Sunday, December 29, 2013

i guess she kept those vagabond ways

Today is the birthday of the legendary Marianne Faithfull, my personal hero. Though lots of names have been thrust upon her -- Miss X, Mick Jagger's moll, the Girl on a Motorcycle, the survivor of rock'n'roll, the Godmother of Punk -- there are not enough words to describe her incredible artistry and spirit. Her story and experiences span many lifetimes, and her recording history and film roles are awe-inducing. A feature I used to do way, way back in DRG history was called "Through the Years," where I'd do a sort of biography of a person through photos and personal quotes. This will be an abbreviated version of that -- just some of my favorite photos of Marianne and her always-incredible quotes, because the only way to appreciate the glory of MF is to revel in her genius. 

"At a time when my life as a grown-up should have begun, I was still very much a child. And everything that has happened to me, it's as if it happened to a child. All my attempts at growing up were really no more than a child's playing make believe."

"One of the hazards of reforming your evil ways is that some people won't let go of their mind's eye of you as a wild thing."

"Maybe the most that you can expect from a relationship that goes bad is to come out of it with a few good songs."

"Between the ages of 17 and 19 I shed any number of old lives and grew new ones overnight without them seeming quite real to me; I discarded them as cavalierly as a child who moves from one game to another. Pursued in interest, any one of these might have led to a reasonably happy life. But then again, I wasn't interested in happiness. I was looking for the Holy Grail."

"The sixties was a great motley cast of characters in an ongoing operetta with multi-hued costumes to match. What I remember most is how beautiful everybody was, and, of course, the beautiful clothes: we dressed up like medieval damsels and princes, pre-Raphaelite Madonnas, popes, hussars, mad hatters and creatures visiting from other planets."

"They asked me to star in a Mars Bar ad. I told them to fuck off." 

"Suicidal urges come out like commands. It's not like any other urge, like I'd like a pizza."

"The voice of God, if you must know, is Aretha Franklin's."

"We lived these lives a thousand years ago as courtesans, as opium-eaters at the court of the Kubla Khan. We had drunk of the milk of Paradise and its transforming liquidity made us all quite porous. There were no boundaries where Alph the sacred river ran. No genders, no time and space. We simply sparkled and vibrated. We were all pulsating little Bodhisattvas. I was in love with everybody. Actually, I was everybody."

"I never trusted anybody at all. I don't know why it was so hard, I just didn't."

"I think drugs were used by me as a way of suppressing my natural spirit."

"Never apologize, never explain -- didn't we always say that? Well, I haven't and I don't."

Title: from "Vagabond Ways" (Marianne Faithfull)

Friday, December 20, 2013

DRG Holiday Wish List

Can anyone believe how fast this past year has gone by? It's astounding to me that in less than two weeks 2013 will be over. December is always a massive blur to me -- as a December baby (and a child of two Sags as well), the month is a nonstop train of birthday wishes and holiday parties. But still, what a wonderful, wonderful time of year! Though many people dread the process of finding gifts for people -- and yes, I do agree it is an oftentimes impossible task to find the perfect thing for someone! -- I love the hunt. Giving someone something that is so fantastically bizarre or genuinely on-point to their personality is seriously the BEST THING! As much as I adore giving serious gifts, I love having someone unwrap a gift and being completely bewildered by its seeming randomness. (Quite honestly, everything I buy people is rooted in something we've either discussed in depth or in passing -- it's never entirely random!) 
During the holiday shopping process to find perfect gifts for everyone I know, I inevitably ending up mentally shopping for myself in equal measure. I've compiled a list of goodies that I wouldn't mind Santa (or anyone else, wink wink!) putting under the tree this year. Here are my top ten obsessions (clockwise from the top left):
What can I say about Groupie Couture? I am so, SO fond of Miss Pamela's line! I've ordered from it several times and I am always struck by the love and care that so obviously goes into every aspect of the GC experience: the design, the packaging, the lovely little notes that come attached! I have two of the beaded necklaces and I swear that some groupie magic is in these beads because I always have the most magical musical luck when I wear them. This boa is the most fantastically fun addition that I NEED for my wardrobe. 
I am so jealous of the girls who model for the site -- tell me, what can I do to become a GC doll?! 

