Unaddressed letters to potential half-sisters

Because we're all living in the holographic pop-up book of life as written by Oprah Winfrey, you already know about the family secret she revealed on-air last week. Turn the page, book club. It's Oprah's half-sister Patriciaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh!

All right, doggie ear that revelation and muthafuckin' breathe for a min.

Following cashmere, macadamia nuts, Zumba, and entire countries that're also continents, it seems half-sisters are one of Oprah's new favorite things. Only this time she didn't give one to every member of her studio audience. So being her pious pawns that we are, it's assumed we all turn of our TVs (when Oprah lets you of course) and get one ourselves. You know, to help us live life to the fullest, and be in the now with our shared human experience, and yeah.

The half-sister is an interesting specimen. I can count off a handful of famous step-siblings (Cher and Josh, Barack Obama and Maya Soetoro-Ng, Step Brothers, every single character on any soap opera ever), but the halfsies sissy is a grossly underrepresented figure in popular culture. Why? Incest and Lifetime made-for-TV movies. One reason we're all a little nerves about this project in-development...

But perhaps there's an implicit truth to the 1/2-S we're pained to admit. Something you can't quite place your finger on. Like how you only share 50% of the same genetic code within that finger, for instance. Your familiarly unfamiliar finger. Vague and ominous. Somewhat dangerous, this finger. Um, why are you thinking so hard about your finger? Shiver.

Regardless, I've written a few letters in hopes of finding my own perfect half-sister. (Note I've italicized them to help you better imagine my voice reading each aloud wistfully. You're welcome.)

Dear Mila Kunis,

Tan complexion? Check. Ethnically ambiguous? Check. A weird eye condition? Check, check. Holy trinity, we're already halfway there physically, girlfriend!

But emotionally-speaking, how're you doing? I heard you're all home alone now that you've split with Macaulay. Just know, as your potential half-brother, I'm completely here for you. Do you have space on your speed dial? Take my phone number. Do you wanna tell me about the time Macaulay accidentally used your lipgloss? Get it off your chest. Or your lips, or whatever body part you want. Do you feel my hand delicately rubbing your knee? In, uh, brotherly support... By the way, did you like catch my "home alone" pun at the beginning of this paragraph? See, I'm sensitive and funny. We should date! Or uh, half-date. As siblings, duh.

I just think as newly half-siblings we should get to know each other better. I mean, we only share half the same DNA, so let's explore one another's jeans. Genes! I, uh, meant genes. Ha ha. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Also, did you get the mixed CD I sent with this? Don't be freaked out, it's just a CD. With "2 Become 1" by the Spice Girls on it 18 times.

OKAY, OKAY, KIDDING. All of the above, purely J/K. Jokes, jokes, and more jokes. Did you already forget? I'm your punky, pranky, half-brother, silly! Oh, Mila! My silly Mila...

How're you juggling all those Black Swan acting nominations? Awards season = prime time for the half-brother. As dazzling as you were, I'm afraid you won't sweep your category. Hey, just telling you like it is! Another of my irritatingly attractive qualities. So if you need a (strong) shoulder to cry on, like I said, I'm here for you. I'm here to tell you how talented and kind and smart and sexy-- Sorry! Not sexy! Didn't mean to call my sexy half-sister "sexy", that's so wron-- Dammit!

Sorry, Mila, it's just when you lean into me like that, it's like, no, Mila. We shouldn't.

We really...




Dear Avril Lavigne,

Before you flatter yourself, don't. Half-sisters aren't always shrouded in a redheaded Bryce Dallas Howard air of ethereal mystery. Sometimes they're just annoying redheaded half-sisters. With you Avril, "sometimes" meaning "all the time with you, Avril".

You legitimately believe in mood rings. I wear ties sans irony. You thought Lindsay Lohan's portrayal of teens in the redux of Freaky Friday was just "too real, man". I don't want to eat Dippin' Dots in front of Hot Topic, but thanks for asking. You think you're a boy. I am a boy. I'll ask you if you've heard of Liz Phair, you might like her. You'll snicker, "Who's she? Popular beeyotch on the cheerleading squad? Popularity sux!" while wearing a racy corset...? We won't get along. Eye rolling will be all we have in common. Besides that, we can't believe we were like produced by the same parent, ew!

To conclude, will you do me th-- Avril, listen to me. I said, will you do me the honor of bein-- Hey, Avril, I'm trying to ask you someth-- AVRIL, WILL YOU PUT YOUR MIDDLE FINGER DOWN FOR A SECOND AND BE MY HALF-SISTER, PLEASE?! Christ.



Dear Ryan Trecartin,

How's the psych ward? Oh, by the way, you're gonna play the role of my half-sister who's receiving electro shock treatment at a psych ward. Standard stuff for you. I mean, have you seen your video art? That's what makes you the perfect yin to my half-sister yang: You. Are. Terrifying.

