Tuesday, August 31, 2010

i predict a riot.

ra ra riot's second album the orchard was released last week, and i am happy to note that the sound remains sincere (i.e. not overly produced) just like in the song "can you tell" that made me love the band in the first place. the single "boy" stays true to the chamber pop genre, just give it a listen. a very unassuming riot.

don't you wanna start playing the cello right about now, huh?

dinky bling.

i have an issue with women's watches. overall, to me, they just look dinky.

whether they are quality pieces of craftsmanship or basic wrist adornments, their minute size bothers me more than basic trinkets' because of the additional functionality. i know i follow a strange logic: little useless ornaments are ok as long as they're just trivial. add function and i think they're just annoying. boggles the mind.

the failure comes down to a lack of contrast, i have come to believe: they're too small for creating the delicate look that they are supposed to achieve. i am simple like that: big accentuates small, small brings out the large. i guess i haven't reached a more complex level of analysis, yet.

if it was about my wrists being thick i could understand the logic of feeling that dinky little things bring out something i wish to diminish. given i felt that thick wrists were something i would like to play down. not sure about that, though. but perhaps. nonetheless, mine are actually not, quite the opposite. therefore and nevertheless, you have seen me sporting a men's watch that accentuates my small wrist with its bulkiness. the watch is quite a few years old, from tag heuer and still one of my favorite accessories.

here, as with everything else in my style, the opposition of masculine and feminine is a precondition i treasure. i am quite sure many people find my bulky timepiece unnecessarily large and protruding – making the point slightly too obvious "see, i've got a small wrist, hello!"

but that's just me: underlining the obvious as always.

then, about two years ago i bought something very unlike myself.

first, it is golden.

second, it is small.

third, it is women's.

what made it mine was the sheer ugliness of the wrist adornment: old casio remake from the 80's was just enough of tacky to help me overcome the dinkiness of it.

i have worn it five times in total. not solely because it's small, but because it's golden. i do silver.


the thing is, i love it. i do.

Monday, August 30, 2010

creative correspondence.

although i claimed that using online video is still underused in marketing just in my last post, it in no way diminishes the fact that it is an established media in arts projects. one of the most interesting and vast of video collaborations of late has been the creators project, a website built in partnership with intel and vice where creative minds of different fields are interviewed and given a space for their video projects.

there are so many films, most of them between four and ten minutes long, that it takes a full day to go through them. nevertheless, i do recommend taking the time for watching and listening to both old favorites and new names.

one that struck me especially was the interview with cassette playa, i.e. carri mundane, whose design aesthetic appeals to me greatly – although not as something i'd wear but as a visual whole. (i tossed the video from this post because the player auto-launched. thus, go here to watch it.)

during watching i realized why: she is also deeply influenced by digital glitches in design which i have found fascinating for years.

by 'glitches' i refer to collapsed sites, faulty codes that influence layouts and platform errors that distort css. whether a small pixelated mess in a corner or a full screen of colorful chaos, i think digital problems sometimes create the most beautiful, unintended patterns that are incredibly reflective of our time.

a great book of the topic is this where images from television scrambles and atm-pixelaches are included as parts of digital imperfection.

i recommend going through the list of creators and enjoying what they have to say. perhaps you'll find unexpected similarities like i did.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

move me.

for us working within digital media, it's been ever so subtly an underlying insinuation in the world of marketing that online video is taking over slowly but surely what print is failing to do. although digital newspapers and journals are still trying to find a form that was most efficient and usable, the addition of film clips seems an inevitable and natural part of the future of online journalism and ads.

i am not talking about taking television programs or commercials online, but actually rethinking online media advertising via moving images. flash is gasping its last breaths but movement itself – that so infatuated us with the appearance of flash code as an addition to basic html – is far from over.

video banners and blog posts are already a reality, but still rather rare. the use of video in marketing is terribly underused, but with the already existing entanglement of music and fashion, videos that serve the primary and explicit marketing purposes of fashion houses seem to be taking the first leap.

these works play with the borderlines of television adverts, movie trailers and music videos, but are without exception (as far as i have noted) dubbed 'short films' rather than advertisements. moreover, they are intended for online use, for virtual communities and many seem shot as part of regular advertising campaigns.

it's clear that moving images provide an idea of clothing and lifestyle that is more nuanced than a print campaign, which nevertheless, at best, can be incredibly strong as still images feed the imagination differently. with the addition of sound these clips suggest a space of immersion, just like movies.

here's one from last summer:

director zoé cassavetes for louis vuitton:

moreover, here are two great examples of this fall:

craig mcdean for alexander wang.

ruth hogben for gareth pugh:

what do you think: do you click on videos or skip them?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

puppet master.

here's one cool take on a music video. the swedish band called fulkultur created an interactive for their song "ugly dance" where you can move the dancer by clicking on moves... you can also create your own dancer if the premade ones seem too boring.

the song ain't bad either – in either swedish (via their myspace page linked above) or in english (via link below)

go watch and play the puppet master here.

prayers for the rain.

there was a whiff before. then there was a drizzle. today it was everywhere, in the scent of the air, in the drops that fell on my head, in the grass that seemed to have given up.

fall. my favorite season of all.

beanie by cos, tank top by filippa k, sweater by helmut lang, jeans by superfine, boots by dr martens, bracelet by bless.

time to give disintegration a spin or two...

