Tuesday, January 31, 2012

green tights/red tights/cosmic tights winner!

Green tights.

lara says:

if i weren't so gosh-darned tired right now,  i'd get up and put my red tights back on.  they're flung, exhausted, on my bed, where i left them when i got home from work today.

is it a cosmic coincidence that julie wore green and i wore red on the day of our one month blogiversary?

or is it that a wonderfully stylish friend who just returned from paris hand-delivered the russian red tights to me last night (along with a chocolate bar avec noisettes) and i couldn't wait to wear them?

at any rate, i'm jealous of julie's boots with her green tights, aren't you?

blogging with julie this month was a spark of light & heat in the cold & dreary january.

i loved it.

& thank you who've read for indulging me in my self-indulgence.

&  we hope you'll come back for more in february to read:

FABULOUS (we have some real treats lined up for you) guest bloggers &


to win your first spring pair of tights!

congratulations to "girls in tight places" reader/commenter Tina T. on your win!  email your address to me at: evepink2002@yahoo.com and you will be receiving your tights shortly.

Julie says:

Tights-clad pedestrian on Houston Street
Congratulations, Tina!  And thanks to all of you who have been reading us for a month.  I'm greatly heartened and humbled by that.

Look for more tights giveaways as the winter--albeit mild here--continues to progress. And look for some awesome guest bloggers who kick our tights-clad butts. And look at this photo of a tights clad pedestrian I saw this afternoon.  I was so stunned by her tights that I almost fell off my bike.  This and you are what I live for.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Low-tech Love

Okay, I was going to blog about the rest of Secret City, but someone in this household had my computer for ten hours straight and now I'm way too tired.  I hate how exhaustion wipes out the best laid plans. 

But earlier, while I still had energy, a dropping-by relative allowed me to escape for two hours just as the sun was starting to drop behind the tenements. Computerless, I took a notebook and a pen--and an experimental novel by Mary Robison which I wasn't going to read, but for some reason wanted to have with me--and sat and wrote in a grimy cafe/bar outfitted with furniture only the most desperate of squatters could love.  I guess I'm that squatter, because I, with great care, pulled up a grimy chair up to a ramshackle table. and--as if in conscious tribute to my low-tech surroundings--worked on a story long-hand, which I hadn't done in awhile.

I have to say, it was great not to type, and I hoped I was contributing to the visual ambiance of the place, writing like that, my Moleskin notebook and novel placed just so--my mug of chai.  My red dress and gray tights.  A computer would have ruined everything.

Speaking of picturesque, while bent over my notebook, I overheard a vaguely Nick Caveish-looking 50-something Irish rocker engage is some earnest career/business planning with a craggy older man, also Irish. I heard the Irish Nick Cave mention that he was going to be on Good Morning America the morning of "St. Pat's." Who was this mysterious Celt?

 A. said there should be an app for that.

(I just put "cool Irish rocker" in Google images and was given only a plethora of Bono.)

Tights:  The tights' giveaway closes tomorrow!  Stay tuned for the winner!

Upcoming:  The first guest blogger on "Girls in Tight Places"appears on Monday!  Watch this space.

minaj--complicit or critical?

first, let's get right down to tights, since this is the LAST DAY for our tights giveaway.  to convince yourself that you really need some new tights stat, checkout the beautiful turquoise, sky, robin's egg blue-blue pair on minaj in the opening of "moment 4 life."

and then tell me if she hangs with drake to make herself appear, through juxtaposition, even more overwhelmingly rad and charismatic.

and THEN

we need to talk.

i read a fantastic discussion about "stupid hoe" on the blog nuñez daughter, linked by the super rad (and i actually mean rad as in radical this time) crunk feminist collective.

here are two bits from kismet nuñez's article:

Minaj hurts my head.  She perplexes me.  I think of her as Trickster, two-faced in her betrayal of global black feminist possibility and powerful in her contradictory elucidation of black woman’s power within the realms of celebrity and hip hop.  Reading her as Ellegua, that frightful guardian of the crossroads and the in-between and the everything-that-is-not-yet seems to fit an artist who switches alter egos as easily as she switches clothes.  Conjuring the ritual and physicality of possession seems to fit a celebrity who changes clothes as she changes personality, putting on her and taking off her tropes as each personality comes down.  The sometimes garish, sometimes delightful carnival of color, glitter and expression–even the repetitive dancehall/house music refrain–also fit a woman whose aesthetic choices continually find their footing in her Trinidadian roots.
In other words, I think of Nicki Minaj as diasporic black, as radical, and as speculative.


But what if she isn’t supposed to be the vision?
What if she is just the oracle?  The vessel?  A portent of things to come?
What if she is just the keeper of the crossroads?

the first time i was aware of radical re-appropriation was with madonna in the late 80's/early 90's.  and you might say that dolly parton presaged madonna in exploiting femininity/the male gaze to be "in charge".  to make $$, to change her personna like she changes wigs and one-piece zip up pant suits (minaj and parton share a proclivity for both wigs and one piece zip-up suits that highlight their outsized secondary sexual characteristics.)

& then

there's gaga.  but i don't wanna talk about her.  i find her as uninteresting as drake.

the points here are three:

1) can you radically re-appropriate, i mean really, in a HYPEr capitalist market?