Like in art opening photos you seem totally chill and normal and resemble any other former boy band member circa Y2K. But when you lock the room to your bedroom door, throw away the key, switch on the webcam and break out your closet full of wigs, you're in fact completely insane and crazy. You're like 12 half-sisters for the price of 1. Cha-ching!

As my half-sister I want you to be the one who does well in school, takes me to museums, toys with Ouija boards, bakes vegan cupcakes, introduces me to Gregg Araki and the ending of Sleepaway Camp, celebrates Egon Schiele's birthday, and other normal activities of the misunderstood artsy half-sister. Surprise! You're sorta cool. But only in the day...

At night is when I slowly, but surely, start to sense your weird half-sister-side. Like when you log onto the internet with a dial-up modem because, "Wow, what an under-appreciated instrument!" Those ricocheting 'bleeps' and 'bloops', how they turn you on like, "conceptually". When you toss me a dictionary and instruct me to look up, according to you, the only three words anyone ever needs to know in this hyper-material life: "subversive", "eyeshadow", "blowjob". When somehow duct taping E to my tongue is involved. When psychedelia. When glitter. When goth. When foreign pedo who lives across the street. Freak flag extravaganza! Death by editing process!! Black out!!!

But hey, when I wake up the next morning in a back alley under a codeine induced haze wearing a ripped figure skating outfit, I'll still remember who you really are. That time I walked in on you shooting up to Salt-N-Pepa in our parent's gym room? Your secret's safe with me, half-sis.




Aloha Friday: the photo zine preview

Went into work yesterday afternoon and found this inky puppy waiting for me: The as-of-this-blog-post unreleased issue of Aloha Friday by Honolulu's very own downtown dandy Grady Gillan. Special!

I wrote about the debut of this dalmatian b&w pet project a couple months back, and happy to see he's keeping his prints in tangible circulation, one that apparently includes personal delivery because again, ahem, special!

Won't show you everything that's in it, but let's just say it's made up of more of the same body parts: Hamburger Eyes, chucked Vans, bikini T&A, NICOLE NAONE.

Be sure to go to his release party at thirtynine Tuesday, Feb 8, to snag one.

And then go to his website and snag another.


Recent trailers that mesmerize my eyes

Good trailers don't have Mr. Moviefone narration. Good trailers give a genuine presence of the film (you know, the one you'll potentially pay ~14 ridiculous $$$ for). Good trailers don't spell it out for you; they leave something to the imagination in that warm and stimulating way. Good trailers are like magnetic strangers you sit next to in cafes, public transport, laundromats; those people who pique your interest and you don't really know why again? But you want to find out. You want to lend them your pen, you want to sleep with them, you want to know their names and then hear yourself saying their name out loud back to them. Colloquially, good trailers are sexy. These are all categorically fit of the previously denoted: Good trailers, in my opinion.


Reasons: for Brad Pitt's haircut; because of that unexpected upside-down street shot; looks complex; looks life-affirming; looks the way the lighting looks IN MY DREAMS; because Terrence Malick is a recluse who knows the secret to the universe, probably; because if this were a book first I'd read that book first; seems like the closest a guy can get to physically giving birth


Reasons: looks raw; looks upsetting; looks like Gomorrah; because Romain Gavras directed that M.I.A. music video; because Romain Gavras blew up redheads in that M.I.A. music video; because even though I have no clue what they're saying in this trailer it seems like Romain Gavras has other minorities to blow up or something in a video


Reasons: because autistic looking people in track suits and swimsuits; because of the bat-shit Greek dad, but because his Greek-ness, we just refer to as "Greek dad" and simply "get it"; because I've seen my neighbors do something similar to 0:33-0:42; because it looks like if I could physically drop this movie, it'd break into a million porcelain pieces; because 1:08-1:09; because 1:10-1:11, then 1:12-1:13; because 1:14 and 1:15 and 1:16-1:16:30 and 1:18 and because did you watch this entire fucking trailer??


Reasons: looks meta; looks long, but like it's meant to be long; seems "conceptual"; seems "conscious"; seems "to be aware" that it's "messing with the "paradigms" of its "medium"; seems like "it can only be "discussed" while making air quotes"; for IMDb tag: foreigners-in-foreign-cities; because it's shot in an omnipotent POV that feels disorienting, but familiar; because lasers, because strobe, because dancing under lasers and strobe; because Gaspar Noe is out to eat your eyes/brains/soul


An account of Howl (2010)

The best part about this movie was that a friend gave it to me for Christmas, further validating our 10+ year friendship. Having friends with a seasoned radar on your tastes is awesome, you should try it (but start now, because it takes 10+ years). This movie puts the "art" in box art, and is successful in getting your hopes up.

