DIY, Dammit!

DIY, Dammit!

DIY, Dammit!

Sometimes in the life of surfing the internet, you come across really cool DIY (Do It Yourself) ideas for your home, your children’s toys, or to give away as presents. What these perfectly presented pictures with captions such as “super easy in three steps!” don’t tell you, is that when you try this at home, it will probably look really, really shitty. Somehow these creative crafty concoctions just don’t come out right – not even close. Super easy in three steps: a failed DIY project, a seriously dinted self-esteem and a rapidly dropping regard for yourself as a human being capable of simply anything. Does this sound like fun? No.

Comedian Joselyn Hughes didn’t think so either and started a videoblog called ‘DIY, Dammit!‘. In these instruction videos, Joselyn (with the help from her friends and her dog) shows you all the steps of different DIY projects – including her own crumbling hope that it will succeed, and with honest cluelessness from time to time (let this paint dry for… an hour? Two hours? Maybe a day? I’m just gonna slowly walk away…). Apart from taking the ‘plastic America’ out of DIY and ‘keeping it real’, there are some really cool, out of the ordinary ideas and she convinces us that we too, can do this at home.

If you’re into DIY and always wanted to try that one thing, you can also email her on her website and request her to show you how it’s done. Follow ‘DIY, Dammit!’ on Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, or check out her personal website.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Guest entry by Neil

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ was one of the most critically lauded and highly anticipated shows in the fall line-up. It was so hyped up that its premiere delivered 11.9 million viewers – made S.H.I.E.L.D. TV’s highest-rated drama debut in nearly four years. Despite all this, it was one of the most disappointing new shows last autumn, losing almost half of its viewership in the first couple of weeks. Those who, like me, stuck with it against their better judgement were eventually rewarded. After this week’s finale, ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ ended up being one of the best new shows I’ve watched this year.

How did it go from terrible to awesome so quickly? Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a boring start but, what you don’t realise is that it is taking its time to let you build a relationship with the characters. Although it does this with some pretty tedious and contrived story lines in the beginning, I’m happy to say the investment eventually pays off. 

The show does exactly what the best of Whedon’s projects all do, and that is having a group of people who are more than just a sum of their parts. Like Buffy’s Scooby gang, or the crew of the Serenity, the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. become characters that you’re invested in and boy, do they go on a journey.

No worries, no spoilers, but pretty much everything that you’d hope for from a show by Joss Whedon about a shady government agency set in the Marvel universe actually happens… except for superhero cameos. But Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders do show up a couple of times, which is almost as good.

It has been picked up for a second season, and with the first season finale behind us it is shaping up to be intriguing.

Watch the trailer here:

Valtari Mystery Film Experiment

 

In music, there’s no such thing as old news. Do I just use this line to get away with writing an article about something that was released almost two years ago? Yes, of course. Doesn’t make it less true. The collaboration I want to bring to your attention happened almost two years ago, I saw it a year and a half ago, and it has been on my mind again the past couple of weeks. Whether you’ve seen it two summers ago or are just discovering it now: it will not be less impressive.

Sigur Rós is an Icelandic band, active since 1994. As most music coming from this strange and inspiring island, it takes you on a journey to places you’ve never imagined before. Just recently they made a cameo appearance in the popular HBO series Game of Thrones. In 2012, Sigur Rós made a new album, ‘valtari’, and gave fourteen film makers the same modest budget and asked them to create whatever comes into their head when they listen to songs from the band’s album. The idea was to bypass the usual artistic approval process and allow people utmost creative freedom.

The results are beautiful, funny, melancholic, and a whole other list of words to describe a broad spectrum of emotions. Just click on this link and see for yourself which video (and song) takes you on that special journey only Icelandic artists can take you on.

Goldieblox – engineering toys for girls

GoldieBlox

GoldieBlo

One of the most talked about topics of last week was the law suit that the Beastie Boys started against GoldieBlox, for using a parody of their song “Girls” in an ad for their toys. The Beastie Boys have made clear that they don’t have a problem against the company or the product, but says they made a deal to never use their music for advertisement. The original video, which was viewed 8 million times, as now been replaced by one with an instrumental guide track, but the message of the ad is still the same. This is something we should not overlook.

In a time where the lines are blurred between the labels ‘men’ and ‘women’ – women are becoming more sexually liberal, androgyny is hot, and careers for everyone are highly expected – there is still evidence to find that we are, in fact, not the same, and we are not “there yet” when it comes to being equal. Fewer than 3 in 10 graduates in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are women. And barely 1 in 10 actual engineers are women.