2) this whole thing about women using their sexuality to be in charge of stuff, i mean, that's not new, right?  remember salome?

3) does shapeshifting/ changing your image frequently equal empowerment.

i'm with nunez that minaj is endlessly fascinating.  i want to know what feminists writing their dissertations on minaj are saying,  and if it's legit, or if it's a bunch of HYPE.

and yes, if you are, like me, of a certain generation, and not accustomed to the stuff the kids these days are listening, you might beware before watching this video.

unless, of course, you plan to take it all in stride as you de-contextualize minaj's (her producer's?) imagery and language and view it all through the lens of radical re-appropriation.

inspiration: radical re-appropriation of tights
legwear:  snakeskin jeans
looking forward:  to the sundance best of fest screenings tonight

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Secret City Sabbath: Part I

Every other month or so, on the last Sunday of the month (except when it's not), I attend the The Secret City at the legendary Dixon Place.  I can only describe it as Art Church, for art is what is worshiped there, also community, inspiration, and connection.  The monthly service is structured almost exactly like Episcopal or Catholic liturgy--(an assessment based on my albeit minimal experience) opening worshipfully with music, with the audience participating  in a peripheral, secondary way.  ("We're Connected!" was the refrain we sang, and is the refrain we always sing.  How great it is to be reminded of that.)

There is then a "Welcome" and an introduction--with SC founder, artist/performer Chris Wells functioning as the bold and big-hearted singing ersatz priest.  Every month, Chris introduces the theme around which the rest of the service will be built, and this month the theme was "Wonder" (Earlier, when we filed in, the Secret City Band's prelude music was--what else?--songs by the wondrous Stevie Wonder.)

At the Secret City, the traditional Christian "passing of the peace" is called "Mingle" and people really do mingle. I'm always a little shy during this part, but wandered around like I had some sort of purpose, and introduced myself to exactly two people. After that there's "The Breath of Life"--a short silent meditation. The Cultural Calendar is read, and then a succession of artists take the floor.

The "service proper" always opens with "Look At This."  At today's service, local artist Park McGinty presented his abstract sculptural pieces made mostly of shiny synthetic bits that he culls from Ebay and then handcuts, arranges and affixes, "dancing them into a greater beauty," Park says.  I found myself really moved by his words and work--ambitious and laborious pieces, all the more amazing, given the fact he works with only one arm. Park said that the object of his art is to "get inside his viewers' pleasure center and do to them what the music of Wagner" does to him.

 Next comes "Taste This"--the sacrament or communion--called "Food Offering" at The Secret City. Someone prepares this offering according to the theme every month. Today--for wonder--we were all given a little packet of pop rocks. The ritual is that all in attendance takes the food into their mouths at the same time, so that the experience of taste is communally and consciously shared and reflected upon.  (How often do we take "taste" for granted, after all?)   I loved my packet of pop rocks, which I hadn't experienced since 1975, and it took me back to riding my banana seat bike sans helmet up to the nearest 7-11 in Phoenix and spending it on crummy candy and I remembered how free I felt, and how exciting that was.

After the sacrament is "Watch This" and this month we watched tap dancer Annie Peacenik with her nonagenarian mentor Harold Cromer, who tapped a little in ordinary street shoes, played some impromptu ragtime on the available piano, and regaled us with tales of performing on the rough and tumble streets of Hells Kitchen and then on Broadway with Bert Lahr and Ethyl Merman. Here is the young Harold Cromer in 1936.

Once Harold was coaxed off the stage there was "The Reading," this month, we heard Mary Oliver's poem "When Death Comes," with the theme-appropriate line "all my life I was a bride married to amazement."

Part II, tomorrow. Join me next month at The Secret City. "Beauty" is February's theme.  Photos from today below!

Chris Wells, founder of The Secret City

Wells implores the audience to join him in the opening hymn:  "We're Connected"

Artist Park McGinty

Chris Wells delivers the homily at the pulpit.

Hoofers Harold Cromer and Annie Peacenik (for real)

The sacrament always supports the theme.
Dig the tights of SC parishioner, Ayun Halliday of the East Village Inky

keeping sabbath

when i was a child growing up in a mesa, arizona orange grove that was, lot by lot, being bulldozed and replaced with 70's ranch-style ramblers with desert landscaping in front and a few citrus trees remaining in back, around kidney shaped pools, the sabbath day was both arduous and wonderful.  sometimes boring, sometimes peaceful,

& almost always brimming with delicious and only-on-sunday foods. *

we had three separate church meetings on sunday, and i remember my mother in a slip, nude hose with a reinforced toe & bone-colored high-heeled sandals, browning a spattering roast with a big fork while the exhaust fan hummed away and handel's water music (we listened to this every sunday without fail) accompanied her on my dad's reel-to-reel.  or perhaps she was putting her famous tender rolls--both crescent and clover-shaped--into the oven.  this was either before sunday school or in between sunday school and sacrament meeting.  my dad had already attended early morning preisthood, leaving my mother alone, as mothers usually were back then, to dress, feed, groom and transport seven children to church in our station wagon.

