Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My mighty, might life list

At the end of my day yesterday I fell down the internet wormhole into a stumble upon* and discovered this girl. Truth be told, my journey began with a few of the attendees, reading about the Mighty Summit she organized. I have seen a few of these life lists floating around the internet. They are in the same vein as a 'bucket list', which seemed to gain in popularity after that movie with Jack Nicholson, and I really had no interest in creating one. Don't get me wrong. I love lists and consider myself to be at the forefront of the whole "30 before 30" thing. That said, I hate succumbing to trends despite how good they may seem.

Well, after I spent a good 30 minutes perusing these sites and learning more about the intent behind the lists and Mighty Girl's goals for the project, I decided I would be stupid not to jump on the bandwagon. Do I think you need a list to truly live life? Nope...just like I don't think you need a to-do list to actually be productive during the day. However, there is something empowering in seeing what you want in print. It's that extra push to accomplish goals, big or small.

One of the things I was particularly struck by was this sentiment...

"...often our grandest dreams are someone else’s day to day life. You want to write a book? I’m a publisher! You want to go on a cruise? I’m the publicity director for a cruise line! At the Summit, we asked everyone to talk to one another about their lists, and see where we could help each other..."

What a grand concept! Not only can you use your life list to help you live a remarkable life, these lists can be shared to help others achieve theirs. I love the selflessness in this.

So, in the spirit of owning a few little life goals, I present my mighty, mighty life list. I think 100 is the goal, but I decided against pressuring myself to finish. I've got a lot of years in front of me and need to leave space for new interests and ideas. We've got a pretty wide scale and scope here, and while I tried to stay away from the abstract, a few of those snuck in, too. I should also add that these are in no particular order ;-)


*A stumble upon can be defined as that random website you eventually wind up reading after following interesting links from at least 3 different sites.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Graffiti stalking

I had an idea yesterday. I think it was a rather brilliant* idea. The problem I'm running into is with exactly how to implement it.

You see, I need a graffiti artist (or three). How does one go about finding a graffiti artist? The very nature of graffiti is the underground culture, the anonymity to the general populous, and let's face it, as cool as I think I am, I am very much the general populous. If a graffiti artist passed me on the street, they would immediately think NARC.

I was AIM friends with a graffiti artist once a few years ago. We became friends through Flickr and would chat about graffiti at random hours of the night. Besides my one failed attempt at graffiti, this was my only personal connection** to someone who actually risked their freedom for the sake of their art.

20081115 - SubGenius Devival in Baltimore - 171-7145 - graffiti
photo credit: Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos

The legality of graffiti and street art and the freedom of expression come into play. My idea is 100% legal, so there's the benefit of a jail-free session for the artist. However, is the adrenaline and the rebellion of it part of what makes a graffiti artist? Will the fact that I need more than a little artistic control of my project be a deal breaker?

Irregardless of what the answer to those questions might be, I have to try. So, we are back to my original question. How does one go about finding a graffiti artist? Hanging out in dark alleys and lonely buildings late at night isn't an option I'm willing to pursue, and hanging fliers with those little pull tabs at popular graffiti sites seems more than a little hokey. Instead, I've taken to the internet this morning and am flexing my research and social networking fingers. Tons of Baltimore graffiti lovers and stalkers (and maybe artists?) will wake up this morning with Flickr messages, YouTube comments and emails through their blogs about my search.

While I await a response, you should check out these cool pictures offered up by local artists and photographers.

Rhaps777 at the Hippodome

Dominic A. Castro

Carlos Vigil


*Of course, who doesn't think their own ideas are brilliant.
**I take that back. I once got my grandmother to do a bit of sticker graffiti with me. I don't lie when I say my family supports almost all of my endeavors.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall: A Love Story

Some People live for summers filled with beaches and suntans. They feel truly alive only when the days are heavy with heat. I am a Fall baby, meant to blossom when the days are short, the air crisp and leaves brilliant shades of red, orange and yellow.

Today officially marks the first day of Fall, and I am fully prepared to come out of my shell and start enjoying outdoor activities again. A blanket spread over fallen leaves makes lunch more special. A thermos filled with soup becomes a cute accessory.


