As executive producer and founder of Spy Pond Productions, Eric Stange has produced, directed and written a dizzying array of work, mostly telling unique, often lost stories of American history. His work, which also covers science, has been broadcast on PBS, The Discovery Channel, and the BBC. Before becoming a filmmaker he wrote about art and culture for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic Monthly, and other publications. Eric has been the recipient of a Harvard University Charles Warren Fellowship in American History. He’s on the board of Common-Place, a website devoted to early American history, and writes a column about media and history for American Heritage magazine. “Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive” stars Denis O’Hare as Poe, and was shot on location in Boston. A screening will be held on Saturday, April 29, 1:30 p.m., at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square as part of the Independent Film Festival of Boston (http://iffboston.org), and will be broadcast nationally next fall on the PBS series American Masters.
What was it like working with Denis O’Hare?
Denis is one of the most talented actors in the business. Virtually everyone has seen him in his many TV or movie roles (“American Horror Story,” “The Good Wife,” “True Blood, Dallas Buyer’s Club”), but like a lot of great character actors he isn’t a household name. He should be.
What sold us on casting Denis was that he spent a whole season of “American Horror Story” playing a leading character who’s mute. Our film doesn’t have a lot of dialogue—Poe is often alone and silent, though very expressive. When we saw that Denis did an entire season of episodic TV without saying a word —we knew he could be our Poe.
In addition, it turns out Denis had studied a lot of poetry in college, so he did a wonderful job reciting Poe’s poems. And we didn’t even realize until we started with hair and make-up how much he actually looks like Poe!
Edgar Allan Poe is already a well-known figure, is there new information about Poe revealed in the film?
One of the reasons I made the film is because I came to realize Poe is a hugely misunderstood figure. Most people think of him in a one-dimensional way —as a brooding, mad, perhaps opium-addled denizen of the dark. Until I started researching this project I didn’t know that Poe was an important literary critic, and an influential magazine editor. He was a powerful player in the literary scene of the 1830s and ’40s—a tastemaker—one of the glitterati of his time. He helped define what American literature would be in the early decades of our nation.
I knew Poe had written detective stories. What I didn’t realize is that Poe invented the detective story as we know it today, with all the conventions we’re used to. Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, said he had modeled his stories on Poe. And virtually every detective writer since has followed suit.
Poe is one of those iconic figures who appears in popular culture decade after decade. Even people who haven’t read his works know his face. Why?
Yes it’s amazing how often Poe pops up. He’s in “The Simpsons,” on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and on and on.
Poe himself is partly responsible for his enduring image in pop culture. He knew that to sell his stories in a competitive marketplace he needed more than just good writing—he needed a public persona that would give him an edge. He was a fan of the English bad-boy poet Lord Byron, and he saw how a reputation—even a dark one —could help sell literature.
So he had daguerreotypes made that portrayed him a certain way, and he wrote falsified biographical materials that made him seem a more adventurous and romantic figure than he really was.
But what really cemented his reputation—and in a bad way—was the first obituary after Poe’s untimely death at age 40 in 1849. His literary enemy, Rufus Griswold, wrote the obit, and he described Poe in all the negative ways people still think of him today. So Griswold’s negative portrayal, along with Poe’s own self-mythologizing, have played a big role in keeping Poe famous —or rather infamous.
What’s the real story? Was Poe just a regular guy who was terribly misunderstood or is there some truth to the dark, Halloween-figure side of Poe?
Well, like any complicated person, it’s a bit of both. If Poe were my buddy, I’d think twice when I saw him come up on caller ID. He could be a terrible friend, and a worse enemy. He was dead broke and in debt most of his life. He had a terrible time with alcohol, though he could be sober for long periods. At the same time, he was brilliant, witty, had lots of friends and was a loving husband, most of the time. Though he married his 13-year-old cousin when he was 26!
One thing I discovered is that practically anything you say about Poe, the opposite is also true. That’s part of what made the film challenging, and fun!
Why the title: “Buried Alive”?
Poe was fascinated —maybe even obsessed—with stories of people who were buried alive by mistake, which happened fairly frequently in the early 19th century. Medicine hadn’t figured out how to determine death with certainty, and particularly during epidemics there was a lot of pressure to get corpses underground quickly. One of his most famous stories is “The Premature Burial.”
