Anyone with a half a toe in the fashion world knows that lovers of style anticipate the September issue of Vogue all year long. It’s usually about a hundred pages long, with unbelievable fashion gracing every page. So far this year, my favorites include these coats from Louis Vuitton, along with their spangled bags:
And Chanel’s take on their signature quilted crossbody bag – in jewel-toned velvet, which I couldn’t find a picture of online.
And Marc Jacobs always, always kills me. This dress has been my favorite thing since his runway show last May. I love the orange and the blue together, plus those flowers are just fab.
I’ve also made a list of Things I Need:
1. A military style jacket, preferably in navy or army green or charcoal grey. This I’m hoping H&M or Forever 21 can provide me with. Maybe Topshop. Maybe Asos.com. I’d thrift it, or even army-surplus it, but it needs to be well-fitted, and tailoring tends not to be the military’s great strength.
2. Big buttons to put on all of my wide-lapeled coats (praise Jesus, I already have some gorgeous vintage babies! Otherwise, wide-lapeled jackets and coats would be on the list, too). These will require a stop at M&J Trimmings, on 6th avenue in New York. If you have any sort of love for buttons, appliques, and other fabulous, well, trimmings – you will simply die in M&J. Simply. Die.
3. Some full, pleated, knee- or mid-length skirts. I’m loving accordion pleats right now. This isn’t really a change from what I have always wanted and always worn, but it’s nice to have an excuse to buy more. Maybe in jewel tones. I’m feeling some jewel tones. I kind of lurve this one, at American Apparel:
Or this from Asos.com – a fabulous site that I recently discovered.
4. Leather. Ideally, a rich leather pencil skirt. Probably in black. Definitely thrifted, because I need leather in the 9 dollar range, as opposed to the 900. I’d love a well-fitted leather dress, not only because it would look unbelievably fab, but also because it would be so warm. That I’m not sure I’ll manage, but if anyone has any tips – I’ll be forever grateful. Maybe ebay will come through.
6. A navy blue blazer with gold buttons. I used to have a fabulous boys’ one that was perfect, but I grew out of it.
7. Brogues. Wingtip. I trust that Tani can come through for me on that front.
8. A colored fur stole. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore fur. I have a gorgeous fur coat that I wear in the winter – not only is it fabulous, it keeps me so warm! And I’ve always said that the minks would want me to have it.
9. Embellished everything. There are huge jewels and sequins on everything this season, and I am SO DOWN.
Finally, I intend to blow off whatever I’m doing on September 9th, so I can go into Target early and check out the Shops at Target stuff before it’s all gone.
Fuck, man. If only I had a rich husband to buy me everything I wanted, I would look so damn good.
Today I came across this:
Yes, that’s raw meat. Lady Gaga, I don’t think this is avant garde or fabulous in any way. Come ON.
In honor of Lady Gaga, here’s an assortment of weird Vogue covers.
This cover has been really controversial. Racialicious commented on it pretty well. But here’s Lebron James and Gisele as King Kong and Faye. Obviously the large monkey connotation is pretty screwed up. What do my readers think?
Vogue Taiwan did this weird feathered thing:
Apparently Gwyneth Paltrow looks great here? Simple and fashionable…but I think the Robot is weird.
Here’s some vintage Vogue that I think is really creepy.
And Vogue Italia’s take on…pirates?
Here’s a blog all about comic books – which are most definitely rectangles. I’m sure there are about 12 million of these comic blogs, each with millions of nerds sitting at home reading. But this one is actually kinda cool.
I first heard about Gone and Forgotten on This American Life (listen to the episode here). I was so intrigued that I had to look it up. The author, Jonathan Morris, who likes to go by Your Humble Editor, picks out comics and characters that didn’t pan out, for whatever reason. Gone and Forgotten describes itself as “a blog dedicated to the bottom of the comic book barrel; the Secret Wars IIs, the Kitty Pryde and Wolverines, the Green Teams and John Targitts and the one time Krypto swore like a drunken sailor on shore leave.”
