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Thoughts on life, style and culture: Degas

November 15, 2011

I.

I’ve been thinking a lot about moments lately, especially moment around moments. The mantra you repeat in the mirror before walking out the door, the subconscious smile seconds before you see someone you feel a connection with or the adjusting of your necklace before you walk into a room. The moments surrounding the actual moment can be all the more tantalizing and beautiful that the moment itself, and a hell of a lot more interesting. I’ve also been thinking about how women ususally like to deny that these moments exist, thinking that if we show cracks we are asking to be seen as weak, when really it is other’s perceptions that work to tear us down and these moments of realness that make us relatable and interesting. We all want to keep up the illusion.

French impressionist artist Edgar Degas said that “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” It is interesting then to note that much of his art was focused on moments surrounding moments. Instead of showing the finished and composed self, which is what most artists and humans would perfect to “make others see” he let you into moments that were unfinished, moments that he allowed you to see, transitory fleeting moments of movement. He did this in a way to say that the still being we present to the world is not the true art, the motions that create that moment however, are.

Degas found beauty and true expressions of art in women bathing, a ballerina fixing her dress or a horse jockey seconds before a race. I think it is even more wonderful that he does this in an impressionistic style, a blurred not fully formed subject preparing for action or the next big move. These is something so innocent and naïve and beautiful about the mystique. It feels Lolita and yet Marilyn in the same heartbeat.

Hidden moments are important for so many reasons. In the world of reality TV and social media we so often forget that we were once not so privy to our celebrity’s or even neighbor’s lives. We also forget that there are still moments that even we do not see, these moments surrounding a moment. The breath a starlet takes before stepping onto stage, the breath our friends take before walking out of our house for the day.

We all deal with the same thoughts of “I hope they accept me,” “I hope this goes right,” “I hope this is enough” on a daily basis. We all want to stay an enchanted image; having only those we want know and see our hidden selves, those private moments where we question whether or not our movements have left us fully prepared and ready.

As Degas took away the glamour of a ballerina by showing her fixing her dress, we take away the glamour of our stars by focusing on their flaws, we take away the glamour of our peers by making fun of their short-comings. It is at once both comforting and startling to know that beautiful people must readjust their clothing as well. We find acceptance in knowing that we share undefined moments with celebrities and friends, that we are all so innocent as to wonder and question ourselves. It is as if Degas was our first TMZ reporter, back stage videographer or twitter feed.

 

II.

One of my favorite images of Marilyn is by Richard Avedon and it is a snapshot that was taken as she was sitting after a photo shoot. It is a brief exploration into a moment where she was not on stage, but not in a private sector either. We crave these moments. This is the art that we, or in this case Avedon, are making others see. Monroe once said that “To put it bluntly, I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation. But I’m working on the foundation.” Seeing hidden moments gives us a sense of a person’s foundation, a person’s real self, a person’s flaws, we build a foundation for structures based upon our personal understanding and opinion of their movements. We can make anyone into anything.

Though her body is not in motion here as in a Degas work, you want to know what is going on inside her head. While Degas was focused only on the movements around a moment, there are so many thoughts surrounding a performance it is impossible to catch them, but I think that is exactly what Avedon has done here.

 

III.

We also hate to be wrong. And this is why we crave questioning and we crave the back story. We want to make our intuition and ideas correct. It is why we watch “Behind the Music.” It is why lifestyle blogs have become so important. It is why independent fashion bloggers are the new fashion magazines. We do not care about the end image, we care about how it was created. We want to see the individual’s thoughts and movements as they create something that we find beautiful or inspiring.

And it is this that brings me to show how the innocence found within Degas’ works have influenced a style of life that is focused not on us as fully formed creature but on us as beings in motion, constantly working to create a piece and while working creating the real art. It is a life of blurred colors and patterns, arbitrary choices, a focus on sensuality and a return of the seemingly immature.

 

IV.

Degas is without a doubt most famous for his images of ballerinas. I do not find it strange then to note that the ballerina style has always had a place within pop culture hearts. One of my favorite references lies within Sex and the City. Anyone who has seen an episode knows the iconic white tutu that Carrie wears during the opening scene. What more appropriate way to foreshadow the innocence that Carrie allows a generation to have.

