Saturday, April 07, 2007

Robin Redbreast Convention

Robin Redbreast Convention
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
I was coming home this afternoon after doing errands and saw about thirty of these dudes on the front lawn, very industrious, obviously having a very important gathering.

They're all over the backyard, too -- probably fifty of them. Have you seen the way these guys move around, all stiff-necked, very uptight and professional? They all look like they should be carrying little clipboards. But they are VERY HANDSOME. And they expect to be treated VERY SERIOUSLY.

I love them. They cut quite a figure and it will be a delight to watch them out the window as I work on the Easter service.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Discontinued Make Up

Darlings, I know we all have more holy work to do than this today, but I wanted to alert you to the fact that two products I love and recommend frequently are being discontinued by the dastardly villains at CoverGirl.

They are Remarkable Washable Waterproof Mascara
Outlast All Day Lip Color!! (As any faithful reader of this blog knows, I wear this lip color in Blush Pearl as my base color just about every blessed day of my life)

(sounds of moaning, wailing, gnashing of teeth)

I have gone to and stocked up on both products, which should last me for about two years until I find decent alternatives.

Now, get thee to church.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

I'm Not a Plastic Bag

I'm Not a Plastic Bag
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.

Brit actress Keira Knightley was recently spotted carrying this bag. It is apparently All The Rage, because it's sold out. It costs five British pounds, and no, I can't get one for you.

Rather cute statement, though, and lovely to put your daily baguette and frommage in. Oh sorry. For a moment there I thought I was in Paris.

::stares off into space dreaming of Paris, except for that really tough climb up the back stairs to Monmartre::::


Olive You So Much

Olive You So Much
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.

Here's the thing, bun-buns:
wearing all one color is kind of geriatric.

I know that these crinkly rayon outfits are super comfy and convenient, kind of like the grown-up lady version of Garanimals ("I don't have to think about matching! They did it for me!"), but unless you're gorgeously made up with great hair, nails and accessories (or you're a model like this gal here), there's a VERY good chance that this outfit is going to look old-ladyish, and not like a cool elder babe in the ministry, but just ... old-ladyish. PeaceBang doesn't know about you, but she'll get all eccentric and wear a turban and a feather boa in her later years, God as her witness, before she'll let herself get old-ladyish.

It's lovely to dress head-to-toe in one lovely, elegant color scheme. All shades of ivory and white, mixing textures and tones: great. Charcoal gray with dove gray, moving the eye up and down the body in one beautiful line: wunderbar. But the color has to be right. The fabrics have to be rich and sumptuous, not crinkly and comfy. The shoes should be dressed up, bag and scarf and earrings also as elegant as you can make 'em. It's a suave look if you can pull it off.

HOWEVAH: Head to toe pastels are simply never going to be the best option for professional women. Simplamente diga que NO (Just Say NO!") to too much pastels. Try to avoid head-to- toe pink, or powder blue or most greens or yellows. Break up that 25 year-old royal blue suit you've got and don't ever, ever wear the jacket and the pants together. Better yet, give it away. Many of the clothes we bought in the 80's are horribly dated, my friends. If you can't see it, ask a savvy colleague or friend for their honest opinion. Dead giveaways for 80's suits are pleated pants and pegged legs. Ack!

If you're intent on wearing that matching tulip pink top and skirt together, break it up with a black jacket and black pumps if you've got important meetings. Better yet, save the duo for vacation and pair the skirt with a crisp white blouse and neutral blazer for work. Wear the top with dark denim jeans, a cardigan and a great, long set of beads. Something.

Get used to thinking about your wardrobe in separates, which are just much sharper looking than the matchy-matchy cotton outfits we love to pluck off the rack because they're so easy. Have you ever noticed that those comfy cotton outfits are always enormously unflattering? That's because they're extremely unstructured and make everyone look like a big flowy blob. It's not just you, honey. They don't really fit anyone. Ditch them for a week and see how you do with fitted trousers, skirts and blouses. Add a belt. Wear clothing that actually zips. You'll walk straighter, sit up in your chair with more poise and walk with more confidence. If you're over 65, ignore me. You've earned your right to those comfy cotton items.

