“I Heard It Was a Little Raunchy:” The Real Housewives of New York City, Season 6, Episode 7

An amicable meeting of co-workers.
An amicable meeting of co-workers.

These women aren’t actually friends. The more of the Housewives I watch, the more apparent it is to me. I’ve been slowly catching up on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, and while I think Kenya is a brilliant producer/shit-stirrer, the women on that show would never spend time with her if they weren’t being paid to do so.

At some point, we have to question the point of these manufactured friendships. Drama? Real friendships can have that, and it doesn’t get as nasty. Good TV? I find that hard to believe. Tabloid fodder, because any publicity is good publicity? Please. Does anyone even pay for Housewife gossip outside of Radar Online?

In this episode, we watched everyone try to get Carole and Aviva to make up. If they weren’t cast on a show together, people would understand if Carole never wanted to speak again to the woman who spread damaging lies about her career. But because they’re on the Housewives, this was about two employees being able to work together despite hating each other. Unfortunately, their job is existing in the same group of friends.

I’m getting ahead of myself as usual. Before we can deal with what went down between Aviva and Carole, we have to deal with what went down between Ramona and Sonja, the Countess and Sonja, Ramona and Kristen, and Aviva and Kristen. *throws self off balcony* Seriously, last night was exhausting, and not in a fun, drinking-all-day-on-the-beach way. But onward!

And Miss July is... your mom and your dog again!
And Miss July is… your mom and your dog again!


We meet up with Ramona and her dog Coco, who are doing a photo shoot with Jennifer Barton, Doggie Stylist, presumably the Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant of dogs. Ramona wants to make a calendar of her and Coco that Avery can take to college, because what eighteen-year-old out on her own for the first time wouldn’t want ther reality star mom right next to her John Belushi Animal House poster?

Ramona makes some joke about how the other Housewives aren’t the only ones who can model, and I gotta check her ego: a photo shoot with your dog that you paid for isn’t even really up there with a Yummie Tummie spread. Luckily, Sonja and her dog Marley show up to disrupt this mess and throw some shade on Coco. Sonja’s financial problems are coming to a head and she is more determined than ever not to lose her five-story townhouse. She starts babbling about “developing her French LLC for the men’s, women’s, children’s shirt company, and suits.” Ramona gently suggests that Sonja is spreading herself too thin, and the rest of the world agrees.

"Look here, Ramona! Here!"
“Look here, Ramona! Here!”

I don’t know what it’s like to own property, or go through a divorce, or to have a lawsuit against you for millions of dollars. I don’t know what it’s like be faced with the prospect of losing your daughter’s childhood home and the real estate investment you thought had set you up for life. But I do know one or two things about being broke as fuck, and I have to think that it would be better for Sonja and her daughter if Sonja wasn’t constantly stressed about money and living beyond her means, not to mention having dozens of interns at the house all the time. Wouldn’t she sleep better in an apartment that she could afford, where there weren’t buckets catching rainwater everywhere?

Maybe it’s because I came into adulthood during the real estate crash, but I don’t get the idealization of home ownership in a vacuum. Like any major commitment, it can turn into a nightmare just as quickly as a happily-ever-after. Then again, we saw how hard it was for Sonja just to take down the portraits of her and her ex-husband in her dining room, or even to refer to him as her “ex.” Maybe holding onto this house is her last way of holding onto their relationship.


Next, we’re at the doctor’s office with HollaHeather, the hollahusband, and their son Jax. As much as I feel for her and her family, what was the conversation when she pitched this scene to the producers? “Not really feeling like filming at a restaurant or event this week… Why don’t you come with us to our child’s doctor appointment?” It just seems like such an intensely personal moment to want to put on TV.

"Please don't get hostile. My children are here, you fucking fuck."
“Please don’t get hostile. My children are here, you fucking fuck.”

I’d rather watch that scene than what came after, though, which was Kristen and Aviva ignoring their kids at a craft place. It was decided that they were going to make soap, which prompted my favorite bit of honesty of the episode:

KRISTEN: Wow, that sounds like fun! Cash, do you want to make some soap?


Aviva started talking about their upcoming plans for the Hamptons and Kristen got distracted by a toy with eyes that popped out: “Heh, who does this remind you of?” I could’ve sworn I heard Aviva laughing initially, but she certainly had her pissface on when the cameras cut to her. Hmm. Kristen brought up the Carole thing to say that she didn’t want to be involved in it. Aviva asked her to keep it “non-hostile” around the kids, then told her to shut the fuck up about two seconds later. One of the soap-making employees shuffled the children away, as though she was all too used to being treated like a nanny. Unless they were making the soap out of the liposuctioned fat from former Housewives à la Fight Club, this scene couldn’t have been less necessary.


Oh, the Hamptons. Where rich Manhattanites go to relax, and these people go to argue. First up, it’s a doubles match of Jack/Jacques and the Countess versus a bickering Ramona and Mario. Listen, some couples can play tennis together, and some can’t. That’s just the way it is. Kristen and Josh show up, and despite Kristen’s impeccable lavender outfit, she’s wearing the wrong sneakers, so they can’t play tennis anymore and move to bocce. Ramona is all pissed about that, because she was hoping that Kristen and Josh would fight more than her and Mario.

"Can you please go berate that woman about her footwear choice so we can be happy again?"
“Can you please go berate that woman about her footwear choice so we can be happy again?”

Kristen gets into it with Ramona about HollaHeather’s anniversary party, which feels like a lifetime ago by this point, even though it was just last week. Ramona says that if she could make up with Aviva after a year, Heather could certainly make up with her, to which Kristen responds, “Exactly, you had a year. She only wanted a couple more days.” Their fight gets put on ice for the moment.

Out on the beach, Jax’s doctor calls HollaHeather and her hollahusband, and it turns out that he’s a good candidate for surgery that could reverse his hearing issues! Heather is incredibly relieved, and there was a very sweet moment when she asked her husband, “Can I have a hug?” It’s a pure, happy moment in an otherwise snippy episode.


That evening, Ramona has the ladies over to her house to drink margaritas and eat some very stacked caprese salads. (Come on, there’s no way Ramona is eating that much cheese. Seriously.) Kristen shows up looking wary, Aviva shows up in an eye-searing hot pink blouse, and Sonja shows up in a bathing suit cover-up with her intern. Ramona asks Sonja to taste a rosé that she’s considering making part of the Ramona wine brand, which she says isn’t final. Sonja tells her honestly that she doesn’t care for it, that there’s “a little burn after” (that’s the rubbing alcohol, honey).

