SXSW 2011 – Photo Journal – Day 4 – Asobi Seksu

May 30th, 2011

Yuki Chikudate of Asobi Seksu.  Officially added to list of chicks who rawk.

Day 4 SXSW music list is pretty light, as I attend Style X for the majority of the day.  (Well worth it!  Check out my post on the topic.)  The evening started off perfectly with smooth sounds of the Andrew Nafziger trio in the cool and cozy basement bar, The Elephant room.

Eli Paperboy Reed.  I don’t do white boy R&B/soul very well, so….Plus the venue (Phoenix) was completely obnoxious.

Pleasantly surprised by Asobi Seksu!  And glad that Roy told me that asobi seksu means kinky sex in Japanese before I went spouting off about that band to my Japanese coworkers.

The perfect, chill SX ending.  Hurray for the Riff Raff at the Driskill.

SXSW 2011 – Photo Journal – Day 3 – Dum Dum Girls

May 30th, 2011

Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls.  Stylish, and they totally rock out to boot.  No one said it better than John Wendland: “I think they have great taste in tights. No, I’m serious.”

Joy Formidable’s Ritzy Bryan.  We returned from a lunch break to what was unfortunately their last song.  However, I knew I was in love as I watched Ritzy thrash around on the ground with guitar.  Luckily, we caught them in St. Louis a month or so later for a full set.  Want to change my name to Ritzy.

Le Sera (Katy Goodman, also of the Vivian Girls) unleashed sweet, sunny pop on the Waterloo crowd.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s Kip Berman.  I’d forgotten POBPAH were up next inside at Waterloo when I wandered in to load up on music. It was fate, as they were one of my favorite newly discovered bands.

The Vaccines at Stubb’s.  Generic.  Overrated.  Disappointing.  I don’t care if they played at the Spin party.

Japan Nite.  After tolerating the Vaccines, we popped in to show solidarity post-Japan-disaster.  I have no idea who this is, but the light show tells the story.  At the risk of having a seizure, we left about 3 minutes in.

The Moondoggies.  Their grunginess was further accentuated by the intense heat in the room.  I think I liked the music, but there was too much dude sweat in the air for me to tell.

The sweet, sincere Josh Ritter at St. David’s Historic Sanctuary.  Sublime.

Candy Golde, the new “super group” including Bun E Carlos (pictured), John Stirratt, and some guy who looks like Nathan Lane circa “The Bird Cage” wearing a pimp costume.  Sigh.

The amazingly talented Bobby Long, who apparently, the little girls go crazy for.  I let a pack of them, who said they’d seen him 6 times in 2 days, in front of me after taking a few photos.

Umm, you know who this is.  After a cool, exhilirating pedi-cab ride across town, I ended the evening relaxing in the RIDICULOUS (in a good way) new ACL Theatre with Lucinda Williams.

SXSW 2011 – Photo Journal – Day 2 – Bob Geldof

May 28th, 2011

Highlight of SXSW Day 2, and one of the highlights of the entire festival: Bob Geldof.  A rock star like Mick Jagger is a rock star, exuding an unlikely combo of attitude and grace, Bob blew me away.

Toro Y Moi.  All I have to say is:  GONG.

John Grant with Midlake.  Midlake = Good.  John Grant = wanted to strangle.  Midlake, please leave your buddy at home.  JG should save his schtick for drunken karaoke parties.

The sublime Civil Wars.  John Paul White is a bit Depp-ish, don’t you think?

Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3 at the KDHX Twangfest party at Jovita’s.

The Baseball Project, at the KDHX Twangfest party: Scott McCaughey (Minus Five), Steve Wynn & Peter Buck.

Bob Geldof and band.

Bob.  Rock star.

Vandeveer.  Sweet styling and songwriting.

Abigail Washburn, doing what she unfortunately did for a good part of her set: tune.

Dude band, the Romany Rye, at the site of the Adam Duritz (he’s a big fan) sighting. Heard only one song, but liked them.

The very cute, but somewhat annoying, latest Brit It Girl Ellie Goulding.  The kids love her though!

The stunning Charles Bradley kept everyone on their feet, and brought our friend to tears.

Surfer Blood, who blew the roof off our Day 2, and almost the tent.

SXSW 2011 – Photo Journal – Day 1: Duran Duran!