But I digress. Those of us under 65 should realize that wearing head-to-toe colors that aren't neutral age us like crazy. Our better bet, as I've said before, is to dress in the best quality neutral fabrics we can find (whites and ivories, browns, grays, blues, blacks), and use bold or pastel colors as accents.

We're talking about solids here. We'll get to patterns later. After Easter. I just had a bad flashback to the time a UU woman wore a very loud-patterned kind of beach sarong item while leading worship. I think she thought it was flowy and spiritual looking, but my companion and I sort of thought she might pronounce the benediction and start blending up a pitcher of margaritas. Which wouldn't be a bad thing, necessarily, just not terribly appropriate.

Pass the jellybeans, I've got to get back to my sermon.

Kiss of peace!

xoxo PB


Beauty Tips Is One Year Old This Week! Good Friday Attire

My dear and faithful powder pigeons,

Can you believe that BTFM is one year old this week?

It all started last year when I posted Make-Up For Ministers 101 on my regular blog and my sister said, "You have to start a separate blog for this." And I said, "Oh, don't be ridic. What would I have to say beyond about five posts?"
And she said, "There's tons of stuff to talk about! You'd love it!"
And I said "Nuh UH," and she said, "Yuh-HUH" and you know how it is with pushy big sisters.
She got her way, I came up with the thrillingly original name Beauty Tips For Ministers, and here we ARE.

I'm gearing up for Good Friday and Easter and have decided that I really like the posts I wrote a year ago, so for your reminiscence or fresh enjoyment, may we present from the Archives,!!


Here in New England it's positively freezing, so any bright ideas I had about wearing cute little skirts for church this weekend are just shot to Hell. I may wear trousers for Good Friday services in the city. I won't be robed, I won't be sitting on any kind of dais, it's a very progressive community, and a black trousers-and-blazer combo should suit the occasion quite well.

I may wear a stole although I know my colleagues don't like it and it's not strictly kosher, you should forgive the expression.

I would love to wear a beautiful, fairly big cross I bought in Salt Lake City about 8 years ago, but there's something about wearing a beautiful empty cross on Good Friday that seems not quite appropriate. Too full of grace, too comforting, too triumphant. Maybe I should deny myself the pleasure of wearing the cross until Sunday. Maybe tomorrow should just be unadorned. Or...seriously... pearls?

It's a good thing I did start this blog, chickens, because honestly, where else could you ask that question and not fear getting stoned by a vindictive crowd?

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

On Being Tired And Resurrection: The Show Must Go On

Dearest and cherished readers,

It is rainy and cold again today, and promises to remain that way through Friday.

PeaceBang's spirit is saying, "It's HOLY WEEK! It's JESUS TIME! Get up and dance, girl, proclaim the good news, live the sacred story, bring on the faith and the passion, rejoice!"

And PeaceBang's body is saying, "Do we have to get out of our pajamas? Are you sure we have to get out of our pajamas?"

So the body and the spirit are consulting with one another and making compromises. The body says, "Listen, we did great work last week even though we had a nasty stomach bug -- we showed up for people, we crafted a lovely funeral service for someone we loved and presided at it on Friday, we put pedal to the metal all day Saturday and came up with a really creative Palm Sunday service which we led on Sunday morning with a tremendous amount of energy and engagement. PLUS, we got all dressed up several times last week, with hair and make-up and everything, when we really didn't even want to get out of bed and couldn't digest anything. How 'bout some COMBAT PAY, here?"

And the spirit says, "I hear you. I totally hear you. You are terrific, you're awesome, you rock. Thank you. But really, this is HOLY WEEK and I can't give you a break quite yet. Please please PLEASE could you come through for me again? And then in late June we can just totally collapse?"

The body says, "LATE JUNE? Are you NUTS? JUNE!? Tell you what, spirit. You go find me a good Minister's Wife to take care of all the things that need doing around here, like cooking, laundry, cleaning, errands and keeping up personal relationships with family and such, and we can talk about my taking off time in JUNE."

