los angeles: neverland reincarnate

i am 26 years old. i have serious job (albeit this is constantly in question) at a serious company. i am entertaining the idea of moving in with my boyfriend, i pay my bills on time, am saving for a serious down payment on a car, and yesterday was asked to if i wanted to do a 2ft beer bong.

ladies and gentlemen, meet my friends.

for one of my girlfriend’s 27th birthday, she decided to have a good old-fashioned frat party. kegs, flip cup, beer pong, completely unharmonized sweet caroline renditions and jungle juice was all in abundance.

as i took a break and checked my facebook – which is officially now the wedding book – a realization hit me: los angeles is the town of lost boys (and girls). while nearly half of my social media reads as engagement albums and wedding boards, my friends and i are committed to a life of potentially post-prime debauchery.

i remember being 21, at the height of my college exuberance, going out six nights a week. never letting an 8am class or a long day get in the way of what the night could bring. i remember thinking, god… 27 is SO old. when i am 27 i will be settled, weeknight ragers will be far behind me, i’ll host fabulously elegant dinner parties and be a REAL adult.

the current reality: doing laundry, remembering to take my make-up off, and getting to bed before 2am…all small victories.

and it’s not just me. i live in an entire city that considers a non-hungover morning a bit of a failure.  l.a. forces its inhabitants to live in a state of permanent cognitive dissonance, one where age equals greater money and success (which requires maturity), but youth remains the strongest form of currency…resulting in a town full of lost boys and girls, refusing to really grow up.

hence 27-year old frat parties.

i imagine at some point we will all hit a tipping point, pack up our late nights, move to the palisades where instead of rebel-rousing in public, we will just do it indoors with our kids sleeping upstairs. until then i plan to live up this prolonged, la-induced youth, take in the nevernever land of it all…and wait for my age to catch up with me.

dear uncle karl

karl lagerfeld is a god of gods. this we knew.

and turns out in his godliness, he is also a man of many (sometimes questionable) opinions.

popular fashion news site, fashion, etc., released an article yesterday aggregating all the things mr. lagerfeld is not fond of…in his own words. and while at first glance i thought this was undeniably inane, something lead to me continue clicking (procrastination a likely catalyst). turns out karl has some solid points…

1. flip flops – “i’m physically allergic to flip-flops.” my parents (god bless their european souls) also did not believe in flip flops. it wasn’t till i was 15 that i bought my first pair. and while we may have experienced a brief love affair in high school, our break up was sudden, deliberate and i shall never go back.  i scourge the person that brings them into my house these days.

2. short men –  “life is not a beauty contest, some ugly people are great. what I hate is nasty, ugly people. the worst is ugly, short men. women can be short, but for men it is impossible. it something they will not forgive in life.” i would forgive it, but girlfriend is 5’6 and heels just make me happy. stupid happy. and who wants to give up stupid happy?

3. sweatpants – “sweatpants are a sign of defeat. you lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” unless you are coming to or from your pilates-cum-barre-cum-circuit-whatever classes, no one wants to see them. lulu lemon exists for a reason. lead yourself not into cotton-drawstring temptation.

4. thongs – “i’m not mad for thongs.” well karl, there is a reason you are a gay male darling. although, i do appreciate the support because no woman actually enjoys having a piece of fishing wire strung betwixt her buttocks.

5. meetings – “i don’t do meetings. at chanel, there are no meetings. at chanel, we do what we want, whenever we want and it works. and fendi is the same.” my name is karl, and i do what i want. #badass. too bad my office doesn’t also want group nap sessions, champagne lunches or company-funded shopping sprees. rude.

um, karl – will you be my spirit animal?

the l.a.dance project finally lands

Dancers taking a bow after the final piece.

lo and behold la la land gets a dose of culture.

this past weekend benjamin millepied (of natalie portman spousal fame) brought his newest endeavor – l.a. dance project – to la’s main cultural outpost, the walt disney concert hall.

in it’s inaugural act, millepied brought three works to life…one part beautiful, one part thought-provoking and one-part what-the-hell-was-that, the pieces played the line of ballet and “abstract expressionism” (to quote the la times review), and in doing so, shook up the culturally banal basin that is los angeles.

