Sunday, December 7, 2014

World AIDS Day

I may not have noted the World AIDS Day had it not appeared in my inbox from Apple or for the fact that Chris Martin sang with U2 in Times Square for a Bono who is recovering from a nasty spill. Yeah, Chris Martin. I haven't been much of  a Coldplay fan, and I especially didn't appreciate the comment that Martin said about being bigger than U2. Really?! I never gave them any respect and certainly didn't listen to any of their music as a result of that ridiculous comment. Be famous? fine. Be successful? fine. Sell out huge stadiums? fine too. But who are you to say 'better?' Can't you all be great? Chris Martin turned my dial off with that statement.

But ... he may have made amends by standing in for Bono in a time of need. I can forgive him for his past indiscretions for this alone. And hey, he wasn't half bad belting out tunes that he didn't write. Maybe I'll have to give the old Coldplay a listen.

This brings to mind this: a student said to me Friday that he was glad that he had given me a second chance because I was really cool. I had noticed a change in him this week. He seemed more pulled in to what we have been doing in class. I didn't ask him why he didn't like me at first ... I'm not sure that there is ever a reasonable explanation for something that may just be ... an impression. Some need direct attention, and maybe his card came up, and I was able to give him the kind of attention that he needed to form an opinion that was more than just that initial impression. The second chance, which for me was not apparent, grew out of the first chance that I had a minute to spend with him one-on-one.

Maybe that's the thing to remember from this because I'm certainly guilty of resting on a first impression: always wait for the second moment to show itself. It may be the one the wins you over and makes you available as a friend, a mentor, a fan.

Chris Matin. Who would've thunk.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Found Poetry

One of my favorite museums in the world is the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. The visionary art according the museum's website is 'intuitive, self-taught artistry.' It appeals to me because if it isn't an apocalyptic psychotic product which there is plenty of that there, it is art created by normal folk like you or me. I haven't been for years, but one of favorite exhibits is that of the Baltimore Glass Man. The glass man is a retired (schizophrenic) gentleman who repurposes shards of glass that litter the streets of his neighborhood into art.

I thought of the glass man, who entered the art world later in life, when a friend sent me the video of Naomi Shihab Nye speaking at the Poetry Everywhere Project. Here, she recites a 'found' poem. If you watch it, you will hear her say that William Sanford when asked when did he become a poet, he said that was the not question. The question is when did you stop because when we are little. we are all poets. Nye wisely took the word treasures that her son gave to her to build poetry.

A summer ago, I attended the Iowa Summer Writing Festival to take a poetry course. During the week, I had some one on one time to workshop my poetry with my professor. It was a meet greet as much as anything, and when he asked me after I told several interesting anecdotes about my students, very seriously: Why don't you write about them? It wasn't anything that I hadn't ever considered, but I've just never figured how to do it with integrity. One of the things that I abhor is the sometimes exploitation of the 'ghetto' for art's sake. You would think because I am a poet that I would be really involved with the spoken word group at our school. I support them, but I can't listen to that all of the time. In order to get out of the ghetto, I think, one has to figure out a way not to think like the ghetto. Yes, it can powerful to hear a young person express their angst about not having a daddy, and mommy is a drug addict ... but wouldn't it be more powerful for this same student to find a voice that figures out how to break the pattern and find words that empower not perpetrate.

And then I saw this YouTube video (thank you Ira for always being an inspiration for me). And what I can do is capture the wonderfully vibrant words and sentences that my students express when they aren't even looking. I love to listen to the talk .... and sometimes, without even knowing it, I find myself trying to copy not only their words, but the cadence of their sentences, the attitude of their demeanor, and accent of each syllable. They catch me doing it all of the time, and it makes them laugh. So, I've decided to begin a journal to capture what they are saying to me, to each other, to the wall. I really think that I may be on to something ....

And so we begin with the first line: She put your business in the sky. If that isn't a great line of poetry, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Patti Smith

First Aid Kit ran across my radar some months ago in an article about new bands. As I was watching through their videos on YouTube, I came across this cut of a Patti Smith cover of 'Dancing Barefoot' that they sang with Patti Smith in the audience. Patti Smith was being awarded the Polar Music Prize, which I had never heard of before this viewing. The sisters are of the polar- Sweden, and this rendition is what I woke up to this morning heavy on my mind months later. Patti Smith is drawn to tears as they bring to the song a poignancy that perhaps Smith hadn't ever before.

Take a listen. It is powerful.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Alexander McQueen

Several September mags 2014
The September fashion issues sort of passed me by this year as I was away from normal caring for my mom who had an accident. I just didn't have time to spend leisurely Saturday or Sunday mornings sifting through glossy pages. You would think that it would be a great distraction from worry, but this time ... not so much. And considering the lack of mag tares on my desk, it may also be because it wasn't a great fall of fashion. Nothing struck my imagination.

Except for Alexander McQueen. I tore this particular look from two or three magazines. I love white eyelet, and I am interested in how Sarah Burton, McQueen's designer, uses what is typically a summer material for fall piece. She's butched up the delicate cotton lace-like summer lawn to be a hearty dream of a dress. Certainly, the accessories, most notably the boots, make the ensemble transition to cold make sense, but it's also in the volume of the sleeve and velvet ribbons that would stop the cold from rushing in.