And my hair...my hair can finally be released from the prison in which it resides on top of my head. So, in honor of the first day of Fall, I let my hair down and got it freshly chopped. New season. New hair.
Happy Fall!

fall me

A really good day

I had a really good day this past Friday. Don't get me wrong, I have good days all the time, but this particular day was filled with such beautiful symmetry. So many things going so right at precisely the right time. I'm not one to literally leap for joy, but if I could have gained air, I would have been sailing. I was the general of a well-oiled army, the conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It is feelings like these that I want to remember.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beautiful Failures

On Saturday evening, I searched everywhere for a partner in crime to drag to the opening of Beautiful Failures at Art Whino. Ravena, who rarely shies away from an adventure, agreed to make the trek to National Harbor with me and gaze at art with important, knowing glances.

I like art (a lot) and sometimes wonder if I should develop more discerning taste. Walking into a gallery like Art Whino, one of my favorites, I find that I am overwhelmed by the pieces before me. Seeing so many pieces that catch my eye is a bit like seeing an attractive boy. My pulse starts to race, and I can feel my face getting a bit flushed. I struggle internally, fighting the impulse to zoom on to the next piece of eye candy when I should be fully digesting the emotion and effort of the work before me. Below are just a few of the paintings and bits of mixed media that gave me that initial rush.

Walking through the exhibit I came full circle. While I can take away visual inspiration from a number of different artists and art forms, discernment comes when deciding which ones I want to allow into my home and to become a part of my life. Which artists am I willing to support with my hard-earned paycheck? Maybe I'm taking this entire analogy too far, but selecting a piece of art can be akin to selecting a mate. I believe the right pieces don't just hang on the wall, giving your eye a pleasant place to rest when sitting on the couch. They should also give back in some way, perhaps sparking a mental debate or emotional response.

A number of factors contributed to the way I experienced Richard Salcido's works for Beautiful Failures. It was a fairly crowded opening with live sketching, a musical performance and a lot of bodies milling about, including a decent number of kids. Art is, and should be, for the people, but if you know me at all, you know that I do not function well in crowds. I am an intimate setting, small group kind of gal. By the time we had wound our way around to Salcido, I was feeling a bit raw and exposed (and a tad judgemental).

Fitting emotions given that this is precisely what I felt Salcido's pieces conveyed. After seeing a preview of his work online, I had been a bit worried they would be misogynistic. Instead, it seems to me that Salcido portrays women and girls at their most vulnerable and raw. He captures a moment in time that isn't always pretty but that can be heartbreakingly beautiful. Was there amazing technique or anything truly groundbreaking about these paintings? Not really. What Salcido excelled at was conveying emotion and creating a bond with the viewer (at least this one), and that, to me, is a much bigger art win.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just another funny face

This isn't really a fashion-related* post, but I'm still doing it in honor of NYFW** this week. Have you seen Funny Face? No? It's S'Wonderful. It features Audrey Hepburn as a philosophy-loving bookstore clerk who is whisked off her feet by Fred Astaire, who plays a fashion photographer based loosely on Richard Avedon.

Hepburn's character finds herself swept into the world of high fashion as she suddenly becomes the It face of Quality magazine***. One of my favorite scenes from the movie is the opening sequence to "Think Pink". I find the staging, with its symmetry and minimal use of color, very compelling. However, the best scene, in my opinion, takes place in the Parisian cafe where she goes to discuss philosophy, particularly emphaticalism. Fred Astaire swoops in to remind her of her work commitments, and in response, Audrey Hepburn lets loose with the moves of a veteran hepcat. This scene alone was the reason this found a way into my fastidious DVD collection.

It's a cute story with sweet songs that will stick in your head. Personally, I would recommend you watch it even if just for the visuals. I have to confess that I watched it myself for embarrassing reasons. First (and foremost), it's Lorelai's favorite movie in Gilmore Girls, and it plays a pivotal role in what might be the cutest date ever. The other reason I tracked this movie down is that the dance scene featured prominently in a Gap commercial a couple of years ago, and my interest was piqued enough that I researched the original source.

*I seriously have no idea what crawled up my butt and died to warrant all of this mention of fashion. Blame it on Fall.

**On a completely different tangential, did anyone else watch Fashion's Night Out last night? I found it oddly compelling despite the overt plugs for consumerism.

