Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy New Year, goslings, and L'shana tova. Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 5769. I know that a pig dress is entirely inappropriate to present while wishing all of you a happy Rosh Hashanah. But then, that's my style, isn't it?

To be perfectly frank, I've never seen a print anything like this before. A 70's looking couple with a mustached man and woman in a prairie dress holding an umbrella ride an enormous pig in an angry landscape of animalistic plants and polka dot trees. Whoa. This one could cause an acid flashback for sure. I love how the belt on the woman's dress catches the wind. The pig does not look particularly friendly. These pigs are just doing their jobs, as if polka dot pigs had been drafted to serve as shuttle busses. The tulips in the landscape are a nice touch, as are the white outlines of the orange clouds. Or are those marmalade skies?

Its current bid is almost nothing. Maybe your life isn't trippy enough?

I tend to snap up prints I've never seen before. I can't help it. Looking seriously at prints these past few years, I've seen a lot of repeats. Last week for example, I was in line for tickets at the Clown Festival, wearing a jaunty polyester photo print dress with Chinese tapestries and Fu Lions on it, when a woman came up to me and asked to examine my dress. I always oblige in such situations. After all, I have deliberately chosen prints so eye-scaldingly ornate that it takes a good 5 minutes or so just to take it all in. The woman got very excited when she found the Fu Lions. "I just bought my husband a vintage shirt with this same print," she told me. The husband soon arrived to corroborate and we all discussed our love for photo prints, Asian-themed Hawaiiana and the like. And it was a lovely example of loud prints bringing people together.

In the end, even a hand-made vintage dress (this one was laboriously and crookedly handmade) is not entirely the unique snowflake that one imagines. In the past, I have not acted quickly enough on unusual prints only to have them resurface 6 months or a year later. Someone made bolts and bolts of this photo print polyester at one point. It's all out there somewhere.

But I have never seen passenger pigs before. Have you? I feel like this one shall not appear again in my lifetime. Like a century plant in bloom.

I don't know if it is beautiful or not. But if I wore it to a party, I probably wouldn't be able to circulate. I'd sit too long at the hookah table and get lost in the psychedelic goodness of my own skirt.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

A degree in Marxism. I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception. Risible and irresistible 70s tunic, medium-sized, and it's still available. I love the off-center placement of Groucho's iconic face, and the red stripes that invade the black and white landscape. The black collar keeps it crisp, mirroring the black border around the neck and sleeves.

Don't I sound like a docent of novelty prints? This is one for the Polyester Museum of Fine Arts.

This past summer I vowed that I would make all my dreams come true. Fortunately, I like to dream small. With only some minor exertion, look at me now:I'm a patroness of the arts. I'm a card-carrying member of MOMA. I can loll about the sculpture garden, hang out with some of my favorite paintings, and eavesdrop on European tourists enjoying the devalued dollar.

MOMA's recent exhibition of Salvador Dalí's film collaborations and set designs seemed to be in dialogue with my post on the Dalí scarf of a month ago. Truly. Just as if I called up and ordered it like a sandwich. Obviously someone else was thinking of this 4 years ago, or whatever the lead time is to put an exhibition like this together. (I used to be 2 years ahead of the curve. That is: my aesthetic wants and needs blossomed years before ready fulfillment hit store shelves, museum catalogs, movie theater screens and the like. This gap has been narrowing over the years until now, when I'm actually behind. Either I'm losing my touch, or my tinfoil hat stopped working.)

The exhibit had lots to enjoy and many surprises, especially a 49 minute 1975 film called "Impressions of Upper Mongolia", a deliriously self-indulgent microscopic view of a patina developed on the metal band of a ballpoint pen that Dalí cultivated with his own urine. The film is oddly beautiful and inspired me to make movies again. Salvador was way ahead of Warhol, Ofili, and Andres Serrano. His politics gross me out, but Dali was performance art before there was performance art.

I didn't know that Dalí had planned to make a film with the Marx Brothers. A rough draft and some sketches and paintings were on display. That's all that exists of "The Surrealist Woman", Dalí's film that was to star Harpo Marx. Dali struck up a lively friendship with Harpo by sending him a harp strung with barbed wire. Harpo responded by sending a photo of his hands wrapped in bandages.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thrilling Egyptian photo print shirt, ripe for the plucking. This one is live goslings, and cheap and bidding will close in about 45 minutes.

Go get it.

Am I not salivating? Yes, I am. But I've got an Egyptian photo print maxi dress that I haven't even worn yet. Although the print on this one is much more cleverly done than what I've got, I'm gonna sit this one out.

