Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Private Life of Plants (Part 2-6) - Growing

Navigating the Grocery Store: An Attempt to Eat Real Food on a Budget

Is it possible to make smart yet economical choices in a world where we must coexist with a $1 double cheeseburger? writer Lynn Okura attempts to heed the advice in the documentary Food, Inc. by eating locally, ethically and organically—oh, and on a budget.

A few years ago, an organic bakery opened up a just a couple of blocks from my apartment. I, for one, was baffled. Organic chicken I get. Organic tomatoes, sure. But organic cupcakes? The organic movement was getting a little too trendy for my taste, and I was finding it hard to grasp.

I'm still confused about organic frosting, but I've decided to educate myself. After seeing Michael Pollan on The Oprah Winfrey Show, my fiancé and I watched the documentary Food, Inc. together. It's smart, eye-opening and refreshing in that it doesn't feature a celebrity telling me the "cool" thing to eat. It also made us realize that a lot of what we have been consuming isn't really food. Low-wage labor and practices have made food more affordable, but not more nutritional. I've been living in a bubble, wherein the only thing that mattered about my food choices was how they would effect the size of my wallet and my thighs.

The truth about the way foods are grown and processed is something I'd avoided. I can't even handle the Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial, so watching a documentary about the animals I eat was not high on my to-do list.

The good news is that our food system is full of choices. I hope to make better decisions now, but I'll admit—I'm a little lost. Now that I've seen Food, Inc., I can't go back to the way I used to eat. I'm left to figure out how I to implement healthy foods into my already busy, budgeted lifestyle. Less processed foods! Free-range meats! Cage-free eggs!

My trip begins at my local grocery store, Dominick's. It's not a specialty store, just your regular ole grocery chain, similar to a Safeway, Food Emporium or Winn-Dixie. I went in with a few goals in mind:

•Buy less packaged, processed foods full of ingredients my grandma wouldn't recognize, as Pollan says. I never bothered to look at the ingredients before. Sure, I'd turn the box around, but it was always to look at the calories, fat and sometimes the carbohydrates. Maybe sodium. It's amazing what you find when you read the ingredients.

•Buy more fruits, vegetables and foods that are overall healthy, low in fat and nutritious.

•Buy free-range meats that do not contain antibiotics and hormones.

Up first: fruits and vegetables. I wasn't expecting to find much, but when I took the time to look, I found a good selection of organic produce. I've always assumed organic was more expensive and never bothered to price check. As it turns out, the organic bananas are 20 cents more than nonorganic bananas. Organic oranges, 40 cents more. Tomatoes, 50 cents. Celery,15 cents. We're talking small change here! Opting for organic is feeling really easy right now.

My best discovery is the apples. Regular Fuji apples (my favorite) are $1.99 per pound. The organic Fuji apples just so happen to be on sale—for the exact same price. Score! One point for me.

Blueberries are on Dr. Oz's anti-aging checklist for their antioxidants, and I've recently begun to eat them for breakfast mixed with yogurt and granola. I've been very pleased with this healthy new me—until I examined the label a little more closely. My blueberries hail from...Chile. So much for eating locally; minus one point for me. I live in Chicago, where there is still snow on the ground and no farmer's markets to visit until summer. I search the store in hope that I can find at least semi-local blueberries, but no dice. Confession: I bought them anyway.

Something to keep in mind: A printable list of produce worth buying organic based on pesticide contaminations levels.

Following the perimeter of the store, my next stop is the meat department. It starts off well. I pick up a package of ground turkey meat, clearly marked as organic: "No antibiotics ever administered, vegetarian feed, humanely raised and no growth hormones." Sounds good to me, and at $4.49 per pound, it's only $1 more than the nonorganic ground turkey.

Chicken is up next, and it's a moral minefield. A package of brand-name chicken is on sale for $2.99 per pound. The organic chicken, stating "no antibiotics, free range, vegetarian feed and no hormones added" is $8.99 per pound. Triple the price!

My thrifty side is panicking, but I can't bring myself to buy the cheap chicken—I think Food, Inc. has changed my taste buds. (It could be the guilt.) My solution: I buy neither. By no means am I turning vegetarian, but I'm starting to think I don't need to eat as much meat as I have been in the past—a shocking concept for me.

I stay away. For this week, my budget isn't going to allow for grass-fed steak, and I'm okay with that.

I'm happy to see my grocery store carries three options of cage-free eggs. The most expensive dozen stands out with its "USDA approved" label, but the other cartons use the exact same cage-free, no-hormone wording. None claim to be free farmed, which would have been ideal. As I'm standing in the refrigerated section for far too long, a couple comes up next to me. They are also looking for cage-free eggs, but clearly aren't willing to spend 10 minutes thinking about it. "Let's just pick one," he says. "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe." I notice they pick the cheapest cage-free dozen, and I grab the same. At least they have a system.

Packaged Goods and Pasta
Chips, crackers and other packaged snack foods are always in my cupboards. They're convenient, delicious and there is a low-fat version of every chip, cracker or cookie I could ever want. I'm beginning to realize that equating low fat (and nothing else) with health has been my problem. In my attempts to eat healthy, I wonder if I've been doing just the opposite.

I consider weaning myself off packaged products altogether and eating leafy greens between meals. I'm curious how much money I would save if I stopped stocking my shelves with these products. Two seconds later, I'm back to reality and looking for a box of crackers to snack on. My goal is to find a reasonably low-calorie snack that doesn't list "partially hydrogenated oil" as an ingredient. This proves to be difficult, but I eventually find a box of organic roasted garlic and rosemary crackers that I conclude to be a relatively guilt-less snack.

Wheeling my cart over to the pasta aisle, I find that organic whole wheat pasta is on sale. It's even slightly less expensive than the regular kind, believe it or not. Whole wheat pasta with sautéed spinach, mushrooms, garlic and olive oil is one of my favorite (and easiest) meals to make.

The Frozen Food Aisle
Something tells me I'm not going to have much luck with the microwaveable meals that I've relied on in the past, so I head over to the veggie burgers and meatless meals. As with everything else, I read the backs of the packages and find that some brands seem have more questionable ingredients than others. I've tried many meat-free options in the past and have recently found a brand I love called Dr. Praeger's. The veggie burgers are loaded with vegetables and only ingredients I recognize. I'm a big fan of the taste and hope I've found an inexpensive, healthy staple to my diet.

Moving on to milk, the price difference between organic and nonorganic is obvious—a gallon of fat-free organic milk is $5.99, while regular fat-free milk is $2.49. What's more, the organic nonfat yogurt I buy is exactly double the price of the nonorganic, which is on sale. As I'm reading the labels, I notice the vanilla yogurt has a whopping 26 grams of sugar per cup, while the plain has only 9 grams. I put the vanilla down and pat myself on the back for noticing.