Proving that these women treat get-togethers like group therapy sessions, Ramona pulls Kristen aside to tell her that it “wasn’t her place” to say anything about Heather’s party. Kristen basically said fine, if it’s not my place to take sides, then it wasn’t your place to take sides either by boycotting the party, and Ramona went all manic on her. It’s very telling how people treat Kristen. I’ve noticed that the people who treat her like a moron always stand to benefit from that perception (Ramona, Aviva, her husband). Kristen does a good job of keeping her cool, speaking calmly and rationally, and not escalating the situation, and eventually Ramona thinks she won and wanders off. That’s pretty much the best you can hope for.

"Sometimes when I text, it doesn't send, just like sometimes when I talk, bullshit comes out."
“Sometimes when I text, it doesn’t send, just like sometimes when I talk, bullshit comes out.”

HollaHeather and Carole arrive, and Carole’s also in a bathing suit cover-up, presumably from Sonja’s friend’s “line.” HollaHeather goes to “say hello” to Ramona and approaches her with, “Bitch, you f*cking blew off my party.” I love Heather. Ramona has some bullshit to say about how sometimes her texts don’t go through (please, this isn’t 2004, nobody’s buying that excuse anymore) and how Heather is a hypocrite, but HollaHeather can’t be bothered and just rolled her eyes. That’s why this woman is so successful on this show: she is truly able to let things go.

There was a gross moment where HollaHeather and Mario were talking about cheating at golf and Mario said the best cheaters get away with it and I really hope that Bravo is not going out of their way to give RoMario the divorce edit this season. Isn’t it shitty enough that they have to go through this publicly? Wasn’t it painful enough to see Ramona posing with her dog in the hopes that it would end up on her daughter’s dorm room wall, calling attention to Mario’s absence by saying he’ll just have to find another photo shoot? Come on, now.

Ramona, still stinging from the little burn after Sonja tasted her rosé, listens to Sonja talk about how “everyone” in St. Tropez saw a video of her caburlesque performance and loved it and wanted to pay her a million dollars to bring it to them. “They want to book me in Berlin, they want to book me in St. Tropez, they said oh, if you go to Mykonos, you’d have ten thousand people.” Instead of letting Sonja’s delusion wash over her like a warm Long Island breeze, Ramona replies, “I didn’t see it, but I heard it was a little raunchy.”

"They want to book me in Berlin, in Paris, on the moon. Ole Miss said I could probably fill their stadium. I'm like the Jerry Seinfeld of improvisational burlesque dancers."
“They want to book me in Berlin, in Paris, on the moon. Ole Miss said I could probably fill their stadium. I’m like the Jerry Seinfeld of improvisational burlesque dancers.”

Ramona did not even need to start with her. We all know this show isn’t going to Bay Ridge, let alone Berlin. Sonja takes the bait and says, “Comedians get raunchy. Seinfeld gets raunchy.” Seinfeld does not get raunchy. He is actually very well known for the opposite of that, for exclusively working clean. But again, there’s no need to get into it with Sonja, because her delusion is harmless and only snowballs when challenged, as we see when Ramona posits, “You’re a comedian?” and Sonja goes on to say of course she is, why, she’s been a comedian for twenty-five years, she could be on Broadway if she wanted to, how does Ramona think she amassed the fortune she has?

That’s when Ramona finally says what she really meant to say, which was, “Honey, you can’t do everything at once.” Except that after that last exchange, Sonja isn’t hearing it from a place of kindness, she’s hearing it from a person who didn’t even see her show but thought it probably sucked and wasn’t funny. Sonja turns to the Countess for comfort, who says diplomatically, “I love that Sonja goes out there and does her thing… It could’ve been a little more polished.” Hardly fighting words considering that Sonja spoke openly about winging it on the day of her show, but now she’s pissed and not having any of it. Ramona tries to apologize to Sonja, but she’s too upset to hear it, and meanwhile, Aviva creeps up on them like Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant.

Why are you hugging me with your body?
“Why are you squeezing me with your body?”

Eventually, Ramona fake cries and hugs Sonja to her chest and rubs her nose against her face like my cat with a cardboard box she wants to claim, because Ramona has decided that the fight is over. This was a mistake. When you hurt someone, you don’t get to decide when they’ll be over it, and clearly Sonja is not, because she goes to a far corner of the party and bitches about their conversation for a good minute.

On her way out, the Countess swings by to apologize to Sonja, too, even though she barely said anything inflammatory, especially for her. “People talk about your performances, too, and I always highlight the positives, even though I could say something nasty,” Sonja whines. The Countess takes about half a second before she realizes that fighting with these women isn’t part of her job description anymore, pretends not to hear, says, “Bye, love you Sonj!” as she dances off with her boyfriend. Smart. Sonja talks some trash about “Lu-man” being a “drag queen trapped in a woman’s body,” which you think would be a compliment coming from someone who supposedly knows every drag queen in town, but honey, it ain’t. Sonja is in a MOOD at this party.

"I really want to make up with you, as long as we can get it done in about five seconds because I'm not getting paid to be here anymore."
“I really want to make up with you, as long as we can get it done in about five seconds because I’m not getting paid to be here anymore.”


After that seven-hour long party finally ended, we got two minutes of Carole recording her audiobook, which has the word “penis” in it. Carole mumbles the word and has to rerecord it. “You swallowed penis,” her editor smiles, and Carole goes, “Well, I’ve had some practice.” I’m only writing about this because it’s a perfect example of what another Housewives fan referred to as a “single entendre.” These are all over the series. It’s when someone thinks they’re being coy and sexual but are actually leaving nothing to the imagination. Carole has an Emmy and a Peabody and fucked George Clooney, but sometimes, even she is just a Housewife.


Kristen throws a clambake on the beach at sunset because she’s obsessed with Elvis. The party gets off to a great start when Aviva throws a glass of white wine on Sonja’s head intern. Ohhh, how I wish this had turned into a fight. That was your chance, Tyler!

There was a lot of talk about Ramona rinsing her wine glass out in the ocean and whether it was “stirrul” or “steeral” to do so. Obviously she doesn’t subscribe to the Same Hole Theory developed by my Grandma Sophie, who doesn’t rinse her glass between blackberry brandy and white wine because “it’s all going in the same hole.” (I hope this anecdote isn’t too revealing.)

HollaHeather decides that it’s time for Aviva to really try to reconcile with Carole. You could argue that she’s just doing the same thing Ramona does, i.e., deciding that now that she’s made up with Aviva, everyone should make up with her. But I think she knew that Aviva would be too embarrassed to behave like a lunatic around her kids, so she wanted to seize an opportunity when they were around.

