Category Archives: Culture Vulture

Tish and the Original Snooky.

I gotta admit, when it comes to wacky hair dye, experience has made me more of a Special Effects kinda gal. I’ve been rocking a mane dyed “Electric Blue” (sing it to the tune of Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth for a brief glimpse into what my brain sounds like. Digging those jorts, Debbie.) for over a year and half and, not only does it make me a better person, but I only have to touch it up ever two or three months because the SFX formula is so dang tenacious.

I was told that the fishtail braid was both easy and quick. It ain't. What the hell to women do to their hair that this is a cakewalk in comparison?!

I was told that the fishtail braid was both easy and quick. It ain’t. What the hell to women do to their hair that this is a cakewalk in comparison?!

On the other hand, if you’ve ever rocked a head of Atomic Pink or Pillarbox Red, thank Manic Panic hair dye creators Tish and Snooky Bellomo. These entrepreneurial punks and their store/wholesale business are probably 95% responsible for your and my cool hair tastes becoming a commercially viable “lifestyle” choice. The other 5%, sadly, goes to Rhianna and her stylists for squeezing any of the meaning and beauty out of almost every subcultural style and making me NEVER WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN.

Worn Fashion Journal has a great interview with the sisters Panic. Most importantly, this article came to me at a great time. I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed and down on me and my business prospects. Not only is a life-spent-making an isolating thing, but having to deal with the business side of things can feel like an uphill battle. It’s often very difficult, especially when any tour of the internet will show you just how much success other people seem to be having, literally, all around you. It’s like drowning in a sea of other people’s accomplishment. It’s hard. Every day is hard and, sometimes, I’m just not up for yelling into the void. So, it was really helpful and calming to read about T & S’s struggles. It sounds like they got kicked around a lot but kept finding ways to with or around their problems (sometimes both!)

And you also have to never take no for an answer. That’s our other advice. Because we’ve been told so many times, oh no, that’s it, you can’t do that. And we’re like, but wait a minute. What about this way? What about that way? And we always seem to get it done. You know, there are times when you can’t, but in general, where there’s a will there’s a way. You just keep fighting for what you want.

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Travelogue 8.

Don’t worry. It’s the last one.

On Tuesday morning, I trucked back down to Teahouse to eat some more oatmeal, drink some more coffee and read some more book. Kudos to Brad, my social-peer of a server for keeping my cup full for the 2 hours that I was bumming around. I’m sure Brad was secretly thanking me for being the lowest maintenance customer at the joint, too. Yikes. I don’t often miss working in food service.

Thanks to that cheap-o Google Maps app that came on my phone, I trucked it up the 1.3 scenic miles to Museum Hill and bought a ticket for the Museum of International Folk Art. And… well… that was the rest of my day (sans burrito break at the Hill’s cafe… which included more free coffee. People just loved giving me free coffee that day.) It was hard not to photograph the entire museum, from the Corpus Christi costumes to the exhibit on how museum archives work. Everything was so good. Another 12 bucks well spent.

Macedonian wedding dresses!!!!

 

Me, in a 21lb wedding coat.

The permanent collection, the life’s work of Alexander Girard, is huge and overwhelming… as you might be able to tell… and is organized in a maze-like, intuitive fashion.

Also in miniature is Santa Fe’s Municipal Airport. I dubbed it the “one room airport”. The main building could fit in my backyard!

Seriously. I arrived 2 hours early for my flight- about 1.5 hours earlier than I really should have arrived. So, I got to spend some time hanging around the airport by myself. Literally. It was me and one or two guys out prepping the plane. I was sad to leave but walking across the tarmac and seeing the ring of mountains on the horizon was a great way to say “See you later.”

 

Travelogue 6.

On Sunday, we spent most of our day either eating or loafing.

The Teahouse: holy hell! I’ve been trying to convince myself that I like oatmeal. I’m doing this for the same reason that I’m trying to convince myself that I like running: other people seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of this simple thing and I, in all of my flawed human existence, am craaaaaaazy jealous of their inner conviction. I think that this oatmeal might serve as the decoder ring to my enjoyment of a morning bowl of oatmeal. It doesn’t hurt that it is smothered in butter, heavy cream, and whipped cream. And brown sugar. I went back and had it for breakfast this morning, too.

