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

March 2007

March 2007: Pascal, Bitters & Soda, Cobra Pose + Spanish Architecture


Easy Money John Anderson

   Full-throttle and four-on-the-floor honky tonk jacked up, glass-packed and set to rumble like a low rider on anything but a street legal shot for a pink slip. Even when Anderson, one of the true modern day classicist hillbilly singers who moans and burns the blues, slows down to the wiser-than-she-wants to be weeper “A Woman Knows” or the fidelity of where one comes from balladry of “Bonnie Blue,” Anderson is pure thrust.

   And when you drop the bottom, let the beat ride up and give him some room to romp—as in the viciously aggressive title track about the wages of the show biz life, the tear-down-the-stereotypes rump-kick of “Put Some Funk (In Your Country)” or the chortling hard-edge bite of “Brown Whiskey,” this is the kinda serious business Waylon Jennings, Gary Stewart and George Jones at his rowdiest traded in. No fromp, no pomp, no posing—just slam down beer joint music that bangs like a barn door off its hinges.

Fantastic Typewriter  www.Threadless.com

   A plain white t-shirt with a magical, mystical Technicolor typewriter. It is the old school Smith & Corona black metal with suspended keys classic… except the keys all imply whimsy, transformation, magic, vibrance. Just looking at this all cotton girly tee makes one want to write poems and stories, essays and novels. The perfect uniform when one must take up the pen and is lacking in reason or inspiration.

The Table in the Window


   You know the one… where you can sit and stare into the world for hours… where the gray or golden light pours down upon you, bathing you in the moodiness of the moment… where you can watch the people go by, rushing to destiny, dread, dreams, duty… where you can languish, imaging a million stories for each passersby, myriad scenarios about what you’re really doing… drinking tea or twirling pasta, picking at a salad or slowly, exquisitely making your way through some kind of decadent confection.

   The table in the window is a magical door. One that opens up so many facets, creates so many dramas, realizes so many escapes—and all you have to do is sit there. Charmed, and charming, it’s an instant respite no matter where or how harried you are.

Design Drag of Dixie Highway West Palm Beach, FL


   Just below Belvedere and ending at Forest Hill, these single story storefronts that were just about given up on ten years ago have transformed from junk shops that were all but abandoned to treasure troves of good stuff from the homes of the older people whose kids don’t want it to fully realized world class merch that you can’t afford new—and isn’t as well made now anyhow. Beyond the antique stores, wrought iron parlors, outdoors furniture, high end fabric outposts and trinket centers, this is the vortex of an elevated tropical style that exists between comfortably elegant and outlandishly over-the-top. It is definitive of one place and one place only: Palm Beach. Marvel and reckon and walk to your heart’s unending content.

Cobra Pose

   It is a measure of strength and gravity… It makes one’s spine feel electrically alive, the core taut and powerful. Feet and body flat on the floor… press the palms just below the shoulder into the ground and slowly bring your trunk up. Make an arc that finds your shoulder curving back, threading your vertebrae towards the ceiling, one by one, as you rise and reach to the ceiling and then back towards your navel.

   Feel your legs come up off the ground, elevating by the amount of your body’s ability to reach, stretch, expand. Your feet hold you suspended in air, your body cast towards infinity, the energy moving through you—letting you know unequivocally how truly vibrant and capable our mortal coil can be.

Exile On Main Street: A Season in Hell with The Rolling Stones 
Robert Greenfield

   An audible recounting of a summer beyond reason, a life beyond bounds in the South of France with the weight of an album needed for the band to have a reason to tour, Robert Greenfeld’s Exile On Main Street exposes the sordid, squalid reality of what went into the making of perhaps rock & roll’s finest album. Sexual betrayal, assault, thievery, Nazi strongholds, famous guests and scurrilous characters—from Gram Parsons to Spanish Tony, addiction, fine wine, more drugs than could be imagined - and the star-crossed wedding of a South American socialite and the cocky front man. A quick tawdry read that is old school movie magazine meets Lester Bangs compulsion, Exile captures the mishaps, contretemps and scratched together nature of the recordings without blinking. A must for anyone who wants to understand how reckless privilege, rock music and riches can be.