The look in black is equally as exquisite. Sleeveless in the cold of what is the absence of all light, the dress looks like a lava flow covering the model in warmth. I'm not sure if it rises up to her or it flows from her. It bubbles forth and is nearly too hot to wear. The only problem that I have with it is that is the dress is so black in the photograph that it is hard to make out the details of it. The scene itself is so dark that it is only now after seeing the picture several times that I find the black horse. I can't imagine one so black and wonder if it isn't a trick. This is a dress that would undoubtedly transform with a naked eye. The gloss and glow of slick paper is like rain on asphalt: deceptive and slippery.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Vogue November 2014
I have seen like millions of others around the world, the naked pictures of Kim Kardashian. Any respectable fan of popular culture would seek that out on the Internet to see what the queen of making not so much into a spectacle is up to now. Call it what it is, she is a woman that wants the world to see her body naked; phooey the art that she is photographed by a famous photographer, and she stands in an iconic Grace Jones pose. If anyone looks at that photograph and thinks that her body has been blessed by the gods, I feel for them. Because there isn't much natural about her. Her tits and ass look like they are being buoyed by hidden circus wires ... and I know, though I don't watch the show, that she regular buffs, puffs, pulls in, and scrapes off any human-ness. Hey, that's her thing. I'm not intimidated by it because I can imagine the lengths that she takes to achieve such perfection. I have a hard time of round brushing my increasingly long locks into a semblance of a blow-out on a daily basis. Yeah, I don't have that drive, nor need, in me.

I was in New York a couple of years ago. It was cold, and we were tired of walking in it. I saw a shop and said, 'let's check it out.' I failed to see the line of people waiting to get in to the store. And I was brusquely stopped at the door by a super big human being denying my entrance into a warm room. What the heck? What is this place? Ah! it's Dash, the Kardashian store. I was instructed to get in line with the other girls ... and I looked at the line and saw .... girls. More than the Twitter missteps of Lorde or any of others who are back peddling from their 'Mom' comments about the naked pictures, I worry about the girls. They don't know any better than to think that it's all real. I am concerned about their response and what it will do to their self-image. I can hear the girlish calls to the heavens: I want to look like her, I want to look like her .... not understanding the smoke and mirrors.

Ah, but that's not what I meant to start with as I found in this month's issue of Vogue the beauty of a nearly naked man, who also works fantastically hard at his work, but can fly through the air with perfect pose. It's a beautiful photograph of a beautiful man. He is not on a pedestal wrapped in Mikimoto pearls, nor are any strings attached. This is the kind of naked that I like to see.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Elle September 2014
I was shopping at Nordstrom's yesterday. Rarely do I smell a perfume sample in a magazine, but something wafted from the page that I liked and decided to take a sniff. It is Jo Malone's new fragrance ... Wood Sage and Sea Salt. I've never bought a Jo Malone product; now was as good as other time. Plus, I had a Nordstrom's Note burning in my pocket. When I arrived to the counter, the saleswoman told me that it was sold out. I stood and stared. When I decide to buy something that I don't really need, I expect it to be available for purchase. And my stare stood me in good stead as a bottle magically appeared from the stock room that was, apparently, meant for me.

Before walking into Nordstrom's, my friend and I had come from a boozy lunch. So we were full of giggles and cracks. Now usually, we are only cracking each other up; but this time, we had a captive audience for our martini madness. In the time that we spent at the counter, we had time to really settle in and notice what was happening around us. And one of the things that I noticed was the outfit that the Jo Malone rep was wearing. It was the sweetest black suit with a delicate white chiffon collar and cuffs.

My grandmother Ann was the most elegant woman that I knew growing up. She was fancy. The outfit of hers that I adored was very similar to the clerks, and the Saint Laurent above. The Saint Laurent doesn't appear to be a suit, and it is velvet ... but it has the look: darkest noir with contrasting cuffs and collar and sparkly buttons. I've not ever had anything like it, which is surprising as most fashion that makes as much an impact as that on me, I usually try to recreate. I've been overwhelmed by the looks in this fall's fashion pages. I've torn very few pages out. I'm not sure if has to do with the fact that I haven't had the time to really examine them this year, or if they were a little ... uninspired.

Maybe this is the year that I stick to my closet. And just pick up a few new scents. Unless a little black suit with a chiffon collar comes along.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Miss Bono

In Style September 2014
Doesn't she look just like Dad? The look. The crossed arms. The cocked hip.

What would it be like to be Bono's daughter, I wonder. She says in the interview that he helps her as an off screen partner: "He uses a different voice ... and he's the only in the family who can do it and not laugh."

I had a big Irish personality of a Dad; and had I been an actor, he would have run lines for me to ... with a different voice.

It must be the breed. And as much as Eve poses like dear old Dad, I imagine any Irish girl would of her Da'.

Pretty girl. I'll have to catch that new series with Clive Owens.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

David Hockney

Harper's Bazaar September 2014

When the page turned to this picture, I stopped. I've been behind in the September magreads for various and assorted reasons; and to be honest, I was flipping through pretty chore-like ... quick and done. But the beauty of this landscape, found a breath of air that I have been long looking for in the last month.

I am particularly fond of landscapes. I've written on these pages before that I am of the J.M.W. Turner variety. Dramatic. Tortured. Naturalistic. Splendor. I have heard of David Hockney certainly, though I'm not familiar with his work. It makes sense that he is English to me with the beauty of this ... and the color. And I approve with envy the description of his home and work space in Boyd's article: "Hockney is a Yorkshire man ... Bridlington, a small resort town on the North Sea, is where over the past few years he has made his home in a seaside villa- with a 10,000-square-foot former factory as a vast studio a few minutes away.' Sounds wonderful. And the scene that would make a perfect muse. The work shown above may be of this place, but as the article says, Hockney has been living and working in Los Angelos. And rather than pen and paper, or paint and canvas,  he's been using an IPad to make art. How cool is that.

As I said, I am full of envy. He says, "They don't teach drawing in art schools anymore. It's criminal. Teaching drawing teaches people to look." Well Mr. Hockney, looking is one of my favorite past-times; unfortunately, I don't have the talent to take what I see and put it to paper. A few years ago I had the inclination to take an art class ... a painting class. But the art teacher in the building where I work explained that if I was going to paint, I needed to draw first, so I enrolled in a drawing class at the Art Institute of Chicago. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I knew with the first fuzzy pencils sketches that I did, I would never become the artist that could capture what I see to paper. In the article, Boyd quotes Ingres: "It takes 30 years to learn to draw and 3 days to learn to paint." Having that experience at the Art Institute made me fully aware of that point. I don't have 30 years of practice for that in me ... I'll just collect the images in my head and appreciate them. I'll leave ART to the artists.

