Thursday, April 30, 2009

run for the roses

Scout Button Down
Billy Reid, $135

The 135th Kentucky Derby is this Saturday and although I won't be in attendance, copious amounts of Bourbon will be consumed in celebration here in Brooklyn at a watering hole co-owned by a Louisvilian (we have to stick together in this city!). Derby is as much about what you wear as it is about the race. I have an idea about what to wear, but I might wear my new Billy Reid shirt that I purchased last night at the Whiskey Wednesday shopping event. It's the perfect mix of Southern dandy and easy to wear cool (plus for added authenticity, the shirt appears to be sun bleached in spots giving it the appearance of having worn it out to the track all day in the glistening Louisville sun), something that will not only be perfect for Derby, but for the rest of the summer. However, my big question is do I go full seersucker or will I risk looking too much like Mark Twain?

the band

Roxy Music
"Do the Strand"

I was an hour late to a "Lost" viewing party because of the damned MTA, but I was treated to a DVD collection of live performances by Roxy Music to sooth my weary soul. Aside from the amazing performance and the incredible song, look at the clothes. It's as if everyone in the band decided to sartorially one up each other. Chest length double breasted lapels! Exposed chest hair! Sequins! Weird bulbous/spotted pants! Essentially, it all works and it's amazing. It's almost enough to make me forget how much the MTA sucks. Almost.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

hot child in the city

The weather turned from mid-40s and raining to 80s and sunny this weekend. The shorts had to come out. My two favorite pairs are from the Gap I got on sale for $11.99 about three years ago. The length is perfect and they have the coin pocket in the right pocket. I want to add to my shorts options as it gets warmer. These are some options I found while trying to stay cool this weekend:

Raf by Raf Simons, $230

Gap, $36.50

Brooks Brothers, $69.50

Saturday, April 25, 2009

the scent of a man

Ralph Lauren Romance

My dad told me there are three things a man should have:
1. A trademark watch
2. A trademark scent
3. A trademark car
I could care less about the car, but I do miss wearing a watch (my favorite watch broke about 3 years ago and I've been too lazy to buy a new one) and wearing cologne has never been my thing. However, being the recessionisto (if that's a word I can use without shame) that I am, I shopped my closet and found a bottle of Ralph Lauren Romance that I've probably owned since either senior year in high school or freshman year in college. It still smells clean, classic, and it's rounded out with a hint of citrus. It's not overpowering, but it has a presence. I think I might make it my trademark scent for 09. Now, if only a Cartier Tank watch would fall into my lap and I'd be good to go.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

performance: the man behind the curtain

Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Paul Belmondo
Leon Morin, Priest
directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, 1961

I came out of "The International" thinking to myself what the film could have been if Jean-Pierre Melville had his paws on the material, and most importantly, its star, Clive Owen. Melville taps into something so magnetic when he casts dynamic men with beautifully roughed up faces to match the elegantly dangerous worlds that prey on and vex his heroes. Owen has the movie star looks, but if you look closer, he's definitely rough around the edges. The same can be said for Jean-Paul Belmondo, the star of Melville's "Leon Morin, Priest", a film finally getting its debut on an American screen after its initial 1961 release. Belmondo is all pout and lean, sexual grace, but look at that nose. With the face of a pretty boy boxer, Belmondo infuses his role as a semi-radical priest with some real grit and appeal. He's the object of the hot, hot affection of a sexually frustrated widow (masterfully played by Emmanuelle Riva) in a small French down during the Occupation. In spite of her ardent Communist leanings, the widow is attracted to the unattainable touch she do desperately craves from her priest, who engages her in serious debate and discussion about religion, life, and the pursuit of something greater than the existence we know. Their conversations are relaxed and without the barrier of superior priest and obeying churchgoer. In one hallucination scene, Belmondo leans into Riva as she undoes the buttons to his robe, only for it to result in Riva truly opening her eyes and realizing its the fleeting and passionate fantasy she'll never have. Belmondo is all unbridled fury and pious cool. This is definitely not Bresson territory when it comes to priest on film territory, but Belmondo's cinematic prowess wouldn't have it any other way.

song of the week: heart rate rapid

"Heart Rate Rapid"
Directed by Dandilion Wind Opaine

Doesn't this look like the kind video Martin Margiela would make if he did music videos? It's a bit of a stretch, but you get it, right?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the first look: the girlfriend experience

"The Girlfriend Experience"
directed by Steven Soderbergh
May 22, 2009 (limited)

I am so okay with this.

