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

May 2007

May 2007: Balls, Roots, Crocodile Poses + Unconventional Models of Business


Blueberry Pomegranite Bibita Naturale Italiene  Archer Farms

   Like a nuclear Pixie Stick, this is citric acid rendered triple intense with natural flavorings, a reasonable amount of carbonation and a blend of unlikely flavors that tangles and wrangles your tastebuds into something that makes you want to drink more. Whether on its own over ice—or mixed with a slightly more potent grown-up bracer—Archer Farms has the goods to quench thirst, offer a sophisticatedly intense taste-point that screams of almost too-ripe fruit, sun-soaked groves and lush plants.

Hey, Eugene Pink Martini

   Elegantly cocktail, quixotically global—not in the merely multiculti sense but with the sophistication that lifts the veil on cultures that define culture. Swinging in the elevated Sintra-esque banquette and silk charmeuse sense, this is grown-up folly that suggests neo-Kennedy/Camelot-esque frolics. Steamy Cuban bossa novas, laconic Parisian torch, a dollop of Japanese, a soupcon of Arabic dervishness, but always always plush and sultry, plump with the notion of what could…

   China Forbes is the wow! now girl, with a voice that is all beckon and coy, yet knowing enchantrix melting herself over the 12-musicians proficiency like a slow-rolling ribbon of dulce du leche. To hear her matched with the legendary cabaret singer Jimmy Scott is rapture and Roger Vivier sculptured rose pumps, while the percolating title track—a blow-by-blow of the Joe-who-didn’t-call—is perkily succinct and spot-on. Still it’s the polyrhythmic Latin songs that propel the hips, release the torso and move the feet in untoward directions… all the better to find horizontal planes down the evening.


Eco Jeans Levis

   All organic cotton with green seams. At a time when people are becoming environmentally aware, the good folks at Levi Strauss are putting their denim where our butts are. The more you wash ‘em, the softer and more comfortable they get… and the more you wear them, the more deliciously molded they become. Pricier than the standard Levis, but also a bit yummier in feel.

   And if you’re trending ultra-luxe, the European rendering of the same jeans is taken even further out. Completely sustainable, the button on the waistband is derived from a coconut shell, while the indigo finish is made from potato starch, mimosa flowers and Marseille soap (traditionally milled from olive oil). Even the fly buttons are non-galvanized metal, making your conscious and cosmopolitan at the same time.


Destiny


   It is there. Not something you conjure or create, will or demand. It is there… but it is not manifest until you take hold of the dream, steer towards the light. Destiny is a given, what we do with it is the variable. In our world of excuses, too busy, too much, yeah, well, get around to it, destiny is what we make of it. Pay attention: who knows when or where or how? But when it knocks, you wanna be ready.

“Rumped Up”

  Almost what is sounds like, but so much more civil. Rather than going long for the oh-so-obvious bomb, this is a demi-anatomically correct way of making the point. A bit more creative, a lot for dignified and absolutely more evoking of the region being violated.


Crocodile Pose

   The second simplest yoga pose. Flip corpse over—and viola!
For the non-practitioner, lie on your tummy. Tuck chin slightly. Extend arms. Feel the trunk expand, relax, surrender to gravity. Feel the tension go because there’s no reason to hold it. Breath deeply, exhale slowly. Develop an extended, but circular pattern. It will all flow away…

Twilight William Gay

   The rural answer to jaggedly brutal novelist Cormac McCarthy, William Gay gouges into you with his images, a fistful of details that strangle a moment and an unsentimental way of reporting violence, physical, emotional and otherwise that is almost gutting. An odd undertaker, a moonshiner’s kid trying to stay on the straight and narrow, his somewhat bitter but very beautiful sister, a no-good badass who intimidates his way out of everything converge in a strange dance of vindictiveness, revenge, quirks and a battle royal between hardfought survival, the elements and a backwoods life beyond imagination.

   Electric in the you-are-there-sense of moments exploding, gasp-inducing by the off-handed nature of meanness and gore, Twilight is serious fiction for people who aren’t put off by how heartless, senseless and cruel the world can be. Riveting in the most legitimate sense of the word.

Deb Koepler Facial Koepler Salon, Palm Beach, FL.

