Archive | August, 2008

Jackie of Camelot Would Approve!

28 Aug

Is it only me, or does our (potential) First Lady have the greatest wardrobe ever?!

Everyone keeps saying, “Oh, it’s the handlers that are dressing the Obama family.” But it’s not true! Michelle Obama insists on using the same Illinois-based designer she’s always used, Maria Pinto. And let me just tell you, that white flower pin on Sasha Obama is not a mistake, nor is the fact that the blue on Malia Ann‘s dress is the same as her mom’s.

And apparently the Michelle did her (Fashion) History homework and endeavoured to channel America’s favorite first lady’s iconic style by pairing a classic sheath with some chunky pearls. Yum.

I love the balloon sleeves, and the drape of fabric…I bet this red jacket rustles ever so slightly when she moves.

The elegance of this pale green suit, with a mod-looking cut and slight sheen really puts her in a league of her own.

It reminds me of the iconic green suit that Tippi Hedren wore in Hitchcock‘s The Birds.

Dare I say it? Can we elect Barack just so we can see what the First Lady would wear?


On The Music Warpath: Indie Soulfulness & Infectous Pop

28 Aug

My cousin Amette took me to the Troubadour on Monday night to see Bon Iver. This has sparked a musical fever for me–almost anything related to Amette ends up inspiring me in one way or another–and now I am on a warpath to find more music I want to fall in love with.

This following song, a Sarah Siskind cover of Lovin’s For Fools, makes me want to cry, for some inexplicable reason. There’s just a quality to it that makes me think that it’s sad. It makes me feel partially sad. I think I did start tearing up when I was standing there, transfixed by Bon Iver on stage. I suppose it’s slightly strange to want to hear something over and over again that makes you feel sad, but well, maybe it’s recognizing and capturing something along the lines of, if something/someone is not worth crying over, it wasn’t really meaningful to begin with.

[Now listen, I just went all over YouTube listening to many versions and hunting down the best version of this song, so you just, just must, click play. Okay, so the sound quality isn’t the best, slightly tinny, but it’s the clearest of all of them.]

And on the opposite side of the spectrum, there’s this wonderfully infectious pop confection from French singer-songwriter Sébastien Tellier, titled Divine. This song was the 2008 entry representing France at the Eurovision Song Contest, the annual song competition held by most members countries of the European Union.

When I hear this song, I feel like I should be bopping along to it as I walk along Bleecker, nibbling away at a Magnolia cupcake in my hand. I feel it is a bonafide cupcake-eating song. Hmm. Perhaps I am onto something here? Should start an iPod playlist entitled “Playlist To Be Utilized Whilst Eating Cupcakes”?

Divine was actually a source of great controversy in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest due to the fact that it was sung mostly in the English language, despite being the official French entry.

I say bollocks. Inspiration can come from a million different places, and if Tellier wants his English language song, I say he should have been let alone to have it. After all, his nationality and his intent is what is more important, is it not? In the end, Russia won, and it was their first Eurovision win. France has boasted five wins since the program’s inception in 1956, which is the second highest number of wins in Eurovision history, after Ireland’s seven, so it was high time Russia got a round.

Maury! Maury! Maury!

27 Aug

From one of my favorite sources of unadulterated fun, Married to the Sea by Drew and Natalie Dee.

Married To The Sea
Sigh*. How I do love random humor.

“Once”: Demands To Be Played More Than Just Once

26 Aug

Are you like me in that when you find a new musical artist that’s really taken your fancy, you can’t stop listening to them?

In a world crowded with Top 40 radio stations playing the most plastic fabrications they’ve irritatingly labelled as “music”, I have retreated to NPR, channeled through my local station of 89.3 KPCC. Over the years, colorful radio shows like This American Life with Ira Glass have helped me to quite successfully block out the latest horrific plastic pop, and indulge in hearing stories, a very favorite past time of mine. Simple, yet insightful episodes like “The Super” have kept me transfixed, letting the 405 traffic I am sitting in fade away around me.

