Welcome to the latest phase!

I've been blogging for several years at http://www.lauraainsworth.com/, and it's great to be entering a new realm. But you'll still find tons of archive posts on plastic surgery, Botox, diet books and other hilariously depressing topics at the original site under "Laura's Diary," along with pics, videos from my shows, sound clips and more. Go over there and poke around!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

No, seriously, I'm still alive

Sorry to go so long between posts, but it took longer to heal from hand surgery than I thought. Also, like so many other Americans, my husband and I were caught in the real estate collapse. We had planned to move to Las Vegas, but the economy slowed there at the same time that we moved out of our Dallas house and put it on the market. Many months later, it has yet to sell or rent (despite it being an award-winning historic home -- if you want a deal, email me!) To cover the bills for two houses, my husband took on an extra job writing a daily syndicated radio news service, which left him no time to handle the typing for me, so it's been tough to post.

I am keeping busy behind the scenes, doing private shows, recording and preparing for an exciting new gig with the ABC Radio Network starting in January. I hope to get back to more public performances and more blogging as soon as time permits. I really hate that I haven't been able to comment on some of the stories that have come along in the past six months. For instance, doctors are doing full face transplants in America now. Even more amazing, they have yet to involve Joan Rivers.

In the meantime, to show how musically eclectic I can be, above is a photo of me (purveyor of Gershwin, Porter and Kern tunes) at a family Christmas get-together with my husband Pat's very talented cousin, Cliff Campbell, guitarist/songwriter for the progressive rock group, Fair to Midland. Here's a rather obsessive fan link with photos, songs and more, if you'd like to broaden your musical horizons. Hope to post again soon! Have a happy and safe New Year's!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"America The Beautiful" Documentary: See It NOW!

Thanks to everyone who came out to see our show recently at Bass Hall's McDavid Studio. I apologize for not scheduling more public shows or updating the blog in awhile, but I have been very busy with private shows, recording, getting over a nasty cold, and most of all, moving. I promise we'll do more public shows soon, and of course, both "My Ship Has Sailed" and "Cole Porter: Elegance & Decadence" with the amazing Michael Gott are available for private bookings through http://www.lauraainsworth.com. But for those of you in the Dallas area, I have something I need to tell you about right away, and it's not a project I have anything to do with, other than admiring it.

A terrific documentary called "America The Beautiful" is playing right now at the Mockingbird Lane Angelika Theater. We saw it last night and met the director, a very nice man named Darryl Roberts. If you enjoyed the satire of beauty obsession I do in "My Ship Has Sailed," then you'll really appreciate this film, which examines the unrelenting pressure to meet an artificial standard of physical perfection. It covers everything from fashion magazines to anorexia to cosmetics to plastic surgeons who aren't really plastic surgeons (but they play them on reality shows) to some outrageous comments on women from a group of toxic bachelors, all tied together by the story of the rise and fall of a wannabe sexpot supermodel who is all of 12 years old. It's funny, informative, inspiring, heartbreaking and occasionally bone-chilling.

The director said that if the film pulls good audiences this weekend, the theater will hold it through the week, and that in turn will encourage other theaters to show it. If not, it's gone by Monday, which would be tragic. He urged people to tell their friends to see it this weekend. So I am telling you, and I hope you'll pass it along to everyone on your e-mail lists as well, to please get out and see this film before Sunday!

To learn more and see the trailer, click here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cole Porter Show May 30 in Ft. Worth

Sorry for the lack of posts, but just as my broken hand began to recuperate, I started doing more shows and having to move to a new (old) house, and there's barely been a spare moment. I did want to let everyone know, though, that I am booked to do a really big public show. My friend, the fabulous pianist/singer Michael Gott, and I will be doing our two-person revue, "Cole Porter: Elegance & Decadence," Friday, May 30, at Bass Hall's McDavid Studio in downtown Ft. Worth. It's a gorgeous venue with a great sound system, and you're all invited to the party.

Come travel back through time with us to the '20s, '30s and '40s, to the days of glamorous penthouse soirees and chic Broadway opening nights, with such great songs as "Night & Day," "D'Lovely," "Let's Do It," "Love For Sale," and many more, including some hilarious rarities you've probably never heard, like "The Physician" and "The Tale of the Oyster." You won't think you're in Cow Town anymore, Toto!