My fridge is already stocked with cheese (my weakness) but I still want to examine the packages. Some of the ingredients in the processed cheeses I have been eating worry me. I'm going to have to find a middle ground between low-fat, processed cheese and high-fat, organic cheese. I fear the answer may be to eat less cheese.

Drinks, Soft Drinks and Juices
I skip this aisle completely. You know what's cheap? Water. A year ago, my sister and I decided that we would stop buying all drink products, other than milk. Drinking water saves me about $25 a month, or $300 a year.

It's more than two hours later, and my cart isn't very full. I didn't spend much, but it's probably because most of what I picked up went back onto the shelf. When all was said and done, I spent $47.19 on foods that were mainly organic, or at least "real" food. Had I dismissed the challenge and gone the cheapest route on my items, I could have saved $5.39. Significant? No. Over time? Yes, but I'm hoping to look for ways to save elsewhere.

Shopping for real food is confusing and time consuming...but, ultimately, rewarding. I'm still new at this, and I'm not going to be perfect, but I'm willing to readjust my habits and look for food that has a positive impact on my health, the planet and the people who work to produce it. I still love cheeseburgers, my mom's meatloaf and hot dogs at baseball games, but if I can make better choices most of the time, I can justify an indulgence every once in a while, right?

How do you think Lynn did at the grocery store? Read Food & Water Watch's critique of her shopping experience. Have you changed your shopping habits after watching Food, Inc.? Share your comments and tips for navigating the grocery store below.

By Lynn Okura

Sex with the Ex...

When you’re newly single, or simply going through a dry spell, your basic human needs can override your common sense. Once your guard is down and you’re feeling vulnerable, you’re more likely to make big personal mistakes, like having sex with your ex. Here’s how to keep it from happening.

How it Happens

On paper, practically everyone knows it’s not a good idea to go back to the source of your pain. You split up from your ex for a reason. Maybe they cheated on you, treated you badly, or perhaps your personalities and aspirations were completely out of sync. You know what you don’t like about them, and you’re fairly certain it hasn’t a chance of working out. However, that’s on paper, out in the flesh-and-blood world, it’s far easier to gloss over the facts.

The problems can start when you get a little distance from the relationship. Suddenly the details of your split become something of a blur. You can remember a vague dissatisfaction, maybe even some specific events, but was it really that bad? Did you give them enough of a chance? Were you in some way to blame yourself? Perhaps you’d have been tempted to have an affair with your best friend under the circumstances too?

Of course you wouldn’t, but when you’ve created distance from your ex, it’s easy to start rewriting the past. Suddenly, the idea of having sex with them again seems comforting. Add in a hint of loneliness and you have the beginnings of a recipe that when fully cooked is going to be nothing but bad for you. Suddenly you’re short of a partner to see that new blockbuster with, or you’ve no one to try out that romantic new restaurant or spend the holidays with. It’s when you’re at your most vulnerable that intimacy with an ex doesn’t seem that bad.

Perhaps you’ve moved on to a newfound love and you’re just not feeling it, you’re not clicking like you did with your ex. Maybe you haven’t found your rhythm together. It can be enough to make you want to reach out for the familiar, who knows what you like and don’t like.

It’s all completely understandable, and it’s in these moments of weakness that we’re most likely to hit the redial button on a number we should have deleted. After all, it can’t be that bad, can it?

Why it's Bad

Actually, it can be that bad. While it’s not unheard of for couples to reconcile after taking a break, more often than not it leads to a cycle of break-ups and get-back-togethers that delay the inevitable – and it often starts with sex.

Maybe you’ll convince yourself you’re not getting back together again, that it’s “just” sex – you can handle that. You’re a person with needs, desires, and the quick fix you’re looking for is just a phone call away. Why shouldn’t you?

Well, for former couples, sex is rarely that uncomplicated. It’s loaded with issues, promises, hopes, fears, and a first step back into a relationship you were once clear you no longer wanted. Having sex with someone is an incredibly intimate thing, and it’s bound to open up the wounds of your relationship. Maybe you can handle it and they can’t. Maybe it’s the other way round. Either way, it can lead to a breeding ground of anxiety.

It will also stop you from genuinely being able to move on. While you’ve still got such intimate links to your ex, how are you expecting to make a real connection with someone new? It just doesn’t leave you emotionally available.

And what message does it send to your ex? That you’re willing to accept their bad behavior? That you’re sorry you broke up? That they’re your only option? You’re worth more than that. Before you waste all of your good years backsliding, you’ll need to find a way to move forward.

How to Prevent It

First of all, you need a healthy cooling off period. When a relationship ends, with each passing week there’s a little more peace and hopefully more clarity. Of course you’re going to miss them when it’s raw and when the dynamic you’ve created is broken. This is when you need to be strong. Set yourself goals. Mark in a calendar the very earliest that you’ll be OK to contact them. Make it at least two months, enough time to at least have begun establishing a new life without them.

Then think about changing the scenery. You know the places you went together, or the places they’re likely to go on their own. Make a strong and determined effort to go elsewhere. If you need some support, round up some old friends. Yes, they may be put out that you didn’t get in touch as much when you were dating, but that’s life … they’ll get over it.

Throw yourself into distracting activities. Take that language class you promised yourself. Head out to Europe like you always wanted to. Break your patterns, and delete their number from your phones. Plan the "event" holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving in advance and spend them with friends and family.

And if you’re not clicking intimately with your new love, work on it rather that running back to your ex, and give it the time to find its own rhythm

“Skin Fruit,” the New Museum’s show curated by Jeff Koons, highlights the cracks in the institution.

By Jerry Saltz

If I were the New Museum, I’d have whiplash by now. Since opening its spiffy new Bowery building in 2007, the place has gone from being champion of the underdog and advocate of the experimental to starstruck promoter of A-list artists and international cool hunter. With “Skin Fruit: Selections From the Dakis Joannou Collection,” curated by the artist Jeff Koons, this much beloved yet deeply frustrating institution has crossed some invisible line, its already-thin credibility stretched to the breaking point.

“Skin Fruit” is a shapeless amalgam of big names, big dicks, and big price tags, crowded into too little space. Koons’s intention in taking these 83 works from the star collector Joannou’s huge trove was, he said, to choose art that deals with “a vocabulary that people can respond to.” Based on the art he’s chosen, I interpret that language to be big, brash, and bold. Though the title is explained only obliquely, the erotic content suggests it might be Koons’s way of taking “skin flute,” the slang term for phallus, and feminizing it, making it more suggestive, juicier. But trying to think like Koons is almost an oxymoron. And the overwhelming impression I came away with was, Wow, these two guys are really sick puppies. They’ve got sex, shit, birth, and death on the brain. Maybe we all do. But the work displayed here is especially aggressive, and short on nuance, subtlety, and seduction. Perhaps to the New Museum’s credit, much of it would never be shown in any other major New York museum. It’s hard to imagine Kiki Smith’s life-size sculpture of a man performing autofellatio displayed in MoMA’s atrium, for example. Or Pawel Althamer’s live crucifixion reenactment at the Whitney. The sheer amount of transgressiveness, at least, brings a bracing real-life quality of grit and truthfulness to the show. It’s also in keeping with the museum’s stated aim, “to support new art … not yet familiar to mainstream audiences.” There’s plenty of work here that people outside the community of specialists and aficionados don’t often get to see.