in actuality, the grooming started the day before.  all kids who grow up mormon know the drill from this primary song:

saturday is a special day/it's the day we get ready for sunday./ we clean the house and we shop at the store/ so we won't have to work until monday.

we brush our clothes and we shine our shoes/ and we call it our get the work done day./ then we trim our nails and shampoo our hair/ so we can be ready for sunday.

at our house, with five girls, this involved saturday night shampoos and a lot of pink sponge rollers.  my sisters and i all have fine straight hair, and my mother was a little impatient, so our curls were often bedraggled by the time sunday school was over, and there was always a stray piece of straight hair that had escaped the the curlers.  not like sister nancy m's girls (she had fourteen children) who wore impeccably hand-made matching dresses and pinafores and had ringlets that reached at least to the mid-back.

in fairness to my mother's hair skills, sister nancy m's girls had thick curly hair, so she could make ringlets with only a spray bottle and a finger, and they would last all day.

(let me also mention here sister delores w., the chorister, who had countless hair pieces and false lashes, who wore as much make-up as dolly parton and put just as much effort into her styling, who had a similar platinum-blonde shade of hair as dolly, who never wore the same maxi-dress twice, and whose style i vowed to emulate when i grew up.  she had ten children and drove a custom painted yellow van with checkers on the side and a sign reading: "the w. family taxi service".)

(btw, in our densely mormon neighborhood, i felt that seven children was a very average, perhaps even small & kind of wimpy, number of children for a good lds family to have.)

the sabbath ended, back in the day, with toasted cheese sandwiches (open face with tomato, mayo, s & p) campbell's tomato soup, and hot chocolate while watching wild kingdom and wonderful world of disney.  in slips or pajamas.

a little boring and a little fun, and eminently soothing.

this all came to mind today as i've been preparing sunday dinner.  normally we are lucky enough to go to bam's house for dinner, at least in the winter (she summers in canada), but today i wanted to give her a day off and cook dinner for grandma beth and grandpa woody, who we normally don't see on sundays.

(btw, grandpa woody paid me high compliment last week at the golden corral when he said, "why, their food is almost as good as your cooking.)

i went with an old school menu:  turkey with stuffing*mashed potatoes and gravy* garlic seared green beans* waldorf salad* dinner rolls with rosemary and kosher salt*cranberry orange relish.  

i cooked in heels and these rad zig-zaggy lacy tights (charcoal and bone) that c. picked up at the ann arbor urban outfitters in december of '10.

& i thought about our slightly different way of keeping sabbath now.

& i wondered about how & when  & if you do it.

here's ours:

*bach cantatas--we own all of them.  all.  guess how many he wrote.  that's right.  more than 300.  and they all sound the same. &we've been listening to a new one every week.  though of course i can't tell that it's a new one, because it sounds as same as the old one.
*grilled cheese sandwiches after church
*ny times:  i read modern love, all the food stuff, street style, what i wore, diagnosis, and i hope and pray that bill cunningham has a new slideshow up (he does today, and his narration is particularly rad, especially his comments about women choosing their looks)
*sunday dinner at bam's
*playing cards or the favorites game (this is a rad game.  i'll explain some other time).

inspiration: sunday rituals & tradition old and new & the mozart missa solemnis

looking forward: to making this french onion soup and this giardiniera

legwear:  urban outfitters charcoal and bone lace tights

*don't forget to read this article on mormon cookery.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


from mark bittman's article on easy-to-make dumpling, linked below

we have no good chinese food in provo.  i'm sorry if you disagree, but this cuisine is poorly represented here.  (apologies to the four seasons hot pot restaurant, which i have yet to try.)

last night we went to a new, weird place in town that served sushi, chinese bento, dry pot, and some things that looked like hong kong style chinese food.  i haven't had great dumplings in a while, so we started with steamed dumplings.

you know how amazing it is when you bite into a dumpling (a whole thing that i could talk about forever) and it's really hot and the juices spill down around your tongue, then the ginger and onion come forward and say hi, then you remember the chewy wrapper again, and the flavors and textures volley around in your mouth for a while?

then you swallow?

then you stick your chopsticks into the dish again for more?

well, that didn't happen last night.

the inside of my dumpling was lukewarm, mushy even, and i just can't forgive that.  i want the pork and vegetables fully steamed and held together in a beautiful little ball inside a beautiful little package.

i'm sorry that i'm such a food snob, or so prone to high expectations when i should try to be realistic.  i really tried to keep and open mind, to remember that i'm not necessarily living in a food mecca, to compare this dumpling to lesser, not greater, dumplings.

but i failed to be understanding.

i went home a little pissed off and deeply, deeply dissatisfied.

and you might say that i should have known better than to go to a sushi/chinese place.  and you might be right.

so i dug up another favorite poem that i used to teach in years past to try to clear my palate.

li-young lee writes beautiful food poems (and other stuff, too.)  they're not too precious and mouthy.  like the rice, ginger, fish and green onion in the poem i pasted below, his food writing strikes a simple and pleasing balance of a respect and love for every day food without fetishizing it.  and the food on the table of his poems is always accompanied by some other event, as it always is in life.

it's pleasing.  that's the best way i can describe his work.  not too extreme.  kind of gentle, but still striking and memorable, and i like the way he contextualizes things. he has a few notable food poems, but this one is especially clean and right.  & good for a palate cleanser.

i hope you like it, and that if you have other suggestions about great food poetry, you'll post them here.  also, check out alimentum, a journal devoted to literary food writing.

