The V. Monocles: or, how do our burgers rank?

I noticed that the Daily News (formerly the Palo Alto Daily News; also published in San Jose Mercury) had a society column that included coverage of an Eve Ensler appearance at the stodgy Castilleja School for Girls here. What I found even more remarkable, however, is that the columnist could not bring herself to mention Ensler’s most famous work, “The Vagina Monologues.”

Pondering this had me renewing my correspondence with fellow Dartmouth grad the comic and writer Jen Dziura. Jen apropos of this forwarded a link to a bit of hers in which she tried to win a contest for purported paranormal powers by revealing that she has an uncanny influence over men. (She claimed that her vagina has the power to make men buy her hamburgers; this was reported in McSweeney’s). I have been wanting to help Jen Dziura bring her act here to Bay Area — if only to learn, how do our burgers rank? Her work also reminds of the Stanford Prison Experiment (Zimbardo). Maybe we can produce a demonstration of her powers at Stanford.

Jen also works on a comic version of a spelling bee which reminds me of my previous post about math whiz/spelling bee champion Evan O’Dorney; Steve Cohen and I enjoyed a chuckle watching young Evan unbraid a CNN reporter, as documented on Youtube.

I also (because segues are my weakness, perhaps more so than are hamburgers) wanted to tie in the Rachel Dratch guesting on “Monk” that I tivoed the other night (above). Rachel and I overlapped for two years at Dartmouth, although I don’t recall meeting her. Hanging out with one of her friends, however, brought me one night to a recital by the East Bay modern dancer, teacher and choreographer Mary Armentrout. (Mary, in this column, is guesting for Laurel Nakadate, who I will gloss elsewheres).

Scombridae indeed.

edit to add, almost a year later — Mardi Gras, 2-21-12, because I am working up my Harbaugina piece:

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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30 Responses to The V. Monocles: or, how do our burgers rank?

  1. markweiss86 says:

    I haven’t even written the piece yet and already I am getting self comments. This one from Jen Dziura herself, on Amy Chua:

  2. markweiss86 says:

    Today Rob Syrett happened to run into me at the post office and then helped me open the too-well-packed tube I was claiming. (He works in an arts supply store and carries a box cutter). I said I was excited. Indeed what I got in the mail was a parcel from the PS 1 MOMA annex in Long Island City. I had ordered a signed poster from a Laurel Nakadate film called “The Wolf Knife” or something I don’t even know. I recall having a nice talk with Allie from Artbook who runs the gift shop there but are also publishers of museum catalogs and the like. When I opened the poster it depicts two rather young women (teens) in swimsuits at the beach. I said “I’m not sure either of them is Laurel Nakadate, or that they are women.” (I guess he said “Is one of those women the artist?”) She is like a cross between Cindy Sherman and Sugimoto. Her name is even slightly confounding, like the word “shitake.” This interview sheds more light on this dangerous subject. (I am sort of afraid to click on any of her images here at the Palo Alto Public Library where I frequently check my mail). I have about three clippings on her work from the NY Times, including the one with the middle aged fat guy; I think that piece is called “I want to be the one to walk in the sun.”
    I am afraid to write her a fan letter lest I end up in one of her pieces.
    I should stick to reading “Just Kids.”

    is pasted from comments below

    Allie Pisarro-Grant from Mark Weiss in Palo Alto, CA
    p.s Fugazi does rock, The Evens even (Ian MacKaye side-project, with Amy Farina)

  3. markweiss86 says:

    I admit I knew of Evan O’Dorney before I knew of Kiran Chetry, via:

  4. markweiss86 says:

    Mary also works at a fancy restaurant on Solano. What was funny about my visit to her show is that my friend (the Rachel Dratch classmate) was studying ballet with Mary and had no idea that she was walking into a MODERN recital. I recall that the piece had Mary running around the stage lifting cereal boxes to the gods and shouting “This is not what I want! This is not what I want!”

  5. markweiss86 says:

    Although my trusty Webster’s Ninth is not at hand, I am wondering about “stodgy” versus “snobby” versus “uptight.”

    • markweiss86 says:

      And seeing a fault in the habit of writing about media versions of events versus the event per se I thought about ringing some Castilleja parents to see what they heard or observed about said event. I thought of my Dartmouth classmate and PAUSD board member Melissa Baten Caswell and the former child star and retail partner Gini Ali. I also of course thought of my three Dartmouth classmates the Casti alumnae Liz Babb, Gigi Whalen and Marilee Culley.

      • markweiss86 says:

        ok i did reach Gini Ali who AND THIS IS A MAJOR SCOOP reveals that she is tuning her piano (but not to tuna fish) and working on a monologue. And when we discussed this topic neither of us could mention that word either, so maybe I should not be so hard on the columnist.

  6. markweiss86 says:

    and lastly I wanted to mention that the Casti event apparently also featured, among others, Isabelle Allende. I want to state for the record that Allende is much hotter than Ensler. I recall flirting with her at a book event years ago where she taught me the Spanish verb “hadear,” to pant. She demonstrated the word onomatopoeticly, breathily, “ha-ha-hadear.”

  7. Mark Weiss says:

    I am adding Fiona Bloom and Yvette Rovera to the purview of “The V. Monocles” — Fiona’s 80-parts and counting “Efficacy” series of artist interviews have been viewed nearly 20,000 times so far.

  8. markweiss86 says:

    Musician and label co-owner Joe Sib in his monologue “California Calling” uses the word “vagina” but as part of a homophobic slur. (As in people who “don’t like vagina” i.e. are gay). Other than that, Joe’s show is recommendable and reminds me of “Passing Strange” for the skate punk crowd.

  9. Mark Weiss says:

    Leah Garchik the Chronicle gossip columnist and mother of a musician is sort of my muse here so I thought it okay to fuse something sent to her (about REO Speedwagon and “Rock of Ages”) with the above by noting that REO Speedwagon has a cd using the same pun on “tuna” and “tuning”:'t_Tuna_Fish

  10. Mark Weiss says:

    I should probably drop this but I couldn’t help but double-take at the ad that Castilleja School ran in the recent Palo Alto Weekly; it featured news of a summer program called “C.I.L.T.” for girls entering grades 8 and 9. Or am I just being a dyslexic?

  11. Mark Weiss says:

    Cubberley, besides being the home of my 150-part concert series, boasts studio space for visual artists here. Terry left her computer open to the following link:

  12. Mark Weiss says:

    I should probably either drop this or post in a new thread but yahoo had a bit about “wonder woman” and I said they might have cast Candye Kane and about 1200 others have commented and so far my idea has one negative and no positive ratings. Candye is a cancer survivor and a blues singer and a mom and has a play about her life and its ups and downs, in san diego that I read a script of and commented on.–2645#mwpphu-container

    • Mark Weiss says:

      I traded email with Candye Kane who is off to Europe and cutting a new cd and she said she would try to write something for my blog about “wonder woman”. I also am wanting to write something about Candye Kane and Karla Kane, of The Corner Laughers.

  13. markweiss86 says:

    the post about Brian Wilson crossword and my Brett Anderson retort had me then finding this reference to short-lived band Pussy Mansion, by Julene Snyder:

  14. markweiss86 says:

    last word is two minutes of Caroleen Beatty singing “Burning Airlines” by Brian Eno and it pronounced “Regina” to rhyme with “hamburger”:
    [audio src="" /]

    • markweiss86 says:

      okay but since you mention “hamburgers” can we also have just a sniff of Caroleen doing “Fat Lady of Limbourg”?
      [audio src="" /]

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