everything is never quite enough (mikeijames) wrote,
everything is never quite enough

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into darkness in rhode island, delaware, and minnesota.

i have always said that truly good art inspires even more art and upon my second viewing of the new star trek film, i cannot reiterate that fact more. while i planned for this entry to cover the months of december, january, and february in my life, i must start it with the how that film not only hit all the bases i look for in my favorite franchises -- like james bond, i expect it use the tropes of the series to comment on aspects of contemporary life -- but it raised an interesting questions about the use of force and the control of that use. sure, the commentaries about extra-judicial killing, terrorism, genetic engineering, and all that got covered, but it touched on that universal theme of making decisions about love in the context of the larger arc of one's life and one's purpose. as i find myself wrestling with the same questions myself, as i prepare, perhaps, to decamp to some far off place in pursuit of a thing in my mind, i find myself interested in the alluring darkness of the easy choice. while i seek thematics in my next post about the black and white of a thing, while covering september, october, and november of last year, i find fashion once again instructive about the way something so cunningly simple -- like the simplicity and minimalism of black and white -- can find itself the subject of perversion -- as evidenced by punk. last season, the fashion world obsessed about the black and white and the rest of the world seemed to follow, but before those clothes even hit the shelves -- and us fashion followers even had a chance to convert our personal aesthetics to fall in line with this new moment (my lastest binge on david yurman spiritual bead bracelets, john hardy braided leather pieces, and dolce and gabbana black and white espadrilles to steer my wardrobe into a pure black and white moment) -- fashion saw fit -- their leaders, rather -- to give that old-fashioned nineties' minimalism a post-millenial edge. my films have done this: james bond gave the moneypenny character an edgy reboot with "28 days later" alum noeme harris and star trek revisited the wrath of khan by replacing mexican-american ricardo montalbán with the lily white benedict cummerbach and creating silver screen electricity between a emotionally callous spock and exotic beauty zoe saldana to give its audience the same story with more edge. well, as i type, the world finds itself in a dark place, with yet another super storm snatching up lives in oklahoma and with my david yurman cuff bracelet bought last year ripped in two. while one remains ultimately selfish and superficial, and the other profound and inescapable, they both capture the fragility of the concept of happiness and the delicacy of the life we all hold dear. i, too, have felt intimately that duo of fragility and delicacy in my emotional and physiological life in the months i wish to chronicle. by december, my new someone and i had fallen into a relationship pattern best summed up by "break ups to make ups" (a cute rhythm and blues song refashioned into rap song in the nineties). while i knew and know that these fights had more to do with fear of a good thing, they did not remove the sting of the swipes nor the suffocation of the silence. while the month opened with my mother and i bonding while picking out graduation dresses for my sister (and my mother buying me a pair of john varvatos camel boots as an early christmas present), it quickly descended into darkness: that sunday, i watched the entire dtla series and had to go to work. the next friday, the weekend started beautifully. i treated my new someone to a dinner out at a restaurant the new someone has poked me about for some time called "the living room" in downtown dunedin and on saturday we did basically nothing but each other. that sunday started innocently enough with us venturing over to tampa's burlington coat factory (so my new someone could buy a coat for the barcelona winter), followed by estela's, and eventually settling at cityside where we had a few drinks while one of the bar flies pushed us on the definition of our relationship. it ended with no answer and we started home on kennedy and my new someone thought it funny to keep the window rolled down and act ghetto. this, of course, pierced to the deepest of my image issues and we had words and drove home in silence. when we got home, things felt chilly but they resolved as things tend to but the next morning, when i went to work, i made the mistake of leaving a dirty dish in the sink because i did not want to wake my new someone at that hour by cleaning it. well, that served as a the perfect storm of a mistake and apparently triggered the issues from the night before and we broke up that tuesday. well, while the details escape me, i pulled out the big guns of our relationship -- the website visits, the birthday trip to miami without me, and every other thing -- in order to even orchestrate a face-to-face meeting and, of course, as these things tend to happen with us, we just didn't talk about it. and my new someone booked the flight to barcelona. that weekend, i went to tallahassee to watch my sister graduate -- and celebrate with her at "the moon" where the ghetto exploits may expire me forever -- and we found ourselves in the deep event horizon of the most major trip of my life.

