"More Than Love: An Intimate Portrait of My Mother, Natalie Wood"
The first thing I did in this New Year was read the latest book about Natalie Wood, authored by her daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner. I didn't know that much about her daughter going into reading this book; I just knew she had been in some movies in the '90s (the most notable of these being "Lost Highway," "Two Girls and a Guy," and "High Fidelity.") Note: I always confused "Two Girls and a Guy" with the TV show about a pizza place.
Now, for some context, I've voraciously read everything about Natalie Wood I could get my hands on since I was a kid. She's always fascinated me. I guess she was my childhood idol, which is kind of odd when you consider how I am not the most gender-conforming of women, but there was something about her I just found so compelling. Hard to put into words, really. But if you watch "West Side Story," "Splendor in the Grass," "Rebel Without a Cause," or even my childhood fave "Marjorie Morningstar" - I think you'll get it.
Now there are no shortage of books, documentaries, or TV specials devoted to Wood - specifically the night of her death. And at this point, nearly 40 years after that fateful night, I think the public needs to collectively accept we'll never know the full details. This book by Wagner takes the stance that Robert Wagner is innocent, and that's certainly a possibility that shouldn't be discounted at all. So much speculation says otherwise, but this isn't really something we'll probably ever know the full truth of - but if Wagner says her Dad is innocent, I would probably give her some credence with that.
I didn't really expect the book to be so much about Gregson Wagner, something I was a little caught off by at first, but quickly found it her sharing her unique take on her legendary mother's work and life, and how it would influence her. Plus, she also shows how grief can really affect a family, from bringing out the worst in people to leading to self-medicating to numb the pain. Trust me, I lost a parent on the younger side, too. I can relate.
I finished "More Than Love" in one night. I was recently kicked off Facebook (LOL, don't even ask me what I did, I've no clue) so my focus has been a bit better than it would be otherwise. Plus, I had the time, might as well read. The book proved to be hard for me to put down just in general - I can't speak for everyone though, as I'm sure not everyone out there has been interested in the life and films of Natalie Wood since they were like, 9.
Yes, two years ago before I went to Finland, I asked a friend to drop me off at the Westwood Village Cemetery in Los Angeles and got to finally see Natalie's grave. I don't normally go out of my way to pay respects to celebrities, but this was something I had wanted to do for a long, long time. I ended up bonding with a couple who were searching for Bettie Page's grave, because neither of us could find our respective celebrity's graves. Until we were across the lawn from each other and I heard screaming "I FOUND HER GRAVE BRITT." Then I sat there for a while in front of the grave, and the flower and penny you see in this pic are from me.
When I came to the end of "More Than Love" - I found myself very sad for the daughters, but also happy that by the end of the book their lives seem to have found their way. And I felt somewhat better about Robert "RJ" Wagner, because the way he's portrayed in the book is very endearing. As someone who has read nearly every Natalie Wood book known to man, this one is certainly special. And for someone who is like, "how could it not be, though? Her own kid wrote it" - I don't know man, but trust me, I've read some TERRIBLE celebrity biographies and this is not one of them.
In other news, I did watch the documentary that accompanied this book last year, which was sweet - and a necessary companion piece to this project.
If there's anything people take away from my piss-poor legacy, I hope it's what a huge, unabashed fan of "Emily in Paris" I am and will continue to be. People love "90 Day Fiancee," "The Bachelor," and other garbage - allow me "Emily," which is at least harmless, kind of goofy fluff (which does, unfortunately, lean into some stereotypes, as the country of Ukraine knows ). I have already watched Season 2 twice. And honestly my favorite part of this show (despite my crush on Camille Razart and Lily Collins channeling Audrey Hepburn hardcore ) is Ashley Park. This woman has superstar written all over her. She's a bona fide Broadway star, and "Emily in Paris" has served as her pivot into the zeitgeist. "Emily in Paris" is also showcasing her vocal prowess front and center this season, with her covering BTS, "All By Myself," "Sympathtique," and Marilyn Monroe. But the real standout performance is th
Here's a nice breezy, almost sensual song from AM Higgins (the solo project of musician Annie Toth) to start your Tuesday off right. Her debut album "Hymning" will be out November 5th on Victorialand Records. The album was mixed by Casey Foubert, a frequent collaborator of Sufjan Stevens. The album "captures the first years of moving from an American city to rural France." Sounds like "Hymning" will be a welcome escape from the world we live in right now, especially considering that Annie Toth counts poets Mary Oliver and Thomas Merton as influences.
It's truly the little things in life that make a world of difference. And for me, that means my summer playlist! Behold, I have put together 2022's edition. It includes cuts from artists like: - Mitski - Uffie - Johnny Orlando - Kylie Minogue + Jessie Ware - Florence and the Machine (who put out a fantastic album this year after a long dry spell of kind of "meh" records. Her pairing with Jack Antonoff worked out quite well!) - Bilal - Harry Styles (he has some catchy music!) - KATE BUSH DUH - And of course, Lana. It's also available on Apple Music, but since I recognize a lot of folks use Spotify, here's that link. Enjoy!
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