Friday, May 29, 2009

Dream a Little Dream

Tiny Vipers Dreamer mp3 (via Sub Pop)

New music for the quieter parts of your weekend, produced by Andrew Hernandez, who (the puzzle is all coming together) also works with Balmorhea. Can't wait to hear the whole album. More info here.

Photo David Belisle

East of the Mountains

We spent last weekend at my parents' farm in Northern Idaho. When we left Seattle on Friday evening the weather forecast looked great, so we tossed our sleeping bags and tent in the back of the Jeep with the idea that we'd bunk outside.

Soda Lake, Columbia National Wildlife Refuge

We planned to make the drive in our customary five hours, but after four hours in stop-and-go traffic over Snoqualmie Pass (I'm sad to say that NYC apparently has nothing on Seattle in this department), we were thrilled to collapse around midnight at the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge just outside of Othello. It was surprisingly warm and there was not a cloud to be seen so we slept without the rain fly. The night sky in the middle of the Eastern Washington desert is incredible and the sunrise in the morning was beautiful – it took what seemed like hours for the light to seep over the 360-degree horizon. The photo above is the view from our campsite in the morning.

Some birds had made their nest at the information center in the
campground, and didn't take too kindly to Strath taking this photo.

The stated purpose of the trip, other than just getting away for the holiday, was to help my parents with some work on the little cabin on their property that they saved from collapsing last fall and are now slowly fixing up.

We did some work, but there was also plenty of time for relaxing – reading, taking some walks, eating some good food, sitting around and shooting the shit, and just enjoying the scenery.

The cabin looks out into some woods. This is the view looking back.
At some point the beams sticking out will be a porch
that wraps around three sides.

Cocktail hour (beer and peanuts) started promptly
at 5 p.m. every day.

The late spring is a beautiful time of year in this part of the state – everything is green and in bloom.

Looking east from the cabin to Potato Hill,
just outside of Deary, Idaho.

In the end, we got a little accomplished, and did a lot of nothing. All in all, a pretty nice way to spend our first Memorial Day weekend back in the Northwest.

Utopian Dreams

.We're headed out of town so we're going to miss this one, but Cairo has an opening on Saturday that looks great: Peg and Awl features drawings by Seattle artist Toby Liebowitz, with an accompanying collaborative sculptural/sonic installation by Max Liebowitz and Sean Pecknold. From the gallery's description of the show:
Peg and Awl is a fictional society based in Douglas County, Oregon between the spring of 1933 and the winter of 1934. A community built from the dreams of the great depression; a place for artists, carpenters, writers and adventurers with visions of a utopian society. Through a series of graphite drawings that span the seasons of a year, we witness the rise and fall of a community of people who are forced to face the realities of human desire and the harsh unknown.
That is a crazy scope for a project – I'm excited to see it.

More info at Cairo.

Still Life with Louboutin

I'm conflicted. Given the times, I can't help but find something about the blatant opulence of the new Christian Louboutin print campaign a little off-putting (a feeling heightened, maybe, by the fact that the styling makes me recall the people who were on the wrong side of the Bastille, and a suspicion that the concept is just an artful way to scream conspicuous luxury at the super-rich).

But on a purely aesthetic level the images are exquisite, on a branding level I think they're genius, and there is a dark undertone of decadence (and maybe irony?) to them that keeps me from resenting the unattainable. And of course, fashion is about nothing if not fantasy. (I'm also forced to admit that my love of a beautiful shoe places it somewhere near water and food in my own hierarchy of needs.)

In the end I think I just have to give it up for the creative direction that produced a beautiful campaign able to operate simultaneously on so many different levels. See the entire campaign (photography by Peter Lippmann, styling by Amandine Moine, and creative direction by Nicolas Menu), at View on Fashion.

Your Weekly Mr. Littlejeans

Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (Mr. Littlejeans and Inez)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Today's Your Birthday

When Sky and I were kids our parents used to wake us up on the morning of our birthdays by blasting The Beatles' "Birthday" throughout the house. It was pretty sweet because your first thought upon waking up was that it was your birthday, and that your family was psyched about it.

Today is my mom's birthday. I won't go on and on but I think she is a unique and tremendously cool person, and I'm proud to be her son. Happy birthday, mom.*

I think this might actually have been my dad's birthday, I'm not sure... anyway, this is what birthdays looked like in the Shepard house ca.1973. Chic, no?

*Don't worry,
I don't live on the blog, I'll be telling her in person as well.

Just a Kid from Croydon

Kate Moss at 19, photographed by Corinne Day. (Click to enlarge.)