Monday, August 23, 2010

sofa so good.

since we moved into our new home, renovations that are not essential have been postponed. the apartment was in good shape and all future alterations are matters of taste rather than necessity, and are, thus, transferred to a time undefined. we want time to think over what we really need and how we want to resolve whatever we deem fit to change.

nonetheless, as far as furniture comes, there was an essential upgrade that was needed. our sofa was my sweetie's good old ikea purchase – surprisingly stylish and otherwise in all right shape, but unfortunately rickety in places where sturdiness was required. in other words, we were constantly worrying the backrest would give in if one of our friends of greater magnitude decided to lean on it.

because we are homebodies and spend most of our time on the couch, this was no small issue. this summer we finally got ourselves together and ordered a new one.

although it was definitely well-used and already broken, i worried about destiny of the old one and what to do with it. needless to say, i do not believe in furniture upgrades to "freshen up" the home or whatever reasoning people sometimes have for redecoration when they have perfectly functioning and beautiful stuff. i was also painfully aware because of anu's posting last year that recycling centers are filled with little used furniture because people have started to redo their apartments regularly, and that they often do not accept oldies no matter how good a shape they're in.

thankfully our friends wanted the parts of the sofa that were still usable. there were bits and pieces that had to be tossed because they were shabby or completely broken, but a manageable sofa for two was still completed. it was a relief to know it would be loved till the very end.

now only our friends had to deal with the pressure of recycling their old, small couch. they were asked to bring it to the recycling center to be evaluated whether it was acceptable. although it was in great shape and clean, they were told they should just toss it. after relentless pressure and pleading about renting a van and driving all the way there, they had their way.

less than a week later they bumped into a familiar looking, half-burnt and still smoking carcass of a sofa at a park nearby. they told me it felt devastating.

i am all for affordable furniture. everyone deserves a living space that's soothing to the eye. i just cannot help but wonder when home renewal went so overboard that all this happened? it did not help that today i read that in order to support their domestic manufacturing, the owners of suomi-soffa are going to open another chain of cheap furniture stores based on selling inexpensive export crap to add to the heap. i salute the willingness to keep finnish jobs in the country, but am unsure of the price globally.

dunno. sometimes i think we have understood the idea of consumer democracy slightly wrong: the right to a certain standard of living should not imply a right to megalomanic and compulsive home decoration that requires upgrades every couple of years or so.

sofa by boconcept, throw by marimekko, cushions by missoni home and ikea, floor cushions by casa stockmann, vintage coffee table and serving cart from the 70's and 50's respectively, ghost candelabra by innermost, photo of the flatiron building by peikko viitala, screen-prints by annika dahlsten.

but yes, and the new lounge. here. somehow i feel we didn't deserve it, that we didn't wait long enough. that our wants are too easily disguised as needs – even when i feared for the safety of our friends who visit.

i want to take it slow and feel sure about every purchase. surely we will transform our new apartment into a more habitable space that's also to our liking. for good, i hope.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

duel of cyborgs.

i would not exaggerate one bit if i said that my livelihood and my life itself was dependent on my computer. i am on my fourth macbook pro and have gone through numerous traveling vessels of the digital highway before them.

i am very much a gadget freak: i had to have an ipod when there wasn't even a click wheel, yet (anyone remember? there were buttons above the wheel...) and naturally i've had an ipad since june although they're still not available in finland and getting apps is a slight hassle. i tap on my iphone constantly and have a habit of clicking and twirling any other phones or players my friends might be carrying.

gadgets are my toys, but also my way to enter and activate reality; my online being is deeply intertwined with my irl (sic!) being and i have trouble grasping people who consider online life somehow distinct, less real or more artificial than physical interaction. "real", for me, does not mean outside digital...

i am, very much, a harawayan cyborg: a being whose sense of the world cannot be explained without machines nor can my sense of reality be understood without digital realities. in other words, a bonafide nerd who rejects dichotomous binaries and boundaries between natural and artificial.

therefore, sometimes it is extremely healthy to pick the bubble of exclusivity – which the ability to be a cyborg in the previously mentioned sense undoubtedly is – and take a look at the cost of my transcendence.

despite never owning a car – and feeling some sense of satisfaction over it – i contribute to a waste problem of a gigantic sort. i sometimes wonder where the tools of my trade and my escapism have ended up once they've been deemed useless.

