In 2005 I reread Necklace of Kisses while in the back seat of a near strangers car on the way to my first trip to Los Angeles. This trip was mostly spent on Sunset Boulevard wandering and seeing my boys black back to back concerts. It was the first taste of Los Angeles that I always craved and opened my heart for more more more. This novel always reminds me of my two short nights in Hollywood, and of magic and simplicity within reality. Emily is a new friend, and here’s her version.
Dangerous Angels Book Club: Necklace of Kisses
Where were the kisses, Weetzie Bat wondered?
Published in 2005, Necklace of Kisses picks up with Weetzie Bat and her family about 20 years after the events of the series’ first book. Weetzie is now 40, the owner of her own vintage clothing store, and a new-found empty-nester after Cherokee and Witch Baby depart for college. Her relationship with Max (f.k.a. My Secret Agent Lover Man) has grown increasingly strained; after the events of 9/11, he has become depressed, even more fixated with the news, and so emotionally distant he will no longer kiss her. So she carefully packs her favorite clothes, hops in her ‘65 Thunderbird, and departs for an extended solo vacation to an enchanted pink hotel where memories of her high school prom and a lost kiss still linger.
Through her interactions (and jewel-producing kisses) with the hotel’s characteristically Blockian residents—plastic-surgically-altered mermaids, drag queen chanteuses, elves fleeing baby-snatching relatives, soap-opera-star angels, and faunish room service waiters, to name a few—Weetzie is able to mend her confused heart, make peace with her past, and ultimately return home with a stronger sense of herself and her love for Max.
“weetzie v/ necklace of kisses” by francesca-lia-block on Polyvore
For me, reading this book and witnessing the Dangerous Angels characters in their more grown-up incarnations is like reuniting with a close but long-lost friend who has, in the time you’ve been apart, gone off and done tremendously cool things with their life, but can pick up with you right where you two left off. But this time around, it’s even better, because you’ve both become more mature and actualized versions of yourselves, complete with some great new stories to share.
On the surface, Necklace of Kisses is an escapist fantasy extraordinaire, but it’s ultimately so much more than that: it’s a love letter to the people, places, and things that give our lives meaning; a call to make our own peace in the face of not-always-happy-endings; and, most importantly, a testament to the value of loving and caring for ourselves as we share that love with the world.
Tristan Sable & Dashell Hart
*Wig in A Box—Hedwig and the Angry Inch soundtrack
*Seasons in the Sun—Terry Jacks
*Smells Like Teen Spirit—Nirvana
*Roberta Flack—Killing Me Softly
“necklace of kisses” by francesca-lia-block on Polyvore
*Lime green, pink, & orange kimono-print string bikini
*Men’s extra-small white tanks from Salvation Army
*New-fallen-snowy-white Levis 501s
*Men’s black silk gabardine trousers, tailored to fit
*Orange suede old-school trainers with white stripes
*Orange leather, silver-studded slides
*Bikini underwear and bras in black, white, pink, lime green, and orange
*Pink and green vintage Pucci tunic (“Emilia”)
*Black and pink vintage Chanel suit (“Coco”)
*Hello Kitty wallet
*Short white satin designer trench
*Black-leather silver-studded punk belt
*Black silk-and-lace cami
*Raspberry snakeskin sandals
*White satin minidress, sewn from hotel sheets
*Frothy white gown with a strapless satin bodice and a huge tulle skirt made of silk roses (“Princess Grace”)
*Custom-made silk suit
*Small white suitcase with pink roses and gold hardware to hold it all
~ Fresh-caught sushi and sashimi (yellowtail, sea urchin, octopus), with Sapporo beer
~Bento box of miso soup, spinach with sesame, edamame, sautéed pumpkin, rice balls with umeboshi plum, cold soba noodles with scallions, tofu steak
*Vegan fruit-juice sweetened wedding cake
*Mushu-ritos and grilled veggie burritos
*Pasta with white beans, garlic, basil, roma tomatoes, and olive oil; tiramisu to share
*Room service Post-Lunch-Late-Breakfast Snack: Grapes, kiwi, oatmeal with yogurt, raisins, and brown sugar. Served on a silver tray with white linen, ice water tinkling in a glass, and a bouquet of tea roses
*Mini-bar: grapefruit juice and tonic water; Milky Way bar singing your name with a sexy, soulful Barry White voice
“Sometimes you fall, spinning through space, grasping for the things that keep you on this earth. Sometimes you catch them. They can be the hands of the people you love. They can be your pets- pups with funny names, cats with ferocious old souls. The thing that keeps you here can be your art. It can be things you have collected and invested with a certain sense of meaning. A flowered, buckled treasure chest of secrets. Shoes that make you taller and, therefore, closer to the heavens. A suit that belonged to your fairy godmother. A dress that makes you feel a little like the Goddess herself.
Sometimes you keep falling; you don’t catch anything.
Sometimes you fall, spinning through space, grasping for the things that keep you here. Sometimes you catch them. Sometimes you don’t.
Sometimes they catch you.”
“Find the goddess inside yourself instead of looking for the god in someone else.”
“Why was fabulousness important? The world was a scary, sad place and adornment was one of the only ways she knew to make herself and the people around her forget their troubles. That was why she had opened her store almost five years ago. Everyone who entered the little square white house with miniature Corinthian columns, cherub statues, and French windows seemed to leave carrying armloads of newly handmade and well spruced-up recycled vintage clothing, humming sixties girl-group songs, seventies glam and punk, eighties New Wave one-hit wonders, or nineties grunge, doing silly dances, and not caring what anyone thought.
Weetzie loved the old dresses she found and sold, because they had their own secret histories. She always wondered where, when, and how they had been worn. What they had seen. Old dresses were like old ladies.”
“Just like any woman…we weave our stories out of our bodies. Some of us through our children, or our art; some do it just by living. It’s all the same.”
Additional Reading & Links:
“Weetzie Bat Grows Up”: http://www.bookslut.com/girl_interrupting/2005_09_006541.php.
Nerve.com interview with Francesca: http://www.nerve.com/content/mystical-realism
Reading Group Guide: http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides3/necklace_of_kisses1.asp.
FLB-inspired jewelry, including a Necklace of Kisses!: https://www.cityblis.com/my_secret_agent_lover_man