Tuesday, February 23, 2010

1:23 p.m.

Channeling her inner-Joan Miro, my mother took a frame outside and painted in snow.

I kind of like it.

12:29 p.m.

I've never liked participating in the blame game, but I do love to spectate.

12:27 p.m.

And so grows my love for Alice Rawsthorn.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

11:56 p.m.

I had a brief conversation with a friend about realizing and observing the aging process. Coincidentally, my uncle sent the above photo (and a few others) to my mom from a trip we took to his house in Colorado 15-17ish years ago. My friend and I agreed that it is easiest to detect aging in people when there is a high level of disconnect — a mix of distance, few photographs and few visits — that dramatizes what are really gradual changes. This is nothing new, but it made me look for changes in myself. I almost feel that I look more like the Sarah from that long-ago trip than the Sarah from a few years back. Maybe it's the fringe, or maybe the earliest versions of youth and childhood somehow stick with us.

12:06 p.m.

Despite waking up at nearly noon, and despite the early-evening snow, Saturday was not lost. We trekked to the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. The narratives of the three rooms that house the permanent collection stand well on their own and also tell a compelling story when grouped together. On the most basic level, the collection begins with photography and photorealistic paintings and ends with the abstract and inscrutable. In between you find contemporary sentiments (light-hearted cynicism) towards abstract expressionism, the New York School in particular.

Also, I think Los Angeles-based Allison Schulnik is my new favorite. At first, I was struck by the sculpture-like quality of a work called Skipping Skeletons. The lightness of the moving skeletons is both eery and wonderful as you imagine their bodies bobbing up and down from behind a bed of flowers so thick that it becomes three-dimensional. Viewing this work is experiential and involves more than just one sensory implementation. The scent of oil still wafts from the canvas. The colorful, sculptural quality of the flowers makes you want to pluck one from ground. This is a living, breathing painting, and the title/subject makes it even more amusing to interpret. The museum also showed Hobo Clown, a stop-motion short by Schulnik, which I could have stayed and watched for the rest of the afternoon.

Still from Hobo Clown

At the moment, I'm really enjoying Forest, another Schulnik animation, which is also known as the official video for Grizzly Bear's "Ready, Able."
Still from Forest

Although the museum's permanent collection is noticeably small, I was sated after the visit. It's refreshing to be in a room among a few fantastics than in a space with too much of not-good-enough.

Afterwards we went to quite the opposite — Dean & Deluca — for a sensory-overloaded lunch, complete with a tour of the cheese case (just looking, no eating), biscotti samples, a pefectly sized cappuccino and cupcake-shaped truffles.

11:11 a.m.

Admiring the whimsically macabre fairy-tale look of Unique at London Fashion Week. I might go read the Brothers Grimm now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

11:36 p.m.

Sonia Levy is a mindreader and perhaps a kindred spirit:

9:00 p.m.

Nothing beats a snowy evening at home with mother than a Lady Gaga dance tutorial.

Friday, February 19, 2010

2:38 p.m.

Hooray! Today BodyTalk launches Issue Three, and with the pretty new zine comes a new website. Visit and bask in the lovely Women Issue, and read back issues too! As always, we want to hear your comments. Click here for more info on how Issue Three went down.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

8:01 p.m.

A preview:

I am proud and happy and relieved to announce that the third issue of BodyTalk is launching this week. The Women Issue explores all things womanly, unwomanly and everything in between. Like past issues, avoiding cliches was really important. Unlike past issues, however, reading submissions over and over didn't often lead to any breakthroughs in visual representation. I guess what we are told is true: women can be really hard to read and interpret, and each of these stories is a unique experience. How could I make the design as complex as the subject of this issue? It would be fair to equate my relationship with Issue 3 to that of a hormonal woman.

Here's a re-enactment of what happened:

Designing this zine was an emotional roller coaster, but I learned a lot, and not just in terms of design. To brainstorm the story on clitoral piercings, I called a local piercing parlor and spoke with the piercist(?) for a while about imagery and methods. I discovered the beauty of Flickr's Creative Commons (mentioned above) and got a little bit closer to my PIctorial Webster's. I bought black suede ankle booties and am working up the courage to wear them, and then one day I didn't wear a bra at all. I also completely forgot to shave my underarms for two weeks, and after reading the story about hair (you'll see it oh so soon!), I didn't feel weird about it. I bought the most disgusting-looking Lean Cuisine I could find (yep, that's in the zine too), and as an homage to dear Georgia O'Keefe and women everywhere, I placed an order for what you see on the cover.

