Thursday, January 30, 2014

ode to Alvin Duskin

At first, I was merely delighted that my doppelganger, the more sentimental one who was willing to hang onto these icons of our youth for several centuries, finally said, Eh, to her fond memories of smoking in the girls' bathroom while Sly and the Family Stone had hot fun in the gym.  Since I was at home recopying my AP Biology notes at the time,  I am now using these excellent props, scored at the University Ave. Goodwill, to invent a more interesting high school experience.  One in which I talked to boys and ate store-bought bread.
As I was enjoying the unsurpassed ability of 100% acrylic to produce sweat, I noticed the classy-looking label -- Alvin Duskin San Francisco.  Are you going to San Fran Cisco.... sing it with me.
Ok, that's enough.
So I stalked Alvin and discovered, from a 1970 article in the Boca Raton News, that he's a pacifist-anarchist-capitolist. He did not sell out. And if he did, it was completely justified, as the dress above demonstrates.  Warning:  Learning may happen. Stop here if you're a don'tcare-ist.

Alvin's dad owned a small knitting mill in Shakeytown which was cool until Alvin got into high school when it became The Establishment, that nonetheless paid for Alvin's very fine Stanford education.  He hung out, did not get drafted (that's the pacifist part), expanded his mind with the help of various pharmaceuticals and was BFFs with Cesar Chavez, Fidel Castro and Ralph Nader.  In that order.  He tried to join the Black Panthers but was quietly overlooked even after he said he could get them a very good deal on berets.  Saying Berkeley was too uptight, Alvin and some other lonely guys visionaries established a "college" in a 22-room house in Monterey, CA.  Little is known about the academics or the football team, but dorm life was reportedly, "Bangin."  Unending, gymnastic sex lost its luster and the founding fathers took their Masters in STDs and split. 
Broke, Alvin became an opportunist.  Not a capitalist pig, really. Thinking to make a quick buck by selling some of his father's excess sweaters so he'd be better positioned to do anarchy right, he made the sweaters about 2" longer, called them mini dresses and sold the lot in like an afternoon for twice as much.  Alvin and his wife (oh man, proliferating diningroom sets) opened a shop in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood and soon he was a very successful capitalist, no matter how hard he tried not to be, and was besieged by young beautiful women digging his thing (as in, the thing he was doing).  This anarchist could not buy a break.
But he did stick to his hippie principles. By 1970, he'd built a $5M annual grossing business and had 250 employees to whom he offered profit sharing,  fringe benefits (which may or may not have involved weed in the company lounge) and compensation well above the going rate.  He also hired some fresh out of school designers -- Cathy Hardwick and Betsey Johnson.   I feel like Betsey Johnson practically signed my Duskin with that lace-up back.
Alvin has been an activist his whole life, fighting high-rise buildings in San Francisco (the earthquakes were strictly coincidental) and more recently championing energy and climate change issues.  He was still activisting as of 2009.

Monday, January 27, 2014

how to combine rich patterns and texture in a bleak, cryogenic world

 I Everyone is in a sort of an ursine funk right now.  I'm watching petals dry up and fall off of the $3.99 flowers I got at Trader Joe's to, you know, brighten up the 900 square feet of my existence. They are now moldy stalks with what appear to be shriveled eyeballs on top, but do I get up and walk the two steps over there and put them out of their misery?  Nope.  Too much effort.  Normally I find a gallon of coffee very inspirational. And bacon. Negatory. Yesterday, the kumquat made an inquiry about dinner, a subject that usually excites me, and I thought about our pantry and offered, Pepper?  He said we were out of pepper.  So I cut some leg holes in the bottom of the sleeping bag I was wearing, put a raccoon on my head and went out, squinting as my orbs froze. 

