Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

I Had That Dream Again

Photo: Matthew Christopher

The Universe

“The bad news: there is no key to the universe. The good news: it was never locked.”
--Swami Beyondananda

True That, Iggy

"Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots, because it's OK to be a boy, but for a boy to look like a girl is degrading, because you think that being a girl is degrading. But secretly you'd love to know what it's like, wouldn't you? What it feels like for a girl?"
--Julie played by Charlotte Gainsbourg in the film "The Cement Garden" from the book of the same name by Ian McEwan

Vague and Uncertain

“Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize until you have tried to make it precise.”
--Bertrand Russell

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.”
--John Allen Paulos


BEAUTY: Interiors--Jeff Andrews

I've said it before, I'll say it again: white rooms are a missed opportunity for color. Unless it is a "statement" room that depends upon an all-white scheme to support some extreme modernist vision, white to me (in an interior design context) usually means "devoid."

But the primarily white work of NYC interior designer Kelly Behun seems full of texture and interest, filling the color-less spaces with reasons to look and linger...

I think it is a combination of furniture juxtaposition and choice of surprising elements like a lighted branch or a live-edge redwood cocktail table.



Gorgeous layabouts.

"5 Raccoon, 3 Skunk, 2 Deer, 2 Cats, 1 Dog and an Opossum"

5 Raccoon, 3 Skunk, 2 Deer, 2 Cats, 1 Dog and an Opossum

This is tonight’s count
so far: I see them as I bore
through the colorless fog,
thick, porous, indifferent,
while this moon of ours
bleaches the water,
turning the waves into
acid-white milk—
the ghosts of
all this roadkill
follow me home.
Seized by headlights,
slammed from the side
before they could move,
they don’t understand
what has happened.
They have nowhere
to go, these tiny
spectral hitchhikers,
so they attach themselves
for the ride home.
I have used up both hands
counting as I pass by and
now I’m onto my toes
as I swim through the night.
I pull into my drive
and they scatter when
I open the door.
They rootle in the garbage
while I get ready for bed.
They pluck the wire
window screens
like harp strings
as I try to sleep.
I can barely see
their blood-rimmed eyes.
They crawl under the
house and dig at the
floorboards under my bed.
They want to be held.
They want comfort.
They are scared, confused.
Cool, wet fur brushes
against my cheek.
I can’t help them or
save the ones out there
who are about to join us.
I just draw them into me
like all my stuffed animals
when I was a child.
We lie in the dark
and silence, waiting for
all the drivers that sped
over them to crash into the
rest of the cars in the world,
waiting for the sound of
crushing steel and glass
rising up from the planet,
waiting for them all to
kill each other, waiting
for it all to make sense,
waiting for the end of the world.

©JEF 1999

Currently listening to...

...the apocalyptic luxury and sonic density of "You Can Dance" by Bryan Ferry; taken from his 2010 release "Olympia" which saw him collaborating with original Roxy Music members Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, and Andy Mackay. I love how this song starts with a sample from the song "True To Life," off of "Avalon," Roxy Music's 1982 swan song. But the sample here gets laid under a sinuous, dangerous track. This is not 1982. Things are leaner and tighter (and colder) now.

And I must say that age becomes Ferry.

I am actually quite fond of this marvelous remix of the song by Tim Roe:


It's Time

The beauty of this made me cry.
It IS time.

Donate to put on Australian tv: http://tiny.cc/gkuwp
and sign the petition: http://www.getup.org.au/marriagematters

Paris Summary, Fall-Winter '12-'13


Friday, January 27, 2012

BEAUTY: Watercolor--Barbara Bargiggia

This lovely, heartbreaking series by Italian artist Barbara Bargiggia speaks to the ideas of winter, hibernation, dormancy, hiding, transformation, protection, love, being in a state of communion with nature, the power and spirit of the natural world, and the destructive intrusion of man into that state of grace. It has the texture of a tragic fairy tale.

