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Friday , September 10, 2010
They Remade "Let The Right One In" As "Let Me In" And I'm Freaking Out
I really loved the Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In. It was one of my favorite films of 2008, and I loved it for its visual beauty, its delicately acted characters, the cleanness and clarity of the direction and that awesome late 70s/early 80s vibe. It struck a great balance between being both a sweet little supernatural love story and a chilling tragedy, and despite the deliberate pacing, it still managed to creep the hell out of me in a tastefully restrained way. And it's Swedish, and we all know Scandinavia is the most amazing geolocation on earth.
So when I heard that the dude who did Cloverfield was helming an "adaptation"/remake, I got that super-protective and wary feeling you get when you love something and you don't want anyone else to touch it. And then I saw your typical cheesy tv spot the other evening and it kind of made me want to cry, because it had that horrible melodramatic voiceover ("an ancient secret...over 200 years old...") and the typical horror movie trailer style to it. But then I caught this two-minute trailer and felt much better.
Although I could do without the bombastic, generic music of the trailer and I miss the gender ambiguity of Eli (now Abby, the girl vampire), I'm stoked that the beautifully austere, wintery visual style and setting seems to be retained, and it's clear even from this little bit that the director draws beautifully on the original film. It IS spiritually Scandinavian! So I feel better. A little. Maybe.
Tuesday , August 24, 2010
Imaginary Shopping Spree: Gorgeous Clogs By There Goes The Neighbourhood!
File this under more of my Spiritually Scandinavian thing: these are the most amazing clogs I've ever seen in my entire life! Designed by Asa Westlund, There Goes the Neighborhood takes your basic Swedish clog and turns them into works of art. Each pair is hand-painted and unique! Sadly, this shopping spree will have to remain in the realm of the imaginary for me, unless some superawesome reader in Stockholm wants to track these down and buy them for me? Yes? Is the Internet as magical as I've heard?
Monday , February 8, 2010
Imaginary Shopping Spree: When Kat Realized Winter Is No Fun And What Came Out Of It
I couldn't get my act together to post my Imaginary Shopping Spree earlier 'cause I'm still in recovery mode from the big massive film shoot I co-produced earlier this month; we finished shooting last week, but it's only now that I've finished up replying to every random Facebook message and non-film related email that I let pile up in January. It was on this aforementioned film shoot, though, that I finally realized the Utter Physical and Existential Pain of Winter. Two consecutive nights of exterior shooting in the freezing cold for hours at a time...yes, I finally got the suckiness of cold upon the human soul. It's no fun! It hurts! It sucks! The only way I got through it (besides tons of tea and coffee and about six layers of tights, leggings and socks) was dreaming about my summer wardrobe. Which is a bit of a laugh, because by the time summer rolls around, I will be unprotected by school and its concomitant benefits as an institution and probably will be dying of some rare disease in the real world, jobless and alone without health insurance. Wah! Why dream?! My face is gonna be eaten off by raccoons when I'm homeless and forced to blog from the public library for only 20 minutes at a time!