One of the great things about the feminist movement and what it has brought us over the last few decades is that women have a choice in what they want to do and become in life. To give the new generation a little hand in understanding the possibilities, the feminist movement has now taken a step into the creation of innovative toys, especially made for girls, to explore and discover their technical side in a playful manner.

Watch the (awesome!) video ad for GoldieBlox below.

Isabella Blow exhibition

Isabella Blow

Isabella Blow

Who is Isabella Blow? Allow me to introduce you to this mysterious and tragic woman in a nutshell. Isabella Blow was an English magazine editor with an uncanny sense of style and fashion with a great love for extravagant artwork in an elegant and sometimes strange-beyond-belief way. Her style choices are a great influence of Lady Gaga’s general appearance today, and she is credited with discovering fashion designer Alexander McQueen. Towards the end of her glamorous and influential life, Blow suffered greatly from depressions and eventually killed herself in 2007.

Just recently, an exhibition showcasing her legendary wardrobe opened at Somerset House in London. The collection was originally bought by the style maverick’s friend Daphne Guinness. Co-Curator Shonagh Marshall, who created the exhibition with Alistair O’Neill explained to Vogue UK:

She was once quoted as saying, ‘It’s about the craft, not the crap’, and that was something she stood by. The exhibition pays tribute to her idiosyncrasies, her quirks, her wit, her dark humour and also her love of grandeur. You don’t get characters like that any more – there’s no one of her infamy around in fashion now.”

As well as displaying over 100 pieces from Blow’s wardrobe, many of which are styled exactly how the fashion editor wore them, the exhibition is also littered with double-page spreads of her work. You may like her style or not, but the exhibition seems to give a wonderful insight into how she viewed the art that comes with high fashion in a deeper sense than what Lady Gaga has managed to pull off.

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! is open at Somerset House from until March 2 2014.

Elliott Sailors’ brave modeling move

Elliot Sailors | Photo By Wild Card Photo

Elliot Sailors | Photo By Wild Card Photo

The discussion in the fashion and modeling industry about the exploitation of young girls have been going on for years. Despite this discussion, the girls seem to get younger and younger, jet-setting the world and dealing with criticism about growing a feminine figure while they’re not even old enough to drive or drink. Model Elliott Sailors (31) has had a successful career in womenswear modeling – from couture catwalks to Ellen von Unwerth shoots – but recently found herself inspired by androgynous model Andrej Pejic. As she told Vogue UK:

I definitely wasn’t a girly girl growing up, although I wasn’t good at sports so I suppose I was missing the athletic skills to be called a tomboy! It was 2011 when I first saw pictures of Andrej Pejic, and I immediately thought, ‘I could do that.’ I tried a few shoots with my long blonde hair, like Andrej, modeling menswear and it just didn’t work. I wrapped my breasts and didn’t pose as you would for womenswear, but stylists and make-up artists still saw me as a woman – and the make-up was all wrong, shading my face to make me more manly – so I knew I had to cut my hair.”

Even though Sailors was inspired by Pejic to try and model for men’s wear as a woman, her motives and lifestyle are very different. Pejic was born a man and is becoming a woman while playing with transgender image and blurring the lines between “man” and “woman”. In 2011 there was a controversy in the US after Pejic posed for the cover of New York based magazine Dossier Journal, in which she is taking off a white shirt while wearing her long blond hair in curlers.

Andrej Pejic | Photo by Collier Schorr

Andrej Pejic | Photo by Collier Schorr

Elliot however, is a happily married woman who harbours no desire to become a man. She simply decided to cut her hair short and leave everything she has learned about feminine modeling behind to expand her work field, and with that, hopefully, extend her modeling career:

There is a market for womenswear models into their thirties and forties but it is much more commercial and, the truth is, if you love working in high fashion – which I do – you can do that much longer in menswear.
I don’t want what I’ve done to be seen as any kind of revolt against the fashion industry, I love the industry and what it creates, I’m just adding another voice to the narrative.”

I think it’s an incredibly brave step to take and might start a chain reaction to the view of the modeling industry as it is. Keep an eye out for this one!

James Jowers photography New York

Avenue A and East Seventh Street, 1967 | James Jowers

Avenue A and East Seventh Street, 1967 | James Jowers

New York. A place of mystery and glory. The city has managed to keep the mystery and glory that started out in the sixties and seventies, a melting pot of both culture and creativity. Of course we all wished we would’ve been there when New York went through this fascinating transformation, and now we, sort of, can.

