Sunday, June 20, 2010

turn on the bright lights

Jil Sander
Spring 2011

I'm not one for fluorescent colors, but how can you resist after you watch that?

Friday, June 18, 2010

fall back

Fall/Winter 2010

For whatever reason as it's being warming up, I can only think about Fall/Winter 2010 outerwear. There's a Fall/Winter 2010 leather jacket that I saw back in January that made my mouth drop and I'm literally counting the days until I can wear it, but another outerwear piece I've been wanting for the longest is a solid trench coat. I think you have to be a certain age to look comfortable and effortless in a trench. A mac is one thing, but a trench is something I associate with my dad wearing. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but a boxy London Fog or Burberry trench is not what I'm looking for. Enter, this Kai-aakmann trench pictured above. There's something about it that makes it not your dad's trench. Impossibly cool and with all the details you want out of standout outerwear piece (my weakness for epaulets unashamedly continues), this is one of the items that makes you wish Fall was here a little sooner.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

song of the week: the ghost who walks

Karen Elson
"The Ghost Who Walks"
directed by Jack White

This is the perfect music to enjoy while sitting next to a fan and cooling off. Trust me, I'm doing it right now.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


My dad once told me about when he saw Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange" when it was initially released in theaters in 1971. It was rated X and was shown in one theater in Louisville, Kentucky that also doubled as a porno theater. He said at the time it was very controversial and most people considered it cheap exploitation, devoid of any substance, and an assault on taste and the boundaries one should explore with sex and violence on film. Now, it's considered a masterpiece. I don't think you could ever know if you're watching what will become part of the cultural lexicon and the quintessential canon of "best of..", but it is worth chewing on the endless possibilities. The first ten years of the new millennium is a fascinating space of time because it stills feel present and difficult to define. The images that are projected on the screen are stories that connect to us and define us. Sometimes they're ugly, sometimes they're far removed from reality, and sometimes they cut right to the bone and say something so true and honest that you can't help but have those images seared into your memory. Some of the best works from filmmakers new and old were able to do that from 2000 to 2009. Maybe decades from now it will be easier to assess what is truly the best of that time, but each of the films that I think were the twenty-five best reflect something personal and profound, and that is the timeless quality of good art. Here are the twenty-five best films from 2000-2009:

1. There Will Be Blood, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (2007)

2. Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuaron (2006)

3. Talk to Her, directed by Pedro Almodovar (2002)

4. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, directed by Andrew Dominik (2007)

5. 24 Hour Party People, directed by Michael Winterbottom (2002)

6. The Bourne Identity/The Bourne Supremacy/The Bourne Ultimatum, directed by Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass (2002) (2004) (2007)

7. The New World, directed by Terrence Malick (2005)

8. Before Sunset, directed by Richard Linklater (2004)

9. Zodiac, directed by David Fincher (2007)

10. The Station Agent, directed by Tom McCarthy (2003)

11. City of God, directed by Fernando Meirelles (2002)

12. About a Boy, directed by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz (2002)

13. Mulholland Drive, directed by David Lynch (2001)

14. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, directed by Michel Gondry (2004)

15. 2046, directed by Wong Kar Wai (2004)

16. Wall-E, directed Andrew Stanton (2008)
17. Dogville, directed by Lars Von Trier (2003)

18. Lost in Translation, directed by Sofia Coppola (2003)

19. The Piano Teacher, directed by Michael Haneke (2001)

20. 25th Hour, directed by Spike Lee (2002)

21. Adaptation, directed by Spike Jonze (2002)

22. Kill Bill Vol. 1., directed by Quentin Tarantino (2003)

23. Traffic, directed by Steven Soderbergh (2000)

24. The Royal Tenenbaums, directed by Wes Anderson (2001)

25. Far From Heaven, directed by Todd Haynes (2002)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

dvd pick of the month: red desert

"Red Desert"
directed by Michaelangelo Antonioni
And the best part of this release besides the obvious (the tetralogy is almost completely on Criterion!) is this clip on the site. I love how the trailer looks like a cheeky, farcical 60's couple romp of a movie when in fact it perfectly fits in the cannon of provocative, confrontational, and quietly sexy that Michaelangelo Antonioni does so well. The quail egg scene in the red room is unforgettable. When, oh, when will Criterion put "La Notte" out and make me a truly happy man? "Red Desert" is out on DVD and Blu-Ray on June, 22nd.