Just three friendly acquaintances grabbing at each other's limbs.
Just three friendly acquaintances grabbing at each other’s limbs.

Aviva comes up and brays over everyone that she needs to steal Carole away for a minute, like a Sarah Silverman character. She grabs Carole’s wrist, and Carole digs her fingers into the flesh of Mario’s arm, making him shriek: “You’re hurting me!” They go on a pretend magic carpet ride to a whole new world where Aviva didn’t try to ruin Carole’s professional reputation. Ramona and the others watch the fight from afar, trying to deduce its tenor from Carole and Aviva’s body language. When they see them start talking with their hands, they send HollaHeather to mediate. When that isn’t successful, the Countess goes and jumps on Carole’s leg. Even THAT does not stop this dead horse from gettin’ beat.

I can show you the world/Shining, shimmering, stalker-ish
I can show you the world/Shining, shimmering, stalker-ish

Aviva, trying to change the direction of the conversation, starts talking about what a great writer Carole is, how she was a “gushing fan” when she met her. Then she drops the bomb: she read The Widow’s Guide to Sex and Dating, which is not even out yet.

Carole is deeply disturbed that Aviva somehow got her paws on a galley copy of her book, which is exactly right. Those are for CRITICS. They’re not fans, or for friends-of-people-in-the-publishing industry, or even for other writers, and they are ESPECIALLY not for someone who does not wish the writer well. What if Aviva leaked the book somehow? Carole has every right to be outraged, but she still gets a great diss in when she asks, “Did you call and congratulate Bill [Whitworth, her alleged ghostwriter]?”

The worst part of all is that Aviva whips her copy of the book out of her bag and holds it in front of her face while repeating what she practiced in the mirror earlier: “This is a great book. You are a great writer.” THE BITCH BROUGHT THE BOOK TO THE BEACH. I honestly felt sick to my stomach watching this play out. Aviva is truly obsessed with Carole, Losing My Religion-style. She’s in this scary cycle of building Carole up to godly heights, then resenting the pedestal she put her on and trying to tear her down. It’s seriously unsettling.

Here's the moment when Carole realized that Aviva would one day murder her and wear her skin.
Here’s the moment when Carole realized that Aviva would one day murder her and wear her skin.

This fight was never about whether Aviva liked or didn’t like Carole’s books. Does she honestly think Carole gives a flying fuck either way? It was about Aviva accusing Carole of not writing her books and spreading that rumor among their friends and on television. If Aviva really wanted to make up with Carole, she would take responsibility for her seriously hurtful actions and apologize, and perhaps they could just agree not to talk about each other’s writing careers. But of course, that didn’t happen. Instead, it went like this:

AVIVA: This is a great book, you’re a great writer, this is a great book, you’re a great writer.

CAROLE: So you’re apologizing for all the things you said to me?

AVIVA: Happy 4th of July.

And we end another Housewives episode with a silent prayer that seven hours of TV revolving around this fight is enough.

Next week: Ramona is a meddler, Sonja comes for the Countess, and two women over thirty have a splash fight that turns serious. Until then, I’ll be like Cash: “No.”

Cook’s Irritated: The Case Against Potlucks


If I was never invited to another potluck in my life, that would be great. Potlucks are terrible and I don’t know why this shit continues to be a popular social event. I’ve even heard that people are having potluck weddings now, which is a really cool idea. It’s not enough that I have to drop a hundy on your stupid registry, now I gotta bring a quiche, too?

Here’s why potlucks pot-suck:

1. You Have to Cook Something Just to Show Up

First of all, don’t “invite” me to cook for you. Let’s call it what it is: cashing in a fucking favor. You’re not hosting if everyone else is doing the work, too.

I love the person who responds right away with, “I’ll bring dessert!” or “I’ll bring salad!” Cute! So you pretty much just get to pick up a bag of mixed greens or some cupcakes and call it a day while the rest of us are left holding our dicks. “I’ll bring wine” isn’t even an option, which is why this whole thing is terrible. “I’ll bring wine” should always be an option.

2. Schlepping Food From Your Home Destroys It

I understand why people who host potlucks like them: because those fuckers get to leisurely cook in their own kitchens, crack open the wine, let their dishes warm on the stove while everyone arrives, then serve them exactly how they should be presented. They never have to carry a tray of lasagna down the block, onto the subway platform, and somehow balance it while holding onto a pole and avoiding teenage break dancers on the Q train. Entire dishes end up all slid to the side, sauces leak everywhere, and everything gets cold.

Drake, Lady Gaga

3. Nothing is Served at the Right Temperature

Nobody has a hot plate or a warming tray or room in the goddamn fridge. Everything is just room temperature. Foods that are supposed to be crispy steam in their containers on the way over and end up soggy. Actually, everything is just kind of soggy. Someone always brings something that needs to be completely assembled from scratch (“I just need to put it together real quick”) and monopolizes the kitchen for like an hour, slicing and dicing and chiffonading. There’s always like six different kinds of salads or pasta salads or baked pastas. I’m sorry, it’s just bullshit and I’ve had it.

Don’t even get me started on those monsters who are like “I made 500 cookies! Have some!” and then turn on you with “I’m on a diet, I really shouldn’t. Have some more cookies!” Oh, no. Don’t involve me in your weird feeding fetish power play. It’s not our fucking fault that you brought dessert for twelve times the number of people here.


4. It’s Not Our Fucking Fault That You Brought Dessert for Twelve Times the Number of People Here

That’s another thing: we as a nation are bringing WAY too much dessert to parties. Everyone hates themselves and thinks they’re fat to begin with. Why are we not factoring that in? Every gathering I’m at where dinner is served follows that up with two pies, three cakes, four dozen cookies, two types of brownies, and an ice cream option. Even dessert-eating people will have a slice of cake and maybe a cookie and call it a night. LET US DO THAT. People get all pissy when they know you actually eat sugar but won’t hoover down the entire rest of the table. “I can’t have these in my house.” Bitch, you know I can’t eat a full tray of cupcakes just so you won’t have to deal with your food issues. Bring that into your office tomorrow. Office people will eat anything.

5. Nobody Wants the Leftovers

I like to eat. I do! But if you have eight people cooking entrees for eight people, you’re going to end up with way too much food. Then you have a weird battle of politeness over leftovers with the host and end up hauling that shit back to Brooklyn, or more likely just throwing it in the garbage on your way to the subway, brand-new-Tupperware-that-you-had-to-buy-for-this-bullshit-and-all, because you’re so furious and bloated with lukewarm pasta and drunk that who cares. Who even cares.


Counterargument #1: So You Think the Host Should Just Cook For EVERYONE?