Outside my door.
The above is what I see. It's magnificent. And my IPhone captured it wonderfully last evening. I would love to be able to paint a picture that looks like this with paint on paper. But I would argue that Hockney may appreciate the fact that I took the time to see it. This is my capture.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


I've said it before ... I love BARBRA. Throw in a little Jimmy Falllon and we've got chicken soup.

I did not see the show live. I was long gone to sleep. And I had forgotten that she was going to be a guest, so it was a surprise when I was told that she had already appeared on the show. I'm not big on Internet searching ... I like paper. I have a friend who is very keen on the Internet, and she often forwards articles to me that she thinks that I might be interested in. I return the favor by finding articles that I think that she would enjoy, tear it out, and leave it at her door. I always am amused at the thought of our exchange. It is who we are and can co-exist.

Jimmy Fallon is one show, however, that I am happy to get on the information highway to check out. I've heard that his show is inconsistent, which is surprising because the tidbits that I get on The Tonight Show web site are all good. He is as cute as a button! And I love when he sings or dances. His eyes crinkle and face softens into a beguiling handsomeness. I want to call him a leprechaun, but too many might find that comparison to be wrong. So, instead, I'll call him a sprite. An adorable Jimmy-sprite.

I can't imagine anyone that would be as easy with Barbra appearing on his show. His adoration of her is quite apparent, and his boyishness entertained a somewhat, it seems, shy performer. She may like a light on one side or only certain colored flowers to adorn her room, but she portrays herself as being like any other girl.

Once a friend called me from his vacation in the Hamptons. Oh yes, that sounds ladidadi, but he was the guest of someone who lives a large life and has a place there. He called me quite excited. He saw two women running along the shore, and called to say: I saw Barbra running. She was with some woman who is famous too. A designer. You know the one who puts the big NY on her stuff. I asked, "uh, Donna Karan?' Yes! That is who it was. He said that they looked like two old ladies out for a jog. It is hard to imagine Barbra jogging. Have you ever noticed in her movies when she does run that she looks kind of goofy ... her hands are held out away from her body with her long fingers as fans, and her legs sort of kick up the knee in a spastic form. Ah, so maybe she is like any other girl ... imperfect.

Ah! But her voice. There is nothing just like a girl about it, and it makes her far from normal. And Jimmy the sprite held his own with her. He is worth the time on a device sans papier that feels so good in my hand.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

U2's Song of Innocence

Bono knew. 

I have been frustrated with the band like many of their fans ... are you/aren't you?! And when it came, I needed it more than they could have known.

I've been absent from the word. I went on vacation with my mother, and on the last day of our trip to Charleston, South Carolina, she fell. Down a fancy brick stair case without a railing. Her arm ripped open. Her head bumped. And the rest wouldn't show itself until later when the body took the trauma and held it.

I knew it was going to happen. It was in my gut. And I ignored it. But it happened, and I am with her as she recovers from the blow to her body. Not having children myself, I now have a better understanding of what it must be like to have a newborn and a job and everything that goes along with it.

And then it came. As a surprise. I nearly couldn't figure out the download for excitement. And it was the tonic that could soothe the worry that I've felt for the last I don't know how many weeks.

I've listened to the album in its entirety probably 10 or 15 or 20 times. I've lost count. I'm not one to critique it as I would be happy with the boys singing 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat.' I listen to it with adoring ears. And I've waited for the first song outside of the eleven as a whole to find myself in. 

Today it came. Sleep like a baby tonight: You're gonna sleep like a baby tonight/ In your dreams, everything is alright/ Tomorrow dawns like someone else's suicide/ You're gonna sleep like a baby tonight. Bono purrs through the song, and he has me convinced that everything will be all right -- even beyond the immediate and out to the world that shows its worst self anymore. This is what we count on the boys for -- they cut through the crap to the heart of what matters most. Our story. Ourselves. And there, we can sleep and dream the promise that there are more of us than the others that are on a suicide mission.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Jude Law: The Gentleman

This is magnifique! First, the blue of the Caribbean, then the darkness of an alley ... and Jude Law playing the piano in a beautiful suit dancing! Oh yes, I have a story about Johnnie Walker Blue. Every year I invite family and friends over for a holiday party. I like to make everyone feel to home. As my sister was either dating or newly married to her man, I wanted to know what he drank so that I could stock it. He told me one Sunday dinner that he preferred Johnnie Walker Blue. Great! I'll pick some up for you. Aha! When I went to the liquor store, I found every imaginable color of Johnny Walker, but no Blue. And so I found a clerk to ask: where's the Johnnie Walker Blue? And he led me to a cabinet. A locked cabinet.

Needless to say, my brother-in-law got the Black 'cause there wasn't anything blue about that price sticker. It was all ... gold. I wonder what Jude drinks? I may just have to unlock that cabinet if he came a calling.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Charleston Today
I'm stuck in the final two episodes of Sex in the City, which are the best ones of the series as far as I'm concerned. I am a fan of Big, and every time that the Miranda character tells him to 'go get our girl,' I tear up. Silly, I know.  But I love how Big then barrels off to Paris to get his girl. It's romantic and sets the 'Sex' world right.

