Natural Wine in the COVID Line
It seemed to be getting late.
I’d already been standing there for two episodes of How Long Gone, and I couldn’t judge from the sun, couldn’t remember when I’d even joined this interminable line. Temporality means nothing anymore. Droll coastal elitism kept time, and it was keeping slow.
I reach to check my phone, it’s 215. Great, time to imbibe. From my tote I pull the vintage thermos I keep around the house, usually for flowers. Today, I pour myself a few ounces of wine. As my thoughts begin to drift toward thanksgiving, which I’ll be spending alone this year, I’m doused in bittersweet relief. Despite the fact that I’ve blown through any watchable television (“Emily in Paris” both notwithstanding and watched), COVID-19 has made traveling to Mom & Dad’s an attempt on their life, and besides, no amount of that sweet vin naturel could really make a virus enforced, glamping-trailer stay bearable.
A tap on the arm slices through the placid butter of ambient thought, followed by:
She nods with a chuckle toward my glassware, now holding a perfectly orange French 3 grape blend.
“Ah, no- it’s this Danish company,” nice- mysterious, in the know. I turn to her and drop the name: “they’re called ‘Muuto’”.
I inflected a sarcastic poshness and smized over my Bode mask- charming, though I’m no Harry Styles. I couldn’t help it, I was made but a wilted leaf in the chilled winds of desire.
In her purple Patagonia retro-x jacket & vintage French work pants, searching eyes emanating a wise intimacy nestled in her poreless skin, I found myself infected. With love.
“Oh, yeah! I really like them.”
“Ah, haha,” fuck fuck fuck. I fumble into my bag, “I, erm...would you like a glass? I packed two.”
She accepted, and we began chatting while sipping our wine, in turns dipping our masks below our smiles. Bonding, falling, over our recently newfound desire for a slower, more mindful lifestyle. We’d both eventually head West. Maybe I’d open a cafe, she could design from anywhere.
Though Ditmas Park and Fort Greene found us suitable homes, it was time for something new. Disgruntled, in our late 20’s, missing nature and the ease of good romance, the air around our section of the line warmed with thoughts of gardens and top-down PCH cruising.
“This wine is delicious, thank you for sharing.”
Her voice was soft, subdued now by the alcohol- or was it love? It was hard to tell. My head was spinning, we were nearing the end of our time together. These hours had passed so quickly, no longer towing the trauma of late November's frigidity along behind it.
“What are you doing for Thanksgiving?” I watched my breath, given a body atop the air, anxiously dance across the 6 feet to her ears. I’d be spending mine alone unless-
“I think I’m just gonna stay in at my place...”
I think Dua Lipa’s smash “Levitating” started playing through the stereo of a car down the avenue.
I summoned the thought of Brad Pitt, in that instant classic of a pap pic smoking in an unidentifiable flannel, and played it cool:
“Would you like some company? I can bring more wine and make squash soup?”
“He cooks?” She pokes.
“I’ve got a thing or two nailed down” I volley.
“Are you...COVID negative?”
“We’re about to find out.”
does not cut hair. Her SALON is more in the style of history’s creative eminents, though never in the same location twice. SALON 11 is a weeks-long party, a showing of pre-eminent (and some eminent) designers, and is a perfect mid-day WFH break.
SALON brings Lydia’s world into one room- a space and feeling curated through her eye for pieces & people- and offers early looks at next season’s garments.
Monday, as we milled about the basement of Melissa in SoHo, debuting pieces for an IG Live audience, Lydia and I chatted about the evolution of SALON.
ELLIOTT: This is SALON 11-
that means year 5?
How has SALON grown?
LYDIA: The first was held on Ludlow in an empty dumpling factory with a jacuzzi in the corner, and I had the space for two days. We had seven designers, including
It’s grown mostly through word of mouth- we still work with many of those designers and those first clients are still with us today.
Now, we’ve maybe tripled the number of customers and work with 25-30 designers, many of whom are much smaller than I’d intended. I’d thought we’d do pre-order with bigger designers, but there are so many people making such great work…
Do you feel as though the boom of E Commerce over the last 5 years- say, through Instagram- has guided you toward favoring a smaller designer?
It seems that a designer like
STEPHAN SCHNEIDER or
FABIO QUARANTA may have more reach in that realm.
Well, what made having the bigger designers different for me, versus say a Les Garcons
or Opening Ceremony,is that I had access to their full range when we first started. It’s been a bit more accessible in that way, you can see and order different styles and sizes than what may be in a store here.
And for many of these designers, the smaller ones but also even Fabio, doing wholesale is really tricky- I’m the only one outside of him that sells his line. I can keep it tight in that way, there’s no crazy flow of cash. Similarly, for a designer like Sophie Andes-Gascon, someone who had no intention of doing production, one-of-a-kinds really worked with us.
So it’s not really about their presence at another store, it’s about what they’re making.
From an artistic standpoint, it seems to me that SALON is ideal, a designer can sell anything they’d like through you.
Yeah, this way designers don’t have to make things they hope sell. I can just pay them for what they’ve made, and before they make it!
I’ve felt that SALON has been the logical next step for a while, and now with COVID-19 it seems more apparent.
I may be too inside to know, but I hope so. Certainly it’s more sustainable, and I hope that it is that next thing.
What’s been interesting, and rather special, with COVID has been that everyone wants to come out and support, so all my smaller designers are seeing really good sales, like they’ve never had before.