I also love the metaphorical meanings. Poe lived his life under a constant cloud of grief —virtually all the women he loved died young. He struggled with a mountain of debt, and even before he died his bad reputation had begun to overshadow the reality of his life. And then, of course, there’s the never-ending mystery of his death. For all those reasons, it feels like an appropriate title.
Mystery of his death?
You have to see the movie.
There’s no mistaking when Mario Frangoulis takes the stage. The only thing that is crisper than his clothes is his remarkable voice. A sterling tenor that has taken this singer-actor to some of the world’s greatest stages and allowed him to perform in opera, classical theater and popular West End musicals. Born in Africa and raised in Greece, Frangoulis was trained at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was discovered by legendary Broadway creator Sir Cameron Mackintosh. His “Mario Frangoulis: Sing Me An Angel” tour launches on Saturday, March 25th at the Sanders Theatre at Harvard University in Cambridge. The concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are still available. (https://www.mariofrangoulis.com/concerts)
STYLEBOSTON: Classical performers, particularly tenors, are known for being put together (tux, tails), but traditionally haven’t been known as fashion-forward trendsetters (those tux, tails). And then there’s you. You have made headlines for your “style.” Where does your sense of style come from?
MARIO: I have always cared about fashion and how it is influenced by the various changes in our society, the political climate, the style of music and the arts. In so many ways, styling itself gives an “identity” to an artist, “signature” clothes, and one’s own style. I have been extremely lucky to meet great designers at such a young age in my life and career. Donna Karan, for example, dressed me on my first album “Sometimes I Dream.” Valentino designed my first tuxedos early on in my career and let me launch his Red Label tuxedos. Giorgio Armani designed all of the suits, costumes and clothes for the movie “De Lovely” starring Kevin Klein and Ashley Judd in which I wore a great Shakespearean period costume designed by Armani himself! He was also a very cool person to meet. Lately I have been dressed exclusively by Ermenegildo Zegna.
STYLEBOSTON: Do you have a favorite designer? A favorite piece in your wardrobe?
MARIO: I had the chance to meet the unique Ralph Lauren at an exclusive party at Bloomingdales and I have to admit that his casual-wear clothes are the best! Very comfortable and all time classic. I have many jackets by Ralph Lauren that I also wear with jeans for press conferences and casual smart occasions. One of my very favorite designers these days is Tom Ford. His tuxedos are incredible —especially the great thick and old-fashioned but contemporary lapels. Tom Ford’s tuxedo has to be my favorite piece in my entire wardrobe!
STYLEBOSTON: Just as you have made an impression for your style, you are known for your versatility on stage. Do you prefer traditional opera over Broadway or West End musicals? How does traditional Greek music fit into your repertoire?
MARIO: Opera is my first love. West End musicals, however, especially “Les Miserables” was my first big adventure on stage. The costumes were actually designed by the Greek-Cypriot English costume and Tony Award-winning designer Andreane Neofitou. Playing Marius, the romantic lead, gives me so much theatrical and stage experience.
As you said in your question, I truly enjoy being versatile on stage, and this really represents who I am. I enjoy being different in every role I play: from Raoul in “The Phantom of the Opera” to Tony in “West Side Story” at Teatro Alla Scala to the King in “The King and I” and so many leading roles in ancient Greek drama, like “Prometheus Bound,” a Titan who defies the gods and gives fire to mankind, acts for which he is subjected to perpetual punishment. Achilles was a great role for me in the ancient theatre in Epidaurus in the year of the Olympic games in 2004. It was the first time this great Ancient Greek play was presented after 2,500 years. It is a trilogy by the great dramatist Aeschylus and was so full of great adventures, heroic battles and fate itself which one cannot escape from. Dionysus, however in “The Bacchae” was the most challenging of all roles. Dionysus, the protagonist of Euripides, “Bacchae,” is one big contradiction. The character embodies many of the dualities that we see throughout the play. First of all, in some ways he represents both human and god. Dionysus definitely has all the powers of a god. He summons earthquakes, lightning, and has a knack for getting into people’s heads, driving them insane!
Another interesting duality is that Dionysus is foreign and Greek at the same time. He was born in Greece, but his religion, for some reason, first spread in Asia. Another contradiction is that Dionysus in some ways represents both male and female. Yes, he is a male god, but the mortal form he takes is said to be quite effeminate. Dionysus also had a strange birth. The play itself is full of dualities and that is what I love about it!