May 21st, 2011

One of my favorite photos: Simon LeBon in the shadows, checking out the crowd before going on stage.

Obviously everyone on the planet knows this is John Taylor and Simon LeBon, but just in case.  It’s John Taylor and Simon LeBon of Duran Duran.

Seeing Duran Duran was a giant thrill.  Bigger than I could have imagined, actually.  I’ve been Duran obsessed ever since.  Simon LeBon is a brilliantly hilarious tweeter…pretty much as you’d assume and hope he would be.  John Taylor: Prolific on the Twitter, and very generous in answering fan tweets.  Hearts flying out of my head for DD.

Duran Duran capped off Day One of SX2011.  The following shots reflect my day chronologically up to that apex, which admittedly, left me wondering how the hell the next 3 days could compete.

The Head and the Heart at Mellow Johnny’s (Lance Armstrong’s bike shop). Loved.

Small Ponds, featuring Caitlin Cary.  Nice, but unfortunately extremely boring.

The Hobart Brothers, featuring Jon Dee Graham and Susan Cowsill.  Lots of talent on one stage, but pretty scrappy as a band.

Apex Manor, outside at Waterloo Records, prove that there is definitely live after the Broken West.

The always charming, genius, Ray Wylie Hubbard at Threadgill’s.

The Trishas.  Pretty girls, but not yet ready for prime time.

Yuck.  British, drone-y.  Loved.

James Blake.  He covers a Feist song, but electronica is not my thing.  Did not get him or like him. Excrutiating.

This pretty much says it all about the Smith Westerns. Style, but questionable substance.

The mind-blowing Rafael Saadiq.

SXSW 2011 – Riverfront Times – A to Z Blog posts

May 21st, 2011

Again this year I covered SXSW in photos for the Riverfront Times A to Z blog in concert with my favorite music journalist, Roy Kasten.  Links to his reviews and my photos:

Day One

Day Two

Days Three & Four

Following I’ll post some of my favorite unpublished photos, along with my usual alternatively gushing and snarky commentary.

Fashion Invades SXSW 2011: Style X

April 2nd, 2011
Bolingo Bags

Bolingo Bags

For the past 3 years, the lead up to SXSW has held freak out moments for me.  2009: PJ Harvey.  2010: Cheap Trick.  The surprise for 2011, however, was am-I-reading-this-right, multi-blink inducing.  Fashion?  At SX?  Really?  No, finally!  For me, fashion and music have always been linked.  My greatest fashion inspirations are musicians, both past & present.  I can’t imagine fashion without music, and neither can the designers I obsessively follow and collect.  While it’s difficult enough to craft a schedule around choices of hundreds of bands, I set aside Saturday for the inaugural Style X event, with plans to meet and talk to the designers, watch the runway show, and of course, to shop.

The first designer I met was the sparkly and charming Susan Todd of Bolingo Bags, based in San Antonio.  I’m a bag girl, so I was immediately drawn in by the colorful skins on display in Susan’s booth.  I am also an animal lover, but Sue has this base covered.  All her skins are (fair trade) sourced and produced in South Africa, and are by-products of animals used locally for food.  Sue travels to South Africa to choose materials and work with her craftspeople to produce 2 collections per year.  Regrettably, I left without a bag as a result of paralyzing indecision.  I did, however, pick up several ridiculously cute and very luxe keychains.  The proceeds from the sales of the keychains and other small items at Style X were generously donated to Japan Earthquake Relief.

Bed Stu Shoes

Bed Stu Shoes

Next stop, Bed Stu Shoes, the California based, Brooklyn inspired maker of some of the most amazing boots I’ve seen in recent history.  And I know my boots.  (The actual number of boots owned by this writer shall not be disclosed, as it could be considered embarrassing.)  Bed Stu boots are individually crafted in Mexico based on handmade prototypes, in a factory owned by the family of the proprietor/designer, Roger Orazco.  Hallmarks of Bed Stu designs include natural leathers and finishes, hand-pegged soles, and vintage inspired designs.  These are boots you’ll have forever, that come equipped with the look you can only hope your Fryes will acquire after a decade of hard wear.  Full disclosure: While I came away from Style X with only a fabulous and shockingly affordable belt from Bed Stu, I ordered 2 pair of boots online earlier today.  I have a feeling I’ll be basically sleeping in these once they arrive.