Tickets are available through Bass Hall at 817-212-4280 or click here to get them online. You can click on the "Tell Me More" tab to learn more or go here to see video. Hope you can join us! It'll be swelligant!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Perfect Face?

Very busy getting ready for multiple shows, but here’s a shortie for you:

Two Beverly Hills plastic surgeons recently surveyed colleagues to find the most requested celebrity body parts, and the Star tabloid figured that if you combined them all, it should create the perfect face. To find out, they pieced together a photo of a woman with Katie Holmes' eyes, Katherine Heigl's nose, Keira Knightley's cheeks, Jessica Simpson's long blonde hair and Angelina Jolie's lips; and a photo of a young man with Daniel Craig's blue eyes, Leonardo DiCaprio's nose and Matt Damon's lips.

To be perfectly frank (or perfectly Frankenstein), the woman just looks to me like a lot of women who’ve had too much plastic surgery, and the result of stitching all those perfect young male parts together is a face that looks surprisingly like a young Jay Leno with a smaller chin. I guess this means Jay Leno is just one chin surgery away from perfection.

Ironically, if Jay Leno went to a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, he’d probably come out looking exactly like a young Jay Leno with a smaller chin.

I suppose if a woman didn't want to have all that done to her face, she could just get Dolly Parton's breasts. Then she'd never have to worry about any man ever looking her in the face again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Come See Me Live!

More blogging coming soon, as soon as I get over a nasty cold with a side order of sinus headache. But I wanted to let you all know that Brian Piper and I will be doing four public performances of "My Ship Has Sailed," March 27-30 as a fundraiser for the Grand Prairie Arts Council. The shows will be in the Women's Club of Grand Prairie, in a very nice country-club like ballroom with a raised theatrical stage. For tickets and info, visit the Arts Council site. Hope to see you there!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscar Night: Time to Get Your Cleavage Botoxed!

Ooohh, tonight is Oscar night! Of course, for me, the nominated films – for the most part, a depressing and bloody lot this year – must take a back seat to the annual Red Carpet parade of The World’s Most Beautiful People. The Perfect People. The Sexiest People. The Perpetually Youthful People. The People Who Are Supposesd To Make Us Run Out And Get Plastic Surgery To Look Like Them.

But in order to maintain that essential illusion, Hollywood actresses will each spend untold thousands on designer gowns, hair color and extensions, weeks of intensive personal workouts, radical “cleansing” diets, diamond-particle “signature” facials, fat injections, wrinkle fillers such as Radiesse, subtle “one-stitch” facelifts for 30-something actresses, “spot” lipo to smooth every molecule of bulge, foot surgery to help them stand in stilettos, dental bleaching, and even calming doses of anti-anxiety drugs. If the Hollywood economy lost billions of dollars during the writers stike, the money spent on looking beautiful for Oscar night should make up for it.

Jeez, if I had this much pressure on me to look fabulous, I’d probably be popping Xanax, too.

I haven’t even mentioned Botox yet. Goodness, movie stars photographed outdoors in the afternoon sun can’t look squinty, so virtually every one of them will be Botoxed on the forehead and between the eyes. Of course, some Hollywood stars will come close to mainlining Botox. A few will look very pointedly paralyzed. Botox is also injected into the armpits to keep stars from perspiring on the Red Carpet or while waiting nervously for that possible Academy Award. Finally (this is something I just learned about, in a more detailed article in the London Daily Mail), Botox is now used to RAISE THE CLEAVAGE and make breasts look more youthful. (With all the breast implants in Hollywood, I would hope the dermatologist would take extreme care using needles around breasts!) There’s even a special cleavage “facial” that’s essential for anyone wearing a low-cut dress.

Oh, and here’s a newly popular but squirrely idea: false eyelashes made of mink or squirrel fur! They cost thousands of dollars a pair, but it you take good care of them, they’ll last five to seven wearings. Madonna got some that were made of mink and diamonds.

If all this isn’t enough to make the actresses look drop-dead gorgeous, they’ll also be dripping with diamonds and other precious stones. Many will have every square inch of skin airbrushed the perfect glowy color. They’ll strut in Jimmy Choo shoes -- and if their feet don’t look perfect in them, there are anti-inflammatary injections. Also, did you know that celebrity makeup artists can charge several thousand dollars for creating just one Oscar-caliber makeup? Appointments are booked many months in advance.

