Thursday, June 30, 2016

No Holds Barred: Considering the "Strawberry" Moon

Full Strawberry Moon on the June 20th Solstice.
By Blair Sabol

It all started with this past June 20th Solstice and Full "Strawberry" Moon. Rarely do the full moon and the solstice arrive together. The last time was 1967’s “Summer of Love” which later ended in demonstrations and national unrest.
Astrologers are going crazy over this recent convergence. Some actually call it a period of “Disruption and Collaboration.” But what does that mean?So .... Macy’s just fired their chief executive Terry Lundgren and closed 10 more stores. Dior dumped their fashion Director for Valentino, Maria Grazia Chiuri (do people really care about all the “fashion house” directorial changes?), and the seemingly successful “Shuffle Along on Broadway” announced its closing. Not to mention the June 24th Brexit, which was the post-full moon/solstice, highlighted “Big Bang” (by the way, the next solstice/full moon will be in 70 years — if we all live that long).
But the past two weeks “Strawberry Solstice” had its own “after-shocks.” Of course, TV now holds the cultural deck or hand. You had Game of Thrones’ “Battle of the Bastards” (isn’t that the title of our current Presidential election race?) episode, which crashed HBO’s network with its largest viewership. The next night was ESPN’s “O.J.: Made in America” series that also became the highest-ranking documentary of the year.

The OJ story really delivered some residual weight – not just as the “Trial of the Century” but the story of our country at a certain time and place. “O.J.: Made in America” displayed the issue of race, celebrity, justice and lifestyle in the '90s, all in a week. It was historic from the white Bronco, to glitzy Brentwood, to “if-it-doesn’t-fit-you-must-acquit” leather glove, to Fred Goldman’s sobbing finale to Faye Resnick’s love affair with Nicole Simpson to Marcia Clark’s hairstyle – right up to O.J. today in jail resembling an even more bloated and destroyed Bill Cosby. And throw in Rodney King’s trial and O.J. saying “I’m not black, I’m O.J.” It was classic!
The O.J. story ended with him and his buddy Robert Kardashian (post trial) watching “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” You see him turn to Bob and say, “this show will never make it.”

And Look where we are now ... we have become The Kardashian Nation. This was O.J.’s Legacy! And now this is our national history.
But lately, everyone is feeling the “pins and needles” of change. My friend and Regan Arts publisher Judith Regan recently told me about the difficulty of hiring help nowadays and how no one is committed to working. “I call it entitlement disorder. They work for a day and leave. For them it is like a Tinder date. You immediately swipe to your next gig ... and keep doe-si-doe-ing through your life.” Another bad side of technology – “swiping” has become a way of deny-ing. Not just moving on.

Even the “full moon” edition of the National Enquirer had the front page story on Hillary entitled “Hilary Will Never Be President” with an amazing top-secret report of all of “crimes and misdemeanors.” It was a terrific “Cliffs Notes” version for those of us who can’t keep her “investigations” straight. Ok, it was the National Enquirer. But hey, don’t forget they broke the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Then again, I can’t believe the current headline with Cher “Dying and Broke.” Another post-Strawberry solstice upset!
Understandably, the ups and downs (mostly down) seesawing of the recent news has left us exhausted and culturally bankrupt. Even the movie “Independence Day” bombed at the box office. How could they compete with Brexit’s real Independence Day the same weekend? Besides, everyone has now resorted to Netflix viewing. Who actually goes to the movies anymore? Who goes to the mall? Who is spending on what, and why?

This all backs up into last weekend’s loss of beloved New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. At 87 he really left at the best time. He lived his life right to “The End.” In more ways than one. You could say — he died in his bike saddle sailing off to another street shoot in the sky. He also lived the life he loved and created a legacy that now is Instagram and selfies. He said it all and shot it all and adored every moment.
In fact, Bill’s weekly optimistic point of view videos were the only thing I read in the New York Times besides the obituaries. Last Saturday, I finally read about him in the obituary column. He was such a cheerleader for style ... even as the red carpets began to fray and become irrelevant and “Fashion” fell flat — there was always Bill to keep it alive.

Honestly, I never saw what he saw on New York City streets. I tried. I would look on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, and all I saw were homeless-looking people and terrorist look alikes in black sneakers and backpacks. Sure, there were some “show boats” and Bill got them all. But of late — street fashion is flailing and “show boats” now look like everyone’s favorite transvestite. Again ... our times have seriously changed. Fashion is not fun. It’s kinda over.
But Bill continued — although his last installment I found myself “swiping” through and his voice sounded frail. It all felt stale even though Bill gave it his all. He was a “Street Fighter” and nobody looked more the war correspondent than Bill.
This week everyone has expressed their love for Cunningham — his grace, sweetness, his endurance. He lived to see his own acclaim in awards and a popular documentary. It might have gotten in his way as people started to dress up and seek him out to be photographed. Even Vogue editor Anna Wintor admitted, “We all dressed for Bill.” She will have to find another reason to get dressed. I think Bill’s coverage of New York Fashion Week was what made that happen at all. Fashion Week has long lost all meaning. Even his pictures of charity parties started to appear old. Except a picture of him at the parties which he hated as he wanted to remain invisible. Now he is — but his memory really lingers on!
I think Bill Cunningham’s death (and maybe Brexit) signifies the immediate end of a lot. As the Buddhists say — there is nothing more constant than change.

After this Strawberry Moon shake-up — I think we all have to fasten our seatbelts and cinch in our elastic waists — a bumpy ride is assured. And what you are wearing is the least of your problem.
Click here for NYSD Contents