The art world has not embraced the show (to put it mildly), and here’s why. In playing to its largest audience to date, the New Museum is not only pandering, but trying to trump the competition with the undeclared game of “collect the collector.” At the show’s core is a distorted and depressing reality: Joannou’s collection is drawn from a tiny slice of the art world—the superrich, the super-hyped and the supermale. (Barely a quarter of the work is by women.) It includes far too many famous artists who sell to major collectors for vast sums. It’s a history of the winners of one particular game—a narrative that’s simultaneously blinkered, elitist, and annoying.

What especially irks me is that the curating tells us more about Koons than it does about contemporary art, and he says it better in his own work. On his own, he takes sex into strangely decorative, materially obsessive, convoluted, and psychotic directions: A bouquet of flowers is all about vulvas and desire and much more. A lot of the art he selected here is less nuanced, simply body-obsessed and often heavy-handed. Koons has said that he “tried to choose iconic pieces … works that seemed to have a really strong voice.” He succeeds occasionally, like when he plays with monumentalism (size apparently does matter). The standoff between Charles Ray’s bizarre eight-foot businesswoman and Liza Lou’s beaded sculpture of a gun-toting Pam Grier enacts Koons’s idea of a psycho-sculptural race war. (Another terrific Ray piece nearby, Revolution Counter-Revolution, is a carousel rigged so it appears to be going backwards and forwards at once.) Roberto Cuoghi’s nineteen-foot Assyrian-Babylonian god and David Altmejd’s mixed-media The Giant—an overscale naked man with squirrels nesting in his limbs—reign, alternately threatening and chimerical, over their respective rooms.

There’s another theme of terror, foreboding, and paranoia. Cady Noland’s 1989 figure of Lee Harvey Oswald, tucked away in a staircase nook, should be installed on the Mall in Washington, a haunting monument to what William Burroughs called “the evil … there waiting” in America. Maurizio Cattelan’s shrouded marble bodies lined up on one floor constitute a chilling allegory to both fear and history, and are made all the more eerie by a nearby Tino Sehgal performance in which a singer intones “This is propaganda, you know you know, this is propaganda.” The room becomes a morgue with a manic mourner. And Robert Gober’s uncanny, surreal paired installation, Highway and Two Spread Legs, in which mannequin legs stick out of a wall papered with cartoon roads, implies how alive museums can be.

But, overall, there’s too much junk: Matt Greene’s amateurish paintings, and sculptures by Takashi Murakami, Paul McCarthy, and Tim Noble and Sue Webster. And what is lacking throughout is a coherent vision.

I hope “Skin Fruit” is the final scene of the New Museum’s uneven first act in its new building. For two years, the institution has emphasized cheek, playing to the obsolete mind-set of “Love it. Hate it. See it!” It’s time to change the formula. Shock value, savvy, and being adversarial are fine if they are backed up by credibility and vision. Too many shows here have lacked both.

In rotation..

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Here is new NISSAN LEAF which claims to be 0 EMISSIONS.


Tom Ford on Marketing’s G Spot

Sex on the Brain

The key to a great sex life is a healthy brain, according to psychiatrist and brain imaging specialist Dr. Daniel Amen. Having accumulated a database of over 36,000 brain scans taken over the past 15 years, Dr. Amen says the way the brain looks and functions says a lot about the way a person will behave.

In his book Sex on the Brain: 12 Lessons to Enhance Your Love Life, Dr. Amen reveals how to use practical brain science to enhance your sex life and your relationships. Here are just a few of his findings:

•The brain is the largest sex organ in the body, Dr. Amen says.

•Brain health and brain illness have a powerful affect on sexuality. "When your brain works right, you work right," he says. "You can be loving, thoughtful, attentive, consistent, romantic, playful."

•There are many "brain issues" that get in the way of great sex, such as Attention Deficit Disorder and depression. Treating these issues can enhance our ability to connect with others and perform sexually, Dr. Amen says. He recommends omega-3 fatty acids in the form of fish oil, exercise and l-tyrosine (the amino acid building block for the neurotransmitter dopamine) for increasing the activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, thereby diminishing these conditions.

•Changing the way you think about a problem can change your brain scan, hence your brain function. "If you focus on five things you're grateful for every day, you're going to have a lot less problems with depression," Dr. Amen says, "And depression is a huge turn off when it comes to sex."

•Male and female brains are different. Understanding these differences is critical to a healthy sex life, Dr. Amen says.

•According to Dr. Amen, women need to ask for what they want sexually, and must teach their men through repetition, practice and good coaching.

•A foot rub really is foreplay. "What a lot of people don't know is that the foot area in the brain—the area of your brain that feels your feet—is right next door to the area of the brain that feels your genitals," Dr. Amen explains.

•There are real aphrodisiacs, Dr. Amen says, and it's all about blood flow. Dr. Amen says he uses Asian ginseng, gingko biloba and L-arginine, all of which boost blood flow to the brain. On the flipside, Dr. Amen says anything that decreases blood flow to your brain decreases it to your genitals, including caffeine, nicotine and a lack of sleep. In addition, Dr. Amen says some natural aphrodisiacs for men are cooked cinnamon, pumpkin pie, donuts, lavender, cheese pizza and roast beef. He says baby powder works well for women.

Michael Rosenfeld, Co - Founder Of CAA, Dies

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Michael Rosenfeld, a founding partner at Creative Artists Agency who shaped such showbiz classics as "West Side Story," "Mary Poppins" and "Rich Man, Poor Man," died March 25 of respiratory failure in Los Angeles after a long illness. He was 75.

Rosenfeld, whose son Michael Rosenfeld and daughter-in-law Sonya Rosenfeld have followed in his footsteps at CAA, played a huge role in the growth and success of the Hollywood talent agency. He started the firm's literary department, developing relationships with two giants in the field, Mort Janklow and Sterling Lord, before leaving in the early 1980s for a career as a producer.

A Philadelphia native with a talent for music, Rosenfeld began in the mailroom at William Morris in 1957, then moved to the firm's Los Angeles office in 1959. He co-founded CAA with Bill Haber, Ron Meyer, Michael Ovitz and Rowland Perkins in 1975.

