A month ago I stepped into the odd world of Curiosities, a vintage store in Dallas, Texas. Speckled throughout the collection of taxidermy and early 1900’s medical supplies (DIY liver transplant, anyone?) were porcelain dolls. They hung out like mini bouncers ready to follow you around each corner. The collection of stuff was meticulously random, like a Jackson Pollock painting but instead of throwing paint on canvas, they dumped vintage photographs and porcelain knick-knacks. Here are some of the characters I found:
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Ah, Fanime… the only time of the year when you can walk around downtown San Jose wearing a lolita dress and
not have people suspect that you’re a hardcore weeaboo. But alas, Fanime was today and it brought out all of the
bay area’s nerdiest and most creative minds under one wet blanket. Being the cheap ass that I am, I just roamed
the halls and outskirts of the convention looking for cosplayers with some pizazz. Oddly enough, I actually wasn’t
too thrilled to be shooting there.
You see, ever since I transitioned into film/polaroid photography my shooting style has changed. So while nerd
1, 2 and 384 were all photographing the same girl, DSLRs click-clacking faster than Michael J. Fox in tap shoes,
I pretty much had one chance to get it right. Equipped with 1 pack of Fuji FP-100C color film, 1 pack of fp-3000b
black and white and one roll of Portra 400 in my Olympus Stylus Epic, I had to be very selective with who I
photographed and how. Take this shot for example:
First off, I thought her Catwoman was fantastic. The stitching looked legit and the expressions were
pretty damn spot on. She was even hanging out against the wall like one of those stray cats you might see
in an alley. However, due to the low speed of film (100 ISO) I was forced to really grip down on my camera
and stabilize it as much as possible. A bit blurry for my taste but the silver lining is that popping red against
the blue hazed tones. I also bleached the negative which has a very 80’s-ish vibe – no?
It totally reminds of those thin, outdated hairstyle booklets that almost every Vietnamese barber shop owns.
Gerri curl, anybody? Digressions aside, the con was a little disappointing to be honest. Everyone seemed to be
dressed as the same damn thing and no one really went there. It was all just a bunch of Lolitas, obscure
characters who look like they could be from any damn anime — I mean seriously, how original do you look wearing
an Asian schoolgirl outfit? — and even more annoying was the bukkake of Princess Zeldas and Links gossiping
around their makeshift deku tree.
This was one of the few Zeldas that I actually bought into. She totally stayed in character the whole time and had
demure hand gestures as if her hand were a dolphin skipping away.
See what I mean? This kinda shit is cool. Squatting over a bird shit-stained light post just to give your fans a
good shot? BALLIN! And the black chick has that confidence that bodes well with Black widow.
Being the only polaroid photographer that day, I got quite a few compliments and questions about my camera.
After taking a photo of miss Pochahontas over here, some dude popped out of the trees like Slenderman and
was like “cool camera!” We chatted for a bit about film photography, he told me about his film background
and he eventually gave me his business card. Check out their fantastic work!
One of the moments that truly stuck out to me was when I saw Zero Suit Samus. When I came up to take a
picture of her I noticed this Super-Cholo dude with his hood lookin’ buddy asking to have their photo taken
with her. Arms around her shoulder, they cheesed as the other brother snapped away on their camera phone.
Now, I’m not going to say they were out of place since who knows, those guys could be closeted weeboos,
but what I did take note of was her expression.
Her face was cringing when they were touching her; it was as if she were 5 years old again and her parents
were trying to feed her vegetables. Maybe other people didn’t see it, but I know I did. It was subtle, but it
was definitely there. I guess when you do street photography you end up training your eye to notice
microscopic moments: a bright red high heel on cold pavement, a little child dancing in a pocket of
sunlight or the forced smile of a woman trying to maintain her composure. Which brings me to my final
point of this drawn out post: IS Cosplay consent?
Oh, what the hell am I saying? Of course Cosplay isn’t consent! Yes, some of these women are dressed more
minimalistic than your average hooters girl, but the outfit a woman wears should never dictate whether a man
(or rather, a boy) has the right to touch her in any way. Come to think about it, most of the photographers that
were there seemed rather pervy. I kinda just took my shots and walked away while these other peeping toms
looked like they were completely getting off with their camera lenses. WHY DO YOU LADIES EVEN COME
HERE?! SAVE YOURSELVES! LEAVE, NOW!
I kid, I kid. But in all honesty it does make me wonder: during these types of conventions where you have
women dressed up as characters, is there something about the environment that makes guys feel like it’s
okay to touch women? Or should we just learn to expect this behavior from virgin boys who claim to have
reached first base when in reality, an elderly German lady simply patted down their jeans during a TSA
inspection. It really goes to show you that both nerds and jocks can be assholes.
Oh, and I also saw Ironman.
I‘ll say it now: working at a job that isn’t your career fucking sucks. I mean, how many of us actually work at a job
that we love? Aside from being the official taste tester for Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, there really isn’t a job in the
world that caters to every single need you have. As an aspiring artist working in retail, the monotony of selling
handbags and rubber flip-flops can bore the neurons out of your brain. So when Geraldine (aka, Gigi, aka G²) –
a 30-something, 5’2-ish, aspiring fashion designer – was hired at our location, we immediately bonded over our
shared longing for a future in art.
As Dr. Evil as it may seem, I’m somewhat of an emotional brick wall. I hardly cry, my heart skips a beat when
children are being yelled at by their parents in public, and I also give zero fucks when I lose a friend. Friends?