pieter hugo's permanent error is a collection of photos taken at agbogbloshie market, ghana. as one of the largest wastelands of the digital revolution, it is a toxic environment full of the corpses our freeriding on the information highway produces.

of the 50 million tons of digital waste western countries produce each year, only a fraction is handled here and recycled. the rest of the old hardware is shipped from europe and the us to developing countries supposedly as "digital aid", but ends up burned for its metal contents producing corrosive fumes and polluting the soil.

all pics from here.

the apocalyptic images of melted plastic and recognizable parts are hard enough to grasp, but when people appear as parts of the equation, i see a cyborg of a different type, of a kind whose world has not been enlarged or enhanced by endless improvements of technology. there's no transcendence here, only immanence and restriction.

it seems powerful images are sometimes needed as a reminder of the dystopic side our utopia is built on.

Friday, August 20, 2010

home away from home.

here’s a small recap of our lodging during our summer excursion from san francisco to nyc.

i shall put to use my new cosmetics based hotel rating system that occurred to me on our trip: "the promise" is what you'd expect from their marketing (not to be taken literally, they don't usually promise anything), "you get" tells what you actually get and "the verdict" is how the previous even out. impeccably accurate and comprehensive, if i may say so. *ha*

number uno: the historical fairmont hotel.

located on the top of nob hill, the grand building was the site that held the international conference which lead to the birth of the united nations. known predominantly among locals for its long history, their exclusive restaurant, tiki bar and piano bar, it served as the centre of the city's nightlife for decades after ww2.

these days i would, however, steer clear of the food after hearing about the state of their kitchen with their pre-prepared dinner plates...

after long working days it was my sweetie's entourage's only proper night out and we ended up continuing the party at our suite. oh, the decadence... except the hotel was going through a mini bar upgrade and ours meant that there was a new fridge with nothing in it and although it had been asked to be filled several times during the stay, somehow this luxury hotel could not handle the request...

the next morning we switched hotels – personally the old world glamour of fairmont is not something i’d ever choose and even though we had a great deal with them, i did not want to spend my holiday there.

1. the front 2. the glitzy lobby 3. the suite after a night of partying.


the promise: molton brown
you get: some vaguely and supposedly british set of products that only fools never-been-to-europe americans.
the verdict: when luxury days are gone, fake it till the very end...


number two: small design hotel diva located in the hub of touristy union square.

not worth intensive praise nor complaints, the diva was all right – except that their rooms were too small for a couple traveling with a suitcase and carry-on each. thus, note to self: opt for a suite next time.

although the hotel was marketed as a design hotel, the term has definitely gone through an inflation of a sort; the trend of small, exclusive hotels seems the norm these days, but somehow many of them cannot go through with the promise of carefully thought out design and other details that really make a hotel special.

to remain fair, there were cute little things, like a diva! temporary tattoo and a saucy blind, but as per usual, the promise of the website was not delivered. in all honesty, a bertoia chair does not a design hotel make.

1. the airiest pic of the room i could get. small, eh? 2. the temp tattoo 3. a sombre (=stylish) bed.


the promise: korres
you get: a no-name organic lemongrass set of products
the verdict: going over where the fence is lowest or the i-don't-quite-get-it shows.


from sf we took the redeye to new york city.


number three: hotel on rivington in the lower east side.

a spacier room with a balcony and the best stocked mini bar i have ever seen (fairmont seemed such a disgrace in comparison) created a feeling of home away from home. at this point my sweetie was so tired of traveling that a comfortable room was our minimum prerequisite.

as far as manhattan locations go, i cannot imagine one to outdo this one. the lobby was a little shabby and torn from all the use, but our room was impeccable.

1. enjoying brekkie at the lobby. fyi, best bagels in nyc are from h&h. 2. the winning set of bath products. 3. urban balcony and yers truly.


the promise: malin+goetz
you get: davines
the verdict: up to date quality.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

punajuuri block party.

and just when i felt gloomy over the neighborhood withering away from its days of glory, something amazing happens. and reminds me that we are all responsible for the wellbeing and positivity of our own spaces of living.

next saturday a group of people are organizing a blockparty starting from viiskulma (the five corners) at five pm and moving two blocks west. all hail them!

their plan is to show that money is not an object of organizing an event and that with the happy contributions of friends and will-be-friends, a neighborhood can come to life and promote co-operation amongst talented people willing to share their time.

there will be bands (yay, i shall see k-x-p after all!), there will be fun. i will be there.

why wouldn't you come as well?

varicose crossing ahead!

everyone knows that association helps memory: by connecting new timbits of knowledge with old complexities, they merge and become parts of wholes with internal logic. additionally, when we use familiar language, widely understood as either pictures or lexis, to introduce a new set of information, it becomes easier to comprehend. therefore, the popularity of acronyms and poetry-like chant rules.