Perhaps the play is trying to say that everything that exists is also its opposite at the very same time—more specifically, that we as human beings are inherently contradicted. We’re all both rational and irrational. All humans are animals, but there’s also something special that undeniably separates us from the rest of Earth’s living creatures.
Though we all (or at least most of us) belong to one gender or another, there are things about all of us that don’t quite fit into the role that society prescribes to specific sexes. Even though everybody is from somewhere, we’re all a foreigner somewhere else. Sometimes we even become foreigners in our own homes. Lastly, even though we’re certainly mortal, maybe, just maybe, some part of us is eternal and divine. It seems to us, that in the character of Dionysus, Euripides captured many of the amazing contradictions that make up every human being.
In music and in theater, I must be flexible, adapting to what’s happening around me, and experimenting with new and unique combinations of music and acting skills—this also translates to my sense of personal style. Life is a mosaic of experiences that make up who we are—there is no one “right” way to do anything…everything I do has to do with my truth, my feelings and my identity. That is why Greek music is always part of my repertoire—not only because of the beauty of the language, but also because it is core to who I am and my identity as a human being. I can’t imagine a performance without Greek music…my style is the same way… in everything I do I strive for simplicity… I was trained to respect simplicity in my voice/singing, I was raised to admire simplicity in my personal life, and my aesthetic reflects this value.
STYLEBOSTON: Do you have a favorite stage to perform on or favorite venue to perform in? A favorite performer to appear with? Or, symphony to perform with? (No pressure to say Symphony Hall or the Boston Pops…)
MARIO: I love Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops! Symphony Hall in Boston is an amazing venue and acoustically one of the best in the world. We did an “epic” show there in 2012 that aired on public television across the country and I will never forget it. I have performed in Boston many times. It is one of my favorite cities to perform in. I love the combination of history with young energy (all the students). It has a European feel to it, and it is next to the ocean, which is so beautiful. Of course performing in venues like Milan’s La Scala and my favorite Herod Atticus at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens is tough competition! But Boston is certainly up there!
I have had the pleasure of performing with such a huge range of talented artists—from Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras to Justin Hayward and Klaus Meine to Lara Fabian and Sarah Brightman to Natalie Cole, Tina Arena and Smokey Robinson. The list goes on and on!
What I have enjoyed so much about Boston are the fantastic young and talented musicians, many of them from Berklee College of Music. I have a passion for supporting young musicians and I love to walk the halls at night when we are rehearsing and feel the energy of all of that great young talent ready to take over the world.
STYLEBOSTON: How did it come to be that Boston was the first location on this US tour?
MARIO: We have been talking with my team for a while about returning to one of my favorite venues in Boston—the Sanders Theatre at Harvard. That theatre is amazing and the acoustics are fantastic. We’ve always performed great shows on that stage full of amazing positive energy. I always get so much energy and love from this city and have many friends here who I can call my family. We decided that since WGBH has been such a supporter over the years, and we got a great date to start the 2017 concert series here, why not “come home” to Boston?
STYLEBOSTON: Do you have any favorite haunts, places or stops in Boston?
MARIO: Of course I love to walk around the Boston Common and Newbury Street; Harvard Square and brunch at the Charles Hotel is always a great favorite! Lobster and crab at Legal Sea Foods on the Harbor is great as well. There is a long list and it, of course, includes Symphony Hall, and also Harvard Yard. I love to walk in Boston. Bostonians have a certain casual sophistication that makes me feel very at ease.
BOSTON—Despite a rainy May 1st, the 48th annual Walk for Hunger & 5K Run brought together more than 35,000 neighbors to raise money to fund hunger-relief programs throughout the state. In the morning, participants were greeted by some of Boston’s biggest on-air personalities from Project Bread’s partners, including iHeart Media radio stations, Kiss 108, JAM’N 94.5, and 101.7 The Bull. Kiss 108’s legendary morning show host Matt Siegel was joined by Frankie & Ashlee, Lisa Donovan and Billy Costa. WHDH-TV Boston’s 7News anchors Kim Khazei and Adam Williams joined Jeremy Reiner on location for the morning weather, and Sarah French cooked up healthy school lunch recipes with Project Bread’s Chef Educators in the Snack Station.
The Snack Station was a new feature to the Walk for Hunger’s Walk Village, presented by the Walk’s flagship sponsor Arnold Bread. After crossing the finish-line, completing a 10-mile scenic route through Boston and Cambridge, Walkers were entertained by performances from the Main Stage while re-fueling with an Arnold Bread sandwich and sampling other treats from Shake Shack, KIND, Polar, and more.
