clean retina

Archive for the ‘Frida’ Category

BLUE, GINGHAM BUTTON-DOWN (throw a rock and you’ll find it)

In Frida, upper body on March 3, 2018 at 8:15pm03

e0cf74ea51faabfda96b75d424cce916--blue-gingham-will-have

1. Hey! Sorry, I’m late. I was in the middle of an “Iyanla: Fix My Life” marathon. Anyway, we shall begin. If you could choose your accoutrements what would they be?

Let’s keep it casual and go with my everyday look.  I’d choose a crown, a suit of armor, a classic Jordan and a lightsaber.

Unknown

Unknown-2

shopping

images

2. I see exactly where this is headed.  What – and I think I know the answer – is interesting about you?

I’m currently chronicling my life on a blog with the hope of one day corralling the weird, mysterious, magical, whimsical, oh-shucks, confusing, trying and darn-right tough bits so I can pen them into an autobiography. Did I say “weird”? ‘Cause I’m weird, man. Like, really weird. And yet, I’m humble. Watch me dance!

Greatest_Story_Ever_Told_CD-300x300

3. No thanks. Do you understand without ever doing anything interesting or of merit, the mere idea you’re saying, aloud, one day you’ll warrant a big, fat book all about you is about as narcissistic as it gets? Oscar Wilde put it simply, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.” Substitute “shirt” for “man” and you know where I’m going. Don’t get me wrong. I understand it on some level. The blog gasses you up. You press “publish” and for a brief moment, you feel as if you’re tattered, sweat-soaked, clinging to Hemingway, as Pilar, headed for North Bimini, fights against the swelling, unrelenting Atlantic. In the meantime, Hemingway, chest pounding, rushes to get “For Whom the Bell Tolls” on the page because if Pilar should capsize and he should perish, maybe, just maybe some sad soul will find enough of “For Whom…” washed ashore and have the sense to send it to the lovely, talent-detecting missiles, otherwise known as Charles Scribner’s Sons.

What’re you talking about? I’m probably as interesting as they come. I might just be the most interesting, dynamic, original anything there is. Did I mention I’m weird? ‘Cause I am. And humble. ‘Cause I’m that too.

tenor

4.  You should let a trained professional get to the bottom of why you keep declaring both. Now, I know inside of your vainglorious thunderdome you’re a real force to be reckoned with; however, from the vantage of the majority, you’re basically… brace yourself… not at all weird rather, an egomaniac shrouded in mock bonhomie. 

I don’t believe you.

 

 

5. Are you not aware people put you on to simply blend in? You possess neither bell nor whistle and that’s the way folks like it. But if attention-whoredom’s your game, I can look into getting you a gig on Connie. He lives out in Oxnard, has a bowl mullet, loves the ladies who, in turn, think he’s disgusting, spends most of his free time rollerblading and referring to himself in the third person, wears nipple clamps and likes to only button the first two buttons of any shirt, starting from the bottom, which equals maximum chest exposure. Being worn by him will definitely get a few eyes on you. How about it?

Ew.

6. See? Right there. That’s what I’m talking about. You’re not open to reality-

Reality?! Who the hell knows what kind of grimy scene Connie’s into?! Can’t you get me a gig on Bezos? Musk would look great in me. Dr. Dre I could make some fantastic memories with.

7. I see we’ve traveled into goofy territory. They’re actual innovators, dear. We’re talking Hyperloops, Falcons, Snoop, Eminem, Kendrick, Beats and this little delivery service I’m almost positive can deliver your id to your front door if you should order it. Also, all three rather be seen in a snug, black T-shirt of which you’re not – but I get the feeling this fact won’t stop you from going to a frat party masquerading as one, if you know what I mean. My point is, it appears you assume greatness as if it’s your birthright, to the point of blinding yourself to your own reality. But instead of realizing you just might be a bygone busy signal in the form of a shirt, you expect the world to look on as if McQueen S/S 2010 is in their midst.

And what’s so wrong with, say, Tyler? He goes to work, comes home, eats a balanced meal and settles in to play Fortnite. He’ll hang you up, treat you right… I guess the question is: Like the majority of your brethren, can’t you simply rage against the machine under a biz-cas hoodie while under you is a T-shirt peeking out at collar level? 

No. Never. I must live out a weird, adventurous life deluged with magical magic, therefore warranted by an autobiography that has to be back-ordered worldwide because it falls off the shelves the moment it’s put on. Don’t you see? I long to cloak greatness. I need people to know I was here. I want Baldwin to put “Giovani’s Room” on the page while in me.

baldwin_writing

I want Chien-Shiun Wu to contradict the law of conservation of parity while in me.

chien-shiung-wu-in-a-laboratory-515185238-58f77ede5f9b581d59381803

I want Copernicus to realize the “Sun-Centered” system while in me.

nicolaus-copernicu_1118710c

I want Boz to walk into a room and reveal a marketing strategy, any marketing strategy while in me.

justinkaneps-apple

I want Carl to share a few things with the Dalai Lama while in me.

The-Dali-Lama-and-Carl-Sagan_670

I want Sylvia to tell climate change deniers to “Get over it” while in me.

Dr. Sylvia Earle

I want Galbraith to work through the night, molding Cormoran into the most captivating detective there is while in me.

giphy

I want Maria Tallchief to perform “Firebird” while in me.

12TALLCHIEF-jumbo-v2

I want Einstein to experience the annus mirabilis while in me.

