Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

Under A Single Sun: Arcosanti

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Hurly’s been bee-ishly busy lately so the lull between Christmas and New Year’s was our only opportunity for a winter getaway this year. We flew to Phoenix mostly so we could check out an otherworldly architectural/anthropological experiment called Arcosanti.

RTH shot a video lookbook for their clothing/accessories line there last spring and when I first viewed it I thought they had somehow shot in on Luke Skywalker’s home planet. Had two suns appeared in the sky, I wouldn’t have been surprised – that’s how surreal and sublime the place looked.

But Arcosanti isn’t in a galaxy far far away. Just a three hour plane ride and a 70 minute drive was all it took for us two earthlings to arrive.

#rthonetrippassarcosanti from Jay Carroll on Vimeo.

And, in person, in color, it’s not quite so exquisitely utopic. I could show the photos I took, or mention the dozens of tattered thrift stores couches and unwanted VHS copies of Titanic that have come to Arcosanti to gather dust since the mini-city was first formed in 1970. But I’d rather think of Arcosanti the way RTH represented it. Telling the truth through lies of omission is what gives film and life their beauty and their power.

Northwest Passage – The Road to Twin Peaks

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Northwest Passage, if you didn’t know, was the working title for what would eventually become the very best anything ever: Twin Peaks.


I was an impressionable and not fully-formed fourteen year-old when the series washed onto the shores of television, wrapping a dead girl in plastic and possessing my mind and spirit ever since like a supernatural demon. My bucket list isn’t terribly long, but touring the series’ shooting locations near Seattle has definitely sat toward the top of it for at least a decade now. Thanks to a Washington state wedding Hurly and I were invited to, my bucket list is now one entry shorter.

Come see what I saw.


The night before the wedding we stayed at the Salish Lodge and Spa in Snoqualmie, used as the exterior of the hotel where Special Agent Dale Cooper stays while investigating Laura Palmer’s murder.



The interior scenes in the pilot were shot elsewhere, which made it all the more difficult for the lodge owner’s daughter Audrey to walk in on my breakfast and ask if my palms ever itched. But right below me and my (not) damn fine cup of coffee (cause I can’t really stand coffee) was perhaps Peaks’ most iconic location…


…The falls outside the Great Northern! Just steps from the spa, the Snoqualmie Falls looked exactly how they do in the series’ opening credits, though perhaps less sepia-tinged. The stunning spray splashed up to my face as the show’s theme song flowed over my ever-humming lips. In this moment Twin Peaks wasn’t just a show, it was real a place after all, and I was in it, at last.


On the far side of Snoqualmie’s historical district sat the high school where Laura’s classmates learn of her death. I couldn’t get inside since it was summer and shut up tight.


But I could, and of course did, faithfully re-enact the scene of the un-named Twin Peaks Senior High School teacher running from this door, shrieking with her hands on her face right before the Principal tells the student body to go home and grieve with their families.


Not five minutes further down the road was the location of the Welcome To Twin Peaks road sign. Right behind Hurly, right where our ruby red rental car parked, that’s where the sign once stood. The summer foliage and mid-morning mist shroud the twinned mountain peaks in the distance compared to the image used in the first shot of the opening credits and on the show’s soundtrack album cover. I might’ve missed the spot altogether, honestly, if it wasn’t for the assistance of the otherwise useless Siri.


Most of what was used as The Packard Saw Mill closed and collapsed years before, aside from this one building.


The office for the actual mill was used as the Sheriff’s Office. In the pilot, if you look past Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman you can see the mill right outside the interrogation room windows. The Sheriff’s Department structure, thankfully, hasn’t been torn down yet, although now it houses some sort of outdoor adventure company.


Next stop was Twede’s Cafe AKA The Double R Diner. The cafe’s interior is now decorated tragically with Tweedy Bird stuffed animals so I refused to sit and order a slice of cherry pie purely on principal.


Instead I alternated cell phone selfies with D-SLR shots snapped courtesy of Hurly and recited my favorite Double R line of Donna Hayward dialogue. “Why don’t you sit here and hold hands and try and figure it out.”


Bar-brawly juke joint The Roadhouse was actually filmed using two locations. The interior was a Seattle performing arts center only my iPhone’s eye was able to enjoy.


The exterior was located outside Snoqualmie and no matter how hard I listened I couldn’t hear Julee Cruise crooning from inside.


Way out in Washington, far from anyone who might hear Cousin Maddy scream, was the Palmer Family home. Completely blocked from the street by towering bushes and thick brush it was eerie, sneaking through all that green to get a good glimpse, and thinking about all that had gone on inside that house. On the television show they never shot it from an angle that demonstrates  just how hidden the house really is from view, but seeing the truth of it, there was a sinister, symbolic sense to it.


