Monday, December 22, 2008

What a Drag

Bona Drag, meaning "nice outfit" in Polari, a secret language used by the swinging London gay set in the 60's, is my current obsession. Located in Encinitas, the site boasts some pretty awesome finds which won't break your bank (leather jacket for $98). Their snake vertebrate necklace (see second picture down) rocks my world and also, incidentally, reminds me of bacon. I'm also inspired by the sweet studded ballet flats...I'm going to fashion a pair with the studs I bought on ebay. If you're still looking for x-mas gifts, the site ships express until the 23rd for christmas arrival with gorgeous packaging. I've got my eye on the peacock necklace in case anyone's wondering.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wizard Of AUS

Australian film director Peter Weir has captured our attention lately, not with a new film, but with some old ones. Born in Sydney in 1944, he attended school for art and law before moving on to film, at the University of Sydney. He made several films for the Commonwealth Film Unit before branching off on his own.

His first feature-length film was The Cars That Ate Paris, in 1975, followed by Picnic At Hanging Rock. In 1977 he made The Last Wave, starring Richard Chamberlain. His next film brought international attention to Mel Gibson, in 1977's Gallipoli. His most notable American films were Witness, Dead Poet's Society, The Truman Show, and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

The Last Wave is the first Weir movie I saw. This suspenseful tale follows an Australian lawyer who takes the case of a group of Aborigines, accused of killing a member of their group. Chamberlain plays the lawyer, who suspects the men he is representing are actually tribal Aborigines, who are believed not to live in the city. I was on the edge of my seat as I watched Chamberlain discover the secrets of this ritualistic group of tribal people. Psychedelic dream sequences, apocalyptic visions, and spooky music all set the mood for this thrilling drama.

The other Weir film I fell in love with is Picnic at Hanging Rock. Hanging Rock was adapted from Joan Lindsay's novel of the same name. On Valentine's Day in 1900, a group of schoolgirls traveled to Hanging Rock, a geological formation in Victoria. Mysteriously, every one's watch stops at noon, and an odd aura surrounds the area. Three of the most popular and beautiful girls, followed by their dumpy and desperate classmate, decide to explore the rock, though they have been instructed not to do so. Suddenly, Miranda, the leader, seems to fall into a hypnotized daze, and the girls wander up the rock. They pass out, wake up, remove their shoes and stockings, and wander on. Edith, the dumpy one, can't go any further, and screams for help. The three other girls are missing, without a trace. As the film progresses, we follow Michael, a young Englishman visiting the area, who becomes obsessed with finding the girls. Back at the school, hysteria ensues, and further tragedy strikes. Quiet diffusion, gentle Victorian voices, and the mysterious ambiance of Gheorghe Zamfir's pan flute add to the haunting tension of the story.

Gorgeous Gore

Last night, a friend turned me on to Bittersweets NY, an incredible jewelry company out of Brooklyn. In 2002, a woman named Robin began handcrafting exquisite little pieces in her apartment, and Bittersweets was born.

These pieces are not cheap (silver is around $150 and up, while gold is closer to $400 and up) but they are all custom made when you order. Bittersweets' aesthetic is nothing if not macabre, but fantastic and unique as well. There are charms, bracelets, rings, and necklaces in the image of maggots, earthworms, vampire teeth, hearts (biological, of course), severed hands and fingers, unicorn horns....

And if all that wasn't enough to pierce your heart, they offer classes! The class is held in New York's jewelry district over the course of month, and, at $250 plus materials, is a steal! You learn to create a design in wax, and later cast it in metal. You can create several waxes on your own time, and have use of the studio facilities during the 12 class hours. Check out their site for more info.

Pieces shown: Earthworm ring, Earthworm bracelet, Baby Vamp Keepsake ring, Unicorn necklace, Divorce necklace, Vampress engagement ring.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Harmony Korine

This reminds me why I love this man and why I used to have his picture posted above my bed. Poor quality, yes, but worth watching.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Two Faces are Better than One

Two noses, Four eyes, Two mouths, One brain.
The two faced kitten born in Perth.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Man With Roots For Feet

Dede Koswara, an Indonesian man with a severe case of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus, the hottest new STD sweeping the country) began growing roots out of his appendages after cutting his knee when he was 15. The cutaneous horns are really massive amounts of keratin, but give Dede the appearance of being half-man, half-tree.