Not that I don't like watching Mikhail Baryshnikov. When I was a tender teen, he came to Chicago for a performance. I didn't see it naturally, I was a kid, but I did read the review of it in the newspaper. I must have seen him before, where or what I'm not sure, because I had written a poem for him. I was twelve and had a crush on Mikhail Baryshnikov. He seemed like such a romantic figure having defected from the USSR, a feared enemy of America in my early years ... and sort of now too come to think of it. I imagined that he had to get out of that mess. I must have seen him in the newspaper. And the picture here is one that makes me believe that I would have seen this one photograph in particular all of those years ago.

Now that poem that I wrote ... it went something like: His flying leaps/ his graceful bounds/ he is a man of art/ no comparison can be found. It's quite lovely. I would have to look too hard to find the whole poem, but you get the gist. After reading the article, I wrote a letter to include the poem to the journalist who wrote the feature. And believe it or not, she wrote back. In her letter, she describe what it was like to interview Misha. And she closed by saying that if she ever got the chance to interview him again that she would give him my poem. I still have her letter, somewhere. It was held close to my heart for a long time. The idea, and I believed it at the time, that the journalist would give the poem to him was more than I could ever hope for.

Curiosity has gotten the best of me as I write this, so I've done a little leg work to discover that the American Ballet Theater's Nutcracker was televised in 1977. Clara is danced by Gelsey Kirkland and that definitely rings a bell. My family must have seen it when it first aired as that is something that we would have watched. And we've continued to watch it over the years. It is the most often viewed version of the ballet. And when I went to YouTube, I found one of the dances and realized that yes, this is the Misha that I crushed on.

If I were Princess Diana, I think that I would have asked to dance with him, rather than John Travolta, at the Field Museum all of those years ago when she visited. But she would have towered over him anyway. He would do fine by me. Maybe I should find that poem and send it to him directly. That would be romantic. The dance ... not the poem. I was fifteen.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dior's Bag Goes to the Hedges

Vogue August 2014
Where is she going, this modern Goldilocks? What is beyond the hedge? A secret garden party? So many questions and scenarios to imagine.

This is the second that I've seen of Dior putting their bag on the page going somewhere. I rather like it as I showed last autumn when the girl was going into the white door with the dark coat and small patterned bag with golden chains. I like the red pop of this one. The girl is modern, looks structured as her boots and bag denote. Aha, but she is going into what looks to be an English garden. I haven't been to a French one that one could penetrate. The contrast is lovely. And for once, the white hair seems appropriate (aren't we all tired, or rather,  aren't we women tired of white, white hair?) for the color play. Her image moves from light to medium to dark. She's a reverse ombre. Imagine that.

Orange is the New Black

My niece turned me on the  Netflix series "Orange is the New Black." We spent the weekend together last month (during Spring Awakening), and in our typical down time, we like to watch movies. She saw that I had started Orange, but I explained that I pushed the button accidentally. I don't know ... women ... prison. Not the top of my list for viewing pleasure. She said, oh no! You need to watch it, and I will go through season one again so that you can see it. And so I was hooked. Each season has 13 episodes. Each episode is nearly an hour. In one week, I watched 26 hours of television, more than I had in ... months put together. Once it started, I just couldn't stop. And what do you mean season 2 isn't available? What will I do? I'm hooked NOW.

The show floated across pages that I had read some, but then I noticed at the beginning of season 2, just when I was getting into it, it exploded across the pages of all of the magazines that I read. The pictured pages are actually an advertisement. But it highlights some of the idiosyncrasies that make the show what it is. I tell you, the writing is smart, female-focused, and the ensemble of quirky, nervy, psychotic actors that the producers hired to play the roles is unbelievable. It's just good old fashioned story telling. The characters are flawed, doubt, love, and figure life out as it is available to them. Sometimes, you almost forget that they are prison. They could be working in the same office, standing around the water cooler, and wondering how they got to this point in their lives.

I tell you ... I don't ever want to go to prison. I couldn't take all of that female energy. Argh. And it causes a tension that is palpable. The lead character Piper is annoying. But I think that is the point. She's so entitled that she walks into it constantly. I don't see her as a person yet. It is the secondary characters that are interesting. Well, Red. She's awesome. Crazy Eyes- oh yeah, I've taught her in one of my classes. Actually, I had 2 or 3 Crazy Eyes this year that I had to get a holt of to get out of the classroom cause she was throwing pie. And Taystee, her too. She has so much potential, but has no options. Isn't that the case of so many young people growing up in the 'hood?! They don't have her counterpart pictured ... Poussay. I think that she has the truest heart in the place. And has the best chance of surviving, if she can get a hold of her heart. But my favorite is Pennsatucky, the meth-head, Jesus freak. I love that she goes to jail for shooting at an abortion clinic working who snarks at her about how many abortions that she's had. And because of her Jesus-ness, the religious right pays for her defense. She is real ig'nrt. But that's it, isn't it? She lives in a trailer, has a douche-bag boyfriend, and has absolutely NO opportunity to be anything else. Ah, but she's working it out. And with her new teeth ... she just may become a person. Every time that I put a hoodie on, which isn't often, I zip it up and down and pop the hood on and off. Pennsatucky knows how to rock a hoodie.

The season 2 finale was awesome. The last scene was brilliant. And I can't wait for the coming 13 hours of character-driven television that will soon hit my screen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Martha Beck's 5 Rules for Lasting Joy

Oprah Magazine May or June 2014
Martha Beck is the lifestyle coach that appears in Oprah monthly. She always gives no nonsense ... not advice, but common sense considerations. This here, sums up what she is all about. I appreciate it. I'm not one for lists or quotes or expressions, but these five do seem to come up in a day-to-day way. I consider it a touchstone.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vive L'Aperitif

All of these lovelies were pulled out of a fashion magazine. I can't resist a postcard. I love the period. And an aperitif? It is a summer habit that I have acquired after several visits to France. I've never had St. Germain, but I have been known to enjoy pastis (the most popular brand is Pernod).

