Thursday, February 28, 2008

todd hido

Todd Hido is one of my favorite photographers - I found this video of him at night shooting his favorite houses and discussing his craft with his passenger.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

erica tanov

Spring 2008 Collection soft off-whites and Dresden blues (crocheted & feminine)

Spring 2008 silk floral dress above looks like it could float

A previous season's look - always about texture and soft colors (this one a little gamine)

Last weekend the Chronicle ran a piece on local designers and one of my favorites is Erica Tanov who has a store on Fourth Street in Berkeley, Fillmore Street in San Francisco and a third store on Elizabeth Street in NYC. She is pictured above in her studio in Berkeley. Her eye for vintage buttons and silk slips cut on the bias and her mix & match approach appeals to me. It's that sort of playing dress-up clothing that allows you to buy a few pieces each season to add to your collection, use them with your own vintage finds and jazz up staples from less exotic labels.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

girl in a green dress

Last night I went to see the film Atonement. I'd read the book and was curious to see how it translated onto the screen. I was surprised actually how well it does work. Exquisite cinematography and costume design certainly helped set the mood for the film - in particular, Keira Knightly's beautful green dress pictured here. I am not alone in thinking so evidently as the dress has been voted 1st place into the ranks of iconic costumes by British InStyle and is in fact being auctioned off on March 1st for a good cause. In case you were wondering what the other costumes were:
Sky Movies & InStyle’s Top 10 Best Film Costume poll
1. Keira Knightley’s green silk dress in Atonement
2. Marilyn Monroe’s white dress in The Seven Year Itch
3. Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s
4. Olivia Newton-John’s skin-tight pants in Grease
5. Kate Winslet’s blue gown in Titanic
6. Diane Keaton’s tie and waistcoat in Annie Hall
7. Nicole Kidman’s satin corset from Moulin Rouge
8. Liza Minnelli’s stockings and bowler hat in Cabaret
9. The gown worn by Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: The Golden Age
10. Vivien Leigh’s dresses from Gone With The Wind
Go see the movie if only to see this love scene and a chance to see the back of this dress. Kidding aside, all the actors do an amazing job here. It is the haunting story of a child who makes a decision based on what she thinks she sees and how that one mistep alters the course of everyone's lives. The first movie to be made from one of James McEwan's books was The Cement Garden - worth putting in your Netflix cue.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy Together

I've been thinking about Wong Kar Wai's films a lot lately. Last year's 2046 was part of a trilogy that includes In the Mood For Love with Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung. In the Mood For Love it has a wonderful soundtrack including two Nat King Cole songs sung in Spanish. The film is shot almost completely through doorways so that you almost always have the feeling that you are spying and forget that you are in the cinema watching a film. Tony Leung was a very different sort of romantic lead in Happy Together. He plays an "anything but happy" gay man living in Buenos Aires. According to one account I read he was originally given a fake script and only found out about the gay love scene after having flown all the way to Argentina to do the film. For me the scene that I have included here is one of those scenes, like in My Beautiful Launderette, where it doesn't matter if it's two men or two women or a man and a woman, it's about connection and that's what makes it hot. If you don't have ten minutes to watch this then fast-forward to the last couple of minutes and see if you don't agree. Not too many movies would have Astor Piazzolla's tango music and Frank Zappa on the same soundtrack. Joe Bob says: "Check it Out."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The "Amby"

I just picked up a copy of Raghubir Singh's book of photographs "A Way into India" It was his last project before his death in 1999 at age 58 from a heart attack. Although Cartier Bresson is often cited as a mentor, Singh couldn't imagine only shooting in black & white; instead he explored the vibrant colors of his homeland, often, as one writer points out, through the mostly white little Ambassador car.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Paisley Groove

Back to India - I have posted a little Indian music from Sonific to set the mood. Turn it on and listen if you'd like.
Waking up our first morning in Delhi at the Oberoi Maidens Hotel was a perfect beginning. While there are more modern and luxurious hotels in Delhi, this was like being in a bit of old India as the photo above perhaps gives you an idea. Long hallways lead to rooms with high ceilings and ours was a suite with a living room and bedroom and a huge deep tub to soak away the two day trip from San Francisco, via New York and London. Breakfast was a buffet of Indian and Continental dishes served off the garden . There were fresh fruits and juices with toast or eggs made to order and yogurt with granola. Waiters served tea or coffee while we read the newspaper and planned our day.
After breakfast we met our driver and our guide Sateesh who would show us the Red Fort and narrow streets of Old Delhi. If you ever decide to visit or if you already have, then you must know that there is a lot of taking one's shoes off and putting one's shoes back on in India. There is also a lot of tea drinking, but that will come later.
Pyramids of fruit piled on tables invited us to sample the wares, but every tourist guide warned against the freshly squeezed citrus or ripe guavas blushing from their stalls.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chanteuses (For Valentine's Day)

I have always loved Serge Gainsbourg's music since I first heard Je T'aime on the radio as a little girl in Canada before it was banned from some of the FM stations playing it back then. That perhaps has led me to Jane Birken and Julie Delpy and Charlotte Gainsbourg's steamy video 5:55 . Perhaps it's because it's close to Valentine's Day, but I started putting together a playlist of French singers or songs that were somehow related for me. I hope you enjoy listening by candlelight.

Nuit Blanche

Coming into Paris on a peniche (houseboat)one can see Paris has so many beautiful bridges
I loved the red umbrella in the rain!
Nothing quite like Liberty on the left and the Eiffel Tower on the right

It's the best way to come into Paris...

The view from my window
Inside the Grand Palais on Nuit Blanche

One of my best vacations ever was going to Paris to visit a friend who lived on an old barge converted into a peniche (houseboat). We started out on the Oise going through the locks & tying up in the evenings in towns where we could eat in a restaurant or buy fresh produce in the farmers markets and cook on board. At Conflans we turned into the Seine and made our way into Paris. I still vividly remember making our way past the Eiffel Tower and docking in the Port d' Arsenal just under the Bastille in time for Nuit Blanche. The streets are alive all night as galleries and musuems stay open and all sorts of installations are built in beautiful buildings not always open to the public. One of these is the beautiful greenhouse of the Grand Palais above.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Raja Ravi Varma

I found this image of a painting by Raja Ravi Varma that I happened to find a hand-painted reproduction of in a little shop in Jaipur. Olivia and I were actually buying tea and incense in the shop next door when we stumbled upon her. I had just bought a Rizzoli edition of Varma's work and couldn't believe my stroke of luck finding a canvas to roll up carefully and bring home in my suitcase. It is now framed by my friends at Sausalito Framing and hanging on my wall looking like it was found in a museum. For me it is a reminder of how India blends the sensuality of its mythologies and the formalism brought to its shores by the British and the Portuguese.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Darker Days of Me & Him

This morning I was running on the waterfront in Sausalito watching the sun rise over Richardson Bay with the San Francisco skyline looking like Camelot rising out of the early morning mist and this song by PJ Harvey came on my iPod shuffle. It had a rather hypnotic effect and I was so taken by it that I came home tonight and listened to it again writing down the lyrics:
Promises promises
I'm feeling burned
You taught me a lesson
I didn't want to learn.
Why did I come here?
Please tell me again.
Why did you ask me?
Don't say you forget.
I long for, I long for,
I long for my home.
I long for a land where
no man was ever known
with no neurosis
and no psychosis
no psychoanalysis
and no sadness.
I pick up the pieces
and carry on somehow
tape the broken pieces together
and limp this love around
and limp this love aound
and limp this love around....
If you're curious you can even watch a short clip of her singing the song live in 2004