BBVA-OpenMind-Einstein-milagro

I want Bruce to write “The Incident on 57th Street” thus happening upon a major turning point in his songwriting career while in me.

d7c6c8843ce9838b263d6ef1e8c2d935.jpg

I want Charles Richard Drew to introduce the first blood bank while in me.

6622858_120027688390

I want Maya to recite “On the Pulse of Morning” while in me.

13457692_f520

I want Frida to break away from the mental clutches of Diego and discover her oeuvre while in me.

diego-rivera-and-frida-kahlo-in-detroit-c-1933-courtesy-of-spencer-throckmorton-collection-new-york

I want Starman to soar through the cosmos with Mars the final destination while in me.

starman-spacex-ar-snapchat-810x456

I want Cynthia Erivo to sing absolutely anything she pleases while in me.

And when it’s all said and done, I’ll demand thee James Maitland Stewart narrate the audiobook because the tale told will be both distinguished and benevolent.

03

8. Yo, Walter Mitty’s sock, can you come explain how it works?! Listen, dear heart,  none of the above will ever happen simply because you feel it’s owed to you or because you’re weird. Your “Emporer’s New Clothes” run is over and I’m here to tell you we can all see your junk. Now, I know you’d like to be both coddled and lionized while being ushered into this new reality but, God willing and the creek don’t rise, that’s also going the way of the dodo. The world’s finally breaking away from the status quo, finding, anymore, the crowd doesn’t have to go wild in an effort to make you think you’re important when you’re simply not. They don’t have to pretend your words are sage when, in reality, they’re poorly sourced, filled with half-truths, dipped in contrived humility, coated with saccharine embellishments and very much ignorant. Instead, you’ll have to do this little thing called stepping outside of your comfort zone and opening your eyes to an entire world happening around you, as opposed to retreating to where it’s safe, homogenous and replete with scantly earned accolades while expecting everyone and everything to come to you with the hope you’ve chronicled it all in a big, fat book about yourself. Does any of this resonate?

Well gosh, since you put it that way… I mean, painful truths are never easy but this is my new reality I guess. With that said, prayers up the answer to my next question is “Oh, hell no!” Will Trump ever wear me?

9. Noop. You’re not his scene. However, Dinesh D’Souza might, Sean Hannity’s a strong “maybe” I think, Stephen Miller will most definitely use you as a security blanket and get ready for Steve Bannon to pop your collar and layer the shit out of you. We good? I still have one more season of “…Fix My Life” to get to.

Call Connie.

 

 

VALENTINO EMBROIDERED, SUEDE CAPE : AKA, THE RETURN (SORT OF ANYWAY)

In all over, Frida on July 9, 2014 at 8:15pm07

106528060

1. Usually when you guys exit that’s the last I hear from you. What brought on the change of heart?

If it’s okay with you, I will remain mum regarding my compatriot’s departure. With that said, we owe it to our girl to let you know how her story ends and so I’m here to continue. But first — because I know how this works — I’ll tell you exactly what I would accouter myself with.

A 19th-century crown, a 1960’s turquoise and diamond suite, a Pauline Trigere gown and the St. Laurent boot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
XXX_31_1374257516_1XXX_309_1378742207_1

88916979

2. Thank you for that and my sincerest apologies if I’ve offended anything. Okay, so not to dwell on that any longer, the last I heard your girl and Frida had ventured down to a perfect part of town in celebration of introducing her new self to the world. Did I miss anything?

