Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Adventures of the North Fork

What a hot, relaxing and delicious summer day in Long Island. Today my family and I adventured into the North Fork of Long Island making an emphasis on tantalizing our taste palettes and expanding our gastronomic experiences as well as doing some light sight seeing along our little road trip, of course of course.

Our first stop was at the most adorable, quaint, little sleepy-town road called 'Love Lane' (how fitting!) Stepping onto this road was like time traveling back to the fifties. There we decided to pop into a cheese shop cafe called 'The Village Cheese Shop', a small little shop that sells fine cheeses from around the world as well as little condiments and other cupboard goods such as Argentinean Dulce de Leche and Italian Biscotti, *I noticed that the French Baguettes were very popular amongst the customers..* ((Mental note: must go back and get some!)). I was also delighted to see that they had a selection of cheese crackers from 'The Fine Cheese Company' all the way from Walcot street back in Bath, UK, a cafe which friends and I use to go to for tea and sandwiches during my student years there..Sitting for a little while in the small conservatory we enjoyed croque monsieur and toasted baguette topped with sweet red peppers and salty anchovies, quiet refreshing for a hot summers day.

The Village Cheese Shop, Mattituck, NY

Our destination was Mill Creek Tavern and Winery to sit and picnic while watching the sunset over acres and acres of luscious vines! Continuing our little expedition, after having driven through fields of sunflowers and corn and spent some time walking along the beach overlooking Plum Island, it was time to make our next culinary pit stop to refuel with food to take for our picnic at the vinery. To fill our picnic basket we visited Brauns Seafood Company in Cutchogue, were we picked up crab salad, lobster rolls, manhattan clam chowder and a 2 pound lobster! Brauns Seafood Company is a mandatory experience if you are a sea food lover like myself! To its benefit it is located right near the Peconic bay, amidst fields and fields of green which make lunch or dinner there a very relaxing and pleasurable experience. Once we had stocked up with our goods, we were on the road again to Mill Creek Tavern, a pleasant little vinery located at the head of 30 acres of vines. We quickly settled down and enjoyed our food and Bedells first crush white wine - whilst ignoring the offensively loud cover band playing hits from the 60s and 70s. Eventually the quieted down and we were able to enjoy the twilight over the vines and the fireflies amongst the hydrangeas, a perfect summer evening.

View from the Mill Creek Tavern balcony

If your ever in the North Fork and have loads of free time on your hands, then I definitely suggest you check out these fantastic places, you wont regret it!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Young Love

It was a quiet and slow afternoon in Manhattan, Madison was in a hazy slumber and it seemed that the entire city was deep in a summer siesta...

For about a month now I have been helping out at a consignment store on Madison (which will remain un-named) which has served so far as an excellent centre-point in glass casing New York's finest characters. From my observation deck (the register) I have observed the odd old ladies with far too may hat pins, the trophy wives with a touch too much of botox, neurotic women with gay chihuahuas that reserve tables in the finest restaurants for themselves and their dogs and (my favorite), the occasional cross dresser that drags his mother along for her opinion on what dress would suit him best for his summer outings...A fine selection indeed! 

Work is always exciting, whether it is the clothing, the jewelry or the customers there is always something happening...but like I said, it was a lazy and quiet afternoon, I was settled in behind the register sipping on mint lemonade and working my way through J.D. Salinger's 'Franny and Zooey', convinced we weren't going to have any customers till closing time but alas the doorbell rang and a young couple came in. Grungy and sunburnt, she in her microfloral shorts and 'All Stars' - he all quiet with sea breeze hair, scruffy vans and Black Flag t-shirt. She was looking for "something long and pretty, something with flowers, something I could get married in" (!). This young couple, glowing with happiness, radiating with youth, music and literature - unconformed, scruffy and totally drunk on each-other - life through Super 8 glasses, curled up on the couch reading books, paintings and records leaning against walls, cutting each-other's hair, colorful cooking, that sort of thing - restored hope in me that love like love read in literature has not disappeared. I think thats a pretty good formula for a happy life - something thats completely missing in todays culture. They just really made my day and I really wanted to share it with whoever reads my blog. I wish them, wherever they are, a happy and pink life together!

