The exemplary Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci’s been an icon of dark beauty ever since the Adams Family movie. She’s played quirky and odd her entire life, her doll-like face and dark hair the epitome of spooky charm. Despite widely publicized body issues of her past and being just over five feet tall, Christina is a wonderful and versatile model.

She seems to have finally gotten comfortable in her skin and in addition to a resurge in acting has been a subject of countless photo shoots, some of which are credited today over at foto decadent.

Christina has embraced her height, and even thinks it could one day help her play a spy. She says in her latest interview “I always figured I would be the one they send through the air vent if something happened. You know: ‘Can fit in small places'”.

Indeed, the world needs more tiny, round-headed fawns like Ricci. I love the way she radiates this colossal confidence, especially knowing that it hasn’t come easy. Together with some great photographers Cristina Ricci has created some sensual, strange and beautiful images – my favorites are showcased beyond the jump.

Hot Topic Steals Soap, Slips and Falls On It

Left: the original Lil Soap by Jess Fink. Right: the Hot Topic rip-off.

Jess Fink, troche an illustrator and creator of dirty comics published by Fantagraphics, created the shirt design on the left, dubbed Lil Soap, and sold it through her shop. Hot Topic distributed the shirt on the right soon after. Jess wrote to the company that made the eerily-similar shirt for Hot Topic, and the presidents of the company (which is named New Breed Girl) responded with the following:

“It is my poiicy (sic) to encourage freelancers to use the free Getty photo images as reference points & we also use sketches from the Japanese free clip art books, which have inanimate objects with cute faces & legs etc. which are also very similar to the soap.”

Hmmm. Jess plans to take up the matter in court. In the meantime, friends have banded together to show their support by making parody images which include some hot soap-on-soap slash. It was way too early in the morning for me to behold this Harry Potter image (NWS?).

Friends of Jess have shown their solidarity by making images such as this.

What’s Zo Wearing? February 24, 2008

As promised, an all-black edition of WZW.

And now, The Zo Curly Hair Nest® instruction – because you all want to look like crazed Zo-hobos. Also known as “Zobos”.

  • WIth a medium-sized curling iron curl approximately 1 – 2 inch sections of hair.
  • Spray each section with hairspray once curled. I use Big Sexy Hair Spray N’ Play brand.
  • Once hair cools finger-com curls so they aren’t uniform spirals
  • Arrange curls on head, using bobby-pins to fix them into place

And there you have it.

Her Modesty: “Don’t try to be a gangsta hijabi”

Her Modesty is a Muslim Fashion blog that will soon be a print magazine.

I’ve been reading Her Modesty, a Muslim women’s fashion blog. The project has a lot in common with Coilhouse: both Coilhouse and Her Modesty are blogs that will soon launch in print magazine format, both extoll the virtues of being covered vs. letting it all hang out (you may have noticed our obsession with covered necks, loosely-flowing clothes and total body coverage), and most importantly, both Her Modesty and Coilhouse are interested in the tenuous relationship between the “mainstream” and the “underground,” and where one stops and the other begins. They’re two different “undergrounds,” but the concerns are largely the same.

Primarily a fashion blog, Her Modesty’s main purpose is to display “how sisters can be covered but yet still feel good about themselves and how they look.” The blog author, Kima, obsessively catalogues her new favorite trends as inspired by street wear and the runway, follows the appearance of the hijab-inspired styles in Western fashion magazines, and offers readers tips on how to create the “modest version” of various popular styles. My favorite is this outfit, which in the author’s opinion walks the line, though her readers seem to love it.

Haute Hijab from the Her Modesty blog.

Kima’s writing tone reminds me of the sweet and upbeat Gala Darling, and similarly to Gala, Kima also challenges the readers by briging topics for discussion into the fashion mix. In one post, Kima posts a loose leopard-print D&G dress that resembles an abaya (the loose overgarment that’s worn by many Muslim women), and asks her readers, “would you rock it with a shiny red bag, black pumps, and a hijab?” In another post, Kima engages the readers in an interesting debate about the female “fashion police” in Iran. Similarly to my obsession with goths in TV commercials, there’s a post about a hijab-wearing girl in a Sunsilk TV ad. The most profound post, one where I almost felt like a voyeur when reading the impassioned comments, is the post where Kima asks readers if they’d still dress modestly if Allah didn’t will it.

But the best part are the hilarious Muslim Fashion Dont’s! Here they are, after the jump.

Telly Savalas Loves Ya, Baby

The bald, glistening pate of Telly Savalas has always stirred unutterable longings deep within me. I’m having trouble deciding which video for his cover of “If” I love more. This first version, where Kojak’s officially the shy one at some orgy…

Woo! Sphincter Cam! (via Fark)

or this one, in which he serenades an enormous, nonplussed, vaseline-smeared head:

All I know for sure is, I really want a cigarette right now.

