Culture!

After too many days cooped up in my apartment suffering from the Cold That Wouldn’t Quit, I finally felt cured. So I took in some of the city’s culture.

Thursday night I ventured out to the Brooklyn Museum for “Make Hats with Heidi Lee.” The invitation promised one beverage, a guided tour of the Gaultier show and an opportunity to “get creative with design alchemist and milliner Heidi Lee and fabricate fashion’s ultimate accessory: a hat or fascinator inspired by the exhibition.”

Between the people I knew and the people they knew, we made up almost half the group and we were definitely avant: many shades of Manic Panic, thrift shop chic and some seriously arched eyebrows. But as cool as we were, we were totally out-cooled by two uber-fashionable ladies: The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas, Jean and Valerie. I’ve seen photos of these women online and in the press. Their card reads  “Blogging since 2009; wearing clothes and having opinions for a lot longer.” I especially appreciate their tagline: “Setting a bad, bad example for older women everywhere.” As all the kids are saying these days, THIS! So inspiring!

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The tour was far too brief; I could’ve spent hours ogling the couture. That was to be expected, I suppose. I enjoyed my Amstel Light. And then it was time to get serious. Everyone was very earnest about their creations, gluing and sewing and consulting one another. Ms. Lee made the rounds attempting to teach but most of her students seemed happy to do their own thing. The results? I was feeling minimal and wound up with something that looked a little like one Mickey Mouse ear; Pinky’s piece was wildly exuberant. Given that we’d all be working with the same basic supplies, the “class” created a staggering array of designs that were surprisingly varied. It culminated with an enthusiastic mutual admiration society, everyone snapping cell phone shots of each other modeling their creations.

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On Friday I ventured out to Long Island City and PS1 for the Mike Kelley show. My friend Karen had been wanting me to go for a while and it was easy to see why: this guy’s work really moved me. The fact that he had produced SO MUCH and in every imaginable medium — film, performance, sculpture, sketches, everything —  and that it took up the whole damn museum was overwhelming. That he’d killed himself was just…depressing.

On the one hand, how could he abandon his work? When he’d achieved so much success? On the other hand, it was easy to see why life was just too much. So many of his pieces made me feel like I could understand him, grasp what was going on in his brain…his very, very busy brain. It appeared that his brain never gave him a moment’s peace. The dredged detritus, the found objects assemblages, his fascination with architecture, with random snippets of the past — I could so relate. My favorite piece was an enormous spread of little charms and pins and random things lined up like they had a lineage. It was so gloriously obsessive! I only wish I’d been able to meet him.

Last night, after drinking my way through the two playoff games with Marianne and Bill, I met up with a few friends at The Continental‘s anniversary bash. It was a sweaty, beer-soaked mess by the time I got there and I didn’t last long. I’d had all the culture I could handle for one week.

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4 responses to “Culture!

  1. Abby, I got even more out of Mike Kelley’s show. You are patient in different ways than I am. I knew you’d love it. And we didn’t even sit to see the demented videos. I am going back to see what the docent has to say.

  2. apropos of your millinery talents (and surely not your dating experiences), i imagine you stitch in a “made by…..” name tag. if so, do you have a(n internet) source for these tags? thanks in advance.

  3. The Mike Kelly show at PS1 is fabulous.

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