One of the first times that I drank pastis was on a two week trip to France many years ago. First in Paris on a hot August afternoon after wandering around lord only knows where, my friend and I stopped at a cafe for something cool to drink. He had just spent the summer living in the south of France a few years earlier and suggested that we have a pastis. I'd never heard of it before and loved it at first sip. In France, the liquor is poured into a tall glass and is accompanied by a jug of cool water. When the water tumbles over the it, it turns a cloudy yellow and tastes of licorice. Delightful. As we moved from Paris down to the Mediterranean, we stayed with the family that he lived and worked with during his summer of France. Every evening when Papa came home from work, usually around 7 p.m., we'd first enjoy a pastis or two or three then move to dinner and rose wine. I loved those evenings that went long into the night. They spoke very little English and I very little French, but we managed to communicate just fine. Papa worked at the local grocery store. My friend's job when he lived there was to pick up all of the grocery carts from the neighborhood that customers were able to take home with them. What a job, right?

After we stayed with the family in Frejus, we moved on to Nice where my friend's Baltimore landlady lived for half of the  year caring for an ailing mother. She lived in a grand apartment, one that you would expect someone as chic as she would live in. She invited us over for cocktails before going out to dinner. She served scotch and caviar. Certainly, I had had scotch before, but never caviar. It was quite an experience. Paula was a wonderful woman. She had been a dancer for the Paris Opera when she was young, and she and her sister somehow,  I wasn't quite clear on this point, ended up in Baltimore. They would take turns living with mother and living in the States. While in the States because of her former life, Paula was often invited to 'French' gatherings in D.C., sometimes at the Embassy. I had the good fortune of attending one of these parties on a visit to D.C. French embassy parties from what I can remember are the best! The champagne! Ooh la la.

On a day trip from Nice, we visited Eze. It hangs over the Mediterranean atop a cliff not too far from Nice. Naturally, there is no car traffic. And not much is there except a very small luxury resort. We wandered around it and no one made a fuss of it. My friend suggested that we have a drink in the pool area. It was quite beautiful. The hotel was an old castle, perhaps, made of stone and lovely red roses climbed over its walls. The waiter arrived with, what else, pastis. After a while, my friend excused himself to go to the gents, and the next thing that I knew, a porter was asking to take my bag. My day bag. All I had was a swim suit, a book, and maybe some sun block. He escorted me to the room, which was all-white from what I remember with a huge bathtub and thick, cozy bath robes. We spent the afternoon on an overlook that was a ladder down the cliff from the eternity swimming pool drinking pastis. Only later did we switch to wine and bread spread with chunky, country pate. It was heaven.

Hmm, I'm thirsty. Perhaps I should find some lingerie and have a cocktail.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Track Pant Fashion

Vogue August 2014
I saw the track suit fashion editorial and remembered well the time when I too felt the need to wear a pair of track pants with a dress out on the town. Of course, I didn't do it for fashion's sake. I did it because I was bloated.

Just this last week, my friend gave me copies of a some photographs that he had from the last few years. A couple of years ago, he had a big blow out for his 50th birthday. His birthday is January 2nd. Yes, the week after Christmas. My tummy was full of turkey and dressing and cookies. Plus, I had the chance to see the Chicago Bears play against the Green Bay Packers when Brett Favre was still playing on a rowdy Chicago New Year's Eve football game! By New Year's Day, I was cashed. I think that he pulled the party to the 1st and the last place that I wanted to go to was another party that would require getting dressed, drinking more, eating more, and being ... festive. I wanted to stay on the coach watching the public television station's BBC murder mystery marathon in my pajamas. Under a blanket. Hair in a pony.

Me on the left ... dress on top/track pants on bottom.
I put on a black wrap dress that was comfortable. Okay. But then I pulled on some opaques and as soon as the panty hit the tummy, I knew that I wouldn't make it for an hour at the party. And then I saw the black track pants with white stripes. What could it hurt. I pulled those bad boys on and they felt fine. When I got to the party, someone that I hadn't seen for years said to me, 'oh, you're so dressed up!' Why thank you. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture from the waist down. It would confirm that I knew what Vogue was thinking about, oh, 7 or 8 years later.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Spring Awakening

This guy was only out for maybe 5 minutes.
A couple weeks after I took my niece to Spring Awakening for her high school graduation, I still can't get the pulse out of my head. Being an elder statesman in a crowd that hovered around 25, I felt as much a part of it and probably appreciated it more than any of their frenzied inability to be in the moment. All of the kids were in such a rush to ... I'm not sure what they were motivated to do/be. I saw many altered states, but for the most part it seemed to be a toddling crowd of wait, wait - don't start without me. It was the first night, I suppose. And the wait for an event is always ... the hardest bit.

First Night
On the first evening into night, we were right up at the main stage. My niece is super chill, and though she lives and breathes EDM (Electric Dance Music), she wasn't in a rush to see it all. We hung out at home (drank a little wine), and then moved into Soldier Field just as it was really ramping up. We moved to the front of the main stage for two of the three nights. The first night was insane. The crowd was extremely aggressive. I had to bounce more than a handful of rowdies trying to encroach our space. I'm too weathered a concert goer, crowd surfer, to allow a few punks, albeit big, to push me off of my turf.

The DJs on the first night were good. Some were needed to come up with some new ... moves? I don't know; I'm still trying to figure out the magic of EDM. What are they doing up there on the platform? Mixing sound? Creating sound? Pushing sound? It's sound, that's for sure. And some do it really interestingly, but others get caught up in a circle that they don't ever seem to be able to get out of. The sound goes low, low, low ... then up, up, up ... and then low, low, low.

The light!
The top guy of the night was Tiesto. I loved him! But he was also working in pop music, so it was familiar. He wore his ubiquitous blue and white striped shirt and got into it right away. We bounced his whole set. Feeling pretty bruised, we had to fight even more to get out of the front. We were there for 4 or 5 hours, thirsty as anything, and feeling a little like we survived a tornado. It was time to go.