Downtown Santa Fe is good looking and the hill above downtown where we are staying is also magically good looking.

At 5:30, we emerged with the goal of finding some grub (SF seems rather shuttered on Sundays). As Joss was trying to lock the door, the knob slipped right off, lock still around the key, key still in the hand. We informed the nice lady at student services about what happened. She called the maintenance man, who was on-call, who had to finish up his Father’s Day dinner. We left for a dinner of our own and took a little extra time checking out the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

There’s a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes around the side of the church. A real one-two punch of famous Virgin Mary manifestations.

In the end, we didn’t get back into our room until around 10pm. Yikes. And the new door knob? I think they stole it off of the supply closet because now that door is missing a knob.

(Double yikes: I have to get on an airplane and leave soon! I feel like I’ve been gone away forever! I’m going to miss the dry heat, the little lizards, and drivers who don’t harass you as you walk down the street. Mmmm. Vacation, indeed.)

(But then I look on Facebook and see all the fun going on in Providence and it’s like I can’t get back quickly enough! Not many bay and river-side bars in ol’ Santa Fe and no cute little brown dog to cuddle at night, either. And Mussel Monday’s at Loie Fuller’s! And birthday parties! And crazy techno shows on haunted battleships! And shade!)

Travelogue 5.

I doubted that we could make it from Elk City, Oklahoma to Santa Fe, New Mexico in one day. I was proven wrong.

The American southwest is about as far you can get from the American northeast. Enchanted land, indeed. So wide and open and magical.

We laughed a lot at the reality of what was going on around us and spent some time quietly “vibing on the mesas”.

Not to get all woo-woo on ya but I’m trying to quiet down parts of myself so as to better gauge what the vortex of land might be. Yeah. That was pretty woo-woo. So I just say “vibing” and call it a day.

I also was able to catch some impossible views of rain could thanks to North American Monsoon Season aka Now.

I am vibing so hard on this vortex of unflappability.

If only those underclassmen would SHUT THE HELL UP.

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Travelogue 4.

Traveling on Rt. 66 was also one of my life goals so this has been a 2 life goal-meeting vacation. Did you hear that? “VACATION”. God. I love being on vacation. Even when being on vacation means staying surreptitiously in a crappy dorm room with a communal bathroom at a 40K a year college that offers no real degree program. Which is where I am writing this from right now. The door knob came off in Joss’s hand as she was trying to lock it and we’ve been shuffling around for 4 hours, waiting for it to be fixed. At least the weather is sublime.

 

 

On Saturday, the plains gave way to red dirt and…gulches? Or something. I’m not sure what this land texture is called.

And rolling red and green turned into expanding gold and blue. Wind farm territory.

Britten, Texas’s leaning water tower.

And Amarillo, Texas’s Cadillac Ranch.

Where the ground looks dry.

And the horizon looks wet.

Travelogue 3.

Riding the Mother Road through Oklahoma and taking photos out of blurry windows. No my finest photographic efforts.

My Best Day in Recent Memory ended by staying in a Double Tree Suites- a hotel of moderate swankiness. No stale cigarette smoke or weird moistness there! We peeped the cute city of Springfield, MO and ate a heavy and hearty breakfast at Anton’s Coffee Shop.

Riding Historic Rt. 66 in all of its Americana glory (what’s left of it) is actually a bit of a task without a guidebook. We decided to make a go of following its sporadic and small brown and white signs from Tulsa to Oklahoma City.  It was difficult and not without some cursing but! we did manage to end up on the oldest paved part of 66, a short country road style stretch that measures a scant 9ft across and runs through some thick growth.

Despite being known for its roadside attractions, this stretch was pretty rural.

A couple blocks down from here, I saw four grey kittens playing on some abandon cars! Adorable!

Your red earth is strange to me.

A real deal mega church.

A premier roadside destination! Give yourself 3 hours!

What surprised me the most were just how many old, abandon things are running from Oklahoma through Texas. Gas stations, cars, houses, small towns. All seemingly left in the middle of “nowhere”. Every time the horizon expanded outwards, Joss and I remarked about how vast the land looked and far we felt from home. And yet, the next day those feeling would be surpassed as we experienced bigger spaces and smaller towns.