Having found the pepper, I shuffled up to the checkout with some other grey and lumpy peasants who had given up,  given up I tell you, when boom, my hopeless world was rocked.  JoAnn's fabrics are subtly colored, soothing the eye into seeing beauty again with a steady rhythm of patterns and textures, starting with a fluffy pelt peaking out of her boots on up to her snow leopard hat that does not in any way make you wonder about the curing process.  Wakened from their winter coma,  my hamsters  synapses were a bit rusty so I grunted and gestured and JoAnn brightly translated from woodchuck into English,  Oh, shall I stand here by the cheese?  JoAnn went home to make a split pea soup studded with savory ham hock and I wiped my nose with my sleeve.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

pollar vortexes

Amazing.  This guy bikes year round.  And he's still got most of his bits.  Including the far northern extremity which is reducing heat loss from his frontal cortex by 53%.  No worries Mom --  he's wearing his helmet.  He simply catches the cornice by surprise before it has a chance to object.  He says it pops out, high and mighty, given enough Murray's Pomade. Which is reapplied every other day or so. He created the hair gradient himself with a beard trimmer.  Now here's the dumb part -- I was so verklempt to be talking to one of those year round bikers and trying not to notice if parts had turned black and fallen off, and simultaneously the teeniest bit embarrassed to bust out my Hello Kitty camera at a photography exhibit thick with people who have more than one big red button on their camera, that I forgot to ask him why.  Why the gravity-defying prow?  For now, we will have to go with the obvious -- tiara prevention. 

I got to thinking about pollar vortexes and forthwith curated a show of this pompular formation...
Banged up
Love me fender
Prep profile
I'm not even confident where that came from
Moby Dick
Inspiration Point

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Aunt Jemima laughs at the cold

Having not seen people for about a month now,  I was on this woman like goose on bumps.  So much to love -- I'll  holler stuff out and you back me up,  ok?  I don't know why I'm channeling the talent show from the 1992 Engvist family reunion but just go with it.

yo,  Aunt Jemima head scarf that is cutely preventing her ears from falling off
endless and pretty knitty circle signifying the eternity of winter,  check it
toggled and leather buttoned black watch plaid car coat that she got for two (2) dollares
refrain is: two scheckels, zwei liebchens
and foot-ally,  mcwork boots with kilties, say: kilties, kilties

That didn't come together as well as I thought it might. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

a tribute to MLK

Like our brother Martin, I too had a dream.  I call them hot flashes.  In my dream, people of all skin types -- dry, oily T-zone, freckled -- and all astrological signs, even vegans, would be able to enjoy ill 50% discounts off Savers erratically priced goods on certain days between the hours of 9 am and 9 pm.  And since it's my dream,  not that many of my fellow Seekers would be the sort of vulnerable adult who has to suppress a game-show scream when her eyeballs land on the very plain label (below) and she runs her trembling fingers sort of creepily over the wrinkly but kingly-heavy wool of this coat (above).  No,  in my dream,  most of my compatriots would walk right past this mofo,  preferring instead the pink faux fur Bebe expression of truck stop sex brand, circa 2005, right next to it.  Those white dots that look like grease from pizza cheese are not part of my dream -- they're part of my camera lens.  Dreams being pretty fantastical,  this coat would be marked $14.99 because it's no Tommy Hilfiger that's for darn sure.  Thus, in my dream, I run out of Savers having laid down $7.49 and I drive home fast and, flushed and glassy-eyed,  I show it to Dennis -- the label, the artful saddle shoulder treatment, the perfect cut -- and I make him feel how heavy it is and he too hops up and down and flutters his hands. 
Happy MLK Day, my friends!  If you do it right,  your dreams will come true.  Mostly.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

the most unusual photo in the street style world

First off, it's not even my photo.  It's from The Sartorialist, so hopefully that gets me off the hook from six kinds of copyright infringement. Heh heh.  This photo checks off all Scott Schuman's usual hallmarks -- noteworthy hat, big budget bag,  menswear coopted by women, in focus and expertly cropped.  Oh, it also happened in Milan.  Italy.  So what's so flippin unusual?  Give up?  


As a member of the waist-length boob club,  I would love to blame taut-triggered, low-hanging-fruit-plucking street style bloggers... And given enough wine,  I'm sure I will.  BUT,  I know there is a trifecta of reasons this photo is so very rare.  Yes, street style bloggers, ten times out of ten, shoot young beautiful women.  Sometimes a distinguished older guy/George Clooney, but even that only happens if you happen to be outside Perkins at 5 pm. The other two legs of the trifecta are 1)  few older women step out of their fashion comfort zone (e.g. giant pink slug-like hat with a death grip on her bean) because confidence tends to shrink in direct proportion with the amount of loose skin on one's neck.  And 2) the handmaiden of #1,  older women are the most likely demographic to tell a street style blogger to get lost.  I've only been turned down a handful of times, almost all the rejections at the hands of older women who, either because they didn't understand what I wanted, or because they did, were like,  Oooooo no, that sounds nasty and so do you.  Now, get out of my business mofo.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

