Thursday, September 30, 2010


So, as I mentioned, K and I went to a rockandroll show at Higher Ground last night. Since K has always been a rock-and-roller, he knows what's what and who's who when it comes to awesome bands and musicians who happen to meander through our little town (usually mid-week, since we're not cool enough to score hot ticket nights on the tour), and he was über excited about this one.

First on the billet was Jarrod Gorbel (always introduced as the former frontman of The Honorary Title, gone solo). When K first heard that JG would be coming to town, he played a bunch of hilarious You Tube videos that Jarrod made (for what appears to be no apparent reason except perhaps as a promotional stunt). When we got to Higher Ground, Jarrod was already on stage, and I must say that I was far more impressed with his live performance than the recordings I had seen. One thing that I was especially not impressed with was the audience. Everyone was totally disrespectful, talking throughout the entire set. Loudly. It felt like we were at a frat party that Jarrod just happened to be performing at, and I think he was kind of bummed that nobody would just shut up and listen. Maybe I'm projecting here, because he was gracious with the audience and didn't express any irritation, but I was embarrassed for him. What's the point of going to a show if you're just going to talk to your friends the entire time?? I mean, I get that he was the opener (and acoustic) and most people were there to see a upbeat rock show... but still. Don't stand around trying to talk over the performer, it's just plain rude. Okay, rant over. Jarrod is a really great musician and I wish I could have enjoyed his set more (right, so maybe rant not quite over). On an almost entirely unrelated note, he was accompanied by a lovely violinist, who kind of made me wish I hadn't stopped playing. If I had known that playing the violin would eventually be cool/fun, I would have been a lot more dedicated to practicing and forcing myself through those boring orchestra camps.

Steel Train took the stage next, and they were awesome. I didn't really know what to expect, because they are a pretty standard pop/rock group and usually those can be hit or miss for me, but they were really ON last night (maybe because frontman Jack Antonoff [playing double-duty on tour with Fun.] had his entire extended family in the audience [so it seemed], or maybe just because the band has been together for a long time and have perfected their onstage chemistry). Jack's between-tunes banter had us laughing out loud, and you could tell that the guys were having a great time--really enjoying themselves and playing the music because they loved it. The set was lively, the songs were catchy, the band was charming--what more can you ask for on a Wednesday night?

Finally, after much ado, the headliner (Fun.) came out to face their anxious fans (and honestly, I was pretty surprised that everyone in the audience was so excited and seemed to know all of the song lyrics--I feel like I've never seen a show in Vermont where the band had an established fanbase!) I had mixed feelings about Fun. (and if, like me, you're not familiar with the band--the singer for Fun. was formerly the frontman for The Format), but before I get into what struck a sour note, I just want to say that they also put on a really great show. They had lots of energy, lots of enthusiasm, and lots of talent. I liked the horn. My first (minor) complaint was that the songs had no real structure--which I know is great and experimental or anything, but it seemed as if the song would end abruptly just as I was starting to get into it, and while that's not really a negative review because the songs themselves were good enough that I wanted them to keep going, it was kind of irksome. More importantly, I was put off by Nate Ruess' evident self-love. He spent as much time preening as he did screaming, and although I know that's what rockandrollers are all about, it was difficult for me to appreciate his music when I could tell that he was a person I wouldn't particularly like. Maybe that was a complete misjudgement, and if he's a delightful, selfless individual I will eat my words. But sometimes you can just tell about people, you know? It probably didn't help that all of his songs were about leaving women behind and drinking and smoking himself to sleep every night--they certainly painted a portrait of the sort of individual I intuited he was (not that there is anything wrong with that per se--I've certainly never been Miss Angelic Humble Pie, but rampant narcissism tends to vex me). But, you ask, what would a rock and roll band be without a mandiva at the microphone? Perhaps something a little more like Steel Train :)

After I leave a show like this I always wonder what my life would have been like if I had any sort of access to rock shows when I was growing up. I'm always inspired to write music and get back on the stage, and I usually leave a good show with fragments of song lyrics gestating in my mind with nowhere to go. If I had these sorts of influences in my life when I was younger, who knows? Maybe I'd be living the rock and roll dream by now!

