Another great reason to be in New York right now – MoMA’s retrospective of performance artist Marina Abramovic. These portraits (by Marco Anelli) are of museum visitors taking part in “The Artist is Present” – in which Abramovic sits at a table in silence, and museum guests can sit across from her and stare. The exhibition runs from 14 March to 31 May (intense!).
I am a huge sucker for conspiracy theories. HUGE. I don’t seek them or anything, but if they catch me I am rather convinceable. For Christmas last year, as a mostly-joke, my brother gave me a subscription to Hard Evidence (and for some reason it is STILL arriving). They bill themselves as “the most controversial publication in the world” and apparently have been “EXPOSING THE TRUTH SINCE 1993”. I remember when I opened the gift card, I thought it was an awesome and hilaire present but… “crap! now the huge evil world secret government will know file that I’m someone who’s got an eye out for them and HUNT ME DOWN”. Honestly, I feel a little less safe having my name in its subscription base. Although they’re professional conspiracy theorists, so I guess they know how to encrypt data off the grid. It also has possibly the worst typography I’ve ever seen in print (they use a lot of Papyrus).
Which all leads up to the fact that yesterday I stumbled across this critique of Lady Gaga as an “Illuminati Puppet”, put here to make being vacuous and being mind-controlled acceptable so we will all succumb in an attempt to be trendy. And now I’m 95% amused and… the rest confused. Apparently the fact she winks or hides an eye all the time is a massive clue. Opinions? Is that guy kuh-razy, or are we all dupes? Would you get a brain implant if all the cool kids were doing it? What if it came with iTunes?
Semi-relatedly, I have spent the past hour wondering whether my life would be much different if I winked at every cute stranger I saw on the street. Do I dare me to do it for a week?
Photo via donttouchmymoleskine
I searched really really hard for some cute, warm winter pajamas. I’m not sure what exactly I was imagining – maybe some kind of silky number that was secretly flanelette on the inside? Something pretending to be a glamorous Russion mink coat? Anyway, I didn’t find it.
Turns out, if you are rich you can afford heating in winter and so sleep in lacy slips year round, while the rest of us have to wear either goosebumps or fuzzy pants. Even if you google ‘cute winter pajamas’ all you get is fug. For now, I’m going with fuzzy pants. I bought two pairs, one has smiling cupcakes on it. The other hs all these little candy hearts with messages: “honey pie” “kiss me” “puppy love” “hug me”. In short, my pajama pants scream desperation and it seems a rather long and sudden fall after these.
Should I just toughen up and stay cool?
The ash in the air over there isn’t affecting me at all, although it’s causing a few bumps at the office. It seems unimaginable to think it might last more than a few days, but if it does, I’m interested to see if it has any effect on our collective psyche. It’s a reminder we’re not in control of everything, that nature doesn’t bow to business. Sometimes, we just have to wait.
Ever since my first Mountain Goats concert back in ’05, I can’t imagine going for more than two years without a live John Darnielle performance. Last Friday was my fix. Despite being half incapacitated by a cold, and by a fear of running into a certain boy while dealing with said cold, as soon as I entered the venue I was buzzing.
If you’re not familiar with the Mountain Goats – they’re amazing. John Darnielle’s songs will wrestle with you. I love the specificity of his lyrics, which are full of unexpected turns of phrase and bright hard truths about being human and gloriously messed up. No vague love songs here. They open with lines like “King Saul fell on his sword, when it all went wrong…” or “On the day that Dennis Brown’s lung collapsed, spring rain was misting down in Kingston.”
Darnielle’s stage presence is a mix of manic energy, graciousness and sarcasm. He gives the best banter I’ve ever had, often meandering through the back story of a song for several minutes before playing the first note. And because a lot of these stories start ‘back when I was a meth addict’, they’re often kind of wild.
A couple of highlights on Friday:
1. No Children – The rollicking anthem to a poisonous, resigned relationship, which always has the crowd perversely off the hook:
“I am drowning
There is no sign of land
You are coming down with me
Hand in unloveable hand”
2. Twin Human Highway Flares [track 20 on that link]- Sung without a backing band, it’s all tender young love & longing leading to a motel room, mixed with a fierce refusal to ever relinquish the memories:
“As we walked across the parking lot toward the motel office
We were walking with a benediction on us
Light was everywhere, the building stood against the sky
Like a monument to desperation 2 floors high”
I wish I could transport you all back in time and across the world so you were standing right next to me in front of that stage. As a taster, I found this treasure of a site, which has a great collection of recordings of The Mountain Goats concerts – you can stream or download each entire set (free!).
My love for slips of silk and lace is well-documented. Understandably, I also loved this article at The Morning News: Bra Mitzvah, by Joshua David Stein. It’s about buying lingerie – Parisian lingerie – as a gift, and all the underlying currents that make this a little bit nerve inducing.
“Lingerie cuts to the quick of what makes us vulnerable: desire, expectation, vaginas, boobs. Delicately dangling the bra between her thumb and index fingers, she says, “Thank you so much, it’s beautiful!” and thinks, Is this what he thinks is sexy? Is this what he wants me to wear? Is he saying he doesn’t like my cotton briefs? … The gift reveals more than it covers, about you, about her, about what and how you want each other to be. And even as that fraught tango of ideal selves trails off, the gift exchange itself remains.”
It’s also incredibly well written – I’ve read it over and over just for the words, which is rare, for me, who always has 15 tabs open and half-read at once. I especially loved the description of the French shop – the kind I’ve never been to, all hidden away and expensive and crafted and special – and its owner Sabia Rosa:
“The beauty of her youth, though still apparent, is softened—like a bright coin at the bottom of a shallow pool.”
Dally with the article in full here…
I don’t know why Ray Bradbury already has his grave all set up like this (he’s still alive). I came across it at Westwood Memorial Park, after wandering in to see Marilyn Monroe’s final resting place. Wonder if he likes to drop in when needing a shot of motivation to seize the day? Finding this photo reminded me of a favourite quote from him…
“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling.
You must write every single day of your life.
You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next.
You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads.
I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you.
May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories – science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
I used to sometimes see this little kid walking down the street with his be-suited businessman father, holding hands. The kid was always wearing a head-to-toe tiger suit, and super proud of it. I think when/if I spawn, my children will be dressed as things other than people most of the time. FUN.
Here are some amazing dress-up clothes for grownups, courtesy of the fantastic Agatha Ruiz de la Prada: