The Howling Review: 2012

January 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

You Were One Helluva Ride, 2012!

Now that 2012 is officially over & done with, I finally feel able to sit back & soak it all in. It was a year of thrills & frills, but it didn’t stop the punk rock for even a second! Adventures waited like cautious cats around corners, and school continued to open my mind by pushing my limits.

Travel was an absolute highlight! I was to finally explore & see all the splendor that is New York City. Having written & reviewed The Big Apple at  length, I’ll just say this; I long to go back.

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In September, I hinted at my trip to London, which proved to be a very different, but amazing journey. Having returned to Great Britain, after 7 years for the wedding of my cousin, revealed just how much I had missed my ole stomping grounds. In between all the festivities I managed to hunt & capture some lovely pieces from places you may not have suspected. I’ll be sharing those insights shortly…

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But I’ve got to be honest; returning from such a whirlwind trip had me feeling blue and revisiting it was just too heavy. It’s never easy saying Goodbye. 

Back home, I snooped, sifted & sought out local procurers of vintage treasures. But what excites me about 2013, is the continuation of these ventures by way of a new locale. 2012 wasn’t just a year of foreign travel as I moved from my Lil’Italy digs in Toronto’s westend for a groovy  new apartment in the Bohemian East. As you can imagine, this exit was more like an exodus; having to pack up 6 years was no small feat. At one point, my bedroom literally looked like it barfed all over itself. Although blanketed in snow, I really can’t wait to get out & explore the antique shops of Queen Street East, the Cabbagetown yard sales and unique flea markets & pop shops searching for austerity.

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Could this be the year I find that powder blue typewriter?

Aside from eating & breathing it, I certainly shopped, watched, wore, and heard vintage. One of my many resolutions is to post more; its no fun keeping a bargain to yourself!

Shaking off the shoulda’,could’a, would’as of the past year, I find myself eager to start the next one with an invigorated thirst for adventure, self-exploration and of course inspiration. Having seen and tasted the fruits of 2012, its certainly whet my appetite. I won’t forget what I’ve learned and strive to keep the spirits of all that bewitched my senses alive through my drawings, photos and postings. My resolution list is as long as my arm, but 2013 beckons, and I’m hot on its heels with a laughter in my heart, and fire in my eyes!

Awooooooooooooooooooooooo!

 

 

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The Howling Review: Academy Annex in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

September 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Stax of Wax & Awesome Trax

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Scene: Academy Annex, Williamsburg at Sundown

After having a gorgeous meal, round the corner at Rosarito Fish Shack, I was drawn to the white hot fluorescents of this particular record shop. Determined to find the perfect gift for my kid sister, I would soon realize I walked into the right place. Without even thinking I found myself flicking away at a random stack. Not even a third of the way thru I found the latest Crystal Stilts LP. Amazing! Jasmine’s a total fan & how fab was it to find a new copy in their hometown? There was a time that this album was on constant rotation for me and having the long play was a total investment; not to mention the price being incredibly right.

Crystal Stilts

If I could dig up this gem, I knew I’d find more. Orienting myself, I started searching. Low & behold, I found the Singles Collection of another favorite. This act put on an incredible show in TO at a NXNE awhile back when I got to see them for free; it was a superb surprise as they were listed as Special Guest. But alas, every time poor Jasmine has had the chance to see Ty Segall, some unforeseeable event has thwarted her attempt. Bringing this prize back would make her day. He’s a phenom of garage rock intensity.

Ty Segall

The previous two were brand spanking new, tightly sealed under quick film to keep in their freshness. But this last find was an oldie but a goodie through & through. For $5, I found a mint condition {Read: scratch free} soundtrack LP of a beloved foreign film. Orfeu Negro or Black Orpheus, won the 1959 Canne Film Festival. This remake of the Ancient Greek legend of Orpheus & Eurydice set in contemporary Brazil was a fury of colour, sound & pathos. Upon the backdrop of Sugar Loaf Mountain, Carnival & the Favelas, the performers echo the hypnotic rhythms of Rio de Janeiro. I dare you to watch this scene below & not smile broadly or get choked up.