Spirit: "I'll talk to my people and we'll see what we can do."

Can I get a witness, pastors? Did Paul not know what he was talking about when he said that the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak? It's one thing when our mood matches our physical weariness -- when we're grumpy and cranky, and the body feels like a big leaden lump we're dragging around with us.
But when our spirit is up and full of good mojo, brimming over with bright ideas and plans, and the body refuses to get with the program the spirit has laid out...?

What do you do?

PeaceBang has made a decision. Having given the body lots of rest yesterday, she is going to push it a bit today and see how it does. She is going to get to the gym and gently drag it onto the treadmill and maybe onto the elliptical cross-trainer in the hopes that some blood flowing through the veins may enliven it. She is going to wash and style her hair-- the mere notion of which seems tiring right now -- and put on some lipstick. She may even schedule a massage, and (pagan alert!) do a ritual of strengthening tonight as the full moon begins to wane.

The point is, darlings, there is a time to rest and heal, and a time to say, "Alright now, up and at 'em." There is a time to pray for strength (I did all last week and was abundantly blessed in response) and a time to take the reins ourselves and say, "I can keep slowing down until I stop, or I can kick up my engines a bit, do what I know how to do to increase my energy, and go for it."

PeaceBang comes from the theatre world where we had an old expression that says,"The show must go on." It is no different in religious leadership. Not only must we remain vigilant that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in God's sight, but -- and this PeaceBang's gospel -- we should even have our hair done and our lipstick on and our suits pressed and our smiles authentically in place when we appear in community to do this work.

Yes, it can be exhausting and we can become truly depleted. But darlings, trust me on this one, unless we have a medical condition that prevents us from showing up to do the work of the Lord in the most beautiful condition possible, we should try to do so. Because you know, I know, and God knows that the sense of dignity, self-esteem and other-esteem that comes from being well-turned out is a big part of how we reinvigorate the tired body at the end of winter or any time.

Let me tell you a story, powder pigeons. You may have heard this before.

When PeaceBang was 17 years old, she was the Star Of the School Play,"Bells Are Ringing." On the Tuesday before opening night, she returned home from dress rehearsal to see a lot of cars in her driveway. Full of herself and her incipient stardom, Young PeaceBang thought to herself, "Oh, everyone's coming in early to see the show!" But it was not the case. MotherBang met her at the bottom of the staircase to give her the shattering news that her father had died of a heart attack that afternoon. The cars in the driveway belonged to PeaceBang's uncles, her father's brothers.

That Friday, April 5, 1983, Young PeaceBang arose, dressed in a lovely turquoise blue dress and attended her adored father's funeral at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Westport, Connecticut. After the funeral, she had her hair done by Bobby Cuda at his salon, and at 6:30 that evening she arrived backstage to begin making up for opening night. By 8:00 p.m. she was onstage in the role of the effervescent character Ella Peterson, and took her bows at 10:30 p.m.

Of course I could have chosen not to appear in the show. Everyone would have understood: the cast, the crew, the orchestra, the proud parents and friends who were looking forward to seeing their loved ones perform in the pit or on the stage. But Young PeaceBang knew something that she believes yet today: the show must go on, because "the show" -- whatever it is, is a transcendent reality in and of itself that represents the collective vision and effort of a community, and must therefore be honored.

The Easter story could have ended like this: "And the tomb was empty, and God resurrected Jesus from the dead and he lived for many peaceful years in a cave far distant from Emmaus, meditating on the wonders of the LORD and praying for the people."

But it didn't. It ended where it began, in community, where it continues today and where it never ends.

You, my friends, have the glorious charge of bringing that story alive in the hearts and lives of your people. So buck up, shine up, wake up, step up, get backstage early enough to do your hair and make-up, learn your lines, say your prayers, warm-up with your orchestra, stretch out those dancing limbs, and give yourselves over body, mind and soul to the incarnation of this Good News. PeaceBang is telling you, wherever you are, however weary you think you are, you have it within you. Go bring it. Give the gift.