Sometimes an actress can do all this and still be savaged by the snarky TV and tabloid critics. So I understand why stars want to look as lovely as possible. At the same time, we out here have to keep all their efforts in perspective. There is so much we can do to take care of ourselves and look like real, relaxed, healthy, beautiful women without obsessing about our looks the way narcissistic movie stars do. Really, who do you think would make the more interesting dinner companion – you, or a perfectly-manicured J-Lo in hair extensions and mink eyelashes?

Of course, it's possible the mink might be a better conversationalist than J-Lo.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Demographics And The Presidency

Disclaimer: The following commentary about age as it applies to the Presidential campaign has absolutely nothing to do with my choice for President of the United States, which reflects, as it should, my very close examination of the issues facing this nation and how they might be addressed in the real world by a real person. What does this individual think about the role of government? Is he or she able to communicate his or her views well? What philosophy might affect his or her choices for Supreme Court justices? What might we actually see in the world as a consequence, intended or not, of this person's election? In my opinion, race, gender and, yes, even age are not relevant to this analysis and should be set aside so voters can consider the things that really matter. So there.


I'm writing this on "Super Tuesday," though I live in Texas and thankfully won't have to go out into the hailstorm (no exaggeration!) to vote now. But if I were voting today, the choice, as it's been presented in the media, seems clear: Do I want the young, dynamic black guy? The older white woman? Or maybe the super-old white guy? Hey, the Baptist or the Mormon? The only major demographic contest we don't have - at least, as far as we know - is gay vs. straight.

In fact, I'm reminded of an episode of "Will & Grace" in which Will (gay) and Grace (Jewish) are trying to decide whom to back for City Council: the gay man or the Jewish woman. Will, predictably, backs the gay man, while Grace, just as predictably, backs the Jewish woman. Later they realize they can't support either candidate -- not because of their demographics, but because of their incredibly horrid views.

But let's get back to our real election, where the stakes are higher because they are not fictional. Here, the young black guy has a Kennedyesque coolness and a hopeful message that inspires blacks as well as whites, some of whom perhaps long to recapture that wonderful media creation, Camelot. The older white woman is doing well among Latinos, Asians and, not surprisingly, older white women, some of whom have remarked, understandably, that they just want to see a woman president before they die. (Additional disclaimer: Please do not assume that I think everyone supporting these candidates is doing so strictly because of demographic kinship, but many obviously are.) The really old white guy is doing very well in the polls, but in spite of that was recently deemed too old to be President by columnist Anna Quindlen. ("Race, gender - they're both up for grabs in this election. It's age that has become the new taboo in a vitality culture.")

Quindlen refers to McCain's age as "the elephant on the campaign trail," saying, "There's been plenty of talk during primary season about gender and race; it's age that has become taboo."

Personally, I think all three should be immaterial and are a convenient way of tap-dancing around real issues. There has already been too much playing of the race and gender cards, not so much from the voters themselves as from those candidates -- and their husbands -- who think it can help them. If candidates truly believe that race and gender shouldn't play a part in this election, then they should refrain from bringing them up.

But now Quindlen plays the age card. She dismisses our society's so-called "age is just a number" mentality - oh, how I wish we had that mentality, instead of obsessing about age the way we do - and goes on to say this: "The gentle but inevitable passing of the guard that once gave young people an opportunity to rise has stuttered and sometimes stopped." WHAT?? I'd like to know what planet Ms. Quindlen is living on. As a woman in my chosen field, I'd see my opportunities increase exponentially if I were in my twenties today.

Quindlen also points out that Old Man McCain suffers infirmities from his years of incarceration and torture: the inability to climb stairs quickly or to raise his arms to comb his hair due to multiple fractures he received at the hands of the Viet Cong. My first observation: What hair? My second: I wonder whether she would've supported the young, dynamic-looking, poufy-haired John F. Kennedy if she'd known he suffered from Addison's Disease and almost incapacitating back pain? When the cameras weren't on, he must've climbed stairs as slowly as McCain. What about Franklin D. Roosevelt, so ravaged by polio that he had to use a wheelchair? How much correlation does age have with vitality and ability, really? If the writers of the Constitution had seen such a connection, they never would have specified that Supreme Court justices could serve for life.

