Tuesday, July 31, 2007

a farewell: the visionary

In the noisy forest of an urbanscape, a woman wanders endlessly for what we are not sure of. Stark and linear constructions of glass and metal shield and envelop her in the puzzle of the city. Her face is awash in expressions unsaid. She responds to a crying baby, a group of men fighting, and a crumbling wall. The woman is Jeanne Moreau and the film is "La Notte." This was my full introduction to the genius of Michelangelo Antonioni. "L'Avventura" was my initial foray but I wasn't quite ready for its existential cool and specific narrative pull. I recognized there was something there. Something hidden but relevant and capable of being fresh and tangible. "La Notte" was my next bout with Antonioni's world of alienation, the bored bourgeoisie, and impaired relationships. Stunning, heartbreaking, and devastatingly sexy, "La Notte" fully realized everything I love Antonioni and film in general. It feels personal and consistent. There is an emphasis on aesthetics that produce radical ideas about the world, gender, and cinema. "La Notte", like many other Antonioni films is unabashedly concise in its daring narrative trajectory in that it simmers and builds like a slow burning fire leading up to mostly explosive and perfect ending. You almost feel like his films are unlike anything you've ever seen before and yet they are often simple in their approach and subject matter. "La Notte" is quite simply a story about a married couple, who over the course of one night discover their relationship is broken and devoid of vitality. There is a crushing profundity in his almost minimalist execution and that is what makes Antonioni a true master of the modern plastic art that is film.

"La Notte" was the second film in the loose tetralogy Antonioni crafted in the 1960s. "L'Avventura", "L'Eclisse", and "Il Deserto Rosso" spoke very loudly about the new Italy in a post-World War II sense. As the economy grew, the bourgoise found its place again and relished in their newly secured wealth and priviledge. Sexual mores were also changing, perhaps not so radically and overtly as in America at that time, but in Antonioni's films the savagely incandescent Monica Vitti was a symbol of a woman in control of her body and mind. She was the other woman in "La Notte" and "L'Avventura"; a bored housewife going insane in "Il Deserto Rosso"; and enraptured by the allure of Alain Delon in "L'Eclisse." She was dynamic and sexual but in an assuredly cerebral way. Jeanne Moreau also fit this bill with her brilliant lower lip and dagger of a stare. In "La Notte" she tells her husband played by the ineffable Marcello Mastroianni that she has her own thoughts and she is not to be condescendingly belittled by anybody. With a sly drag from his cigarette he responds with a coy indifference. He recognizes the power his wife holds but in a way only Mastroianni can, pretending that it's not wrecking him on the inside. That is Antoninoi. Tide like emotions bubbling beneath the surface. Some grand meaning can be achieved in the slightest blink, stare, or gust of wind. It's not pretentious but more so revealing of a culture that is vacant of faith, love, and the natural environment.

Like many Antonioni films, "The Passenger" is about identity, or the lack there of, and how we are always searching for more whether it be love from a spouse, God, or the self. We are a restless world broken and fractured with the influx of neo-capitalism and crippling technology. Our world is now brimming with skyscrapers, construction sites for future buildings, and more monuments that celebrate us in our self-defined glory. The gap between the have and the have nots is ever-expanding like a bloated pig. Antonioni heralds from an upper crust background and lets that inform his knowledge of this world. Aside from the somber "Il Grido", Antonioni's attention is tuned into the identity of a class that vacations on the regular, hosts cocktail parties, and wallow in their silent despair of having it all. Something is missing for these people, but they are insanely watchable and someone we wouldn't judge too harshly. His characters understand the promise and possibilities of life otherwise why would they want it so badly? They recognize the beauty and difficulties of something more vital and alive but the distraction and white noise of bourgeois societal expectations has clouded their vision and made them amputated from something real.