Julia Eichten and Nathan Makolandra in Quintett

coming from a back-in-the-day prima ballerina, the show was a pas de bourree and a changement away from my conventional ballet vocabulary, but it was different and in that, enjoyable…for the most part.

the second act was trying in that if a screeching cat and nails on a chalkboard had a love child, the piece would be it. silence marred by thuds, occasional flashing lights and what looked like a zamboni were some key highlights. the piece lost me in the first five minutes and even had some theater-goers leaving in the first ten. that being said art is art, and not everyone understood picasso at first either, i’ll give choreographer, merce cunnigham a break.

however the larger thing at play here, and what millepied keeps reminding us in the press is that this not a dance company, nor a one-off performance, but a collective meant to shock life into the low-beating pulse of the los angeles arts scene. artistic collaborations thus far have included designs from rodarte, pieces by artist mark bradford and guest hosting the tv show “so you think you can dance”  (although the latter i can hardly say constitutes true arts education), and many more to be rumored down the pipeline.

yet, while naysayers leer a suspicious eye as arts collaboration projects have been pitched in the hollywood hills before, i can assure them nearly all lacked the celebrity-fairy dust of the choreographer being an oscar-winner’s spouse (ca-ching!)  and the industry-cred of being invited to perform at disney hall (double ca-ching!). something tells me, this one has staying power.

and while i don’t think twenty minutes of mind-numbing noises is the way to go about making a statement for la, i praise him for kick-starting a commendable and much needed cause. this twinkly town could do well with shifting the spotlight to more culturally rich stars every once in a while.

yakkety yakkety yacht

it’s all about submersibles. and i just want to say i called it.

there are so many ridiculous ways to spend one’s money. and the rich – well they have the attention span of an A.D.D newt, therefore demand new, egregious ways to blow loads of cash (while us peasants sit in cubicle squalor sipping on jumbo gulps waiting for 6pm to roll around…not that i’m bitter or anything. nor do i drink anything with the word jumbo on it).

i digress. so the rich’s newest fad? submersibles of course.  it all really began with poster-boy millionaire richard branson. the cool jock that always gets the hot girl first, and in this case, the hot girl is a submarine. a really, really cool one. that is not afraid to go down…with you (he called it the necker nymph for a reason folks).

naturally all the other kids got jealous, so boom a trend was born. as published in a nyt article today an easy million buys you and a few friends a 500-feet-underwater trip of a lifetime.

charles kohnen, co-founder of seamagine hydrospace corp stated that the market is still in it’s infancy (thank god, i would hate to have missed the boat on that one). he continues, “to keep things into perspective, the first helicopters on private yachts were about 20 years ago…now there are around 50 yachts with helicopters on them.”

hmm, perspective…

a bit more perspective for you: one manufacturer’s major selling point is that with a submersible, you really don’t even need the yacht. i mean they are right. who needs a yacht when you can just build a submarine driveway/garage under your private island. one doesn’t want to come off too flashy.

so basically i am about hundred-fifty feet and helicopter pad behind, but at least i don’t have to worry about things like how am i going to custom-build my yacht to store my submarine, or should i get the two or three-person model or most importantly, where am i going to find a staff that will wear shrunken sailor outfits and let me call them capitan nemo.

ahhh to be rich.

the greatest teacher

i often quote baz luhrmann’s “everybody’s free (to wear sunscreen).” the song is laced with dollops of truthful beauty and calming reminders about life.

by far my favorite line: “live in new york city once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in northern california once, but leave before it makes you soft.

i had the amazing opportunity to live in new york city for four boisterous years. by no means is this an east coast soapbox, nor do i think i am some transformed new yorker at heart. i came in, and i came out of that city. momentarily making footprints. sharing in its happiness, sighing with its heaviness. it took me in with open arms and let me go just as freely. and for those four years, new york served as one of the greatest teachers i’ve ever come to know.

apparently i am not alone.

last week, brett nelson of forbes.com posted his own love letter to new york, citing 50 bonafide things the city taught him.

some shared personal lessons:

1. walk. and then walk some more.

2. if you don’t care, no one will. (still trying to really learn this one.)

3. star interns are lifesavers. (case.and.point)

4. chat up a cabbie. (some of my most memorable evenings were punctuated with the perfect cab ride.)

5. have a ritual. (every sunday. me and the times and some macaroons on 23rd street…my most trustworthy indulgence of the week.)

6. small is magnificent.

7. spending more than you can afford is alarmingly easy to do…(three years later and my bank account is still alarmed.)

8. the joy of stress

and perhaps it is that last lesson that lets me leave new york as a well-worn love affair. someone who was perfect for that moment in my life, someone i will always hold to great esteem, but someone who i ultimately can’t be with today. as baz said, leave before it makes you hard…

then again, even though luhrmann says northern california makes you soft, maybe southern california will soften my emotional saddlebags so and i’ll just have to return to my first love, new york city.

