The Yummy List


All content copyright 2009 by Holly Gleason. Web design by Lauren Carelli.

April 2007

April 2007: Bronx Bunny, Old Spice, “Happy,” Lolita Bistro + Euripides

Early Summer Storms at Night

   They roll through with a gentle insistence that lets you know nature is having its own recourse. The drops fall—fat, flush, hard enough to mark time on your roof, thick enough to be seen in the darkness beyond your window. The low rumble of the thunder harkens back to one’s heart in the depths of a long slow kiss from one’s youth more than any actual menace, while those quick flashes of brilliant light are like flashes from the bulbs of immortality/unreality on a red carpet.

   Just settle back. Watch. Exult in the power of it—power, not force, mind you. This is when we can see strength manifest in something that can suspend us without fear, inspire us without too much danger… These are the storms that are our own creative manifest flung across a velvet sky. Settle in and see.

Morgan Pressel 2007 LPGA Nabisco Classic Champ

   She is 18. Now officially the youngest winner on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour—managing to pull off something Michelle Wie, Amy Alcott and Laura Baugh didn’t quite. That she lost her mother to breast cancer last year makes the victory even more stoic, heroic and fairy-tale ideal.

   That she would win at what was once the LPGA’s flagship event—once known as the Dinah Shore, for the former saloon singer/talkshow host/Burt Reynolds cougar-paramour in his heyday, Classic—the victory was marked by the traditional “jump the lake” on the 18th hole. With all the triumph beyond actual scoring and resilience, the leap shadowed her personal victory as Morgan—blond ponytail flying—was joined by not just her caddy, but her grandmother.

Old Spice

   Cinnamon. Cardamom. Coriander. Musk. It is manly without overpowering. Quixotic without being Puckish. Reckless without being wanton. This is strength with sensitivity slapped on with abandon, yet not so brain-numbing that the scent drowns the moment. Old Spice, that standard of discount stores and old school pharmacies, has a classicism that reaches beyond class or social strata, imagination-launching without specifics and always a hint of memory that telegraphs desire that needs no words.

Jack Clement and Earl Scruggs at the Waffle House

   He—the former, of the Sun Sessions, “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and the discovery of Charlie Pride and Don Williams—- not to mention the seminal Johnny Cash hits. He—the latter, the man who invented hammerclaw banjo playing, melted down generational and cultural walls by taking his sons on the road to hybridize old school bluegrass on college campuses.

   You’d think they’d be having their eggs together. But no… They each had their own place in the Maison du Waffle for the first meal of the day. That much spontaneous greatness in one place at one time reminds us that sometimes it’s through honoring one’s talent rather than chasing the obvious, the commerce, the adulation that creates legacies that matter… They are the living witness, smiling and drinking their coffee at the chipped Formica booths on any given day.

Crunchie Cadbury UK

   Imagine a thick, crunchy but light as air spun honeycomb nougat—laced with bits of buttery toffee. Cover same in good chocolate. Make it almost an inch thick. Sell it in drug stores and newsstands. It is bursting with flavor, quick to give under the teeth and absolutely delectable in its melting sugary coco-y sweetness. Naturally something this decadently sophisticated isn’t a domestic proposition, but is worth propositioning any friends going to the UK to return with.
Or,  for those self-reliant amongst us.

Last Good Kiss   Last Train Home

   The bluegrass-tinged Americana heartbreakers look to horizons farther off, and find a wistful romanticism and more grown-up resolve that also engages on a deeper musical level. For vocalist Eric Brace, it manifests as a more Raul Malo-esque eroticism—aged tobacco, incense and ancient, but supple leathers giving to the weight and contours of his blond maple voice. Last Good Kiss is a quieter affair in some ways, more rhythmically subtle, yet still as wide open as parched two-lanes cutting through the most forsaken stretches of the Badlands.

