Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye MMIX


1. ANTICHRIST - What else is there to say? The most intense movie since Saló and the most beautifully personal thing I've ever seen. This is movie-making as it's meant to be: fantastical, transportative, haunting, poetic, unnerving, and unlike anything real life has to offer.

2. IRM - Better than I could have even hoped.. I still play 5:55 all the time, but this is the sound of freedom and loving who you are and what you've been given, all done in a way that only Charlotte can.

3. ISABELLE HUPPERT, PRESIDENT OF THE JURY - I fell so hard for this woman this year, its not even funny. As President of the Jury at Cannes this year she was so regal, so elegant, and truly has the presence of no other. Easily the best actress we've ever had. Simply devastating.

4. SECRETARY OF THE STATE HILLARY CLINTON - Of course she's doing a great job like we all knew she would. This is a woman made of stone, an inspiration beyond compare: tireless, selfless, and determined. I still hang on her every word and melt every time I see her on the news or in the paper in some faraway place just doing her thing.

5. BAND OF OUTSIDERS - The obsession carried over from last year.. The overdyed oxfords still take my breath away.

6. BELLA SWAN - This was in many ways the year of Twilight for me. A little late, but I finally caught on. New Moon anticipation was crazy, and it was so worth the wait. The books are lovely; Bella and Edward are truly one of the all-time great love stories.

7. LIMA, PERU - Coastal, foggy, colorful, restorative, and so far away..

8. NIGHTY NIGHT - Julia Davis as Jill Tyrell is my favorite character in the history of all characters.

9. BON IVER - His song from Twilight and my trip back to WI were what finally sealed the deal for me on this guy. Lately he sings me to sleep.. there really are no better songwriters around today.

10. VIVIANNE'S MIDDLE EAST FOOD - For giving me something to look forward to every Thursday and still making the best meal I've ever had.

Monday, December 28, 2009



This is a collage I made a few years back of pictures I had collected over the years, pictures I never wanted to forget. I still get inspired every time I look at them; they just keep looking better and better. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Chloë Sevigny - Greatest Halloween costume ever - in her signature early 00's fur jacket, undead eyes, equipped w/ a crucifix and a clove of garlic around her neck.

2. Elisa Ambrogio - From a Magik Markers show in Tienen, Belgium - they are hands-down the most intense live band anyway, but on this night Elisa hit her head on the bass guitar and just kept playing - Let it Bleed, indeed..

3. Sofia Coppola - 2nd Best Halloween Costume Ever!!

4. Catherine Deneuve - Like a ghost in Repulsion, 1965.

5. Kate Moss - Doherty-era, my favorite image of her- perfection.

6. Marie-Hélène de Rothschild - in a stag head with diamond tears at the Surrealist Ball superimposed on a model from the first Imitation of Christ show with the hairbraids (again, I know...)

7. Shelley Duvall and Sissy Spacek - Three Women.

8. Sandra Good and Squeaky Fromme - Handsignals from beyond..

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Imitation Of Christ

Imitation Of Christ

Hairbraids, Backward Ties, And Grief
Spring 2001

I still feel like this show was one of the defining moments in history, certainly in my lifetime. This was Tara Subkoff and Matt Damhave's (with Creative Director Chloë Sevigny) first show as Imitation of Christ. It was held at an East Village funeral parlor with Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me playing while models (mourners?) paid their last respects to a closed casket. Imitation of Christ took vintage clothes and redesigned them, all one of a kind. My favorite thing from this show was the hair braids hanging off of some of the clothing as seen in the first photo below. I also loved the backward tie, and the smeared (from crying) mascara on most of the women. The seriousness of this show is also worth noting, because it never for a second felt like a joke or anything less than sincere. There was also a hint of Buñuel in the 70s to it which I always thought of. Imitation of Christ was such a magical and inspiring thing, just the name alone promised something great.

My friend Sarah and I imagined starting our own label, Imitation of Imitation of Christ, with Kim Deal as our muse and three x's replacing the three crosses on the tags. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no?

Their next show had the models seated front row while the editors walked the runway. They are probably most famous for their Bring Me The Head Of Tom Ford shirt, but this is the moment I will always remember them for. It was an awakening, something no one could see coming and something no one has seen the likes of since. Like an exploding comet vanishing forever into deep space.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Julie Verhoeven For Vuitton

Julie Verhoeven
For Louis Vuitton
Spring/Summer 2002

I remember first seeing these in Vogue or W or Harper's when they first came out. They immediately struck me as one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. Fairytales and animals made out of LV patchwork- it was just too much. My favorite is the monogram castle in the lower right photo, just incredible. She later did a video project for Fischerspooner (circa Emerge) and the cover for Kate Moss and Primal Scream's Some Velvet Morning single. More recently, she took on the Medusa for Versace Spring 2009, but I don't think anything ever topped her appliques for Louis Vuitton. I only wish I could find images of the entire collection.. Pure magic.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Exile In Guyville

Exile In Guyville

Liz Phair

Extreme and total independence, vile and heartfelt. Sixteen years on and nothing can touch it. Exile in Guyville might easily be the best album ever, ever made (only Live Through This can come close). Not a wasted second, wrong note, or weak lyric to be found. Liz Phair invented so much of what was to come in the 90's with these songs, and completely shattered everything that came before. Mick who? Rolling Stones what? More punk than any band ever no matter how hard, fast, and short their three chords were. From the magical early years of Matador Records, these were the working blues of a twenty-something Midwestern girl intent on giving the world her side of Exile on Main Street. "Check out America- you're looking at it, babe."

