Thursday, March 31, 2011

Florence & Florence

Finding adorable shops on the internets is no tall order. You could basically drown on etsy if you gave yourself the chance. Let's be real. That's why I like when you find places that add just a little extra twist-- like Florence & Florence. Not only do they sell those vintage Penguin books, but I love how they've bundled them by fun categories like "Animal Themes," "Comedy," and "Africa/Burma/India," in case you want to specialize. 

I also love their vintage maps and postcards section. They have Dublin, Glencoe & Glen Nevis, and even this Fife & Angus map I'm super tempted to buy. I don't know what year it's from and I love comparing maps from different eras. I think you can tell a lot by how we make and made maps. I wonder if, say, Glenrothes is even on there-- depending on the year. 

This mother/daughter shop has a great philosophy too, I think! 
"Beautiful things. We all love them. We all want them. And so we fill the world with more and more. But wouldn't it be wonderful to know that we can treat ourselves to beautiful things without adding more to the world? We think so. That's what inspired Florence & Florence."

Vintage Scotland Postcards

Fife & Angus!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Week 'til Paris!

One week from right now, I'll be on a plane to Paris. When I think of myself in Paris, in April, peering over the edge into my thirties, I want to be wearing this outfit. Why can't I find this skirt anywhere? I have done an exhaustive google search and looked for any clue on the website where I found the photos

Where, oh where, might I find a heavenly pink/nude chiffon pleated mid-calf length skirt to complete my Paris dreams?? My eternal admiration to the person who can help me. 

My plans are pretty lose for my five days there. It's me and some guys wandering the city and seeing where it takes us. I want to do some writing. I've narrowed down museums. I've honed in on macaron places. We're going to film some shots for a music video we're doing for Taylor too, so that should be fun. But significantly less fun without my skirt, so, your help is much appreciated. Thank you. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Camera Obsessing & Eduardo Mayen

I've been obsessing a bit over cameras lately. It's partly practical-- with my upcoming travel and impending launch of littlewow productions in the UK-- and partly just my continuing love of gadgets. Andrew is making me jealous with his new Canon EOS 7D and I am lusssting after it! HD.... Drooooool. 

On this thought wave, I started thinking about one of my favorite old school friends (and favorite subjects of one of my short stories, City of the Ugly) Eduardo Enrique Mayen. He's a fab cinematographer in LA. I was remembering the good old days in various cities: Vegas, Los Angeles, New York with the crazy Salvadorian (along with my man Brando) and so I just had to post his reel today. It was Eduardo who told me that a cinematographer's main job is light. Just lovely. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Here's how my friends do Rolling in the Deep

Who needs arrangements? Here's how my pals, lead by the illustrious Morgan Karr basically improvised "Rolling in the Deep" at his recent b-day concert down in my old fave NYC venue, Rockwood Music Hall. I'm loving all the Catherine Brookman and Starr Busby on this. The only thing I'd wish for on this little gem is, of course,  more MORGAN solos! What a delight on a Monday morning! I woke up at 6 AM... ??...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Champion Sound & Spain

Courtesy of Taylor, here is some fun Spanish music for your Sunday, Crystal Fighters. I'm thinking a lot about Spain lately and not just because of Tercio de Muerte. 

Aly, Erin and I are going to stay here in Madrid this June! Yay! I can't wait to be lounging with my favorite girlies on this beautiful terrace, eating breakfast and soaking up sun. 

Hope you're having a great Sunday! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thinking a bit about Queen Anne

I feel a bit bad for Queen Anne. I never thought much about her odd place in the scheme of things, growing up. I never thought about her from a Scottish perspective. But then again, I suppose it was odd enough that a little American kid was thinking about Queen Anne at all. 

But, as you know, I tend to steep myself in historical programming. But while watching my History of Scotland series, I learned quite about her. Her eighteen (!!!) pregnancies, only one of which survived past the age of two. You know that's got to take its toll. Not to mention, how it led to the arrival of the Hanovers.  Her place within the whole Scotland/Stuart/Jacobite Rebellions is interesting. 

More than just Queen Anne's Lace, (or was that for Anne of Denmark?) cool baroque architecture, and being mocked for being so overweight, a lot went down during her reign-- not the least of which was the Acts of Union.  Odd how I just never really associated the unification of England and Scotland with Queen Anne, but there you have it. I knew the dates of the Acts of Union, and of her reign, and yet...sometimes, it's easier to catalogue facts as isolated bits of info, rather than see their place in the whole fabric. 

Next, I'm off to watch The First Churchills, where Anne plays a key role, and the divine Susan Hampshire  (oh, how I miss Monarch of the Glen!) plays the Duchess of Malbourough. 

