Congenial Coiffures

The brilliant hues that have been spotted in fashion over the past couple of months, being applied not only to the latest clothing trends but also to the face and hair, may not be anything new to those who have long been adjusted to an alternative lifestyle.  After all, my hair was red in my junior year of high school despite my grandmother thinking it made me “look like a street walker”, and it is still a color that I readily wear because it brings out the green in my eyes and plays well with my skin tone.  However, not everyone has this experience and so they might be testing the proverbial waters of doing something different for the first time this season.  Quite frankly I feel that if more people have dyed hair that enters the realm of unnatural [that is, colors that do not occur on anyone], the less others will claim it is a phase or fad.  This may be true for those who enjoying playing into the latest craze, but we all should have the ability to express ourselves in whatever way we choose without being judged.

Since makeup companies are promoting neutral colors and natural, sun-kissed faces, let your personality speak through your hair.  Whether you prefer the sleek runway styles such as simple ponytails and slicked back sides, loose barely-there curls and defined bobs or a center part with retro styling, there is no shortage of inspiration to draw from.  Of course one will have to try out a few different things before finding what is most flattering, though when that happens you will feel as amazing as those glossy editorial photographs look.  This guide highlights a few of the more popular features of Spring’s hottest hair.

The biggest color trend at the moment is ombre, which essentially is a dark shade that fades into a lighter one.  Execution is critical and it is preferred if the light part begins around chin length to avoid looking as though one desperately needs to dye their roots – the tips can also be dyed in bright hues for added drama.

When one has been blonde so many times that the natural color of the hair is unknown, there is not much else to explore in the land of those who have more fun.  That is where toners and shampoos come in handy, as they can instantly transform the classic blonde into a white or silver haired bombshell.  Avoid going too grey and being mistaken for a little old lady who needs to be helped across the street.

Adding depth and definition to the hair can be achieved with mutli-tone color, such as streaks of red and purple for those with darker tresses, which also highlight shorter cuts and angled precision styling.  Larger chunks are definitely more daring but they bring out layers, especially those that are more extreme, to create layers of color that will make people wonder if you are wearing a wig.

Waves and volume are two of the easiest ways to get medium and long length hair to break the boundaries of boring and enter the spectacular spotlight.  These are also styles which work with any hair color, especially those with mutli-toned highlights or stratigically placed stripes.  

Traditionally, curls are often associated with fresh faced girls like Shirley Temple, but it is a texture often embraced by women who desire movement and texture.  The modern interpretation of classic curls is to pair them with short sides and back – otherwise known as an undercut – that enhances facial features.

One of the easiest ways to get hair away from the face when the temperature starts to rise is with braids or twists, as the style is a universal one that can be applied to a wide variety of hair types.  Whether you prefer the precision of clean sections or the haphazard texture of carefree tresses loosely wrangled into shape, these simple techniques do not require much skill, and the finished result can always be personalized with the right accessories.

There is no right or wrong way to dress up your hair, though I always exercise moderation and take a number of things into consideration before adorning my locks.  Keeping on theme with simplicity, pearl hair grips are both fashionable and functional, particular when attempting a few of the styles mentioned above.  Do not be fooled by the cute packaging, pastel ribbons can add interest to sophisticated ponytails, or tied in a bow to accent punky pixie cuts.  When it comes to exhibiting opulence, an elegant feather trimmed cocktail had from Arturo Rios will make even the simplest evening on the town into a grand extravaganza.  For those moments where there is no time to spend primping, a colorful scarf can be used in a variety of ways and coordinated to just about any outfit.

The most important thing to keep in mind when seeking to try something new, is that hair will grow back and so if a particular cut or color does not yield the desirable result, one must call upon the forces of patience.  While some styles may seem drastic, there is certainly no shortage of ideas and inspirations when it comes to hair styling, especially if you are open to the idea that it is just another artistic medium.  Also treat your tresses right to ensure that they will hold color longer and develop strength so you can experiment with styles, no matter what you choose to wear for this Spring.

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Sunday Nite Ritual

[Originally written on this date in 2004]

Waking up in South Jersey is occasionally a weird thing.  Driving down seemed almost surreal, but that might have been due to being half asleep since I decided to make the journey in the middle of the nite.  So I was a bit confused when my eyes opened and were greeted by blue skies, the ocean sparkling in the distance.  As soon as I saw Jon’s smile, I knew that everything was alright.

