Everybody I know loves a good BM. Me, I am no exception. So, having recently returned from my sojourn in Nellyville, I now present, in ascending order of importance, the BMs that have most greatly shaped the course of my life.
A good book about a great topic.
Bob Mackie, a lovable yahoo best known for his outrageous stage costume designs (think Liza Minelli and Mariah Carey go on a mod intergalactic voyage and then return to Earth for the mother of all variety shows), starts off my BM list simply because he entered it first. The smaller, younger version of myself (let’s call her Child Me) first encountered this particularly flamboyant BM in the unlikeliest of sources: a fully illustrated Barbie collector’s guidebook.
Child Me loved manuals and guidebooks of all sorts – the more obscure the better. Vying for prime importance in my life were the following compendiums: a Brady Bunch tell-all/episode guide penned by Greg Brady/Barry Willams himself, an historical survey of painting (I mostly looked at the butts), and the aforementioned encyclopedic collection of collectible Barbies. Odd interests for Child Me rather than, say, Future 80 Year Old Me, but such is life. Come to think of it, Current Me is not much different in her reading material proclivities – an illustrated history of skateboard footwear, an encyclopedic book of archetypal symbols, and a French visual dictionary constitute the most salient evidence of my current fetish for taxonomy in all guises.
ANYWAY, this particular Barbie encyclopedia happened to feature a series of Bob Mackie illustrations for Barbie-versions of his wyld dezigns, featured alongside the final Barbie products.
Neptune Fantasy Barbie looked radiant and slightly insane in a velvety blue-green concoction of bugle beads to die for; Starlight Splendor Barbie looked hot to trot in a shimmery melange of zebra stripes and sequin-y goodness, with gravity-defying hairdos and headpieces both. Gold Barbie looked like a glamourpuss straight out of a 1930s celluloid fantasy, decked out in over 5000 golden sequins, a white feather boa, and some serious Madonna Blonde Ambition Tour hair. Child Me relished in the fabulous quasi-insanity of this pint-sized glamour and wondered where I might ever don some of these whimsical outfits, which brings me to my next BM…
Clearly there is no other ensemble more appropriate for a young Jewish boy’s transition into adulthood than a Bob Mackie Barbie creation. The occasion calls for the most festive frock one has access to. Personally, for the next Bar Mitzvah I attend, I plan to don one of Mr. Mackie’s latest creations, the Brazilian Banana Bonanza Barbie look. At only $119, plus making allowances for a few minor adjustments to fit my admittedly larger frame, this should go down as one of the greatest Bar Mitvah getups in recent memory.
Baby Mama (Film)
This 2008 film costarring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did not, admittedly, enter my life until 2014, until I began researching this post. It was pretty good but mostly it reminded me that I love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, that I hate Dax Shepard, and that I could really go for some nutritious blended juice.
Baby Mama (Drama)
I should preface this by stating that I have never had any firsthand experience with baby mama drama. Nor have I really indulged in the voyeuristic surveillance of the drama of baby mamas vis-a-vis Maury, Judge Judy, or street-corner arguments. In fact, I know little to nothing about the day-to-day drama of a baby, or a mama, let alone a baby mama. But what I do know is that the trials and tribulations of BMs pervade even the most intimate concerns of baby mamas, namely, in publicly contemplating the initialisms of their soon-to-be offspring.
Baby Mama (Three 6 Mafia song)
This cautionary tale of baby mama-ism, my favorite of the three Baby Mama permutations, is notable for its catchy hook (It’s my baby mama (yeanknow) / It’s my baby daddy (yeanknow)), heartfelt lyrics (Man this freak has got me stressin’ in the court I must confessin’ / Playas try to get that checkin’ hoopa hickeys on yo’ neckin’), and admirable objectivity in expounding on both sides of the baby mama/daddy conflict. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out and you’re squarely on Juicy J’s side (after all, she’s cakin’ his g’s and always lyin’), LaChat comes back and hits you with a dose of reality and your loyalties are once again swayed (after all, the cheese is missin’ and he habitually neglects arriving at any of his Juvenile Court appointments).
With each verse, the track becomes less a “he said, she said” retelling of petty gossip and more a meditation on the problematics of the court system, child support laws, and our tendency to misplace our anger with these institutions onto the individuals we love most. But what else would you expect from the Oscar-winning group who compellingly argued that we as a culture must acknowledge the difficulties a man (Terrence Howard) grapples with to keep his fledgling pimp empire / family structure afloat?
