violate a woman due to one’s overwhelming hatred, ignorance and lack of tolerance, and then to treat that act as one of public service — that’s hubris beyond all comprehension.  And since you, my magnificent walking proofs of goodness, are already on the same page — my fuckin’ page! — I call upon your awareness:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/4982520/Lesbians-subjected-to-corrective-rape-in-South-Africa.html.  If mere knowledge is not enough for you, however:  Go do something about it, my glorious badasses:  https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_corrective_rape_6/?rc=fb!

On the hump day of this week, the world regurgitated another piece of info that got V all riled-up:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/us/30immigration.html?_r=1&ref=us.

Considering my liberal mindset and my own history of immigration-related strife, the news of deportation of foreign-born partners in legally married homosexual couples — is a double whammy.  Yep, I hear some o’ ya’, comrades:  Gay couples can finally get married in, like, six states already!  So, shouldn’t that be enough?  As another magnificent mentor I admire says:

“Fuck no!”

(Well, actually, he’s Russian; so, “Fuck nyet!” — he said.)

Now, I’ve already cast my vote in favor of this country when I took on its citizenship; and, by now, Shiva knows, I’ve taken full advantage of the freedoms that it has granted me.  (Read my “ranty-cunty” blog at:  fromrussianwithlove.wordpress.com.  Spasibo!)  But, when it comes to tolerance — it is never enough.

How does that one-of-a-kind, world’s youngest phenomenon’s Declaration go:

“WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal…” (Fuck da!)

“…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

(Mmm-hmm, I just copied that out of my own personal booklet I was given with my American Citizenship Certificate, at the standee of my first brown President!  V — be very, very proud!)

“Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Now, doesn’t the mere founding theory of this country give you a hard-on?!  I got me one!  So, as the world continues to throw-up the tales of human inventiveness in ways to hurt each other, may we continue living-up to the better principles and the basic human rights that started this magnificent experiment in the first place.  May we continue to grow and change; and as in any relationship, in the one we have with the rest of the world — may we affect it in all the right ways.

My Russian Badass

As any immigrant, I suffer from a dual personality.  Actually, I’m a bit of a special head case and the list of my personalities seems as endless as the line to Moscow’s first McD’s back on the verge of Russia’s democratic regime; but if you’re one of those purebred Americans (do those even exist?), you should know that in the head of any emigre reigns a border-line schizophrenia.  I’m kinda like that Nina chick from Chekhov’s Seagull:

“I’m a seagull — I’m an actress.  No, I’m a seagull!  Nyet:  an actress!”

In my head’s case, the endless tug o’ war is on the topic of my identity.  When it comes to the tales of V as a child — she is a Russian little bugger; and those memories and dreams happen in a whole different language.  But as a woman, I’ve built my history here, in the U.S. of A.  My first love, my first sexual partner, the first heartbreak, the first loss of a loved one — all happened here.  So, when it comes to my consciousness as a lover, I doth speak English.  In other words, when things get hot ‘n‘ heavy between me and my boos, my tongue communicates in the language I’ve adopted by choice.

So, the hardest question from an American that I can ever answer (besides:  “Do you guys have TV’s over there?”) is this MoFo:

“Which country do you prefer?”

Fuck me!  That’s the hardest toss-up ever.

There is no pride stronger — or devotion more realized — than the one an immigrant feels toward his or her chosen country; especially if the country they’ve left behind gave them some tough lovin’ back in the day.  Some of my fellow ex-patriots, for instance, react to Motha’ Russia’s name with dry heaves:  So impossible is their forgiveness! But seemingly, I’ve finally reached the very delicate balance of being able to not only fully participate in my American life, but to cash-in on my Russian-ness.  By that I mean that, for the very first time since I’ve switched continents, I am able to speak of Russia with forgiveness and admiration.  Now, I am not blind to the irony that out of all the choices of my potential homelands, I had to go choose the largest mother fucker after Motha’ Russia; so that I could continue my gypsy bounce without having to switch visas.  Also, I don’t need the help of my shrink to point out the element of rebellion in the Soviet child’s selection of the country her father spent his entire life opposing.  (Papa was a Soviet Army officer.  ‘Nough said.)

