Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Preakness

Fictional newspaper by teenage Jack Kerouac, part of the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. More info

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hometown Homage

I thought I would start where I began, The City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Technically I was born in Bloomington, Indiana but I have so few memories from my first 4 years there, I'm going with Philly. We just got back from a long weekend there and I thought I would share some images (click to enlarge) that stuck, along with some keywords from the trip, preferably provided by Dice Raw or Malik B:

Fishtown, Rittenhouse/
Old City, Hoagies/
William Penn, Felt Whale, The Barbary, Geno’s/
Conshohocken Rolls/
Kung Fu Necktie/
Shirt Corner, King of Jeans/
Tony Luke’s, Manayunk/
Cheesesteak, Johnny Brenda’s/
Jelly Krimpets, Chubbies/
Osage Avenue/
Rowhouse, Shorties/

And finally a Schoolly D .mp3 (whats the time?)

Schoolly D Gucci Time mp3

A Bullet and a Target


The last couple of years that we lived in New York my office was just two blocks away from MoMA, and I took advantage of the proximity by signing up for art history classes that met in the museum galleries after hours. It was a great way to escape the stress of my job, and wandering around the deserted museum at night remains among my favorite NYC memories. Anyway, I had an instructor there who introduced me to UbuWeb, an online treasure trove of avant-garde and outsider art, including music, video, performance, and documentaries. It's easy to get lost and spend hours on the fact, that's exactly what I did yesterday, and I'm back to share a few souvenirs.

The images above are street posters from the site's outsider art section (click to enlarge).

Here is the Cars' NSFW "Hello Again" video, directed by Andy Warhol:

And here's film footage of William Burroughs making his "shotgun paintings" somewhere in Kansas. After the film turns upside down at about 2 minutes it gets distinctly less interesting but the first couple of minutes are worth a look (could the outfit be any better?):

An excerpt from an interview with Burroughs about the paintings can also be found here.

There's lots more interesting and/or weird stuff to dig up on the site – documentaries on John Baldessari and James Turrell; Fluxus films by the likes of Yoko Ono, George Maciunas, and Nam June Paik; videos by Ryan Trecartin; Shipwreck Radio, a record created by Steven Stapleton and Colin Potter while intentionally marooned on an island north of Norway; and Images du Monde Visionnaire ("an educational film by Henri Michaux and Eric Duvivier which was produced in 1963 by the film department of Swiss pharmaceutical company Sandoz (best known for synthesizing LSD in 1938) in order to demonstrate the hallucinogenic effects of mescaline and hashish") are just the tip of the iceberg.

It can all be found at (and New York readers can browse and register for MoMA courses here).

Kick It to the Curb

I love this idea – tomorrow, Saturday May 16th, is Curb Day, wherein everyone in the entire country is invited to put their unwanted goods on the curb for others to peruse and hopefully pick up for free. (In order for it to not get disgusting I guess everyone should also plan to remove whatever of their stuff remains at the end of the day.)

So... there you have it –
let loose with your junk, America.

More Avedon

"Avedon took Munkacsi’s use of motion and literally ran with it…[His models] dance, leap or lope past, often completely obscured by flowing garments. Movement could also be disintegration: in a 1994 photograph, Stephanie Seymour is shown crumpling like a marionette whose strings have been cut."

Roberta Smith reviews Avedon Fashion 1944–2000 in today's paper:

Avedon’s fashion photographs from the late 1940s to the early ’60s are everything you want great art to be: exhilarating, startlingly new and rich enough with life and form to sustain repeated viewings. Their beauty is joy incarnate and contagious. The best of them are as perfect on their own terms as the best work of Jackson Pollock or Jasper Johns from that era, and as profoundly representative of it.

As with these painters Avedon’s work represents an important turning point and a new kind of self-consciousness of his medium. He makes us aware of its process on different levels, while also questioning its values and deflating its pretensions. His images have a new tautness; you see them as energy-producing wholes in which every detail and bit of surface is articulated. Like Abstract Expressionist painting, they show us an art form learning from and then moving beyond European conventions.
Read the rest of Roberta Smith's review here.

The New Yorker also has a slideshow online featuring 15 images from the show (Avedon was a staff photographer there in the last years of his life).

Dovima with Sacha, cloche and suit by Balenciaga, Café des Deux Magots, Paris, August 1955. Photography Richard Avedon. Cathy Horyn, paraphrasing part of a 1958 New Yorker article on Avedon and his frequent subject: "Dovima was a devout Catholic and a homebody who traveled on shoots with her husband and a suitcase full of comic books. She was Dorothy Horan. Dovima was a blend of “Do” for Dorothy, “vi” for victory, and “ma” for her ma."