the next few days fast forwarded to the airport and we found ourselves seated right next to my friends on the flight over -- while my friends alex got delayed -- while i could bore with those initial moments of waiting in barcelona before we could settle into our hotel -- we did las ramblas and shopping and endless wandering horribly jetlagged -- the trip really started that night when we found a cute restaurant near our hotel in the eixample. i had warned my friends that we might need time apart -- or my new someone might need time apart -- as we had the habit of hibernating together -- and apart -- as evidenced by our breakup to makeup. that night, we played our hand at the bars in our neighborhood and did not enjoy punto -- except for the random dsquared sweatshirt -- and then enjoyed plata bar which stood empty at midnight because the bar tenders said it didn't get hopping until two in the morning. the next day, we ran errands to prepare for the new year's eve party and after shopping some more, we got a glimpse of barcelona's w hotel and squealed with future delights. that night, we headed down after sparse meals and hung out downstairs at the w in our too exquisite outfits -- and my last minute purchases, tiger print gucci loafers (in spite of fai bingbing creating a sensation for them worldwide and the post-christmas sale on pre-fall and the big push gucci had on its classic horsebit loafer) -- and after a few drinks downstairs, we headed up and the bar stood so fabulous that to describe it would not do it justice. needless to say, we found ourselves lit as if knee deep in spirits although we had barely a drop to drink. the night progressed quickly with bottle after bottle of champagne and a swift consumption of vodka. well, it felt good -- despite the perfect beats cultivated by dj uner and the fireworks exploding all around -- to have someone to love at the strike of midnight. this ended in my out-in-out drunkenness and obvious flirtation and we made it home early i think (after a weird exchange in the cab line). the next day, my new someone and i had the day apart from the group that i had expected my new someone to insist upon earlier. yeah. we got lost in the design district and had dinner at a corner cafe and too much wine and cuddled against the cold in a parade of scarves and affection that i'll never forget. the next day, we did the sightseeing thing all day and after several museums and monuments, we returned for a quick turn around for dinner at an ethiopian place in an hipper neighborhood. that's where my life changed for the third time in one year. after a wonderful meal and great glasses of wine, i had a seizure that resulted in the loss of my bowels. in new sevens, new varvatos boots, and a new camaraderie among my new someone and some of my oldest friends in life. rob, of course, recognized the symptoms first as he had in chicago the year before and my new someone snapped into nurse mode and got me clean and out of there. through tears and fears, we made it back to the hotel and i went into the blackest places i've been in years. i cried all night thinking that i should call my parents because i might die. the same narrative i had stumbled upon when i had alcohol poisoning/drug overdose in college. this time, i didn't turn to my friend, i turned to my new someone. i spent that thursday hiding as my friends ventured to montserrat and i begged off for obvious reasons. on the last day of the trip, i tried to managed the strength of will to face my friends and their obvious concerns, but i chickened out at the last minute. unlike my other episodes that year (which will get covered in the next two posts), i wasn't inebrieated, i wasn't mal-nourished, and i wasn't sleep-deprived. the last night in barcelona, my new someone insisted we, at least, attempt one last dinner and we did and, in due course, my new someone got severe food poisoning....the night before an early morning flight to the states. so here we were: me almost fainting in the terminal and my new someone running back and forth to the bathroom on our way back to america.

january started in an ugly way with our flight landing late, our luggage lost, and an interminable trip home. january filled itself with writing workshops, aborted trips to the inauguration, and endless doctor's appointments. i exhausted my flexible spending in one month with no answers and found myself afraid to even have a glass of wine. a few weeks past without answers or incident, engaging in good clean fun like busch gardens and other things of that nature. february circulated around my birthday and what i would plan given my lack of confidence about my health condition: so instead of a quick jaunt to new york or miami or new orleans, i opted for a road trip to savannah. while i know this seems impossible (and apparently a common thing), my new someone and i had had the most furious rabbit sex ever in the andaz savannah. i mean, in the bathtub, the pool, and oh, that bed. and we had such a good tame time while i tested the limits of my drinking. greeted with a glass of wine at the door, i knew savannah fashioned itself a drinking town. we did marc jacobs and banana and a long wet lunch at the public. we went out that night -- i had a couple of preparatory drinks at the immaculate bar downstairs -- and then we headed over for a drag show where lady chablis performed. we ended the night with pizza and more sex. the next day, we did sightseeing (and brunch at goose feathers), pool frolicking, and lunch at "rocks on the roof" while dodging rain drops and souvenir shopping. that night, we did the same bar again (after more preparatory drinks) and then descended to this dive bar -- literally, under the ground -- and i got sloppy drunk and had the best moe's i've had in ages. that sunday, we had brunch before hitting the road for another five hour trek home. we stopped at the gucci outlet in north florida for no reason. i could not have asked for a better birthday.

The Sun Enters Pisces!

While your dreams and goals may begin to take shape this week, forward progress is halted for the time being. Indeed, the road ahead is no longer clear as the Sun enters Pisces on February 18 before conjuncting Neptune on February 20. However, you stand a good chance of finding success if you can regroup once Saturn turns retrograde on February 18 and Mercury turns retrograde on February 23.

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’: A cast of young stars advances franchise with smarts, flair

By Ann Hornaday, Published: May 14

The nervy reboot of the “Star Trek” franchise by action impresario J.J. Abrams can be summed up, quite simply, as a triumph of casting. From the moment Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana showed up in Abrams’s “Star Trek” four years ago, it was clear that he had found exactly the right actors to portray captain James Kirk, first officer Spock and communications officer Uhura in their years as Star Fleet rookies. Bright, bold, playful and ingenious, Abrams’s prequel to the classic 1960s television show (and subsequent film series) possessed equal amounts of respect and cheek. But mostly it boasted an ensemble of superb young actors who, with every raised eyebrow and vocal inflection, inhabited their characters with uncanny ease and seamless physical mimicry.

With “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Abrams proves that he’s still got the golden touch. The USS Enterprise crew is back — including ship doctor “Bones” McCoy (Karl Urban), chief engineer Scotty (Simon Pegg), Chekov (Anton Yelchin) and Sulu (John Cho). But the casting coup here is Benedict Cumberbatch, who exudes steely resolve and silken savagery as a villain on the cusp of becoming a legendary nemesis. Familiar to fans of another reboot — “Sherlock” — as well as tony historical productions such as “War Horse” and “Atonement,” here Cumberbatch claims a deserved place front and center in a big, brash popcorn movie. As gratifying as it is to watch Kirk, Spock and their colleagues develop the camaraderie that would so optimistically anticipate a multicultural world, “Star Trek Into Darkness” derives its ballast, and most of its menacing pleasure, from Cumberbatch, who takes tantalizing ownership of a role with near-limitless future prospects for evil mayhem.

It seems like just yesterday we were watching the Mandarin lay waste to Los Angeles in “Iron Man 3.” Now it’s 23rd-century London, where a Star Fleet archive has been sabotaged by a mysterious doctor named Harrison (Cumberbatch). Back at headquarters in San Francisco, Kirk is tomcatting around and getting into trouble for getting cocky during a mission on the planet Nibiru — a risky maneuver involving a volcano and a narrow escape that opens “Star Trek Into Darkness.” Called on the carpet by his mentor, Admiral Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood), Kirk is busted back to the Academy. But soon he’ll be back on the Enterprise, heading toward the Klingon home planet of Kronos and apprehending Harrison before his interstellar terrorism goes any further.

