Book Review – Girl In a Band

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Girl In a Band
Kim Gordon

The most refreshing part of Girl In a Band is that Kim Gordon is a really great writer. Not that I’m surprised by that – she’s written pieces for a variety of publications over the years – but so many rock star autobiographies are stilted, repetitive and trashy. Gordon approaches the story of her life as a grand piece of art, with different elements, mediums and characters, that are all explored, and related to the audience, with sensitivity and care. (Okay, there’s a bit of trash talk about Courtney Love that seems as if Gordon gave in to an editor insisting that she share the dirt, but for the most part, that’s the only point where there’s mud flying.)

As a California girl from the late 60s, Gordon is no stranger to gender stereotypes and misogyny. While the title comes from the oft-asked question from media “what’s it like being… a girl in a band”, the bassist seems to not have experienced much sexism from bandmates and peers (or at least none that she’s related), although her experiences growing up with a schizophrenic brother often left her feeling that she had to take on the traditional female roles of being docile and supportive within her family. Add to that the spectre of Charles Manson, who Gordon references on multiple occasions throughout the book, and you can see how she entered adulthood with lots of questions about her identity and her role in the world.

While people will know Gordon first and foremost as a member of Sonic Youth, and the (ex)wife of bandmate Thurston Moore, music is just one of her talents – she admits it wasn’t on her radar as a career until she met Moore. Gordon is also an artist, fashion designer, writer and actress. Much of Girl In a Band explores Gordon’s other projects, touching on relationships forged in the art, fashion, and music worlds. In any other book, this would seem like name-dropping but in Gordon’s case, it’s just factual, and allows her to give props to the creative talents around her.

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When Style and Art Combine

Most of the people I know who have come out of alternative music scenes also tend to have an alternative sense of style. They work really hard to ensure they look unique, avoiding the mall or mainstream stores, as well as specific sub-culture clichés, in order to rock a look that is all their own. They usually do this by shopping from small artisans making one-of-a-kind goods.

Recently we had the opportunity to attend two events here in Toronto that celebrate indie artisans; The Wearable Art Show is a small annual, curated event that features designers and makers of clothing, jewelry and accessories. The Bazaar of the Bizarre occurs in Toronto 3 times a year, and bills itself as a “marketplace for all things different, interesting and macabre…”

While each event attracts a different audience, we found goodies at both that might appeal to anyone looking for some unique pieces to incorporate into a more daring or offbeat wardrobe.

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Step Away From the Yarn! I Repeat, Step Away From the Yarn!

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Alright hipsters, enough is enough. I don’t care if it’s art. I don’t care if it’s all adorably cute… y’all really need to stop with the crocheting/knitting of unnecessary items and find a new hobby.

I get it. When you first learn a craft, especially a yarn craft, you’re so excited to make things that you soon have a plethora of scarves, mittens and sweaters. And probably blankets. More than you could ever need. And after you’ve gifted everyone you know with knitted goods, after you’ve yarn-bombed entire parks (for the love of all that is holy, people, stop putting sweaters on trees!), and you still just can’t stop knitting, even though every stitch sends a burning twitch up your arm because you’ve given yourself carpal tunnel syndrome… you think to yourself, why not? Why NOT crochet shorts for men? Or an entire kitchen? Or massive food-shaped headgear? Look at you, you’re like a twee hipster version of Madame DuFarge.

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Awesome Thing – Skeletons as Art

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I want to be able to tell you all more about today’s Awesome Thing but the URL on the card I got doesn’t mention any work with skeletons or reconstruction. Brian Martland is a Toronto-area artist, but his website hasn’t been updated since 2012.

What I can tell you is that I came across this work at the Annex Flea, that it was reasonably-priced and that it was created with an artistic eye in terms of display and presentation. I’m kind of surprised to have not come across these pieces before at events such as Steam on Queen or the Bazaar of the Bizarre as they would seem to be a perfect fit for shoppers and collectors with a macabre sensibility, or anyone into Victoriana, or biological science.

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Awesome Thing – Plates Covered in Ants (Sort Of)

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Yesterday, my awesome thing involved picnics, so I thought today would be a great day to promote ants. Actually, this plate is the work of German artist Evelyn Bracklow of La Philie. Each piece is handpainted and fired and is available via the artist’s Etsy page.

Why it’s awesome: because it’s disconcerting – bugs in your food! – while still being fun and quirky. Because it’s beautiful, and beautifully painted, but makes you do a double-take.

Discovered via the awesome folks at This Is Colossal. Make with the clicky for even more work by Evelyn Bracklow.

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Lucky Dip – Wednesday, April 24th, 2014

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The installations of floral artist Rebecca Louise Law require a lot of patience and absolutely no fear of heights. Law has done a variety of work for companies such as Jimmy Choo, Max Mara and others, and most of her work involves suspending individual flowers from very high ceilings. Amazingly beautiful, particularly the cathedral installations. [Via This Is Colossal]

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You know when you bite into a persimmon and it makes your mouth all “sweatery”? Here’s betting that all of the food created by artist Jessica Dance does that as well. Dance works in set design and in collaboration with food photographer David Sykes has created a series of pieces reminiscent of classic meals including a full English breakfast and Christmas dinner. [Via This Is Colossal]

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How is it that Paris, regardless of the image in the photo, always looks so romantic and intriguing? Now, get a daily dose of old French flavour with Charmade – Vintage French Photos, a Tumblr full of rare vintage French photos. [Via Messy Nessy Chic]

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Picking and Choosing

I had an interesting conversation the other night with two different people involved with small independent bookstores. The conversation touched on how customers come into their respective stores and get upset when they don’t have something in stock. But as a small indie shop, they don’t have the space or budget to carry every single title in the genres in which they specialize. So they have to make a decision as to what makes the cut. And their customers mostly have to trust that judgment.

The art of curating (or editing) – it takes place all the time, in every industry, on every level. It’s somebody’s job to decide what products make it onto shelves and racks in various stores, what artwork is included in a show, what stories make it to the pages of magazines and book anthologies.

There’s a certain unfairness to it, of course – depending on the topic or product there might be 5 or 20 or 100 things that don’t make the cut for every 1 that does. This also comes with a lot of responsibility – woe be to the fashion buyer who chooses incorrectly and sticks her store with something that doesn’t sell – especially if it was ordered in the hundred – or thousands.

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