For the rest of the day I had "Marry Me" by Suburban Kids With Biblical Names playing in my head...give it a listen and tell me how fitting it is!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Laughing Lotus is Good for the Soul

One of my favorite activities when lounging around the Hamptons (yar yar) is attending all the different Yoga classes that they have going on..I must admit, I don't go as often as I like but when I do manage to go it is totally rewarding. Up till now I have only really experienced very strict, disciplined and quite archaic yoga classes - which - isnt it ironic towards the ethics of yoga? ("...relax, be free with your body and soul etc...") have only managed to some how make me feel slightly self conscious about myself and my yoga practice...
But not until till today, attending the yoga class "Hips and Twists" at the Prevention Yoga Studio in Southampton, was something so refreshingly progressive that I cant wait to put on my leggings and get into downward dog again! Our yoga instructor, Dana Trixie Flynn (the source of all this excitement) of Laughing Lotus Yoga Centre back in NYC, sets a totally friendly and happy vibe that flows through the entire room, her selection of great reggae, ska and even hip hop (!?) could only emphasize the pleasure and enjoyment of the exercise! What I liked about it the most was that it was loud, colorful may I even dare to say sexy! (?). By the end of the session we were all flushed, drenched and smiling -actually giggling through our namaste's (!). 
Dana Trixie Flynn of Laughing Lotus

P. S. This yoga actually came close to good sex! I hope that sells it to you ;) ...

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Music Sessions: Eternal Summers I Heart You!

Eternal Summers

Last.fm's description of these guys is that they 'hail from heaven' - of which I completely agree. I was just looking over an article commenting on their album 'Silver' and how bands like Eternal Summers, Best Coast and other sunny, minimalist, female-fronted retro-post-punk bands are in a unannounced rivalry between each other. But its a shame really, I dont like thinking that my favorite bands are artistically struggling to overpower one another but are in fact all friends that hang out together in the same bookstores and coffee shops and ask each other for favours (if they can sow some buttons, or if they could use a cup of sugar..) But at the moment I'm finding myself totally in love with Eternal Summers.

With Nicole Yun on guitar and vocals and Daniel Cundiff on drums, they keep the essential jangly sounds such indie punk bands need. Maybe its Nicole's angsty yet vulnerable voice that makes me feel utterly girly when listening to them, or the tweeness of the simlicity of their melodies and rythyms but this band makes me feel all fuzzy inside. 

Eternal Summers - Pogo

I wish this band was around when I was 16. Its the kind of music you want to listen to when getting ready to go to a house party and you know the boy from art class you totally have a crush on will be there and all you need is their song 'Pogo' to boost your happiness. Eternal Summers makes me want to twirl around, and jump up and down on my bed in my pyjamas. Another favorite of mine, however not so dancy is 'lighswitch' from their album 'Eternal Summers', this is for after the party...after you've held the hand of the boy from art class that you are now in love with.

Eternal Summers - Lightswitch

Eternal Summers

Line Up : No Age - Athens, Greece

Have you not heard?!
If you havn't, then I'm proud to be the bearer of good news!
Two very lovely boys known for their band 'No Age' are visiting Athens, Greece all the way from sun soaked Los Angeles, California for a one night show - what a great way to bring on spring!

NO AGE live at SIX DOGS on Thursday the 28th of April! wee!!
((and what from what I found out; the tickets will be 17 euros))

Six Dogs
Αβραμιώτου 6-8, Μοναστηράκι

Buy Tickets @:
Ticket House, Rhythm Records

If your into west coast lo-fi punk and if you have not yet been acquainted with these kids then I suggest you lend them an ear and allow yourselves some acoustic enjoyment - and then get some tickets for the show because your guaranteed a great great night! I definetly recommend their album 'Nouns' & 'Everything in Between'!...Im about to give 'Weirdo Rippers' a listen...I shall be posting about it in the near future! But they are defintely worth checking out...

Dean & Randy of No Age : Whats in my bag? ((What a genius idea to get artists to pick out their favorite stuff! I discovered this on the official Amoeba website: http://www.amoeba.com/whats-in-my-bag/index.html#/page1 )) Check out what No Age picked out!

