Sunday, February 28, 2010

drew barrymore as little edie.

film still courtesy the guardian (with a nice little blog article, too).

this hbo movie came out in the middle of 2009... i just borrowed it from the library after having watched the original maysles documentary just a few weeks ago, i thought it would be fitting to watch the drew barrymore/jessica lange feature while it was still fresh in my mind. starting from the opening scene of drew -- little edie -- dancing in the foyer of grey gardens, i knew her performance was going to be amazing.

and seriously -- the STYLE! they duplicated the scenes from the original documentary to the T -- the clothes, the set, everything. i can't forget the little brown sweater vest with the light blue flowers... the way she wears it as a vest, then wears it as a scarf. classic edie. i love it.

and not only that, but when they show the scene of her describing her "costume" in the garden -- how she shows the skirt that's strangely pinned on one side, showing her pantyhose and some pants underneath... it's so weird, but she's edie! it's perfect. and the fact that the maysles had their own little part in this movie -- their brief, intrigued, "well, let's do this" sort of attitude -- it gave just that little extra bit of showtime for them... when they were so obviously interacting with the beales in their documentary, but never really played a part.

drew played little edie so faithfully. jessica lange was fantastic, too; the combination of the two was great, which is precisely what was needed to make this a good film. and it's good.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

now THIS is a renovation.


you are meant to ignore the above photo. but one has to appreciate having seen it, so keep that dismal, winter ranch in mind when you look at the photo after the jump.

WOW. i have kind of a distaste for the sort of blah ranch in the above photo. so did the owners of that house, apparently, because they turned it into something SO much cooler. but what's great is that the mid-century sensibility wasn't totally lost on it. and while the house is nearly unrecognizable as something having been built out of that, the interior updated and brightened and opened and looks every bit as modern and fresh and groovy as this house was probably hoping to look when it was first built. designed by hufft projects, whose other designs i'm also quite fond of, this "modern w/ ranch" in kansas is serious about the mod.

i love a good makeover!!!

cate blanchett as bob dylan.

i realize i'm a couple years behind all the hype over this movie, but i finally watched it last night and was blown away, as so many were, by cate blanchett's portrayal of jude quinn, ie. bob dylan. i think blanchett is absolutely timeless; every role i've seen her play, she's done to near perfection. other parts of this movie were so-so, ho-hum, but i kept looking forward to when they would cut back to cate. and heath ledger was okay, too, although i wasn't so much moved by his character. so just for the hell of it, below is just a video showing my favorite scene from the film... the scenes in the video-walled room and with ginsberg yelling at jesus.

Monday, February 22, 2010

new york gallery week.

dan flavin, the nominal three (to william of ockham), 1963.

via artdaily

oh my god. (oh my god.) this is smart. this will be fun! they maybe should have thought of this a while ago, but alas. 50 galleries in manhattan -- including spaces in soho, chelsea, the upper and lower east side, and 57th street -- will be launching new york gallery week in may of this year, for the first time. it's planned for the future to be a week-long annual event, though the pilot this year is going to be only a few days -- may 7-10 during a weekend when galleries will be open on days they aren't usually open, and for extended hours.

i imagine this should do well to (re)illuminate the gallery scene in new york city. it seems to me that -- especially contemporary -- artists tend to get their mfa, make some big work, and go straight to museums, skipping the gallery scene altogether. this should probably turn into an amazing party if all goes well, and hopefully gets better through the years. i can't imagine it will be bad; the galleries are sure to pull out all the stops for something like this when the international art world spotlight is on them again.

would love to see this.

dwell magazine - subscribed!

this issue of dwell magazine has been devoured already. this has been my favorite magazine for a year or two now; it's like crack cocaine for the design-addicted. i compulsively page through an issue every time i find myself in a store that carries it, but i couldn't always justify purchasing one every single month... it's just my take on magazines. my mom, however, happened to come across a subscription sign-up a little while ago and she's now receiving these babies in the mail. why i didn't shell out of the $19.95-a-year to do it myself is anyone's guess... but maybe next year i'll take over.

