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

September 2007

September 2007: Pirate Folders, Marie Antoinette’s Paris, Salvation & Sin & Bilge Water


Black Box Wine

   Seriously good wine in a bag in a box. Pink elephants jumping over the moon made of blue cheese, right? Actually, vintage caliber wine in a bag in a box is now available at a margin of the cost of bottles—and once opened, because of the vacuum-packing, will last 4-6 weeks. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots are all California grown, while the Shiraz—aka Syrah—comes from Australia, and each has a high rate of drinkability that makes one feel more sophisticated than the price suggests.



www.blackboxwine.com

Fall on the Lips of Daybreak

   That first chill of sun-up. The one that suggests “soon the leaves will turn.” It is a whisper, a finger on one’s shoulder, the notion that it’s all starting to change. There is nothing like that first tinge, twinge of autumnal briskness—and it burns off even before the day officially begins. But it braces you with knowledge of what’s coming.


The Land of Salvation & Sin - The Georgia Satellites

   Like a buzz saw slashing through three chords, the Georgia Satellites rumination on Southern culture, nomenclature, realities and hungers is a masterwork that failed to elevate the little band that raised a backbeat like Tigger on a pogo stick and guitars like the hybrid seedlings of Lowell George/Ron Wood/Steve Gaines’n'Keith Richards to the status of Rebel Yell Replacements.

   Every bit as raucous, rowdy, rocking and randy as ‘mat Paul Westerburg, the accent seemed to get in lead squaler Dan Baird’s way—a shame because he is perhaps the most pure, true rawk’n'roll front person today. Equal parts Jagger/Rod Stewart/gap-toothed Steven Tyler, these yowling holler calls about brazen women, Hell-bent adventures, haunted moments, lost chances and a culture overlooked by the masses is a thematic masterpiece that sonically holds up like the most timeless records. Anyone who says they love to rock, needs to know this music. Now.

   With female aching from Nicolette Larson on “Sweet Blue Midnight” the stomp’n'grind of the aptly-titled “Shake That Thing,” the rebel rave of “I Dunno” and the dug down groove and far lost guitar figure of “All Over But The Cryin’” establish the potency of stripped down, straight up nasty rock a la the Faces, the early Stones, the juke-jointers, all-nighters and other honky tonky heroes stoking it out. Not to mention a napalm take on Joe South’s “Games People Play” that’s a blaze of testosterone-soaked indictment of the status quo.

“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
       ——William Faulkner

   Whatever small effort one makes brings you a little farther along the road, and brings you further than if you’d never bothered at all. And for people who get so lost in “how little a little bit matters,” they miss the power of cumulative effect. The more little bits you put together, the sooner you have the whole you desire. One small stone at a time

“The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”
       ——William Faulkner

   Whatever small effort one makes brings you a little farther along the road, and brings you further than if you’d never bothered at all. And for people who get so lost in “how little a little bit matters,” they miss the power of cumulative effect. The more little bits you put together, the sooner you have the whole you desire. One small stone at a time

Bengal Spice Tea Celestial Seasonings

   As close as you can get to chai in a tea bag, cinnamon and chicory dominate with ginger, cardamon, black pepper, cloves and nutmeg as undernotes. Bengal Spice has a strong note of vanilla to mellow the spice—and it warms as much from the flavors as it does from the temperature of the water.

Shoes Pedro Garcia

   A maverick Latin designer from a world where shoes are sex and sex is, well, well-shod. Working from the broadening slope of a tango heel, Garcia’s line—in both linen and satin, as well as traditional leathers—speaks of the fullness of a woman’s body, and they support the frame with a posture shifting weight-lift. But that is only half the story.

   Adorned with bits of material, ribbons, rosettes, diamante and other jewels, each rendered in a variety of shades ranging from basic to bravura, these are court shoes for gypsies, bohemians, urchins and princess of the street, the garret and the gutter. Now only slightly too much money, look for his prices to hit nosebleed strata as America catches on.


Kibbelicious adj (ki-BAH-li-shus)

   Pradadada-ese for something absolutely yummy. Kin to kibedelic, an equally laudatory designation. For Zelda Fitzgerald Spaniel Gleason, it’s very clear: the world is either something delicious, or it’s a bore. This is her highest designation of “oh, yes, thank you”—and anyone who’s ever fed a spaniel or other form of higher life knows the reality.

   Now, finally, the humans can use it, too.