sometimes what is familiar can seem unexpected. depicting the human body as a subway map takes a notoriously difficult and complex system to a graphic standard we're all familiar with reading and interpreting. although it is very simplified, all of a sudden it makes sense – and makes me wonder how terribly subway systems could be depicted...

design by sam loman.

perhaps this was the time i could actually memorize the lymphatic system.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

neighborhood recommendation #16: coffee shop.

after many places that i have felt like recommending as little gems of my neighborhood have either shut down or changed their concept, it felt that somehow things around were slowly drifting away leaving behind streets empty of the life i have become accustomed to.

therefore, finding a new coffee shop that just opened in june with great coffee and piety in preparing your drink – read: do not enter in a hurry – lifted my mood and strengthened my faith in the blocks that surround me.

caneli opened at the non-pedestrian end of iso-roba and offers a large selection of coffees and teas in addition to all kinds of superfood thingys, if that's your cup of smoothie.

they grind the beans individually for your coffee, whether you're getting a cup to go or buying a larger amount to take home (if you wish to have them ground, that is), and their house blend has a smooth and deep, almost chocolatey aroma and is a real bargain at just 2€ a pop.

photo from here.

go support and enjoy!

biting deep.

well, i have a brief contribution to a discussion of late about it-bags/ it-shoes, bags vs. shoes, etc.

disclaimer: this is not directed at or inspired by the above linked blog posts alone, but more of a follow-up on what i have gathered from reading a lot of fashion/style blogs late this summer and their comments sections and other discussions.

what i love about fashion talk is to share the passion. it helps to have like-minded individuals to talk with. sometimes it's great to disagree or just debate for debate's sake. but sharing the joy and analysis – telling people about the great things i found, wondering about the inner workings of the industry, explaining how i interpret my own style in reference to others – is what keeps me going.

as you might have noted, my love for fashion is not about fretting whether i've got the look of the season, whether i seem to have ignored to update myself for the current demands of the trend police or whether i can wear something i think is hideous just because it is fashion. i know that for some it seems to be and i find the sort of trend anxiety exhausting. following lists that editors comprise is not original and not an interesting topic of conversation to me.

nevertheless, i also realize that my knowledge about the history of fashion that is the result of years of keen interest does not mean that i am somehow above those who follow trends, have better reasons for wearing certain designers or have the right to claim ownership of certain looks.

naturally, i recognize also in myself the conceited thought that just because i know (or care?) more, i am somehow more entitled to what i know about, but also think it's extremely important to understand that the reasoning comes down to our neverending vanity. and not the sensible kind of vain.

i find it a tragic simplification about personal style to hear that a single recognizable item could make or break a look. style is more than a sum of its parts; a great bag or a pair of shoes does not a dazzling lady make, nor does it bring her down. that is, an it-bag (or it-shoes or cousin it) does not lift one's look above blase, but is not a sign of a dimwit either.

i cannot help but recognize fashion talk that is about credibility and credibility only. it's a form of competitiveness and because there isn't a combative cell in my body, i have to admit to finding it troubling because ultimately it is a discourse of fake exclusivity, shutting others outside. in fact, shoving beneath oneself.

no, i have no interest in talking to people who have nothing remotely informative to say to me, and sure, i love to rant about stuff i find worthy of judgment (q.e.d.). but to deem those who choose to spend 1500€ on a chanel bag less worthy than those who choose to spend the same amount on an owens jacket seems, to me, snotty and stupid if the only argument given is an insinuation that the former trend is less intellectual or whatnot.

to take it further, i just think it's ridiculous and pompous to frown upon people who like a designer or an item for "the wrong reasons" or for less than some prerequisite time. could someone just send me a list of the right reasons and the time one needs to like a designer or an item to be credible enough to like it?

nah, didn't think so.

i find people who judge others based on how trendy they succeed to look very tedious – whether they appreciate trendiness or think trendy looking people are mindless buffoons. but equally tedious are those who think that because they are so into fashion that they are above mundane trends they have the right to look down on those who are not in head'n'shoulders deep or have a different take on what they choose to adopt from the multitude of fashion choices offered around us.

sound too saintly for my own good? well, bite me. criticism is hard, but it is quite a different story to say that you don't think an alexa would compliment your look because it seems too obvious or you just do not like it than to say that women who carry them around sport a sign of below-average intelligence and slavery to some fad that took over all womankind by storm (except those who were above it all... or broke).

biting my own itch to keep on being critical, i'll just keep on chewing on my it-bag from 2005(?), the mulberry elgin. i bought it because i loved the color (olive), the very un-mulberry-like (i.e. few) details and simple shape. i love it still because of the same reasons, but also for the heavy leather that has aged gracefully despite, for example, acting as the ball of a very drunken soccer game at tavastia.

