Wednesday, May 30, 2007

coming soon

"talk to me"
dir., kasi lemmons

don cheadle with an afro and pinky ring + classic american dream gone wrong story set against the backdrop of socio-political movement + my favorite spinners song + chiwetel ejiofor's reliable presence + taraji p. henson's revolving display of wigs = this film has my ticket

the bomber

courtesy of just jared

now that's how you wear a leather bomber jacket.

thank you jude. we can learn so much from you.

fall into the gap: pt. 2

courtesy of the sartorialist

for all of you out there who have become disappointed and dismayed with the declining relevancy of the gap, i come bearing good news. gap, to many, has lost its luster since the infamous 2001 debacle of leather pants and other trends that fell to the wayside soon after their introduction. it's even more difficult to keep with the american apparel's that have stolen their cotton t-shirt thunder or the h&m's and zara's that bring affordable renditions of the high fashion trends within months of their runway debut. gap is like britney spears or whitney houston right now. they were fun for a bit but since they've been distracted with other things (diane sawyer interviews, drugs, bad husbands, train wreck in the making children), the musical landscape has changed significantly and people want to hear that new fergie or nelly furtado jam instead whatever they could possibly be conjuring up. but americans love a good comeback after a significant fall from grace.

it was announced last week that patrick robinson, former chief designer for perry ellis and paco rabanne, has taken over as chief designer for gap's women's and men's apparel, accessories and intimates lines in north america. this is a fantastic shift in the dying direction gap has taken in the past few years. for those you who are not familiar with mr. robinson, he is the current designer of the target go line, which i will admit i have looked at and think is exactly what women who shop at target would like and buy in bulk. he's married to virginia smith, an editor at vogue. and oh yeah, his afro is amazing. i don't think i would ever have the patience to grow one myself, but if i did i would want it to look like his. black straight male designers are rare in high fashion, making him that much more of an interesting commodity. his sporty but sexy cuts should appeal to new and old gap consumers, establishing him as fashion's newest messiah.

his spring/summer 2006 collection for paco rabanne:

it was a favorite of mine at the time and i think we can see trends of jumpers with pockets, the skinny pant, and voluminous minidresses that he was executing so effortlessly and naughtily almost two years ago before they trickled down to the current affordable worlds of malls and department stores.

i'm most excited to see what he has in store for menswear because if we can infer anything from the photo above, i might be spending more time (and money) at the gap than usual.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

the touch, the feel

don't you love when your knowledge of popular culture is so vast and geeky that it allows you to connect the dots in respect to a particular artist's work? spotting the style and wit of others as appropriated in the capable hands of a new visionary is the ultimate reward for the consumers of popular culture as i am proud to be. i recently noticed an odd theme running through the works of david bowie, rei kawakubo, and francois ozon: hands on the body. who inspired whom is up for debate but i find their inclusion of one of my favorite body parts really surreal and beautiful.

as evident by my todd rundgren homage from last night, i watched an infomercial for the dvd collection of wolfman jack's iconic late night show "the midnight special". there were so many delicious sights to gaze upon (gladys knight in full afro dueting with ray charles, the albino rock star edgar winter, the elaborate space age bondage costumes of labelle), but aside from mr. rundgren, the sight of david bowie in his waning ziggy stardust phase was something to behold. it's been said, but i will reiterate that he looked like some polysexual alien witch dotcor. the cherry red hair, the glam makeup, the exploration of gender, art, and the future in his performance had me in awe. his costume in particular was the most arresting part of his performance with those sparkly golden hands clasping to his alien bosom. what an interesting addition i thought to myself, but mr. bowie isn't the only one who recognizes the odd power of 3D hands attached to clothing. rei kawakubo of comme des garcons for her fall collection accented her pale, girlish dresses and shirts with hands that appeared to bulge from beneath where they might be tickling the eastern european models lithe little bodies. it also made me think of that incredibly erotic scene on the bed in francois ozon's "under the sand" starring sex goddess charlotte rampling. her character fantasizes for a brief moment of gentle hands stroking her laid out and clothed body. it's so hot that it prompts her to masturbate. genius.

take a look:

"jean genie"
david bowie
the midnight special

looks from comme des garcons by rei kawakubu
fall 2007

"under the sand"
dir., francois ozon

what do you think it all means?


"can't tell me nothing"
kanye west
dir. hype williams

this song is extremely underwhelming and the video is limp on style and execution, but i will say i love that scarf he's wearing in the video. the summer scarf and t-shirt look on men can be a tricky combo but mr. west once again proves he is hip-hop's true dandy. i bet it's either louis vuitton or gucci.

don't worry kids, this isn't the lead single from the much anticipated "graduation" album, but a single from a mixtape to promote the album that doesn't come out until early fall. thank you wikipedia.


"hello it's me"
todd rundgren
the midnight special

i obviously can't sleep.

i'm such a sucker for late night nostalgic pop music infomercials.

p.s., i love this song.