As our tour wound down, a dreariness came over me. I’d made it as far into a make believe place as is possible and there was an emptiness to that. I couldn’t ever get any deeper into Twin Peaks, or any closer to Cooper, or ever actually ask Audrey if she needed extra help with her amateur investigation into One Eyed Jack’s.

The complete un-realness of something that has always been and felt so real to me was brought to light. And yet, even if the ugly emptiness of the modern world insists on tearing down every last saw mill structure or slapping Tweedy Birds all over its restaurant walls to remind me TV shows are just shows and they live for a while and then they die – Twin Peaks has always felt real to me and amazingly, it still essentially does.


Now I’m Laying Around In The Dark

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

I guess when you suddenly go from neglected ‘lil sista to heiress of indie-queen fortunes, you only have enough time to put out a music video like once a year, tops. The main thing I love about this Salon-Jay (as Hurly pronounces it) clip is it takes not much of anything and makes it definitively something.

Every film I ever made, back in the day, followed that same secret recipe. We used way less metallic shirts than Solange now does, but fat regrets are a fact of life.

There’s also a making-of video where Salon-Jay cites choreographical inspiration from Minneapolis masters The Time. Girl gots taste.

(And in even newer news, Baby Knowles also has a slow-burning brand new single out. Cash In.)

Fashion on Film: Pollock

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Sometimes just switching the channel at the exact right moment can change your life. Or at least alter your wardrobe. Last week I clicked into the middle of the bio-pic Pollock just as its artiest and most stylish sequence played out.

In it, an early 1950s documentary filmmaker had traveled to Jackson’s Long Island country house to capture the abstract artist’s drip painting process on 16mm film.

Visually, the sequence was a mid-century masterpiece; the focal point for me being Ed Harris’s arty farmer-like costumes.

Ink-dark denim jackets, slim and trim T’s in black and white, and up-cuffed jeans in fits you can actually work in.

The sequence begins with Pollock changing out of his tobacco brown loafers into black, battered boots – but as the montage flickers on, he’s shown wearing both pairs of shoes, splattering each of them with the same inspired, uncaring abandon.

It was the juxtaposition of rural and urban in Jackson’s outfits, and of rugged and refined, that caught my eye. Whether a chore coat he’d picked up at some musty mercantile or a pair of spiffy loafers from his days in the big city, he wore everything with anything, and nothing was ever precious or premeditated.

Dressing like that is never easy, is it? But Jackson can show us how.

Season’s Screenings: Downhill Racer

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Any day now it’s gonna be snow sport season across half the globe, so speed-screening the 1969 flick Downhill Racer is just the trick to slicken any stud’s winter style up quick – on the slopes and off.

In Racer, Robert Redford does his usual stoic-dick brand of schtick as Dave Chappelet, the newest member of America’s then-uncelebrated ski team.

From his dead-end hometown in Colorado to various mountaintop hamlets throughout the Alps, Chappelet’s wardrobe centers simply around sporty, proto-70s basics.

The powder blue chambrays and sherpa-lined overcoats of Chappelet’s farmboy past pair up effortlessly with the showier swank of his jet-setting future, through high-necked sweaters and mirror-lensed shades.

Essentially, as long as you stick to Chappelet and his teammate’s main palette of navy, red, and white, you’ll whip your winter look up to top speed in record time.

True champs will dare to go that extra mile and get their frostbitten hands on some old-school aftershaves, a perwinkle period van, and a Swedish snowbunny or two to slide around the slopes with.

Get ready ‘n set all like that and Coach guarantees your style’ll earn imaginary medals all winter long!

All Work And No Play…

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

It’s that freaky/fun time of year when dressing-up like someone else is encouraged, regardless of your age. (Although dressing like dead, outdated or imaginary dudes is something I personally recommend doing all year round).

As it’s Halloween month, BBC America’s been playing Kubrick’s The Shining seven or eight times a week, and re-watching it for the first time in forever has led me to seek out a little Cabin Fever Chic for my late fall wardrobe.

Faded plaid flannel would be the most Jack Torrance-ish shirting I could hope to hunt down, but the perfect 1979-ish print’s been hiding from me (somewhere deep in that snowy maze, I suspect).

This button down oxford from Club Monaco seems to suggest a shamed prep-school teacher turned hotel-caretaker though, and is just the right shade of old Colorado Tan. Woven with a subtle undertint, it almost makes the shirt literally “Shine”.