We ate breakfast in bed while watching Seabiscuit, sharing bowls and this classic from yours truly: “Is it too early for pistachios?”  It was a really good movie, and then Jon pops in The Greatest Shown on Earth.  The term “sawdust in my veins” is adopted from a line in the film and is something that we both connect with.

Abandoned the bed around two in the afternoon and continued to smoke while writing.  Lunch was skipped so dinner was started early.  He made breaded chicken cutlets with a side of asparagus and corn; we sat down to eat around five and it was absolutely delicious.  There was a small break before tearing into the lemon crunch pie and downing strong cups of Irish coffee.

Digestion followed for the next few hours, but we returned to the evil pie and nearly polished the entire thing off.  Then we pried into our second bag of pistachios, the first having been eaten the previous nite and earlier in the morning.  Retreated to the living room to keep ourselves occupied from consuming the rest of the nuts.

Thus the Sunday Nite Ritual commenced with King of the Hill.  VCR was set to record the Simpsons and we switched the channel to HBO for Six Feet Underthe Sopranos [which just gets better and better] and Deadwood [which I actually stayed awake to watch], while munching on the above mentioned pistachios.

Later on we headed down to the beach to do some star gazing while smoking a blunt.  The ocean was dark, making it hard to determine where it ended and the nite sky began.  We talked about the shows we had just watched, laughing about things the characters had said or done, blankets draped over our shoulders super hero style with a cup of coffee in hand.

It might not seem much like a ritual to some, but there comes a time when you learn to cherish all the little moments in life, especially when they are shared with someone who fills you with unending happiness.

Verdant Equinox

As the barren landscape of this urban jungle is transformed by a variety of trees, plants and animals that proudly announce the arrival of a new season, one can find inspiration floating in the breeze on an afternoon filled with sunshine and blue skies, where temperatures are surprisingly higher than average but still incredibly comfortable.  Emerging from hibernation can be wonderful and empowering even if the traditions and symbolism associated with this time of year is for personal purposes.  The selection of bold hues and where to apply them  can be difficult, particularly when trends are widespread among shops both on-line and locally, and it is tempting to buy into these for the sake of being a part of the fanfare.  However, it is possible to coordinate a fresh, fashionable look without being a clusterfuck of whatever is currently popular on Tumblr.  For me, Spring conjures up stimulating imagery connected with fond memories of road trips to the Jersey Shore, the first ride on the Cyclone at Coney Island after a long Winter of waiting and celebrating my Polish heritage with appropriate observances of Easter.  Sweet smells of blooming flowers mix with fresh-cut grass and the city explodes with color, whether it is emblazoned on the wall of abandoned buildings or across the skin of its denizens.  Brilliant hues can be found in makeup, hair and even clothing as we collectively shed our winterized selves and seek to embrace the evolution of Self through individual expression.

Natural does not always mean that one has to grit their teeth and apply the bare minimum of makeup, as even celebrities that seemingly have that perfect dew-kissed skin are often achieving the flawless look through several layers of products.  Urban Decay has not one but two palettes packed with neutral and exclusive eyeshadow shades that will surely increase the amount of styles one can execute.  The original NAKED palette is packed with shadows that range from ethereal champagnes to granular gunmetal, and also features five new colors such as Darkhorse, Virgin and Buck.  Textures also vary – glitter, shimmer and matte – and overall one can be office appropriate, bronzed for the Summer or smokey and sultry.  The highly anticipated sequel NAKED2 has richly pigmented taupe and greige shadows that range from pale to deep and matte to sparkly.  This palette also includes a travel size Lip Junkie gloss in Naked, and a double-ended cruelty-free Good Karma Shadow/Crease Brush, which is only available with this product.  Much like its predecessor, NAKED2 allows one to achieve a variety of neutral looks, dramatic smokey eyes and everything in between.

