Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Plaztik Mag's "Downtown Girl"

Remember that fashion shoot I previewed here a few months ago? Well, the much-anticipated final result is now ready! Below are some of my own snapshots from the shoot. Be sure to check out the real thing.

My 'very bored, extremely beautiful' friends over at Plaztik Mag have done it again. Their next issue (video) and blog series is about the various types of urban downtown girls. A little bit of her exists in all of us. Who is she? She's the creative, free-spirit; the demure and mysterious bookish type; she's a rocker, a music-lover, and she loves to play it loud; but be careful- she can also be the dangerous type. You know her, she never goes above 14th Street, she rises at noon, she stays up very late, she calls the deepest, darkest bowels of the city her playground, and she's always a stylish fille.

The first girl profiled in the series is The Artist, the urban archetype who was styled and photographed in my very own art studio.
What does she do? Well, before doing any painting, she sits back and thinks very deep thoughts, of course! Instead of falling down the rabbit hole, our modern Alice has tripped over a subway grate and into her art studio, a labyrinth of swirling color- all the while wearing couture, naturally. Who is this girl? Well, she's me! (....and she's you too.)

"she lives every night in a whirl;
she's a downtown girl.
she won't even try;
she'll make you wanna die;
downtown girl.
she doesn't know there's nothing there;
downtown girl.
she thinks she'll talk my heart;
downtown girl."

Downtown Girl. Now appearing.... EVERYWHERE.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Walk Around the Neighborhood - Bushwick

This past Saturday, even though we're still very much in the last spasms of winter, North Easters were treated to an extraordinary late spring preview. It was a pristine, cloudless day, and the temperature reached almost 80 degrees! I decided to go for a long walk to get out of my own neighborhood, and explore the very colorful Bushwick area of Brooklyn. I visited the Factory Fresh Gallery to pick up my painting from the Pufferella/McCutchen show (and ended up choosing another stunning piece by Dark Cloud).

A well-placed paste-up from Skewville in my over-developed neighborhood of Williamsburg
(what I sometimes refer to as, "Condo-burg").

Roberta's (left), is a place known in these parts for its brick-oven pizzas, and
which I have every intention of trying one day soon. A detail of more local color (right).
You can't go to this area of Brooklyn without seeing a something by the elusive stikman (left). This larger than usual pink piece appeared to be very fresh and new. What I love about coming here, is that there are loads of artist studios and there is always a new artistic surprise which is very inspiring. This mural (right) by the subway entrance wasn't here the last time I ducked down this particular street to get home.
A trompe l'oeil security camera paste-up.

A message in the details.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New York Fashion Week Re-Cap - Manuel de la Cruz "Revelations"

The lights grew dim, and the fashionable onlookers waited in excitement for the show to begin. Then, like a thoroughbred at the gate, she charged down the runway to Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song". She was exotic and beautiful, with heavily-lined eyes and bedecked in expensive-looking rocker style pants paired with a small jacket and a tee. She also wore a resplendent headpiece resembing Lady Liberty's crown- and she definitely had my attention.

The models were representations of some ancient race similar to a Fayum portrait. The men, full-lipped with almondine eyes were guardians and keepers of some antiquated secret like a Templar Knight. And the women were Bollywood princesses who exchanged their elaborate saris for Harley-Davidsons.

The show also featured accessories for newly-adorned areas. The jaded crowds in the Front Row always want to see something new, and this show was definitely refreshing.

Elongated jeweled cuffs for the forearm and rhinestone encasements for the perimeter of the ear were prominent.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

From Focaccia "Destiny" to Focaccia Awesomeness

After much planning and dithering, my friend Layla and I finally took a class on making focaccia at the Meat Hook in Brooklyn. We've tried a few times to register for the popular pickling class, but space for it always sells out very quickly. The focaccia class was also within our price range, so we thought if it's still available when our next payday rolls around, then we'll register. It would be what we laughingly referred to as "focaccia destiny". Would we get in? Yes!