All money raised from participants of the Walk funds more than 300 critical hunger-relief programs, including: food pantries, soup kitchens, community gardens, summer meal programs, and more. To make a donation to support the Walk for Hunger please visit www.projectbread.org/walk.
Despite having one of the best records in the country, the San Diego State Aztec men’s basketball team will not be going to The Big Dance this year. Coach Steve Fisher, who was recently named one of the top ten college coaches in the country by ESPN, is undoubtedly disappointed but most assuredly focused on his team’s victory as the number one seed in their league. Now gearing up for the National Invitation Tournament, Fisher and his team will most likely shrug off the fickle process of the NCAA bid and focus on winning again. We sat down with this iconic coach to talk about how he wins on and off the court.
Craig Susser, a good friend of ours and the super cool, low key owner of Craig’s in West Hollywood was just named among the Wall Street Journal Magazine’s top six restaurants, where some of L.A.’s biggest names love to dine. We were there a few weeks ago and were not disappointed-the food, especially the filet mignon with blue cheese ravioli, was outstanding and we caught sight of a few stars close by. If in LA in the near future, be sure to check the article out so you know where to go.
The theme, “Something Blue” kicked off the Museum of Fine Arts annual summer party with fantastical lights that illuminated the beautiful gowns on the steps of the Huntington entrance. This best dressed crowd of 25-46 year old revelers gathered to celebrate artist Juan Travieso and show their support for one Boston’s finest cultural institutions. Guests raised the fashion bar even higher this year, influenced I’m sure by the fact that Valentino was the lead sponsor. Boston and New York designer Michael DePaulo created a beautiful black, full petticoat, hi-lo gown with feathers and leather trimmings pour moi, while Abby Cushman stunned the crowd in a Michael DePaulo Valentino-red, floor length, off the shoulder trumpet gown. Blogger babes Jessica Diaz and Alisa Kapinos both sported floral—Jessica in a beautiful low cut, floral Alice and Olivia gown, which was news to me since I had no idea designer Stacey Bendet was doing ball gowns. But this was obviously a trend because Pia Miller, one of the co-chairs, also chose Alice and Olivia—a beautiful gold and auburn print floor length gown. Co-chair Dobrska had a gorgeous vintage white and lavendar floral gown. I admired creatives like jewelry designer Maria Stokalska, who put together unexpected fashion combinations for the evening with her emerald green knee length circle skirt and a silk animal top-perfect for the night.
Aside from the gowns, the highlight of the evening was Juan Travieso. An artist we claim as our own, he was trained at the MFA Museum School and has since moved to Miami, where I saw his beautiful murals on the Walls of Wynwood. Juan came to Boston for three days to create one of his signature murals and he enlisted a team of 5 local artists, (@graves_miller, @bruceybluejeans, @pt35mm, @farzanehsafarani, @paulkotakis), who were his cohorts at The Museum School. Working around the clock, they helped him finish the mural, each one being assigned separate triangles to paint to ultimately construct his Picasso-like, brightly colored, cubist mural with a deer head bursting out of the center.
The Summer Party kicks off the season for young and stylish Bostonians. A social calendar highlight for over ten years, this annual event raises vital operating support for the Museum of Fine Arts. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s Summer Party benefits an endowed Museum Council Special Exhibition Fund. I love supporting emerging artists and giving them this platform where art collectors, young and experienced, can bid on juried works of art. The event took place in the main gallery—50 foot ceilings, bodies bustling about taking pictures in front of the 10,000 pound, green glass Chihuly tree and partygoers snacking from the antipasto buffet. Ben and I snuck downstairs to view the Pupils of Hokusai Exhibit and unfettered by hoards of people, we sat in the calm, silent room, where our thoughts could roam as we pondered the beautiful Japanese paintings.
Since summer is in full swing, and shorter hemlines are on the horizon, I decided a seasonal beauty overhaul was in order. After all, with sunny spells coming and going as they please, a girl has to be ready to flash some leg at a moment’s notice. With that in mind, I beelined it to G2O Spa to see expert esthetician Gina Hernandez for the secret tricks of the trade on how to get summer ready skin from head-to-toe. Luckily for you, I’m “spa’ing” and telling…
That’s A Wrap
Looking for skin that is both radiant and soft to the touch? Enter G20 Spa’s body wrap. Carefully balanced to both cleanse and replenish, G20’s body wrap treatments lift the veil of dullness and dryness to restore hydrated silkiness to skin. Using seaweed from the seas of France, Gina told me this purifying treatment detoxifies the body while restoring skin tone and vitality by drawing out toxins from the skin. Gina finished my treatment with lymphatic drainage to enhance detoxification, boost circulation and promote overall slimming and toning effects.
