Friday, July 23, 2010

The Eclectics

Recently, I've been listening to a lot of Wyclef Jean. I'd known about him as part of the Fugees phenomenon, but didn't think of him as more than a guitar and vocal backdrop to Lauryn's soulful singing. Post Haiti disaster, I kept hearing his name and started checking out his solo work. Suffice it to say, I've been listening for weeks and am really loving it.

For one, he is very talented. I love how he can manipulate his voice to suit his needs, whether it is a hip hop number like "Hips Don't Lie" or the reggae-inspired "Perfect Gentleman." I also really like his lyrics, well-written story lines laced with some good social commentary. Most of all, the global eclecticism really appeals to me -- he takes risks, blends melodies, pushes hip hop to meet soul to meet reggae to meet whatever else he is feeling.

Also recently, I've come to be obsessed with the jewelry of Amrita Singh. Her style is a beautiful shout-out to many of the most beautiful sources for decorative motifs. From larger-than-life Bollywood chandelier earrings to the the stunning glitz of the Victorian age, Amrita captures it all.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Damn you, Blue

I’ve got a problem. I need some help. It isn’t booze or cigarettes, excessive buying of ballerina flats or an obsession with cashmere. It’s a Delft problem. More specifically, the world of Delftware. You know, the blue-and-white porcelain that your Grandma is saving for you.

I’m not sure when it started, but it has taken hold of me. Whenever I see something with that amazingly crisp combo of blue and white... Oh man, I’m sold. Whether it is a cheap Pier 1 lamp or a strangely expensive picture frame or a doorknob or the border of a stationary set… the list goes on and on.

After I made it through the middle school years, I had a no-blue policy. Jeans were ok, but all else was banned for a while. In my awkward years, I would usually wear blue jeans with an Old Navy blue shirt. This combo, coupled with my dorky glasses and low ponytail, represented my most awkward phase. It was the Bat Mitzvah year.

After I made it through, I did not want to remember those times – so I stayed away from navy.

Then at some point, I fell madly in love with Delft and have collected its offspring like it’s my job. There. I said it. Isn’t the first step always self awareness?

Charming little Dutch Delfties

Navy linen tablecloth from Williams Sonoma

Blue Hydrangeas, my wedding flower... my obsession

Example of Delftware, the blue and white pottery made in Delft in the 16-18th centuries

A gorgeous design for a dining room, once again, blue and white come into play...

More blue, blue, blue...

A reprint of a photo glued to a slab of wood -- Mexico City’s Zocolo offers up such portraits by the dozen. Frida looks downward, coy and quiet. A Mayan necklace hangs heavy around her pale neck, announcing itself loudly while Frida remains silent. Would her Diego come back to her? Yes, another thing making it difficult to breathe, almost more wrenching than a broken pelvis and shattered leg. “I had two big accidents in my life Diego, the trolley and you... You are by far the worse.”

Another day in a hot city, children sipping juice out of pistachio bags, frothy cocoa boiling in tin pots, cacti growing high as legends. Eyebrow joined as crows wings, spread out in leisure. A siesta. A city rests with mothers in their prayer. Mi madre, mi amor… The photo looks dead flat against wood. How could they use a black and white photo of Frida when her life was lived in full color? It wouldn’t seem right to Diego either “mi amor, mi vida, Eres todo a mi…” The photo won’t even stay attached, they’ve used a cheap glue, smelly but weak. She will peel away from the edges, the thick humidity melting the glue that keeps her grounded. Still, she remains silent.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Island is Born

"Millions upon millions of years before had risen upon earth, the central areas of this tremendous ocean were empty, and where famous islands now exist nothing rose about the rolling waves. Of course, crude forms of life sometimes moved through the deep, but for the most part the central ocean was marked only by enormous waves that arose at the command of the moon and wind. Dark, dark, they swept the surface of the empty sea, falling only upon themselves terrible and puissant and lonely." - James Michener's "Hawaii", Chapter 1, p. 2

An object, explored

A beer-amid. A perfect menagerie of brown glass, one simple triangle built up in levels. The bottles are lined carefully as a child’s blocks, intentional and serious. The liquids were drunk up long ago, one beer for him and one her and one for the third wheel who later brought a friend and three more followed. A beer-amid, the purest kind, constructed out of matching glass with no Rolling Rock greens or Corona desert-pales.

It was built as seriously as it was drunk, by Andrew who digs architecture and wheezes when he breathes. The structure spreads quickly at the base as bottles empty, one two five seven and eleven. The labels shine out (they weren’t removed) from the sides and the nooks between, gothic letters set on a majestic spread of silver. "Take off the labels," she insists, "it will look prettier…" He won’t get into that, it’s the climb he’s after, the power of sheer numbers. Wheezes.

A beer-amid, the purest kind, all brown Buds and no imposters to screw it up. And so it starts, one empty set down. Two and a few and it’s on its way, up and up, the dude wheezing as he balances the still glass. A beer-amid is a beautiful thing. It could even be art. And why not? Warhol’s cans are.

Must-listen Eric Clapton guitar solo