Bitters & Soda with a Lime

   It has been so long since a big girl drink has crossed my lips, I wanted something that exuded adult. Bitters, the tangy, tart herb elixir the color of iodine splashed with abandon into a glass of club soda is anything but cloying, absolutely thirst quenching and looks like a cocktail! With a serious squeeze of lime to give it depth and complexity, this is the kind of imbibement one could quaff all night and never grow tired of. When you’re on the wagon for whatever reason, what could be better than a mocktail that doesn’t mock one’s reason for abstaining?


“If you do not love too much, you do not love enough.”
                                             

   How can you say you love, if you don’t love completely? In a world of maintaining one’s margins, keeping your distance, protecting your heart at all costs, how does one let go… run the risk of getting hurt, yet somehow transcend the fear to fly? Because anything less is never really surrendering, committing, loving completely. Anything else is hardly enough.


“Factory Girl”


   The notion is looser than a preacher’s daughter, but the quick-turning story follows the demi-legend of socialite Edie Sedgewick from tortured rich girl to Warhol superstar to love interest of “the folk singer”—and the pressure of those worlds colliding. Yes, in real life Sedgewick was deemed the inspiration for “Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat” and “Just Like A Woman,” and absolutely Andy Warhol’s muse for “Chelsea Girls” among others.    Regardless of factual flabbiness, there was a conflagration of these camps—and this extension of what might could’ve been is a jumbled mess with killer clothing. If only to watch the costumes change, it’s the sort of afternoon killer that nourishes with its sheer eye candy factor.

1/3 cup sea salt, Epsom salts + baking soda in the bath

  Grounding. Neutralizing. Drawing. This magical elixir—and I throw a tiny bit of rosewater in for moisture and a light eau du jardin—helps settle the soul, ease the muscles, unfurl the mind. Easily mixed up, utterly commonplace, this is a soak that does wonders, yet it is only a grocery aisle or Wal-Mart visit away.

Le Merigot Santa Monica, CA

   There is almost a removed sense of the hotel not quite 150 feet from the ocean, a sense of stillness that’s life rather than merely monastic isolation. It is open, and there is vitality—and the people at the desk are quite accommodating. But nothing compares to the views from the rooms at the back of the hotel—the Santa Monica pier with its electric lights and jumble of humanity, the sweep of beach to the South, littered with funky condos and weather-beaten bric-a-brac houses, the view North to Malibu, mostly cliffs and scrub brush and the churning Pacific Ocean.

   Inside the rooms, the sheets are luscious, the veranda doors open onto small patios and the Spectravision and Internet are well-edited. The bathroom is large enough to turn around in, with a showerhead pulling enough pressure to unkink one’s cranky muscles and a tub deep enough for soaking those knots away. The best of lower Santa Monica is all within walking distance, and all of it comes with the replenishing scent of sea air.

The Leaves of Plants & Weeds

  For every plant, there is an almost identical weed. How do you tell them apart? Especially in the blinding sun, quite possibly covered with sweat. Look to the leaves. The ones with holes are the plants—and they are riddled with tears because the insects eat what is good, not poison. As we move through the world, think about that… the things that are slightly worn and torn, especially from hard work, deep passion, real commitment, are probably the things that should inspire us, remind us what beauty truly is. Like the plants and the weeds and the holes.

The Movie Issue Oxford American (DVD)

   The ultimate literary journal of true Southern culture opens another vein of communication with its Movie Issue, which celebrates everything from Dorothea Lange’s photographs to Joey Lauren Adams writing/directing debut “Come Early Morning” with Ashley Judd. To that end, they have compiled a wondrous DVD that moves through so many phases and stages of visual communication - ending with a bit of the controversial sex addiction/crossroads bluesman cure “Black Snake Moan.”

