Monday, July 27, 2009


Growing up a general nerd, I was, as a child, obsessed with the PBS series MYSTERY! hosted by Vincent Price; I would watch the Miss Marple, Sherlock Holmes, and Poirot mysteries re-LIG-iously. But what really got me in the mood, really got me excited for a little murder, were the opening credits which were animated by Edward Gorey and had an awesome super-creepy song I loved.

Edward Gorey was a GENIUS. I want to BE all of the people in his drawings.

Um...I think I used to play the theme song on my violin.

So, anyway, lately David and I have been recording what is now called Masterpiece Mystery!. I've only watched a few of the episodes, which are hosted rather well and appropriately by Alan Cumming, and I've been thoroughly enjoying them. Somehow, the other times the DVR had started recording after the opening credits...until today. You can imagine my disappointment when I saw the new credits with only hints of the Gorey animation, inter-cut with lame images of the side of a hardcover book with it's pages flipping, and with totally new, totally boring music!!! WTF?!! Bring back the Gorey! I know he died a while ago, but couldn't they get a student of his to draw Alan Cumming's credit image? And what about a set for Alan? Why can't he have some sort of dungeon somewhere for the opening talk? Or maybe classier/sexier like a dilapidated billiard room or a dark overgrown greenhouse... anything!

So, in honor of the way things used to be on MYSTERY!, here are some Edward Gorey drawings and a bit of the other genius, Vincent Price.

In this video, skip over the credits you just saw and get ready for some classic VP introducing Sherlock Holmes.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Tanger Outlets Commercial


I mean, WHEN was this commercial produced? Tanger Style! What?
Watch it:

Apparently Tanger Outlet Centers are a chain of outlet malls (30 malls in 21 states) with locations in places like Myrtle Beach, SC, Fort Myers, FL, and Branson, MO and of course two on Long Island. I've never been to one, but lately I've been seeing the commercial and I just cannot believe it. The styling, the model, the modeling (specifically right before the, the narration by "Steve Tanger, CEO of Tanger Outlets", and his weird accent (check out how he says "Direct from the manufacturers" at 0:19), the graphics, her hair, everything. I mean, really. You think with that many locations they could hire an art director who would in turn hire a stylist, a director, a hair stylist...ANYBODY.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Whispers by Aeroplane featuring Kathy Diamond

My friend Anthony has, it seems, turned into my music guru. Everything he plays, I like. This is the latest that he played last week at Chris' 30th birthday party. And now I can't stop listening to it. Aeroplane is a Belgian band and Kathy Diamond guests on this track which came out last year and I guess was on a million top 10 lists, but it's new to me. I just want to dance anywhere I am when I hear this song. On the subway, in my apartment, currently at my desk with everyone at lunch.

It's a bit Euro, a bit disco, a bit perfect. Drink something tall icy and alcoholic; spill it on yourself and don't care; throw the glass; keep on dancing.

I'm about to go to Fire Island for the weekend and this is the song I wish I could hear all weekend. Instead I'm sure I'll hear some tired Lady Gaga remix.
Maybe I can convince some dj... Summer is great.
Enjoy ladies and gents.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New (for me) Brooklyn

David and I rode our bikes around 4 of the historic districts, east and south of Prospect Park in Brooklyn on Sunday, and I was flabbergasted. It's full-on, Victorian suburbia in the middle of Brooklyn. It reminds me of parts of Chicago on steroids. It's insane. As I read more about it, I see that it's used in films and TV regularly because it could stand in for Any-perfect-town, U.S.A. The houses range from Greek Revival to High Victorian to French Provincial to Shingle Style to Neo-Georgian to crazy antebellum Southern. I couldn't believe this was Brooklyn:

The areas we actually went through were first Prospect Lefferts Gardens,with it's mix of English and French suburban terrace house streets, then Prospect Park South with its full-on in-TENSE mansions, and finally Ditmas Park and Fiske Terrace/Midwood Park which have more modest (but still HUGE) upper middle class detached, mostly Victorian houses. And the TREES!!! Old-growth TREES everywhere!

The area is bisected by a super cute street called Cortelyou Road which has 5 great little restaurants, one bar, a farmers market, an organic market, a co-op and more. I nearly passed out.

I could think of a couple of people that should move here immediately (you know who you are). The Q train is a five minute walk and then it's 45 minutes into midtown, during rush hour. This means you live on one of the best subways, in the city and simultaneously live in the suburbs (and I use this word in the best possible way).

Here are some more views of the four historic districts

Prospect Lefferts Gardens

Prospect Park South

Ditmas Park & Fiske Terrace/Midwood Park

Saturday, July 11, 2009

God Help The Girl

So today we went to Great Adventure for our friend Chris's 30th birthday which was loads of fun, BUT... on our way home (we were driving with our friends Paul, Anthony and Darren in Paul's car) and Paul played this new album which was written by Stuart Murdoch (Belle and Sebastian) with different female and male singers which tell the story of a movie which they are going to make next year. I was blown away.