 

birthday boy (mis)givings

next week mark’s the boyfriend’s birthday. and while no one really loves birthdays more than this girl (and i mean really. like it is my most favorite thing. ever.) the boy’s birthday puts me in a darkwing duck tailspin of epically-male proportions.

sports? meh. clothes? did that for birthday year 2,5 and 7. dinner and show? well that’s just called tuesday.

frustrations in full force, i decided to dig around on this nifty thing called the internet, and have come up with some deeply original (or at least i think) ideas for the boy.

1. the brackish bow tie

fine so this one may be more for me…but come on. turkey AND pheasant feathers. let’s. get. real. everyone loves a bowtie and this just brought it into the badass hall of fame. yup, i said it…it is badass.

2. rebel playing cards by studionumberone + theory 11

studionumberone is shepard fairey’s design studio so that already adds a pop culture cache…and they feature inarguably cool things like sketches of the capitol building and latin phrases n’ stuff. boys like that, right?

3. the impossible instant lab

fine, this is another one i would like for myself, but this can totally go both ways! according to a write up in uncrate.com, this modern-marvel of a gadget uses nothing more than an iphone’s screen to expose polaroid-style instant film AND it is entirely portable. hipsters rejoice…this is the final piece to your brooding, too-cool puzzle. and maybe mine.

4. bmw zagato roadster

so while i recognize this might be a great gift for a point when my bank account reflects more than four figures, and that right now it is an exercise in bmw style…i do think it would make another stupendous birthday gift. bringing the z4 body back to life with lot’s more attitude and less pomp, the car looks as fast as it probably goes. screw it…i’ll take two. one should give themselves presents once in a while too.

a second coming: j.k. rowling’s “the casual vacancy”

muggles rejoice.

j.k rowling has begun the press onslaught for her newest foray into literary genius: “the casual vacancy.”

according to an article from this week’s ad age, the 512-page novel is being kept under impervious-type-charm wraps until it’s official release date: september 27th at 8am.

but elder-wand lovers be warned, “the casual vacancy” forgoes horcruxes and hogwarts, and is replaced by a more proverbial, albeit mystery-filled, life in the quaint english countryside. “draws a stark line between this work and anything ms. rowling has done before,” “blackly comedic” and “thought-provoking” are some comments to come out of the mere 15 people who have read the tome so far. that aside, there is no doubt that the magical  (pun intended) literary froth that made harry and his adventures so popular for so many years, will also be present in this work, cajoling us to fall in love with a whole new set of misfit characters.

once released, rowling will embark upon the press tour to end all press tours: a litany of morning shows, late night jibber jabbers and the occasional radio spots. however, the fanboy (or girl) pièce de résistance comes in the form of “the casual vacancy” q&a to be hosted at new york’s lincoln jazz center on october 16th. with people lining up days in advance, tickets sold out in a mere hour and rowling devotees are already clamoring on ebay for the leftovers.

needless to say, this fangirl is quite excited, even if there are no patronus’ or the like…i will readily be standing in line for a copy.

let’s just hope j.k. doesn’t disappoint.

 

the view: from moscow with love

    

in late july, cheery russian president, vladimir putin signed a new visa agreement doing away with the laborious and disheartening us visa process (a.k.a one needs a formal invitation) thereby opening the proverbial flood gates to u.s fanny packs and tampa bay visors.

for those of you that stray from overly-american accessories and are truly interested in lapping up the culture of this rigidly interesting nation, i suggest beginning with the ritz carlton – moscow. (yes, i recognize that the ritz is really not russian by nature, but i assure they have seemed to adapt the culture just fine.)

very much old world soviet meets new world democracy (if i may), the hotel boasts the highest level amenities with an unwavering 18th-century flair – wood carved doors, plush pillows, floating fireplaces, spa space chairs – you know, the usual. with an opulence factor that knows no bounds, and let’s face it in a comical twist of fate (or politics) the russians have come to define the term opulence (have you seen their fur coats, right?), the hotel is packed with a library containing over 800 vintage works, a spa that makes you believe in time travel, and rooms that perch themselves perfectly at the moscow skyline.

don’t forget about their exclusive wine-room which touts the oldest and most exclusive collection of petrus wine or their restaurant aptly named carviarterra (only in russia can you use caviar in the tile of your restaurant…how delightfully pretentious.) from there you can tap into the hotel concierge’s moscow prowess to assemble the perfect tour – the kremlin, the bolshoi ballet, the conservatory…all the while knowing you’ll be coming home to anna karenina and your made for a menage-a-trois-tub.

hey it is vacation…just be careful not to drop it in the tub…tolstoy will be less than thrilled.