bag by mulberry, coat by vero moda, shirt by zara, jeans by nudie, booties by prada, accessories by tag heuer, bless, efva attling, chanel and h&m.

we don't need to share the same objects of fancy, we don't need to understand the choices others make and we can even talk critically about choices we believe are reasonably unhealthy. but i just don't see why we should have the need to hoist our own egos up by insinuating that our subjective preferences are somehow truer, better or more real than those of others in cases where we really only want to say: i like this, i do not like that.

oh, the irony of living a life so cool one must fear it goes unrecognized. do you, like i do, listen to bands that do not even exist yet?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

bicoastal brew.

it was pure chance we entered through the glass door with only a small blue bottle decorating it. my friend had suggested we try out a coffee shop on berry street, but failed to remember the name and exact location. we passed it by before realizing that the evasive place must have been on our way...

it was also a lucky chance that this establishment was bicoastal, just like our trip. born in san francisco and only located in brooklyn in addition to several spaces in northern cali, it felt like the perfect destination for us.

walking in you could feel it was no ordinary coffee shop. the air was still and quiet despite the many patrons sitting at the bar, no-one seemed to be in a hurry, and in the back you could see guys walking about around a spacey room doing what seemed, yup, right, coffee roasting and bagging. the service was polite and there was no attitude – something many brooklyn coffee shops are quite famous for...

the blue bottle coffee was started by a san franciscan who got sick of invasive flavors stuck in coffee – to cover the taste of charred and stale beans, i presume – and the elaborate "inventiveness" of baristas who had started to conceal rather than celebrate the flavor of quality coffee. hence, his goal was to direct the focus back to the drink itself.

he took an oath to serve his clients only freshly roasted (max 48hours) coffee made from the finest organic, shade-grown beans that he buys from local, small producers.

there are several blends and single source coffees available and each comes with full information on flavor, origin, processing, preparation suggestions and level of milk adjustment (!!). for example, the bag we bought to take home with us is described as follows:

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Oromia OCFCU

The Yirgacheffe is the most delicate of all Ethiopian coffees: the mint-julep-sipping younger sister to the burly, assertive Harrar, or the conniving Sidamo. At this roast-level (which we are calling medium-plus), the oven-cleanery aftertaste is eliminated. What we are left with is a mild cocoa powder and vanilla bean flavor, with reasonably good body, and low but interesting acid. As it cools, hints of jasmine and apricot float delightfully to the surface. This is a coffee on the demure side: the organic Yirgacheffe is to hearty robust fudginess as Rickie Lee Jones is to impeccable diction. In spite of the above, it takes milk or cream reasonably well, and is best as a filter or French press. The Oromia co-op is one of the largest certified organic co-ops in Ethiopia. Slightly over 20% of all income from the co-op’s coffee sales is used for community development projects in the region.

Location: Yirgacheffe District, Sidama Region, Southern Ethiopia
Altitude: 1500-2000 meters
Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopian Cultivars
Processing Method: Wet-processed
Certifications: Organic
Preparation Methods: French Press, Pour Over, Siphon

when i asked about the coffee, the guy behind the counter gave me an elaborate, nuanced explanation about the subtleties of flavor and how not to ruin the taste by preparing it wrong. a true aficionado if i ever met one.

and yes, it was delicious.

Monday, August 16, 2010

flowing look.

festival clothing can be a hassle. last year i wore a one-piece to flow and realized that the mistake was not to be remade. talk about troublesome bathroom visits.

this year it was warmer, but i am still glad i stuck to simple pant-top -combos. here's the most relaxed one i wore on sunday when everything was perfect...

you see, i suffered all friday from pain. saturday i missed k-x-p because i was at the hospital getting my infected eye looked at. a very inflamed tear canal had me in tears and make-up free for the entirety of the festival.

on the upside, for me the cancellation of jónsi was not such a disappointment after i heard caribou got main stage time. they did not fail. last but not least we were enveloped by the xx and the sensuous warmth of summer's last night. just like anna-kaari said, i smelled fall this morning.

top by cheap monday, pink lace bra (exposed from behind) by american apparel, pants by oak, sandals by bernhard willhelm for camper.

fallen girls make easy prey of their hearts.

the hundred in the hands is brooklynite duo that makes danceable post-punk and i just love the combo of gentle pop voice over simple thumps and riffs. nice.

my humble suggestion for flow lineup next year, pretty please...

swing to sepia.

if google maps street view project created controversy around the world for pics snapped of unknowing people going about their daily business, something exciting sprouted up from it, as well.

i encourage you to take a tour in sepia town, a collective website for old images of modern locations that you can search and, after registration, upload yourself. now listing major metropoles – nyc, london, amsterdam, paris, etc. – using google maps as a basis, it is easy to navigate.

as the service improves with the input of everyone who feels like partaking, you should eventually be able to grab a mobile device and check out instantly what the spot you're standing on looked decades or sometimes even centuries ago. for now there are plenty of interesting shots to marvel even if the coverage is still fairly limited.

here's shot of a street view at the corner of rivington and orchard street in nyc, circa 1910.

pic snatched from the site itself.

what a brilliant time machine!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

the radiant child.

for all jean-michel aficionados out there, there was one particular premiere at this year's sundance festival that was more than eagerly anticipated. composed of rare footage from over twenty years ago, the documentary radiant child offers an insight into the life of 25-year-old basquiat at the height of his career, just 2 years prior to his death.

although probably not shown anywhere close to helsinki, i have preordered the dvd, due out 16 october 2010.

cannot wait.