All in all, it was a great lineup of fantastic musicians who put on a fun. show (I couldn't resist). Well played!

you gonna burn it out to the wick

I *heart* this dress. Ha-ha. Get it?

(dress: Filene's Basement; cardigan: H&M; tights: TJMaxx; belt: thrifted; shoes: Seychelles)

I feel like an old woman... luckily this dress counteracts my condition by making me look about five years old. Why do I feel elderly today? Well, number 1: I got some new scented deodorant (usually I go unscented but for some reason I had a sense-lapse), which claims to be made with honeysuckle and tea tree oil. That's all well and good, but the powdery-puff scent that results makes me feel a little bit like grandma. More importantly, K and I went to a rock and roll show last night (more on that later) and halfway through I was ready to go home and tuck myself in (luckily the show was awesome enough to convince me to stay). Besides all that, in almost exactly one month I will be 25 years old--pretty ancient. I'm having some difficulty coping with that upcoming milestone.
See how I wore this dress on Valentine's Day (here).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

flow it, show it, long as god can grow it

Man, I really need a haircut. At the very least, I need to have someone scrape out significant volume... but I'm also kind of tempted to cut it all off. Well... not all of it. I've been thinking about a sixties-style bob for a while (à la Anna Karina in Pierrot le fou), but I'm so scared. I don't know why I have this really intense relationship with my hair. When I was in high school I went from long locks to croptop, and looking back I seriously regret it. I looked silly. At the time everyone was saying I looked so "mature" and that it was "fun," and plenty of lovely gals can rock that look, but it just didn't really work on me. Man, when I look back at some of the style choices I made in my confused adolescence, I can't help but shake my head and chuckle. At least I had a distinct style of my very own... some day I'll have to post a few embarassing photos from my formative years. They're always good for a giggle.

(skirt: Salvation Army, hemmed; tunic: Marshall's; tights: Kohl's; boots: ALDO; scarf/belt: thrifted)

This outfit was originally very autumnal--browns and burgundy all around. I decided to plug the blue tights into the equation for a little bit of flair, and I think it works (although they are a little bit more turquoise IRL), but I'm annoyed that they look so sheer! I'm thinking I might start buying tights a size up so they aren't quite as... well, tight. Or I'll stop trying to skrimp on cheap-o versions and stick to the trusty HUE 2-for-20 deal at Macy's.

Happy Hump Day, friends. You're all fabulous.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the golden notebook & other stories

"Knowing was an 'illumination.' During the last weeks of craziness and timelessness I've had these moments of 'knowing' one after the other, yet there is no way of putting this sort of knowledge into words. Yet, these moments have been so powerful, like the rapid illuminations of a dream that remain with one waking, that what I have learned will be part of how I experience life until I die."

(Anna in The Golden Notebook)

(romper/socks: TJMaxx; sweater/scarf: Bargain Boutique; sunnies: Battery Street Jeans; tights: Goodwill; booties: Seychelles)

Woo-boy, Tuesday. This week I've been reading Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook," which, like apparently all semi-autobiographical novels written by women in the sixties and seventies, has me exclaiming (yes! that's me! that's my life, that's my problem!) right and left. Reading these books feels almost like journaling or submitting myself to an intense therapy session--they force me (happily) to look deep inside myself and analyze the way that I react to conflict and the ways in which my existence is problematic. I've gone from Jong to Atwood to Lessing and back again in the past couple of months, and it's refreshing to feel so connected to these authors and their stories, not to have to force myself to focus on ideas that aren't relevant to my life, and instead to open myself up to the philosophical meanderings presented in a context that I can understand and fully appreciate. Love it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

the theatre, the theatre, what happened to the theatre??

So, I had a pretty lazy weekend (what else is new??). When you're broke you've got to make do :) On Saturday, K and I had intended to go thrifting, but we unexpectedly had to replace our busted DVD player so funds were a little low. We were just driving rather aimlessly around Burlington (I finally got my first pumpkin spice latte of the season!) and ended up at Fort Ethan Allen, where K works. He showed me this old theatre and I couldn't resist having him take some photos for me there.