Glow on Girl
Think facials are just for women who love to be pampered? Think again. If done regularly while you’re still in your early 20s, they can prevent premature wrinkles, sun damage and aging. Not sure where to begin? Let G20 Spa be your guide. After a skin consult, Gina started by applying a Pumpkin Peptide Polish to my face to exfoliate skin cells; provide antioxidant support and stimulate collagen activity, leaving skin feeling smooth and looking bright. Next, Gia helped me get my glow on with the use of LED, which stands for Light Emitting Diodes, that help to target common skin problems such as blemishes, redness and uneven pigmentation by stimulating new cell growth.
Looking to nail your summer look? Step into summer by looking polished from head to toe with a G20 Spa deluxe pedicure. This full service pedicure includes a lower leg and foot exfoliation, nail grooming, and massage. Conclude this relaxing experience with a natural nail buffing or a bright polish application of your choice for a look that is sure to start your summer off on the right foot.
Photography by: Lisa Richov
Have you heard of Jennifer Aniston’s line of beauty products called Living Proof? I just learned that this uber cool brand is headquartered right here in our own backyard. Scientists from MIT got together with beauty experts and developed this brand with one simple ambition: “To challenge conventional wisdom to solve your toughest beauty problems.”
Now this may sound like something rather simple to do, however, this lab has taken hair care and hair products to a new level, measuring out what works and what doesn’t on specific hair types, colors and textures. Living Proof has done for hair what Mario Testino has done for fashion photography. There are a core group of testees who come in periodically to test out new products, see what works, what doesn’t. We got to play a little, and discover the inner workings of this lab the other night at the opening and debut of their Style Lab. My favorite part of the tour was seeing a row of mannequin heads, hair of all different colors and textures, all lined up, ready for testing—the first phase of product development, apparently. Though their office, which consists of 60% female employees, is located in tech den Kendall Square, their outreach spans all the way to the west coast where Jennifer serves as brand ambassador.
I was so excited to get my hands on the Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Protector, an overnight hair mask that you simply apply and let the magic happen while you sleep. A genius idea for busy moms like myself! Another notable that I can’t wait to try: Blowout, and Restore Instant Protection—it protects your hair from UV rays for 24 hours and is perfect for those summer beach days. Stop by to have your hair tested and find out what product will suit you best. I assure you, every woman I saw that was working for the company had gorgeous locks. I asked Grace Ray if great hair was a pre-requisite for being hired. She said, “ Definitely not!” and chuckled a bit. I suggested they make a “before-after” facebook! I’ll be on the lookout for that.
photocredit: Michael Blanchard
On Wednesday June 11th, I was honored to attend the second annual “Swing into Summer,” fashion show benefitting Crossroads for Kids, a non-profit that inspires youth to develop their innate potential by breaking the cycle of poverty and under-achievement by yielding systemic change in the communities where they live.
The event was designed by the ever chic Holly Safford of The Catered Affair and took place at the historic Winsor House Inn in Duxbury where models strut down the runway in stunning fashions by Sara Campbell Designs and accessories by JoJo Loves You.
While the fashion industry often has a reputation for being frivolous, I’ve always believed that fashion has the ability to design a better world. Often starting with the spark of a single idea, entrepreneurs and designers like Holly and Sara are changing how the world views fashion’s potential and ability to leave a lasting and powerful influence on society by hosting events that are filled with both style and heart. Truth be told, no matter what happens in retail or on the runways, there’s one thing that never goes out of style: giving back.
Want to lose weight without dieting and exercising? I will let you in on my little secret…perfectly bronzed skin. With Custom Airbrush Tanning, I was treated to a session with Jen Barry at Bliss Spa W Boston Hotel. I had no expectations but was thrilled when I went home feeling 10 lbs lighter. My husband recently came home from a business trip and said, “Wow, you look great! Very skinny. What have you been doing?” I smiled and said nothing.
How does it work?
- Take a relaxing steam shower, (they don’t recommend exfoliating beforehand, because it will leave you with a streaky tan.)
