Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tell a Story, Illustrated

I worked in retail in an accessories department for about five years, and had to create different displays during this time. Whether I was working on a wall of socks or styling mannequins, my department manager only gave me this advice: "Cara, make sure you are telling a story."

When arranging the socks, oftentimes my story said, "I don't give a fuck," but with other projects I really realized how a sense of mood, place, and time could all be conveyed.

Usually I think of clothing as self-expression, or as making a statement. But thinking of it in this way is limiting, since it confines the wearer to only one part of the story. It is easy to convey -with fashion- a mood: "I'm pissed" or "I'm happy and feeling colorful;" a place, "I can wear sweatpants with Uggs because i live in Wisconsin;" or a time, "These shoulder pads are trendy, and it's not the 80s" (see recent Balenciaga collections and NY Times' style section).

But it is much more difficult to give these statements a context. Why is a girl wearing fashionable guys' jeans? I don't think she stole this look from a magazine. Did she steal them last night from a boyfriend or has she held on to them for years because she can't let go?

This next girl, photographed in Koln, Germany, may be one of the reasons they make girls' bikes and guys' bikes- so girls in pretty dresses don't have to swing their legs over. Germany never looked so soft. Her dress may not be practical, but her shoes are, which may suggest the bike is actually a convergence of fashion and function and not just an accessory. I think she had to get somewhere on her bike this day, and she didn't want her mode of transportation to limit her reflective outfit on what looks to be a beautiful day.
via: the sartorialist

A study in hue and saturation. Her color palette is washed out, and anything but celebratory, but her fascinator (designed by Kenley Collins of Project Runway villainy) elevates her outfit out of the winter blahs. After reading she wore this out for her birthday, I thought, "of course!" The shades of color and even her pose suggest shyness, but the addition of one accessory made her stand out when she wanted to feel special.

photo via: the cats pajamas for wardrobe_remix on flickr

From Florence, Italy. Definitely not America. I hated khakis before this look, but this guy is actually cool wearing them. Preppy but neither conservative or classic (save the jacket.) Love the gloves instead of a handkerchief. The colors of his features (eyes, hair) repeat in his clothes, which result in a great, original look that he owns.

Paris, though she looks like she could be anywhere in the world, she is firmly planted in the now. I think I know what this girl was going for. An effortless ponytail and saggy sweatshirt give off a laissez-faire attitude, but everything about this look was deliberate. She wanted to balance the shortness of the skirt with the bagginess of her sweatshirt, but not completely focus all the color on her very exposed legs. Cute and not in the least slutty, it shows off a great feature- her legs, but also her fashion sense.
photo via: facehunter

Monday, February 9, 2009

Indie-rock Word of the Week: Neoteric

picture via SY's myspace
Part of speech: noun or adjective, as used here

What it means:
of recent origin; modern (per

How Moshe Levy,who writes most of Sonic Youth's news, uses Gerard Cosley's quote in a blog:
"Of The Eternal, Matador’s Gerard Cosloy says, 'We’ve not had a record in our recent history that’s been the subject of nearly as much speculation and anticipation. Suffice to say we’re pretty amazed at the way the band delivered something this neoteric while still sounding like, well, themselves. Less of a reinvention and perhaps more to do with a particularly awesome dozen songs.'"
Why I like it:
  • It first reminded me of esoteric, and I immediately thought that being newly esoteric is a great descriptor for SY, because they sprung out of (and have been accused of purposefully mirroring) what is going on in the elite art world of New York City
  • Whatever words coming from Cosloy aren't just coming from him as a label rep. As a fan, he arranged Sonic Youth's first-ever Boston show in 1982, when indie-rock was first starting, and he signed them to their first record contract at age 19.
I also love how the late John Fahey's art draws the eye inward and keeps it there, until you catch yourself staring at one the most stark places of the canvas. The Eternal is out June 9 on double vinyl, and in CD and digital formats.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Remember When...? The Midwest Edition