The bright radiance of NARS’s Spring 2012 Color Collection is an adventure in illustrating the influence that Nature’s beauty can have on our own.  An amicable trio of eyeshadow called Douce France offers shades in Icy and Petal Pink with a dusky Deep Rose.  Whether applying along or together, these highly-pigmented micro-fine powders flow easily and have staying power.  They definitely compliment the Paramaribo eyeshadow, which is a duo of Metallic Brass and Bronze, that was named Best Overall Eyeshadow in 2011 by In Style‘s “Best Beauty Buys”.  Toning down the shimmer does not mean one has to sacrifice richness, and Lhasa is a lovely velvety-matte lavender grey that would be excellent for executing a smokey eye.  Soft Touch Shadow Pencils might be jumbo sized, but they are still a portable means of dispensing creamy long-wearing colors, whether using them to shade the lid or highlighting the eye, seen here in Dark Rite [navy blue].  Creating a honeyed lip that will stand out can be achieved with Valparaiso, a rich raspberry Pure Matte Lipstick that contains wild mango butter, which elevates moisturizing, and enriched with Vitamin E for antioxidant benefits.  Something a bit more neutral is Bilbao, a shimmering topaz Satin Lipstick permeated with conditioners to administer comfort, protection and nourishment for your lips.  Dazzling Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils are convenient because they are just as beneficial as they are fashionable, and Mexican Rose [hot pink] is certainly a wearable treat.     NARS presents their iconic Blush for this season with Gaiety, a bright candy pink that is natural and directly animates the complexion.  Diamond Life is a decadent metallic violet Shimmer Nail Polish that manages to be both fashion-forward and classic, providing extended wear, UV protection to prevent discoloration, and a durable, chip resistant finish.

When it comes to impeccable eyeshadow collections, Too Faced never ceases to constantly be at the forefront with designer palettes that make application easy for everyone.  Their Natural Eye, Neutral Eye Collection contains step-by-step instruction cards that ensures a professional application, and the compact size makes it easy to transport in a purse.  Pure pigmented shadows offer true color payoff and blend effortlessly for an airbrushed look – the example swatches include Sexpresso [matte deep brown], Erotica [soft charcoal shimmer] and Honeypot [gold shimmer].

The evening version of this collection is Natural at Night, which comes with an array of seductively warm shadows in highly-blendable matte, shimmer and glitter textures.  With richly pigmented, high-performing colors such as Eclipse, Night Fever and Spotlight, this collection is full of complimentary shadows with instructions on how to created looks that will last from sundown to night-on-the-town.  The  easy-to-follow How-To cards feature instructions to assist you in creating Night, Fashion and Classic looks.

Continuing with this congenital theme is the Natural Radiance Face Palette, which a thoughtful selection of assorted sun-kissed shades that deliver a sexy no-makeup look.  Six face essentials include a universal luminizer, brightener and concealer in neutral shades, along with cream and powder options for the cheeks, and a golden-bronze veil for that overall glow.  An added bonus is that this collection can be used with your favorite products, applied by itself for natural concealing and highlighting, or for quick touch-ups, while the tutorial cards demonstrate application techniques and color placement.

The Natural Kiss Neutral Color Lip Collection is an excellent way to top off looks created with the above palettes.  Blendable cream and gloss shimmers can be mixed for customization and the four shades not only compliment all skin tones, but also keep lips soft with a hydrating formula.  A flattened-bristle brush applies maximum coverage, even on the go, and though the palette is a bit large, its mirror is incredibly convenient for touch ups anytime and anywhere.

Pampering certain does not have to stop at adorning the face with these lovely makeup products, as Lush has over a dozen new items that are appropriately themed for the seasons.  While Carrot Top may seem like a comical prop, it is in fact a reusable bubble bar to fill the bath with piles of frothy lemon and buchu scented foam.  Simply grab the top and swish the carrot around the tub – it should be good for at least seven baths.  A limited edition holiday bath bomb that will appeal to your sweet tooth without those expensive visits to the dentist is Fluffy Egg, which is reported to “smell like a vanilla ice cream cone fell into a cotton candy machine”.  However, the cheery pink color and Candy Fluff dusting powder do not mean this is edible, no matter how tempting it looks.  If the traditional Easter   miracle is not something you find appealing, then perhaps the Immaculate Eggception [available in yellow and pink] might be the innovation to restore your faith in magic.  Crack open to shell to find out what kind of surprise is inside, then drop it into the tub for an appealing ylang ylang, grapefruit and vanilla bath – this mysterious force can be used three times.

If you love the ocean as much as I do, Beaside the Seaside is the way to escape there without having to leave your tub.  The festive beach hut contains Sandstone soap, Blue Skies bubble bar, Big Blue bath bomb and Happy Hippy shower gel, all of which can be use year round when you want the feeling of being on your very own resort.

For those who want to eliminate bacteria, germs and other nasty junk that can get on your hands without harsh chemicals or alcohol, 13 Soap has a powerful herbal concoction that gets hands clean with fresh, fragrant lather packed with oregano, soothing rose and mositurizing honey.  Finally, inspired by Italian nougat and crafted with soap flakes, pistachios, peanuts, and walnuts, Noubar is a striking handmade soap that lathers into a creamy, rich foam that leaves a smoky, slightly bitter scent of vetivert and rose on your hands.