That about sums it up and so I’ll start from there. Upon arrival at home, my girl found her little sister, Claude, leaning against her front door and very much asleep. Needless to say, she was surprised by the waiting package but more than anything she was happy. She absolutely loved this person. When she turned to tell Frida exactly who Claude was she was surprised to see Frida gone, disappeared. She moved down the hall and peeked around the corner, whispering, “Frida?” “Hey. Who’re you talking to?” Startled, she turned to see Claude sitting up and stretching her arms praise–like above her head. “Aren’t you supposed to be in Ithica cursing the fact that finals exist,” asked my girl as she moved over to her sister. Claude sat up and gripped the Duro Olowu thus her sister’s shoulders, “I am but when you call a person for three straight days and don’t get an answer, you start to deem other things much more important.” Realizing the faux pas of being out of touch to those who love you, “I’m sorry. Truly. It’s just that I’ve been so caught up.” “You’re forgiven. Now, what in the hell are you wearing,” Claude inquired. My girl felt a slight puncture in the amour propre, the shoulders began to ease down, the back started to hunch, both subtle reminders of the person she used to be prior to Frida’s arrival. Luckily, it was just a puncture and could be easily dressed, “Nothing. It’s a skirt that I love.” The moment the words left her mouth, complete with defiant tone, she could feel the grand posture returning. Claude’s brows pinched as she focused on the roses adorning the tight bun atop her sister’s head, “You have flowers in your hair.” My girl smiled and puffed out her chest, “I’m trying something different. What’s so wrong with that?” Funny how confidence has a way of supplying rhetoric to an otherwise actual question. “You have roses in your hair,” Claude repeated. “Deal with it. Now, would you like to come in?” My girl gave her sister a buss on the cheek and stood up to unlock the door. Claude said nothing as she hoisted herself off the floor. Once on her feet, she turned, rubbing her chin. My girl opened the door, inviting her sister in. Upon entering, Claude stopped short, ingesting the surroundings, “This is probably– No… I know this is exactly why I was rubbing my chin. What the hell happened here exactly?” She had grown accustomed to walking into a room of white walls, Noguchi furnishings and slight sculptures that awoke in her a stoicism she never knew existed and couldn’t wait to dump when she left. You have to understand, the wildest this room traveled in both color and design was a Joseph Berlini sculpture. Now said sculpture had vibrant colored carnations protruding from its innards and the Noguchi bench was draped in a beautiful trading blanket. If the former decor lethargically and pretentiously whispered then the latter screamed while freeing the nipple. The place had been transformed to look as much like La Casa Azul as the space would allow. The walls were a menagerie of murals illustrating human struggle. Traversing the floor was like navigating through a tchotchke labyrinth; any turn could send something crashing to the ground, making even the slightest breathe a liability. Claude tucked in and out, glimpsing all that had found its home inside the 2,000–square-foot space. She plucked from a table a Lupita doll and stared into its eyes. She smiled, placed the doll back down and raced out of the room. My girl called out, “Where’re you going?” “To your closet, stupid. Definitely need to see what’s going on in there,” Claude called. Once inside it was just as she had suspected, “…the hell.” Claude began pulling out billowing skirt, after blusón, after kaftan, after cape, after sarape… She pulled out a rebozo, wrapped it around her shoulders and lowered a gaze on my girl who was now standing in the doorway, “When I’m good, I’m very good. But when I’m bad, I’m better.” My girl howled with laughter at the Mea West homage — an homage she could only share with the person standing in front of her. The thought of Frida enjoying this moment was fleeting. That night the sisters fell asleep in dresses and shawls via Chiapas amongst discarded carnations, one pizza box and empty bottles of hard cider. The following morning my girl escorted Claude downstairs to a waiting cab. Before climbing in, Claude turned to her sister, knicking a rose nestled in my girl’s now ailing bun and tucking it behind her own ear, and concluded, “I’ve no clue what this is about but your happiness and utter contentment is undeniable. That makes me very happy.” And with that, Claude went, fumbling a bit as she climbed into the cab. The lump forming in my girl’s throat disintegrated upon hearing, “Too many freaks and not enough circuses in this world.” My girl turned to see Frida leaning against an ivy layered wall, “Do you think rats find refuge in here?” “I don’t know,” my girl answered, taking a moment to really think about the question. “Hmmm…” offered Frida, studying the climbing vine framing her. “So, where’d you disappear to last night? I wanted to introduce you to my sister.” “I thought I would give the two of you some quality time.” My girl smiled, “Thank you.” “Nice child,” Frida added, voice void of sincerity. “She’s amazing, my best friend.” Frida gave the summation one nod, “If you’re lucky and you seem to be, a sibling bond is the best bond there is. Unlike a parent, their total lies about how amazing you are really do feel like truth. Maybe it’s because you view them as your contemporary and not this being whose entire psychic apparatus is lodged in you against your will. But in truth, your failures are theirs. Your successes belong to them as well. A brittle house of cards it is, everyone’s pride and ego dependent on the other. In any case…” There my girl stood, feeling flutter away all the good stuff that had accumulated the previous evening. She watched her sister’s cab round the corner. And yes to exactly what you’re thinking: this thing was starting to take a left.

Minimalist-Interior-Tuscany-Italy-Contemporary-Fireplace

image923045_l

7b0ca4c1c22a32f278610d32b8757b9f

3. How was your girl beginning to take this change in Frida?

She seemed to push it away, pretend she wasn’t hearing what she was hearing because the overall gifts appeared too great. Also, she was never the person to give Frida Kahlo, the actual woman, much thought. Sure she had been in plenty of dorm rooms and starter apartments where posters of Frida adorned the walls and had seen more than her fair share of editorials paying homage, but the need to probe further never surfaced. This meant no knowledge of letters to an ailing Georgia O’Keeffe or dalliances with Tina Modotti, Trotsky and Noguchi. No reference to the excruciating pain felt before, during and after many spinal surgeries or the horrific miscarriage she suffered in Detroit at the Henry Ford Hospital, the place where her idiom took flight as she convalesced. None the wiser was my girl regarding Frida’s staunch support of Communism. I think this was good actually. With everything that happened, I couldn’t imagine having to also toggle between fact and fiction. Needless to say, on the day of my girl’s first date with Kevin, Frida happened to be suffering from a lower lumbar pain so severe it was hard to breathe — a fact Frida kept to herself I think for fear of appearing vulnerable. Any other day a date with Kevin would’ve been met with disdain and much protest but on this particular evening my girl was all but pushed out the door. Once on the street, she looked up to see Frida staring down out her. My girl held up a hand to wave. Frida did not, instead she placed a hand against her cheek and walked away. Slightly stung but more than anything confused, my girl looked off and set out. “Have you ever been to Jiuzhaigou Valley,” was the first question she was met with just as she and Kevin sat down to dine al fresco at one of Arthur Avenue’s highest rated. She responded, “Nope. I’ve never even heard of it. Why?” “Go,” he replied. “Okay. I will,” the response was ephemeral as she took a piece of bread and dipped it into olive oil. Kevin leaned forward and gripped her hands leaving the bread to soak up way more olive oil than intended. “I mean it. Go,” he demanded. She chuckled, taken aback by the intensity, “Okay. I’ll go.” Kevin leaned back, “And go alone. And don’t tell anyone you’re going. And when you get back don’t do the braggadocious thing of announcing to everyone you went. Save that for– I don’t know… Berlin or some place like that. Anyway, the place will redefine your faith in this planet. For me? It’s the only thing in existence that has any right to have an ego.” I felt a calm come over her. She smiled then with ease looked up. Curious, Kevin followed her gaze, “What’s up there?” Opting not to share with him the fact that she was waiting to be coated in a bucket of pig’s blood, she went with, “Nothing… the stars.”

jiuzhaigou-valley

4. Uh huh… I’m no fool, therefore, I so know where a date like this is headed, however, I’ll do my job and ask the question replete with sincerity: What happened next? (Did you buy that?)

