Thursday, May 14, 2015


Micky & Joyce, "Hold Up"

I like the kind of song where you could dance to it in normal life, but if you woke up in the middle of the night and it was blaring from the walls you would definitely die.

"They say shut up, Misses. Please lay down on the ground. Would you give us money, or we kill you just now?"

Here is what I know, or think I know, about Jean-Pierre Massiera, the man behind this song—which isn't much, actually. He is? was? a producer from Buenos Aires (originally), then based in Quebec, and Nice, and Antibes. He recorded weirdo psychedelic music, then weirdo disco, under many different names (included SEX CONVENTION, the best-named thing of all time).

And then...yeah, I dunno. I wish I knew more. And I REALLY wish I knew more about Micky & Joyce because WHO THE HECK ARE these golden-throated females. If you know more, please tell me everything.


How to Clean Your Home

1. Forgive yourself.
In order to clean your home, you first need to accept that you have not led a perfect, mess-free life and that is okay. It’s never too late to clean.


The Little Things


A few weeks ago, I ran out to do some errands. Because I was accompanied by my fifteen- month-old daughter, Zelda, we moved at a languid pace. On my own, I would have rushed out the door with my purse and sunglasses and car keys, pulling my seatbelt on as I backed up out of the driveway. I would park at the pharmacy, dart in to pick up a prescription and some nail polish, "no thanks, I don't need a bag!" and back to the car—or maybe I'd just walk over the five minutes to the nearest grocery store, snag a basket, and race around to grab items from my list, doubling back to the produce because I'd forgotten the lemons.

Trips like this take crazy amounts of time with a baby. But the whole process, once you've resigned yourself to spending two hours on errands and gotten the logistics down to a science, can be much more enjoyable. Though you have to pack a totebag of milk and snacks and diapers and a backup outfit just to go to CVS, and though you have to load the baby in and out of the car seat repeatedly, and then in and out of the stroller or shopping cart repeatedly, a small child in a grocery store is a joy. Last Saturday, I realized Zelda hadn't had a peach since the days of purees, so I picked one out of the bin and handed it to her in the cart. She smiled at its weight, inhaled deeply to smell it, and then tried to bite into it. Babies revel in sensory experiences and a large or decent-sized grocery store is a perfect one: lots of people and action, but space to move around, and a special place for them to sit that is HIGH UP. (This gets very important as they get older and realize the world hasn't been made to their specifications.)

That said, I don't always have two hours to kill on errands. A few weeks ago, I had to make quick stop at the grocery store for milk, run by the pharmacy, and hit the bank for cash to pay a handyman at my house. Instead of grabbing the cash at the grocery store's ATM, I went to my own bank in order to avoid paying a two-dollar fee, because I just cannot. I knew this meant hauling Zelda back out of the car and into the bank, but I did it anyway. As we pulled around to the back of the bank, I noticed something I hadn't thought about in at least a decade: there was a drive-up window, complete with a special lane painted in the parking lot. The window had obviously been permanently closed some years ago: It was fogged up or filmed over, and it had the general aura of "Hey, I'm a relic of the past!" surrounding it.



A Millennial Revenge Fantasy

Welcome to the millennial revenge bunker. Here, in this dead-mall-turned-torture-chamber, there is only one master, and it is all of us, equally. Bow before our UGG boots and prepare to sip the calcified piss of a fellow old from one of our myriad trophies. Dodo fuckboys, it’s time to get humble. To spell out the law of the land in the dead language of your time: on a Letterman Top Ten list of this situation, we are all number one, and you are numbers two through ten. The fleek have inherited the earth.

We begin by playing a podcast of your transgressions:

1) Subprime lending, 2) Large scale environmental destruction, 3) Codifying and enshrining an insidious form of systemic racism, 4) Using up all the Quaaludes, 5) Selfie Shaming, 6) Buying us off-brand Sleek Skoots when we explicitly asked for Razor scooters (pause for SquareSpace promo), 7) Factory farming, 8) Saying you are cool with gay people as long as you don’t have to see them, 9) Tori Amos nostalgia, 10) Being raisiny skin-sacks of irrelevance.