Friday, March 25, 2011


It's Friday and I'm sick. For the first time in AGES. Turns out I was right-- it is stress that makes me sick. Since I can barely formulate sentences, and I have to go rehearse the baby birdies for the next four hours, here are some lovely links I've been collecting (yes, that's why I keep so many tabs open, friends.)

Enjoy! Have a great Weekend!

Bronte sibling rivalry. With new adaptations of Jane Eyre & Wuthering Heights, which will dominate. Personally, I'm a fan of Anne. When's she gonna get hers!? 
Vintage line, Recollection-- good name!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Nerding Never Ends

As a child, I had several really involved, extended historical obsession phases. There was the holocaust phase, the Victorian phase, and-- of course, the most chronic-- the Civil War phase. My childhood pals will back me up on this. It was pathological. Erin was reminding me of this right before I left NYC to come out here. "Well, we know that if there's one thing we can say about you, it's that you rock at school." Because of the nerd thing. 

Which is probably why I've spent a lot of time lately retreating from society and watching this entire History of Scotland Series. It's on this great youtube channel that has all kinds of stuff. I'd really recommend ALL of it. But I'll start you off with the first ten-minute section of the first episode. For more official fun Scottish History, also check out the companion site on BBC. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rest in Peace, Elizabeth Taylor

The Science of Imaginary Solutions

On Tuesdays, I go to my fiction seminar and then go straight to the poetry seminar. It's one ultra-deluxe, four-hour block of writing goodness. I particularly appreciate the stuff I'm picking up in Don Paterson and Jake Polley's seminars-- even though I don't technically write poetry. 

But I do write lyrics. And it's been really great to gain a better understanding and handle on some of the things I do instinctually anyhow. To put names to some of the things I use, and to look at poems I wouldn't otherwise (mostly likely.) 

Yesterday, we were looking at syntax-- super important in lyric writing. It's sort of the last hurdle you have to get past. It's what naturalizes any rhyme. While we were looking at poems for the class, we started talking about Pataphysics. Amazing. I was in heaven. The science of imaginary solutions. 

Read this (the title poem) by Peter Didsbury-- one of the Hull poets along with Douglas Dunn & Sean O'Brien. (Incidentally, apparently they were rowdy, causing one establishment to post the sign: No Dogs, No poets. Amazing.)  And then this master class in pataphysics by Billy Collins. The last two stanzas.... just...goodness.  Enjoy! Happy Wednesday! 

Questions About Angels

Of all the questions you might want to ask
about angels, the only one you ever hear
is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time
besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin
or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth
or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.

Do they fly through God's body and come out singing?
Do they swing like children from the hinges
of the spirit world saying their names backwards and forwards?
Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?

What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,
their diet of unfiltered divine light?
What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall
these tall presences can look over and see hell?

If an angel fell off a cloud, would he leave a hole
in a river and would the hole float along endlessly
filled with the silent letters of every angelic word?

If an angel delivered the mail, would he arrive
in a blinding rush of wings or would he just assume
the appearance of the regular mailman and
whistle up the driveway reading the postcards?

No, the medieval theologians control the court.
The only question you ever hear is about
the little dance floor on the head of a pin
where halos are meant to converge and drift invisibly.

It is designed to make us think in millions,
billions, to make us run out of numbers and collapse
into infinity, but perhaps the answer is simply one:
one female angel dancing alone in her stocking feet,
a small jazz combo working in the background.

She sways like a branch in the wind, her beautiful
eyes closed, and the tall thin bassist leans over
to glance at his watch because she has been dancing
forever, and now it is very late, even for musicians.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Literary Map of the United Kingdom

This little shop, The Literary Gift Company, is a place I could easily blow way  more money than is good for me. I basically want everything in it. But most especially this awesome map print of great writers from the UK. 

You should definitely check it out. They have Gifts for Readers, Gifts for Writers, and all kinds of other cool stuff. I'm a fan of the "Go Away: I'm Writing" mug and the "Poetry instead of a card" series. 

Hope you have a great Spring Day! It's gorgeous here in St Andrews. I opened my windows wide and now there are two HUGE bees in my room. Eek. Hopefully  they'll be gone by the time I get out of class at four. I'm giving a presentation on David Foster Wallace today. Let's hope I don't cry. 

Monday, March 21, 2011


Sophie, Kate, Kate, Iona and Zaza have these amazing Stillies that they do. Before I moved here, I saw a few of them in Sophie's albums and knew I was going to get along jussst fine with this crowd. View them all here. You've got several to choose from with rousing titles like "L'Ours Noir," "Midnight Mayhem & the Missing Maiden," and "Ilyria and the Andromeda." I can't pick a favorite! I just can't! Though Iona as Wendy stranded on a rock eating cupcakes is one of the better things I've seen ever!   Enjoy!