more atomic DIY knitwear

I had too many clothes on, there at Everyday People, laced and lycra and layers, to try this on.  But the appearance of this cast-off (ha, that's a knit-knit joke) project of the sticks on the hanger is very similar to it's appearance on me. Which is to say, radioactive.  Who would create such a thing, and then loose it on the public?  Was it you?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

everything's relative

Temperature,  "a lot" of bacon,  grasp on reality,  appetite for pattern -- it's all on a scale.  You may say flashy mashup of the rings of Shins and the weavings of Toms (or you may say, Who carried this cloth-shod man here and set him on this bench?  because those are not the neoprene Toms)  but to this dude,  it's a quiet look.  Subdued.  While photo skills are also relative and mine normally fall in the red/dangerous sector, this  head-ectomy was at his request, and I feel I executed really really well.  So to speak.

Monday, January 6, 2014

stuff you can do when it's -41

  You could stand around waiting for your liquid nitrogen margarita to get nice and slushy.  OR, dressed in an A-shaped, teal-colored mountain of down (thus, Oh Christmasteal), some Sorels, a polar bear suit and a plug-in electric hat, take your Target-bought bubbles out onto the deck.  If you don't have a deck, this won't work.  Crouch way down and blow bubbles veeeerrrry gently horizontal to the deck.  Because if any wind hits them or they impact a surface at a speed faster than me on nitrous oxide, they break.  Whiles you're down there, say hello to all the wildlife that lives under the deck, pirating the wifi like anything.
There are actually four bubbles in this photo -- massive Jupiter, tiny Pluto on the crack in the boards, Earth to the left of jupiter and the broken shell of Mars to the right of Jupiter.  Anyone who thought i was going to make a crude joke about Uranus will be disappointed.  i couldn't think of one.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

let's talk about weird DIY knitwear

 I go to Savers with the intent to buy weird DIY knitwear. There, I said it.  So if you are making strange things like the mohair cotton candy-colored t-shirt above, think, my god think about the end-of-life consequences.  Stuff doesn't just disappear my friends.  Plastic and styrofoam and knitting projects with super-small neck and arm holes and incongruous itchy wool but short sleeves, what you just toss it -- out of sight, out of mind?  Uh no. Like some kind of crazyass bird walking around with a plastic six-pack holder on its head, I walk through Savers and put my head in stuff like this.  Can't get the damn thing off.  Also, the fadeout pink-baby blue-lavender yarn -- these colors are unknown in the world outside Michael's.  It goes with nothing.  Even infants don't do this color scheme any more. What exactly were you thinking, oh knitter,  when you made this?  What was the real-world application?  Uh huh, just as I thought -- abso-knuttin.  Thoughtless clacking of the needles.
 And this tube of many watery colors.  I started with this thing on my head and kept shimmying downward -- as a neck warmer, thorax support, kidney truss, parts incubator,  ass coddler (which, sadly, is now at a lower plane than parts), kneecapper and ankle sweaters.  Why would someone loose a thing like this on the yarn-vulnerable public?  You see it's not gone now, is it -- some thoughtless person created this beast, donated it to Savers and it lives on.
Full disclosure -- this is not a DIY one-off but was made by a company, 213 by Michelle Kim.  Inspiration was Charly Brown, flappers, King Kong and Tina Turner.  It has the requisite pink hair that gives TSA people a little shot of Hello.  I can't endorse this thing strongly enough  -- wore it on an all-day slick rock hike in Mormon country.  Warm,  cool, wicks sweat, blows in the wind and when you take a big swig of alcohol, it's super fun to say, "Nick nick nick, that put hair on my chest."  No one is going to ask you to be his third wife in this bad boy, for darn sure.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

art lover

Can't a swashbootling, zebra-pinned art lover just appreciate the Edo period without a flash-photo-taking miscreant getting all up in her business?  Answer is no.  Not when she's also hitting the very ironic note that sends Karl Lagerfeld into a designer tizzy because he's misunderstood, he wants more than anything his famous fuzzy edged jackets worn with a sense of skull t-shirt humor, dammit (and here, the White-Wigged Wonder whacks his PA... wait, whacks is maybe the wrong choice of words... or maybe the right one),  as above, rather than the Upper East Side couture overload parodied in Blue Jasmine, below.