No way, man. Nobody has to make me dinner, EVER. That’s the point, really. If you want to have a dinner party but only feel like making one or two dishes, that’s cool! I hosted a birthday brunch last year where I made coffee and bacon and called it a day. I bought bagels and mimosa supplies and everyone had something to eat and got drunk in the middle of the day. People who wanted to bring things brought things, and everyone else brought booze, which was what I really wanted, anyway.

Counterargument #2: Why Don’t You Just Not Go, If You Hate Them So Much?

I know I’m a grown-ass adult who can refuse to go to a party. I end up going to potlucks anyway because I love my friends and like the idea of cooking and there’s always alcohol and people I like. I just kinda wish we could cut out the cooking part, because it’s usually better in theory than in practice.

Alright, I guess I actually have had a lot of fun at some potluck parties, like the time we ended up going around the table seeing who had done anal, or the time this dude told me the story of how a ghost from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory ended up cockblocking him from an NYU student, or pretty much any seder I’ve ever been to. And it IS really fun to try and “win” the potluck by busting out some Smitten Kitchen realness on everyone’s asses. I guess I’m just a sore loser when my shit ends up looking weird and lukewarm and everyone keeps poking at it going, “What is this?” and I have to jump in defensively before they start trash-talking it in front of me and “explain” the thing I stupidly tried to make for the first time that took me way longer than I expected. Ugh.

You know what? I’ll just bring salad. I’ll bring salad.

I just need to put it together real quick.

“You Are So F*cking Dramatic:” The Real Housewives of New York City, Season 6 Episode 6


When I lay in bed tonight and reflect upon all that I’m grateful for, Heather Thomson will definitely come to mind (along with Internet-based food delivery and leggings that look like pants). Without our dear HollaHeather, this episode could have been FDA-approved for use as an anesthetic. Imagine being prepped for oral surgery and having to sit through that scene where Ramonja and Aviva went shopping for modular shelving. Out like a light.

Do you remember when we first met our girl? She had chunky blonde highlights and introduced herself as, “Hi, I’m Heather, my father just died. Oh, would you like to change the subject? How ’bout we discuss my son’s liver transplant? Your choice.” She’s come a long way, baby. Hollur!

But let’s get into the meat of the episode, as little of it as there was. Please note that Bravo is yet to put up their screencaps for this episode, so I’m going to be working with some rando photos from their site for this one. Onward!


HollaHeather is hollahosting a jewelry line launch party to support an organ donation charity, and all of the functioning Housewives are invited! Carole talks to Jacques/Jack about how dying feels like having an orgasm, which will guide my meditation for this week. Ramona just flew in from Africa, and boy are her arms tired! It’s refreshing that she’s wearing hardly any make-up and actually looks like someone who just got off a plane. Is there anything worse than someone who looks good right out of the airport?

Ramona missed everything that happened in the HollaHamptons and HollaHeather fills her in that Aviva is no longer welcome at her events and has been uninvited from her upcoming 10th anniversary party. The hamster wheel in Ramona’s brain starts spinning, and she remembers how HollaHeather refused to invite her to London last year. The Ramones starts plotting how to control who HollaHeather invites to things, which is sure to work out beautifully for everyone.


Here’s the difference between HollaHeather and the rest of the Housewives: Heather isn’t okay with Housewife fights derailing events that are important to her. Period. I have mad respect for that. First, because it’s a sane approach to opening your life up to reality TV. And secondly, because she’s creating more plot points by not inviting people to things. It’s rather brilliant, actually.

Ramona tells a beautiful story about a lion getting humped in Africa: “It was like, wham bam! Thank you ma’am!” And then there’s a super uncomfortable conversation between Kristen and Josh that Carole is forced to witness. The main talking points are:

1. Josh checked out a woman’s butt implants.
2. Kristen promised Josh six blowjobs a week when they signed the lease on their apartment (Honey, come on. Don’t write checks you know your ass can’t cash).
3. Josh says he had it in writing and it was a legally binding contract (gross).
4. Josh says he had plenty of other women so don’t worry about it??

Aaaand the joking about trading blowjobs for money just stopped being so hilarious.


Aviva, Ramona, and Sonja meet up at a store that isn’t Bed Bath & Beyond to buy things for Avery, who’s going to college, and Sonja, who basically lives in a dorm at this point. Aviva spews her story about HollaHeather in the Hamptons, and surprise surprise, she’s the victim in this version! Ramona wants Aviva and HollaHeather to make up because she considers herself a producer of this show and has to control every situation.

Of course, she doesn’t admit that, it’s all about how going to Africa made her want to be a peacemaker along the lines of U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie. Sonja takes the othering up a notch by comparing Ramona to the Dalai Lama and the Buddha. I honestly don’t expect Sonja to know the difference between the religious make-up of Africa and Asia. I’m just afraid of her offending her Good Friend, the King of Saudi Arabia.


Ramona tries to get HollaHeather and Aviva to make up over a speakerphone conversation in the trash can aisle, which I believe is how most international peace treaties are ratified. I love that HollaHeather answers the phone, “What’s cookin’, boo?” Please let this white Sheree stay on the show forever. They agree to meet up for a “conversation,” and Sonja picks up a mini-fridge and a dry erase board for her bedroom door.


Next, we are treated to a scene with HollaHeather’s sexy hollahusband, Jonathan. Following the Spice Girls Edict of 1996, Jonathan gets with his wife’s friends, in this case to pick out caviar for Heather’s 10th anniversary gift. Carole, Kristen and Jonathan taste caviar and drink champagne and talk about hypothetical threesomes all into the evening. This restaurant apparently is the kind of place where you get another full glass of champagne while you still have one on the table. It’s sweet of Jonathan to put in the effort with his wife’s friends, but if I were Heather watching this, I would’ve been majorly bummed to have missed it.

HollaHeather finally meets up with Aviva, and I’ve brewed my second pot of coffee because this episode has been so fucking boring. Aviva tells Heather that she “took it up the butt” and “felt very much verbally raped” by her, which is a disgusting trivialization of the experiences of real sexual assault victims. Can we all please donate to RAINN in this bitch’s name today? There’s “Africa made me feel peaceful” ignorance, and then there’s “rape is like writing a long email” ignorance. Please.


HollaHeather says, “You are so f*cking dramatic,” and Aviva accuses her of name-calling and asks her if she wants to apologize, because she treats everyone like her small children. HollaHeather calmly replies, “No. You are f*cking dramatic,” and I fall deeply, deeply in love with her. The rest of the fight goes like this:

AVIVA: You sit on a high horse with no ability to self-reflect.