   Mostly rootsy, Appalachian in places, a bit bossa nova in others, deeply emotional, yet sturdy enough for a man to listen to without flinching. Squeezebox embroidery on the lanky “Can’t Come Undone” juxtaposes the innocence of breezy sparseness that captures “I’m Coming Home’s clear-eyed commitment—and the loping yearn of the over-and-fading follies “Anywhere But Here’s piquancy tantalizes. Still it’s the Graham Parker-esque elegance of “Kissing Booth,” where the frisson of want and reckoning smolder brightest, and the earliest wafts of Tom Waits’ quavering lost hours “Go Now” that LTH’s subtleties become capable of point blank stopping power. A thoroughly adult roots affair.

  Scripts. Scripts, scripts, scripts! From Cameron Crowe to Kevin Smith, Sofia Coppola to Luc Bresson or Woody Allen. No additional software needed. Just pick, click and go. Anyone who’s ever wondered how it all starts, this is the line drawing from which the pictures spring.

   Ranging from comedies and dramas to horror and westerns, it is a site that’s both comprehensive and far-reaching enough to include pretty much anything this side of obscurity. For casual fans or people studying the art, this is a wonderful first stop on one’s way to where the films come from.

Lemon on French Fries

   A few quick squeezes, or one good splash, and suddenly, that oily taste abates. What you get is a tart contrast to the subtle earthy starch of potatoes. The kind of clean spark that makes the tastebuds jump, but also appreciate that warm dense deliciousness that is comfort food flash fried.

   Bonus: A quick scatter of any kind of fresh herbs, crushed and ribboned—or a few shakes of a dry spice or herb that sets your personal sensors aquiver.

Your Friends’ Success!

   They are your companions, confidantes, go-to-guys, running buddies, all-night-longers, fellow-dreamers, hell-yeah’ers and oo-conspirators for good times, bad times, getting through it and the trails that define us as human beings. Nothing is greater or more thrilling than seeing them thrive, attain acclaim or achieve some higher good or goal.

   Our friends’ success reflects back everything good about who we all are—and it is in sharing those moments of others’ good fortune that we can understand how sweet success truly is. Our friends’ success is a beacon and a beckon to where we want to be. All we have to do is bask in their joy, exult in their moment and know that it’s an exponential reality we just need to embrace so in all its contagious glory.

Relax Yoga Journal April 2007

   Breathing. Detoxing Stretching. Releasing. In a world of inside-out-double-helix-pretzelization, yoga can become some kind of limb-rending nightmare rather than a quiet, settling into the mystery of our core essence without even realizing. The April issue of Yoga Journal is all about settling out in our go-go type A, achievement-driven plunder-rama world.

   This is gentle stuff, done with ease that delivers large results. Being in one’s body, stretching and seeking one’s individual depths. This is where the soul emerges, the beauty rises and the moments suspend above one’s being. To truly unwind is to experience the core of yogic practice: it’s easier than you think.

“Brickhouse” Commodores

  Is there a chunkier, funkier bass-line? All wa-wa-WAH-wAHHHHHH… and Walter Orange’s nasal honk cajoling and cavorting in praise of the statuesque woman who’s “mighty, mighty… lettin’ it ALL hang out.” There was no moment thicker on the dance floor… more rapturous on the car radio… more sole-inducing and hip-dipping, abdomen-flexing and knee-dropping… “Brickhouse’ was all about shaing it “down, da-DA-down-down,” as all within earshot willingly obliged.

   There is a freedom from self-consciousness when a song this wholly lubed up, grooved-in, turned-on hits the speakers. There is no other choice but to undulate and be released And there is no act better than the Commodores—the pride of Tuskegee, Alabama—for just this sort of relinquishment of the restraints that our sense of self and position impose.

Lolita Literary Ave, Cleveland, Ohio

   The Tremont are is one of Cleveland’s refurbished Westside neighborhoods, once inhabited by the academes who made the institutions of higher learning along Lake Erie so desirable. Now chef Michael Symon reinvents his chic boite Lola—now residing on 4th Street in downtown Cleveland proper—as a cozy, but elevated outpost of home cooking. The obscenely delicious mac’n'cheese remains, but it is supplemented by short ribs, the gargantuan Fred Flintstone steak, crispy chicken and grilled halibut with olives, blood orange sauce and pan-roasted asparagus.