i'm totally enamoured with this magazine. i love the design, i love the simplicity, i love the down-to-earth writing about modern design that is often not down-to-earth at all, and i love the content -- they choose imaginative and fascinating designs and structures to show. i'm so happy this magazine exists.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

silly ideas that turn out well: slinky lampshade.

i had a lamp base. i had a nice bulb. but it didn't have a shade -- or one that fit, and i'm sick and tired of the same old-same old paper lampshades. i didn't want a paper lantern, and i wasn't sure what the hell i could use to make this look nice.

the other day my sister happened to have a tangled-up metal slinky hanging off of a cabinet knob in her apartment. lo! i thought, tangling up a bunch of slinky toys might just do the trick! and won't you believe it -- half price books had a veritable mountain of miniature metal slinkies for sale. so i bought 15 of them, unabashedly carrying around a bag of slinkies like i have a serious compulsion or something, and brought them home.

it took me about an hour to stretch and tangle them all together -- i didn't really have a plan. and i didn't know how they would react to all the twisting and pulling. and they were really annoying to work with at first; i almost thought i blew $25 on slinkies only to get frustrated and discouraged, and to get metallic crap all over my hands that smelled metallic -- have you ever smelled a slinky? i even tried cutting out the bottom of a planters nuts countainer because the metal ring of the rim fit perfectly into the lamp base that i have. but the slinkies absolutely refused to sit nicely on the ring, and once i started wrapping the metal around the ring, it no longer fit where it needed to go. had to scrap that idea.

then it dawned on me that i had a spare glass jar in the cabinet, so i used that as a base onto which to tangle and "sculpt" to the slinkies. it's weird, yes. but i love it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

calvin tomkins' "lives of the artists."

image via fargfabriken

above image is maurizio cattelan's Him, 2001. that is adolf hitler, praying. and i only include it because i can't find a decent image of tomkins' book cover and this is far more interesting.

tomkins' book was published in 2008, a collection of articles he wrote throughout the last couple decades on contemporary and living artists -- jeff koons, damien hirst, cindy sherman, maurizio cattelan, and more. it's a fantastic, easy-to-read, easy-to-digest overview of these artists, all of whom are absolute giants in the art world in their own way, and tomkins provides compelling explanations why. he includes interview notes and quotes by the artists that are at turns poignant and hilarious. where it might be easy for him to throw in his own criticisms of the work that he presents (Him by cattelan is one of the examples in that part), he lets the artist do the talking, and gives you, the reader, an opening to check the work out for yourself before you start absorbing others' judgments prior to seeing it yourself.

this is a really cool book; i found it at the library, but if i come across a copy at the bookstore, i might just have to snag this one for my own library. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

kaukauna coffee & tea in the news.

photo by kasi kochollek for the appleton post-crescent

aw, that's my little sister at the counter of her coffee shop. she's in the local business news this week, maureen wallenfang's column, to talk about her business and her expansion to the other side of town! it's so cool to see people you know in the paper. ;) (see the drink menu i wrote out?)

also, since this is a post about ali -- she announced she's engaged! to her boyfriend (high school sweetheart, really) kevin. married in about a year, she thinks? looking sooo forward to it. happiness abounds!

Friday, February 12, 2010

banksy and colum mccann.

via banksyfilm whatever this is, it'll clearly be amazing. i hope it's accessible in the usa before long. i'd love to see it.

i also just finished reading colum mccann's national book award-winning novel 'let the great world spin,' which is published by random house. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING. i recommend this to anyone and everyone. i'm currently also reading 'the bonfire on the vanities' by tom wolfe, which is a curious, and completely coincidentally, perfect partner for this book. the new york times review even considered mccann's work to be something of a literary "precursor" to 'the bonfire of the vanities.'

set in new york city in the 1970s, the story revolves around a group of people who are intimately known to one another or hardly know one another at all. relationships, history, love, and the thread of connection that is the man on the tightrope between the world trade center towers. mccann is faultless in his presentation of these characters' stories; they are developed so thoroughly, so carefully, that one wonders if you might actually know them, if you might look them up in the phone book and see what they're doing these days.

i haven't read a book this good in quite a while.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

candice breitz's factum @ white cube.