Eating Together
By Li-Young Lee 
In the steamer is the trout   
seasoned with slivers of ginger,
two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil.   
We shall eat it with rice for lunch,   
brothers, sister, my mother who will   
taste the sweetest meat of the head,   
holding it between her fingers   
deftly, the way my father did   
weeks ago. Then he lay down   
to sleep like a snow-covered road   
winding through pines older than him,   
without any travelers, and lonely for no one. 

legwear:  jeez.  still wearing yoga pants from this morning's tough session (after a week out nursing my neck).  that's a bad sign, i mean still wearing yoga pants late in the day when one has already been to class.  yoga pants are not tights, though they do have their own thing going on, i must admit.

remember to get out of your yoga pants at least once a day, and maybe don a pair of super rad cosmic tights.

inspiration:  clean flavors--trout, ginger, scallion, rice.

looking forward: to seeing a dangerous method tonight.

p.s. last year at chinese new year's i made dumplings from scratch with hector, my neighbor's chinese exchange student.  we had a great time and they were very good.  and how often does a 100 lb. teenaged boy teach you to cook and discuss homer with you at the same time?  if you want to host your own dumpling party, here's a recipe to start with.  it'll be easy, cuz it's bittman.

I Want You on Vayable

In a year of thinking differently (thx, SJ!) and thinking better, my friend submitted a service to Vayable.com--a new site that connects travelers, tourists, and/or residents to really cool services that the locals are offering.

So far, the site is lousy with creative types in all the usual places: New York, San Franciso, Seattle--but NOTHING in Utah, so get on it, Utah peeps. My lovely and talented friend, Kim's service is outlined below in this very pleasing video:

 Looking forward to going to see a fellow elementary-school parent, Marcel Van Dam, perform at the Sidewalk Cafe tonight. It's not directly up my alley, but I'm excited about it, as I haven't seen any live music since the night of New Year's Day--PLUS, the dude's donating all of his tips to our school's PTA. Here is Marcel's mini-jam:

 It's a beautiful day here on the lower east side, but I haven't ventured out yet, so no tights-related decisions have been made. Sometimes Saturday's lack of structure is hard for me. What are you doing?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Clara Bow Dresses for Dinner

Weekend "To Do" List:

1. Visit this exhibit at the Jack Hanley Gallery. I've had a love-affair with the '60s since I was in my 20s and the Diggers in particular, and the Diggers in particular, which you can read about in Emmett Grogan's novel. (Emmett Grogan, you'll read, was found dead on my favorite train line in 1978.)

 2. Related to this exhibit, have a cup of tea in the Yippie Museum. "Yippies"--another old-fashioned countercultural group I'm endlessly obsessed with.

 3. See a fellow elementary school parent perform in a local cafe tomorrow night. He's donating his tips to the school, after all!

 4. Watch It, a silent film from 1927, staring Clara Bow. (She is where we get the term "It Girl" from. I love how something in this excerpted scene parallels the tights' resourcefulness of another "It Girl," Lara:

Legwear: pleather pants, which I pull out on warmish, rainy days.  Leaving the cafe I passed a woman on the sidewalk 20 years older than me, wearing a long pleather skirt, confirming that one is never too old for pleather.

 Music in the cafe: one Roky Erikson song after another.

cameras, bones, holey tights, the road to jericho

once again, i have way too many things to say.

i saw the very strong documentary film five broken cameras today at the sundance film festival, and am in the process of writing a complete review to post here in the next day or two.
still from five broken cameras

but once again, this film hit me hard with the truth: that when we cease to see individuals and see groups/races/castes/genders/religions/preferences instead of the wounded individual on the road to jericho who needs us to pour oil and wine into his wounds, the world is an effed up place.

on the way home from the film, we stopped at les madeleines for their much lauded kouing-aman pastry.  this pastry is not over-hyped.  it's for real, and worth the $5.50 a pop, the long line you have to wait in, and the attitude they give you behind the counter.  if you're in salt lake city, i would for sure put this place on your list.

kouing-aman pastry from les madeleines

also, i began gabrielle hamilton's memoir blood, bones, and butter.  i've been very excited about this book, as it feeds into my obsession with chefs, food writing, prune, and drama.  i was not disappointed in chapter one.  check this out:

just started this--chapter one is a thumbs up

"prying back the lid on a fifty-gallon barrel of silver glitter--the kind that took two men and a hand truck to wheel into the paint supply room of the shop--and then shoving your hands down into it up to your elbows is an experince that will secure the idea in your heart for the rest of your live that your dad is, himself, the greatest show on earth. (p. 9)"

legwear:  charcoal cheetah tights.  one hole over each big toe now.  wonder how many more wearings i'll get?  the holes are still small enough that i can scooch them over to the side of each big toe and pretend they're not there.  once they slip down over the toes, i think i'll make like my friend, style-maven andi p-d, and cut out the crotch and off the feet, ballerina style, and wear them as false & fitted sleeves. under any and everything, like andi p-d, who looks fabulous 24-7.