As these characters yearn and search for something to connect to they are gorgeously framed. Monica Vitti reading on the steps at the party in "La Notte"; David Hemmings looking smaller and less significant on a tennis court in "Blow-Up"; and Jack Nicholson lying on a bed in "The Passenger" are strong and resonate images that very easily become etched into your brain. His films are typically short on words and full on striking images. Antonioni understands that film is primarily a visual medium and perhaps the strongest statement a filmmaker can make is how they use the camera. Antonioni uses it to not only comment on the world but cinema as well. The last few minutes of "L'Eclisse" are some of the most mind-expanding images ever committed to celluloid. It opens our eyes to the idea of reality versus the artificial. Film can very easily be reduced to a populist mass form of fluff, but in fact if we look hard enough there is something purposeful and weighty that exists. The slow drip of water or the rustling of leaves is just as captivating as watching a sad and sorrowful Jeanne Moreau in the rain. It's all relative in Antonioni's cinema. Our cinematic expectations are reared in a direction in Antonioni's films. We have to connect the dots from the implied nature of his haunting images. Film is a plastic art that is meant to evoke and provoke and that acts as a definition for the visual appeal and punch of Antonioni's films that are an exact realization of the many wondrous possibilities of film.

Although his work has slowed in the past two decades due to a debilitating stroke, it will be unthinkable to imagine a world without the dear presence of Antonioni. Luckily his subtle influence of characters grappling with miscommunication and uncertainty combined with arresting visuals can be found in Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation", Wong Kar Wai's "In the Mood for Love", and Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut." His films have an eternity that will surely be appreciated for future cinephiles who crave something a little bit daring and subtly unusual. Ingrid Sischy of Interview magazine described Miuccia Prada's clothes as having an "interior life" and that is the gift that Antonioni gave to his audience. Each film is a poetic inner dialogue that challenges us, moves us, and stays with us.

the criterion

I'm still not over Antonioni's death, but as some form of solace I feasted on the splendorous art work on recent and upcoming Criterion Collection DVDs. How do they do it? Each DVD package is like a gift from a film god who knows a little thing or two about design and aesthetics. Take a look:

Ace in the Hole, 1951

Days of Heaven, 1978

Cria cuervos..., 1976

For more click here.

While perusing the Criterion website I happened upon their blog, On Five. A behind the scenes entry about what inspired and informed the design work on Jules Dessin's "Night and City" and "Thieves' Highway" is definitely worth a read.

the master of modernity

"The Passenger"

Michelangelo Antonioni died yesterday. Granted he was 94, but how can cinema exist without him? A full tribute is in the works.

Monday, July 30, 2007

"poet with a camera"


With one bold stroke of his cinematic brush Ingmar Bergman opened his 1966 film "Persona" with some of the most daring and disturbing images ever committed to film that in a way are a testament to his stunning career and his obsession with faith, death, love, sex, and everything else that makes the modern world so complicated and vulnerable for exploration. The Swedish master of the cinema of philosophy and psychology died today at the venerable age of 89.

Bergman's films are quiet and seemingly austere to a chill but profoundly provocative meditative examinations of a world around him that is redefining itself in its self-aware modernity. The cinema of Bergman feels like an interior dialogue between the physical self and psychological self. The palpable agitation between who we are in the present and the dramatic effects of our past selves is evident in almost any Bergman film. This tension often builds to an exact crescendo in which characters exercise their demons and perhaps gain a little more knowledge, or not, of who they are and how they relate to their environment where faith and love, in a romantic sense, are starting to decay and rot. In "Wild Strawberries"--such a beautifully poetic title-- a man searches for meaning in his vacant adult life. Nostalgia and memory, particularly from the prospective of childhood and its relationship to the family, are typical touchstones of Bergman territory. They imbue his films with a dark and dreamy surreality that is very much rooted in the quest for understanding one's own existence.

Watch as Bergman weaves time and place with his confused and curious leading character, Professor Borg. Experiencing a dream and remembering it as it were are two very different phenomenons but Bergman suggests that perhaps these worlds are not entirely polarized as some form self-actualization can be gained from either. The journey for personal fulfillment had never been so poetically expressed and singularly achieved as it was in Bergman films.