Ilyria and the Andromeda

Midnight Mayhem & the Missing Maiden

Sunday, March 20, 2011

the most badass bedding

One of my favorite issues of Domino Magazine ever was the November '08 issue with J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons' Brooklyn townhouse. Her house is pretty fab, even though I think she succeeds in some rooms more so than others. 

A key example of her winning was the cover shots of her master bedroom. I love the whole room and I especially love the bedding. I'm a sucker for that color and I love it in conjunction with everything else happening in the room.

When The Bowery Hotel first opened in my old stomping ground, my dad stayed there on a visit to see the first industry reading of VOTE! I'm obsessed with that hotel. Despite being sort of obnoxiously celeb-filled, it's so me. I can sort of imagine myself living there and writing for long periods of time-- kind of like my version of Hotel Chelsea. (Hopefully without the booze binges and death) And I'd eat at Gemma for every meal.

But the best thing about The Bowery is they have Jenna Lyons' bedding. What IS this bedding, I wondered for YEARS. Until just recently, when I discovered it was Olatz. I'm probably just completely the party on what designers have known for ages. But I'm thinking, how soon can I get me some Palermo bedding in coral??!! (Or any of these, for that matter.) That is some dreamy bedding. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness

I don't know that I love all of Jonathan Safran Foer, but I do love Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Once, several years ago, I gave it to a friend I thought could use a good read of it. He looked at the title and said, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Ah, the Ryann Ferguson story." Ha. Ha. 

I'll go on record and say, most "precocious realism" or even "hysterical realism" doesn't bother me. (Though I was not really a fan of Special Topics.

As far as movie adaptations go, I feel like this one is poised to be good. It's basically my dream cast for the thing. (You had me at Tom Hanks. Mayor of Hollywood. Love everything about him. For a long time, I sort of hoped I could marry Colin Hanks, just so Tom Hanks would be my father in law.) And I'm really happy Daldry is directing. He's got one of the best handles on tone of work about children I've ever seen. Just thinking about it is making me want to watch Billy Elliot right now. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011

No Edinburgh, Design Sponge?

I'm a big fan of Design Sponge. I appreciate anything that helps fill the void that Domino Magazine left when it shuddered. I'm a really really big fan of their city guides. They're really extensive. But imagine my dismay to learn they had NO EDINBURGH! What is that all about? I get that you're going to have way more on the States than various European/World Locations. 

But their are some UK city guides I think Edinburgh seriously outranks. Brighton? Bristol? Leeds? CORNWALL? No offense to any of these fine cities, but... Edinburgh! It's the Athens of the North! So consider this my formal request for an Edinburgh City Guide, Design Sponge. I'm no interior designer, but I'll help! 

Okay, glad I got that off my chest. I'm going to look at Paris now. And then Dublin, in honor of today and thinking about my pal, Erin, who lives there. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

if trips could plan themselves- paris

Trying to plan a trip to Paris is harder than I thought. It's mostly the coordinating schedules thing. It's bringing out a lot of my social phobias as well, since there's a possibility I'll be there by myself for sometime and I imagine being yelled at in French on my birthday. I like clear protocol. I'm happy to play by (most of) the rules of wherever I am. As long as I know what they are. 

If you were in Paris by yourself, and if  you didn't really love touristy things, and if you had a few social phobias about interacting with strangers, what fun things would you do on your first trip to Paris? I'm sure it will be fine and it will all result in an awesome first trip to Paris. In the mean time, I'm watching idyllic videos. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

beware the spides of march

So many of my favorite friends are involved with this! Someone please give me a run-down of all Dana Steingold's brilliant moments. I beg of you. It's a good thing I have AKB's blogs to keep me up to date with all I'm missing in NYC. I miss you all & happy opening, Spidermusical And $65 million Broadway Spiderman...sorry boutcha. 

Spidermusical. Teaser Trailer from Spider Musical on Vimeo.

today feels like this

Why do I have such a weakness for any musical acts that of Sweden? I love you, Sweden! And even though I don't think I could ever rock their cool, light, minimalist interior design, at least I can keep listening to their musicians. Here is some Me & My Army

Bonus: Since we were talking about Sofia yesterday, I thought I'd add this little gem. I pulled this off my much-adored Peter Sheik's Blog. Ferris Bueller recut as an indie film. Right up my alley. I just love that Cameron! Enjoy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

what strange gifts the facebook stork brings

So... I'm friends with Sofia Coppola on facebook. And it actually appears to be...really her. She has like 190 friends or something. I could be wrong, but... I mean, whatever. Either way, I'm happy to call myself her facebook friend. I'd like to sit down with her and a glass of wine and ask her a few questions about The Virgin Suicides, (good ones, mostly. For the most part, I think she nailed it). And I'm one o the few people I know who strangely loved Marie Antoinette. (I know, I know! Like, I OWN it, love it. Yeah.) 

