It is sheer insanity to me that though Jason and I talk almost every day, we've only ever seen each other in person a handful of time. Having him out here for the week from Toronto has been an absolute treat. I wish he lived closer — we just get each other, and I love being able to talk face to face.
Today John, Robbie, Colin and I went to see a rescreening of Drop Dead Gorgeous at the Roxie. It was, as predicted, incredible. At the beginning, however, the theater showed a bunch of trailers for Almodovar's movies, as they'll be mounting a screening later this month in series. Volver came on and it reminded how much I loved that movie when I first saw it, like, what? 10 years ago?
When I got home I thought it would be fun to watch it again.... and just ended up sobbing through the whole thing. I had forgotten the subplot of the mother who comes back from the dead, and the unfinished business, and the tender relationship Raimunda has with Sole. It really brought up sooooo many feelings in me. Just a couple weeks ago, a year and a day after we scattered the majority of my mother's ashes in Ke'e, I scattered the remaining ounce or so I had here in San Francisco. I took her to a spot I'd always wanted to take her in life, but by the time I found it she was already too sick to travel. It was beautiful and cathartic and heart rending; but that's to be expected — you're allowed to feel these things when burying your mother.
Nevertheless, Volver caught me completely off guard, and I've been a wreck all night. Thank goodness I watched it by myself, and not, as I had originally planned, with a bunch of Almodovar fanatics in the Roxie in a couple weeks.
This last weekend. I don't know if I'll ever get over it. We all went down to Palm Springs for Billy's 40th birthday, where he had rented a large home with space for 15 people or so. I had been looking forward to this trip for some time, but after the horror of last week's elections and the days following, this trip seemed critical — to vacate my mind, to vacate real life, to just get away and recoup and regroup and refocus. We got all that and an incredible catharsis.
You can talk all the noise you want about safe spaces and echo chambers and what ever else have you, but the balm of being surrounded by people you love, by people who just GET YOU, who understand you, who support you — people you trust, people you know, people you cherish — man, it just can't be overstated how healing that is.
These men. So smart, and kind, and witty. So loving. We spent hours in the pool, we hiked around Joshua Tree, we ate delicious home-cooked meals. John and I made a bonkers strata for breakfast one morning (sourdough, italian sausage, roasted tomatoes, bacon, cheddar, spinach), David and Adam put together a sandwich bar for the gods for lunch, James and Daniel made simple but elegant roast chicken and potato salad dinner. On Saturday night we had a party for Billy, where Brad sang a song he and James wrote, a riff on Dolly's "Coat of Many Colors" called "Caftan of Many Colors." He was pretty nervous, but it was SO wonderful, and while funny and silly, also spoke sincerely to love we all feel for Billy, off the gratitude for he and Richard's open home, to the sense of family and belonging he has helped create among us. We were all pretty teary afterwards. From there it was an absolute pageant: something like 15 drag lipsync performances in homage to Billy — some hilarious, some avant garde, some verging on erotic. It was amazing.
To look around that room... I've never felt so grateful. Colin and I talked about the power of being able to just embrace who you are, to let your guard down, to be femme, to be vulnerable, to be soft with one another. Billy remarked on how blessed he felt to be surrounded by so many loving friends, a sentiment we all shared, but also on the magic of people from different circles in his life immediately embracing one another and clicking. I couldn't have agreed more. As one of the newer addition to their group via John, I've been humbled and deeply moved by how many relationships I've made at Billy's house over the past months, but even on this weekend alone.
I love these guys.
Daylight Savings time has me... acting like a morning person? Woke up this morning around 5:45, couldn't go back to sleep. Decided to get up early and get ready, instead of my usual routine of running around like a madman, rushing out the door 15 minutes late, all because I stayed in bed looking at instagram/timehop/tumblr/twitter/et al.
It also gave me some time to get a couple cards in the mail for Aim & Erin, just to say hi — found some super cute letterpress cards at Rare Device a couple weeks back, and thought they would love them.
Yesterday I finally got my new turntable set up and installed. My old one had finally started to show its age/having drive problems, so when I moved out here I started setting some money aside for a nicer, new one from Digitalfix. Yesterday when I stopped in, I saw that it was on sale and that I'd already saved enough — so that was a happy surprise. What wasn't was realizing there was a whoooooole lot more set up for a serious turntable than the out-of-the-box models I was used to. Thank goodness for youtube instructional videos. Anti-skate weights? An Azimuth ratio? Just lemme play my records!
I texted Landon about it, knowing that he'd like the one I picked up, and se sent me a deck he'd had his eye on, but that he hadn't been able to track down any info for. Just that morning Bobby had posted the same deck on The Fox is Black and, after a little digging, we discovered that it was the Bergmann Galder System, with the Odin arm (love their naming conventions), and that it clocks in at a whopping ~€15,000. I cannot ever imagine having to choose between buying like... a Toyota Corrolla or a record player, for almost the same price point. Insanity.
Last night I ate dinner on the couch while watching Westworld and Insecure, two of my favorite shows right now — but last night's episodes? TOO MUCH. Westworld is finally getting into revealing some of its secrets and Insecure, well, there's a lot to love there but everything but one thing is escaping me at the moment. (I... cannot with Y'Lan Noel's butt.) John had dinner with his friend Robbie, and Robbie's parents, who took them out to Aster, a michelin starred restaurant in the Mission. I, on the other hand, had a quesadilla suiza from the taqueria on the corner and a churro as long as my arm, for dessert.