Bergman will sorely be missed and his passing signifies a passing of the torch to contemporary international filmmakers to continuously surprise us and have us in awe of the grand art that is cinema.

take it back now y'all: suzanne vega

"Tom's Diner (DNA Remix)"
Suzanne Vega

"You really know what you're doing out there on the dance floor."--Greg Gillis, a.k.a. Girl Talk, commenting on my dancing prowess set to the tune above

There are very few times that I enjoy the act of sweating. Balmy Saturday nights spent dancing till my quad muscles ache with joy and pain are a rare occasion that I will gladly sweat through until my pores are exhausted. The after-party for the Forecastle Music, Art, and Activism Festival was a memorable and sweat-soaked affair, as it should have been. How do you follow up the hedonistic live presence of festival closer Girl Talk (more on that in a future post)? Host a dance party and play every incredible dance and hip-hop song from the early 90s, namely Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Dinner (DNA Remix)." I haven't thought about this song in a maybe a decade or so, but damned if it didn't get the party started. Try not to be pulled in by its pulsating hook and perfectly fused hip-hop beat. Doo doo doo doo, doo da-doo doo.

Friday, July 27, 2007

can't tell me nothing

A good reason to reconsider mixtape Kanye. Once again Mr. Galifianakis amuses and delights.

And for shits and giggles:

black out

Nicole Richie and Joel Madden at a Glendale, Cali. courthouse where she was sentenced for drunk driving charges

Is it really necessary to look like you've stepped out of a Versace ad when you're arriving for your jail sentencing? And, something about this makes black and Wayfrarers seem less appealing. Damn you Richie and Madden.

photo courtesy of just jared

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

the ice storm in hollywood

Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Victoria Beckham, David Beckham, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith at the Beckham's Welcome to L.A. Party

Do you suppose they have key parties?

This picture makes me very suspicious that the answer might be a resounding yes.

first look: the darjeeling limited

"The Darjeeling Limited"
dir., Wes Anderson

This looks like his most personal film yet. After the indulgent mess that was "The Life Aquatic" this looks like he's getting back to his deft ability to marriage off the wall but intelligent humor with a heartbreaking and darkly romantic look at family and fractured relationships.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

my voyage to italy: pt. 7

There is nothing sexier than when a woman makes an exit and there's the surprise of a bare back. The only thing slightly closer is the way a woman's calf muscle looks while wearing heels or the way their backsides move in a snug and preferably short skirt. You almost wonder if clothing was made expressly for women. The soft curves and lines of their bodies give clothes a purpose and life that rarely exists for men. The way a top grazes their shoulder or a pair of jeans hangs just low enough cannot compare to the way men throw on a shirt or pants.

A staple in a woman's wardrobe, the little black dress is universal in its appeal and shape. I've seen the black dress worn the right way dozens of times before, but I will never forget the image of a woman wearing one while riding her bicycle in my neighborhood in Florence. Long-limbed and sun-kissed, she sat atop her vintage bike with an ease and comfort. She whizzed by me, obscuring her face only for me to discover the concern wasn't her face but what she said with the curve of her tanned spine and exposed shoulder blades. Her black dress draped to her knee like in a classic A-line shape, but it had a wide deep, plunging v-cut out in the back that revealed her confident and beautiful back. A loose bun at the base of her neck guided my eyes from top to the small of her back. Red slingbacks on her feet punctuated her simple but singular look. Quite simply it was stunning. There was something very Italian about that moment and that woman. I would never see something like that in America, nor would I want to because it would never come close to that fine Florentine riding her bike down a quiet street.

"so it's like a fairy tale?"

