Aug 31, 2010

Carosel

I feel like my cat today. It's not that I pooped on the rug, coughed up a hairball on my bed, or whined until someone fed me; I feel re[yawn]laxed, fattened, and content like ... well, like my cat feels everyday. I just had the quintessential long summer weekend, filled with sunshine and singalongs, lake swimming and midday drinking. I feel like someone just rubbed my belly for four days straight and my fur is finally sitting right.


Purrrr-fect day to discover Irish band, Carosel. Carosel is made up of Michelle Phelan and Pete Mc Grane, both Irish living in Paris. Any other Tuesday I would dislike them just for the fact that they live in Paris and I don't, but today I feel only love.
Their recently released single and video, Star, shows them gallivanting around Paris, looking chic, making upbeat, catchy folk-pop music, and living the grand old life.


 I also quite like this acoustic version of their song, Take Me.



Loving their breezy, feelgood vibe—a buttery wine-cheese-and-croissant sound they never could have perfected on porridge and pudding back home—and eager to hear their second album, in the works right now. (You can hear a few reworked songs from their debut album, Kaleidescope, on their site.)

Live vicariously through the band at Carosel.ie.
Follow them on FB and Twitter
Read Michelle's food blog, GreenTeaandBiscuits

Aug 26, 2010

Packable Wellies

I keep wanting to compare myself to a mud patch. In America you can make statements like that and people will stop and slap you on the back for being so self-aware, and then support you as you remove gluten from your diet. Truth is, I am deluded; what I'm really doing is romanticizing the rain. (Again, I would be congratulated here for pushing myself to face harsh realities.) Before you start raising your hand ("Miss, miss, miss!") to point out the obvious that mud patches are far from romantic, let me share that this morning I responded to a friend's inquiry as to my well being with a rambling, rosy  account of how I—like my garden—had been a barren, burned out dust patch, until a few days of shaking, waking rain left me a fertile, renewed mud patch. Yep, my garden and I were not just wet by the rain, we were renewed.  What I should have said was, "My feet have been wet for three days and I hate wet feet," or at least, "Fine thanks, how are you?" 

Romanticizing the rain is a huge problem for me: it ties into my struggle with my Irish identity in America, and how I sometimes feel I have to give the people what they expect of me (we won't delve too deeply into that right now as I really don't want to remove gluten from my diet),  and it means I never pack practical shoes when I'm going home. I always think it'll be invigorating and renewing to have Irish rain on my feet, and so I pack open-toe pumps, sandals, and ballet flats. On a less-deep note, I also need all the length in the leg that I can get, so I show a lot of foot.
Having wet feet the past few days has me thinking ahead to my next trip home (at the end of the year), and wondering how I can pack around my delusions/complexes. 
I'm thinking these amazing foldable wellies might be the answer:


They're called "Pacablz," and as the name would suggest, you can pack these boots away (next to your five pairs of impractical shoes) in a neat carry bag, making them perfect for travel. They're made by Japanese rain boot manufacturer, Amaort Design, and available in nine bold colors on their site for 7,245 Yen. If  you don't need to confuse the fact that you are spending a lot of money for a pair of wellies by shopping in Japanese currency, you can also find them (in one color) at FreePeople, for $128.

Aug 24, 2010

Kisses

I came up with three options to inject more kisses into my life while I was out for my walk this morning. (Yes, my iPod died.)
1. Stop hounding Cadbury's to make fruit-and-nut kisses and settle for Hershey's. Swallow pride and snobby chocolate preferences, and then call dentist to tell him you swallowed your loose crown while eating lettuce.
2. Stop reading/knitting/sleeping in bed. Call dentist after putting your loose crown in bedside glass drives bedmate to reading/knitting/sleeping in bed.
3. Order Irish Director Lance Daly's Kisses from Amazon (only available in UK-format right now) or watch it on Movies on Demand on TV. 