I think I liked this movie ~50% of the time. My washing machine broke while watching Howl (2010), yet I was still able to call, request, and deal with the mechanic upon his arrival, without pressing pause. If I didn't like Allen Ginsberg, Howl and Other Poems, or the 1950s, or I was just any other person in my family, I think I would've liked this movie ~15% of the time. It's not worth it to buy, but it's worth it to receive as a present (thanks again, brooooo!).

The premise is Howl (2010) is a reconstructed documentary or something, all the dialogue is known to or believed to have actually been said in real life. I noticed most of Ginsberg's dialogue came from this Paris Review interview that I saved to my desktop last year for no particular reason at the time, but now, believe, was to eventually link to within this blog post, weird. I especially liked the parts re: "hydrogen jukebox" and "eyeball kick" (P. Review transcript or film, doesn't matter). James Franco is great (shocking!), but his Lemtosh Moscots are the real scene stealers. I definitely see a Best Supporting Actor nod for those Lemtosh Moscots. I really didn't like the animation sequences. They were real literal and Across the Universe-y. We get Ginsberg was gay, but that doesn't mean the movie needs to be Reading Rainbow.


Synopsis of Skins (USA)


What I Know About Skins (USA) Before Actually Watching the Pilot Episode of Skins (USA) Last Night

I know from the popular UK series of which it's based, inescapable Tumblr posts, and its US ad campaign, the show centers itself around themes of adolescence, coming-of-age, sex, drugs, H&M, and smearing your eye makeup to a Sleigh Bells song. That said, Skins (USA) is the kind of show I should like, basically. Or should like enough, anyway. I mean, I'm a Gen-Y-er who can pensively flip through Nylon Guys when times are especially low too, so Skins (USA) isn't exactly leaving much to my imagination, I guess.

What I Know About Skins (USA) While Actually Watching the Pilot Episode of Skins (USA) Last Night

I know back when Skins (UK) was burning up the "Because of Your Interest in 21 Jump Street: Season 2" section of my Netflix account, I gave it a, as the British would say, gander (Brits say that, right?). Basically, I only made it through the pilot episode. Not that it was bad, but maybe I'm just not thirteen anymore. Also I've processed Thirteen and girls like Fairuza Balk are no longer considered a sexual awakening to me. Bye bye, 1996!

I know from my shoddy recollection of that pilot episode (UK), this pilot episode (USA) is a shot-for-shot remake, which includes the completely unrealistic portrayal of adults. Only differing points of interest I recall is Tony's blanket in the opening shot isn't patterned with a human skeleton (UK), instead patterned with spiders (USA), and his room doesn't have a Fellini poster (UK), he's more of a Hitchcock buff (USA). Oh yeah, and Tony isn't that boy from About a Boy anymore (UK), but a white-r Bruno Mars (USA). Also, the unapologetic gay male character (UK) is gone in his entirety and replaced with a subdued lesbian (surprise, it's the USA!!!!). That's about it. Even the dialogue is word-for-word-minus-"wanker" it seems. Well, all except for the part where someone totally disses ~Gossip Girl~ as if to text (while driving), "Fasten yr seat belts. *We're* the anti-Glee and *you're* in 4 a wild, sweaty ride. Weeeeeee!!"

I know ~26 min mark, I don't stop watching, but I do start browsing the Internet during commercial breaks.

I know ~51 min mark, I stop watching entirely, but listen to it in the background, not recognizing any of the dubstep music, and continue to browse the Internet. I now know Starbucks is introducing a larger 'Trenta' drink size to its menu tomorrow (USA, duh).

What I Know About Skins (USA) After Actually Watching the Pilot Episode of Skins (USA) Last Night

Or don't know, rather. I don't know if teenagers really wear their feelings on their sleeves like this? Even though I never did, I guess so. Like, growing up, shit went down in my family, and I felt "trapped" too, but I never felt the need to casually convince my peers about my problems behind an asymmetrical haircut and throwing confetti in its face or whatever. That's just asking for way too much attention. Plus, I hate the way confetti sticks to your hands (O.C.D). Guess there really is a line of scrimmage on the football field, and I'm on the side getting picked last with Freaks & Geeks, My So-Called Life, and The Weekenders. What's new?

I don't know if I necessarily follow this teenage/young adult/adult adult dichotomy. Where you can look back on each previous "phase" completely distanced from it or something. I don't really know if I see these separations. I don't know what I'm saying. Maybe I felt separated from these characters or whatever. Not that I disliked them, but that I didn't relate to them. No, not relate, actually the opposite, like really understood them in a transparent way or something. Like if I were in high school today, I would've seen these kids as the ones who were trying too hard. And not because I'm "older and wiser" now, but because that's just how I've always felt about this sect of teen culture that has and will forever exist. Not curious, not impressed. Maybe mildly afraid. Or jealous? Is this an unconscious defense mechanism on my part? Maybe I was always just perceptive like that? That or too into Incubus and VH1 countdown specials? Damn! Skins (USA & UK) is making me kinda think here!