Rosenfeld represented Rita Moreno and George Chakiris and secured their roles in the 1961 film version of "West Side Story," for which they both won Oscars (the film took home a staggering 10 trophies). He also persuaded Disney to cast Dick Van Dyke in his iconic role in "Mary Poppins" (1964); the film was nominated for 13 Oscars and won five.

Rosenfeld also represented William Link and Richard Levinson, the creative team behind TV hits "Columbo," "Mannix" and "Murder, She Wrote," and sold the first miniseries, "Rich Man, Poor Man" (1976), to ABC (that project collected four Emmys and 23 noms). He also brought together the creative elements for MGM's musical hit "Fame" (1980).

Rosenfeld also represented Marlo Thomas, Joanne Woodward, Ann-Margret, Eva Marie Saint and Dyan Cannon, among others.

After leaving CAA, Rosenfeld produced the skateboard cult classic "Thrashin'" (1986) and "Flowers in the Attic" (1987). He also produced the 1984 miniseries "Fatal Vision," which won an Emmy for actor Karl Malden, and the 1989 telefilm "The Case of the Hillside Stranglers."

Rosenfeld was born June 28, 1934, to Maxwell Rosenfeld, a Pennsylvania state senator, and Edith Rosenfeld Ginsburg. At 11, he appeared on the "Horn and Hardart Children's Hour" playing the guitar, and began composing music at 16, first at Lower Merion High School in Philadelphia and then at Penn State.

In addition to Michael and Sonya -- who both have a hand in literary work at CAA -- Rosenfeld is survived by his sons Maxwell and Jackson; his daughter Molly; his daughter-in-law Glenele; his grandchildren Casey, Willy and Hannah; and his aunt, Gertrude Mandell.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. April 8 at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the CAA Foundation.

How to make it in America Episode 7

In rotation..

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Eyes Have It

Here’s good news for people easily tongue-tied in social situations: Those who study human communication for a living estimate that only about 10 percent of the information we exchange with each other is verbal.

That’s one part words and nine parts ... something else. Tone of voice and inflection play a role, but the lion’s share of communicating is accomplished through body language.
Yet don’t let that fool you into thinking all parts of the body contribute equally. One feature alone counts for more than all the rest combined -- the eyes. Whatever color, shape, or size they are, the eyes speak volumes about what moves you emotionally, holds your attention, draws your interest, and sparks your desire.

Psychologist Alan Loy McGinnis wrote: “Watch any pair of lovers in a restaurant. There can be an awesome exchange of energy with the use of their eyes. All our talk about erogenous zones and sex organs neglects one of the most powerful organs of all -- the eyes ... the people who follow you with their eyes, who look intently into your face, are hard to resist. Studies show that if you hold another’s gaze for only two seconds longer than normal, you have given a clear signal of interest.”1

If you want to communicate something about yourself to a person you’ve just met, be careful with your eyes -- and turn unconscious and unintentional speech into poetry.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

Be aware of what your eyes reveal. Most people don’t give much thought to what their eyes are communicating -- but they should. For instance, it is a sure sign of low self-esteem or fear when someone reflexively averts their eyes and looks downward. This is significant since confidence is one of the top attractors between members of the opposite sex, and most people are justifiably wary of fearful people -- we wonder what kind of emotional baggage they’re lugging around. But the good news is that your eyes can also convey solid self-confidence, emotional depth, and genuine interest in another person.

Look, don’t stare. Now that you know your eyes do a lot of talking, it may be tempting to “speak up” by using them forcefully. Don’t try. Most people agree that being the object of someone’s piercing gaze is unnerving at best. Coming from a relative stranger, it is downright creepy. Staring is a taboo invasion of private space and is frequently an intentional tactic to intimidate others. Staring can also signal overeagerness, which is always a turn-off. Eye contact is a necessary and helpful part of social interaction, but just remember: there is a fine balance between connecting visually with a date and engaging in a stare-down contest.

Eyes front! You might say, “Okay, I won’t stare. But once a regular conversation starts, I don’t have to think about all that eye language stuff, right?” Wrong. Even after words enter the picture, your eyes have a vital role in whether you have an awkward chat or a promising personal exchange. Fortunately, the rules for success are simple: When listening to your partner talk, keep your eyes on him or her. Act as if your date is the only other person in the room or, better yet, in the world. With your eyes, you will communicate one of two things: “I care about you and what you think” or “I am only biding my time till someone better comes along.” Which message you convey is up to you.

Next, when speaking to your partner, look away every now and then. But be aware of where your gaze lands. Looking over someone’s shoulder or at the people at the next table is a sign that you’re distracted or disinterested. To create safe space for your listener, glance briefly away -- at the coffee mug or plate in front of you -- to release the pressure in a reassuring way.

Eyes are a human being’s most memorable and expressive feature. To attract and honor the partner you seek, use yours well.

Karlie Kloss Now Sexy, Greasy

Model Karlie Kloss, who is only 17, usually sticks to G or PG-rated work. But in the latest issue of Numero she greased up and posed in sexy outfits, with cleavage and some pretty intense bottom side boob. Her 18th birthday is on August 3. []

By: Amy Odell

As Predicted, Terry Richardson’s Scandal Hasn’t Seemed to Hurt His Employment

After allegations of Terry Richardson's sexual misconduct on shoots surfaced, fashion insiders predicted that no one who regularly employs him would care enough to not hire him. And it looks like, from the shots of Carine Roitfeld and Lara Stone he posted to his blog Terry's Diary, he just did a shoot for French Vogue. He also recently shot Doutzen Kroes on a beach in Miami for American Vogue. One hardly needs to invoke Lindsay Lohan and Kate Moss to know fashion loves the scandalized. [Fashionologie, Coutorture, Terry's Diary]

By: Amy Odell

Did Scarlett Johansson Opt Out of a Russian Accent in Iron Man 2?

From her Brantley-acclaimed stint in Broadway's A View From the Bridge to a pair of non-embarrassing albums, Scarlett Johansson has proven herself capable of many things — but was a Russian accent too tricky? During Saturday night's Kids' Choice Awards, Paramount debuted this TV ad for May 7's Iron Man 2 in which Johansson's character, the evil Stalingrad-born Black Widow (née Natasha Romanoff), finally says something. She speaks only one quick line, and we might be missing something, but we don't hear a Russian accent. Actually, it sounds a little like a North Dakotan one, which isn't very villainous at all.

Black Widow Finally Says Something In 'Iron Man 2' TV Spot [Playlist]

By: Lane Brown

Backstage of Madonna for Louis Vuitton Campaign & Marc Jacobs Interview

Lupe Fiasco on Carson Daly - Watch this

Lupe Fiasco: 2009 USA Network Character Approved Award Winner - I know it's old but, I just saw this...