More reasons to love this son of a bitch.

the girl just can't help it

And just when we thought she was ready to get her career back on track, TMZ informs us that Lindsay Lohan is still a fan of the sauce and nose candy. At this point you have wonder if she's even interested in maintaining a film career. It makes it difficult to sit through a Lindsay Lohan film without trying to look for white residue around her nostrils or wonder if she'd just woken up from a night of too many vodka and Red Bulls and Calum Best. I guess time will only tell, but for a brief moment I was certain that Miss Lohan was going to take us places we'd never been before. She starred in of the smartest comedies in recent years and managed to be under the tutelage of Robert Altman before his untimely death. She's worked with Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, and Tina Fey, all women who can serve as models to the impressionable Miss Lohan and show her perhaps it's not all about late night clubbing with Charlotte Ronson or fittings with Karl, but instead more important to carve out a bold, varied, and dynamic career that can achieve a sense of vitality and relevance. She might be especially careful in the dog eat dog world of young Hollywood and the dearth of challenging and complex roles for younger actress. Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, and any other mildly attractive ingenue desperate for any high profile gig that bore their leading contemporaries Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman are constantly chomping at the bit and come across as less scandalous and less of a liability. DUI's, arrests, rehab may be her forte, but losing your career at 21 might be her greatest fall that she will struggle to come back from.

For further articulation on the tragic La Lohan click here.

fall forward

Although it's been a relatively tame late July with temperatures in the low 80s and at night dipping down to cardigan weather, it's still the summer and I'm still sweating. To make matters worse, all of the magazines are now in their fall preview mode informing us what to expect and anticipate for jacket and layering weather. GQ tells us that it be the season of gray jeans, dark watches, and incredible jackets. An unlikely model for all of us this is John Fucking Mayer. I hate him as much as any sane person would, but damn if the jackets they put him in are not jackets I myself wouldn't mind protecting me from autumn's crisp chill.

October couldn't come sooner. Til' then, I suppose...

Monday, July 23, 2007

lost in translation

Dear old Tim roaming the BAPE store in Japan. Do you think he needs an intern or something?

the apartment

You'll have to excuse the recent gaps in posting. I just moved and finally got reliable internet in my apartment. Living alone in the perfect apartment is everything I want it to be and then some. To make up for my absence, here is Diane Keaton at her most Diane Keaton in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall." She's smart, funny, and uniquely sexy--essentially everything a man wants from a woman. Her laugh at the end of the scene is one of the great contributions she has made to film.

"Annie Hall"
dir., Woody Allen

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

poster art

I hate to be one of those people that has such an expected and unsurprising furnished and decorated apartment. Yes, it will be clean, simple, linear, and masculine, but I want some element of surprise. I'll try not to reveal too many details about what I'm thinking about doing with my new apartment (a full reveal will come in time), but I will say I'm trying to get away from an overload of movie posters. It's a difficult urge to suppress because I wouldn't want someone to comment on my Elsworth Kelly reprint and not have anything to back it up. However, if someone mentions they love my unusual poster of Alfred Hitchock's "Vertigo", I can confidently gab about the film for hours on end. I think I want to limit myself to three. I already have the Hitchcock, but recent finds on ebay have made it excruciating to whittle it down to other two films. Should they be films I've seen? Should I choose a theme or a particular actor, director, genre, or nation? Should it be from a certain decade? Should it be more of an artistic rendering of the film as opposed to the original poster artwork? Decisions, decisions, decisions. For now here are some options:

I didn't realize it until now but for some reason I'm being drawn to something big, bold, and red. Any other suggestions?

Monday, July 16, 2007

"an interior life to the clothes."

My free time from now on will undoubtedly be gobbled up by the revamping of Charlie Rose's website that now ables his faithful viewers to search and watch archived interviews. A recent find is this incredible dialogue between Miuccia Prada and guest host Ingrid Sischy. Not one to showboat (her bows at the end of her shows are brief and almost as if she's embarrassed) or end up in designer rehab (um, what happened to Marc Jacobs?), a focused Miuccia speaks very eloquently about moving her brand into the future, fashion as commercial art, and why clothes are more than just pants and tops.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

best week ever

The clouds parted and a beacon of light shone on me for exactly seven days. What happened in this past week, you ask?