None of that means anything to me, I guess those are inside comic book junkie jokes.
Most of what Morris posts are old “activity pages:”
And “Batman leads an interesting life” Fridays:
But there is a category for “Classic Gone & Forgotten” which gives the reader plenty of silly-named superheroes and descriptions of their “superpowers.” Here’s an excerpt from Skateman:
“…Billy also befriends a local neighborhood “Beaner” (his words, not mine, folks) Paco, whom he teaches to “defend himself AND ride a skateboard.” Teach what you know, I guess. This starts to help Billy out of his depression, until BIKERS KILL ANGEL [his girlfriend]! Thanks for being in the Dramatis Personae, hon, we really cared deeply for you as a character.
This sends Billy over the edge, and inspired by Paco’s comic book collection, our flaxen-haired derby jockey adopts a disguise to strike terror into criminal’s hearts – assuming the criminals live in Venice Beach and are easily scared – SKATEMAN!”
“…As an aside, all the hispanic people in this book are apparently migrant workers. This alone is just not right. Then all the white people are either bikers or disco dancers. And all the black people in this book aren’t anywhere to be seen at all. (Okay, except for Rudy). This is just one of many things that are chronically not right with this book.”
The best thing about this site is not that I could spend hours perusing the silliness of it, but that Morris is a really good writer. Enjoy!
Tetris is a game we all (should) know and love. It’s fun as shit and frustrating as fuck. But apparently, according to the latest issue of the Economist, it is also useful in treating PTSD. I don’t know how to write about it better than the writers for the Economist, so I’ll quote liberally from this really cool article.
“This year,” the article says, “a group of British scientists suggested a [simple] therapy: playing the video game Tetris.”
“In an experiment, the scientists had 40 adults watch a 12 minute film filled with graphic scenes of traffic accidents, surgeries and a drowning – material that often produces mild flashbacks even when viewed only in a movie. Half an hour after the film, half the participants were asked to sit quietly for 10 minutes and the other half were asked to play Tetris for 10 minutes…The group that played Tetris fared far better – experiencing 42% fewer flashbacks over one week.”
“The scientists suspect the Tetris vaccine works because flashbacks are registered primarily as visual memories. By playing Tetris right after a trauma, the visual cortex becomes so busy that the brain doesn’t encode the horrific visual imagery in the way that it otherwise might…And Tetris is non-verbal, so it doesn’t impinge upon other crucial work the brain does to help make sense of – and cope with – a traumatic episode.”
Tetris isn’t yet confirmed as an effective therapy, but hey – let’s get all those soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan Gameboys for Christmas.
Another blogger’s comments here.
Austin Kleon describes himself as “a writer who draws.”
He says, additionally, “I’m a visual thinker who is obsessed with the art of communicating with pictures and words, together. I love to write about the subject and teach it. I draw cartoons and take visual notes at live events in my sketchbook…My day job is designing websites.”
My favorite thing that he does is called the “Newspaper Blackout Poem.” The description that Kleon offers is simply
NEWSPAPER + MARKER = POETRY.
In the eloquent words of NPR’s Morning Edition:
“A poet in Texas is blacking out words in order to write. Instead of starting with a blank page, Austin Kleon grabs the New York Times and a permanent marker and eliminates the words he doesn’t need.”
I’m not a huge fan of his poetry. I don’t think it’s particularly enlightening or beautiful or expositional. But I do think that the idea is really, really cool and original, and I think that a lot of value lies in that originality alone. The concept of “visual thinking” is one that I’ve always been intrigued by (that’s why I’m an art history major), and one that I think is too often ignored or overlooked. Kleon addresses it in a pretty unique way.
Here’s how he starts:
I also like how this medium is (seems?) extremely accessible. Anyone can grab the paper and a marker and start creating – and I like the encouragement toward art that this suggests. Art doesn’t have to be limited to the Greats. Anyone can do it. And with public school programs being cut and more and more people struggling to get jobs, art is an important getaway.
Okay. Here are some cool examples of Kleon’s work.