Still, as a mental exercise alone, I began dreaming of what my Summer Shoe would be, even as my own feet threatened to fall off from frostbite. Every girl in New York knows that fashion begins with the shoe -- you live and die by them here, as anyone finds out once they realize their train has randomly stopped functioning on the weekend and you need to walk 10-20 blocks for the next open station. (MTA! Muscle and hate!) It sucks to do that when you're wearing those torturously hot S&M gladiator-y shoes that I love, so this season I vow a "NO MORE" to those. Instead I will wear these Hasbeen clogs. Not only are they Spiritually Scandinavian (TM), but I will wear them in a happy yellow color and they'll remind me of my mother and I'll wear them with everything including my gothiest dresses and I'll buy them in kronor because I'll be visiting Gothenburg and boys will be puzzled by them but girls will like them and I'll be healthy and making money and I won't die of a rare disease that only strikes when people don't have health insurance. Whew! Summer! (P.S. I also want this shoulder bag from Hasbeen, also in yellow. Is that nerdy?) (Kat)
Thursday , January 14, 2010
Heavy Rotation: The Lemonheads, Glen Campbell, Fredrik, Fever Ray, The Pleasure Seekers, 13th Floor Elevators
The Lemonheads, "6ix"
According to Kat Asharya, all paper bags by the side of the road probably contain severed heads. Which is a terrifying prospect, and the only way I can deal is to play "6ix" by the Lemonheads over and over and pretend all those severed heads belong to Gwyneth Paltrow (or at least her character in Se7en, who is make-believe). Also, if I were on the editorial team at Goop, I'd totally propose changing the weekly email's tagline from "Nourish the Inner Aspect" to "Here Comes Gwyneth's Head in a Box!" It's about a thousand times less clunky, and so much more on-point - don't you think? (Liz)
Tags: alcoholism, cockiness, coolness, death, Detroit, Ennis Del Mar, existential country songs, Glen Campbell, Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow, nourishing the inner aspect, severed heads, spiritually Scandinavian
Tuesday , November 10, 2009
Soundtracks: Awesome Swedish Indie Pop Chanteuses
first row, l-r: Jonna Lee; the cover of Frida Hyvonen's Until Death Comes, which I adore; El Perro del Mar
second row, l-r: Sally Shapiro; Lykke Li
If there's anything about autumn 2009 that I will remember besides the dude(s?) I'm dating and the vast, varied interiors of Columbia University's Butler Library, it's my foray into spiritual Scandinavia. The journey continues this week with a detour into the world of Swedish indie pop. As we all know, the Swedes are responsible for ABBA and Ace of Base, both of whom I actually have a soft spot in my heart for. However, they also have a knack for a particular kind of honey-voiced singer, usually making well-crafted, clever pop music. It's slightly ridiculous to lump these diverse artists into one entry just by virtue of their Sweditude, but you can't deny it -- there's something particularly smart and Swede-y when you hear all these songs together. This entry might be the closest that a blog posting at nogoodforme.com might come to sounding like an episode of "Grey's Anatomy," except the soundtrack for "Grey's" would never feature a song with a lyric about male genitalia or anything remotely Italo-disco. I already hyped a few Swedish musicians like Fever Ray and Little Dragon in another Heavy Rotation, but consider that a warm-up to this mini-Magnum Opus.
"Once I Was A Serene Teenaged Child"
Sometimes my knee-jerk reaction to a girl with a piano is to run and hide 'cause I'm kind of a jerk. But maybe I'm mellowing out as I get older -- I'm more and more intrigued by this minimalist set-up. Frida Hyvönen often gets compared to Laura Nyro for a certain homespun flavor to her piano-playing, not to mention deeply personal songwriting with lyrics that would make a zine girl in the late 90s proud. I was hooked with the first two lines of this song, which I would write out except that I hate to think what kind of evil spammer this would draw to nogoodforme.com. The cover of the record that this song comes from -- Until Death Comes -- is one of my favorite album covers of all time. The whole record itself is fantastic, mostly due to the raw honesty of Frida's worldview, which nails the most slippery aspects of being a girl with intelligence and a certain calm bravery. Feeling confused yet oddly powerful? This is a good song for you.
"There Was Me"
I first got turned onto Jonna Lee with her cover of Nitzer Ebb's "Violent Playground." It's the most unlikely of covers, because Nitzer Ebb usually made super-abrasive, brutally punishing industrial music at their peak, and Jonna simply makes really lovely songs that highlight both the fragility and steeliness of her voice. Her latest record, This is Jonna Lee, is stylistically diverse, but there's a sweetness with an undertow of melancholy through it all. This is smart pop for smart girls, similar in vein to Aimee Mann and other songwriters with a knack for elegant understatement and emotional nuance. I like how this song sounds all tough, but the lyrics get more and more vulnerable as they progress. Been there, done that, yes!
