Sunday, January 17, 2010

Review: "Escape from Special"

I am kinda keeping my word on the promised comic review. Yes, I know I kept hinting at some multi-colored muscle bound action, but I changed my mind. There are probably eight trillion Blackest Night reviews out there, and I still might write something up, but if I do it will be at the end of the series. It's been a rough week and I just don't feel like waxing fangirl, so I'd like to share something low key, and thoughtful, and something that is probably brand new to you. So I present to you a review of Miss Lasko-Gross's "Escape from Special."

I read this book under the impression that it was autobiographical, but as it turns out it is "semi" autobiographical. The novel is about a young woman named Melissa, and we are shown moments from her childhood. These moments are sometimes congratulatory but most often they are self effacing and sometimes downright self loathing. As someone who, in childhood (OK, in adulthood also), took embarassments as something very hurtful and deeply personal, I got very emotionally attached to Melissa. Sometimes she is hateful and is not always likeable but I appreciate that portrayal more when I am reading something autobiographical. It's more honest this way, and I think it creates a deeper bond between reader and author/artist. When I finished the book, I felt something was lacking . . . I wanted to see something really AWESOME happen to Melissa. But after thinking about if for a while, I came to the understanding that sometimes the "pretty" stories just aren't the ones that want to come out.

The art in this book is beautiful. It almost comes across like a black and white watercolor. Melissa's eyebrows are especially expressive and the faces of her "friends" convey so very well the haughtiness and ignorance that comes with being a young girl. By letting us see Melissa's drawings, Miss Lasko-Gross also allows us to notice that Melissa's art is a more primitive version of the art of the book itself, which is an endearing touch.

Lasko-Gross's publisher compares her to Judy Blume, and oh how I wish I had come up with that myself. It's so true. Both help us remember what it was like to feel ostracized, but they also help us remember that were weren't, and aren't, alone. I am really looking forward to more of her work.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

$900 Stripper Shoes

I need to precede this entry with two admissions: I am about three to four months late on this particular item. But I, unlike a heapin' handful of other bloggers, sadly do not get invited to Fashion Week. While I was checking out photos of these shoes I noticed that most of the entries were dated about September of '09. Don't care, I'm posting anyway. That, and I know I promised a comic review, but this will be my first public comic review and I am procrastinating.

Last night I did some impromptu thrifting. Had a rotten day at work, don't have a lot of cash, needed some cheap therapy. I already had an armful of cardigans (my staple) and a nifty khaki skirt so I decided to head to the shoe racks before hitting the checkout. I passed by a pair of lucite flippy floppy shoes and snickered. These shoes always have and forever will be stripper shoes. I could see a hausfrau in a coordinated warm up suit and lucite shoes in the grocery store and think "stripper shoes." I could see a 98 year old woman walkering out of an oncologist's office rockin' a pair and still think "stripper shoes." I could see a fashionista in - oh, wait. No I couldn't, because they are STRIPPER SHOES.

Tonight I got home from work and flipped through the most recent Harper's Bazaar. I was idly flipping through, not really invested. And then I saw them. I looked to the top of the page, praying I would see a "don't" somewhere. But nay. It was a "do". And it was Prada. And it was . . . Lucite.

Prada included lucite shoes in the spring couture line. Prada. The house of motherfucking Prada clomped down the runway in stripper shoes! I'm pretty sure there's a fifth apocalyptic horseman, and his name is Brandee and he wears Prada fucking lucite shoes. Permit me the equivalent of a fangirl moment here, but Prada is quickly gaining on Dooney and Bourke and Kate Spade in the race to become generic, bit it's still Prada. It's not Channel, but it ain't no Max Azria, that's for sure (pimping with Miley Cyrus up to the WalMart? You are dead to me, Max Azria). I will soften my harsh criticism of the increasing affordability of these lines by saying it's not necessarily bad - I might be able to afford these someday. But in the world of high fashion, loosing exclusivity looses reputation, and that's just a fact. Nonetheless! Lucite heels. All the blogs are calling them wedges, but, uh, no. Chunky heel a wedge does not make. And calling it a wedge doesn't make it hip, because it's a godforsaken stripper shoe.

