Super Vixens Dymaxion Lounge

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Overview

Take a creative spirit living in L.A., a tube of scarlet lipstick, various domestic problems, too little money, and a driving sexiness and you have a super vixen in the making. Hillary Johnson recounts her experience of living in the city where vast pockets of weirdness, perversion, and opportunity change, vanish, and rejuvenate continually. You can be anyone, anything, anytime. You can kick your boyfriend out of the house and call Dial-A-Stud for the night on your cellular phone. You can witness elegance turn to...
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Overview

Take a creative spirit living in L.A., a tube of scarlet lipstick, various domestic problems, too little money, and a driving sexiness and you have a super vixen in the making. Hillary Johnson recounts her experience of living in the city where vast pockets of weirdness, perversion, and opportunity change, vanish, and rejuvenate continually. You can be anyone, anything, anytime. You can kick your boyfriend out of the house and call Dial-A-Stud for the night on your cellular phone. You can witness elegance turn to kitsch by the blue pools of the Chateau Marmont. You can see power turn to depravity at the Hefner estate. You can try to get your kid into Montessori. Hillary Johnson, journalist, mother, self-proclaimed super vixen, describes day-to-day living in L.A.: relationships, earthquakes, work, child-rearing, party-going, sex, the monumental task of trying to feel sane. Johnson's L.A. is the living definition of Buckminster Fuller's concept of a Dymaxion. A Dymaxion is a world unto itself, where all parts are necessary to and available for one another. Think of George and Jane Jetson's dream kitchen and you'll begin to get the idea. L.A.'s many scenes are connected by convenient highways and freeways: it's the Galapagos Islands of culture. A single soul whirls around, picking up experience, disposing of old traits, retaining some qualities, reinventing himself all in the name of living in L.A.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
This is part of the opening salvo of quasi-hip publications from Buzz Books that extol the vices and virtues of life in Los Angeles. Johnson (Physical Culture) is the tall, blonde young journalist who details her 1990s L.A. lifestyle. She's poolside as Esther Williams entertains. She's the unmarried third of a frisky sexual threesome. She's able to dial herself a rent boy named Leon when her regular boyfriend dumps her, but unlike many of her pals, she draws a firm line at seducing the pizza delivery boy. In the gonzo journalism tradition, Johnson's main topic is herself. She's often very funny, much more decent than she'd like us to believe, and she writes well. Perhaps she is a little in love with herself (she does refer to herself as "beautiful" on one occasion), but she also saves a big piece of her heart for her City of Angels, the odd architecture, the dingbat folks and all.
Mark Athitakis
[T]he first thing you need to know about Hillary Johnson's new book, Super Vixens' Dymaxion Lounge, is that its Russ Meyer-esque title is a bit of a come-on. Don't look here for tales of rampant Los Angeles hedonism. Absent as well are the empty, ferociously pouty observations on L.A. club culture that the jacket copy (and glam color photos of the author) would lead you to believe are inside. Instead Lounge is something much more entertaining and incisive: a slim but wickedly brutal take on existential life in modern L.A., and one woman's quest for depth amidst the neon-drenched chaos and urban (not to mention urbane) sprawl. With a toddler in tow all the while.

If Mike Davis' 1992 book City of Quartz laid out the definitive map of Southern California's dizzying infrastructure and architecture, Johnson's book -- culled mainly from her essays in Buzz magazine -- seeks out the dingy, drunken corners that its middle-class young adults inhabit: the financial and sexual come-ons, the see-and-be-seen parties and the dark and restless cloud of anxiety that hovers like smog above it all. It's enough to make you want to kill someone, and the best of Johnson's essays details her search for the perfect handgun. If L.A. culture turns everyone into clichTs, then Johnson suggests handguns as the perfect way out: "I was suddenly very tired of being an overeducated girl who could do no more harm than write a really mean poem ... I didn't want to slash anyone's tires or call them repeatedly and hang up, or take over a large corporation and fire everybody, or get really, really fat or really, really thin."

Much of the book focuses on Johnson's search for a way past such hackneyed responses, but she's also aware of how difficult that is in a town where, a friend tells her, "style is substance." L.A. is a "dymaxion" town, a term used by Buckminster Fuller to describe a world unto itself, where everything intermeshes and everything is available. So she's wise enough to know that the idea of breaking through clichTs is a clichT itself. Is she really going to be gratified by seducing the Little Caesar's delivery boy, dating a couple, hanging out with drag queens? Nothing's ironic in a town built on irony; a teacher at a Montessori school placidly tells Johnson that "the playground's in the backyard, very safe from drive-by shootings."

What saves Super Vixens from wallowing in a puddle of cut-rate Gen-X ennui is Johnson's studied awareness of her own moral groundedness amid the city's absurdities; she might be a resident, but she's no victim. Her observations on the set of a porn flick are rife with the shock of the nude, but also tease out the brittle humanity of stars like Eartha Quake and Dick Nasty, and it's that acknowledgment of humanity that makes Johnson's writing so funny, right and engrossing. She brings a sense of depth to her dymaxion world, a place where maybe -- just maybe -- you'll find true love and an honest conversation, once you get past the silicone breasts and Armani suits, even if it's just for a one-night stand. --Salon

Kirkus Reviews
A collection of dark and clever essays from Buzz magazine's Johnson (Physical Culture, 1989) pumps up L.A. eccentricities with metaphors of the profound.

The exotic particularities of life in L.A., often parodied, incorporated in movies, television shows, and sex-and-shopping fiction, are for Johnson the stuff of philosophy and metaphor. As she browses Rodeo Drive she notes that "it's so easy to scoff at the whorish gilt and gewgaws . . . but I believe it's a seat of consciousness for the same reason that it's awful." She muses, as she looks for shoes at Gucci, that "if Chanel is Buñuel, Gucci is J.G. Ballard: as fresh as an eroticized car crash in an alternate but highly moral universe." Tori Spelling, she suggests, is, in her own way, an icon with as much current resonance as, say, Our Lady of Guadalupe. As part of her attempt to plumb the reality of life in L.A., Johnson touches on some truly outré stuff, including a visit to a Malibu ranch used for shooting porn. And along with each adventure, she includes a meaningful description of her wardrobe and other life artifacts. At the Château Marmont to interview Esther Williams, she wears "a fifties cerise cocktail dress with a floaty chiffon train." On her first day in L.A., feeling the need for some symbolic statement, she stops at a garage in the suburbs to change into a special flowered dress. The title refers back to Buckminster Fuller's concept of the dymaxion, a self-contained world in which everything that one needs for life is present in a kind of interdependent unity. For Johnson, Los Angeles has been her dymaxion, the place where she learned, she says, not so much to be happy as to be authentic.

Johnson is a universe shaper, with a powerful mind careening slightly to self-parody, and a lot of attitude.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312156688
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/1997
  • Pages: 162
  • Product dimensions: 5.77 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 0.67 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2000

    Sometimes Life is Stranger than Fiction

    There is something so strange and wonderful about this book. It appears to lay in the crosshatched pattern of real life and bizarre happenings that weave their way through each chapter. I could hardly put it down once I started reading. Thank you, Hillary Johnson, for leading a life that is so entertaining in retrospect. It has led me to re-examine my own life for literary possibilities!

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