   It is an unassuming second floor salon, filled with sunlight and peachy walls, yet the transformation of one’s skin from from leather to angel’s cheeks makes it pure heaven. Koepler, her own ray of light, is impossibly cheery and bottomlessly encouraging—and without harsh chemicals, painful extractions and scratchy exfolliants, she brings out the best in everyone’s dermis.

   It is no wonder she is the Palm Beach insiders’ secret weapon: a woman who understands the flesh in the most literal sense—and knows how to bring forth the glow, the freshness, the beauty beneath all that time, the elements and the products obscure. Not only will you emerge with beautiful skin, you will somehow feel renewed from the inside out—no mean feat for what would seemingly be merely a facialist. Merely, hardly. Worth the trek… and then some.


Roasted Roots Bread & Co, Nashville



   Parsnips, carrots and various crunchies make this side-dish the healthiest alternative to the alternatives. Enough body to the jumbo matchstick cuts to give you a reason to chew. Slow roasted to keep the nutrients in, intensify the flavors and also mellow the edge of the taste. If you’re trying to be healthy, want a side dish that gives you move than calories, this is good cold with a sandwich or warmed with something more classically entrée-like.



“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what people say. I jut watch what they do.”
             

   Helen Walker used to tell me “Don’t hear what they say, hear what they do.” In that tumbledown philosophy much can be revealed about the human spirit, ethos and grounding. Talk is easy. Insight a little more difficult. But action is where intention becomes reality. And just because someone has the answer, if they don’t help put it into play, then they may as well babble babel.

   It is a banner measure of integrity. How many people have warranted they care about your welfare, swore if things worked, there’ll be plenty for all, then as the returns pour in, uneasily squirm and twist, then sidestep and backpedal out of their commitment. Beyond the lack of follow-through, it tells you everything about the character of the man.



Zelda Dreams of Flying

   There with the window in the hall open, she sat… her nose tilted up into the air, sniffing something on the late spring breeze. She kept sniffing, kept looking up and out, kept her eyes above the horizon—and every now and then, she would look at me and almost smile. She knows she can fly… can coast and float on the wind currents, be free of all age and gravity, just sail around in the trees, under the stars.

   Zelda dreams of flying, Shouldn’t we?

The Square Grouper Jupiter, Florida

   Maybe it’s the notion of salt, lime and cheap beer. Maybe it’s the idea that it’s time to come out of the house, kick back and disappear into a chilled out groove. Perhaps it’s pining for a place where laidback is the happiest hours on earth. Located in the historic Castaways Marina on the top of Palm Beach County, this sea shack home of mixed drinks and the mixed-up getting by truly is the answer to civilization. The kind of bar nobody cares who you are, and the fact that you’re belly-up to the counter is enough to make you somebody. Watch the boats come and go, the sun fall and the night rise…


Balls Elizabeth Cook

Saucy, brassy, brash and brazen, Elizabeth Cook is every bit the lady, every bit the truth-teller and especially every bit the rural/red clay texture. She writes with directness and doesn’t shy away from her own hurt or vulnerable places, making the Rodney Crowell-produced Balls a tour-du-heart—and an album that drops somewhere between Loretta straight-up turpentine, Emmylou’s silvery rockin’, Dolly’s put-it-out-there spice and Chrissie Hynde’s unflinching swagger.

   Yes, the title track’s moxy—“It Takes Balls To Be A Woman”—gives the moonshiner’s daughter the in-your-face reality check of what it takes to be XX (chromosomally-speaking), but she’s also perfectly at home on the Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning.” Absolutely, there’s the Appalachianly faded curtain acoustic “Mama’s Prayers” and the giddy-up rockabillyish “He Got No Heart,” but his bristling “Times Are Tough In Rock & Roll” is both an indictment of disposable pop culture and the ache of her own ride on the star-making express to nowhere. For hardcore, old school and progressive fans of authenticity, it’s all here and good to go.

L’Autre Dyptique

   It is the smell—so I imagine—of an African spice market. Sun-baked, slightly sweaty, mingled spices and truculent scents that conjure tastes exotic, yet slowly cooked to their essence. It is musky in the way of far off places, commerce and flesh pressed in top close to seek what is desired. This is not in-your-face erotic charge, but more the real life rubbing of flesh, pheromones and the currency of living, trading, tasting. Not for those who lack imagination, obviously, but absolutely for those who fling their conjurements as far as across the heavens as there is sky.