HEATHER: You sit on a high horse, Ms. Vassar!

ME: Ohhh ho ho ho shit! Yes, girl!

AVIVA: You’re just as bad with your “I worked with Puffy.”

HEATHER: That’s my work, why don’t you get a job and see what it’s like?

AVIVA: Stop attacking me!!

HEATHER: Do you give a shit about me?


HEATHER: Then let’s try and get somewhere. I don’t need to defend Carole–

AVIVA: Are you guys lovers or something?

HEATHER (to us): This comments tells me that she’s childish, and she’s insanely jealous of my friendship with Carole, and I have her psyche nailed down in a way that she will never be able to understand.

AVIVA: When it comes to me and Carole, I don’t think that you’re impartial. Can we leave it at that?

HEATHER: *does a quick cost-benefit analysis of dragging out this argument versus getting home in time to tuck her kids in and fuck her hot husband* Yes. Definitely.

AVIVA: You called me a f*cking f*cker.

HEATHER: Listen, I swear all the time, people who swear all the time don’t say “f*cking f*cker,” you fucking child.

Aaaand Heather is cemented as queen of our hearts, and queen of our hollas.


The next day or whenever, we’re at Sarabeth’s with Kristen and Carole, who’s carrying a white tribble as an accessory. “Where are our friends???” they wonder out loud, very naturally. Then, the earth opens up beneath them and fiery lava erupts. “Heyyyyyy gurrrrrrrls” echoes from the hellish canyons below, and Yolanda David Foster Wallace and Brandi Alexander rise up out of the flames to torment another franchises’s viewers.


I have one question about this crossover. Must we?


Brandi tells a kind of shitty story about Kristen making out with an Elvis impersonator during her bachelorette party, proving that she will turn your intimate moments together as friends against you in a fucking heartbeat. It’s great to see that she’s consistent about using secrets and privileged information to control people. If you think I’m exaggerating, note when she asks Kristen point-blank about her sex life and blurts out, “Because for a while you weren’t having sex with poor Josh.” Make no mistake, this chick will betray you for a dollar. And not even a nice one. She’ll betray you for a crumpled dollar that the vending machine won’t even accept.

I’m so pissed about this show getting hijacked that I can’t even talk about Carole taking Xanax and ripping off Samantha Jones’s “They don’t call it a job for nothing.” Carole has an Emmy and a Peabody and fucked George Clooney and implies that she barebacks, and I can’t even process that because I’m so furious at Brandi’s spaghetti straps. Is nothing sacred?



Finally, we are at HollaHeather and her hollahusband’s fabulous 10th anniversary party. While other Housewives would use this as an opportunity to stage a full second wedding/vow renewal, Heather just wears an impeccably-tailored white sequined dress to a rooftop party, which is exactly right. Kristen and Josh take a few minutes to have a fight about Josh being late, and the brief look the doorman gives the camera says it all. These two have been getting a very bad edit lately as far as their marriage is concerned. To be fair, Josh does seem like a total dick, but he’s far from the worst husband on these shows. Y’all remember a dude named Kelsey Grammer?

Kristen sits down with Carole, who looks amazing in a white men’s tuxedo jacket and braided hair wreath, and confesses that she and Josh have had some sessions with a therapist. She had actually been seeing her therapist for a long time before she invited Josh to come, but she never told Josh about it. Kristen says, “If he ever finds out…” to which Carole, side-eyeing the cameras around them, says, “Well… he will…” It’s perhaps my favorite thing she’s ever said.


And who is missing out on this anniversary party slash marriage counseling? Why, the hypothetical threesome of Aviva, Ramona, and Sonja! Even though Heather had hinted after their fight that an invitation was in the works, she rethought the prospect of screaming at Aviva at her own damn anniversary party and texted her that it was “too soon.” Ramonja, who visited Aviva’s apartment to sear their eyes on her wallpaper and find out where the last of the Truffula trees went, decided not to attend the party “in solidarity” with the woman who called them alcoholics and white trash last season. Female friendship is a beautiful labyrinth.

Heather briefly dishes with the other ladies about how how rude and obnoxious it is to boycott a party to which you RSVP’d yes. Then she accepts a tote bag full of caviar from her handsome, devoted husband and dances her ass off on a rooftop full of people who love her. At the end of this episode, it is crystal clear that not only is Heather Thomson good at reality TV, lady is good at life. And you know what? I’m happy for that fucking fucker.

Next week: Aviva swears in front of her children, real and metaphorical fireworks go off, and Sonja goes commando. Until then, I’ll be like Carole’s fat Italian grandmother: beloved but unseen.

“Mindy, I Don’t Even Know You:” The Real Housewives of New York City, Season 6 Episode 5


Let’s get right into this one, before it starts to stink like the inside of a borrowed mermaid tail the day after a Nathan’s binge.


Like some endless nightmare from which one can’t wake, we’re back in the Countess’s house in the Hamptons. Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant announces that she’s going to pee, delicate teacup that she is. I realized over the weekend that BASIC (Basic-ass Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant) is the kind of chick who keeps her cell phone in her bra at parties. That is, when she wears a bra to parties.

BASIC sidles up to Carole and Aviva’s private conversation and literally asks, “Can I just be involved in this?” Carole starts laughing, which is exactly right. This is pretty much a primer on what NOT to do if you’re ever the rare non-Housewife at a Housewife party. DON’T: insert yourself into arguments you have nothing to do with, pick fights with Housewives, shit-talk them loudly. DO: get drunk, sit back, and enjoy the live entertainment; be Derek J.


Other things that happen at this BYOBBBQS (Bring Your Own BASIC; the extra S is for Shitshow): Sonja pees her pants “with no panties on,” Aviva yells over everyone with her braying horse voice to toast to “women putting pen to paper,” and BASIC sidles up to Carole for the 400th time, prompting Carole to say, “Mindy, I don’t even know you,” my new favorite Smiths song. #BookGate comes up again and it’s now turned into an argument about how Carole doesn’t support Aviva. I don’t know about you guys, but *I* still remember that this shit started with Aviva spreading rumors that Carole didn’t write her own books.

HollaHeather remembers it too, and she yells at Aviva, “Don’t tell me anything, motherf***er!” What’s so amazing about the Housewives shows is that they pull these clips from when the women are at their angriest and saying the most nonsensical things, like Sonja’s “You’ll see your ass where it ends up.” Then they play them over, and over, and over again, forcing us and them to relive it. It’s funny, and then not funny, and then it gets funny again. It’s a gift.