The wood-like warts were growing at a rate of five millimeters per month. Insects were nesting in the base of the growths. He had undergone surgery before, but the warts grew back faster because the cause had not been addressed. Finally, the chief dermatologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center took blood tests and biopsies of the growth, which determined the cause of his condition. Surgeries performed in Jakarta have brought Dede closer to his original self. He continues to receive treatment, including chemotherapy, to combat the virus.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lou Doillon, Je t'aime

Lou Doillon defines sexy ugly. The offspring of French director Jacques Doillon and Jane Birkin, this lady was destined to be tres cool. Apparently she's an actress and a model. Whatever. Check out her denim collection at Lee Cooper.

Our New President!

Congrats Motherfuckers...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Currently Obama has just shy of 100 votes to win the Presidential election. At youthquaker we are hopeful, but also shitting our collective pants like McCain will be in the next couple years as age continues to take its toll.

So with just 1 hour and 45 minutes until California polls close, GO FUCKING VOTE! If you already voted, check out CNN for full coverage.

And here's a quick voter guide:

President: Barack Obama
Prop 2: Yes
Prop 4: No
Prop 5: Yes
Prop 8: No

If you need more incentive to vote (you know, other than YOUR FUTURE & the future of the whole country!) Starbucks is giving away free coffee and Ben & Jerry's is giving away free cones with your "I voted" sticker.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Art Books or Book Art?

While shopping in Anthropologie today, Rachel and I stumbled upon the incredible world of Book Art! It began with ingenious decorating ideas, and a Google search soon turned up really fascinating artwork created by manipulating books.

Artist Su Blackwell makes "Book Cut" sculpture. Shown below: The Secret Garden, 2006.

Brian Dettmer creates "Book Autopsies", which he enhances with mixed media.

Scottish artist Georgia Russell is responsible for the next image. To me, it is like a car wreck. I'm so fascinated yet utterly disgusted. (I have a very difficult time looking at finely shredded things, or tiny holes.) Russell uses a scalpel to cut book jackets, texts, record covers, maps, photos, you name it.

One of my favorite examples of book art was installed by San Francisco artist Chris Cobb. He organized all 20,000 books in his friend's bookstore according to color. (The link is to an interview on McSweeny's where Cobb discusses different pieces. He made sculptures out of mashed potatoes. It reminds me of the time I made a bust of George Washington out of masking tape in the sixth grade...)

What did we learn today, class? Books are good for more than just reading, bonfires, and self-defense. Let's hope this doesn't close the chapter on literary art.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cloaked Out

Fall has officially arrived. While our fair city of San Diego doesn't see the changing of the seasons the same way other climates do, it does get chilly, and I find it comforting to wrap myself up in capes, scarves, and coats when the weather turns cold. With Lindsey Thornburg's appropriately named line, I can now add Cloaks to that list.

Thornburg hails from Aspen, studied philosophy in Santa Barbara, and moved to New York City in 2003. For her latest collection, she traveled to Peru and derived inspiration for her cloaks from the inhabitants of the Machu Picchu region. Her designs are available in several patterns of wool, all lined with silk, for the most luxurious wear. She presents in this line three lengths of cloak, from Mini to Full Length, a dress, a satchel (not out yet), and even a Druid Hood. These pieces are truly beautiful and beg to be loved. Cloaks, I hear your cry.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Travel Destination: Napa, California

This past weekend, I took a little trip to Napa, which is no longer just a sleepy town where my grandmother lives in a house with two shih tzus who, after 10 years, are still not house broken. No, no, Napa is a place where you can get drunk for cheap (or free!) on good wine and enjoy some really delicious food. Yum. The view from inside the Hess.
I know there are about 2 billion vineyards in Napa and so I'm only going to talk about 1. My favorite (not that I have much experience in this field being legally allowed to drink for all of 13.5 months) is the Hess. And their wine was good, but not great. The Hess is my favorite because it is housed on some breathtaking land and it features some amazing pieces of art from a couple Francis Bacon pieces to Leopoldo Maler's Modified Typewriter, a constantly burning typing machine.

