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.