For the second night, we hung back and sat in the stands to watch a pretty lackluster night of DJs. One of the groups, Pretty Lights, did have a remarkable light show. The light coming off of the stage could light whole countries in other parts of the world that I have visited. I have to admit that the thought of this crossed my mind.

A horse in the crowd!
On the last night, we went all out again ... to the front! It was by far the best night of the festival. Steve Aoki was a riot! MK, my niece, told me that his thing is big cakes. And sure enough, at one point in his performance, and he was a performer, he hurled huge sheet cakes into the crowd. We were to the right of the platform, so luckily, and who would want to spend the next couple of hours covered in cake, we weren't hit. His vibe was electric. For as many people as there were that crowded onto Soldier Field, he made the space feel intimate. Not Bono intimate (that shows where my hat is usually hung), but like it.

The last DJ was my favorite: Kaskade. He lit it up. And his energy was extremely intense. I thought that he was going to bounce his head off, he rocked so hard to his beats. The crowd was as many, but the bullying had died down after three days of beats. The scene became so much more ... fun, rather than frenzied. It was the only way to come out it.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Gisele Cuts Her Hair

Balenciaga always offers up provocative print ads ... this one is that and more. What did she do with the hair, I wonder.


Vogue in Spring
I've been going through piles of magazine pages that have been pulled, and I had nearly forgotten about my wonderful Girls! I've now viewed both seasons twice ... maybe thrice ... times through. Without spoiling the end of Season Two for any of you who haven't seen it, I even described the final scene to my college-bound niece, who will leave a boyfriend back home. Hey, you gotta go do what you have to do no matter how hot the guy is that you are leaving behind. And this is certainly the case for Hannah who considers her acceptance into the Iowa writing program that she herself can't believe that she's been accepted into.

My favorite episode of Season Two is the one where a frustrated Hannah decides to tempt Adam away from rehearsal by taking a sexual walk through memory lane. She's convinced that Adam isn't making time for her because their sex life has become routine. Her solution: vamp it up. And the scene that ensues is hilarious. Because if they were on the edge before, it was because it was happening organically, and they didn't know each other very well. Now into the relationship, the universe has shifted. And her attempt to recapture what can never be duplicated is a comedy of errors. Though I have never acted that scene out per se, I have been up to no-good and have found the manipulation of what should be left to chance/timing/fate has been a disastrous, muffled, mumbled attempt to recreate something that was only meant to be magic.
 So now we have Hannah and Adam on opposite sides of the ... tub. What will become of them? I heartedly believe that Hannah should go to Iowa ... I know I wouldn't pass that opportunity up! And Adam, he's the loyal sort of guy. And for all of his strangeness, I think that he's for real. And Hannah needs to mindful of that. She is the one that needs to grow-up. And yes, this is so important to consider!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dries Van Noten: His House, Were It Mine

Vogue Sometime-Spring-Sometime
Sitting in my small, but cozy, apartment in the middle of a big city, this view looks like one that I would trade for in a heart-beat. Although I enjoy the symmetry of geometrically laid-out French gardens, it is this more lushful explosion of bountiful greens, colors, heights, ground covers, and perfectly designed madness. I could get lost in this secret garden certainly. The English garden.

It is the home of Dries Van Noten, a designer. The house is Ringenhof, set in a 55-acre park on the outskirts of the medieval town of Lier in Belgium. The article gives many details of the renovations of the home and grounds from the time that Van Noten and his partner purchased it, which is interesting, I suppose, but the fact that a suburb lies just beyond the gardens on one side and a commercial street with car dealers on the other, is incredible. It truly is a secret tucked into ordinary life. One I would like emulate in my own space in the middle of a city.

I love how the interiors of the home reflect the blooms that dominate the grounds. The one room, pictured just left, looks like the interior of a heart. I imagine that it is very comforting to sit in its warmth ... going out to buy paint to cover my own walls later, I wonder if I could go so far as this? I cover my own walls with deep, intense colors to create warmth, though I've never gone to such a rosy hue.

The house and grounds aren't only feminine, in the orangerie (can you imagine?!), great sculpted heroes have been plucked from a bank entry to protect oranges now. I also enjoy architectural remnants to occupy my space. The history of what they have been before and the warmth that they lend given their years and wear, comfort me.

It's a lovely home. The old girl is dressed up nicely.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jack White's Lazaretto

Rolling Stone 5 June 2014
I've been waiting for Jack to return. And I received the magazine before I had the record in hand. So it was kind of interesting to read him before the listen.

Of all of the tidbits that surfaced in the interview- most notably his relationship with Meg White, or lack thereof, his keen eye to antique mechanical devices, and his Catholic upbringing in Detroit- it's his view of the sexes that I found ... charming. 

He 'has spoken in interviews about the death of chivalry and how "natural ideas and natural instincts in the male or female personalities" are "being sacrificed for the idea of equality".' Why charming? Because he recognizes the difference and celebrates it. He regards those who see his work as misogynist to be unaware of his body of work and the women that he has worked along side. And I will tell you that Jack White was not on my radar much until he put out that record with Loretta Lynn. I fell in love with it ... not so much a country fan, but enough that I would give it a listen, the record embodied all that is Loretta Lynn, her fierce strength and femininity, and a slight scorch that is White's manly brand. He did the same for Karen Elson's, his ex-wife's, album. I probably wouldn't have bought it if it hadn't been for the fact that I knew he would be layered through it. For that, it doesn't only honor the difference between the sexes, it pulls out the best part of each to make the perfect storm of sound.

As for Lazaretto, which has since been released, I've listened to it ... oh, about 30 times. I'm still stuck on the title track and have listened to it more than the whole. The video for it is mesmerizing. The images are sharp, slightly perverse, and so cool. Jack's guitar doesn't put blisters on my fingers as I'm not playing it, but it puts them on my heart. It heats to a boil and blisters ... no tonic could soothe it except to listen to it again.