Whateves, yo! I’ll just find a new one on 4CHAN! But as today marks Gigi’s last day, a part of me (and all of us at
work) has seemed to dwindle down like a fire without a wick. Why, you ask? Well, when you work with a group of
all women, you get somewhat of a shitstorm when it comes to drama. She said, she said, and all of this bullcrap
gets thrown around like condiments in a food fight. At some point, everyone has been irritated by everyone –
but not Gigi.
Gigi was sort of the neutral party. She never started shit with anyone nor did she care to be involved. I respect
that. She was always an immensely chipper person and even though she was only in her early 30’s, she felt sort
of like our grandma – emotionally relaxed and always willing to share a great conversation. If we weren’t talking
about food and the types of food we wish we could be eating on our incoming lunch break, we discussed art,
fashion, gossip at work, and other random topics. But she was also real, with real problems and real concerns.
Interlaced beneath the cotton threads of her happy disposition were the linings of guy problems, struggles with
family issues, and the mystery of her future in the fashion biz. I mean she had some Maury Povich stuff goin on
and naturally, I found myself as her unofficial therapist – advising and guiding her on things such as “that man is
a LIAR!” or “MAN UP! Ask him out!” Conversely, she helped me learn to relax more at work. She taught me
how to turn my inner TiVo on and put things in slow motion. To stop, take my time, and let the job do itself.
She was excellent at it.
I won’t bore you any longer with my individual stories and inside jokes but I will say this: despite my brick wall
of a heart, I truly found myself saddened when she left our store. A good, moral, and real person had left our
family at work. The world just doesn’t make people like her anymore. People who seem to endure so much in
life yet they continue to thrive and smile through it all. Both of us may have bigger dreams and aspirations
beyond the tasks of folding clothes and ringing up needy customers, so perhaps, by chance, the art world will
harmonize and in the future, we will meet again at the corporate art department.
Till then, my good friend.
*This was a song that we all used to lip sync and dance to during work*
Why am I so dumb? I can’t believe I forgot to blog about this video. For the shoot,
I actually drove out to San Francisco (an hour drive), spent hours in the studio
doing video, and a couple hours in front of the screen snipping video clips to make
this awesome creation. But hey! Think of it as my present to you. This is the latest
fashion video that I’ve done, and boy oh boy is it swell. So check it out while drinking
hot chocolate, or simply enjoy within the comfort of your empty room while wearing
absolutely nothing at all.
As I was posting this blog, I was listening to Julie London’s “Blue Moon” and realized how nicely
it fit this collection of photos.
You saw me standing alone…
Without a dream in my heart…
Without a love of my own…
You know just what I was there for…
You heard me saying a prayer for…
Someone I really could care for…
And then there suddenly appeared before me…”
It’s interesting when music fits so perfectly with whatever it is you’re experiencing at the moment. You start
to wonder “Was this song made for me? For this very second of my life?”
Dear Fashion Gods,
I come to you for a helping hand…
I come for warmth and protection…
I‘m not one for speeches (since they’re quite a drag)
… But I look up to you…
… And I pray…
… That you will enjoy the next few posts I will be publishing soon <3
Some of you may disagree with me, but I get the feeling that some of this jewelry was inspired by steampunk.
This fashion show was the bastard child of steampunk, Roman Warriors, and early 1900’s Cinema.
Or something like that :)
Steampunk fashion… hmm… I think I have a new source of inspiration ;)
Fun Fact: Prior to my fashion blogging, there was actually a time in my life when I wanted to become a
fashion designer. Now, this was probably due to my obsession with Project Runway, but that’s a completely
During my fashion designer phase, I looked into various art schools to pursue that “dream.” In the bay area,
there are two options as far as schools: The Art Institute and The Academy of Art. The idea was that AI
was the fun (yet expensive) school where the real creatives went. It was viewed as the Apple of local
art schools while AA was Microsoft.
In contrast, AA was painted as the devil’s den. It was, from the point of view of many people (including my
High School Art Teacher), painted as some kind of neo-nazi, Orwellian Art School for communists. So to
finally come to an AA fashion show was a treat. Not only was I able to sit with the rest of the pro
photographers, I also had a chance to see if The Academy of Art was really like a page from 1984.
I‘ll admit: when I saw this powerful image, I started to become a bit concerned. But once the show started, I was
proven very… very wrong.
One of the things that I noticed about this show was that, instead of going for
that couture look, most of the designers actually chose the practical yet
highly wearable route. This was a very refreshing approach in contrast to
the other shows I’ve been to in San Francisco.
It’s Sil Pat meets Austin Powers!
I absolutely LOVE this designer. I love how he/she treated the fabrics. It
almost looks as if they were set on fire then blown out, revealing a half burnt
outfit. Very awesome, and I would TOTALLY wear a shirt from them!
This show didn’t have any fancy hats nor crazy bags, but they did have some really great prints.
I wasn’t lucky enough to touch this piece, but from looking at it, my mind just screams out “BUTTERY SMOOTH!”
I gotta hand it to the designers at AA: they did a phenomenal job. The actual
show was very entertaining, all of the models had amazing walks/looks, the
music selection was on-point, the timing was quick and efficient, and most
importantly, the clothes were wearable and visually orgasmic. If this is a sign
of things to come from The Academy of Art, then shit, count me in!
Great job, AA – you proved us all wrong.