But one can’t listen to public radio all the time. The human ear has a craving for musicality. How do I find new music, you ask? Most of the time I stumble across it randomly, have my super hip German friends send me some CDs, get dragged to a concert by my super hip cousin Amette, or even listen to the recommended music by the NPR program All Songs Considered. (I was introduced to The Detroit Cobras by this program. My favorite Detroit Cobras song: Silver & Gold.)

However, there is one group of artists that I have been seriously addicted to, and today, upon realising that I was playing the album on repeat for the fifth time, I knew I had get it out of my system partially by posting a blog entry dedicated to them. The music has an organic quality to it, evidenced by the fact that most of the film was shot by handheld cameras, some of the original musical performances even being captured as they were shooting, and dubbed over by their studio recordings afterwards. Here are Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, the actors and musicians behind this year’s most incredibly charming indie film, Once, singing the Academy Award-winning original song, “Falling Slowly“.

I hope that you fall in love with the beautiful simplicity and the elegance of the arrangements of this original soundtrack. Other favorites of mine include “When Your Mind’s Made Up” and “Say It To Me Now“.

Before I Die, I Want To…

25 Aug

Quick, tell me, before you even have a millisecond to dwell upon it–

What is it that you want to do before you die?

Learn guitar? Tell someone you love them? Travel the seven seas?

Here’s a fascinating look into the lives of ordinary people through a website showcasing a Polaroid project entitled, “Before I Die, I Want To…”. Here are some of my personal favorites.

Et moi?

Before I die, I want to own and live in a Park Slope brownstone with my husband, whoever he is, the children I will have, and my dogs. I will host Chrismukkah, summer lawn parties, and let it serve as L’Hôtel LoveMeDeux for old friends travelling from abroad. It will transcend the idea of just any old house and become the hub for a vast universe of friends, family and love.

Now I just need to find a spare $2 million to buy one. 🙂

Much thanks to my fellow Plurker FinnMcGuffin for sharing this site.

That Extra *Bah-Bump* of a Beat

24 Aug


So I am e-dating this guy.

Having seen an aunt get pretty well addicted to a dating chatroom and other related trials and tribs, I always thought online dating was quite…well, “pathetic” is not the right word. “Futile” or “unresolvable” aren’t right either.

It’s just that I always viewed her as a sort of sad character, eternally crouched over her computer keyboard, staring at the monitor, waiting for some guy in Podunk, California, to write her back. I just didn’t understand it. When the wait was over, she’s only be getting a few cold pixels of black on white on a computer screen and nothing else. What about the tangible electricity in the air when you catch the eye of a guy across the bar/produce section of the grocery store/park/beach/wherever? What about your heart beating that extra bah-bump of a beat as he walks over to you and asks what your name is, and, if it would please you to have dinner/coffee/cocktails/concert with him? What about all the awkwardness involved in that first kiss goodnight on the front stoop?

What about all that? I just didn’t get it. Circumventing all that, how could you deem something a “romance”? Sure, we have You’ve Got Mail to exemplify how it can end happily ever after, but come on, even Nora Ephron, the Writer/Director Extraordinaire of Iconic Romantic Comedies (Does When Harry Met Sally ring a bell?) couldn’t keep the e-spark lasting well enough through the first act that she had to have Meg and Tom meet up at a literary party and initiate a spat over the caviar being served. “What is that?,” Meg says, looking rather cross, “What are you doing? You’re taking all the caviar? That caviar is a garnish!” to which Tom merely gives a charming, but flippant nod of the head and scrapes it all onto his plate in one elegant, fell swoop. The audience is sold, and waits patiently through the second act of “they-hate-each-other-but-are-really-actually-falling-in-love”, to get to the final scene shot in front of a flowerbed in technicolor-gorgeous Central Park where Meg tearfully declares, “I wanted it to be you!”, the violins swell, and a solemn, courageous Tom gathers her up into his arms as all errant storylines get swept up into one romantic and tidy pile.

Okay wait. What the hell does caviar have to do with my e-dating? Let me back it up.