I used to be a big fan of Belle and Sebastian but I grew tired of the peppiness, and they just got too popular. I went to a concert and I was really annoyed with the crowd and Murdoch kept talking, instead of playing, and it all felt a bit twee. But I have to say this project is great. There was an article by Stephen Rodrick in the NY Times Magazine a couple of weeks ago. There are a couple of songs that get a little precious, but in general it's fantastic. Listen to the song "Musicians, Please Take Heed", below, and wait for the hook.

It's like the Mamas and the Papas, Abba, and early Marianne Faithful rolled into one.
I just downloaded it from iTunes.
I'm going to listen to this album a lot more.

Here's the official video from the song "Come Monday Night". Sweet.

I'm curious to see what the movie will be like.

Alex and His Boom Box

The other day I was walking down Clinton street on the Lower East Side to the Williamsburg Bridge with my friend Karo and my camera was out of batteries when we ran into this guy named Alex. He was literally listening to this boom box, at a very reasonable level. Karo took this picture on her iPhone. It's a little difficult to tell because he's holding it on an angle, but it is about 5 feet long and just the most giant boom box I have ever seen.

Bless Alex and all the boom box carrying guys and low-rider bicycle riding chicks that still remain in the Lower East Side.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Beach Houses in the Fire Island Pines

I've been going out to Fire Island for the past few years and I always stay with friends in Cherry Grove. This year we're all renting a place together. I love our place, I love the grove. It's really the perfect combination of great beach, beach shacks, funny/tragic night life, drag queens, leather daddies. It's own little lovely freak show.

But, every time I take a walk down the beach to the Pines I can't help but gawk at how amazing the houses are. My dad is an architect and growing up I would come home and pore through his art and architecture books. One of my favorites was a classic book from 1970 called Vacation Houses. Imagine a lot of bentwood chairs and modular sofas in houses made of slatted wood and giant glass walls with spiral staircases and views onto mountains and beaches and creeks and lakes. Imagine me in total heaven going through the books imagining the parties I would have and the travel I would do. Well many of those houses in that book are Fire Island Pines houses that you can still see today.

Here are a few I snapped the other day. I still dream of the parties I could have.

The Two-Headed Lesbian Monster

Need I say more?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Farah Pahlavi

Wait! Before any of you lefties get mad at me, hear me out. Yes she is a royal and I hate royals, they tend to be worthless. I mean, when I lived in England I had to be vocal in my anti-monarchy stance because there are a lot of people there who still adore those leeches. And I certainly was always taught to reject the Greek pseudo-monarchs (they were installed by the Austro-Hungarian incestuous worldwide royalty mafia in the late 1800s when Greece was in a very weak moment). But, I have to say, I have a soft spot for Farah Pahlavi. She is the former Empress of Iran and frankly she's hot.
I know, she was the Shah's wife and she and he lived in ludicrous opulence while much of the country was living in (forgive the term) the third world and their regime was torturing and silencing dissidents. But, but, but... there are lots of pluses to Her Imperial Highness Farah:

1. She was always pretty damn gorgeous. Call me superficial.
2. She founded the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, which was and is a world class collection, though few have seen it.
3. She agreed to take part in the fascinating documentary The Queen and I, albeit after threatening to shut down the production on various occasions.

This documentary, directed by and co-starring Nahid Persson Sarvestani, is the reason I am currently obsessed. It just recently premiered on HBO and it's super engaging. Sarvestani grew up in Iran and by the time she and her brother were teens they were passing out pamphlets as part of the anti-Shah movement which led to the revolution. After her brother was hanged after the revolution by the Ayatollah, Sarvestani and her child went into exile like the Shah and Farah (though certainly in a different type of exile). So the meeting between these two women is, needless to say, fraught with tension but leads to an awkward friendship which is what makes the film so watchable. The Queen is now 71 (she was married at 21 and widowed at 42) and still looks fantastic in her suits and salon coiffed hair (which unfortunately the cameras were not allowed to film her having done). Sarvestani goes to events and fundraisers with the queen and visits the Shah's grave with the queen and really (politely) hits her with some tough questions. Farah ends up handling herself quite well, and looking good. Watch it. It's on HBO.

Here are some more pictures of Farah.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Return of New York circa 1979?