No Age

Saturday, 19 February 2011

M.I.A. - TAKES A MUSCLE ((Get Drenched In This!))

Having shamefully only just discovered M.I.A.'s relatively new release, having had it lingering for quite a good while on my ipod and having ignored my dear friend Anestis's glorifications and practically 'lectures' of how magical her new single is, I finally got around to listening to it yesterday on the train ride to downtown Athens.
I'm a big admirer of M.I.A.'s vivid jungle themes, the colour and the exotic tastes that transcend through her music. From her album 'Kala' I had personally singled out '$20', I cant ever get enough of it - I think the dragging beats, morphing melodies and not to mention MIAs in-your-face-attitude made me adore this song like no other on the album!'$20' held position no.1 for quite a while but all that ceased when I hit play on 'Takes A Muscle'..In a matter of minutes '$20' was bumped down to no.2 having been toppled of its thrown with a new song wearing the crown. 
I have specifically made playlists for my urban journeys in Athens, but yesterday I left those unsatisfied because I think I must have listened to 'Takes Some Muscle' for all my journey's worth of time. Within the first few seconds of listening to it I was surfacing through turquoise water of an exotic beach and enjoying a bicycle ride somewhere in the Carribbean- and not in a dingy, overcrowded wagon of a suburban railway train! From what I have deduced from her previous work, her sounds are mostly jungle influenced and slightly African-esque, with the humour of dubstep but 'Takes A Muscle' has reggae roots which are having a romance with electro. This song is the epitome of a perfect summer tune, perhaps a year late I can only say that this will be my summer song of 2011, for lazy moments at the beach, for balmy midnight summer drives, for mojitos out with friends somewhere in the city - this will be that song!! What I 'dig' most about this song, besides the music, is the lyrics themselves. M.I.A states "It takes a muscle to fall in love"..what I take away from his is that it needs strength and courage, it also takes a brave heart! And Im a total sucker for these kind of lyrics. 


So finally, I just wanted to say - thanks a million M.I.A. you brought me the sunshine and sea during a gray winter- the wait for summer will not be a difficult one now that I have this track...

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Lauri Faggioni...Toys come to life!*

As an only child growing up in the countryside, especially when I was young, I would turn to my toys and escape into childish adventures...sometimes into exotic jungles with tigers and lions, forests with bears and foxes, or under the deep blue sea with whales, jellyfishes and all the other mysterious creatures. It is not surprising that most of my childhood dreams are of my toys coming to life - velvet rabbits hopping around my ankles, patchwork puppies fetching falling stars, canvas teddybears with button eyes holding my hand with their paws..If this ever happened it would have been a small childhood fantasy come true!
Even now, i find myself digging up and saving old toys that I find in vintage markets or charity shops, because underneath the material, thread and stuffing Im sure there is a little heart that beats..and I simply cant resist!
Which brings me to my point..that there is another person, a fantastic artist, that shares the same exact feelings and thoughts as me are only difference is that she has brought these creatures to life!*Lauri Faggioni* I came across her work in a video clip of Devendra Banhart's 'A ribbon'. The video clip is a masterpiece, the adventures of a red ribbon traveling through nature and encountering animals and plants that all come to life in the presence of the ribbon. It is made with stop animation, hence how all the creatures are animated...in perfect harmony with Devendra's singing and music.
Lauri Faggioni's little creatures are also featured in Michel Gondry's 'Science of Sleep' where a young couple, experimenting with dreams, love and attempting to understand the complexities of a relationships - fuse reality and dreams together bringing in  all the fantastical world Lauri Faggioni has created.

Look at the birds! and the mushrooms! and the little swaying coral worms! and the curly jellyfish tentacles! its so so beautiful! One day I will show this to my children over and over again!

Devendra Banharts - A Ribbon (Nino Rojo)

 I want to live in the bright paper house*

Please check out her website!

