Monday, September 30, 2013

Music Monday - Madness & The Film

Normally, when it comes to friending strangers, I am the one who knocks. And normally, it's on the subway. Planes are good too, though. And in this particular case, I wasn't even the chatty blonde doing the friending. That was all David Breeze. Well, maybe not ALL

On a flight from NYC back to London-- a flight I NEVER should have made...I STILL can't believe I talked my way onto that flight, I was so late-- I was seated next to the friendliest, most America-loving Brit currently living. Even though I had taken a sleeping pill right before he sat down (as is my usual pre-flight ritual) we ended up talking the whole 8 hours.

And we are still friends to this day! Despite frequent moves and job changes on both our parts, and that one time where I threw up on the street in front of him, (whoops!) he still comes to see me! In fact, it's almost like he's following me. (Just kidding.) We've hung out in NYC when we both lived there, and now we rock it Cali style. Funnily enough, the one place we've never hung out is London. But I digress.

While living in New York, David became friends and later band mates with the young Caroline Gorman. And by young, I mean 17. They recorded an EP that's getting more press than you can shake a stick at-- I'm talking New York Times, New York Magazine, and 2 songs (TWO!) featured on the MTV show, Friendzone that aired last week. 

You can stream and download Madness & The Film's EP, Scrapbook, for free. But don't let that stop you from buying it, either. Because... support the arts, people. Even banking honchos are realizing it's important. 

Photo by Kristin Hoebermann, Hoebermann Studios

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Throw Back Thursday - High School Reunion

I didn't go to my high school reunion. It wasn't a deliberate snub. I had just moved to Scotland a few weeks beforehand, and it seemed like a pretty superfluous trip back. The pictures and stories were enough. (My favorite was Big Wang offering to kill Mike for Emily... and Wang's wife, nodding her support for the plan.) Plus, the age of social media pretty much mitigates that mixture of curiosity and velleity about peripheral classmates. 

The funny thing about that, and about my entire attitude about my childhood in Vegas, the people I grew up with, etc, is that as little credit as I gave them, as much distance as I've often tried to put between myself and them, they're still the people that require the least amount of explanation from me. The comfort level is intensely cosy. 

Last night was a kind of representative high school reunion for me in a more important way. Only a few of the key players were there actually. They were good ones though. And the build up was full of many more: from Emily, to a phone call from Brandon (on his way to state execution, natch!) to some digging in my high school boxes. More than that, I was reunited with the way I felt when I was seventeen or eighteen. Thanks to these friends, for sure. But also because we were at Jimmy Eat World. As Petie and I screamed lyrics at each other, I remembered how hopeful I felt then and I felt it again. 

Oh, our youthful loves. They die hard, don't they?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Schneider-Studio Photography

Just when I think it's impossible for me to have another talented photographer friend.... way to go, Eric Schneider! He's been building up to Schneider-Studio for a few years now and I'm so happy he's got his own studio now for whisky-fueled late night photo sess-- I mean, his moving, meaningful, professional work. Or both! 

Check him out! I love that he mentions his golden doodles in his bio. I have personally met them and I can assure you, they are both sweet and dumb. And cuddly!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I ♥ House of Hackney

With the return of Downton Abbey to British television this past Sunday, my deep longing for the United Kingdom has kicked in with full, panging force. All the more reason to pseudo-shop the new collections from House of Hackney

Hackney is one of the (best) boroughs in London, and my home for the time I lived there. In addition to being an up and coming, largely tube-free region of Northeast London, it's also the name sake of husband and wife team Frieda Gormley & Javvy M. Royle's (SO British.) two year old brand. With a flagship store in Shoreditch (jusssst on the border of Hackney) and placements in Urban Outfitters, etc etc, they've accomplished a lot for such a young brand. 

I was immediately drawn to the Dalston Rose line, Dalston being my primary hood. It's super girly, but I could see little flourishes of it even in very contemporary homes. Personally, I'd make tea every afternoon in that little mug there. But I also think the Hackney Empire collection has the most punch. 

In many ways, their home goods sensibility and aesthetic reminds me of Timorous Beasties. They seem to thrive on putting a modern and/or cheeky twist on what it quintessentially English or Scottish. The word they always throw around about both brands is "subversive." But in addition to home fabrics, etc, House of Hackney also does clothing-- something I just dream that TB will expand into one of these days. (Please, please, pretty please.) H of H describes themselves as Colefax & Fowler on acid... okay! While no one will ever replace TB in my heart, you know I can get behind a "more is more attitude."

Monday, September 23, 2013

Music Monday - Sophie Ramsay - The Glassy Mountain

Of all the creative processes I've witnessed, or seen up close, or felt a part of in peripheral ways, watching Sophie, hearing her stories, having soul-chats, and being her friend while she was writing this album, I count among my greatest life honors. Now you can be a part of it too! (And I hope you will.)