Monday, April 20, 2009

working against the clock

"One Year Performance 1980–1981 (known as Time Clock Piece)"
Tenching Hsieh

Bitch, Please was in town this weekend and oh what a joy to see a face from home. The last time I visited her , it was nothing but a weekend of binge eating, drinking, and shopping. We're a little older now and we're in a recession, so only one Diane Von Furstenberg shirt dress for Bitch, Please and one Marc Jacobs plaid tie for me. It wasn't a total weekend of frivolity. On Saturday we went to the Guggenheim and Sunday we took in the MoMA. Unfortunately we missed having our psychological state potentially altered at the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition in the Guggenheim (damn closing times!), but we were introduced to Taiwanese performance artist Tehching Hsieh, whose work was featured at both museums. His work is somewhere in between a stunt, a fascinating document of the man made social construct that is time and a dialogue about where art and life begin and end, his performance pieces vexed me, amused me, but most of all intrigued me. The set-up is always as basic and straight forward as its title. In 1978-1979, he locked himself in a cage for a year. In 1980-1981, he punched a time clock every hour of every day for a year. In 1981-1982, he spent the entire year outside, never going in doors (that has be nearly impossible with the temperamental weather in this city). And the true test of endurance came in 1983-1984, when he was attached by rope to artist Linda Montano, but couldn't and didn't touch her. Requiring the monastic concentration of the most Zen monks, Hsiesh goes beyond the edge for his art and I liked what I saw.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

you're fucking out, i'm fucking in

I was sick all weekend and I'm still trying to break my cough and congestion, but one good thing about laying around the apartment all weekend is that I got to watch A LOT of TV. I watched the entire first season of "Eastbound and Down" starring Danny McBride. He made my sides hurt he was so funny in "Pineapple Express" and "Tropic Thunder", but this show elevates his comedic strengths to new heights. As Kenny Powers, the down on his luck ex-baseball player living with his brother and trying his best at being a middle school P.E. teacher, McBride brings joy to watching someone so painfully awkward and pathetic. Exploiting the maladroit man-child is almost everywhere you look in film comedies, but it's not quite this vulgar and plain funny on TV. Laughing at the sad man on the small tube hasn't never felt so good.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

no. 16

There's always one that gets away. The other weekend in a tiny theater near the NYU campus I finally saw Ari Folman's "Waltz with Bashir." After watching such a dazzling work, I regret not finding a place for it on my list of best films of 2008. Part personal essay/documentary, part mind mystery, and all parts unsettling dreaminess, Folman creates something at times perfectly astute and other times dense and difficult to penetrate, but isn't how our memories work? A large portion of the film deals with the Lebanon War, but the politics are inconsequential, especially for what is a bleary-eyed Technicolor swirl of images meant to emphasize the mind jam that is the emotional and mental space of post-combat. To great effect, a questionable and vague memory that was created in the mind of Folman plays out several times throughout the film of him and his buddies slowly rising from the seaside shores of Beirut, naked and armed with shotguns. They emerge to find a beautiful exploding sky, lit up by flares. But did it happen? How could it not happen? Aren't we always a part of the actual memories that we retain or are we able to create memories to repress the things we'd care to forget? Folman really works these ideas out as he probably did in his own mind before committing to film. How else can an audience make sense of a quiet interlude between a giant woman, drifting by a boat full of sailors with one a top her proportionally perfect naked body? That sense of yearning and mental detachment reveals these soldiers to be, dare I say, humans and not quite the killing machines they are conditioned to be. But that process of self-actualization is probably a dream for any soldier, which is as devastating as the film's final non-animated moments.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Nike Sneakers
A.P.C., $140

I caved into the TopShop madness this weekend. It started out promising with the free cookies and water I received in line as I waited, courtesy of the Mark Ronson-look alikes and brand ambassadors (or is that title too generous?) who comforted the tired and hungry in anticipation of being let into the recently opened fast fashion wonderland. I entered and immediately found it to be overwhelming. LOTS of trendy clothes and LOTS of trendy looking people. I felt a lot of the fabrics and they felt cheap so obviously cheap. Maybe that's the point? The clothes reminded me of the trendy pieces you guiltlessly buy every season and guiltlessly throw away when it's on to the next big thing. It all seemed very well intentioned, but what is there for the crowd that wants something a little more classic and worth the money? Well, I found out not too far away. I went to A.P.C. on Mercer and found a decent sale rack. I had no reason to purchase them other than they were prices I can afford and they felt like clothes I'd have for a while. And then I saw the sneaker pictured above. So simple and timeless. The price hurts a bit, but A.P.C. is seductive in its simplicity and for a quick minute I considered it. But we're in a recession, so I decided maybe next time.