Early Morning Thoughts*

Photo of Roses - ffffound.com

Amongst the paperwork I brought back from my university years in Bath, I came across a piece of paper that I had written down a thought last winter...This is was a reoccuring thought that followed me throughout my dewy morning walks to the bus stop on my daily travels to university. 
In my final year, I lived in a cottage with three dear friends of mine close to the city centre. A little further from our house was a small park where every morning and after sun fall (when I would return home) I would walk across. I would always come across a duck couple - I had suspicions that they were lovers in their previous life - But my thoughts while walking through this small square were not of love, or lovers (surprisingly!)...but of other things.
"I suppose its natural to be overwhelmed, almost to the verge of tears, whenever I see the sea in its natural...having grown up in a sea side country where the sea is the backbone of our Mediterranean nature and serves as every vessel in which we pour into it our love, rage, sadness, loneliness, laughter , every human memory, the sea has taken on a motherly figure for me. Now having found myself in England for the past four years, and only ever seeing the sea on my summer vacations back at home, the sea has become a hazy gray memory, shimmering somewhere in my mind...Enclosed in an urban environment and with my feet only ever touching anything but concrete, stone or asphalt, this makes me take joy in the little transitions that take place on my daily walk. The earth is coated with asphalt, and her attempts to breathe grow through the cracks of payments. Sometimes she is given freedom, patches of grass and mud known as parks. Hence the importance of the small park in my thoughts...I take great joy in the second my stride lifts off the asphalt and onto the soft damp breathe. At that moment I can breathe. What a private and solitary joy, that allows for the Mediterranean to come flushing back to me and for moments I can almost smell the sea..I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I am back beneath the waves, feeling the cradle  of the sea wrap around me. Ones experience with nature can surface ones true primal self..."

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky
USA, 2010
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel

Swans - ffffound.com

With Black Swan (2010), Darren Aronofsky has come to defining his own directorial style, and shows to be more refined in comparison to his previous films 'The Wrestler', 'Requiem for a Dream'. 
The film skillfully illustrates the constant fight of light and dark, good and evil, within the eternal strive for perfection, poetically embodied within the character of the ambitious ballerina.A prestigious and almost cut-throat ballet company is a fitting environment in which primal and carnal motives surface quickly. Nina Sayers, Natalie Portman, is picked by Vincent Cassel as the prima ballerina in which to play the swan queen. The film draws upon abstract notions of the classic ballet 'swan lake', but Aronofsky rather than focusing on the romance and tragic ending of the lovers, dwells upon the idea of good and bad being in constant turmoil and this can only cease in the freedom provided by death. Like the prince in the ballet of swan lake who chooses Odette to be his queen. In the classic version of the ballet Odette is betrayed by the evil witch Odile who masquerades as her in the flesh. Nina sayers finds herself in a similar situation but perhaps in a more abstract form finding her in competition with her replacement Lily, Mila Kunis, which only threatens her position as swan queen but also enhancing the pressure placed upon her to perfect her performance.
Perhaps cliched, I thought it quite clever that Aronofsky chooses to make Nina such a virginal and pure character- and quite Freudian to make Nina's mother so apparent and such an obstacle to her struggle for identity, aim and artistry. Its obvious that Nina must cut the umbilical cord that connects her to her mother and that also prevents her for experiencing and pain or emotion of which she can bring into her dance. As Nina becomes desperate to do so, so do we, and we share her frustration but we observe that it has become a sickness- and this sickness slowly takes over her body- with the appearance of dark feathers (evil taking over).  But like Odette, Nina has the same romantic and tragic ending. Her prince, Cassel, disbelieving of her talents and doubtful of her passion for her dance, in her final performance is finally entranced and recognizes her plight for magnificence. She achieves it, finding through pain (and consequently death) the balance to achieve perfection and love, becoming his 'little princess'. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and find Portman's performance worthy of a Golden Globe, (I have my fingers crossed for an Academy Award!)...

Tea Party

One of a series of small mono prints inspired by a 'Delphine of England' tea set I bought for only 32 pounds (!) in a closing down sale of a small antique shop in Canterbury, Kent. Ah, I do miss the antique shops and all the charity shops in the U.K. Such small little treasures and small trinkets waiting to be found!!!
I await spring to come and set up a tea party in the garden! Laden with fairy lights, tea candles, cakes,  sunset roses and Beirut responsible for our musical entertainment...This has been long overdue..