   Sometimes it’s not just about the writing, but the breathing and the seeing. To experience this upcoming issue of one of the greatest achievements of regional pride and definition is to have one’s reality given a sensory overhaul. Anyone who fancies themselves literary, intellectual or aware of one of America’s most humanistically fetid areas needs to pay attention to this publication.

“I Wanna Be Your Man” Roger

Smmmmmmoooooooooootthhhhhhhhhhh old school soul. Working the same oeuvre as the Isley Brothers, the Delfonics, the Chi-Lites, Zapp’s Roger Troutman makes it straight-up and flat-out as the waves of quivering synth flourishes, filigrees and cushions keep lapping in, washing the listener in sexual need and the pledge of commitment. If Prince was a nasty boy (and he was), Roger was a freak with a candy heart and a french tickler who was all about the pleasure being hers. If adult nocturnity could ever be innocent, this was the epicenter of forever and a good gasp beyond.


Made for Each Other Bronwyn Cosgrove

   Oscars and dresses. Like fish and chips—and vinegar, some things are meant to be together. They bring out the best, enhance, indeed, transform each other. Here, tracing the history of the Academy Awards, the dresses that defined the stars, the years, the moment, UK journalist Bronwyn Cosgrove captures the curiosity that makes what the actresses wear on the red carpet as important to most of the viewers as who actually wins. A quick read, a lot of history, a definite butterfly net that sweeps up the moments without drowning them under stiff prose or overblown hyperbole. A deliciously guilty pleasure for fashion fans everywhere.

www.mymms.com

  22 colors to choose from. The option to have your own message printed on them. To call them vanity M&Ms misses the elation of tiny pleasures and simple surprises. Suddenly one of the most munched upon candies of our youth can be customized—and delivered to your front door. Indeed, a girlfriend needed to buy the First Lady of Soul the kind of birthday present that really stands-out—and so, Aretha Franklin is getting a very personally perfect custom order of all pink M&Ms with just the right things printed on the side without the M. Make somebody laugh with ecstasy… order your very own rainbow assortment today.

Not scratching

   Notice it. Recognize it. Experience the sensation. Recognize that to indulge the short term is to create something worse that will last far longer… In knowing that the quick-hit creates consequences worse is to find a whole other kind of relief. Not just the physical—recognition and acknowledgement do wonders for abatement—but the mental, because doing something self-aware gives you a strength and a peace that sustains in very satisfying ways.


“The disease of niceness cripples more lives than alcoholism.”
          ——-Raymond Chandler

   This is not about kindness, compassion or respect, but the veneer of getting along and being thoughtful. Niceness is a self-betrayal of people-pleasing—and it spouts not from a reflection of who one is, but more a reservoir of not wanting to be judged for one’s true self. The moment someone gives into this, they betray their core values—and that is more life-imploding even than crawling into a bottle of brown liquor and numbing out to the way life is. To cure a drinking problem, one need only crawl out of the bottle—it is as obvious as that; to break the shackles of people pleasing, you have to recognize when you’re doing it to outrun judgment or because someone else expects it, rather than doing it because it’s how you truly feel.


Proenza Pink Lancome

   Not quite so bright as bubble gum, but far more intense than baby pink. Proenza Pink, created for the designers’ spring collection, is the knowing side of innocence—and it’s a knowledge that is not about taunting, but understanding one’s stake in the game. In many ways, headier and sexier for the awareness, this is a spring bright that doesn’t overpower, a girly color that doesn’t shriek “bimbo,” a giggle that is in on the joke.

Walking the spaniel

   She is regal, youthful, exuberant, enduring. Put Zelda on the open pavement—watch her go. A joyful trot and a chug-a-chug pace that lets her cover all kinds of ground, while taking in all that falls beneath her paws. Walking the spaniel is fine, unless the spaniel has something to say about it. Then it is a slightly more vigorous, heart-worthy workout that says “I’m alive and I’m thrilled to be here,” humans be damned—and then some!