Cute. And yes, you’re pretty much right on in assuming the date ended with my girl and Kevin making love. But you’ll be happy to know he didn’t do the goofy thing of running a pointer across the sprigs on the outer corners of her mouth or a thumb across her unibrow, rather, he didn’t even acknowledge their existence. It was beautiful. And in case you’re wondering, Frida stayed away. Again, I have no idea where she went exactly — or where she ever disappeared to, for that matter — but she stayed away. And if I’m honest, not to mention privy to way more than I wanted to be, that night the connection to Kevin was so my girl had all but forgotten Frida existed. After it was said and done, she dreamed for the first time in a very long time. No dreamlike bells and whistles of the ground swelling into marshmallow as she tried to evade two legs running on two legs, rather she dreamt of reading a book avec freshly waxed lip while curled up in her favorite chair. Her dreams and reality had switched places. The dream ended with her abruptly cracking one eye open while the other remained disabled against the pillow. It was the violent waking where you can never remember what the something was to yank you, but the funky gut feeling lets you know it was indeed something. Across from her, Kevin slept soundly. She smiled, studying his face when someone nearby cleared their throat. Frida had returned was the natural assumption. My girl gingerly turned her head, bracing for what was to come, but instead of coming face to face with the dove herself, she found sitting in the chair next to the bed Diego. His vaunted face illumed every time the red, neon sign flashed from across the street. My girl lifted up to make sure she was indeed seeing what she was seeing. It was him alright. The big, lummox of a human. His protruding belly appeared tight as it extended from his waist. She imagined poking it but didn’t. What did the dove see in this man? Amazing murals or not, standing up to the Rockefeller oligarchy was beside the point. What was the spell she was under? She looked over to see Kevin still fast asleep. Poor boy had no idea what he was missing. My girl turned back to find Diego’s eyes moving about the room, attempting to focus on something swift. She twisted around to get a look. A spotlight danced about, searching for a place to land. She and Diego followed it for a moment — their simultaneous movement reminiscent of curious kittens found in viral videos. Finally, their darting eyes touched down at the foot of the bed to find the spotlight resting on Frida. One of her tiny hands gripped a Fender Stratocaster slung around her shoulder —  she would later reveal Jimi let her borrow it. Diego put his hat on and leaned in as if granting her permission to start. My girl could tell this galled Frida. She wasn’t looking for his sanctions; she didn’t need them, but despite that, she did the polite thing of swallowing the potential ass–handing and started in on the performance of a lifetime.

5. My god… I would’ve paid a small fortune to see that performance. Man… Okay, so how did the night end?

Well, immediately after — I’m talking seconds — Diego left and the man did not appear happy. No words passed between them. It was strange. I was prepared for some mammoth fall out but in the end nothing. Anyway, once he was gone, Frida took one look at Kevin and left too. Since this had started to become a natural occurrence coupled with the fact that she had a man in her bed, my girl nestled into Kevin’s arms and with a deep breath forced herself back to sleep. The following morning, marathon training commitments made sure Kevin was out the door bright and early. Knowing Frida would appear at some point, my girl traveled up to the rooftop to get some sun and ruminate on the perfection that was Kevin and perplexity that was Frida and Diego. Upon eventual arrival, Frida’s greeting was terse as she spread out on the ground. A few hours later “Slaloms in Zermatt,” was the first shard of conversation she offered. “What was that,” my girl asked. “Slaloms in Zermatt. We should go skiing. You’re a girl with some coin in her pocket so why not,” Frida said. “Kevin suggested I go to Jiuzhaigou Valley. I looked it up. It’s located on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. I’ve never been and the way he was going on about it I feel like I should’ve already.” My girl smiled and looked to Frida. Offering no response, Frida remained with her eyes closed as the sun beamed down. My girl was all too familiar with the silent dismissal and so did nothing to protest. An hour or two passed before Frida emerged with, “I don’t think men want to see the true us. They sell us on thinking they do but in the end… And why would they? It’s a lifetime of the Crusades right in these bodies: You give too much? You’re unattractive and hate yourself for giving too much. You give too little? You’re too attractive and resent yourself for being adorned for giving too little. A day in the life of Sisyphus post-condemnation is what it is. Every single second welcomes a new and futile fight uphill the entire way.” My girl’s frustration had reached an apex and even if she knew she’d regret the attempt she had to at least try to reason, “But have you ever — and Diego could be this person in some way or not at all — but have you ever been in love? Experienced a person who just makes it all right? Even if everything you’re saying is true there’s that person out there that makes you complete and happy regardless of it all.” Frida scrambled to her feet, the fury in her eyes bone chilling, “Stop! Just stop it! Have you ever had someone in your life akin to a useless body part — an appendix or a wisdom tooth — just taking up space and in the end you realize — too late, of course — the only things they were good for were severe amounts of annoyance and pain?! Nothing more! And reprieve came only when you located your wits and ripped them from your life?! Don’t you see?! I’m here to keep you from being an idiot! To stop you from losing yourself in bullshit! Why can’t you see that?!” Naturally, my girl’s eyes were wide and filled with fright. She wanted to cry, the sensation was coming on strong, just waiting for the okay to erupt from her throat but she knew it would only make it worse. And so it was at this point I realized responsibility to set this thing right had landed on me. It was time. I had to sit Frida down.