Black Orpheus

Academy Annex is a definite go too if you’re trawling for records in this neck of the woods. Prices for freshly pressed are totally affordable compared to that of Toronto, just sayin’. And its older records in the bargain piles are a treasure trove. Come on, I found the Black Orpheus soundtrack for God’s sake! This place has taste & sell it at the right price.

But I must mention, that throughout my time in NYC, I did not see a single cat trapsing around the neighborhoods, living their infamous double lives. Seriously, none of them walking around, sitting in windows are just soaking up the sun. I found this very odd, as cats are EVERYWHERE  in TO. The only cat I saw was in this shop. We were never formally introduced, but without further ado, the only Meow in Brooklyn…

http://www.academy-lps.com/

The Howling Review: Amarcord, Williamsburg Store

September 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Fashionable European vintage clothing, couture, and accessories…

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Scene: 223 Bedford St, Williamsburg Location

I heard of Amarcord via Alexa Chung from some interview thingamajiggy on youtube. Upon realization of its existence, I thought it best to check it out whilst exploring the streets of Williamsburg. I spotted it’s chic awning from Fabianne’s patio {they have delicious iced coffee’s, fyi}. I immediately fell head over heels with the  60’s a go-go graphics covering the walls in orange, green, magenta & black. This aesthetic was effortlessly repeated by Amarcord’s owner Pam, whose turquoise, pink & orange dress was out of this world! This lovely lady explained to me that all of her amazing finds were hand picked from Europe; I believe many of the pieces were from Italy.

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Trying on a floor length gold & red gown with a sexy slit I felt as saucy as Sophia Loren.

But alas, the fit was too big, which was heartbreaking as Amarcord was currently have a 50% Off Sale. Bummer. Chad, on the other hand,  had luck on his side yet again. He managed to score a supple, rust coloured leather vest replete with fringe that only cost $25 {original price $50}. The fringe is so choice, it’s even on the back.

Lady Pam of Amarcord is a total class acts & being nestled in the heart of Williamsburg, her shop is absolutely worth a visit. Especially when there is a sale; who doesn’t want to feel like an Italian Countess every once in a while?

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http://amarcordvintagefashion.com/

The Howling Review: Vice Versa, Williamsburg Brooklyn

September 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Vintage Garb for Man, Woman, and Beast

Vice Versa

Scene: 241 Bedford Avenue, take the ramp to the shop

Vice Versa is exactly that; instead of catering to just women, this place is a vintage haven for dudes. Rows & racks of boots, shoes, blazers, jackets & shirts line the walls of this Williamsburg native. It’s finds were as satiating as water from an oasis; finally, some cheap treats! I don’t want to mislead as they did have women’s garments as well, but there men’s selection was easier on the eyes & the wallet. Not a fan of polyester gowns with obnoxious prints, I helped Chad to scoop up a killer, leather vest; the perfect accompaniment to his recent bandana phase. We found a simple, black leather vest, with a soft back and brass buttons for a cool $10. He also snapped a sharp, mod spring jacket in an olive tone replete with ventilation to cool down my Cheddar from melting whilst on his bike. I did manage to find a cropped vest (I suspect it might have been made for a child), that had exquisite embroidery. Silken yellow & white thread looping gingerly around mirrors. The craftsman is simply divine and definitely Northern Indian or Pakistani for $15.

Vice Versa is a must see go too for the Happy Howler on a budget.

http://viceversavintage.com/index.html

 

The Howling Review: The Brooklyn Flea at Fort Greene

September 6, 2012 § 3 Comments

There Ain’t No Flies On Us, Baby…

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Scene: 176 Lafayette Ave, just across the street from the Mason’s lodge, aka Fort Greene

Sprawling over what seems to be a running track, hoards of incredible finds await in anticipation to be discovered. I have arrived at the Brooklyn Flea & suddenly, I’m a little kid. A goat actually, grazing & wandering, attracted to every floating garment & all the shiny pieces.