   As always the tiny desert list borders on gustory-porn (olive oil pound cake with goat cheese and a rhubarb/cabernet reduction and a chocolate pots du crème accented with candied pecans, sea salt and caramel) and the wine list masterfully curated, Cocktails are elegant, ambience is warm and slightly bohemian. An absolutely magical way to share an evening.

Tufted Titmouse

   The most fabulous American bird ever. Mourning dove grey with a paler gray/cream tummy and this little flush of apricot on their breast bone. They have—of course—a pompadour, that lifts up all steel grey and plomps there on the top of the head with no effort, making the not much bigger than a thrush or chickadee seem somehow heroically gallant. Of late, there has been a pair that keep appearing on my Radnor Lake walks… catching my eye, then watching me from the branches, commuting back and forth with each other. Coquettish without trying, they are natural flirts who know their audience! Having never seen one beyond a fleeting glimpse, this has been a heavenly visual feast of feathers, flight and beauty.

“The Hoax”

   Turnaround is more than fair play, it’s an enchanting whodunit as Richard Gere transforms himself into the literary can’t-get-a-break who sells an “authorized” Howard Hughes bio with no access whatsoever. Jubilant in its hucksterism, overt in its audaciousness, nervy in its twitchiness, this is the kind of middle ground movie that makes you think, gives you pause, neither bludgeons nor insults, jolts nor titillates. Movies like this are rare, and worth seeing for the enjoyable reality of a genre-busting that entertains without preying on any kind of reflexive response or sensation.

   Sometimes those little girl websites provide cheap clothes designed to capture the moment, but also be big fun while they last. And why not? If you’re smart enough to know the difference, there’s no reason not to mine the madras patch minis, the way-too-cute bathing suits, the adorable t-shirts and a buncha the summery eyelet, jersey and sundresses.

   Wicked cute for not too much cash. Oh, and they do the pseudo-Marc Jacobs flats as rubber-soled rompers from Vans, Keds and other comers, why not? Surfwear, play clothes, disposable sunset gear!

Cat’s Claw

   It tastes almost as delicious as iodine in water. Yet 30-40 drops in a small bit of liquid draws poisons, toxins, germs and the like from one’s blood stream with an efficiency that makes it the holistic realm’s not-so-secret weapon. Vile tasting, though it is, anything supporting immune system and toxic clean-up that comes in a brown bottle with a dropper stopper beats lining the pharmaceutical companies pockets. And no prescription is needed… for those spring and cold season clean-ups.


   Aloha in Tahiti. Need we say more? Only that the man who indoctrinated us into this wondrous phrase is the essence of all that is magic about the sea’s spirit. Lao-ra-NA.

Back To Black Amy Winehouse

   Bawdy, sultry, slightly louche. It’s the sleaze in soul—whether horizontal or merely vertically/gravitationally challenged—that reminds us with the salty bite of Winehouse’s almost burlesque alto that true rhythm and blues is a sordid and often carnal affair. Like Etta James, though of a far less gutbucket ilk, Winehouse ain’t afraid to let it all hang out, to beg, blister or moan truths that most women aren’t bold enough to consider, let alone own.

   “Tears Dry On Their Own” is the realistic purple-blues of a bruise, while “You Know I’m No Good” takes a buyer-beware reality check to her current flame. Obviously the wail of “no no no no…” in “Rehab” has set the UK-based chanteuse with the 40,000 volts of current in her vocal chords up as the anthemist for the Lohan/Spears/Richie/Hilton generation, but it’s the delicious “Back To Black” that is drool-inducing for its slicing in-your-face emotionalism. As a retro object of cocktail dress r&b, this stuff is an aggressive post modern elixir of drama, decadence and delicious slices on humanness unspun.

Blue Cheese Bistro Chips (Pommes Gaufrettes) Good Health

   Whisper-thin waffle fries, lighter, crisper and fresher tasting than conventional potato chips, these are gently tangy out of the bag, a strong contrast crumbled in tomato soup and a perfect accompaniment to a wrap, pita or traditional sandwich. Perhaps it’s the safflower/sunflower oil they use… or maybe the sea salt that leavens the blue cheese/buttermilk flavor. Regardless, these have enough taste to hold their own, yet jettison that greasy, deep fried flatness that makes most chips a decidedly weighty idea.