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Tom Ford Tells Tina Brown About His Midlife Crisis

Nardwuar vs. Lady Gaga

French Elle Devoted the April Issue to Plus-size Models

French Elle got a lot of attention abut a year ago for their covers with unretouched images of celebrities wearing no makeup. The April issue is bound to draw plenty of attention as well. It features plus-size model Tara Lynn on the cover and in a roughly twenty-page spread inside the magazine. On the cover she wears clothes, but for the expository shot in the spread she doesn't.

We've asked this question before, but we'll ask it again: Why must so many magazines shoot plus-size models naked? The photos of Lynn that follow in this spread depict her wearing clothes, as she should since this is a fashion magazine, with presumably an aim to show women how to dress. When fashion decided to make the hottest models the skinniest girls they could find, they didn't shoot them naked to flaunt their protruding rib cages. Why must it be different now?

It's nice to see fuller and more diverse figures in fashion media, but it would be even better to see a true mix of sizes. Plus-size, skinny-but-not-sickly, and everything in between. See the full French Elle spread here.

By: Amy Odell

Karl Lagerfeld Shooting the Chanel Campaign From a Crane Lift

By Amy Odell

Karl Lagerfeld breezed into town this week to shoot the fall Chanel campaign on the streets of downtown Manhattan. He had lunch with André Leon Talley at the Mercer, and shot his models on the streets of Soho and the Lower East Side. In the latter neighborhood he put Abbey Lee Kershaw and Freja Beha on a fire escape and shot them from a crane lift, cherry-picking style. See photos — and video! — of his recent frolics in the slideshow.


Stussy - J Dilla Documentary Prt3 (of 3) from Stussy on Vimeo.

Friday, March 26, 2010




Thursday, March 25, 2010

In rotation..

John Waite - Missing You
Uploaded by jpdc11. - See the latest featured music videos.

Inside "The Male Brain"

From dating and commitment to sex and love, Author Louann Brizendine, M.D. tackles your tough questions as she takes us inside the male brain

Just as her hotly-awaited new book 'The Male Brain' is released ( March 23), we sat down with author and expert Louann Brizendine, M.D. to learn all about what goes on inside that head of his -- literally!

1. What are the biggest differences between male and female brains?

If you’ve ever wondered why it seems like all the guys you’re dating think about is sex, you might be surprised to find out that in some ways they can’t help it. The brain develops an area in the hypothalamus called the area for sexual pursuit, which is 2.5 times larger in males than in females. And the fuel that runs sexual desire is testosterone, which men have 10 times more of than women. Those are just two of the biggest differences (See #4 for more details!).

2. Do you feel that one sex is superior to the other in their physiological makeup?

Both sexes have been designed to be more alike than different -- after all, we are the same species. But when it comes to the brain, it’s clear that there are some things that men are predisposed to do better and some things that women are typically better at. For example, if you’ve ever wondered why guys want to fix your problems -- instead of hearing you out the way your girlfriends do -- the answer may be in their brain circuits. When a man hears a woman in distress about a problem at work or the fight she had with her sister, he races to solve her problem. So when you tell a guy why you’re upset, an area of his brain called the TPJ quickly takes over. As soon as he thinks he understands the problem, he stops listening to you and starts proposing solutions.

When a female hears someone describe an emotionally distressing situation, she continues to listen and empathize and may or may not offer solutions. Both of these brain responses are important for helping the person deal with the situation, and I wouldn’t call one better than the other. The better you understand each other’s brains, the better you can relate to each other and appreciate your differences.

3. Can you explain why men fear commitment -- is there a hormonal connection?

I’m not convinced that men fear commitment more than women do. I think it’s more about men’s innate desire for variety. Studies show that when men and women in their twenties are asked how many sexual partners they want to have in their lifetime, men say 10-20 and women say 1-2. Evolutionary biologists believe this is because males can spread their seed without the consequences of pregnancy and caring for helpless infants, whereas females need to choose one mate who will help provide for and protect her and the children.

4. Do men really think about sex more than women do? If so, why?

Both men and women think about sex a lot. But the male brain’s visual system and sex-drive system are set by default to the “on” position, whereas the female’s may take a little longer to get going. It goes back to two of the differences between the male and female brain. His sexual pursuit area is 2.5 times larger than hers and makes 10 times the fuel that runs sexual desire -- testosterone. So, if the guy you’re out with seems like he’s got only one thing on his mind, now you know why. But just because he’s likely to want sex before you feel ready, that doesn’t make him a bad guy. But it also doesn’t mean you have to follow his lead. If you want to take things slower, tell him.

5. Can you talk about emotional closeness, and what this means to both sexes?

Men say they know “she loves me” because “she wants to have sex with me”; women say they know “he loves me” because “he wants to talk to me.” Couples who come to my office because of a difference in the desire for sex are often shocked when they hear these words come from their partner’s mouth.

6. What is the best way to communicate to a man effectively?

It depends on what you hope to achieve. If a female wants intimacy with her partner, she should be flirtatious and wear sexy clothing. On the other hand, if she wants to have a long talk about their relationship, she should have sex with him first -- to reassure him and make him feel safe -- and then suggest they go for a walk or a drive where she can bring up the topic while sitting or walking side-by-side with him rather than face-to-face.

7. What is something you learned through your research of men that has helped you in relationships with them?

I learned that men sometimes have a stronger emotional response than women do, but are usually much better at hiding their true feelings. The male brain also has larger anger-aggression circuits and a more competitive streak. Testosterone stimulates aggression, strength, and sex drive in men, so we can’t expect men to think and act like they have female brains, any more than they can expect us to act like we have male brains. The thing to remember is that, basically, men and women both want love, respect and gratitude.

8. How can we take our physiological differences in terms of brain structure and activity and make them work for us when trying to communicate with the opposite sex?

This answer could be an entire book! But the main thing to remember is that both sexes want to understand the other. It’s not as easy as we wish it could be but the stories of couples in 'The Male Brain' provide good examples of what works and what doesn’t.

'The Male Brain' is in stores now! Visit Dr. Louann Brizendine's Facebook, Twitter and official website for more information.

About the Author:

Louann Brizendine, M.D., a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the National Board of Medical Examiners, is clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF. She is founder and director of the Women's Mood and Hormone Clinic and the Teen Girl Mood and Hormone Clinic. After receiving her medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, she completed an internship in medicine and neurology at Harvard Medical School's Brigham and Women's Hospital, and a residency in psychiatry at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center of Harvard Medical School. She sits on the boards of many prestigious peer reviewed journals and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.




Here is a picture of the city that I found last week after the earthquake. It got me thinking about what people imagine the future of the LA will be like. If anyone else has any cool links about Los Angeles in the future, please send.

Here are some links about the LOS ANGELES of the future:





At Newsweek, Have Women Really Come So Far?