* New Interpol album delighted my ears
* Karaoked "The Thong Song"
* Lost 5lbs.
* Procured the ever-elusive summer straw fedora. I'm still not sure if I can do it justice quite like Mr. Pitt.
* Found my dream apartment (more on that later)
* Consumed yet another fine meal at Basa, which is quickly becoming my favorite restaurant in this city.
* Discovering that Clive Owen and Naomi Watts will star in Tom Tykwer's next film. Can you imagine how potentially explosive this could be? I've been waiting for this twosome to meet on screen and ignite something special and spectacular.


=A celluloid cocktail to savor

Thursday, July 12, 2007

"don't you want to paint me?"

"Great Expectations"
dir., Alfonso Cuaron

Remember Gwyneth Paltrow at her utter most Gwyneth Paltrow?

the late show

"The Heinrich Maneuver"
Live on David Letterman

I cannot stop listening to this new album. I've listened to it at least five or six times all the way through and I still feel like I'm finding new things to admire.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

america's next top models

David and Victoria Beckham in the August 2007 issue of W

I said this shit is bananas!

eye candy of the week: naomie harris

Things we can learn from Naomie Harris:
1. Side cleavage is ridiculously sexy.
2. There's room for more than one hot British import with the name Naomie (and no, this one does not throw cell phones at her assistant).
3. She might be a little skinny but she knows how to wield a machete like no other.

courtesy of oh no they didn't

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

the new

It was a chilly October weekend the first time I saw Interpol live. It was an intimate show at a smoky club in Columbus, Ohio. I was all by myself, which made no difference because the beauty of Interpol's music is its ability to shroud you in a cocoon-like cloud of somber solitude. Their music is perfect for a solo late night drive or an evening spent waiting for the sun to come up. I stood there as they played all of my favorite songs from their seminal debut, "Turn on the Bright Lights", and their companion piece follow-up, "Antics." Those two albums defined my college experience in their tales of lost love, failure, and other forms of disappointment, but ultimately their music can be funny and sexy, which also aptly describes my college experience.

I'm out of college now and Interpol is back with a new album. How am I to react to it you ask? I think it's another addition to an already promising catalog of music. Pitchforkmedia proclaimed their first album had shades of greatness comparable to Radiohead's "OK Computer" and Joy Division's "Closer", which both albums are obvious influences on their sound, but they are not rehash of the unremembered 80s goth/post-punk scene. You never feel like they fight that in their music because their sound would have shifted more dramatically on the second album, but they continue to grow in a bigger, more dense sound that pushes the definition of what they do so well. "Our Love to Admire" is everything you want from Interpol but better and a little more ambitious. It's an attempt to move an audience of keen listeners in a promising new direction. They're confident and unflinching in their sonic focus and for that I hope their minimal but quietly grand gestures of artistic evolution continues to flourish.

"Our Love to Admire" highlights:
*"Pioneer Falls"
*"Rest My Chemistry"
*"All Fired Up"
*"The Lighthouse"

warm leatherette

Daniel Radcliffe in the August 2007 issue of Details

Let's just say I'm glad my subscription to this publication ran out. Awkward.

Monday, July 9, 2007

yeah, i'm a window shopper

Why, why, why do I do it to myself? Want, want, want. Online window shopping is dangerous. If I weren't trying to get an apartment I would have been all over the Barneys sale last month that included pieces from Marc by Marc Jacobs, Rag & Bone, and Helmut Lang at very reasonable prices. Plans are still in the works for a living space, but how I can resist when the sale just got better?

Raf by Raf Simons short sleeve sweatshirt, $89

Something about a short sleeve sweatshirt just seems so right.

Trovata woven shirt, $89

Classic. Click the link for better detail.

Rogan Caliber jacket, $149

I can always use another black jacket.

