Tuesday, December 21, 2010

body heat

i found this guy's photoblog. a lot of it looks like american apparel or vice or something like that. but i'm into these shots. they are so 80's. all that hair, bouncing and moving, too much of it, so luxe. and those sexy girls...they look like some real broads... full on, full-blown women.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

kid kate

(image via rdujour)

sometimes she still looks like a kid. like the way she did when i saw those first shots of her years and years ago. I was a 15 year old girl, or maybe I had just turned 16...and she stared out at me from the page of a magazine.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

the untouchables

“Mexican American female gang” (c. 1942), Los Angeles Daily News, Calisphere.
(image via latinahistories)

i think the look of these kids is too cool...their whole deal is kinda untouchable. particularly the one sitting in front, the one with her chin tilted. the pretty one. but also the tough one. she looks like she isn't fucking around.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


madeleine au bois d'amour, by emile bernard

i went to the de young museum today to see the post-impressionist masterpieces brought in from the musee d'orsay. though it was pouring rain and cold, i had a belly full of french toast and was ready to spend the whole day checking out art. there were lots of amazing pieces, but this one kinda killed me. I sat down on the bench in front of it and decided to not move for a bit. I just wanted to keep looking at it. the museum was crowded and people kept filing past, some of them stopping for a bit to look at "madeleine", some not stopping at all. i just kept looking... i'm taken with the colors... the vertical darkness of the trees, the bright band of greenery, the shadowed water, that long stiff flattened body of the girl, her pale ankles, the big hand at her waist, that far-away look on her face...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

child's play

i could watch these for days. there are a ton of them. i turn into a kid in front of them...that sleepy kid, that kind of spaced out kid that hasn't quite woken up yet and is allowed to watch sunday morning cartoons while mom fixes up breakfast... that kid whose hair is ratty and tangled all the way up from the nape of the neck to the crown of the head...that kid who is sitting too close to the tv and any noise or light or motion not coming from it just comes and goes completely unregistered. this is all it takes to get me into that 6 year old stupor-bliss.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

what i'm thinking about

image via my sparrow

"if it's true that depth-of-characterization in fiction is analogous to degree-of-acquaintance in life, then it would be similarly true that the deeper the characterization achieved, then the less clear we'd be about a character's motivation in a story."
—from the "knowing your character" chapter of
writing in general and the short story in particular
by rust hills

"empathy....one might even go so far as to say that the experience is an involuntary projection of ourselves..."
— from the penguin dictionary of literary terms and literary theory

"i had to try to get the feeling by the use of two or three words..."
—from a 1933 letter written by ernest hemingway to everett r. perry

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

an easy guarantee

moussy fall 2010 ad campaign
featuring abbey lee kershaw
image via sandi in the city

isabel marant fall 2010 ad campaign
featuring kate moss
image via filmifi

etam fall 2010 ad campaign
featuring natalia vodianova
image via design scene

parted mouth, mussed-up hair, sloe-eyed, and a bit of remoteness=guaranteed sex appeal

Saturday, September 4, 2010

fall into line

chloe pre-fall 2010
image via tais-toi, sois beau

whit fall 2010
image via refinery 29

elizabeth & james fall 2010
image via mama's a rolling stone

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

the always unafraid

zippora seven
image via lashings of style

daisy lowe
image via pedestrian tv

cintia dicker
image via fotolog

obviously the girls are beautiful. and i especially like the kind of beautiful they are— big-lipped, broad-cheeked, with eyes wide apart. but what i like most about them in these images is that caught-off-guard-but-still-bold look in their eyes, almost defiant...somehow tender and vulnerable, somehow goading...there is an invitation, a challenge in those looks...and a clear sense of self-satisfaction...and self-determination. they have the look of the always unafraid.

Monday, August 30, 2010

a confession

image via counterforce

i recently and randomly read a time magazine essay from may 18, 1970 called "violent protest: a debased language"...a key paragraph got me thinking...

The ultimate debasement of language, of course, is violence...—most dissenters turn to violence in a desperate effort to communicate their profound feelings of grievance. Yet surely this is too crude a way to get their message across. A bomb, for example, lacks specificity; its meaning is as scattered as its debris...Violence is, essentially, a confession of ultimate inarticulateness.

and then the words and ideas filtered down, and what really got a hold of me was— violence is, essentially, a confession... of what exactly? of everything that lives inside us but can't get out, of everything that exists but can't be named, of everything we want acknowledged but instead has always been met with disregard, intolerance and neglect. violence then, is a sad confession of our fragility and weakness, our tragic inability to perfectly express our existence...

