Wednesday, June 25, 2014

500 Years of Female Portraits

During my nearly two year long quest for the perfect painting for my bedroom wall, I really really wanted to find a powerful female. Every time I was nearly there, something wasn't quite right. So, I ended up with The Skating Minister, which I love in every way except that it's not a powerful female (say, dressed in flowing tartan and on a horse) but is instead a whimsical in body, dour in face man. 

Even though I didn't get my chick portrait, I can (and so can you) experience 500 years of female portraits in 3 minutes thanks to this lovely vid. 

Even though it's all white ladies, (it is only Western Art) it's nice to think of all the diversity in beauty of women over the centuries. 

Which is your favorite? I like the Sir Joshua Reynolds paintings-- esp. Jane Countess of Harrington, Vignee-Le Brun's self portrait and especially the Rubens painting-- A Lady In Waiting for Infanta Isabella. For the full list of portraits featured check out here

Monday, June 23, 2014

Lattes With Latte

On Saturday, McC and I did what seemed only right to do: We took the best Latte in America to get "The Best Latte in America." (according to the New York Times.)

It was a glorious day in Larchmont Village-- even though much of Hollywood was blocked off due to a parade, a high school graduation, palm tree pruning, and perhaps the Daytime Emmy's preshow. It was unclear. But when we finally made it to the adorable strand of shops, Latte was out in full force, making friends with every man, woman and child and cute-ing up the place royally.

He met his shaved pom twin, and like all doppelgangers, it was full hate coming from both sides (but mostly the other guy, because, let's face it, Latte is pretty secure in his cuteness.)

We decided we would have this almond-macadamia nut milk iced-latte no matter how much it cost. And we took bets on just how much we were going to throw down. When we walked in, my eye immediately went to a $13 beverage. "Thirteen dollars," I said out loud to McC. "That's gotta be it. I bet you that's it." 

Luckily, that was a 5 shot extravaganza and the latte we desired only ran us six bucks each. 

Of course, the drinks came in ball jars. And various other products ranged in price from expensive to very expensive, including a small ceramic tumbler that said go get em tiger and cost $43.

Okay, but was it the best latte in America, you want to know? I don't know because, while I have had many lattes in both America and abroad, I haven't had them all. But I'd say it was worth six bucks. And Latte thought so too. The first thing he did was try to steal a sip of McC's.

go get em tiger
230 N. Larchmont Blvd.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday Solstice Song

Happy Summer Solstice! It's the longest day of the year! And boy does it already feel like it! I spent so much time in traffic. And then in a semi-confrontation with a crazy nicotine addict who reminded me of my mom in a neighborhood Walgreens. But that's okay. I had lots of adventures with Latte and I plan on reporting them to you tomorrow. In the meantime, here is a jam for you while you swish yourself up for a summer solstice evening out on the town. (I hope.) 

Seinabo Sey - "Hard Time." 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Painted Lady Friday Links

What a long week. I'm real glad it's Friday. In two weeks, Iona will be here! In the meantime, I'm just really trying to get my ducks in a row across all facets. I'm tempted to mix a lot of metaphors here. Streamline spinning plates. Break some eggs to make omelets. What's that? Just give us the links? Okay, sounds good.

- One of San Fran's Painted Ladies sells for 900k under asking price. Where was I?

- Pal & fellow Vegas native Jillian Bell is having an utterly deserved amazing year.

- I love Silicon Valley. That is all.

- Molly Ringwald singing a jazz version of "Don't You Forget About Me" to me was definitely a high point for any 80s kid. See her again July 1 and July 15

- One MINUTE parking in LA. A new LA parking low.

- Yes, he's a felon. But once he's out of prison, he should definitely be a model.

- Anyone tried this ALOHA stuff??

- Lots of mixed feelings about Chipotle's "disposable" literature.

- Cormac McCarthy's REJECTED Chipotle cup

- George Saunders on kindness.

- Everyone who ever did forensics with me in High School knows, I love me some "Say My Name." (Upon looking at the video again, I'm noticing Bey's 'stache.) Now, The Awl asks, "Is this the original 'Say My Name'?" Well, it doesn't have what I love about the song, but fair enough. Dark child nah nah.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

"The Dreamiest of Scenes" - Sylvan Esso

Recently, Haviland took me to see Tune-yards (sorry, I won't do all that wacky styling of their name) at my favorite theatre in LA, The Fonda. Opening was a North Carolina duo whose album had only been released a few weeks beforehand. By the end of their 45 minute set, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso, had become one of my new favorite bands. I went home and bought that album immediately. 

Electronic duos can have some trouble when it comes to creating a visually interesting presence on stage, but Nick and Amelia were having so much fun with each other, they succeeded in ways a lot of electronic groups don't. Maybe that's because they both have pretty extensive performance backgrounds in non-electronic music. Amelia was an accapela folk singer in a group called Mountain Man-- and that vocal background brings a nice rich folksy texture to Sylvan Esso stuff. Nick, meanwhile, was the bass player in another band I love, Megafaun

The past fews weeks have been a crazy flurry of rushing from place to place, but I'm glad I've had this soundtrack to keep me happy. Favorites include "Coffee" (below), "HSKT" "Play It Right" and especially "Could I Be."