Incidentally, I have no idea how much these shoes cost. $900 was just a guess. And now that I've done a little research, I'm raising that because I can't find them at any retailer.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Product Review: Kat Von D True Romance Eye Pallette

I waited a teenager's eternity to buy this palette from Sephora. I wanted it so very badly, but I'm not in a band anymore, I don't go out much to speak of at all, and the colors I was after are not very work friendly. So at 36$, the purchase was pretty hard to rationalize. But then one day the benevolent Sephora sent me a 20$ gift certificate, and I instantly knew where I would place my grubby little mitts.

Every time I see Kat Von D, all the estrogen molecules in my body turn into little Palpatines, and each one of them is hissing instructions - something about letting my hate flow. She is hot, she is amazingly talented . . . But it might be fair to say that she is famous because she is hot. I've seen a shitton of amazing tattoo art and artists, and while a good percentage of them are equal to her talent, none have been as hot (sorry, guys). And now she's smacking her tastefully tattooed face all over a "hip" line of cosmetics. It would be so easy to hate her. But, you know. Meh. Plus, it's somewhat difficult to process, but there's something "safe" about Kat Von D. All the ladies that used to cock an eyebrow at my tattoos are now super hip because they wear Kat Von D lip gloss and have an Ed Hardy bag. But I digress.

I fell in love, before the purchase, with the following words: matte purple black with purple glitter. Oh my god, this kit contains matte purple black eye shadow with purple glitter. Where ever will I wear it? Who gives a shit, I must own it. And from there came my first disappointment. I call shenanigans, because the glitter is barely-there. Pretty non existent. The second pre-sale lust was a black shadow called "lucifer." C'mon. It's called "lucifer." That's cool. And from there, disappointment number two. This shadow, along with its glitterless counterpart, suffers from a serious blending issue. I use a primer and MAC acrylic brushes for the application, incidentally. And these shadows go on very literally. Precision is important - don't expect any forgiveness from blending. If you have more mature skin, this is even more of a problem as the crinkles and creases in your eyelids are very difficult to conquer. Beef the third and final is that I didn't get a grey shade, I got a weird limey green.

The pros: the lighter shades in the set are very smooth, true to color, and are appropriate for daytime wear. They're "safe" colors, and that's cool. I'm especially fond of mixing the yellow with the lighter purple shade, 'cause I like to mix it up like that. The only shade I have yet to try is that fabulous cobalt blue shade. I haven't even played with that one yet. Blue eyeshadow is the yellow cake, the Ouija board, the very time travel of cosmetics. You don't mess with that shit lightly. And when I rock that blue eyeshadow, I'ma roll it Bowie-style and go mad with it. So it should be a special occasion. Definitely not a Matinee type look, right?

All in all I give it a B, but it might have been a C if I had paid full price. You can buy the Kat Von D True Romance Palette in Beethoven here.

Stay tuned tomorrow for my very first ever comic review - I'll be spoiling the shit out of "Blackest Night" issue six, so heads up there.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Start at the Beginning . . .

. . . And when you get to the end, make a list . . . see . . .

I am several weeks if not months behind the times with a 2009 Wrap Up, but I've been hem hawing around on starting this blog. Subject after subject, endless review possibilities, they all came streaming into my noggin and I just couldn't figure out where to start. So I thought "to hell with it, I'll just write a list of favorites." A blank blog is so much more daunting than a blank notebook, you see - the blog is here for you, but the notebook is my own. But a list gives you an idea of who I am and a taste of things to come.

I should clarify - the following are things I discovered in 2009. To you, most of the items are old hat. But these are the things that made me happy last year, so in no particular order, on with the show!