Monday, May 28, 2007


i don't think my generation of moviegoers appreciates the fine art of movie posters. i can thumb threw vintage movie posters for hours. i hate to sound nostalgic but how can you resist the sight of a seductive sue lyons in those heart-shaped sunglasses or those sanguine stained lips with the graphic goth background? so much of film these days is the bottom line and part of that is very obviously and very plainly featuring the big distracting visage of the star in the poster. they want you to see the movie because jennifer aniston has pretty hair in it, not because there is something alluring or intruiging about it.

i adore this poster for anton corbijn's debut feature film "control" for everything i think is missing in movie poster art. it's bold, moody, and beautifully composed. it may feature the lead actor of the film, but because he's an unknown actor we are not commenting on what he did in us weekly last week. he's isolated on one side of the poster suggesting the solitary and private pain ian curtis endured before his death. he's cool looking like a rock star with his dangling cigarette, but slightly odd looking juxtaposed against the towering cityscape. the simple font only adds.

the film gained mostly positive reviews:

"Somber, sad and compelling, Ian Curtis biopic "Control," about Blighty '80s post-punk band Joy Division's lead singer, is a riveting, visually arresting portrait of a soul in torment."
--russell edwards, variety

it's almost as if he's describing the poster. i think this could be one of the films to watch this year.

check out a clip from the film here.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

talk talk

i love movie talk. like any art, film (when it's good or bad, but mostly good) is meant to provoke and inherently elicit a response. engaging in a dialogue about film can expand your mind and perhaps gain a new perspective on the art, but also realize their relevancy in the world and times we're living in. while reading some the cannes wrap ups, i stumbled upon this wonderful conversation between new york times critics manohla dargis and a.o. scott that ranges from what's missing in american independent cinema, the possibility of achieving reality on film, and the supposed international style of commercial film.

listen to it here.

in other news, cristian mungiu's "4 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days" won the presitgious palme d'or at cannes this weekend. the new york times describes it as "harrowing and brilliantly acted (...), a stark image of life under totalitarian rule without political grandstanding or sentimentality." some of the articles i've been reading about the win have suggested that it cemented the emerging presence of romanian cinema in the current international film landscape. do we have a new country to gorge on its unearthed cinematic delights?

Friday, May 25, 2007

belle de jour

stefano pilati, chief designer for yves saint laurent, and catherine deneuve at the AmfAR's annual cinema against aids benefit at cannes on may 23, 2007

boy, he sure knows how to pick a date. the former muse of the monsieur saint laurent meets the current and extremely influential head of ysl. this could only happen in the beautiful world of celebrity.

the south of france must really bring out the best in people.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

tilda tilda

cinematic chameleon tilda swinton is at cannes this week premiering her new film, "the man from london." swinton's brave and bold sartorial decisions made me forget about the movie and instead take notice of how perfect raf simmons for jil sander can look on the right person. swinton appeared in two jil sanders looks from my favorite fall collection of 2007 and one from the spring collection. i've been waiting for someone to wear some of these pieces and it's only fitting that an actress of such fierce intelligence, daring beauty, and odd intensity would fit the modern luxury of these clothes. snaps to tilda.

p.s., forgive the getty images logo slapped on the photos. until i can procure some hi-res and getty free photos, these will have to do.


i appreciate that american apparel is moving into a new direction with more offerings than just overpriced cotton t-shirts. their horizons have expanded to moose knuckle inducing pants, dayglo scarves, and something bijou philips might wear to the clubs. one piece that did stick out amongst the fray is the polka dot hoodie. i like polka dots and i like hoodies, but i do not like this one. it's too graphic and it's obvious that prints are not their forte. i'm getting the sense that american apparel might be having a gap circa 2001 moment where they are betraying what they are known for in favor of more trendy options and stuff nobody wants to touch in six months. i mean, who really needs a pair of lame workout shorts?

stick to the tri blend t-shirt and i'll be happy.

not the piano man

"laff at 'em (give it to me remix)", timbaland feat. jay-z & justin timberlake

where we would be without our dear friend timbaland? he's so reliable (save for the solo album) and his ambitions are always worthy and commendable. this remix should hold us over until the song of the summer is fully established.

speaking of... where oh where is the song of the summer? it better not be fucking rihanna or maroon 5. "summer love" by jt is almost too literal and i think it's far reaching to have song of the summer two years in the row by the same artist. (although technically, "sexyback" didn't come into our lives until july, which some can argue as being mid-late summer) and for no reason whatsoever other than pure enjoyment, let's groove to the song of the summer from last year, nelly furtado feat. timbaland, "promiscuous":

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


"i'm a flirt (remix)"
r. kelly feat. t-pain & t.i.
dir., benny boom

i know this man is seriously disturbed and delusional, but he knows how to write and produce the catchiest pop songs. ignore the r&b/rap video cliches and the fact that the chorus might give you the willies due to mr. kelly's predilection for prepubescent females. just enjoy.