According to Lush, Ocean Salt “is like taking your face on a trip to the seaside for an invigorating splash in the water”, and I cannot think of anything that makes me feel more revitalized.  Avocado and coconut for hydration are mixed with the antibacterial effects of lime and vodka, which are ideal in combating blocked pores, blackheads or blemishes.  Ocean Salt has both fine and course grains that softens as it scrubs away dirt.

Since this season is all about celebration, I wanted to end this article with the profound words that accompany Illamasqua‘s newest collection:

Human Fundamentalism is an explosion of your alter ego.  It’s becoming who you are and not who you’re told to be.  Beauty isn’t conformity, but the fundamental human desire to express your inner self on the outside.  To rise above mainstream limitations and exist in a world where individuality is received with celebration not derision, and breaking the mould is a sign of strength not instability.  We stand for freedom of expression, embracing our glorious imperfections and showing the world we’re not ordinary but extraordinary, even if society refuses to accept it.  We’re beyond conformity. Beyond control.  Beyond hiding who we really are.  We are not a religion, but the singular opposite.  We are Illamasqua.

Get ready for a startling celebration of humanity’s connection with colour.  Introducing the Human Fundamentalism collection, where blinding flashes of pigment provide a sharp contrast to neutral tones, creating a saturated palette that catapults your alter ego to new levels of self-expression.  Mix contrasting textures to express your true self, spiraling from rich metallic to pale matte shades.  This is nonconformity at its most fundamental.  At its unpredictable best.

There are strong feelings about this campaign, because generally beauty products are marketed with the idea of conforming to society’s standards in order to be attractive and desirable.  Whereas this urges the consumer to be daring and promotes self-expression through the use of their quality products, which is something I can definitely support and can say with certainty represents what Carny Style is all about.

Resources: urbandecay.com, narscosmetics.com, toofaced.com, lushusa.com, illamasqua.com

Photo credit: 1 – easteuropeanfood.about.com, 2 – toofaced.com, 3 – lushusa.com

Dawn of Carny Trash

[Originally written on this date in 2002]

For some reason I feel as though I have just come back from a nice, relaxing vacation; well-rested and ready to tackle any obstacle in my way.

Friday I watched Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas while I assembled myself and then drove down to South Jersey to meet up with Jon, as we intended on hitting the theater for some zombie goodness.  It has only been a few weeks since we last saw each other, but that did not stop him from nearly scooping me up into a giant hug despite my laughing protest.

Killed some time at his place with a blunt and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, which is one hilarious cartoon.  Conversation touched on a number of humorous subjects, including one rather absurd idea that involved digging up Joey Ramone and putting his bones on display for $1 a head; $5 if you want a picture.

After the blunt was gone we climbed into his Chevy and wound up at a diner for coffee, lemon pie and even more conversation.  Noted here that there may have been some other substance consumed between Jon’s house and the diner which resulted in a rather giddy duo of Carnies who could not help but laugh at everyone around them.  Sometimes it is easy to forget that other people can hear us when we openly mock them, but for one reason or another we just can’t be bothered to care.  Mostly because of how engrossed in our words we become, and it is impossible to describe how much I enjoy this seemingly simple human function.  There is just something so ordinary about shooting the shit, and most people cannot seem to grasp that concept.

We ended up at a local mall where below mentioned zombie flick was being shown, and all the special little mall rats were hanging out.  So we chilled in the Chevy with a joint while they waited for mommy or daddy to swing by and pick them up.  Eventually we made our way to the ticket box; I swear, that was the one and only time I have ever been carded at a movie theater.  Of course I had to leave my ID in Jon’s car, so we walked back to retrieve it and then had to get back on line to purchase the tickets.  Made a stop at the snack bar for appropriately over-sized popcorn, soda [which may have wound up with whiskey inside of it] and a bag of M&M’s.

Now I have not had the pleasure of seeing the original film, but I must say that I definitely enjoyed Dawn of the Dead, in all its bloodied zombie and exploding head glory. Could have been some more of that, I thought.  There were plenty of funny moments as well which kept us both laughing, and over all, it was a decent movie.  Johnny Cash in the opening credits was a nice touch, and with the exception of Richard Cheese doing a fantastic lounge cover of Down With the Sickness, the soundtrack was pretty lame.

For some reason, the coffee and pie I had consumed earlier gave me rotten belly, and I wound up puking when we got back to Jon’s house.  While I felt slightly embarrassed, he made me some warm tea with milk and honey, then said he had just the thing to fix me up.