I would love to be a nail in one of Jack's beloved restoration projects, beautifully restored, and tucked in a corner of his work space. I can imagine the magic that he produces there and the wonderful freedom it would demonstrate of a man with talents to make everything around him better than they were ever intended to become.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Kate Winslet

Harper's Bazaar July 2014

Kate is stunning in this photograph- known for being 'round,' she is all line and angle, which mirrors the strength she portrays, even when vulnerable, in all of her films. She is Batman, and she has the dress to show for it (hey! her eyeliner has a bat wing to it).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pharrell's Headdress

UK ELLE July 2014
Pharrell is beauty in this photograph. I don't understand the hullabaloo about it being an affront to Native Americans. We have become, as a culture, so sensitive to so much that we have become insensitive. It would be one thing if the headdress were being decimated, but it isn't. In fact, I think that it honors what is essentially the very essence of America ... ingenuity, strength, creativity. And who's more American than Pharrell? He was a part of two of the biggest pop songs of the summer of 2013, and his 'Happy' is a unifying anthem that crosses geography, race, genre ... you name it. Come on.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Strypes

I'm smitten. These four boys from Ireland, all boys for real as they are 16 - 18 years old, are a welcome fire-up after a long, dull winter. See for yourself ... and the album is for the 2-Starbucks price of $8.99 on ITunes. Maybe they'll teach the girls (and boys) coming up what music really is all about. After I watched the last video of three that I checked out on YouTube, my heart beat hard 15 minutes later.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Career Crisis Averted

A friend and colleague is having a bit of a career crisis. He sat and talked me through it during lunch yesterday. What I didn't realize was the extent to which the crisis held him. Today, he announced that he went on to a web site to complete a career assessment. It didn't seem too complicated ... 60 questions. And the result was several career suggestions based on the responses and the commitment it would take to school or training would be necessary to pursue it. In other words, the first suggestion was based on the notion that he would not go to school or train to become it. He would just be it. And naturally, other suggestions were based on more schooling or training. He wasn't going to admit to anyone what he could do right now, as right now had him working as a beautician! Yes, I sat a across from a 50 year old, bald, University of Chicago graduate who found his way into a beauty parlor job on a self-help career site.

Of course I had to do it too! And he was certain that my profession would be fabulous compared to what was served up to him (yeah, he's a little down right now). And it was! Sixty questions and the recommendation for me was MODEL. Well, of course I can be a model. And I can date Leonardo DeCaprio. And I can walk for Karl Lagerfeld. And, oh, the wonderful things that I can do as a model. I suppose that it's hard to see it on the screen shot, but it really does say that in the box.

And if I'm willing to go back to school and/or train? Clergy. Sinner to saint baby. Oh dear, which shall I choose?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Shaun Cassidy and a Baseball Jacket

Elle March 2014
Shaun Cassidy
When I turned the page and saw this? I remembered Shaun Cassidy in his Da Doo Ron Ron blue satin baseball jacket that I was obsessed with at 14. David, his step-brother, my first pop star love of my life, was long gone when Shaun hit my must-see TV with his show, The Hardy Boys. I was a freshman in high school; though, I had moved on to a more sophisticated listening rotation: The Beatles, Led Zepplin, Rolling Stones, Shaun brought me back to girl giggledom, true love, and the want of a satin baseball jacket like the one that he wore more than anything that I've ever wanted in this life.

When I heard that he was playing Chicago, I had to go. My best friend and partner in crime stood in line at Sears for hours to buy tickets. I'm not sure how we even got there as neither of us drove yet. And the mall wasn't on a train or bus line. Maybe my mom dropped us off, and agreed to come back in a couple of hours. Obviously, we didn't have cell phones. God how were we able to manage all of that without smart phones and travel managers and just our teenagery brains? But I digress ... we met a girl in line from our high school. A senior girl. A burn-out. What was she doing in line for tickets to see Shaun Cassidy? God only knows. She was with her mom, and we hatched a plan to all go together with her mom driving us to the Amphitheater ... where I had seen Emerson, Lake, and Palmer AND Rod Stewart. What a detour this was going to be.

And what would I wear? I knew that Shaun would pick me out in the crowd and sing to me. Oh, how his hair feathered ... so dreamy. I knew what I needed: a satin baseball jacket. How do I get my hands on one of those, I wondered. We weren't really the type of family that went to the mall on a regular basis to buy clothes. I thought that I had seen one at The Limited, but I didn't have any money; well, not that kind of money. And my mom certainly wasn't going to finance my scheme to go to the store and actually buy an outfit to wear to the concert. Aha! But she would 'make' me something. In her Iowa-ness, and out of necessity, she would often sew me up what I had in mind. She was more than willing to trudge off to Vogue Fabrics to see what we could come up with there.

Naturally, being ahead of the curve (I know, you wouldn't be able to tell from what was my uniform to school of the day: Levis and a band t-shirt from Hegewisch Records. I wore the hell out of my Bad Co. t-shirt), we couldn't find a 'baseball' jacket pattern. But I was always flexible in my grand designs. I was always willing to take a different approach. We found a Vogue pattern for a jacket. It had dolmen sleeves and was really quite 'designerly,' but I thought that it could work. I picked out a beautiful baby blue satin to match what I had seen him wear. One major roadblock was that we couldn't find the material that would make the hem of the jacket. What would you call it ... the elastic band that you find on baseball jackets? Not to worry, mom had a plan. And it worked out as far as I was concerned. Oh, god how I love satin. It was gorgeous. And it was almost exactly what I wanted.