"la haine"
dir. matieu kassovitz

the power of observation is something cinema captures so acutely, maybe more so on a visceral level than most artistic mediums. the fetus of observation on film can be found in the early films of the lumiere brothers that depicted laborers leaving factories or citizens departing train stations. viewing the world as it is, objectively, is almost impossible in film because wherever the eye of the camera is placed, the eye of the author behind the camera becomes our godly point of reference. in my mind, this is the beauty of cinema. subjective reality can be used as a tableau for the objective world that urges to be interpreted and regurgitated to audiences. the stunning world that matieu kassovitz creates in "la haine" is a stinging and damning socio-political observation on contemporary france as well as a very defined move into a new kind of french cinema.

the film follows three thugs as they journey throughout a day of violence, revelations, and the general malaise of being a product of an urban and forgotten environment. the gorgeous black and white cinematography serves as a stroke of inspired genius because as much as the characters want their lives to be defined in clear black and white terms like everyone else (or so they assume), things are much murkier and complex than what they perceive. violence and political unrest are part of their everyday lives, but that does not mean they understand it and progress from it. the look of the film also serves as a classic way of observing a culture that has evolved into a more ethnically diverse culture. north africans, black africans, middle eastern people have grown in large populations all over europe, especially in france. this neo-melting pot is sold a dream of prosperity and identification, much like the mexican immigrants in our country today, but when they arrive they are left to their own devices and therefore cannot achieve the same comfort and possibilities that another group could and benefits from consistently.

the local housing projects is the new hot bed of multi-cultural integration where american popular culture has had a significant influence. rap videos, post-70s american auteur cinema, and black street culture have infiltrated not only in the community but the aesthetic of the film as well. i love the scene above for its incorporation of everything modern about observation on film. the marriage of sound and image only add to this when the deejay, clad in his cyprus hill t-shirt, begins spinning french hip-hop but mixed in with an edith piaf song. this music is the pulse of the community. the traditions have not been forgotten, but instead co-opted for a new generation. the camera moves over the community and observes them in an angelic-like presence. this isn't snobbery in terms of looking down at them, but putting the viewer in their environment and assuring them that beauty exists in an other wise ugly setting.

"la haine" owes much of its visual and aural punch to american cinema and music. much like the hollywood influence on the new wave directors of the late 1950s and 1960s, the hollywood directors of the 1970s and 1980s serve as inspiration for a new generation of french cinema. spike lee's wide angle lens close-ups and scorsese's whip pans and tracking shots bear their mark all over this film. hip-hop videos of the early 1990s are also wonderful resource for kassovitz and he knows how to weave in their identifiable flair. those videos showed the playgrounds and backyards of youths in compton, los angeles and the high rise projects of new york with rich and vivid detail. they weren't war zones collapsing a culture, but rather a commmunity teeming with life and vitality where mothers braided hair on the doorstep or jumpy convertibles would leap through the neighborhood to a captivated audience. that same cultural reflection and non-judgmental look exists in "la haine".

there's another fantastic scene when the thugs find themselves in paris but have dispersed momentarily, due to a petty argument, and group ringleader vinz (a steaming vincent cassel) joyrides in a bmw with a new pack of ne'er-do-wells. the camera rests on the front end of the car with a fish eye lens exaggerating the size and scope of the car. the car is static but the background looks curved and bent. this reminds me of a technique music video maestro hype williams employed several times in his work in the mid to late 1990s and spike lee .

"la haine" succeeds in observing a subculture that is universal in its depiction of disenfranchised denizens and their eternal search, but never obtaining, the lofty fantasy they were promised as a means of a civil right and personal inspiration.

Monday, May 21, 2007

white out

i've recently accepted that my style is relatively casual (but not cheap) and sporty. my eye naturally went for for t-shirts and jeans while i was doing some online window shopping the other day. however, when i do look for more dressy and mature clothing, i am very selective. i am in dire need of a white oxford. i rearranged my closet a few weeks ago to find that i am without one. i was surprised to find the absence of such a staple in what every man should have in his wardrobe. now that i'm looking for one, let's lay out some guidelines: i want something relatively tailored, but not too loose with a button-down collar (so functional) and a pocket (i just like 'em). i'm moving into the job market but i still want to be comfortable and youthful.

barneys lead me to this beautiful helmut lang shirt:
but the steep $275 price tag had me searching in another direction. if only, right?

however, i think i have found what i am looking for in this fink oxford from urban outfitters. it's currently on sale for $12.99 and it seems to have all of the qualities i want from a white shirt.

is this one of those things where you should buy it in multiples like black pants or grey t-shirts?

love in the afternoon: last tango in paris

"no names here."

the other week a friend of mine asked me to name my favorite sex scene in film. you would think the answer would upchuck almost immediately, but i seriously had to stew on this one for a while. what qualifies as a great sex scene? nudity? situational context? attractiveness of the actors? type of sex? and most importantly, is it a narrative tool in advancing the plot or exposing something about the characters or is it just titillation for the always flesh hungry audience? at any rate, i settled on the first moment of sex between paul (marlon brando) and jeanne (maria schneider) in bernado bertolucci's "last tango in paris." the movie is phenomenal on many levels, with its overt and at times aberrant and cold sexuality that allows the audience to be seduced into the claustrophobic and sadomasochistic world of a dilapidated parisian apartment that serves as a meeting place for a troubled man and a pouty-lipped woman willing to play his game of sexual and personal degradation.

unfortunately, the folks at youtube couldn't provide us with this scene, so it's up to yours truly to provide the details on what makes this scene so unique and unforgettable.