Friday, August 13, 2010


guess what, i've been wearing grey lately. duh.

on a more informative note, my fondness for garments that are sewn from geometrically simple shapes is significant, and this helmut lang top makes no exception. the side fold is the result of a strategically placed seam in a rectangle and works like a little lopsided wing. wonky bat.

but the reason i am actually posting these photos is to show something that you must have noted already. that is, i haven't shaved my head in a while.

to be quite honest, after i published my six-month recap on going bald i shaved my head once or twice. from then on i just left it be.

my hair has been thinned once and i chopped off the mullet that started to take me towards the nhl faster than i could say offside. otherwise it is in its natural state, color, texture and all.

it feels strange to have a dark mousey tone after i've always gone either black or white. there are surprising golden hues in it and i am still looking forward to the wavy curls to appear.

top by helmut lang, jeans by nudie, sandals by carin wester, bracelets and necklaces from all over.

this is not the end of this mane, not yet. if you have any suggestions as to what i could/should try, let me know. i'm all ears...


having a neighborhood hangout is essential to my comfort wherever i live. the biggest reason i was restless and out of place at soho in nyc was that i did not have cafe i felt at home at. i frequented space untitled, but it was never quite casual and busy enough for me; the large airy space felt too quiet and without distraction to create a bubble of tranquility in the city.

these days i would not even consider moving to soho – first timer's poor judgment – but would head straight to brooklyn where life revolves around community efforts. fashionably [sic!] dubbed the new collectivism is definitely a brooklynite phenomenon that combines socialist ideals with respect to the privacy of residents in a way only new yorkers are able to. the combination of an atmosphere where enthusiasm always outdoes hesitation together with the locally natural cynical mindset creates a unique fertilizer for ideas to actually grow into practices without feeling too overwhelmingly naïve.

regardless of the fact that sometimes it feels inventing the wheel again is a source of overzealousness, compared to many balls of ideas we have tossed around for years with friends at various meetings, sporadic anti-intellectualism seems a small price to pay for things actually turning into sources of pleasure.

in a habitat where ideas are nurtured, businesses that feel homey and seem to last are more frequent than there where the pressure to renew oneself is stronger. one of my last visit's highlights was hanging out at building on bond. a neighborhood restaurant, cafe and bar serves a locavore menu and beer, and great cocktails (as do most places in nyc – can we have some of that here as well, please?)

we sat outside with friends, kids and enjoyed the beautiful fare. go experience!

bob veggie burger.

go with the flow, again.

just like everyone else, i am off to a three-day extravaganza known as flow festival starting today. it finishes off my summer holiday of four weeks and with a bang is how i intend to go.

unfortunately my eye was infected last night and i shall probably sport a patch over it throughout the weekend. say arrr to the merry pirate, if you pass me by...

my great expectations are directed to these three (in no particular order):

1. the xx. one of the great albums of 2009 that got sneered at because making it too big. for me their live gig is a must see and will probably make it or break it for the band.

2. k-x-p. the newest project of timo kaukolampi and tuomo puranen and source of countless nights of jamming at various parties. krautrock inspirations are obvious, but for me the repetitive hypnotic bass is what already does the trick. (the video has the logo of another kxp named artist, but the song is right... go figure.)

3. caribou. here's my favorite from them, although i look forward to hearing more dancey tunes at the festival.

and there are many others i do not exactly mind seeing...

first and foremost i look forward to seeing what the food will be like. already legendary as far as festival cuisine goes, this year my friend richard is responsible for most (if not all caterers?) and knowing that i intend to spend my days nibbling away as much as i can.

