Thursday, June 29, 2017

Nicole Kidman

In Style July 2017
I have always been a fan of Nicole Kidman. She has a warmth shows through in her characters and intelligence in ones that aren't warm at all. I have not been tempted to watch "Big Little Lies." Too much ensemble for me. And the idea of it as it has been presented is not appealing to me. But give me "Cold Mountain" every autumn/winter, which is a beguilingly romantic movie that shows her character to be what I would like to imagine myself to be ... delicate and strong. Pretty, but unafraid of the things in life that aren't quite so. I am also a big fan of "To Die For." Her broad sense of humor and dogged determination comes across beautifully through the character that she plays.

Early on in the courtship of my sister with her now husband found us at the movies. The story is not that, except it was then that my brother-in-law told me that I reminded him of Nicole Kidman. Naturally, I was flattered; even though, I knew that the only thing that I may have had in common with Kidman is a head of strawberry blond hair. Until now, when ... in this profile of her in In Style magazine, she talked about her relationships: "I've always chosen to have really deep, intense romantic relationships. I don't flit about. I don't dabble. That's who I am, and my mother's always said it: "you're just a child who attaches." Maybe, he saw that this was true of me and so likened me to her. I definitely 'attach,' Although she seems to me to disconnect better than I, but being her, I imagine, she has more opportunity to unlatch and move on.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Harry Styles Meets the Queen

Rolling Stone Magazine June 15, 2017
Never much of a 1D fan, I have come into Harry Styles as a solo artist. And I must say, Harry is quite delightful.

On the cover of May 4th's Rolling Stone magazine, the interview showed him to be a slightly quirky guy, who, for all of his hair tossing, does not have poser in him. And what really got me was when he said, when asked if he was worried about being 'credible' to an older audience different than the teenagers who were 1D's base, that girls have always been the litmus test for pop music, and that: "Teenage-girl fans- they don't lie. If they like you, they're there. They don't act 'too cool.' They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.' Cheers Harry! I am not a teenager, but I do continue to slip into the all or nothing mode of adoration for a band or singer. If I like it, I'm going to love it. This is the beauty of fandom. It is wholly reciprocated as the band continues to make music that I love, and there is no argument. It's unifying.

I have not bought his solo album yet. I'm not sure that I will. I did see Mr. Styles on Carpool Karaoke with his personal, good friend James Corden, and it was great. He is adorable. Playful. And not self-consumed like other pop stars who have come before him (NOT Justin Bieber because I think that he is adorable too ... and I like his groove). But I think that I will like him more as he moves more into film. Dunkirk, the first movie that he has acted in, will be released at the end of July. I think that I'm going to like him in it. He seems to have a lot going on beyond that boy band exterior. It will be interested to see.

To quote the words of Stevie Nicks, who met Styles on a stage at the Troubadour in L.A.: "It's pretty hard to not fall in love with Harry Styles. I feel that we will be good friends for a long time." I agree.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fendi Florals

Elle April 2017
Aren't these pretty shelves of lovelies. I knew two women who lived together in a large, two floored apartment with lots of corners and shelves. They were very proud of their wall shelving unit that displayed their collection of handbags. I saw this and thought that, somehow, Fendi saw that apartment ... maybe on Pinterest, and copied the decor. I'm certain that's how it went down.
What is also strikingly similar of this styling are the Dries Van Noten handbags encapsulated in ice sculptures by Azuma Makotoh.

Whichever came first, the Fendi or the Van Noten, they are wonderful odes to Spring. The striped boots in the Fendi advertisement are a clever pattern play against the floral ribbons, bows and leather. It would be hard every morning if this were my wall shelving unit of my collection of handbags to pick just one for each day. I may have to carry a bag on each arm ... and maybe one or two has a long enough strap to be a cross body bag. Marvelous.

Monday, June 12, 2017

XXX:U2 and Kendrick Lamar

I have been meaning to give a serous listen to Kendrick Lamar for nearly two years, and who do you think finally managed to pull me all the way in? Bono, naturally. In the months leading up to David Bowie's release of his last album, "Black Star," a lot was written how Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly" was an inspiration for Bowie. He appreciated the jazz-like structure of Lamar's work and looked to do the same for his new songs. Apparently, Bowie was spending a lot of time in a small jazz club in NYC and poached a few of the musicians to record with him to make the new sound, for what I would argue is his best conceptual album. I had always appreciated Bowie, but "Black Star," to me, showed his real genius. And being Irish, the morbidity of the fact that he wrote his own requiem, not unlike Mozart, is pure poetry.

My niece saw Kendrik in Miami recently and called to tell me how awesome he was. And I thought, oh yeah, I have some homework to do. And in checking out his new album, "Damn," I saw that U2 guested on one of the tracks. I belong to the U2 fan club ... you would think that they would send the notification that they did a song with Kendrick Lamar! I immediately found the song and album to hear what I had figured was going to be really powerful. I read that Bono met Kendrick's producer at a Jimmy Iovine lunch. The producer didn't recognize Bono, but liked his groove. When he was told that he was the lead singer of U2, the hook-up was decided. 