“Stephane Grapelli: A Life in the Jazz Century” DVD

   Le jazz hot. It was French, steeped in the recklessness of gypsies, churning with the rhythms of something akin to flamenco. Stephane Grapelli was the violinist who made it whirl, gave it grace, plinked and tore at melodies with gusto and broken hearts… and this DVD captures not just his life and times, but includes all the known footage of rogue genius guitarist Django Rhinehart.

   To call it a documentary or historical perspective is true, but misses the breadth and also the surge of passion that is shot through this music. Not outlaw jazz, but certainly music made beyond the limits, stretching what had come before, it’s propulsive, percussive, exceptionally combustive. Examining the why of the how that got here… it IS history, but it’s also something beyond mere linear explanation.

Chocolate Mint Cremes LU

   When one thinks of sandwich cookies, one hardly thinks of Finland—and yet, LU’s Chocolate Mint Cremes take the notion of Oreos, give them a grasshopper cocktail twirl and dip more than half of the wafer’n'filling sandwich in a good quality darkish, yet slightly milky chocolate. Smaller than traditional American cookies, these tiny bites have a flavor closer to natural: the cookies leaning closer to cocoa than contrived, the spread exuding peppermint snap rather than Pepto-flavor. As a little treat, it’s a big quality wallop.  www.LUBiscuitsNA.com

Spanish Architecture

   Stucco, a creamy white or faded terra cotte. Textural, even when it’s smooth. Tile roofs, arched top window frames and bell curved doors. Brightly painted wood adornments, inset tiles that portray scenes, designs, flora. Porticos, porches, arches. Subtly feminine in its lines, yet utterly masculine in its materials and rendering. This is practical, romantic, in keeping with the elements and open enough to let the air and the space be as much a part of the building as the walls, windows and doors.

Twenty Four Hours A Day A Hazelden Daily Reader


   When my father died, this small worn palmful of a little black book was in his personal library. As a longstanding—with periods of revolving door—presence in the original Twelve Step, it was a life preserver for him during times of falter, worry and confusion. And while I have not qualified for his particular Anonymous, it has been a tremendous source of solace, a true relief for thoughts that have plagued me in the months since things have fallen apart.

   It is easy to find reasons why something doesn’t apply—or to assume there is no transference, because we don’t fit the profile, but we might overlook a wonder pool of insight to consider, a balm for the frenzied mind. As basic principles for Western meditation, 24 Hours—- even without my father’s pasted in prayers and notecards of insight found elsewhere - is a pretty great basic place to begin.


Wooly Socks

   A bit scratchy, perhaps, but solid, thick, warming. Worn to bed, they are the equivalent of another blanket. Pulled on over cream they increase absorption and make one feel comforted in an almost return to womb sereneness. If your shoes are too big—or the day chilly—wooly socks make the travels infinitely more survivable; with a thin plastic baggie between the foot and the sock, it is a veritable sauna! And LL Been makes a great version…


The Bird & The Bee

   Trippy cocktail trance. Hypnotic percussive songs. Latin America through the filter of something noir, yet something somehow Audrey Hepburn. Fizzy, subdued, a silken parachute of vibe, this is Boho Soho stuff rambling around Los Angeles’ most romantic canyons. Lulling in the way the vocals billow and poof—from Inara George, daughter of the late phonkee soulrocker Lowell George—over a seriously jazz-grounded motifs crafted by producer/keyboardist Greg Kurtsin, whose teamed with Beck and the Flaming Lips.

   But strip away the facts, and find yourself adrift in a tropicali wash of sunlight, languid moments and the sort of afternoons that melt into sheer bliss. Even the knot of frustration “#%*#ing Boyfriend,” the album’s only dissonant emotional cue, has a back’n'forth groove that sucks you in, perks you up. And so it goes throughout a record you can put on as a subliminal mood quickener.

Lymphatic Drainage

   It sounds disgusting, doesn’t it? Ooodles of ook pouring from your, well, everywhere, tumbling towards your tummy, burbling through your veins—and more than likely requiring the kind of pressure that makes sinus headaches a reason to consider euthanasia. Not so, though.

