Friday, December 31, 2010

25 years later

Bret Easton Ellis' 2010 release Imperial Bedrooms, inspired by Elvis Costello and the Attractions' album Imperial Bedroom, catches up with the characters of 1985's Less Than Zero. The novel opens with Clay recounting the last 25 years: he and Blair have broken up, he is now a big time screenwriter, and life's disappoints have continued to follow him. Far more grim than it's prequel, Bedrooms sheds bright light on the dirty backdoor deals Clay makes in order to ease his sexual frustrations and avoid any difficulties he comes up against. Bedrooms lacks the adolescent innocence and likability Less Than Zero possessed, drawing some of the bloody violence seen in American Psycho. However there is a plus: Ellis cleverly conveys his negative thoughts on the 1987 movie version of Less Than Zero, using the characters commentary after viewing it. Though I'm glad to have read Bedrooms, and have a deep admiration for Ellis' style, I would not necessarily recommend it. Three stars.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Disappear Here

In 1985, California-born writer Bret Easton Ellis debuted with Less Than Zero, a satirical drama (titled after Elvis Costello's song of the same name) that follows Clay, a wealthy college student who has returned home to L.A. for Christmas vacation. With a drunk mother, separated parents, bratty sisters, a failing relationship, sexually promiscuous acts, heavy drug usage and MTV, Clay's life is a rollercoaster of problems and disappointments. Throughout the novel, he finds himself in many negative situations and consistently distances himself from his friends. After he and his friends find a dead body, and he later witnesses the gang rape of a twelve year old girl, Clay packs up and leaves L.A., his on-off girlfriend Blair and his heroin-addicted/prostitute friend Julian.

Two years later, the book was made a movie, which in my opinion is painfully overwrought and does not do the novel justice.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Taintor love

Kitschy, colorful, and dare I say sassy, Anne Taintor's novelty items are a fun way to let out your inner quirks in a more subtle, almost cute way. (Rather than telling a prospective suitor you're more than a tad difficult, just place a "High maintenance doesn't begin to cover it" coaster underneath their glass. Message sent.) With a slew of products from coasters and office supplies to flasks and shot glasses, Taintor has made it easy to show off the retro design-backed humor.

Anne Taintor is a real woman. Visit her website to find out more.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Totally different head, totally

Created by SNL alum Anne Beatts, the early 80s series Square Pegs spotlights a group of eight high school freshmen: the In-Crowd (Jennifer DiNuccio, her boyfriend Vinnie Pasetta and LaDonna "L.D." Fredericks), the misfits (Patty Greene and her friends Lauren Hutchinson, John "Johnny Slash" Ulasewicz and Marshall Blechtman) and Little Miss Pep (Muff Tepperman.) More realistic than other shows of its variety (Freaks and Geeks, My So Called Life), Square Pegs is lightly comedic, colorful and boasts budding talent (Sarah Jessica Parker as Patty) and a deliciously 80s soundtrack. With the theme song written and performed by The Waitresses and appearances by Devo, The Waitresses and John Densmore, I can't quite understand why it only lasted one season.

Friday, December 17, 2010

found again

I recently found an issue of W Magazine featuring one of my favorite set designers Simon Costin. I'm not sure how this October issue slipped by me for several months, but I'm glad I found it. This fashion spread (photographed by one of my favorite photographers, Tim Walker), inspired by nursery rhymes, is absolutely enchanting.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blue, the color of love is blue

A film adaptation of Irish playwright Enda Walsh's 1996 play of the same name, Disco Pigs (2001) details the lives of two extraordinarily close friends, Darren "Pig" (Cillian Murphy) and Sinead "Runt" (Elaine Cassidy), who, born only minutes apart in the same hospital, remain inseparable throughout their childhood and teenage years. Pig, violent by nature, is soothed by Runt - the far more level-headed and independent of the two - but over time his dependence on their friendship grows into obsession. When Runt is sent to trade school, Pig finds himself lost and tormented and begs his mother to tell him where Runt is. She concedes, but tells him if he leaves, he can't be allowed back. Pig agrees and sets off. Of course he finally reaches Runt, but his growing violent behavior and all-consuming fixation lead Pig to his demise. In the heartbreaking final scenes, Pig gives in to his death without struggle, and Runt is freed. Beautifully calamitous and comedic (at times), Disco Pigs is a film worth taking the time to watch.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is this is a skiing movie?

In 1985, global Live Aid concerts raised over $50 million, Madonna released "Crazy for You," CDs were introduced to American consumers, British scientists discovered a hole in the ozone layer and John Cusack starred in Better Off Dead. The Savage Steve Holland directed film follows the heartbreak of Cusack's character Lane Meyer who, after being dumped by his obnoxious girlfriend, attempts suicide several times, all of which end comically. With an out of touch family, crazy neighbors, a foreign exchange student love interest, car races, dancing clay hamburgers and (yes) skiing, Better of Dead offers a hilarious albeit skewed insight into the dramas of a teenage boy's life. With bits like "Gee, I'm sorry your mom blew up, Ricky," and "Two dollars!" the flick is well worth its 97-minute length.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Killjoys, make some noise