“Since I Fell For You” Brent Mason, The Players’ Gigs, 3rd & Lindsley, Nashville

There is this smoky rhythm & blues undertow that underscores how upside down, yet just so right this man’s life is; Mason’s voice carrying the weight, yet exulting in the rapture of what he’s found. Walk through rain, burning sun, snow, razor showers, whatever it takes—as Mason’s serpentine guitar filigrees wrap around this melody like an ivy vine on an old stone house. Though the Players are known as Music City’s “A Team” of country session players, their roots run deeper, and this slow burn witness to full-immersion erotic, romantic meltdown is as compelling for what it holds back as what it lets fly. One listen is all you need to know


“What Would A Pirate Do” Folders

   Twisting the ever-popular WWJD acronym into a black and white wheel of plunder, this back-to-school special is too hip to just got to class. With a “WWPD” emblazoned across the top and a skull & crossbones to spin - and a host of options for it land on, including “Loot & Pillage,” “Swab The Deck,” “Take No Prisoners,” “Keelhaul a Scurvy Dog” and “Maroon A Scallywag,” this is haute concept that actually maintains its hilarity and its wicked cool factor. For the tiniest edge, start here.



www.accoutrements.com

Burgundy

   The color, not the vintage. That deep sense of claret descending, a color rich and dense enough to sink into. Enough purple to turn crimson regal, it is a complex shade that speaks elegance without a word, elevation in candlelight or high beams, lusciousness with its mere being. Cast in velvet, it is the most impossibly rich and exquisite realization of the shade imagined.

Le Payard 1032 Lexington, New York City

   Extravagantly grown-up, yet utterly charming as an old school patisserie. A place where the young can find myriad sugary, chocolately, buttery treats—ranging from pastry to gelato to baked goods as suitable for breakfast as high tea. The front feels high Parisienne, the back a tufted Manhattan boite. An afternoon can be wiled away over a cappuccino and tarte, or one can have an exquisite lunch of French fare/comfort food that makes one feel a bit less jaded. And there’s a cookbook for when one gets home! Alors!

Talking for Hours


   About nothing, and everything. Circular curlicues of conversation that don’t follow any linear logic, just meander wherever they please. Littered with tales, insights, memories, moments, sensations. There are questions—like pop up flys or fireworks, just there with a bolt of excitement, then gone. Still the chatter continues, its own reward.

   Ahhhh, to be so engaged. The ultimate delight of our being.

Yummy in Prague

  The e-mail from a girlfriend, about the list. From the city of 1,000 spires, an astronomical clock and the Kafka Museum. Shreds of news about people we know, states of health, rest logged and time to be spent. The notion of anyone reading the Yummy List, not just half a world away, but in a place of such historic seismic stuff and beauty shows us how far we can hurl our dream without even leaving our sofa.


Automated Airplanes

   Small and remote controlled. Perfectly balanced, swooping and circling like dive bombing gulls or crows on a mission. Automated planes with their whirring propellers and their humming little motors zigzagging across the sky, over fields, taking the Wright Brothers moment and casting it small enough that anyone with a will and control box can enjoy—and even those of us too busy to figure it out can watch and marvel at the tiny things that fly in the face of gravity.


“Gram Parsons - Fallen Angel” DVD


   When Gram Parsons OD’ed at 26, leaving behind a mystic country hybrid—with nods to soul and the Stones—it cemented the beautiful young man’s place in the realm of mythic mystery. But how the orange grove heir passed through Harvard, headed west, found the Byrds, then founded the Flying Burrito Brothers while being catalytic on Sweetheart of the Rodeo and anchoring The Gilded Palace of Sin was never adequately examined.

   Now Gandulf Hennig, the BBC and several critical players—including the woman in the Joshua Tree Desert with him when he OD’d—deconstruct the truth behind the visionary who teamed with an undiscovered silvery voiced sylph named Emmylou Harris for two wondrous solo albums G.P. and Grievous Angel, as well as inspired “Wild Horses” and launched a roots rock movement, a country music rebellion and to some was the jump off point for the Southern California country rock intersection that culminated in the Eagles’ early albums. With interviews from family, Harris, Chris Hillman, Dwight Yoakam and Keith Richards, as well as widow Gretchen Parsons Carpenter and former tour manager Phil Kaufman—plus acolytes Dwight Yoakam, Pete Buck from r.e.m.—this gives insight and offers legacy. Certainly worth the effort.