Several months ago, an L.A. friend of mine with whom I partied on the weekend and corresponded on Twitter during the workweek grind, told me about Plurk, the latest and greatest in online fun. I have never been much involved in such a site based on such randomness, without my friends already having been established on it. I say random because it really is–you post your life on Plurk in little status updates through the day, and random people comment on your status updates. It sounds so flat when I write it like that, but really, it can be quite a sociable, even enriching experience. [For example, I randomly stumbled across and made friends with a fellow Plurkster who really loves films, more than I do, and we Plurk with each other about that film that we want to see make it out of development hell, or who gave an exceptional performance in what, or which director said what to which other producer, what what obscure foreign film is the soupe du jour. Okay wait, I still sound like a total dork. Never mind, you get the drift, moving on.]

Somewhere in the fray of random bePlurkfriending, one of these particular Plurkers stood out to me. His writing employed dry, crass humor, which hinted at the obvious intelligence required when writing in such a fashion. (Sigh*, it’s always the wit that does it for me. Nothing is sexier than a sarcastic, self-deprecating guy, à la Conan O’Brien. Pompadour not necessary.) One night, when it seemed right, after a long string of steady interaction, I privatePlurked him on a whim:

“Okay, I have to know. Are you single?”
“Haha. Cute. Yes, I am single.” He writes back.
“Is it insane to say that one could be attracted to a Plurker based on, well, Plurks?”
“Nothing is insane anymore, I don’t think.” he writes.

From there it goes on to more privatePlurks and then e-mail. With me on the Blackberry and him on an iPhone, we’ve got our push e-mail working overtime throughout the day. I’m getting a rental at Blockbuster and a fro yo from the store next door, he gets a mobile photo of the concoction I’ve made up and an update on my Rental of the Day. He’s taking a nighttime stroll on the boardwalk, I get a mobile photo of the peacefulness of the darkened sand landscape stretching out towards the open sea. We find out that we’ve got similar views when it comes to relationships, how they should work, et cetera. We’re refreshed, we’re incredulous, we’re surprised.

Around the same time, one of my best friends, “Nelle”, opens a account.

“I never thought you’d start on one of those sites,” I said, surprised. “You’re so nice and popular, I don’t think you have trouble meeting people.”
“Yeah, I don’t,” she says, “But it’s the kind of people that I meet that matters.”

I know she’s becoming frustrated with the lack of dateable guys in her neighborhood. Nelle is a sensitive, highly-evolved type, who oftentimes finds the behaviour of people her age, male and female, slightly juvenile. She would never settle for just any guy from just any bar on Saturday night. I tell my bestie about my e-dating. I don’t want her to feel like she’s the only one who has turned to the Information SuperHighway to find the connections that are lacking in our local circuits, because she isn’t.

“Have you met up with him yet?” she asks.
“Oh no, Nelle,” I say, “I can’t. He lives in New York.”
“Oh my God!” she says, “So, tell me about him.”

I tell her.

“Hah!” Nelle laughs triumphantly, “He’s so your type.”

Ha ha. Through this all, I did realize that I have a “type”, and he’s it. And she hasn’t even seen a photo yet. I rejoice in the fact that my bestie, who really knows me, sees the relevance and the connection that Mr. Brooklyn and I have.

Still, occasionally, logistical reality sets in.

“This is insane,” I think to myself. “I’m in Los Angeles, he’s in New York. How did Meg and Tom deal with it again? I need to go re-rent Sleepless in Seattle.”

But maybe it’s not insane. Maybe it would only be considered insane if we weren’t real people, really connecting; we are, and we do. I consult my favorite cousin, “Amette”.

“These days, it is way easier to get to know someone online,” she says, matter-of-factly, “There’s less of that self-imposed barrier that happens when you meet someone face-to-face, that comes from being scared about what the other thinks about you.

I agree with Amette, but it’s still a new and tenuous concept for me. Of course, my Blackberry dings just then. Yes, I’ve Got Mail, and it reads, quite simply:

“I hope you are it, because I am tired of dating.”

I am defeated. All preconceived notions of e-dating are thrown out the door.

Because no matter the delivery method, whether in-person or via e-mail, such a phrase, such a thought that you could be someone’s “it“–has the unadulterated power to make a heart beat that extra bah-bump of a beat.