In a post-Abbottabad world, it’s easy to see every summer action movie about an attack and a manhunt as a modern-day political allegory. For its part, “Star Trek Into Darkness” contains debates about weaponizing the Enterprise and unilateral assassinations that can’t help but echo current arguments about due process and drone strikes. As intriguing as these parallels are, though, the best parts of “Star Trek Into Darkness” are purely escapist and sensory, from its bright, primary-colored palette and playroom-like production design to the lens flares and blown-out bursts of light that cheerfully belie the film’s title. Filmed in IMAX (yay!) and tweaked for 3-D (boo!), “Star Trek Into Darkness” banishes, at least for the moment, the lugubrious mood and sepulchral look that too many comic-book movies mistake for sophistication. All hail an action film that isn’t ashamed to have fun and to be seen doing it, in the dazzling light of day.

Nor is “Star Trek Into Darkness” afraid to shed a few tears. This is a get-out-your-mankerchief movie, with Spock struggling with his Vulcanized (and thus repressed) feelings, Kirk struggling with his friendship with Spock, and Bones dismissing all of it with his signature gruff fulminations (“I’m a doctor, damn it!”). A distressing climactic moment of physical brutality notwithstanding, “Star Trek Into Darkness” skillfully advances the characters’ emotional arcs, their inner lives and foibles dovetailing with the galactic explorations they’ve embarked on in the wider world. Once again, there’s real acting going on behind those campy outfits and absurd gadgets: One look at Quinto’s face during an early pivotal encounter with Kirk reveals the subtle ripples of expression that can be found in no-expression.

With every element so clearly put in place and the “Star Trek” vernacular so lovingly preserved and elaborated, the biggest challenge facing the filmmakers — especially screenwriters Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof — is to make sure that subsequent stories deepen what they have built, rather than just pile on more effects and stunts. Thankfully, “Star Trek Into Darkness” leaves the hatch open to countless possibilities, whether brand-new story lines or visits to familiar faces and places from the past. With the franchise now securely underway, it’s reassuring to know that Abrams and his team have the con.

Star Trek Into Darkness

Three stars. (132 minutes, in English and Klingon with subtitles, at area theaters) is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.


Marc Jacobs

JANUARY 14, 2013
By Matthew Schneier

This May, punk comes to the Costume Institute. What the original punks would've thought of a museum enshrining their rebellion the music historians will have to divine, but suffice it to say, 2013 may well be the year punk returns to fashion. If so, Marc Jacobs and his team got a running start. Johnny Thunders, erstwhile New York Doll and bandleader of The Heartbreakers, was the stated inspiration. His particular shred of traditional sartorial garb led the way for the collection, which drew on his Western rockabilly moments as much as on the Edwardian styles of the earlier Teddy Boys. He's a fitting genius for Jacobs, whose mainline men's collection has always kept a foot in both Italian-made tailoring tradition (not for nothing do visiting editors see his collection at Staff's showroom) and New York punk (just think of the line-standard fine cashmere "pilled" sweaters, say). Here, punk's influence was diffused rather than cranked. There were smart suits in bright colors and prints, fur-collared coats, and Western shirts, and more glamorous items, too: a midnight blue velvet tuxedo, and even fur stoles—eerily similar, you'd have to admit, to the Prada women's versions Jacobs often swaddled himself in a few years ago.


JANUARY 18, 2013
By Tim Blanks

Riccardo Tisci won't be presenting a couture collection for Givenchy next week. "So I wanted to make a much more couture collection for menswear," he said after his presentation tonight. There was an ulterior motive. Much as he loves seeing people around the world in the Givenchy tees and sweatshirts that have become a virtual uniform for Kids Today, he was keen to challenge himself—and them—by offering something more chic, more…well, couture-ish. And there it was, in experimental new cuts, collarless and lapel-less, and in a new depth of fabrication. For instance, the signature printed tees now came in cashmere, velvet, taffeta, or leather rather than the usual jersey.

The collection was Tisci's love letter to the U.S.A. "I've been obsessed with America since I was a kid," he explained. "It's the typical Italian dream of someone who wants to be somebody." But it wasn't the typical America he celebrated. Two concentric circles of candles had a distinctly occult vibe. ("A séance or an exorcism," suggested DJ Honey Dijon.) The show had barely begun when a pentagram appeared on an argyle cashmere vest. It signposted the show's presiding spirit, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whose work is one of Tisci's longtime passions. His monochrome signature echoed throughout in images of flowers, neoclassical statuary, the Stars and Stripes, and, always, sex. "Everything related to America but in a very dark way," said Tisci. "This is the dark side of my personality." Last season, he was on the side of the angels. This time round, it was the devil's turn.

He's always used sports references. Here there were gridiron jackets that looked as stitched together as Frankenstein's monster. Such was the shadowy suggestiveness of Tisci's designs that even something as normally benign as the parka knotted round the waist of one black-leather-shirt-and-shorts-clad model took on a sinister import. "Sinister" also suited a leather-patched duffel in a glazed charcoal tweed, a leather-chested blouson whose seams were articulated with big silver zips…in fact, the adjective seemed appropriate for the provocatively overwrought tone of the entire collection. Tisci was pushing hard, maybe too hard. But too much has never been enough for him. Can he keep it up?


JANUARY 20, 2013
By Tim Blanks

"Proportion is fashion." That typically epigrammatic pre-show declaration by Alber Elbaz cut to the quick of a Lanvin collection that was uncharacteristically generous in its proposals for the male body—and commercial with it. Maybe such generosity had its roots in the criteria that creative director Lucas Ossendrijver laid out for the clothes: "Would I wear it? And how would I wear it?" In the past, it's always been about the designers tracing the passage of the Lanvin boy through life, a more objective stance than the one they took today. Shifting the spotlight to the subjective meant one thing: The clothes got more forgiving. That point was made perfectly clear by the fact that the show opened and closed with the same over-scaled double-breasted coat.

