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An Almanac For The 21st Century

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Wear, Watch, Want #38: The 18th Century Russian Kitchen Edition

Wear, Watch, Want #38: The 18th Century Russian Kitchen Edition

Wear: Beyoncé's Ankara Dress from Lemonade

Once again I am bending my own rules when it comes to what constitutes something I have "Worn" this week. (Remember when the Wear was a bag of ice? Good times.) This is, as you can tell from the image, and the segment title, something Beyoncé wore, and to paraphrase another musical goddess, I can't get it out of my head (and now you can't get THIS out of YOUR head. La la la, la la la la la).

Despite Lemonade having an exhaustive list of credits not only of every person involved in the film, but even the influences used when creating songs for the album, finding out where the clothes came from is another story. Sure, we know about the Cavalli dress and the Yeezy ensemble that literally three people can pull off (Beyoncé being one of them), but despite hours spent scouring the internet, I can't find the designer of her gorgeous Ankara dress.

It's not like I want to buy this exact dress and wear it to my senior prom. I want to know who the designer is so I can stalk their portfolio on the internet! While I still have no idea who designed this dress that I can't stop thinking about, my hunt for their identity has led me to much more information about the history of Ankara fabric. Also known as African wax prints or Dutch wax prints, the history of Ankara textiles are really fascinating, and I recommend this background article on All Things Ankara, a website I have been devouring since I discovered it in my hunt for an elusive designer. If you're interested in not just fashion, but art and history and pattern and inspiration, it's a must-visit website.

I also found this article from The Boston Globe, which talks about the Ankara dress in Lemonade, but mentions no designer. It does however mention that Beyoncé has featured the work of artist Yinka Shonibare on her website, and that he often uses Ankara fabric to create 18th century inspired garments, which are then displayed on headless mannequins. Now that I had a name I was able to go on a real Google tear, and Shonibare's work is definitely my speed. I would LOVE to see even one of his installations in person*. After you're done reading this, do a Google image search for simply "Yinka Shonibare" and enjoy the next three hours of your life. 

*There's a really interesting looking piece by Shonibare at LACMA until January. Don't worry, I'm going.

Dressing Down

Last Supper (after Leonardo) (detail)

Watch: The Americans

I have a habit of really, truly meaning to watch TV shows... then putting them off indefinitely. I mentioned this when I talked about my love of Fargo, a show that I recorded the entire first season of on my DVR and then never watched. I did the same thing with first season of The Americans (I mention this in the Fargo post), solely because I am obsessed with Keri Russell. When I was a small child my dad went to China on a long work trip and my mom was like, "Well fine, then we're getting the Disney Channel!" So we got the Disney Channel when it was a premium cable add-on and they had no idea what kind of programming to have, so it was an odd mishmash of Australian, Canadian, and ancient Disney programming. Plus the new Mickey Mouse Club, which I was obsessed with. We had two Disney Channels, the regular feed, and the West Coast feed, which broadcast the exact same things, just two hours later. I'd literally watch MMC, wait two hours, then watch it again on the other channel. And I thought Keri was an absolute goddess. Still do.

Back to The Americans. I recorded the first season because duh, Keri Russell. But I didn't watch it. It languished in my DVR until I finally had to give up and realize I wasn't going to get to it and I needed to free up space. Time moved on, as it tends to do. Then I finally got around to it. OH MAN. It is so addictive and so good and did I mention ADDICTIVE?! My mom recently came to visit and she doesn't watch, but I was desperate to tell someone about my theory for what could (should?) happen this season as a catalyst for further seasons, so I laid out the plot points she'd need to know to understand my theory, then told her my theory. That's the level of crazy I have reached now that I'm watching in real time. For real though, if the bonkers/awesome plot I have predicted comes to fruition I may die from gloating.

Want: Full Size Appliances

I have a weird kitchen in my apartment. To call it a galley kitchen would be extremely generous. My apartment building was built in the 1920s, and I think they replaced the oven in the 40s or 50s, and that's the oven I have now. It is a real oddity. It has at least three pilot lights, so it's always warm, which is unnerving. The actual oven is tiny. I like to describe it as the perfect size to fit a human head, so enjoy that visual. There are no markings on the control for the oven, so there is no way of knowing the temperature, or even if it's on or off. Plus, it's not like you can feel it to tell if it's on, because it's always warm. Are you sensing that I'm terrified of my oven? Because I am. I moved in two and a half years ago, made the building manager come and make sure it was turned off, and I haven't turned the damned thing on since. I use the stovetop every day, because that's easy to manage, but the oven is a deathtrap, at least in my eyes.

I also have a very small refrigerator, which is necessary because of my small kitchen. I'm in the process of gaining the guts to ask for a new oven ("Would you consider buying a new oven for my apartment? I'm petrified the one I have will lead to my death.") but while my fridge is annoyingly small, it does make sense. I call it the Euro fridge. I don't keep a ton of things in there, so it's small size isn't usually a nuisance, but occasionally I want to cook a large amount (not in the oven, of course) and keep some of it in the freezer, or I have some excess things to keep in the fridge and there just isn't enough room on the tiny shelves, and then I get a little peeved at my Euro fridge.

The point is, I have gotten to the point where I have dreams about living in a place with full size appliances, where everything works. I have an oven that I can trust, I have a full size refrigerator, I have a dishwasher. Oh man, what a dork.

Of Course I Got a Korean Sheet Mask Subscription

Of Course I Got a Korean Sheet Mask Subscription

Updates, Amendments, and News You Can Use

Updates, Amendments, and News You Can Use