Read more of the essay at: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,909175-2,00.html#ixzz0y92NXg2a

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

in cold blood

portraits of clutter family murderers dick hickock & perry smith
taken by richard avedon, 1960
image via this isn't happiness

i'm about 70 or so pages out from the end. i told myself i wouldn't look up what perry and dick really looked like till i finished the book. but i just couldn't wait. even though i know i will finish the book later tonight... i couldn't stop myself. these portraits are astounding. i'm undone and overwhelmed and my heart is racing. i had no idea their photos would say so much. i had no idea i would feel so much.
truman capote breaks into the story with measured beats, and though the pulse of his language often gathers into sharp and clear points , it keeps a steady ever-haunting and gripping pace—
5 pages in and capote writes:
but then, in the earliest hours of that morning in november, a sunday morning, certain foreign sounds impinged on the normal nightly holcomb noises— on the keening hysteria of coyotes, the dry scrape of scuttling tumbleweed, the racing, receding wail of locomotive whistles. at the time not a soul in sleeping holcomb heard them— four shotgun blasts that, all told, ended six human lives.
and this is the bit of text that keeps playing over and over in my mind as i look at the photos of dick and perry... i can see and hear and smell those shotgun blasts...those blasts that killed the clutter family of four, and later, and less directly, dick and perry...

Monday, August 23, 2010

a bit of brilliance i found:


Finally realizing that though the person you’ve been talking to obviously likes you, they haven’t been laughing at your jokes.

Finally realizing that the person you’ve been talking to has an appearance completely incidental to their personality rather than essential to it.

— from alice at ornament of my might

Thursday, August 19, 2010

the map is not the territory

image via malibu magazine

image via sfcitizen

john baldessari— conceptual, californian, absurd, ironic..."suppose it is true after all? WHAT THEN?"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

american ease

ash jalouse boot
image via polyvore

charles david bryden boot
image via amazon

aren't all these boots absolutely perfect for fall? i love their simplicity and functionality, and i think they are timelessly good-looking. but seasons don't really matter much to me 'cause i live in boots all year long. i guess it's because san francisco is always boot-wearing-weather, and i walk everywhere so i like a bit of practicality, and i have a dog so i'm in the park pretty much everyday, rain or shine. i feel most at home in boots— at ease, unrestricted, footloose and fancy free. hmmm...that seems so american, so frontiersman-like...wow... how "out west" of me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

prodigal son

photo by glen friedman, via flickriver

i just watched dogtown and z-boys again. there are some really gorgeous moments in that film, in the story it tells— movement, ideas, images...ragged youth, rough-edged talent, bright things, attitude... the gathering, the building, and then the dissipation, the scattering. these photos are all of jay adams— an orginal z-boy...influential, individual, fearless...the real thing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

the force of youth

image via newyorkette

i don't have as many photos of my mother when she was young as i would like. the ones i do have feel precious, like they belong in a jewel box and not a photo album. there is one in particular that i love. it's of her laying out with her mother on a beach somewhere, maybe florida. there are rows and rows of beach-chairs behind them, with people on their stomachs and backs, sweating into their towels, and then, in the top right corner of the photo, the sea begins to sprawl out behind them. my grandmother is sitting up, with her knees pulled up a bit closer to her body. maybe she was feeling shy in front of the camera. on her head is a bathing cap, neon green and almost fluffy looking. she is wearing a one piece in a swirling black and white geometric pattern. it must be the early sixties. actually maybe the mid sixties because my mother looks like she might be fourteen or so. my mother is stretched out right next to my grandmother, her thigh touching her mother's bent knee. she has on a yellow bikini with ruffled trim. her eyes are closed. her blonde hair is shiny and the ends hit the tops of her shoulders. everything about her looks bright and young and golden. her mouth is parted and her fingers rest on the fabric of her bikini bottoms. she looks perfect. and though it's a photograph, when i stare at it it's as if i'm watching a short flickering film. i see so much movement, i see the moment so completely. i see the force of her youth so clearly.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

lucky teeth

georgia jagger
via ilovemuffins

lara stone
image via in.com

ashley smith
via mademoisellerobot

dents du bonheur— it means "lucky teeth". I read that's what the french call gap teeth. i agree. i really really like them. i think they somehow open up a face, make it brighter, more vulnerable, more honest. i think it looks incredibly sexy too. since the middle ages it has been assumed that women with gap teeth are wanton and lustful... maybe because there is an inherit boldness in imperfection. it's easier to fit in. it's easier to close the gap. but i think the open space between two front teeth should be kept as is, honored and celebrated.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

...as if someone turned off a light

image via wunderground

joyce carol oates said— night comes to the desert all at once, as if someone turned off a light. it's true... things come hard and fast and full in the desert. i used to live in a small town along the texas/new mexico border, just south of las cruces, in the upper mesilla valley. you had to drive a good four miles on a dirt road to get to our house. we lived with the desert right behind us. high plains, creosote bush, feral dogs, mesquite, and broken rusting barbed wire fences. i was a kid. but i remember that darkness came fast and so did the heat. and thunderstorms. in the rain the creosote smell came fast too, damp and strong and earthy. i didn't miss the desert until recently. until i went back to visit. it had been such a long time. and now i have this small unexpected ache, this slow swelling nostalgia.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the library vault

rijkmusuem library, amsterdam, the netherlands
image via it doesn't get any better than this

new york public library, ny, usa
image via idlethink on flickr

nottebohm library, antwerp, belgium
image via spotted by locals

wren library at trinity college, cambridge, england
image via diary of a dandelion diva