No offense to the other Zodiac signs, but I am oh so glad to be a Sagittarius -- as Keith Richards rightly put it, we're half-man, half-horse, with a license to shit in the streets. But even just from a visual standpoint, Sags are pretty awesome. The Wild Unknown always offers the MOST beautiful designs (I have their tarot deck and each card is a work of art), and I inevitably want every single thing they come out with. Seriously, I scroll through their Instagram page daily for design inspiration and I can already envisioned this Zodiac work framed in my apartment. 

This Etsy design duo has been on my radar for quite a while -- their handmade velvet bell bottoms are the best I've seen by any designer, period. Unlike other takes on the design, they don't skimp on the bell part of the bottom, making each step look assuredly dramatic and dreamily 70s. My new mission is to accumulate every single piece on their site, but of course I want to start with every variation on their incredible Hells Bells!

4. Pamela Love Pentagram Ring and Serpent Ring
I can never get enough of Pamela Love's fabulous designs -- they're so layered in different cultural traditions and histories, they transcend the realm of fashionable accessories and become works of art (and in that regard, I am VERY HAPPILY a museum to PL's art). Both rings are intricately detailed and packed with meaning. Of the Pentagram ring, Love's site explains, "the circle symbolizes eternity, the cycles of life and nature. The circle touching all 5 points indicates that the spirit, earth, air, water and fire are all connected." How lovely! And I have a bit of a collection of snake jewelry that I've accumulated over the years, so I need to add this rattlesnake piece pronto. 

Obviously, this bag -- which retails for over one thousand dollars -- is a MAJOR wishlist item, but if Santa feels particularly generous, I certainly wouldn't object. The bullet bag has long been my favorite shape for its versatility (it can be worn as a crossbody purse, an oversized wristlet or backpack!), and I love the Egyptian symbology that adorns the base of this braided leather bag. 

My reading list is a neverending queue of books that I can never hope to accomplish in my lifetime, but currently at the top of that list is this splendid new release from Taschen. The book details the legendary relationship of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, a duo notorious the world over and legendary in the decades since they parted ways. Though photographers detailed every aspect of their relationship, it was rarely as intimate as this. Jane's brother Andrew photographed the couple in private times, capturing moments when they were a loving family in addition to musical hellraisers and artists. A really astounding portrait of two people we thought we knew everything about. 

When I look at this dress, I envision myself spinning in circles, Stevie Nicks style! The mix of tassels, lace and all other goodness is a hippie dream. 

I've been eyeing this for quite a while and this weekend I finally bought it for myself as a little birthday present. The scent is incredible -- composed of incense, Turkish rose and pencil shavings. I wouldn't mind receiving a few for Christmas and stocking up on what I'm sure will be my new signature scent!

Ever since doing a post on Karen Umphrey and including her note about her "super spacey" look on the cover of Star Magazine, I've been wanting to have something super shiny and metallic all my own! I love this because it can be worn as a daring maxi skirt with a slit up the side, or worn with a slip underneath and belted as a strapless dress. Something versatile and positively va-va-voom? Yes please!

Child of Wild is a recent discovery of mine -- and everything on their site is perfection! Sourced from all over the world, the site offers the MOST incredible selection of jewelry, headpieces and home goods such as wooden boxes, jewel-encrusted skulls and this colorful cotton blanket. For the past few months, I've been decorating my first real adult apartment and been on the lookout for incredible things to decorate it with. This blanket will be the perfect addition!