The remainder of the evening was spent smoking and watching Half Baked before passing out on the couch at some point.

During my slumber, there was an invisible hand that lightly shook my shoulder, which was ignored at first.  Then it starts touching my waist, and I think to myself: “Who the fuck is stupid enough to be messing with me when I am trying to sleep?”  [Apparently I had forgotten that I was Jon’s house.]

Of course this woke me up out of a sound sleep, but no one was there.  The only other person in the room was Jon, and he was dead asleep on the other side of the couch.  Thinking that I had just dreamed the whole thing, I tried to go back to sleep…then it happened again.

This time I was disturbed enough not to want to attempt any more sleep, so I wandered into the kitchen to brew some coffee and found a half-smoked joint in the ashtray.  Jon groaned and grumbled as he pulled himself off the couch, absently wondering how we managed to get so stoned that we couldn’t make it to the bed.  Reminded him of all the things we watched, which made him laugh as he joined me in the kitchen.  Neither of us wanted to cook, so we decided to go out.

Shielded from the morning sun with our dollar-store shades and fucked up I-just-spent-the-nite-on-a-couch hair, we managed to crawl into another diner and have some breakfast with a side of more conversation.  For whatever reason, I always find myself so damn intrigued by what other people have to say, but I am not sure why.  It certainly helps that the topics are interesting, and it is definitely a plus if you dig the person you are listening to.  Maybe, despite the fact that we were both staring at each other behind tinted lenses, we can still see the expression in each other’s eyes and just be completely at ease.

My thoughts became alive with nostalgia at some point, longing for the crazy days and wondering what happened to insane punk shows at the Cove where holes where made in the walls, tables and chairs were used as weapons and the cops showed up to join the fun.  We shared memories of our favorite basement shows, recounting ridiculous things that happened during performances and generally reflected on the adventures we have accomplished over the past couple of years.

Finding my way inside my car was a difficult task.  On my way back here, I thought about everything that had happened.

The first day of Spring and the sun felt warm on my face, surf tunes blasting as I drove up the Turnpike.  That is when the feeling came to me – I had been on vacation somewhere, a place no one knew where I was.  Freedom.  Nothing but the music and my mind to keep me company as I floated along the asphalt.  It was a truly blissful moment, and I smiled.

This was no ordinary smile.  It was the kind that you will only find on your face on some rare occasion when someone that means the world to you gives you something so incredibly simple that you want to cherish it forever.

He always has that way of making me smile, and I want to tell him why I love him for it.

Aesthetic Autopsy: Gentleman Geek

The legend of the Geek among Carny folk is far different from the image that is often portrayed by works of fiction.  Take for example HBO’s series Carnivale, in which Henry Scudder held mystical powers and appeared only briefly in his tuxedo, which was also seen on a pitch card where the title of this article stems from.  Unfortunately this part of the character was not really developed and so the man in the fancy suit and top hat holding a chicken by its feet remained elusive.  In the 1940s film noir Nightmare Alley, the Geek is an alcoholic whose mental state is less than stable – he performs the act because it is all that he can do, but eventually the bottle takes control.  When the ambitious Stan comes along seeking a job from the boss, jokes are made that he can assume the role left vacant by the booze-loving Pete, and it is during this scene which one of my favorite lines is delivered: “You know what a geek is, don’t you?”  Katherine Dunn examines a whole other perspective of the true sideshow freak in her beautiful novel Geek Love, and I enjoy the fact that Crystal Lil recalls her time spent as the Geek.

geekIn modern society, there is no place for an act which so eagerly portrays violence against animals.  For those unaware, the Geek is one who would tear the heads off chickens [possibly other animals], or a ‘wild man’ of sorts who would sit in a pit of snakes.  The closest things sideshow currently offers are the insectivore – one who eats bugs, and the human ostrich – one who eats/ingests inedible objects such as glass.  Neither one are particularly pleasant but less extreme than what people used to pay for that was considered entertainment.  Those with vivid imaginations and a penchant for creating myths find all sorts of reasons to twist facts into fantasy, and this alternate reality becomes what people believe.  The brutal truth of the matter is that the only individuals who actually know how gruesome this act can be are those who have actually performed it.  My personal experience will not be exploited for the sake of an article about fashion, though there is enough evidence scattered among the archives one would discover through careful investigation.

