Is God the New Black?

Maybe nerds like dissecting religion (scientific fact: If something can be dissected, nerds will dissect it), or maybe humorous reinterpretations of biblical lore are hot for Spring 2010 indie culture.  Either way, the Bible’s been catching my eye (and ear) a lot lately in ways I find genuinely interesting for the first time since I managed to smuggle The Catcher in The Rye into my catholic school bible reader in 9th grade.

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible! is a collection of wryly reworked biblical stories by PRI contributor and writer Jonathan Goldstein.  In this version of  The Bible, David kills Goliath more for kicks than to save his people, Jonah has a brother named Vito with a childhood secret, Adam and Eve read more like Robin and Barney from the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and poor Joseph of Nazareth is having a hard time swallowing the ol’ a-divine-angel-impregnated-me story.  You can hear Goldstein read his version of Genesis on the most recent episode of This American Life, which deals with Starting from Scratch.

Long awaited and recently released, infamous cartoon artist Robert Crumb is currently on tour for his latest book, Robert Crumb’s Book of Genesis.  The book, which Crumb has spent the past four years working on, was released by W.W. Norton & Co this fall to critical acclaim.  In anticipation of the large R. Crumb Genesis show currently on display at LA’s Hammer Museum, W Magazine (considered by many to be the ecclesiastical equivalent to say, a hymnal or missal in the cult of fashion) recently commissioned a spread by the artist, defining female archetypes through the ages with his recognizable brand of satirical comic art.

And finally, a little blasphemy for the ears: while listening to an old episode of All Songs Considered, I came across Lou Barlow’s new solo album, Goodnight Unknown, which inspired me to revisit some of the Dinosaur Jr./Sebadoh pioneer’s earlier solo work.  Enter Mary, a folky interpretation of Jesus’ conception that paints the Virgin Mother in a less-than-virgin light.  Barlow’s most accessible album, EMOH was released in 2005.  His latest, Goodnight Unknown was out earlier last month, and is available nearly everywhere thanks to the wonder of the internet.

In the end, I still wonder what exactly it is about The Bible that makes it a constant source of inspiration to artists.  Will this eternal well of inspired subject matter eventually dry up and become trite?  Or, like all things fashionable, has it already dried up and become retro-chic to reference?


A Day Off

In which Melissa experiences her first day free from work or school in nearly two weeks, and uses the time to do everything short of pen a meaningful blog post.

(Writing the way Ira Glass speaks is more fun than it looks)

Anyway, this blog was started specifically for a class which has since ended, and now needs a makeover (the blog, not the class).  While I love fashion dearly, I can’t see myself maintaining a purely fashion-oriented blog for any significant period of time.  At least not one that would be interesting to read.  It will remain within the realm of popular culture, namely by way of two categories: shit I like, and shit that baffles me (and thus need to share with the internet).  For my more regular contributions to the internets, keep an eye out on The Rumpus, where my weekly Notable SF posts will help you stay hip to shit in San Francisco.

In closing, I leave you with this little gem to add to your hipster PDA:

This evening, while leaving work (actually, it was really after leaving work and after stopping at the sale at Banana Republic, but before going to the house wares sale at Urban Outfitters on the way to BART), I stopped outside Bottega Veneta to take a picture of their window display (the one furthest to the left with the vintage-y train cases dressed all in lavender knits) and a woman walked over towards me from across the street (the side with Niemans’ bistro and window displays) and introduced herself to me.  She said she was a psychic.

Actually, she was an interior designer (or so she said) who just happened to have an affinity for strangers with strong auras.  She informed me that my aura was particularly bright and wondered if I might sometime let her read my palms/cards/tea leaves/sweat stains/whatever it is psychics read (side note: if they’re psychic, why do they need a medium through which to conduct readings?).  This was also the part where she told me about being an interior designer, seeing as one doesn’t make a great living offering free psychic readings to strangers.  For the most part, she passed my own personal “eccentric lady vs. legitimate whack job” test, but one can never be too sure.

She said she could tell I was destined to work in the fashion industry, which is not surprising, considering where she met me and what I was doing at the time.  She also said that I would struggle, but not financially, which one might assume based on the size of the theory shopping bag I was carrying (unfortunately for me, the bag was full of free plastic hangers, not expertly tailored pants), and that I had a beautiful aura (let’s face it: I’m a pretty classy broad, why shouldn’t I have an tip-top aura to match? [another side note: it is apparently a lovely shade of lavender]).

Overall, she seemed like a nice enough lady, and craigslist research has revealed that she moonlights as a psychic somewhere in the Castro, but strangers are still strangers and and they keep getting stranger than ever.  What do you think?  Is clairvoyance the new black?  Is my cynicism ruining all the fun?