Carl Davis Weinstein
December 19, 1933- April 5, 1983
His ashes are interred beneath the pear tree in front of the New Canaan Police Station on South Ave. just outside of town on the way to Darien. There is a plaque. His obit in The New York Times claims that he has a degree from University of Connecticut and a master's from Columbia. Someone was padding his resume post-mortem, as he had neither an undergraduate nor a master's degree!! I know he took some courses at UConn, but as far as I know, he never got anywhere near Columbia. I have no idea where that came from!
Bells 1983
Young PeaceBang pictured backstage in very scary stage hair and make-up (but those upper arms! Ah, youth and bygone slim figures!) with Christopher Jeffries as "Jeffrey Moss." Chris is a noted American composer living in Seattle.


Monday, April 02, 2007

The Elegant Mr. Kevin Spacey

Elegant Mr. Spacey
Originally uploaded by Peacebang.
Hello darlings!
Are we holy yet? Are your Maundy Thursday homilies written, the Communion bread baked, the candles ordered, the baptismal fonts scrubbed (with something non-abrasive, of course), and the silver polished? Are your Easter sermons coming together in your mind, at least, if not yet on paper?

Mine is, I'm happy to tell you. I climbed into bed today with Walter Bruegemann and Fred Craddock-- with their writings, I mean, you naughty kittens-- and got totally inspired. Not only did I get my Easter sermon off of these two fine gents, I'll have the pleasure of meeting them in person at the Festival of Homiletics in Nashville this May. Picture a cartoon PeaceBang with stars instead of pupils in her eyes!

Speaking of fine gents, I have always thought that Kevin Spacey was one fine specimen of gentleman. He's always impeccably groomed and turned out, and he has a terrific sense of personal style.

I'm curious about a few things:

1. Is Kevin Spacey intentionally trying to evoke a more elegant era, or is his nattiness entirely intuitive?

2. Are Kevin Spacey's style choices a tribute to his old-school acting mentors like Jack Lemon and Jason Robarts? (That would be interesting, because I remember Jason in an old comfortable cardigan sweater. But that was at home. I don't know what he wore in public. )

3. Did the fact that Kevin Spacey is totally and effortlessly swellegant contribute to the Old Vic's decision to hire an AMERICAN actor to be their Artistic Director? I mean, they never offered the job to Marlon Brando or any other American -- even one who wasn't a falling down drunk womanizer. What an honor for our Kev!

4. How does Kevin's soigne persona contribute to his success as fundraiser and steward of his venerable institution?

5. Does he ever wear jeans to work? If so, what kind?

6. Would he let me interview him after the matinee of "Moon For the Misbegotten" on April 18th? Because I am a HUGE FAN, and also in that kind of charmingly delusional way I have, I feel that we would crack each other up and have a grand old time. But a brief grand old time, because I imagine that's a pretty grueling performance and one must rest before the 8:00 show.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Our April Fool

Oh darlings!
PeaceBang is so tired that she just sat and cackled helplessly over this video of Brenda Dickson sharing fashion and make-up tips from the height of the over-opulent, cheezy 80's:

Thank you, thank you to whoever sent this to me. GOD love you, honey. I really needed that.

That vapid voice! That enormous hair! The way she says "joory" instead of "jewelry!"

Best lines:

"Ostrich feathers, anyone?"
"Snake and jeans are always a great look."
"Here, I've added a fox."
(apparently in Brenda Dickson's glamorous world, one needn't specify that one is wearing, for instance, snake BOOTS or a fox STOLE... it's just "snake" or "fox." And given her penchant for snake, fox, ostrich and leather, Miz Dickson's going to have some mighty karma to work out in her next lives!)

Don't quit watching before the vid's over because you'll miss Bren totally fall apart at the end, where she loses her grammatical skills entirely and says things like, "You can wear burgundy or a real, real dark orange rouge" and "I powder very very good, because that really sets the make-up."

Have a laugh on me, dear ones. We're heading into Holy Week, and we need all the laughter, rest and good energy we can muster.