Monday, December 19, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Score It: La Bic Vic, Mr. Broken Bird

I'm a big fan of DesignSponge's "Living In:" series.  It's such a clever way to discuss product without solely shilling for stores.  While DesignSponge recreates the mise-en-scen of our favorite films, I thought it might be just as interesting to build a look around a song--albeit a more difficult task, as music lack the visual element of film, songs, like movies, influence our cultural perspective.  For my first in the "Score it" series, I use a song by La Big Vic of Brooklyn, introduced to me by Orange Milk Records.  Hope you enjoy.

La Big Vic - Mr. Broken Bird by orangemilk

1.Christopher Kane Chief Biker Jacket 2.David Foster Wallace, Broom of the System 3.Karen Walker Eyewear  4.Solange Azagury-Partridge Rings 5.Balenciaga Metallic Leather Skinny Pants 6.Marjan Pejoski Monkey Brooch 7.Rachel Comey Pegasus 8.Ego and Greed Detroit 9.Solange Azagury-Partridge 10.Pet Rat 11.Let's just take another look at that Jacket.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lights Out! Happy Halloween...

Today is Halloween, one of the happiest days of the year.  What other holiday has such a great sense of humor? Halloween is a time to mock and celebrate pop-culture, to glorify the typically feminized art of crafting.  It encourages imagination, giving [of candy], and marks the start of the transcendental holiday season.  Sadly, I spent most of my Halloween weekend inside, making only one appearance as Zombie Elizabeth Taylor (to honor her memory in the year of her passing, of course).  Friday night's party was pretty great, complete with a cardboard spaghetti and meatballs, Walt and Jesse from Breaking Bad, the Little Prince, Wiig's baby hands from SNL,  Dolly Parton, Duffman--too many favorites to list.  I lost my voice halfway through the party, after a false recovery from a head cold I got the day before.  I am just now getting my voice back, and have spent most of the weekend inside with the cats, glued to Netflix.  If I couldn't attend all the Halloween parties I'd hoped, at least I could celebrate this great day with some gruesomely festive films.

Horror film consumption is both a personal and social experience. While the genre has the unflattering (but maybe not undeserved) reputation for camp, horror films can be powerful cultural indicators.  Individually we may enjoy a film's titillating shock value, but scary movies offer us something more.  When a horror film is successful, it is due in large part to its ability to tap into our current societal fears.  Take our current obsession with Zombies.   Keep in mind that zombies were once you and me. Or well, if we're the protagonists, our neighbors and friends.  Here our punishment is not death, but the transformation into the "living" and very much not thinking dead.  Contrast this with the influx of alien flicks in the 50s and 60s.  Aliens are not us, but appear to be us, like in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Popularity of such films skyrocketed because people were afraid of Communists: those that appear to be us, but are intrinsically Other. Likewise, I guess I'll argue that films like Halloween and Friday the 13th of the 80s exposed the failings of child-rearing in the ME generation.  Most of the films during this era focused on one psychotic (always with a justifying backstory) that went on murderous rampages against scantily clad teens (weak, I know. I'll work on it).  And finally, our current love for Zombies has probably got a lot to do with the economy.  Zombie outbreaks signify a dramatic change in lifestyle for the living, read: end of life as we know it.  Hmm...with the failure of the dollar and the Never Ending Story of Recession, with republicans, democrats and tea partiers alike accusing the others of mindless adherence to their respective political cults, seems like we've got a full-on proverbial zombie outbreak on our hands right now.  I'll close with one last little treat, my current list of the five best Horror films (I've ever seen).  Post with your favorites if you disagree!

Top 5 Best Horror Films in no particular order:

2.Deep Red
I'm no Argento scholar.  But two out of two Argento movies I've seen are on this list, and he is certainly a visionary when it comes to murder.  I appreciate his innovative approach to the role of women in horror films, especially since your typical giallo at worst romanticizes rape and at best stars bodacious but helpless babes.  Suspiria is almost entirely centered on women--set in a super creepy ballet school with both pro- and an-tagonist sporting ovaries.  Deep Red isn't wholly lady-centric but one of the best scenes features lovely Daria Nicolodi (Argento's longtime life partner) besting our lead male at arm wrestling.  While Deep Red does feature another Evil murderess, Argento manages to offer us far more female faces than just your typical virgin/whore good/bad dichotomy.  These two films are made a trilogy with his 2007 release, Mother of Tears, starring his daughter Asia.  Having so loved the first two films in his "Three Mothers" trilogy I'm sure to watch the third, but I have to say I'm a little nervous I'll be disappointed.  Part of the charm of these two is the incredibly beautiful 70s styling and clever cinematographic tricks.  Since Mother of Tears came out in  the 2000s I just hope he doesn't Jar-Jar Binks it all and substitute cinematic innovation for high-budget glitz and computer animation.  Oh, and it won't have a Goblins soundtrack like the other two, which is reason enough alone to love these two films.