via white cube gallery

candice breitz is new to me. i haven't seen her works before, and i won't be able to see this one, seeing as it's in london. but anyone with access to the hoxton square white cube should probably go check this out, because it sounds amazing. the above image is a still from 'factum kang', 2009, which is part of a group of works called 'factum' after robert rauschenberg's works factum I and II in 1957 in which he did near-identical paintings.

breitz interviewed and filmed identical twins, and also a trio of triplets, and presents them in diptych (and triptych) format to show them in similar dress and setting, though appearing as though they are having a conversation with one another.

if i hadn't just read (half of, then put down) audrey niffenegger's 'her fearful symmetry', i probably wouldn't find this as interesting, but the concept of identical twins who look the same, but can in fact be so different, never gets old. i find that the way this must be put together is quite brilliant... to see the twins speaking and reacting as if they are speaking to one another, and not to the artist, is really quite intriguing. and i wish that i could go see this exhibit!

Monday, February 8, 2010

yeasayer's odd blood.

oh oh oh. the new album by brooklyn-based yeasayer, odd blood, does not disappoint. it's definitely a departure from their previous release, 2007's all hour cymbals. it's a little bit more electronic, infusing middle-eastern sounds and a plethora of synth, feedback, vocal samples that in "love me girl," for example, sound like depeche mode's making an appearance. so amazing, really. i've listened to "ambling alp" several dozen times at this point, since i've had it for a while. but it's so great to have the rest of the album to give it some context now.

amore mio low chair.

via jon goulder

because i'm totally on a mid-century modern kick right now (i was drooling over todd oldham's hand made modern book at work the other day), i saw these chairs and their correspondingly spectacular furniture friends and thought they were perfect! there is a coffee table to match, and also on the jon goulder website (he's quite good in all his designs!) he has a credenza that is really, really cool. i never used to care about furniture at all until i started decorating a tabula rasa apartment. not to mention that i my burgeoning love of modern residential architecture sort of goes hand-in-hand with what can go inside those houses! little finds like this are always a treat.

to come... yeasayer's new album, odd blood, scheduled to drop february 9!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

taxidermy for the crafter-at-heart.

via dazed.

sweet stuff here! art by shauna richardson. i love that it's an eerie mix of craft, kitsch, and fine art. you don't really know what it is... but it's cool. essentially, for the purposes of this blog, i don't need to go any further than that... ha!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

laurie frick and her house.

via contemporist

it's been a while since i've come across a new modern residence in my daily perusing that has had me feel so warm and content as this one in austin, tx by krdb. one thing it has going for it is the warmer climate of texas, where i'm always drawn to the desert plant landscaping and the possibility for more open, airy spaces. what's so exciting about this house (for an artist, laurie frick -- the things one discovers!) is how it seems to combine homey-ness and material collections with gallery-like open spaces and white, modern walls. an obvious choice for an artist, but it still seems full of life -- which a lot of modern houses, in their very concept, are not at all. i love the industrial hints -- the I-beams on the ceilings, mixed in with the rugs and pottery and books! and art! it's great. it's not so minimal; a change.

laurie frick's stuff is pretty cool. should check out the link above; she does collages out of found postcards, books, papers, etc. and makes some really spectacular works out of art out of them.

Monday, February 1, 2010

free february at aic!

from the aic modern collection: max beckmann, self-portrait, 1937.

the art institute of chicago starts their FREE FEBRUARY month of free admission -- all month. totally cool.

also, by virtue of the fact that it is now february, my spirits are brightened just a little... knowing we're no longer in january, and a little closer to spring. ;)

and finally, massive attack's new heligoland, which you can listen to in its entirety on npr's website, will be released on february 9. i wouldn't necessarily place massive attack at the very top of my list or anything, but i did have a phase several years ago when i considered
mezzanine to be one of my favorite albums of the time. listening to their older stuff dates the music, but this is new and yet familiar. according to the npr article, it has been a solid seven years since their last release, so that's saying something. and considering my interest in electronic music has waned (temporarily as always) in recent months, heligoland, so far, sounds wonderful.