I bought the above dress from a Jessica McClintock store at a mall in Glendale for maybe $100 bucks, half of which I'd saved myself by working summers in the principal's office. The dress was deep blue satin with a blue chiffon fish tail in the back (sorry there's no Kodak evidence) and I felt like an old Hollywood movie star all night. I even had "a walk" that our school's principal, Mr. Colfax who was gay, totally noticed.
"Miss Helena, you better work," he whispered in a very non-creepy way as I sashayed to the dance floor to do the Tootsie Roll or the Macarena. He nudged the office manager sitting at the chaperone's table next to him. "Her whole attitude's changed! She's giving me Billy Holiday." Sidenote, Mr. Colfax was also a choreographer who gave me my first solo in an epic lyrical interpretation of the Commodores.
So despite not winning prom queen and the fact that my date had a girlfriend who went to another school, on the same night I held on to my virginity, my love for old school glamour was ignited by a short black gay man and a Jodeci slow jam.
To that end, I spend a lot of my free time in thrift stores trying to stoke the eternal flame that is my love affair with sexy second hand. And that's how I came across this bad boy.
Did I NEED this dress? Some might say, "no." I already had an outfit planned for the opening night at the Kennedy Center. But when life gives you glitzy brocade you make effing lemonade, people. Same thing happened when I found this dress at another pre-owned clothing store.
This was an actual floor-length prom dress I copped for SIXTY dollars about two years ago. I had a designer friend chop it off at the knee, fix the boobs because women apparently had very high tatas in the 60s, and cinch the middle a little bit. I wore this dress to my book signing last summer and have considered getting it framed ever since. Just so I can look at it every morning as opposed to keeping it locked away in the dark prison that is my non-walk in closet.
How does any of this prom nostalgic rambling bring me to "Smash," my new favorite musi-com-dram about the sopranos and altos of life on Broadway? It's all about the sparkle, folks.
The glitz, the glam, that big number that brings down the house. I'm the kind of girl who thinks life should be lived out loud. That you should bust into your house after a hard day's night (how does that make sense?) sanging! That dressing for a part gets you the part. And that spending an hour watching heart-warming musical numbers is time well spent escaping to the land of make believe Mr. Rogers was always so fond of.
"Smash" is like my life's philosophy formatted by the FBI to fit your screen -- dress the part and the part will come.
Take small town Iowa actress-turned-waitress Karen, who's trying to make her way in big bad Manhattan with a "light" resume and parents who don't get it. Then there's Broadway ensemble vet Ivy is trying to break out and be star with her own spotlight. It's all very "Devil Wears Prada" and "Ugly Betty" with maybe a little "Funny Girl" thrown in. Need I go on?
People (and by people I mean nobody) are calling "Smash" "Glee for grown ups" and maybe you think that's a bad thing. Let me assure you, it is not. I, for one, love Glee (though not so much this season) because it's a glittery version of what those sometimes horrendous four years of high school can be like. Something tells me "Smash" will do the same thing for "following your dreams" which is exactly how I like my TV and my occassional prom nights out -- overproduced and packed with one-liners.
So tonight the plan is to sashay chante my way into the Kennedy Center with a song in my heart, probably "Don't Rain on My Parade," and a smile on my lips because in the end life is friggin' sweet sometimes. Why not celebrate it?