Monthly Archives: September 2009

First Day of School – The Essentials

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Levi’s 1947 “Big E” 501’s

Navy Jack Purcell’s

Marlboro Reds

Blackberry Curve

Pendleton Wool Hunting Shirt

Vintage Rolex Oyster

Tortoise Moscot Lemtosh’s

Swiss Army Knapsack

Yellow No. 2’s

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Filed under Apparel, Chicago

SAPE: Congolese Cult of Sartorialism

The “SAPE” (La Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes élégantes) is easily one of the oddest stylistic movements in existence today. Predicated on the elegant Parisian lifestyle that saturated the Congo in the early twentieth century, the sapeurs aim (and succeed) to dress as impeccably as humanly possible. To me, the panoply of haute couture clashing with the indigent physical background is what makes these guys so interesting.

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Photos via ZoneZero.

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Filed under Apparel, Art, Assessories, Photography

Traversing the Heartland: A Robert Frank-ian Adventure.

Seattle to Chicago in 72 hours: Two friends. An El Camino. A carton of Marlboro Reds. Fourteen 8-track cassettes. A camera. Gallons of black coffee. And tons and tons of open range.

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Filed under Chicago, Photography, Seattle

Wishlist: Revue Sting 11 Flip-Ups

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James Dean agrees.

Only $139.

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Filed under Advertising, Apparel, Assessories, WishList

Stuck Inside a Mobile: Ettore Sottsass’ Memphis Group and Its Design Impact

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Granted, I’ve always been a big fan of Bauhaus design. But that fact, somewhat ironically, explains why I love the Memphis Group designers so much. Like the trajectory of all stylistic movements there is tension and release, but the Memphis Group pulled farther in the opposite direction than almost any reactionary movement of the 20th century. Where dominant artists and intellectuals swooned over sleek, disaffected, learned artistic value (read: Walter Gropius, Johannes Itten, László Moholy-Nagy), the Memphis Group did the polar opposite; steeping their work in overly-saturated tones, wry and witty design – and form that took a frontseat and tossed function out the back window.

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Industrialist designer Ettore Sottsass (1917-2007) is the godsfather of the movement, which was coined after a night of boozing and listening to Dylan’s “Stuck Inside a Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” in 1981. Later that year, the group published a book, “Memphis: New International Style” to advertise the movement. On a rainy night in October 1982, over 3,000 people stood in line outside a loft in Chelsea, hoping to squeeze into an already brimming showroom. The event was Memphis at Midnight, the United States’ first look at the intrepid furniture that was by then sweeping the international art world. At its high the group counted among its members Martine Bedin, Andrea Branzi, Aldo Cibic, Michele de Lucchi, Nathalie du Pasquier, Michael Graves, Hans Hollein, Arata Isozaki, Shiro Kuromata, Matteo Thun, Javier Mariscal, George Sowden, Marco Zanini, and journalist Barbara Radice. By 1988, the group was on its deathbed, but its impact continues to reverberate throughout the design world, (such as, in the SS ’10 Collection by Chris Benz!), and kind of lives on in my VHS copy of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985).

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Filed under Art

BeBop Meets Hollywood: The Connection (1962)

This is a striking scene from some of the strangest movies I’ve ever seen. It’s gratuitous as hell, but keenly gratuitous, as opposed to some moralistic portrayal of the junkie jazz scene in the 50’s.

Jackie McLean (on sax) Freddie Redd (keys) were cast, and apparently Dexter Gordon played piano in the stage version of The Connection. Here’s the original review from the NYT.

Bonus Dex footage:

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Filed under Media, Music