Saturday, March 7, 2009

Your Weekly Mr. Littlejeans

Aiiight Chill

Friday, March 6, 2009

Grow Up

The second oldest known photo of Seattle, dated 1869 – from Pioneer Square at Yesler's Wharf, looking North.

Anyone interested in the past and future of growth of the Seattle area should check out this KUOW podcast of an hour-long "debate" between Knute Berger and Timothy Egan. I deploy the rabbit ears on the word debate because Berger, Egan, and the moderator (Crosscut editor David Brewster) spend way too much time reminding listeners that they're all friends, and not enough time actually debating; with something like one million people expected to move here in the next twenty years, the topic deserves much more heat than they give it. Still, it's a start, and they trade a lot of interesting observations on the Northwest. Click here to listen.

Photo via Vintage Seattle, courtesy of the Washington State Historical Society.

Doggies, Cat, Vipers…Eerie Lethargy

Some good shows this weekend:

Sadly I will not be attending these or any of the other activities I had planned for this weekend (there's even a record show tomorrow, my man Soul informs me), as I am in the midst of battling the worst cold I've had in years – and, actually, the first cold I've had since before we moved. I feel like I've been on the run and finally got caught.
Oh well, it happens.

More good posters while we're at it:

That one is a pretty solid visual rendering of how my head feels.

Enjoy your weekend and pour out a lil' liquor for your sick homey.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just Jil (Milan Wrap-Up Pt. 1)

Really, what is there to say about the Jil Sander show last Friday? Raf Simons transforms minimalism into the highest form of luxury. Perfection.

It's worth checking out video of the runway, courtesy of, to see the sculptural details in the second half of the show come to life. (I'm also pondering the assertion therein by the Washington Post's Robin Givhan that the models' failure to wear the clothes with "any great authority" lent the show a disturbing aspect. To me, the girls look beautiful in the photos, but maybe these are creations that demand a certain amount of life experience to pull off well in person? If that's the case, then I like them even more.)


Saturday Night Special

The magazine is very well known, having been described by T, The New York Times Style Magazine as (ahem) "The best and most exquisitely laid-out music bimonthly in America" – but it remains a little-known fact that Wax Poetics is becoming a formidable record label as well, with A&R helmed by Amir Abdullah, formerly of Fat Beats and one-half of the world-renowned DJ duo Kon & Amir. This week Wax Po begings taking pre-orders (and selling full downloads) for their forthcoming release of a holy grail of crate digging, Lyman Woodard's Detroit jazz-funk classic Saturday Night Special.

(I was lucky enough to score an original, somewhat scratched-up copy at a stoop sale in Brooklyn a few years ago for $3, but regrettably without the cover, which in itself is reason enough to want the record.) Here's a sample:

Lyman Woodard Organization
Saturday Night Special (excerpt) mp3

One of the cool things about the Wax Poetics re-release is that they're using the original, un-cropped Leni Sinclair photograph adapted for the cover, acquired through the truly astounding Detroit connections of art director Josh Dunn:

Limited to 1500 copies, this one will go quick. Head for Wax Poetics to get more info and snap it up.

Silver Linings

Holland Cotter had a great piece in the New York Times recently about art in times of recession. In it, Cotter discusses how past economic downturns have forced artists to get scrappy, finding new ways to operate outside the art establishment, and changing the course of art history in the process:
In the early ’70s New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy, bleeding money and jobs. With virtually no commercial infrastructure for experimental art in place, artists had to create their own marginal, bootstrap model. They moved, often illegally, into the derelict industrial area now called SoHo, and made art from what they found there. Trisha Brown choreographed dances for factory rooftops; Gordon Matta-Clark turned architecture into sculpture by slicing out pieces of walls. Everyone treated the city as a found object.
Gordon Matta-Clark, Day's End, 1975

Cotter sees similar hardship – and opportunity – for artists today:
Students who entered art school a few years ago will probably have to emerge with drastically altered expectations. They will have to consider themselves lucky to get career breaks now taken for granted: the out-of-the-gate solo show, the early sales, the possibility of being able to live on the [proceeds of] their art....

At the same time, if the example of past crises holds true, artists can also take over the factory, make the art industry their own. Collectively and individually they can customize the machinery, alter the modes of distribution, adjust the rate of production to allow for organic growth, for shifts in purpose and direction. They can daydream and concentrate. They can make nothing for a while, or make something and make it wrong, and fail in peace, and start again.
It's inspiring to be reminded that although times are tough, there is often a creative upside to adversity. Read the full article on the Times website, here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In London Town

Looking at the slides from the London shows as they came online, I wasn’t super excited. But going back over my picks, I’ve completely changed my opinion. I loved the casual, sometimes messy styling in combination with the strong futuristic vibe at a lot of the shows. And as much as I liked the runways in New York, replete with chic, classic pieces done freshly and well, there was a newness and edginess going on across the pond that really resonates with me at the moment. Overall the London collections may have been less polished and more inconsistent, but it seemed like designers were taking more risks – which I guess makes sense for a fashion week that's known for launching the careers of young designers who have gone on to push fashion boundaries as established insiders. Anyway, it’s even more academic this year than usual because I’ve resolved to do much more shopping in my closet for Fall, but I have a feeling that I may be looking at what's there a little differently this year. Here are some highlights from the week (click to enlarge):

Christopher Kane

Giles Deacon



Josh Goot

Julien Macdonald

Louise Goldin, Danielle Scutt

Mary Katrantzou, Roksanda Ilincic

Meadham Kirchhoff

Paul Smith Women, Marios Schwab

Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Reality and Dream

I have mentioned my admiration for Jil Sander a few times previously, and the FW09 show did not disappoint.

I'm sure there will be more on that later from my better half, but for now, here's a good interview with the designer, Raf Simons, by Suzy Menkes of the International Herald Tribune. Along with people like Alber Elbaz, Raf keeps fashion interesting season after season.

Via The Moment.

See also:

Stuff we forgot we owned, Part 5

Vinyl placemats from Rotterdam, purchased in the gift shop of the Euromast.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Kids Are Alright

The graduating M.A. students from Central Saint Martins put on what was easily my favorite show of London Fashion Week. Highlights from the remaining London shows are upcoming, but this one deserves its own post. The future looks bright.

Katie Greenwood, Derek Lawlor, Derek Lawlor, Katie Greenwood,
Derek Lawlor

Birgit Soerensen, Birgit Soerensen, Virva Launo, Virva Launo,
Enza Avollo

Laura Mackness, David Koma, David Koma, Oden Wilson, David Koma

Abigail Briggs, David Koma, Abigail Briggs,
Oden Wilson, David Koma, David Koma

Monday, March 2, 2009

Out Loud

Walking to the new Pacific Standard office on Friday morning, I ran across this dude making his way down Broadway. You can't tell from the photo, but he was wearing a pair of beat-up maroon Saucony running shoes with one set of laces undone, had what appeared to be the handle of a squash racket sticking out of his messenger bag, and was carrying an old boombox that was playing Three Feet High and Rising at full volume. We were going the same way, so I shadowed this mobile party for a few blocks. Not only did De La Soul sound great in the open air, but coming years into the i-Pod revolution, it almost felt like a political statement. Cheers to you for doing your thing, sir, whoever you are.

De La Soul Jenifa Taught Me mp3

At Your Leisure

Here's a picture of the forthcoming Flexions 12", designed and released by Byron Kalet/Popular Noise, with photography by Kyle Johnson and art direction from yours truly. It will be out May 1st in an edition of 500 copies, but you can pre-order it now (the vinyl purchase includes a free digital download) and get more info at