I think the edible O'Keefe's are my favorite part of this issue. Melissa, the decorator at Uppercrust Bakery did a superb job of reading my mind, especially when neither I nor the bakery assistant could keep a straight face when I placed the order:

Me: I need to order some cupcakes.

Uppercrust: Okay, what kind?

M: Cupcakes decorated like vaginas.

We both blush a little. The assistant has a few more questions, and at this point, any type of banal question becomes slightly amusing:

U: Mini- or large- sized?

U: How many?

U: How do you want them to, well...I mean, I know what a vagina looks like...but how do you want them to look?

M: Oh, good question. Like psychedelic vaginas.

U: What...um...flavor would you like them to be? (She lists a variety of flavors).

M: Vanilla. (To act as a blank canvas, I think to myself).

When I picked them up a few days later, all 12 were perfect in their own special way. They photographed beautifully, and at the impromptu Inappropriate Cupcake party, all were well..errr...eaten up.

Keep your eyes peeled for the pretty new issue. I'll post pages once she's ready for you (last-minute web site primping)!

3:02 p.m.

Thanks, Mom.

10:37 a.m.

Some people!

(gruffle gruffle gruffle)

9:48 a.m.

After reading the short piece about bookshops breaking even in McSweeney's Panorama Book Review, I highly recommend going to your local bookshop, buying McSweeney's Panorama and reading the interview between Miranda July and James Franco. Perhaps it's because I have not-so-secret crushes on them both, but the conversation fills me with the idealistic hope that one does not necessarily have to choose a particular path or the other; rather, it is just fine (and even better !) to have varied interests. You must follow those paths wisely and seriously, and construct a complex structure of underground tunnels that will allow for back-and-forth behavior when it comes to your jobs, ideas and endeavors.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

3:54 p.m.

The voice inside my head:

Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte. Rodarte.

Photos by Getty Images, via New York Times

3:30 p.m.

The plight of a designer, Part 1:

Novice copy-editors (not our lovely Miss Katrina Tauchen), should quickly learn not to do the following:

Meanwhile, the person who chicken-scratched whatever you see above is nowhere to be found, and we need to know what text should replace it. Can you decipher the scrawls? Let me know!

Edit, 3:42 p.m. — The writer appeared, and told us it says "planning commissions."

Monday, February 15, 2010

9:53 p.m.


Due to temporary narcolepsy/sheer terror, I will probably never get through all of Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. Perhaps I should try the book.

The taste of any amount of old garlic is stale and fleeting to the palate, but it takes just half a clove of fresh garlic to turn one's mouth into a cave of stench so potent and lingering that it usurps even the harshest, baking soda-ridden toothpaste.

Work-induced headaches are easily relieved with a breath of fresh air and a trip to the grocery store.

9:00 p.m.

This is how Saturday night went down:

After a lie-in and indulging in one-too-many Uprise cappuccinos whilst finishing up design work for BodyTalk, I attempted to quell a bit of boredom by driving to the mall. Although it can be a popular activity for novice drivers, strangely, wasting time at a mall was something I rarely did in high school. Now, however, it is an activity I participate in fairly frequently. Lazily, I meandered and plucked through the contents of department stores, the Gap, Mr. Bulky, Target and various kiosks, including one that sells flourescenlty-lit Jesus statues and unicorns side-by-side. I thought seriously about buying a cookie from the cookie man and then spent a large amount of time contemplating the merit of jeggings. Then, when I found a pair at Target for $12, I concluded that they were a worthwhile enough trend to endorse. I tried on some bras just to try on some bras, then I smelled lotion samples. And at 9 o'clock, I finally walked to my car. Filled with jegging-related excitement, I drove home.

At home, I remembered I had a book that I had been meaning to start—although the owner of the bookshop down the road won't let me tell you what it is because I received it before the formal release date. It will be released tomorrow, so I'll tell you what it is then. To help the rest of this story along, I am at liberty to say that the book is about Russian literature, and it is very funny.