3.The Shining
The first time I saw The Shining I was alone, lights out, at night.  I think it was the first horror film that scared me since watching Poltergeist at 4 or 5 and Chuckie at 6.  I thought in my adolescence I'd lost the skill to fear film, but Kubrick's Shining made me feel like a kid again.  Why is this film so great?  Maybe because it actually makes sense, because the plot wasn't an afterthought to the blood and gore.  Maybe because Jack Nicholson is so convincingly dangerous you wonder if you really are about to watch a boy and his mother take a nice long bloody nap.  Or maybe it's because, like the two aforementioned Argento films, the music is so eerie, perfect and scary, and that coupled with the hallucinations/ghosts of the hotel, it creates a perfectly scary setting.  I read today that Stephen King is writing a sequel to the Shining.  I don't care.  Well, the book is so laughable, I guess I am a little curious to see what he comes up with this time.  Stephen King hated Kubrick's inspired retelling of his mediocre story.  Probably because it was so far superior.  Remember the hedge maze in the movie, the one that makes so much sense and is symbolic of mental illness and Jack's decent into madness? Well, in the book Danny battles EVIL TOPIARIES.  Wonder what that symbolizes in society--fear of yard work?

4.The Tenant
My best friend Amanda was the first to recommend this film to me.  Her initial attempt at its screening was unsuccessful; let's just say Blockbuster only carries a film by this name starring Snoop.  But, she made the investment on Amazon and we watched it, appropriately, in my new apartment.  This is a great film, all opinions of Polanski aside, for fans of the Shining.  Another psychological mystery, the film is twisted and stylish and has the creep factor turned up to 11.

5.A Tale of Two Sisters
This film's got heart.  And I'm not afraid to say I cried, in between biting my nails and peeking through my fingers.  Sweet and mysterious, creepy and cruel, A Tale of Two Sisters is one of the best films I've seen period.  The cinematography is gorgeous: featuring saturated, Amelie-like color and imaginative set design.  All three female leads are fabulous actors, inspiring appropriate amounts of sympathy and disgust for their  complicated characters.  The story is not at once obvious, and like so many of my favorite Korean films, is unimaginably tragic without seeming gratuitous and manipulative.  

Honorable Mention: Rosemary's Baby, Candyman, Poltergeist, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead

So there's my list, and I'm surprised not a single Zombie flick made it.  Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to watch the next episode of The Walking Dead.

Monday, October 17, 2011

fall back

Last February, as we were all dreaming of warmer days and spring-time related allergies, Lincoln center hosted an awe-inspiring circus full of fur and knits.  Normally by this time, winter's gray slush has no antidote except a sweaty, musky summer night.  A few fashion shows though, made me regret ever longing for those summer dresses.  Now that temperatures have steadied in the low 60s it's back to boot weather for the northern hemisphere.  With so many months between their debut and their practical application, I thought it was time to return to a few inspiring looks we saw last February.

let's get the obvious out of the way.  
You know when you were little and you saw a meteor for the first time?  watching the Olsen twins hit it out of the park like this felt very similar.  i usually love to see what crazy combos they wear on the red carpet, but i didn't realize what glorious vision they might proffer on the runway.  from the gothic, plum lips and sleek middle parts, to the miles of fur* (i'll justify that later) to the leopard loafers, this will be my winter uniform.  just remind me to put the dr. zhivago soundtrack on my ipod and i'll be set.

gorilla arms, circular shades, and the best gargoyle sweater of the season.
Well, that's basically it in a nutshell.  Carven satisfied both my yearnings for awkward body shapes and allusions to medieval symbolism.

combining color creatively--also, more gorilla arms.
There's something about Etro that's a little ugly but very appealing.  we'll call this their Steve Buscemi collection.  Colors definitely made new friends here; the azure blue with  the saturated dirt brown, the coral with navy and cream, and finally that last dress that would have Rumpelstiltskin foaming at the mouth.  I also love the choice of lamb's wool (or is it yarn? hah) in place of the Row's obvious fur choices.  Makes the outfits a little less murdery.