[left: muslin shirt with high-cut briefs by Gossard;
right: lace bra by Janet Reger with vest dress by Liza Bruce,
worn as skirt]

Stacy's blog photo yesterday kindly reminded me that I've been meaning to post these images of Kate Moss, from the book Unseen Vogue: The Secret History of Fashion Photography, which I picked up in a used bookstore in Bozeman, MT on our way across the country last October. I was never a huge Kate fan until more recently – Christy was always my girl and I never loved the super young look. But there is no denying that she is the embodiment of chic (and a sharp retort to every celeb who relies on a stylist to get dressed), and with some years on her I think she is much more beautiful now than she ever was. Still, when I saw these photos of her from way back when I have to admit that I was mesmerized. These are black-and-white out-takes from a series of daylight photos taken in 1993 by Kate's friend Corinne Day, in the London flat Kate shared with her then-boyfriend Mario Sorrenti. Speaking of the photo shoot, Day recalls, "American tan tights falling down Kate's legs – we were poking fun at fashion. Halfway through the shoot, I realized that it wasn't fun for her any more and that she had become a 'model.' She hadn't realized before how beautiful she was."

What's Really Going On

Via Raindrop Hustla: a really, incredibly dope new Jake One video for "Home" off his record White Van Music.

Directed by Zia Mohajerjasbi (who also did the Gabriel Teodros video I posted about last year), it feels to me like a Seattle version of this video (and not only because of Ishmael Butler's presence). Two classics in my book. As for the song itself – as much as I am obsessed with drums, the contrast of a drumless hip-hop cut or one with percussion that is integral to the sample, as this seems to be, is extra good when it's good. I always knew Jake One would blow up.

Pick up Jake One's White Van Music ...immediately if not soon.

Alright, I'll play it again, yeah:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Work It

I know this has been out there for a while, but I just saw it and had to share. It's video of model Natasa Vojnovic being shot by Terry Richardson for Purple. It's a pretty funny clip and an entertaining reminder that modeling at this kind of level takes more than a pretty face.

Purple #11 from Purple Magazine on Vimeo.


[ click images to enlarge | click here for more ]


Au Revoir Simone's excellent, slightly darker third album Still Night, Still Light came out last week. Here's an interview I did with them a few years back for

Brooklyn girls Heather D'Angelo, Erika Forster, and Annie Hart are out with their second album as Au Revoir Simone, and with equal parts romantic natural world and '80s new wave winding its way through the keyboards, it feels like the perfect accompaniment to summer in the city. They took a little break from their current tour (with Peter Bjorn & John and Voxtrot) to answer our questionnaire.

1. How did Au Revoir Simone come together as a group?
We wanted to form a keyboard collective, drinking tea and chit-chatting and staying up late learning cover songs.

2. What are you working on right now?
We are touring to support our new album The Bird Of Music, and having a lovely time! We played a BBC radio session today and we're playing a really fun party in London tonight. We have our sights on Japan this summer and festivals in Europe as well as our first U.S. headlining tour.

3. What has been inspiring you lately?
Erika: Meeting people who are exceptional. Also, reaching the state of delirium which often brings lots of creativity with it.
Annie: Gandhi
Heather: Gliese 581c

4. Describe your aesthetic.
Erika: Timeless, universal
Annie: I don't know
Heather: Magical realism, if that makes any sense. Renaissance fairs and the like.

5. Who are your heroes?
John and Yoko
Annie: Gloria Steinem
Heather: Dr. Charles Liu, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Dr. Maggie Turnbull, and my little brother, Jonathan

Still Night, Still Light is out now on limited edition 10" vinyl among other formats. More info and sound clips at

An older favorite:
Au Revoir Simone Through the Backyards mp3
(live version from PRI's Fair Game)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the cross-hairs. And take them down.

Jim Dine, Five Feet of Colorful Tools, 1962

I just saw the artist list for the Seattle Art Museum's upcoming show, Target Practice: Painting under Attack, 1949-78, and it looks incredible: John Baldessari, Lynda Benglis, Mel Bochner, Jim Dine, Dan Flavin, Lucio Fontana, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Lee Lozano, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Richard Pettibone, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha, and Lawrence Weiner, among many others too numerous to list here.

Lucio Fontana, Spatial Concept, Waiting, 1960

Not only is it an impressive group of artists both passed on and presently working, but I'm happy to see that the curator (SAM's Michael Darling) apparently saw fit to focus this show not just upon artists whose attacks on the conventions of painting occurred at a literal, physical level, but also those who challenged the privileged position of paint on canvas on more fundamental – ideological and conceptual – grounds. While it would be an understatement to say that it's a lot of territory to cover in one show, I'm definitely excited to see how it comes off.

Dan Flavin, Untitled (to Henri Matisse), 1964

Darling will present an overview of the exhibit on June 5 as part of SAM's First Fridays lecture series. The show opens to the public on June 25.

Mel Bochner, Language Is Not Transparent, 1970

Memorial Day

Palouse, WA

Between Two Ferns with Bradley Cooper