There was an almost sloppy quality in the bigger, softer jacket shoulder, the baggier pants, the boxier silhouettes. You got the feeling that hardcore Lanvinites might have issues, but for anyone else, this was a virtual introduction to the brand. Elbaz is a great believer in intuition, meaning it's something of a surprise that it's taken him so long to intuit that the Lanvin offering in the past was a tad exclusive, and not just because it was a "luxury" label. It was refreshing to see breadth, as well as depth, in the collection's jackets and coats. For Elbaz and Ossendrijver, this amounted to a new notion of luxury, options for all, a feast of silhouettes. The biggest were the best, especially a pair of rolled-hem parkas and a languid new cut of trouser. The trimness that countered such pieces looked a little less natural, even as the season's appetite for quilting was honored in a set of fencing-trim items.

The intangible with Lanvin is always its extravagance, which is often only apparent when you check the price tag or step to the till. It was illuminating to listen to Alber Elbaz today as he explained the reason why the new collection's trainers had nine colors instead of the more obvious—and budget-conscious—two. "We wanted to go all the way with things we believed in." And isn't that also the very best that Lanvin could expect of its customers?

Saint Laurent

JANUARY 20, 2013
By Tim Blanks

If it wasn't exactly a manifesto—the show last October for his first women's collection had already fulfilled that function—Hedi Slimane's menswear debut consolidated his OCD approach to his gig at Saint Laurent. His manipulation of every minuscule detail leading up to and surrounding the show practically guaranteed anticlimax. The invitation? A visual journal by L.A. polymath aesthete Brian Roettinger. The model casting? Unheard-of indie band members from England, France, and the U.S. The music? Something by SF muso Ty Segall, which managed to combine the garage racket of the Stooges with the primitive electronic howl of Hawkwind. The set? A whirling industrial construct, Conrad Shawcross meets Close Encounters. All of that added up to shoulda-been-fabulous. But we're forgetting about the clothes. And maybe Slimane did, too.

The kindest thing to be said about Slimane's first official men's collection was that he made a guy to go with his girl. If Kate Moss was the ideal woman for the satanic L.A. gypsy he presented for Spring, her husband, Jamie Hince, would surely do full justice to the rock avatar Slimane marched down his men's catwalk for Fall. You don't even want to go there with the skinny; that is already such a cliché in the lexicon of Slimanery. "Slim man," geddit? This was just as much about the plaid shirts, distressed jeans, drainpipe leathers, trailing leopard-print scarves, girlfriend's bits and pieces (cue Julia Nobis and company on the runway to underscore the androgyny), vintage coats and cavalry jackets…a rock prototype that can be traced from its origins with the Strolling Bones back in the Dark Ages of geetar bands all the way through its elucidation by an endless number of bastard spawn up to the jangly here and now, although Nirvana are a particularly pointy way station. All of it is thrilling in theory and practice, but it was a surreal incongruity to see it spotlit in a very expensive fashion presentation. Slimane's passion for the music he loves, the bands that make that music, and the lifestyle that surrounds it is entirely understandable, laudable, and well served with integrity by his photographic tributes. When he spun his ardor into high fashion today, it made a lot less sense, especially as the kids who are the prime components of his vision can already shop this look for zilch down the funky end of any L.A. boulevard.

Saint Laurent

MARCH 4, 2013
By Tim Blanks

California grunge was the inspiration for Hedi Slimane's second women's collection for Saint Laurent. Though the huge banners outside the Grand Palais still proclaimed "YSL" in the old typeface, that is more likely to be one last wrinkle of the past on the list to be ironed out, rather than an oversight on the part of a man whose yen for control is legend—to the point where you might almost think the stifling heat of the venue was his way to establish an ambience (an afternoon on Venice Beach, perhaps?).

The collection was set up as an extension of the menswear Slimane showed in January. The music today was from the San Francisco garage band Thee Oh Sees, who are part of the same scene as Ty Segall, the man responsible for January's fantastic soundtrack. The invitation arrived as the same little black artist's book, this time reproducing the rather wonderful paintings of young L.A. painter Theodora Allen. The art blog Little Paper Planes says her "carefully researched paintings expertly skirt nostalgia to examine longing and legacy."

With a little adjustment, that's a pretty fair description of what Slimane has been trying to do with Saint Laurent. The legacy today was grunge, not YSL; the longing was his own ardent attachment to a scene that was a continent and an ocean away from a kid in Paris at the beginning of the nineties. Slimane is not the only designer motivated by a powerful impulse to reimagine youthful yearnings. Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs immediately spring to mind as masterful mediums of pop-cultural watersheds like The Factory or the Beats. And of course, it was Jacobs who famously lost a job over his original recasting of grunge in a high-fashion context.

But there was no job on the line, no sense of present danger, with Slimane's collection today. And with regards to that adjustment, there was no expert skirting of nostalgia. Almost nothing looked new. Which didn't trouble Alexandra Richards, Alison Mosshart, and Sky Ferreira in the least. Such dream clients were all thrilled by what they'd seen. "That's the way I dress anyway," was their party line on the baby dolls, the schoolgirl slips, the vintage florals, the random mash-ups of sloppy cardigans, plaid shirts, and sparkly dresses accessorized with ironic strings of pearls and black bows, fishnets and biker boots. All well and good, and money in the bank for retailers etc., etc., but anyone expecting the frisson of the future that Slimane once provided would have to feel let down yet again. At the odd moments when he allowed it to happen—as in a cutaway jacket over a plaid shirt over slashed black leather cuissardes—there was a glimpse of the kind of rigorous sensibility that hybridized passion and fashion into an irresistible force at Dior Homme.