“Bilge water seeks its own level.”
     —-Kathie Orrico

   Another jewel of wisdom from my beloved Kathie Orrico, this one a lovely double-faced truism. Certainly addressing the notion of like being attracted to its own kind, but also a balm for those times someone gets gate-checked for an absolutely inferior being. Perhaps one didn’t have enough information to know going in; but in the end, it’s obvious by the company one chooses that a person you may’ve put on a pedestal may’ve actually been a sewer dweller that was passing themselves off as something else.


Cheesesteak Factory 114 E. Houston St., New York City

   It is too late. You forgot to eat. You want protein. You can’t face deli. Oh, and you’re trendy, so you’re downtown. Viola! Philly without needing to hit the Skuykil Expressway, all oozing white American and limp onions over chipped steak on a roll. Healthy? Lets not get carried away, but at 2 a.m. nummy is nutritious enough.

Big Surprises in Small Unexpected Moments

   She had mentioned once years ago, then again in a wistful moment. The ultimate Moby, the dream that she could almost touch, never quite have. A working girl who scrimped for her indulgences, a dear friend who would drop everything to help and so, a clandestine call to her beau, a little closet homework: Voila!
   There she was, in the hallway. Holding the sloping black 4” stilettos, not able to breathe or think or get her bearings. A pair of Manolo Blahniks for someone wonderful, a bit of a pinch for me, yet for all of the jams scraped out of, hardly enough. And always, ALWAYS, that moment of shock and elation will be mine to remember, and smile.


Rosanne Cash & Steve Earle “Crossroads” CMT Sept. 15

   Two of the depth charges of country music’s progressive credibility movement of the ‘80s, these intelligent singers of songs written with razors came together to share their past, celebrate old favorites (Earle’s “Someday” and “Guitar Town,” Cash’s “Seven Year Ache”) and watch new songs (Cash’s “Burn Down This Town,” “Wailing Wall,” Earle’s “Jerusalem”) sparkle. Two journeytalents on parallel paths, their music has maintained its quality, their truths have remained pristine—and the lives shared provided common ground for tales of people thriving and surviving between broken lines and broken lives.

   Her with the rich merlot meets charmeuse alto, him of the craggy rusted hinge exhortation. Burlap and pearls for the common man and the random dreamer, this is the heady stuff that reminds us that songs and hearts and real people are what makes country music so potent and important. Indeed, something that shouldn’t be forsaken on our way to the Wal-Mart mondo-center.

Grapefruit as Oranges


   Peel them. Section them. Eat them. Just like a common snack. Slightly more bitter, every bit as nutritious. A grown-up spin on a childhood favorite.


Fast Supper T-Shirt Threadbare.com


   Irony ironed-on (or most likely screened) to all-cotton. The Last McSupper, writ iconic with the Ronald of McDonald, the Colonel of Saunders, Wendy as Mary Magdalene (freckles will never be as wholesome again), the Burger King and more The Fast Supper, hardly of Biblical proportions—and yet every bit, metaphorically, as final.

Martha Stewart at 65

   Love her. Hate her. Whatever. But looking at the dowager Stepford Wife, it’s a strange sense of relief that 65 can look like that. That’s right, people. SIXTY-FIVE. With her windblown blonde locks—obviously strewn with platinum—fresh face and classic clothes, Stewart’s look is hitting one’s stride of life, not get-ready-for-Granny. Whether you think she’s a housefrau Attila or not, what she walks gives anyone considering life beyond Botox hope, and should make those bony-ass-little-girl-chasing-men pause to consider the eroticism of strength, knowledge and sensuality before going for the 20-something.

“Waiting on the World to Change” Video John Mayer

   Sure, he’s sensitive singer/songwriter stuff for wan girls who wanna fall for someone who just understands, but that dismissal misses the fact that the guy is broadening the palate of pop music by invoking the blues, offering a commitment to playing and seeking to expand a videocentric love-me,love-my-curls-scape by bringing in skull ski mask- and gasmask-sporting taggers who spray paint provocations for the inert, while he sings a song of recognition of the problems for those who feel disenfranchised and powerless. Shot in black and white, juxtaposing the lone musician walking along the river with cuts of street level graffiti artists going about their day, there’s more overlap than dissonance between the worlds. And in that an exploding “Exploitation” and the submachine gun “k” of “Wake Up” take on a war-over-peace reality left upon the walls, you think the way the lyrics lean
.
   As my friend Michael Stanley says, “It’s Your World: Pay Attention.” This is Mayer’s attempt at putting a visual fuse into his generation’s consciousness.

