Friday, April 30, 2010

MUSIC: Folk Friday {The Tallest Man on Earth}

Kristian Matsson {aka The Tallest Man on Earth} is a 27 year old folk musician who hails from Sweden. This talented folk-er came on the scene with his self-titled EP in 2007, followed with his first full album -Shallow Grave {released in Sweden} in 2008, & his latest album, The Wild Hunt, was just released on April 12, 2010.

He toured the United States for the first time with Bon Iver in 2008 & John Vanderslice in 2009. He is currently out & about the country, so check out his website for tour dates.

Check out the video for my personal favorite song: "The Gardener" below- Also, wicked sweet 'stache!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Swing on Over

I just saw my sisters’ school production of “Anything Goes” and of course I now want to overhaul my closet and replace it with high wasted pencil skirts, fitted jackets, and hats! So I went looking for anything that would call back to the Swing Era today.

There is really something to say about the clean and classic silhouettes of these style trends.

Some interesting facts I found out about this style is that with the rationing during WW2, having an outfit made of all one fabric and color was common. So instead women found other ways to spice up their look, like hats! Hats definitely need a comeback.

Women also took more liberty with their makeup. Bright lipstick helped to maintain a feminine feel as women donned structured men's wear, but also add that "pop" factor to any outfit.

I think overall is the feeling optimism these clothes represent. Here are women facing a worldwide crisis, but still they found outlets in dance and fashion, and most of all supporting their country. From nurse to service corps, victory garden, knitting bees, these gals were true patriots. And let’s not forget…

(Rosie the Riveter)
Girl Power.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cynthia Steffe Spring 2010

Check out these looks from the Cynthia Steffe Spring 2010 Collection..

I'm digging that it's not all up in your face neon or super bold patterns/prints, like some designers have been rocking recently - but it's still far from muted/colorless & boring. I'm in love with the first look - sweet, romantic, & girly without being frilly or fussy. I would wear it with a cardi {obvi} & some Keds - two items I have on in some capacity every day {new look needed?}- to dress it down.

I'm also really enjoying that shorts seem to fit a little looser this season - so not into shorts so tight you can't sit down/bums hanging out - not a good look.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Birthday List

My birthday is coming up & in addition to a long list of books I have been adding to my birthday list unnecessarily frequently, I could also do with some new art work I think. These cute little prints by Spanish artist Blanca Gomez would be perfect - I wouldn't even need to hang them up anywhere...just leaning on my desk or kitchen table would be inspiring enough. I'm loving the flat features of the figures & anything travel related almost always gets my vote! My wish list just keeps growing & growing!

Rain, Rain Go Away

I don't know what it's like where you are, but here it's been rainy/dreary for quite some time. Boo! I'm ready for some sunshine!

The Rainy Day - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Running Fence

When I went to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C this weekend, unfortunately, their Aaron Douglas exhibit was on rotation. However, Nate {a contributor over at this music blog} & I did see a wonderfully executed exhibit on The Running Fence.

This was an enormous art endeavor taken by Christo & Jean-Claude in the mid 1970's. This artist duo is known for their large scale, environmental art projects. Some famous enterprises include wrapping the Reichstag & the Pont Neuf, and most recently a venture called The Gates in NYC. Almost always controversial, due to the enormity of their work, as well as the negotiations required with various governments, their main goal has always been to beautify the world - or in the very least trying to make something look good that was never thought to be able to look any different. They want people to see the same thing or place in a new way - often this transpires in a global realm due to the abundancy of media coverage.

Running Fence

Progress began on this installation in 1972 and, after much deliberation with governmental officials, it was completed in September of 1976 and removed exactly 2 weeks later, leaving absolutely no trace of its existence. The "fence" was 18 feet high and was comprised of Nylon sails. It spanned 24.5 miles of land through Sonoma & Marin counties in northern California. Beginning near Highway 101 it crossed 14 roads and traversed the private lands of 59 ranchers {whose testimonies of cooperation were part of the Portrait Gallery's exhibit} and ended in the Pacific Ocean -the most beautiful part, in my opinion.

