Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Like Giants

Let's Play , a film by Emily Cohn on Vimeo. Music: "I Like Giants" By Kimya Dawson

Remember the good ole' days when hanging out with your friends was called a playdate? Well, every once in a while (ok, more like every day) my friends and I get nostalgic for the time when hanging out consisted of eating candy, playing with stickers, trading wacky packages, and choosing activities from a wondrous cabinet full of board games, so we try to get back to those roots a lot. One of my best friends, Emily Cohn is really into film-making (she even interned for OCTV this summer) and had the idea to make a stop-motion video as an ode to childhood nostalgia. The storyline for the video is basically us girls having a playdate as items around the house start coming alive, dancing around us. You probably know Kimya's music from the soundtrack for Juno, but her genius extends far past that. Kimya's song “I Like Giants,” that was used in Emily's video, makes me so happy and is one of many reasons that I watch this video again and again. 
My favorite moment to make was at the 1:29 minute mark, when all of us are balancing candy corn in our mouths. When we shot the stop-motion stills for this part, Emily blasted Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” (one of the many anthems for our play date years), which obviously spurred us to belt the lyrics, but also caused all of the candies to keep falling out of our mouths... 'twas precious to say the least.

We’re all looking matchy-matchy in Emily’s gingham clothing

I will always love my Zac Efron pin, especially because my grandma got it for me not knowing who he was and just thinking he was some nice Jewish boy that added to my Channukah present. 

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

D.I.Y. Time: Candy Jewelry

My school’s cafeteria goes all out for "theme" days. For Halloween, the lights are always dimmed and the Monster Mash plays on a boom box. Every Valentine’s Day since I was Elementary School, the room is decorated in hearts streamers and posters and has a special ice cream sundae station set-up. This year for V-Day I brought in candy sweet hearts, licorice, heart lollipops and jelly beans for a project for art club to undertake. 
If you want to make any of the pieces seen in this post you’ll need these:
·         A mix of different colored pipe cleaners
·         Glue guns + extra glue sticks
·         Clear nail varnish (to put over the candy so it doesn’t rot or melt)
·         Barrette clips/headbands/picture frames (whatever you’re putting your candy onto)
·         And um, CANDY, duh!

The only sweet hearts left in CVS were internet-themed, but I thought was kind of fitting. Internet has even invaded our candy! All of the messages are really funny and sexual, as if to say, “Who needs texting when we can have a communicative relationship via candy grams?” 

Pipecleaners really do look like caterpillars

Left: barrette clip made of candy hearts Right: cuff bracelet made of jelly beans

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Did They Really Get Pinned?

The psychology behind collecting is really fascinating to me, especially because it’s a practice that has been enduring since as early as the Egyptians. There are so many different reasons to explain why people collect things, be it nostalgia, to reduce stress, or even that accumulation makes them feel wealthier. Like with many things, there are very different degrees of collecting. If you've seen Hoarders before, this an example of how some people allow collecting to define and consume them. Andy Warhol's personal collecting  fetish was cookie jars. He only had a healthy 175 cookie jars --- primarily from the 1930's and 1940's --- which he found at flea markets like the Antiques Garage, but all of which he justified as “time pieces.” All of his cookie jars are just as much works of art as anything else he owned and look like they could come alive and talk and tell secrets about his wacky life. 
I also love making mood boards, so I thought, why not make wearable mood boards? Between me and my mom, we have so many random pins in our house that they don’t even really belong to either of us, they just sort of float between our rooms and we trade off. So for me, my collection of choice is pins. Pins are really easy and fun to collect. You can find them anywhere from your local bank to rural flea markets. My only rule of thumb with collecting is that its not a race. I like to stumble upon things, not feel like I should constantly be on the move to seek them out, because that takes the serendipity out of it. 

From left to right: the first pin is a Martin Luther King Day remembrance pin that my mom actually got in Paris. Above it is a dainty floral wishbone. Next to it is a plastic stamp pin from the 1964 World’s Fair. The Denmark pin is one I found in a jewelry box in my grandma’s house; it looks like porcelain plates from the 1960's I’ve seen from Denmark. The choo-choo train one is enamel and very early 60’s. I honestly have no idea where this metal cowboy boot came from. And then of course there’s the Zac Efron pin and obviously Zac Efron isn’t from the 1960’s but he goes with the whole “getting pinned” school girl innocence at play here. 

This dress that I am wearing is actually a girl’s uniform I found at the Salvation Army. It has a patch on it that says “SAS,” so I like to refer to it as my SAS-sy Academy dress. I bought it mainly because it resembles one of my favorite designers, Rachel Antonoff’s Fall 2011 plaid farm girl collection. 