Anyway, I yearned for a glass of wine to go along with my book, so I walked to Ragtag for a drink and a read. After ordering a drink, I thought it best to avoid the bar so that if there was a chance of being bothered by a lonely, valentine-less male, I would not be the victim. I found a table (with just one chair!), sat down and began to enjoy Chapter One. That was, until Lawyer No. 1 stepped up to the plate.

"What's a girl like you doing reading on the night before Valentine's Day?" he asked.

"I like to read. And it's a funny book," I tell him, unsmiling.

"What's it called?"

I hold up the cover.

"Oh, that's a really good book," he says, and he's not joking.

"Really? I was under the impression that it wasn't going to be released until next week."



"So, I'm a law student. What do you do?"

"I'm a writer and designer."

More silence.

He regroups: "What are you doing tonight?"

"This," and I point to my book.

"Well," he begins, "You obviously have great taste. You're drinking wine and reading a book on a Saturday night. If you need any sort of stimulating conversation, please join me with my friends."

I look up and smile with my mouth closed, and find my place before he has turned around to go back to his table.

Onto Chapter Two, and Lawyer Numero Deux strolls up. Instead of pulling up a chair without being invited, Mr. Closing Statement walks right up to where I'm sitting and stands with his crotch in my face.

Imagine the first conversation, only this guy is more persistent, and he is no longer a law student—unfortunately he practices.

"Russian literature, huh? Have you read Waiting for Godot?"

"Yes, and that's French."

"Oh. Well, what about the Stranger?"

"That's French too."

(Silence commences and segues into the "what do you do" conversation).

"What do you think of lawyers?" he asks.

"Do you really want to know?" I ask.

"Yeah," he scoffs.

"They think they know everything and everyone, and everything about everyone."

"Well you want to know what I think about writers? The same thing."

"Probably true," I reply.

"So, we must be pretty compatible then."

"You think so?" I ask.

"You want to find out?" (Mind you, his crotch is still in my face).

"No thanks. And I don't think my boyfriend would like that either."

"Oh, yeah, that's convenient," he says. "A smart girl like you—drinking wine, reading a book about Russian Literature on a Saturday night. You would have a boyfriend."

"Yep," I open my book up again and leaf to the current page.

"How old are you anyway?"

"23," I tell him, honestly.

"Yeah, that's what I figured."

He leaves, and I immediately grab a pen and notebook from my bag to scribble down the conversation. The evening, so far, has been surreal, and I've still not finished my first drink.

I am not yet through Chapter 2, when (you will never believe this) Lawyer THREE pulls up a chair he has dragged in from outside and sits down across from me. I look up. He leans back. He tells me his name is Marshall, and asks for mine. "I'm Sarah," I say.

I endure a hybrid of the previous two conversations, but rather than deterring his interest with the mentioning of the "b" word, he asks more questions.

"So, this boyfriend of yours, he's okay with you going out on a Saturday night and reading a book?"


"I wouldn't be okay with that," he retorts. If not a book, I wonder what things he would be okay with.

"And where is this boyfriend?" he asks.

"He doesn't live here, and that's none of your business," I tell him.

"I like this. You look me right in the eye when you talk to me. That must mean something."

I open my book up...again to try to find my page...again.

"Wait, just wait a second," he reaches across the table. I retreat. "Let me just tell you one thing," he says. "This boyfriend of yours, if he really does exist, one day it might not work out with him. And you'll think back to this night and wonder why you didn't let me buy you a drink because I'm the best thing that could ever happen to you."

At this point, I am exhausted. The first two lawyers were bad. But this one? It's taken all of my strength not to flog him over the head with my paperback. Marshall has convinced me that he is not the best thing to happen to me, and in fact, he is very far from it.

I stare blankly back at him and tap my book on the table.

The silence drives him away, but not before I ask him to please take the lawn chair with him.

Perhaps it was the loneliness of a Valentine's Day Eve, or maybe a girl sitting alone at a table completely entranced in a book means she's asking for it. I haven't quite figured it out. Thinking back to the evening, I wish I had recorded the appearance of the men who attempted a short-lived courtship instead of just my conversations with them. Now, a few days later, they have no discerning characteristics—they all seem to be wearing the same shirt and chinos, they all have the same blondish hair, and they all have a caricature-esque chin. After Lawyer 3, I didn't want to chance a fourth, so I quickly downed the rest of my wine, finished my chapter and got the Hell out of what is normally my favorite bar — for chatting, drinking, and yes, even reading. Next time, I resolved, I'll make sure to have a bottle of wine at home.