Bargiggia's watercolor work feels more like illustration. Although I don't have a precise narrative for this set of highly evocative images, I can feel the longing and the powerful emotions inherent in the actions depicted.

She does not have a dedicated presence on the net but she does however have a Flickr account where she posts her art.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

BEAUTY: Clothing-- Thom Browne

January is a very busy time for clothing. Pitti Uomo happens in Florence, followed immediately by Milano Moda Uomo. And hot on the heels of the Milan shows is Paris Fashion Week.

Paris Fashion Week in January always shows collections for the next Fall-Winter season, in this case for 2012 and 2013.

There are lots of shows and designers to catch up on so let's get to it.

Regular readers know that I do not follow "fashion" as in "What does Calvin Klein's sportswear look like this season?" I follow fashion the way some people delve into the art world. I think of "fashion" as "costume"--as a way to convey an idea or a concept. I appreciate what some designers do the same way one appreciates what an avant garde sculptor or painter or performance artist does. And in a way, these designers are performance artists. For me, it is not about what is hanging on racks in stores, but what these artists are creating and the ideas and concepts they are working with as an influence on their marvelous creativity. It is moving sculpture. It is theater. Fashion and clothing at this level serves as a kind of visual shorthand. A piece of clothing in the hands of a designer can evoke a place, a region, a country, a specific time or an entire era, a work of art such as a novel or film or painting, a class of people, even a social, financial, or spiritual element... and the combination of such pieces of clothing, as well as their harmony or contrast, can tell a fascinating story.

So with that in mind, let's look at what was possibly the strangest, most fascinating collection in Paris, maybe not only this month, but in recent memory!

Thom Browne, who seems so clean-cut and mild mannered on the surface with his high and tight haircut and stark suit, seems to be taking the lead for the designer who can create the most outlandish presentations (of course he has stiff competition from Walter van Bierendonck and Comme des Garçons).

This collection took its inspiration from the idea of punks vs. jocks in an average American high school. But since this is Thom Browne, he threw in the ambiance of the films "Road Warrior," "Rocky Horror," "Blade Runner," "The Longest Yard," "Despicable Me," and "The Incredibles." Incredible indeed. The result was a frightening face-off between these two tribes. Punks were outfitted in skinny cuts, cropped tops and jackets, hoods, spikes and studs (with the incongruity of merkins--pubic wigs--peeking up over the low waists of trousers and skirts), while the jocks were blown up to improbable, grotesque proportions. This hulking football player character with padded shoulders, elbows, knees, and ass morphed into a bizarre Frankenstein-like creature, stomping down the runway in a long, gray wool skirt. Browne also took staple aspects of a traditionally Preppy look such as pastel colors (pink and green) and the tiny little embroidered ducks, anchors, tennis rackets and such that one sees on those ridiculous, horrid Brooks Brothers trousers (it should be noted that Thom Browne actually designs Black Fleece, a sub-brand for Brooks Brothers!) and turned them from an ugly cliché into a post-modern feature. Huge embroidered ducks, safety pins, and terriers adorned jackets, trousers, and vests. And a cream suit with a pink and green Fair Isle print actually had its pattern rendered in studs!


BEAUTY: Clothing--John Galliano

Since John Galliano remains on extended "hiatus" after his drunken and very public anti-Semitic tirade, Galliano's right-hand man Bill Gaytten has been designing the collections (although one strongly suspects that Galliano is unofficially still around, perhaps sketching in a corner, giving a thumbs up or down to what Gaytten is creating) and for the house's most recent showing at Paris Fashion Week, Gaytten took as his inspiration the beautiful illustrations of legendary ad-man J.C. Leyendecker who created many covers for The Saturday Evening Post, and was responsible for the Arrow Collar Man who was modeled on his own longtime partner, Charles Beach. Dashing, elegant, confident yet soft--Gaytten got it all just right. He captured the look and feel of the early 20s from Leyendecker's lovely art, seen after the clothing.