Archive for May, 2010

Mama’s Got A Brand New Band

Friday, May 28th, 2010

She didn’t need the rest of Rilo Kiley this time, and she didn’t need the Watson Twins either. But Jenny Lewis didn’t want to do it all by herself, so her boyfriend Jonathan Rice stepped in, and a new record will surely slither into our summer grass come August.

When it comes time, here’s hoping it’s she out of the two who hogs the mic.

The Bell Museum

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Finally, a post it makes sense to use my Camera Bag (non iPhone) app on!

“The James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History was established in 1872 to collect, preserve, and interpret Minnesota’s diverse animal and plant life for scholarly research and for public enrichment and enjoyment. Its governance belongs, by state legislative designation, to the University of Minnesota.”

I don’t know why it took me decades to ever visit the Bell. It’s the closest thing to a public school field trip circa 1949 that a retro-minded modern man can do with his afternoon.

And back in college that grungy-glam, diorama-set Sheryl Crow video was (and still is) one of my favorites.

From its elevator, to its radial-edged wooden walls, to its apparent lack of air conditioning, the core of the museum looks and feels exactly how it did seventy years ago, I bet.

Unfortunately, right after my visit I learned that, just like most things too old and amazing to still be standing today, the original Bell is set to be updated.

“The Bell Museum of Natural History is in the process of developing a larger facility to house their thousands of specimen and to aid in research. The new location and building will be on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota and will better able to serve the many people and tour groups that visit the museum each year. Additions to be made to the museum will include an outdoor teaching facility, accessible parking and food service for visitors. The estimated cost of the new facility and moving is near $36 million.”

I respect that, to fully serve and instruct its visitors properly, the Bell needs to grow and evolve.

But I just know the new space won’t have strong and sturdy elevators, or polished and pretty wood walls as handsomely hand-crafted as the original.

If there’s one thing our world knows how to do in 2010, its design an ugly University building. (Or any building, it seems.)

Maybe beauty will get lucky and the original Bell will stand as is, once the new facility opens. As less a museum honoring the beauty of elks and pelicans, but of paneling and hand rails.

In less grumbly news, check this out. It almost instantly restores some of my faith in Minneostan mankind:

Café Scientifique

Café Scientifique is a program designed for adults who share an interest in scientific research and gathering in pubs and coffee houses for informal discussions on relevant and often provocative scientific topics. Science Cafés and Café Scientifique events are a chance for adults to exchange opinions and ideas about science and related issues. The Bell Museum launched its own Café Scientifique program two years ago which consisted of a happy hour program for adults that brings research from the University of Minnesota and beyond into some of the Twin Cities’ most unique and atmospheric bars and restaurants. The Bell Museum’s Café Scientifique explores science and natural history from distinct and surprising viewpoints, drawing connections between scientific research, culture, environment and everyday life. The Bell Museum’s Café Scientifique features guests from a variety of fields with diverse and relevant expertise. Past events have included scientific researchers, policy experts, bioethicists, community leaders, cultural historians, artists, and authors for dynamic discussions that bridge the gap between science and culture.

Gitman Bros. x Monocle

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

In a 50’s fashioned dream world, I would’ve found a short-sleeve, plaid Gitman Bros. Vintage button up for summer, but the proper pattern and size combo never materialized for me this spring, online.

As a consolation prize, I placed an order for the Gitman Bros. x Monocle short-sleeve popover instead. As much as I appreciate Monocle as a magazine, I have to admit it makes me feel a little lobotomized or slavish to purchase a piece of clothing the publication plopped its name on. Following the leader is the march of the uncool, right?

But a classic broadcloth oxford shirt rendered in such an indigo-ink-y hue seemed so quietly quirked out, I knew I could wear the piece with just about anything, and any time of year.

I’m looking forward to how the piece will fade, but it’s actually so intensely inky, I worry/wonder a bit if it even ever will.

Electrics Company

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Yesterday’s attention to design, updated with the technology of today. The electronic offerings from Harajuku-based Amandana.