And of course there's Lost in Translation. Which, like all her movies, any flaws it may have are obliterated by a dead-on atmosphere. So many moments of that film captured the exact...well, mono no aware... of trying to live in Japan. Lost in Translation & her concern for Japan appears to be the reason she's become active on Facebook and her twitter, etc. Which I super applaud her for. 

I haven't seen Somewhere yet, as it's not out here, but even Schumann says it's brilliant-- all atmosphere, hardly any talking-- so I'm sure I will love it. The 90's child in me will always love Stephen Dorff and I'm a big fan of Fanning  The Younger. (The Door in the Floor, anyone? SO many feelings.)

I feel like I should just quote all of Schumann here:

Sometimes I think about what it must be like to be Sofia Coppola.
"But Daddy, I want to make a costume drama!"
"When I was in the front row at the Anna Sui show ..."
"I loved that song 1901, off my husband's last album."
It's easy to hate on Coppola, but perhaps that's because we all wish we were hollywood progeny, fashion icons, and indie rock wives. Also, that we could write delicate, minimalist screenplays and bring them to the screen with grace and visual splendor. That's just what Coppola's done with Somewhere, her best film since Lost in Translation (the less said about Marie Antoinette the better). It's easily her most minimal, defined by dialogue-less scenes, a rudderless narrative flow, and relationships are implied rather than stated. I love the ambiguity as well as apathy for traditional narrative propulsion. Stephen Dorff stars as a disenchanted hollywood star living in the famed, decadent Chateau Marmont. Elle Fanning (she of the Dakota Fannings) is his charming, precocious daughter. They interact, disconnect, go to Milan. Their relationship -- and Dorff's lack of relationships with everyone -- feels quintessentially LA. It reminds me of the line from Less Than Zero, "People are afraid to merge."
In general, I'm basically a loud over-stater. Every now and then, I'll have a moment of understatement I'm proud of.  Can you teach me more of that, Sofia? Maybe one day. And thanks for being my pal. I'm with you on Japan. Basically, I'm with you wherever you wanna take us. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Help Japan

My mind has been in Spain all weekend, working on Tercio de Muerte, but my heart has been with Japan

“Buddhism holds that everything is in constant flux. Thus the question is whether we are to accept change passively and be swept away by it or whether we are to take the lead and create positive changes on our own initiative. While conservatism and self-protection might be likened to winter, night, and death, the spirit of pioneering and attempting to realize ideals evokes images of spring, morning, and birth.” -- Daisaku Ikeda

Saturday, March 12, 2011

very sneaky, Beholden

As part of their slow, continued attempt to brainwash me with their beautiful things, BHLDN is now putting all my favorite poets on their site. Sigh. Happy Saturday. I'll be essay writing and story writing and Tennessee Williams viewing on this rainy Saturday. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

日本, I Love You

Today, I am sending love and daimoku to Japan. Nine years ago, it was where I went to existentially and spiritually sort out how I felt about the world after 9/11. I was there when my grandfather died. I stood on top of Mt Fuji and looked out at the world. I had some of the best times of my life there. I miss it-- I miss Shinanomachi and my family there. I miss rooftop gardens and yuki ichigo musume. I miss speaking the language everyday. Japan is a truly special place and I hope they can heal from this soon. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Pal Jane Eyre

For my short story collection, there is probably no greater influence on my writing than Jane Eyre. Particularly the first section when she's a child, but the whole thing, really. Last night, I went to a presentation by the Literary Society about Jane Eyre "as an autobiography" (as it is actually called.)

The guy made a big issue about the difference between the I speaker and the I of the story. That it isn't Jane Eyre narrating her own story, but Jane Rochester, who is the "heir" of Jane Eyre's struggles. I didn't take away as much as I had hoped from the lecture, but I did enjoy the time he spent focusing on Jane's identity reconfigured in relation to authority.

I see my short story collection as a kind of modern gothic Jane Eyre. Much of it deals with ideas of family and role models and the powerless vs. the powerful-- mostly dealing with children. And female children at that. So I liked when he talked about Jane's female role models mostly being teachers of how she didn't want to be. 

And I liked his focus on the liminal spaces in Jane Eyre-- when she's on the moors, how she's constantly sitting in windows-- and the portrayal of the instability of an unmarried female identity. The nature of true independence, stability, without excess. And rejecting any ideas except equality. 

So then I wanted to look at the website Focus Features has set up for the new film. The more I'm hearing and seeing of it, the more excited I'm actually getting. (Though-- truly startling to learn that at one time Ellen Page was attached to this project. Wow. That would have been a mistake. But I think the casting now is just where it should be. )

Plus, Fassbender's hot. For that matter, you know who else is? Cary Fukunaga. Who knew! The half Japanese, half Swedish hottie is same guy who directed the amazing Sin Nombre

But anyhow, back to Jane Eyre. 

Why Stop Now?

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