does anyone out there have any good holey tights stories?

and if your tights have holes, post a comment here to win some super-duper fancy new ones.

inspiration:  glitter, witnessing, being willing to die for what you believe in.

looking forward: dinner date with husband--love friday night for this!!!!!!! will report on where we go later.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On the Subway/After the Subway

1. Chunky heeled shoes with short socks and leggings on the L train.
2. Adorable graffiti on 13th Street.
3. After day after day of frugality, a dessert splurge for the kid.

shoe museum and some laboutins

christian laboutin, 2007, paris
i never got to toronto while my sister-in-law, who is writing a dissertation on shoes and french literature, was living there. i really, really wanted to visit the bata shoe museum.  one of the big regrets of my life is missing the window of opportunity to visit with the extremely brilliant emily.

then ingrid posted this great article on high heels from collector's weekly--sex, power, and high heels: an interview with shoe curator elizabeth semmelhack.  i read this article twice, all the way through.  i love semmelhack's feminist discourse that volleys back to her obvious devotion to the lines and sensuousness of a beautiful shoe.

shoes are wierd, no?

here's one of my favorite passages:

For example, in 2000, the “New York Times” wrote, “High heels are women’s power tools.” What’s problematic about that is that the power that is supposedly wielded by women in high heels is sexual power. And so it seems like what wins for women in the culture is not the Harvard education that you have and how many cases you correctly argue in court, it’s whether or not when you walk into a room, you make all the men want to drop to their knees.

For me that’s very problematic, because if the high heel is an accessory of female power—and if the definition of female power is sexual—that power has a very short shelf life. Is a 90-year-old woman in spike heels powerful or silly? Is a 12-year-old girl in spike heels powerful or inappropriate? So at what point is a woman allowed to be powerful? If her power is based simply on her sexuality, then that’s a very limited amount of time that women are permitted to be powerful.

Obviously, there are many, many different types of shoes, and even in one woman’s closet, she might have fabulous high-designer shoes, a pair of sneakers, and a pair of Prada bowling shoes. So it’s not that the high heel was making the only social statement in the 20th century. It’s just that the statement that high heels make is extremely complex and, by the end of the 20th century, it’s become intimately related to the construction of femininity and socioeconomic standing.

what are your favorite shoes, and why?  and where do you "stand" (ha ha) on the issue of the high heel?


p.s.--we might be conflicted about stilettos, but who on earth could have a problem with a warm, fancy pair of designer tights?  go leave a comment on this post to win a pair.

today's legwear:  dark blue jeans, a borrowed pair of black diabetic socks from christian's bottom drawer (omg--diabetic socks?  they're the best to make you feel all supported and comfy of a frigid january day.)

looking forward:  to sandals and bare legs.  some day.

inspiration:  a little kiss of red on the inside of a tall, thin heel.  & gabrielle hamilton's blood, bones, and butter.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Music Heard in a Tight Place (While Wearing Black Cable Knit Tights)

This morning I discovered that Lara and I were writing at the same time in separate cafes in our respective cities--cities which are 2,189 miles apart (I just looked it up). Knowing that we were doing the same important thing at the same time was heartening because I don't see Lara enough--in fact, it's been more than a year now. I spent five hours in a coffee shop today in a tight place, wedged in between two narrow tables, having staked out a nearby outlet. For sustenance, I drank two cups of green tea and ate my way through a plate of bread and butter and then hours after that, went back for an oat scone with no butter. Unfortunately, this place serves nothing but coffee, tea and baked good from this place. Mostly I was revising a story that is coming out this year in a little literary journal. I'll let you know when it does (if you're interested). After five hours of typing, and just a few morsels of food, I was ready to go, and was going to take off eight minutes earlier than I did, but just as I was packing up a live recording of Van Morrison's "Cypress Avenue" came on (after about an hour of Louis Armstrong, who I also love) and I had to settle back into my hard chair and listen, and I tried to listen without crying. Lara, we're going to write ourselves out of our tight places, won't we? (The video above records the exact stunning performance I heard today in the cafe: Fillmore East (in my neighbrhood!), Sept 23, 1970. I hope you take a look.)

gay 90's, funeral potatoes & sundance

beth snow andersen whitaker evans
there are many things to say today, but i will try to limit them to three.

first, and definitely most important, is celebrating my transcendent grandmother, beth snow andersen whitaker evans, who is 90 years old today.


it's hard to know where to begin with her, but i think i'll just tell one little story that's relevant to this blog.  i'll try not to cry while i write it, and you try not to cry when you read it.

when grandma was five, her mother died of sepsis after giving birth to her eigth child in emory, utah.  she was sent to live with relatives in st. george, and the money for her care was kept in a tea cup on top of the ice box.  grandma recalls the lady of the house taking down the tea cup and pursing her lips in displeasure whenever she had to take money from the (what my grandma believed) too small allowance.

when spring came, which is hot in st. george, grandma was still wearing her long woolen stockings.  how she longed for white cotton anklets like the other girls wore to school.  so she asked the lady of the house if she could have some.  the lady replied, "your other mother can buy them for you when you return to emory in the summer." (grandma's father had just remarried.)