Crate James IV - CB175 jeans, $89

You can never have too many pairs of jeans.

the new oprah?

Last night's reunion of Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School was quite possibly some of the most compelling and hilarious television I've watched this year. Our friends at Gold Digger appreciate this show as well, but we've yet to address what makes the show work. It's not Mikki Taylor's horse teeth or Sapharyi's pink hair, but the wisdom and maternal love of the extraordinary Mo'Nique. Although she is known for being a comic, this show has taught us that she champions self-love, self-respect, and the general advancement of women. She taught the Flavor of Love rejects that there is more to life than shaking your ass on national television or simulating a blow job on an ice sculpture. You got a sense that these woman wanted to change and find empowerment in themselves at the hands of their gracious teacher. For that, Mo'Nique is worthy of achieving some sort of martyrdom. I'm not sure if her charitable work comes across so clear because last night's episode saw a resentful albino, women acting catty, and a proclamation that is in fact okay to be "slutatious", but if you really look at what she's doing it's really radical for television. Next up on her agenda? The women of "Bad Girls Club" and any daytime talkshow. Oh and maybe Brittney Spears.

And for shits and giggles:

Am I the only one who can watch this on repeat?

my voyage to italy: pt. 6

"Bicycle Thieves"
dir., Vittorio De Sica

I remember being absolutely devastated the first time I saw Vittorio De Sica's seminal "Bicycle Thieves." I watched it in a chilly screening room for a film class in college and it really provoked something in me. Never before had film come across as a medium that is not only made for the masses for entertainment but it can also be art that speaks about the human experience and serves as some sort of impetus for social and cultural reflection. "Bicycle Thieves" is everything I love about Italian cinema, especially in the post-World War II era of neo-realism. Not only is there a clear sense of time and place but we agonize as we watch a man struggle for his cultural identity in a land that is recovering from it being stripped away from them.

The set up is simple: a man searches for his stolen bike. However, his bike is a symbol of upward mobility and socio-economic security as it transports him to and from work. Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani) is like many Italian men at the time, trying to re-integrate into the job market after the war. He soon learns though that being apart of the crowd can be too compromising and instill a false sense of hope, faith, and identity. Added to this is his young son, Bruno (Enzo Staiola), who travels with him on his day long odyssey. No other film so eloquently and affectingly reveals such genuine truths about father and son relationships. The father is the absolute model for his son and teaching him morals and values in the new Italy is as important to him as getting his bike back. Although his pride gets the best of him more often than not throughout the film, his son recognizes but never verbalizes that his father is not a super hero but a human being desperately and admirably trying to provide for his family.

Film is never this articulate or resonate. As I navigated my way through the contemporary Italy last summer that is so different from De Sica's world of economic rebirth and a people reclaiming their culture, I couldn't help think of Antonio and his stolen bike.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

cover boy

50 Cent on the cover of the July 2007 Issue of Vibe Magazine

Is it just me or this the absolute worst cover photo you've ever seen? He has that look on his face like you just tried to pick his nose and he didn't like it. I can see Vibe staffers scurrying for their lives as I write this.

the curious case of the man-boy

A reader recently brought to my attention an issue that has been nagging me and is very valid for discourse and examination. What is with the very boyish look happening in menswear right now? Age appropriateness is something I think about a lot because sometimes I feel like I dress my age really well, but I wonder what direction it could head when it's no longer comfortable or cool to run around in slim cut jeans and BDG t-shirts. I also look at my peers and wonder what happened to us and why we became the cargo short and sweatpant generation for grownup life. Clothes should be a security blanket, but not make us look like school children. Don't get me wrong, nothing is more comfortable than the right pair of shorts or the right t-shirt, but is there some sort of stylish middle ground we can ascribe to? The Paris and Milan shows don't help resolve this matter with shows featuring models so young you wonder if they're allowed to drive a car and clothes that pander to this crowd, suggesting that this is the way every man should and will want to dress.