first look: somewhere

directed by Sofia Coppola
December 22, 2010

Let's hope the movie is as good as the poster.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Gywneth Paltrow in Stella McCartney
at the Stella McCartney Resort 2011 Presentation in New York

Remember the summer of Gwyneth and the mini? I miss those days, but there's something to be said about a woman in a blazer and a pair of pants. Gwyneth, you can cook for me any time.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Ryan Gosling in Band of Outsiders

I haven't been shopping in three months and this image of Ryan Gosling heading to Cannes for the premiere of his new movie, "Blue Valentine", makes me think two things: my first purchases should be a new cardigan and a new pair of black slim cut jeans. I've been wanting the Band of Outsiders cardigan he's wearing since I saw it at Odin a couple months back. It's so simple and yet so stylish. I also need a pair of black slim cut jeans after I destroyed my Shipley & Halmos pair while playing kickball in January (long story). Can't it be Christmas in May and someone just give me these things?

via JustJared

Sunday, May 16, 2010

everybody in khakis

Rag & Bone
Blade II Chino, $265

Save Khaki
Classic Chino, $110

Vintage Wash Chino, $60

There was a period in my life where I almost exclusively wore nothing but khakis. I had every shade imaginable from Gap and J. Crew. But then suddenly one day, I decide NO MORE. I wish I could be that strict when it goes to stuff that's actually bad for me (alcohol, fast food, crushes from a far), but like any old habit, the desire to wear a khaki pant has come back. I wear jeans every day of my life and I like the comfort, ease, and practically that denim provides. They can be worn with literally almost anything to look super casual or super dressy and that universal quality is key to how I think about what to wear on a daily basis. Khakis, on the other hand, can be difficult because they can look too utilitarian or too Soccer Dad. The length is so important as well as the fit through the leg. I want something slim, but not ultra-skinny and with a little weight, but not linen or super light. Something with a stain resistant would be nice. I own two pairs of stain resistant khaki shorts from Gap that look like the day I bought them almost five years ago and I couldn't treasure them more. The search is officially on. Next thing you know, I might make a return to sweatpants. Or not.

three lovers

"La Collectionneuse"
directed by Eric Rohmer, 1967

Two guys and a girl in St. Tropez in the late 60's. It's the perfect setting for a story brimming with sexual politics and erotic tension. It's also innately stylish. Patrick Bauchau stars a man hellbent on achieving nothingness in an idyllic summer home. Enter the coy temptation that is sexual youth and abandonment played by Haydée Politoff. Oh, and his friend, Daniel Pommereulle, is staying with him too. Masterfully measured, the morally vexed tale of repression and release plays wonderfully and cruelly in such beautiful settings. The wardrobe is at times distracting because it seems so precise. Oversized cuffed shirts with extra long shirt tails, terry clothed sweatshirts, caftans for days spent lying in the brush, and of course, bikinis to eye at for days. There certainly isn't a timeless to every wardrobe choice, but the ones that do resonate last just as much as the power of Rohmer's art.

seeing red

Camp Shirt, $285

There are a handful of colors I tend to stay away from; orange, brown, yellow, anything day glo, and mint green. I try to lump red into that category, but I find myself time and time again trying to find a place for it in my wardrobe. I have one red Lacoste polo and the days when I decide it's time for it to come out of my drawer, I still somehow feel... not right. I think red looks best on me in stripe or plaid form, but red as a sold can be difficult because it can either make you look bold and badass or like the Kool-Aid man. I was doing some online window shopping and came across this Givenchy short sleeve button down. Wouldn't this look cool with a pair of khaki shorts and some sort of stripe cardigan? And I love the hidden button down detail save for the bottom button. The Givenchy woman looks good in red, why can't the man?

Friday, April 9, 2010

lessons in the man tote

BillyKirk Hobo Toe

I try not to develop real feelings for inanimate objects, but I must say that I'm quite taken by my Pabst Blue Ribbon tote bag. Unfortunately, it's on its last leg after weathering a couple of seasons and the wear and tear of my man tote needs. And then, what do I find? The BillyKirk tote bag pictured above. I've been wanting to upgrade my man tote to something that feels and looks well designed for all year round usage. No leather, no canvas, and narrowed my search and of course it has to be large enough to pack a twelve pack, but discreet enough to not look like you're carrying around travel luggage. Happy medium has been found and I can't wait to put it to the ultimate test (fill it with an eighteen pack and see how it holds up).

