Friday, January 1, 2010

Lolita Hazed Playlist: 2009 in Music

1. Florence + The Machine "Dog Days Are Over"
Spring was so hard. God knows I can't remember winter-- that was hard too. I probably spent most of it crying because school is ridiculous. Anywho, after driving home on a lovely afternoon with this blasting, I seemed to get into a few really great (and expensive) schools all at once. I was jumping and shouting all over the place, but deep down, I kinda knew I wouldn't be able to go. I remember waiting until everyone had left the house, lying on the floor, and blasting this, sobbing and singing as if it would help me.
However, I told myself not to give up. This was one of the first songs I'd heard off of Two Suns and I remember sitting and thinking Natasha Khan had written this song for me. I took solace in her advice: "don't sacrifice your plan / 'cuz it will come back to you..."
Some seniors freak the FUCK out about prom. I, on the other hand, was a total skeptic after a super shitty junior prom, and instead went to the dollar theatre with some friends. I was endlessly encouraged to go, but I was really only in it for the after party, which was basically just me and my best friends lounging in a hotel room gossiping. The morning after, we got breakfast together, and it was totally perfect. Listening to this in the car, I didn't care how much everyone fun everyone said prom had been-- it ended up being exactly what I wanted, without me even having to go.
Graduation isn't that big of a deal anymore, is it? That's at least the impression I got from feeling like the ONLY ONE who was seriously freaking the fuck out on my last day of high school EVER. That day, I went to a middle school reunion where I was given a letter I'd written to myself four years ago-- a letter my teacher had to force me to write. My sister asked me to read it aloud in the car, and it ended up saying things I'd been needing to hear. It made me cry as I read it, made me feel so alive and eager for the future that I couldn't help but smile and cheer through our whole farewell assembly that morning. But who cares, right? I mean it's not like it meant anything anyway!
After graduation, I was lucky enough to have finally ended up with friends I want to know for the rest of my life. This was a recurring song throughout the year, and apparently even before then; an ending to a happy first road trip together as adults.
My friends and I danced to this during my first (of many) game of quarters, and it totally became a theme. Hell, we were even going to use it as the chorus for a dirty Christmas song we wrote together (long story, the real chorus is WAY better). This song is every fun thing I did all summer-- maybe all year!
Discovering the power and repercussions of my body; the soundtrack to a night that, despite its messy aftermath, I reflect on pretty happily.
Failing my driving test for the FIFTH TIME (go ahead and laugh, HELLO WORLD, THIS IS ME, etc.) and seeing its application to the rest of my life.
After starting college, I was a bit on edge, what with my sister still being around. I was always preparing myself for the day she'd leave, the day I kept thinking I would just dissolve. I remember freaking out in the car, telling her how afraid I was as this played, only to go back in my room and cry alone. She left. Nothing happened.
In fact, I've been doing just fine on my own.
When my sister came home, we went on a drive together to look at Christmas lights. This started playing and I just kept thinking about how much it applied to her. She'd been gone for three months and everything had changed, and I just kept thinking about how badly I wanted to be in her shoes, how much I wanted to leave town and come back home to change.
I have a pretty good feeling it won't be too long until I do.

Happy New Year
Y Lolita Hazed

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Lolita Hazed Seasonal Playlist: Fall 2009

There is absolutely nothing like fall. The air gets crisper, the sleeves get longer, and it's so much easier to find excuses to cuddle. You'll also notice your playlist getting a little more serious, and Fleetwood Mac suddenly seems so much more fitting than The Fresh Prince. It's about to get colder, so dump out the Arnold Palmer (NO! Just hand it over, that way you won't waste any), start up the teapot, and put these songs on while you ease your way into a comfy season.