the scene opens with jeanne inspecting an old parisian apartment on rue jules verne. she sports a white knee length coat trimmed in some kind of fur with a mustard-hued micro-mini peasant dress that skims her soft thighs and full breasts and brown leather boots. her hair is up in a disheveled french twist under a violet adorned wide rimmed chocolate colored hat. her lips are nude but her eyes are smudged in dark eyeliner and shadowed as well (so french and so hot). she is the embodiment of a sexy gypsy courtesan. much to her surprise when she opens the windows, the light pours in and divulges the appearance of her soon-to-be tormented lover, paul, who is tucked away in the shadows of a nearby corner. a simple grey sweater and knee length camel coat drape on paul with an effortless ease. the walls are cracked and stained, the carpet rolled in spots, and the faded paint drips off the wall in flakes. this is no bother to either of them as they engage in brief but banal dialogue. paul addresses jeanne with a short, laconic temperament as they move into the next room where he mystifies her by fumbling with aged lamp shades and sheets covering left behind furniture. jeanne, confused by this stranger's behavior, exalts a "oh la la!" and heads for the bathroom where she uses the facilities. the ring of a telephone interrupts her and begs for her to come back into the main room. it's paul on the other end, who soon hangs up the phone and advances towards jeanne. paul approaches jeanne, but slams the front door shut with the clap of his palm. he returns to jeanne and swoops her up in his arms in one swift movement. i've always thought her reaction was really interesting and surprising. i'm not sure how many women would so quickly give into a haggard, quiet man who just so happens to be lurking about in your future living space, but perhaps jeanne senses a spark. she has met her match. she is bored by her filmmaker fiance and craves something more intimate and demanding, thus she clutches her hands around paul's shoulders and anticipates his next move.

from here on, the majority of the scene is done in one take. bertolucci doesn't want us to miss a second between paul and jeanne. if we are to observe them, then we must see them in real time as real humans. they're both complicated and sexual creatures, who communicate with their lust for each other and sharing themselves in a world that has otherwise disappointed and ruined them. cinematographer vittorio storaro's subtle camera work places them on the left side of the frame and incorporates the faded walls and frayed curtain in the other two thirds of the frame, implicating the environment in this unexpected interlude as much as the participants fornicating in the foreground. most sex scenes care very little about the tension between foreground and background and chop it up with distracting editing that the release between the two characters is never as raw and open as paul and jeanne. however, the scene is not over and only gets that much better.

paul brings jeanne over to the wall where they first met minutes ago. he presses her up against one of the windows and begins to kiss her. they kiss as if they're hungry for each other's mouths. it's hard and uncompromising. he holds her tight as she wraps her knee length boot-clad legs around him as they begin to have sex. he quietly thrusts her as her brow becomes furrowed and mouth agape in pleasure. they still have their clothes on at this point, but paul viscously rips jeanne's nude stockings away from her legs. at a point she straddles him, but they move to the floor. she screams in excited pleasure and kisses paul harder and more intensely. the frayed gossamer curtain shields them for a brief moment, but as their act reaches a climax they roll away from the curtain. the camera at this point begins to slowly back away from the characters and expose a very neutral toned plane of browns and creams (the color of the lover's boots, the floor, the walls, the windows). paul removes himself from jeanne in a quick, exhausted movement. jeanne literally rolls away from paul, exposing her pubic hair and torn hosiery. her heavy breathes are filled with such delight and pain, you think she coming down from some drug induced high. i guess if you have just been fucked by marlon brando, you'd feel the same way too.

no dialogue has been exchanged at this point, except for the darts of hot breaths they release from the rush of their post-coital ridden bodies. they lay on the floor, full of confused but turned on emotions. she is engaged and his wife has recently committed suicide. paul omits an "oh, god." before the scene cuts to the lovers leaving their haven of sin and redemption. they're clouded by the textured glass and iron bars of the front door of the apartment. paul opens the door with a wry look of contentment washing over his face, but jeanne quietly rushes out of the door feeling shamed but hot for paul. she tightly wraps her coat around her, hiding any trace of sex she just randomly and joyously engaged in.

the audience feels as guilty and excited by what we have just as seen as much as the characters are feeling. bertolucci's vision of sex isn't pornographic or sensationalistic, but an honest appreciation of sex and communication. two people have little use for words as a result of where it has gotten them thus far, so naturally they turn to their bodies to express themselves. they need each other's bodies to express the pain and torment they have endured in their otherwise fractured relationships in the other outside world. their empty and depressed apartment is a space for them to convey the feelings that are too intense and too honest for the rest of the world. it's a utopia of sorts, but less saccharine and more defined. names and past history are not necessary. bertolucci crafts an interior that values trust and honesty. that's not to say, that this will eventually be the downfall of these characters, but for about four minutes in an abandoned parisian apartment, that willingness to go to a place unknown and not corrupted by the vast complications of the man-made world outside of those walls, the trust is a pleasure to watch.

yes, it's her brother

"downtown khaki street"
dir., roman coppola

although i'm doing graphic design right now (or at least trying with all of my post-grad might), i had initial aspirations of working in broadcast advertising. commercials are the most cinematic of all advertising mediums and i think are the perfect modern form of advertising (a mix of the old and the new). i have a few favorites and this roman coppola-directed gap commercial stands out as one of them. it's full of youth, exuberance, and a touch of the surreal. we see young hollywood (zooey deschanel, scarlett johansson, jay rodgriguez, and ashton kutcher) bicycling on a vacant los angeles street and they're giggling with an infectious glee as if they're in on some joke that we're not and would only be so grateful if we were. pay close attention to the bizarre set piece at the end. the giant white television on the side of the street is as striking as the broad appeal of the commercial's young stars (minus kutcher). i have no idea what it means and i'm still trying to digest its meaning (some meta comment on the emptiness of young fame and television advertising?), but it keeps me coming back and that's why i love it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

what's wrong with this picture?

dear lindsay,
"befriending" karl lagerfeld won't help you save your career.

you're welcome.

p.s. yes, you look stupid with your headband and biker gloves.