The Brooklyn flea was a revelation, filled with taxidermy, purses & kimonos. Sara (with whom I grew up with & whose place I crashed whilst in NYC) actually found a full standing gym locker! Wild. Amongst the crocodile mouths, wishbone necklaces and luggage that resembled tupperware Mum had, the Flea had something for everyone. But it came at a cost. I made goggly eyes at all exquisite frocks, and ended up doing epic eye-rolls over the prices.

Sipping on a cucumber mint lemonade made by my South Indian Brothers & Sisters, I galavanted through the entire market looking for that steal. Bargains, come out come out where ever you are! After ohhing & ahhing, I managed to hawk a gorgeous 100% brocade silk shirt in a burnt sienna for only $10 yankee dollars! But alas, that was my only true steal. Chad on the other hand managed to score the ultimate find; a genuine, mint condition Super 8 camera for $30 bucks! It whirred beautifully and came in a hard case with ND filter attachment & the original instructions. The man selling it had other exceptional specimens, such as medium formats & vintage magnesium flashes. He was a retired high school teacher, when upon inquiring where we were from & literally said, “Toranna’s a hell of place!” 

Amen to that, brother.

http://www.brooklynflea.com/ 

The Howling Review: Moonrise Kingdom

July 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

You Are Now Entering ChickChaw Territory

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With sun drenched eyes & bronzed skin, I welcome the cool breeze upon my face. Summer is in full swing; the time is right for day dreaming & playing under warm, starlit nights. Like that glorious breeze, my thoughts float back to New Penzance. Wes Anderson’s latest opus is the perfect ode to summer.

As our faithful Narrator explains the intricate geography of the charming island, I longed to walk its unpaved paths, look out from its lighthouses and of course, enter ChickChaw Territory. My sense of adventure stoked, I marvelled at every scene, and coveted that portable record player each bird costume with a very greedy gaze. Anderson’s attention to detail is only rivaled by his immense imagination; from one big kid to another, I think he’s aces.

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From old cans of Tang, scout badges, saddle shoes & Francoise Hardy, this film made me long for camping trips with my Girl Guide troop. I must admit, I would have much rather preferred the company of Suzy & Sam.

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Speaking of those two scene-stealers, I was thoroughly impressed with the debut performances of Kara Hayward & Jared Gilman. Anderson has an eye for spotting excellent, young ingenues {*ahem Jason Schwartzman} and these two definitely follow in the footsteps of one Max Fischer. My heart skipped a beat when he so pointedly asked her,

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“No, I said, what kind of bird are you?”

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“I’m a Raven”

I’ve asked myself the same question, but never had a smashing costume to match.

*sigh*

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They were so mature.Regardless of having the vibe of a kids adventure flick, Moonrise was as sophisticated as any of Anderson’s previous endeavors. The stories fueling the plot-line were heavy for this idyllic island; frolicking youngsters needn’t worry about the woes of adult life. Sad Sally knew about her Mum & the Sheriff; their affair pushed this sensitive creature deeper into emotional despair. Poor Sam, upon discovering his escape from Khaki Scouts, his foster parents wanted nothing to do with him and cooly rejected him if he were to return. Throw in the looming concrete bunks of juvenile refuge and the determined Tilda Swinton known only as Social Services, I don’t blame Sam for hatching an escape. My absolute favorite line was delivered by the incredible Edward Norton as Scout Master Randy,

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“Jiminy Cricket! He flew the coop!”

I loved Sam’s determination and cheered him over every cliff, through each ravine and over raging rivers. He was a true blue scout who had his wits about him, but remained a chivalrous gent presenting his lady wildflowers when they met in the middle. I will always remember him venturing off into the wilderness to Kaw-Liga

“He always wore his sunday feathers and held a tomahawk
The maiden wore her beads and braids and hoped someday he’d talk
Kaw-liga – a, too stubborn to ever show a sign
Because his heart was made of knotty pine.”