The next day, it’s brunch at Sonja’s Borrowed House (Bravo, is this the name of her new spin-off series? I voted for Sonja’s Internal Affairs). Someone’s tooth falls out. Whose is it? Come on. LuAnn just smiles and nods at the hole where Sonja’s tooth just was, like this is something that happens every day. God bless that gap-toothed cheapskate and her Sharpied Chanel bags. Some other stuff happened at this brunch, but this was by far the most interesting part.

With a shot of a Scotty (aw!), we’re back in the city, and Carole, HollaHeather, and Kristen are shopping for mermaid outfits at a costume shop. The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is one of the best and weirdest events in New York, and I’m so happy they’re showing it on RHONY. Nobody’s even complaining about schlepping out to the ends of Brooklyn! See what happens when Ramona’s not around?


Judah Friedlander is the king of the Mermaid Parade, and Carole is the queen. That’s right: Carole has an Emmy and a Peabody and fucked George Clooney and is the goddamn Mermaid Queen of Coney Island. She is literally the coolest human being alive.


Meanwhile, over at Sadist Dermatology, Sonja and Aviva are getting shot with lasers and wearing scary ghost masks in the name of looking younger. We learn that Sonja often gets a procedure where blood is injected into her face, perhaps from the bodies of interns whose semesters are up. Aviva accuses Carole and HollaHeather of “verbally raping” her, proving that this woman absorbed NOTHING from the four Sexual Assault Awareness Months she lived through at Vassar. (Happy April?) She also says HollaHeather was standing up to her “like a Brutus.” I’m gonna assume she’s talking about the Popeye character, ’cause I know this 44-year-old woman doesn’t think we’re impressed with her fucking Julius Caesar reference. We all read that in 9th grade, honey. In public school. Calm down.


Sonja says, “Heather’s upset with Aviva because of Carole. She’s playing guardian dog. Is there a such thing as a guardian dog?”


I know Nana didn’t just hear that.

Serrrriously though, what is up with Sonja and Ramona becoming Aviva apologists this season? They’d pretty much drawn a line in the sand at the last reunion, and now all’s well again. I honestly think that Andy Cohen gave their salaries a little bump on the condition that Aviva would have someone to talk to besides her husband, her ex-husband, her lecherous father, her nasty image consultant, and the machine that destroyed her leg.


Speaking of that last one – sigh, must we? I suppose we must. The cruelty of this episode is that it intertwines some of the most fun moments from the cast — the Mermaid Parade — with some of the ickiest – Aviva visiting the farm where she lost her leg as a child. Ever since this moment showed up in the trailers for this season I have been dreading it. I don’t want to have empathy for Aviva and realize that all of her horrible qualities come from this traumatic event in her childhood and the way it was dealt with by her family. I’m watching a fucking reality show on Bravo. That is way too much humanity for me to deal with from something I put on while I’m doing my nails.


I feel terrible that Aviva lost her leg, because no child should ever have to go through that. OBVIOUSLY. I also heard that Aviva’s family sued the shit out of the family who owned the farm, and that that money set them up for life. So. Can we move on to drag queens, please?


On the morning of the Mermaid Parade, Kristen and Carole get their make-up done and Carole compares her eyes to peepholes and sonograms. Way uptown, Sonja lights an abundance candle and immediately finds where she left her vibrator. The universe works in mysterious ways, sexy J. Sonja is broke from spending all her money on generic Fixodent and invites a stylist friend over to shop her closet for a mermaid costume. The reaction shots from interns and Marley the dog are giving me LIFE.

LuAnn and Kristen make it down to Coney Island on time and walk right onto the Lucky Cheng’s float. It’s not the float that they’re supposed to be on… but then, hummingbirds aren’t supposed to fly. They decide to stay, which is a good choice. Sonja shows up just as the float is leaving and announces that she’s lost another tooth. When do you think was the last time that Sonja’s been to a dentist? Let that guide your meditation this week.



Sonja stabs the Countess in the eye with her umbrella, and as a semi-tall lady, oh, do I feel her pain. The editors are really trying to push the Countess-as-drag-queen joke this season, because nobody else will do it. Honestly? It was funny when Bethenny said it, but now it’s just rude. The Countess has a perfectly symmetrical face, scary yoga arms, and is tall as fuck. If she’s a drag queen, then so is every woman who’s ever modeled.

Carole receives the key to Coney Island, and all the ladies meet up with HollaHeather on the beach to drink and read a friendship poem in a semi-circle. I wish the entire series was just these reenacted scenes from The Craft and Sonja’s townhouse. That, and Kristen drinking a Michelob Ultra in her talking head. (Do they feed them booze for those?? That explains a lot.)


None of them really looked like mermaids. Carole looked too good in matching gold, HollaHeather looked like a fun aunt trying to dress up for Easter, Countess had some Madame Butterfly shit going on, Kristen looked like a chick who went straight from the beach to the club, and Sonja, bless her heart, looked like a six-year-old who made her own costume for the school play. But there they sat in the glorious cigarette butt-laden sand of Coney Island, not fighting, not crying, but laughing together, like actual human friends.

Next week: Ramona returns, HollaHeather has a threesome, and Aviva takes it up the butt! Will Sonja’s abundance candle bring her even more vibrators? Will Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant wear a brawr? Will Kristen get any screen time? Who can tell? Until next time, I’ll be like Judah Friedlander: making occasional appearances in Brooklyn.

I’ve Discovered the Cure For Writer’s Block

No, it’s not making 8 1/2.

It’s not writing.

It’s doing anything but writing.

Let me back up. Since I’ve transitioned into full-time freelancing, I’ve had more freedom than ever to focus on my own projects, but with that freedom comes responsibility (and how this is turning into an Eleanor Roosevelt quote-off, I have no idea). Now I feel a weight when choosing what to focus on, knowing that I’m solely responsible for generating my income. Every minute I spend working on something for free is a minute taken away from looking for paid work.

Ironically, I made this move specifically so that I’d have more time to focus on my own projects. I was feeling completely overwhelmed trying to balance a full-time job with blogging, podcasting, writing music reviews, writing scripts, making videos, etc., etc. But once I got here and it started to feel like there were infinite possibilities and more unstructured time than I’ve had in years, it was overwhelming in a completely different way. So of course, about two weeks ago it triggered a total creative block.

I was still able to do what I needed to do, to write my Housewives recaps and album reviews for Bust and posts for All Things Go. Let me be clear: I ALWAYS get my shit done. But when I sat down to make something new, it was like wind whistling across the Arctic plains in my brain. And it was like that way for about a week and a half.