   With au gratin, crème fraiche and green onions and plain sea salt as other options, there’s sure to be a flavor for everyone on your list. Not quite guilt-free, but healthy enough to splurge without feeling like you’ve punctured your diet and cratered your will power. Everyone needs a little cheating room now and again—with healthy ingredients, junk food kicks at a whole level, indeed.

Body Piercing Saved My Life Andrew Beaujon

   Inside the web that is “fish music,” noted music crit Andrew Beaujon takes a gently extended gaze at the business of saving souls through rock & roll—and what emerges, beyond the straight-up historical framework, is a business at times at odds with its expressed faith, business practices and profit motives. As a cultural force, Christian music is an explosive canvas—a safe haven for kids seeking spiritual higher ground ,yet at times also an also-ran, not-as-good Xerox of the less sanctified mainstream.

   Not surprisingly, there are as many layers, facets and filters as there are players. Genuine creatives search for a way to honor their faith, but also to connect to the largest group of listeners—while nervously walking a line between a hardcore framework and their own distrust of the marginalizing nature of the “Christian music” label. With bands like Switchfoot, Sufjan Stevens, Pedro the Lion—not to mention Sixpence None the Richer, Evanescence, perhaps even Steve Taylor in their own ways—blurring the lines between God and pop, it’s a fascinating counter to the theoretic counter culture… and it’s all reported here without judgement or an obvious bias.

McKim Sandal Lilly Pulitzer

   Is it still possible to create iconic accessories? Is there more to the basic flip-flop than the spongy foam rubber that once was the benchmark of Walgreens? The two-tone whipped stitch Jack Rodgers that comes in too many combinations—so you can always match the wildest tropical print? Or the bejeweled (or enameled) whimsy that is Miss Trish of Capri?

   After years of seeking their own summer sandal, Lilly Pulitzer rolls out the McKim. A metal ring at the top of the toe cleavage anchors the leather strip that extends between the big and second toe, as well as being the origin of the two clean, but widening straps that run diagonally across the sides of the foot. In solid gold, pure silver and a host of Lilly-esque spring shades, they may finally have the run-around, kick-off play shoe they’ve been seeking.

Sleep Balm Badger

   Aromatherapy in an olive oil balm. Essences of lavender, chamomile, ginger, ylang ylang and rosemary unwind tension. Rub into the temples, the earlobes, the back of the neck. Feel the pores opening up, the synapses gasping for more of the mingled scents designed to ease the pressures and conjure a state that if not bliss, certainly something akin to tranquility.

   Rubbed into the toes and arches of one’s feet sends the olfactory cue into the bloodstream as well as getting the weight-baring part of the body to surrender to the kneading and rubbing applying the balm affords. Sometimes it’s just having the excuse. This is not just an excuse, but a reason. Rub it in.

Next Michael Crichton

   The morality of genetic scientific-tinkering and molding isn’t necessarily the why of Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton’s latest, yet in the story of researcher Henry Kendall, the reality of who owns one’s tissues, DNA and hybrids than the multi-billion revenue these advances can warrant sets the stage for a thriller that’s more intellectual than action packed. Quick-written, page-turning, humor-attempted (and sometimes achieved), the hard-boiled lite is a perfect antidote to heavy, serious reality while still inspiring a little provocation by way of the state of genetics, biologic engineering and the overlap between man and chimp.

   Passed to me in a bus lot recently, it has been light enough to read before sleeping, but advanced enough to not make me feel reduced to slug or remedial reader. As a break from the deep and the serious, it will take you away… and give you enough food for thought, that pondering the future isn’t beyond the realm of reality based on what’s presented with obvious whimsy here.

“There is in the worst of fortune the best chances for a happy change.”

   Just when it can’t get any worse, when the ribs ache from the sobs and heaving, the mind reels and the walls seem to collapse, there is a freedom. When all is lost, all you can do is find. In that nowhere else to go, no other options to reach for moment, joy is often all that’s left. Start laughing through the tears—and see what happens. The exhaustion that renders the fight impossible give wing to the next right thing: all you have to do is surrender.