Here is what Billboard had to say about the strange bedfellows ... it will take some of my bias out: 

"Just writing that sentence makes it seem weird all over again. Yet listening to the politically charged "XXX," you're struck by how smooth the unlikely meeting of the minds is, how jarring Bono's dulcet voice sounds sliding into the song whose first half uses a police siren on loop amid lyrics about fame and violent revenge. "It's not a place/ This country is to be a sound of drum and bass," Bono croons, "You close your eyes to look around."

Lamar then doubles down on themes U2 has mined for decades: faith, greed and the duality of America as a place that both welcomes and turns away. Like any musician whose ears are influenced by anything and everything they hear throughout their lives, Kendrick's connection to rock is clearly not as distant as it may seem. 

Getting back to U2, though: Kendrick's years-long deep dive into the heart of jazz also has parallels into U2's Joshua Tree-era exploration of American soul and blues, their attempt to find a common thread that binds us and spans oceans and knocks down barriers between race and background. In looking backwards to sounds from a different genre and an earlier era for inspiration, Kendrick is seeking out the links that connect us even as he sings about the things that divide us."

I'm going to give "Damn" a good hard listen before I move on to "To Pimp a Butterfly." I will get there, but I'll savor this first.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Willie Nelson

Rolling Stone June 1, 2017
Willie has a good point.

When asked if he would ever run for President, he says: "I think that you can do more with music than you can with arguments and politics. I think a song will reach more people than any other thing. There's a reason it's called "harmony.""

And if he didn't have me on that because I too feel that the harmony of music and the shared experience of it makes for much better politics that what is being served up these days, he has this to say about exercising every day: "I'll ride a horse, swim or run. Cussin' is good exercise - I do that too."

That's right Willie, get it our of your system. Don't hold back cause that's the surest way to clog your arteries.

I wonder if Willie is available as a life coach. It'd be a hoot and a holla if he were.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Dries Van Noten's Creations Captured in Ice by Artist Azuma Makotoh

Harper's Bazaar April 2017
Dries Van Noten has come across these pages before. His home and gardens were featured in Vogue, I believe, and I wrote about how I would have gardens the same as his if I were a famous fashion designer with access to purchase an ancient home with grounds and gardeners that could pick the weeds whilst I take cuttings to fill crystal vases on every surface in the home. These beautiful floral ice sculptures truly capture the beauty of Van Noten's gardens and show his collection stunningly. I included all of the pictures so that you may enjoy the artistry. They are beauty to behold.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Netflix's Chewing Gum

If the series is English, I'm likely to watch it. The comedies that Netflix have been dropping from across the pond are not to be missed. I may be biased, but they're funny as hell and different from the same old week night line ups that the networks pass off every season as fresh.

Tracey, seen sitting on the bed above, is truly fresh. A gale force from across the Atlantic. An evangelical, virgin 24 year old, she is ready for action. The funny thing is that she doesn't know what action looks like, smells like, or nothing. Michaela Coel, the show's creator and star, has created a larger than life character whose exaggerations put a magnifying glass on so many current issues including race, sexism, and religion. And as much as she is so different than me, she seems awfully like me as well. She doesn't know what it is that she's looking for all of the time and for that reason, she doesn't what it is when it is in front of her. It's hysterical and terrifically sane at the same time.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

U2's Joshua Tree Tour

From the U2 Joshua Tree tour at Soldier Field, Chicago
Chin on the fence, the Edge's guitar tech sauntered down the runway in front of me during the transition from opening act to U2's performance. He smiled at me, probably because I was wearing an U2 concert t-shirt from the Zoo TV Tour, and flicked a pick at me. It landed on the ground, out of reach. A security guard walked over to pick it up and playing like he wasn't going to give it up, and the woman standing next to me grabbed it. She turned to her boyfriend, who wasn't paying attention, and said, 'hey, you want this?' I wanted to take her down.  But I am not one for confrontation and I certainly didn't want to get booted for fighting. Security was tight.
June 5, 2017 at Soldier's Field
I have lost count of the number of times that I have seen U2. I never tire of the energy that they bring to the stage. Usually, I float away and am happy with the world, content that I will see it again the next night. But this time, I left the first night with doubt. So close to the stage, on the first night I couldn't really take in the visual presentation of the show, but I saw and heard Bono imploring us to believe that America is still home of the free and the greatest show on earth. With the aftermath and disillusionment felt after the election, and standing in a state that is broke and a city that is a war zone, it's hard to feel good about America right now.
But the good thing about going again is that one gets a different perspective. Pulling back to see the visual part of the show, I was reminded of the beauty of America. The Joshua Tree was a big album as it was the one that catapulted U2 into the sky. No longer small enough to wander anonymously across the land, they embarked on a tour that put them in the midst of the muck. Naive, possibly, with an Irish bravado, they took on the challenge to walk to the mountain top. Lasso big ideas. Give a shit about someone other than oneself. I heard Bono this week reaching to pull us back into the idea that we can be great again ... for real. And that's what, in the end, makes them my band. Forty years later, and still trying to find what their looking for is still relevant. In times like these, it is important to remember to keep looking for the things that matter. The things that will enrich others' lives in making our own fulfilling. Oh, for sure, I'm full of the blarney, but that's how Bono and I can be best friends. Because we are, ya know.