Simply TC: Photography

There are certainly questions which arise when encountering someone who deliberately subjects themselves to what is perceived as primitive behavior.  This is a topic that is heavily incorporated into my novel, which takes the role of the Geek from one that is undesirable and transforms it into a position of power.  While there is no denying the savagery that is presented in possessing the ability to remove oneself from all proper human behaviors, the notion that this can only be accomplished under the influence of drugs or alcohol is often hastily applied to many sideshow acts.  It is difficult for people to understand what serves as motivation to perform feats which seem physically straining without any apparent outside influence, so of course other substances must be in play.  Beneath the facade of the Geek that is sold to the public, is an ordinary man who makes the conscious choice to assume the role and all it entails.  Therefor, one should reserve judgment without having actually participated in such an act.

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METAMORPHOSIS

An essential part of being the Geek requires that separation between mild-mannered ordinary Joe Doe who goes to the supermarket every Sunday to pick up a quart of milk and the crazed lunatic chasing a chicken around while people are screaming and tying to find the quickest way to an exit is the presentation.  Leaving behind the stereotype of alcoholism and mental depravity, the aesthetic befitting of a contemporary gentlemen is composed of fabrics that are nothing but the finest fashion has to offer.  All Saints’ Brocade Military Tailcoat is made of slim fitting leather – ideal for protection against the talons of angry chickens not wanting to be some madman’s next meal – and features a number of details which keep it from  being mistaken for a cheap costume.  A long sleeve button-down poplin shirt that has stain release, wicks away moisture and comes in a variety of rich, dark colors such as this lovely burgundy ensures that possible blood spatter is not something to worry about.  In the same vein, Wrangler’s black cotton twill work pants offer both comfort and style, while also repelling stains and wrinkles.  The addition of a brown leather Western style vest may seem rather redundant, but here it offers a place to keep handkerchiefs for when cleanup is needed.  Two tone spectator shoes are an endless classic in Carny Style, done here in shades of black and brown to coordinate with the rest of the ensemble.  Being a main sideshow attraction means having to work on a schedule, and so this mechanical skeleton silver-tone pocket watch should assist in minding the time.

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MODERN LOVE

For an interpretation that has less of a dark carnival aspect and can be worn to local restaurants regardless of what is on the menu, trade in the leather for a vintage 1970s dark blue velvet tuxedo suit jacket that gives off more of a casual playboy vibe.  Taking a cue from the Preppy Punk style guide is this retro long sleeve turtleneck sweater, the rib knit wool adding a bit a of variegated texture to the black, grey and white argyle print.  A pair of double pleated black dress pants can be useful in a professional wardrobe as well as with casual looks such as this one, while red leather pointed toe shoes and high quality men’s blue striped socks are a testament of one’s bombastic personality.  Such an item is universal, however, and can also be used with pretty much any outfit to add a touch of personality.  Other accessories to complete a polished appearance include this brown leather tooled center laced belt, a red long silk scarf that can either be knotted around the neck or folded neatly and tucked into the pocket of the jacket, and a smashing vintage 1955 men’s watch which will ensure you are never late for dinner no matter what is on the menu.

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GROOMING

gentleman-geek-grooming-lush-products

When traveling, one seldom has time to take a shower, never mind the proper facility in which one can have absolute privacy to cleanse, and so there are alternative methods that have to be employed.  Thankfully there are companies like LUSH who understand such predicaments tend to arise, and products like No Drought Dry Shampoo that will briefly revive hair until there is time to wash it.  The fresh scent is generated by lemon, lime and grapefruit oils, while corn flour and talc soak up surplus oil to give locks a soft touch.  Of course there are also a line called Dirty which is ideal for an on-the-go lifestyle, where soap is replaced with Body Spray, where sandalwood battles against undesirable odor, and the fragrance of tarragon, lavender, thyme and a hint of spearmint lasts all day.  Feel free to follow up a few spritzes of that with Solid Perfume, where the spearmint is the prominent note accompanied by oakmoss and the same elements found in the spray have been combined into a solid form that can be applied to various areas of the body for an instant dose of this seductive aroma.  No matter what your style, do it up with plenty of Hair Cream, as cocoa butter and coconut oil moisturize and nourish, making hair soft and easy to manage, while rosemary soothes the scalp.  Combat irritation with a blend of oatmilk, shea butter and honey in a  Shaving Cream that will help the razor glide over your skin.  It’s also another layer of the Dirty fragrance, containing thyme, tarragon, spearmint, lavender, and sandalwood.  Top off this ritual with Toothy Tabs, an invigorating burst of spearmint for crisp breath, while neroli oil and baking soda help clean your teeth.