Carrie defines an entire population of women who are now not afraid to talk about hidden moments, those breakfast discussions on lack of confidence, the pondering whether or not you are good enough to be remembered by Mr.Big, the aches and pains of being a human that must theoretically be on stage at every moment not alone, always being looked upon. We are nothing if not actors or actresses in our own movies. The characters in Sex and the City showed us that our inner thoughts are those that are most interesting and Carrie with her tutu made us realize that the poised ballerina, or printed journalist, has a back story that may be splattered with a puddle (#reaching).

The beginning credit tutu is not the only tutu to make an appearance on the screen of SATC. When Carrie is famously stood up by her Russian lover what else would she be wearing but a tutu? A moment of seeing the charmed fall, a cultural moment of pure and relatable childlike sadness wrapped up in a designer representation of innocence and thoughtful preparation for what is next. I can barely handle how great of a style choice this was.

 

 

V.

If you skip to 4:08 you will be able to see a behind the scenes image, like the ones Degas was capturing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

V.

Tulle, glitter and cinched waists. There are so many fashions based upon that of the pristine, the glowing star in the moment. How do we create these beautiful hidden moments Degas and the public loves without first being theone that is being watched, waiting to see if they fall. The fashion inspired by Degas is almost as if to say that you are not expected to be a real person when you wear these beautiful, sensual items- but you will be and that is what is beautiful. You will make mistakes no matter how perfect you may look. It’s the moments that blur together as you get ready for a night -lipstick and floral notes and bouquets – that have been translated into soft romantic patterns. It is the stage you want to be ready for so badly that has become tight ballerina waists and layers of ruffles. The softness and appeal of these items is that women are able to be seen as the star in their own movie. What women don’t understand is that the fashion they feel runway ready in is inspired by their bathing or last look in the mirror before they step onto it.

It’s gettin’ hot in here

March 21, 2011
  • When the mythological Pheonix knew it’s life was coming to an end it would build around it a nest of twigs and set itself on fire, from which a new young Pheonix with a blank slate would emerge.
  • In one of my favorite lines from a Kills song, “The Good Ones”,  Alison Mosshart sings “once in a while, once in a while/ you got to burn down your house, keep your dreamin’ alive.”
  • To clear land of unwanted vegetation growth and invasive species, firefighters will preform a controlled burn-off.

The conclusion I have come to is that I am not going to change into the person I want to become without pushing myself to clear my life of the things I am doing that are not a part of who I want to be. Instead of trying to take what I have and mold it into something I’m dreaming of, I have decided to start again with a clearer and more concise image. There are things that I want that I was not getting out of my previous work and just as life is too short to wear a bad outfit, life is too short to waste doing something you aren’t completely happy with or that you know isn’t on your road to happiness. So right now I am taking inventory on what I want and how I am going to get it. For example, I know I want to work in the online sphere via social media, I know I want to take these connections offline and build real relationships with people, I know I want to add as much aesthetic value to my everyday life as possible and I know I want to be able to give back by planning events that aim to raise money for causes.

I have already started to dab a little into these fields in the last few weeks with the items below and I have big plans for the future.

  • I am officially starting a fashion blog project. I would link you to the sites but we had our first staff meeting last night and I don’t want to expose too much before our official launch. I CAN tell you to get ready to better know and be inspired by the faces and style of those around you. Honestly this project is something that I have always wanted to do and at this point whether I succeed or fail I can at least say I gave it a go.
  • I am helping to plan a local concert to benefit Red Cross Disaster Relief in Japan. I found the opprotunity to work with Katie Pierce (Jack in the Pocket) on this effort via Twitter and am so excited to be able to organize things that I know, like the music scene and planning event details, to be able to help such a great cause.
  • I have agreed to do some small tasks, like creating a media contact list, to help Steven Nyeste with doing volunteer PR work for the Central Ohio Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation for their April 7th Concert featuring Rick Springfield. The same concert last year raised over $70,000! I didn’t know much about Hemophilia going in, but learning more has made me want to help make sure this organization can continue.