One of the lovelier booths at Style X belonged to NY’s Lumete Eyewear.  Clara Herrera, Lumete’s Creative Director and Co-Founder, walked me through and explained Lumete’s philosophy, which is to create unique designs that will become treasured accessories.  Lumete’s philosophy shines through in its detailed, handmade frames as well as the brand’s packaging.  All Lumete’s sunglasses are tucked into gorgeous, sumptuous butterfly-shaped cases, and come with decorative necklaces on which to prop your shades when they’re not being worn.  My photos don’t do justice to the level of detail (hand-etching, rhinestones, and other such embellishments) on these frames.  They are truly little pieces of art.

Proxy Apparel

Proxy Apparel

I have always loved the opening sequence of “Sex and the City”, but my dirty little secret is that it’s inspired years of tutu envy.  My envy reached a fevered pitch this winter with the release of “Black Swan” and its inevitable revival of the tutu in fashion.  Being of a certain age, which I like to think of as The New 30, I found myself smuggling tutu-like confections into dressing rooms among mounds of other items so as not to seem completely ridiculous.  But now, thanks to Proxy Apparel, my tutu fantasy has come out of the closet!  The Tu Tu Revolution Dress spoke to me with its fuschia tulle.  Its curve hugging black sheath base sealed the deal.

My delight in finally fulfilling my own personal Sarah Jessica Parker fantasy belies the nobility of Boston’s Proxy Apparel’s mission: To empower women through fashion.  Proxy Apparel is an ethical fashion company, supporting emerging designers and sourcing from women and worker-owned cooperatives around the world.  It’s the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, people!  Missions such as this are moving us forward into the new world order.

Bandit Brand

Bandit Brand

I walked on, quickly coming to a screeching halt at the sight of the the most incredible tooled leather cuffs I’d ever laid eyes on, which are the product of a collaboration led by Jen at Bandit Brand, based in Freedom, California.  In addition to the cuffs and amazing tees, Jen also makes jewelry – inspired, native American influenced pieces – some hand cast, and some using vintage molds.  Vintage jewelry fiend that I am, I hit it off with Jen immediately, and wanted to know more about the Indian chief and bison rings I was about to add to my collection.

Great, true story: While living in Ojai, Jen was looking for a silversmith, which led to the town’s lone such artisan, an elder with a stash of vintage molds, including both the chief and the bison.  This is the stuff of a vintage fanatic’s dream!  Both rings have charm and style you don’t see replicated in current designs, not to mention a certain inexplicable spirit.  The same spirit virtually leapt out of a gorgeous hand cast longhorn skull necklace (now mine), in addition to many other inspired pieces in the Bandit Brand collection.

Spirit Hoods

Spirit Hoods

My initial reaction to the Spirit Hoods booth earlier in the afternoon was: Huh, cute for the kids. Could never pull that off.  Susan Todd (Bolingo Bags) and John John (Spirit Hoods) convinced me otherwise.  I tried on Susan’s NightHawk hood and felt oddly….magic.  Convinced I was just food deprived, I tried to shake it off and walk on, but the Spirit Hoods were everywhere.  So intrigued, I stopped by the booth where I met Ashley Haber, co-owner and co-founder of Spirit Hoods.

Spirit Hoods’ roots are in Eugene, Oregon where Ashley, his brother and 2 friends took an RV called War Pony on the road.  Miles, friends, animal spirits and shared experiences combined, and the vision of forming a tribe unfolded.  From there the designs evolved, and those who donned the hoods felt the magic.  The message is about connection, and yes all this may sound dreamy, but YOU HAVEN’T DONNED THE HOOD. (Read my Twitter timeline @BlkIsTheNewBlk for a story about the tribal bond as SXSW!)

I’d taken in a lot. I felt a sudden energy lull, looked at my watch and realized that almost 3 hours had passed since I’d entered the Convention Center.  I staked out a spot for the runway show, which featured SXSW musicians modeling clothing and accessories by Style X vendors.  Everyone and everything looked great.  My intention is not to do the show a disservice by being brief.  On the contrary, the runway show was very well done, but I wished for a pause button as it went by very quickly and there was a look to take in in each look.