Friday, May 18, 2007

night night

"transmission" and "she's lost control"
joy division

it's kinda late but i could watch this over and over.


Thursday, May 17, 2007


this may seem kinda played out, but i'm getting the itch for slim cut jeans in grey.

bdg skinny jean in grey, $65 (practical for the wallet)


opening ceremony skinny jean in grey, $125
(not so practical for the wallet)

they just seem very light and comfortable for spring, and especially summer. i'm not sure i want to be sweating it out in louisville heat wearing black or dark jeans.

yay or nay?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


i have recently upgraded from a juvenile twin bed to a sex magnet queen size bed. it's a long story that i'd love to share some time, but let's just take a moment to absorb the spacious beauty that is my new bed...

it's the most comfortable and stylish bed i've ever slept in. i was looking for something in a dark wood, a mix between contemporary and functional, and with a solid headboard. i found this gem on sale at smith furniture and we have gotten along famously ever since.

and yes, i wrote this while in bed.

eye candy of the week: hilary rhoda

i love you.


the cure

it's a chilly, gray day and i can't stop listening to this song. i didn't get into the cure until a few years ago and this dark, sexy song became one of my favorites almost immediately. the video is kind of odd and disturbing, but i love it nonetheless.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

the list

the 60th cannes film festival opens tomorrow with the much anticipated first time english-language film (at least in my film geek universe), "my blueberry nights", from chinese auteur wong kar wai featuring norah jones, jude law, rachel weisz, and natalie portman.

other films in competition include:
4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS directed by Cristian MUNGIU
ALEXANDRA directed by Alexander SOKOUROV
BREATH directed by Ki-duk KIM
DEATH PROOF directed by Quentin TARANTINO
IMPORT EXPORT directed by Ulrich SEIDL
LES CHANSONS D'AMOUR directed by Christophe HONORE
PERSEPOLIS directed by Marjane SATRAPI
SECRET SUNSHINE directed by LEE Chang-dong
TEHILIM directed by Raphael NADJARI
WE OWN THE NIGHT directed by James GRAY
ZODIAC directed by David FINCHER

and films being screened out of competition include:

GO GO TALES directed by Abel FERRARA
U2 3D directed by Catherine OWENS

to read more about the festival click here.

a character study: tony mareno

"saturday night fever"
dir., john badham

i can't think of very many films where so much is revealed about a character within the first three minutes of the film. not only is the audience completely aware of the time and mood of "saturday night fever" (new york in the late 1970s), but there is such a defined sense of the film's complex hero tony mareno (john travolta). he's sexist, self-absorbed, and a child of blue collar america with dreams of socio-economic stratification. sex drips dangerously from his pores and as much as he radiates it, he craves it by piercing his eyes on every pretty young thing that passes him on the way to work. he stops for a moment to compare his shoes in the window of a clothing store to remind himself of the american dream of prized solitary ownership of possessions and relishing in capitalism. and that's just before you find that he's also racist, homophobic, and a conflicted catholic. you may scoff at the idea that there is actual substance in a film that became iconic for its flash in the pan portrayal of disco, but i think this movie is fascinating on many levels. it's a seedy and sexy look at new york in the late 1970s when disco, the pre-9/11 hometown brand of terror as personified by david berkowitz, blackouts, and the pre-disneyfication of new york were the norm. it's also an interesting study in a man compelled to create and perform. art is tony mareno's salvation and that is what makes "saturday night fever" such a resonate film.

"saturday night fever" is simple in its approach and reminds me in shades of federico fellini's "i vitelloni." a group of man-children indulge in the comfort of the home environment with the intention of never realizing their full potential and leaving home for bigger and more adult consequences. tony is surrounded by the typical neighborhood ne'er-do-wells, but realizes that his fever to dance will propel him beyond the tedium of saturday nights at the local disco with his buddies. however, he is not encouraged by his friends and family because he's a man and he should find a job and become a good catholic. this entrapment repulses tony. he needs to be on a dance floor in order to feel alive, but he must juggle the duel life of satisfying his friends and family. when he isn't doing the hustle, he lives at home with his traditional italian-american catholic family who repeatedly try to dissuade him from dance by inflicting religious guilt and comparisons to his favored faith abiding sibling. he cruises for feathered-hair follies and hurls racial and homophobic insults to local denizens to appease his unmotivated friends. his friends and family need him to survive, but it's clear that tony only minds them because he senses that his life will soon be committed to expression.