I had originally planned this post for last week, then Monday, then Tuesday, then yesterday. I was grouchy for being so busy, but now I'm glad I held off until today so I could also link you to this great NPR full concert from Washington, DC

They're getting nearly universal praise and I can see why. Sylvan Esso, you are officially my flavor of June--- and perhaps a lot, lot longer. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Game of Thrones in Edinburgh, New Orleans, Downton

While Game of Thrones Season 4 is wrapping up tomorrow, it doesn't mean we can't keep the memes, riffs, and variations on the theme song going all summer long. Just enough to land us safely in Downton Season.

Here's the theme played by killer New Orleans band, Swamp Donkeys. Spoiler Alert: It's amazing. I also appreciated Vanity Fair for giving me the mental image of Tyrion Lannister passed out covered in beads at Mardi Gras. Kudos on that.

Next up, for the Scotland lovers out there aka The North, here's a title sequence featuring the beautiful topography of Edinburgh instead of Westeros. Calton Hill for the win! House Blair & House Grant Hollar!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bring Me Your Mugs Friday Links

The word Mugs will always make me think of one of my childhood best friends, Margaret "Mugs" Gillespie. I gave her that nickname. Not 100% sure why, but it really seemed to suit her, and she is still often called that today. It's a great nickname, which is a great art. Enough tangential thinking though. I bring up Mugs because in a great coup of psychological marketing (at least for people like me) Intelligentsia has thought to give St Vincent her own coffee.

It's 22 dollars.  I definitely still bought it. (Jesus Saves. I Spend.) It's delicious and bright... (Orange marmalade, brown sugar, lime zest....) because Annie Clark is a goddess who is incapable of making a misstep. The title is a reference to her song "Bring Me Your Loves." Which I and the good people of Intelligentsia clearly do.

They also sell her album on vinyl there. If I didn't already own the record (on vinyl) I'd have bought that too.

More with the links though! And happy Friday!

- Speaking of coffee, apparently the best latte in America is in my neighborhood. I shall report back.

- Andrew Keenan-Bolger as a hobo clown. How are you so wonderful always? Also, how are you 29 already, sweet pal?

- People who don't want to be right (factually.) Boy am I NOT one of these people.

- Fox Cancels "I Wanna Marry Harry." Maybe there is hope for America.

- Guys, donate to Reading Rainbow. Because books are good and I don't want us to be so stupid.

- Portugal. Yum.

- This isn't what I'd do with 36 hours in Edinburgh, but I support any activities there.

- The honey moon and Friday the 13th.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Raeburn's Skating Minister

Today is brought to you by classic Scottish painting, The Skating Minister, by Sir Henry Raeburn. I just bought an oil on canvas replica for my room. It's always been one of my favorites and I've been coveting an affordable, high quality replica for some time now. 

I love the mix of the dreary and bright, buttoned up and playful. It's a pretty good example of the great Scottish paradox and why I love that place so much. 

It was actually quite obscure until 1949, and since then it's become an icon of Scottish art for absolutely good reason. There's even a book written about the painting

Henry Raeburn is one of Scotland's most beloved painters. In person, at the National Gallery in Edinburgh, it is so rich and texturous. It's full title is The Reverend Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch. Walker was a minister in the Church of Scotland who lived during the height of Scotland's enlightenment period-- one of the most influential periods of human history. (In case you don't want to take my word for it, I highly recommend this book.) If I could have lived in any other era, I think it would be Scotland during the enlightenment. Oh, the ideas!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tom Rachman - The Rise & Fall of Great Powers

Here's this book I've been dying waiting to read. The Rise & Fall of Great Powers came out today. I read The Imperfectionists while in that limbo waiting to go to Scotland and just felt warm and fuzzy and real. I've since heard Tom Rachman is an asshole, but I still think he's hot. 

Apparently, even though this new book is weightier, he's still hot (according to the Washington Post) his "impish wit." And there's Wales. 

For this and more summer reading, check this out

Friday, June 6, 2014

Feast or Famine Friday Links

With me, work is always feast or famine. I seem to always be starving and bored or prepping a gourmet meal on a runaway train. That's how I feel right now. So much going on! That's some strange universal law, right? Is there anyone who has solved for this?

In any case, have a great weekend! Stay cool like my man, Redford. 

Links! Links! Links!

- I'd rather see "Malefiftycent" than "Maleficent"

- I look forward to watching Darren Aronofsky's HBO adaptation of Margaret Atwood.

- Thinking about London still actually makes me physically hurt inside.

- Spain's Magnolia Antic is lovely.

- A good example of why you need a good gaffer.

