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Bey Drops Super Secret Surprise Album

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The fact that she was able to keep this massive album complete with videos for every song a secret is simply proof positive that Beyonce is Queen of the Universe. Not one of the hundreds of people who were involved in the production of this Christmas present to her fans uttered so much as a peep.

When I woke up on Friday morning and saw that Twitter had exploded into a ball of flames in the night, I thought Well played, Bey. Well played.

To see and hear, you need to go to iTunes but here’s a little something to whet your whistle. Damn, she’s good.

Hullooo From the Bottom of a Crevasse!

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Were you worried I had fallen into an ice crevasse? So was I. In truth, I was busy recovering from two holidays in one week. Do Mardi Gras and Valentines Day always partner up like that? That’s a lot of love (and food and booze and feathers) for one week. But who am I to complain?

Then I fell into a NY Times wormhole and was compelled to spend any free time I could scrounge up reading about the talented, mercurial and swaggerific Frank Ocean and then the lovely, earthy, younger-man-dating-like-it-ain’t-no-big-thang Connie Britton and then the cool as a cucumber, who-knew-she-was-the-ugly-duckling-of-the-family-I-simply-don’t-believe-it, Lee Radziwill. Excellent, dishy reads – all of them.

And then, THWACK. It was the sound of Vogue hitting my doorstep and well, have you seen the cover? Now you have. Beyonce’s dress is beyond gorgeous and I spent way too long staring at it trying to decide if it harkened bird, fish or some kick-ass albino beast in-between the two. It’s tremendous.

And I haven’t even looked inside OR seen her documentary, have you? I may be stuck in this crevasse a bit longer.

Send wine, fur and salami, s’il vous plait.

Photo credit: Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue

Cover Up, Or Else . . .

PINK-GRAMMYS

CBS’ Standards and Practice Committee has sent a “wardrobe advisory” to all the Grammy Awards attendees basically banning butt cracks, underboob, bare sides, sheer fabric and “female breast nipples”. Oh, and also the “puffy bare skin” of the genital region. WHAT is that?

Strange syntax aside, I think this is puritanical and lame. It’s the GRAMMYS!!!

I know I rail against our over-sexualized society where girls are getting the message that looks and sex are all that matter, but I don’t think the answer is to sartorially censor our artists and outliers. We just need to be throwing more love and attention to the brainy and the brave, so the whole panoply of self expression is on display.

If music people aren’t allowed to do it, who is left to push the boundaries of fashion and good taste, to toe the line of propriety and social mores, to challenge our understanding of sexuality, gender, art and swagger?

This smacks of nuns with rulers measuring the lengths of kilts and I don’t like it one bit.

Which is not to say that I won’t be watching in my sheer butt crack, underboob, female breast nipple revealing ensemble. You know, out of solidarity.

As always, I’ll be live-tweeting @specbitch. Grab your vino blanco and join in the fun.

Photo credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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First Woman to Officiate in NFL Game

Yesterday one more gender barrier was shattered when Shannon Eastin became the first woman to officiate an NFL regular season game.

She tucked her ponytail into her hat and line judged the Rams-Lions game in Detroit. Of course it was fine and naturally devoid of much brouhaha, but here at SB, we’d like to give her a little brouhaha. Because she deserves it.

Brou! Ha! Ha! Claps! Confetti!

Great job, Shannon! And go ahead and let that ponytail fly if you feel like it, sister.

More Confetti! Wooh Hoo!!!

xo,
SB

Photo credit: Rod Mar/AP

Pussy Riot Gets Two Years

Pussy Riot Inspired Russian Nesting Dolls
Pussy Riot Inspired Russian Nesting Dolls

Incredibly, or maybe not so incredibly, the three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years each in a Russian prison camp for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. Two of them have children, whom they haven’t seen since they were arrested this past spring.

This seems awfully harsh. Their display was more silly than anything, if you ask me. So some babushkas got a little flustered during their morning prayers. Two years?

Stay strong, ladies.

Via Dangerous Minds

Free Pussy Riot

Pussy-Riot

Photo credit: Anna Artemeva/AFP/Getty Images

Russian female punk band, Pussy Riot, is being detained for a protest performance they busted out in Moscow’s cathedral this past February. The charges are hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, but really they were protesting against Putin and making a statement about the separation of church and state. They just happened to do it in brightly colored ski masks and mini dresses on the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.

The three women have been in jail for five months and the trial has been a joke, complete with a disinterested judge and a savage Rottweiler, who strangely, gets to hang out in the courtroom frothing and snarling. There are allegations that the girls are being deprived of food and proper sleep, and other musicians, including Pete Townsend, Anthony Kiedis, Sting, Patty Smith and Alex Kapranos have come out in support of the group, demanding their freedom. They face a possible seven year sentence and a decision is expected this week!