AOC 314 Bleeker Street, New York CIty

   French comfort food. Onion soup gratinee with a bubbling, oozy layer of swiss cheese molten upon a crispy slice of French bread. Quiche that is light, yet stomach-satisfying in its earthiness, as well as a classic croque monsieur, drowning in a thick and creamy béchamel sauce. Tomato sauce dotted with olives or proscuitto-littered carbonara set the tone for stick-to-one’s-ribs pasta options, while classic streak frites, hangar steak with shallot reductions, duck confit and cassoulet round out the protein plates.

   Greens dressed in vinaigrettes heady with grainy mustard are a heady treat—and hamburgers come with gruyere or chevre for the most casual options If work-a-day diners were Continental and cozy in a country provincial sort of way, this Greenwich Village bit of heaven would be feeding truck drivers and nurses, bank tellers and farmers; but instead, it’s in New York City, bringing pastoral comfort to people who needed it even more.

Tools for the Soul Danny Flowers

   Hippie spirituality with a gritty truth to it, the man who wrote “Tulsa Time” offers his own divine take on coping with the mortal coil, the fallabity of our being and the quest for peace and enlightenment. National guitar parts steeped in turpentine, a voice like tobacco leaves drying in a sweltering barn and an unadorned way of grabbing truth in simple language give this a Hemingway meets Robert Johnson edge. Jagged in places, lustrous in others, it is everything a seeker needs to balm a troubled mind, stay churning waters and survive the doubts that precede clarity.

   Whether it’s the reflective “Ready To Cross Over,” the quietly resolute in the face of the void “Reason To Try” or the steamy barrelhouse funk of “UnGodly,” Flowers’ faith makes this a sanctified romp that is as comforting as it is enflaming. Even the lanky “I Was Broken” is a witness to the healing powers of redemption and the depths one can be lifted from, and that truth is buoyed on the striding beat, a bleeding bit of slide guitar and a few piano flourishes. Amen, and then some.

“The Namesake”

   One’s origins can get lost in assimilation. So easy to be dazzled by the new, one’s cultural roots can seem an archaic embarrassment of a way of life one would prefer to leave behind. And so this clash of heritage and hormones offers a sweet look at how one’s heart must settle many aspects of identity before truly settling down.

   As a young Indian man comes to understand to the true origin of his name—even as his parents rue the choice of an American girlfriend—much is implied through the sentimentality that draws each of our pasts to our present. In this tenderly humorous little film, what really matters emerges.

Pink Tulips

   They arrive, slightly blue, deeply pink. Heavy blooms on thick green stems, mostly upright, but wanting to lean into the earth. As time progresses, the color fades through the varying shades of bubblegum, love, romance, innocence—and the increasing wilt suggests a surrender to gravity, the dirt, time and of course the inevitability of life itself. Joy in a glass jar—a metaphor for the beauty of it all. 

   All things pastoral and French. If you took a more organic approach to Pierre Deux’s regimentedly formal approach to French country design, this is exactly what it would be like… and the items range from candles and body care to linens and stationary, not to mention an abundant source for raw materials to create your own special notions, embellishments and homestuffs.

“Dick Cheney”

   Trance hop. An electronic buzz and a series of loops give this deep groove a way of putting you in the zone as the New Millenium Funk Machine chants their own indictment of the Haliburton-favoring Vice President. With a lowdown—nearly subliminal ordered—mantra of “Dick… Cheney… before he… dicks… you…” suggests that the time to turn has come. Maddeningly political in a very relaxing cocoon, this is the gentle way to stake one’s truth—capturing minds with beats rather than hectoring, opening a drone of indictment that lulls even as it incites.

The Life You Save May Be Your Own Paul Elie

   My friend, the spiritually-inclined corporate trailblazer knows of my mad adoration of relatively recent Southern goth fictionalist Flannery O’Connor and my beguilement at Catholic spiritualist Thomas Merton’s ruminations—and from that came this recommendation. Four writers, beyond O’Connor and Merton, there is social worker/activist Dorothy Day and philosopher Walker Percy - who never met, but whose faith pitted them against the mostly intellectual writers’ rational realm and the not-so-analytical world of the church.