Read my lips

So, Black Lips happened this past Friday, right?


I don't know the exact details, but words like "100th anniversary" and "Sailor Jerry" were thrown in and around "secret show," "Black Lips," and "free!!!" (the last of which I'm fluent in).

According to their Wikipedia page, under sub-header Live Shows:

"The Black Lips have a reputation for crazy live shows that have included vomiting (Cole's medical condition), urination, nudity, electric R.C. car races, fireworks, a chicken, and flaming guitars."
None of these happened, unfortunately. But here's what did. I think they opened with either "Katrina" or "Cold Hands," but honestly, how can you remember anything when the bar is mixing complimentary rum cocktails right before anyone's set? I do remember when they played "Dirty Hands" (the alt-slow dance song of 2010?) I dirtied my pants a little. Then they went into a Jacques Dutronc cover that lasted like 7 minutes and my lips turned black from smiling so hard. When they ended with "Bad Kids," someone threw their beer at me and it stained my favorite sweater. Um, WORTH IT.

~70 min later, show's over. Everyone stumbles into the alley out of Mercury, feeling like we all just made out with each other. Think to myself this might be the closest I'll ever get to being within a 1/2 mile radius of The Viper Room circa River Phoenix's death. Can't physically confirm yet, but if we all wake up with mono tomorrow, pretty sure what night to blame it on.


A Latino and a Jew walk into a Rainbow room

The list of life ambitions never ends with this new short film for Oliver Peoples. Meaning in that before I die, it'd be real great if someone could shoot up my life in the toasty and tortoise-shelled way portrayed in this video. Because honestly: who's love life couldn't use a little more lens flare and beige attire! I used to think just being able to afford OPs would suffice, but thanks to this, shit just got a lot more 20/20 clear. Other words, while you watch this, I'm gonna update my Facebook to "In a Relationship" with all 3 min and 53 seconds of this campaign.

Questioning your sexuality much, peoples?


My new year's resolutions for 2011

1. Drink less coffee, drink more tea; drink less tea, drink more water.
2. Stop dressing like an old grandpa and start dressing like a young grandpa.
3. Decide if I actually like dubstep when I'm not drunkstep.
4. Convince someone at the Gap to sell nice stuff.
5. Figure out how to be more sincere versus ironic, even when I feel like being ironic is sincere?
6. Save money. So I can go on trips. Like San Francisco. For the first time. Heard that place is pretty G.
7. Never hear another Michael Jackson song this year. We on board, WORLD?
8. Continue to be a germaphobe, use lots of napkins while eating at restaurants, not feel like the destruction of the environment is my fault for it, especially when I'm eating expensive grass-fed beef.
9. Finish all the foreign films in my Netflix queue.
10. Prove that you can spend all your waking hours frequenting coffee shops and be extra-semi-pseudo-productive. Hey, I just made up a word! See what I mean...


Maybe this is my blog

Maybe the last thing the world needs right now is another blog. Maybe this is my third attempt at one. Maybe you didn't know that until just now, which I'm totally chill with because the first two sort of sucked and this one might too, but so what, happy 2011.

Maybe I get too tied up in html code and lose myself in design, the little my Type A-personality knows. Maybe then instead I'll dish on stuff I do: pop culture, my daily routine, obscure Prince trivia, being into things; or maybe make lists, itemize my life, maybe I'm obsessed with condensing everything.

Maybe I'm just bored. Maybe I changed the font of this post from Helvetica to Times, back to Helvetica, only to choose whatever-font-you're-reading-this-in-now. Maybe if I could find someone who finds that attractive I'd be all right with never caring about my hair.

Maybe you secretly have a crush on me. Maybe you Googled my name, which lead you to this blog, to research all my interests and evaluate our chances together, so that maybe like, if we met at a bar, we'd accidentally pick the same Stooges song off the jukebox, casually recite dialogue from Singles, both be wearing cardigans and we'll make out. Maybe I just went from bored to absolutely delusional (jazz hands!).

Maybe I want Christophe Honoré's life; he's amazing and lives in Paris and well-read, and did I mention he lives in Paris? Maybe sometimes I'LL TYPE LIKE THIS for extra dramatic/comedic effect, and you'll laugh and I'll smile inside . . . LIKE A LOSER.

Maybe I don't know what I'm doing but who does? Maybe everything is just one long string of "maybes," maybe? All I know is that I just spilt coffee on my jeans and that actually burns for real, so talk you later.