Archive for March, 2008


KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE: Agent Ribbons…Tragically UnHeard Of…


Tragically Un-Heard Of
Band O’ The Week



Listen: “Obituary”″

Jon and I often discuss bands that would be in our musical family (where genre/creative postmodern pop music = family blood). In this sort of family dynamic, Agent Ribbons would be our second country cousins once removed but they still come over to family reunions anyways and get drunk off of jug wine and eat cherry pie.

I says it before but I’ll say it again: If you like catchy as all hell, sweet, alto voiced gals singing stories over simply strummed serenades, Agent Ribbons is the band for you. After listening to their debut record, On Time Travel and Romance, my biggest regret in life is that I didn’t go to theater school. If I had, I would’ve adapted the album’s music into a Broadway musical. Take their vagrant Saloon tale found within “Strangers” : ‘When he came to his gun was gone, his shirt was in a twist / Dog tired and hungry with no money the blood boiled in his face / He saw a whore and asked her how he came to have such luck / She said “You don’t look at those hard workin’ women that way when you don’t got a buck” / “I’m sorry miss, I tell ya, but old bastards like me are so hung on living life we don’t meditate on courtesies / So go ahead and shoot me I ain’t got nowhere to go / I’ll have myself a whiskey with the devil down below” / Ain’t it funny how strangers find home in the strangest places’.

Now if that doesn’t scream Broadway musical meets Johnny Cash then I just don’t know what to say to you little reader!


Agent Ribbons have been busy over the past year. They went on a national tour as the opening act for Cake, released a limited edition 7″, the Star Crossed Doppelganger, which features two haunting songs and artwork by Dame Darcy, were photographed for a fashion magazine wearing adorably fancy hats (woven by their friend, Naik Fur), filmed a video at the Dandy Warhol’s Odditorium, went on a mini Bay area tour with Swallows and are already planning their spring outing.

Filmed By Em Brownlowe
The entire Agent Ribbons live performance at The Know
(Portland, OR, 3.3.08)

PART ONE: “The World is a Cigarette” // “Buried With You” // “That’s Not Edgar’s Heart”


Tragically UnHeard Of Archives


Paul: There’s something about Jodie Foster…

…that really attracts the crazies!


27 years a go yesterday John Hinckley, Jr. attempted to assasinate then President Ronald Reagan following a speech at the Washington, D.C. Hilton. Check out the video…

The interesting part of this story is that Hinckley’s logic behind the assassination was that it would be a sort of tribute to Jodie Foster. Hinckley was obsessed with the movie Taxi Driver, and apparently also with Foster’s character, a 12 year old prostitute. In the year leading up to the assassination he sent her numerous creepy letters. At the time she was a student at Yale and he went so far as to enroll in a writing course there to get closer to her. She turned all of his letters over to the University who tried to locate Hinckley but were unsuccessful. He was ulitmately sent to a mental hospital, where he remains today.

Were it left at that, it might just be a strange and funny story. Reagan was shot but not badly hurt. The famous Brady Bill gun-control law was named after White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was wounded in the incident.

It turns out, however, that Hinckley was not Foster’s only stalker. Michael Smegal, a 42 year old Massachusetts resident was charged for bomb threats earlier this month in U.S. District Court. For the past several years Smegal has been stalking Jodie Foster and sending her threatening letters. He also mailed out hundreds of identical letters as bomb threats to airports, celebrities, and business executives. All of these letters mentioned Foster’s name.

Gay people often are critical of Foster for her silence about her private life and her decision not to officially come out of the closet. Now that I know that she’s had this stalker out there I can’t say that I blame her. She and her partner Cydney have been together for 14 years and the couple have two children together, yet the family is practically never photographed together. If I were her I’d want to keep my family life as private as possible regardless of my sexual orientation.

Perhaps there is something about strong, no b.s. women such as Foster that makes these men go crazy. I am glad that she can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this second stalker is behind bars. I wouldn’t mind seeing a made-for-tv movie about it, though.


Paul: Music Video Monday….