the other day someone who sometimes seems to know me better than myself suggested i look into working at the main branch of our public library. at first i balked at the idea. i imagined myself bored, stunted, and trapped— bloodlessly gathering up misplaced books, tediously putting call numbers on book spines. but then i really thought about it. i have always loved libraries, even the ones lacking grandeur and history, even the ones that are a depressing block of drab concrete from the outside. because on the inside there is always the surprise and triumph of discovery. even if it's a tiny discovery...just one line, from one book that i would have otherwise never come across, that maybe i won't even check out, that maybe i will never come across again in my lifetime, but that one line flaps on and on inside me like bird wings on a windowpane, desperate and relentless, forever remembered. i can spend hours walking the aisles, running my fingers across titles and names i don't know, until something flashes out at me and i stop and take a closer look. i don't get embarrassed to sit on the floor. i like the eerie quiet. i like the smell of paper and metal. i like the feeling that arises when someone else wanders into the aisle that i have been occupying for a long while without anyone else present— it's part irritation, part bewilderment, part relief. i like the stamped due dates, resolute, non-negotiable. i like the lighting, sometimes pale and morbid, sometimes warm and softly yellow. but mostly i guess it's about being surrounded, overwhelmed really, by the hard work of writers... a seemingly endless inventory of writers working out their ideas, obsessing on their characters, their landscapes, their imagined places... fiction, non-fiction, reference, anthologies... it doesn't matter...a writer and a story...everywhere you turn.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

bye bye buenos aires

the "puente de la mujer" footbridge in puerto madero district
image via puertomaderorentals

recoleta cemetary
image via adam goldberg

image via laylita's recipes

street in palermo district
image via satoristephen

patagonian cavy
image via eyefetch

cafe con leche with media lunas
image via sws9americas

buenos aires. two weeks. not exactly enough time, but a decent enough amount to notice some things, to do some things... hot days, warm nights. the girls are honey skinned, bare legged, beautiful. cafe con leche gets served with a shot glass of water, to clean the palate I suppose? or to hydrate? not really sure, but i love it. purebred dogs are everywhere, so many different breeds, very few mutts, but toy poodles and cocker spaniels were definitely the most popular. tree-lined streets, with broad branches and leaves that arch over the street, like a tunnel of green with sunlight glinting through. we ate lots of ice-cream, almost everyday we had a scoop or two, it melts so much faster than it does at home. the botanical gardens are home to a ton of cats. so is the famous recoleta cemetery— they sleep in the sun and wander among the mausoleums, letting you pet them. the mausoleums are beautiful, many made of marble and glass, you can see the coffins stacked inside. some streets in the city are still cobblestone. sundays are so quiet–they are the best day to walk around. we sat by the rooftop pool every morning and the city looked so massive from up there, just endlessly sprawling. we took hotel room siestas in the late afternoons, after hours and hours of walking all over the city. the wine is delicious and cheap. the empanadas are delicious and cheap. the subway is very hot and very cheap. taxis are everywhere, you never wait long to get one. dinner is eaten very late. mostly we stayed out till 2 or 3 in the morning, not really partying, just drinking wine in the warm night at a sidewalk table, watching people walk by. we fell in love with the patagonian cavys we fed at the zoo, they just wander around freely, grazing in the patches of grass, resting in the sun. they took food so gently, even though they have big rodent teeth. we ate so much meat, it's delicious and cheap. we were were very sad to leave it all behind...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

guy bourdin

this short little film is some kind of heavy-lidded sleep-swollen dream. it's intoxicating and strange and tranquilizing and unsettling... it's so familiar and so terribly unfamiliar at the same time... i think it's magic.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

this is punk

beatrix kiddo/the bride from Kill Bill, image via collider.com

amelie poulain from Amelie

lola from run lola run, image via ricardo cohen

margot tenenbaum from the royal tenebaums, image via style alchemy

thelma and louise, from thelma & louise, image via sara fryd

mathilda lando from leon: the professional, image from autumn in my veins

being punk isn't about the safety pins, or the mowaks or the ripped jackets and the dr. martens, it's about recognizing the weaknesses in the rules that were written for you and deciding to rebel against that...(grossly paraphrased from Susannah Martin, theater director)
i find this idea provocative in its simplicity... i think we have gotten so caught up in what things look like that we sometimes overlook what is quietly or not-so-quietly going on beneath the visual representation. and the thing is that people take on trends and shrug them off, and just because someone is wearing all the "gear" to fit a specific archetype, it doesn't mean that their values and choices line up in agreement with that model... all of the film characters above are "punk", not in a visual sense, but in a philosophical sense... they all are choosing to make up the rules to their own lives, to forge ahead with what they believe, with what seems personally relevant and powerful, without letting the world around them dictate what is right or wrong or appropriate. being punk comes down to something completely bare-bones and essential— the right to individual freedom, the right to not conform to an established order. i have such great admiration for people who live like that, whether it be in sustained periods of time or in quick white hot flashes... and though fictional, i'm greatly moved by and very much value the integrity of these characters and their self-determining, singular identities.