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Archive for June, 2010

the nytimes tells us that the L is the most romantic line in all the subways in all of new york city. in true scientific fashion, this info has been gleaned by scouring craigslist missed connections. an accurate and apropos scientific inquiry and methodology.

File:Satmar community Williamsburg brooklyn new york.jpg

 

there is some sexy williamsburg romance a-brewin under those payes.

[ stefanie ]

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jenny holzer is designing a line of sneakers for keds, to sponsor the whitney.

they’re very simple, subtler than most clothes with words on them, and at $70, not insanely overpriced either (kinda). this is what they look like:

 

 

sorta cute, right?

 

either way i really like jenny holzer, she’s that artist who projects words and snappy sayings on a variety of surfaces. seriously snappy.

 

(at moma)

Jenny Holzer, Selections from Inflammatory Essays (1979-82), Survival (1983-85), Living (1980-82) (English)

 

Jenny Holzer, Selection from the Survival Series: Use What is Dominant...”

 

Jenny Holzer, You Are My Own(from artnet)

 

i can’t tell if she’s less angsty or maybe just more complacent about her angst, than barbara kruger. either way, reading her words always makes me say “hm” or “ph” or some other monosyllabic but pleasant thinking sort of noise. she’s in most every museum with a contemporary-type collection. recommend.

[ stefanie ]

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have just finished reading half the sky by nicholas kristof and sheryl wudunn and i cannot cannot recommend it enough. i first heard about the book while reading this fantastic article in the ny times magazine last summer, and while the article definitely gets the point across successfully the book is still absolutely worth a read.

 

the book discusses sex slavery in southeast asia, rape and murder in the name of honor in africa, unimaginably high rates of maternal mortality all across the world, fistulas, female genital cutting, and the benefits of education and microloans; since studies have shown people respond with more compassion to stories of individuals than to mind-numbing statistics, each chapter is punctuated by photos and narratives of women’s lives. best of all, the authors don’t just present the sad state of affairs in the world today and then leave you to feel shitty all day — they repeatedly describe organizations and philanthropic efforts that WORK and also introduce opportunities for the reader to GET INVOLVED and SUPPORT SUCCESSFUL EFFORTS TO CHANGE THINGS. thank goodness, because it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed when faced with an overwhelmingly shitty situation.

( at one point while i was reading the book i was telling a friend about it when he scoffed a little and asked if endlessly talking about inequalities makes them worse rather than better — the whole ‘post-race’ argument that was continuously brought up during the 2008 election, that if we would just stop talking about black or white or male or female then slowly differences would fade from our collective consciousness. i think mostly he was trying to be a dick on purpose, but just in case, i definitely do not think that not talking about it is the solution. when women are honor-raped every day, when girls are systematically prevented from educating themselves, when female sex workers are kidnapped from their families and kept prisoner by beatings and drug dependencies, the absolute worst thing we could possibly do would be to not talk about it. i think a lot of us don’t quite know the extent of how difficult and dangerous it is to be a woman outside of america/europe/developed nations in general, and learning about the scary reality is the only way to motivate oneself to take action. )

while the authors respect legislators’ efforts to solve inequities through laws, policies, and UN bodies, they repeatedly point to overwhelming evidence that the far more effective route is one that emphasizes grassroots, localized organizations founded or run by local people who understand local culture and customs. microfinance, for one example, has been shown to be hugely successful, changing entire communities through $65 loans to individual women. so, here is a very short list of some websites and organizations mentioned in the book that are worth checking out and contributing to:

kiva.org

globalgiving.org

camfed

engenderhealth

novo foundation

global fund for women

of course there are tons more avenues to examine if you, too, are impassioned and eager to help. very worth the research. now go buy the book, now.

[ stefanie ]

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holy shit, these shoes are so fantastic:

am also wild about this silhouette for the summer, from ysl resort 2011:

it’s like the grown-up version of low rise pants + belly shirt (i’m not the only one who wore some variation of that outfit throughout highschool, right?), a way to show summer skin without being summer trashy, and also is much more flattering than previous incarnations of midriff-baring ensembles.

a final thought, is that i recently started volunteering at a arts program for adults with developmental disabilities, and it’s really really wonderful, and has also gotten me back into making art regularly, which i haven’t been doing in a while. the emphasis at the program is about process and mindfulness, not a finished product, and while it’s easy to remember that it’s the making and not the thing that’s important when painting with low-functioning individuals (most of their work isn’t even a little bit figurative, it’s mostly swaths of muddy color and no one really bothers to take any pieces home), the rest of us tend to be really hard on ourselves. it’s bad elementary school art teachers’ faults, really, for conditioning us to create with an end result in mind instead of making art for the feeling and the experience. so, friends, i encourage you to paint with your eyes closed, to collage with color instead of form, to sculpt with your feet, and to embrace your inner pollack. it will come out ugly but it won’t matter, the best art experience is like meditation anyway. do it do it

[ stefanie ]

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after bingeing on seasons 1-3 of mad men online, never having to wait a day for don draper because each episode was only a click away, the last couple of months have felt long, stupid, and empty (and full of hyperbole) while waiting for season 4 to start at the end of july.