Travelogue 2.

Don’t worry, guys! I’m safely in the clean, smooth air of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Land of Enchantment, indeed. While I haven’t passed out from altitude sickness, I did get up to pee, like, 3 times last night. Apparently, that is a thing that can happen when your body starts dealing with its continued existence at an altitude higher than it is used to (please see: “I have lived at the beach my entire life.”)

Now that I am stationary, I have some time to actually edit photos and think (siesta. It’s great!) In this installment, I’m going to think about how much I liked St. Louis, Missouri. “How much?”, you may wonder. “A lot”, I will say. In fact, much to my east coaster chagrin, I found much of Missouri to be really agreeable. Bully for you, Missouri.

Thursday was our hanging out in St. Louis day so Joss and I wasted no time getting up and out of the Mt. Vernon, Ill. “Thrifty Inn”. We postponed breakfast until we hit the city and thank goodness for that because our breakfast at Rooster was made all the more delicious when given to an empty and thankful belly. We marveled at the fact that we both felt so much better being in a bigger city where we blended in with our surroundings.

My impressions of the STL are that it is clean, likes colorful Mustangs, is fairly easy to bike around, and encourages you to play on everything. Touching and playing with abandon are not New England values (Puritans, amirite??) so to see the city encouraging fun and interaction within an urban landscape through things like CityGarden or signs that say “Have a picnic in the park!” was really nice. It also made me wonder what is/was responsible for this divergence in attitudes. Is the mid-west just not as litigious? Or are east coasters just no fun? A weird tax break? Help me out, you Saints of Louis!

I especially liked this building and the International Fur Exchange. The make ’em big out here.

Norman Mailer sez that graffiti is “your presence on their Presence… hanging your alias on their scene” (1974.) I swell with thoughts about what writing yourself onto a symbol of rough and tragic westward expansion means. A critique? A redemption? An alliance?

We visited the Gateway Arch National Park, stood a safe distance away from the animatronic exhibits in the history museum, and spent a lot of time looking up. But not too much time because the goal of the day (as well as one of those “life goal” things I have) was to visit the City Museum.

I’m proud to say that I was able to put fear and dignity aside and jumped, swung, climbed, cavorted, slid, and rode on pretty much everything. I could gush about this place for hours and I was bumming like a little kid when leaving time rolled around. I wish we had something like this in Providence. I appreciate it when someone goes ahead and builds a renegade playground in an abandon building or makes to a two story fun house for Halloween. This is the same thing, but on a professional level. Like, with money. And more skill. Steel Yard, Colonial Knife building… I’m looking at you guys. If you want a Temporary Autonomous Zone for Dummies, look no further than City Museum. And for further reading on TAZ, go here.

10 story slide down the central building shaft, ending in the pipes of a salvaged player organ. In the dark. Perfection.

View from the 3 story tall Ferris Wheel atop the 11 story tall building.

Bear in mind that not all Autonomous Zones have giant ice cream cones. 😦

So, there are garbage jungle gyms, there is a vintage clothing store named “The Bale Out” (a nod to vintage clothes being shipped around the world in actual, 1 ton bales. I have seen it with my own eyes, folks!), a huckster/midway/oddity/arcade area, and, to top it off, an architectural salvage exhibit. This is where I go when I pass from this world.

Marbles. Not architectural, but still cool.

Oh man, do I want this or the Gamewell Fire Box fist as a tattoo? Is it tasteful to have 2 tattoos that are shooting out lightening?

After funtime, we drove over to Cherokee St. to visit Apop Records and eat burritos. Apop is everything you want from a record store (you can even get your Dave Public tapes there!) and La Vallesana is everything that you want from a taqueria. Period. QED. Full stop.

Seriously, I had so much fun in St. Louis. I’m looking for a reason to go back and bring everyone I know. Stay beautiful, Rome of the West!

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Travelogue 1.

I’m not very good at documentation, primarily because I get really into observing things directly. Not so good at doing so through a camera. So, very few pictures of things like meals, hotels, places where I actually did anything more than sitting around in the passenger seat of a Toyota Prius.

And so, some photos and a little text about my trip towards Santa Fe, NM.

The part where I only packed red, white, and blue garments.