Your Weekly Mr. Littlejeans

Jeans seems to like lounging on the floor and listening to records – we think he likes the bass. Also, lest anyone think he's some kind of freak, the reason he has less hair on his belly is that the vet shaved it for an ultrasound… it's growing back nicely though and he's obviously not embarrassed of it anymore.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Visionary Visuals

Donyale Luna (the first black model ever to appear on the cover of British Vogue) in Paco Rabanne, 1966. Photography Richard Avedon

In an extended multimedia slideshow on the New York Times website, co-curators Vince Aletti and Carol Squires speak about Avedon Fashion 1944–2000, which opens tomorrow at the International Center of Photography, and runs through September 6th. Click here to listen.

Also a must: highly esteemed fashion writer Cathy Horyn reviews the show in today's paper.

Simply put, Richard Avedon was a national treasure – someone who explored a multitude of directions in photography, and through his work made the world a better place to be on so many levels. I am dying to see the show as soon as I can make the trip.

In Between Days

A quick follow-up to this post on the current show at Maya Stendhal - the Chelsea gallery is currently offering four original hand-pulled 14" x 19" screenprints by Jonas Mekas, each in an edition of 300, each hand-signed, numbered, and dated, and printed on 2-ply museum board. Each print in the Summer Manifesto Portfolio, as it's called, is $4000.

It's a reasonable price, sure, but just a little much for my blood at this juncture. Still, I thought I'd post about it, because it gives me the opportunity to feature the above image, which I find very beautiful. Essentially the statement is neutral – both unsettling and calming at the same time. It's a statement of flux.

Make contact through or to get more info if you want to spring for one of these babies.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Send Him Some Lovin'

Stevie Wonder, 1974. Photo by Al Satterwhite

Tonight there's a special Soul Nite going down in celebration of Stevie Wonder's birthday.

Northwest Film Forum
More info

A lil' bitty bit:


As previously hollered-about, Emily and I took our first camping trip of the year this past weekend. Even having grown up here and being very familiar with the ferry system and various waterways of this great state, it's still a novelty to me that you can catch a boat from downtown Seattle and easily head out across the water.

Seattle to Bremerton takes about an hour, and when the weather's good, the views of downtown Seattle, Alki, other islands, and the Olympic Mountains in the distance are amazing. (I am tired of the word "amazing" but that's what it is.) It's often said that a Washington State ferry is the poor man's cruise ship.

The boats themselves are old workhorses, beautiful in their industrial simplicity. You can't help feeling a little like Richie on the Cote d'Ivoire.

From Bremerton we drove just south, and then north along the length of Hood Canal (which I mentioned in that long-ass New York Times post from last week). Lots of cool stuff to see.

Our final destination was Olympic National Park – we camped at Mora, near Rialto Beach, just north of the Quillayute Indian Reservation.

The Quillayute used the largest of the rocks which dot the coast (James Island, right across from the town of La Push) as a fortress when neighboring tribes would come south on slaving missions.

Even though we stayed in the national park, it's very remote out there, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves (which, long time readers will remember, is how we like it).

The next morning we hiked through the woods down to Beach 3.

Sometimes I like it when place names are just numbers (though obviously there are Quillayute names that we don't know).

The national park has 60 miles of waterfront, and I'm pretty sure you could hike all of it, following the trail in and out of the woods and small beaches.

Later in the day we headed south, to the Hoh Rainforest. The tree Emily is standing under is estimated to be 575 years old.

Everything in the rainforest is covered with moss.

There's a ton to explore – we kind of thought of this as a scouting mission, just getting the feel of it so as to plan better for longer trips.

We got rained on pretty heavily Sunday. Of course you'd rather have good weather, but drinking beers and eating chili and tamales under the tarp is good times no matter what.

That night in the dark, we walked out to this perch on the bank of the Quillayute River. Just as we got there a big bald eagle took off, floating out over the water. We heard a hooting noise and looked up to see a great blue heron in a tree high above us; below in the river, a group of otters were swimming around, feasting on salmon. You could hear the lighthouse and the waves in the distance. It was one of the cooler moments in recent memory and the perfect end to our first trip of the season.

[See more riveting family slideshow action at


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fairytale Future

Kostas Murkudis A/W 09

While my taste in fashion often runs toward more hard-edged, severe designs (e.g., Hussein Chalayan; recent collections by Ricardo Tisci for Givenchy and Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga), for me there's a fine line separating the best of those pieces from clothing that has ventured into territory that feels too chilly, dark, and sterile to be much fun. For this reason I love the two most recent A/W collections from Berlin-based designer Kostas Murkudis, a former first assistant to Helmut Lang. Murkudis's designs manage to be tough and supremely modern-looking while still retaining a captivating lightness. Think Blade Runner meets a quantum-leapt Sleeping Beauty and you're partway there. Click to enlarge selected pieces from the collections above and below.

Kostas Murkudis A/W 09

Kostas Murkudis A/W 08

Murkudis's designs can be found at Project No. 8 in NYC.