Monthly Archives: April 2012

Music Video Monday #48: Lana del Rey’s “Blue Jeans.”

Say what you will about Lana del Rey, but I dare to you deny that this video is absolutely stunning. There are components that bring to mind Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Games” video: the lack of color, the generous use of slow motion, the proximity to water. The water imagery is particularly interesting to me, because whereas “Wicked Games” plays out in the ocean, an open and natural space that feels safe and life-giving, “Blue Jeans” is set in a pool, a confined man-made body of water that holds danger just below the surface. These videos, to me, seem like two sides of the same coin: both explore that notion of all-consuming love, but “Blue Jeans” contemplates the dark side, the blindness that can accompany love. Watching del Rey fearlessly swim with crocodiles and then be pulled under by her man as she sings “I will love you ’til the end of time” is haunting. It’s so cinematic and somehow manages to be cerebral and visceral simultaneously, and I just think it’s really well done. Way to go, Lana!

Friday ID File: Wallpaper.

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When I was younger, I had wallpaper in my room and I hated it. It was a tacky cream-colored paper with a pattern of grandmotherly roses on it and I couldn’t even pin my Hanson posters over top of it… unfair! My negative feelings toward wallpaper have lessened considerably since then, and in the past year or so as I’ve watched wallpaper start to make a comeback, I’ve even thought that it might be nice to wallpaper at least one room in my home (when I have a home) someday. I’ve seen dozens of companies whose wallpaper designs are absolutely beautiful and oh-so-hip, from designerly florals to bold geometric patterns, and I continue to be astounded at what a difference it can make in a room. It’s also pretty versatile: wallpapering all of the walls is the standard, but wallpapering a single wall and leaving the rest of the walls painted or white can also serve as a lovely accent to a room. The only thing that might deter me from giving wallpaper a go is the mess factor; I’ve heard it’s a bitch to remove from your walls once you’re ready for something new, and that doing it incorrectly can damage your walls. But then looking at all of the gorgeous patterns makes me want to throw caution to the wind and wallpaper to my little heart’s content!

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What are your thoughts on wallpaper? Trendy and awesome? Or dated and boring? Whether you love it or hate it, you can deny that these wallpaper patterns are really pretty. Can I get an amen?

Not Knowing, According to Sagan.

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“Many adults are put off when youngsters pose scientific questions. Children ask why the sun is yellow, or what a dream is, or how deep you can dig a hole, or when is the world’s birthday, or why we have toes. Too many teachers and parents answer with irritation or ridicule, or quickly move on to something else. Why adults should pretend to omniscience before a five-year-old, I can’t for the life of me understand. What’s wrong with admitting that you don’t know? Children soon recognize that somehow this kind of question annoys many adults. A few more experiences like this, and another child has been lost to science. There are many better responses. If we have an idea of the answer, we could try to explain. If we don’t, we could go to the encyclopedia or the library. Or we might say to the child: ‘I don’t know the answer. Maybe no one knows. Maybe when you grow up, you’ll be the first to find out.'”

Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as the Candle in the Dark

The Museum of Broken Relationships.

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As the majority of the flights that I made within Europe were on EasyJet, I got into the habit of reading their in-flight magazine (which is great, incidentally) cover to cover. One of the most fascinating things I read about? The Museum of Broken Relationships.

Conceptualized by Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, the museum began as a traveling exhibition that explored failed relationships through their tangible remnants, the objects that came to mean something greater than themselves in the context of a relationship. As the exhibition gained popularity, hordes of people began donating personal belongings from their own broken relationships, and the collection that began to amass necessitated a permanent museum location, which is situated in Zagreb, Croatia. According to the museum’s website, these exhibits, “although often colored by personal experience, local culture and history… form universal patterns offering us to discover them and feel the comfort they can bring.”

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I’ve been perusing some of the items in the exhibits and many of them are accompanied by an explanation from the person who donated them. One man who donated an ax recounts how he used it to chop up the belongings that his ex had left behind in their shared apartment, one each day for two weeks, and how he kept the chopped up bits and arranged them into neat little piles for when she returned to retrieve them. Another donor recounts throwing a garden gnome at the new car her husband came home in, how it bounced off the windshield and onto the ground, “a long loop, drawing an arc of time – and this short long arc defined the end of love.” The explanation that accompanies a donated cell phone simply reads: “It was 300 days too long. He gave me his cell phone so I couldn’t call him any more.”

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Isn’t it fascinating how otherwise unimportant objects can become imbued with so much meaning when they’re connected to a relationship? The MoBR’s website briefly refers to these objects as ruins, but I think that’s a really powerful characterization of what the objects represent. I keep thinking about Rome and how there are ruins everywhere, monuments made from the remaining fragments of things that were once beautiful and imposing and important. If these objects are ruins, then these ruins are almost paying homage to the relationship, acknowledging that it was once beautiful and imposing and important even though it isn’t anymore. It seems like a powerful and ceremonious way to honor the importance of relationships even after they’re broken, and to overcome the pain of loss through artistic creation. I hope I’m able to see this museum someday.

Want to donate something to the Musuem of Broken Relationships? You can do so here!

EuroTour 2012: The Video.

songs: “Under My Thumb” by The Rolling Stones and “Laura” by Girls

I knew, before I even started traveling, that this was going to be among the most epic three and half weeks of my life and as a result, I had my iPhone constantly on the ready to record all of the incredible experiences I was having. I think it annoyed the people I was with a little, but I’m so glad I did it. I’ve watched this video probably twenty times since I’ve completed it, and it never ceases to bring a huge smile to my face. It was amazing to live it and now I’m so glad that I have this video as a memento, and that some of my best memories of my travels are preserved in moving pictures for all time. I hope you enjoy watching it too!