(dress: Marshall's; trench: H&M; scarf: Goodwill; sunnies: Battery Street Jeans; tights: Kohl's; socks: stolen from mom; shoes: Seychelles)

That evening we went to see Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and I actually really liked it (K forced me to watch the original last year and I was surprisingly a fan, so that probably helped). We took our movie ticket over to Moe's to get a half-price burrito (pinching pennies... :), loaded up on the fixin's (I loooooove Moe's--I always get the Art Vandalay burrito with roasted veggies and guacamole, and they give you sooo many free chips!). On Sunday K wanted to wash his car (he's like that), so we went back to FEA for free car-washing water. I went along for the ride and read, which turned out to be a little bit less pleasant than I had anticipated because the autumn chill has decidedly set in! We saw so many geese flying south, it almost made me wish that I could fly south myself! It's actually really incredible how much the leaves have already changed--the foliage came out practically overnight, and fall has definitely arrived! K and I have been drinking hot cider and taking afternoon strolls through the crunchy leaves. That's all I want to do this time of year :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

portrait of the artist: clyfford still


"I never wanted color to be color. I never wanted texture to be texture, or images to become shapes. I wanted them all to fuse together into a living spirit." (Clyfford Still)

Because I like to find little ways to make everyday life more beautiful and inspiring, when it came time to purchase a new set of stamps for mailing of bills and rent checks and other ugly-on-the-inside envelopes, I went with the "Abstract Expressionist" variety. The above painting was featured on the stamp I used to snail mail the electric bill this week, and it did the trick! Not only will it deliver my payment to its destination, but it just might brighten the day of a disgruntled Green Mountain Power employee (it brightened mine!). Anyway, that's all sort of beside the point, which is that Clyfford Still is an incredibly inspiring artist and I wanted to share a little bit of his brilliance with all of you on this lazy Sunday afternoon!



I know that it isn't for everyone, but I am definitely partial to abstract art. I can appreciate an inventive interpretation of landscape, or the skill required to paint a realistic reproduction of a particular space, or face, or place, but I'm not affected by skill. And the helter-skelter plastic quality of something like surrealism (Dali, for example) just seems so artificial and forced to me. I don't want a painting to appear to be absolutely dripping with significance, I want it just... dripping. I want to get the sense that the artist was full of sensation when he (or she) painted a certain piece, like he was overflowing with feeling--rage, lust, sadness, passion, anything! I've always been an emotional person, and I generally judge a painting based on whether or not it stirs me in some way--it's a very subjective experience.





I had originally arranged the various paintings in this post according to vague aesthetic matchy-matchy color-coordination, but the more I looked at the paintings the more I realized they had to go in chronological order (that's what happens when you have a fly-off-the-seat-of-your-pants approach to blogging--and life). I like the earlier paintings (from the forties and early fifties) best, and although I still like his late-fifties-early-sixties work, it is undeniably different. The lines are sharper, more jagged, more boxy--even the colors are harder and appear to have less depth. Of course, because I'm nosy and like to know other people's business, I wonder if this stylistic shift was inspired by a change in feeling or an attempt by Still to plagiarize his own style because it had become popular (and therefore stunting and stilting it). Perhaps we'll never know, but I kind of doubt it he was forcing anything. According to the scant research I did about him on the interweb, he was a rather fiesty and entirely unpretentious fellow who scorned those who wished to assign meaning to his work. He said, "each painting is an episode in a personal history, an entry in a journal." This indicates that his work was merely a beautiful reflection of his internal landscape, the mark of a truly great artist (in my opinion). Maybe the sharper, angrier lines in his later work surfaced from a frustration with those flailing critics who desperately hoped to tuck him safely into a box that so that they could analyze and understand him:





Maybe in trying to understand the transformation of his style, I'm just as bad as the rest of them :) What are your thoughts on Mr. Still? Do you like his work? Are you indifferent? How do you determine what you consider "good art?" Is there such a thing? Is passion enough?

"It's intolerable to be stopped by a frame's edge." (Clyfford Still)