It was the first art project that required an environmental impact report {completed in 450 pages!}-which probably wouldn't have been required if it had been even a decade earlier as the environment {NEPA, Clean Air & Water Acts, etc} wasn't really on the agenda until the 1970's.

Besides being impressive merely in its size and the number of people it required to complete, the two messages I took away from this project were: fences don't necessarily have to divide people & people {i.e ranchers} who probably weren't too sure about art -especially conceptual art from foreigners who barely spoke English- can be willing & excited participants in such an undertaking {really anything might be possible!}.

"The work of art is a scream of freedom!" - Christo

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Aaron Douglas

Yesterday, I went to the Delaware Art Museum {surprisingly fantastic!} & saw one reproduction of a mural by one of my favorite 20th century artists & this weekend I'm heading to Washington D.C & I'll hopefully have time to stop by the National Portrait Gallery to see their extensive exhibit on him.

Aaron Douglas

Born in Topeka, Kansas in 1899, Douglas was always interested in art & his mother was very influential in encouraging him to follow his passion. He graduated from the University of Lincoln-Nebraska with a B.A in 1922 & quickly made his way to Harlem, just in time for the Harlem Renaissance. He began writing for The Crisis & Opportunity, two important newspapers during the Harlem Renaissance period.

Douglas was heavily inspired by Africa & African Americans, which can be seen in his jazzy, silhouette-like large paintings, many of which depict the hardships of slavery combined with the fortitude of African people. His most famous works, the large-scale murals at Fisk University, were completed in the 1930's.

His most recognized work are sort of abstract & feature flat figures with geometric bands radiating outward from these figures, although he also did some traditional sketching. His response to being called the Father of African American Arts was: "Do not call me the Father of African American Arts, for I am just a son of Africa, and paint for what inspires me."

{image: Study for Aspects of Negro Life: The Negro in an African Setting, 1934}

{image: Idylls of the Deep South, 1934}

{image: Building More Stately Mansions - 1944}

{image: Gods Trombones - 1926}

{image: The Creation - 1935}

{image: Power Plant in Harlem}

Friday, April 23, 2010

MUSIC: Folk Friday {The Swell Season}

A few years back, my friend Madelyn introduced me to the movie Once. It was a nice film set in Dublin with accents so thick we needed to put on the subtitles. Shot in 17 days, it focuses on a broken-hearted musician who meets a young Russian woman struggling to make ends meet. The two share two things a loneliness they cannot shake and a deep rooted love for music. Its not really a love story, the two should never be together, but a testament to the power of music. You may recall the featured song "Falling Slowly" from the 2008 Oscars when Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová performed after some spectacularly campy and musical theatre show stoppers from the Disney film Enchanted. Glen and Marketa make up the folk duo The Swell Season, and while I could never say no to OTT musical theatre (I work at Disneyland... hello..), I thought their performance was mature and moving and well deserving of The Little man in Gold.

The Swell Season are Glen Hansard (from the Irish band, The Frames) and Marketa Irglova (classically trained Czech pianist and vocalist).
They have a rustic sound, not unlike Iron and Wine, but a touch of softness that comes from Marina's piano and vocals. Glen can get a bit rage-y and maybe even a bit creepy, but just look at his guitar and it is easy to tell how passionate he is about music.

The Swell Season will be at the 2010 Newport Folk Festival.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ballet Shoes

I'm obsessed with Netflix. There I said it. Besides Ravelry, it's probably the website I waste the most time on. So, this movie was in the Watch Instantly section & I've been curious to see it because as a shamelessly fanatic Harry Potter fan I just had to see how Hermione Granger was as a non-witch.

Apparently,Ballet Shoes is a made-for-TV BBC movie from 2007. It wasn't half bad, honestly, it would have been really great for the nine year old girl market. I imagine it could have been better with a little bit more focus on character development, but the costumes really did it for me - very 1940's. See for yourself below:

Emma Watson wasn't bad either -sometimes guilty of overacting, but perhaps her time @ Brown University will do her good. I hear she's taking acting classes -imagine how frustrated her cohorts must be. They might be better actors, but they will never make even a portion of what Emma has made.

Perfect for those Friday nights...