We have brought you here to do penance for your sins.



Ask Baba Yaga: What Does It Mean To Be A Mother?

Baba child
Transcript after the jump. READ MORE


Lianne La Havas, "Unstoppable"

I like this song and I like her navy blue crop top with matching pants and I like that I'm going to put my headphones on and walk home listening to this right now.

How was your Wednesday? Did you listen to anything good today? Anything else I should add to my "walking home" playlist? Leave it in the comments pls and thank u.


Further Reading

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 2.21.32 PM
When I went to beauty school there was an unspoken rule that we would all volunteer as models for each other. During classes we would partner up with another student and take turns applying smokey eyes or bullet wounds, depending on what day of the week it was, but we were also encouraged to drop by the waxing or hairstyling or manicure classes for their daily lessons. That's where I got the world's shakiest French manicure. Each line was a different size because there weren't enough models to go around; I had several students sharing my hands, each painting one or two nails.

In Toronto I was lucky enough to frequent salons owned and operated by some of those former beauty school classmates, women I knew and respected and admired. Even for these women who are lucky enough to work for themselves and with friends, running a salon is fucking hard work, as is any sort of aesthetic labor: you slump down to get close enough to your client, you inhale chemicals, you're often on your feet all day, and of course there's the emotional labor any sort of customer service job entails. The women I know are very good at their jobs and they love their work, but that doesn't mean it's easy.

I never had to think about the labor practices of these salons because I knew everyone. I knew my manicurists and I knew about their kids and their weekends and their partners and their favorite movies and foods. I knew they were being paid minimum wage, if they weren't the owners or managers themselves, and I knew their clientele tipped well. I knew they enjoyed their work and I enjoyed being their customer.

Since The New York Times published Sarah Maslin Nir's incredibly thorough and illuminating article on the conditions of nail salons in New York I've been speaking to a lot of friends about what we should do going forward. The question we need to ask ourselves is, I think, a simple one: if we want to get manicures in New York, as I would like to do now that I live here, how do we make sure they're ethical?

The answer is not, as I've seen some people suggest, to stop getting manicures as a rule. Like, if you don't like manicures, then great! This is not a labor issue that directly impacts you! But that doesn't mean only regular nail salon patrons have to change their practices. So much exploitation and abuse happens in female-dominated industries (particularly beauty and fashion, such as nail care and clothing manufacturers) precisely because these industries are frequently diminished and dismissed as being unimportant, non-essential, and elective. People believe they can get away with abusing their employees because they don't think anyone is paying attention. And that is frequently a correct assumption.

I think the best thing we can do, regardless of whether or not we participate in aesthetic services like manicures, is to show that we're watching and thinking and criticizing and, ultimately, to put our money and our solidarity where our mouths are. Or where our nails are. Whatever. You get it.

Here are a few articles I've read since the original piece came out. There are some really good resources for supporting workers, or for making better choices in the future, or for doing manicures yourselves. READ MORE

Podcasting and the Selling of Public Radio


A couple of weeks ago, NPR and two of its most influential member stations, WNYC and WBEZ, invited a large group of media and marketing people to Le Poisson Rouge, a nightclub in Greenwich Village, for an event called “Hearing is Believing." Its purpose was to persuade brands to advertise on public media podcasts. Onstage, some of the most listened-to podcasters—Jad Abumrad, Guy Raz, Glynn Washington, Brooke Gladstone, Lulu Miller—presented public radio's offerings: an intimately engaged audience, a unique narrative platform, a chance for “Mail Kimp”-level virality. Later, after an indie band performed, Ira Glass, the host of This American Life and producer of Serial, told a reporter for AdAge, “My hope is that we can move away from a model of asking listeners for money and join the free market.” He added, “Public radio is ready for capitalism.”



Working Hard Is What Women Do: An Interview With The Producers of "Iris"

When Iris Apfel was wheeled into a small meeting room in the Four Seasons Hotel, I was instantly in awe of the lavender-haired 93-year-old force. I wasn't alone; she left every journalist in the room moony-eyed.