In fact, I recently saw McCain's 95-year-old mother, Roberta, on the news and she is incredibly youthful and gorgeous! Oh, my god, have you seen this lady? She must use Perricone. And she's had the vitality to accompany her son throughout the campaign, city after city. McCain definitely got some good anti-aging genes.

When I think of the years of excruciating torture and lasting pain McCain has endured, I have no reason to conclude that this has left him a hobbling, feeble man. Instead, I'm reminded of the saying, "What does not kill us makes us stronger."

George Washington first took the oath of office when the average life expectancy was under 40, so even at age 57 he was way past his physical prime -- including his teeth, which had long since been replaced by a full set of painful dentures. He served two terms and left at age 65, which in those days was considered positively wizened. Ben Franklin, though never elected President, was active in government affairs into his 80s at a time when few even survived to that advanced age. We've had Presidents who were young, old, athletic, frail and even morbidly obese. Granted, Grover Cleveland could never be elected in the Media Age - not with the camera adding ten pounds to a body that already fluctuated between 300 and 332 pounds. It was only after serving as President that he relieved his severe sleep apnea by losing 80 pounds, and then he continued to serve, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

No one who publicly asserted that a black person or a woman shouldn't be President would be respected today, no matter what rationalizations he or she might employ. But not so long ago, if we'd had a woman at the top of the ticket, there would've been dire warnings day after day about the emotional fragility and hormone swings that render all women -- with the possible exception of Margaret Thatcher -- unsuitable for high office. Thank goodness we're past that. Yet some are starting to talk about age in a similar way. It's as I always say...AGE IS THE LAST BIG CULTURALLY-ACCEPTABLE BIAS.

Of course, with a 71-year-old candidate, the choice of his running mate rises in importance, and Quindlen addresses this, posing the question, "If you enter the process stressing a hedge against mortality or incapacity, shouldn't that suggest something about suitability for the job in the first place?"

Answer: NO. Just the fact of being President is as much a risk of mortality as being older. It's a hazardous job in ways that have nothing whatsoever to do with age. I'm sure Presidents Kennedy, Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley, all assassinated while in office, would agree if they could speak to us. The choice of a running mate is always important. If you scan the obits, as I often do, you see that death or incapacity can strike at any age.

It's great that we have such demographic diversity among our candidates this time. Still, we won't be over our prejudices until these differences are simply incidental and play no part in our choice for President. I think we're still a long way off.

(I'll now pause to review the election returns from Super Tuesday, and wrap this up in the morning.)


Well, it's just as I thought. According to a detailed demographic breakdown from Katie Couric and the gang at CBS News that made me want to tear out my hair, Hillary did well with white women, Latinos and Asians, and not so well with blacks. Obama received most of the black vote and did quite well with younger whites. The pattern was so striking that pundits expressed concern about the preeminence of "identity politics" among Democrats.

Among Republicans, Romney didn't fare too well; he won his home state of Michigan and also states with high populations of Mormons, who wouldn't vote for Huckabee, a Baptist, if Huck paid them to. Huck can't afford to do that, anyway - he runs a very low-budget campaign! Thus, another stereotype is shattered: rich doesn't necessarily trump poor in the Republican Party.

But it's the short, balding, white-haired, achy-jointed candidate who really won the night. That's right, the Grand OLD Party came out for creaky old John McCain. Thankfully, his age wasn't an issue to the voters, and I didn't even hear it mentioned by the pundits.

But if he gets the nomination, mark my word: we'll be hearing about it a LOT.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Celebrity Docs Can Be Bad News

Well, did you miss me?

Perhaps you noticed – God, I hope somebody did – that my last blog entry was a few long months ago. As luck would have it, just at the time I was assessing the myriad news reports of the plastic-surgery death of Kanye West’s mother, I broke my hand. Kid you not. I slipped on a bit of nonstick cooking spray that had drifted onto the kitchen floor and, after doing a fabulous impression of Kristi Yamaguchi careening about on the ice, landed smack on my left hand with such force and at such an angle that my ring finger was turned completely around to the side. Oddly, there was no pain at all involved in this.