…50 foot Queenie – PJ Harvey

She reminds me of Darlene from Roseanne in this video. I miss the way she used to rock, she’s gone all soft lately. You have to give her credit, I bet this only cost around 50 bucks…


Paul: Brangelina off the shit-list…

…for now anyway.


It turns out that last story about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie getting married was not actually true. I retract what I said (except the part about hoping their kids are gay) and apologize for doubting them. I will asssume they are serious about their solidarity with us gays, until their actions prove otherwise.

p.s. they’re still kind of hot. I’d do them….




Paul: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are liars…

…I hope their marriage ends in death and misery – and that all their kids are gay.


I don’t know if anyone else remembers this, but 2 years a go Jolie and Pitt very publicly vowed not to legally marry until gays and lesbians could also. Well, I remember and if you need your memory jogged check out this article from the Advocate. Unfortunately, it looks like they were full of shit! Apparently the two were married today in New Orleans, which I guess is one of their home-bases these days. In Louisiana not only can’t homos get married, there’s a constitutional amendment specifically banning it as well as civil unions or any similar recognition for gay couples. 

You can’t really say that things are different for them now becuase of the kids, because they had all those kids back when they publicly pledged to wait with us queer folk. Besides, plenty of homos have kids too, and they still can’t get married. It shows a definate lack of integrity. I wonder if they just didn’t want to get married and said that so the press would leave them alone or so everyone would think they were soooo noble. If you make a pledge like that it’s a really shitty thing to do to break it, right? 

Just so you know, Brangelina, we didn’t forget what you said and you’re officially on the shit list.  

p.s. You’re not all that attractive anymore anyway….


Jon: Etro’s fall 2008 menswear collection….


…my favorite for the fall.

Etro Fall 2008Etro Fall 2008

Etro Fall 2008 menswearEtro Fall 2008 Menswear

fall-calvin.jpgfall-gucci.jpgWith the exception of a handful of labels such as Etro (pictured above), the upcoming fall season looks like it is going to be a a big yawn for menswear. Most of the uninspiring designers fall into one of two camps.

The first of the two is focusing on sporty and minimalist knits and synthetics (see Figure A, which is screaming  shitty mid 90’s). The second camp of designers are recycling the whole boho/tech/gypsy thing (see Figure B), which, admittedly was interesting when Balenciaga did it for women a year ago. However now it just feels tired and contrived.

Lucky for us, Etro has put together what it maybe my favorite collection for the fall. It is fun and adventurous without sacrificing wearability. My favorite Etro look of the four pictured above is the bottom left.  Now if I could only scrounge up an extra $2000 dollars….


Jon: Suzanne Opton’s “Soldier”…


…looking into the eyes of those who have seen the unforgettable.

Soldier Morris


“We all experience strategic moments when we feel most alive. These are the moments we will always remember, be they transcendant or horrific. After all, what are we if not our collection of memories? In making these portraits of soldiers, I simply wanted to look in the face of someone who’d seen something unforgettable.”  -Suzanne Opton


Soldier Birkholz Soldier Claxton Soldier Dougherty

(click thumbnails for larger image)


In part one of her 2006 series, Soldier, artists Suzanne Opton photographed portraits of soldiers who had recently returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Each of these photographs captures a similiar image: the head of the subject lying passively on it’s side, cropped in such a way as to eliminate any contextualization (be it their body or surroundings). The soldiers are harshly lit from above by strong white light, perhaps hinting at some sort of divine transcendence.

When initially seeing these images, one of the first thoughts of the viewer is how vulnerable and passive each of the figures seem. The subjects of Opton’s images appear to be sleeping or perhaps even dead. Given the cultural wartime context these pieces were created in, this asthetic is suprisingly jarring.

Opton has taken an extremely violent contextual inspiration and transformed it into something that in the end is actually quite calming and peaceful. By cropping out any presence of a military uniform in these portraits, it is as though Opton is challenging the viewers projected identity (aggresive/violent) of the soldiers. She has transformed them, or rather returned them, to the state of simply being people.

Whether Suzanne Opton’s art is meant to be a supportive pro-soldier statement, or a strong critique of military violence is left up to the viewer to decide.


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