***The woman who played the magazine's editor is actually the author of the Eloise books. So weird.

****All official promo photos pulled from Google images.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Round and round

I can't believe my grandmother has been gone a year.
It passed
in the blink of an eye.
I actually missed the anniversary. I feel guilty at not having lived the moment again...not being there for my mom, who I'm sure remembered.
My memory jogged as my mom was telling me about her trip to Michaels yesterday. She went to get flowers and other stuff to decorate my grandmother's grave. My grandmother loved the different seasons and holidays and always believed her house should get a little makeover in
the form of special tea towels, seasonal candles, etc. Now, her grave gets a makeover each season. My mom said my grandfather pointed out that Halloween was my grandmother's favorite and that my mom should get something scary. We laughed, a good, soul-cleansing laugh, while on the phone at the idea of her decorating a gravestone for Halloween. "Mom," I said "don't you think a cemetery and graves are creepy enough?" Tears rolled down my cheeks as we laughed over skeletons and witches and other decorations my mom passed up.
It was good--this laughter--knowing that somewhere she was laughing with me. And, after we got off the phone, I went and hung up some of my grandmother's fall dish towels in my kitchen.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ginsberg at the Gallery

I took advantage of having to do some work DC and finally made it to the National Gallery of Art to catch Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg before it closes. I ended up walking the couple of miles from the office to NGA, thankful that summer is finally on its way out. Nothing beats a good stroll for a little reflection.

Getting to Ginsberg required cutting through Impressionism. I’ll admit that I was pretty full of myself, scoffing at being directed through a style of art I thought I’d left behind in my teens. I was all set to breeze through this section when, not having gone five feet, a Modigliani stopped me in my tracks.

Modigliani 1

More Modernist than Impressionist, I’m sure all of your serious art lovers consider him a tad cliché. I don’t care. I love everything about them.

Modigliani 2

Modigliani 3
(I wonder if artists who paint nudes today paint them media-skinny.)

My new approach to the larger galleries is to only hit exhibits I’m interested in and not feel guilted into taking on the entire gallery in a day. I was briefly sidetracked by a few pieces by Georges Braque but was determined to keep on toward Ginsberg.

braques 1

Braques 2

Braques 3

I was a little worried about being under-whelmed with the Ginsberg exhibit. What could I possibly get from photos of the Beat literati? Instead, I found validation and more than a little encouragement. Ginsberg excelled at the snapshot, documenting his life and that of his friends. I was struck by how much his photos were like mine and those of my friends. He captured life’s moments and documented his people. There was an intimacy to the photos that drew me in and made me feel like I, too, was a part of their lives. Not only was this something tangible he could look back on over the years, but documenting it also allowed him to share this with us.

Ginsberg 1

It was a reminder to keep documenting life. Post your photos to Facebook, Flickr or that new photo album. Write about your photos and record your stories, too. Future generations will thank you for the context. A quote I saw this week on Twitter comes to mind.

“Thinking about your legacy when you’re 30 gives you a 20-year head start from when most people start worrying about it.”

We won’t all be Ginsbergs, but even the most mundane among us can inform future generations. By the way, did I mention how hot Kerouac was in 1953?

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Just like paper dolls

Despite the fact that I spent my teenage years pouring over fashion magazines and catalogues, I am far from a fashion maven in my adult life. I like nothing more than to find a few pieces I like and wear them like they are my uniform. My pragmatic side believes in wearing things out and limiting consumption of material goods. Still, as I think I've demonstrated here, I am lured by pretty images, and clothes (along with photoshoots) play right into that at times. So, when my amazing mother told me she wanted to buy me some new clothes and sent me to a website* to pick some out, I got the grand idea to put my fashion-loving friends to the challenge.

The rules? Put together three fall outfits for me. Take my personality and interests into consideration. Pretty simple and to the point. Behold their selections (you have to do some scrolling)...

I chose three winning outfits and promised fame and glory. Want to know who won?

Fall 2

Fall 2 by scarls17 featuring red tights

This was my pick for best every day look. It's simple and could take me from work to running errands. I love the combination of stripes and the addition of fun tights. This person also knows it is highly unlikely I would wear heels.

This was my favorite look for evening. I'm not really a leather girl, but I loved how feminine and edgy this was. Bold colors, too. I'm not going to lie...it might have been the ring that won me over.

My third selection was this combo. She was the only person who really took into consideration what my work sometimes involves. Not only is it fun, but this girl has some of the best taste in accessories and shoes (IMHO).

Needless to say, I loved bits and pieces of everything proposed. I also love how excited everyone got to do the challenge. Thanks, gang!

*I should point out that none of the clothes here relate in any way to the website my mom sent me to. We don't roll like that.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

the skirt

I made a skirt last night out of a vintage sheet from the '60s. I can't lie. I'm pretty proud of myself seeing as how I had no pattern, sewed it all by hand and even added a zipper. Hell, it even has pleats.

Does it fit perfectly? No, the waist is too big.

Still, I had an idea. I brought it to fruition. I love motivation.