Then one day I started doodling. I was tired of trying to come up with The Next Big Thing That Will Launch My Career And Be A Perfect Use Of My Time, and doodling is relaxing. I’m not great at it, and I don’t aspire to be. I just sat on the couch and started drawing weird social situations I’d been in recently and funny things started coming to me again. From there came my #AmtrakResidency post. Suddenly ideas started flowing at their usual pace, and I realized that the cure to writer’s block is doing something creative that isn’t writing.

Drawing, writing a song, making a dress, painting, sculpting, redecorating your apartment, choreographing an interpretive dance, coming up with an amazing new recipe for pasta sauce… these are all activities that tap into your creativity but don’t put pressure on you to produce your Next Big Thing. I think that ideally the activity should be in an area in which you have no serious ambitions, so that it’s not another source of pressure.

I’d imagine that this approach would work for musicians or artists or other creative types as well. If you haven’t written a song in weeks, try writing a movie. If your dog fashion line has gotten stale,  try writing a poem. If your floral arrangements are all dull and embarrassing, make a zine about the people in your coffee shop. Go outside of your discipline. And remind me to do the same the next time I get stuck.

But no clowns, please.

“I Googled ‘Burlesque Moves:’” The Real Housewives of New York City, Season 6 Episode 4


I deliberately don’t read other recaps before I write mine, because I don’t want to accidentally plagiarize someone. There’s an argument to be made for the opposite approach, but so far this has been working for me. However, this week was the first time I doubted that policy– I’m dying to hear what everyone else thinks about Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant! Still, I will refrain until I’ve painstakingly extracted my thoughts on this episode, like a Housewife wriggling out of a wetsuit.

Here’s my theory on Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant (hereby abbreviated to ASIC): Aviva is trying to cast the show. She hired an image consultant so that she might have a chance in hell of rehabilitating her reputation and now she’s trying to make this woman a permanent cast member. Let’s face it: nobody likes Aviva or is on her side. Ramona and Sonja sort of are, for the moment, but Ramona’s support is half-hearted at best and Sonja’s is born of completely misunderstanding the situation. Also, Sonja might support you in an argument, but she’s not going to bust any heads on your behalf. Aviva needed a bruiser, and she got it in this ASIC ‘itch.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! This episode had way too much Sonja to dawdle, including lots of Sonja dawdling. Let’s get into the fourth episode of what is turning out to be a pretty damn entertaining season…



We open on Ripley-Grier Studios, one of the ugliest rehearsal spaces in the city and also where half of Love & Hip-Hop is filmed. (Oh, yes, I’ve been there. You can’t forget a place like that. Their paint choices will confound you for the rest of your life.) Sonja is supposed to be rehearsing a dance for her “caburlesque,” an event she’s hosting in the Hamptons to raise money for an LGBT youth center, but she is an hour late, which means she essentially wasted $62. (Ripley-Grier is also expensive.)

Despite the shit-talking her back-up dancers and choreographer were doing just before she walked in, Sonja is a ham and it’s obvious that everyone is completely tickled to be working with her. And even though she utters the unforgivable “I love my gays,” it’s made up for by her delusional babble about how if this performance goes well, it’s going to “all the major cities.” Oh, honey.


That’s about when we join Carole and Kristen in a car and realize this is going to be a Hamptons episode! Just when I think she can’t get any cooler, Carole says she doesn’t like the Hamptons because “it’s like a big suburb.” HollaHeather joins the two other reasonable people on this show for surf lessons on the beach, with one surf instructor per Housewife. Was that necessary? The ladies struggle to get into their wetsuits like the bumbling lead of a romantic comedy. We find out that HollaHeather is in amazing shape, Kristen has incredible balance for someone so tall, and Carole is basically just boogie boarding. Good for her.


Sonja and half a dozen interns roll up to a location that is subtitled “Sonja’s Rented House” (shade, Bravo, shade, shade!!!). Their puttering model T backfires and the tail pipe falls off. Okay, no, but their car’s fresh out of storage and there’s a dead battery and no plates. I actually think I was being generous. This car is a perfect example of the mentality that is making Sonja broke. Why would any sane person think it’s necessary to hang onto a car that you use so little that you took the plates off of it? Not to mention how much it costs to store a car in the city. RENT, girl!

Also, we find out that Sonja doesn’t have hot water in her townhouse. Discuss.


Somehow, she drives her jalopy out to the airplane hangar where her caburlesque will be taking place, possibly peddling the ground like Fred Flintstone to get there. While the rest of the Housewives file in in varying degrees of flapper drag, Sonja makes a last-minute decision to forgo her back-up dancers and “wing it.” Other choice micro-Morganisms: “I Googled ‘burlesque moves;’” “So-so, oui oui, mothertrucker;” “I’m feeling rushed as usual.” (Well, of course you’re going to feel rushed when you’re an hour late for everything, you silly-billy.)


Out in the hangar, Kristen and ASIC are competing for most Halloween-y Gatsby costume, Carole is avoiding Aviva, and the Countess is making her first appearance of the season. Kristen introduces herself, and you can tell that the Countess is not loving it. I mean, it has to hurt: she was literally replaced with a younger… wait for it… model.

Aviva tries to recruit the Countess for her slanderous No Caroles Club by dishing that “Me and Princess Carole are in a bloodbath.” It’s so gross of Aviva to invoke “Princess.” She has this creepy habit of making a big deal of how impressed she is with something Carole is or does, then turning it around on her as a reason that she’s uppity. It’s a weapon that only a truly insecure person would develop.


Aviva’s issues with Carole are convenient for the Countess, who was terribly insulted last season when Carole insinuated she was not in fact Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States. “She’s not a girl’s kind of girl,” Countess vomits out of her mouth hole, and Aviva reacts like not only did that sentence mean anything, but it is in fact the meaning of all things. After watching “girl’s girl” being wielded so ineptly on RHOBH, I simply cannot condone this bullshit.


The ladies take their seats after HollaHeather shuts down a situation that would have Carole next to Aviva with a swift place card rearrangement and a “That’s not happening.” Sonja does indeed wing her performance, and I have a feeling that what we got to see was edited down from about three hours with no intermission. ASIC makes a bunch of nasty comments about Sonja and menopause and nipple slips to whoever will pay her attention, which pretty much just comes down to Aviva, who is also paying her money. Yes, Sonja’s performance was probably a little cringeworthy, but ain’t nobody need to add to that embarrassment. Let her die on the battlefield like a warrior.


(This was also the only time I’ve heard it called a “wardrobe malfunction” when a skirt DOESN’T fall off. K, got that joke out, onward.)