   As the bios intertwine and certain truths about the loneliness and stoicism that enlightenment requires emerge, this is a fascinating examination of the different paths along the same trail. Elie, an editor at Farrar, Strauss & Giroux where three of the four published, offers four living breathing articles of the faith in action in modern times as demonstrated by thinkers of varying circumstances and situations. A fascinating take for believers, doubters and Catholics of every stripe.


   A low to the ground circular pillow stuffed with buckwheat hulls hardly sounds like an oasis—even if it’s covered in luxurious silk or satin. And yet, the often jewel-tones zafu meditation pillows open up worlds of beauty and wonder without requiring any travel. Indeed, it’s a zone where stillness becomes the threshold of bliss, a space where one need only sit—quietly, unmoving, unthinking—their sit-bones supported, spine planted to grow as a vine to the ceiling, to heaven, to whatever uplifting place one’s essence craves being. Three-to-five inches deep, 15-to-18 inches wide… a universe of respite.

Chipotle and Coconut Tamales w Expresso Mole Sauce Fido, Nashville, TN

   What began as a special—three planks of green tinged corn masa tamales, cooked without the husks on a plate with mache and drizzled in a mole sauce infused with espresso—has become a regular item on the menu. A smallish plate that will sustain and maintain even your vegan friends, the thick mole sauce now arriving in a small metal pitcher… allowing the diner to dole it out as needed and maintaining the lovely from the stove warmth. As a global sort of comfort food, this is an imaginative, tongue-quickening call.

Give Up The Postal Service

   Some records just make you feel good—and this created’n'realized through the U.S. mail exercise in songcraft and production is absolutely the kind of music that puts one in the best possible space. Not that its foamy or disposable, but more the sheer gorgeousness and shadowy ripples of “We Will Become Silhouettes” is a potent exercise in suggestion, sighs and flashes of feeling.

   Figure it’s Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and dntel’s Jimmy Tamborello at the helm with abundant vocal support from Jenny Lewis (who didn’t love Rabbit Fur Coat?) and Jen Wood, making for an electropoptronica stew of idealized heart-racing, melancholy, moments and the tug of things that draw us to them. “Sleepig In,” “Clark Gable,” “Nothing Better” pretty much capture the why—while “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” is the opening lure to set the mood and beckon the listener closer. An emotionally-altering alchemy that requires no chemical additives; try it and see.

Soul Mission Lippman Collection

Nothing will make your feet fresher, cleaner, lighter. A two-step process from nail guru Deborah Lippman, there is a grapefruit scrub that is nubby enough to loosen dead skin… and it comes with an activator to warm the flesh and penetrate for an even deeper peel. This makes for paws like clouds—and a foot rub non-pareil. Just what your feet need after a long day, and the best walk-up to sandal season imaginable.

“I can buy you a drink, also - and tell the truth!”
             ——-Rosanne Cash

Rosanne Cash and Kris Kristofferson in bar, arguing about the check. It sounds like a joke, but it’s real—and she was making the point that just because she inducted him (very eloquently, in fact), her wish to honor him extends beyond tribute. One doesn’t preclude the other… and how often in celebration, does it turn to a tug-of-war? Just because I see you as you are, honor you for being special, it doesn’t mean I can’t fete you as well. Indeed, it doesn’t indict what I said—but is merely an adjunct… an exercise in action backing the words that’ve been uttered.

   Don’t ever let upside down agendas steal that pleasure from you. Though in this case, the legend won.

“Bronx Bunny” Starz

   Irreverently brutal skewer of our kiss-up talk-up-the-latest-project chat shows, this 15 minute chunk of the Starz “Comedy Hour” is a grueling bite of shameless self-promotion biting back. A foul mouth tell-it-like-it-is rabbit puppet and his alcoholic, chain-smoking teddy bear sidekick—traditionally warm ‘n’ cuddly children toys—turn their stereotypes upside down, then hurl themselves headfirst into the happy-talk’-n’ promote aerobics of interview shows with real life stars Kally Clarkson, Mark Hammill, Steve Schirripa with a vengeance. What’s left is an irreverent, at times envelope-shredding exchange that not only sends up the pomp ‘n’ puffery of self-promo that’s the raison d’oeuvre; but by overtly winking at the viewer as a tone of overt outrageousness from within the impropriety, the audience becomes a co-conspirator.