These are my top holiday wishes -- so if Santa is out there, please put these under my tree this December 25th! What is on the top of your holiday wish list? 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Shop It to Me: John Bonham, Unlikely Fashionista

On the short list of things John Bonham was known for, ‘style icon’ doesn’t usually come to mind. Master drummer, champion drinker, seafood enthusiast (ALLEGEDLY), possessor of a cool nickname, yeah, but he’s not really known for his style. Even within Led Zeppelin, eyes were usually on Jimmy Page’s astral-occult outfits and Robert Plant’s golden mane and chest-baring floral blouses.
But I am really into this outfit he wore to his 24th birthday party at the legendary Rainbow Bar & Grill (even though it’s credited in some places as being the English Disco, my trusted sources (aka anonymous people on the internet) say that it’s the Rainbow Bar). According to my calculations – which entailed me taking the year of his birth (1948) and adding 24 to it – the year is 1972, so of course Lori Maddox is on his arm. She was with Jimmy then, but much like the unanswerable question of a tree in the woods, if Led Zeppelin was in L.A. in ’72 and Lori Lightning wasn’t around, were they actually even there?
It’s a rather basic outfit, but he makes it look SO COOL. I looked around at a couple of my favorite online destinations to recreate this birthday suit (bad pun!):
Start with a basic striped tank top, like this unisex tank from American Apparel. Add a pair of your comfiest, most broken-in jeans and tuck the tank in and top with a belt. At this point, I know you all are rolling your eyes because I’m basically describing the least creative outfit in the history of existence. Hey, here’s an idea everyone: wear a shirt AND pants! It’s fashion! C’est magnifique!
But be quiet, folks! It’s about to get interesting. Bonzo jazzes these wardrobe staples up a bit with a velvet blazer. I am fond of any use of velvet, but I was particularly struck by this crushed velvet number from Nasty Gal. He is also wearing a killer wide brim hat, and manages to wear it at night and indoors without looking like a fool – it’s quite a feat. I wish more people wore hats. It would make the world a bit hipper.
To up his awesome factor to OFF THE CHARTS, he ties on a neckerchief. I wholeheartedly support this, because I don’t understand why neckerchiefs ever fell out of fashion – seriously, why isn’t everyone wearing one everyday? NECKERCHIEFS ARE SEXY. Any square of fabric – from a Levi’s bandana to an Hermรจs silk scarf – will do, but I found this black one for super cheap. And it’s on Amazon, so if you Amazon Prime that shizz then you’ll have a groovy throat-cover for less than $15!
I couldn’t find any photos that included what kind of shoes he was wearing, but I assume because he was a boy that his shoes were boring. So instead of suggesting you wear a pair of black boots or whatever he was probably wearing, I suggest something SPARKLY like these fancy ankle boots from Free People – I like these because the metallic is a bit cracked and imperfect, so they don’t look too precious.
There you go – the coolest, chillest outfit you’ll ever wear. And we’ve got Bonzo to thank, who woulda thunk it?!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

have you seen her all in gold, like a queen in days of old, she shoots colors all around, like a sunset going down

I’ve been reading through all the issues of the 1973 groupie-themed publication Star Magazine (infinite thanks to the divine creature who runs for sharing their wealth of groupieness!), and keep finding myself time and again being caught by the loveliness of Karen Umphrey, a model favorite of the magazine. I’ve seen several photos of her around before, all big doe eyes and her curly platinum hair forming a halo around her, and always absolutely killer glam rock girl outfits. Even though she wasn’t a groupie per se, she was definitely part of the milieu of baby groupies that ruled the Sunset Strip in the early 70s. There are photos of her quite literally kicking up her heels while surrounded by the likes of Lori, Sable and Queenie, but it seems that Karen was simply friends with them and didn’t indulge in their groupie antics. Not much about her life beyond her time at a teen model is readily found, but for a while she dominated the pages of Star, Teen and other glammy youngster mags. Karen was a covergirl on the third and fifth (and final) issues of Star. In the latter edition, she was one of several Star It Girls including Lori Maddox (listed as ‘Laurie Mattix’ – I’ll never understand why there are so many variations of her name out there!) and Shray Mecham to offer beauty and style advice in the section “Beauty and the Fox.” When asked by a reader how she puts together her signature look, she offers delightfully sweet and fun advice:

