Wednesday, January 31, 2007

DESIGN: Design Life Triennial 2006

Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum is currently hosting the National Design Life Triennial 2006. Now for all of you who have been majorly lax on getting out to galleries and museums, this is the one for you. Boasting the talents of 87 American designers, the exhibitors span from established trendsetters to bright newcomers. Who I'm excited to see: KidRobot (amazing toy distributors and solely responsible of the brightly patterned men's sweatshirt trend), Narciso Rodriguez (monochromatic all-star and SJP's favorite fashion designer), and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (self-explanatory).

I'll make a more formal review once I actually go, but check out some pictures from the Design Life site. Or actually visit the site yourself:
Design Life Now because it’s so nice to see people doing what they (presumably) love to do…especially while I’m chasing belt submits from Hong Kong.

DESIGN: It Came From the 80's!

My new favorite site is and my favorite item on it is the Optimus Prime Transformer paper robot pictured at left. You can find his awesomeness at Paper Robots , complete with instructions and a free PDF color printout. And, oh wait did I mention this paper robot actually transforms? I'm pretty damn lazy so our CAD designer is going to make two and we'll fight them!
Anyway, is the brainchild of Jean Aw, a young L.A. designer who apparently spends much of her day scoping the web for some of the most intriguing items I've ever seen. Oh and also traveling the globe looking for "designer hotspots"...did I mention I'm so jealous? Please visit her site, you'll find something awesome to gawk at.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Bogota Bistro

Pan-Latin Cuisine meets Park Slope

I’ve been ignoring the small neon sign of Bogota Bistro for quite some time now, because from the outside it looks like a bar full of bar food, like gourmet potato skins and chicken wings. Plus 5th Avenue in Park Slope is overstuffed with restaurants --- numerous Asian fusion and Mexican joints that I’ve enjoyed for a year or more. What a fool I’ve been! Bogota, named for the capital of Colombia, features authentic Pan-Latin cuisine, live bands and an extensive cocktail and wine list.

The décor consists of mucho crazy stuff on the walls, but not in a nasty T.G.I. Friday’s way. My favorite was a Warhol knock-off of a pouty Latina. The murals and plastic ice cube encased lights also add to the festive interior. The atmosphere is LOUD, which could be bad for intimate conversation, or great for a first date with someone you aren’t sure you have anything in common with. Or dinner with your boyfriend’s mom or a former friend from high school you definitely have nothing in common with

I started out with a drink because, 1) I just came from work and 2) Happy Hour lasts all night long from Monday to Wednesday. The strawberry margarita is a little more fruity than boozy --- it has frozen strawberry chunks at the bottom. They also feature the Brazilian national drink, the caipirinha. I skipped the appetizers and had the breaded and fried porkchops, sweet plantains and seasoned rice which were all tender, perfect and flavorful respectively. My only complaint is that all the sauces were spicy and a chilli pepper-a-phobe like myself would like a mild option. My dinner mates had roasted chicken with cilantro mashed potatoes and a skirt steak sandwich with a side salad. The chicken was good, not special but the cilantro mashed potatoes were green and extremely tasty, I definitely recommend those.

All in all it was a satisfying meal, and worth the $20 tab. Also notable, you can skip the meal and just get drinks at the (slightly raucous) bar, though missing out on the food would be somewhat of a travesty.

Appetizers: $4 - $8
Sandwiches: $9
Entrees: $12 - $24
Drinks: $5 (Happy Hour) - $9 for cocktails

Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting

Arsenic & Lace

Knitting and crocheting have enjoyed a surprising surge in popularity in the last decade, mostly due to stressed out celebutantes who knit scarves. Now traditionally female fiber arts have been embraced by youth culture; there is even a knitting circle (Cast Off) based in the London Underground. The thirty international artists featured in Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting use a variety of materials (including old car parts, paper doilies, wires, fiber optics, video) in traditional and completely new ways to create works that shock and inspire.