During the day, we both come from the foodie entertainment industry, but couldn't be further removed from the entertainment product or from the actual food itself. Focaccia class was an excuse for our second excursion to this outer-borough vittles outpost (newly merged with the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs from around the corner). My friend and I love coming to this stunningly simple and laid-back atmosphere. It's a food-lover's nirvana without pretense, but with the implication that preparing food at the base level can be a really fun experience. Back in December, we took a much-needed break from Christmas shopping and other holiday pressures, and went to a cabernet-soaked book reading by Julie Powell (as in Julie and Julia)- but more on that event later. 

Back to the class- standing in tonight for the scheduled "bread professor" was the very approachable and zen-like Matt Tilden, founder of Scratch Bread. The outer boroughs of New York City are undergoing an alimentary renaissance. Matt is also very much an active participant in the new culinary movement or wave happening in Brooklyn consisting of food ambassadors who are collectively making a positive impact in trendy neighborhoods like mine. His theory about food is as simple as it gets: the less processed, the better. Get away from the junky, low-quality, mass-produced food generated by corporate food factory giants. Make it yourself. After some personal health setbacks and seeing movies like Food, Inc., I've become much more knowledgeable about what goes on my plate, so I couldn't agree more.

We learned how to make the bread from scratch, and it was surprisingly easy. It was a very sensory experience combined with the hunger-inspiring visuals of the beautiful fresh toppings. While the term "food porn" originates with gorgeous, glossy dishes in the television and media sphere, it could also apply to this hands-on experience.
For toppings, we used sweet red onions, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, cracked pepper, gray salt (that looked like stars), lemon zest, mustard, parmagiano reggiano, fennel seeds, freshly cut real bacon, and prosciutto. Later at home, I also tried tuna, tomatoes, and mushrooms- with all of these appealing and colorful ingredients, there could be endless variations.
As a whole, we were pretty timid at first. But as the ingredients started to come together into a real photogenic work of art, the "food paparazzi" emerged, and the cameras came out. During class, a case of Brooklyn Lager (naturally- it's also from the neighborhood) arrived for us to help us get through the oven waiting period. At the end of the night, there was the big reveal and we were finally able to sample our delicious creations with pride. My favorite combination was the purple onions with fennel seed, salt, and grated parmagiano.

As I walked back to my apartment after class, I glanced down at my bag of take-home goodies from the night. I thought to myself that people passing me on the street would never guess what's in here: excess raw yeast, some unusual crystalline gray salt, and my ever-expanding, fluffy and active, "dough baby" covered in an olive oil sheen; primed and ready for the oven.

I also realized that I have a new appreciation for the homemade dedication of grandmas and that I learned several things tonight: kneading the dough by hand gives your arms a great workout (leave that electric mixer unplugged), the combination of ingredients makes your winterized hands soft again, and most importantly, there's something about food that does something to people. It brings down the uncomfortable tension of being thrust into a room with strangers, and elevates the spirit of friendliness by immediately putting everyone at ease. At the beginning of the class, everyone was awkward and squirrely. By the end of the night, we were loudly and excitedly exchanging large cubes of freshly baked bread, talking about music and past food experiences, suggesting ingredient combinations for next time, and bidding each other a good night; all with the promise to ourselves of taking another class soon....maybe pickling!

Batches of kombucha.
Digging in!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Interlude in the Woods - New Hampshire Getaway

This past weekend, I escaped the New York area with some friends to the woods of New Hampshire. Our intent was to get out of the frenzied city, enjoy a change of scenery, and do some sort of a snow activity; like snowshoeing lessons. We reserved our trip over a month ago, but as time drew near, weather systems in New Hampshire got much warmer; and this meant no snowshoeing. The monsoon scheduled for the New England area, never quite happened and the New York region got everything, most disastrously. And so, some of us went skiing- others of us stayed behind to indulge in a slower pace and enjoyed the afternoon with a sojourn in the woods.

I enjoyed the fresh air and the winter scenery with a nice long walk. I was mindful to take a close look at the different textures of mushrooms, ice formations, fauna, and lichen, and was rewarded with these photos showing the fabulous diversity found in nature.

Some people were ice fishing on the lake, and we even encountered one of those romantic and fabled wooden covered bridges for which New England is famous (sorry, no pics).

Even though it was a dreary winter day, and the boats have been docked in expectation since their last day of summer, I encountered so much life holding the familiar signs with the promise of spring.