7:28 p.m.

Title design by Maurice Binder?!
Costumes by Givenchy!?
Music by Henri Mancini!?
Starring Audrey Hepburn!?
Starring Cary Grant?!

It doesn't get any better than my favorite film, Charade:

9:45 a.m.

A belated round of homemade birthday cards and valentines from friends. Wow! I am a lucky girl.

A birthday card from T

Valentine from Kristin.

Anthropologie-esque card from Jenn.

Punny animal Valentine from Jordan. She had three other types too!

Another beautiful card from Kristin. She's making more handmade pretty things too. Hoping to see more soon!

Pretty little thing from Christina, which came with a piece of pineapple upside-down cake!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

11:58 p.m.

I am so pleased to announce that I will be curating Onion Skins & Armor, which is a collection of works by my dear and super-talented artist-friend Joel Sager. The opening is part of next month's First Fridays, so if you are in the Kansas City area, please stop by the Stairway Art Space on March 5.

Notes on the exhibit:

Onion Skins and Armor is a collection of work by Joel Sager that explores the utilization of everyday objects as a means of protection and self-preservation. Predictable, and oftentimes inanimate things are the barriers between us the living and the living world.

We talk through miles of wire, and although voices exchange greetings, it is a contact-less encounter. One pulls on dress socks and shoes only to never feel the grass beneath his feet. Complex exoskeletons, poisons and specialized antennae enable species with the chance to survive a lifetime. Clothing, caffeine and kitchen utensils can provide a sense of safety, but these are adaptations that simply get us through the day.

Set alone against aging tapestries and worn wood floors, both the banality and brilliance of Sager's chosen objects is illuminated. Without a context, these necessities take on a fragility of their own, one that resembles the vulnerability they were once intended to protect.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

6:48 p.m.

I don't want to give anything away, but BodyTalk is getting busy. Soon you'll see!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

11:58 p.m.

6:18 p.m.

Finally! It has finally arrived!
I'm going to sleep with it under my pillow.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

11:31 p.m.

I love the rest of this week.

9:04 p.m.

Lovely shots

A friend in Bristol celebrated his birthday over the weekend, and another friend, Andrew Corrigan, took some amazing photos of the day (some might be too incriminating to include on here!). I'm lucky to have so many talented people in my life. These pictures are a reminder that unexpected, kinetic moments are the best ones, with the best memories attached to them.

All photos by Andrew Corrigan

Valentines for you! (to the fourth)

For a printable version, comment or e-mail me (sarahhandelman@gmail.com).

Monday, February 8, 2010

7:45 p.m.

Photo: How Hwee Young/EPA

7:37 p.m.

Conjuring warmer weather

Baked tilapia, brown rice, lettuce, and a sesame-apple-carrot-radish slaw in a baked corn tortilla. Lacking in guacamole, however.

2:06 p.m.

This afternoon, someone I have never met but only spoken to asked me, over the phone, if I had children. It was a jarring question and a bizarre assumption to make. If she had actually met me, she probably would have never asked. Is there a point one reaches in which a voice is maternal in tone? A child-bearing voice is quite an interesting sound to imagine. On the rare occasion that I happen to hear a recording of myself, I am always surprised at how young I sound. Still, it must not be enough. I have resolved to sound younger, and I apologize in advance for the high pitch.

12:36 p.m.

I am drawn to salads with loads of texture. Otherwise I don't feel like I'm eating anything interesting or nutritious. Today I made an Anything Salad. I spent approximately 45 seconds collecting anything I could find, and I put it together. What kind of Anything Salad would you make?
Today's Anything Salad: Lettuce, radishes, carrots, apple, cranberries, sunflower seeds, peanuts and turkey

Friday, February 5, 2010

Valentines for you! (Part III)

For a printable version, comment or e-mail me (sarahhandelman@gmail.com).

Valentines for you! (Part Deux)

For a printable version, comment or e-mail me (sarahhandelman@gmail.com).

Valentines for you! (Part 1)

I had some downtime at work and made Valentines. Although nothing beats lace doilies, scissors and rubber cement, I think these are pretty cute if I don't say so myself!

If you see one you like, comment or e-mail me (sarahhandelman@gmail.com), and I'll send you a printable version.

9:03 a.m.