Saturday, April 3, 2010


It might seem after the fact that I'm writing about a year in film that ended three months ago. It was an unusual year for film and not the year I was anticipated or had hope to close the first decade of the 21st century, especially for American film. In a year in which Sandra Bullock and Mo'nique can win Oscars and the wam-bam Hollywood blockbuster with intelligence was no where to be found, suffice it to say it was a mix bag year. Major vehicles for big stars fell flat ("Duplicity" and "Public Enemies" immediately come to mind.), reliable favorites weren't so reliable (Almodovar was running in circles with "Broken Embraces" and Von Trier's "Antichrist" was a bizarrely pretentious void I'd care not return), franchises were not so eloquent as they were in 2008 ("Terminator Salvation" will never be "The Dark Knight", no matter how badly McG wants it.), and I didn't even bother to touch "Avatar." I love American film, especially big, bright Hollywood movies that work, but they were few in far between in 2009. Thank goodness for foreign language film to satiate my starved cinema belly. It was a strong year for film not in the English language with beautiful, explosive, original works coming from all over the globe. The films that truly resonated with my eyes were films that felt daring and personal--a passion project without the vanity. These are the ten best films of 2009:

1. Gomorrah, directed by Matteo Garrone
From the opening massacre in a tanning salon to the image of a bulldozer full of dead bodies at the film's perfect climax, "Gommarah" grabs you by the throat and shoves you into a world where everyone is the enemy and people are as disposable as trash. Violent, moving, and utterly breathtaking (literally), "Gommarah" is a movie I still can't stop thinking about.

2. The White Ribbon, directed by Michael Haneke
No other living filmmaker is so in-tuned to all things macabre, aberrant, and dangerously human as Michael Haneke. In its slow burn of an operatic scream, "The White Ribbon" is an incredible allegory of terrorism and a seething damnation of a patriarchal society. Played with a light hand, but strong eye, "The White Ribbon" is a disturbing look a small town gone mad. The plague of suspicion, dread, and death is plainly pessimistic, but it's also a shock of truth that feels very of the moment.

3. I Love You, Man, directed by John Hamburg
I really liked Noah Baumbach's "Margot at the Wedding." It was an astute portrait of sibling rivalry and the tender, yet tumultuous relationship between women. It made me realize I've never seen a movie that attempted to articulate the nuances of male friendship without veering into the sappy or sophomoric. The codes of male friendship are vastly different, but definitely worth exploring and that's what makes John Hamburg's "I Love You, Man" so damn good. In its hilarious reveal we know now the awkwardness of platonic relationship making between two straight men.

4. Where the Wild Things Are, directed by Spike Jonze
A friend of mine joked about which auteur will tackle the children's novel. Will we see Gaspar Noe adapt a Judy Blum book or Alexander Payne take on "Maniac McGee"? Who knows, but I will say that Spike Jonze's idiosyncratic version of Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" has set the standard. Deeply personal and far removed from anything classically associated a "kids movie", "Where the Wild Things Are" is a blithe movie about the triumph of a child-like spirit in face of the harsh world ruled by adults. Beautifully photographed and acted, "Where the Wilds Thing Are" is reason enough why Spike Jonze should be make more films than once every three to five years.

5. The Informant!, directed by Steven Soderbergh
The genius of Steven Soderbergh is his unpredictable pedigree. What interest and inspires him as a filmmaker is seemingly endless. He's worked in almost every genre with every kind of budget and for the most part, the product is always watchable and of some value. I didn't care for "The Girlfriend Experience" because like many of his more indulgent choices, it felt too hermetically sealed in its own experiment. However, his oddball follow up, "The Informant!" was just the tonic needed to forget about Sasha Grey's poor attempt at "film acting." A movie about paranoia, lies, deception, set to an upbeat, jaunty Marvin Hamlisch score is bold, but it's Damon's unforgettable turn as a man drowning in delusion that feels bold and fresh from not only Soderbergh but the highly underrated talents of Mr. Damon.