“Countdown with Keith Olberman” 8 pm MSNBC

   It is smart. It is snarky. It is quick cuts through the headlines, with no holds barred. Merging pop culture attack with social impact, policy ramifications with bottomline takes, the former ESPN anchor makes a mad-dash at the hypocrisy, lunacy and often stupidity amongst the entitled and ruling classes. To slice through the smokescreen of spinners and apologists, this is the ironists way… and getting inside the story while laughing at the ludicrous surreality of it sure makes the daily breakdown of who did what to whom a whole lot easier to fathom, if not swallow.

Small Dreams

   Not everyone has to win the Indy 500, an Oscar or the Republican Presidential nomination to have a dream to steer towards. Small dreams—attainable wonders—make life worth living. Is it watching the sun come up somewhere you’ve never been? Swinging under the constellations? Doing something you’ve never done before? Or retracing some magical experience?

   It is the small dreams, the ones we can reach on tippy-toe that embolden us. And the more dreams we reach for that we just might touch, the stronger our dreams become. Start small, who knows? Who knows how big what you dream could be?

Send: The Essential Guide to Email for Office and Home David Shipley and Will Schwalbe

   Conservatively, most people receive 100 e-mails a day. Not counting weekends, holidays, system shutdowns, that means - roughly 30,000 e-mails a year. To delete. To absorb. But especially, to respond to. It is the mountain of grain that exponentiates every time you turn around… REPLY ALL is the factor that gets everyone in on it, and then they stack up, pile up and never quite catch up to the one that arrives just before it.

   New York Times Op/Ed editor David Shipley and the impossibly adorable Will Schwalbe set out to create a little order in the overgrowth—providing a simple set of basic courtesies, forms and (eeek) rules to make what can eat you alive a bit more considerate. For them, it’s about clarity, brevity and—especially—accuracy. It makes perfect sense, not to mention the reality of e-mail arriving both without tone to set its context or the ability to gauge reaction. If ever a book was a gift with perfect timing, Send arrives as the cybertech communication vortex stands to implode, taking much civility with it.

Organic Hot Chocolate Drink Green & Black’s


   A heady, grainy mixture of raw cane sugar, cocoa nibs and a hint of vanilla make this the easiest and perhaps most captivating hot chocolate mix out there. Produced in England, Green & Black’s is a creamy cloud without being cloying, artificial or overly bitter. Mixed with hot milk, one gets a cup of richness that has a subtle, grown-up appeal—and if one is feeling a bit playful, stir in a dash of cinnamon or ginger to the standard mix.


“Rebel, Rebel” David Bowie


   Easily one of the great rock & roll anthems of all time. With the rushing, charging forward motion of the verses, one is flung ahead of oneself only to realize that you can’t go fast enough. It is a song about coming of age, chugging and pulsing with the insurrection that only wanting one’s place in it all can inspire—and it also has that wonderful innocence that makes fervor such an unquenchable fire amongst the young.

   Bowie, preternaturally cool—even when assuming persona extraterrestrial, is at his flamboyant best, beating the lyric with an abandon normally reserved for more carnal pleasures. And yet? Isn’t this a song about the wild ones, the way they are reckless beyond thought and the way they capture our imagination and make us wanna go fast? This is not Faulker, Chaucer or Didion, and yet… it moves you in ways that are just as profound. Pop it, and let the rapture begin.

Vanderbilt Men’s Baseball Team

   It is a school that cares about academics. They throw next-to-nothing at their athletic programs, and they almost revel in the “whatever” of that fact. Head coach Tim Corbin has been courted by the biggest school’s in the Southeast, but he prefers the scrappy little team who did it without all the fanfare—as the Vanderbilt Commodores rest securely at #1 in the SEC’s Eastern Division. Excellence has a way of translating—which Corbin knows and has harnessed—challenging us all to consider how to achieve without all the obvious accoutrements of “having it all.”