Just a heads up to all you fashion-hungry New Yorkers (aka. me-in-two-years)…

Brian Reyes

If anyone wants to pick up a little something for me, I wouldn’t object…

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How much might one such struck-by-lightning cocktail dress run you?  I have no clue.  If you have to ask, you’ll probably never know.  Let’s just hope H&M knocks some of these off soon.

Not a fancy-pants New Yorker?  Looking for San Francisco fashion events?  Click on over this-a-way!

Unfortunately, pesky NDAs have made it legally impossible to share my experience at Harper’s Bazaar with you, internets.  I know you are all deeply saddened by this turn of events.

On the bright side, the impending festivities tied to everyone’s favorite street-food-vendor-slash-surrogate-mother-figure’s birthday have inspired me to write an open love letter to my sometime smelly, but always lovable neighborhood.  This will take the place of your regularly scheduled programming.  You can tell me how much you loved it at Zeitgeist next Monday.

Actually, more like two weeks in the life.  The life of a New York fashion magazine assistant features editor, that is.

Now, normally I don’t like to blog about my personal life.  We all know how torn I was about Twitter (both pre-adoption and post…), and if you know me personally, you might know that I’m actually a bit of a conspiracy theororist when it comes to technology and personal privacy, but this opportunity was just too good to pass up:

For two weeks, I am living The Dream, and I want to share it with you!
(By “The Dream”, I mean working in the editorial office of a top US fashion magazine, and by “share”, I mean force you to come visit my blog.)

Starting tomorrow, and for the duration of the next two weeks, I will share with you, dear readers, the ins and outs of the big, glossy fashion mag world through my wee little intern eyes, full of naivete and not-yet-broken dreams!  I kid, of course, about the naivete and having of unbroken dreams, but I do promise a throrough (and witty!) report (and none of that Devil Wears Prada melodramatic BS.  This is not a teleplay, people.)

So read early and read often!  Or, just check my twitter feed for updates and links as the saga unfolds.

Those last product reviews were borderline nausea inducing, so today I thought I’d give you all a proverbial unicorn chaser; something shiny, pretty, and feminine: beauty products!

For some reason, it is generally assumed that models have great knowledge of beauty products and love nothing more than playing dress up at home.  This is not true.  In fact, most of us were awkward ducklings in high school (many models these days are still in high school), not the glamorously made up beauty-savvy vixens you see sent down the runways.  I, for one, grew up on Aqua Net hairspray and Kool-Aid home hair coloring, so the recent jump to salon hair products was a daunting one.

Leaving behind the home hair cuts and strawberry scented dye jobs of my past, I stumbled upon Logics DNA system after having my hair professionally colored.  Logics has preserved my color and kept my hair shiny through process after process of dyes and toners, but my favorite thing about the products as a whole might just be the way they smell.  Slightly floral without being saccharine sweet like so many other salon sprays, gels, and expensive paste-y things that come in small jars, they have that kind of smell that feels like expensive luxury products and still smells fresh when I get off BART at 11pm.  My boyfriend actually complimented my “new perfume” when I started using it.

The shampoo and conditioner are great.  They shampoo and condition, which is really all I’m looking for.  According to the bottle, they produce a translucent barrier which protects my hair and retains salon hair color.  And, again, smells good.  I have noticed less fading in my hair color, though, which is pretty impressive for an unnatural redhead.

While my hair is wet I spray on a leave-in conditioner.  To be honest, I have no idea what it does, but it’s part of the set and I love the fact that I have a whole cadre of matching products.  It claims to detangle, but my hair is short enough that it’s not usually an issue.

The blow design cream is my favorite.  On top of having a marginally dirty name (come on, blow cream?) it really helps me to continue being as lazy as possible — last week, I got a wild hair up my ass, gave myself a complete blow dry and it lasted for 3 days.  I slept on it, I chased buses with it, and even managed to get some exercise in without mussing up my hair.  Just thinking about it makes me want to blow my hair out all over again…

And finally, the icing on the cake: the gloss balm.  Lighter than pomade or wax, the balm fights frizz and flyaways while (according to the label) protecting hair with vitamins B, E and a UV shield.  Mostly I like it because it’s shiny and full of suspended iridescent bits, but I have to fight the urge to dump the whole thing on my head as it can easily get over-styled and leave hair feeling greasy.

As far as I know, Logics is for sale only through licensed salons, but thanks to the wonder of eBay, I’m sure it’s readily available on the internet.  Although I do occasionally miss my 2am home hair cuts and patented fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants hair coloring system, my hair is happier and so is my hair stylist.