Apfel is all clanking bracelets, multitudes of beads, a brightly patterned jacket topped off with her iconic glasses. Even more impressive than Apfel’s singular style is her sense of humor and utter lack of bullshit. When asked about fashion, her answers, coming from a woman who is solely known to many as a fashion icon, were unexpected: about her skincare regime, she simply said she uses “Cetaphil from the drugstore,” and she will not tolerate trends: “Don’t give a damn about any trends. They are pointless.”

She's the subject of Iris, directed by the late legendary documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, best known for documentaries such as Grey Gardens and Gimme Shelter. Apfel’s refreshing IDGAF attitude is what draws us to her; her witticisms are paired with spot-on observations about life. However, much like Apfel herself, Iris is a film that can’t really be easily defined. It’s a fashion documentary filled to the brim with droolworthy outfits and cameos from people like designer Dries van Noten, and it’s also a love story between Iris and her husband Carl Apfel, showcasing the swoony banter and lived-in love between a couple who have been together for 65 years. Above all else, it’s the portrait of a woman whose tireless, inspiring work ethic brought all kinds of experiences into her life. From her early career running a textile company with Carl to gaining international notoriety in her 80s as a fashion icon/business woman/designer/art curator/model/muse/professor, Apfel is the definition of hustle and swagger.

During the press conference, I asked Apfel what motivates her creatively. “Well, I just like to experience different things. If a project comes along and I think I could learn something or I could contribute or for whatever reason, I just do it.”

That idea of just going for what she wants, to me, is the backbone of the film. Apfel’s work ethic reverberates in speaking with the group of phenomenal women who produced Iris—Laura Coxson, Rebekah Maysles and Jennifer Ash Rudick. I spoke to them about the process of making and producing the film, the legacy of Albert Maysles, and the work of women. READ MORE


The Very First Hairpin Q&A


HELLO and welcome to the inaugural

!!! HAIRPIN Q&A !!!

How it works:

1. I ask a question

2. You answer (in the comments)

3. We talk about it (in the comments)

Today’s question: READ MORE


Minnie Riperton, "Adventures in Paradise"

I know what you're thinking: But Alex, this glistening amulet of a song is literally one of the best ever songs! You could post it any day so why a TUESDAY of all days?

I dunno!

It's nice out.

(This will be the first of many Minnie Riperton posts.)


When Should You Take An Extreme Selfie?

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Welcome to Internet Etiquette, a new column brought to you by The Hairpin dot com. Every month Gabby Noone and Hazel Cills, two completely sane Internet addicts, will explain how to use the World Wide Web with manners and grace.

So: you want to take an extreme selfie. No shame. Listen, we all have our vices. But everybody knows what a selfie is, right? It’s when you build a robotic twin version of yourself but the coding is off and your robot twin turns evil on you.

Wait, oh my god, that’s the wrong column, let’s try that again.

A selfie is a photo you take of yourself. You probably use your smartphone or your Apple Watch if you’re a sick rich fuckhead. There are thirst trap selfies and cat selfies and yadda yadda yadda but we’re here to talk to you about the worst kind of selfie: the extreme selfie.

Hazel: OKAY, where should we even start?

Gabrielle: Should we talk about the guy who Instagrammed himself robbing a bank? It was a video, so that's not technically a selfie. I hate when one millennial ruins it for the rest of us.

Hazel: Yeah, now we can never rob a bank and selfie ourselves.

Gabrielle: Exactly.

Hazel: And we'd look so cute doing so.

Gabrielle: I know.

Hazel: In your own words: what is an extreme selfie?

Gabrielle: I think it's risking your safety to take the selfie OR you're in an extreme area.

Hazel: Like a funeral?

Gabrielle: IT ALL DEPENDS. Like a selfie in the bathroom of a funeral is not extreme. A selfie that says "You know what? I look great in this all black outfit. I'm taking a pic. It's what my late Aunt Gladys would've wanted me to do” is not extreme. But like, ALONG THE SIDE OF THE OPEN CASKET is extreme and rude.