Egads! What a nail biter!

Stay strong girls. And Putin, don’t be an asshole. Free Pussy Riot.

Pussy Riot encased in glass for the trial.

Photo credit: RIA Novosti Andrey Stenin

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Not a Fan: Telling Women Tennis Players to Hush

The Women’s Tennis Association announced that they are working with the Grand Slam tournaments and the International Tennis Federation to do something about the grunting and screaming in women’s tennis.

According to the WTA, “some fans find it bothersome.”

Here’s a thought: Stay home and watch the game on mute if you don’t like the sound of elite women athletes exerting themselves.

No one does this on purpose. And no one is unaware that they do this. It is simply that in the moment, when the stakes and level of play are that high, these athletes have more to worry about than how they sound to the guy sitting in row 19.

The WTA is developing a device that will help umpires determine when a shriek is too loud. And then what? Point to the other player?

This is insane. And insulting.

Beyoncé Tumbles

beyonceandjayz

Well, not really. More like Beyoncé tumblrs. My iPhone burst into a mad hot ball of flames last Friday with all the brouhaha on twitter about Beyonce’s new tumblr.

She seemingly birthed it as easily breezily as she birthed that wee Blue Ivy – and it’s voyeuristic eye-candy to the max. The stream is basically lots of beach pics, yacht pics and Beyoncé looking fabulous pics. You know, a day in the life.

What I want to know is – who follows her around snapping pictures all day long? Could it possibly be Jay Z? Nah. Still, lucky Bey.

Photo credit: Beyoncé’s tumblr

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The Evolution of the Bra

Robin Givhan’s piece about the bra’s big moments in history in Newsweek’s Mad Men issue is a good read. It’s not entirely surprising that such a slip of a thing, an unmentionable, an undergarment would become such a politicizing and polarizing symbol.

It may be hidden, but it’s the article of clothing a woman feels the most – around her ribs, over her shoulders, across her beating heart – where big breaths and loud roars originate, where selfhood and passions reside.

It sort of gives new meaning to the lyrics: when you love somebody, set them free.

Not that I’m advocating any sort of bralessness lawlessness. If the girls need support, you give it.

But if they don’t, well, you know what to do.

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Message for the MPD of the District of Columbia

Eeek! George Clooney was arrested outside of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington for protesting Sudan’s blockage of food and aid to its starving citizenry.

Here’s a message for the D.C. Police from the SB:

1. Watch the face!

2. What’s with those cheap plastic cable ties? Would it have killed you to use a proper pair of handcuffs on George?

Photo credit: Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

James Franco to Play Robert Mapplethorpe

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Heads up, people! The adorable, chameleonic James Franco will be playing Robert Mapplethorpe in an upcoming biopic, directed by documentary filmmaker, Ondi Timoner.

I must admit I knew little of Mapplethorpe (outside of the brouhaha), until I read Just Kids, a memoir by Patti Smith, who is, incidentally, a Spectacular Bitch of the Tomboy variety. Mapplethorpe was one tortured dude, with a heart of gold and an insatiable need to create; it was as if his very life depended on it. Should be gooooooood.

And check out this short film by the NYTimes of James Franco kissing himself if you wish to be amused. And maybe a little turned on.

Fabrizio Constantini for The NYTIMES
Fabrizio Constantini for The NYTIMES

Helping Motown’s Homeless

Here’s a little something from The New York Times to warm your cockles.

Fashion and design students in Detroit are using their talents and energy to create products that will help the swelling homeless population by both keeping them warm and giving them jobs.

Veronica Scott, a student from the College of Creative Studies, designed a brilliant parka that turns into a sleeping bag. She now has a factory in an abandoned warehouse in Detroit and industrial sewing machines thanks to Deaborn-based, work-clothing manufacturer Carhartt, Inc.

Others are making shoes out of old tires and survival bags that can be turned into waterproof boots. I’m so impressed.

And they say fashion-types are craven . . .

A Moment for Marie Colvin

Getty Images
Getty Images

I’d like to pay my respects to Marie Colvin, 56 year old war correspondent who was killed yesterday in Homs, Syria. A woman who believed in using words to flay open the truth, she was breathtakingly courageous and chose to bear witness from the front lines over and over, notwithstanding the danger.

She lost an eye in Sri Lanka during the bloody conflict between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government and thereafter was always seen wearing a black patch over her left eye. The commitment, and frankly, the balls that defined her work and her life are mind-blowing. And that eye patch – it’s the ultimate I don’t give a fuck, I’ve got more important things to worry about accessory.

So bad ass. So chic.