Sure, other artists have tackled the topic of baby mama-dom: Prince wants you to be his Future Baby Mama, Jermaine Dupri and N2U extol the virtues of Baby Mama Love, and Dave Hollister reassures you that your baby mama drama is alright and also okay. But Three 6 tackles the topic with a refreshing sense of honesty and a heady dose of realism, while also reflecting on the social structures that negatively affect our relationships.
If nothing else, this song has convinced me to avoid the perils of baby mamahood for at least another 7 to 25 years while I check in with myself and my ability to navigate the currently murky waters of the justice system. Thank you, Juicy J.
Ah, Bloody Marys, that wonderful concoction of vodka, tomato juice, and, if you like it dirty, at least 12 other vegetables, peppers, spices, and briny things. This is one of few drinks that qualifies as a liquid meal, by which I mean that there is literally so much stuffed into it that you’re essentially eating a meal in liquid form. Lemon, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, beef consommé, horseradish, celery, olives, pickles (pickles?! yes! pickles!), salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, MAYBE EVEN A CHEESEBURGER!?!
Add to that a saltiness and a brininess that basically slaps you in the face with its, well, saltiness and brininess, and we’ve got ourselves a deal. They’re always telling athletes to replenish their electrolytes after a workout – well, here you go.
First of all, please note that I’m liable to go BEASTMODE after a couple of Bloody Marys.
Gone BEASTMODE. Be back soon.
The term may have originated as a nickname for Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (who also famously debated the virtues of ambience vs. decor as they relate to famed casual dining chain Applebee’s), but I prefer to think of BEASTMODE as a way of being, a perpetual force that can be harnessed with intensity, focus, drive, and/or general nuts-magoo tomfoolery.
While in BEASTMODE, I am capable of most of the following: lifting a car above my head single-handedly, darting nimbly-bimbly across an elevated narrow pathway such as a plank or a fence, not letting myself get attached to anything that I am not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat (if I feel the heat around the corner), rockin’ out to a wide variety of tunes but mostly melodramatic ’70s arena rock classics, and folding laundry with alarming levels of vim and vigor.
(***Anya’s note: Please do not invest in this alluring piece of bubble making equipment. I came dangerously close to purchasing this item before I thought to read Amazon reviews proclaiming it a “horrible mess” whose bubbles just foam up around Tiki’s mouth “like it has rabies” (The opposite of BEASTMODE… or is it?). Consider yourself both warned and disappointed.***)
A perennial favorite, this BM clocks in close to the top of the Pink Lemonade BM Richter-scale (patent pending). It’s the combination of his righteous tunes, his political activism, his funky denim proletariat duds, and his love of weed. The hero of every teenage stoner from now until eternity, and the absolute best person to listen to when makin’ zines. I saw the Marley documentary that came out a few years ago and listened to nothing but the man for about a week. It was a pretty great week.
And last but certainly not least (technically, the MOST)… Bill Murray
The author and her friend stumble upon Bill Murray’s greatness.
From Meatballs to Caddyshack to Ghostbusters, Murray in his early films played the incorrigible and yet lovable antiestablishmentarian. Groundhog Day saw the actor on a grumpy Zen flow, and then he went full melancholy for his work with Sofia Coppola, Jim Jarmusch, and Wes Anderson. And lets not forget the fashion statements: nobody rocks an orange beanie like Zissou.
You’ve been served — with sass.
Usually when actors take a backseat from acting, their usual bread and butter, they get themselves into all manner of nutty existential trouble (case in point: Shia Labeouf, Charlie Sheen, Tom Cruise, Lindsay Lohan, Joaquin Phoenix (although that one was for a documentary, to be fair)). Not so with the great BM: he’s actually gotten cooler in recent years just doing his Wild Thing (Tone Loc style). According to an object label at the American Cool exhibit, where my friend and I stumbled upon Bill Murray’s greatness, the actor has transformed into “a kind of perpetual wandering performance artist, popping up at birthday parties, kickball games, golf tournaments, and karaoke booths and in zombie films, wherever the wind and his fancy take him.”
BM, wandering through Sweden like a wily man about town. Courtesy of my friend Tall.
A whimsical wanderer listening to his heart, making him truly a man after my own heart. A BM most worthy of the top honors in my book.
Honorable Mentions: Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, the British Museum, and breast milk. All great BMs that unfortunately did not make it to my BM list.