Roman Holiday NARS

   A completely Malibu Barbie color. Opaquely sheer pale pink. Goes on with a whispery thick coverage, and yet, it is definite pigment. The kind of color Joey Heatherton would’ve worn with her platinum shag haircut and vinyl go-go boots on a Bob Hope USO Tour of Viet Nam back when. Innocence mixed up, almost, with a Warholian Edie Sedgewick/Nico-esque squalid decadence. imploding. Nihilism wrestling Gidget for the keys to the car on prom night—and either way, the color works.

Fifth Chakra


   The throat chakra. The place where the truth, the words needing to be spoken get trapped. The cathedral of our _expression where the sentences spill out into greater realities and revelations. The fifth chakra makes us known—lets us tell people who we are, what we see, why it matters.
   When we stuff our emotions, they get tangled here. In lost moments, whether sorrow-laden, frustrated or anger-swallowed, place a hand a few inches from your throat and feel the heat. Let it rise up, feel your hand drawing whatever it is into your palm—then notice the way your throat releases. Powerful stuff, and effective


David Schnauffer RIP

   The news came through unlikely, circuitous channels, but the news was real. David Schnauffer, perhaps the finest dulcimer player who’d ever lived, had passed away far too young. Those who knew, absolutely knew, how special a musician this gentleman was. A true player, he continually reinvented the possibility of the Appalachian stringed instrument struck—on most days, though not when Schnauffer embraced the bowed Tennessee Music Box approach that was the dulcimer’s precursor—with tiny mallets, known as hammers.
   My friend who shared the news played, too. He’d been at festivals where the virtuoso demonstrated equally impressive humanity: quick to share knowledge, praise, the stage. “Blackberry Winter” with the Nashville Symphony was considered the definitive work, but there was the essential “Wild Rose of the Mountain” and a heartbreaking embrace of Hank Williams “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” that needed no words to bring tears. Just as importantly, he was the kind who didn’t judge, merely lived quietly by his own inner guidance - once passing up a Sunday morning bluegrass festival gospel jam for high of another stripe, explaining, “Sometimes I prefer to smoke my sacraments.”


David Schnauffer RIP

   The news came through unlikely, circuitous channels, but the news was real. David Schnauffer, perhaps the finest dulcimer player who’d ever lived, had passed away far too young. Those who knew, absolutely knew, how special a musician this gentleman was. A true player, he continually reinvented the possibility of the Appalachian stringed instrument struck—on most days, though not when Schnauffer embraced the bowed Tennessee Music Box approach that was the dulcimer’s precursor—with tiny mallets, known as hammers.
   My friend who shared the news played, too. He’d been at festivals where the virtuoso demonstrated equally impressive humanity: quick to share knowledge, praise, the stage. “Blackberry Winter” with the Nashville Symphony was considered the definitive work, but there was the essential “Wild Rose of the Mountain” and a heartbreaking embrace of Hank Williams “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” that needed no words to bring tears. Just as importantly, he was the kind who didn’t judge, merely lived quietly by his own inner guidance - once passing up a Sunday morning bluegrass festival gospel jam for high of another stripe, explaining, “Sometimes I prefer to smoke my sacraments.”

One New Friend A Year

   Just that. As you grow up, grow the people in your life you can count on. In a world of too many drive-by, superficial friends, people who aren’t there when the chips are down and it really matters, this is a harvest that reaps exponential rewards in the things that are precious beyond pricetags.

   A girlfriend in Texas shared her mother’s wisdom to her when she’d graduated college with me several years ago—and it stuck. Since then, each year, miraculously almost, there has appeared that one new friend who could be called day or night, to listen, to reason, to calm or to meet me somewhere. With walking pneumonia and the decompression from the centrifugal force of one of last year’s major celebrity nightmares, sure enough, someone stepped forward and walked me through one of the slowest recoveries of my life A new friend a year, a friend whose quality makes the need for quantity not so important.

“Ricky Bobby: Talledega Nights”

   Serious hilarity strung taut against the borders of the NASCAR nation. As tightly written a comedy since “Austin Powers,” as spot on skewering the subject as that film, too, but with genius musical cues—check out Jackson Browne’s “These Days” and Steve Earle’s “Hardcore Troubadour”—to understand the impact songs properly placed can have.