But wouldn't it be radical if Slimane was actually saying that there is nothing new under the fashion sun, that all that ultimately exists is the energy and inspiration you derive from those elements of the past that you value and love. The same kind of fanboy ardor makes, say, Shibuya 109 in Tokyo or Trash and Vaudeville in New York such wonderful retro romps. This collection will undoubtedly send orgasmic tremors through such places.

Moschino Cheap And Chic

FEBRUARY 16, 2013
By Jo-Ann Furniss

It was a British pop culture fest at many of the shows in London today. And the same was true at that imported Italian house Moschino. The Cheap And Chic line seems to have resumed its rebellious edge since moving its show London. And perhaps it was no surprise, with the Met exhibition looming large, that the point of this collection spun around punk. Or, "pink punk, punk pink. It is a tongue twister," as the designer of the collection, Francesca Rubino, put it before the show. Working with Moschino's creative director, Rossella Jardini, her aim was to "take from punk culture the strongest, hardest elements and make them light. The fun is in the contrast; the electricity and energy is in the punk against the pink," Rubino said.

"It has definitely had an effect, us being here," she continued. "But to do punk in London is a bit like making pizza in Naples! So it is not really just punk: Punk goes to couture." It is this spirit that linked the presentation today with the Moschino pieces that are in the Met exhibition: a kind of ladylike post-post punk. As Mark E. Smith seethed on the soundtrack, "You don't have to be weird to be weird," after all. The Moschino output always makes its own sense in such a way. With Franco Moschino's appropriate appropriating codes in place, the beauty of the label is that anything can be up for grabs; it's allowed. So here the punk motif of the black and white striped mohair jumper was transformed into a jacket of stripey Mongolian lamb. A Perfecto-style leather jacket shape was elongated in shocking pink wool suiting fabric and teamed with slim-cut pants. Leopard print was layered in fur, silk, and ponyskin in an ersatz short skirtsuit with blouse. These were some of the looks that stood out and gave the proceedings a sharp sweetness, as opposed to a punk snarl.


FEBRUARY 22, 2013
By Tim Blanks

Once the Costume Institute at New York's Metropolitan Museum latches on to a theme for its annual exhibition, you'll find that notion gets major traction in fashion. This year, it's punk's turn. There's something of a disconnect in all that ardent youthful disaffection being spun into a museum exhibition, but even in its brief, heady, transcendent moment, punk was turning. Its irresistible, iconoclastic beauty infiltrated the unlikeliest corners of pop culture. Divine safety-pinned into Zandra Rhodes at One Fifth in 1978? That was hardly what Malcolm and Viv had in mind when they dressed the Sex Pistols two years earlier. You can only imagine what they would have made of Elizabeth Hurley trolling up to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994, pinned into a Versace variant on the punk theme. But hey, however it comes, the house has a history with punk. And Donatella is fashion's original rock chick. So when those two threads were woven together tonight, you got one convincing statement. "Vunk!" she called it. The spiky edge of punk, the slinky sex of Versace.

Like her friend Tom Ford's show in London four nights ago, Donatella's presentation was fearlessly over-the-top. One word: vinyl! Its beyond-the-pale fetish connotations made it ideally unacceptable in the eyes of proto-punks like Siouxsie Sioux. Which made it an ideal cornerstone for Donatella. She herself was wearing vinyl jeans. She said they made her feel sexy. But she was also taken by vinyl's stark contrast with the luxe of cashmere, or the plushness of fur. Such extremes drove the collection: a coat as elongated as a military officer's paired with a pelmet skirt; a sheath of pure white crepe bifurcated by a strip of lethal nails. Spikes and nails and bolts were all over earrings and chokers and bracelets. It was discombobulating to see the hardware of pain reconfigured as a fashion accessory, but that was, after all, what Siouxsie, et al., did back in the day. Reconceptualize! No compromise! Gianni was a master at it. And Donatella has learned. Sometimes, she is hesitant about what she's done, but tonight it felt like she was truly at home with the in-your-face-ness of her collection. And it's enchanting to think that she might have headed off home later on for a good old blast of Slaughter and the Dogs.

Junya Watanabe

MARCH 2, 2013
By Jo-Ann Furniss

Junya Watanabe seems to be in love with the idea of the ready-made—a piece of clothing that a whole collection can sometimes spin around in its many permutations. In recent years, season after season, he has presented something archetypal and iconic and, somehow, reinvigorated the view of it. During this process he has never bored the viewer or the wearer with the pieces' multitudinous forms; it's something of an achievement. Perhaps the greatest example of this was Watanabe's black leather jacket collection of Fall 2011, which also dealt with, in a hefty aside, the codified garments of punk. Quite a few people attempting to do punk collections this season should really read that one and weep. In fact, it appears that many have: Watanabe is one of the designers that has been most heavily borrowed from recently.

So today, at his own show, where Watanabe seemingly presented his own past collections as the ready-mades and decided to liberally lift from himself, there was a kind of cheeky meta-fashion. It was like a recent-hits compilation (and Watanabe's hits have a hefty dose of sampling) with a variety of remixes. Nevertheless, what he offered felt fresh, fun, and audacious today. He even accompanied the looks with high heels for the first time. They added to a sense of rebellion, maybe even a rebellion against the preconceived notions of Junya Watanabe.

The black leather jacket collection had a starring role, coming to the fore and peppering much of the proceedings. The Perfecto-style jacket, the symbol of rebellion, seemed to become fused with the bric-a-brac of leftover fashion in the first looks. These were the kind of fabrics found hanging around in secondhand shops. The models' bird's-nest wigs also gave that feeling of the detritus of fashion. There were hints of the reconfigured denim from Watanabe's Spring 2009 Africa collection, as well as his punk patchwork jeans from Fall 2011, here given a much bigger starring role. An additional spin on the trench also appeared again, this time seemingly cross-fertilized with the Perfecto, producing a profusion of zips. It all added up to a feeling of playfulness, and yet a strange profundity about the passing disposability of fashions.