Monday, August 9, 2010

i light the fire.

i have been unable to make my mind up about kaskade. some of his songs are little guitar infused dance songs that should appeal to me, but feel lacking for some reason. it might be due to the fact that there are some incredibly crappy and insignificant ones, such as his collaboration with deadmau5, that i feel suspicious about him in general.

but here's one i actually could give another listen to, not solely because of my love for dragonette:

holy greyl.

grey is a color that switches positions on trend charts with predominant fall favorite colors such as brown, camel and burgundy. it's there to soften the dark palette, but hardly has a life of its own. i do recollect a couple of times when grey was the new black, but compared to other pantones, it seems rare.

grey is the safe color in addition to navy that older men go for. it's less imposing than black and seems less demanding on surface structure. although black is always in fashion, grey comes and goes – unless you ask grandpa.

my inner gramps shares a peculiar fondness with gentlemen prone to nose and ear hair that even the most grey loving fashionistas steer clear of: grey shoes. shunned by many, the grey shoe is an antithesis to sharp and clear lines that many a shoe fetishist believes form the basis of great footwear.

some claim that black shoes are always stylish and go with anything and others think black is always a safe option. from my point of view they understand neither style nor grasp ensembles and, moreover, have never set their eyes on finsk wedges. but that's beside the point. the point is, usually when black shoes are no longer a necessity, people opt for color. but not grey.

grey reminds us of dullness, dirt and decay, an in-between state from clarity to doom. most people find it ugly, especially in shoes. it's a color that wants to blend in avoiding the brightness of white or the strength of black. grey is the color for people of the unimposing kind.

my love for grey shoes expresses itself in a myriad of ways from high heels to casual gear. i've posted several here; if i remember correctly, at least prada patent wedges, crumpled zara heels, suede zara booties, alexander wang boots, martin margiela elf shoes and my newest acquisition, sperry top-siders in patent leather.

another quest for the perfect grey pair came to an end in san francisco: after seeing grey dr martens in the ad campaign for comptoir des cotonniers, i did not realize they were a limited edition collaboration and tried to get my hands on a pair for over a year. now, finally, there was a pair on the shelf of a small shoe store at haight-ashbury and it didn't take a moment's hesitation to pack them up.

after cherishing my many pairs i cannot help but wonder how anyone could think grey was not beautiful... what do you think of grey shoes?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

san francisco tenner.

san francisco was not a city i could engulf in a few days. it felt strangely anti-consumeristic compared to nyc where temptations solidify your flaneuring. not the san fran i encountered.

here are my ten tips.

#1 walk everywhere.

the idea of san francisco as city where you hop on and off cable cars couldn’t be further from the truth. public transportation is, from a finnish (or a new yorker) point of view, poor although there are cable cars, buses and even the bart (a sort of a metro line that’s only slightly more elaborate than our local joke of a subway here in helsinki).

although the city is vertically challenging and fairly large, it is highly walkable. even if you are relying on public transport, walking is necessary – especially if you’re off the more touristy areas. it is also the best way to enjoy and contemplate the incredible architecture.

sloping it wearing a flannel shirt by levi's, jeans by nudie, boat shoes by sperry top-sider. drinking my ultimate favorite soft drink guarana antarctica from brazil.

a noteworthy point to bear in mind: there is always yet another house that’s prettier, worthier of a photograph, more incredibly painted or located on a steeper slope around the corner. your camera will be filled with pictures of houses whether you intend to do it or not...

#2 visit the location of a human rights revolution.

it is hard to understand the appeal of san francisco without visiting the castro. nowhere else in the world will you see a giant rainbow flag hover over a neighborhood reminding of the respected presence of the lgbt community.

part an enclosed area of exclusivity and part a sanctuary for those who are still prejudiced against, castro is more a residential neighborhood than a tourist destination for those interested in peeking into the perverted lives of sodomites – an unfortunate idea of the gay community some people still cherish.

the best day to visit is saturday when the streets come to life with couples walking together to get groceries and flowers, the cafes are filled with people and the bars are full early in the afternoon. the first gay bar ever in the world to sport large windows facing the street (instead of hiding in darkness) called twin peaks is houses elderly gentlemen enjoying a pint. nowhere else have i witnessed the amount of older couples hand in hand – a heartfelt sight if anything.

harvey milk’s camera store is there and the famous book store called a different light, but the short part of castro street dedicated to gays seems less than the fuss would imply. castro is spread out and there are gems located on the side streets, like a little victorian cafe with an african-american man sitting with dangly pearl earrings drinking darjeeling and enjoying a scone with his hubby.

#3 start your day with brunch.

there are plenty of brunch places around, but i recommend going down to the mission and finding a bar at the corner of mission and 18th street. the dark, almost divey look of the place conceals the expected cuisine and once you sit down and see a surprisingly ambitious menu with the names of chefs and sous chefs, you start to fathom the treat you’re in for.

the three course menu you could choose from several options was excellent, comprised of local ingredients and the relaxed atmosphere a hipster favorite judging from the fixed gear bikes and mopeds parked outside. (my favorite bike of all time pictured here: a fixed-gear with a louis vuitton decoration, vintage saddle and a copper water bottle holder. stylish.)

oh yes, the name of the place. the corner, of course.

