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Kate Williams  Formerly @urbanoutfitters @vansgirls @nylonmag @nastygal @calvinklein + now I write books + things. Never not nostalgic.


#tbt to one year ago and matching my outfit to the bathroom for the best bachelorette party a girl could ask for.

I once joked that the only two subjects I was interested in were occult studies and rock and roll rumors. And the joke was it's not really a joke! My favorite true-life stories are ones of flamboyant people who do outrageous things while wearing lots of crushed velvet and black eyeliner, and witches and rockstars both fit this bill.

In Season of the Witch, Peter Bebergal makes a pretty convincing case for his subtitle. From Robert Johnson making a bargain with the devil to play guitar to Jimmy Page having the words "Do What Thou Wilt" carved into the master of Led Zeppelin III and Kenneth Anger's close relationship with Anita Pallenberg (which was apparently severed after he broke into her room to set up a pagan marriage ritual while she and Keith Richards were sleeping; I've read other accounts that said the friendship ended when Anger painted the inside of their door gold, also in the middle of the night), rock music draped itself in the imagery and legends of the occult, which was enough to get it branded the devil's music by parents and preachers, the exact people a generation of youth were looking to piss of.

Witches of America is journalist Alex Mar's investigation into contemporary witchcraft practices in the United States, and I loved this book more for her writing style than I did the stories within. As Mar, a native New Yorker, travels to California, New Orleans, and New Hampshire, to acquaint herself with different practices, she makes no attempt to remain objective or removed. Instead, she trains with priestesses, attends masses, undergoes initiations and even, at one point, asks a witch for a spell to get rid of a romantic rival (after some conflicting thoughts, she decides to not to use it, and the man she is in love with gets back together with his ex). What I loved most about this book is that Mar, even when she had her doubts, never wavered from treating her subjects with utmost seriousness and respect, and it wasn't until I finished reading this that I realized how refreshing and rare that was.

Fall in LA.

On this #fridaythe13th Morticia really is a woman we can all look up to.

My high-school days are further behind me than I would like to admit (shout out my graduating class and pager code 98), but sometimes they feel like they were just yesterday. Which is probably why this latest YA read, Moxie, really sucked me in—it's set in a contemporary era, but very influenced by the '90s. In short, it felt very familiar, and transported me instantly back to a world of lockers and lunchroom politics.

In a small Texas town, Vivian Carter gets sick of the routine sexual discrimination at her high school and starts an anonymous zine to protest things like unfair dress codes and football players who get away with being baby Harvey Weinsteins. I hadn't thought about my own high school's dress code in years, but it was very similar to the one in this book: girls couldn't wear anything too low or too high because it was considered "distracting," and it was easier for the school to police the girls in tank tops than to address the perpetual boner-owners distracted by the sight of some hot, hot shoulder skin.

I loved that this book had a simple, yet powerful arc, and characters that you legit root for. Moxie actually brought a tear to my eye with one of the most-feel good climaxes I've seen since watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in the middle of an 11 hour flight.

#winonacrushwednesday (BTW, IMO, Heathers is a perfect movie.)

I love it when people lose their heads over Halloween decorations. 🎃👻

I was inspired to re-read this book a couple of weeks ago, when Hugh Hefner died (although, after the events of last week, it feels a little silly to write that). The Pump House Gang was published in 1968, and it's a collection of journalist essays about subcultures, outsiders and undergrounds across the U.S. and in England. These are all groups who have rejected the world before the world could reject them because, as Tom Wolfe writes, "Community status systems have been games with few winners and many who feel like losers."

Visiting Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion in Chicago, Wolfe dubs him "King of the Status Dropouts" because Hef runs a $48million a year business yet boasts of only leaving his house once every few months. He's proud of his status as a contemporary recluse and Wolfe sees him as the epitome of a burgeoning mid-century trend: "The new status dropouts can pull it off precisely because twentieth-century technologies have made it possible for them to lead a full-life—a damned full life here!—without going out amongst the community...They can turn their own households into the stage, only a stage this time with themselves at the center of it, isolated, insulated within discreet and rather marvelous electronic worlds."

The first time I read them, I found these words eerily prescient: it was like I was listening to Wolfe speak on a panel at SXSW, up there in his white suit, talking about the King of Status Dropout Technologies: social media. Only the script was flipped. Just 50 years ago, we were using technology to gleefully dismantle our communities and all those pesky social ties that came along with them. Now we're using it in a desperate attempt to get it back. Let's hope it works. (As a side note, these essays are actually all really fun, and you don’t have to read into them as much as I do. It’s just that I was reading the news right before I wrote this and, well, you get it...)

#tbt Underage drinking should never be encouraged. Unless it's super cute. '80s parenting ruled.

Except 30 Rock on @netflix. To prepare ourselves for this tragic loss/forced maturation that leaves us now with several free hours in the evening, @aforcemajeure is working on his one-man-show, which is just him reciting 30 Rock episodes from memory. Coming soon to a campfire/garage/spare bedroom near you. #pwomp

I wish I could be all 'I've-been-an-Eve-Babitz-fan-for-years!' here, but alas, like the rest of the reading world, I just discovered her recently. That's a shame, of course, but the upside of that is that I found a new favorite LA writer just when I thought I'd read them all. She's funny, lyrical and likable, like a Joan Didion who'd split her last quaalude with you in the Barney's Beanery bathroom and let you borrow her lipgloss.
Babitz was a well-known party girl who hob-nobbed through the jacaranda-lined streets of 1960s and 1970s Los Angeles with the likes of Steve Martin, Jim Morrison and Ed Ruscha, to name a few, and most of her writing sticks fairly close to this material. This is the first novel of her's I've read, after two wonderful books of essays, and at first I was unimpressed, but then it grew on me. A lot.
What I like most about her books is that she peppers them with spot on observations and one-line truths. Like, "In New York, the way to tell you're happy is by shopping," and she "had become officially Impossible. She had turned twenty-eight." She has mentioned that age, 28, before in her writing and it's always stood out to me. In my own 20s, I spent a lot of time trying to determine when I would become an adult, and in retrospect, 28 was it. It's not the year I figured it out-just the year I realized that someday I was going to have to.
And that's what this book is ultimately about: pulling yourself out of the quicksand that is being young and choosing to chart your own course. Eve Babitz is now in her 70s and, as far as I know, not still writing, which is too bad. She wrote so gorgeously and astutely while in the throes of youth and beauty that I can only imagine she'd do the same when looking back on them.

Will travel for Fall feels (and weddings). 🍁🍂🍃

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