Sweetie Pies features some of the most delicious treats in town. I recommend getting there early and ordering a couple sticky buns. They are ridiculously yummy.

I ventured to the Oxbow Public Market for the first time this weekend and I can already tell I'll be spending a lot of time there on my next visit. The market boasts organic ice cream, a phenomenal cheese & wine shop, an enchanting array of spices, an oyster and seafood shop, and so much more! And it's mostly grown local and sustainable, which means it's expensive, but worth it.

So go to Napa. If you need a place to stay, just let me know, you can have the shih tzus' bed.

Faye Dunaway is the grooviest fake serial killer I can think of.

Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker in the 1967 Bonnie & Clyde is absolute perfection. Whether she's languidly rolling around her bed or brandishing a gun, she's glamorous and painfully cool, which is why I'd like to pay homage to her...

Ruth Asawa

Back in January 2007, I happened upon the Ruth Asawa exhibit at the de Young in San Francisco. Asawa's sculptures seem lighter than air as she weaves metal into seemingly impossible shapes, creating a lace-like appearance from crocheted wire. The sculptures appear deceivingly organic and are endlessly intriguing. Asawa's own life story augments the beauty of her work.
Asawa in her home surrounded by her sculptures.
Interned at 16 in a camp in California, Asawa honed her art skills among the droll of the internment camp. She then studied at the experimental Black Mountain College, where she gained confidence in her work and eventually met her husband, artist Albert Lanier. They married against the wishes of their families (interracial dating was still frowned up in the 40's, tisk, tisk) and had six bouncing babies while struggling as starving artists. Gradually Asawa began exhibiting her work and experimented with wire and other mediums. An advocate for the arts, she has also championed various public art schools. She is one progressive, incredibly talented lady. And I think everyone should know about her.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Henry Darger

Henry Darger (1892-1972), a creative genius, took nearly 11 years to finish handwriting his masterpiece. No one knew that this seemingly mentally disturbed recluse was creating awe inspiring work in his second-floor Chicago room. 15,145 pages long, the The Story of the Vivian Girls, in what is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, recounts the tale of seven sisters who are princesses of Abbiennia. And as Raquel pointed out to me earlier today, "his artwork is full of religious imagery from his Catholic upbringing, his drawings, children of both sexes have penises, because he wasn't aware of the differences between men and women." The illustrations are innocently beautiful, entwined with a kind of naivete generally reserved for children's drawings. They are provoking and utterly accessible. If you haven't already, I suggest you netflix the 2004 documentary "In the Realms of the Unreal".

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

M. Graves doesn't belong in a Cemetery

M. Graves may be a tad bit creepy, but the line does creepy justice.  Just a year ago, Megan Marrin Graves began hand making her odd but beautifully unique creations.  Inspired by a 19th century doll collection, Graves creates some enviable necklaces using vintage finds.  The porcelain doll head necklaces are my own morbid favorite.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Artist Spotlight: Alex Steckly

On the aforementioned Portland vacation, I was introduced to the work of 21-year-old visual artist Alex Steckly. His large-scale paintings are described as "a take on early formalist aesthetics". While I'm not positive what that means, his gorgeous and effortless works have me itching to take an art history class to find out. His last series featured rectangular canvases painted with large circles, paint drips, and feather light lines suggesting abstract planets. All of his paintings are covered with a thick coat of resin, creating a glass-like surface reminiscent of still water. I was lucky to see some other pieces from a different series, including a beautiful cream-colored square canvas with burgundy swirls, splatters, and drops, one of which is his blood. Biological art... the next frontier?

Sometimes Catastrophes Become Trophies

While on vacation in Portland, Oregon, I was shopping at Local 35 and bought the most incredible dress by LA-based designers ANZEVINO and FLORENCE. Their newest line, "Sometimes Catastrophes Become Trophies", features supple fabrics like bamboo, modal, silk, linen, and leather. Their designs are architectural, yet inspired by and reminiscent of nature. Their palate favors black, charcoal, and cream, adding to the garments' hypermodern feel.

Their Spring/Summer 08 line also features a throwback to our childhood, something I did not have the pleasure of owning - Color Change fabric! Though we are looking ahead to autumn, I predict these neon-hued, wearer-interactive pieces will weave themselves uniquely into my ensembles.