This song is breakfast with your best friend on a bright morning, where the freshly risen sun looks so much closer to the ground that it throws you off, if only for a second.
As a native Oklahoman, I'm no stranger to vast country roads, and this is the kind of song I like to listen to during a road trip when we've all been in the car for a little too long, the day beginning its inch toward darkness.
The xx's new album is absolutely perfect for fall (and worth your money), even if you'll probably make yourself a little depressed listening to it. Their stunning first single says so much with the simplest uses of sound, expertly used in all the right spots to punctuate the kind of longing that speech alone could never communicate.
I love Death in Vegas-- I used to consider this song my anthem, and no matter what you think of Liam Gallagher (okay, his voice is pretty cacophonous), this is sweeping, epic, the surefire start of something significant. I always feel the need to really belt it out when this comes on--which makes me feel good about myself, because I'm a way better singer than Liam Gallagher.
This season marks my first semester in college, and I always kind of hoped that it would somewhat resemble the crazy party where this plays in The Rules of Attraction. Obviously, real college is nothing like Bret Easton Ellis's version of college, yet after a month, I'm a little frustrated (but not at all surprised) that there have still been no crazy Burning Man parties... that anyone has told me about. I am so not cool anymore.
Something about psychedelic guitars, like in this song's refrain, just totally bring fall to mind for me.
There's never been anything to do in this damn town, so when I was in junior year of high school, my friends and I would search everyone for somewhere we could dance. Of course we'd never find anywhere, but the car worked just as fine. This was played during one of the better examples, all of us going crazy in our seats to the music whose gorgeous ambience demanded we roll the windows down.
I was obsessed with Air's score for The Virgin Suicides when I was in eighth grade. This was all I'd listen to on overcast mornings, which would really set the tone for the rest of the day. No wonder I was so sad all the time!
Two years ago, I fell into an incredibly passionate relationship with a girl who quickly became one of my closest friends. We connected so deeply that we filled one another's falls with our presence, driving around town, laying on blankets in the park with pumpkin chai ("chumpkin"). It was a really happy time, and I see her face behind the driver's wheel every time I hear this song.
Something about this song just reminds me of fall-- riding the bus to school, stopping at your locker before class, re-arranging your route so you have a better chance of bumping into the boy you like. Though torture it was, John Hughes-y music like this just makes it feel all the better in retrospect.
I love Death in Vegas, and their softer stuff like this is fantastic for the colder half of the year. Something about this song makes me feel like I'm about to go to the movies, and maybe get a cup of coffee afterward.
This such a famously sad song, yet I really can't listen to this without smiling at least a little. It reminds me of a cozy night, hot tubbing with my best friends in the world and marveling at how alright it felt to stand half-naked in cold weather. Oh, and pantomimed homoerotica. Long story.
The Marie Antoinette soundtrack is a fall staple for me, and this song is so calm and upbeat that it's become a longtime favorite of mine for fall drives.
There's something about shoegaze that's just downright equinoctial, its hollow soundscapes the perfect compliment to falling leaves and the ironically gloomy vibrance the trees take on as a result of it. Something about the motion of songs like these just make everything around you seem a little more poignant.

Enjoy the tunes and pour yourself some hot cider!
Y Lolita Hazed

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Agent Provocateur just wants to have fun

Last season, Agent Provocateur co-founder Joe Corré described the brand's aesthetic as "a superhero costume to wear under your clothes", and while he vaguely touched upon its idea of alternate personas last year with witch and pirate-themed lingerie, this fall we can really see what he means.

With a cult following and stores scattered all over the globe, it comes as no surprise that Agent Provocateur is one of the most popular designer lingerie brands in the world. For all their success, it's incredibly delightful to see them milk it the way they do in 2009/2010's introductory collection "The New World Order", each range actually the costume of a powerful superhero (i.e. Crystalina, shown at left) created for the AP universe. The photography is absolutely stunning-- by far the most impressive campaign I've seen them do yet-- and each "superhero" has her own video showing off her talents, not to mention her gorgeous lingerie. You wonder how much the campaign cost, but you know Corré doesn't care. He's having a blast, and "New World Order" shows it.

Check out the dazzling new collection here.

Saturday, August 1, 2009 (Go Tell Your Mom!)