And attempted to travel lightly.

Dinner at Mystic Pizza….2.

Leaving New York in the morningish. Andrea lives on Sesame St., apparently.

Daring workers on the Manhattan Bridge.

The Clinton Station Diner’s actual dining car. Clinton, NJ. Also, the last place that I physically recorded anything in my paper and pen travelogue.

Childish hijinx in Amish/Hershey country in Pennsylvania in the rain.

Followed by a fortuitous break in the weather.

West Virginia: A Place I Had Never Been Until Yesterday.

Virginia loves big crosses.

And dudes who would probably block me from having an abortion but who would also like to see my tits.

BUCOLIC DETOUR

My dog really needs to get a job. These guys look so satisfied.

Click for full, especially if you are Lola Pellagrino.

This land is your land. This land is my land. This land is really freaking big.

Some fine, young, southern boys throwing bottles into a tree at the gas station just outside Roanoke, VA.

The pool that we never got to go in. Bristol, VA.

Before encountering the watermelon man, we ate at a Waffle House (almost 12 hours later and I am still tasting it), went to Chattanooga, walked around, and ate a bunch of sweet things. More Cheerwine soda in the Northeast, please!!!

After driving through Nashville, we first encountered the eery flatness and openness of the American Mid-west. Whoa.

America is weird. And there is so. damn. much. of it.

It Came from the Garbage- Thoughts on my Quiet Refusal.

A picture from the day that Kelly, Kayla, and I went to all 6 area Savers for their 50% off day. This photo was taken at number 6. It took 9 hours and Kayla fell asleep in the car despite Kelly's all-Justin-Bieber playlist. Hey, it's a living.

I had planned to spend Friday night watching burned DVDs of shipwreck documentaries (long story) but right now I’m kind of hepped up on reading blog posts about conscious fashion and thrifting-as-refusal. In addition to this, I’m in the faded glow of last night’s presentation/conversation by zinester and cool dude Al Burian. It’s really put some fire in the bell of my brain… or whatever. You know what I mean.

I’m going to dump the links to what I’ve been reading at the end of this but, generally, I like to start my internet rabbit-holing by checking out à l’allure garçonnière, a blog that further convinces me that all folks from Montreal are awesome, amazing, and would make for great friends on the lonely plane of real reality.

So, the idea of thrifting-as-refusal came up and I couldn’t help but wonder how this topic plays out in my life. I’m not the most vocal of thrift advocates. God knows that retro/vintage/antique cool is the new, ah…. whatever was a cool buzzword/descriptor 10 years ago- so I feel that saying, “Hey guys! Thrift stores!” is just kind of like yelling into a crowded room in vain. But regardless of how I am fronting, you might notice that on the few outfit pictures that I have posted, many of my articles have had former lives. I’m not one who strives for this but, at a certain point in my life, it just became “what it is”. Everything I have once belonged to someone else. I’ve never concealed this fact. I’ve gone so far as to tastelessly joke about it (“Obviously if I wanted a child I would adopt one. I mean, everything else I own is second hand.” “Even my dog came from the trash!”) and, if you ask, I’ll gladly take you on a tour of the house and point out just how many of my domestic items have come from the proverbial/literal curb (almost the entire house.) The other night, while talking about my indecisive feelings towards graduate programs, my friend quipped that she wished someone would give me a grant so that I could open up my own storefront that sold “stuff you made and stuff you just pulled from the garbage.”

It’s a lifestyle, y’all.

So, yes. I’ve cultivated a decent sense of cultivation over the years. (Double use of “cultivation” highly intentional.) But why? And where from? Is it because I wasn’t really raised around new things. Not in the stuffy, old-money-white-person way nor in the dirt-poor-white-person way but I guess more in the prudent and frugal way. Why buy new clothes when I’ll just grow out of them by summer? Why throw away old clothes when the kid down the block will fit into them next summer? Granted, in a way, this drove me crazy. After a certain age, the pressure to keep up with the other shitty kids in your class becomes strong and even the promise that a childhood spent joining your grandmother at the Second Time Around Charity Shop will 100% guarantee that you will be the coolest kid in your state’s liberal arts college, well, that will not be enough to abate the sting of being insufficient in the eyes of your awful, terrible peers. In another way, it made me so guarded from the way of the world, I had no idea how normal people consumed until I was in high school. I still remember sitting in the living room of a high school boyfriend’s mother’s new condo. I asked something about the furniture to the effect of, “Oh. Did this come from members of your family?*” He looked at me like I was cracked and answered, “No. She went out and bought it to put in this room.” AND MY MIND WAS FOREVER BLOWN.