If Rei Kawakubo is the queen of Paris fashion in terms of consistent innovation, then logic dictates that Junya Watanabe is the crown prince. Yet does a wider public quite realize this? Watanabe is one of the great contemporary designers; he's hardly an unknown, but he deserves a much broader audience. Hopefully, with this collection he will get it.

Gay Marriage

Minnesota Gov. Dayton Signs Gay Marriage Bill

By AP / Patrick CondonMay 14, 20135 Comments

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Thousands filled the Minnesota State Capitol as they waited for word that the Senate had passed the gay marriage bill Monday, May 13, 2013 in St. Paul, Minn. The bill now goes to the governor who is expected to sign it.

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(ST. PAUL, Minn.) — Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday signed a bill making gay marriage legal in Minnesota, the 12th state to take the step, as thousands of onlookers cheered.

“What a day for Minnesota!” Dayton, a Democrat, declared moments before putting his signature on a bill. “And what a difference a year and an election can make in our state.”

Rainbow and American flags flapped in a sweltering breeze during the ceremony, held on the Capitol’s south steps. The crowd, estimated by the State Patrol at 6,000, spilled down the steps and across the lawn toward downtown St. Paul.

Dayton thanked legislators for “political courage” before signing the bill just a day after it passed the state Senate. It passed the House last week.

The push for gay marriage was a rapid turnabout from just six months ago, when gay marriage supporters had to mobilize to turn back a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage. Minnesota already had such a law, but an amendment would have been harder to undo.

But voters rejected the amendment, and the forces that organized to defeat it soon turned their attention to legalizing gay marriage. Democrats’ takeover of the Legislature in the November election aided their cause.

Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2013/05/14/minn-governor-to-sign-bill-allowing-gay-marriage/#ixzz2Tu0sG6SO


Filed Under: Law Delaware Governor Signs Same-Sex Marriage Into Law By: Bryan Russo // May 12, 2013

Add commentshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/jrockefelleriv/5600844804/Gov. Jack Markell signed a bill last week legalizing same-sex marriage in Delaware.
Steve Elkins and his partner Murray have been fighting for equality for the LGBT community in their home of Rehoboth Beach and throughout the state of Delaware for more than two decades.

So last week, as he watched Gov. Jack Markell sign the bill making Delaware the 11th state in the country to allow same sex couples to marry, he says he felt completely numb.

"It was an amazing feeling to know that we had been working so hard for so many years just to get the non-discrimination bill passed, and now in the past four years, it's just gone non-stop," he says.

When Elkins helped start the community organization Camp Rehoboth in the early 1990s, it quickly helped improve not just tolerance, but also acceptance of the gay members of this little beach community.

Elkins says the fight will now go to the federal level, and specifically focus on Defense of Marriage Act laws, since the rights granted by this bill aren't much different than what's allowed in the civil union bill that passed two years ago.

But Elkins says there is still much to celebrate.

"It's a huge victory, because symbolism establishes where one feels they stand in a community and the acceptance that one has for their relationship," he says.

And while opponents may call this bill purely symbolic, Elkins says the fact that gay couples can now officially be married in Delaware means more to him than some folks will ever know.


Chafee signs same-sex marriage bills, making Rhode Island the 10th state to legalize gay marriage

May 2, 2013 6:52 pm By Randal Edgar

Governor Chafee signs same-sex marriage in Rhode Island into law Thursday on the steps of the State House.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- With hundreds looking on, Governor Chafee signed two bills Thursday that make Rhode Island the 10th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

The signing, at 6:50 p.m., drew cheers from hundreds who gathered at the south side of the State House, the location for Chafee's 2011 inaugural address, in which he made clear his desire to see Rhode Island join the states that have made same-sex marriage a reality.
Chafee added his signature to the bills shortly after the House passed them on 56 to 15 votes.
The bills allow same-sex weddings as of August 1 and also allow couples who joined in civil unions to change their status to married.


Outspoken LGBT Advocate Chris Kluwe Signs With Oakland Raiders
By Travis Waldron on May 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm

(Credit: Getty Images)

Chris Kluwe, the National Football League punter who has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality both inside and outside sports, announced Thursday that he will sign a one-year contract with the Oakland Raiders. Kluwe played the previous eight seasons for the Minnesota Vikings before being cut earlier this month after the Vikings selected a punter in the 5th round of April’s NFL Draft.

Kluwe, incidentally, is moving from one state that just passed marriage equality (Minnesota) to one where same-sex marriage is still illegal (California), and he told fellow LGBT ally Brendon Ayanbadejo that he will remain an advocate for LGBT rights when he joins the Raiders, Ayanbadejo wrote on FOXSports.com:

Kluwe is known for his mind and mouth, as well as his leg. He is a vocal advocate of equality in sports (and life), and says he will continue to speak for what he believes.
“I’m still going to be myself socially and continue to tweet and interact with my fans,” Kluwe said.

Kluwe and Ayanbadejo were both released by their teams this spring, immediately fueling speculation around the sports world that their advocacy had been a factor in the teams’ decisions. Even Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) weighed in when Kluwe was cut, saying, “Yeah, I don’t feel good about it,” an implication that Kluwe’s outspokenness played a role in his release. Others raised similar questions when the Baltimore Ravens released Ayanbadejo.
Though Ayanbadejo remains unsigned, Kluwe’s new contract should put those concerns to rest. The reality is that the release of both players looked more like business decisions — Kluwe was due $1.45 million in 2013, nearly $1 million more than the Vikings will pay his rookie replacement. Ayanbadejo, meanwhile, was an aging 36-year-old linebacker who primarily played special teams, and considering that the Ravens handed out a record contract to quarterback Joe Flacco, his $940,000 salary at an easy-to-replace position made him expendable (he was hardly the only prominent Raven to fall victim to cost-cutting this offseason).