Hey all! My last post is up on rising feminist blog The F Bomb! See for yourself! Read it and weep (maybe not weep, but still)!
Y Lolita Hazed

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Fatal Generalizations in the Teen Movie

Teen movies very obviously base themselves on harmless stereotypes: the jock, the bitch, the nerd, etc.-- stereotypes so deeply rooted into our expectations of the genre that we can't be bothered to think about other possibilities. However, after re-watching the awesomely awful Whatever It Takes for the first time in at least four years, I started to see something recognizably offensive that I had not noticed before: it seems that the typical teen movie's female characters are, more often than not, projections of the archetypal male's virgin/whore complex. Characters can only be one or the other, and there is no inbetween.
While teen movies are generally oversexed as a selling point, there's an underlying tone of moral retribution that has been used to the point of becoming cliche. This easily brings to mind the classic horror movie rule of sexually active characters being gruesomely killed off, a tradition less explicitly carried out in the similar rule of the archetypal whore "getting what's hers". This is the case for Jodi Lyn O'Keefe's character in both Whatever It Takes and She's All That, not to mention others in Cruel Intentions, Jawbreakers, Sixteen Candles (to a point). To make matters worse, O'Keefe's desperately sluttish character in the former is so blind in her horniness that she ends up sleeping with the biggest nerd in the school. Meanwhile, the end of the movie suggests that the prototypical, romance-obsessed good girl, Marla Sokoloff, loses her virginity to the boy-next-door. The message beneath it, whether aware of itself or not, seems ridiculous when thought over: sex for anything but love is outlandish.
Notorious screenwriter Diablo "Honest to Blog" Cody shows an awareness of this when discussing her upcoming teen horror movie Jennifer's Body in the August/September issue of BUST. The virgin and the whore are both present in her story, but instead of portraying the former (played by Amanda Seyfried) as naive and consumed with love, Cody gives the character an honest sexuality. "She has sex for pleasure in this movie, and that was important to me. She's this wide-eyed, innocent blonde who's trying to protect the town, but I wanted to show at the same time that she can have an orgasm, she can get excited about having sex."
To be fair, Cody isn't alone in creating female characters who don't suffer from the virgin/whore complex. The golden age of the teen movie brought forth time-tested classics that avoid such cliched characters-- notably in Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, American Pie, Can't Hardly Wait and The Breakfast Club-- instead portrayed as either perfectly normal, virgin teenage girls taking their time or reveal sexually active women as independent and in total control of what they do with their bodies. Not one, nor the other, but both make for good representations of a sexually healthy teenage girl.
But it's almost understandable that these stereotypes are presented to us at such a young age. Teen sex is never a light subject-- it's one of the most obvious portals into adulthood, and the carefree use of young adults as caricatures can take some of the gloom away. Yes, it's a big deal, and yes, it has, on occasion, ruined some lives-- but this doesn't leave sex for sex's sake to the prototypical harlot. Sex for love isn't always perfect (if ever), and sex for pleasure doesn't always make a girl feel sick the morning after. Teen movies, by typecasting women, can promote unrealisitic ideas of what makes a positive sexual experience, of what side a woman is supposed to take. These concerns will follow a sexually insecure woman for a long time, which makes it important to distinguish the utter bullshit of the virgin/whore complex. After all, we're all virgins at some point, all of us riddled with sin. So if we can't take both sides, then who are we?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Florence + The Machine's "Lungs": A Full-Body Experience