Hazel: It's all about the context of where you are in terms of the "extreme" aspects of the location/situation.

Gabrielle: Yes.

Hazel: Like, in the bathroom you're just taking a regular selfie. In the graveyard? Eh, the emphasis is on the funeral.

Gabrielle: Exactly! There are a lot of factors at hand. And you need to consider whether you're exploiting someone else's pain. Like, those people with the selfie sticks at the site of the East Village fire were taking an extreme selfie, but they were jerks. I get maybe taking a picture of the fire if you were nearby, but I don't understand what you're trying to do with a selfie. You're smiling in front of a fire that is burning people's homes and businesses. You're a sadist if you do that!

Hazel: How about this: if the situation is related to the death of strangers, maybe DON'T. But I want my grandchildren to selfie at my funeral.

Gabrielle: SAME. I believe in the future this will be a stipulation in wills. "Pull the plug and take selfies at my funeral.” READ MORE

A Wedding, Two White Dresses, and Secret Spending

It started, like so many weddings do, with a white dress. Not the wedding dress, which would come later, but a little cotton sundress I found on a rainy San Francisco day. I was waiting for my fiancé to arrive from his nonprofit job so we could walk together to Williams Sonoma and start to register for kitchen utensils. I ducked into a high-end store to get out of the rain.

"Just browsing," I told the sales guy when he asked what I was looking for. It was one of those places with five sweaters per rack; the kind of place you know is insanely expensive just by looking at it. I was an editorial assistant for a major publishing house, which is another way of saying I made very little money. It was the perfect place to window shop while Zack was en route, except that I found the white dress, and I tried it on, and I bought it. I paid for the dress with a debit card—Bank of America—with my name on it. It was a Wednesday afternoon.

The debit card was not attached to my personal bank account, the one that received a deposit of about $1,100 every two weeks. This one was connected to my wedding account. Our wedding account, of course, but since I was the one doing the bulk of the planning and since it was set up by my parents, I was the one with the debit card. The wedding account had $35,000, more money than I had ever had access to in my short professional life. I was 23 when we got engaged.

Anxiety is a funny thing. It creeps up on you when anything in your life changes, even when that change is a good thing, even when you are marrying a man you love dearly and have been dating for five years. Going through severe anxiety is like this: You are a train conductor and someone has hijacked your train, but you are pretty sure you cannot do anything about it. Someone who does not have your best interest in mind has taken the wheel, and they are taking you too fast in the wrong direction, and you are too estranged from yourself to do anything about it. Some people take drugs to ease their frantic minds. Some people meditate or pray to get a calm spirit. Some ignore it until they burst open at the seams. I went shopping. READ MORE


Rough Around The Edges: An Interview With Jessica Hopper

41FCtjZ0X3L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_If you are a young music writer—but particularly if you’re a young writer who identifies as a woman—chances are you’ve gotten an e-mail from Jessica Hopper. Editor-in-chief of the new quarterly, The Pitchfork Review, and the brains behind the site’s intelligent and far-out new op-ed column, The Pitch, Hopper spent over 15 years freelancing before she entered the editorial fray. She was the music editor at Rookie before migrating to the seminal music blog in 2014.

“I’m a go-getter in a lot of ways and there came a point where I started asking for what I wanted really explicitly—regardless of the repercussions,” Hopper says on the phone from her sister’s couch in New York City. She’s in the city to promote her second book, a collection of genre-spanning interviews and essays cheekily titled The First Collection of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic. The title is a nod to the ways publishing and journalism have historically obscured women’s expertise, but also a 2015 manifesto—a physical handbook for a generation that can (more) easily locate itself and its ideologies in the media, on Twitter and Tumblr. Jessica and I talked about her book, genre-hopping, and finding yourself in your work.

Oh my god, Happy Mother’s Day. Not to be all "how does she do it?" but…

The answer is: she doesn’t!

Yes, that is totally the short answer. I’ve been thinking a lot about that weird study that says people stop discovering music after the age of thirty-three. Obviously it’s part of your job to know what’s up, but I’m curious about how you made room for, or prioritized, discovering new music after starting a family.