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Wednesday , October 14, 2009
HOW TO LIVE: The nogoodforme Guide to Achieving Maximum Coziness
DEEP DOWN KAT IS REALLY A FUZZY STUFFED ANIMAL
I suppose I can begin this primer by invoking the Danish concept of hygge, which I discovered in my recent sojourn to spiritual Scandinavia. Hygge (which in my mind is pronounced very incorrectly yet amusingly like "hoogly" but is really said like hu-gah) is one of those little words that means a big thing, which is the mood of well-being you get when you take pleasure in the modest, ordinary details of life; words like coziness, security, familiarity, family and comfort are invoked when describing the overall feeling of hygge. I could also tell you that coziness is all about bringing lovely, warm, toasty feelings closer to you, about corralling warmth and creating a bubble of good cheer and comfort in a harsh, cruel world. I suppose it's also a gesture of intimacy and nurturing, of others and of yourself, and that's always a good thing, spiritually speaking. Perhaps ultimately coziness is about making the world around you feel like a giant hug, which makes me feel all happy and mushy. But really, for me, creating a little emotional nest of cuddly goodness is all about indulging in my alter ego. By day I'm a striving, super-active cultured professional smarty-pants and tale-spinner, dressed in black and boots and chains, listening to death metal on my headphones and doing my city lady thing. But in the privacy of my own home, I transform into a stuffed animal. I like color! And cute things! And brightness! And cuddling and tea and slippers and charming bed companions and pajamas and pretending I live near a harbor and am writing a novel! This is my favorite thing in the world, so this is why I am always so happy when it gets chilly and grey and rainy outside. I mean, I love stark, austere beauty, in nature and fashion and art and architecture. But there's something about going from that to COLORFUNTIMECOZYGOODNESS! that makes me love life so fucking much. (Kat)
COZINESS AND HOW TO GET IT:
(1) The key is happy, comfy, soft, fuzzy, want-to-roll-around-all-day-in-them textiles. It's also a plus if they're in colors and patterns that make you happy. Naturally, the Scandinavians are genius at this -- these textiles are all done by Swedish designer Lotta Kuhlhorn, which you can read about at Huset's blog.
(2) When you cocoon, you need good tunes. Bjork's Vespertine is my favorite warm-n-fuzzy soundtrack. It's her girliest, sweetest, gossamer-awesome record and my favorite of her entire discography 'cause it makes me feel gooey with love and affection. "Heirloom" is one of my favorite songs on it:
(3) You can't be cozy when your feet are cold! I love those knitted slipper boots; I have an unconscionable number of them in different patterns and colors, that's how seriously I take this. I like ones with pom-poms on them, just so I can go around and sing that Scout Niblett song that goes "Has anyone seen my pom-poms" or however it is.
(4) I like this Aviator Nation hoodie because it's all eco-, crafted in Cali and has lightning bolts, but really the most genius thing about Aviator Nation is how delectably SOFT AND BEAUTIFUL they feel when you wear them. It doesn't really matter what they look like, because they feel sooooooo gooooooood. Everything in the whole line feels wonderfully worn in and beloved; the price is totally worth it. You have to feel it for yourself.
(5) Happy colorful pajama bottoms! Old Navy is actually genius at them. I wanted to put something even more obnoxiously patterned, but I feared for the health of my photo montage.
(6) I'm such a nerd, I even have a fragrance that I like wearing only at home. Usually this is a very foodie, gourmand-y scent, like with vanilla and caramel and creme brulee. This always shocks people who know me, but I like Juicy Couture fragrances for this because they're sweet and the bottles are so pretty. This one smells like a watermelon cupcake, which is really weird, I admit, but somehow my skin loves it.
(7) What do you do when you are holed up and being cozy? You read books and watch movies (and write and knit and do a multiplicity of hobbylike activities.) I am always fond of all of Hayao Miyazaki's films -- they're beautifully animated, with a sense of wonder and charm, but yet deal with really profound themes of nature, love, family and the like. I think he's a genius, and his movies always leave me with a happy feeling at the end of them. This is from Ponyo, his most recent film, but I also love Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro.
(8) and (9) It's no secret that I'm a genuinely voracious reader; these novels by Elaine Dundy are kind of perfect for reading on chilly fall and winter moments. They're like reading fizzy martinis: they're charming and effervescent and fun, about young women in the 50s being soigne and madcap in European cities, but there's an undercurrent of something a bit more grave. I mean, really, do yourself a favor and read them...they're unexpectedly lovely. I will probably do a whole blog entry on Elaine Dundy soon; she was a very nogoodforme kind of lady.
