Wow! My friends love family time!


I, gossip columnist, have been thinking a lot about this dumb smarmy quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

Next time a boring acquaintance from high school ominously posts this on their Facebook wall, be sure to take them to task!! What are ideas and events without the people behind them!? Their sick burns, their hot takes, their inspired lewks, what of these things? Will these nuggets of life not be lost to the world without gossip columnists to dutifully collect them and then re-distribute them through the immortal medium of email newsletters?

Also, Eleanor never even said it.

Don’t you worry, dear reader, because I am here to yet again use a historical anecdote to justify the pursuit of great gossip!!! Thank you for reading Wow!

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The feature scoop this week is that my family came to visit! Instead of boring you with our very wholesome itinerary, I would like to instead focus on a point that has been ratified in our Southwell family folklore:

There have been several possible origin stories for my notoriously difficult name and people ask me all the time for the very thoughtful good reason how I got this name.

The pursuit of the truth has revealed three different narratives:

  • I am named after It Takes Two actress Kirstie Alley

  • My mother overheard a woman screaming “Kirsten!” at a misbehaving child in a mall

  • A maternity nurse that my parents interacted with had this name

Despite my mother insisting my namesake was Kirstie Alley, an actress which she doesn’t even like at all, we called my Dad for a second opinion.

He also dislikes actress Kirstie Alley and recalls a fourth option:

  • A Swedish woman my mom worked with was named Kirsten

Upon hearing this, my Mom recanted her original attribution to well-liked actress Kirstie Alley and verified this beautiful yet otherwise unremarkable Swede was my true namesake. Where is she now? Does she even know what I’m up to?

A few highlights from their visit:


I brought Robbie to Pitchfork where Andrew, a pal, described him as “optimistic about the weather”, a trait all Southwells share!


Ryan, adult man aged 29, had never seen an image of Van Gogh’s The Bedroom painting. I told this to a fellow museum employee who then quipped, “Has he never been into a college girl’s dorm room?” 

Waiting for answers, Ryan!


As I was picking croutons off her salad at Lou Malnati's, Mom gave me a packaged moist towelette that I immediately recognized as the medical variety that is gifted to you before you re-dress from an OBGYN exam. My mom acquiesced that this was indeed the source and she always asks for extra so she can keep them in her purse. 

I love my mom!


I’d like to also point out that when Mom visited me in Portland three years ago, she gave me a prepackaged courtesy pin-back button that the very cool Jupiter hotel had left in her room. 

What she had interpreted as a trendy pin was, in fact, a condom.


Jim spent an extra 30-40 minutes in the Thorne Miniature Rooms and came out forever changed. Witnesses overheard him mumbling to himself, “all those hundreds of hours building little tables and little chairs...” I suggested he watch Hereditary, a movie about miniatures!


Jenelle, my sister-in-law and future mother to the youngest heir to the Southwell name, was really fond of the decapitated heads in the Art Institute’s “Room of Doom and Gloom”! Also, she’s visibly pregnant!


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Chicago, a world-class city as equally important and interesting as New York or LA and definitely doesn’t have a complex about it, hosted Pitchfork Music Festival last weekend. More than just being a cool fashionable event with which to show off your fashionable little brother to, it’s an opportunity for celebrity indie musicians to descend upon the city and for everyday Chicagoans to cash in on adjacent fame.

For example: my thoughtful and poetic friend Lois. I had no idea her brother was the drummer for a very cool band Melkbelly! I know her!!!

And also, my coworker Bill that I’ve talked to at least twice told me his nephew is the drummer for Big Thief! Wow, adjacent!!!


But perhaps the most surprising lead of all came from my email muse Izzy, who witnessed The War on Drugs—a band Josh once controversially described as “not musical”—purchasing coffee at Whole Foods.


I’d like to point out that every gossip columnist knows that Whole Foods is a notorious hotbed for celebrity sightings. 

Once at the Whole Foods in Charlotte, I encountered none other than known adulterer and North Carolina State University Alumni John-fucking-Edwards!



It’s no secret that trends are near impossible to stay on top of, especially in men’s fashion. While many dudes struggle to find a statement that is both authentic and of the times, Drew will not be one of them. See this example for how Drew innovated the same look, a mere 26 years apart. While the 90’s were all about an accessible, Stick Stickly-inspired aesthetic, Drew’s contemporary crop top, ironic facial hair, and low-rise cutoffs are NOW NOW NOW! 

Effortless, as always Drew!

  • I stood by as someone at Pitchfork told Lillian that she had a really soothing speaking voice, like Marcia Brady. [Marcia Brady’s Voice]

  • I saw Meg’s boob! [Meg had her baby]

  • Christine came to visit and I might have accidentally convinced her to start a lapidary business?

  • Tara and I spent the weekend reading each other old love letters and got our eyebrows threaded together.


Your pal who loves secrets,

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Kirsten Southwell