Isabella Blow

Branding: The Repurposing of Isabella Blow and the Papacy

The last time I saw Isabella Blow in person was backstage at the 2003 fall/winter Dior haute couture show. I was standing off to the side of the preparation madness, in between a colleague of John Galliano’s and my too-young German lover. Issy had shanghaied one of makeup wizard Pat McGrath’s assistants and was having her lips retouched right there in the middle of the room as if she were about to walk the runway herself. She was wearing a surreal Philip Treacy hat, of course, its veil rolled up to allow the makeup artist access. (Issy loved veils; they hid her face. They were symbolic

Steve Coogan

REVIEW: Phenomenal ‘Philomena’ Serves It Up to Those “Fucking Catholics”

I know: there are a dozen less-shocking lines from Stephen Frears’ Philomena that I could have used in the title of this piece, if I couldn’t have thought of something original myself. As it is, “phenomenal Philomena” is destined to become a trite alliteration in reference to this superlative film, which of all the Oscar candidates that I’ve seen — I am seeing them in order of release — is now the one to beat. But if you don’t agree with Steve Coogan’s exasperated exclamation about Catholicism in reference to its abuse of, well, just about everyone in the history of its existence, then you’re likely a member of the Catholic clergy, or as terrorized by this most dangerous and egregious of Christian sects as Philomena herself.

Coogan plays Martin Sixsmith, a Roman Catholic-turned-atheist journalist and Russia specialist who has lost his job as Director of Communications in the UK Department of Transport following a scandal,

Pope Francis

ANALYSIS: Pope Frank: What’s in a Name? Probably the Future of the Church.

SELF-PAT-ON-THE-BACK UPDATE: From Pope Frank’s activity the past twenty-four hours, his revelation about his inspiration for the name, it’s clear I hit the nail on the head with this article written shortly after the announcement of his election. If I were Nikki Finke from I’d blare “TOLDJA!”  Read on:

At the risk of annoying my regular readers, but as a way of explaining to the new, I was raised in Rome in the 70s, which means I had the strange experience of three popes in one year, 1978: the likely super-gay Paul VI died on August 6; John Paul I succeeded him twenty days later, then may or may not have been assassinated thirty-three days later (those were dodgy times in Italy, and more so than usual in the Vatican); then John Paul II stepped into the “shoes of the fisherman” on October 16