Month: January 2012

The Cast of a New Hollywood

One of the best parts of Spring movie awards season is seeing which fresh faces continue to cause a stir on the red carpet. Of course we can always count on reigning royalty like Angie + Brad, George Clooney, Meryl Steep, and others. But it’s the newcomers that keep things interesting by taking risks and showing us that maybe old dogs do need to learn some new tricks.


The Help‘s Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain

Emily Blunt and John Krasinski

Glee‘s Lea Michele, Naya Rivera and Jayma Mays

Michelle Williams (not quite a newcomer, but still a fresh face!), Amber Heard, Kaley Cuoco

Rose Byrne

Modern Family‘s Julie Bowen, Ariel Winter, Sarah Hyland and Sofia Vergara

Dancing for the People

Over the last few decades, many forms of art have had to re-invent themselves in order to keep up with the surge of media technology in the digital age. However, performance art – particularly dance – seems to be somewhat left behind. Inherently bound by its physical immediacy and humanness, it didn’t seem like dance could move beyond Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and America’s Best Dance Crew. Don’t get me wrong; these shows are integral to building new generations of audiences for dance and I’m as equally addicted to them as I am sliced bread. But much like a painting, how can a facsimile compare to witnessing the real thing? Dance performances (good ones, anyways) are usually attended by those who are wealthy or those who specifically seek to have dance in their lives.

Enter in film; super brilliant democratization tool or the worst way to breed culture-seeking laziness? Depends on what lens you’re looking through and what dance form you’re looking at.


Last summer the Royal Ballet of London debuted a classical dance performance in a massive arena with large scale screens for the nosebleed seats. With an audience of over 10,000 people, their aim was to shatter the image that ballet is an elitist art form. One could argue that this method was a cheapening (literally) of the experience. Others could say it made ballet sexy and exciting, enticing a whole new audience regardless of age, race, or background.

Enter in 3D;

Pina is a feature-length dance film in 3D with the ensemble of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, featuring the work of the great German choreographer (Pina), who died in the summer of 2009. Its trailer boasts the dramatic combination of theatre, drama and life coming straight at ya from the screen.


At the heart of the matter, any person will only seek out what speaks to them. So it probably is better that the dance world cast the biggest net possible to catch some devotees. If a 3D movie and huge arena are not it, then there will always be small stages, where you can still smell the sweat.


Louis Vuitton Roma Etoile


On January 27th, Louis Vuitton inaugurated their first Maison in Italy, Roma Etoile. Cate Blanchett and French actress Catherine Deneuve were just two of the many who celebrated the iconic fashion line’s historic opening. Twitter followers were treated to exclusive photos of red carpet entrances via live updates @LouisVuitton_IT.


The store is literally set on a cinematic backdrop replete with a dramatic elliptical staircase and a screening room which aims to support the Italian film industry. The location is an old cinema redesigned by architect Peter Marino, famous for his edgy biker style and no less for his awe-inspiring retail stages.


Waste Not, Want Not

Like most people… I love to eat. I love everything about food from the artistry of a masterfully balanced meal to the comfort of a home-cooked feast. Anyone who actually believes in “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” is in serious denial and probably is about to binge in the next 48 hours. All that being said, I find myself surprised at how easily I take food for granted. I don’t consider myself a wasteful person, especially since I grew up in an Asian household where not finishing your meal was seen as unappreciative and even disrespectful. However, when I saw Food Network’s “The Big Waste” on TV, I felt loads of awful.


“The Big Waste” is a Food Network special where FN stars, like Bobby Flay, are challenged to create a meal for 100 using only “waste” products. At first you wince, but as the show goes on you realize that the definition of “waste” is a cultural and economic byproduct of our consumerist culture. With less than 48 hours to find all of their key ingredients (veggies, meat, etc), all four chefs found treasure troves of perfectly good food bound for trash and compost. How does this happen, you ask?


When you’re at the grocery store, which apple do you put into your basket? The best-looking one, right? Well it’s precisely this “I only want fruit that’s not bruised and meat that looks perfect” mentality is exactly what forces grocers, farmers, and retailers to waste everything that doesn’t meet the consumer’s high standards. I can’t blame anyone for wanting good-looking produce since I’m certainly guilty of that.

My favorite segment of the special introduces a freegan – yes, FREEgan – to illustrate a method of resistance to the American consumer culture. Freegans reclaim food that’s been discarded and in effect are protesting the idea that food not sold is food unwanted.


It’s easy to say that this unwanted food should be donated to starving children in third-world countries, but it takes a humanitarian with the resources and funding to coordinate that sort of effort. Until then, the best we can do is spread the knowledge: waste not, want not.


Dear Designer

Amongst our lengthy list of interior designers, Phoebe Howard is one of our favorites. Pairing clean minimalistic lines with traditional elements provides for warmth which easily invites art into an interior space.

We collaborated with Phoebe in the fall of 2011 for the March of Dimes Show House in Charlotte, NC. Phoebe placed Hiro Yamagata from Bill Lowe Gallery along the central axis (or “central nervous system”, in the words of Bill Lowe) of the dining room. The combination of Phoebe’s design touches with the textural quality of the Hiro Yamagata truly transforms this room from a traditional blank canvas into a sophisticated space with a true element of luxury.




Most recently on Phoebe’s list of achievements is her new column in Southern Living, Dear Mrs. Howard. Check out this video on decorating tips from Phoebe herself!