Side note: Obvs this is the song they’re playing:
I’ve kind of been in a drawing rut for a while, where I kind of felt like all the girls I drew came out kind of flat and boring and without any personality. However, last night while I was listening to The Stooges and talking online with my sister I was hit with divine inspiration, of the fashionable sort, so I drew stuff. I’m pretty happy. At least these girls look like they have some kind of spark.
These couple of drawings are of outfits I’ve seen people wearing over the past couple days that I really liked. I added some rough color, because I thought that color kind of made these outfits.
These next couple sketches are girls from Zipper, my fave Japanese fashion magazine. I can’t even look at modern American fashion magazines anymore – everything looks so boring and samey. People in Japanese fashion magazines have unbelievable personal style. What I like about them is that they seem to showcase more street style shots than glamorous editorials, which I always find more inspiring. Anyway:
I’ve already been thinking about how to create my own versions of these looks with clothing I already own…we’ll see how successful I am. Alright, PEACE.
Recently I’ve rediscovered my love for film, so I’ve been watching tons of movies, and I thought I could share my thoughts on them as a reoccurring feature. I’m not sure whether I’ll cover every movie I watch, or only the ones I feel are worthwhile – I guess I’ll feel it out as I go. Anyway, without further ado…
I was really intrigued by this movie after reading AV Club’s review of the new Criterion DVD (yeah I’m kind of obsessed with AV Club so what) and happened to find it on demand for free on TCM during my day off. Score! And I have to say, it was pretty damn amazing. Full disclosure: I’m a huge Jimmy Stewart fan, so I suppose I’m predisposed to liking this film, but man does he give a great performance. Even though Jimmy Stewart is probably one of the most famous/popular actors ever, I still feel like he doesn’t get the accolades he deserves. Everyone seems to remember him for his aw-shucks roles in movies like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Philadelphia Story, but overlooks the nuanced, dark work he’s done for directors like Hitchcock. In this film, he’s in fine, ambiguous form again as a lawyer trying to get his client off for murdering the man that raped his wife. As weird as this may sound, one of the best parts of the film, to me, is how unafraid they are to actually use words like “rape,” not just once, but repeatedly. Unlike many other films of its time, Anatomy of a Murder doesn’t pussyfoot around the dark center of the story, and doesn’t give in to lazy moralization. When the movie ends, you still don’t know what to believe – and that’s what makes it great.
I remember watching Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind in class and being distinctly underwhelmed. It was gorgeous to look at, but I had a hard time taking it seriously. However, I think his melodramatic style works perfectly in Far From Heaven, a film about Kathy, played by Julianne Moore, trying to deal with the fact that her husband is gay. I think that the success of the film is owed in large part to Julianne Moore, who gives a really great performance as a woman who’s spent so long maintaining a perfect appearance that she’s completely removed from her inner self. It’s funny and sad watching her give upbeat pep talks to her husband about how he’s going to beat this thing, when it’s clear that he’s not on the same page. I think the Douglas Sirk-style benefits from a temporal remove. While the film isn’t tongue-in-cheek, it’s bold in showing the 1950s hypocrisy and prejudice hidden in plain sight. The pristine sets and beautiful cinematography stand in sharp relief to Kathy’s education in the ugly and tragic side of life.
Some recent outfits. I’m super obsessed with my green plaid jacket. I feel all An Education wearing it.
I’ve been trying this whole sixties-cat-eye thing for a while. I’m digging it. I’m working on my bouffant; when it gets good enough, maybe I’ll share it.
I got these awesome alien earrings from I’m Your Present and I’m super excited to try them out. Still trying to think of the best outfit to go with them…
Velvet Goldmine is by no means a perfect movie. In fact, I think it’s pretty flawed. At times I could feel the movie get dragged down by the central, Citizen Kane-inspired conceit, which is that Arthur, played by the amazing Christian Bale, is going around interviewing people who were associated with a former glam superstar, Brian Slade (played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) who faked his own death several years prior. As the film goes along, we learn bits and pieces about Brian Slade by way of the aforementioned interviews and flashbacks into Arthur’s youth. In AV Club’s article on Velvet Goldmine, Scott Tobias discusses how the interviews serve to keep Brian Slade a mysterious character, which is an essential element of the film. While I totally get that, and do agree that Brian would be much less interesting if we knew everything about him, at the same time the interview segments are just really boring to me.
But man, when the film focuses on the music, it completely comes to life. You can tell that this film is about one person’s specific obsessions, and that’s part of what I like about it. What’s a good film without an idiosyncratic point of view? The whole thing is shot and edited together beautifully. When that opening sequence comes in, blaring Brian Eno’s “Needle in the Camel’s Eye,” the film jumps off the screen. It feels like you were there, at that time, letting the music move you and change your life as it does for the characters onscreen.