So as the flames die down from the burn-off I just did I am relying on my drive, my passions and my power of positive thinking to be able to get through and come out on the other side an even more colorful Phoenix. I am also daring all of you to take the plunge if you ever feel like you aren’t getting all you want out of life. Even if you mess it all up, and I mess things up A LOT, you can always, always start over. It’s not easy and it is definitely scary because after next week I am unemployed, and a start-up blog doesn’t really promise a quick return, but as Marilyn Monroe once said…

How do you find inspiration to make tough changes in your life? Do you believe that great successes come from great failures or do you think that it is more the luck of the draw?

xoxo

alisha

back + better than ever

March 13, 2011

Hello cyberspace, I’m alisha and I’ve been such a bad internet-er. Actually that isn’t completely true because I’ve been on the internet a lot, mostly trying to up my street cred on twitter, trying to upload more pics to facebook so I don’t look like such a loser and trying to discover new people in my new city via cbusr. I could say I’ve been SO OMG EXTREMELY BUSY or that I was in China and wordpress was blocked, but neither of those are true. In all reality I became complacent.

It isn’t that I shouldn’t love my life as is, I have a really fun internship at CD101, a job that pays (most of) the bills and friends that are fun, BUT it isn’t really how I want to spend the rest of my life. I want a job that embodies all my passions, I want to learn new things and I want to be able to say I’ve accomplished something, no, everything that I’ve wanted.  I’ve always been a positive thinking as a lifestyle person but now I understand that just because I can make the best out of every situation doesn’t mean I shouldn’t also make the best out of every possibility. So this is a promise, to myself most of all, to not sit by and let any more time pass by without trying every second to be the person I want to be.

I know I’m sounding a little SUPER inspirational but it is only because I have been SUPER inspired lately. One of the main reasons for this sudden burst of go is that I have been meeting a lot of people whom have been able to take control of their lives and do with it exactly what they want. These entrepeneurs make everything I want seem within reach. I know that it isn’t an easy path and I know that my attitude right now is better suited for a drum circle than a blog but honestly, I feel like I can make something happen.

I’ve gotten the chance to meet these go-getters by involving myself with TeamCbus, which was a team of five competing on behalf of Columbus in the Chevy SxSW road trip challenge. These challenges were based upon the ability to use social media, video and blogging to bring attention to the team’s city and its assets on a national level. If you have time make sure to go though their challenges because they did an AWESOME job (My favorite was the music video they created!). What was really amazing about the trip was that they were earning money for Adopt-a-Classroom the entire time! The team ended up finishing 2nd. I did get my first opportunity to be in Columbus Media by being in the Columbus Alive! for an article on the team’s Bon Voyage Bash!

Team Cbus!

SO a big thanks to the in-car Team Cbus Nate Riggs (NateRiggs.com), Eric Leslie (OnScene Productions), Sarah Storer (The Naked Redhead), Elijah R. Young (Social Talk Live) and Mike Whaling (30 lines) as well as supporters Erika Pryor (Digital 411) and Corey Montie (Dimensional Entertainment). Take a minute or many many minutes and check out all their awesome sites!

Now I guess comes the task of catching this blog up to speed on my life. I was going to erase everything before this post and start with a blank slate and pretend I didn’t put my self/professional development on the back-burner for the last nine months but that would just be lying and if there’s one thing I want to always be- it’s honest. Really the only major things that have changed are that I’m blonde and that I live in Columbus. The blonde sorta just happened, I was feeling inspired!

blonde!

As for the living in Columbus part I have a cute, pretty affordable apartment in German Village with a roommate, Kelley, and her dog, Willy! I live RIGHT across the street from Schiller Park and I can’t wait until Spring/Summer when I can be over there all the time. Apparently they even have a summer Shakespeare series! PERFECT.

Well I think that is all for the moment. I have to go put clothes on for a meeting about working on a super fun project! More info when I’m allowed!

Question for any bloggers reading- have you ever went through a period where you let your blog go unattended? How did you pick it back up? Any tips for regular maintenance?

