music roundup 4/21/15

Despite abandoning this blog horribly for months at a time, I decided to start another semi-regular column, the MUSIC ROUNDUP, where I share music I’ve been listening to lately. To me, music is the great connecter. Recently I went to see Joyce Manor alone, which is the first time I’ve been to a concert by myself. At first I was afraid that I’d feel lonely and isolated, but I realized that when you’re in the same room with other fans who love the same music you do, when you’re all jumping up and down and singing along to the same songs, it’s impossible to feel alone. Therein lies the great joy of sharing the music that I love. Maybe you’ll love it too! And we’ll both love the same thing, and in doing so share the same space and world, even if it’s just for the 3 minute duration of the song.

TL;DR: I’m gonna start sharing music I like.

The Garden – “Cloak”

This is The Garden performing “Cloak” live at Burgerama, which might have been my favorite performance of the entire fest. The Garden consists of two twin dudes who look like gorgeous anime aliens come to life to play us rad music. They have so much energy and really commit to the crazy shit they pull onstage.

Trust Fund – “Cut Me Out”

I discovered this song via Emma Garland’s column about UK DIY. UK DIY is probably my favorite genre of music (insomuch as you can call it a genre) so I was all over that shit. My fave of the songs/bands she wrote about is Trust Fund, and I think this song is so sweet and fun with a dash of awesome nineties grunge guitar. “I am a fragile alien, and I do mean that…” Love it.

Martha – “1997, Passing in the Hallway”

Whenever I listen to this song it’s always stuck in my head FOR. EVER. It’s so damn catchy and fun and cute. It makes me want to see the teen romantic comedy movie version of this song.

Twerps – “Back to You”

After Burgerama, I spent days just going through the Burgerama tag on Instagram, trying to relive the insane fun of those two days. It also helped me discover some of the bands I missed while I was there, and one of them was Twerps. This band is so up my alley it’s kind of ridiculous. Catchy, fun, slightly ramshackle indie pop from Australia? YES PLEASE.

Girl Band – “Lawman”

Another band I missed at Burgerama. That might be my one Burgerama regret, because Girl Band seems like they would be INSANE live. Loving the modern post-punk vibe they’ve got going on.

Bruising – “Can’t You Feel”

I also discovered this band via Emma Garland’s DIY column. A perfect little slice of girl-fronted guitar pop.

Alright, that’s all for now, folks! It’s probably gonna take me a while to amass enough cool music to do another one of these, but I think I’m up to the challenge!

catching up

Yet again, I’ve fallen behind. I’m so sorry, little blog friend. I really don’t deserve the responsibility of running a blog when all I do is let you down over and over and over again. But here I am, trying to make amends, by updating you on everything I’ve been doing over the past few months.

Starting with a blog called Past and Pending, founded by my friends Samantha Wyllis and Crispin Lopez. It’s about all kinds of cool pop culture-y stuff like music and concerts and movies, so you should probably check it out. I was brought on to make concert videos, like this one about the bands French Exit and Toys That Kill:

I hadn’t make a video in a while so it was really fun to jump in and make something. I’ve also never shot a live show or interviews before (which is probably totally obvious whoops), but hey, you’ve gotta start somewhere! The bands were super cool, and since then I’ve become a huge fan of Toys That Kill.

I’ve also written a couple of other posts, about heartbreak music and my favorite movies of 2014. And, of course, Sam and Crispin’s posts are worth checking out as well. So why are you still here when you could be over at Past and Pending looking at all of this cool stuff???

Just kidding, come back, I love you! And also have more stuff to show you. Like this random art that really has no home yet, but I still want to share. Behold!

This is the first in what will hopefully be a series of Lolita versions of Disney Princesses, because I am a huge nerd. Both my love of Gothic Lolita and my love of Disney have been well-documented, so this was really a no-brainer for me. I started with Aurora, because Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney animated film, and I thought she’d be the easiest to Lolita-fy.

Speaking of Disney, this comic has nothing to do with them at all! This is a completely unrelated mouse with identity issues! I promise. (I’m hoping to do more of these, too.)

This is inspired by the 99% Invisible podcast about Austrian artist and designer Tausendsassa Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser (“Multi-Talented Peace-Filled Rainy Day Dark-Colored Hundred Waters” in German) known for his unconventional avant-garde structures. I really liked this idea, “the straight line is a godless line,” that humanity is closer to god than perfection. To be human is to be flawed, and that is beautiful.

And here endeth this wonderful tour through the past few months of my productivity.

Across the Sea

(See notes at the end)

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the dreamy world of prada

Hey guys, we have so much to catch up on!

Whenever I return to my blog after a long hiatus it’s always with a deep sense of guilt. I feel like a fickle lover, coming and going as I please with nary a care for this blog or any of my erstwhile readers. But alas, I find myself at loose ends, and here I am again, ashamed but ready to pick up where we left off.