so grandma had to keep wearing the long stockings for the duration of the school year.  she reports that when she returned to emory, her greeting to her new step-mother was, "can i have some anklets?"  her step-mother said, "of course."
gramdma beth at the homestead

and it seems that things took a happier turn in this tragic year from that moment on.  but it's clear that grandma has held this incident close, and she makes it her practice to "never say no."  this might mean that when my children ask grandma for a sleepover, she'll say, "why, yes, we will have to work on scheduling that sometime."  and that might mean next friday, or it could mean that grandma is thinking,  in parentheses, that she will hold said sleepover some day after she has been resurrected from the grave and feels up to it again.  either way, her ability to make a child feel loved, accepted, and attended to is legendary.

i love and respect this lady more than i can possibly say.

and p.s.--she used to draw lines up the backs of her fantastic legs during the war when stockings were scarce.

secondly, i went to sundance last night with a friend who had a press pass and therefore invites to the exclusive parties.  i did my darndest to network, hand out cards, talk up my script, etc.  but i'm so gosh darn bad at it.  it felt hideous the whole time.  is there such thing as a person i could hire to be me and pimp my work for me?

me and lorri at bing bar--me trying to act natural
if schmoozing around a bunch of other schmoozers is  what it takes to get your work out there, i'll surely just moulder in my stocking drawer for the rest of my days.

i heard great things about another earth and the turkish film (the first one ever at sundance) can,  and one friend raved about west of memphis.  i'm trying to get in to see the artist is present about marina abramovic tomorrow night, then i'll be seeing five broken cameras on friday.  i have best of fest tickets for a week from monday (free for locals!)

alas, no celeb sightings.

favorite provo restaurant
the ny times featured an article yesterday on mormon cuisine, mentioning my favorite provo restaurant, communal, and the fact that a lot of mormons have retained "basic homemaking skills"  that much of the country has lost.  this is something i love about my culture.  we still have a strong, some might say religious even, pull to the dinner table.

i'm all about that.
here is the "updated funeral potato" recipe from the nyt and an old post on funeral potatoes from my old blog.

legwear:  today it's frigid and i'm wearing grey jeans.  don't forget to enter in our tights giveaway.  we selected some beautiful, warm and pretty fancy tights for some lucky legs out there.

inspiration:  never say no.

looking forward:  to more sundance.

the weakening eye of day

i found this poem that i used to adore over twenty years ago.  

it's still pretty good.  


The Darkling Thrush

By Thomas Hardy 

I leant upon a coppice gate
      When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
      The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
      Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
      Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
      The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
      The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
      Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
      Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
      The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
      Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
      In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
      Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
      Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
      Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
      His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
      And I was unaware.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Smithereens Scene/Tights on Film

Yesterday, I met with a friend at Cafe Orlin to talk/strategize about some "big picture" stuff for 2012. It had been awhile since I'd gone there, and I can't go to Cafe Orlin, a vintage East Village cafe, without thinking of Susan Seidelman's 1982 release Smithereens--a film I first saw on a big clunky rented videotape (on a clunky rented VCR) in Provo, Utah's University Villa apartments, years before I would visit New York or know what the "East Village" was.
In the film, the Cafe Orlin scene is as follows: an increasingly desperate Wren (Susan Berman) tries to cozy up to Richard Hell (largely playing himself), who she hopes will be her ticket out of New York, or at least provide her with a place to stay for the night. Conditions inside the cafe soon deteriorate when Wren's self-delusions run up against that of another female sycophant who hopes to get a piece of Hell for herself, and it's not very feminist when the scene culminates in a cat fight much to an escaping Hell's amusement. Note, that Susan Berman wears sheer back-seamed tights with the tallest high tops ever. Also, please note that the soundtrack's by one of the best bands from that era, The Feelies. (And sorry about the weird colorization and editorial comments. I couldn't find another version!)
So-I think my meeting went a lot better. There was no fighting. No self-absorbed rock musician present, although that surely would have been fun. It was at least inspiring, which as you remember, is one of the things that is free in 2012. Along with the TIGHTS we are GIVING AWAY! Won't you enter the contest? See yesterday's co-post!

last warm pair--a give away!

in celebration of making it through thirty-one days of posts on our new blog, girls in tight places are holding a tights give away.  make a comment in our comments section by midnight of january 30,  and we will randomly select a winner on january 31st of two thousand and twelve.

shortly thereafter, the lucky reader will receive in the mail the fabulous falke "sign" tight in "cosmic," made of  polyamide and elastane, pictured above.

lara says:

when i was at the end of my pregnancies, i always caved and bought a new outfit.  i had become more enormous than i could have possibly imagined at the beginning of the pregnancy, and i was sick to death of all the clothes i'd been wearing.  i figured it was worth the price of a new outfit that wouldn't be worn very much in order to preserve my mental health through the looooong final 5 weeks or so.

buying winter clothes in january is a little like buying maternity clothes in week 35.  logically, you know you should save your money for new spring dresses, and buying winter clothes just isn't that appealing at this point in the year.  so you don't buy.  then you get up one freezing morning in february cursing the same tired old choices you've been making all winter.  you really don't want to get dressed.  you really don't think you can stand your pilly old tights one more day.  but by then it's definitely too late to buy more winter clothes.