Multitasking is not my forte.  Fashion is my obsession.  And so my desire to see the models and designs with my own eyes engaged in a fierce battle for supremacy with my wish to capture the show photographically.  Note to self for 2012: Assuming the schedule is similar, go to BOTH runway shows.  First show, look, second show, snap.  That said, I did get some images which I think captured the essence of youth (state of mind, not actual years) and energy that was the essence of Style X 2011.

Don’t Bother Me, I’m Tweeting – @BlkIsTheNewBlk

April 2nd, 2011

Yes, you read this right.  Me, the eschewer of all things Social Media related is now addicted to Twitter.  I opened an account in the fall, primarily to follow the quips of rock stars, and got sucked in.  I like Twitter because it suits my ADD personality.  It’s kind of like a mini blog.  Any more, committing to an entire blog post just seems exhausting.

So, if I have any readers left out there, you can follow my music-watching, snark-making, shopaholic antics, with a dose of occasional existential angst tossed in for good measure @BlkIsTheNewBlk.

One of these days, as soon as I rearrange my entire daily existence (a small goal I have for 2011), I have plans for a new and/or redesigned blog.  Stay tuned.

Spoils of NY – Part 3 (Final Chapter): Massacre at Marc

November 17th, 2010

Oh Marc Jacobs, how I love your ass.  The ways are more or less uncountable.  Why Marc has not figured out that I am his Muse In Waiting, his separated at birth vintage shopping soul mate, I do not know.  Until our eyes meet on the streets of NYC on that fateful day when he in his kilt stops dead and says, “You!  It’s you…”, I’ll have to be content with my ongoing serial acquisition of his creations and the knowledge that we share a spookily similar aesthetic.  I screamed when I saw the bag above, as I have an extensive collection of vintage linens, glassware and all manner of other things with map images.  Love.

I downright SHRIEKED when I entered THE STORE in which I found this bag, then again WHEN I found this geek-a-lisciously perfect bag.  In addition to the Marc by Marc store (in the West Village, near Magnolia Bakery), there is now Book Marc, located in a quaint corner space that had previously been a bookstore.  Could. I. Love. You. More…??

So now Marc is speaking to my inner book geek, and therein lies my soul.  The store is small, and includes a carefully curated selection of art, fashion, music and other titles, including both the Roald Dahl bio and Joan Jett (by Todd Oldham) books I recently acquired.  The piece de resistance, however, was a small collection of fashion related 1st editions.  It took every ounce of willpower I have (which is not much) to resist 1st editions by Mary Quant and Pierre Balmain.  Sigh.  I SO smelled the possibility of a(nother) cool collection.  BUT, as I am the self-crowned ruling Queen of eBay, there is hope.

Other hilites of the massacre include the ridiculously cute bird necklace above (It’s enamel, it’s long, it made my friend’s and my jaw drop…) and the equally ridiculously deco-adorable robe in the photos below.  Even the damn bag it came in is cute.  Stop it!!

Obviously, I have a problem.  But I like my problem.  :)

I Am the Queen of eBay, & No One Shall Challenge My Rule

November 8th, 2010

BECAUSE I got these 2 Roald Dahl First Editions for $15!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am SUCH A GEEK.

I had both books as a child.  They were my favorites, despite the fact that they were probably sold at a garage sale for a quarter each.  I am in a serious Roald Dahl phase at the moment, triggered by the publishing of the biography by Donald Sturrock, which is in my stack.  Before I read it though, I want to read and in many cases, reread, piles of Dahl’s fiction, both the adult and children’s stories.  I am fascinated by the ability to tell a tale in general, and specifically by Dahl’s ability to weave together the diabolical and the whimsical.  Just finished reading “Kiss Kiss”, a collection of his short stories published in the 50s.  Fantastic.  “Switch Bitch” is next, but I’m drawing this project out, savoring it.  Won’t somebody just please pay me to sit around and read books all day?

Spoils of NY – Part 2: Best. Clogs. Ever.

November 8th, 2010

Seriously.  Look at these.  I had been stalking them online for months, then found and tried them on in NYC.  So bad ass.  Could not resist.  Apparently, this company has been (ha) around forever.  All other clogs can only aspire to achieve this kind of providence.  And the box!  Sigh.  Love.