Ridiculously Soft Greek Sandals Chie Mahara

My friend the bohemian wanderluster has to get to London’s Heathrow early—always. And this pair of Greek-inspired gladiator-babe sandals was this trip’s bounty. Dreamy soft leather straps that wrap around her sylphlike ankles, making her feel secure, yet coddled—and allowing observers to indulge their randy minds to drift in too many directions. The bottom line, though, is comfort. They look sexy without trying, by inviting rather than flaunting, and they’re not so cutting edge they’re cold. Every woman deserves to have her feet bound by this wonderful cobbler who plies his craft in the most supple Spanish leather imaginable. Eurodecadent, yet impossibly practical. Knowing that, how could guilt possibly ensue?

www.chiemahara.com 


Praying For Friends/Friends Praying for Me

Sometimes the answer to “what can I do?” from a well-meaning friend when we’re in a tight circumstance is one word: pray. Collective energy, intention and intervention on the spiritual plan is perhaps the most potent thing we can contribute, and it’s something that can be done anywhere. In what has been—loosely—a rollercoaster year, this has become my answer to everything.

   And when someone I care for tells me “nothing,” when I ask what I can do, I understand. I let them be… and I pray on their behalf. Costs nothing, takes moments, changes lives.


“In The Land of Women”

   Trying to reckon with his shattered heart from his break-up with the perfect woman, Adam Brody plays an emergent screenwriter who tries to regain his equilibrium by leaving Los Angeles to care for his aging and ailing grandmother in Michigan. Life in the flyover isn’t nearly as neat and tidy as he assumed—as the writer plunges into the world of single mom Meg Ryan who is trying to cope with the turbulence of her teenage daughter played by Kristen Stewart.

   Conventionally unconventionally, Brody’s Carter Webb finds himself somewhere between the two—tumbling into their emotional whitewaters and coming up dizzy from his own coursing desires. Real life, as the screenwriter now fully immersed learns, is not clearcut and simple—and in finding himself as well as recognizing the struggles of these women with whom he’s entangled offers a revealing look into the tangled veins of emotions, experiences and alliances that are caring.


Cinqo de Mayo


   On May 5, 1862, 6000 French soldiers waged battle against 2000 Mexican fighters in two forts. Though one fort was destroyed, 2000 French perished—and the Mexicans won the Battle of Puebla. Not exactly Mexican Independence Day, this was a significant victory—one where heart and valor bested numbers and theoretical military superiority.

   As an opportunity to celebrate one’s heritage and take pride in their quest for autonomy, Cinqo de Mayo is a milestone that speaks to the heroism of a humble, but hard-working people. As a reason to be festive and come together, it merges struggle with euphoria: never a bad balance to strike.

Rickie Lee Jones Interview Disc/Website KGSR

   Again and again, KGSR freeform dee jay Jody Denberg sinks into conversations with true artistic iconoclasts and emerges with personality, insight and the pivot point of a critical transformation. Here the man with a voice like a Brillo Pad made of mohair discusses the creative zeitgeist of bebop hipster Rickie Lee Jones’ salvation-leaning, Bible-thumping Sermon on Exposition Ave without being self-conscious, cowed or overly solicitous of the literalist spiritual grounding of her most recent work.

   Scraping away the obvious and the rhetorical, what emerges is a living organism that is about musicality, merging and fusing the ecumenical and inspirational with modern totemics. But the back-and-forth is both revealing and brisk, making Jones’ sometimes painful examinations a sharing of truths amongst good friends rather than artist handing-down-the-tables-of-meaning. Fascinating in what it says about where songs’ come from, the glistening evolution of creativity and ego in proper perspective.


Double Lives

   Maybe it’s some silly little thing that you do that no one knows you do… Or maybe it’s some notion or past life that you can’t quite put away. I have one. Every other Thursday for the most part. Nobody really knows what it is, where I go or what I do. No one knowing gives me mystery, even as it changes nothing about the cosmic balance beyond my own sense of satisfaction with self.

   Having this double life makes me think we all should have some other pursuit, other defining reality—but one we keep to ourselves, just for ourselves. What could be more fulfilling than an endeavor that is strictly for you? No one else gets to judge, decide or have control. Something that is just your’s… and your’s alone. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? I can promise it is.