 

Photographer James Jowers was in the midst of this mystical time in Manhattan in the ’60s, capturing images of strangers going about in their everyday business. Jowers’ collection is on display in the George Eastman House, a photography and film museum in Rochester, N.Y., but since we don’t all have the means to fly out to the place to be, the museum has posted many of the photographs online, allowing us to travel from our screens into our minds, and onto the old streets of Manhattan.

 

The black and white images drag you in like no movie can, making you feel like you’re a bystander on the side walk, taking a glimpse into the lives of different people. The stills seem to come alive somehow and will take you on a journey from the safe confines of your home (or, if your naughty, from behind your desk at your office).

 

See a selection of my favorites below.

 

See all the online pictures here.

The unsuspected sides of Tom Hiddleston

When we first get introduced to actors in a role they play very convincingly, it’s hard to picture them in a different way than the character itself.

How surprised was I, when I saw this video of Tom Hiddleston, the evil, conflicted Loki, brother of Thor, singing Stand by Me in a car in Germany after being on the German lifestyle magazine ‘Taff’. The Taff reporter drives the Hollywood star – who was by the way also nominated for “Sexiest Man Alive” by People Magazine, but lost to great dissatisfaction of ‘the Internet’ to Adam Levine – around Berlin and convinces him to do a little karaoke.

Who knew that ‘Loki’ could look so good, be so charming, and sing so casually even though he doesn’t have the voice of an angel? After briefly surfing around after seeing this video, it turns out Hiddleston is also quite the juggler, dancer, gentleman, and comedian.
 
Watch and enjoy.

 

Sylvester Stallone art exhibition

Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone

It’s easy to put labels on action actors such as Sylvester Stallone as brainless muscle men who can convincingly kick people’s asses without breaking a sweat and make a machine gun look like a third arm they acquired at birth. At age 67, instead of slumping and aging like a normal person, he seems to become even more bad-ass; in 2010 he reportedly broke his neck while shooting a scene for The Expendables with Steve “Stone Cold” Austin after insisting on doing his own stunts, and has over the last few years gotten a few tattoos to cover up his scars that he has collected filming action films throughout his life.

Stallone has always explored his talents besides acting: he wrote and was nominated for an Academy Award for the screenplay of Rocky, and is the co-writer, leading role and director of the first of the Expendables films. Stallone has now revealed a totally different, softer side to him. A collection of paintings created by the Hollywood star have gone on show at The Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. The exhibition titled: Sylvester Stallone. Painting. From 1975 Until Today, is a selection of works produced by Stallone over the past four decades. At the show’s opening, the star reportedly said that if he had the choice, he would spend his life drawing instead of acting. He said:

I think I’m a much better painter than an actor. It’s much more personal and I’m allowed to just do what I want to do. Quite often in acting you have to play a certain part, you cannot speak as much as you want to speak. I suppose the heroes don’t talk much, you have to be very stoic.”

Museum director Vladimir Gusev said Stallone’s paintings “show the character of a passionate man” and were not simply “the work of an amateur”. The exhibition will be on display until 13 January 2014.

Movember

Sean Connery

Sean Connery

If at any point this upcoming autumn month you wonder what the f*** is up with all these moustaches, find yourself prepared right here. My second favourite month after October, is November, or, slowly starting to be known as ‘Movember’: the month where thousands of men shave off their facial hair in order to let it grow back in the upper lip area – sometimes wildly and unkempt – for an entire month, to raise money and awareness to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges.

Starting as a small movement in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003 Movember has turned into a cult event, inspiring more than 3 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas to participate across 21 countries. The programs, directed by the Movember Foundation, are focused on awareness and education, living with and beyond cancer, staying mentally healthy, living with and beyond mental illness and research to achieve our vision of an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health.
The rules are simple:
1. Once registered at movember.com each Mo Bro must begin the 1st of November with a clean shaven face.
2. For the entire month of Movember each Mo Bro must grow and groom a moustache.
3. There is to be no joining of the Mo to your side burns. That’s considered a beard.
4. There is to be no joining of the handlebars to your chin. That’s considered a goatee.
5. A Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true gentleman.
Want to participate, donate or just check out this awesome cause? Check the website http://www.movember.com
Not sure if it would suit your baby faced features? Check out these fabulous celebrities who have totally pulled off a moustache at one point or another in their career.

