Tuesday, August 31, 2010

And Since We're Talking Prada...

Well, it's really about this shot from the Miu Miu campaign:
Is it just me or are you weirded out, just a little, by the woman in the lavender skirt?  I love Miuccia and what she does, but I'm not so sure I'm loving these looks.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Emmys & Hair

I wasn't moved by anyone's look last night at the Emmys; however, I was really underwhelmed by the hair.  Is it a California thing that your hair is the least important part of your ensemble?  Make some effort already.

I have super short hair, but I really want to wear my hair as seen on the Prada runway.  Quite frankly, it would've looked good on a number of the leading ladies at the Emmys last night.

Shoe of the Week: Ready to Dress Again


While there's a heatwave afoot in Hamilton, my thoughts continue toward fall.  I'm ready to start dressing again after the inevitable casualness of the summer.  With kitten heels coming back and lots of Mad Men references on the runway, it's only a matter of time before I find gloves and hat to match.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why Hamilton Is Not the New Brooklyn

Listen, as someone who lived in Brooklyn for over a decade before coming up north no one more than I would like to believe that Hamilton could be the new Brooklyn (except maybe Torontonians, and I’ll get to them in a minute).  This is a phrase that’s been thrown around since before I moved here over five years ago (most recently in the Globe & Mail).  However, I think it’s time to kill that rumour, and here’s a detailed list of five reasons why.

1.  First and foremost, if Hamilton were Brooklyn that would mean that Toronto would be Manhattan.  This is where Torontonians might be invested in such an analogy.   Sorry to disappoint, but Toronto is so far from being Manhattan that it would be faster and easier to actually walk to the real borough than try to make Toronto into Manhattan.  Toronto is a fine city, “clean” as one of my New York friends once said, but it is a polite, well-rehearsed version of a city.

2.  Hamilton has no pretensions as to what it is, and that is one of the things I like about it.  It is what it is, which is a struggling steel town that houses a well-regarded university.  Culturally, it’s got great local music and art scenes as well as the Art Gallery of Hamilton and a Royal Botanical Gardens (okay, it borders Burlington).  However, Hamilton’s unknown theme is “Coming Soon.”  Most major changes are in a state of arrested development known as ‘coming soon,’ and that seems fine with a majority of the city’s inhabitants.

3.  Many of the people who have made Brooklyn Brooklyn didn’t actually grow up there.  They moved from Manhattan because the rents were too high or they came directly to Brooklyn from other parts of the United States.  When my partner was first moving to Hamilton, we came up for a visit and to find her a place to live.  At the border we told the officer we were on vacation and that we were going to Hamilton.  He replied, “No one goes to Hamilton on vacation.” 

People from Toronto talk about moving to Hamilton, but rarely does anyone actually bite the bullet, or they do but can’t stick it out because their friends won’t visit.  Torontonians can be worse than Manhattanites when it comes to making the trip out.  You’d think it involved a border crossing with mandatory cavity searches.  If you want to think that Hamilton is the new Brooklyn, then pack it on up and move on out here.

4.  Three things in a nutshell:  restaurants, shopping, transportation options. [Edit 11.25.12: this is changing.]

5.  Finally, why does it need to be thought of in that way?  People often ask me how it was to move from Brooklyn to Hamilton.  I’ve always said it was fine because I didn’t expect Hamilton to be New York City.  It wasn’t a case of lowered expectations but an idea that Hamilton would be its own thing, and that’s what’s really important here.  Let Hamilton develop into its own, cool, funky city.  It doesn’t have to be the Brooklyn of Ontario (what a title!).  It needs to be Hamilton.

I could probably talk about other things, but I think that these five areas are really the major reasons why Hamilton is not, nor will be, the new Brooklyn.   And you know what, that should be just fine.