After a four year hiatus, Jersey post-punk rockers My Chemical Romance released their third studio album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Seemingly indulgent, Danger Days is set in a post-apocalyptic world and captures the fantasy of classic sci-fi films. A far cry from the band's 2006 release The Black Parade, the album lacks in lyricism what it makes up in danceable hits, like the single "Na Na Na" and "Planetary (GO!)" Fast paced with obvious punk and disco influences, Danger Days allows MCR to shake the "emo" stereotype they earned with Three Cheers in 2004.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

have a listen

Laurie Blue Adkins, better known as Adele, captured my heart this weekend with "Rolling in the Deep." With bluesy vocals, the singer wails about a lover who "had my heart inside of your hand." The accompanying video is visually powerful, depicting thousands of half-filled glasses vibrating with the beating of a drum, and a pile of shattered cups and plates. The single will come out stateside in February on her second studio album 21.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

say hello to my little friend

From critically acclaimed author, James Frey, comes My Friend Leonard, a quasi-sequel to his first autobiographical fic A Million Little Pieces. Emotionally stunning, the novel picks up right after James is released from jail and is headed to see his girlfriend, Lilly, a recovering drug addict he met in rehab. When he arrives, she is dead, hanged by a rope in her shower at the halfway house she is staying. From there, you follow James as he deals with the grief of losing Lilly and the happiness he finds when he reconnects with Leonard, his "adoptive" father he befriended at the rehabilitation facility. If you have read Pieces, then you know Leonard's fate, but don't let that deter you from reading Leonard in its entirety. It will make you laugh and most certainly make you cry, but true to Frey's style, it will also make you think.

Friday, December 10, 2010

can't you hear the thunder?

Based in New Zealand, Cuba Gallery allows for designers, photographers and other artists to showcase their work, with an emphasis on quality and creativity. I love looking through the gallery's flickr. Some of my favorite photographs have such a clean simplicity, it's enchanting. To find out more, visit their website.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

April, 2010

Nestled between The Highland Inn and Café di Sol in Highland Row in the Poncey-Highland area of Midtown is Youngblood Gallery. Claiming to be “the foremost independent showcase in Atlanta for emerging and Do-It-Yourself crafters,” the gallery and boutique thrives with almost every inch of the brightly lit showroom eclectically covered in some form of papercraft, pottery or painting. A narrow hallway at the back of the showroom opens into the white wall, high ceilinged gallery space. Tacked and hung along the white plaster walls were the prints and masks of Dennis McNett, and prints and ink designs of John Reardon.

Hailing from New York, Virginia-born artist McNett draws influence from the 80s skateboard scene, 70s punk movement, Native American art and Day of the Dead designs. His work has been featured in Juxtapoz Magazine, Thrasher and Complex Magazine and The New York Times, and he has deisgned skateboard graphics for Anti-Hero and Vans shoes. He now works as a printmaking professor at Pratt Institute (where he received his Masters of Fine Arts.)

His media of choice—wood blocks and ink—showed his incredible design talent and eye for detail in such prints as “Noose Tree” and “Leopardsnake.” Both used fluidity and boldness of line and an intensity that immediately drew me in. McNett’s most impressive work, “Snow Leopard and Goat,” a remarkable 44 inch by 84 inch tapestry-size print, depicted a snarling, savage leopard crouching atop an expressionless goat, its legs twisted at impossible angles, seemingly broken by the great cat. He described it as a “suicide print,” an apt description as it was carved and printed from one large wood block.

“I use animals as people,” said McNett. “My prints are narratives that are not so much about expression but telling a story.”

In addition to his many animal prints, a set of five skateboard decks for Anti-Hero and three plaster, ceramic and glass masks he created for the Resurrection of Fenris as part of the 2007 Deitch Art Parade in New York.

Reardon, also from New York, works as a tattoo artist at Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn. He also attended Pratt and has done hundreds of body art designs.

“I do art because of the Three Fs,” said Reardon. “Fun, finance and… girls.”

His “Three Fs” philosophy is apparent in his work, most of which seemed to have been copied from a 15 year old boy’s binder, and show heavy sampling of Ed Hardy designs—bold red hearts wrapped in scripture and stabbed through with daggers. To put it nicely, most of his pieces were painful clichés. However, there were a few, namely the two pen and ink drawings “The Social Elite Print” and “Two Headed Cobra,” that were able to even compete with McNett’s impressive prints.

Before leaving, I bought a screen-printed forest green t-shirt with one of McNett’s skull and rose designs and a handmade notebook from the boutique. I have to say the show was a success, despite Reardon’s unoriginal and unexciting pieces, and I will be returning to Youngblood for future shows.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blazers of Glory

Stylish, classic and (when cut properly) chic, the blazer is a wardrobe staple; every woman should have at least one. A blazer is versatile: it can be worn for work or play and paired with different pieces of clothing (lace dress or shorts.) There are many different styles, cuts and colors available, so shop around and invest in one that is both flattering and comfortable.
"When you look good, you feel good."

Straight from the horse's mouth

As 2010 draws fast to a close, we say goodbye to the trends and innovations of the decade to welcome in another year of advancement. However, it has become abundantly clear that this generation relies too heavily on the convenience of technological development. Gone are the days of thumbing through the latest releases at the local music shop, gone are the hours of skimming through the stacks at the book store and gone are late Friday nights spent hunting for the perfect combination of horror flicks and Brat Packs movies at the video store. Only ten years into the millennium and many people have already forgotten the fun in those days, hours and nights, and instead turn their attention to their iTunes accounts, Nooks and Netflix on Demand. Though we would typically celebrate such advancements, we can’t help but mourn the loss of the entertainment outlets of our childhood.

From the decreasing CD, book and movie sales and skyrocketing popularity of torrent sites, e-readers and movies on demand, our future is looking idle and impersonal. The happenstance of discovering a new favorite among the seemingly odd and previously unheard of and the intimacy of the experience is something the technology of our future will never provide. Remember the entertainment we once relied on, and instead of looking to the future, fondly look to the past.

glove, glove me do

Aside from snow, icicle lights and holiday shopping, one of my favorite things about winter is the fashion: layers and layers of fun stockings, sweaters scarves and gloves. I seem to have lost my favorite gloves last year, and with recent weather in the 30s, I'm in the market for a new pair. There are so many options; here are but a few:



Diesel, Modcloth, Mango Balm