6. Summer Hours, directed by Olivier Assayas
Why are the French so good as movies about fractured families? Taking a break from his pyscho-sexual multi-national thriller/b-movies, Oliver Assays delivers a somber portrait of what happens when a family disintegrates and tries to rediscover who they are. After the death of the mother, a sister and her two brothers who live in various corners of the world and are too busy with their own jobs, families, love lives, etc. must come to terms with what family means to them and what to do with the summer home that symbolizes their roots and family togetherness. It's great to see a filmmaker such as Assays explore worlds and feelings beyond the kink (not there's anything wrong with that).

7. 35 Shots of Rum, directed by Claire Denis

Kathyrn Bigelow rightfully won the Academy Award for Best Director, but unfortunately she has a small community of American contemporaries. The rest of the world seems to have more working female filmmakers who make films beyond the obligatory romantic comedy. Claire Denis' "35 Shots of Rum" is a subtle display of human connection and the beauty of attraction, missed opportunities, and the bond that breaks between parent and child when the child has to grown up and grow out of the home. Denis has a gift for placing the camera in such original and specific points that enhance the experience of watching her tell a story. One of the best scenes of the film is set an empty restaurant on a rainy night. Dancing, drinking, and eating ensues in what results as some of the sensual and sensuous images you never knew could be achieved through film.

8. The Headless Woman, directed by Lucrecia Martel
What would you do if you might have caused an deathly accident to which you were the only witness? That psychological state of repression, grief, disappointment, and confusion engulfs the lead character in Lucrecia Martel's "The Headless Woman." Unable to exist in the world of her eccentric and eclectic family due to her distraction of having possibly murdered a boy, dog, thing by accidentally hitting them with her car. Watching her deal with the initial shock dares the audience to immediately decide on whether she's a good woman who made a mistake or a terrible person for not reacting in the way she eventually chooses. Stunning and slightly surreal work from beginning to end.

9. A Single Man, directed by Tom Ford
I never would have thought the big debut filmmaker of the year would be a fashion designer infamous for a collection that inspired an ad featuring pubic hair trimmed in the brand's logo. Tom Ford's "A Single Man" elegantly articulates feelings of love, loss, and earth shattering disappointment. Fully realizing his Renaissance man potential, it will be interesting to watch Ford's career as a fllmmaker begin to develop.

10. Inglourious Basterds, directed by Quentin Tarentino
I wouldn't call "Inglourious Basterds" a return to form for Quentin Tarentino, but rather a return to making interesting, solid work. His brief detour with the mindless self-indulgence that was "Death Proof", Tarentino reinterpreted the Holocaust film into the ultimate revenge film in pure Tarentino speak. The "Cat People" sequence, bar sequence with Michael Fassbender and Diane Kruger, and the opening are clear indications that Tarentino is as inspired as ever. That's one thing most contemporary filmmakers don't have on Tarentino. His encyclopedic reservoir of film knowledge seeps into his films in the most unexpected and satisfying ways. "Inglourious Basterds" is no exception.

Honorable mentions:
The Fantastic Mr. Fox, directed by Wes Anderson
The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Il Divo, directed by Paolo Sorrentino

man vs. dog

Buffalo Trace
White Dog

I had the distinct pleasure a few months ago to visit the Woodford Reserve distillery in Woodford County, Kentucky. Amidst horse farms and grass that isn't quite blue, but was certainly very green, me and a group of friends were treated to a private tour of the distillery to see how one of the best tasting spirits is produced. Aside from it being very informative and proud that my home state produces such a fine product, it was also a chance to catch a buzz in the early afternoon. Our lovely tour guide, MollyAnn, allowed us to taste the clear beast that is know as White Dog. It's the bourbon fresh from the still before it's barreled, aged, and allowed to mellow out. It's 125 proof. Yes, 125 proof. It has a slight citrus taste and it's definitely warm going down. The strength of its punch will linger on your palette for a bit, but it's worth the sting. Buffalo Trace bottles it and I'd be curious to try it again, but definitely at my own risk.

Monday, March 29, 2010


"Mr. Iceberg"
Serge Gainsbourg

I now have permission to not wear socks until the fall.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Joan Smalls
Fall/Winter 2010

I love it when a model with honest looks has a breakthrough in a season. Joan Smalls doesn't look like an alien, baby doll, depraved Eastern European, or Sarah Plain and Tall. She's a total babe, but high fashion babe, and sometimes that's all you need.