And now, back to the lodge and the fire place for some relaxation!

Always looking for love in unexpected places....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New York Fashion Week Re-cap - Elise Overland

After the bubbly afternoon delight over at Agent Provacateur, Plaztik Mag and crew made a stop at the Elise Overland show on the extreme West Side of Manhattan at Exit Art. This large, open space typically dedicated to the visual arts was replete with celebrity-driven buzz with sightings of twinkle toes, Kelly Osbourne, model, Maggie Rizer, and of course, crowd favorite, Heidi Klum.

In my humbly fashionable and artistic opinion, Exit Art was a far better venue for those who actually want to see and photograph fashion than the claustrophobic milieu of Bryant Park. Not only was everyone relatively comfortable and able to see without sitting in some editor's lap, but the contrast of the cold, open space was perfect for viewing the warmly-toned, Star Trek-inspired scultpural leather dresses and outerwear. The collection consisted of the usual dark, muted tones typical of fall and winter, but was also punctuated by bursts of grape and electric blue and unexpected punches of brilliant orange and red.

My favorites were the unsually hirsute pieces that I can only describe as "Sasquatch Chic".

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blog Feature- Art Wall

One of my teardrop pieces was featured as part of the "Tuesday Top Twelve" series of picks on this cozy and beautifully arranged art blog. See my piece and the other lucky featured artists here.

Friday, March 5, 2010

New York Fashion Week Re-cap - Agent Provacateur

If you'll permit me to keep rewinding back to February, there are more Fashion Week chronicles that must be told!

Just in time for Valetines everywhere, lingerie brand, Agent Provacateur, hosted a bubbly-filled presentation in their SoHo store. And, just in time to provide for a boozy respite from the chaos of the Tents, I joined a Valentine party with ever-fashionable duo from Plaztik Mag, and bonded with fellow newbie bloganista, Mel Rose, who was on the other side of the lens for tonight.

In the front store window, a blonde rockabilly nymphette beckoned passers-by to join us inside the store as we sipped some very tasty and expensive champagne. 

This event was part Amsterdam, part Eyes Wide Shut, part carnevale, but totally fun and completely New York. The store was full of guys buying a little something special for their ladies, gobs of press, and plenty of curious on-lookers. This coquettish shop carries the obvious bras and panties in not-so-obvious styles (discover your inner superhero- Wonder Woman, anyone?), corsets, accessories of all kinds, hosiery, swimwear, and even jewelry.

A heady treat for guys and girls alike. This is Candyland for adults.
Next stop, Elise Overland.

 Porcupine love?                                               

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New York Fashion Week Re-cap - Alexander Berardi

Starting tomorrow, the Armory Show and a string of other art fairs will be descending upon New York. Translation: it's like Fashion Week for the Art World. It's an exhausting, frenetic overview of what's happening right now in the art market, and is global in scale. The biggest draw is the Armory Show- some of the others include Pulse, Volta, Scope, Fountain, Red Dot, and Verge. Galleries throughout the Chelsea are also very involved with offerings of liquid brunches, and the Brooklyn galleries stay open very late. It's a really fun time if you have the stamina. Similar to Fashion Week, the smaller shows are often more interesting, and if you go to more than one of them, you start to notice trends.

So, with that said, I thought I would start keeping up with my recent Fashion Week adventures before they become a very distant memory. My first show for Fall 2010 was Alexander Berardi (on the same night as the Pufferella opening at Factory Fresh). Out of thirty looks, these photos are my artsy favorites. For far more extensive fashion coverage that goes well beyond this special week, go to Plaztik Mag.

The whole night felt like I was going from one party to the next. The crowd at Berardi was fun, with the attendees seeming more like the club kids from the 80's or right out of the movie, Party Monster. Sometimes, I sit with the crowd, but tonight, I decided to take some shots from the photographer's "pit" where I spied celebrity fashion writer and reality star, Patrick McDonald (from Bravo's Launch My Line), and the loveable Justin Tranter, front-man of the Brooklyn band, Semi-Precious Weapons (who posed several times for me in his sparkly gold booties); it's just so unfortunate that none of them turned out very well with the low lighting prior to the start of the show.

Here's some more flavor of other audience members.