In this week's New York, writer Nora Ephron recounts her first experiences in New York, a city that her words would eventually bring to life for people all over the world. (Her essay, along with ones by Colum McCann and Parker Posey, is part of an excerpt of New York's latest book, My First New York, out tomorrow.) In Ephron's essay, she describes how she landed her first job in the city, at Newsweek.

At the Newsweek interview, I said I hoped to become a writer, and the man who interviewed me assured me that women weren’t writers at Newsweek. It would never have crossed my mind to object or to say, “You’re going to turn out to be wrong about me.” It was a given in those days that if you were a woman and you wanted to do certain things, you were going to have to be the exception to the rule. I was hired as a mail girl, for $55 a week.

This was in 1962, and Ephron wasn't alone. Throughout the sixties, women felt they were being held back at Newsweek. In 1970, a group of them, nicknamed the "dollies" by their male bosses, filed suit against the magazine. That year, 46 women at the newsmagazine became the first group of women in media to sue for employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This week, Newsweek also takes a look back at that time, in a story written by three of their young women writers, who note that though the magazine has come far, there seems to still be a long way to go:

No one would dare say today that "women don't write here," as the NEWSWEEK women were told 40 years ago. But men wrote all but six of NEWSWEEK's 49 cover stories last year — and two of those used the headline "The Thinking Man." In 1970, 25 percent of NEWSWEEK's editorial masthead was female; today that number is 39 percent. Better? Yes. But it's hardly equality. (Overall, 49 percent of the entire company, the business and editorial sides, is female.) ... If a man takes an interest in our work, we can't help but think about the male superior who advised "using our sexuality" to get ahead, or the manager who winkingly asked one of us, apropos of nothing, to "bake me cookies." One young colleague recalls being teased about the older male boss who lingered near her desk. "What am I supposed to do with that? Assume that's the explanation for any accomplishments? Assume my work isn't valuable?" she asks. "It gets in your head, which is the most insidious part."

Newsweek's reputation for encouraging the "boys" who work there isn't a secret among young journalists. "The boys used to get taken out for whiskeys," one woman who went to the magazine right after college a few years ago told us recently. "The girls, not so much." Of course, a lot of magazines have a lot of reputations — some earned, some unearned. Regardless of whether Newsweek's rep falls into the former or latter category, the young women who wrote this week's piece are evidence that there are still women there like the youthful Ephron, who are willing to bet that they can be the exception to the rule.

Are We There Yet? [Newsweek]
Related: My First New York [NYM]
Our First New York Arrivals Package [NYM]

By: Chris Rovzar

In rotation..

Damien Walters - this guy is dope

I am Iron Man: Top 5 Exoskeleton Robots

By David Goldstein

Everyone has wished they had the strength to lift a car off of ground, or break through a brick wall with the pound of a fist at one point or another. You know, typical superhero stuff. But every one who has tried it knows that most of the time reality, and the limits of the human body, spoil the fun.

Thankfully, scientists have been developing a way around those limits, in the form of wearable exoskeleton robots capable of increasing our strength, stamina, and speed.

These aren't the massive, clunky brutes of old sci-fi movies, but nimble extensions of the human body with the gift of intelligence. They work by sensing and anticipating the movements of the person wearing the suit, utilizing their own power to minimize the efforts of the user.

While most of us probably won't be living out our superhero (or evil villain) fantasies, these robots have some very practical applications, both military and civilian.

Here are the top-five exoskeleton robots that stretch the limitations of our bodies and our imaginations.

1. Raytheon Sarcos Exoskeleto

Designed primarily for military purposes in mind, the XOS Exoskeleton, developed by Sarcos (purchased by Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Massachusetts), is the robot perhaps most like the popular comic book character Iron Man. While it doesn't shoot missiles or have boots with rocket thrusters in them, it does allow the wearer to lift or carry up to two hundred pounds repeatedly without making him or her tired. It's unique because it is one of the few full body exoskeleton robots available. Most robot exoskeletons are broken up into either legs or arms.

The idea is that a soldier wearing one of these robots could carry heavy gear over long distances without getting tired, rescue wounded soldiers from the battlefield with ease, or single-handedly wield a weapon that usually requires two people to operate.

The major challenge has been engineering a power source that will power the robot from 4 to 24 hours. Right now the Exoskeleton can't operate that long without being plugged into some external power source, but the engineers are working on making it completely self sustaining.

2. Human Assistive Limb Exoskeleton (HAL)

Want to look your best for a big night on the town? CYBERDYNE Inc. in Japan understands. For those of you obsessed with accessories, this robot is a little more wearable than the others. The Human Assistive Limb Exoskeleton, or HAL, is a "cyborg type" robot designed to help people with mobility problems, in rehabilitation, and for heavy lifting. Although, if you visit the company's website, at first glance it looks as if the robot is designed to help you become a kung-fu master.

HAL isn't all aesthetics though. It has brains and beauty. In one sense HAL is a mind reader, as it uses electrical signals sent to muscles from the brain to anticipate the wearer's movement. It then calculates how much power the user intends to produce and directs the correct amount to the appropriate joints on the exoskeleton. HAL's ability to anticipate movement allows it to move fractions of a second before you do, providing seamless interaction between human and robot. And with its clean, sleek design you'll be the bell of the robot ball.

3. Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC)

Like the Raytheon Sarcos Exoskeleton, the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC) was designed to create a stronger, more durable soldier. Developed by Berkley Bionics in Berkley, California the HULC is a wearable robot exoskeleton for the legs. It enables the user to carry up to two hundred pounds on his or her back over long distances and harsh terrains.

While the HULC is not a full body exoskeleton like the Raytheon Exoskeleton, it does provide one distinct advantage: the HULC is the only wearable exoskeleton proven to reduce the user’s oxygen consumption, giving the soldier greater stamina over long periods of time.

The HULC weighs 53 pounds and is battery powered, but can be equipped with a generator that lasts for three days. The only problem: the generator weighs 85 pounds, a big chunk of the robots carrying capacity.

4. Honda Experimental Walking Assist Device

Saddle up boys and girls, its time for a new breed of walking horse. The Honda Experimental Walking Assist Device is a robot exoskeleton for the legs, designed to reduce the strain of walking for the elderly and those with mobility problems. Essentially a chair with legs, the Honda exoskeleton allows users to sit down in a saddle-like seat and strap their feet into two shoes attached to artificial limbs. The seat supports a portion of the wearer's body weight, reducing the strain to joints in the knees, ankles and hips.

While the device is expected to improve mobility, I wouldn't recommend running a marathon in one, as the lithium ion battery (a more powerful version of the cell phone battery) lasts roughly two hours at a pace of 2.8 miles per hour.

