Sep 282009
 

Roman-Polanski1Picture this: A 40-something dude dopes a 13-year-old girl with quaaludes then rapes her vaginally, orally and anally then flees the country to escape prison. Given, for three decades, Roman Polanski fastidiously avoided traveling to the US (the country which would arrest him) as well as the UK (and other places that might extradite him) — it appears, surely, he  worried he’d eventually get caught. Such was the case this weekend when he was finally arrested.

If you’ve been to Funky Brown Chick before, you know about Manly Mondays–weekly nods to men, masculine topics and other testosteronely bits. Also, if you’ve hung around here a while (and/or know me personally), you’re familiar with my love of film and you’re likely aware I used to work international affairs before moving to New York and pursuing a career that fed my passion for the written word. So, naturally, what better Manly Monday pick could I write about today than what Esquire magazine calls a “30-year-old case, on sex, justice, and the American way.” So, here we go …

It seems no one doubts Roman Polanski has had an incredibly unfair share of misfortune. A Jew having escaped wartime Kraków ghettos only to learn his mother would later perish in Auschwitz, his childhood wasn’t without horrors. He could’ve been a tortured soul when he came to the U.S. as adult and directed his first film, the occult flick Rosemary’s Baby. (I rented it ages ago and loved it. My reaction to it was similar to my impressions of reading Stephen King: “I’m probably taking in the product of a brilliant, albeit possibly disturbed, mind.”) In any case, Polanski’s misfortunes likely might’ve seemed to diminish as he career took off and he married the beautiful Sharon Tate. Nineteen months after the wedding, on August 8, 1969, his 8-1/2 month pregnant wife, Tate, was brutally murdered by Charles Manson’s gang. They weren’t targeting her. Out for blood, it was just dumb luck she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Almost full term, her killer testified she got “sick of listening to her, pleading and begging, begging and pleading” to give birth to Polanski’s child before they took her life. Upon hearing the news of his bride and only baby’s death, I can only imagine Polanski must’ve felt cursed. What did he do to deserve such horrible fate? Sadly, the answer is probably: absolutely nothing. Life, unfortunately, isn’t fair.

Enter the rape of 13-year-old kid, Samantha Gailey. I’ve neither heard nor read anything that suggests he’s innocent. Gailey (now Geimer) testified he did it, and Polanski admitted his guilt. Having said all that, after watching confessions & testimonies contained in the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted & Desired*, I get the impression no one believes Judge Rittenband gave Polanski a fair trial. Reporting for the Washington Post, critic Tom Shales has said, Rittenband’s “bungling of the case was so outrageous.” Of Polanski’s recent arrest, French Minister of Culture and Communication Frédéric Mitterrand commented he “strongly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already experienced so many of them.” Indeed. Although justice should be blind, I’m often sympathetic when people who — through no fault of their own — are unfairly burdened with extra heapings of the shittiest of life’s (mis)fortunes. They deserve a break. Though, the key phrase there is through no fault of their own. He pleaded guilty to raping a child, and life has its odd synchronicities. Quoting The Guardian: “Just as 13-year-old Samantha Gailey was unfortunate enough to run up against Polanski in horny, Austin Powers mode, so Polanski was unlucky to be then dragged before Rittenband.”

“So,” several friends have recently asked, “what do you think about this Polanski stuff?” I’m neither or judge nor a lawyer, so I’ll refrain from speculating about the legal technicalities of the case. I only know what I’ve seen in the press — which, of course, is not without its flaws. So, I guess my final answer isn’t resolute at all. I don’t know what to think of it yet because I’m still turning it around in my head. The incidents are truly unfortunate–for everyone involved. That said — whether you’re a bystander reading the news, a survivor of teen sexual abuse, someone with children of your own, a film buff who thinks Polanski got a raw deal, or whatever — I want to hear from you. As I’ve said many times, the world is most interesting when people respectfully disagree. Feel free to use the comments section below to do so.

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Psst! I highly recommend the documentary. It’s available (FREE!) streaming online to Netflix members. Click Roman Polanski: Wanted & Desired.

Sep 262009
 

I’ve been running around like crazy this week and I haven’t posted as much as I’d like to. It’s the city. It’s fast, maddening, weird, fun, exciting and heartbreaking. I’ll be more active on the blog next week. In the meantime … As I mentioned last week, this year’s remaining Saturdays on Funky Brown Chick are dedicated to highlighting your favorite posts. I often forget new people stumble on the site and/or some of the longterm readers may have missed random older stuff. I have nearly 5 years and more than 900+ entries uploaded, and I neatly file everything in categories. Last Saturday’s post linked to readers favorites from the “Dating and Mating” section. Today, in case you missed it, below are a few reader favorite “New York” posts:

Sex & The Blog

In Pictures: Tuesday, November 4, 2008. (Psst! When you vote in New York, you get free condoms.)

Happy New Year, I’m Starting Over!

Greetings from The Empire State!

How To Kiss A Boy and/or a Girl

First Annual Man-Pageant

“A Guide to Embracing Life as a Single …”

Do You Give Good Sexyface?

Interracial Dating: The Brown Chick Who Sometimes Dates White Dudes

And, because I like it and it’s relevant, here’s the MTV VMA clip from native New Yorkers Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ performance of Empire State of Mind. As a native Midwesterner who moved to the city nearly five years ago, my favorite line from song is: “New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of. There’s nothin’ you can’t do out of New York. These streets will make you feel brand new. Big lights will inspire you.” So true.