The perfect song to welcome the summer...

Music Sessions: Mountain Man - Made the Harbour

Mountain Man-Made the Harbour (2010)

Mountain Man is a folk trio that sprouts from Bennington, Vermont. Three girls with eerie, organic and with a-taint-of-ecclesiastical voices, with the accompaniment of soft melodies of acoustic guitars, take the listener for a road-trip around the Americas. Their synchronized singing, almost choir-like, and their girly howls that portray stories of summer rain, forests and Egyptians create a world of which their music becomes a solitary experience. I find myself dreaming of silver moons beaming over dark and quiet evergreen woods and all that can be visible from a distance are yellow car beams blinking now and again. I can almost smell the earth!
Their song 'Buffalo' that introduces the album takes me through blue corn fields that sways with summer winds, followed by the song 'Animal' that finds me photographing the cold pacific north west sea, all hazy gray...till finally their song 'How'm I Doin' makes me find myself driving along side train tracks somewhere in the southern states, burning under the sun, passing swamps and vines and rustic southern houses with hammocks on their porches.
Their is something archaic about this album, I believe it is the simplicity and naturalness of the girls voices as well as the wholesomeness of their lyrics. As mentioned before, these girls take you for a journey, but what it is even more rewarding is that by the end of the album they also take you back home...
I wish I had discovered this album before my trip to north America this past November.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Home Made *eataly*

Its a winter Sunday, time to relax, nestle between pillows and quilts on the couch..and what better more fitting meal to have than pasta?! I finally worked up the courage to experiment in freshly homemade farfalle..by making my own, a little bit odd, whole wheat butterflies the Italian way!

My Recipe:
450 g of white flour or whole wheat flour
1 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 eggs
5-6 tbsp of warm water

What to Do:
Sieve the flour onto a clean surface, add the salt - mix up
Make a little well in the flour, add eggs and olive oil (adding water if necessary)
Start folding everything together - be careful not to break the well or else the egg and oil will spill!
Keep kneading the mixture till it has become a lovely gooey ball of pasta dough
Let it rest for about 40 minutes
After having rested, fold into pasta machine on the biggest level, fold 3 times.
Repeat this while eventually working into the smallest level on the pasta machine to get a thin and even pasta sheet.
Once the pasta sheets are ready, cut squares and pinch them in the middle to get the required butterfly shape.
Let them rest a while till they are not so sticky anymore, boil them up in salted water and enjoy with your favorite topping!


Saturday, 8 January 2011

A Day In Whistable

Digging into my foundation portfolio I came across some studies made in printing class from pictures drawn from the day our class visited the sea side village of Whistable. I remember the fish smell, the gray sea and the quaint sea side shops and cafes..and the storm that followed all of this. Im glad I have these images to remember that day...and also how much I adored Patrick Wolf at the time!
 Block Ink, Printing Paper & Masking Tape

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Choose Your Icons

I mentioned during the summer, a personal art project to me, that began as a simple tantrum towards and almanac which my dear friend George had bought from a charity shop.In the art section of the almanac , in the list of Great Artists f the 20th century there no women artists mentioned...so it got me thinking...maybe the women that deserve to be listed are not there but they are certainly not forgotten. 
Athens is a city saturated with symbols and icons, of low culture, pop culture, underground, indie, art, cult, political and religious. Street sides become galleries of propaganda./advertising of modern culture, and unaware we are bombarded with gazillions of images that unfortunately offer us alot and yet we dont notice, or nothing and yet we look at them. Adding the two together (the story of the almanac and the icons in Athenian urban culture) I decided that what better way to remind people of the great ladies that have heavily affect the art world than by lacing them amongst all this. Lets add some variety shall we? Lets be able to choose our icons.

My first shrine is dedicated to Frida Kahlo. A woman who balances death, womanhood, love, life and art.

1st sketch of Frida, lead pencil. 

'Frida's Shrine', found images and some of my illustrations edited on photoshop.
Keep you eyes peeled for these lovely ladies...
the next one up makes vaginas look like flowers.