I was just turned on to this really cool new website, built on the Drupal platform, and still in beta, where the followers of froufrou can share links and reviews of cool stores, restaurants, events, and bargains in their cities, with other like-minded shopaholics, and It-Girl wannabes.

It’s called HerFabLife, and it’s accepting submissions from bloggers, freelance writers, and citizen fashionistas around the country. If you are among the first to find that perfect new boutique, cafe, or shoe sale; if you are on the guest list for every intimate concert, or blockbuster event – or even if you merely want to be – this is the site for you.

I noticed that – at least right now – most of the submissions are from New York, Washington, DC, and San Francisco, but I’m sure as the site comes out of beta, and word of mouth increases the exposure, that will change. I also noticed that they have categories not just for clothes and shoes, bars and restaurants, but also bookstores.

I am always on the look for funky bookstores.

The site itself is flirty and friendly, with a very pink overtone (so you can see why it appeals to me), and though there’s no denying it’s chick-centered, there is a “for him” section for the guys in our lives.

My verdict? HerFabLife is simply fabulous, but don’t take my world for it. Click the link, and check it out for yourself: herfablife.com

In Memoriam: Marcel Marceau

What sculptors do is represent the essence of gesture. What is important in mime is attitude.

I’d never heard of Marcel Marceau before 1982. Granted, when I was finally introduced to his work, I was all of eleven-on-the-cusp-of-twelve, rebellious, snarky, moody. A typical tween-ager.

My introduction to mime had come years earlier, performance artists on television. As cheesy as The Donny and Marie Show was, they had some interesting guests from time to time. Mumenschantz, for example. What other mainstream talk show would spotlight art like that? Okay, Letterman did it, but he was late-night, so it doesn’t count.

The venue was Cal – U.C. Berkeley to the rest of the world – the night was cold and dark. February in the bay area is not balmy or warm. Northern California doesn’t get more than a quarter inch of snow about once every six years, but winter is still pretty chilly. The event: my mother’s first date with the man who would eventually be my step-father.

I didn’t want to go, didn’t want to spend an evening with this weird old guy and his son (roughly my age, also present.) I wanted to stay home and watch my favorite tv-show and have popcorn, and read a book. I lost the battle, so I went determined to have a horrible time.

My future step-brother, who professed to love mime, fell asleep half way through.
I was riveted. Oh, some of the satire was over my head, but for the most part Marcel puts on an entrancing show. Not just glass-box mime, the way annoying buskers do, but vivid portrayals of specific characters.

I loved it.
But I couldn’t admit it.
Not til now.

(Shh. Don’t tell anyone.)

Twenty-five years later, I still have an appreciation for mime, but, as I just posted in a thread about Marceau on the CSz boards, appreciation does not equal skill. I suck at mime. I dread having to do mime. I can tell at a glance if a couch, table, and chair will fit within a room in the configuration I think would work, but when I try to apply spatial relations to myself, it is decidedly awful.

(I’m working on it.)

Mime and writing share the connection of telling stories without sound. Yes, writing used words, but those words must describe place, and placement. Mime tells stories, and has place and placement but must convey thoughts without language. But all art is connected, all forms are about getting to the heart of something, to the kernel of truth that makes comedy universal, mime amazing, and a story about drinking espresso on Mars just as plausible as drinking espresso in Berkeley.

Marcel Marceau died yesterday.
He was 84.
He was amazing.

I left that auditorium with an appreciation for mime, and for Marceau.

Appreciation for my step-father came much later.

To communicate through silence is a link between the thoughts of man.


CNN’s story is here.

Sunday Scribblings: Hi, My Name Is…

Hi, my name is MissMeliss and I’m writing a book. No, too cute. Better use my real name. Hi, I’m Melissa and I’m writing a book. *sigh* My real name is frumpy and dull, and doesn’t have the energy I need to make myself believe in this book-thing. Sorry Mom. I tried to change it once when I was nine – do you remember? I said I hated my name, and wanted to be “Kate,” because it was pert and upbeat and kind of spunky.

You humored me, and let me be “Kate” for about three hours, before I realized I didn’t really want to be “Kate,” after all. It didn’t fit. But it was sort of fun to try on her skin for a bit. I kept Kate’s attitude, except she’s now called Marin (yes, like the county) and she’s in my book.

The one I’m writing. The one that takes a bunch of cafe vignettes and braids them together with a connected story, and that is really amazing in my head, but that I keep putting off working on because I’m scared. What if it sucks and no one buys it. Except. I don’t think it sucks. It’s less than fine literature and more than chick-lit, but I’m pretty sure my writing isn’t completely suckful. I mean, I get paid to sling words together that are far less interesting than this book, so that’s got to be a sign, right? I think I’m afraid of finishing it. Of selling it. I hate the selling process.

Could someone just lock me up in a room and make me write for three hours a day? Could someone feed the dogs and Fuzzy and bring me coffee and bagels with sun-dried tomato cream cheese and chocolate croissants that are warm enough for the chocolate inside to be melty, while they’re at it?

Firefox thinks “melty” isn’t a word. Firefox does not get to decide these things. In my universe, “melty” is a perfectly fine word. It isn’t quite “melted” like molten cheese, and it’s not all sticky and tacky like something that is “gooey” but it’s warm and kind of squishy and malleable.

See, I can use “malleable” and “melty” in the same sentence and the universe won’t blow up, or anything.

Hi, my name is Annie M. Klein. No, it really isn’t. But I used that as a pen name when I was ten, I think. It’s a re-distribution of some of the elements of my given name. The one my mother gave me. All of it. Pen names are important when you’re ten. And I’ve always used my middle initial. I like it. It sort of balances the first and last name, and makes things more official. I feel sad for people who don’t have middle names.

Hi, I’m Melissa A. Bartell, I’m a writer. Am I? Am I a writer, or am I just a hack? And why do I sometimes feel guilty for changing my last name when I got married? Fuzzy’s last name is so much easier to spell, and it symbolized a new beginning, a new adventure. I didn’t do it because I HAD to, or was EXPECTED to. Part of me still feels like I lost some street cred when I did it, though. As if I ever had any.

Hi, I’m MissMeliss.
I’m thirty-seven, but the guys in the improv troupe I’m part of think I’m much younger.
I’m five feet tall. Exactly.
I have brown hair with pink highlights. A LOT of pink highlights. I think my hair is about 75% pink now. Like a raspberry mocha.
The picture of the woman with the pink hair I use in my profiles? The face is me, the hair’s a wig. My stylist won’t let me go quite that pink, and frankly, she’s right not to. The highlights…they’re better.

A touch of pink. A dash of spunk. A lot of words and music, pens and ink, dark chocolate, designer coffee, red wine, and rare meat.

That’s me.

Blogger, singer, improviser, voracious reader, cellist, vampire fiction fan, cook, dog owner, collector of shoes and hats, friend, daughter, lover, wife, writer.


Scribble some words of your own, or read others here.