tony's dancing style is provocative and entrancing to watch. the floor clears for him as he attempts to impress his conflicted priest older brother and friends. tony's expression of his sexuality is conveyed brilliantly in this scene. he moves with such an ease and athletic power that it is not difficult to move to the side and be in awe of his dancing prowess. tony's moves are a neo-pop interpretation of the sublime athleticism of gene kelly, but married with something new and exciting. it's also interesting that it's primarily men who watch him and are impressed by him. yes, the women swoon and get a little misty over his dancing, but it's his friends and brother that commentate on the action. they watch him with such keen concentration that you begin to wonder if it's some sort of quiet admiration of tony's sexual and physical expressiveness. it would be a lazy observation to call this interaction between tony and the men at the disco homo-erotic because it picks up on the complicated part of male heterosexuality where sex is power and tony's power is envious but commendable. the men are more impressed by his intuitive blend of sex and power rather than fantasizing about what they could do with it and him.

the camera lovingly gazes at tony throughout the film, especially during his big solo dance number. so much of this film is tony being looked at. his family look his clothes and disapprove of his interest in polyester and seduction. his friends look at him dancing wishing they could only be half as good in bed as tony is on the dance floor. his dance partner, stephanie, looks at his raw talent and reassures him that a life can be lead of creative expression and contentment. the camera looks at his toned, dancer body. the camera eye never strays away from fetishsizing tony's body. in the opening credit sequence there are numerous close-ups of his feet and low angle shots of his torso and face. in another scene in which we find tony getting ready to go to the disco, the scene naughtily opens on tony zipping his snug bell bottoms as he moves his swaying hips. the camera moves up to his pretty boy meets thug face where he runs a comb through the forest of dark hair atop his head. this gaze of the male form is unfamiliar in most classical hollywood cinema. the gender reversal of the male gaze that is so rampant in sexualizing the female form in film, is somehow more sexual and voyeuristic when turned on tony. chopping up and objectifying the male form in the frame is rare in film. the film gives us permission to believe that we can be as moved by tony's sexuality as any woman's.

tony mareno is the definition of an anti-hero. he's a little bit of stanley kowalski in "a streetcar named desire" mixed with a little bit of guido from "8 1/2." his pure and human urge to dance and express himself contradicts his ruffian lifestyle of learned prejudice, quest for the carnal in the backseat of his car, and saturday night with the boys that paralyze his desires for a more fulfilling life. he does redeem himself in the end, but it's more of the realization that for many in order to live is to create.

i am x

this past weekend i had a conversation with some people about spike lee. the person i was talking to very shrewdly described that upon watching lee's ode to racial tension in contemporary america, "do the the right thing", she felt as though she had been physically assaulted. and yes, she meant it as an accolade. that my friends is the power of cinema. that visceral jolt you can get by sitting in a darkened theater and interacting with a projected image. it made me think of lee and his effortless one-two punch of "inside man" and "when the levees broke" last year and how it seems as though he has reconnected creatively and his range as a storyteller and artist/activist are limitless. "do the right thing" is a phenomenal film, but i loved the scope and personal passion of "malcom x." every fiber of lee's being is melded on the emulsion of that film. it's his "lawrence of arabia" in terms of visual flair and breadth, but one of his more personal efforts in its singular vision of a misunderstood historical and cultural icon.

here is my favorite scene from his portrait of a beautifully conflicted, fully dimensional, and combustive man.

"malcolm x"
dir. and wri., spike lee

x's imminent demise is stunningly foreshadowed with the epic sam cooke song and masterful editing. i smile every time at lee's trademark moving dolly shot (about 2:25 into the clip) in which his characters appear to be gliding above the dirty and destructive world that lies beneath them. keep your eyes pealed because i think this type of urgent filmmaking is seeping back into his work in a much more mature and interesting direction.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

1 2 3 4

"1 2 3 4"
the tonight show with jay leno

the only reason to watch the least funniest late night show.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

somebody has to say something

marilyn manson
"heart-shapped glasses"
dir., james cameron


i'm sure you've been wondering where marilyn manson has been these days. he hasn't released an album anybody cared about since the late 90s and he became somewhat of a dandy cavorting around town with his then-wife, burlesque entertainer extraordinaire dita von teese. they were goth, but glam and manson seemed to have matured beyond his shock value days when appearing on the mtv video music awards wearing a g-string got his name in the papers and into the collective pop cultural conscious. however, he is back and not necessarily with a vengeance, but with a new lady on his arm and music that people still don't care about.

there are many troubling things about this video. shall we list?
1. the soft core and volatile opening to this indulgent mess of a music video.

i have made it clear that evan rachel wood is one of the most shrill and uninteresting young actresses and i thought her performance in "thirteen" was showy and obnoxious. she carried this tradition of disturbed-lolita-bait type performances in films such as "pretty persuasion" and "running with scissors." and on a completely superficial note, she is not that attractive (too gangly and awkward). thus, to see her sexed up and grunting with the anti-christ superstar is deserving of a giant eye roll. it's not credible or arousing. give it up. this just makes us uneasy, and not in the way i think they want us to feel, and a clear attempt at furthering their staid, unimportant careers. (it won't. trust me.)