X-rays showed that the finger itself wasn’t broken, but there was a complicated “spiral” fracture of the metacarpal below that finger. So I had to have hand surgery, involving a long metal plate and numerous little screws, a few of which I can actually feel in the palm of my hand. Pity the person who has to stand behind me in line for the metal detector at the airport. Also, there’s now a long, red scar on the back of my hand that makes me glad I wear gloves while performing. It seems to be healing well, though; nice to know I’m a good “healer” in case I choose to go in for a facelift someday!

I found that recovery from hand surgery can really put a crimp – and even, at times, a cramp – in keyboard-related activities. Surprisingly, the pain didn’t start until after my finger had been put back in place, but then it was brutal. While I was slowly recovering the motion in my hand, so much age- and beauty-related news accumulated that I didn’t know where I’d begin. So I procrastinated, even after I was able to type, and more news piled up. You know how it is.

But let’s pick up where I left off: the sadness and horror of Donda West’s death. What a tragedy. “My mother is my everything,” Kanye West said at the time. The story of her death so dominated the celebrity tattle-shows that by now it must be “old news” to the relentlessly forward-moving press; still, a woman died under shocking circumstances, and I believe it’s not too late to weigh in:

Apparently, fame lends such an aura of infallibility to TV doctors such as Dr. Jan Adams that their patients don’t even wonder why they’re being operated on in an outpatient facility in a SHOPPING MALL. Donda West was going in for a breast reduction and a tummy tuck – increasingly common procedures but still major, major surgery – and that’s where the work was performed. AT THE MALL! Then, instead of being moved to some type of recovery facility where she could be watched, she was taken back to her room and LEFT THERE ALONE. (Pardon all the total caps; I have no other way to express in print my sheer contempt.) This was so wrong that only someone who’s been falsely told her surgery will be a breeze would ever agree to it. She certainly could have afforded the best of post-surgical care if she’d been under the impression that she needed it.

I had better surgical facilities and follow-up for the little bone in my hand than Ms. West had for her two major surgeries. And I had great confidence in my doctor, a specialist who does nothing but repair hands.

TV doctors are on TV because they’re good on TV. Never, ever give your trust to any doctor – or political candidate, but I digress -- just because he or she is telegenic. Even a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon “to the stars” isn’t necessarily any good – look at some of the stars! They look godawful! We tend to think celebrities are special people, with special abilities, but they’re not. According to “The Insider,” Dr. Adams has had 15 malpractice suits filed against him since 1998. My hunch is that the best plastic surgeon on the planet has a name known only to the lucky few who’ve been referred by word of mouth.

By the way, the “mommy makeover” -- breast surgery combined with a tummy tuck -- is rapidly gaining popularity. Women shocked at what pregnancy has done to their bodies, leaving them with sagging breasts, flabby stomachs, stretch marks and loose skin, are rushing to plastic surgeons. I haven’t had children, so I can’t write from firsthand experience, but it’s easy to understand their haste to undo the damage. Still, with all the physical, hormonal and emotional changes that take place in the months after childbirth, many doctors advise waiting on breast operations until at least three months after breastfeeding has finished, and postponing a tummy tuck until at least six months after giving birth.

Now, I’m not an A-list actress trying to schedule the birth of my child with shooting a movie in a bikini three weeks later, but this advice makes sense to me.

Of course, celebrity or not, in this age of political correctness, any time a woman considers having plastic surgery, the debate can’t ever just be about what the woman wants. Thanks to organizations such as the Boston group "Our Bodies Ourselves," it has to be about why she wants it. Is she doing it for the right reason? Columnist and mother-of-two Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, writes, “Yes, your body changes after having children. And, no, it’s not going to be the same again. But that’s OK. You’re a different person mentally and emotionally after bringing children into the world. Why shouldn’t you be different physically? Do we really need to look good enough to compete with 20-year-olds?”

Jeez, it’s not enough that we’re under societal pressure to maintain our sexual allure. We’re also under societal pressure to let go of our allure, from the very people who claim to be fighting societal pressure.

Personally, I really wouldn’t want to let it go. If I didn’t recognize my body anymore after pregnancy, I’d probably wait the recommended length of time, lose the baby weight, get super-healthy, and have the surgery. But I sure wouldn’t have it at the Mall.

Coming next: ABC News asks, “How far will Chinese women go in the pursuit of beauty?” (Hint: see below)