- Remove all face makeup.
- Sit in the lounge and snack on my favorites- the signature brownie bites and cheese cubes with a hot tea.
- Have a moment of peace without your phone, because it’s that blissful.
- Within minutes Jen comes by to bring you to the tanning room. She has a sweet demeanor, very warm and bubbly and makes you feel instantly comfortable, (you will come to realize this is something very important as you are going to be standing there buck naked in a few minutes.)
- Remove all jewelry and put your hair up in a bun. You can optionally strip down to nothing at all, or use the disposable undies they have available.( I opted for the latter because it’s kinda nice to see the “tanline” so you know how much of a tan you actually got!)
A whirring sound then a smell of flowers, and the process begins…I held my arms out to the side and Jen began spraying the cool mist on my body from the gun that looks like a blow dryer. We had pre-selected medium, since I already had a nice base tan. I had booked my appointment on a Monday since I had a Wednesday event. Two days seems to be the optimal resting time. After being airbrushed and then dried with the same device, Jen gave me a disposable blue robe to put on and we walked back, barefoot, to the lounge where she had me wait another 10-15 minutes to further dry.
Wear loose fitting black clothing! My dress was lighter colored and ended up getting some of the tanning product on it, (which washed out easily). I went home feeling sexy but a bit sticky and followed instructions not to take a shower or wash my face until the next day. The shower water turned a bit brown, washing off the external tanning solution, but the skin remained a beautiful golden glow. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate is the key to keeping this tan. Lotion on your skin after showering and later in the day as well will keep the tan going for up to 2 weeks. The cost of the service is $60, (not including gratuity), which isn’t too bad to look like you’ve spent the summer in St. Tropez…
They say the camera adds 10 lbs, but all I can say is that the airbrush tanning takes off 10lbs. Try it, you’ll like it.
Artist Sara Zielinski uses a variety of media, including painting, printmaking, drawing, collage, and assemblage, to explore both the universality and the complexity of human relationships. Her suggestive combinations of figures and text probe the motives and feelings behind relationships, whether romantic, platonic, sexual, or somewhere in between. At the same time, Zielinski is deeply interested in process. In a world which is increasingly dependent on technology, she deliberately focuses on the tactility and imperfections of the handmade.
Sara Zielinski lives and works in New York City. She has shown at Find & Form, Childs Gallery, and Samsøn Projects in Boston, Mobius and Gallery 263 in Cambridge, and the A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn. Zielinski recently transformed her own apartment into an immersive printed environment, covering every available surface with her work. This solo apartment show, ONLY IN HEAVEN, was recently featured in the Huffington Post.
WHO INFLUENCES YOU AS AN ARTIST AND A PRINTMAKER?
Who knows? I regularly revisit works by Frida Kahlo, Henry Darger, Ana Mendieta, and David Hockney. There are a few artists whose attitudes and writings I find myself thinking about almost daily: Tracey Emin, Ray Johnson, and Lee Lozano. With printmaking, I’m inspired by Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin, Kiki Smith, and Pablo Picasso. I find their lines to be very expressive.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SUBJECT MATTER, AND WHAT IS IT ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS THAT INTERESTS YOU AS AN ARTIST?
My work is about human relationships and things we say and things we don’t say. Relationships, or relating with other people, is one of the most universal experiences. And yet it’s so complicated! We each enter every interaction with our own set of associations and moods and anxieties, leading to any number of outcomes and interpretations. I imagine and express some of the motives and feelings that are often unsaid but can weigh heavily on friendships, romantic relationships, and encounters with strangers. I like to play with the play between relatability and individuality.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE’S REACTIONS TO IT?
For the most part, I really enjoy people’s reactions to my work. I learn a lot from what people say in response to it. It’s interesting to hear, say, six people tell you they relate to a text piece and then hear six different reasons for how it speaks directly to them.
Text enters my work naturally, often coming to mind simultaneously with images. Other times, I’ve held on to a phrase for weeks, trying to think of the appropriate image to accompany it. Some of the text I use comes from notes I wrote years ago, originally notes for poems. I studied poetry writing in college so I have a lot of notes to pull from.
Text operates in conjunction with my images in many ways – sometimes it may add ambiguity to a scene, sometimes it provides clarity, sometimes it brings humor. Depending on the image and what I want to say, I might use Spanish or Chinese. Many of the artists I admire use text in their work, particularly Kara Walker, Tracey Emin, Frida Kahlo, and Lee Lozano.
