Tag Archives: The Culture

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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Bushwick To Broadway:
A Conversation With Ernie Silva

Heavy like the Weight of a Flame

I sat down recently with the actor/playwright/musician Ernie Silva, whose award-winning solo show Heavy Like The Weight Of A Flame is currently gearing up and fundraising for an Off-Broadway run. A link to his campaign appears at the bottom of this post. 

Ernie Silva grew up in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, where he tells me “there were hippies,” even in the projects where he grew up. Of course, “project hippies are a little different,” as Silva explained. “They had rough edges and a street sensibility, but they still had a broad perspective on the world.”

Even in Bushwick, Silva found people “like me,” who liked certain kinds of music, for example, though they kept it on the down-low. Project-dwelling lovers of The Pixies, Def Leppard, Guns & Roses — or the one guy, Jeff, who was a fanatic for Front 242. Still, Silva was the only one of his friends whom everyone knew would leave home. 


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Assunta Perilli Met A Loom

Assunta Perilli


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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In Praise Of Letting
Your Freak Flag Fly:
The Strange Allure Of
Nicki Minaj

Niki Minaj Elle Collage

I wouldn’t know a Nicki Minaj song if you tied me down, played it on constant loop and told me you wouldn’t let me up until I named that tune. Nevertheless, I am a fan. Not of the music, which I suppose I should go listen to now, but of the freak flag flying soul who makes that music tick. Before this season’s American Idol, I knew almost nothing about Minaj aside from her penchant for wearing theatrical clothes. I didn’t get it really. Still, I have a special place reserved in my heart for all those who walk there own way, whatever the world may so. And so, o sound unseen, when she popped up on Idol, I resolved to give her a try, and what I found surprised.

As the weeks passed by, Nicki the act receded, and Nicki the woman stepped forth. That’s when I noticed how pretty she is, outside and in. What I love about Nicki, by far my favorite this year, is (1) the way she always speaks her mind even if what she’s saying kind of makes no sense (though, if you listen closely, she usually brings it home in the end) and (2) her heartfelt passion for the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys. It’s a beautiful thing, this compulsion to make sure everyone knows they’re okay, exactly as they are. One of my favorite moments of the Idol season was when Minaj told a contestant who’d been blessed with extremely short height that it was time to retire the story of how short he was and how much all this hurt. She said something like (cue her signature wine, which I’ve secretly come to love), “Stop it. Because when you sing, we don’t see your height.”


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