Your phone may have a calculator conveniently built in, but I doubt it’s as geeky chic as this one:

The electric oven is now long overdue for a compact comeback. Two or three more seasons/jumps forward in time and Betty Draper’s gonna pout right next to one, I guarantee it:

I still have the tongue of a seven year old; the taste of coffee strikes me as bitter and wooden-banister flavored, but for full-fledged grownups with the palates to match, a mini home brewer like this adds instant hip to your kitchen counter:

Two or three issues ago, GQ swore that cell phones were slowly and not-so-secretly killing us all, men and women alike. So get a land line while there’s still time. Safety first, supreme style second:

Homemade Vintage

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Ever since this winter, Monday morning through Friday afternoon I pretty much won’t pop a single thing into my mouth unless the chick from Clueless says it’s okay.

As a result, I’m now a walking punchline – and half of my clothes are now too big for me and my plant-fueled body.

Thankfully, for the past ten years I haven’t been able to throw out any adorable article of clothing too large or too small without first saying to myself, “You know, you’re either gonna be one of those people who get thicker and thicker the older they get, or you’re gonna be one of those people who get skinnier and skinnier the older they get. So, self, you better save that sweater/tuxedo shirt/tattoo-ed pair of 1999 CK jeans, just in case you grow a little bit thicker or a little skinnier anytime between now and the year 2062.”

I now have five ‘n a half coffin-sized bins of my former fashion hits and misses messing up my attic which I rummage through every few months. It’s like my own personal thrift store but with far fewer Hilfiger hoodies.

I might not get to eat anything fried or frosted during the week because of that damned vegan has-been, but I can fit into my favorite jeans from Fall of 2000 again which I never thought would happen.

It’s not quite as delicious as Thai chicken with basil was, or salted caramel milkshakes were, but digging into a heaping mound of well-worn clothing classics you yourself turned vintage is tasty in its own way

Paris Prizes pt. 2

Monday, May 10th, 2010

– A chunky clunk of metal from Porte de Vanves. An old dye embosser is our best guess.

– Happy cans of canned goods from a small sidestreet market.

– Fancy, Franc-ish coin dish from the Musee d’Orsay gift shop.

– Flea market, vintage beaded flowers for my sister.

–The gilded glam at Versailles inspired me to luxe it up more in my own life, so I picked up handfuls of golden flatware at Zara Home.

– Strawberry tinged tater chips we ate for lunch in our hotel room after we were stranded by the volcano. They were actually nice and quite light and unbelievably un-odd tasting.

– And lastly, an alien pod vase from my favorite of the big department stores, Printemps.

Another Batch of France

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Not red, not blue. I had to photograph the yellow.

Deadstock trinkets at the St. Ouen flea market.

Digging through dessert at the fanciest looking restaurant I’ve ever seen, Le Train Bleu at the Gare de Lyon station. Named for the luxury locomotive that carried the fancypants of Paris down to the golden coast up until the 1930s. (Thank the fashion gods that at least one of my sleeves is rolled, this time.)

Dusk down in Nice, (almost) under the cherry moon.

My first of three personal boxes of macarons. The pitch black licorice was my favorite of all, and of all time. Just lightly licorice-d, minus the usual briney, bitter bite.

A stampede of skeletons at the natural history museum.

And lastly, a tiled threshold to somewhere I never even went.

Paris Prizes pt. 1

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

– From a nothing-special supermarket in Paris, some super special grid-lined notebooks.

– From down at the Porte de Vanves Flea Market, a mysterious hand clamp/claw used for reasons so far unknown. We’ve been calling it an Automatic Eyeball Remover.

– A box of 24 macarons for the family who babysit our dog.

– The only real article of clothing I found in France. A pair of, I think, Jil Sander designed Uniqlo pants.

– And a pair of pairs of Great Gatsby styled tennis court socks.

– The prettiest stuffed bird in all of Deyrolle.

– His little I.D. bracelet is my favorite part.