The Swell Season. I cannot stop listening to "Strict Joy." Can't stop. If my copy of the soundtrack to "Once" had been on cassette, I would have worn it through already. Admittedly, the real love behind the fictional brilliance of that movie was part of the allure - it was just so gosh durn romantic, and beyond that it was a beautiful, completely un-dark romance to which the eighteen year old girl in all of us could squeefully identify. I skipped the first Swell Season disc for unexplainable reasons, but when I was reminded of the band's existence by an ad in Paste I drove to my local multimedia megastore the next day to purchase it. About two songs in, something devastating occurred to me. They are no longer in love. The music is deceptive, because the tunes still sound like songs to snuggle by; but now the lyrics are rueful and apologetic and crushing. Somehow, the romance has remained but now my inner eighteen year old sobs into her pillow at night and pines for a love long lost.

Independent Comics, specifically Jeffrey Brown, Chris Ware, Carrie McNinch and I'm sure several others that I am neglecting to mention at this time. I would love to say I made this discovery on my own and that I am well versed in the culture, but my boyfriend turned me on to the genre and I am only beginning to experience it. He loaned me Jeffrey Brown's "Clumsy," and it was a super rare reading experience for me - I actually put it down because I didn't want to finish it too soon. I had to savor it, and I am normally a devourer of books (incidentally, when I saw that very same book on "Heroes" several weeks later, I felt terminally cool). If you are interested in a taste of upcoming talent as well as some small-press big-names, check out Not My Small Diary # 15. Good times.

Star Trek, Abrams Style. Come on. You know it's the best movie of the year. You KNOW it is!!! I won't even rant about its awesomeness. I'll just let it be awesome.

Sue Sylvester. I think . . . no, wait. Yeah. I want to be Sue Sylvester when I grow up. Some Sue zingers:
You're about to board the Sue Sylvester Express. Destination: Horror.
When I heard Sandy wanted to write himself into a scene as Queen Cleopatra, I was aroused. And then furious.
Out of context these are probably bizarre and completely unfunny, but I urge you to watch Glee. You can fast forward through the singing. It's OK.

Kitties. I am 33 years old and am a first time cat owner. They are amazing. I just finished the aforementioned Jeffrey Brown's "Cat Getting Out of a Bag . . . " and it blew my mind. Had I read this book a year ago, I would have thought it was sickeningly cute, ooh'd and aah'd, and then played with my dog. But now? I get it. I am part of the club, and a warm, fuzzy, challenging, bikkit-makin' club it is.

Dexter. Holy shit, what an amazing show. It took me a few episodes to get into the swing of it, but when I realized how perfect Michael C Hall's deadpan is I began to truly appreciate the tone of the show. I won't say too much here, and I would appreciate it if you did the same. I'm only on season 3, you see, and if you spoil it for me, so help me god . . .

The Green Lantern. I've got a thing for super heroes that were given a choice in their responsibilities, and I can't believe that I denied myself the opportunity to grow up reading about the Green Lantern Corps. I'll save my rave for a later post (Review of the "Blackest Night" series, stay tuned) but for now I will say that ye' tho' I love superhero comics, there isn't much out there in the way of art that I would consider hanging on my walls. But some of the recent art from this series and its tie ins would be hung behind velvet ropes and lasers in my living room.

Stila makeup. I've long been a Benefit/MAC girl, but in my ever increasing age I've come to the realization that it doesn't always pay to look like a drag queen - even a well put-together drag queen. I've long been of the opinion that women should look like peacocks, but I'm at the age where there is a very, very fine line between "looking quirky" and "trying too hard." Stila to the rescue - pretty colors that are easy to coordinate, fun but non-envelope-pushing shades, and occasionally I stumble on a great value. My Morning Ritual takes less time, and I have office appropriate sparkle instead of looking like I am heading off to Hot Topic after my day job.

Those are the bigguns, folks. Stay tuned for reviews of comics and girly stuff, links to other bloggers and artists, and general ramblings on that which I find neato.