From left to right: the swirly, resin pin is from Israel. I think my grandpa must have bought it there since he was a travel writer. Above it is a pop art pin from the iconic Keith Haring pop-up shop that was in SoHo (where Bess is now).  Below it is a self-portrait by Andy Warhol, because who wouldn't want to be Andy Warhol’s muse?  The giant blue pin I got at the premiere of Bill Cunningham: New York, at Film Forum, along with a special Bill Cunningham popcorn bag which I have in my room. I’m not really sure how the Tim Gunn pin fits into my theme, but it says “Make It Work,” so I did. Next to Tim is a Fiorucci pin. Fiorrucci is an Italian label started in 1967. I love it because a lot of its logos mix these kitschy bright colors with Renaissance-style cherubs. In its heyday, the Fiorucci store was said to be like the “daytime Studio 54.” 

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Shoebox Secrets

I wrote my second post for my column for The Huffington Post’s high school site about The Mortified Sessions. You can read the full article here.
The Mortified Sessions is a project started by Dave Nadelberg, which began in a live stage setting where celebrities and amateurs alike are asked to bring a shoebox full of all the songs, poems, art, love letters from their adolescence, to chip away at our exterior and expose our inner geek. Sundance has the televised adaptation of the project, where each week Dave interviews new subjects, who bring Dave a shoebox full of their past. It is interesting to see what these childhood artifacts, unearths not only about their pasts, but even often unlocks something that they hadn't realized about who they are today.

I never really think about the opening credits of a show. But The Mortified Sessions’ opening credits are really just an extension of the project itself so I felt it necessary to screen cap  them for this blog post. The show begins with a shoebox with "PRIVATE: KEEPOUT" written on it, spilling open with precious childhood memorabilia.  As intro begins, a series of different shoeboxes filled with milestones are projected onto the screen. The first shoebox is like a shrine designed to look like a Teenage Bedroom, with crush lists and five year diaries, friendship photos, and key necklaces.   The next shoebox was filled with prom memorabilia: A Back to the Future video, a “Prom of Your Dreams” ticket stub, a disco ball, and cheesy prom photos galore. Then there is a box that is a filled with a girl escaping through the power of the written word by reading/writing angsty poetry.  

The last box of course, is filled with Dave’s own photos. Dave hearts pizza!

The first season began back in December 2011 and ended just last week. The premiere episode that I saw was with Ed Helms, who plays Andy, my favorite character on The Office. Even in the first few minutes of the show, when Ed read a diary entry he'd written when he was little about refusing to give out Valentine's to the girls in his class, had me hooked on the project. The other guests this season were equally illuminating. Everyone from Danny Pudi (Community), Alanis Morrissette, Mo’Nique, Anthony Michael Hall (any great John Hughes movie ever) Paul Feig (Paul Feig is Paul Feig and doesn’t really need a parenthetical explanation. But he is the mastermind behind Freaks and Geeks and Bridesmaids among other things.) joined in. 
Here are some suggestions I have for guests I’d love to see appear in season 2:
1.      Aubrey Plaza
2.      Amy Sedaris
3.      Jimmy Fallon
4.      Fred Armisen
5.      Lou Reed
6.      Carmen Sandiego (Dave would have to find her first, but I think this would be a riveting interview.)
7.      Kathy Griffin
8.      Ben Savage
9.      Raven Simone
10.  China Chow
11.  Stephen Colbert
12. Iris Apfel

Margaret Cho's Mortified Session was also really interesting getting to hear about her experiences growing up in San Francisco and the influences that the community had on her fast maturation.

This little diva in the two photos above is Megan Mullaly. 

My favorite episode of this season was about comedic geniuses and married couple, Megan Mullaly and Nick Offerman. In looking at what they shared from their shoeboxes -- Nick was kind of the "class clown" and into sports while Megan loved to write and spend time alone in her room making up stories about fairies -- both of them did things to seek attention in their own right. It was in seeing that episode, going through their old photos, old homework assignments, and such, which you could see they had realized even from a young age they were meant for each other. I was weirdly emotional when watching this episode because it made me so happy that they were together.

I continue to wonder who Dave Nadelberg's target audience is, because everything about his project makes me, as a 16-year old, so incredibly happy. Watching the show somehow makes me nostalgic for a time that I am currently going through. What I mean by this is that I wish I kept everything I ever wrote, a diary, and was generally more sentimental about things pertinent to my childhood. Ever since the show started, I've been a packrat, though, making sure to keep everything for a shoebox session that I will someday have with myself. Maybe Dave will join me for this.

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