Even though Brian Slade is ostensibly the central character of the film, for me the movie is all about Christian Bale. He gives a beautiful, sad performance – he barely speaks, yet every emotion plays out plainly on his face. I love the scene when he throws his coat off outside his house to reveal a conspicuously tight, purple shirt, trying to establish himself in a world that’s trying to keep him down. He subsequently runs into a few other kids dressed in a similar style, but still feels totally alienated. When I watch that scene, I’m like Arthur when he points at Brian Slade on the television and yells, “THAT’S ME! THAT’S ME!” I could relate to him on so many levels – trying to be myself and ~different~, but still feeling like I’ll never fit in with other people with similar interests. What’s so ultimately tragic about Arthur is that he does find some people he can fit in with, for a short time, and then it’s swept away with Brian Slade’s death. Now he lives in a bleak future where he’ll repress himself forever and ever.
But that short time when he could be himself – what an amazing time that was. Forget all that stuff I said about Christian Bale – the real, real star of the movie is the music. Okay, I’m gonna make this about me for a second. It sounds ridiculous to state it so plainly, but I’ve always been a big fan of music. Like, I really love music. A lot. I once had a screenwriting teacher who told us that if he had any real talent he’d be a musician. His reasoning was that music can capture the intangible so much better than any movie or piece of writing because music itself is intangible. I was like, oh my god, that is totally true, at least for me. What I love about this movie is that the whole thing feels like a love letter to music, and its capacity to change your life, but not in a cheesy Almost Famous kind of way.
One of my favorite scenes is when Arthur comes home from the record store with a beloved new record, and he simply puts it on, and lays on the floor to listen to it. I was like, wow, today that scene would go like this: kid gets home, goes online to download music, and listens to it idly while checking Facebook or whatever. The simplicity of just listening to music, and having that be enough – that seems so radical to me now. What I ultimately love about Velvet Goldmine, past any rational misgivings, is that this film reminded me of what I love so much about music, and life in general. Sometimes I get so bogged down in the logical, I forget about how beautiful things can be when you just slow down and just let yourself float sometimes. I’ve taken music for granted, but I shouldn’t ever forget the way music can make me feel, how music is completely irreplaceable in my life. For that, I’ll always have a soft spot for this weird, deeply personal movie.
P.S. Y’all should also check out Todd Hayne’s short film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. It’s really chilling, especially for a film entirely acted by Barbie dolls. You can completely see his potential for great things. Velvet Goldmine is the first Todd Haynes film I’ve seen all the way through (I’ve seen Mildred Pierce and parts of I’m Not There) and I can’t wait to see more.
I just thought I’d share these videos that probably anyone who has ever been on the internet has seen already, but I’m pretty obsessed with them and keep watching them. Maybe they remind me of my days playing ukulele duets with talented gents (and winning my high school talent show doing so, but that’s a different story…). I should pick up the ukulele again…anyway, they’re just so adorable!
Side note: Yup, I was in drama orchestra in high school. Not only drama orchestra, but also regular orchestra – I was that cool. And yes, we actually called drama orchestra, “dorkestra.” Even though we were pretty much the nerdiest of the nerds (and I say that with the utmost affection), we had an awesome time, all the time. And many of those times will eventually be chronicled here, so stay tuned…(lulz tuned get it) (it’s a pun)
Don’t worry, anyone who actually read my “Things I Like” articles and noticed when they disappeared: I have not run out of things to like. I just needed a new little jolt of inspiration to pick this up again, and this came when today I re-watched one of my all time favorite movies, Rushmore.
I remember watching Rushmore for the first time when I was a junior in high school and was just getting into movies. My friend had recommended the movie to me, but I was initially put off by the R-rating because I actually wasn’t allowed to watch R-rated movies, and just the idea of watching one seemed really scandalous. My parents must have made a concession, though, and I remember renting it from Blockbuster, which so seems like a relic of a past time now. I mean, Blockbuster? Like I actually had to leave my house and have someone drive me to a separate location??? (Yep, I couldn’t drive, so someone else had to drive me everywhere all the time. I was a pretty cool teenager.)
Rushmore was my first exposure to Wes Anderson, and it really changed me forever. I now have mixed feelings about Wes Anderson – his movies have increasingly become parodies of themselves, although I really enjoyed Fantastic Mr. Fox – but at the time he was a complete revelation. I had never seen a film so stylized and different. The way he used subtitles, and production design, and music – it was all amazing. I remember at the time I was taking a filmmaking class at Pasadena Art Center and made a film that was pretty self-consciously influenced by Rushmore. After screening it in class, one of my classmates told me it reminded them of a Wes Anderson movie. That was the highest compliment I had ever received.