I was taking the Long Island Railroad the other day, and just as I was about to pull into the Jamaica station I saw the train car above!!! I got really excited because I have only ever seen an entire train car graffitied over in 70s and 80s movies of New York or in that book which came out a couple years ago.
I always thought that all of these new cars were "graffiti proof".
I also love the tag "Warship".
Maybe the economic downturn will bring about less funding for the MTA (wait that's already happened) and the city in general (that's happened too) and then the first thing they'll cut are the cleaning crews and then we'll have the delight of seeing these giant pieces all over again.
And then maybe there will be a crime spree and that'll scare off all of the freaking pansy ass frat boys and their falling-down-drunk bimbo girlfriends who don't belong in New York Fucking City.
Let me dream for a minute.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Turkey Burgers from Mar-a-Lago

Last summer I was at home watching tv, when I happened upon Oprah's summer favorite things. I don't really watch Oprah but the favorite things episodes are always pretty funny because the studio audience gets really crazy. Well, on that episode she had various portable fans and pareos and whatever, but the one thing that stuck out was the turkey burgers that she is obsessed with that she ate at Donald Trump's private club at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida. In case you don't know, Mar-a-Lago is the Marjorie Merrieweather Post estate that Donald Trump has more recently turned into a fancy country club. Anyway, Oprah had Donald and his club's head chef on her show so he could make the burgers on the show. When O took a bite of that burger, her eyes were rolling up into her head and she was going to that special place that she (and others of us) goes to when she has achieved gastronomical nirvana. Well, I figured, "Bitch has eaten some burgers in her life, so this one must really be good."
Fast forward a year, we're going out to our share in Cherry Grove and it's our turn to cook and I remembered the Mar-a-Lago turkey burgers. Get the recipe here. They're a little labor intensive (as far as burgers go) and they have a few very specific ingredients (which I modified due to what I could find i.e. I didn't use Major Grey's Chutney I used Geeta's) but the result is truly out of this world! All of my friends were experiencing a similar eyes rolling into the head kind of reaction. We served the burgers with sliced avocado, bacon, mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce, and more chutney. No cheese needed. I believe 5 of us had second burgers.
I've been asked to make them again next weekend, and this time to make a double batch. Nuff said?

Friday, June 26, 2009


He really meant so much to so many people for such a long time.
I remember when my sister was two my parents bought her the Thriller album and I just remember her hugging it and hugging it (the album) because she loved MJ so much. He was one of the last living true pop (in every sense of the word) global sensations.

This following clip is from the "Bad" tour (1987-88), which is the only time I saw him live and it's one of my favorite songs, "Heartbreak Hotel" which was part of the Jacksons reunion Victory.

The sheer talent:

The outfit! How cute was he? But now I'm really making myself sad.

And for those that think that MJ didn't do anything in the last 15 years, here's a fantastic song from 1995, with a video that got banned on MTV I believe. God bless French TV.

This Woman

I was leaving work today and this woman was standing outside of the building handing out Mike Bloomberg for mayor flyers.

She seemed to be of some Eastern European descent (I could tell by her accent when she handed me the flyer and said "Take one please for Mike Bloomberg." I asked her if I could take her picture, "Oh yes, thank you!" After I took my two shots she came up close to me and said, "Maybe you can change the mouth?" as she was pointing at her lips. I was confused and asked her what she meant and she said, "You know, like re-touch."

Um... Why would I ever re-touch this gorgeousness? She's kind of my hero.
I've always said that when I reach a certain age I am going to just wear WHATEVER I WANT all the time. What I mean is, at a certain point in your thirties and forties you kind of have to tone it down a bit because you're no longer a child. However once you reach kooky senior citizendom then you can wear chaps with a mohair sweater and it's fine because you're an old person.

But I digress...

Just please take a full look at her outfit: a red and blue lamé robe held together by a bedazzled 8th Street belt (is that a G buckle for 8th Street Gucci?), red plastic squared off aviators, a black flapper style headband with a black feather side pouf...and yes she's got on a sort of Broadway dance shoe (the kind Juliet Prouse wore in the later years. Cyd Charisse etc.) and a pair of flannel (? it was 86 degrees today, and humid!!) palazzo pants underneath? BUT, of course, the most important thing is her choker. Zoom in on that shit. IT'S A REAL APPLE. With a round of fishing wire keeping it around her neck? Stellar.

I wish my girl here (I'm going to call her Klara) was running for mayor. I need more of her in New York. She is hott.

I want to find her again. I didn't ask her name.

Here's my second shot:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Every once in a while I go through the notepad on my Blackberry and find names of bands or albums that I heard and notated at some point. A couple of months ago I found the word Ssion. When I googled the word, I found it was a band from Kansas City and I went on to listen to what has become one of my favorite albums in a long time: Fool's Gold (it's available on iTunes which is the only way I buy music). I came out over a year ago. But it's new to me and is my current summer anthem album. It's so gay. I love it.
I hear they're really good in concert, and they're touring with Fischerspooner this summer.
Anyway, needless to say, I'm obsessed. So if you don't know them, have a look-see/listen.