Tie Back Dress Govango

   Somewhere between vintage Lilly Pulitzer and old school Key West Fabrics comes Govango’s primary colors and demi-primitive prints. Tigers and mermaids and angel fish cavort in simplistic renderings that sometimes melt into paisley tracts and vertical stripes, groves of palms and clusters of fauna. At less than a hundred dollars each, this brightly rendered little dress goes from lunch to lanai, courtside to cocktails with nothing more than a quick swipe of mascara and lipgloss.

   For preps who can reach beyond the obvious, Govango—from entirely too “it” girl Lilly Van Gerbick—is the secret handshake and skeleton key of admission to the innermost circle. If you can’t find it near you, you can always cyberspace to www.corrico.com

Forgiveness Jim Grimsley

   Darkly comical, oddly suspenseful. Jim Grimsley weaves the inner monologue of a bankrupt and unraveling accounting executive whose final grab for mattering in today’s spotlight obsessed world is his fixation on the brutal murder of his wife and mockingly indifferent grown children. Hard-boiled cadence takes the ego-plumping discourse through a series of misadventures, moments and delusions (including a Starbucks chance rendezvous with Nicole Kidman, who clearly “wants” him) to the suddenly plummeting denouement.

   In our avaricious and highly acquisitional culture, this is the spiral for status and more gone south—a consequence not just of not keeping up with the Joneses, but the chunk of coal shattering from the pressure long before diamond hardness is attained. In that mad grab for celebrity and the extended gaze, this is what it’s come to. On the heels of Virginia Tech, it’s a quick and riveting read that while satirical, isn’t as far from the truth as we’d probably like to think.


St. George

   There are those who say he didn’t slay the dragon, rescue the princess and convert Libya as the story goes, but what does it matter? He heroism is demonstrative of a sweeping ideal most of us mortals need not achieve to make a difference. Long the patron saint of crusaders as well as England, Germany, Portugal, Aragon, Genoa and Venice, the light his legend holds to our parched imaginations is every bit as enthralling as the courage demonstrated. Anyone seeking something more, better, scary need only close their eyes, conjure that fiery carbuncled serpent gone supersized and believe they have what they need to facedown their demons.

Vanilla/Sandalwood 3 Wick Candles White Barn New York, Body + Bathworksda

   Not too big for your table, but casting three different tongues of golden light. It’s a seductive blend of creamy essence of Madagascar and the spicy nose-capturing intrigue of sandalwood. These are the kind of candles that settle you in, open you up, take you to places your buttoned down self would never consider—and they do it with a lulling immersion of comforting sensuality and a subtle eau de desire.

Colonics


   Yeah, yeah—I snickered with discomfort, too. But let’s clear up the misconceptions: it doesn’t hurt, there’s no meaningful pressure and it’s only as much of a mind-pump as you make it. A whole different kind of hygenics—from the inside out—and yet, when you start considering the reality of same, almost more vital and necessary than our daily showers. Inhale deeply, exhale slowly, find out.

“I would never do anything to turn over the smile of a friend.”
                   ——-Manuel Cuev

   Yes, he is the man who made Elvis’ solid gold suit, rhinestoned everyone from Elton John to Porter Wagoner, Dwight Yoakam to the Rolling Stones and supervised the costuming of “Electric Horseman” and “Urban Cowboy,” but Manuel’s greatest gift may be the way he casts his eye not across bolts of tropical weight luxe wool twill, but life itself.

   There are so many truisms, complicated philosophies and tricky codes to live by. For Manuel, who just wants to create and support a beautiful world, this is as simple as it gets. Do nothing that would turn over a friend’s smile… Believe in their dreams… laugh at their jokes… cheer them when they’re rocking… cheer them up when they’re sad. Simple, yet if we all took this tack, imagine how warm and generous our world could be.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” May 25, 2007


   And so, the return of Captain Jack Sparrow… and the plunder of all that is rogue’s treasure. “What would you do?” is the refrain that resonates through all, as Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightley, Geoffrey Rush and Chow Yun Fat take to Singapore and the high seas in a quest for the now dead uber-scoundrel immortalized by Johnny Depp—and inspired by Keith Richards, who makes a cameo.

   For all who were enraptured by the life beyond the law and utter braggadocio and brashness of the first two films, this is slated to bring the bubble to a boil, merging effects with reckless adventure and plenty of knee high boots, ruffled collars, brass buttons and poets shirts carelessly left open. It is as much the visual intoxication as the charge ‘n’ hurl pacing that lures us in, and the trailer promises much that should thrill and pleasure in that seen, if not tasted way that is the rush of grand cinema.