(10) And finally: FOOD! Food is at the heart of being cozy, because it warms you from the inside and is nourishing and delicious and wonderful. I'm fond of soups galore for that ultimate cozy feeling, but other warm liquids do the trick. I have become super-fond of Roastaroma, which is coffeelike but is really a kind of chicory/barley thing with cinnamon, allspice and other goodness. It really smells like autumn in the most wonderful way: warm but just slightly sweet.
HOT CHOCOLATE WALKS ON PLANET HOTH
(L to R: Princess Leia on Planet Hoth, my furry-vest pic from Beautifully Worn; hot chocolate)
Obviously the first thing you should do to get cozy right now is read the thing I just posted about kicking apples and resisting The Carrie Bradshaw-ization Of The Self. It has cookies, kissing, Beatles, and other things that will snuggle your heart. It's good, I think.
Obviously the second thing you should do is move to Los Angeles, where it's warm enough that you can usually wander around outside in the middle of the night in winter and your bones won't freeze and shatter. Then you can go on lots of "Hot Chocolate Walks" (or, if you like fun with words, "Hot Choc Walks") instead of just hiding inside all season like a big fat bear*. Basically you just head out the door with your headphones/earbuds, preferably a few hours after nightfall, then walk to a place that sells hot chocolate. Then you buy yourself a hot chocolate, and then you drink it while walking around some more. So easy! So sweet! A few thoughts on optimizing the sweetness:
1) Put on some fuzzy and/or faux-furry clothes/accessories, like a knit hat or boots that look like animals. I used to have the most perfect Hot Choc Walk outfit; it was skinny slate-grey jeans tucked into my stupid now-dead baby-pink fake Uggs, black hoodie and pink knit scarf and my hair in two little Cinnabon-buns at either side of my head. I looked just like Princess Leia on Planet Hoth, but sadly I had to kill the fake Uggs and the whole thing just kinda fell apart. The furry vest above works good, but I'm sick of that thing now too. I so wish I'd bought that black hooded bomber jacket when I had the chance.
2) You need really dreamy songs. Like: The Dirt Of Luck by Helium, anything by White Magic, Vespertine by Bjork (which I totally typed here before realizing Kat had already written about it!). Or anything else that would probably sound perfect if you were half-asleep.
3) Cheapo instant hot chocolate beats the pants off the fancy stuff, IMHO. I'm especially fond of how Swiss Miss gets that layer of cocoa scuzz on top and there's those little granules of undissolved mix and sometimes the tiniest lamest marshmallows in all the world. But if you're gonna do it fancy, go to a place that makes its hot cocoa from milk instead of water, and get it with soymilk, and ask for marshmallows. Any cafe worth its salt should totes have marshmallows on hand during the cold months, I do believe. Or you could bring your own jar of Fluff.
You're on your own for the rest. If you're a sap like me, maybe you could wander over to the residential streets and go "ooh/ahh" at the Christmas lights wrapped around palm trees. If you're secretly a five-year-old, also like me, maybe you could make up your holiday wishlist in your head. And if you're someone who obsessively romanticizes everything that ever happens to her - not like me at all, WINK! - maybe you could mentally record every moment and then go back home and write in your notebook about stuff like the adorable pack of long-haired skater boys with black jeans and little-kid teeth hiding out behind the donut shack, smoking a joint you wish they'd share with you so your "muscles would melt into something ooey-gooey like hot caramel on a McDonald's sundae." Dreaming of hot caramel sundaes = coziest. (Liz)
*Not that we don't love big fat bears.
The Beastie Boys, "Do It"-
The statement "I prefer autumn to winter" is true about me, in the same way that "I'd rather get shot in the face than drown to death" is true about me too.
I have no interest in coziness. If I'm cozy, it means I'm cold. I wish I could just, like, quit being Canadian, move to LA or Savannah, stop fucking complaining, and enjoy life as the brass-skinned, sun-bleached, June-born brat I was born to be. Doesn't immigration law realize that I'm Baby Lemonade?!?! I live for the extroverted recklessness of the spring & summer months. If you want to hear about how rad it is to drink cocoa before an open fire while wrapped up in a polar-fleece blanket wearing a plaid flannel and snowflake-print long-johns, you're lookin' at the wrong member of the nogoodforme troika.