 

thank goodness tom and lorenzo are actively analyzing every female character’s wardrobe to keep me occupied until new episodes begin. their insights aren’t crazily insightful, but appropriately gushy and entertaining nonetheless. full length and detailed photos of each and every outfit abound. oh yes oh yes

 

image

(midge will always be my favorite, although this quiz tells me i’m don draper and i am certainly not inclined to argue)

obviously mad men has been lauded for attention to detail since forever, and the costumes are most definitely a part of the show’s super fabulous production design. especially how characters rewear the same outfits over and over. thank goodness my parents pay for the cable.

[ stefanie ]

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on a recent train ride i read extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safran foer and white noise by don delillo.

i cracked open extremely loud and incredibly close around 10am and was finished around 5pm. the, loveliest book, ever. it’s narrated by a little boy whose dad died in 911, and it’s about a quest he goes on to find some shit out. i laughed, i cried, i felt like a huge weirdo for having such noisy reactions in the quiet car of the amtrak train. one of my favorite passages is from the very first page, here it is so you can read it:

what about little microphones? what if everyone swallowed them, and they played the sounds of our hearts through little speakers, which could be in the pouches of our overalls? when you skateboard down the street at night you could hear everyone’s heartbeat, and they could hear yours, sort of like sonar. one weird thing is, i wonder if everyone’s hearts would start to beat at the same time, like how women who live together have their menstrual periods at the same time, which i know about, but don’t really want to know about. that would be so weird, except that the place in the hospital where babies are born would sound like a crystal chandelier in a houseboat, because the babies wouldn’t have had time to match up their heartbeats yet. and at the finish line at the end of the new york city marathon it would sound like war.

another part i really really liked comes later, when oskar (the narrator) meets a sorta eccentric old man who lives in the apartment above him. the man has this fantastical card catalog with a card for every person he’s ever met or head of; each card has the person’s name and a one word description of who they are.

he slid out drawers from the cabinet and pulled cards from the drawers, one after another. “henry kissinger: war! ornette coleman: music! che guevara: war! jeff bezos: money! philip guston: art! mahatma gandhi: war!” “but he was a pacifist,” i said. “right! war! arthur ashe: tennis! tom cruise: money! elie wiesel: war! arnold shwarzenegger: war! martha stewart: money! rem koolhaas: architecture! ariel sharon: war! mick jagger: money! yasir arafat: war! susan sontag: though! wolfgang puck: money! pope john paul II: war!” i asked him if he had a card for stephen hawking. “of course!” he said, and slid out a drawer, and pulled out a card. “stephen hawking: astrophysics” “do you have a card for yourself?” he slid out a drawer. “a.r. black: war husband”

another thing i really liked is that whenever oskar is sad or upset he says he has heavy boots. sometimes he has very very heavy boots. you gotta read it.

and then there’s white noise, which i’ve been meaning to read for a billion years. am still in the process of reading it, but it’s really good, and a lot easier to get through and enjoy than, say, infinite jest and other well-known examples of post-modernist literature. while there are lots of books i read slowly and love anyway, usually the mark of a good book (for me, at least) is how quickly i finish it; that is, how loath i am to put it down. white noise is engaging enough to be a page turner, but still incorporates deeper meanings and scathing cultural commentaries like the best of ’em.

after a toxic chemical cloud descends over the narrator and his town, his family is forced to evacuate. while stopped at a gas station, he is briefly exposed, and a statistical computer program quickly assures him of his imminent death. this was a paragraph i liked reading:

i wanted them to pay attention to the toxic event. i wanted to be appreciated for my efforts in getting us to the parkway. i thought of telling them of the computer tally, the time-factored death i carried in my chromosomes and blood. self-pity oozed through my soul. i tried to relax and enjoy it.

 

let’s start a festo bookclub, like oprah’s but better.

[ stefanie ]

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here’s a nice article to make you feel intellectually superior to all the employed econ majors you know.

 

also let’s take a minute for louise bourgeois, who died last week after almost a century of creating art of all shapes and sizes, who was still creating oozing guttural imploring encompassing emotional sculptures and drawings well into her eighties, what a cool lady right?

 

(louise with her 1970 sculpture eye to eye, from le centre pompidou)

 

(legs, 1986, the hirshhorn)

 

(10am is when you come to me)

 

(donne ou prend, 2002, tate modern)

 

her art is about “consider[ing] the whole range of intimacy, desire, and the human need to connect or belong, to be part of the family”. she has a drawing from 2007 that reads,

 

it is not so much

where my motivation comes from

but rather

how it manages

to survive

 

it’s wild how much her childhood affected her; she had enough pent up emotion to fuel 70 or so years of prolific art making.

 

another melancholy but appealing line from a 1947 drawing, il disparut dans un silence total, that was hanging at her pompidou retrospective in 2008:

 

he was of a quiet nature and rather intelligent but he was not interested in being loved or protected because he was interested in something else

 

she was very special & let’s all love the pieces she’s left behind.

 

[ stefanie ]

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