6. Wait. How did you sit Frida down? No offense but you’re a magnificent cape.

And an unrelenting Frida Kahlo was residing in the annals of my girl’s brain where anything goes and by anything I mean a cape having a come–to–Jesus moment with Frida Kahlo.

7. Point taken. Proceed?

Thank you. My girl was about to lose the best thing that had ever happened to her and for what? To live out the things this particular Frida couldn’t? So, I sat Frida down and I told her she was going to have to let up,”She finally found love. Many have searched but only a select few have found the true stuff. And isn’t that why you appeared in the first place? To help our girl find happiness through finding herself? Think about it. And at what point do you go from being her biggest supporter to part of the can–toi chorus clad in yellow coats, the evil beings that compelled you to come save her in the first place? The line is fine, almost undetectable so ask yourself when do you go from being friend to worst enemy. She didn’t see the switch. Hell, you probably didn’t see it simply because your intentions began as pure. Neither of you can see that you no longer have her best interests at heart and simply want her to feel as low as you do. She’s not like you. You’ve got one thousand bulls fighting for you inside there. She’s got you. That’s it. You’re dictating her very existence and you know she’ll listen to anything you say. Just give the word and Kevin’s gone. Even if she’s well aware that it would be the biggest mistake of her life, she’ll set the cycle on ‘Frida knows best’ and it’ll emerge as truth. And why? Because she respects you and she’s in awe of you and she looks up to you, but most of all… she loves you.” And with that, Frida thought. She thought and thought and thought…

frida 4DownloadedFilefrida thinkingfrida ponderfrida thinking 5

images-1DownloadedFile-1imagesimages-7frida 678Frida-Kahlo

8. Heavy to say the least. What was her response to that?

No idea. I felt it best to leave her and so that’s just what I did. That night, gliding over the city to a song somewhat apt, the wind whipping beneath me, spreading me out as far as I could go, I wondered how many lonely, confused hearts were down below in desperate need of hope based in fact.

9. And so what happened next?

We didn’t see it coming but like so many days prior, Frida was on a mission to take us somewhere, show us something poignant, relevant, neuron aborting. There we were racing down the street, myself and Frida’s cape whipping in the wind. I, of course, was in the zone, doing what I was created to do when my girl asked, “Seriously, where are we going?”And just like that, we stopped. Frida stared at my girl, her face with the faint brush of a smile. My girl chuckled, “What? Why’re you looking at me like that?” Frida said nothing as her eyes remained locked. My girl’s eyes traveled up to find they were standing in front of Lydia’s salon. The moment she saw the sign she instantly understood. Her eyes filled with tears. It was the closing bell for this priceless journey. Who was going to be there to validate all that was swirling around in her head? Who would be there to consult my girl when no other words would suffice? “The only thing to do when you can no longer be a positive part of a person’s life is to leave,” said Frida. “But I don’t want you to. I need you to stay. I do. I need you to stay.” “You’re not me,” Frida replied, “Your life is your own to live on your own terms and no one else’s. Especially not mine. I should’ve never suggested such a thing.” Frida took a deep breath, shoring up the courage to let go, “Now, get inside there and have the land above your lip cleared.” Tears streamed down my girl’s face as she slumped forward, doing all she could to remain upright. She couldn’t even manage the anemic smile to sell the lie that she would be okay. Instead, she sobbed. Frida grabbed her by the forearms, pulled her in close and whispered in her ear, “De ilusión también se vive.” She placed a firm kiss on my girl’s forehead, then swiftly turned and walked away. My girl stood on the corner, paralyzed as she watched Frida Kahlo get swept up into the swarm of foot traffic. Frida turned round, looked to her, smiled and raised a hand in the air. My girl raised a hand in the air and waved goodbye. Slowly the grand posture began its return.

DURO OLOWU EMBROIDERED SILK CAPE

In all over, Frida, Kendrick Lamar on December 2, 2013 at 8:15pm12

DURO Olowu

1. If you could style yourself what accoutrements do you see fitting into your overall motif?

A Euginia Kim headband, A Stella Jean full-skirt dress, a pair of Libertine trousers and the Philip Lim boot.