Mini Zen Garden


   The teeny little box, scarcely as big as a pack of cigarettes, holds everything you need: some sand, some stones, a small rake. Set up your zen garden and play. Meander. Rearrange. Drag your rake and create intricate patterns. Mostly lose yourself in the mindless tactile truth of creation. This is a tangible process—minimal enough to not require any meaningful commitment and compact enough to stage anywhere. A bit of an oasis wherever you bring it to life… a few moments beyond, which is everything busy, mentally taxed people can wish for. Ahhhhhhhh.

Chocolate Fried Pies JJ’s


   Boasting “Real Chocolate Filling” on the box, there is something honest rather than embalmed or waxy about this artery clogging bit of old school indulgence. Almost fresh-seeming, smooth puddingy insides and a buttery crust that stands up, but seems real. Glazed—of course—the folded-over handpie is an on-the-go morsel of sweetness that is countered by the creaminess it contains… and for fans of more traditional fruit flavors (cherry, berry, peach and apple) as well as classic lemon, these are good to go. Microwave for outta the oven decorum, or out of the box room temperature instant gratification.


The Boy Who Cried Freebird Mitch Myers

   Short blurbs. Profiles. Moments. Fables. Whimsy. Expect no less from Shel Silverstein’s nephew and executor than a ragtag collection of bursts that careen between Creem’s irreverence, The Village Voice’s intellectualism and NPR’s absolutely narrative “All Things Considered,” to which Myers is a contributor. And in this free-for-all, Black Sabbath and Doug Sahm can go belly-to-belly with the man who cried “Freebird” at every show he ever went to and beyond; Tina Turner and Phil Spector, Steve Albini, Frank Zappa, Eno and Richard Meltzer offer the alchemist’s perspective, but then there’s the jazz of Duke Ellington, Art Blakely and Thelonious Monk, reckless abandoners ranging from Johnny Thunders, Grand Funk and the Mekons and forerunners Robert Johnson, Sixties Psychedelia and Aretha Franklin.

   This is the man who gave our culture “Requiem for a Cowbell,” debated “Classics v. Anthems” and found ways to address the Grateful Dead, Alejandro Escovedo and Lou Reed’s almost impenetrable Metal Machine Music with equal facility. It is that ability to slip in and out of the oeuvres, burrow into the essence and not flinch at the laughable that makes Myers a rock/culture writer worth reading: he infuses his work with the zeal of fan, the honesty of the self-aware but also the practiced eye of discernment.

www.greendimes.com

   For $30 a year, these folks will not only stop 70-90% of your junk mail (PRICELESS!), but they will plant a tree in your name every month for that year. Whether or not there is such a thing as global warming, waste is waste—and that most certainly includes all the unwanted bulk clogging your mail box. This can be gifted… or self-inflicted: all you do is pick the catalogues you want, they do the rest.

“Who You Want To Take To The Party” Business Model

   My beautiful friend Marshall of the vowels attenuated for days has gone through one of the most Technicolor lives and accrued much serene wisdom. After all the fascinating friends, colorful characters and pinwheel personalities, it comes down to this simple truth: who do you want to take to the party? Because in those moments of celebration, victory, growth, beyond, who do you want to share your joy with? And if you break it down to something so simple, how hard is it knowing who to do business with? Indeed.

Jane Only


   Noir spaghetti Westerns with a cocktail sense and a throbbing echo chamber of the human heart. Jane Only exists beneath the radar, bewitching, betwixting and beguiling those who know of the quick-cracking drum snap, watery guitar currents buzzing and bristling, and that laconically smoky voice that is equal parts Marianne Faithful, Christine McVie and Rosanne Cash at her moistest. Jane Only neither wants to recede or obscure, yet they are not self-promoting maniacs hell-bent on klieg light sweeping attention grabs.

   Still in the developmental stages, anyone in Nashville when the lo-fi, low-key quintet suits up and jangles the rafters with their VU-esque murkiness would do well to make the time. They shall before too long become one of those bands everyone will have claim to have seen “when,” and this is your notice that when is now—if you want to be one of ones who’s not lying about being at the germination.