Which happened to be just before my grand (debatable) cross country move! After 3.5 years in New York City, I’ve returned to my hometown, a sleepy suburb just outside of Los Angeles, California. It feels like it should feel like a big move, but strangely it doesn’t. Of course I miss New York. There are so many amazing people and places I left behind there, and who I miss deeply. But it’s eerie how quickly the human mind adapts to change. I remember laying in bed the night before I was set to fly back home, with an ache in my heart for an entire life I was leaving behind for an uncertain future. It seemed so unspeakably sad, that in order to create a new beginning, another chapter must irrevocably end; I’d never have this particular time and place again. A five hour plane ride and I’d magically have a new life in a new place. Now, 3.5 months later, facing the end of yet another year, I look back and feel as though not much has changed. I still feel like the same person, and life here has already become so routine as to erase anything that came before. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, so I don’t feel immense pain anytime I think about what I’ve lost. If so, it’s working. I feel remarkably normal.

ANYWAY, that’s not what I came here to talk about today. What I want to talk about is Prada, and how awesome Prada is. Specifically, Prada Fall/Winter 2004 Ready to Wear. I mean seriously, check this shit out. It’s amazing.

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peggy moffitt

Peggy Moffitt is the mod girl of my dreams.

I only recently discovered her while browsing through various 1960s fashion photos on Pinterest and instantly fell in love. Everything about her look is amazing, from the fabulous clothes to her amazing make-up and hair. Born in 1937, Peggy served as muse to designer Rudy Gernreich and photographer (and Peggy’s husband) William Claxton. Vidal Sassoon created Peggy’s iconic five-point haircut, and her make-up was inspired by kabuki theatre. I love how unique and bold Peggy is in photographs–unabashedly androgynous, not worried about being “pretty” so much as interesting, impossible to look away from. Her most famous photo is in Gernreich’s “monokini,” a topless bathing suit:

This photo was shocking when it was published in Women’s Wear Daily in 1964, but I don’t think of it as scandalous so much as revolutionary. Gernreich created the piece as a statement against the sexualization of the female form, and in general was a pioneer in creating unisex clothing and equalizing men and women via fashion. One season saw Gernreich dressing male and female models in the same clothing, and shaving their heads to erase any arbitrary signifiers of gender. Peggy was given total control in where the photo was published, and insisted it be kept out of objectifying magazines like Playboy and Esquire. Classy all around.

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edie campbell in vogue paris

Hey y’all,

I just wanted to share a few photos from this amazing Vogue Paris editorial featuring Edie Campbell. This totally encapsulates what I’m going for in my look right now, and I’m a huge Edie fan. (Is it weird that I kind of want her haircut, too?)

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capsule wardrobe #2: signature outfit

Hello dear reader! Against all odds, I am BACK with part TWO of my capsule wardrobe series! Le gasp!

In Part One I created moodboards and got a general sense of what my style and aesthetic are. In this part I waded into the deep and murky world of signature outfits. The signature outfit is the nucleus around which the capsule wardrobe orbits. Sorry, I’m in pretentious metaphor mode–in simpler terms, it’s the one outfit that you wear the most, that you reach for everyday, that makes up the core of your wardrobe.

I took a few different elements into consideration, as outlined on Into Mind in her post on developing a signature look. Firstly, what am I practically going to be doing in this outfit, if this is indeed what I’m planning on wearing most days? Well, right now I’m riding the unemployment train, but generally I work in TV/film production which entails long hours and lots of physical activity. I also like to keep my options open in my daily life–what if I suddenly want to dance, or break out a jump kick? Basically comfort is key. Other considerations taken into account were weather (I’m finally spending a winter in sunny California, yay!) and what kinds of outfits suit me.

Then I broke it down by the key components that Into Mind outlines: proportion, colour, accessories, hair + make-up, and details, which I’m now going to go into one by one, complete with illustrations!

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capsule wardrobe #1: personal style

There are a lot of big changes happening in my life right now (quitting my long-term job, moving across the country, !!!) so in order to distract myself and feel some measure of control over my life I’m obsessing over the idea of creating a CAPSULE WARDROBE. I first started thinking about it when I came across the blog Un-Fancy, a super cute, unpretentious fashion blog all about creating and wearing your very own capsule wardrobe.

What is a capsule wardrobe, you might ask? Caroline from Un-Fancy defines it as “a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.” Basically, you cull all of the crap you don’t use out of your life, and stick with less stuff, but stuff that you actually need. I’ve been especially mulling over the idea of making more with less now that I have to sift through all of the junk I’ve accumulated over the past 3.5 years of my life in NYC and figure out what I actually want to bring back with me to LA. Maybe it’s the commitment-phobe in me, but I like the idea of being able to pack up at a moments notice and take off to wherever I need to go.