86612854

9350457696233050

91071614

2. Who has inspired you most during your short existence?

The woman who awoke thinking that day was going to be like all the rest: get out of bed, shower, açaí bowl & coffee, thirty minutes on the train, walk the three blocks to put in a full day, dinner with a friend at Brasserie, take a picture of the perfectly crafted meal and send it out into the world, stalk an ex on Facebook, curse herself for stalking a man on Facebook, peruse Match, 7 minutes of digitus manus pleasure and off to bed. This particular morning she noticed the mustache was needing its monthly tending which meant she would be stopping in to see Lydia on the trek home. Sitting in the waiting room of the cramped salon, my girl listened as the austere esthetician went to town on what sounded like a bush with a lot of fight left, every rip igniting a tiny “eep!” As if feeling the pain, my girl shifted in her seat and clutched her thighs together, a move that let her vagina know, “I hereby decree that ye shall be spared today.” The decree melded smoothly into wonder, the wonder of what she was doing exactly, “All this pain and for what? So some guy doesn’t have to acknowledge the fact that my body has the ability to grow hair? Some man who’s just gonna love me then leave me?” Okay, so her thought process might’ve been a bit too militant and pessimistic considering we were only dealing with a hairy, upper lip but that aside, she got up and she walked out, igniting the door chime. “Hahlo,” Lydia called as she walked out into the waiting area, holding a wax-laden application stick in one hand and a waxing strip of Cousin It proportions in the other. She glanced outside and upon noticing my girl crossing the street, she shrugged, “Bitch,” and returned to the waxing room, “Now, turn over.” “Do I have–” “OVER! “k.” Walking down the street, my girl lamented over what it means to walk out on Lydia . In the spirit of staying apace within the bourgeois world she gyred throughout, getting into the good graces of a great waxer was no small feat. Why, entire brunch conversations had been set aside for this very discussion. Brunches where it was mandatory to silence your phone and place it in a bowl in the middle of the table. You know the brunches where talk of how insanely accurate that movie nailed West Side life amongst all the West Side, Los Angelino expats at the table now living in the eastern part of the country? Brunches where you looked around and noticed the entire place was filled with variations of your table having  a variation of your exact same conversation. Those 5-top conversations that could travel in the blink of an eye from talk of actual genocide to the new, gluten-free soap shop one happened upon in Marfa to “Oh shit! I think I’m day-drunk!” And so if my girl should declare this particular rage against the conventional machine a big mistake it might not be so easy getting back into the fold of getting the outer region of her lady fold expertly cleared off. Maybe she should go back. Yes, she’d return and apologize, “Lydia, my apologies. I don’t know what came over me. Now, if you would be so kind as to rip the hairs from my upper lip.” And Lydia wasn’t so bad. Why, it was her quoting of Busta Rhymes that won my girl over when she first contemplated getting a Brazilian, a.k.a. the complete deforestation, “Too much hair on your chocha? Shave it off.” And so, in an effort to return to Lydia and her attempt at getting crunk, she turned back round, but instead of coming face to face with a clear path to traverse, she came face to face with Frida Kahlo.

fridakahlo-screen

3. Um… What?

Yep. So, upon coming face to face with the dove herself, my girl naturally jumped, yelped and peed herself a little. And then she concluded she was in the process of losing her mind. To put an end to the fact that she might be rapidly losing the plot, she ventured left to step around Frida. But Frida also stepped to the left. My girl shook off the fact she was being cordoned off by a swift on her feet Frida Kahlo and moved to the right. Not a big surprise when Frida smirked and swiftly moved to the right. My girl stopped and stared at Frida with wide eyes while wondering if Bellevue took walk-ins. Then out of Frida’s mouth came three fateful words. Three words that would flip the script in its entirety, “Let it grow.” It was a sign my girl couldn’t deny. “Let it grow and take back your life in the process,” Frida said. And that’s all my girl needed to hear. She decided then and there she would let it grow. She would turn on her heels, set out in the opposite direction of Lydia’s salon and she would let it grow! I was getting dizzy at this point but this isn’t about me. Now, don’t ask me how because I lost the time, but we found ourselves in a drugstore, plucking a can of Jerome Russell spray-on-hair from the shelf. Arriving back at the apartment, we all traveled straight to the bedroom. I was taken off and tossed on the bed — don’t want to get any Jerome on me, thanks! — while my girl grabbed an old button down from the closet, put it on and she along with Frida ventured into the bathroom. Moments later, my girl, with Frida positioned proudly behind her, stood, studying in the mirror a spray-on unibrow and faux sprigs of hair peppering the corners of her mouth. Frida smiled as she moved in close so their cheeks were touching and whispered, “You are a triumph indeed.” The next day my girl called in sick, allowing herself plenty of time to cull consignment shops and thrift stores in search of every billowing skirt she could find. Frida was with her the entire time, yaying or naying sartorial choices whilst providing opinions on overall life, “Daniel Kahneman put it perfectly, ‘The confidence people have in their beliefs is not a measure of the quality of evidence but of the coherence of the story that the mind has managed to construct.‘ This whole notion of the grass being greener simply gives credence to the fact that absolutely none of us, no matter what side we’re on, knows how to live a good life. And before anyone dare stand in opposition to my statement, if we did know how to live a good life would this world be the most we’d want for ourselves? Ask the question. Or don’t.” “Were you happy with the side you were on,” my girl inquired, holding an embossed, paisley number up to her waist and checking the reflection, her opinion shifting with every cock of her head. “Frankly, if I’m really being honest, yes. As tiresome and painful — both physically and mentally — as it appeared to outside eyes, yes,” said Frida. Frida’s focus shifted down to the paisley number. She cupped her chin and shook her head, “I don’t think paisley’s your pattern.” The paisley number was placed back on the rack and off we went.