This is a really special album from someone who sees the world in a very special way. Describes it in a vibrant style. And conveys it with vulnerability and such a seeking spirit. I miss Sophie and Scotland and thinking about the world the way she does every day. I hope you can contribute to this. I've never heard anyone articulate grief like Sophie. 

Give a look at her indigogo and hear some tracks from the album here
(For the record, I'd encourage you to go in for a donation level where you get some of Kate Aspinall's gorgeous gorgeous artwork. Sigh.)

The album is a powerful personal exploration of grief. The songs vary in their style from intimate, folk songs that feel a bit European, to moments of visceral lamenting, to gently upbeat pop songs. It was produced by Jim Sutherland, and features performances from some of the best musicians in Scotland in the realms of folk and jazz: Euan Burton, Steven Christie, Pete ClarkFraser Fifield, David Hart, Chris Peacock, Matheu Watson and also brilliant Jim Rattigan from London. Most of these musicians will play at the Edinburgh launch at Scottish Storytelling Centre on the 2nd November. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Greetings From Vegas Friday Links

So much Franzen this week. Okay by me. 

- First, his awesome essay in the Guardian promoting his new book, The Krauss Project
- The hilarious non-backlash backlash and what that means for Franzen haters
- Finally, this. Franzy, join us on the internets.

- When a man writes a woman

More aspects of Modern Living:
- The terror that is Whole Foods
- The wonder that is Trader Joe's. (They're not really cutting their benefits. Just read.)

- I scroll through this every day. Sigh.

I finally met and hung out with one of my fave writer/blogger folks, Anne Sage of The City Sage this morning. If you aren't reading her, you should be. I have her to thank for this cool website recommendation, The American Edit. Check it. 

Peace out for the weekend, ninjas. My head hurts and it's Tiger Time

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Burberry Shows Us London Via iPhone 5s

If London really looked like the above, there's nothing that could have made me leave. 

Speaking of London, though:
- If Breaking Bad were set in the UK
- Sienna & Tom for Burberry
- And more

For your London daydream, I'm out.
Happy Hump Day. Hope it's dreamy.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Autumn Reading

So far this year, I've felt deprived of novels I was genuinely excited to read. Missing was that giddy, luscious feeling, knowing I'm about to devour one. Luckily, this fall, there's finally some stuff to look forward to on the novel front. Here's what I can't wait to buy:

Wally Lamb - We Are Water
Oct. 22
He gets a bad rap as too populist, but I still think Wally Lamb is the shit. And I can't wait to be knee-deep in it again.

Elizabeth Gilbert- 
The Signature of All Things
Oct. 1
Also getting a rap even worse than Lamb is Liz Gilbert. But I still think about how much I liked her first novel, Stern Men, and I'm glad she's back to writing on another subject besides herself. 

Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch
Oct. 22
I still have adolescent reader scars from The Secret History and I always come back for more trauma

Not novels, but:
Roth Unbound. A Writer & His Books
Oct. 22
Because... Philip Roth. Nuff said.

The Bernstein Letters
Oct. 29
Oh, Leonard. You are a man of wonder. 

For a longer list, check out this one compiled by The Daily Beast

For good measure, thought this headline is impossible, because you cannot qualify unique, here are some bitchin' libraries around the world

** also, I continue to feel ambivalent about posting links to amazon instead of other book sellers like Barnes & Noble. I think this is the last time I'll do it. Damn you, Franzen. But I have 3 more months on my amazon prime membership, so... ack. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Music Monday Megamix

Since I've been away awhile, I feel it's only right to come at you with a whole truck load of musical tid bits. It's been a weird time, dear lovely readers. I encountered many opportunities (or what seemed like opportunities) that ended up being loaded with unprofessional folks, a few broken promises, and a failed television network. But hey, I ate, I paid my bills, and added a few new clients to my roster. Life goes on. 

And they keep putting out records. Thank god. 

- First of all, while the CHVRCHES album, The Bones of What You Believe (for the record, I don't like the title) isn't out until later this month, we can finally preview it thanks to the always good people at NPR. I heard most of this at their show at the Fonda. I like it as much as I remember.

- While we're at it, here's the Blood Diamonds remix of "The Mother We Share."

- Vegas homeboys The Killers pair up with M83 producing for "Shot at the Night"-- a combo full of promise with lackluster results.

- Kings of Leon covering Robyn for the BBC was a nice highlight of last week. 

- Speaking of which, stream their new album Mechanical Bull right now. 

- New Lorde. "Team." It's legit. 

- New(ish) Frighted Rabbit track, "Candlelit."

- These isolated Beatles vocals are killer. I keep listening to them. Just over and over. 

Why Stop Now?

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