Spotted on my way back from picking up some stuff from Saint Frank & Leopold's today ( a mocha at Frank's, a bonkers plate of knödelgröstl and a shandygaff at Leo's). I actually stopped to grab a pic of the "cold" to the right, but then caught a peek at this trashcan shed. La Beau always is always eye-catching, even if it's just beautiful sign painting imploring to do the impossible — not a day goes by that I don't wish I could call my mom.
I walked around all morning running errands, mostly listening to Solange. Her performance last night on SNL was incredible. Jeremy declared it "sheer black exuberance" this morning, and that is putting it mildly. A Seat at the Table has to be one of my favorite albums this year — takes you to church, takes you to school — and seeing her sing two of my fav tracks was surprisingly emotional. I preordered the vinyl a couple days ago, it won't ship until December (???). All I really want is for her to reissue True on vinyl but this time with the Mickalene Thomas artwork.
A while back my bud Dan asked me to run some pins over to Spoke Art, just a few blocks up from me here in the city. He had a large coordinating piece in a show they were opening that day, so I was there five minutes before the gallery opened. Once in I dropped off his merch, and took a look around the show, Suggestivism Resonance, curated by artist Nathan Spoor. It was a gorgeous collection of work, but the piece that just really struck me was The Float, by Australian artist Nick Sheehy. I feel silly saying "it spoke to me" but... it spoke to me? It just felt like something plucked straight out of my heart, and I was in love.
A while back I read an article in The Stranger by Jen Graves, titled Buy Art! In it, Graves breaks down not only the why's of buying art but also, and probably more intimidatingly, the how's. Two passages stood out to me, and I remembered them at this moment:
This is you. You want to own something that means something to you. The pleasure of an original thing is that, like anything you truly love, it attaches itself to the original part of you and builds it like a muscle, makes you feel more like you. It also connects you to someone else, the artist—but you don't have to tend that relationship, it's just there, simple, pure. You never have to meet the artist if you don't want to, but if you want to, you can ask the artist all about this thing you now have, and you will find that the artist also wants to hear what you see in it, and eventually you will both agree that neither of you really penetrates what the thing fully is, which is maybe why both of you love it so much. Let's say you have a couple more criteria: Maybe you would prefer art by someone local, someone who does not have a leg up in the 1 percent game of the international art world. And: You do not have money to burn.
Here's what you should know about what is affordable—a vital fact: Every gallery wants to help you buy something if you love it. (They are not in this for the money because what money?) Pay what you can every month, with zero interest. This is common. This is how it works. A work of art that costs $1,200 looks like it's out of reach; I know I can't spend that right now. But $100 a month for a year? How much was that last night of going out? How much was that sweater, dinner, cab ride? And you are paying how much in rent? Want a work of art enough and you will have it. It's not about affordability. It's about knowing that this is possible, and knowing you can ask to make it work. Knowing that dealers and artists want you to ask to make it work. The good ones don't care how much money you have. They care how much love you have.
So, following that advice, I asked if I could buy Sheehy's piece and if I could break up the payments over a couple months. It was nowhere near $1,200 but still more than I could drop in a single purchase. "Of course!" came the reply.
And that is how, a few months later, I have this gorgeous thing in my house. I love it so much, and could not be more happy.
Every time I think I'm over and past mid-century modern furniture, I stumble across truly jaw-dropping pieces and I'm just devastated all over again. Yesterday I met up with John and Richard (up from Cupertino) and we walked around Valencia checking out shops and what not. We stopped in at a few vintage shops, but the one above had stuff that stopped me in my tracks (what they don't have? a listing on any location authority — not google maps, not foursquare, not instagram. Soooo, I have no idea what this place was called — it's next to Thanh Tham II. EDIT: John informed me the place is Monument — they used to be across the street, and nothing has been updated.)
Like-new Hans Wegner papa bear chairs. Gorgeous benches in original upholstery. And in that pic at the top right? An extremely rare Finn Juhl NV45 teak settee in mint condition with the most beautiful curved arms for a cool $36,000. I guess when I think I'm over MCM, I realize later what I'm over is the endless sea of MCM-ish pieces that dominate every home now thanks to Overstock and the like (mine included) — the either counterfeit or reissue Eames DAWs and LCRs, the Artek stools, the Saarinen womb chairs, etc. The real stuff — the old stuff — those still have the air of magic about them.
After that we headed over to Hi Tops in the Castro for dinner. We were probably there for 30 minutes or so when Richard's friends from work showed up, and shortly after that Robbie and Brian joined us as well. It was a great time. Easy conversations, lots of laughing, great food and drinks (plus free Pocky courtesy of a pop-up on the way there). We ended up at 440, where about 10 minutes in I dropped a glass, but! It just bounced up, didn't break, and it was only water,, so no harm, no foul.
Earlier that morning, John and I woke up late, having gotten to be super late the night before after dancing at Polyglamorous' November Wig party (OMG, on the way home we happened to see Jesse Bradford — still SO hot, it's not fair, it's dumb — getting out of a car and heading into a residence/hotel). After a disappointing breakfast at Tratto, the underwhelming spot that took over BDK, we retreated back to my place and made up for it by dressing Hex up in the wigs from the night before.
A few months ago John and I met up with his family for a long weekend in Vancouver. It was my first time on the east coast of Canada and pretty much fell instantly in love. I just realized that I never even mentioned that trip here. We got in to the city before his family arrived so we had time to kick around Gastown on some recommendations from friends in Toronto who grew up in BC, and from internet friends at Local Wanderer.
These are shots of a couple of my fav spaces: We had coffee Timbertrain our first morning, and then later ended up have a spectacular dinner at L'abbatoir, which had been recommended by practically everyone, but caught a daytime glimpse of that first day.