I'm not calling my dentist.
"On the fringes of Dublin two kids, Kylie and Dylan, live in a suburban housing estate devoid of life, color and the prospect of escape. Kylie lives with five other siblings and her overworked mother. Next door, Dylan lives in the shadow of an alcoholic father and the memory of an elder brother who ran away from home two years earlier.
After a violent altercation with his father, Dylan runs away from home and Kylie decides to run away with him. Together they make their way to the magical night time lights of inner city Dublin, to search for Dylan's brother, and in the hope of finding, through him, the possibility of a new life.
Lance Daly's vision of Dublin, as seen through the innocent eyes of our protagonists, is a kaleidoscope of magic, wonder and mystery. But as the night wears on, and Dublin takes on a darker character, the two kids have to rely on the kindness of strangers, the advice of Bob Dylan and their trust in each other to survive the night.
"
I somehow missed the local release of this film in July, so I'm glad to be able to catch it On-Demand. Pretty eager to see it as reviews on both sides of the Atlantic are good, and the film won the Audience Award at the Miami International Film Festival 2009 and Best Irish Feature Film at the Galway Film Festival 2008. Also love that it has subtitles for unintelligible Dublin accent! You can check out the official trailer on YouTube.





Order Kisses from Amazon
Follow Oscilloscope Films (distributor) on FB
Read a review on NPR.org

Aug 19, 2010

Beautiful Day


You're on the road. But you've got no destination. You're in the mud. In the maze of her imagination. You love this town. Even if that doesn't ring true. You've been all over. And it's been all over you.
It's a beautiful day. Don't let it get away. It's a beautiful day.
(Love the idea of wearing this Skreend Beautiful Day t-shirt (U2's lyrics) and leaving everyone who sees me singing!)

Skreend, $26.99

Aug 18, 2010

Irish Theater Festival


So excited about the Irish Theater Festival in NYC from September 7—October 4. The annual festival, founded and coordinated by Origin Theater Group (Artistic Director, George Heslin), celebrates the work of 16 Irish playwrights this year at fifteen venues across New York City.
Productions will include Belinda McKeon's Graham and Frost; Darragh Martin's The Map of Lost Things; Ed Malone's solo, Three Irish Widows Versus the Rest of the World; writer/director Don Creedon's Guy Walks Into a Bar; a staged reading of Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf, and Broadway veteran Roderick Hill starring in Ron Hutchinson's Rat in the Skull. There's also a special panel discussion on Tuesday, September 28 at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Marking my calendar!

For more info, check out 1stIrish.org

Aug 17, 2010

Adebisi Shank's New Album


Today was the perfect day to listen to This is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank. See, I'm thoroughly knackered after a few days of running around pretending to be a wardrobe and makeup stylist on a very clever new pilot destined for fame and glory. There were highs (not finding the right t-shirt and deciding to make it myself), and lows (crying–then yelling "You'll never work in this business again!'—to the customer service rep at Shoebuy.com). More highs (adrenalin, eyebrows, humidity, and pitch of response/pace of heartbeat when an actor asked me—in front of the director—"do you think my hair should be up or down for this scene?"). More lows (accepting congratulations on the street from a passerby who thought I looked important, fallen arches—on my feet and crows feet, too, and reinventing Elmo as evil—a la Chucky—to entertain kids on set).
I kind of liked This is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank. At least, I kind of liked it today. See, today I'm all fired up but running on empty, and this forty-minute album of dizzying instrumentals was just the thing to shake me and wake me; it was also perfect backdrop for writing my Academy Awards acceptance speech. The album, created by three fellas from Wexford/outer space, is confusing, intriguing, experimental, and completely unlike anything I usually listen to. And, the one thing I've learned from the past few days is that it feels so good to throw yourself into something different.

Here's what much smarter people have to say about This is The Second Album Of A Band Called Adebisi Shank:
"Not a note is wasted from start to finish and we can guarantee you now that this will be there or there abouts come the end of the year plaudits. Most importantly, not only have Adebisi Shank upped their own game, they’ve set the bar for everybody else as well."
State.ie
 "It’s amazing how much a band can experiment with their own sound, at times creating a great big delightful mess while still delivering something coherent. There must be something in their water, and whatever it is I hope it’s there to stay, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything this exciting, enjoyable and grandly outlandish for a very long time."
Alter the Press
"Steeped in Japanese influence from the band’s three tours there ... it's a dizzying album of mostly instrumental music, not really a rock album as such, as the first album was. It’s more varied and sounds like nothing anybody else is doing anywhere. Vocoders, synths, marimbas, guitar riffs that would be comfortable soundtracking a level on a vintage platform game, big drums and even some ’80s basslines. Guests include Conor O’ Brien from Villagers who provides vocals on ‘Europa’ and Jape plays synths on the last track ‘Century City’."
Nialler9 
You can listen to the whole album for free right now on Nialler9.
 Stalk Adebisi Shank on Facebook and Twitter