The curatorial aspect is really interesting to me, too. It’s happening in all areas (it’s happening on STIR CRAZY), so the next wave being more intentional, multi-brand shops seems natural. Though Opening Ceremony and Dover Street had been the examples, maybe the scale of each could be pared down.
Again, I think it’s about accessibility to something that hasn’t been made yet, and all that that may mean for buyer and designer.
You get to say more!
And people are responding!
PLEASE DON’T MELT
For SC October 7, I FaceTimed with friend and Chandler of the Zeitgeist JANIE KORN.
ELLIOTT: When we met you were making videos with clay figurines. Where did the turn to candles come?
JANIE KORN: My videos didn’t provide the interaction with the audience I’d hoped, I wasn’t feeling artistically fulfilled. I started making the figures posable using armatures, I was writing all this dialogue for the videos, etc… but ultimately it felt static. The candle idea had been sitting in my head for a few years.
So which was the first?
I regularly buy these ritual candles online- they’re meant to give things like love, abundance- and I liked the idea of manifesting, but within a candle. So I made these little painted nubs, decorated with glitter and gold leaf, which were meant to be burned.
And now you do portraits. Do you have a self portrait?
I do! She lives in the studio with me, peeking out as a sort of a good will ambassador.
Burning- your candles aren’t meant to burn. Why? Have you changed your feeling on this?
I have changed my feeling a bit- I feel that many of these pieces do look better melting, but still… they’re pieces, they’re artistic candles! But if someone wants to burn them… they can serve as an effigy, I like the idea of that.
Speaking of gifts, you sent one to Wendy Williams, and she featured it in a segment on her show.
I love Wendy. She loved it so much they made that segment so she could show it.
I really love that clip...the nervous laughter from the audience kills me, and Wendy hushes them. What did you make of that?
I was conflicted! It was so nice of her to defend my work that way- she really did like it!- but it hurt a little. Though, it was also great to have that interaction! At least they reacted at all.
Sure! I get that. It seems as though you were a good sport about it. Frankly, what the crowd reacted to, I think, is the best bit of your work. The candles are very Janie, your humor is evident. It seems as though the shift to the softer medium, and your choices of subjects/objects, YOU come through so much more.
Yeah! The candles felt very right in that way. I’m not trying to be a fine artist.
We don’t need that- we need Tiffany’s necklaces, we need Clippy!
I definitely feel that I’ve found the way to interact how I’d hoped I could.
Your candles have become the plate du jour for cool kid gifts. Everyone is giving someone a portrait of themselves. Have you had anyone surprising ask for a commission?
No one I’d like to call out...but- I had a couple place separate orders of 3 of the exact same candles, and later found out they were gifting each other the same thing. It was cute and almost O’Henry-ish.
That’s so cool. That’s “40 years-from-now”. You’re in this story of their relationship.
Yes, and I’m experiencing the progression of their relationship via the candles they buy. They’re so sweet.
Ok Janie: favorite candle?
I like my portrait LOL.
On Being Bad
Through a typical series of events... via a zine, suggested by a friend...
I was made aware of, & thusly listened to, John Frusciante’s cover of hardcore
legends Bad Brains’ “Big Takeover”
on my iPhone.
Immediately: successive downward strums on 6 coiled metal strings. The chord is simple, open, meditative. Airy, ethereal treble. The bass binds you to the earth. It’s not dissimilar to a raga in its space for improvisation. My head starts to fall forward and reflexively snap back into place. My head starts to bang.
This is a good thing-
music should create these moments
of meditative bliss, when your brain teeters in & out of consciousness.
As if your head is a vessel filled with dense, murky liquid, sloshing around.
John & his band, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, are beloved & reviled. They mesh intensely unironic idiosyncrasies & the occasional questionable choice with obvious musical talent, & have made an impressive range of very listenable music. Bad Brains, however, are one of Hardcore’s most widely beloved talismans. They took all the good parts of music before them, crammed them into intricate, energizing 2 minute tracks, & changed music history.
To most listeners, Bad Brains were very, very Good.
With his talents, John displaces the brash, aggressive “Big Takeover” from its raucous, emotive genre, but makes it more brash. To the casual listener & critic alike, this makes no sense.
But I haven’t spoken to John about the Peppers- maybe he was simply playing a gig, or maybe he was perfectly executing his artistic gift. I won’t blame him either way. Regardless of his merit as Artist, John made something, he acted on his talents.
Therefore, this cover is actually Good.
Pre COVID, I was obsessed with being Good, very often to my detriment. Songs sit in my brain, or my hard drive, as kernels of corn unpopped, drenched in oil at the bottom of the brown microwaveable bag. Now I’ve become obsessed with being anything at all. I’ve started to meditate, ruminate, on the concept of making work and its worth as a piece of Art. What’s more important: making something, or making nothing? No one ever blamed the river for running, even if it overflows
& destroys the town.
We blame the levee. We blame the dam.
Through the throes of out incessant teetering between what was & whatever could possibly come next, I’ve turned to my own dam. It’s time to interrogate, with a pickaxe, why it holds such dense, murky liquid inside. This dense, murky liquid may very well be shit, so it’s best to let it flow from cesspool to river- eventually it will run clear.
So, is the value in the Art or the Act?
What I’m saying is:
“Let the water flow! The town’s become a drag!”.
So, is it the river or the release?
What I’m saying is: John Frusciante’s cover of Bad Brains’ “Big Takeover” is Good.
So, is it better to be Bad?
What I’m saying is I want to be Bad,
Bad becomes Good.
What I’m saying is:
I want to destroy the town.