Alec Baldwin’s ‘Here’s the Thing’

Alec Baldwin's 'Here's the Thing'

Alec Baldwin’s ‘Here’s the Thing’

As I’m sitting in my Hotel room in Chicago, the flatscreen on the wall at the end of the bed is winking at me invitingly. “Come on, switch me on,” it’s trying to say, “I’ll distract you with fun things to watch while you’re trying to work”. Luckily, I’ve been without a tv for many years so the temptation is not that great. But it makes me wonder whatever happened to the good old days of plugging in my headphones into my indestructible portable radio, after secretly curling up into my father’s big brown leather ‘smoke chair’, and listening to radio or mixed tapes. I’ve always loved radio, there’s something soothing about listening to good voices, and something challenging in closing your eyes and imagining the accompanying pictures to the story that’s being told, the conversation that’s being held, or the background information about artists and songs that’s given. I’ve recently found great joy in listening to audio books while knitting – damn, that sounds grannylike/nerdy but not cool enough to be hipster – and podcasts/talk radio.

Golden Globe winner Alec Baldwin may be most famous for his role as ‘Jack Donaghy’ in the successful comedy show ’30 Rock’, but this attractive gentleman has many more talents. Just a few weeks ago his newest addition of skills premiered in the form of a weekly Late Night talk show on MSNBS called ‘Up Late with Alec Baldwin’. A much lesser known skill that Alec Baldwin has, is interviewing. For a while now, he has been hosting his very own hour-long podcasts on WNYC where he interviews different famous people about different topics.

Because Baldwin is a known person in showbizz, and just generally a very friendly and charismatic man, many people have opened their homes, offices, and dressing rooms to him and his recording equipment, giving the listener the feeling that you’re a fly on the wall, hearing two established people having a personal discussion. From Jerry Seinfeld, to Rosie O’Donnell, via Michael Douglas to Kris Kardashian Jenner, Baldwin shares ideas, opinions and let’s his guests open up in a calm and interesting manner. His deep inviting voice will keep your ears warm for an hour without you wanting to stop listening. Perfect entertainment for when your tv/laptop screen is giving you ‘square eyes’ and you just want to be entertained while you sip on a warm cup of tea while the weather outside rages.

And yes, Alec Baldwin is just awesome because he has the most natural ‘duck face’ of anybody in showbiz and can totally get away with it.

Find ‘Here’s the Thing’ on Facebook here and listen to the podcasts on the website.

 

Kate Bosworth for Topshop

Kate Bosworth for Topshop | Photographer: Michael Polish

Kate Bosworth for Topshop | Photographer: Michael Polish

We still have to wait six patient months before we can see what Kate Moss’ new collection for Topshop will look like. Luckily, the new Autumn/Winter collection by the other Kate, Bosworth to be exact, is released in Topshop stores today. Actress/Model Kate Bosworth has worked with Topshop in the past on a festival season collection, and due to its success, they’ve now stepped up their game and entered the winter collection challenge.
The result is described as the perfect mix between masculine and feminine, and oversized and fitted. Here’s what Bosworth says about the collection:
The collection is tailored and classic. For fall, we wanted to create luxurious pieces with a strong minimalist approach. Slim silhouettes are cloaked in a masculine shape, staying true to the mix of masculine/feminine balance that exists in my personal aesthetic.”

Reportedly, the collection was inspired by Dutch painter Piet Mondriaan, taking from his art the monochromatic, metallic, and red colour palette. Watch the inspirational video for the collection below.

The 46-piece collection was launched today, and prices range from a very affordable £35 up to £500. You can shop the collection here. Fun fact: the photo and video shoot come from the 30-year old’s husband, Michael Polish. Check out my favourite pics from the collection below!

Pearl Jam Week on Fallon

Pearl Jam in the Nineties

Pearl Jam in the Nineties

I remember the first time I heard Pearl Jam like it was yesterday. It was only few weeks after I started my new high school, I had just turned 15, and one of my new friends gave me a disc man with earplugs and had me listen to the album ‘Ten’ during lunch break. I was into popular rock and ‘pop punk’ at that time (Limp Bizkit, Sum41, Lit – you know the drill) but this was the very first time, besides Nirvana, I had ever heard grunge. I didn’t understand anything from what was happening musically and didn’t really care for it at first, but as soon as Eddie Vedder started singing, the rest of the world seized to exist and I completely and irrevocably fell in love with his voice.