It’s so funny, the gulf between watching the movie when I was sixteen and watching the movie now. For one, like I said before, this movie opened so many creative doors for me that I had a hard time looking at it critically at all. Now, though, I see why it appealed to me so much, and why it continues to appeal to me when I’ve grown bored with many of Wes Anderson’s other movies.
For one, I love the depiction of a kid going through growing pains when in high school. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot more since working on my high school comic, and something that I wasn’t really aware of when I was in high school msyelf. Max Fischer, the bespectacled protagonist played by Jason Schwartzman, is so awkward that it’s almost painful. However, where I found some scenes almost unbearable to watch when I was younger (i.e. the scene where Miss Cross is packing up her room and brutally rejects Max) are much easier for me to watch now. I think this is because I realize that, yes, Max is making a lot of mistakes, but really, he’s only making mistakes that all kids make when they’re young, and they’re often not permanent. Luckily, most of the mistakes you make as a teenager are washed away with maturing and growing up and (hopefully) learning from your mistakes and not repeating them. Sure, Max’s mistakes are dramatically heightened, but he’s only doing what any reasonably ambitious high schooler does. He tries on different personalities and personas, he pursues a love and is rejected, he lashes out at everyone around him. Now, with a little bit of distance from this time in my own life, I’m able to look at this a lot more affectionately. Sure, it’s embarrassing, but it’s growing up.
I think it’s these elements of personal messes that makes this my favorite Wes Anderson film, by far, as well. My problem with a lot of Wes Anderson’s films is that they’re too clean, too stylized. With every word, I can feel the deliberation and calculation that went into it. All of the sets are too neat, all the way down to the deliberately chosen fonts and graphic design. Aesthetically, I can appreciate this, but I find that this doesn’t satisfy me, story-wise. What’s great about Rushmore is that the characters bleed around the edges (while, admittedly, still looking fabulous; I wanted a green velvet suit so badly when I was a teenager!). They swear; they don’t say what they think, until they do at the worst possible moment. The sets are allowed to get a little messy, and almost look like something (dare I say it) out of the real world. I love the Fischers’ little unkempt yard next to the cemetery. To me, this says so much about the characters – the lack of finesse and feminine touch in the bachelors’ home. Although its become Wes Andersons’ trademark, I like that it’s not too clean.
The film also boasts some of my favorite characters, ever. Max Fischer, despite his craziness, is still someone I admire for his incredible ambition and lack of self-consciousness (although that often tips into lack of self-awareness). His character is so unique, and so specific that he feels real. I totally had a crush on him when I was sixteen years old (I guess that pretty much tells you what kind of sixteen year old I was). Bill Murray is amazing as Mr. Blume as well. He has two of my favorite scenes in the movie: 1) when he’s at his sons’ birthday party, completely full of self loathing and 2) when he’s having a complete nervous breakdown and he runs into Max in the elevator at the hospital. Both scenes completely illustrate his character so well, and are hilarious, to boot. Miss Cross is actually pretty great, too, mostly because she doesn’t just function as an obscure object of desire. She’s actually given her own life, and her own motivations; she’s not just a toy for the men in the movie to play with and around.
Of course, I’d be completely remiss if I were to not discuss the last scene of the movie. I think the ending of Rushmore is my favorite ending to a movie ever, of all time. All of the characters and events come together so beautifully, and it feels so completely earned…every character in the film has been through the emotional wringer, and has grown so much, that having them together after the triumph of Max’s play just feels right. I know it’s become a stylistic tic of Wes Anderson to a) score his films with vintage British rock and b) end all of his films with a slow motion shot, but the way these two elements combine is just so completely gorgeous I can barely stand it. When the Small Faces song starts to play, and Max and Miss Cross exchange that last, meaningful look of understanding, and of regret, and they come together to dance one last time…oh my god, it KILLS me. I tear up just thinking about it.
I’m always terrified to watch movies that I loved as a teenager, because I want to keep those crystalline memories of how much these movies meant to me, so I’m happy that Rushmore has held up so beautifully. Of course, now it means something completely different to me than it did then – it’s more of a love letter to those who are young and ambitious and are in love, rather than a kind of template to live your life, which I think is how I thought of it – but it’s still great, and still one of my top five favorite films.
P.S. The others: Harold and Maude, Trainspotting, The Incredibles, Dazed and Confused – an entirely different kind of teen film!
P.S.S. The soundtrack to this film is absolutely amazing.
P.S.S.S. There will be a new Whatever up very, very soon – tomorrow, hopefully!
