Is It Too Soon to Tell You that I Love You?

I’ve talked about Annie Bacon before. Her O-Shen plays all over town on a pretty regular basis. But she also wrote and performs in The Folk Opera. Tonight (Sunday June 20) this beautiful piece of work will be performed at Amnesia in San Francisco, starting at 6pm. If you can make it, I cannot recommend it highly enough. If you can’t make it (or you’re reading this on Monday, Tuesday, so on), you can still support Ms. Bacon and her operatic endeavor through the Kickstarter Project.

The Folk Opera tells of Elizabeth, a caretaker in her twenties in charge of Aunt Sara, an cantankerous, down-home grande dame afflicted with dementia. Their car breaks down on the way to the mechanic, and in one short afternoon their lives become entangled in those of the small town in which they find themselves. Tragedy mixes with romance, the personalities are clear and true, and the music is gorgeous, moving.

There are four main characters in this tale: Elizabeth, Aunt Sara, the Old Man, and Rita the Waitress. Here I’ve pulled together four vintage-inspired looks for these folks, all culled from Bay Area vendors.

Aunt Sara

Aunt Sara is, as I said, a little off her rocker, but it is clear from the little we know of her life that she is not and was not without bravery and gumption in her life. While it may be said that she led a pedestrian life, in her own small town, with her own tight-knit family, there is no reason, in my mind, why she wouldn’t also be stylish and daring of dress. She was once a very beautiful woman, I suspect. So for these reasons, I’ve chosen bold, balls-to-the-walls pieces for her and tried to throw them together like I imagine a drunk five year old would.

From BREDVintage: Gorgeous abstract floral, silk sheath dress by Mam'selle by Betty Carol, size 8, $39.99.

Aunt Sara should also pile on the costume jewelry like it’s going out of style, which, you know, maybe it is. Also, she’s may have Alzheimer’s but even she knows you can’t take it with you, so you might as well rock what you got while you still have it.

From BREDVintage: I think Sara should throw this crazytown, gold, sequin and bead, diamond-patterned vest over her red dress. It's $59.99, in case you're interested.

I picture her, for some reason, in high top Chuck Taylors. Pink maybe to match this coat.

Also from BREDVintage: Beautiful poppy print, linen, 3/4 length coat, $39.99.

Aunt Sara can top the coat with some great broaches. Grande olde dames favor broaches.

From Sewn in Pieces: To top it all off, I think these pink velvet combs are charming and appropriately quirky. And they're only $8.

Elizabeth

It is unclear, or unimportant, whether Elizabeth is actually related to Aunt Sara or whether she is merely her caretaker. It is very clear, however, that she takes excellent care of the old broad and cares for her very much. I picture her dressing casually and comfortably, particularly for this little dramatic sojourn, though I think she may also borrow liberally from Aunt Sara’s closets. I see no reason why this should be a bad thing. She is only much more simple in construction and compilation than Aunt S. Tone down the jewelry and piled -on prints and you’ll come closer to the truth.

From SweetRocket99: Green, paisley dress, $30. I love that this looks so easy to wear, while still being super cute with a vintage twist. Elizabeth also looks smashing in green.

I see her wearing Tom’s loafers, because they are comfortable, cute, and clearly Elizabeth is one who wants to give back.

From Triple Gemini: I see her topping off her simple dress with something equally simple, equally cute, and super versatile, like this blazer with puffed shoulders and a fitting waist, $36.

The Old Man

We eventually learn the identity of the Old Man but it would be wrong to tell you now. Know though, that he’s dapper as can be and suave from years of practice. He is a romantic. I see him in some classic suit, daily, and throwing on great accent pieces.

From OutFit: Like this 14k gold pocket watch circa 1894. It is an American Waltham Watch with exquisitely engraved decorations and it'll run you only $60.
From BREDVintage: This Jean Paul Gaultier men's pinstripe vest features a hand painted orchid, $50. It is perfect for the old man.

The funny thing is, Joel Dean Stockdill, who plays the Old Man, already kind of dresses like this. He’s got great style. I tell him so all the time.

Rita the Waitress

So Rita actually owns the diner in questions, the de facto home away from home for the residents of the unnamed small town. She’s got sass and she keeps all the secrets. I also suspicion she keeps all the clothes she and her kids have ever owned. I think she cultivates kooky.

From SweetRocket99: Like take this tee, she's probably been rocking it for years. I think it's probably always covered in flour and food stains, $25.

I picture her in jeans, possibly cut offs (though not of course as short as the ones worn by the young lady above). Of course, she wears and apron, and has bic pens stuck in her bun.

From SweetRocket99: This is the another example of the kind of shit Rita rocks. This boho patchwork vest, $15, will have been in her wardrobe rotation forever. Throw it over the tee. Whatever, it's cool.