- I've spent a lot of time with interpretive dancers and I can't tell you, I've always had a hunch this was their inner inspiration. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Long Lost Honeymoon Photos from the Glorious Summer of '39

The Summer of 1939 is noted in the United Kingdom as one of the most beautiful and warm in modern history. It's called the Glorious '39 and it always seemed especially sweet considering it was the last honey-filled days before Fall would the beginning of devastating war for the next six years. Much of Europe, and England, would be leveled during World War II. 

But before anyone knew the devastation to come, there was a summer of bliss. And this honeymoon of a young British couple through Lincolnshire, Durham, Norfolk and Yorkshire in August. The photos of Denys and Margaret Gardiner were thought to be lost until they were recently discovered by their grandson in an attic when Margaret died. They photos were taken by the couple's cousin, Eldred, who was an accomplished photographer. These color slides are a true rarity, preserving an England that was soon to disappear in many ways. On September 1, Hitler invaded Poland. 

For more info, check out the original article.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Smize, You're on Perez Hamilton

If there's anything I love more than historical satire, it's historical satire mixed with modern gossip! Obvi. 

Oh, how I love Perez Hamilton, the nerdelightful spoof of Perez Hilton for Federalist times. Why am I such a sucker for these mashups? Remember Jane Austen's Fight Club? Downton Abbey with zombies? It's like I have a tapeworm for this kind of stuff. 

Someone get me some help. Or some company. Join me in my silly amusement. Wanna watch a costume drama? 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

In Cold Blood - Be My Friend, Morgan Kibby

Morgan Kibby makes me want to dye my hair dark and stop wearing a bra. Let my curves out or down, whichever way they want to go. Be freckled. Be soft. Be diaphanous. Keep my sailor's tongue. Live Morgan Kibby (or White Sea, as the show is actually billed) was one of the most genuinely surprising, thrilling evenings of music a jaded artist (or anyone else for that matter) could have. 

She was the anchor in an evening I call the best accidental free concert ever.  

You see, the lovely Miss Vinessa Shaw and I are big fans of Moses Sumney (more on that later). He was having a month-long residency of free concerts and Vinny and I had been trying to organize a time to go. Then, after 24 hours of driving down the coast of California with the mega-duo of Brian Kearney and Gretchen Schrafft (more on Big Sur and an Irishman's first dip in the Pacific soon) I felt like 1. I need to MOVE-- sway in a room with strangers and have nothing to do with my clutch or my car-- even with wide open spaces, with the idea of the Ocean. (Whoops! White Sea!) and 2. I'd love something free to do with my fellow poor-artist friends.

Thus, we all ended up at the "Moses Sumney Concert," where White Sea was his guest. And it was the best concert I've ever been to. 

I'm not really sure I've ever seen a more exhilarating live performer than Morgan Kibby. It has all the drama and height of a Florence + The Machine Show, but with way more prowess, vocal precision and scale emanating from a much smaller operation. 

But then, this isn't Morgan Kibby's first rodeo. She formerly front LA Band, The Romanovs (good name, ya'll!) IMO is the element that makes M83 the shit. She fucking wrote Midnight City. If I wrote that song, I'd retire. 

But nope! That's not really an option for Morgan because of that set of pipes. You guys, in the room, that night, we all just looked at each other in awe. I am open to the awe of amazing singers. I am so often so humbled by the voices I get to hear and write for in my line of work. But I am spoiled by those voices and thus rarely floored by someone's ability. 

I've been waiting for White Sea's first full album, In Cold Blood since that night. I wish I could tell you it lives up to the live concert, but it doesn't and in fact, it can't. That's not even the point. But it is wonderful, it is lyrically bold, it is my jam, and you should get it.

In closing, Morgan Kibby, be my friend. If you get a call from Kade's cell phone, it's just me and I've stolen his phone so I can talk to you. Don't freak out. 

White Sea
In Cold Blood
New album out now via Crush Music/SONGS on iTunes for $7.99 or 
listen to it on Spotify

Not my favorite song on the album, but the video is gorge.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Whoops I Missed The Weekend Links

Sorry guys. Been real swamped. And also really buried in anger and articles about Elliot Rodger. I'm gonna spare you from any of those links. And while I was doing all that, it Juned all over the place. Oye. 

- I really appreciate that the scale was presented in Jon Hamms. Also, Fassbender. Just happening here. What's good for the goose, objectifiers.

- This fantastic lady featured on access hollywood

- Selling DFW's private correspondence... ooooh, all my issues!!

- The Wonder Years Reunion! (!!!)

- These "Abortion Barbie" attack ads against Wendy Davis are DISGUSTING.

- Oh, Maya. You will be missed. I love these moments of you and Dave Chappelle.

- A co-worker of mine from a previous life in children's television. Avoid that irony, Jordan Rathus!

- Vivian Maier and Difficult Women

- Why John Waters stopped making movies

- I'll be using pippit from now on. You should try too!

- And here's your dreamy, musical meditation for Monday. A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Just sit with that. Anyone who's ever experienced the rare beauty that is a sunny day in Scotland can tell you, there's nothing like it. 

Why Stop Now?

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