I PROMISE I’LL BE BACK SOON!

xoxo

alisha

My last few weeks at ACRN (read: lobsterfest/ laura stevenson/ becoming irrelevant)

June 16, 2010

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of different things, mainly trying to get everything done for graduation (which I will cover in a  later post).

But back to life at ACRN. Let’s go in order, two weeks ago was a show by Laura Stevenson & The Cans with openers She Bears, The Ghost of Asa Phelps and Stomp the Condor. I had the pleasure of getting to hang out with Laura & the cans some during the day and they are all such fabulous people. They recorded an in-studio that I will link to as soon as it is available. I was particularly excited to see them based on the fact that members of Laura & The cans are also members of a band I love very much: Bomb The Music Industry!. I still remember seeing BTMI for the first time with some good friends at the time in a little Cincinnati punk house’s basement. Anyways, the show was exactly what my folk punk heart had been craving for a while and I went home that night with a PBR buzz and Laura’s voice in my head. (I hope that didn’t sound creepy?) Also- you can check out ACRN’s preview article here.

Next, as all good things must come to an end, I was replaced as PR Director by one of my assistants, Melissa Burant. I know she’ll do great things and I’m excited to come back and visit her and the station!

Melissa and I after a riveting game of tic-tac-toe.

And then, always the best way to end every school year, LOBSTERFEST!

check the line-up here:

SO MANY GOOD BANDS! My highlights? Well, day two Southeast Engine was amazing, as per usual. Check them out! They’re on tour all summer with Deerhoof, unfortunately all the dates are out West. Grr. On Saturday the day started off great, but the rain was soon to come. Lobsterfest refused to die however, and moved inside. Let me give you some pics as I run down my favorites:

The Legends of Wrestling: These boys were hilarious. A real life wrestling ring, face paint and people being hit with guitars and florescent light bulbs?!? crazy! More photos seen here.

Coltrane Motion: This duo was captivating and I didn’t look away the entire set, their synth /guitar mixed beats keeping me hooked.

Flotation Walls: Always my loves, the yellow jump-suited gang sucked me in again.

Russenorsk: Even though I attended their last show in September, they reunited for Lobsterfest! Everything about this band is wonderful and I urge EVERYONE  to get their albums, listen + love.

Well, I’m off to work on my summer goal: getting back in shape, look for posts this week about my graduation and my first week as a CD 101 intern!

xoxo

alisha

This summer…drumroll please…CD 101!

May 19, 2010

I accepted a summer internship today at CD 101 FM in Columbus- my favorite radio station since I was younger. I will be working in the promotions/marketing department. I start June 14th, and will be sure to keep this updated with everything exciting that I get to do!

xoxo

alisha

$2 PROM: The Great SNATsby

May 12, 2010

This was a pure genius theme thought of by ACRN Promo director Aaron Vilk for $2 Prom.

This event is one of ACRN’s  annual fundraisers.

We had DJs all night, great decorations and SO much fun!

Here is the flyer I made for the event, it was a hit:

And of course I dressed the part:

I think my favorite thing of the whole night (besides the fact that my legs hurt the next day from all the dancing) was the prom photo background sales director Megan Burke and I made before the dance party started. I guess really the only thing I was missing was a date?! (but who ever needs that?!)

xoxo

alisha

ACRN week 2k10

April 16, 2010

SO- last week was ACRN week!

There was a really full schedule this year and I had a lot of fun planning, promoting and attending all the events.

For a schedule of events check out the poster I created here.

Some highlights I really enjoyed included Rock N’ Roll Bingo, the awesome shows and the station-only cook-out we had on Saturday.

I will include a few pictures here, but there are more to come when I get my disposable cameras developed!

Here I am at the "Play twister w/ Snat" table on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Robinaugh.

This is some of the crew at the Bake Sale Table on Tuesday. Photo by Jason Robinaugh.

This is the cake I made with the help of my assistant Melissa and Christine, the programming director. Photo by Melissa Burant.

This might have been the scariest part of the whole night! However, it made it to the Birthday Party show in one piece. Photo by Melissa Burant.

xoxo

alisha

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