[Edit 11.25.12 - I realize due to a recent article, people have bee visiting this post.  What should be clear is that Hamilton rocks - because it is Hamilton and not a pale imitation of another city.  And if you want to try Hamilton, check out our listing on Sabbatical Homes]

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What September Means to Me

September is my New Year’s.  In fact, it’s more significant than that first day of January ever really is.  I am far more synced into the school year than I am to the calendar year.  September:  end of summer/start of the school year and fall; the entryway to the months I treasure – October, November, and December; the harvest, the canning, and the storing; the holidays (my birthday among them) and attendant crafting; and last but certainly not least – fall fashion and all the September issues.

It’s been a quiet few weeks here, and at first I just thought it was the natural result of being away for so long.  Time to catch up, as it were, on things back at the homestead.  But I also knew that I wanted to revisit this blog and see what I wanted to do with it.  I never intended it to be a “What I did today” kind of blog, but more of a “How my life highlights these tensions and hey, do you feel them, too?” kind of blog.  I have to believe that there are people out there interested in navigating these tensions.  What’s it like to be a punk rocker who is now deep into fashion?  How do you reconcile the desire for self-sufficiency with a wonderfully fulfilling shoe addiction?  Proud to live downtown but tired of your crack-y neighbors?  Any problems being a social smoker and a runner?  Etcetera, etcetera.

So I’m focusing.  Having been away allowed me to see different ways to be myself.  I am constantly trying to integrate these parts of me, and trying to do it publicly forces me to decide what’s important and what is not.  Am I afraid to reveal things here?  Sure, but that fear allows me to think about why and then figure out what’s important to my sense of self.  I know I have friends out there who see some of my posts as evidence of insecurities that I generally don’t reveal in my day-to-day constructed self, and guess what – they are!  And more to the point - who cares?   I don’t need to always be on, intimidating (once a student said to me, “You’re intimidating, but in a nice way.”  Huh?), or self-assured.   I am who I am, and I’m thinking about how to be even more so in the coming year and how this blog will play a role in that.

Rock on with your bad self.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MichFest 2010

We've come back to Hamilton, and reentry is a little difficult.  (We're still wearing our festival bracelets - yes, clinging to the memory).  Here's what I want to say about the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival - it was fanfuckingtastic.   I won't try to explain it in detail here because I have the feeling it'll be like trying to explain a tattoo or recount a dream - it's never quite right, and the listener usually says something polite like, "Oh."

Instead, here are ten things (in the order in which they came to me, not their importance) about MichFest that are still keeping my buzzing (seriously, I'm like a live wire right now):
1.  Living in a world totally sustained by women (sorry, haven't made the commitment to the other spelling, just live with it).  The men were only allowed on the land (under the cover of darkness and accompanied by women - quick avert your eyes!) to clean the Porta-Janes (or, as Liss and I term it, to suck our stink) and empty the trash.
2.  Excellent music range.  Particularly great were Sistas in the Pit, Slanty-Eyed Mama, and Tender Forever as well as the Butchies' version of the Runaways' hit Cherry Bomb.  (insert a big sigh from me here)  I mean, where else would you want to hear Cherry Bomb?
3.  The women themselves.  Okay, let me be clearer - there were some majorly hot butches on the land.  There.  It was amazing.  Let me leave it at that.
4.  Dancing.
5.  Crazy vegetarian food that I ended up craving.  For example, I'm going out to buy some nutritional yeast, a lesbian super-food.  I like to think of it as the fairy dust of Michigan.
6.  Comedian Julie Goldman - wet-yourself (in a Depends-kind of way) funny, and yes, cute.
7. The opportunity to be as crazy, sexy, outrageous, nasty, polite, freaky, etc. as you wanted to be and to find that you're still surrounded by people who are generous and nice.
8.  Outdoor showers.
9.  The chance to stand right beneath fireworks.  It was breath-taking and felt like tripping (good trip, not bad trip). 
10.  The opportunity for some major epiphanies, which I won't share here.

So I drank the Kool-Aid, and it was good.