Monday, July 30, 2018

Rock Clothes: Stripes, Sequins, Madison Cunningham, and Miss C

Every two years I pretend I am a rock star when my colleagues and I put on our biennial faculty/staff concert. I think this was my fifth time.

After the songs are set and rehearsed, my thoughts turn to stage clothes. In the past I've worn a mini dress of glittery black pailettes and a red tiered dress à la Tina Turner for twirling. But this year one of my songs was by Blondie, so I wanted something else.

In April I popped into H&M and my eye immediately went to a red and blue striped trouser suit, but I knew I'd be too hot under the lights (I plead Canadian; I need cool temps). So I passed it by, but its pleasures lingered: it had a Carnaby Street vibe that I loved.

And now I know it was the perfect performance outfit, because on Saturday I saw Madison Cummingham wear it when she opened for the Punch Brothers at the Beacon Theater in New York. Her voice was stunning, and so was her suit. Here's a clip of her wearing it for a performance with Chris Thile, host and lead singer of the Punch Bros. Thile took over Prairie Home Companion when its longtime host retired and it's now called Live from Here.

Madison is 20 years old! During the concert she sang a song she dedicated to her younger self. I dedicate all my biennial performances to my current self, because it's pretty awesome to get to perform "One Way or Another" when I have 30 years on the performer above.

So what did I end up wearing? A sequined mini skirt and pleather jacket from H&M and a reversible-rub sequined message T that said "I Love You the Most" one way and "I Love You the Least" the other.

And you, you glamourous striped suit? Now I reeeeeally want to gitcha gitcha gitcha gitcha.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Of Hydrangeas and Valentino Couture

I'm currently ensconced in a beautiful summer home (as a guest) one block from the beach.

Homemade ice cream calls my name from all the charming shops (I answer to coffee and coconut) and the most gloriously plump hydrangeas, in all shades of faded lavender, wink as I walk by.

Naturally my thoughts turned to Valentino Couture and this dress.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Great Hats Think Alike? Selvedge Magazine's June Cover and My J Peterman Hat

I  bought this hat from J Peterman way back in grad school (the early 90s). It lives mostly in its hatbox, but I took it out last spring (?) to snap a contributor's photo for Selvedge.

That issue was printed long ago, but when I saw the beautiful June 2018 cover, with the similarly shaped hats, I thought I'd run the images together.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Adele Stafford's Voices of Industry in Selvedge Magazine

For Selvedge's Cotton issue (how I love this cover) I wrote a story on Oakland, California-based weaver Adele Stafford and her farm-to-loom project Voices of Industry. There's also a book review of The Erotic Cloth, from Bloomsbury Academic (it's first in the parade of jpegs, below).

Men in Lace and Vera Wang for Selvedge Magazine

I had two stories in Selvedge in the spring Lace issue--one on the gender politics of lace for men and another on bridal designer extraordinaire Vera Wang (twas just in time for the Royal Wedding).

Sunday, July 8, 2018

On Eating Out Alone, or Comments on Lena Dunham's "Table for One" Article in Vogue Magazine

I was catching up on a bit of magazine reading this evening, paging through the June Vogue and skimming Lena Dunham's essay "Table for One," partly about how she used to enjoy eating out on her own.

I've always loved going to a restaurant by myself--for elegant, four-course meals or simpler cafe fare. I did that all the time in Canada in my late teens and early twenties, and never felt anything other than my comfortable self. Waiters (always waiters) might send over a drink or a dessert, but the gesture was always gracious and never aggressive.

When I took a long weekend to the United States to look for an apartment for graduate school, I went to a somewhat uptown Thai restaurant in my soon-to-be college town. A woman at the next table told her male companion that she could never eat on her own like that. I guess she told me too.

I have never felt uncomfortable here, except on the few occasions when male diners felt like they should invite themselves over to my table. One time in Texas (I was at an academic conference) a male diner who was with his wife and a group of friends was so insistent that I join them that I ended up leaving the restaurant and canceling my order, feeling frustrated, newly vulnerable, and angry that my "No" was not accepted. (I told management on the way out; there was no way I was staying, even if they'd moved me to a table further away.)

But still, I take great pleasure in eating out on my own. In her article, Lena Dunham said that she "used to have no problem staring into the face of the hostess when [she] said, 'Just one for dinner, thank you.'"

I never say that.

When the hostess/host asks me, "Just one for dinner?" I reply, "ONE for dinner, thank you."

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Pink Lemonade: James Bay, SNL, and Coach Boots

If these Coach boots could sing, they'd sound just like James Bay on SNL last night.