"Remember when...? is the lowest form of conversation" - Tony Soprano
Sorry, Tony, this isn't Jersey.

image via Von Munz's site

Remember Milwaukee's The Mistreaters? How about Detroit's the White Stripes? Atomic Records has a very cool Von Munz screen print
on a thrifted LP for sale, which is notable for being the first screen print of a White Stripes gig poster. Limited edition and numbered, $50.

image via wikipedia

Remember Dayton, Ohio, group Guided by Voices' Propeller? I have an LP copy of the 2005 release with the cover pictured above, and recently noticed that it was hand numbered 14/500, so I thought something about it might be special.
After a cursory search, it isn't worth any more than I paid for it, but I wasn't expecting much. I knew the original pressing was limited to 500 copies, each with a various handmade cover, and still sells for a lot of money, I just didn't know how much.
My search revealed one of the 1992 Propeller LPs, currently listed on eBay for $1,325 with 19 bids on it. Finding this reminded me of going over to friends' houses when I was little and seeing their Barbies still in the boxes, high up out of reach, along with the hopes of them being worth something someday. It made me sad, even then, when something that was made to be enjoyed sat so far out of reach of our young, grubby hands. It makes me sad now that some big-shot collector, and probably not one of GbV's biggest fans will have this item just to have it, not enjoy it.

image via Google images

Remember when Buddy Holly died in a plane crash 50 years ago today in Iowa? You probably don't, but you do know of the legacy he left on music. The Beatles wouldn't be called the Beatles if Holly's backing band wasn't The Crickets, and the Rolling Stones may not have transcended obscurity if they didn't cover his "Not Fade Away." Can you imagine Elvis Costello without nerd glasses or Weezer without the Happy Days video? Holly is also notable for writing his own songs, a cue a then-unknown Bob Dylan picked up on after filling in on tour, directly after Holly's death.

image via myspace

Remember garage rock? Detroit's The Von Bondies put a glossy sheen on it and try to keep it alive on their latest, Love, Hate and Then There's You, out today. Video for "Pale Bride," a slacker love tune, with the same sing-along vocals of "C'Mon, C'Mon:"

Monday, February 2, 2009

2009 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival Confirmed Artists

Initial lineup via TV on the Radio's MySpace page
June 11-14 in Manchester, TN

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Phish (2 Shows), Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, David Byrne, Wilco, Al Green, Snoop Dogg, Elvis Costello Solo, Erykah Badu, Paul Oakenfold, Ben Harper and Relentless7, The Mars Volta, TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
Andrew Bird, MGMT, The Decemberists, Girl Talk, Bon Iver, Béla Fleck & Toumani Diabate, Galactic, of Montreal, Coheed and Cambria, Animal Collective, Gomez, Neko Case, Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, Jenny Lewis, Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3, Kaki King, Grizzly Bear, Okkervil River, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Tift Merritt, Alejandro Escovedo, Elvis Perkins In Dearland, Yeasayer, Chairlift, Portugal. The Man.

Gov’t Mule, Merle Haggard, moe., The Del McCoury Band, Allen Toussaint, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Booker T & the DBTs, David Grisman Quintet, Lucinda Williams, Down, Santogold, Robert Earl Keen, Citizen Cope, The Ting Tings, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, King Sunny Adé, St.
Vincent, Zac Brown Band, Raphael Saadiq, Crystal Castles, Brett Dennen, Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue, Toubab Krewe, People Under the Stairs, Vieux Farka Touré, Cherryholmes, , Todd Snider,The SteelDrivers, Midnite, The Knux, The Low Anthem, Delta Spirit, A.A. Bondy, The Lovell Sisters, Alberta Cross

Bold= Big or bad ass acts

Coachella fans are still hoping for an appearance from Animal Collective, but they haven't announced they are playing there yet. Still no sign of a Pavement reunion on either fronts.