Friday, May 28, 2010

I am Lauren, soundsuit enthusiast

Last night was the opening of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art's fantastic Spoleto offering...

I think it's fair to say that I'm not the only one who was totally blown away by this exhibition. There's just something really spectacular about it... the utter extravagance of the work balanced just perfectly with the simplicity and sterility of the white gallery space. Very very rich. I had the incredible opportunity of being around to help install Chicago artist, Nick Cave's "soundsuits" this week and seriously, all I could think was... "these things are the BOMB!"

Constructed of an eclectic mix of crocheted doilies, shiny sequins, beads, buttons, porcelain birds, glass flowers, human hair, twigs, you name it... Cave's soundsuits are truly a feast for the eyes. His experience and expertise as a fashion/textile designer is quite evident in how he manages to combine these various materials and kooky patterns to create these objects that are nothing short of high, high fashion. The way the mannequins are displayed, on a long white runway of sorts, couldn't be more appropriate. It's like, in entering the exhibition, you are entering a freeze frame of a fun, high-styled, high-energy couture runway show.

And then... you enter the video room in the far back corner of the gallery. While I tend to not have much of an attention span for videos, I found myself completely mesmerized by what I found. There was Nick Cave himself inside of the various soundsuits (worn one at a time) moving and shaking. Cave's history as a dancer with Alvin Ailey has surely influenced this body of work... to a great extent. This is especially apparent when you watch him carefully move within the suits. And as the title suggests, each suit makes a distinct sound when worn. This adds a whole new element to the work. Like I said... it's really quite mesmerizing... and it made me all the more enthusiastic about the show.

The exhibition will be up through the end of June so EVERYONE ought to go and check it out! Curator, Mark Sloan, deserves all kinds of praise for his fantastic pairing of Nick Cave's sounduits with Phyllis Galembo's photographs of west african masquerade. The work of both artists really complements each other to make for a real knock-out exhibition.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I am Lauren, Easter enthusiast

I love Easter. So much. Everything about it. And this year I've been feeling more enthusiastic than ever. I guess it's because it's finally hit me... how Easter embodies all the things for which I feel so fondly.

First of all, I really love bunny rabbits. I just do. Now, I've been known for my distaste for most animals. Puppies, kitties, horsies... they just don't do it for me... sorry. But I simply can't resist a sweet little bunny rabbit. I even had one once as a kid for a year or so... Snoopy was his name (I was extremely uncreative when it came to naming pets... for example, Change the chameleon, Spot the fish, Sam the dog). I used to take him for walks (or hops?) around the cul-de-sac on his ferret leash. I was devastated when my mom broke the news that Snoopy had been eaten by fire ants... he's now buried in the back yard under a heart-shaped tombstone that I picked out on a visit to Charleston.

I also have a terrible soft spot for lambs. They're the sweetest, no?
And then there's Spring time. For me, Easter equals Spring... in so many ways. When I think of Easter, I recall the warm Spring sunshine and the cool Spring breeze felt when posing, year after year, outside in front of the newly blossomed flowers in my new Easter dress... my glove-clad hands grasping my new Easter basket and stuffed bunny (which the Easter bunny still brings me, to this day) for a photograph that my mother never failed to take... on our way out the door to the all too anticipated Easter Sunday church service.

just before my 4th birthday... moooom not another picture!

a year earlier... there's that enthusiastic grin!
(using favorite baby doll, shelby, as a cushion)

Spring... it's all about newness and life. The flowers bloom. The baby bunnies and chickies and lambies are born. But the true beauty of Easter is that those of us who call ourselves Christians are reminded of the new life that we have all been given through the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God. The events of Easter (resurrection and such) are what a faith in Christ is all about. Victorious... that's the one word that keeps coming to my mind. Such a victorious day.

As for bunnies and egg hunts.... I don't know what that's all about... but I like it... cant help it...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I am Lauren, fartiste enthusiast

Allow me to introduce you to Joseph Pujol, French entertainer extraordinaire. His unique talents have gone unrivaled. His abilities, unmatched. A truly gifted man, to say the least. Now, I'm sure you must be curious... How did this man become the Moulin Rouge's highest paid entertainer of all time? What could he possibly do that set him apart? That made him so special?

It's rather simple, you see.... he could fart.

Though Pujol was known by a variety of colorful names ("flatulist," "fartuer," "fartiste") he is most famously known by his Moulin Rouge stage name, Le Pétomane, which translates to something similar to "fart maniac." Believe it or not, Monsieur Pujol was not the first professional flatulist... this profession dates back to medeival times. Who knew!! But like I said, his talents are unmatched. What Le Pétomane could do with that bottom of his was unlike anything anybody had ever experienced. He was an artiste... a fartiste...

