Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Skid Road

Skid Road
, Murray Morgan's seminal history of Seattle, was first published on this day in 1951 – the 100th anniversary of the Denny party's landing at Alki Point*, which signifies the beginning of the city.

Murray Morgan (right) and friends in Pioneer Square.
Photo by the great Mary Randlett, via History Link.

The title Skid Road refers to Yesler Way, where logs were skidded down to the waterfront. As it somewhat is today, Yesler also represented a border between neighborhoods and all the political implications that go along with that; it's too much to go into here, but suffice it to say that it makes for an interesting story, and Skid Road tells it well. Pick it up for next to nothing at your local used book store or through

*Historical side note: Alki, which means "by and by" in Chinook jargon, was originally named "New York" by its founder, Charles Terry.

Friday, November 12, 2010

We Need Newness but We Also Have to Know Where We're Coming From


Suzy Menkes interviews Lanvin artistic director Alber Elbaz for the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. I just love both of them – fashion journalist Suzy Menkes is at this point essentially a great historian, and Elbaz is funny and magnetic, a stunningly brilliant artist in his field.

[+] Select looks from Lanvin Spring/Summer 2011 via

Click here to watch the video (and others) at the New York Times' website – the embed above is a little cut-off.

Image of the Day

Jim Campbell, Scattered Light
Madison Square Park, NYC.

I've read a couple of descriptions of this installation now and I'm still not exactly sure how it works. But the piece (which involves curtains of light bulbs and high-contrast video footage of commuters dashing through Grand Central Terminal) creates the 3-D effect of shadowy figures moving among twinkling lights. The work is one of three site-specific installations by Campbell on view now in the park, each of which uses light to refract and interact with the surrounding city and its inhabitants. It sounds lovely. The installations, commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, are on view through February 28, 2011. More info here.

Your Weekly Mr. Littlejeans

Jeans, sound asleep, sharing a pillow with his mama. Usually he wakes me up in the early morning by licking my face and putting his paws on my eyelids, but on this particular morning I beat him to the punch.

And then everyone woke up.

Fungus Finder

I went mushroom hunting with my friend Jason in a top-secret location last Sunday.

It was nice to be out in the woods, even in the rain, and we came back with around 10 pounds of Chanterelles.

That's about all I can say about it.

Flux Finder

George Maciunas,
Fluxmanifesto, 1971. This was the first thing I read this morning, in an email from Maya Stendhal Gallery, one of my all-time favorites. The gallery's current show is Fluxhouse: Maciunas Prefabricated Building System: An Assessment Report and you can read and see much more on Maciunas and Fluxus here. An interesting review of the gallery's recent show Mr. Fluxus is worth a look here.

Guest Cat

It's Pom Pom! (Click to enlarge. Do it now.)
This is our friend Theresa's cat.

The way Pom Pom stretches out reminds me of this:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Everyone

The great State of Washington turns 121 years-old today. Above, an Asahel Curtis photograph taken in 1889, the year we achieved statehood, depicting the Griffith Davies book store on 1st Avenue between Cherry and Columbia Streets just before the great Seattle fire. As everyone knows, Washington went on to become the best state in the Union, trailed closely by (in approximate order) New York, California, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, West Virginia, Vermont, Minnesota, Montana, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Canada. Honorable mention but I have not been there: Alabama and Louisiana.

Happy Birthday, Washington!

Photo courtesy of the UW Digital Archives.

Best Foot Forward

I mean, if you're going to wear a pair of black boots, you might as well wear a pair of black boots.
Versace Versus high boots with metal
(from the bridge collection designed by Christopher Kane),

$1395 at
Opening Ceremony.

Image of the Day

Jane Birkin, late '60s, photographer regrettably unknown

Two Jane Birkin records I designed this year for Light in the Attic Records got a nice write-up at The Moment earlier this week (not that I am mentioned, but as any read of this blog knows, I hold the New York Times in such generally high regard that I'm always happy when they discuss something I'm in any way attached to... and I figure they probably don't hate the design if they feel it's worthy of coverage). Anyway. Click here to read and go to for music.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kick, Push


Les Savy Fav "Let's Get Out of Here" video by Luke Harris. Get Les Savy Fav records and skateboards (?!) at, and see more of Luke Harris's work at

Sweetness and Light

Valentino Spring 2011 RTW


This past Sunday's issue of T: The New York Times Style Magazine featured another great Tom Kundig house, this one for Merrill Wright (daughter of Seattle's all-time greatest patrons of the arts, Bagley and Virginia Wright). The sod-roofed 2200 square-foot concrete, glass and steel home is inlaid in the rocks of the San Juans; it's another example of the way Kundig's work respects its place by finding a balance between blending in and fully embracing what it is. This is true Northwest modernism.

Click here to read Pilar Viladas' article and see a slideshow of more photos by Dwight Eschliman.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

6:00 PM

Women "Drag Open" from Public Strain
Jagjaguwar/Flemish Eye)

(Photo: A Duster parked in what to me is the nicest neighborhood in Seattle. You know it's a nice neighborhood when there are a lot of old cars like this on the street, because the people who live there have old money and don't give a crap if their car is old. This car is like Grey Gardens x William Eggleston Stranded In Canton.)

Image of the Day

Image from issue 2.9 of Abe's Penny, featuring photography by Massimo Vitali and a short story by James Yeh. Get info and subscriptions at

Monday, November 8, 2010

Good Living


When we were up in La Conner a few weeks ago, we stopped in at Nasty Jack's Antiques. I found a stash of old Gourmet magazines from the late 60s and early 70s, and snapped up a few. (Click any of the images to enlarge.)

I love old food photography. Not just from a purely aesthetic perspective – although there's that too – but it's also fascinating to me that what we eat is no less subject to trend than the clothes we wear.

Instead of fabric and silhouette, it's ingredients (celery salad with mustard cream, anyone?) and presentation.

This story makes me want to revive the Sunday picnic:

The old car and liquor ads are also a bonus.

7 pm. Time for dinner and a drink.