I’m really fortunate that I work with cool people and young writers. And especially when I was working at Rookie, that was basically all we covered—young music, young bands. When young people are excited about stuff they tell me about things. I really love that. Sometimes what I would do is just go search Bandcamp and type in ‘Chicago’ and ‘new releases’—‘Chicago punk,’ ‘Chicago feminist,’ ‘Chicago rap’—and I would find all these things. And I’m lucky that I could still really fall in love with what I heard. I never want to become indifferent to new sound. If you’re older than, like, seventeen, or been into music for longer than five years, you see the cyclical part of it.

It’s still as exciting as ever to find a record that you’re totally in love with. I just got these Tori Amos reissues, and despite being a young feminist music fan in the 1990s, I never listened to a Tori Amos record on purpose. But then I was like, "so many things make sense now, so many bands I’ve heard make sense now!"

Right now I’m researching my next book, a kind of historical-critical look at the 1970s, so I’m discovering a lot of amazing soft rock. If I’m listening to Linda Rondstadt it’s still discovery, even if it’s not particularly ‘cool’ discovery.



Fashion To Die For


Collectors Weekly: Why did Marie Antoinette embrace fashion while prior queens had not?
Campbell: It was partly personal and partly cultural. Previously, royal mistresses had been the leaders of fashion. They had the money and the position but no accountability. They could spend as much money as they liked and wear anything they wanted. In contrast, French queens had always dressed magnificently but within the confines of very rigid court etiquette, and they were also answerable to the royal treasury. So in general they followed fashion rather than leading—they didn’t want to rock the boat.

But then Marie Antoinette comes along. Louis XVI didn’t actually have a mistress, so there was a void in the fashion hierarchy. Marie Antoinette was enamored with the vibrant Paris fashion world, as everyone was at the time. Paris had replaced Versailles as the center of society and style, so she wanted to take advantage of the wealth of talent there in Paris, rather than having one official dressmaker who only dressed her, which is what previous queens had done.

Collectors Weekly: How did images of the Queen’s garments spread among the public?
Campbell: Marie Antoinette was used as a model for fashion plates, though they were unauthorized, of course. Some would actually identify her and others just featured a woman who looked a lot like the Queen. This is true with other royal women as well, like her sister-in-laws. It was only at this time, in the 1770s, that fashion magazines began to be issued regularly. Up until then, the images could be found in newspapers or collections of fashion plates.

By the 1770s, you had fashion magazines coming out every 10 days, not just every month like we have now. They needed something new to advertise, and the fashion industry responded to this by issuing new fashions. There were a lot of jokes about how your servant or dressmaker might steal your fashion magazine and by the time you’d get a new one, the clothes were already out of date. Or by the time magazines were delivered to Germany, the styles were out of date because it took 10 days to get there.

Fashion magazines were very widely read, much more than their small circulation would imply—subscribers were limited to the one percent of the one percent, this elite Parisian courtly class that was driving fashion at the time. But because Paris was such a melting pot, laborers and artisans were living side by side with these aristocrats. The magazines were passed around and shared, and even servants got their hands on them. They were all copying these styles to the extent that they could.

There’s a lot we don’t know about how fashion magazines got access to the royal court. In some cases, it’s clear that what they were printing was not actually what was worn because when you look at a surviving dress, it had a different seam here or a different belt there. So in some cases, it’s clear they were either looking at portraits or maybe watching what was being worn from a distance.

However, the editors often made a point of saying a specific outfit was worn by a fashionably dressed woman walking in the Palais-Royal, and places like the Palais-Royal or the Luxemboug Gardens were public domain where people of different classes mixed freely. These magazines were really careful to say when something was actually worn—the duchess wore this, we saw it, and here’s where we saw it. They went overboard to emphasize that this was the latest thing, and they could prove it.

This interview with Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, the author of the new book Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, is fascinating for a lot of reasons, but the above part about fashion magazines in the 1770s being printed every ten days basically blew my mind. Like. How.