However, perhaps it's worth noting...
"It is a common misconception to state that Joseph Pujol actually farted as part of his stage performance. Farting implies the release through the anus of intestinal gases. Pujol was "gifted" in the sense that he was able to inhale air into his rectum and then control the release of that air using his sphincter muscles." (Wikipedia)

He discovered this "gift" at a very young age one day while swimming at sea. Apparently he put his head under the water and held his breath, whereupon he felt an icy cold penetrating his rear. He ran ashore in fright and was amazed to see water pouring from his anus. And of course, the rest is history.

This man's monologue says it all.... definitely worth your time!

His repertoire, including impersonations, melodies, instrument playing, candle blowing, cigarette smoking, and more, was understandably an absolute sensation! It's been said that high profile people, among the likes of Edward, Prince of Whales, King Leopold II of the Belgians and even Sigmund Freud were at times spotted in Le Pétomane's audience.

Since his passing in 1945, Monsieur Pujol's story has been recounted in an assortment of forms. Movies, short films, mockumentaries, musicals, books etc. I've tried without avail to find clips of the musical... because you all know what a kick I get out of comedic musicals. Oh well... I'd be just as happy if I could own my very own copy of this book...

Monday, December 21, 2009

I am Lauren, bacon enthusiast

There's nothing like waking up to the smell of simmering bacon. MMMmmmmMMMmmm!! That's when I know I'm home. Home, sweet, home. For as much as I love bacon, I never actually cook it for myself. It's always something to look forward to, a real treat. You see, my mom absolutely adores bacon... and she doesn't just cook it for special occasions (like when her lovely daughter comes home), she cooks it on a regular basis. That lady loves her bacon! She's been known to eat a whole pack ALL on her own (yet you'd never ever know it from looking at her)!

We've always gotten SUCH a kick out of this commercial! Whenever expressing my love for bacon I often find myself impersonating this dog, ha. Befuddled looks and awkward smiles are typically all I get in return... okay, I know it's weird, but I mean, really, have you people never seen this?!?!

(yesterday morning, after enjoying our crispy bacon, my step-dad accidentally took a swig of what he thought was coffee... but it was bacon grease... HAHAHA, talk about schadenfreude!!! i was hysterical!)

You must imagine how thrilled I was when I came across this very special candy bar. Two years ago a bought a handful of these to give as stocking stuffers for my family... but I must admit I was slightly disappointed. They weren't as heavenly as I had expected. Not nearly as gourmet as advertised. Tasted like chocolate covered bacon bits (as in FAKE bacon, ah!!) or what I would imagine dog food might possibly taste like... beggin' strips, anyone?

Oh well... I simply can't wait to have some handsome fellas of my own to dress up like this!!

My friend Sarah just recently did a post on Mike Geno's bacon art. Believe it or not, he is definitely not alone in his bacon art making endeavors. It appears as though this bacon enthusiasm is a widespread phenomenon. But I mean, really, does it surprise you? Not me!

Just a few more days until Christmas... click HERE for some last minute shopping!

I debated whether or not this post should be devoted solely to bacon, or to pork in general. My enthusiasm for pork could move mountains. I love everything about it. Such enthusiasm merits a post of its own... but until then, I'll leave you with this...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I am Lauren, child blogger enthusiast

It all started with Jane. Her blog, Sea of Shoes, has received lots of attention these past few months, landing the 17 year old features in various top editorials, including but not limited to both Vogue and Elle. Upon visiting her blog for the first time, I was promptly seduced by her ever-increasing collection of breath-taking (designer) footwear and awed by her kooky sophistication in styling. Her blog, for the most part, is composed of photos.... of her.... in her clothes.... looking cool.

These ALL belong to her!!!!

I have to admit... I kind of freaked out the other day when I saw these shoes at Neiman's Last Call. I was like, "AH! Jane has these!!!" Too bad they were still $700...

Not long after thoroughly stalking Jane, I stumbled upon her wanna-be's blog, Style Bird. I must confess, I find this girl to be way cooler... she not only has great style (especially for a middle-schooler!!) but she's incredibly innovative and resourceful. She's always mimicking looks seen on Sea of Shoes, other blogs, and on the runway.

Her thrifty finds and DIY designer items are simply the coolest. Pairings that have me, along with her other 332 followers, I'm sure, asking "why in the world was I not this cool when I was in 6th grade?" This girl is proof that you don't have to have the chaching to have to the goods... and don't we all need to hear THAT every now and then? Again, however, a blog primarily made up of photos... of her... in her clothes... looking cool.

Now... the most stylish, most witty, most adorably irresistible child blogger in cyber space these days is, without a doubt, Tavi of Style Rookie. I absolutely cannot get enough of this cutie. She's so effortlessly cool.... so... fresh. Her styling is fresh. Her comments are fresh. Her face is fresh. Tavi, will you be my best friend, pleeeeeeaaaaase?! Her blog, filled with hilarious ramblings on daily life, insightful fashion analysis, kooky videos, runway photos, and the occasional (and wildly anticipated) photo of herself, is cooler than cool. According to her "About Me" section, this "tiny 13 year old dork that sits inside all day wearing awkward jackets and pretty hats" is "rather cynical and cute as a drained rat. In a sewer. Farting. And spitting out guts." Haha, whaaaat? Sounds like my kind of girl!