*because our family passes around a good deal of furniture… sometimes from as far as one coast to the other. Incestual furniture swapping= my baseline normal.

So I’m a garbage picker raised in some sort of torturous squalor (again, “and whatever”). And my life is a series of firm yet quiet “No”s.

No, I will not get married. No, I will not raise a family. No, I will not drive a car. No, I will not move to a suburb. No, I will not own a tv that is hooked up to a cable box (this one actually seems to bother people the most). No, I will not dress my age. No, I will not work a job I dislike because it pays me more money. No, I will not buy new clothes or useless things. No, when my iPod breaks, I don’t really want a new one. (I also refuse the ideas of the electronic reading device (soulless), deodorant from a plastic container (wasteful), chemical house cleaners (gross), the pervasiveness of technology thanks to the iPhone, et al (rude). and morality of fertility treatments (selfish). But these are fairly minor.)

I can’t act as if these feelings are borne from pure altruism. I’m not trying to better the world at large. I’m certainly not trying to stick it to “The Man”. But I am trying to exercise what control I can over my own world. I can only marginally control if my politicians view me as a person deserving of rights. I cannot control if other people see me as human on a day-to-day basis. But I can control the direct sphere around me. I can actively create the world where I want to dwell.  And I can use my money to partially control a larger sphere around that. So, when I go to Saver’s and buy some black Gloria Vanderbilt medium rise mom jeans, I’m refusing the narrow field of options that garment manufacturers are currently laying out as abject fact. Instead, I am culling from the (mistakes of the) past. The past loosened from its context is a valuable resource. A resource that pays some of my bills. This is what we have to dig from: all of history. And to contextualize the past and its souvenirs? This is as close as we can come to time travel. I pick and chose, with great intention (although, nobody is perfect. Myself first and foremost depending on how I feel that day), what goes into my life, who goes into my life, and how I will navigate the endless variety of paths before me. It is fulfilling. Far more fulfilling than spending money. Far more fulfilling than fitting in.

In conclusion:

it’s so slight, it’s so imperceptible, but it’s this teeny tiney gesture of dissent and i employ it often and with fervor.

We live in a stupid world where we have very little control or say in what happens or how things get done or made. It’s frustrating. Refusal is one way to grip a tiny thread of control. Find more ways to hack life and maybe you can weave a blanket to hide under.

Swedish Hasbeens Spring/Summer 2012 (paranthetically speaking).

Image from swedishhasbeens.com

Maybe I am way behind on this thing but, the new look book for the Swedish Hasbeens S/S 2012 line? Holy. Moly. Muted colors, smoke machines, side parts, men in shorts, a vague 1930s sensibility, a stately gymnasium, and no smiles? Please, I wish I had this in print so I could flip through it every few months, tilt my head, and sigh. I’m not a huge look book person (and maybe I should be since I do, er, work in the fashion industry. Or. I work in some parallel universe fashion industry where clothes come in every size and it’s okay to feel good about yourself.) but SH have really killed it with their last few look books (the F/W12 one reminds me of late 90s Diesel ads in the best way. The ones where the models were painted up to look like mannequins……. anyone? Anyone?)

I highly recommend taking a brief peek at their page and even going as far as watching the video. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen something that gives me such an “ah ha!” moment and is also contained solely on the internet. For reference, the above picture isn’t really all that indicative of the overall aesthetic. Rather, I chose it because, when it comes to working out (a thing I like to do), I really get a gas out of wearing non-work out clothes. I just bought my first pair of “real” sneakers in January. I’d rather just wear a nice slip and some good hose (ASSETS: They Go Up To Your Tits- thank you, Megan W. Moore!). I’ve gone jogging in boots (it was good enough for the military.) Come this summer: bathing suits (or maybe I’ll invest in a multi-pocketed running romper. A true “speedsuit“.)

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