To celebrate the release of Pearl Jam’s tenth studio album ‘Lightning Bolt’, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon will present Pearl Jam Week this week, starting tonight. The show will host a series of appearances by the band and other musicians performing songs from Pearl Jam’s catalog.
The kick off will be tonight with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell (my favourite singer after Eddie Vedder! <3), who used to be in a band with Eddie Vedder back in the early nineties called Temple of the Dog. Chris Cornell will be performing “Footsteps” (originally a Temple of the Dog song called “Times of Trouble”) with members of the Avett Brothers.

On Tuesday Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes (backed by undisclosed special guests) will be there to cover “Coduroy”, followed by Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready with country star Dierks Bentley and the Roots on Wednesday. On the final two nights, Pearl Jam will be there to wrap up the week with new music from Lightning Bolt.

To get into the mood for these amazing days – which will be one the musical highlights of my life since I will be seeing Chris f*cking Cornell acoustic live in a solo show in Chicago!!! -, watch this legendary video from Pearl Jam in 1992, on the Dutch festival “Pinkpop”, closing the show with one of my favourite songs “Porch”.

What do you mean ‘rock is dead’?!

Mythbusters interactive Twitter experiment

Mythbusters interactive Twitter experiment

Mythbusters interactive Twitter experiment

I live in a shared apartment on the top floor of an amazing place in Neukölln, Berlin. One of my previous flatmates was very much into plants and our house soon turned into an indoor jungle affair. I didn’t mind, I never mind green in the house – unless I have to take care of it that is. I used to get mini cactuses for my room because I simply forget to water them. Name my plants and talk to them? Yes, of course! Water them? I simply forget…
The girl who was taking care of our home grown forest really talked to our plants, and dusted them off with precision and care. It is said, that talking to plants and giving them love will help them grow. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is putting that popular idea to the test with a 21st-century experiment.

 

As part of ‘Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition‘, the museum created an interactive experiment which boils down to the simple idea: anyone can tweet to a plant in the museum, the message gets turned into robotic speech which the plant will hear through a speaker. To complete the experiment, another plant will sit in silence.
On the website you can keep track of the process of the experiment. The museum compares size, leaf colour, height, and how many words the loved plant has heard.

 

So confess your deepest darkest secret, declare your love, or simply scold the plant if you like (it’s not picky about what it will hear) in 140 characters to contribute to this awesome experiment. Go to the website http://www.talktoaplant.com/ to send you own message to participate!
Contribute to the Mythbusters' experiment #talktoaplant

Contribute to the Mythbusters’ experiment #talktoaplant

Shpock – flea market app

Flea Market, source: Wikipedia

When I first bought an iPhone last December I was SO stoked. Finally a real smartphone, not only pretty but an extension of my Apple collection (I’m hooked since my MacBook), and well regarded in the smartphone world. It did however take me forever to get used to the sheer comprehension of possibilities. Of course, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook were no-brainers, but I’ve only added a handful of other Apps since then. Super-useful-can’t-live-without-them-Apps (Evernote <3) for sure, but only a few.

Exactly three weeks ago I was scrolling through Facebook, as you do, when a promoted post caught my eye. I generally really hate promoted posts and try my best to train my eye/brain coordination to skip and ignore, but this one somehow popped out. I clicked on it, downloaded it, and fell in love.

The app is called Shpock (as in Shop in your pocket) and is described as a ‘flea market app’. The app finds your location, you can choose a category (or not) and it shows you what people are selling within one kilometer from your house, the further your scroll down, the bigger the range. You can then see pictures of the offered products and offer a price. The seller sets a price, but it is always negotiable. The seller can then counter offer, or, if you’re lucky, immediately accept. After the acceptance of your offer, you enter a private chat screen to make arrangements for the exchange.
The beauty of this app is that it actually feels like a flea market minus the dodgy people and awful smells. Yes, you scroll through a lot of crap but the hunt for good/interesting cheap stuff and bargains gets you hooked in no time.

In the three weeks I’ve been a member, I have sold a dress and a pair of shoes, snatched an awesome coat for just €10,- (talked my way down from €12,-, see below), and will exchange another dress of mine for a blouse and a gilet tonight, only having to pay €9,50 at the exchange. Cleaning out your closet while making a few bucks, then using those freshly made coins for buying something from someone else who is not wearing it anymore but feels like a new addition to your own wardrobe, and the simple act of negotiating and coming out (as seller or buyer) on top and satisfied is a definite new, addictive hobby.

I’ve only used it for the category ‘fashion and accessories’ so far, but you can also find furniture, electronic devices, books/music, etc.