These red-soled suede shoes from Quoddy were my first steps toward my transition into a Torrance. I can just as easily see Jack pairing them with pajama bottoms and a cableknit fisherman’s sweater as I can imagine Wendy tying them on over some red tights and a corduroy jumper dress.

The real trick in turning into a 1980 Torrance though is wearing a thick, insipid turtleneck under just about everything.

And then accessorizing with either a roque mallet or a hatchet. (Club Monaco just sold out of theirs, so I’ve been walking around town miming that I’m clutching one instead).

I’m 167 pages into the original book now. It’s not as inspirational as the film, sartorially – but it’s sadder and not so sarcastic. And hopefully by the end I’ll maybe work out how to rock bloody bathrobes as ready-to-wear.

Until then, creeps, REDRUM and Happy Halloween!

The Film For Fall

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Images of Paul Newman are staples of the men’s style sites and one of my favorties is a photograph of the actor straddling a dirt bike wearing trim white denim and slip on boots.

I’d assumed the image was taken off-duty some weekend on Newman’s central California compound, but as channel surfing recently taught me, it’s actually a publicity still from the 1971 film Sometimes A Great Notion. A film my fall wardrobe and I are now using as our official mood board for Fall 2011.

The film’s plot revolves around an Oregon logging family facing ruin in the wake of a bitter union strike, but the finer points of the narrative faded deep into the background as I focused intently on the rugged (cars and) costuming.

Wardrobe Department basics included workshirts and sweatshirts in 70s sublime shades of celery green, and cuffed or cropped denim in dirty cream and cornflower blue.

Accessories included lambskin gloves, woolen night caps, amber lensed shades (and ultra-tough trucks).

Pretty much the only item from the foresting-chic film that I wouldn’t swing my ax at this fall (without a drastic career change first) are the logging dudes’ enameled hard-hats. (But what hats they are!)

Otherwise, every other piece Paul and his tree-chopping co-stars stomp around in are the perfect fit and in the ill-est tints to be taking into one’s wardrobe about now.

Catch the flick on cable if you can, or stream it through Starz over on Netflix. Most importantly, direct tweet me immediately if you can think of a source for faded celery-colored sweatshirts.

Time Capsule: The NorthernGRADE Film

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

This is what we looked like.
This is what was important to us.

We went searching for boots and bags and better bow ties,
and on the way we found ourselves friends.

This is a document of what it felt like in our American-made world
when we came together for goods we believed in.

Thanks to Larry and to Mac & Kat for setting up this Minnesotan magic,
and for letting me capture it for everyone to see.


Costume Department

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Taken in 2001, while pretending it was 1964.

I played Daniel Patrick all that summer. A baseball-loving night-school teacher who fell for a young co-worker pretending to have lyme disease.

We didn’t have style blogs back then, so what else was I expected to do with my time or my skinny wool ties?

T.E. Lawrence

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Over the course of two nights and one cat nap I watched the much revered 3 hour and 47 minute motion picture classic “Lawrence of Arabia” for the first time.

I didn’t adore all of it, and I don’t think I understood all of it either but now Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence is stuck in my head.

An introverted egotist and supposedly celibate sadomasochist, the 1962 film was based on Lawrence’s autobiographical tome The Seven Pillars of Wisdom which I now am intent on reading.

The film and Peter O’Toole’s playfully poker-faced performance within it create a coy and quivering image of the man T.E. Lawrence may have been. But whenever it appears The Lt. Col.’s psychological make up is near enough for us to finally, fully know – everything slithers up off the sand and back into mystery like a desert dune mirage.

So I’m gonna read up on the man, in his words and in those of others, and see if I can maybe figure him out. The best mysteries in life are the ones of who people are.

Depending on which edition I find on eBay, my copy of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom might be a little bit beautiful but it certainly won’t rival the glorious tooling featured on the cover of the first 1922 printing of the book.

Within twin scimitars it reads in gold: The sword also means clean-ness + death.

It’s this very sense for the dryly dramatic that made ol’ Lawrence the larger-than-life legend he would become.

Costume Department

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Sorry to have been so scarce lately. In the name of art, or at least entertainment, I’ve been busy pretending to be someone I am not. A Canadian from another decade who accessorizes like this:

Actually vintage Nikes.

Golden watches.


And bland canvas belts.

Technically it’s a costume, but who am I kidding? If the shoes weren’t two sizes too tight, I’d be wearing it all in real life anyways, once shooting concludes.

The Life Cinematic

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Channel your inner Wes Anderson with these blazing yellow booklets, storyboard-ing your every well-composed wish into cinematic reality.


Previously sold out but back in stock once again!