My friend David (no, not that David) turned me on to their videos which are equally amazing.

Here's one of my favorite songs which is the last song on the album Fool's Gold (how often do you get to the last song on an album and LOVE it as much as the rest of the album? Not that often). It's called Heaven:

Also check out their cover of Nightclubbing:

And, of course, Street Jizz, please listen to the words! Hilarious!

I'm dying to see them. I can't figure out if they're coming to New York again soon. If anyone knows, tell me.

Iris Strubegger

I first remember noticing Iris when she opened the Spring/Summer 2008 Dries Van Noten show. That was almost two years ago now. But this year she got her hair cut.
I know, a million people have written about her. There's even an article about her and her new haircut in the new American Vogue. So I'm totally late to jump on the Iris bandwagon but I've been thinking more about what I like about women's fashion lately and I've been trying to find a model for a shoot I'm about to do for a really cool Spanish magazine and I decided that the perfect model for that shoot was Iris. I guess I was living in la-la land that her agency would let her do a shoot for an indie Spanish magazine. She's already done the cover of March French Vogue and is in the Fall/Winter Givenchy campaign, both shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott and now the entire main collections story in July American Vogue shot by David Sims, with just Karlie Kloss and her in it. (Sidenote: I think American Vogue is looking pretty great lately, am I crazy?)

I really want to get her in a shoot of my own soon. That certain Bowie-esque androgyny with a touch of Weimar-era beauty channeled through the 80s. Unbelievable. I don't know what else to say except that she may be my favorite model since Linda Evangelista.

Here are some more images of her.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hot Doug's

Today was my last day in Chicago and on my way to the airport, with my mom and my yiayia (that's grandma in greek), we made a stop at Hot Doug's for the second time since I had come to town on Wednesday. Let me rewind.
On Wednesday I came to Chicago for my sister's engagement party and on the way from the airport my sister asked me if I wanted to go anywhere. I said that I was hungry and to make a long story short she ended up suggesting that we go to this place called Hot Doug's,the current king of all things sausage in Chicago. Quite a title in a city so obsessed with "encased meats".

We got there and at 3pm on Wednesday there was a line out the door and around the corner. We waited for 30 or 40 minutes in total. Inside you get the menu on the wall. You can pick from 11 different kinds of regular dogs (Chicago-style hot dog, fire dog, andouille, italian sausage, polish sausage, bratwurst, chicken sausage, veggie dog, thuringer sausage, corn dog, and veggie corn dog). Those regular dogs you can get (and should get) with everything which means mustard, relish, grilled onion, chopped tomato, dill pickle and celery salt on poppy seed bun made in heaven. And then there's a list of about 12 special dogs. Everything from a spinach and feta loukaniko (greek sausage) with skordalia on it, to a garlic lovers pork and garlic sausage, and a cherry pork sausage, the aformentioned foie gras dog, etc, etc. They all have funny names too.
Oh, and they have hand cut fries which on Fridays and Saturdays they fry in rendered duck fat.

On my first visit on Wednesday my sister and I ordered:
A Keira Knightley which is a Red Hot with everything, a regular dog with everything, and a Van Johnson which was a fennel and Jack Daniels pork sausage with piquillo pepper mustard and cubed spicy nettle cheese on top. Also we got a large order of cheese fries with the cheese on the side.

Holy shit. It was fucking amazing.

So I knew that I would have to bring David when he came to Chicago Saturday morning, since sausage and rendered duck fat are two of his favorite things. When we got there on Saturday from the airport the line was estimated at 2 hours long and unfortunately we couldn't wait since we had errands to run before my sister's party. So I vowed to come back before I left on Monday.

This morning, leaving about two and a half hours till my plane was leaving, we go to Hot Doug's and the line was around the block again but we decided to sweat it out. 50 totally worthwhile minutes later we ordered:
Doug's BLT dog which is a bacon sausage (BACON SAUSAGE!!!!!) with avocado mayonnaise, shredded iceberg and quartered cherry tomatoes. I DIED.
The Keira Knightley again with everything.
My mom got the Pete Shelley which is a veggie dog, with everything. And we got my yiayia the Elvis Presley which is a Polish Sausage, with everything. And a large fry.

When my mom had her first bite of my BLT dog she said, "That's the best thing I've ever eaten." She is the president of E.A. (Exaggerators Anonymous) but she has a point. That dog was epic.

I'm going to stop writing about Hot Doug's now. I would be obese if I lived in Chicago because I would eat at Hot Doug's everyday. It makes me think too much of This is Why You're Fat. I NEED TO GO JOGGING TOMORROW!

You should most definitely go to Hot Doug's if and when you're in Chicago. You'll be obsessed too.

Here are some shots of the inside. Check out the quote on the wall!