When I encounter my fellow Russians on this fast American land of mine, I gotta say:  They are kinda badass! I now reside in a close proximity to the Soviet Emigre Central, otherwise known as West Hollywood — still the most liberal ‘hood you can find yourself in LA-LA Land, in my opinion.  So, I tend to run into a few of my former country’s comrades.  Yes, I’ve seen the type of the middle-aged, purple-haired woman who looks at you as if premeditating ways she can kill you.  I’ve passed the line-ups of male retirees playing dominos on park benches — all unanimously wearing tracksuits — while they maintain their stoic silence despite the shortness of my dress.  In Hollywood clubs, I’ve picked-out the cluster of young Russian males, in black leather jackets, telegraphing their attraction to me with no more than an eyebrow raise.  But those types are usually guarding a handful of decked-out, made-up, pretty and very expensive Russian girls with demands of such high maintenance, you’d think they’ve never lived through deficits of toilet paper or winter-long power and water outages.  (See my rant about dem Russian girls:  https://fromrussianwithlove.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/from-russia-with-love-very-very-expensive-love.  So, yep:  I usually stay away from those.)

Recently, I’ve even encountered a couple of Russian business types.  By “business,” I don’t mean they handle those jobs that a real-life Tony Soprano would be helpless to do himself.  Here, I am actually speaking of Russians who are in pursuit of some honest livin‘ — and some American dollars.  (Although, if a Russian “businessman” ever threatens to kill you — I recommend to just take his word for it:  It’s just safer that way.)

From this year’s encounters, I began to wonder about the source of my pride I feel toward the better-equipped, better-integrated generation of Russian movers ‘n’ shakers in the midst of their American professional careers.  First of — and most importantly! — these types are always well-educated.  Even if most of their college life unfolded in this country, my dear ex-patriots maintain a very high standard of learning.  There is no such thing in Russia’s educational system as “an elective subject,” you see, my comrades:  You bust yo’ ass and pretend to enjoy soaking-up every science, every art and every humanity.  So, it’s been my experience, that usually, my peeps know what they’re talking about.  The second reason for my pride for my fellow ex-patriots has been better articulated by the previously mentioned Boss Soprano:

“You Russians, you got all the angles.  You come over here, you bust your ass.”  He did manage to get himself some Russian ass at the end of this pep talk, but still:  Russian emigres are some of the hardest working people I know.

And then:  there is the cultural heritage.  I’m not just talking about the again mandatory exposure to the richness of Motha’ Russia’s arts.  I mean:  The national strength that originates from one’s ability to bear and persevere. As we all know, Motha’ Russia has got herself a long and tumultuous history.  Oh how inventive She’s been in the ways to make her children suffer!  Famine, political unrest, centuries of oppression and dictatorships; wars and invasions; inflations and poverty; exile and holocaust — She’s got it all!  (She sounds like a lovely place to visit, doesn’t She?!)  And still, the people of my old country refuse to settle down.  No matter the forever-looming danger of persecution, they insist on practicing their right to an opinion and the pursuit of change. (Here is a tale of one recent Russian whistle-blower:  http://soviet-awards.com/digest/pavlichenko/pavlichenko1.htm.  And I thought, my blog was controversial!)

“Now is the winter of our discontent,” the bard once sang.  Considering the length of those damn Russian winters, the unrest of my former people seems never endless.  But just as my own Russian motha’ prefers to love me from afar, something tells me it is better to practice my affection for my former land from a distance as well.  And still, whether they choose to suffer back home or excel in their pursuits on the American land, I have to hand it to my Russian comrades:  May your stubborn courage and high expectations of your Motha’ country finally deliver a summer of rest and prosperity.