I know all there is to know about the crying game. How could anyone resist this hand-painted pessimistic crying hankie?

The photos are small here, but this hankie shows an intrepid brunette faced with bad weather, taxes, working late, and no one helping. Put your tears here, this handkercheif exhorts. In a lovely cursive hand are such truisms as: No one gives a darn. And: I never have enough money.

You can see it better here, though it has sold already.

Wouldn't it be great to have one custom-made? With all the travails and woes depicted? Mine would have to include: paying late fees, the drastically fluctuating temperatures of my shower scalding me, goddamn mice in the apartment. The list goes on. But I wouldn't be able to cry into it. Seeing my troubles animated would probably make me laugh. If I'd had this handkercheif last week I would have gotten over myself a lot quicker.

Though to be on the safe side, perhaps I would need to commission an optimist hankie to go with it. One covered in good penmanship with Stuart Smalley type affirmations. (I am nostalgic for the 90's taxi cab announcement with Stuart Smalley saying:You're pretty enough, you're smart enough, and gosh darn it, you're in New York.) And drawings of aspirational moments, like receiving the Nobel Prize, or having work exhibited in the Venice Biennale. But maybe that's too grandiose. Maybe that's even more depressing. Perhaps a handkerchief that simply says: You're gonna be okay.

I love novelty print handkerchiefs and have a few adorable children's hankies that veer into extreme cuteness. Though I wish I had gotten a Stalin-themed handkerchief I'd seen years ago. A red scare anti-communist piece of hilarity, it encouraged one to "give a blow to Uncle Joe".

Friday, September 05, 2008

Somehow, I got obsessed with sailor dresses. Again. In the early 90s, I did this whole Edwardian doll look with sailor dresses and lace-up boots. I can't believe I'm recycling myself. And it's not the first time. About 5 years ago I was chatting with Esmeralda saying I was suddenly keen for anything Spanish (flamenco skirts, polka dots, combs and mantillas) and she simply said: Again? Anyhoo, I was all over ebay looking for sailor dresses. I kept finding what I thought was the perfect one, size 6, but it always turned out to be for a person 6 months old, or 6 years old. And I thought: do I dress like a child? I'm almost 40, for crying out loud. Maybe it's time to get some appropriate clothing. But what is appropriate clothing anyway? I looked into the future and saw nothing but yawning void with the winds of change setting my coiff into total disarray. And I thought: I cannot go gently into that good night.

So I put on a tree trunk novelty print maxi dress and played croquet with my friends at the foot of the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park. Then I was right as rain again.

But in my state of bummedoutittude, I even forgot my bloggerversary. Plastic Paradise has been 2 years old since September 1st. Who knew there were so many jaw-dropping novelty prints in the world? And who knew I'd still be at it 2 years later?

And who knew I'd have 5 lovely readers? A big thank you to all of you who have keen kind enough to read and comment and share the love of the novelty print. Ms. Fuzzy Lizzy, Ms. Tea, Ms. Kitty and Ms. Prati, you are so (so very very!) awesome. And a big thank you to the amazing Spartacus, for all his encouragement. Spartacus was my only reader for the longest time, and a one-man cheerleading squad complete with backflips and pyramids.

And so: a cheery post,yes?

If I had been quicker on the draw (and had deeper pockets) I would have picked up that golden egg of a chicken in every pot dress above and paired it with this Warholesque tote.

This bag would push the outfit into pop art delirium, no? The soup bag was fairly large too, like big enough for a beach towel, just to give you a sense of scale. And I think the oversized can keeps the outfit pop, as opposed to surrealist. But alas, both have sold. And at prices a little too rich for my blood.

There was some truly thrilling flea marketing in Los Angeles. I tell you, I have not had such a good flea market day since the last century. I got a vintage Jansen bathing suit, a batik sailor dress, a nautical-themed polyester shirt (lighthouse, compass,sailboats and seagulls), and the coup de grace: A high-necked polyester dress with beautifully rendered 70s art nouveau influenced grapes. Esmeralda and I made a great mother-daughter haggling team. Esmeralda effectively cut the price of the grape dress in half by loudly lamenting: Oh, that stain will never come out! She was very convincing too. Esmeralda is a natural actress. My sister, Kismet, has often threatened to get her an agent. I think Esmeralda could be a star, or at least get a national television commercial.

I also got a couple of Reggie's old shirts. Reggie is a pinky ring, monograms and French cuff kinda guy, so I just invested in a pair of chess-themed cuff links. The most hilarious thing about Reggie's early 80s custom made shirts is that they fit me perfectly. I'm thinking I should find out if he still has any of his 70s tuxedos.