For the day of the concert, I was very bold. I didn't wear anything under my jacket (my bra, of course!). Our tickets were behind the stage, so I mostly saw Shaun's derriere, which wasn't bad in my estimation. I never got to see David Cassidy in concert, so I think that I took out all of that waiting and wanting on this one shot to see one of the those boys with the perfectly feathered hair and sweet smiles. I was very deliberately thinking, I could just jump off of this balcony. I could do it. I might break my leg, but that would heal. And for most of the concert, that is what I did ... schemed. It didn't really matter that I wasn't going to actually do it. The thought of it alone was quite satisfying. And good thing because many things that I've thought would be a good idea was really much better left to my imagination.

Da Doo Ron Ron.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Jack White Gives A Peek: High Ball Stepper

Jack White's "BlunderBuss," his first solo album, has been one of my favorite albums in the last couple of years. I can hardly wait to find what comes along with this sound.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

After Rest, God Made Beckham

Elle March 2014

Pharrell Kicks It Old School, Why Can't Madonna?

Rolling Stone ... sometime in March
I'm happy to see that my Vivienne Westwood hat wearing friend is kicking it old school for his new album. I gave a listen ... it's a little of this, a little of Prince. And it is pure joy. Nothing heavy or complicated. He has found the light and puts it on heavy rotation.

In a Friday night party for one, I pulled out the old stuff from the 'ole girl, Madonna, and danced my arse off. It just felt so ... happy go lucky. I've been trying to give Madonna room for being fresh, new, innovative, but ... she just isn't the same. It's as if she is trying to hard. Well, that's a dumb statement because everyone can see that about her. She's so unsettled with what life brings to us (age ... in little words and hushed tones) that it is uncomfortable to watch.

I read in this edition of Rolling Stone or the next one, I can't remember as I'm a bit behind and power reading, that she is now working with Avicii. I love Avicii. Wake Me Up is one of my favorite EDM songs. And I know that as she goes to her next, she's always looking for the newest to prove that she's still relevant. But she becomes irrelevant constructing a sound that is more them than her.

When she first really pulled into the electronic DJs, I think that it was with her album Ray of Light. That was the best of her second generation albums. It was buoyant. And, for the most part, a good listen, or dance if you, will from beginning to end. The next couple: Music, American Dream, Girls Gone Wild; they have glimmers of fabulousness, but they are inconsistent. Some of the songs make me cringe: are you for real Madonna, this is stupid and juvenile. I can take silly and juvenile from your 26 year-old self, but 45 or 50? Haven't you learned anything? Maybe not. The head is turned back so much that you may miss what's ahead of you.

If I could talk to Madonna, I would say, "kick it old school, girl." That would be fresh ... different from tongue-girl, snake-girl, weird-girl, and makes bad choices in boys-girl (I'll let you fill in the blanks). I'm pretty sure that you have worked with Pharrell before ... give him a call again. Or get Nile Rodgers back on board. I want to explode in delight with a bouncy and hook'd Madonna-groove, not Madonna on Avicii's youthful good looks, sound, and established fan base.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Reading my Rolling Stone magazine on a windy March day ... I stopped at the Carrie Brownstein article. I have always meant to check Portlandia, the show she writes and stars in, out but haven't gotten around to it. I had the idea that she was a musician, but didn't realize to what extent. As soon as I finished the article, I thought that now was as good as any other to check out the show, which I did. Oh sure, I chortled through an episode ... but I don't think that it will going into any heavy rotation. I get the joke, it was funny, but not so much that I need to watch it more.

But Brownstein's band on the other hand ... too bad that I caught them after their break. I checked out a couple of their videos on YouTube, the live ones are best, and I'm smitten. If I were in a band, they are what it would like ... driving, smart, and cool. Of course, I'm not so sure that I am any of those things, so it's probably best that I am a fan.

Here's hoping that what Brownstein says in Rolling Stone is true ... that the band might come back together. I'd be up for a rotation of that, for sure.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Harper Bazaar's Pattern Play

In the March issue, a lovely editorial, shot by Erik Madigan Heck, studied color, pattern, and florals. I like to look at it, especially after this particularly pale winter of constant snow and frigid temperatures. The flowers remind me of traveling through the South Pacific, or through the heather'd moors of Scotland, or anywhere other than what it's been here for the last couple of months. I can hardly wait, and wonder if it will ever come, the morning that I walk out and meet a warm breeze and run across the first hardy blossoms that push through frozen earth first in Spring.

This one, pictured above, is my favorite of the 'anything worth doing is worth overdoing' classification. I particularly love a red/purple combination.
This one on the below is very Frida Kahlo, of course!

It's spectacular how all of the colors of the dress work perfectly with the colors of the wall behind this queen. Even the shapes that make-up the wall paper look designed by the same maker as the dress. I would love it if the head piece were actual flowers, though it is rather grand even as it is. In Spain, I bought a mantilla. It is a beautiful black silk with embroidered red flowers. I almost wish that it had all the colors here as well. The peacock blue stands out and plays well with the orangy red. I wonder if at the neck it  is a skeleton's head? What do you think ... it's almost a mash of Latin and Asian. If I squint, I see dragons holding up the skeleton whose lips are painted red.

This is the last that I will share. There's something to the lemony and bright about this dress. I don't usually like yellow, but this particular hue is alright by me. I love the opulence of the large flowers that fall over it. The walls are a little dizzying, and it is difficult to decide which compliments the dress best. The navy wall with red/pink flowers match the intensity of the dress, but the whispiness of the lavender blades reminds me of a net ... perfect for trying to catch the butterfly near to the model's head.

Oh, Spring. Come quick. Oh wait, you are here already by this date. I'll have to live in the two dimensions of these pages, I suppose if I'm to have sense of what is to come.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

In Style April 2014

In Style April 2014

On a Sunday magread, I turned the page and ... Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the bad boy of Game of Thrones, a series that I've never seen, but have always meant to. I am going to have to check it out.