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The very connotation of the word ‘geek’ has evolved from its original definition, and in a sense is reclaimed worldwide by a number of people who want to show their pride of extraordinary skill in the technical field.  Among performers, the term ‘geeking’ is used in reference to things such as eating fire, though there is no actual digestion of flames which occurs and is just a gaffe for rubes who don’t know any better.  The fact remains that aside from munching on things like meal worms and crickets, the fine art of being a Geek is something that gruesome campfire stories are made of.  While chowing down on a squawking foul might not be suited for those without the intestinal fortitude to make it entertaining, one can certainly dress the part in good faith that the aesthetic properly represents the aristocratic tastes of Carny Trash.

Photo credit:  3 – heyrubecircus.com

Preppy Punk

The influence behind this fresh Carny Style feature is one that invokes the brilliant interpretation of a fashion oxymoron – that is, playing strong features against one another that would seemingly clash if overloaded with clichés, but melds into an eye-popping juxtaposition that is a work of art almost too painful to look at.  My main beef with individuals who take certain scenes and adopting alternative lifestyles which carry stereotyped aesthetics, is that they become so incredibly committed to the shallow aspects in attempts of flaunting elitism when in fact they come across as arrogant assholes.  Compensating for lack of personality with a created character that changes depending on what section of your wardrobe you decided to abuse speaks volumes to how obvious being a walking hackneyed train wreck.

Taking advantage of what’s in to gain access to items that might otherwise be hard to find is certainly something even I readily admit to when the opportunity arises.  However, in doing so, I also understand how to coordinate pieces so that they properly represent me and not just an excuse to use brand names in hopes of being noticed.  These things should not be the essential guidelines when selecting a wardrobe, because such articles become easily outdated and difficult to incorporate into functional fashion that will have longevity.

Combining genres which for all intents and purposes are supposed to be polar opposites to the point where rivalries and even rudimentary youth gangs would form to support one another.  Ridiculous caricatures aside, there are elements of these styles – simplified here as preppy and punk – which play well together.  Pushing boundaries is what keeps stereotypes from settling in and dictating what should be acceptable as opposed to embracing the freedom of personal expression.  The following gallery is inspired by classic punk prints paralleled by preppy cuts and punctuated with the right amount of ornaments.

Fred Perry is releasing their latest collaborative collection with late singer Amy Winehouse, which includes this lovely Argyle Sweater Dress that I feel is a smart way to approach preppy punk; paired with certain shoes and accessories dictates which end of the spectrum a complete look falls in.

This rich-hued Gingham V-Neck Sweater adds a touch of vintage flair to an outfit and the larger print is also a contemporary play on classic plaid, which is often related to punk clothing.

The Amy Print Peep Toe Shoe features a “unique jukebox comic book print” with contrasting black lining and signature Laurel Wreath embroidered on the back heel and is ideal for keeping cool on those hot Summer days.

The J. Perterman Company strikes the right notes with this Vintage Yellow Plaid Jacket in wool twill tweed, the pattern matched in the front keeps it from being too archaic and the piece can certainly be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

Another garment that serves an example of how one can wear plaid and not stir up images of skin-tight bondage pants or mini skirts that are seemingly useless to anyone who is not as small as a mannequin, is the 1940s Forever Plaid Skirt.

Utilizing directions with a bold pattern such as this one on the Texas Minute Striped Dress, cuts down on the cartoon factor and shows off the flattering 1940s style cut.

Geek Chic is nothing new among fashion trends, though for some reason people feel that wearing glasses sans lenses makes a cool fashion accessory.  For those who actually have impaired eyesight, the Moscot Lemtosh fits five face types and is associated with names like Buddy Holly, Truman Capote and Johnny Depp.

On one hand, shoes sprinkled with studs and spikes has become so commonplace that some tend to go overboard and spill into ridiculous impracticability territory.  On the other, this design by Prada invokes the effigy of an art deco mohawk and would be set off nicely with a pair of vintage seamed stockings.  Besides, there is always the option of hitting up a thrift store to purchase a pair of pumps and going the DIY route.

Speaking of spikes, they are also appearing on a variety of accessories including hoop earrings and I for one absolutely love them.  Even though my ear lobes are stretched [to one and a half inches], I cannot deny that I have a pair of these bad boys and get a kick out of wearing them through my tunnels.  It is also quite easy to collect a few pieces to deconstruct and repurpose into an original creation.