   Will Farrell plays a white trash from the ranks driver who can’t go fast enough. Built to win without flinching, the excess of stock car racing—with all its archetypal modalities of low-end Americana—is writ large, glorious and overtly gobstopperish. Played straight, while swinging for the bleachers, the earnestness of the delivery only heightens the jokes—and the French nemesis creates a cultural frisson that offers Inspector Cloussean overtones, along with sticking a thumb on taboos like gay drivers, mondo-endorsements and stereotypes taken to the limit. As intellectual as this reads, that’s how hard you’ll laugh.


Walks Through Marie Antoinette’s Paris Diana Reid Haig Oxbow Books

   Award-winning musical archivist Diana Reid Haig brings her natural curiosity, joy of detail and passion for life’s rich banquet to the Paris of then and now, tracing the steps of one of France’s most celebrated and indulged Queens, Marie Antoinette. Blowing the dust off the smallest facts—from breakfast cups to powdered wigs, flower shops to corset laces—this 6x10 inch treasure—illustrated with period piece pictures—offers lovely walking tours through the royal palaces and chateaux, including Versailles, Fontainebleau, Rambouillet and Compeigne, as well as many of Paris’ streets, gardens and cathedrals.
  
  Merging period realities, architectural insight and the intricacies of Antionette’s life, Haig weaves an almost fairy-like existence for the young woman who would find herself sentenced to death by guillotine. To immerse without drowning, to savor the details that are anything but dried up, one can not only walk through the woman who uttered “Let them eat cake”‘s world, they can come to understand the customs, mores and movements of her time, station and life. Beautifully rendered, fabulously researched.

Chicken Paillard w. tomatoes and arugula

   Chicken breast pounded to a quarter of an inch, quickly cooked. Covered with chopped bitter arugula and fresh earthy tomatos. A quick squeeze of lemon cuts thru—if there is any—balsamic, which the greens were dressed with. Perhaps a sprinkle of pine nuts. So simple, so clean, so classic. Absolutely, hands down, my most favorite meal. Savory and filling, nutritious and tingling. It is the best of what entrees can me.


“Autumn Melody”—Alex Bevan

   A beautiful song that will always be this time of year to me. The promise of leaves changing colors, the acoustic guitar notes picked like shimmering gleams of sunlight refracted by the earliest gaps in the trees, a quiet, almost whispered voice considering what has passed before leaning into what’s to come with the gentle truth: “All the summer’s memories, they shine like children out of school/ Drink the wine, play the fool; Sometimes you sing the blues”

Fall Collection Nanette Lepore


   Sino-gypsy patterned pretties. The kind of clothing Christine McVie, the earthier of the Fleetwood Mac divas, would’ve embraced. Puffy sleeves that aren’t baby doll. Wrap-around kimono tops. Peak-a-boo necklines and bows punctuating the waists of blouses. Charcoal. Pine. Burgundy. Amethyst. Feminine, sexy, smart, yet free-spirited. Tailored, yet hardly Ann Taylor—for women who aren’t ready to surrender their individuality in the name of the company line, but prefer to maintain some sense of spirit as they make their way through what ought to be a kaleidoscopic world.

http://www.banksy.co.uk/


   A British graffiti artist who understands the common ground between cultural marketing totems, political perspectives and iconic historical images, banksy’s site embraces journal entries from Nazi concentration camp victims, street work, line drawings, films and a plethora of messages that charge us with looking at the truth beneath the surface of our environment.

   Painting on Palestine’s West Bank dividing wall, various found surfaces in England and America—kissing bobbies, rats dumping toxic waste, torn holes to reveal beautiful tropical views and dotted lines to cut away the blockade, not to mention provocative sayings that speak to the heart of callousness, callowness and inhumanity—bankys opens up a whole worldview in stolen, but obvious places. And his drawings of Mickey Mouse and Ronald McDonald flanking the naked Vietnamese girl burned in the My Lai massacre, flanked tanks and militiamen with ‘60s Smiley faces where their heads are supposed to be and helicopters sporting pink bows mocks about the Disneytization that goes into the way the serious issues are broken down into easy to chew, easier to desensitize our response morsels. Take a moment, consider the content, think how the obvious can be anything but it, and then let it serve you.