2. the james cameron direction.

hmmm. how does one follow up making the highest grossing film of all time? i know! make a ridiculous and repugnant music video for marilyn manson co-starring his new nineteen year old lover! cameron's scope is there, but within the context of evan rachel wood's groans and masturbatory gestures, it is lost and not exciting. and why do i get the impression cameron's "vision" is just as much to blame as manson's?

3. marilyn manson and evan rachel wood are the new tomkat.

give me a motherfucking break was my first thought when i heard word of this horribly wrong twosome. i imagine mr. manson sitting in his dark cave of a hollywood hills home sulking after dita didn't want to role play or drink absinthe and began dreaming of bright young things who would obey in his bizarro world. these ragingly insecure men need equally if not more insecure women to feed their bruised egos because too many tom, dick, and harry's made fun of them in high school. i say to that, GROW UP. now you know why nicole kidman and penelope cruz jumped ship before the utter absurdity that is tom cruise and katie holmes. the age range doesn't bother me so much, but rather the fact that the two of them had sexy, amazing significant others (jamie bell and dita von teese) who they both dumped only to downgrade for each other. i hope jamie bell is somewhere fornicating with dita von teese till both of their genitals fall off (pardon the violent imagery, but you know what i mean).

4. this video is in no way shocking, but rather a turn off and disgusting and not in that oddly hypersexual/violent way we've seen in the compellingly vile films of catherine breillat. manson stopped being shocking years ago. we've seen britney spears' cooter since his heyday. it's going to take a lot to ruffle our feathers these days. he's just old and dried up now. the lyrical imagery is too literal with the aesthetics of the video and the whole having sexy while covered in blood is so played out and not sexy. their chemistry is robotic and unconvincing.

5. i can't believe i watched the whole thing.

this video may be the sign of the apocalypse, but i did just write an entire entry about it, so maybe manson and wood have won in a way. damn them.

the couples everyone forgot to talk about

the annual costume gala at the metropolitan museum of art in nyc is a wondrous occasion for debutantes, movie stars, fashion types, and all those who care about making a grand entrance for the flashbulbs. as cathy horyn of the new york times so articulately put it, the costume gala has made "fashion (...) an amazing spectacle, a blood sport, the new Rome." this blood sport is a throw down between the best dressed and the better dressed. a lot of focus is put on what a particular startlet is wearing (or not wearing in jessica simpson's case--i'm dying to know what anna wintour must have made at simpson's over tanned and over exposed flattened cleavage), but to me what makes this night so interesting (besides seeing mary-kate olsen fully succeed at looking completely ridiculous but completely right and original) are the well dressed couples. you never as good as a your fashion companion, i say, and i'm still ogling these pictures of chic twosomes.

jennifer connelly and paul bettany, both in balenciaga. sometimes i feel like i am going to melt at the dark beauty of jennifer connelly. i am nuts about the dark hair and light, come-hither eyes combination that makes her pop on screen. the short sari inspired dress is refreshing in an evening when everyone else is carrying around mile long trains and voluminous skirts. paul bettany shows us that the skinny tie is the new bow tie for evening. that suit is beautifully tailored and compliments his wife's look very well. donna karan once said that a simply well dressed man is a woman's best accessory and that couldn't be more an apt description for this couple.

iman in stella mccartney and david bowie in something equally fashionable. um, can i be adopted by this couple, pretty please? hot african woman interpreting menswear paired with her equally dashing and oddly traditionally dressed rock star partner? yes, please. iman is beyond hot and very little needs to be said about mr. bowie either, but i will say that cannot take my eyes away from that the mound of hair and thin white duke suit with playful cane. i bet they just stare at each other sometimes and feed of each other's sexual fury.

ashely olsen in something sexy with shoe designer chrisitan louboutin. although i think her sister was just a little bit more well dressed, i cannot deny ashley of her sexy new look. it's not grungy, but it's not gussied up chic. it's youthful, a little naughty, but appropriate. who knew michelle tanner would start wearing bondage inspired waist cinchers and flesh baring gowns? there isn't much to say for her date, except this is a case where the lady is definitely the one i keep looking at.

other notable mentions:
naomi watts and liev schreiber
julianne moore and stefano pilati
lucy liu and zac posen


"mer du japon"
dir., guillaume de la perrier

there is something very silly, but extremely sexual about this video.

am i the only one who still finds them irresistible?

Monday, May 7, 2007

half nelson

"half nelson"
dir., ryan fleck

i remember reading an article in the ny times style section about the absence of exciting, young american male actors. for every josh hartnett there's a paul walker. these actors might be pleasing to the eye of an adolescent school girl but they are devoid of a complex honesty or any incendiary appeal. we're short on supply of our young brandos, deniros, pacinos, or hoffmans. however, after watching the blistering performance of former teen pinup ryan gosling in ryan fleck's "half nelson", i am certain that a new presence is brewing in the movies and it also served as a reminder that film is very much a visual medium that is tailor made for magically capturing the art of performance. when the camera and its complicit subject feed off each other in just the right way, the climax is something memorable and palpable. gosling's comfortable screen presence is beautifully expressive and screaming with something to say and a story to tell. his youthful face pulls you in and convinces you of whatever he is urging to share. working with a seemingly cliched and gimmicky story that could only happen in independent films (a world where drugs, lower class america, and children in deviant environments are part of the norm), gosling overcomes such easily identifiable trends in independent cinema and imbues his performance as a middle school teacher with a secret and crippling crack habit with a truth that is searing to watch and doesn't leave the mind anytime soon.