This soundtrack, although not as eclectic as his other films, it did resonate the emotional landscape of New Penzance. Using ole Hank, the lovely Francoise {“My God Mother is French”}, and some Benjamin Britten, this soundtrack had a transportive quality; I appreciate what Anderson was striving for. I must admit, being set in 1965 and having the obvious youth in revolt, rebel yell themes, it would have been killer to have mixed in some rare gems of the Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Sam the Sham, the Four Tops and the usual suspects, the Kinks, The Rolling Stones & the Beatles (who’ve made previous track listings).

Moonrise Kingdom is an absolute must-see for all those who are young at heart & bloom brightest under the summer sun. It was pure magic and a return to auteaur-style filmmaking which is a refreshing reprieve from the schlock being shilled by the movie biz. Each location, prop, hemline & fine detail showed immense care and forethought. Wrap them over a phenomenal cast, quick witted dialogue & one can immediately identify it as a Wes Anderson picture. Bravo!

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So go back to the sunshine, jump on your bike and take a spin around Bellwoods or head down to the Queens Quay. Tune out your technology and turn onto nature. Get yer yeah-yeah’s out, my Happy Howlers and y’all have an amazing summer! xo

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P.S. Check out the inspired & gorgeous finds the chica’s at Good Twin. Bad Twin found. Kudos! 

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http://www.goodtwinbadtwin.com/2012/05/moonrise-kingdom-inspired-shop-update_28.html

The Howling Review: David of Prometheus

June 11, 2012 § 2 Comments

“The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts”.

~ T.E. Lawrence as played by Sir Peter O’Toole

Peter O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia

As I sat on the edge of my seat, my mind slipped effortlessly into the infinite blackness of space stretched out to relative proportions onto the silver screen. The cold and distant reality of 2093 loomed before me; the chill of fear and an instinctual wariness iced my core. The only moment where I found myself at ease was watching the scenes of David 8, alone, awaiting the Prometheus crew to awake from stasis. What endeared me to this imperfectly/perfect human replicant was his admiration and imitation of none other that the Great Peter O’Toole whom I adore as well. Lawrence of Arabia is an all time favorite of mine and to see him being revered 81 years later was comforting.

Lying in bed, remunating about what I saw and relieved the waves of nausea had ended (I’m a tad too sensitive when it comes to guts & gore), my mind drifted to the dualities of both Lawrence & David. Obviously, the infamous match scene from Lawrence was a clever hommage to that of Prometheus, that naughty God who gave us humans fire. Perhaps after many a millenia Prometheus, having his liver eaten daily by a great eagle, gives his former counterparts no satisfaction by not minding that it hurts.

The physicality of both characters is clearly highlighted with David watching the match scene with peroxide at his roots, repeating O’Toole’s lines with perfect pitch. Looks aside, don’t be fooled by either characters cool, flawless exteriors. Make no mistake, each ‘man’ is in fact a raging storm waiting to be unleashed. “Doesn’t every child want to see their parents dead?” Yikes.

Lawrence was assigned to the cartography division in Cairo until they realzied his use in the field thanks to his knowledge of the Bedouin. Once unleased onto the desert, he became a force to be reckoned with, disobeying orders and orchestrating suprise attacks. Both characters embraced their desolate wastelands as an adventure which to me is rather charming.

Imitation is flattery, but it can never hold up against the real deal; David’s plight in a nut shell. Desperately wanting to be respected, admidered and even revered for his programmed superiority, he reverts to jealously and revenge instead. My sympathy wanes for any robot who is not in alignment with Asimov’s 3 Laws of Robotics (listed below). The engineers at Weyland Corp who created this ‘clanking, clattering collection of cogs’ did too good of a job. David 8’s deceit, vindictiveness and arrogance made him a formidable saboteur on Prometheus. But I thought he was supposed to better than us…

The 3 Laws of Robotics

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

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