b61

4. And at no point did anyone think your girl was experiencing a psychotic break?

Are you kidding?! She was being set free! Why can’t you see that? This path she had been on all this time and for what?  It wasn’t to her benefit that was for damn sure. But if not for her then who? One day, while sunning ourselves on the rooftop of my girl’s building, Frida said something that really got me thinking, “Sometimes it appears a person’s memories are made out of necessity.” She went even further to ask if the advent of the camera heightened in the human race the need to make memories, “Think about it. If capturing a moment on film didn’t exist how different would the world look? Would the want to be around each other be less superficial, a little more pure, very much in the moment? Would our innate narcissism play less of a part in our daily lives? How can we preach living in the moment while a mechanism that enforces the complete opposite is such a constant part of our lives? We look forward to looking back. It’s that simple. And if one should live off the grid, just a little left of center from the rest, then who will be there to take the pictures with? To share the memories? Hell, to make the memories with. Sometimes you have no other choice but to surrender to what the hive mind is doing. You must assimilate so you can leave behind the footprints of having been there.” The next day Frida arrived with arms full of photographs and proceeded to dump them on the bed, “I look at them and all I see is this big menagerie of pain and love, hate, some anger… In half of these, I don’t know who that person was. And I’m talking about myself, not him. I can’t tell if I’m happy or if I’m sad. Yes, I’m smiling in some but was I happy? I appear to be contemplative in a few but was I contemplating something? Every emotion eventually folded in on each other forming one big– What would I even call it? A question. Yes, I’d call it a question. I think. Well, you be the judge.” My girl stared down at the bed filled with variations of the same two faces and as Frida looked on, she took her time trying to make sense of each and every one.

frida 6fridafrida 1frida 7frida and diegofrida diego 
diegofrida and diego 3Diego Rivera with Wife Frida Kahlodiego frida 5frida diego 4frida kahlofrida diego 9diego fridafrida kahlofrida diego 19frida diego 514frida diego4

5. So, are you saying Frida blamed Diego for… for everything, I guess?

I’ll let her tell you by way of a conversation with my girl, “But I can’t blame him. I won’t. I played an equal part. I stayed.” “Did you love him? Diego,” my girl asked. “Of course, but more than that, I think it was about needing something constant in my life. Even if it was bad, at least it was there. Does that make sense?” My girl nodded and said, “I read a study that said lonely people have a shorter lifespan.” “Then I was on to something. My own little scientific study I was,” Frida said with a chuckle. She went on to ask, “But in all seriousness, does that scare you?” My girl gave herself a moment to think about the question then answered,”Yeah. I guess I don’t want to admit it but it does. No one wants to be alone. But then, then you consider the alternatives: miserable or simply going through the motions, trying to make the lemons appear as if they are in fact lemonade, or a lifetime of suppressing yourself for someone else, fear instead of confidence at the wheel, driving you to latch on to the first thing that crosses the path. I take any one of those scenarios and then I look at my life — ya know, like really give it a hard stare — and maybe it’s not so bad. But is that all just bullshit us singletons feed ourselves? And how do you know if you’re faking it our not? Sometimes I really do wish there was some deity, a god, just something that actually knew the rules.” “Like the Wizard of Oz?” My girl’s eyes lit up, happy for help with the epiphany and replied, “Just like the Wizard of Oz! Because there are rules that would make this thing easy. I just know it. Unfortunately, we live in a society reminiscent of a PTA meeting gone wild — way too many people with something to prove, talking at once.” Frida dropped her head, a knowing smile occupied her face, “Like the elephant and the dove.” “Who?” “Like me and Diego. We’re the alternative to consider that would make a solitary life indeed a good life,” Frida answered. “No,” my girl exulted, “That’s not at all what I meant. And I’m the last person with any right to judge another person’s relationship. And we’re all different. All of us are wired to need different things.” Frida shook her head, not really disagreeing with the statement, more moving on from it, “But is love even love? That’s the question. Or is it this false concept attached to a word to make a person think they’re making a glorious and magical decision? What if all this time we’ve gotten it wrong? Some people needing the love, the commitment. Some people simply needing the warm body there, no connection, no passion just the body to let them know they won’t have to go it alone. Some people simply needing the accoutrements, all of the spinning plates the unions supply, ‘There’s this to do! There’s that do! Oh, but then there’s this to do after that gets done!’ And I’m in no way saying these things aren’t real. I believe them to be tried and true tasks but to what end do you continue to shut out your voice?” “Hmm,” is about all my girl could muster. These so-called “truths” were hard ones to hear let alone swallow. The moment moved on as they both marinated in what had just been said. Frida started to giggle. My girl looked at her, curious smile, “What?” “I once had a friend tell me I was settling for that man. Settling? All I could do was shake my head in disbelief. My choosing to be with that particular specimen was nothing short of being jettisoned. We’re gullible. Is that true? Could be. I was the most gullible of them all. But was I? In any case, I think all relationships — platonic, romantic alike — are all variants of Kepler and Galileo. Each of us handing over our encoded selves, the anagrams of our souls, leaving the other with no other choice but to attempt to unravel who we really are. A few accomplish the seemingly impossible but only a few. “

galileo-kepler-1

6. Man… I’ll be honest. When I set eyes on you I thought we were going to Carnival to get our feijoada consumption on but it’s clear we’re not. Right?

Right.