in this scene gosling sneaks away to the girls locker room after a basketball game for a quick hit. his lithe frame creeps around the grimy corners of a public school locker room that are inscribed with vulgar love notes and carved out initials of misfits and lovebirds. he finds a stall, or a literal space to enclose his secret, to feed his addiction. i love the close up as we watch his face become flushed with fever and filled with the rush of the high. however, his moment of chemically enhanced elation is interrupted with the arrival of one of his students. attempting to further conceal his dark and potentially career-ending secret, gosling curls up into a ball trying his best to be silent but internally he is convulsing with shame, shock, and fear that he will be found out. sound plays a key role in this scene as the sounds of the crack of his lighter, his student's urine hitting the toilet water, and the loud thud of the toilet flush become amplify and heighten the tension between the contained secrecy and possible discovery of his addiction. what follows makes the scene resonate and powerful.

gosling meets his match in the unvarnished performance of newcomer shareeka epps. her pursed lips and throaty voice belie her cherubic face and tween years. her character's reaction to discovering that her unassuming teacher and basketball coach is in fact an addict is stunning and unexpected. her character has a brother in prison for drug charges and a neighborhood friend seduces her with the financial gain of drug life, therefore instead of shrieking with shock and surprise, she stays with him and aids him in coming down from his high. she respects her teacher and wants to help him, not shame him and destroy him. although her innocence has been corrupted by past experiences and the present circumstance of the ugly face of drug addiction, it wouldn't be accurate to call her a victim because of the quiet maturity she demonstrates by helping and not hurting her teacher. the dialogue, or the lack of, is brilliant in this scene because not much is said in a conventional sense (ie, "please don't tell anybody.") but rather an unspoken tacit agreement is made that neither will reveal the secret. this isn't showy acting but two acting partners capable in mutually expressing their vulnerability and inward pain.

these nuanced and mature performances only happen every so often. gosling makes you forget about every other male american actor in his age range who are either busying themselves playing superheroes or some variant of a man-child too afraid to embrace impending adulthood and its vast complexities. it's clear a new star has arrived and this is why we go to the movies.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


dir., jonas & françois

the perfect dance song for derby weekend.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

a tribute: alexandre plokhov

it's one thing for proenza schouler to do a line for target, but rodarte, thakoon, and doo. ri for gap? is this reverse sexism in the fashion industry or the assumption that most men wouldn't want an inexpensive piece by kris van assche or duckie brown? whatever the case, as much as there is a market for the fashionably conscious and knowledgeable woman (or any woman who keeps a trusty copy of vogue on her), there are men who want clothes that have the same edgy, fresh approach from young designers, but don't break the bank.

cheer up, fellas! thanks to everybody's favorite reasonably priced japanese retailer, uniqlo, accessible and affordable men's wear finally gets it due from the visionary minds of halb, satoru tanaka, and alexandre plokhov (formerly of cloak). gq has a first look of plokhov's line that he describes as a "postcoard from new york" but "cloak's cousin from japan." whatever plokhov whips up, i'm sure it will be dark, minimal, and expertly cut--all things i've always loved about the quiet russian who was the darling of new york men's wear for the past few years. his austere combination of militaristic punk and brooding new wave goth inspired me and made him one to watch. unfortunately, he sold his business last year after only seven years in the game, but his influence still lingers.

cloak highlights:

spring 2007

spring 2006

fall 2006

fall 2005

fall 2006

i adore the tailoring in that show and the mix of prints and textures. currently he's a consultant with the versace men's wear line. hmm...russian post-www II punk meets pampered milanese pretty boy? i'll have to see it to believe it.


john legend
"p.d.a. (we just don't care)"
dir. bryan barber

rocket from "city of god" starring in a john legend music video? yeah, uh huh.

p.s., john legend's wardrobe in this video is kinda tight.

grand jury

the official jury lineup for the 60th cannes film festival that kicks off may 16:

president of the jury
stephen frears (director, great britain)

members of the jury
maggie cheung (actress, hong kong)
toni collette (actress, australia)
maria de medeiros (actress, director, portugal)
sarah polley (actress, director, canada)
marco bellocchio (director, italy)
orhan pamuk (writer, turkey)
michel piccoli (actor, director, france)
abderrahmane sissako (director, mauritania)

maggie cheung! marco bellocchio! michel piccoli!

what a bunch. if only i could be a fly on a wall in that room.

films in competition will be revealed soon. stay tuned.

junior boys

junior boys, "in the morning"
dir., jaron albertin

one of my favorite songs of last year finally has a video and it's as bizarre and memorable as the song. who knew bodily fluids could be so visually poetic?

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

khaki swing

i want an inexpensive khaki suit so bad it hurts. they're perfect for spring and summer and i desperately need to add to my suit collection. i tried on one at target but it hard three buttons and much like the body type pictured, i need a more elongating two button style to compliment my long and lean physique. any suggestions?