And as as Cyd Zeigler argued at OutSports when the Vikings cut Kluwe, immediate speculation without evidence that advocacy played a role in their releases can be counterproductive to the cause they are pushing, Ayanbadejo, Kluwe, and other players have fought to make the NFL a more open and inclusive place both for advocates of LGBT rights and for gay players. But painting football as a place where those voices still aren’t welcome, where speaking out carries the penalty of losing one’s job, only encourages allies to remain quiet and gay players to stay in the closet. And it ignores the progress the league as made. Despite hiccups along the way, the NFL has indeed become a more open place: not only are Kluwe and Ayanbadejo speaking out, but so are both NFL Players Association president Dominque Foxworth and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and the league has strengthened its efforts to rid the game of discrimination and homophobia.
If evidence existed that Kluwe and Ayanbadejo’s advocacy played a role in either situation, it should be publicized, shamed, and subject to the league’s non-discrimination policy. It’s far more likely, though, that Kluwe and Ayanbadejo were cut because football, as Zeigler explained, “is a numbers game.” Making legitimate business decisions doesn’t make a football team discriminatory, and treating legitimate business decisions as discriminatory only ensures that football will remain in the shadows of tolerance for far longer than it should.

Tags: Brendon AyanbadejoChris KluweLGBT RightsNational Football Leaguesports


Minnesota Vikings Punter Chris Kluwe Goes Off on Antigay Lawmaker
By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com September 07 2012 5:50 PM ET

When Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo voiced his support for marriage equality, a Maryland state lawmaker asked the teams' management to censure him. But he was countered Friday by a letter from Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who had several choice words to support his fellow football player.

Maryland Democrat and minister Emmett C. Burns Jr. wrote a letter August 29 to Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti, saying that he found it "inconceivable" that Ayanbadejo was supportive of gay rights and marriage equality.

"Many of my constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other," he wrote. "I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football Franchise Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee, and that he be ordered to cease and decist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayambadejo [sic] is doing."

According to Yahoo, which published the full letter, the team did not provide a comment, but Ayanbadejo tweeted, "Football is just my job it's not who I am. I am an American before anything. And just like every American I have the right to speak!!!"

But Vikings punter Kluwe, who has done several ads for Minnesotans for Equality, had even harsher words for Burns in an open letter posted on Deadspin.

"I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland's state government. Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level," he starts. Kluwe said that Burns's letter is asking to stifle Ayanbadejo's Constitutional right to freedom of expression.

Kluwe then quotes Burns's letter, where he says that many of his constituents are "appalled and aghast" at Ayanbadejo's support. Kluwe replies, "Holy fucking shitballs. Did you seriously just say that, as someone who's "deeply involved in government task forces on the legacy of slavery in Maryland"? Have you not heard of Kenny Washington? Jackie Robinson? As recently as 1962 the NFL still had segregation, which was only done away with by brave athletes and coaches daring to speak their mind and do the right thing, and you're going to say that political views have "no place in a sport"? I can't even begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that must be coursing through your rapidly addled mind right now; the mental gymnastics your brain has to tortuously contort itself through to make such a preposterous statement are surely worthy of an Olympic gold medal (the Russian judge gives you a 10 for "beautiful oppressionism")."

Kluwe talked to Outsports earlier this year, and said "I’ve always believed that people are inherently the same and should have the same rights and equal protection under the law. It really doesn’t matter what you do with who or whom as long as you’re not infringing on someone else’s rights. Everyone should be free to live their own life however it makes them happy."

Source URL: http://www.advocate.com/politics/marriage-equality/2012/09/07/minnesota-vikings-punter-chris-kluwe-goes-antigay-lawmaker
[1] http://www.advocate.com/
[2] http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nfl--maryland-politician%E2%80%99s-letter-denouncing-brendon-ayanbadejo%E2%80%99s-support-of-gay-marriage.html;_ylt=AnKGJ_4ZZlaJPpFIIrAZDW1N7Ox_;_ylu=X3oDMTFycW9yNjU4BG1pdANBUlRJQ0xFIEFydGljbGUgQm9keQRwb3MDNgRzZWMDTWVkaWFBcnRpY2xlQm9keUFzc2VtYmx5;_ylg=X3oDMTJ2YjUxdGhhBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDYmEyYTgxMzgtNmJiMC0zNjhhLWJiYTYtOTQwODc1YWE1MmRmBHBzdGNhdANob21lfGV4cGVydHMEcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdl;_ylv=3
[3] http://deadspin.com/5941348/they-wont-magically-turn-you-into-a-lustful-cockmonster-chris-kluwe-explains-gay-marriage-to-the-politician-who-is-offended-by-an-nfl-player-supporting-it
[4] http://outsports.com/jocktalkblog/2012/06/27/minnesota-vikings-chris-kluwe-stands-up-for-same-sex-marriage-gay-players-in-nfl/


Minnesota: Where the push for a marriage license began
By Lisa Keen on May 23, 2013

Nearly every LGBT person knows about “Stonewall”—the spontaneous resistance to police intimidation of LGBT patrons at the Stonewall bar in New York City in June 1969.

Relatively few know about Hennepin in May 1970.

Events in both places became powerful catalysts for change in the way mainstream society treats LGBT people.

Stonewall took the form of hundreds of LGBT people using riots and defiance in a major city, refusing to obey laws that were hate-motivated and discriminatory on their face. Hennepin was one gay male couple, wearing suits and ties, walking into a Minnesota county clerk’s office and applying for a marriage license.

Stonewall inspired the creation of thousands of LGBT organizations, newspapers, and communities that grew enough political strength to win elections, change laws, and insist the world understand that gay people are here –“Get Used to It.”

Hennepin garnered a relative lightning flash of media attention –a story in Look magazine, appearances on two nationally televised talk shows, and a summarily dismissed appeal of their lawsuit by the U.S. Supreme Court. Its specific goal –to allow same-sex couples obtain marriage licenses the same as male-female couples— appeared to fail.