Junya Watanabe



These are well-conceived and well-made clothes, but they could very easily be found on an eight-year-old boy (well, a very wealthy and very stylish eight-year-old boy). They all looked dressed up for a sleepover or a morning trying not to fall asleep in church. Could you imagine a thirty-seven-year-old man wearing these clothes, or for that matter twenty-three-year-old? Maybe or maybe not, but this could be high fashion's response to the world in which we live in where men are conflicted, confused, and fearful of their impending adulthood. I'm not sure when this trend happened but it's been captured on film most recently in Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up". If men can no longer confront things such as sex, power, and the general bullshit of being an adult, then these clothes will complement the movement into casual boyishness. Why act like a man when the world expects you to be a hapless child bent on videogames, soft-core porn, and misplaced feelings of disenfranchisement and poor self-identity? Next thing you know Miuccia Prada is going to send cashmere footed pajamas down the runway.


Charlotte Rampling and David Lynch
at the opening of Fetish,
Lynch's latest display of photography in Paris

Move over Laura Dern, I think Mr. Lynch may have found his new muse. We can only hope, right?

my blueberry nights

I played a little bit of tennis in between shifts at work today and not only did I learn that I need to work on controlling my forehand, but something more vital became evident to me. Leg sweat is by far the most disgusting form of sweat on the body, particularly behind the knee sweat. I played in my hideous uniform of khaki pants and pique polo, which sounds like it wouldn't induce such copious amounts of perspiration but I was completely mistaken. I raised my moist pant leg to discover my drenched leg hairs pressed against my dewy calf. I was immediately disgusted with myself. Wiping off the unbelievable mess that was my body was simply not enough after my horrid discovery. After a shower and some much needed relaxation, I was awarded the treat that I needed to forget my sopping wet afternoon: frozen fresh blueberries and vanilla bean ice cream. It's my new summer indulgence aside from air conditioning and summer blockbusters. Blackberries had long been my berry of choice, but how can one resist the firm skin and burst of tangy flavor of a blueberry? Distinguished for its singular blue hue, the blueberry is also full of antioxidants and low in calories. Again, what's not to love? Next time you find yourself swimming in your own sweat, grab some vanilla ice cream and top it with some frozen blueberries and everything will seem less unbearable.

courtesy of maegabriel

Friday, July 6, 2007

first look: lust caution

"Lust Caution"
dir., Ang Lee

The anticipation for fall releases only grows with this exquisite sneak peek at Ang Lee's Chinese-language sexy new drama that serves as an interesting follow up to Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger making whoopee.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

the good german

My introduction to Werner Herzog was by way of the benevolent film studies department in college. What had I been missing? Klaus Kinski in the South American jungle doing a combination of performance art, havoc wreaking, and taking no prisoners in "Aguirre Wrath of God." It's a film that I didn't like at the time but the theme of man versus wild did intruige me and spoke to me in a more contemporary sense in his incredible documentary "Grizzly Man." Herzog is adept in exploring, literally and figuratively, man as a primitive being who is perhaps too consumed by his own habitat that will soon lead to his eventual downfall. This issue imbues his latest work, "Rescue Dawn", that I'm very eager to see. The film stars Christian Bale, who is one of the most committed actors in current cinema. His shifting physical and emotional range is comparable to ravenous rip tides. Herzog's love and affliction for his subjects and actors is notorious, and with Bale in his able hands the possibilities are endless.