well, girls in tight places want to help you out with this.  we're giving away the last warm pair of tights you will need for the season just for leaving a comment in the comments section.  girls in tight places want their readers to:  1) have a drawerful of cute tights, 2) have something to look forward to, and 3) have pretty things to wear, do, read, and think about every day.

girls in tight places also want to celebrate our one month anniversary.

we hope to make you and your legs happy until you start to glimmer & spring.

julie says:

You can keep your tights in a drawer.  You can keep your tights in a cardboard box like I did in graduate school.  You can hand wash your tights and sling them over a shower rod like Marsha Mason in The Goodbye Girl (were those tights?).  In graduate school, I had a pair that looked like a Kandinsky painting on caffeine.  In San Francisco, I had a leopard skin print pair that looked like the manager of a local rock club's leg tattoo.  My black-and-white striped pair are like Proust's madeleine--I wore them to work through the latter half of a bleak winter under a pair of cut-off shorts and combat boots.  My co-workers, boys with Faith No More hair, called me "crazy legs," which I loved, but pretended to hate.  I've put my finger through a pair of spiderweb tights on first wearing.  It's time to create some new tights' memories--some tights memories you can share with us!  It's time to get yourself through a lot more frigid winter weeks.  It's time to win the best and last warm pair of tights we can offer.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

sunny valley

january at utah lake
today we went out to utah lake--i love being in the bowl of our big open basin right after a snow. on all sides, the cusp of the basin is made of mountain.

we went out to look for birds in the marshland on the edge of this un-beautiful lake, but only saw nests, and heard the ice melting in the cattails.

going to the lake always reminds me of two local heroes, oliver smith and raquel callis smith. oliver is a bioneer and he and raquel run their own little urban homestead in downtown provo, complete with a root cellar, the fantastic tree house (click on the link below), chicken coops, and an aquaculture pond in process. oliver has a great blog about the junesucker fish, an endemic species that has nearly gone extinct, and that local environmentalists are trying to revive. for as long as i've known raquel, she's been at the center of local art and culture. she used to live and work in the downtown space art front, she was a key player in starting the provo farmer's market and also the provo gallery stroll.  she's also a very adventurous artist.

the reason the lake reminds me of raquel and oliver is because it makes me think about how hardy, optimistic, creative people can take a less than perfect body of water like utah lake--shallow, silty, and wide--and turn it into something beautiful and inspiring.

after you look at the callis-smith tree house and their fabulous blogs, check out our photos from the lake today, including some great shots that cecily took on her new pink fisher price camera.

i'm outside! and i'm happy!
hand me down purple boots.  not my style, but warm, and karmically acquired

moses with binoculars--taken on cecily's fisher price camera

cecily the photographer

handsome husband

Underground Tights and Filthy Tracks

Years ago, I stopped looking down when looking for the arrival of a train.  The subway tracks below are always dirty and dotted with fetid pools of water.  Rats scurry and cavort.  During tights season, it's best just to keep one's eyes peeled for tights like these.  Monochromatic gray tights may be among my favorites.  Dove gray.  Dare I say--rat gray?  Yes!  Of course I do!  One one hand (leg?), these tights were part and parcel of another boreal day.   These were practical city tights made glamorous with blush pumps and a leopard skin print coat, reminiscent of Edie Sedgwick, although I'm sure she was almost always above ground in cabs.  

Why do I love tights so much?  For a relative pittance, they provide not only warmth but glamor.  They are ubiquitous, easy to find, easy to pack and stow away.  They are democratic like Levis.  They obscure faults but tell the truth.  They make the truth more beautiful.  They easily re-contextualize a shoe.  They make it easy to be stunning.  And they don't have to be dry-cleaned.  

Just writing off the top of my head here and fully aware of how silly this might sound!

The train came and the gray tights disappeared into an adjacent car. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Positively East 4th Street

New York Theatre Workshop--where Rent premiered in 1996
Phaser and fuzz box at Rivington Guitars
The late Ellen Stewart's legendary theater lives!
What exactly do they import?  Closed.  I couldn't find out.
A jewelry store I'd never noticed.  I like the image reflected in the window.  Snow!
I fell in love with this Freddy Mercury portrait at the Fab Cafe
I love how parallel Lara's and my day was today.  She, too, visited a chocolate shop.
Lured in by the sandwich board, I ended up ordering tea.
KGB is one of my favorite venues for readings.  The Kraine Theater is here, too.

Good browsing--antique prints and maps
More portraits at Fab Cafe:  Andy Kaufman and Carson McCullers
Why do I almost always forget about the block on East 4th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues?  Just a hop, skip and a jump from the Hell's Angels headquarters (which I mention for no reason at all), this humble, yet excellent block (which has to be one of my favorites in the city) is literally packed with an embarrassment of riches.

Today--the morning of the first snow of the season--I ventured over after dropping a kid at a friend's, and set myself to picture snapping.  (Many shops were closed, and many on the block are not even represented here, including the 4th Street Food Co-op where the Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players used to volunteer, or do they still?  I hope so.)