The Best Education
How It Works
Crime Scene Tape
This next one reminds me of the super super cliche Joyce Kilmer poem:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
Trees Are Gestures
And finally, to sum everything up:
My grandparents live in a lovely “active adult community” in Monroe Township, New Jersey. Recently, Pop-Pop has embarked on a new ambitious adventure:
The Founding of The Brooklyn Club.
This sounds fairly simple, but there is, of course, drama amongst the old people. Before Pop-Pop started to mix things up, The Bronx Club dominated the borough-related scene. It had many members. They went on field trips to exciting places in the Bronx – The Bronx Zoo, old tenements, etc. And then my grandfather had the gall to found The Brooklyn Club. Unfortunately, they had to let Staten Island in, to compete with the Bronx club for membership. I encourage Pop-Pop to just settle it with fisticuffs. After all, as he always says, “You can take the boy out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the boy.” Pretty sure that’s an original quote.
Recently, the Brooklyn Club got a column in the community newspaper. Pop-Pop wrote it and sent a copy to each of his children – my Dad (Bennett) and his two sisters (Idette and Devorah). The following note was enclosed. Spelling is kept intact.
H ere IS tHE CDOLUMN I WROTE FOR t HE Brookl yn Staten Island club. I am no Walter Winchell but it was fun. I sent in the one for November and am now working o n Staten Island for December and t I hope we will be in Florida by then.
Love to all of your family
Mom and Dad
Here, now, I present Pop-Pop’s column. I feel like I should just publish it here, without any changes. Enjoy. And be patient, the second half is the best.
Brooklyn/Staten Island Club
By Joe Hecht
Author’s Note: The contents of this column will come from personal experiences of our members residents from Brooklyn or Staten Island, and from many publications dealing with the boroughs. In today’s column I’ll be talking about Brooklyn.
Peter Golenbrock in the book In the Country of Brooklyn states that one of every seven people living in the United States can trace their families back to Brooklyn, New York. It is only seventy square miles but it is home to millions of people who come from every corner of the globe. I was born and brought up in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn. It did not matter where you lived. When the kids in Flatbush started to play “immies” (marbles), kids in Bensonhurst, Midwood, etc. were playing too. This was true for stickball, potsie, ringolevio and any other game. This was a phenomenon that cannot be explained, but it did happen every year.
We all know Brooklyn for its egg creams and the Brooklyn Dodgers (still not forgotten). Brooklyn was one of the first urban areas to decay into slums and one of the first to be reborn. It is a densely populated urban borough with public housing projects, private homes, expensive high rise condominiums and beautiful Brownstones. The Brownstones were renovated and modernized by some of the owners, while other owners restored them to their Victorian or Edwardian glory.
An island that was separate and independent from the rest of Brooklyn, Coney Island, was also known as Gravesend. There was a stockade surrounding the town center on Gravesend Road and McDonald Avenue. Coney Island remained isolated because it was difficult to reach on foot or horseback until 1829 when a bridge was built from Brooklyn to the island.
In 1850 Coney Island became popular. Soon horse racing became the attraction at Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, and the Gravesend Racetracks. The president of the Long Island Rail Road built a line for the “horsey” set to get to the races. When horse racing died out, Coney Island still offered many attractions that were very popular. In 1895 the first outdoor amusement park, Sea Island Park, opened featuring an aquatic toboggan slide and a two-passenger roller coaster that performed a loop-de-loop. A second park called Steeplechase opened and featured an aerial slide and a double chute. For those who loved horses, a new exciting horse ride was introduced where two people could ride the horse down a long rail.
In 1902 a ride know as “A Trip to the Moon,” copied from the Buffalo State Fair, was built. More than 850,000 curiosity seekers paid to ride to the “Moon.” In 1903 Luna Park opened, with two million lights over the entrance-way. Its attraction was “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.”