If Mesmerizing is my favorite song, Strange Loop and Dance of the Seven Veils are not very far behind. I know every word and they still come back to me no matter how much time passes. This was what I woke up to on my 18th birthday. It always seemed like a record only real adults could truly understand, and now I finally could. After this, Liz went on to make Whip-Smart which was more pop but darker and less direct. And of course when her moment in the Top 40 finally came in the summer of 2003 with the inescapable Why Can't I?, only Liz Phair would use it to bring the F-word (albeit bleeped out) to FM radio. Google the lyrics to H.W.C. from the same album for proof that she hadn't changed a bit. Gap ads and the like would follow and I am truly bummed that she hasn't put out anything else since 2005. I'm still waiting for an official release of the Girlysound demos.

Exile in Guyville
is over too soon and only gets better the more times I hear it. It seems to have a way of always coming back to me at just the right times. No innuendo, only truth. An avalanche of perfection, hard luck, and brute force. Mesmerizing to say the very least.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Un Conte De Noël

Un Conte De Noël

Arnaud Desplechin
France, 2008

We remain unknown to ourselves, we seekers after knowledge, even to ourselves: and with good reason. We have never sought after ourselves - so how should we one day find ourselves? It has rightly been said that: 'Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also'; our treasure is to be found in the beehives of knowledge. As spiritual bees from birth, this is our eternal destination, our hearts are set on one thing only - 'bringing something home'. Whatever else life has to offer, so-called 'experiences' - who among us is serious enough for them? Or has enough time for them? In such matters, we were, I fear, never properly 'Abreast of things': our heart is just not in it - nor, if it comes to it, are our ears! Imagine someone who, when woken suddenly from divine distraction and self-absorption by the twelve loud strokes of the noon bell, asks himself: 'What time is it?' In much the same way, we rub our ears after the fact and ask in complete surprise and embarrassment: 'What was that we just experienced?', or even 'Who are we really?' Then we count back over in retrospect, as I said, every one of the twelve trembling strokes of our experience, our life, our being-and alas! lose our count in the process... And so we necessarily remain a mystery to ourselves, we fail to understand ourselves, we are bound to mistake ourselves. Our eternal sentences reads: "Everyone is furthest from himself' - of ourselves, we have no knowledge...

This is the bit of Nietzshe's On The Genealogy of Morals that Abel reads to Elizabeth at a moment when she realizes just how distant and lost she has become. The words are of course beautiful and full of meaning, but the way in which the text is used within the film becomes the very glue that holds each scene together.

Small details throughout this film were so much of what made it magic. The opening shots of marionettes invoke that other truly magical and otherworldly Christmas movie, Fanny & Alexander. The heart-shaped necklace Elizabeth receives from Spatafora becomes the dangling background of a transition. The sudden cut to still photographs on a white screen becomes that quiet moment you find for yourself during an overwhelming occasion such as this. The mitochondria of color-soaked cells. References you could spend days trying to figure out. The revelation of the camera lens moving out and in. The illusion of ghosts unseen. The toss of a coin. The way the characters speak directly at the camera from time to time. Chiara Mastroianni playing the disliked daughter-in-law Sylvia to her real life mother.

The way Catherine Deneuve looks in a brilliantly red coat. That hair. The quiet raga that introduces her to us. Junon.

Overall, I was captivated by this film. It is lavishly rich, playful, and has elegance to spare. Catherine has never been better and becomes even more transfixing and quite honestly, breathtaking, every time I see her. Joyeuses Fêtes.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eleanor Roosevelt, Words

Eleanor Roosevelt

New York City, 1884
First Lady Of The World

Next to Hillary Clinton there is no one else that has been as much of an inspiration to me as Eleanor Roosevelt. I remember the day Hillary gave her Presidential concession speech at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. June 7, 2008. I spent the day at Val-Kill, Eleanor's home and retreat from 1924 until her death in 1962. Being surrounded by the peace of Val-Kill and Eleanor's unparalleled strength helped me find my own. I couldn't have imagined spending the day anywhere else. I love reading Eleanor's old newspaper column
My Day from time to time and still cannot get over how fearless, determined, and selfless she was. I'm not usually into quotes but hers rise above the usual and become directions for a life well-lived. Here are my favorites:

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Never be bored, and you will never be boring.

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

You must do the things you think you cannot do.

I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.

Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have the obligation to be one.

When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.

I have spent many years of my life in opposition, and I rather like the role.

What one has to do usually can be done.