Then I hung out in the Fab Cafe for a spell, studied the graphite-on-paper portraits (part of Christina Mazzaluppo "Portraits of Excellent People" series, which also included Trotsky and Frederick Douglass) and read a novel written by another excellent person, James Baldwin.

I really do need to get out more.  January has been finding me taking my city for granted, so as penance, I'm going to give you another block profile next Saturday.

the provo scene

for as long as i can remember, people have been talking about how a great provo arts scene is just on the horizon.  indeed, it always seems to be on the cusp without ever tipping over.  the last month has been filled with events that have made me feel more confident that it could tip one day--a great exhibit in BYU's Harris Fine Arts' Center,  the strong showing and interest i got at my poetry reading and at our last Locust Salon, the little zines and poetry readings that are popping up around town, my neighbor who's at Pratt right now, and a lot of other little examples.  if nothing else, people are serious about their art--mormons tend to be serious about their lives in general, it seems.

so, after a horrid day at the mall, (i heard a man saying this to his wife, who was trying on boots:  "karen, you know you can't get away without a heel.  your legs are too short." i had to go immediately to see's chocolates for a free sample to calm myself down after that.)  i ran into my dear friend andi's bread art in this video featuring andi's amazing bread and some of the provo artists on the scene here.  kinda cool.

if i may be so bold, though, i want to see my fellow mo's get a lot more courageous about their aesthetics.  we need to not be timid, people--a)  we're weird. get over it and stop trying to fake normalcy and fit in, b) this means we have all kinds of strange and cool resources in our backgrounds to draw upon, and c) accept the fact that we got it goin' on.

tights: will be wearing turquoise tights, i think.

looking forward:  to music night at jane's.  just made pasta puttanesca to bring.

the world is talking now

1) molcajete at el gallo giroel gallo giro is my second favorite restaurant in provo.  my first favorite is communal, which is fine dining, and gallo is what people around here call a dive, so i don't know if it's fair to rank such different restaurants together.  but, the point is this:  molcajete.  its a lava mortar on which people grind corn with a pestle, but at gallo they turn the molcajete upside down on the grill (fired with wood!) and smoke it until it's piping hot (even ten minutes after being served, the sauce in the molcajete was still bubbling--that's how hot it was).  then they fill it with chorizo, queso, and a fantastic green sauce.  next comes grilled chicken, nopales, skirt steak, huge juicy prawns (legs on), and grilled green onions (the kind with the big bulb that are labeled "hispanic onions" at our local grocery store.)  THEN they serve soft, fragrant, thick hand made corn tortillas along side.  christian and i ate this for dinner tonight, for about 15 bucks, and we brought home leftovers.

2) the artist:  a silent film that is just adorable.  i have to admit i wasn't that excited to see it.  i kept wishing i could be home in bed watching house or something, but it was the beautiful, almost perfect, little story of a silent film actor who needs to resurrect himself when talkies come in:  "the world is talking now," the producer at his studio tells him when he fires him  "it's a new era."  renewal and rebirth have been an important theme for me lately, and this film spoke directly to me on the subject.  i thought it might be too gimicky, but it really became absorbing after a while, and was elegant as all get out.  p.s. i LOVED  the furs, gloves, sequins, fringes, stockings, and bobs.  why oh why was i born in a casual clothing era?

3) byu reading:  i read at the byu library today.  i've never done a full reading alone without a co-reader, and had to fill up 45 minutes of just me and my poetry, but i did it and had a great time.  the students were intelligent and thoughtful and seemed to genuinely care about art, poetry, and things of a deep and spiritual nature.  it was uplifting and renewing to my spirit.  then i had lunch and hung out with some english faculty who were really smart, cool, and interesting.  unfortunately, my (charcoal)tights/platform sandal combo were not ideal for walking in (i thought we were eating on campus, but we walked down to a restaurant off campus).  the tights make the sandals slippery and i got huge blisters on the balls of my feet.  may not be able to do yoga tomorrow, even. there's an unflattering photo of me at the reading up there with some cool english faculty.

4)  i came home from movie and dinner date, and my darling, darling, dearest lula had taken down all the christmas ornaments and decorations, dragged the tree out to the curb, vacuumed, and put the kids to bed.  she is a 13 year-old without parallel.  above is a watercolor, "gold winter tree" she made. little motherly brag: her art teacher said she has very confident brush strokes. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

What is There is What You See Below

I went outside and saw some things.  I tried to go to tiny Pok Pok Wing--which is receiving rave reviews.  As inauspicious as it looks, the chef--from Portland--won a James Beard award.

I went to the new East Village Bagels and wasn't too impressed with their bagels, which I found undynamic which means not chewy enough (but perhaps it was the decidedly "yuppie" clientele? Does anyone even use that word anymore?), although they do serve the now ubiquitous Stumptown Coffee.  And the storied Jim Power did the mosaic sign!

I saw some nice graffiti.  There used to be a Swoon piece there, but now what is there is what you see above.

On the way home from picking up a kid, I saw this poster for "the Horatio Alger Festival," and annoyed my kid in order to backtrack and photograph it. 

Thinking of leaving blogger.  What's your favorite blog hosting site?