Saturday, June 21, 2008

Street Spirit

With all the attention given to The Sartorialist, Face Hunter, et al, it's easy to forget the granddaddy of all street fashion photographers, Bill Cunningham, of The New York Times. Every Sunday in the style section he features a bunch of photographs that illustrate a particular theme or trend, and on he has a bunch of On The Street audio slideshows, like this one from when it was really hot out a couple weeks ago, or this one about the arrival of Spring in the city, or this weekend's entry on sagging and belts. There's also this audio slideshow about Bill Cunningham by the Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn.

Cunningham has a more spontaneous approach than his younger counterparts, which puts fashion in more of a real-life context—it reminds you that these people are walking around looking great and/or interesting while doing the everyday stuff they do.

I remember my old boss Stephen Gan saying that Bill Cunningham's apartment is completely filled to the brim with photographs, and that he actually sleeps on top of his filing cabinets because there's not enough room for a bed. I don't know if that's true but I like to think so.

Psst Psst... yeah

I had drinks with my friend Joe last night and he mentioned these Bernard Purdie videos, which I had never seen. So dope.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"I'm Kind of Nosy That Way"

"My impulse was to explore...and to find myself through exploration."—Bruce Davidson

I often turn WNYC off and switch to podcasts or music when the Leonard Lopate show rolls around at noon—but today he did a great interview with the distinguished Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson, in which he discusses his outlook on street photography. (As a side point, I find it interesting that like Lee Friedlander, Davidson has made a transition from photographing people to photographing plants. In general I'm not that interested in photographs of plants but maybe that happens later.)

Click here to listen and check out Davidson's portfolio at Art Department.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Keep on Truckin' (Part 1)

We will need a rig. I cannot go into more detail here at this time for a number of reasons, but suffice it to say that we are about to embark on an epic journey that will take us through the backwoods of this great land. So this week, for the same price it would have cost us to rent something comparable, we bought a 1998 Jeep Cherokee that had been driven 99,000 miles by one owner.

I have never bought a car before, a fact that my friends outside of New York find nearly impossible to believe, or assume is some sort of personal green initiative. Not this time, hippies. In high school I had the occasional use of my mom's 1974 faux wood-paneled Toyota station wagon. In Bellingham or on Orcas Island I never really needed a car. In Seattle I either walked or took the bus or borrowed my mom's considerably more luxurious Nissan Ultima. When I met my much-better half she had a tiny little Toyota the size of a miniature stick of gum, which became known as The Chiclet. When we moved to New York we explored the full reach of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. So before this week I had never purchased or really fully owned a car.

Posting has been light this week because in addition to the truly inhumane deadlines I'm under right now, partially inflicted on myself through inadequate time management, my brother and I have been going back and forth from Grand Central to the Yonk to expedite the purchase of this vehicle. When we get where we're going and start our next journey, if we're not too attached, we will sell it and get something more fuel efficient. But for this one, we will definitely need a rig.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

And I ride and I ride

The Refinery 29 blog Pipeline has a little feature on Maria Schneider's style in Michelangelo Antonioni's 1975 film The Passenger. A couple things about this.

No.1: I am nowhere near what my mom used to call a "fashion plate" (as in "You don't have to be a fashion plate," which she would say every time my brother and I were over-stuffing our plastic suitcases for two weeks at Camp Orkila, anticipating the unknown bevy we would be attempting to impress). Clothing wise, I pretty much stick to basic stuff like Levi's, Filson, Brooks Brothers, and the wide array of useful items cast off by the armed forces of the United States of America. But I think Refinery 29 is an interesting business. My understanding is that they essentially curate a collection for their online store by picking and choosing products they want to sell from a network of affiliated designers and brick-and-mortar shops. When someone places an order, the affiliate fulfills it, so their overhead must be very low. They drive people to the site by tightly refining their aesthetic so you want to check there first (I mean, if you are inclined), and also by producing magazine-like content, such as street fashion, party pictures, music reviews—and now this blog, Pipeline. It's kind of similar to The New York Times' T blog, but more street-level. There's a lot to skip over, but it's worth skimming through every once in awhile.

No.2: The Passenger is a dope movie. It's on DVD now so you can get it from Netflix or wherever you like. Once you've seen them once, most of Antonioni's movies can be added to the aforementioned collection of visually stunning movies that can be watched with the sound off—but The Passenger is one I could watch again and again if the mood strikes. The fashion and design is amazing—Maria Schneider's style is very current, but I also really dig Jack Nicholson's clothes, the Land Rover he drives across North Africa, the way Gaudi's and other interesting architecture appears so prominently throughout the film. Plus, it's a road movie. Who doesn't like a road movie?

Pipeline also has a great video clip in its post.
Get more info on The Passenger from Sony Pictures Classics.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gasoline Alley

This is from a series of photographs by Camilo José Vergara of abandoned gas stations. Click here for more (from The New York Times op-ed page Friday morning).

Unrelated, but the blog titles have to come from somewhere:
Biscuit Davis Gasoline Alley MP3
I found this record in Missoula last May. It's produced by Bob Thiele. I don't know much about it but apparently Biscuit Davis is now Dolly Parton's bandleader, and he was the national bluegrass banjo champion a few times. [I stand corrected. Thank you, smart guy commenter.]

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Brothers Gotta Hug

One Step Ahead

I'm cleaning out one of my 600 email accounts, taking a small step toward organizing my life, and I ran across this stop-motion movie from 2004. I often get the most enjoyment out of the lowest-tech ideas. Click here to watch.