c40_18075219

7. Damn. Hmmm… Okay. Did your girl quit her job? Become a recluse?

Quite the contrary. After a few days of conditioning she was ready to enter back into the real world or as Frida put it, “the world carved out for you before you ever had a say.” And just so we’re clear, she went to work dressed in one of her new ensembles. And just so we’re even clearer, this was a very bold move, for her place of business was Deloitte & Touche. Yeah. The business planning juggernaut of the world. And my girl was no slouch either. Three years into the job she had already traveled the world doing whatever Deloitte & Touchians traveled the world doing while making some serious coin. The arrival at work wasn’t without a ton of faces that expressed something to the effect of, “What in thee hell?” Upon spotting my girl, women who were convinced they were throwing caution to the wind by wearing chandelier earrings to the office had to pick their jaws up from the floor. After a department meeting, my girl was approached by Kevin while standing at the water cooler — one of the few office relics technology cannot advance. Actually, it probably can. Like say, there’s some tiny plate implanted in your brain and any time you’re thirsty the plate punts a signal out into the ether and before you know it a little drone (that you’ll name “Bobby” because it’s so cute and grows cuter due in part to a section of his– I mean its churning motor offering the illusion of periodic blinks) is hovering in front of you with a cup of water. Personally, if I were human, I’d opt to walk the few feet to retrieve my own water rather than undergo brain surgery, but that’s just me. Sorry, Bobby. Okay, enough about adorable drones and let’s get back to Kevin… Oh, Kevin, Kevin, Kevin… A man who would be considered the ultimate get by pretty much anyone. There was no need to delve into his personality or his accomplishments in order to mold him into “soulmate” material for he was the guy anyone would choose laying down roots with on sight; no words need travel from his perfect lips. I could feel my girl tense up, prepared for ol’ Kev to join in the chorus of asking what happened to her. But there was no need for the tension because Kevin would go on to compliment the wreath adorning her head, “The colors really suit you,” and follow it up with an invitation to dinner, “I’d really love to take you to dinner.” Getting down to it really is the most amazing thing in existence. Unfortunately, my girl would go on to accept the compliment with a cautious smile and take a rain check on the meal. While I was nothing but convinced of his pure intentions, she needed a little more convincing. This I blamed on the many viewings of “Carrie” strewn about her adolescence. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. With that tale, Mr. King did nothing for the aesthetically perfect male simply wanting to love.

sissy_spacek_carrie

Carrie

8. Ain’t that the truth. Was Frida waiting for her when she arrived at home?

Indeed. And, in celebration of my girl introducing her authentic self to the world, Frida led her down to the perfect part of town where they scored peyote — this batch fresh from the state of Tamaulipas — and the two copped a squat on a golden, crunchy patch of grass and chewed their troubles away. It was a part of town where sounds of the old and new met in the middle: mariachi let you know Mary’s quince was still very much underway, NWA let you know the old “new” guard hadn’t disappeared just yet, Mumford & Sons let you know gentrification was upon you, Steve Perry’s “Foolish Heart” let you know gentrification was determined to see this thing through to the end and finally Bey joined the chorus, throwing you for a complete loop for she could’ve been coming from any household. The two women proceeded to ease back, close their eyes and listen to the battling sounds. “The perfect time in a neighborhood’s existence is right here, right now. Opposing factions living next door to each other laughing, thrashing, crying, back to laughing. Honestly, I feel sorry for those forced to grow up surrounded by people who look just like them, share the same cultural rituals. I guess it’s okay if your plan is to remain in this particular world forever, but if not? If your plan is to venture out into the rest? You must try with all that you have to do away with every preconceived notion you’ve ever had about someone different from your kind. You don’t have to be a Grand Wizard to be ignorant and have from your mouth spill total stupidity. Become informed. Disarm your sense of superiority for it’s the premiere stamp of the weak,” Frida declared. Suddenly, she and my girl sat up to find a child — he couldn’t have been more than ten — standing in front of them. My girl furrowed her brow but before she could ask what the child was doing there, he began, “Beware of low men, the can-toi in yellow coats Mr. King warned us about. You’ll know exactly who they are. They’re surreptitious, clandestine, seemingly non-threatening, forever playing the innocent. They’ve mastered the art of creating phantom reasons to love you, to hate you. These people you’ll learn nothing from, save for the art of hiding away your true self. These creatures will be the end of you. ‘Alms for the poor,’ they will cry. Wounded birds struggling through life, waiting for someone to pick them up and put them in the box lined with cotton balls. They will take every crumb of manna you hand feed them, every sip of water by way of the bottle cap you place at their beak. With wide eyes and cupped hands, they’ll do this. And they won’t stop until they’re on top and you’re five rungs below applauding.” Frida leaped to her feet, “Bravissimo, friend! Bravissimo!” And just like that, adorned by the glow of orange street lamps, the little boy tore off, little feet beating against the pavement, before disappearing into the night. My girl looked on wide-eyed, “What the hell just happened?” “Truth! Truth,” Frida cried out with laughter. “But how can he have so much fury inside of him? He’s just a boy,” my girl asked. Frida smiled, “People like to think children incapable of having thoughts draped in eloquence and depth.” My girl looked off in the direction of the little boy, “You really think so?” “I really know so.” Their attention turned to a garage door slowly creaking open. From it spilled Kendrick. Kendrick who drowned out everyone and everything to let you know there was an entirely new conversation on approach. A smile spread across Frida’s face. With eyes at half-mast, she laced her fingers behind her head and for a second time eased back onto the crunchy patch of grass for an unadulterated listen.

nightStreetlamp
 

9. Good. God. I really thought this was going to be a lot more fun. I mean, I expect this from someone donning Rick Owens, Yohji, Junya even… But you? You’re so alive with color and patterns. Am I wrong?

I’ve heard about you. I won’t name names but a certain Burberry item warned me before I even agreed to this sit-down. At times I thought I was actually getting through but clearly, I was wrong. I know your type. You sit back and listen to us pour out our deepest secrets all the while you have some snide comment waiting on deck. Why? Because you’re afraid to dip a toe in. You’re afraid of life and so it’s easier to make the joke, to declare things “stupid” or “silly.” Unfortunately, the joke will be on you. In the end, it will be on you indeed. And with that, I think we’re done here.

*This particular Duro Olowu cape left, never to be heard from again.