And as if I wasn't insanely jealous enough already........
MARC JACOBS?!?! This girl has got it going on! Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks she's hot stuff... ever since starting her blog, Tavi has been making the rounds. She was an honored guest at several shows this year at NY Fashion Week and has been showered with fabulous designer garb among the likes of Comme des Garcons and Proenza Schouler.

CLICK HERE to see a video that, according to Tavi, makes her look "um, really smart... and sophisticated"

It's so neat... the fashion blog phenomenon. Only a few years ago, before the blog boom, these girls would've been considered wacky weirdos for the bizarre things they don. Real life isn't always the most understanding of such flaunting fashionistas. In most cases, people just don't get it... but the internet gives these girls an outlet... a way to be noticed... by people who care... people who matter.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I am Lauren, schadenfreude enthusiast

Uncontrollable laughter is something I have always struggled with. I often find myself unsuccessfully concealing my giggles and trying to excuse and explain myself for laughing at the most inappropriate of times. Hold my breath, close my eyes, count to ten, whatever... a good giggle is one of the hardest things to shake.

So what gets me so tickled, you ask? A good fall, an awkward fart... Oh, an abundance of specific examples come to my mind. I remember so many of them so, so vividly, as though they have been defining moments in my life. But I'll spare you all the details, for they all boil down to one common theme... me impulsively and uncontrollably laughing at somebody's misfortune (my own included).

As you must imagine, America's Funniest Home Videos is a favorite of mine. I've been caught countless times alone, on the couch, in tears, because this show has gotten me so cracked up.
Watching people fall never, ever gets old...

Not until last year in my Honors Western Civilization discussion class did I learn that there is actually a name for this... schadenfreude. I don't even remember what text we were studying, but I was thrilled to learn that, apparently, I am not alone in my twisted sense of humor... the bulk of the sterotypical German population shares in this enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others. That's it, I must be German. I've always had a thing for leiderhosen.

Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of attending a performance of the Tony Award-winning musical, Avenue Q. Among the many hilariously candid numbers, each performed predominently by puppets and referencing varoius cultural taboos (racism, homosexuality, just to name a few), I found the song, Schadenfreude, to be particularly pertinent...
*please excuse some of the vocabulary*

Oh, Schadenfreude, huh?
What's that, some kinda Nazi word?

Yup! It's German for "happiness at the misfortune of others!"

"Happiness at the misfortune of others." That is German!

Monday, October 19, 2009

I am Lauren, honky tonk enthusiast

I've always had a thing for country music. My early childhood years were spent rocking out to Kicks 101.5, the local country radio. At just 3 years old, I was known for my mean renderings of Alan Jackson's "Chattahoochee" and, of course, Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart." I mean really, who doesn't love those songs? One day in Sunday School we were asked what we wanted our teacher (because we didn't know how to write yet, duh) to write on these big button pins that we had decorated. I think they were expecting to write nice things like "Jesus Loves Me" or "God is Great," but I wasn't going to sport a big button like that without advertising my very favorite song. So of course mine read "Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee" Unfortunately, "it gets hotter than the hoochie koochie" didn't fit... or at least that's what my sunday school teacher said.

Boy did I have a crush on Alan Jackson and that yummy blond mustache.
Country music is something I always seem to come back to. Once every couple of years I'll switch my car radio from NPR to the country station, just to get my fix. It's almost like in the interim I forget how much I love it, how good it makes me feel. It something about that twang... the twang of the "geetar," the twang in the voice. It just really gets me. You know, this just occurred to me, but it probably doesn't hurt that I can actually understand what they're saying. In so many other songs, mainstream or what have you, I have the hardest time making out the words. Country music, I can follow. Its the music of the people. (wait... of what people? my people? I don't even know... lets not go there)

Hm. Now I'm afraid I must go there... particularly since I'm not just any country music enthusiast, but a honky tonk enthusiast, to be precise. Honky tonk. I like the sound of that. Kind of reminds me of hoochie koochie. Nevermind. The word tonk comes from an old brand of piano. And the word honky, if you didn't already know, is just a cool name for us white folk. The term honky tonk was originally used to describe a type of bar in which music was/is played. Now it also refers to the subgenre of country music known for its upbeat tempo and lyrics that focus on working-class life, with frequently tragic themes of lost love, adultery, loneliness, alcoholism, and self-pity.

I can't talk about country music and not mention another all-time favorite... David Ball. Slightly lesser-known than Mr. Jackson, David Ball has got honky tonk down, no doubt. His 1994 album, "Thinkin' Problem" is contagious, each song catchier than the last. I sang his tunes ALL the way to school today. Unfortunately, YouTube has a severe shortage of David Ball videos, so I'll leave you with this all too familiar tune... where the enthusiasm was born...

honky tonk badonkadonk, honky tonk badonkadonk, honky tonk badonkadonk...
try saying that 10 times fast! great phrase... terrible terrible song