5. MIT Exoskeleton

Designed to use less power and weigh less than similar robotic devices, the exoskeleton developed in Cambridge, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is another wearable robot for the lower body. The purpose of the exoskeleton is to help people with a heavy loads to carry on their back (hikers, soldiers, students with too many physics textbooks) lighten the load of their backpacks.

Unlike other robotic exoskeletons, which can require up to 3,000 watts to power, the MIT exoskeleton only requires one watt to power. However, the device does interfere with the wearer's normal walking motion, which causes the user to expend more oxygen than he or she would without the device. It seems that while all of the featured exoskeletons provide some sort of advantage, none of them can claim to be the true Iron man quite yet.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

FILEP MOTWARY of Mastori*Motwary Studio debuts new fashion film at 4fashionshake

MARCH 24th 2010 - GREECE

My friend, designer Filep Motwary of Mastori*Motwary Studio is presenting his new film fashion film, ‘SARKA 23 JULY 1677’ in Greece at 4fashionshake, produced by OZON`S magazine. Being billed as a fashion festival, 4fashionshake, will also show work from Odeur, Levis/ Jean Paul Gaultier and Digitaria in "a variety of creative ways: through video art projects, films, catwalks, installations", according to the events website.

The program for
4fashionshake is as follows:

20.30 Odeur (Catwalk)

21.00 Filep Motwary – Maria Mastori (Fashion Film Projection)

21.30 Levis – Jean Paul Gaultier (Performance)

22.30 Digitaria (Catwalk)

23.00 Closing Party


Filep and I met last September in Paris at our mutual friend Diane Pernet`s ASOVFF fashion film festival which both of our films were playing at. Filep has asked me to work with him and develop a new film for which we hope to shoot later on this year. Two of our respective older films and films from many other great directors will travel with Diane to Moscow April 4TH to open Russian Fashion Week (as mentioned on the blog a couple of days ago).

For any of our viewers in in Athens try to check out the presentation and the film. So far, I have only been allowed to see stills from the film, but from what I have seen it looks. You can find more info on the festival here.

You can also follow Filep`s work and his world at his influential fashion blog , UN NOUVEAU IDEAL.



Fashion Designer for Gwen Stefani, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Shakira, Halle Berry..

...Hillary Duff, Mick Jagger, Liv Tyler, Christina Aguilera, Michael Jackson(THIS IS IT CONCERT) wear his fashion creations

Zaldy Goco, of Filipino descent and is one of the top and favorite New York fashion designers today.

Referred to as the stylist to the stars, a model and designer of his own line, Zaldy Goco is described as a self- invented creative genius and calming Swami-like character to even the most stressed celebrities seeking his sartorial services. He was the man behind Gwen Stefani's label LAMB, where he was originally a consultant on the line when it started in 2004 and became head designer in 2005.

Zaldy Goco started his career at a very young age. Her grandmother ran her own fashion school in the Philippines. He recalls spending hours with her.

Zaldy Goco finished in Parsons,Los Angeles and Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Then after, Zaldy and makeup artist Mathu Anderson kick-started their career in fashion on the nightclub circuit where Suzanne Bartsch, an event producer knew him.

Zaldy Goco has been a part-time designer for the past decade, constructing one-of-a-kind, made-to-measure clothing for himself and the women in his world.

Zaldy exposed his creativity and talent with international cosmetic companies such as Donna Karan, Shiseido, MAC Cosmetics, Lady Miss Kier of Dee-Lite, and RuPaul.Apart from working with fashion icons and dressing global celebrities, many diverse women also enjoy wearing Zaldy's Collection and look to him for custom made, one of a kind pieces.

Zaldy first launched his eponymous line after he began custom-making clothes for clients such as Jennifer Lopez, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. More recently, he's styled Britney for the red carpet, Beyoncé for the cover of Vanity Fair and Mary J. Blige for her album The Breakthrough.

Always ahead of his time, Zaldy's designs adeptly fuse a grounded, direct aesthetic with the designer's glamorous night-time roots. “I thought about the diverse women in my life and what they would like to wear and own, whatever the occasion. I’m interested in creating strong pieces that remain approachable and non-threatening or overbearing. Easy and uncomplicated comfortable without being dull!”

Zaldy Goco talks about designing for Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga Part I

To further explore the powerful synergy between the fashion and music industries, BoF brings you an exclusive two-part interview with fashion designer Zaldy, known for his close connection to the music industry’s biggest stars.

NEW YORK, United States — Zaldy Goco is one of those rare creative talents who moves seamlessly between music and fashion. For almost two decades, the New York-based fashion designer has been working at close range with music stars to create looks that fit with their music and amplify their personal style, taste and aesthetic to millions of fans. From Rufus Wainwright to RuPaul, Mary J. Blige to Jennifer Lopez, and Mick Jagger to the Scissor Sisters, Zaldy’s fashion-meets-music resume is impressive and diverse indeed.

And, while his first big break may have come from working with Gwen Stefani on her L.A.M.B. label, it wasn’t until 2009 that Zaldy’s career reached its apogee. Last year, in quick succession, both the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and the reigning queen of the online music industry, Lady Gaga, called on Zaldy to create the costumes for their concert tours. This is particularly noteworthy as both Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga have used costumes to project their unique, star qualities and create iconic images.

In the first part of an in-depth, two part interview, BoF spoke exclusively with Zaldy about how he got started working in the music/fashion space, collaborating with Gwen Stefani, and becoming part of the now legendary Haus of Gaga for her Monster Ball Tour.

BoF: Fashion and music have always been connected, but nobody else seems to have made the connection as closely as you. When did you start working so closely with musicians and why?

I’ve been friendly with the music community for a long time, going all the way back to the nineties band Deee-lite. I’d always wanted to be a part of both industries, and the idea of putting clothes on stage for performance was very new and interesting to me. I realised that it was possible to work in both music and fashion at the same time because they are so linked together. My real focus was fashion, but I entertained what was presented to me and if it was an exciting project I just went with it.

My real start was working with Rufus Wainwright. We worked on so many videos together — “Poses”, “California,” and “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” — and several album covers as well. In this way, he was very important to my beginnings in the music industry and we remain very close friends to this day. From there I started to work with Antony and the Johnsons, Melissa Auf Der Maur from Hole, and then it went mainstream with Gwen, Britney, Janet and the likes!

BoF: Your first big music collaboration was with Gwen Stefani on her L.A.M.B. Line, which eventually grew into a substantial business?

Yes. Around the time when L.A.M.B. was just starting, Gwen just asked me one day, then and there, if I’d be interested in working with her on it. And I said “Of course” without knowing really knowing what that meant.

You have to remember the idea of music and fashion was just beginning, and celebrity fashion lines were a completely new phenomenon and generally looked upon unfavourably. But I loved Gwen so much and I was a big fan, so I decided to keep my own line and design for Gwen as well.