#4 work your way into a speakeasy.

obviously we were after great cocktails. without a doubt there are many mixology bars in a city the size of san fran, but the destination of choice was picked according to the relative difficulty of getting in and reputation for quality drinks.

thus, we chose bourbon and branch, the name of which comes from the old meaning of water source, i.e. the way you’d order a glass of bourbon and water. entrance to the bar is an inconspicuous door, unlabeled with a doorbell. the host opens and greets you and asks for a password. unless you get it right, the answer is a blunt “sorry, but the library is closed.”

with the right password you enter a small, dark old-school bar with a few booths and a host of smiling staff. your waitress presents you with a long menu (50 pages if i remember correctly) where the first 20 or so are cocktails divided by their main ingredient. the bartenders look focused and take care in preparing your cocktail. the service is fast and we ended up downing three each during our hour and a half booking.

yes, you need to book the time you require in advance through their website.

no pics allowed so i just recommend you go an experience it yerself.

#5 squash down a burrito. or two.

noone does the burrito like californians do. it is a hulk of a wrap with delicious filling made of beans, rice, sour cream, cheese, avocado and tomato (and a choice of meat if you so desire), and having one was high on my list of have-to-dos. finishing one could be considered an achievement, but it’s hard to stop eating... gluttony is such bliss.

also going down to mission, expecially on 23rd street between shotwell and hampshire, you’ll find a galore of mexican restaurants worthy of stopping by. a favored area by local hipsters i felt disappointed with it after great expectations, but the food was pretty awesome.

once you’re bored with burritos, you can always take the line at ike’s place for famous heroes.

#6 lighten up with sushi.

by the pacific ocean skipping a sushi meal would be ecologically sound, but foolish from the culinary point of view.

a small door and a staircase down leads you to a rowdy bar with sushi greatness. ryoko's was an experience i recommend wholeheartedly as a very down to earth, no-fuss original sushi and great ambiance.

#7 immerse yourself into art at sfmoma.

the museum of modern art in sf is a cornucopia of art and a must see for both the building itself and the contents. while we were there the collection of donald fisher, the founder of the gap was on display and, boy oh boy, has he as one of the most intense collectors of america got his hands on some exciting stuff.

yours truly at the rooftop garden underneath a louise bourgeois spider wearing rick owens.

#8 feel the desperation and confidence of mission.

the mission is supposedly gentrified but if you’re expecting something in the line of brooklyn’s williamsburg, you’re in for a surprise. the city’s history of providing homeless people better shelters and benefits than anywhere else in the us and the system collapsing with the economy has fortified the presence of hobos and beggars everywhere as well as stopped many development and rebuilding projects.

the neighborhood is as filled with warehouses as it was when i lived there 13 years ago, and while most neighborhoods in nyc or london have spread from one particular spot like gentrification mold, san francisco seems to follow a rain of development pins on a map. thus, after walking around deserted looking blocks, you bump into a nice cafe, like the atlas, and next to a line of homeless and obviously mentally ill people you find a random gathering of cute stores, like 17th street around valencia, dolores and church.

because of this, being in the know is more important in san francisco than nyc if you want to find great places. the chance of spotting them by accident is close to nil unless you have unlimited time to wander around.

while walking around, keep an eye on the murals that decorate the walls of many buildings. they tell stories of immigration, sanctity and politics in general, and are well worth stopping and examining more closely.

#9 go for a dive.

and just to prove the point of the previous entry, we met a friend of mine at a bar i never would have spotted nor dared to enter unless he suggested it to me.

just below market street, amongst pawn shops and junkies was a barely marked door that lead into a bar filled with indie dance hits and cool looking people. showdown was one of the bars my friend dj’s at and just like many others, there was nothing to suggest it could be tolerable let alone a great little dive. the patrons brought their bikes in for an obvious reason.

#10 taste local delicacies.

a trip would be nothing without sweets, i think. in america, you’ve got to have a piece of cherry pie at a diner, any diner. make it a la mode, just for the heck of it.

enjoy artisan chocolates at saratoga chocolates.

out of many enticing ice-cream vendors i suggest you scoop a beautiful portion of organic and locally produced sweetness at xanath ice-cream store with soothing, warm flavors like saffron-ginger. their place is a little hole-in-the-wall style, but the taste makes up for the rather bare setting.

that's it. hope you find something of use or interest if you ever decide to pop by northern cali.

Monday, August 2, 2010

greetings from the city, greetings from the sea.

the trip is over, i am still jetlagged and have another fortnight of holiday left. it has been a fabulous two weeks of california chill and new york heat followed by the past weekend of harvest at the garden cottage, a still forthcoming wedding, a week at the sea cottage and, finally, flow festival to top it all off.

there is much to share, pictures to export from cameras, veggies to pickle, family to see, a house to build (for my sweetie's brother), berries to pick and most importantly, sleep to allow myself be engulfed by... but fear not, i will be back soon with recommendations and tales of my travels as well as the usual bs.

this time i leave you only with this advice i found posted on a store window on castro street: