A rose by any other name would still be … squid

Flowers are pretty. They smell good (most of the time). They symbolize emotions like love, joy, and friendship. In aromatherapy the essential oils from flowers are used to promote health, wellness, and harmony. The same cannot be said for stomach of bull, duck tongues, deer eyelids, or chicken combs but somehow Heide Hatry brings out the beauty and emotion in these unlikely objects. I caught her exhibit “Not a Rose” at Stux Gallery this past weekend by happy chance. The photograph shown above caught my eye as I walked by in search of gelato. “What a gorgeous photograph of delicate blossoms,” thought I. Then I caught the caption, and I was hooked. There were maybe 40 photos on display, each one showcasing grotesque parts of animals shaped into lush, exotic, and gorgeous “flowers.” I had a huge smile on my face as I moved from print to print, equal parts amazed and delighted at Hatry’s ability to pull beauty out of what most people would think gross. To me she’s proving that beauty and art are truly everywhere and in everything, from a deer esophagus to a sliced sheep penis. Take a step back and her “flowers” are as gorgeous as anything found in nature. Take a step closer and find the beauty in the disturbing. Heide Hatry is a New York based artist from southern...

Best of 2012

Confession: I didn’t do a great job of staying on top of new music in 2012. There was a three-month miracle where we had a really good indie radio station in the NYC area but as quickly as it appeared it converted to sports radio. One evening I’m grooving to the Wombats, the next morning it’s two guys yelling about the Yankees. A few bands that stood out in 2012 (in my admittedly limited experience) are Atlas Genius, the Wombats, Grimes, and Azealia Banks. I was supposed to see Grimes but the show got cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. I was also supposed to see Azealia Banks but got in a car accident earlier that day and was soaking in a hot tub that night instead. Not really a stellar music year. However, 2012 is the year I met in person one of the members of my Holy Trinity: Kristin Hersh! Behold: She performed an all-acoustic night at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York in April. I was in bliss. First off, it’s a gorgeous space. Secondly, she was amazing in every way. She alternated reading from her book Rat Girl with performing songs and being utterly and smartly charming. She played a lot from her early Throwing Muses days, and I was so happy I was just about levitating off my chair. Fish, Hate My Way, Vicky’s Box, and so many more, all done with just her voice and her acoustic guitar. After the show she talked to every person lined up to meet her, including me. I was so starstruck when I met her that...

Southern Comfort

One of the many awesome songs played on the indie station here in Southern Virginia I grew up in what used to be a small-ish suburb1 called Newport News, tucked between Williamsburg and Norfolk, Virginia. I worked summers at Busch Gardens, exchanged mix tapes with friends, drove to Buckroe Beach, or Croatan, or down to Kill Devil Hills and Hatteras to watch the cute surfers, and led a life I judged completely boring. I left for college and never lived in Newport News again. I needed edge! I needed clubs and concerts and art and a city vibe! I needed black clothes and bad attitudes! So I eventually made my way to the New York City metro area. One thing leads to another and here I am several2 years later back in Newport News for a week-long holiday with my daughter. As we are approaching Newport News I’m flipping around the radio stations for something to listen to, and to my utter shock I hear Atlas Genius coming out of the speakers. The next song was something equally indie3 – Battleflag by Lo-Fidelity Allstars. And so was the next. Way to go, 96X! How unbelievably cool to have an indie station here, when there isn’t an indie station anywhere near NYC, a town where you can barely get tickets to shows before they sell out. I had told my Mom I wanted to catch a yoga class while I was in town, and her yoga instructor arranged for me to have a week-long free pass at her studio. So I rolled into town in time for the 5:00 class...

The Art of Scent at MAD is fascinating and fun

I had the serendipitous pleasure of catching The Art of Scent 1889-2012 at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York City a couple weeks ago. A friend and I were having lunch there (the museum hosts a sweet little restaurant called Robert’s that offers treats like parsnip and cherry sorbet1, and truffle grilled cheese sandwiches) and as we’re browsing the posters in the elevator I noticed one advertising the exhibit. I was, of course, immediately hooked just by the name. Instead of traveling back down to the lobby level after lunch we stopped at the 4th floor to see what the Art of Scent was all about. We walked into a white room with round indentations in the wall at about head level, each with a screen that would slowly phase in the name of a perfume, the year it was created, and the name of the creator. As you put your head into the indentation a puff of the fragrance would waft up at you. A little startling at first, but so cool. The artistry of the exhibit itself supported the idea of fragrance as art beautifully. What struck me most about this part of the exhibit was how fragrance has changed over the past 100+ years. The first fragrance featured is called Jicky, created by Aimé Guerlain in 1889. My friend and I hated the smell of it, which I can only describe as bitter grass. My favorite is Prada Amber, a fragrance I’d never smelled before that day. It was created in 2004 and is warm, sensual, and I’m guessing has some sandalwood...

Keeping New Year Resolutions

TV is wonderful. It has taught me about law and order, has tormented me with outrageously delicious food that I can’t smell or eat, and has shown me how to build, fix, or buy absolutely anything. TV recently even provided a brilliant idea from a personal trainer to the stars1 on how to keep that most popular of New Year Resolutions, getting in shape. She said most people keep that one for about three weeks before life gets in the way. Her advice: go to bed in your workout clothes, and wake up to energetic music that motivates you to move. As soon as you’re out of bed you’re halfway there! And by getting yourself moving around you’re that much closer to exercise. Music and Bacon as alarm clocks I know for myself that if I don’t have to remove cozy warm articles of clothing in exchange for freezing cold articles of clothing, a huge barrier is removed. I’d have to be careful with the music selection, however. It’s a delicate balancing act between motivating me to get out of bed at 6 a.m when it’s dark and cold, and skyrocketing me into a synth-y, Nicki Minaj-induced2 rage. In fact, I can’t think of a single song that would get me out of bed to exercise. I’m certainly open to suggestions because I can’t even imagine what that song would sound like. It would have to have persuasive lyrics, like “If you get out of bed I’ll make you a nutritious, healthy breakfast that involves bacon.” How badly do you want it? No matter what the resolution, or how...