"Once more with feeling": this seems to be a prominent idea in UK powerhouse Florence + The Machine's debut Lungs, and God, if you're familiar with Florence Welch's music, such a statement may surprise you-- girl already has a hell of a lot of feeling. Only a few years ago, Welch was a rare breed of rumpus-starting club singer across the pond, discovered and made into the phenom she is today by Queen of Noize Mairead Nash when hearing her sing in the bathroom. Since then, she has gained a following as rabid as her sound, thanks not only to her astounding voice, but to her insatiable, Alice-like curiosity (Welch took a break from a performance by jumping into a pool right in the middle of a SXSW performance, only to return by crawling under the stage) for which she is now notorious. This alone makes it easy to see why hype has escalated so quickly for her, while so many are only now learning who she is. With such a big world of strangers to approach, it is clear that Welch intends to make herself resonate, and a strong album seems the only option. And so the quest begins as such an innocuous, emotionally naked woman as she heads toward us all with a steady drum in her head and a rabbit in her heart.
If you were content with the rougher sounds of Florence's singles and live tracks, I wouldn't get too comfortable-- every familiar track on Lungs' has resurrected itself with more power than before. The perfect example is standout "Howl", which brings to mind Angela Carter's fixation with wolves and, as a live track, was once much more sweet and harmless. Never again, this reworking tells us, as her art has transformed her from mere girl to beast... and the claws are out. Welch gives you a reason to fear her as the album moves on, not only for her magnanimous talent, but for the pure vitriol with which her stories unravel, evident in the strange revenge tale "Girl With One Eye". On it, Welch commands her adversary to "get [her] filthy fingers out of my pie"... wait, what? you'd probably ask any less intimidating songstress, but no. Not only do you not question Welch-- you don't feel the need to. Her affinity for off-color topics is just one of the many things she does so well.
And yet, with her love for the non-sequitur, you can't help but relate to Welch. Her metaphors explain themselves quite easily-- "Dog Days Are Over" references our surprisingly common inability to accept happiness. "Kiss With a Fist" is the clever outlining of addiction to a person, no matter how much you know you're hurting yourself. Beneath all the album's savage imagery, it is undeniably human-- which is at least made clear by the desperate fervor of her words. It's a Peter Pan of sorts, an adolescent girl who refuses to accept the fact that she is becoming a woman, wanting instead to stay in the forest with her imaginary gang of fellow miscreants. The pain this album holds is all internal, fitting readily with the bodily imagery that is visible throughout the whole album, and kept deep inside until its sheer power overtakes her throws her into the tantric behavior that Welch is famous for and has perfectly captured in this album.
After the fit is over, the fire remains. Lungs puts a listener in such a frenzy that it almost seems necessary to smoke a cigarette afterwards. But at this point, Welch's mission is complete: who was once a strange woman has summed herself up perfectly to an unknowing world... though we're sure to learn much, much more about her as her, most-likely, very long career as a performer goes on. A debut like Lungs gives fans the impression that what with Welch's already passion-drenched catalog of singles and onstage fire, which have already shocked fans like Courtney Love, this girl has only begun to spill her guts.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Your New Answer to the Death of Mooka Kinney

Ever since last fall's news of the defunction of fashion favorite Mooka Kinney, there has, without a doubt, been a void in the fashion world. It seems as if designers everywhere are attempting to pick up where Rachel Antonoff and Alison Lewis went off-- rompers have obviously blown up, sophisticated attention to small details (like heart-shaped buttons) have increased, and babydoll chic in general has really seen a comeback. However, nobody does it quite like Mooka Kinney did, and it's been difficult finding something even close to their charm.
Turns out I've fallen in love all over again. MK lovers, look no further than independent label Lulufinder Vintage, a New York-based designer with devastatingly beautiful rompers and dresses for no more than $130 (a guarantee Mooka Kinney, for all their wonder, could not meet). At a glance, the brand shows a stunning attention to quality products (expect delicate silks, lace, flawlessly sewn sequins) that make it such a worthy successor to Antonoff & Lewis's beloved brand. The clothes are, like Mooka Kinney's, innocent with a ladylike edge that instantly readies these babies for the street-- just be wary of all the compliments you're bound to get!

Below are some of my favorite pieces up for sale:I'm sure Mooka Kinney fan Jenny Lewis would adore this retro romper. (Loverboy, $95)
This sweetheart romper practically screams "Wear me to a picnic!" (Midsummer tea, $95)
I could see these aptly-named Magician shorts being a huge hit with Natasha Khan or Liela Moss. (Magician, $89)

Find these and more at Lulufinder's Etsy page.


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