The amusement park craze cooled off because of the sober nature of the World War II era and, perhaps, because the world was becoming sophisticated. Unfortunately, during the Depression most of the parks went into bankruptcy, great fires destroyed others, and in 1949 the land became the site for low-income housing. Coney Island beaches were in great demand but the only access to them was through the amusement parks. In order to get to the beach bathers were charged one dollar. These charges inhibited the masses from bathing in the waters of Coney Island. By the end of the 1920’s the use of the beach was free but one had to pay one of the amusement rides 25 cents if one wanted a place to change from one’s bathing suit to regular clothes.
Coney Island in the 20th century grew at the same time as Brooklyn grew because of the mass movement of immigrants. Immigrants came to Brooklyn and loved it. They came from Germany, Russia, Italy, Ireland, England and Puerto Rico. They settled in Brooklyn and eventually many moved to other areas of the U.S. There is an old saying that people in Brooklyn know only the parts of town that lie between their neighborhood and Manhattan. I, for one, didn’t travel to Borough Park, Bensonhurst, East New York, and Brownsville (you name the areas) unless I met someone from there. Why would I leave Flatbush? As I grew up I found good reasons to travel to other areas. I learned about museums, zoos, the Botanical Gardens and all the wonderful attractions Brooklyn had to offer.
David McCullough, in his book, Brooklyn: How It Got That Way, said, “Brooklyn was the site in 1899 if the famous boxing match when the champion Fitzsimmons lost his title to Jim Jeffries.” It was the start of many famous championship-boxing matches that led to years of big boxing held in Brooklyn. Baseball had been played as an amateur sport in Brooklyn since 1850. In 1870 a professional baseball club was organized. It was the first to defeat the Cincinnati Red Stockings who had gone undefeated in 69 games prior to playing the Brooklyn club. Charlie Ebbets bought the club and they became the Dodgers of Ebbets Field. They won the National League Championship in 1899 and 1900.
Brooklyn is proud to brag that William Makepeace Thackery called Brooklyn, “A tranquil place entirely different from New York.” Tallyrand visited Brooklyn and so did Tom Paine and Lafayette. They saw Brooklyn, as did the immigrants, as a land of opportunity, an area where one could walk down any main street and shop to your heart’s content. One could find things to do, and live in the kind of neighborhood and home of one’s choosing. Brooklyn was and is the land of opportunity.
On November 21, the Brooklyn/Staten Island Club will present a “Coney Island Night.” Look for the announcement and save these dates for upcoming events – February 24, May 22 and August 25, 2010.
As silly as this piece is, it really is a sweet homage to the place that Pop-Pop honestly saw as the land of opportunity. Pop-Pop pretty much only talks about his childhood in Brooklyn now. As hard as he had it (he was a poor, second generation American Jew), Brooklyn was a magical place for him. I’ve always found that really sweet.
I spoke to Pop-Pop about this column soon after we received it. He told me that Coney Island Night was gonna be “just like a Nathan’s store – everything Nathan’s. Nathan’s hot dogs, Nathan’s cups, Nathan’s napkins.” Apparently, Grandma is on the decorating committee. I suggested that she procure a ferris wheel, or else people would be disappointed.
Clear your schedules, folks. And join on up!
Maybe I’m being presumptuous, but I’m pretty sure that most of us get The Company Store catalog at least twice a week, curled up in a mailbox or slipped through a mail slot. I know that I am no stranger to the linens and towels that it has to offer. One might think that there was nothing redeeming about this so-called “junk mail.” But my dear friend Dylan and I discovered a wonderful game to play with TCS’ catalog. We discovered it sober. It’s still fun sober. It’s more fun stoned.
Colors, my friends! Oh, my, do those creative brains at TCS have a talent! They come up with the best bougie names for the all-too-common ROYGBIV.
For example, the June 2009 catalog that I hold in my hand offers over 60 different shades of blue sheets:
Light Celestial Blue
Holy Shit!!! I gave myself a headache just looking through the pages and focusing on all of the blues. I didn’t even begin to address all the different names those crazy fuckers came up with for “Beige” or “Pink.”
Try it sometime, if you’re bored. It’s a blast.