Click here to listen to Herzog talk about the adventure of making his latest film, what captivates him as a storyteller, and in a unconscious way describe how this is possibly his most personal film. Listening to Herzog's hard but genuine German accent is a pleasure in itself.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

the road warrior

The Paris shows have ended for menswear and what have we learn? Men are urbane trekkers, movers, and shakers. Functionality is key for a generation of men who are less concerned with the perfect suit, but rather the perfect armor for days spent interacting with ones own environment, jaunting from one meeting to the next, or retreating from a world melting away and growing increasingly warmer and dirtier. You might call these casual clothes, but they should be precise in their cut and elegant enough for night time. Here are some of my favorite looks from Paris fashion week:

A short sleeve parka at Raf Simons

A slouchy cardigan at Yves Saint Laurent

Dusty blues at Louis Vuitton

Colors that collide at Paul Smith

And although I would never wear anything from the collection (expect maybe some of those beautifully cut jackets from the Blank Panther section), you have to admire the theatrics John Galliano puts in the presentation of his clothes. His show was an open condemnation of current global politics as well as an homage to past political movements that have shaped the world.
This look in particular manages to reference the S&M-esque costumes of "Mad Max" as well as make light of the undeniable influence of man's obsession with his phallus in relation to his power and domination of his environment. It looks funny and serious at the same time. View more here.

my voyage to italy: pt. 5

In my mind there is no one and nothing quite like Monica Vitti. She is more cerebral and elusive than Sophia Loren's overt come-hither sensuality. She is more adult and intelligent than Claudia Cardinale's bunny like sex bomb features. She isn't as outwardly expressive and coarse looking as Anna Magnani. She is in a class of her own. Her features and slow burning stares were an ideal source of inspiration for her maestro Micheangelo Antonioni's loose tetralogy of films ("L'Avventura", "La Notte", "L'Eclisse", and "Il Deserto Rosso") that explored modern isolation, bourgeois repression, and sex in the post-war Italy. In these films she is essence of the new Italian woman who defines on her own terms what she wants from the world, from her parnter, and most importantly, herself. Impossibly chic and watchable, Vitti saunters with an unusual stillness through Antonioni's films with very little dialogue to rely on, but instead what is resonate is the way she looks out of a window, allows a fan to catch a breeze through her hair, or walk down an urban jungle polluted with cars, office buildings, and technology. Her versatility is unparalleled and brings a unique gift to films such as "Modesty Blaise" and "The Phantom Liberty." Jeff Daneils's character in "The Squid and the Whale" hits on his nurse because her beauty is reminiscent of Vitti's. That comes as no surprise because when you watch a film starring Vitti you feel like it's an intimate and quiet occasion between you and a lovely lady staring back at you, waiting for you to escape with her but maybe she hasn't made up her mind yet. Vitti is unpredictable, unprecedented, and unequivocally a phenomenon.

Essential Monica Vitti moments:
*Wandering into a sea of gawking men much to her surprise in "L'Avventura"
*Writhing around a blood red room in "The Red Desert"
*Playing hard to get with Alain Delon in "L'Eclisse"

first look: eastern promises

"Eastern Promises"
dir., David Cronenberg

I'm not sure if it's a bad preview but I can't tell what the hell this movie is about. I guess we can only hope for another 69 sex scene to clear up things.

eye candy for every day of the month

In celebration of their upcoming Fall Preview Issue, V Magazine asked photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin to capture the duality of natural beauty versus the shell of intensely styled beauty with the faces of thirty-four models for an eventual sixty-eight page spread. A different face is revealed every day on their website until the issue hits newstands on July 20.

I already have it bookmarked, but for those interested click here.

Monday, July 2, 2007


My three favorite shows from Milan fashion week:

Shades of gray at Calvin Klein.

Restrained and classic elegance at Versace.

Smart layering with a hard edge at Neil Barrett.


Kanye West
dir., Hype Williams

The indulgence and eager-to-please excess is back from Mr. West. This video looks ridiculously expensive and everything you'd expect from a Diddy music video circa 1998. In a way that's a compliment, but animated mushroom clouds, a Daft Punk cameo, nightmarish hospital scenes, and Jeremy Scott sunglasses is all a bit much. I have a feeling if he doesn't win video of the year at the MTV Video Music Awards he's going to throw a fit.

p.s., Cassie as a black Kate Moss? I think this video would have been stunning if Chanel Iman were in it.
And yes, that was a sorry excuse to post a photo of Miss Iman, but you know you love her.