YOU HAVE SAID PREVIOUSLY THAT YOU ARE OBSESSED WITH PROCESS. WHAT FASCINATES YOU ABOUT THE CRAFT OF PRINTMAKING?
I love creating and working with multiples. For an etching, you draw an image, maybe draw many studies, then etch the image onto a plate, then print and print and print the same image – you see a lot of it. The repetition involved, both of the actions and of the image, appeals to me. Even though there is a lot of labor involved in creating each print, knowing that there are many makes each one feel less precious and more approachable. Each print is slightly unique and then, once you have many of the same image, if you choose, you can alter each one using other media.
I always love drawing. That’s not to say I prefer it over any others, but that’s usually where everything else starts. At the moment, I’m really interested in combining many media in a single project.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
Right now I’m working on a few new paintings and etchings and starting to work on building an oversized dollhouse. I’m excited about the dollhouse. I first started making a dollhouse almost fifteen years ago, so it’s overdue. It will be fully decorated, furnished, and populated.
I think a lot about Internet technology and what it’s doing to our society, and those topics are becoming increasingly present and dominant in my work. I’m reaching back towards an earlier time, trying to get to something more analog. The dollhouse is part of this theme. For me, in addition to being a lot of fun, it’s about tactility and childhood fantasy and “old fashioned” ways of kids entertaining themselves, and it’s about imagination.
SO WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO INTERVIEW YOURSELF, AS YOU RECENTLY DID FOR THE HUFFINGTON POST?
At first it was nerve-wracking, but then I realized I had complete control – that was more fun than I’d expected!
I love London; it always leaves me wanting more. The fashion is next level, the pubs super fun, and the people are genuinely enthusiastic about America and Americans. As a history fan, London does not disappoint and there is always something in view to remind you that Britain is great for a reason. I was there last month to see Eric Clapton’s final night at The Royal Albert Hall and brought an almost empty suitcase that I filled past capacity for my return home, British pound vs. American Dollar conversion rate be damned. Pick your poison fashion fans, or pick them all as I did. Whoops.
MAYFAIR / BOND STREET: HARRODS & SELFRIDGES
Want it ultra posh, upscale, and pricey? Heading to Mayfair and Bond Street are musts but be sure to go to Harrods and Selfridges. These London retailers are considered national treasures for a reason. Teeming with shoppers keeping the cash boxes ringing, the conspicuous consumption of the most exclusive brands and logomania makes for excellent people watching and will suck you in as well. I dare you to visit Harrods and not walk out swinging one of their hunter green shopping bags. Sticker shock got you down when in Harrods or Selfridges? Head to the food halls and prepare to be amazed by the cornucopia of culinary choices. Harrods is the more incredible of the two, pretty sure I ruptured an optic nerve trying to take it all in. There is nothing like these food halls in America and nothing like these two very British institutions.
Like your fashion fast, served up easy peasy, and budget friendly? Then Oxford Street / Oxford Circus is for you. Try not to go on the weekend when the immense crowds will slow you down. Send your bloke to the pub and wear comfortable shoes and clothes easy to change in and out of, you are going to want to move like a fashion ninja to experience the insane amount of choices. Get your fleek on at the Primark store, which is a playground of must haves at incredibly reasonable prices. I can’t wait for the Primark to open in Downtown Crossing this fall; that’s right Boston we are going to have our own Primark, which will be the first one to open in the USA. Topshop’s flagship store is like the hot boyfriend you can never really get over because its just so good, why aren’t the Topshops in America this yummy? Given my obsession perhaps it’s for the best.
Rihanna’s favorite River Island exceeded my expectations especially as a source for interesting accessories and custom jewelry, how I wish there were stores stateside. There is a Zara on every other corner yet the mix of merchandise varies slightly by store making it necessary for me to visit each one. Damn you and thank you Zara, European Zaras trump their sister stores in America every time. Even H&M seems to have upped their game offering merchandise I have never seen on this side of the pond. Festival fashion is currently THE theme in all of these stores so rock on fast fashion groupies.