The final presentation of images are of a heavily tattooed model named Jimmy Q, who I feel has the right balance of the above aesthetics, though the style may not be restricted to one or the other.  What appeals to me are the button-down shirts that allows one to see just enough of the artwork that resides on his skin without being all-revealing.  It pairs the upper crust classiness expected of rich socialites with the gritty rebellion of standing apart from the mainstream without being too saturated by either element.  On a personal level, it also represents the aristocratic levels of Carny Style, which always strives to counter against stereotypes.  After all, clothes, hair and body modifications may be part of individual expression, but they are certainly not definitive qualities of who that person is, so they should not be used to pass judgment.

 Resources: fredperry.com, jpeterman.com, moscot.com

Photo credit: 1 -3 fredperry.com, 4-6 jpeterman.com

7 – hypebeast.com, 8 – lipsticktracez.com, 9 – shoprichgirlscloset.com

Doing the Jersey Thing

[Originally written on this date in 2004]

Since some time last week,  the Garden State has being experiencing very pleasant weather, despite the fact that there was a  bit of snow the other day.  Considering it is not yet Spring, I refuse to waste perfectly good sunshine, and thus decided to take a visit to my favorite person.  After all, our last outing had been so much fun and far too much time has passed since I have felt that ache of happiness in my face.

After a brief phone call, I was on my way down to Jon’s house.  Once I arrived he treated me to some yogurt filled with fruit and a few hits from the bong.  With no specific destination in mind, we climbed into his Chevy and drove down to the Shore via Route 9.  Stopped at the Roadside Diner, which is this tiny diner off Rote 35 that used to be a dining car on a train.  The food there was beyond excellent, and it was a good way for us to stretch our legs for a little bit before hitting the road again.

Another hour passed and we were at the beach.  There were actually a lot of people on the boards.  None of the rides were open of course, but there was plenty of construction happening on one of the piers.  Best part is that I did not even have to wear my jacket.

The smell of onions, peppers and sausage was simply divine as we strolled along and soaked up the warm sunshine.  We stopped to sit on a bench and share a smoke while gazing at the ocean, Jon’s hand firmly grasping mine.  Sometimes I wonder if I would be so bold as to publicly display affection with him if I was around people I know.  Granted there is nothing about our relationship that I am ashamed of, but no one has any idea of how close we are.  Or those occasional intimate moments that confirm he has deeper feelings than he is willing to admit.

Maybe I want to get caught.  Maybe I want the whole world to know because I am so madly in love with him that I would be willing to give up anything just to be with him.  Maybe that sounds extreme and like he’s some sort of outlaw, which is less ridiculous than it should be..

We pissed away money playing games, took a walk down the boards and eventually grew weary.  Sitting in the back seat of the Chevy, we smoked a joint and watched the sun set, my head buried in his neck as he held me close.  My fingers were curled in the soft folds of his shirt and I just wanted to stay there forever.

The time spent while Jon is driving usually centers around conversation about anything that comes to mind, or stories from his youth that he remembers at random moments.  The more his voice fills my head, the less I want to hang around others.  He tells me that I should socialize more, but every time I am with him, it is so easy for me to get lost in our adventures.  Why would I want to be bored in a club that plays the same music all the time, while people stand around getting drunk and talking shit?

Taking random drives through South Jersey and discovering new things while laughing is by far one of my favorite activities.  There are people who are stuck in school or at jobs and I have the ability to go anywhere I want.  Nothing could make me want to trade that for an existence where one is trapped in some sort of rat race.  Of course I appreciate this privilege as well, because I could have went that route, but then this strange boy came into my life and completely changed everything.

There was definitely no lack in putting forth effort to obtain what society considers reasonable employment, but there are also a number of factors that prove I do not need to follow that path to be happy, and it is certainly not the only way to support oneself.  Whatever I was supposed to believe would come out of being a corporate slave or some robotic retail clerk became nonexistent when Jon exposed me to his lifestyle.  Suddenly I felt less isolated and things made more sense than they ever had – I liked this sense of empowerment.

It was dark by the time we got  back to Jon’s house, but all of these things had built up in my head and came spilling out moments after lighting a blunt.  Mostly I think I just needed to hear myself tell him just how much I appreciated his influence.  He laughed and his face wrinkled in that way I find so adorable because it breaks down the usual harshness his features tend to carry.  The point to all of this being that I have an amazing friend I enjoy spending time with, and no one will ever make me feel guilty for that – and yet I keep all of this secured in writing where only I can see it, because that is where it is safest.

Any time I start to feel lonely, I just close my eyes and remember his smell, the feel of the ink tattooed on his skin, his strong arms wrapped around me, and I smile knowing that I am loved.