I hope I’ve got you intrigued. I cannot recommend the Folk Opera enough. Please donate and help Annie hit her mark, and get a recording made of this amazing, musical, moving experience.

BREDVintage has a mantra: mantra is “Be Resplendent Every Day”. Dress with style, make people smile. Here you can find beautifully made vintage clothing, perfect for crazy women, apparently.

Sewn in Pieces is based in Berkeley and comes courtesy of a long-time fashion lover. She’s got a great eye and wonderful pieces to offer.

SweetRocket99 you’ll find hand picked vintage items from the 40’s to the 80’s. The aesthetic is influenced by everything from bohemian gypsy girl, Brazilian Tropicalia to 40’s pin-up and 80’s glam rock stars.

Triple Gemini has a great selection of vintage clothes from all the big decades. Free shipping on orders over $100.

OutFit is another Berkeley based vendor. Another vintage clothing seller with great taste.

Last but not least, Claridad sells all kinds of amazing little treasures and says she finds her inspiration from all over, especially San Francisco where she is currently based.

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Style U to Style You: Accent, Accessorize, Adorn

I’ve been asked in the past, specifically and most recently by the immeasurably talented and increasingly stylish Annie Bacon, to impart some style tips upon my dozens! of readers.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, trying to figure out what exactly I want to say about Style and how to impart my suggestions for dress.

The simplest outfits benefit from major bling. Your favorite jeans from high school (which you refuse to throw out because, hello, you've had them since HIGH SCHOOL) and your lover's ratty undershirt (that you wear because it smells like him) are suddenly smoking with select accessories. P.S. Doesn't that necklace remind you of Sasha Tierney's stuff? Also I love anything with scarab beetles.

Because one of the things that I knew I didn’t want to do in this blog was to post a bunch of DON’Ts.

One, I think that a great, key thing about fashion is that it is our visual and outward avenue for self-expression, and I just never want to be the person to say that x,y,z is an inappropriate or unattractive way to do that. I’ve got Liberté (French for “freedom”) tattooed across my hip so clearly personal liberty is big with me.

Two, the Internets are full of haters, and I would rather just stay out of that whole mess of vitriol, pleasethankyouandyou’rewelcomeokayiloveyoubyebye.

Three, rules are meant to be broken. So I can say “Oh khakis lack imagination and epitomize blah and boring and caution and Connecticut,” but then Michael Kors – with whom I really, really just want to have brunch, is that weird? – sends something like this down the runway and I’m all “Nevermind! I take it back!” and start scouring the Goodwills for a stain-free pair in my size and dreaming of that matching sweater.

No joke, I saved this image (months ago) as korsfa10theonlywaytomakekhakiscool.jpg

So, yeah.

My first suggestion for dress is simple: Accessorize!

Now, this may seem patently obvious, but throwing on a funky necklace can make the most casual, comfy, and lackluster of outfits seem chic. And on those days when you just don’t want to make an effort, your jewelry can elevate your look and make it seem, my dears, like you do give a damn.

This idea for jewelry display comes courtesy of Real Simple magazine. While awesome, you also can't go wrong with simple hooks or a checkerboard of nails in the wall. I love hooks.

Things to keep in mind:

  1. The whole process with be easier and faster, and you will wear more of your pieces with more frequency, if you have your jewelry and belts and so on out in the open. Put your bling on display. You’ll be more apt to remember it’s there, remember what you have, remember to put some on.
  2. Jewelry and other accessories don’t have to “match.” In fact, contrast is key to creating a dynamic look. Seriously, just grab the first necklace and/or earrings and rings you see and run with it. It’ll be fine. You’ll look great.
  3. Sometimes, more is more. Don’t be afraid to Go Big. That whole “before you leave the house, take a look in the mirror and remove one thing” rule? Kind of like white after Labor Day, or pantyhose, i.e. STUPID.
  4. Belts! They’re not just for holding your pants up. In fact, I’m pretty convinced they have naught to with that.
  5. Goodwill et al., Etsy.com, garage and estate sales, Cost Plus, and your mom are all wonderful sources of (often, very) cheap but quirky and unique pieces. Load up.
Cupcakes and Cashmere screwed decorative knobs into her bathroom wall. Google DIY jewelry display for a crapload more ideas.

With Friends Like These

THURSDAY 25 FEBRUARY 2010

Elizabeth Greenblatt and Annie Bacon (see sidebar)

Tonight Annie Bacon sings at Cafe Royale with the talented and lovely Elizabeth Greenblatt. The show starts at 8 and is FREE, so you have no excuse not to go. For two and a half hours, these two beauties will woo you with their talent and charm. Alone, Annie and Elizabeth have two of the most emotive, stirring, and beautiful voices you’re likely to hear, but together they are powerful, phenomenal — and you won’t be disappointed.