So, I'm Day 5 into my foray into veganism. I need to cook more, but it's going well so far. I already didn't eat dairy & not a huge meat person, so I just need to increase protein intake from other sources...I'll keep you posted.

Anyways, in my attempt to find vegan recipes I was recommended to VeganYumYum {great website!} by Goldteef. I came across these...which look a little bit {ok- a lot!} above my decorating ability, but I would love to have them on my knitting nights with The Lo Down & Grocery Stores & Fancy Things.

All vegan, but more importantly don't they look too cool!?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Looks like Vogue Knitting has been quite kind to ANTM winners/rejects...I spotted McKee & Bre rocking some patterns from a Fall 2009 & Fall 2007 {respectively} editions of the mag...not their most inspiring work I would say, but congrats on getting jobs.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

utter delight

Seriously, is there anything better than getting home after a needlessly long day {I spent 5 hours in the Archives researching Tavern licenses from the early 19th century....can you beat that!?} & seeing a big package on your doorstep...opening it & getting this:

a pile of books, a Disney pin, & a card from your bestest.

Thanks B! Can't wait to delve into some new reads & can't wait to see you. Maybe we can talk to the Midwest about making some space, so the East & West Coasts don't have to be so far apart?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Marathon Monday

On you mark. Get set. Go.
And 26.2 miles you get to stop.
Why on earth would anyone, ANYONE want to move their feet, lose toe nails, feel your lungs, calves, quads, hamstrings, and lower back burn for approximately 4 hours (2:07:14 if you are the male record holder and 2:20:43 for females)?

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events. This year marks its 114 run staring in a quaint New England town, Hopkinton, and making its way over hills and into the heart of Bean Town. Runners pass though Copley Square, along the Charles River, and past Boston College. Its around the 16 mile mark runners battle not only exhaustion, but the three toughest hills of the course. One hill known as Heartbreak Hill is notorious for depleting athletes of the little energy they have left and separating the the champions from your fun runners. The nickname "Heartbreak Hill" originated with an event in the 1936 race. On this stretch, defending champion John A. Kelley caught race leader Ellison "Tarzan" Brown, giving Brown a consolatory pat on the shoulder as he passed. His competitive drive apparently stoked by this gesture, Tarzan Brown rallied, pulled away from Kelley, and went on to win—in the words of Boston Globe reporter Jerry Nason, "breaking Kelley's heart."
Another notorious Marathoner in Rosie Ruiz (hey speaking of Roses...)
Scandal came to the Boston Marathon in 1980 when amateur runner Rosie Ruiz came from out of nowhere to win the women's race. Marathon officials became suspicious when it was found Ruiz didn't appear in race videotapes until near the end of the race. A subsequent investigation concluded that Ruiz had skipped most of the race and blended into the crowd about one mile from the finish line, where she then ran to her apparent victory. Ruiz was officially disqualified, and the winner was proclaimed to be Canadian Jacqueline Gareau.
The best part of the race is probably the camaraderie and spirit of Boston. While the runners number int he thousands, the spectators and in the hundreds of thousands. It has been a long time goal of mine to qualify and run in this race. I can only imagine how wicked awesome it would be to pound the pavement all over New England, past Fenway, and cross the finish line and get some olive leaves! Probably not for a while, bt until then here are some inspiring marathon memories to keep us all running!

(Finish Line 1910)

Women were not allowed to enter the Boston Marathon officially until 1972. Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb is recognized as the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon (in 1966). In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, who had registered as "K. V. Switzer", was the first woman to run with a race number. She finished, despite a celebrated incident in which race official Jock Semple tried to rip off her numbers and eject her from the race.[2] In 1996 the B.A.A. retroactively recognized as champions the unofficial women's leaders of 1966 through 1971.

(K.V. Switzer and her defender bf)

Dick and Rick Hoyt. Dick is the father of Rick, who has cerebral palsy. Dick and Rick started competing in charity runs, with Dick pushing Rick in a wheelchair. Dick and Rick have competed in 66 marathons and hundreds of triathlons and finish with competitive times. Their top marathon finish was an astonishing 2:40:47, a time unattainable for most average marathoners.

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