   Naturally a British import would also feel beyond comfortable with the lunacy of “staged” comedic bits—including an out of control attempted drive-by shooting of Rip Torn to secure more game show hosting for kinetic Howie Mandel. As “Mad” or “National Lampoon” to the third power after a nutritious breakfast of razor blades and molten lava lamps with a hungover “Captain Kangaroo,” this is as zany and real as it can get from a show anchored by two furry puppets with decidedly amped up, grumpy attitudes.

Charlotte Gainsborough

   Long bangs in her eyes. Poised in a way that’s almost unnatural, especially being so up front about her awkwardness. The child of British actress/model/muse Jane Birkin (yes, the inspiration for Hermes’ beyond timeless Birkin Bag) and French chanteuse/raconteur/iconoclast Serge Gainsborough has made a mark as an actress (“21 Grams,” “The Science of Sleep” in the U.S.). It has been two decades since her last album, yet teaming with atmospheric French producers Air, getting lyrical support from Jarvis Cocker and mining her own shy, faltering inner being, Gainsborough is a poster child for getting out of one’s comfort zone, being stylish in one’s own skin and accepting the beauty of life as it happens. Totally worth reading about, listening to or seeking out.

   To put on 5:55, waft through one’s life, seek the shadows as solace rather than demi-monde of darkness. She is evocative of a more soulful place that is often overlooked in the bright light, wham, bam intensity of the right now RIGHT NOW of our daily living.

The Rims are Everything

   My friend the car whore swears this is the ultimate erogenous zone. The rims. The place where the chrome or the steel is most obvious. The part that must be kept clean and shining. The part that announces to the world “this is my ride.” Even if the rest is dusty and splotchy, shiny rims tell the world that you’re ready to rock…

511 Skinny Jeans Levi Strauss

   Skinny. Leg clinging. Seriously American classic. These are the lean jeans that merge the reality of James Dean with Keith Richards, and they do it with enough native care less that one hardly seems to be peacocking. Things become standards for a reason—and this reinvents the ultimate streetwear into something that is as rock & roll as it is pedestrian, viciously sexy without trying.
   In a world where people want their rebellion to conform, this is a variation on the established theme that is a little dangerous, impossibly erotic and ultimately wearable by anyone brash enough to believe in the power of a Marshall Amp set on stun.

Dr Pitcairn’s Book of Natural Health for Dogs & Cats

   It’s late. The emergency vet is the only option. Your poor pet can’t tell you what’s wrong. If you wanna buy time until morning—or perhaps find a way sans pharmaceuticals to help your best friend—this is the book to resolve your own personal angina. When Zelda started panting and quaking, it was Dr Pitcairn that endorsed Rescue Remedy (2 drops every two hours) as a stabilizer. If it didn’t work, Emergency Vet, here we come. But it did, meaning Prada Dada’s vet could see her in normal conditions and determine it was a bladder infection. Whew…

“Happy” Rolling Stones

Is it possible to beat perfection? No, rock & roll gets no better than on the Stones’ classic Exile on Main Street. But there is something wanton and whimsical about Keith Richards’ chugging, slippery song about the simplicity of life and the essence of fulfillment—“I need a love…,” he grouses, chunkety guitar slashes tearing at the perfect melodic figure, “... to keep me happy.” With the horn section sliding in and out like some kind of greasy, brassy penetrative punctuation that just starts you up in a way that’s pure randy romp, even as that slightly metallic rhythmic guitar stab sends its own puncturing thrill through the listener. Exuberance, eroticism and a damn fine hook rolled into one combustive six pack… even in the gruff barked voice that is danger tempered with the fidelity that makes this a pledge more than mere songcraft.