Wow, it’s been ages since I’ve updated with any drawings! (I’m realizing this is becoming a trend with my blog posts of late. “Wow, it’s been ages since…”) Over the holidays I got really overwhelmed with work, then I went to California and I was crazy busy all the time. Now I’m back, and feeling recharged! It doesn’t hurt that I’m becoming more and more inspired lately, mostly thanks to Pintrest. Yeah, I know it’s kind of a cliche for any vaguely artsy girl who has a blog and a Tumblr (which I’ve also been updating more lately) to have a Pintrest, but what can I say…I enjoy what I enjoy. What I like the most about Pintrest is that it allows me to catalog my interests and inspirations in an easy, organized way. Tumblr is fun but it becomes kind of a mash-up of images…Pintrest is awesome because you can categorize everything on different boards. Check out my Pintrest boards here, I may or may not obsessively update them everyday…
Anyway, this is all a long way of saying that because of Pintrest, it’s way easier for me to see trends in what I’m inspired by, which is good for someone like me who feels like their head is in a million different places at once. Looking at my fashion-related boards, I’m realizing that I’ve subconsciously been gravitating in a different direction with my style this year, so, inspired by Gala Darling’s annual style manifesto, I’m doing one of my own!
So I’m thinking of it kind of like a rebellious teenager who ditches school to hang out at Disneyland. Wait, wait, hear me out. The biggest trend I’ve noticed is that I love pastels right now. Pastel pink, pale blue, mint…I love it all. I’ve also always really liked anything super girly. I think it might be a side effect of having the most unisex upbringing ever. Pretty much all I wore were genderless jumpsuits in primary colors, and all of my furniture was hunter green, so now I’m making up for it by wearing the most frilly clothing a 24-year-old almost-woman can get away with. However, I like to temper the sweetness with something a little more hard-edged – say, pairing a lacy dress with a pair of Doc Marten boots, or a chiffon skirt with a ratty t-shirt. I don’t like to be too fussy.
I’m also digging anything school-ish, like saddle shoes and varsity jackets and striped athletic socks and book satchels. Japanese school uniforms are also kind of integral here, like these beautiful leather backpacks and nylon book bags and school girl skirts. I like the mix of the practical with the sweet girliness of pastel colors, lacy socks, and hair bows.
So overall, in my mind that comes to a rebellious schoolgirl who ditches class to hang out at Disneyland. She’s not necessarily a bad-ass (ha, I could never pretend to be a bad-ass), but she likes to be girly and likes the frothy fun that comes with being at Disneyland, but at the same time has to be ready to jump a fence or explore a canyon. I forgot to mention that, in my mind, this is a very California-centered style – something a little more beachy and casual. Like she could kick off her shoes at any moment to take a walk in the ocean, or take an impromptu hike to the Hollywood sign. If that makes any sense.
These are the vital items here:
-pastel Doc Martens
-short, flouncey skirts in pastel colors
-structured leather bags
-well-made leather shoes, preferably in pastel colors
-plain grey sweatshirts
-black schoolgirl skirt
-athletic crop tops
-shredded shorts & jeans in pastel hues
Well, I hope this made any kind of sense. I’d really like to implement this style ASAP, but I’m super broke right now, hence the broke-shopping aspect. It helps that this is more of a spring/summer look anyway, so I have plenty of time to start incorporating these ideas into my wardrobe. Alright, well I think I’ve expended enough brain-energy on fashion for the day. PEACE!
A couple of months ago I started taking outfit photos on Instagram with the intention of posting them on this blog, but I totally forgot because Instagram is so easy and fun and I can do it while I’m walking to the subway, whereas with this blog I actually have to sit down and somewhat organize the photos and put some work into it…I know, I lead a really difficult life.
I’m going to try keeping up taking outfit photos again, as well as, like, putting more effort into this blog again. I got into a real identity crisis with this thing, which I still sort of have yet to get out of. Lately I’ve been working on Whatever again (never fear: no matter how long the breaks between comics, I’m never going to abandon Whatever!) and reading my old high school Livejournals as inspiration. It pretty much goes as follows: song lyrics, existential angst, memes, AIM conversation quotes, rinse and repeat. The whole thing is quite an embarrassing spectacle. What really strikes me about my old Livejournal entries is how un-self-conscious they are, and how much they differ from what blogs have become today. Blogs are so much more produced now; they’re products, portfolios, brands, not little online diaries, which is what they were when I was in high school. When I was talking to Max about it, he said the big difference lies in how we barely even knew what the internet was when we started writing on Diaryland, or Xanga, or Livejournal. It couldn’t have been so polished, yet, because we didn’t even understand the potential the internet had for promoting ourselves. It was just about sharing, with your friends, or whatever community you found online. Simple. It’s so strange to think about the difference in approaching blogging now. There’s so much more inherent pressure, and it’s so much more about the image you project…I wish I could bring more of that un-self-consciousness back.
Anyway…clothes! Circa December 2011-January 2012.