Category Archives: milania

Fashion Week Begins

And what will she do with Thursday's rags when Monday comes around ?

The fashion week party, or rather, pre-party drink like one of those early punk shows I went to when I was a boy: you feel you have total freedom to do whatever because everyone is doing anything. A man is a fluorescent toga-like dress with his whole head shaved except for a little random-seeming tuft on the side with a long lock sticking out of it attracts no attention, and his example was only the most egregious. There were weird Americans with platinum hair and bangs eating cherries that the bartender popped into their waiting open mouths, strange Milanesi discussing the best clubs in (actually outside) the city in English to each other and telling me the ones in town were filled with ‘rednecks, politicians and mafiosi,’ a hyper-active, hyper-competent bartender who fulfilled my request for ‘un negroni – FORTE,’ Germans dressed for a soccer game, and a tortured electronic version of ‘Killing an Arab’ blasting from the DJ booth. As I was waiting for my drink, which was suitably strong, one thought went through my head:  “Men from Kentucky and Italy are dying in Afghanistan to preserve this way of life.” I didn’t see the picture of Hemingway hanging up on the wall which, until I got there, was the only thing I knew about the place.

In the middle of the throng on the street was our humble little Meet-Up group of mainly Italians looking to practice English: the mag ed dapper in his blazer, drinking a beer from a bottle and wondering why he didn’t check that it was fashion week before, and above us, the mass of the Duomo, stained glass ablaze for the third time this year, watching over us all, the gold eye of the Madonnina peering down to via san Raffaele of a Thursday night in September.

Weekly digest: more Berlusca, the seriousness of ‘bunga-bunga’, more rain, and more Republicans

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday

It’s been awhile and no updates. Yet, in the US we’ve had the midterms, which happened pretty much as predicted, and here in Italy Berlusconi again dominates the headlines with another sex scandal. At this point I’m so fatigued by his scandals that I’m withholding comment until I figure out just how much of a survivor he is. Needless to say it’s hard for me to imagine a gulf of power any greater than that between the Prime Minister of a G7 nation and an undocumented 17-year old immigrant. It remaines whether Italians will let this distract them from the many economic and domestic crises that threaten the bel paese or whether this will galvanize them into action. Of course my weariness is probably not atypical.  American writers often assume that the next scandal will be the last straw —  wouldn’t it be at home? — but only a few seem to understand the lack of clear alternatives and the cynicism that has permeated Italian politics for the last twenty years.  British writers, however, often do.  The Telegraph has all you really need to know to understand the events of the last week.   And if reading an Anglo-Saxon male writing about the Italian politics seems odd to you, then the Guardian weighs in as well with the powerful voice of Maria Laura Rodotà of the Corriere.

As a side note, I’m thrilled to hear that the unctuous Lele Mora is under investigation.  No one who has seen the scenes in Videocracy in which Mora, puffy and dressed all in white, in an all-white room in an all-white house, celebrates Mussolini with a fascist cellphone ringtone and introduces his young musclebound brainless tronisti proteges, would disagree.

Of course, as a longtime Italian-observing friend of mine quipped, if Berlusca had sprung for the quick release of a Moroccan man from jail, then his popularity might really flag. But the PM is hasty to admit that hey, at least he didn’t do that.  His exhortation that loving “pretty girls [is] better than being gay!” got the headlines and got people out to protest as well.  And produced a spew of plays on words: “better gay than Berlusconi,” “better gay than fake daddy” (playing on the nickname that the previous sex scandalizer Noemi had for the PM).

On the upside for happenings meneghine, I was pleased to see on a recent walk down via Manzoni that La Scala is doing Lulu this season. Now how can I get to it?

And in happenings Venete… wear your rainboots, avoid back roads, and keep your livestock on high ground.  Rural areas experienced terrible flooding this week, not as far south as Rovigo, but around Padova and Vincenza.  Bertolaso, seeming to be in both Naples and the Veneto at the same time, is on the scene.

The Bird is the Most Popular Finger

Giving or receiving?

Riding my bike home from work I decided to go through Piazza Affari to check out the Borsa. I was left gape-mouthed by a gigantic middle finger. I wasn’t sure if it was an accident or not. It’s not. By Cattelan, and mild by his standards — recall the infamous Hitler piece of a few years ago, and his hanging children. I’m all for eye-turning pulbic art, but one must wonder — who’s getting the gesture here, and who is giving it? Or is that the tantalizing ambiguity? I’ll ponder…