The Mix

Comey + Somma & The Art Of Place

Rodarte Opie Soth

I love unexpected collaborations, like the 2011 collaboration among the innovative fashion design and sibling duo Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the native California born geniuses behind Rodarte, the California photographer Catherine Opie, whose documentary-style work takes on social-political themes, like the theme of community, which shows itself in her portraits of the LGBT community, surf community and high school football player community, and Alec Soth, the midwest-born photographer known for his large-scale American projects, which feature the midwestern United States and are known for their cinematic feel, folkloric elements that hint at a story behind the image, and an interest when focusing on human subjecst on what the New York Times art critic Hilarie M. Sheets calls “loners and dreamers.” The Rodarte-Opie-Soth collaboration was a homage to a certain California landscape and a certain California way of entering into life.

Comey + Somma 2

California figures in another collaboration that caught my eye when it was featured this week in T Magazine — between the swimsuit designer Rachel Comey and her old friend and former roommate, photographer Willy Somma.

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As The Last Bastions
Of Closetdom Tumble Down

Jason Collins

 

Angel Haze

 

Frank Ocean In NYTimes Mag

With three short sentences in this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated, Jason Collins became the first pro athlete to announce to the world that he is gay. With those three sentences — “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.” — Collins has joined a growing cacophony of (and this is significant) black voices, from the last outposts of homophobia, the hyper-masculine arenas of professional team sports and rap and R&B music. He joins the likes of grammy award winning musician Frank Ocean and rapper Angel Haze, who have casually and unapolegetically mentioned their homosexuality and bisexuality to the world, almost in passing, as though being gay or bisexual were natural ways to be — which, of course they are. Ocean’s and Haze’s nonchalance are sweet, beautiful, powerful things.  Chalk it up to their youth. Haze is 21, Ocean is 25, which makes them the first generation to live their whole lives in a time when people were out.

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Narrating The NFL Draft

NFL Draft Style Sharrif Floyd
NFL Draft Style Kenny Vaccaro

My interest in football is two-fold. I’m interested because my husband’s interested, though thankfully not obsessively so. He’s just interested enough for me to have learned, over the past few years, something I hadn’t noticed before: that football — and sport in general — has a narrative power and force to rival the Iliad and the Odyssey.

To be sure, football is the prose-light version of these grand narratives, but the big themes, which might be compressed and summed up with a single moniker, “the agony and the ecstasy,” are everywhere to be found in the sporting life. Steal a look at the ESPN documentary series 30 for 30 if you have any doubt. There you’ll see lives splayed open like a corpse on autopsy day. It’s a lovelier thing than this metaphor makes it seem.  A great story, after all — and 30 for 30 features some of the best, from filmmakers like Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights), Steve James (Hoop Dreams), Brett Morgan (The Kid Stays In The Picture) and rapper/actor/producer Ice Cube — allows us to dissect a life and find lessons that illumine our own. 

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Assunta Perilli Met A Loom

Assunta Perilli

Spool

Assunta Yarn

When you think of a weaver, what do you see? An old lady with white hair, a long black dress maybe a bit overweight? Or maybe she’s a pretty young girl with long blond hair, a sort of Rapunzel?

Meet our weaver, Assunta Perilli, a 30-something year old woman with short black hair and a wide smile. I sat down with Assunta recently to laugh, learn, and discover  the past, present and future of the weaving world. Assunta lives in Campotosto, in the Abruzzi Region in Italy where a few years ago an earthquake hit, bringing the region to worldwide attention. In a village of a little over 150 inhabitants, not far from L’Aquila, Abruzzi’s capital city, where the earthquake hit, Assunta is giving new life to local weaving traditions, and reviving a dying art.

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A First Lady In Full

First Lady Michelle Obama has modernized First Lady-dom and become a cultural icon in the process — by daring to  wear a sartorial and culturally diverse cadre of designers who were previously known only or mostly to the fashion (and fashion watching) set, championing the cause of the kitchen garden and joining the conversation about exercise and healthy natural food, and raising along with her husband two self-confident, lovely and well adjusted girls (quite a feat when you’re doing it from the White House, as former first daughter Jenna Bush attested on Inaugural Day), and simply by being the first African-American woman to occupy the First Lady spot in the cultural pantheon. Is it any wonder she was live-streamed into The Academy Awards?

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