   Actually quite nurturing. Absolutely grounding. This gentle release of the blockages in one’s fluids immediately makes the body feel more integrity, the energy more present, the flow more powerful. Just when you’re sure you’re beyond all that mystical junk, here comes something that sounds airy fairy, but delivers practical results that are immediately apparent.

Movies The Critics Disdain


   In a world of ever-rising sophistication and standards, attaining critical mass becomes more difficult. When you’re wanting to be elevated, you know that the critics can point you in the right direction… but what about when you want to escape? to laugh? to feel better? Some little frothy, if flawed romantic comedy to take you away… or some inspiring story about a farmer building a rocket? a man building a baseball field based on a dream? or even an almost quite getting a shot below the obvious high test league? These are not life-changing works… and yet, they can change your life, your energy, your mood in the last of a couple of hours.

   Sometimes you don’t need to challenged and expanded, you need to not work, just be in a lighter than air moment. Often the movies the critics disdan—and movies you yourself can pick apart should you feel so high and mighty—are the ones that take you away, release you from your worries and give you that sense of being glad that is so elusive, yet great when you get there. I know: there’s nothing I like more than sweet film (“The Family Stone,” “Elizabeth Town,” “Because I Said So”) or silly theme comedy (“Talladega Nights,” “Austin Powers,” “Devil Wore Prada”) on an incredibly lousy day.

Ibis

   It is, in many ways, the closest thing to the dodo in the modern world. Squatty body, too big bill, a waxy-winged waddler that can move quick on land, dive deep for the fish and paddle around the water as if it were its natural realm. Oddly, air, water and ground are all equally home for the species that is exaggerated in so many ways, yet utterly joyful to watch in its movements in pursuit of… well… food, safety, sleep, peace. Comedic, yet dignified, an ibis is a boiled down huron with a bit of “I Love Lucy” flare.

Silver Palette Cookbook

   After The Joy of Cooking, this was the young, hip cookbook that gave the kitchen back to the post-Betty Crocker generation. Fresh young mothers, working girls, creative types flocked to the fresh ingredient, real herb, authentic but accessible recipes for old favorites, ethnic treasures and clean tastes. Suddenly, anyone could whip up a meal that was memorable, delicious, imaginative—and it was all so easy. Sometimes the classics are classic for a reason.

Narcoticize


   Another one of those just because melted into itself words. The object having an effect beyond a trance, almost a chemically-fueled obsession so potent, that the person in this state is beyond reaching, There is no rational argument to be made, just a frenzied response or lulled out state of focus… and we’ve all been there.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

   Two short verses. Sixty-six words. Everything one needs to keep moving, keep believing, keep on keeping on. Inspiration in direct language. Faith expressed in a way one can embrace without having to wrestle. It is about tribulation, trials, disappointments—and trust in the unseen, the deeper meaning, the reward beyond. Somewhere in all of that is the reason to persevere… for without the abstract, faith is one more string game, and hardly one that delivers. Me, I’m looking for something more—especially in times likes these.

Preen


  Uncoated paperstock creates an organic Bohemian cutting edge without being reduced to another frosty, too-hip style publication. Having just bowed on newsstands, Preen offers up the fresh perspective on unscrubbed loveliness that is natural, unadorned, easy. Whether it’s Keith Richards two daughters Theodora and Alexandra in hip clothes by South Paw, innovatively cast merchandise (accessories adorning lobster), photo spreads of Rolling Stones fans by Joe Szabo and Terry Richardson, articles about a modern day UK commune and the legendary, thematic Madonna Inn in California or designer Q&A with downtown boy Alexander Wang and quick talks with Joanna Newsom and the art of Timothy Marvel Hull, this sheds the constraints of beauty industry built on spackle and façade and offers up a slightly deeper kind of beauty. Yes, they have make-up and clothes, but they also evoke deep held truths, reservoirs of subtle emotions and a notion that what’s on the inside definitely impacts how we look to the world.