Sejayno: noise wanderers

On Saturday I watched Sejayno at the Machine Project. Sejayno is a nomadic experimental noise group, composed usually of Peter B, Carson Garhart and Severiano Martinez. Machine Project’s website lured me in with promises of “homemade electronic instruments (renaissance trompette coat, spoon bowl shinth) and channeling ghostal hippy fluttertalk to enraptured open-mouthed audiences”, despite my fear of hippies.

It had been too long since the last time I’d seen or heard anything of the sort, and the entire thing actually took me on a ride down into the cobwebby recesses of memory. As one of the members put on what look like a cardboard half-moon from a samurai helmet, I wondered if this was going to hurt, and whether sitting in the second row of the small art gallery space was a good idea after all.

There were several instruments and contraptions laid out on a workbench in the dark room, and two video projections – one pre-recorded montage of distressed images reminiscent of El Topo, and another on an adjacent wall filmed live through what appeared to be a webcam.

The sound initially made me think of a project conceived by people deep in throes of a bender. It was unclear whether the performance was rehearsed or entirely improvised, reminding me of Throbbing Gristle, the Far East and Pink Floyd, to name a few. Members took turns singing, humming and muttering. Their instruments were indeed unique and handmade; there was what appeared to be a synth with a wind input, something reminiscent of a shamisen, a rice drum that sounded like the ocean and my favorite – the Sidrassi Organ – a pressure-sensitive appliance made of wood. Also impressive was an elegant hand-carved bass guitar.

The show lasted over an hour, though by the end I hadn’t even noticed how much time had passed. After, the audience was welcome to try out the instruments which had me poking at the Sidrassi Organ for a while. Conveniently, you can order Sejayno’s wonderful creations on their website [prepare to scroll, a lot]. And in case you were wondering, “inventor Peter [Blasser] is available to speak at your electronic circuits class, interface symposium, or wabi-sabi house conference.”

George Daynor and the Palace of Depression

“The only real depression is a depression of individual ingenuity.” -George Daynor

The exploits of George Daynor read like the synopsis of a Coen Brothers flick. As the story goes, Daynor was a former gold prospector who’d lost his fortune in the Wall Street crash of 1929. Hitchhiking through Alaska, he was visited by an angel who told him to make his way to New Jersey without further delay. Divine providence had dictated that Daynor was to wait out the Great Depression there, building a castle with his bare hands.

Daynor had only four dollars in his pocket when he arrived in Vineland, NJ. He used the money to buy three swampy acres of land that had once been a car junkyard. For years he slept in an abandoned car on the mosquito-infested property, living off a steady diet of frogs, fish and squirrels while he built his elaborate eighteen-spired, pastel-hued Palace of Depression out of auto parts and mud. His primary objective? To encourage his downtrodden countrymen to hold onto their hope and stay resourceful, no matter what. Daynor opened his homemade castle to the public on Christmas Day, 1932, free of charge (he started charging an entrance fee after someone made fun of his beard), and proved an enthusiastic, albeit eccentric tour guide.

“The Palace Depression stands as a proof that education by thought can lift all the depressed peoples out of any depression, calamity or catastrophe; if mankind would use it. The proof stands before you my friends. Seeing is believing.”

Daynor held back his wild red hair with bobby pins, wore lipstick and rouge, and enjoyed dressing alternately as a prospector or a Victorian dandy. Legend has it he kept his common-law wife, Florence Daynor, locked up in one of the Palace’s subterranean chambers during visiting hours. He offered his “living brain” to the Smithsonian for experiments (they declined). His Palace of Depression, a.k.a The Strangest House In the World, quickly became a popular tourist destination for folks on their way to Atlantic City.

Das Uberbambi, JA!

Now this is über.

The taxidermist/sculptor behind this piece, sovaldi Lisa Black, has also created a wind-up baby crocodile with working gears. I want one as a pet! [By way of Warren Ellis and Porphyre]

You do not know the meaning of Uber

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But DAF do. Let this German electropunk duo’s clicky beeps entrance into a world [or at the very least a basement] of mechanized taxidermy, dusty porcelain, cracked papier-mâché and moth-bitten lace. Here, sterile minimalism and granny frills co-exist in harmony, somehow.

George Harrison’s “Set on You” got nothing on this billow-shirted, leather-trousered alchemy of pop. Perhaps he was somehow inspired by it?

Douglas Wolk’s All-Knowing, All-Powerful UberBrain

It would appear that the writer Douglas Wolk has only a single brain, of normal size, in his shaggy head. However, I remain unconvinced that he’s not storing another one (massive, turgid, jigglingly all-knowing) in some top secret subterranean storage facility which he accesses remotely. There’s just no other explanation for the bottomless depths of his knowledge on certain subjects, namely comics, pop music, fringe culture and vegetarian cuisine.

His latest book, Reading Comics, is a must-read for veterans and newbies alike, and there’s a fantastic interview with Wolk by Tom Spurgeon up over at the Comics Reporter right now. If you’re in the bay area, Wolk will be in town this coming Saturday, Feb. 23, for WonderCon, giving a talk called “The Senses-Shattering Return of the Novel of Ideas!” at the Comic Arts Conference. Not to be missed.