Aug 11, 2010

His & Hers

Dying to see this film, His & Hers, by award-winning short film director Ken Wardrop.
"From kitchens, living rooms, and hallways across the Irish midlands, His & Hers delightfully combines observation and charm to tell a 90-year-old love story through the voices of 70 women. This intimate gender and cultural snapshot explores a woman’s relationships with the men in her life—father, boyfriend, husband, son. Following sequentially from little girl to old woman, each character portrait is woven with the others into one perfectly crafted cinematic quilt."



It's getting rave reviews at film festivals and across the blogosphere, and it's won awards, too, including the Audience award in the Dublin International Film Festival, The Feature Award in the Galway Film Fleadh, an IFTA for Best Feature Documentary and the Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2010, as well as Best Foreign Film at Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival.
RTE says, "You probably won't see a more thoughtful and touching documentary this year. The type of movie that has you leaving the cinema lost in your own mind, it really is a triumph, and deserving of the critical acclaim it has already received." From the Irish Independent review: "Funny, profound and lovely to look at, Wardrop's film presents a telling portrait of Irish womanhood that may turn out to be this year's best Irish film." Definitely seems like a must-see.

No news yet as to when this will be available on this side of the Atlantic, but I'll keep you posted.

HisandHers.ie
His & Hers on FB
 

Aug 5, 2010

Orla, But Not Really


I was just commenting to Mise the other day that I am weary of Orla Kiely's stem print. It's one of those designs that—if you hold your nose and block your tastebuds—is actually quite lovely, but it's been overexposed. In fact, it's ruined nature for me. 
But then, a while ago, I was checking in on my personal textile designer (well, I do own two of her "Colt" pillows), Heather Moore, of South-Africa based Skinny Laminx, and I saw her "Orla" stem print on tea-towels, pillows, and armchairs ... and I fell back in love with nature. The stem design is inspired by Orla Kiely, but the beautiful shades of lemon, olive, grey, black, and red, and the natural cotton and linen fabric, are less in-yo'-face. Makes me want to sing "Now, won't the real Stem Shady please stand up, please stand up, please stand up ..."


I need to get me to Brooklyn Flea market so I can find some poorly armchairs in need of a makeover, what-not-to-wear-360-mirror-and-all. Check out these makeovers from Skinny's blog:

 all images copyright Skinny Laminx
SkinnyLaminx blog
Skinny Laminx shop

Aug 4, 2010

You've Got (Fashionable) Mail


Loving these stylin' new stamps from An Post, depicting and celebrating the work of key Irish designers, Louise Kennedy, Orla Kiely, Lainey Keogh, John Rocha, Paul Costelloe, and Philip Treacy. Don't pretty stamps make you wish people would put pen to paper more often? I write to my grandmother at least once a month and sporadically to friends (usually prompted by pretty stationery),  but I wish I could/would make physical letters happen more often. Reminds me  ... I haven't received a letter from my grandmother in a while; I was worried she had mixed up my address, or that she'd ditched me for my brother in South Africa (juicier news for Bingo), but now I'm thinking she might be stressing which glamorous stamp to lick. Phew!

AnPost.ie

Aug 3, 2010

Orla Kiely Autumn 2010

August in New York is not pretty. It's sweaty bras, swampy subways, and stinky streets. It's also everyone who struggled with self-image issues in July finally accepting it's too late to get in shape for bathing-suit season, and just letting it all hang out on Coney Island beach. I used to blame the Fall fashion editorials for brainwashing me toward wools and tweeds when it's one hundred degrees outside, but this year I've decided it's the bare-ass ugliness of August that makes me yearn for Fall with all its rich fabrics ... and coverage. 
Sigh, I wish I could open my wardrobe on September 1st and find it filled with Orla Kiely's Autumn 2010 line. Bags, shoes, and even socks included. Double sigh. 



Kiely on Facebook