Sep 202009
 

Ah, there’s nothing quite like watching a drunken dude in lederhosen sing Elvis tunes in German. After the 52nd Annual German-American Steuben Parade, I spent Saturday morning w/ Sherri and Kathrin in Central Park for Oktoberfest. Once finished, NYCITYMAMA joined us for dinner and dancing. If you live in New York and you like German culture, food, men or whatever, be sure to check out http://www.germanyinnyc.org/. Shout out and THANK YOU to Kathrin for photos from the day’s events.

Oktoberfest in Central Park

Bundesrepublik Deutschland

See more pictures.

Sep 202009
 

I’ve had this blog for nearly more than 4 years, and I’ve written approximately 900 original posts. If you started reading me more recently, you might’ve missed some of the older stuff. So, for the remaining Saturdays of the year, I’ll throw up a post that simply links reader favorites by category. First one up: “Dating and Mating.” Posts about sexuality, my dates, gender relationships and other stuff are files in this group. Here are some of the posts you guys liked best in 2008:

Sep 172009
 

Notebook wih spiral and red coverAlmost finished. I stayed up past 3:00am working on my book last night. It’s been a while since I’ve given you guys an update and a few of you have emailed me to ask about it. Instead of writing everyone back individually (I suck at email!), here’s the status update … As many of you know, I’m finishing a memoir. I completed the first full draft earlier this year and I’ve been editing it over the past several months. At present, it’s 283 pages long and divided into 13 chapters, though it’s likely to get shorter or longer in these final months of revisions. I’ve been approached by agents and a publishing house, but I’ve decided to not sign with anyone until I have a finished product. This is my first book. So, in these early stages, it’s nice to take as long as I need to learn, grow, figure things out and finish it — without the added stress of looming deadlines from editors. That will come later :) In the meantime, when my schedule permits, I attend writing groups to vet my title ideas, have a second pair of eyes look at my pages and simply commiserate with other writers who truly “get” what publishing is all about. I feel really fortunate mentors, friends and others I respect have written successful books of their own; I’m grateful for their guidance. Many have offered to read my book, give feedback and/or let me what to expect throughout this whole process.

As I mentioned earlier, my next step is to finish editing my book. I’m in the final stretch, and I don’t think it will take longer than the end of the year. After that, I’ll talk to colleagues as well as conduct my own research to find out which agent would be a good fit for this particular project. I’ve been given a few names. And, when the appropriate time comes, I’ll make contact. Once I’ve linked up with a good agent, they’ll likely suggest additional edits before approach publishing housing with my book. When/if the publisher buys it, they’ll likely request more revisions before they print it. Once that and a few other items are completed, the book will be printed and readily available for purchase on shelves and online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s and elsewhere. I’ll keep you posted. If you have any particular question, comments or specific questions, feel free to leave it in the comments section.

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Image by: Ivan Prole

Sep 152009
 

Come home with me. Peek inside my bedroom, kitchen / dining area, bathroom and living room. It’s tiny, right? I could get a larger place for cheaper rent in the Bronx or Jersey. But, I’m a single woman who goes out a lot and often doesn’t stumble home until well after 1:00am. Manhattan feels convenient and safe. Of course, the choice to live here comes at a cost — literally and figuratively speaking.

IMG_0693

My humble abode is approximately 459 square feet. A walkup, I march up what feels like 2,147 stairs to get there. And, it’s a super quiet building, so everyone hears everything. (I pump the volume on my iTunes when I masturbate so my neighbors won’t know. I also tiptoe when I come home late at night because I don’t want to wake anyone.) Because there are no interior walls, when I’m not sleeping, from my bed I have a clear view of my couch, toilet, kitchen chairs and stove. Having said all of that, for me, I still think the place is actually worth the high rent. It’s clean, safe and smack in the middle of a really cute, tree-lined neighborhood. Plus, I’m only inches away from Central Park. What’s more? I’m filling my counters, drawers and open spaces with a few of my favorite things. Like an original Beatles Album I scored ages ago and fun stuff that reminds me of home. New York, similar to life in general, is about compromise. Liking where I live is about learning to be at peace with what I have and what I don’t. Actually, I highly recommend Apartment Therapy as a really helpful resource in this respect. Their mission:

We believe a calm, healthy, beautiful home is a necessary foundation for happiness and success in the world. Creating this home doesn’t require large amounts of money or space. It requires inspiration, connection to resources and motivation to do something about it. The basic elements of good home design can be learned and achieved by all. Simplicity and luxury are not mutually exclusive.

Great, right? Speaking of New York apartments and stuff, I just plopped down $25 to go to a “Live the Life You Love” panel at Saks Fifth Avenue tonight. (I can walk there! Yet another reason I love my place.) I heard about tonight’s event because it’s sponsored by the group that hooked me up with that hiking trip, Single Edition. The panel discussion will supposedly tell me how to maintain a financially secure household as a single person. I can always use more information about that! I’ll let you know how it goes.

By the way, the pictures above and others on Flickr are “before” images taken three months ago. I’ve made quite a bit of progress, so I’ll post “after” pictures in the weeks and months ahead. I’m still working on my place. So, if you know any other resources for setting up small apartments, please use the comments section below to share!! :)