Heidi, Erin, Sylvia, and Jessica of the fantastic and fun (and do-wop and dirty and danceable) Hot Toddies. How cute are they?

Also tonight, KCRW and Noise Pop present ZEE AVI, the Hot Toddies, Leslie & the Badgers, and Tiny Television at 8pm at the Rickshaw Stop. Advanced tickets have already sold out, but there will be some tickets available at the door for $14.

Noise Pop 2010

ZEE AVI
Borneo’s answer to Jolie Holland and a 23-year-old with an old soul and a gorgeous voice. A huge talent in a petite frame bringing a universal message from the unlikely birthplace of Borneo, an ancient island east of Malaysia which remains an untouched, natural paradise, an apt description of her songs. “The resulting record keeps very much in tune with the Brushfire aesthetic, with a warm and cozy sound, intimate vocals, and a general feeling of calm. While her songwriting is strong and she dishes out many fine melodies and perfectly fine lyrics, the real draw is Avi’s vocals. Breathy, quiet, and sweet as spring, yet never wandering into cutesy territory, she hooks the listener in right away and never lets go.” –AllMusic.com
zeeavi.com

THE HOT TODDIES
“Four cute girls singing about being bad and horny. Could there be anything better? Casio tone keys, barbershop-style harmonies and retro-surf pop guitars soften the edge a bit, but once you decipher the silly lyrics, you’ll be the hot one.” – Owl Mag
myspace.com/thehottoddies

LESLIE & THE BADGERS
LA’s finest new altcountry act! “Canyon country bands are as common as brush fires in LA but the thing that separates this combo apart is the voice of the titular Leslie … a rounded shining thing that evokes Patsy Cline’s sass and sorrow in one swoop.” –-LA Times
myspace.com/leslieandthebadgers

TINY TELEVISION
Tiny Television frontman and founder Jeremy D’Antonio sings a particularly southwestern brand of Americana courtesy of his time in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Now living in San Francisco, the singer/songwriter is joined by a community of artists in presenting a dusty array of old fashioned country and folk music. His latest, Mission Statement, is a fitting tribute of sorts to his new hometown.” –Noise Pop
myspace.com/tinytelevision

FRIDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2010

DJ Samala is a friend of mine and she kicks ass.

Wanna go dancing Friday night? Me too. Party like it’s 1999 at Madrone Art Bar’s 4th Friday 1990s dance party. It’s high school all over again. Now with better booze, skin, and clothes.

SATURDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2010

Happy Birthday guys! and Congratulations!

I’ve mentioned this gallery before, but (because?) Alphonse Berber is a buzz-worthy space. The curators, Cameron Jackson and Jessica Cox, have a knack for finding talented and diverse artists and the thematic shows rotate regularly. The space is Julia Morgan-designed and the floors upstairs were once doors in a convent. This place is cool as hell and this event is free.

You’re welcome.

SUNDAY28 FEBRUARY 2010

Audio Heirlooms in action

Listen to some of the most intimate stories you’ll ever hear from complete strangers.

Audio Heirlooms will celebrate their 5th anniversary by opening their audio archives for a one night “listening party” of personal narrative storytelling at its best. Join them at 7pm for an evening of food, drinks, and radio at the Mission District’s Slow Club, located at 2501 Mariposa Street.

You’ll have the chance to hear:

* Audio cameos by gold medal Olympian Scott Hamilton and the late New York Times columnist William Safire
* Behind-the-scenes moments at an AudioWedding in Tahoe
* Birthday wishes from country singers Clint Black and Brad Paisley on an AudioBirthdayCard
* The AudioChronicle of the former president of the board of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City
* A local woman remembers Harvey Milk’s assasination in her AudioChronicle
* A local couple recalls the day their child was born in a AudioBaby heirloom

Since this is a party, listeners won’t have to stand around empty-handed. There will be plenty of finger food to keep grumbling stomachs from interfering with the audio. Drinks can be purchased at Slow Club’s bar and will be prepared by master mixologist Hilary Burdge. The world’s #1 pesto maker, Danny Bowien, fresh from his win at Genoa, Italy’s 2008 Pesto Championship, will provide a taste of his signature dish.

Audio Heirlooms will also be giving away gift certificates to Slow Club and Serpentine, and a free massage from Gabriel at Somatic Bodyworks. You’ll be entered to win just by walking in the door. And just to mix it up: Rupa Marya– of Rupa and the April Fishes — will treat listeners to a song between radio pieces.

*There is no cover charge. Listen and eat for free!*