Now, 43 years to the month after Jack Baker and Mike McConnell walked into the Hennepin County clerk’s office and filled out an application for a marriage license, their quiet revolutionary act stands as a monument to perseverance and success.

To say Richard John (Jack) Baker and James Michael McConnell were ahead of their time is an understatement.

They are considered the first same-sex couple to walk into any municipal clerk’s office in the United States and apply for a marriage license. They were the first to sue the local clerk when their application was refused, and the first to take their lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.

They are also likely the first same-sex couple ever to obtain a marriage license, albeit through a sleight of name-change. According to a variety of news reports, Baker and McConnell were joined in marriage by a pastor in September 1971 after they obtained a marriage license from Mankato, Minnesota. An un-bylined “special” article in the January 7, 1973, New York Times reported that, in addition to their initial lawsuit over the rejected marriage application, McConnell adopted Baker in August 1971 “with the goal of securing tax and inheritance advantages.”

“At that time, Mr. Baker legally assumed the name Pat Lynn McConnell, while continuing to use the name Baker in his daily affairs.” Then Baker, using his newly adopted name, filled out a marriage license application with McConnell in Mankato, a small city west of Minneapolis.

“On Aug. 16, 1971, Blue Earth County issued the license, and, on Sept. 3, Mr. Baker and Mr. McConnell were married in a private ceremony in Minneapolis by the Rev. Roger Lynn of the United Methodist Church,” noted the Times article. Although the Blue Earth County Attorney challenged the legitimacy of the license, a Hennepin County grand jury “found the question not worth pursuing,” and thus, left the license intact.

Baker and McConnell’s actions garnered other publicity in the early 1970s –publicity that took some courage on their part, given the volatility of the time. They appeared on the Phil Donahue Show and the David Susskind Show, nationally televised talk shows. They were profiled briefly in Look magazine’s cover story on “The American Family.” Their willingness to identify themselves as gay touched many individual gays around the country.

After reading about Baker and McConnell in Look magazine’s cover story, a Birmingham, Alabama, man called the telephone operator in Minneapolis to see whether there were phone numbers for Jack Baker and Michael McConnell. It’s not that he wanted to call them, it’s that he could hardly believe there were other men in the world like him –men who loved men.

“I have secluded myself in an apartment in Birmingham where I live alone away from parents and friends,” wrote the man, whose hand-written letter to Baker is part of an archive at the University of Minnesota. “You and Mr. McConnell have more guts than any man I have ever met.” He asked them to send him information about their gay political organization to “help make a new life for myself.”

“At seventeen years of age, I have already experienced the deep hurt of loving one who can never possibly love you,” wrote another young man, this one from a tiny rural town in Maine who said he had attempted suicide. He couldn’t even bring himself to spell out the word “homosexual” in his letter, and he cautioned them not to include their return address on the envelope because “I’m still unable to speak at home.” But he asked the couple to write “a hopeful clause” to him if they knew of any gay organization that might exist in Maine.

It’s not clear whether Baker and McConnell were able to help the many individual people who wrote to them, but they continued their work of knocking on doors that had previously been closed to gay people –doors that many believed could get them killed.

The couple lived in a world rocked by violence over racial integration, President Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia, the Kent State shootings, and the emergence of the more raucous movement for equal protection of the law launched at Stonewall. In many states, including Minnesota, laws back then were heavily stacked against gay people and it was still illegal to engage in oral or anal sex.

For whatever reasons, these two men believed in the system. They believed that they should trust the system to treat them with the same rights due to all American citizens. But despite the powerful burst forward provided by the Stonewall rebellion, many gay people at the time did not have the courage it took for Baker and McConnell to apply for that marriage license on May 18, 1970.

“The fear then wasn’t that you’d be discriminated against, that was a given,” said one Minnesota activist of the 1970s, in an article by the Associated Press last December “You were a lot more afraid that someone might come after you with a shotgun.”

McConnell, in fact, lost his job at the University of Minnesota library because of the couple’s activism. But still the men forged onward.

And not everyone in the gay community supported what Baker and McConnell were doing. It’s not that they were opposed, but rather they felt the community’s focus and resources needed to be concentrated on goals that were embraced by greater numbers in the community –goals such as laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment and housing, and striking down sodomy laws.

On the David Susskind Show in 1973, Baker said gay activists around the country had criticized him and McConnell, saying gay couples didn’t need a marriage license. And in a 1993 oral history recording, Minnesota State Senator Allan Spear spoke about Baker and McConnell’s efforts, saying marriage “wasn’t the issue that most of the rest of us saw as a front burner issue.”

Today, there is little doubt that marriage for same-sex couples is a “front burner issue.” The U.S. Supreme Court will issue decisions before the end of June on two cases involving the legal rights of same-sex couples. And Minnesota passed a marriage equality law May 13, becoming the twelfth state plus the District of Columbia to treat same-sex couples the same as male-female couples in marriage licensing.

McConnell was on hand in the Senate gallery for the final passage of Minnesota’s marriage equality law, just days shy of the 43rd anniversary of the date he and Baker first filled out the application for a marriage license in Hennepin County.

Though they have, from time to time, responded to questions via email, McConnell and Baker, both in their early 70s now, have eschewed interviews. Reached by phone this week, Baker summarily dismissed this reporter’s request for an interview, saying “I don’t give interviews to reporters, thank you,” and hanging up.

But in a response to a question via email by Minnesota Public Radio reporter Sasha Aslanian, McConnell had this reaction to the passage of the Minnesota marriage equality bill: “Yesterday was a very powerful experience for me. I am so proud of this generation! I’m just so elated to have been alive to see and experience this moment in time. Words cannot describe the feeling. When I saw all those thousands of young and older people together celebrating the victory today, it was overwhelming.”

Copyright ©2013 Keen News Service. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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