There are a few things that particularly appeal to me about the capsule wardrobe:

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on howard ashman

Lately the film “Waking Sleeping Beauty” has been a huge inspiration. To me, there may be no medium that blends talent, hard work, dedication, and skill like animation does; it’s an art form that I admire immensely. Of course, Disney movies were a big part of my childhood, and I had even more respect for the films because my dad is an animator and taught me about the enormous amount of work and art goes into creating something like a Disney animated feature film. “Waking Sleeping Beauty” explores the Second Renaissance (Little Mermaid through Lion King) of Disney animation, and although all of the tales of CEO squabbling and posturing are fascinating, what’s most interesting (and inspiring) to me is seeing the process of a group of talented individuals who come together and create some amazing pieces of art. Watching films like this one make me want to go on and create something amazing myself.

This goes without saying, but possibly the most indelible aspect of the Disney films of the period are the songs. Who can think of Little Mermaid without “Part of My World” or “Under the Sea,” or Beauty and the Beast without “Be My Guest” and “Beauty and the Beast”? Whenever I hear these songs, I’m immediately taken back to my childhood, and to these magical stories that were also able to evoke incredible human emotion. I’d always been aware that these songs had to be written by someone, but was woefully ignorant of who that might be until I watched this movie. Thankfully, “Waking Sleeping Beauty” introduces us to the songwriting duo Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, and Ashman in particular is amazing to get to know.

In an interview with the director Don Hahn, Hahn mentions that he was surprised that Roy Disney actually compared Ashman to the untouchable Walt Disney, but he could see how Ashman had that same effect that Walt did in galvanizing the studio to greater creative heights. In the clips where we get to see Ashman in action, his intensity and fierce intelligence and distinct point of view are all apparent. He was ostensibly brought onto these projects as a lyricist, but he was instrumental in making The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin into the classics they’re known as today. The people I most admire and who most inspire me are those who are incredibly talented and work incredibly hard and have unique viewpoints, so it’s really no surprise that watching and learning about Howard Ashman has had a real effect on me. However, learning about him is also bittersweet because of his untimely death due to complications from AIDS. It’s difficult to put into words how tragic his passing is — especially because I didn’t know him personally (obviously) and I don’t want to cheapen his death by making it all about ME — but it’s just very sad to know that this vibrant personality, who clearly had so much more to give, who was so bright and talented and at the top of his game, is gone from this world forever. He’s the kind of person who brings to mind the word “irreplaceable.”

a scene in between

Do you ever get the feeling that you belong in a different time? I finally bought A Scene In Between, because I knew that this book was basically made for me–and guess what! It was! It features all of my favorite bands, all of my favorite kinds of fashion…it’s really the holy grail. I feel like I’ve finally found my place in this world, but unfortunately this place only existed twenty years ago in the UK…

It ties into my growing fascination with twee and underground movements. I’ve been listening to twee and reading this old essay about twee on Pitchfork and thinking about what it means to have an underground movement. In a time when technology is supposed to make it oh-so-easy to connect to the people around you, I often feel isolated and impotent. There are so many voices out there, shouting and making noise, that it’s hard to make your own noise heard. I wonder whether it’s worth trying to make some kind of mark on the world, whether anything can actually change. I don’t know much about world events; I only know enough to constantly feel an impending sense of doom.

What does this have to do with twee? I’m not really sure. I just keep thinking about underground music movements of the past. I’ve been reading this book Lipstick Traces, and so far it’s been a lot about the Sex Pistols and what they meant for culture at the time. It was so shocking and revolutionary in the 70s for a bunch of snotty kids to yell curse words at authority figures, and I thought about how such a thing would barely make a ripple these days, in a culture where anything goes. Of course freedom of expression is a good thing, but how can one be an individual when everyone is an individual? I don’t know if I’m making any sense.

I like handmade things, and creating my own world, and the small and personal, which is what I like about twee. I do think that in the consumerist, big-corporation, international world we live in, there’s a value in thinking local and small. But we can’t think too small, right, otherwise we lose a sense of the bigger picture, and the bigger picture is important. You have to have some knowledge of the larger context of your actions. But this leads me in the same contradictory circle over and over—so to make a bigger change, you have to think smaller? Or do you have to make smaller changes that ultimately add up to something bigger? And where does your own personal happiness factor in? At what cost do we make a revolutionary change?

However, what I like about twee and the movement explored in A Scene In Between is that these aren’t people who came from means and had the luxury to wile their hours away making music and zines and what-not…they had day jobs, and the music and zines were their entry into a world that they would otherwise be excluded from. The music isn’t polished and made with high quality equipment; it was recorded with rudimentary materials in someone’s bedroom. The zines are cheaply made and xeroxed–which isn’t to say that they weren’t made with care. These misfits saw that the mainstream world wouldn’t accept them, so they created their own world.

But I digress…this book has introduced me to The Pastels, and they. are. perfect. I can’t stop listening to them, and their songs are stuck in my head constantly. I also might be a tiny bit in love with Stephen Pastel, but don’t tell anyone.