Life has thrown me a lot of curveballs this past while, and I hate it all like celery, like summer's end. According to my Pocket Oxford, "coziness" and "comfort" are synonymous. I derive little comfort from hot coffee, hoodies, leaf-crunch, bonfire-smell, and sweet potatoes. Nothing that used to work works anymore; I want everything to be different. I don't want to listen to the Beatles or the Kinks. This October, I want to listen to the Beastie Boys, because they are comforting to me. Low-pressure and upbeat.
+ Continue reading "HOW TO LIVE: The nogoodforme Guide to Achieving Maximum Coziness"
Tags: Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, Alex Trebek, bears, Bjork, boots that look like animals, Canadiana, Christmas, coziness, doing it fancy, fall, Hayao Miyazaki, Helium, hot chocolate, Jeopardy, L.A. rules, Laura Hates Fall, Laura Hates Winter, Mai Tais, McDonald's sundaes, Princess Leia, skaters, tea, The Beastie Boys, walking, winter, writing
Thursday , October 1, 2009
Heavy Rotation: Little Dragon, Fever Ray, Nirvana, John Maus, Blur, Selda
Little Dragon, "Thunder Love"
In my ongoing exploration of spiritual Scandinavia, it is totally natural to get obsessed with the music coming out of the area -- it's where the mysterious pagan mythological element of the culture comes through best. At the moment, though, it's really only about Gothenburg, Sweden for me. I don't know what they put in the water, but any area that can nurture and give rise to the Knife, Jens Lekman, Sally Shapiro, Jose Gonzalez, El Perro del Mar AND Hammerfall AND Ace of Base has got to be a kind of strange, magical place. Little Dragon does a particularly witchy kind of synthpop, and they're blessed with Swedish-Japanese vocalist Yukimi Nagano, who can twist a lyric into a sexy kind of bitterness. (By the way, being Swedish-Japanese sounds like the right combination for some of the most beautiful people ever made, doesn't it?) Little Dragon has a new record, Machine Dreams, coming out later in October on Peacefrog, and it's totally danceable, spectral, a strange combination of mysterious and upbeat that should make for perfect fall-into-winter listening. I want to listen to it as my plane touches down in Stockholm, flying through the northern lights. (Kat)
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Tuesday , September 29, 2009
Imaginary Shopping Spree: Huset Extravaganza
As we head into the last quarter of 2009, I like to revisit the intentions I set out for myself in the New Year and reevaluate depending on how my needs and desires have shifted, as needs and desires often do. Cultivated my inner Dita Von Teese? Check, right down to the super-hot lingerie and red lipstick. Simplicity and clarity? That's an ongoing project, and I don't mind making out like a conceptual artist to help me reach that total Zen-ness that will help me be a more beatific human being, bring beauty and justice to the world, and help nogoodforme in its quest for total world domination. The latest thing I have been into, having stumbled upon the idea while writing our epic series of entries on our Favorite Records Of All Time, is cultivating my inner Scandinavian. (Who knew enlightenment could come via Facebook quizzes?) Whether it's the Swedish concept of lagom or the Danish idea of hygge, I love the core of coziness, intimacy, modesty and practicality that seems to be a hallmark of the Scandinavian lifestyle -- who doesn't love those things, especially as winter approaches and all you want to do is cuddle up in your house with tea and wool socks in front of a fire? Yet this is also a region where doom/death/black metal thrives, where the nights get long as knives and people go fucking mental when they drink 'cause they just can't handle it. Cozy 'n happy AND dark 'n hedonistic? SIGN ME UP. Step one in cultivating my spiritual Scandinavian: coveting various objects of the remarkable design culture coming out of northern Europe, many superlative examples of which can be found at my new favorite website, Huset, one of the most kick-ass online shops devoted to the modern Scandinavian aesthetic awesome. I hunt this site like a polar bear hunts a seal in the Arctic circle: with fierce intensity and concentration because I WANT I WANT I WANT.
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