The next day, Kristen invites the ladies over to help promote her designer friend’s “bathing suit cover-up line,” which is somehow not just jorts and oversized t-shirts. Weird. Kristen sees Sonja’s interns passing out rosé and observes that perhaps she should cash them all in for one paid assistant who has her own apartment and actually knows what she’s doing. It’s a nice sentiment, but when you cash in a bunch of checks for $0, you still have $0.

Despite the rumors that she’s Brandi Glanville’s best friend, I like Kristen. She seems to really doubt her own intelligence, and I find that sad, because she actually comes off very reasonable and perceptive on this show.


Meanwhile, Harry, Reid, Aviva, and ASIC are having lunch and we’re forced to watch it, or at least to fast-forward through it. Amanda and Harry are dating, because of course. Amanda is pretty and looks like she fits in with the Housewives until she opens her mouth. Then this bruiser drunk chick voice scrapes out, and you go, Oh. I know this woman. I’ve seen her at parties. This chick cuts the whole line for the bathroom with a shove and a loud ‘Excuse me.’ This chick loses her earring and maybe a flip-flop by the end of the night. She sits on the ground to smoke a cigarette. She’s mean to other woman before she’s nice to them. And she hates all of her boyfriend’s exes without knowing anything about them.

For you see, all of ASIC’s nasty comments about Sonja at the show? Those were really about the fact that Sonja’s been hittin’ it with Dirty Harry, and ASIC hasn’t even seen that d yet. Obnoxious, meet oblivious.



Finally, we come to the climax of the episode, and it’s not from seeing Kristen in a high cut bikini. LuAnn hosts a party at her house in the Hamptons for the cast she’s no longer a part of, which is mighty big of her. Kristen and Josh show up, and dude looks like Bert Cooper on vacation with his pink sport coat and contrasting pocket square. Harry and Amanda show up, even though there was a discussion of Harry not being invited. Sonja shows up with two of her interns. Carole shows up with HollaHeather’s trainer. What the hell was the theme of this party, Unlikely Plus Ones?

Carole sort-of apologizes to LuAnn for calling her Not Michelle Obama, and the Countess graciously accepts. This was a smart move on Carole’s part. LuAnn has a huge ego and is a little delusional, but she’s also not a cast member anymore. It was time for Carole to cut her losses on this argument, and she knew it. It’s like I’ve been saying: you don’t kick a bitch when she’s down.


Aviva sniffed around this apology like my cat with an order of buffalo wings, and her bean brain came up with a way to make it All About Her: “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Carole is in a blow-up with me and all of a sudden she’s making up with LuAnn. I think she’s playing chess with a couple of different players.” EWW. She is such a Housewives superfan! The “chess player” accusation has been lobbed at Lisa Vanderpump on RHOBH, fairly unsuccessfully, I might add. If Aviva is going to emulate someone on these shows, she should aim higher than Kyle Richards.


Aviva also keeps saying that Carole called her a bad mother, which is patently untrue, and when Sonja does what no one else is willing to do and listens to her side of things, she kisses her on the mouth. Sonja says that Harry “would’ve lost his load,” which is really convenient because I’ve been trying to debloat for a beach trip this weekend and now I will never eat again.

Eventually, all the ladies are in the same room, and Aviva turns the topic to #BookGate, which of course she named. HollaHeather says that Aviva tries to assassinate people’s characters, and she’s not going to wait around for her to pull that crap with her. Aviva screams at HollaHeather to lower her voice, because she tries to win arguments by yelling loudest and it’s the worst quality (though not her worst quality by far). Then everyone starts yelling at everyone else and it’s impossible to decipher what anyone is saying. I have a friend who worked on RHONJ recently and he said that getting clean sound was impossible with the way everyone talked over each other.

The Countess claps and yells, “I’m the hostess!” to try and restore order, then tells Aviva and Carole to go into the kitchen to work it out. Carole, who has three Emmys and a Peabody and fucked George Clooney, wisely declines to have that conversation in the same room as all the knives in the house. A big problem here is that Aviva is now claiming that Carole was unsupportive of her long email writing, when that’s just not true. It drives me crazy on these shows when people act like a reaction is the same thing as an unprovoked slight. Carole was perfectly supportive of Aviva’s book– until Aviva started spreading rumors that Carole used a ghostwriter. THEN Carole got angry and started pointing out all the ways in which this book is a total joke.

Next week: HollaHeather stalks Amanda Sanders, Image Consultant through LuAnn’s house and dares her to hit her, then calls Aviva a motherfucker. I love this new aggro Heather! We might have to change her nickname to MothaHeather. We’ll see. Until next week, I’ll be like Ramona: neither seen nor heard.

**If anyone’s interested in supporting an LGBT youth center in NYC like Sonja “Sexy J” Morgan, please check out The Center and The Ali Forney Center. I can’t tell which one Sonja was supporting but they’re both great.

PEOPLE OF THE TRAIN: My #AmtrakResidency Application


I don’t know if I can put into words how excited I am that Amtrak is now hosting writers’ residencies. I’ve always wanted to take a cross-country train trip. It just sounds so glamorous: drinks in the dining car, getting dressed up for dinner, SLEEPING on a TRAIN, getting to watch the American landscape roll by without having to navigate it… I can’t think of a single bad thing about this opportunity.

Obviously, I’m applying. Actually, this blog post is my writing sample. Since most of my work is Internet-based in one way or another, I figured this would be the best way for the people at Amtrak to get to know me. I actually think that my predilection for web-based mediums might make me a good fit for the #AmtrakResidency, since I would blog and podcast and tweet and Instagram the hell out of my trip, should I be so lucky.

The history of elegance associated with train travel is fascinating to me. I’ve never stayed in a sleeper car before, so maybe I’m way off and things have changed, like how all movie theaters used to have chandeliers in the lobby and now they have bed bugs. But I’d like to imagine that train travel is still a refined pursuit, one in which travelers take the time to appreciate the journey, how many states are in between us, and what happens in the time it takes to cross them. That matters. “Flyover state” is an ugly term for unadventurous people. No part of the American landscape is “missable.”

One of my favorite things to do in New York is to sit in a park and people-watch. This city is amazing for it. There’s a guy in my neighborhood who rides a unicycle while walking his dog, and I’ve seen him so many times now that he’s almost boring.

Getting to people-watch on a cross-country train would be like hitting the lottery for me. Can you IMAGINE the people who’d be on board? I can. To maximize my time in the #AmtrakResidency if chosen, I’ve made some preliminary sketches of the characters I might see. I’m sure these are 100% accurate!















I know, it’s an incredible likeness.

So here’s to trains! Whether I get to ride one for free or not, I salute their rich history and colorful characters.

And dry goods. Definitely gotta give it up for the dry goods.