“I call this month’s cover outfit [lower left corner of the above collage] my super spacey look! I used makeup that compliments the gold lame jacket I have (from Hollywood’s Granny Takes A Trip Boutique). The jacket shines with sparkly dazzling light so I wear makeup that reflects it and makes my face glow. But the real excitement of this look comes from co-ordinating my makeup with my outfit. Blonde hair, of course, looks especially foxy with silver or gold. My hair is naturally light and always kinky after I wash it. So I brush it out with a blow dryer, then pincurl it. As far as makeup goes, I use a bronzish-beige sheen gel foundation and apply a beige-pink blusher below my cheekbones to highlight them. Then I apply bronze-maroon lipstick which sort of accents my foundation color. As for my eyes I don’t wear any mascara with this outfit because black or dark harsh lines destroy that shiny soft effect. I just apply silvery-blue shadow on my lids and let it radiate from the corner of my eyes to my eyebrows for a spacey, bizarre look. Then I smudge a smidgen of eyeshadow under my bottom lashes to bring out my baby blues. For a real touch of makeup fun, I’ll put a silver star beauty mark on my cheek (like a 40’s strumpet)! The lame jacket has a gemmed pin on the lapel just to throw some more razzle-dazzle into it, and I love to wear silver rings and a hand-crafted gold lion head belt that fastens low on my hips. To top it off, a multi-colored hand-crocheted micro-mini. Just to make the outfit casual instead of ritzy vogue formal, I sling a striped Indian scarf around my neck, and let it all hang loose!”

I know that her quote was lengthy, but I had to include all of it. It’s so absolutely darling and obviously her outfit is kind of incredible so in-depth style advice is always appreciated. And she uses words like ‘foxy’ and ‘strumpet’! How wonderful is that?! She’s totally the kind of girl I would’ve been obsessed with if I was a young teen in the early 1970s. Actually, if I’m being honest, I still really super dig her and I’m twenty-two in the 21st century.

Title: from "She's A Rainbow" (The Rolling Stones)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cinemaspiration: When Harry Met Sally...

I've been thinking a lot about Billy Crystal lately. I'm not really sure why (other than that he's Billy Crystal and amazing and there doesn't need to be a reason for it), but in the past few weeks I have listened to his Nerdist podcast three times, read his memoir and watched a handful of his films pretty much on loop. (My Thanksgiving holiday consisted of watching The Princess Bride approximately eleven times.) 
I watched When Harry Met Sally… while in the airport waiting to take a flight to see my family for Thanksgiving, and it was such a funny experience. Multiple women (and one brave teenage boy) came up to me to tell me how much they loved the movie. Honestly, after the third time I was tempted to tell them I too loved the movie hence why I wanted to watch it UNINTERRUPTED, but I didn’t. (Manners!)
I’ve never had that experience where strangers feel compelled to tell me they are as into something as I am, especially in New York where in my experience people think you’re unhinged if you dare smile at them on the subway, but I guess that speaks to the how beloved the film is. It’s not really a secret that When Harry Met Sally… is a super well-loved film, but I had never witnessed the cultural obsession surrounding the film beyond the realms of IMDB. I guess that would be because the film is a rare romantic comedy, in that it is actually both romantic and genuinely funny. Not only that, but the debate over ‘can men and women ever really be friends?’ still continues today.
But since I am supremely superficial, when I watch this film I think less about the nature of male-female relationships as I do about how cute Meg Ryan is and how much I wish I could find a t-shirt that says ‘Don’t Fuck With Mr. Zero.’
About halfway through the film, the duo spend the day walking through parks and galleries talking about everything from sexual fantasies to being proud to partake in pecan pie. Harry and Sally are close friends at this point (though, interestingly, in his Nerdist podcast, Billy said that the bit where they talk in funny accents was supposed to show Harry falling for Sally already and developing a funny voice in order to make her laugh. I don’t know, I thought that was really interesting and cool), and Sally tells him that she has a date that night. Harry implies that she shouldn’t wear that outfit on her date and that she should wear a skirt – a comment I suppose meant to imply to the viewer that they’re starting to be interested in each other, but made me go ‘SHUT UP HARRY!’ Not only because Sally is a LADY who can wear whatever she wants, but her outfit is really awesome. A patterned wool sweater, high-waisted trousers, an awesome hat and a snazzy blazer with shoulder-pads? Yes please! I would wear that outfit everyday.