Dave Cole's small teddy bear knit out of gunmetal-colored lead yarn is adorable---and poisonous to the touch. An intricate crochet blanket reads “IT SUCKS” in the center, the artist’s commentary on how much it must suck to crochet for a living. Freddie Robins, a political guerilla knitter from the U.K., showcases an S&M style bodysuit knit of gray yarn and pierced with knitting needles and embroidered with the words “Craft Kills”. These pieces compel the viewer to re-think grandma’s tatted lace pillows, especially in light of Hildur Bjarnadóttir’s tatted lace tablecloth complete with skulls. Visit the museum website for just a taste of the three floors of fiber arts currently on display.

A Peek In Her Closet --- A New Couture Exhibit at the Met

“There are no chic women in America. The one exception is Nan Kempner” ---Diana Vreeland.

Though Nan Kempner worked as the fashion editor for Harper’s bazaar, as a contributing editor for French Vogue, and a consultant for Tiffany’s, the role she is most remembered for is “the world’s most famous clotheshorse”. The Nan Kempner: American Chic exhibit at the Costume Institute showcases some of the most daring and exquisite pieces from this Best Dressed Hall of Famer’s closet.

Highlights include a YSL silk faille gold opera coat, a Phillip Treacy hat made from feathers, and a striped evening jacket with intricately-draped sleeves. It is interesting to observe that Kempner definitely had favorite themes, most notably nautical and sea-life. There is a YSL raw silk jacket decorated with nautilus shells, a few dazzling coral and gold necklaces, and (my personal favorite) Judith Leiber purse fashioned from a nautilus and red leather.

While she collected pieces from various couture designers, she was faithful to a fault to Yves St. Laurent, saying that he designed clothes that fit her body perfectly because he designed for people like himself. Other designers Kempner favored included Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors, Madame Gres, and Valentino. Unlike her contemporaries, she mixed and matched haute couture designer and ready to wear outfits liberally to suit her tastes, earning her the reputation of refined Park Avenue elegance.

Slender, tan, blonde, rich and notable for saying “I loathe fat people”, I dare you to love her anyway, if not for her uber-chic tailored power suits, then for her sweet peach ruffled coming out dress designed by Jean Dessès. This full skirted crinoline-lined dress covered in lace ruffles is the first of many pieces she donated to the museum before she died in 2005 of emphysema. Kempner started smoking at 14 and was known to alternate her breathing mask with a cigarette and champagne; she died at 74 leaving this legacy of haute couture, quite possibly the last great couture collection in the world, spanning 6 decades of American and European fashion.

"I want to be buried naked, I know there's a store where I'm going." ---Nan Kempner

The Party's Over --- An Ancient Story from the Summer

September 06

So for those of you who didn’t know and are currently kicking yourselves, the Williamsburg venue McCarren Pool has been hosting free (FREE!) parties all summer featuring bands that you’d normally have to pay $20 and up to see in a hot smoky bar/party/basement and a featured DJ spinning between sets. The Bon Savants, Deerhoof and Of Montreal were just a few. The best part, other than not having to lug my bulky wallet around, is that the venue is actually a large, drained community pool with a Slip & Slide, a Ben & Jerry’s truck and organic burgers and hot dogs.

This last pool party was headlined by none other than fellow Philly alum MC SpankRock, the skinny jean-wearing, fitted cap-sporting porn rapper that makes it cool for indie hip-hoppers to wear belly shirts. Gang Gang Dance, Shy Child, and Nuclear Family started the show, with the Rub DJs/Park Slope heroes Cosmo Baker and DJ Ayres supplying the background beats. When SpankRock took the stage the crowd could not have been more excited---until M.I.A. and Diplo surprised everyone with a cameo and the pool was covered in rainbow confetti, balloons and Brooklyn Lager. All in all, a purely satisfying end to the summer---see everyone next year!

Mission Statement

Yesterday, in the midst of nursing a hangover, I had an early-life crisis...which I define as having any sort of empty-nest syndrome type melodrama over failed life goals before one hits 35. I miss writing and I miss people reading my writing, even if it was only my friends. I frantically authored 4 writing samples and sent them off to websites looking for bloggers and now I've posted them here. There's no running theme expect for maybe things to do on a Saturday in New York City.