My favorite places to shop in London are the vintage areas and markets. You’ll love it too if you are all about the hunt for the truly unique and original. Leave the tony neighborhoods of the West End and the madness of the main shopping streets and head to gritty Brick Lane for some of the best fashion vintage shopping on the globe. It’s not posh or pretty, but Brick Lane has a great assortment of vintage stores that offer their wares categorized with British military precision. Prices are in the reasonable range and in the individually owned stores you can feel free to haggle a bit. Blitz was the star store; the assortment and quality of their vintage merchandise blew me away. Expertly curated, make sure you visit the basement for their clearance area where I scored some fringed pieces that are totally on trend, leather and furs, and classic capes that I know will be standouts come the fall. Once you’ve made your way down Brick Lane, be sure to hit nearby Spitafields Market where you can find independent purveyors of fashion both vintage and current. It was love at first site for me when I walked in Collectif. This retro rockabilly boutique was all 40’s and 50’s sex symbol with a new age edge stray cat strut that just won’t quit. Shopping making you thirsty and working a Jack The Ripper fascination? Be sure to stop by The Ten Bells for a pint (or two) before heading back to modern day reality.
For his latest (soon-to-be) bestseller, “Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs and the Greatest Wealth in History,” Ben Mezrich turns his laser-like gaze to the high-stakes story of two Russian oligarchs. The rise and fall of Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich may seem more like a Robert Ludlum novel than a Ben Mezrich-crafted true-crime account, but Ben, who lives and writes in Boston, covers this new turf like a seasoned foreign correspondent. The author of a dozen books, including “The Accidental Billionaires” (which became the Oscar-winning film “The Social Network”), Ben sat down with our own Carol Beggy just a couple of days after the book’s release to talk about his “first grown up book,” what he learned while researching some of the world’s wealthiest (and most corjrupt) people, and what his next project is going to be. And, yes, he talks about his next Hollywood deal.
(Ed. Note: Ben’s wife, Tonya, is styleboston’s chief fashion correspondent.)
Video produced by V-Neck Media
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The talented Matt Nathanson is an American singer-songwriter, whose work is a blend of folk and a bit of rock. Originally from Lexington, MA but now a resident of San Franscisco, he has an amazing voice and plays acoustic (sometimes a 12-string) electric guitar, both solo and with a full band. You might recognize him with his platinum selling song, “Come On Get Higher.”
The 43 year-old singer-songwriter released his 8th album, Last of the Great Pretenders, on July 16th, 2013 and was his 3rd album with Vanguard Records. His first single, “Mission Bells” was released on March 11th on San Fran radio station KFOG. This album debuted at #16 on the Billboard Top 200.
His songs have been featured on TV shows such as: “NCIS”, “One Tree Hill”, “Private Practice”, “Women’s Murder Club”, “Big Shots”, “Scrubs”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “Life Unexpected”, “The Bachelor” and more.
Matt is currently touring with his band, which features Aaron Tap (acoustic & electric guitar), Victor Indrizzo (drums), Chris Reynolds (drums, engineer and synthesizer), Jake Sinclair (bass, drums, guitar, mixing, producer, programming, background vocals), and Mike Viola (bass, guitar, keyboards, producer, background vocals).
One of the bi-products of the wine-making biz that keeps us busy on weekends in our vineyard in El Penedés, the wine region of Catalunya, is the proliferation of fresh grape leaves on our vines. (Duh!) In May or June, grape growers undertake the labor-intensive process of “leafing” and “suckering” the vines, which means that you remove all of the stems that have no fruit, and you also snap off big leaves that are casting shadows on the baby grape clusters. The leafing also gives the fruit more air and minimizes the possibility of icky mold growth. (“Sin miedo!” our local helper tells us: Snap off the excess growth WITHOUT FEAR!)
Last year, during our first season with the white grapes that are now slowly fermenting into “cava” (Spanish champagne), we were pretty thoroughly focused on getting all of the steps right. This year, I had the wherewithal, with the help of daughter Stassa, to collect a few of the largest grape leaves and tuck them away in a plastic bag for later use, after we recovered from the very hot and sweaty leafing process!
My motive? DOLMADES! I had read up last year on the quickest and easiest way to stuff your own grape leaves, guided by Martha Stewart and a dozen other on-line cooking websites, many of them Greek-oriented. And then I promptly forgot it. So while the leaves were still mostly green and supple, I consulted the Internet once again, and I went for what seemed like a fool-proof and remarkably rapid method of preparing the grape leaves for stuffing: blanch them for a few seconds in boiling water.
It worked pretty well, and the results were tasty if a bit chewy. The stuffing process itself was less laborious than I’d anticipated, and it helps if you can make it into a fun assembly-line process in the kitchen.
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CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
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