1930s Prairie Chic meets unflattering baroque print pantsuits I would kill to own.
This collection reminded me a little of Faye Dunaway's portrayal of Bonnie Parker, but with less sex--and I mean that in a good way.  The exposed legs and shoulders are more architectural than slutty and thus more interesting.  I like that the Mulleavy sisters offered us a farm girl without the sickly sweetness and purity so often associated with the Simple Life.  The key though, again, is the beautiful combinations of color.  I own the look in the bottom left, but without the gorgeous mustard, lavender and olive my own look falls flat.  Again we see the blue and brown found in Etro's fall collection, this time a little softer. It's an interesting palette for a fall collection; usually the colors are so saturated or dark we lose the airiness of winter, the softness of snow.   

Suno is always known for their prints, and I have little to add here.  Noteworthy is the mix of prints and texture; combining plaid and floral is a dangerous endeavor.   Still, Suno seems to perform with ease, and we're given some great ideas to feminize those wool capes and flannel shirts.  

time to invest in some waterproof mascara.
Perhaps we'll end on a sour note, here, as Vena Cava's f/w 2011 collection was not well received.  True, it was a little trashy, thanks in part to the stringy hair and hangover face.  I'm willing to take a risk and say I liked the overall look.  The metal collars are spot on (already found mine at a thrift) and I'm such a sucker for a column dress.  I liked the 90s fabrics despite our current infatuation with the 70s I thought it still looked fresh.  Perhaps there was just enough disco to sell me on it in the end.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

my two cents on wall street.

that which is not just, is not law.  

William Lloyd Garrison, passionate abolitionist and father of the weekly Liberator, penned that line just before the Civil War began.  Looking back, Garrison was a demigod of powerful prose, a spokesman for a generation of heroes that defeated evil in America (well, not really, but it helped a little).   At the time, Garrison faced a lot of criticism--both in the North and South.  The country obviously wasn't convinced abolition was the right ticket, and even the start of the war was justified by political violations and not moral ones.  But, thanks to a disgusting, bloody war, Garrison and his impassioned resistance seem like the perfect prescription for America's racial sickness.

So now it's time to tie this to Occupy Wall Street.  I'm really tired of reading whiny posts on facebook criticizing the dirty hippies in lower Manhattan.  The problem is that those complaining have also whined about THE MAN and probably agree with the Occupy Wall Street manifesto.  Complainers just have a problem with the occupation itself, in that it seems powerless and misguided.  Most of us don't think that disrupting daily life and garnering press attention will have any positive effects.  But what else is there to do?  Garrison couldn't have won the war himself.  It also took poor John Brown to start the war with his sad march to Virginia.  We can speculate to exhaustion about the inevitability of the war.  Maybe there was a non-violent way to abolition.  But the way it happened, a call to arms was the key to victory.

So, take the time to read the manifesto.  If you don't want to be a John Brown and sleep in the park, be a Garrison.  Or be a Grant!  Then we'll just have to wait for our own Lincoln to show up.

 i was going to make this in gimp, but Ron English beat me to it. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Aaaaannnnd we're back.

So I started this blog after excavating my old Live Journal from the dusty internet archives of 2002.  In a pseudo-mid-life-crisis kind of move, I thought this new blog might help me relive some of the glorious LJ times of yore.  I realized, very quickly on, that times had changed in the blogging world.  Instead of writing to my friends like I did with Live Journal, I find myself writing to impress a civilization of strangers.  Live Journals were made to be private. PRIVATE! Can you imagine? We live in world where "blogger" is an accepted occupation.  So I was now faced with some existential questions.  Would I make it big like the bloggers I "read" daily? Would I count my followers, market myself to get more hits? Long story short, this mentality stifled any desire to post at all.  Everything I wanted to write seemed too personal, too verbose.  Who even reads blogs anyway?  I could never find enough pictures.

Last month I lost one of the great loves of my life, my Grandpa Jack, and I couldn't bring myself to write about it.  Things needed to change.

So I am dedicating this blog to my sister Kaylyn, because she keeps it real with her own blog.  And maybe also to my special littlest sister, if she reads this.  But I just need to remember that my friends and family are the only ones who read this blog anyway.