Angela Bocage

A great haircut…without going to Manhattan?!

I miss Mudhoney, the tiny shop on Prince Street in Manhattan: it was there I first chopped off my long blonde locks last June and have never regretted it for a moment, my new style was so pretty and so universally complimented. Besides the talent of their staff, they also had a super pleasant environment, with loud punky music and funky/artsy decor; I’ve even gone back to Manhattan, from my current home Out in the Country, twice for more haircutting. But given my exhausting day job schedule, less schlepification is always welcome. Thus my delight in finding Becky, at American Mortals (see the link) on Walnut Street in Philadelphia. With a (very) short haircut, more maintenance rather than less is required–more maintenance, and a lot more often. I knew as soon as I saw Becky that she was much more compatible than the the weird older lady whose heinous botch-up of my color had caused me to run crying from a salon nearby AM–she has lots of lovely ink and spirited rock and roll style (her favorite bands are even listed on AM’s website). I took extra cards and told her I was going to be recommending her to all my friends…another plus, her workstation, naturally, has the best music!


Laboratoire Remede sunscreen: hold your head high, though it be goopy

Laboratoire Remede is another highly recommended sunscreen, also available at, in light, medium and dark tints. Its silky liquid texture,  I admit, is different from most sunscreens, but if you can get used to shaking it up before use, you get SPF 30, a degree of coverage from fairly sheer to medium, a nice non-drying smoothness, and a mild degree of mattification. It’s not inexpensive, but hardly exorbitant. I consider it a much better value than drugstore brands because it’s highly effective against sun damage, doesn’t make your eyes miserable if you exercise reasonable care, and  its oil-free formula won’t give you breakouts to deal with later. I’ve actually come to like the goopy texture, finding it sensually similar to heavy dairy cream. So far have only used the fair and the medium tints, though, which correspond to my winter and summer skin, so if you use the dark formula, please let me know how it works for you. When I lived in New York I once had to put some on while waiting on the 14th Street 2-3 platform and some skanky Eurotrash heterosexuals were giving me the fisheye…but one must be brave and resolute in skincare, grasshopper.

“An elephant [pooped] on my Corvette” and other true statements

What can you say that few others can? The headline above is my beloved’s (slightly cleaned up) true statement–she’d absentmindedly parked said vehicle on the route of Allentown’s circus parade. Our dear friend Betsy Blandford recently told us one I found so enthralling it’s become my email signature: “I had to ask, ‘why were you pretending to be ponies during the fire drill?'”  Thanks to Marty Stevens, former City on a Hill Press colleague, for cluing me that the answer needed clarifying. Not Zen or mystical, the little girls said, “Because we thought it was a real fire.” Can’t you just see them making the “duhh!” face?

One of mine: last summer a nice salesgirl at the amazing vintage clothing store in Burlington, VT, asked why I was looking for tall white cowboy boots and a tight, spangled turquoise minidress with a fluttery skirt.  “Don’t worry,” she said, “I’ve heard it all.”  “They’re for a baton-twirling routine I’m performing for a funeral tomorrow,”  I answered truthfully. She was very helpful, I found both items, and rocked the funeral to the strains of “Let the Sunshine In” –but she admitted that she had not, in fact, heard that particular true statement before.

What are yours?

Joan Hilty’s art is online and gives goosebumps

Joan Hilty’s such an intelligent cartoonist; I was so glad to Google her today and find her page,, and to find that some of my favorite comics of hers are there…even that one strip that totally gives me goosebumps, The Last Days of May. Of course she’s a talented artist and writer, very funny and original, but it’s the sheer structure and the acute observation in her work that cause the tiny downy hairs on my arms to stand up. 

Murad’s excellent sunscreen

Sunscreen is not optional. Unfortunately, many sunscreen products either blind you painfully if you sweat (or even glow); cause breakouts; smell like wound dressing; or magically spawn what looks like pencil-eraser detritus when you try to apply foundation or blush over them. It does not help one’s quest to make one’s nacreous spouse wear the stuff when she gets to clear her throat, look grim, and point with sardonic reproach to the huge headlight on her nose after wearing it for just one day! Thus my appreciation for Murad’s Oil-Free Sunblock SPF 15 Sheer Tint is partly for all it isn’t.

On the positive side, its pomegranate-based formula is great for your skin: we know even oily skin needs hydration, which this product provides without any hint of greasiness–it even mattifies a reasonably oily complexion. Its  delicate, fresh scent is pleasant but unobtrusive. While the benefits of pomegranate are still being explored, the lovely results of this stuff may convince you to be part of the Continuing Pomegranate Research cohort. While I still love my Stila, Urban Decay, and other blushes, I don’t want or need foundation when I wear it because of how nice its light, creamy tint looks.  

My only wistful sigh: when I remember this product is only SPF 15. Sunscreen at this protection level really needs to be reapplied every two or three hours. As delicious as this one feels on your skin, that isn’t a hardship by any means, I just don’t always remember to do it. 

Robbin’ Robin….

March 17th, at the San Francisco finals of the National Teen Poetry Slam presented by Youthspeaks, a poet did something unprecedented and crazy: after getting scores like 9.2 and 9.4 in the first round for his slash-and-burn Popolitical, and hearing the fierce round of boos from the packed audience in the Masonic Auditorium for the paltry scores, Robin Black spoke directly and defiantly to the panel of judges before his second round offering: “Man, I’m not here for y’all!”

Only then did he throw down The Revelation or the Bullet, a challenge to every human being living in these times. Again the same comparatively low scores, and again the poetry-loving house responded to those scores with outraged screams and boos. And while Robin was thus not one of the five SF poets going on to the next round of the National Slam, he was very, very clear about the message he was there for.

Afterwards, greeted with much more love by members of the audience than he had been by the judges, invited to participate in events, invited to hang out with new poets and poets he’d already heard and respected, and getting his hand grabbed by an elderly lady who told him “those motherfuckers motherfuckin’ robbed you!” Robin isn’t wasting time being mad because he brought the finest rocky road and the judges wanted to taste butter pecan, he’s already going back to the hard work that brought him this far: the high-risk kid with a record, the high-school dropout who chose to teach himself, is taking those next steps he can’t not take, because that’s who he is…not there for the judges, but there for the message, there for the people.

Check out his work at the link on the right, especially Revelation and Popolitical. I looked into this child’s eyes the day he was born and knew he had some kind of amazing gift to give the world, some kind of starry core of fierce compassion and clear vision, and I am proud beyond words that he’s my son.

Perception and theory

Diana Vreeland’s pronouncements that “any set of features can support beauty” and that the only real elegance is of the mind (“the rest comes from it”) made simple sense to me as an artist. The self-portraits of my fellow art students, always seeming to focus on the lineaments of struggle and wear in their young faces; the absolute charisma of the women around me in the punk and lesbian communities of the late ’70s where of all moments conventional notions of beauty were demolished; and my childhood among Southern women who blazed with beauty even free of makeup, with brutally chopped hair, beaten and scarred, confirmed it with such naturalness. Of course my studies in various media of the faces of those who fascinated me was further evidence–what to debutante DV may have been calculated defense against her mother’s excoriation of young Diana’s “extreme ugliness” was an inherent truth.  

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