BoF: And so, for example, when you design for someone like Gwen Stefani, did you have a different creative process?

When I work on my own collection, I pretty much have my muses in place. But when I work with any musician, especially someone like Gwen, she is the muse. Musicians want to work with you because they want to get a certain perspective from me, but it really is a collaboration. It is a sharing of ideas. There’s a different creative energy. It’s not just about you. In fact, inspirations may come from somewhere you never expected.

It’s sort of like a think tank. We just bring our ideas together and just work from there.

BoF: You recently completed the costumes for Lady Gaga’s ongoing Monster Ball tour. She has a whole creative team around her, including stylist Nicola Formichetti and the infamous Haus of Gaga. How do you work with this whole team of people to realise this whole concert vision?

For sure. Gaga has a whole team, a whole package, and whole creative energy around her. I couldn’t help but wonder how it was going to be to work together. I had never really worked with anyone else who had someone like Nicola or a creative director or that many advisers. But, the best thing about working with Gaga and meeting with her in the beginning was finding out how genuine those ideas were to her, whether or not it came from meetings with the Haus of Gaga.

Her instincts were always right on target.

BoF: Speaking of which, can you tell me exactly what the Haus of Gaga is?

I’m not even sure exactly what it is. As she explained it to me, it’s the collective of people who come together to work with her creatively. But, it’s not as if she’s going to launch a fashion line or anything — at least that’s what she told me then. But, I guess you never know. After all, she is a capable, multi-talented overachiever with a lot to give!

Zaldy Goco talks about designing for Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga Part 2

Yesterday, we learned about the beginnings of Zaldy Goco’s work in the music and fashion industries. Today, in part two, we speak to him about his close collaboration with Michael Jackson for the This is It concert extravaganza.

NEW YORK, United States — When Zaldy Goco answered the phone last April and learned that Michael Jackson’s creative team wanted him to develop some costume ideas for the King of Pop’s long-awaited comeback concert series in London, he could scarcely believe his luck. A long time fan of the sometimes-maligned, but always-loved music legend, Zaldy set about developing an approach for creating costumes that at once hearkened back to iconic images from Jackson’s past, while also making him relevant for contemporary fashion of the day.

The results were amazing and once the decision was made to make Zaldy the chief costume designer for the upcoming concerts, the process to get there involved five up close-and-personal fittings between Zaldy and Michael Jackson over a period of a several weeks, including the last fitting, just days before the singer’s sudden death.

Zaldy kindly spoke to BoF about the experience of designing for Michael Jackson and shared some photos of Jackson from the fittings, published here for the very first time.

BoF: And now for the topic that I am sure everyone is most interested to hear about: your collaboration with Michael Jackson for the This Is It tour. How did that come about?

It was such a surprise that began with a really casual phone call from someone who was representing Michael’s choeographer, Travis Payne. It was already the end of April and the tour was starting in July, and he asked me if I was interested in making some outfits. Of course I said yes! But, I really didn’t take it all that seriously as I knew that Michael had only ever really worked with one designer in the past named Michael Bush. He had developed all of Michael’s iconic looks for Thriller and Bad. So, by no means was it definite. I thought maybe I’d get to make a couple of outfits — maybe.

It turns out that Michael had been advised to take more of a fashion look with his presentation, and he had asked to see designs from some really big names, including, I believe, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen. My impression is that he got all these packages from these different designers and then he chose who he wanted to work with.

When he got my package, they called me right away and said he that Michael was jumping up and down screaming, saying “I’ve always wanted to do this! I’ve always wanted to do this!”

They asked me to come to L.A. the next day to meet Michael and told me they wanted me to do the entire show. In the end, because Michael is so faithful, he did ask Michael Bush to work on a few of the outfits as well, which I thought was really nice especially because it was supposed to be Michael’s last tour.

BoF: Wow, that’s pretty amazing. How would you describe what you designed for him?

This is the thing. When they first asked me to do this, they said “we need you to re-invent Michael.” And my first thought was that Michael does not need to be re-invented, especially not now. He is one of the only artists who created iconic looks and iconic images to go along with iconic songs. It’s not necessary for those looks to be reinvented — they just needed to be made more relevant for today. Nobody wants to see a Thriller jacket that it isn’t red and black. People were going to want to see those iconic images, made more relevant to the times.

So, that’s what my approach was — referencing what we knew, but bringing more technology and new techniques that Michael had never used before.

BoF: What are your favourite looks that you designed for Michael Jackson?

Michael Jackson trying out Billie Jean Light-up outfit | Source: Zaldy Goco
They all kind have their own specialness for me. But, if you ask anyone who works with me, they will always say the We Are The World outfit, embroidered with all kinds of techniques from around the world — from African to American Indian to Japanese to Chinese. It was quite a mix, and very beautiful.

But for me, I loved the Black or White leather jacket, with three different custom plated coloured studs, which was kind of a Sumurai-referenced jacket. The finale jacket is also a favourite, especially because Michael was so excited about it. I had made what Michael called ’secret treasures’ in the shape of little teardrops that enclosed around crusts of crystal chunks.

And then of course there was the light-up outfit for Billie Jean, which was a collaboration with Philips Technology, which really, really made him the happiest. The last time I saw him was about six days before we were leaving for London, and I tried these pants on him and he was silent; completely stunned. After about thirty seconds, he said “It’s everything I’ve always wanted.”

So, that was pretty special for me.

BoF: And then, of course there was his sudden death, which must have turned things upside down for you.

I experience anti-climax after every project, but I was in disbelief. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had been living and breathing Michael Jackson for weeks on end. When I design for a musician, I immerse myself completely in their music. It just has to play in my head the whole time.

I decided I needed to lock myself away in a hotel to get away, but even that didn’t work. Everywhere I went, people were listening to Michael Jackson. There was no escape.

BoF: Did you have any sense that he might be unwell?

Michael Jackson in costume fitting | Source: Zaldy Goco
Not at all. And that is the thing that I think the movie really shows. He was quite lively, energetic and strong. And, he was super in tune to all the details. Every time I met with him, he was always catching little details. When I’d do fittings with him, he was very solid and very strong.

BoF: Last year was quite a year for you. Doing Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson in one year is pretty big. What lies ahead for you 2010?

It’s funny because I kept seeing the two of them side-by-side in stories or hearing their names mentioned in the same story. And then, all of a sudden I was working with both of them. But right now, I’m pretty excited to get back into the Scissor Sisters, who are launching their third album. But also, last year was a big music year, and I’m thinking of leaning back towards fashion again.

BoF: So there could be a Zaldy label again?

There could be. Right now I am working on a gown for the Met Ball. So, let’s see. I’m working on a couple of things.

BoF: Thanks very much Zaldy for sharing your story with us.