First Joan Didionfor Celine, now Joni Mitchell has been revealed as the star of Saint Laurent’s new campaign. Let’s first take a moment to applaud the use of older women as campaign models. I love that, and hope that, if fashion can embrace women at any age, then Hollywood might be next. I’m just a little bit concerned for the bank accounts of models everywhere.
HRC Takes on Saks Fifth Ave
The HRC has suspended Saks Fifth Avenue from their CEI (Corporate Equality Index) in response to Saks’ insensitive handling of a lawsuit brought forth by a transgender employee.
Leyth Jamal, a former employee of Saks, filed an employment discrimination lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claiming she had been discriminated against, harassed, and subject to a hostile work environment based on her gender identity.
The department store argued in court that the suit should be dismissed because “transsexuals are not a protected class under Title VII” of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Tiffany’s New Same-Sex Ad Campaign Makes Us Happy
Because same-sex couples get engaged too.
Public School Wins the Woolmark Prize
Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow, designers of Public School, are winning all the awards.
Hello! Kim Robinson here, one-half of the awesome party Sea Level that I put on with your regular scribe, Obey City.
For this week’s edition of Smooth Monday Jams, I’ve decided to take us on a journey northward to visit our pals in Canada. While some of the best smooth music has come from the states, there is no denying that the Canadians have a respectable catalog of smooth cuts. Here’s five songs that’ll tell you what some of our Canadian friends are aboot.
Dont forget: Sea Level has moved to Wednesdays at The Tender Trap, with the next party happening on March 6th! Come check us out and vibe to the smooth jams that will have you smiling throughout the rest of your week. Like Sea Level on Facebook to receive updates on our event
Destroyer – "Kaputt" (2011)
Dan Bejar of Destroyer excels at writing low-maintenance glam rock and indispensable smooth jams like the title cut from his album Kaputt. From the beginning of the track you know he means business with the filthy saxophone treatments sprinkled throughout. It’s a truly epic smooth jam that just keeps going on and on.
Feist – "One Evening" (2004)
Everyone knows Leslie Feist for the monster indie hit "1,2,3,4," but upon heavy inspection of her catalog we know that she’s a big fan of sultry R&B akin to Sade and Maxwell. Check this awesome video and song for this sleeper cut from the album Let It Die.
Gonzales – "Slow Down" (2008)
What can’t Gonzales do? Besides producing music for our previous artist Feist, he’s also worked with electroclash icon Peaches. On the side he plays amazing live solo piano recitals and records smooth jams for the intimate moments he’s created as a solo artist .
Joni Mitchell – "Coyote" (1976)
You can’t go to Canada without visiting Joni. I’m a big fan of her early folk stuff, but have began to fully embrace her fusion-jazz work of the late ’70s. This track featuring the late, great bassist Jaco Pastorius was her first full jump into fusion, adding her beautiful vocals to a smooth jazzy landscape.
Drake – "Karaoke" (2010)
Produced by Sea Level fave Francis Starlight of "Francis & The Lights," this deep-cut was on Drake’s debut album, Thank Me Later. Over a smooth synth beat, Drake laments a lost love that doesn’t want the spotlight or attention of his new fame at the time. Sea Level would like to see more collaborations like this, especially when the results are this smooth. Thanks, Canada!
Christmas songs are the epitome of pop culture tradition. Some people don’t believe it’s time to get in the spirit of the holiday until they hear Wham’s “Last Christmas” piping out of a J. Crew speaker. And sprouting up within the tradition of “merry” Christmas songs is a tradition of sad-as-Hell holiday songs, which range here from 1930’s murder ballads to Low’s “Taking Down the Christmas Tree.” All prove that Charlie Brown isn’t the only one thinking “there must be something wrong with me… Christmas has come, but I’m not happy.”
Private Charles Bowen & The Gentlemen From Tigerland – “Christmas in Vietnam” (1967)
Charley Jordan and Mary Harris – No Christmas Blues (1935)
Kitty Wells – “Christmas Ain’t Like Christmas Anymore” (1962)
Low – “Taking Down The Christmas Tree” (1999)
Vince Guaraldi – “Christmas Time Is Here” (1965)
The Emotions – “What Do The Lonely Do At Christmas” (1973)
The Carolina Buddies – “The Murder Of The Lawson Family” (1930)
Merle Haggard – “If We Make It Through December” (1973)
Elvis Presley – “Blue Christmas” (1957)
The Orioles – “It’s Gonna Be (A Lonely Christmas)” (1948)
Joni Mitchell – “River” (1971)
Judy Garland – “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (1944)
Welcome to Fern Bar Fridays, a lighthearted romp (is there any other kind?) through a decade of cool music and even cooler drinks. The fern bar era, which roughly spanned 1975-1985, was filled with giant lapels and ties (and then later teeny tiny lapels and ties), ridiculous drinks, and sweet sounds. Every Friday we’ll bring you a song and drink pairing emblematic of that delightful time to help you get the weekend started off on the right loafer-sans-sock-shod foot. This week we’re taking on the impossible question and asking who? WHO??? it’s about with: "You’re So Vain" by Carly Simon.
It’s my contention that everybody has a person in their life who they picture while singing along to "You’re So Vain." (The assumption here is also that everybody sings along to "You’re So Vain" and quite frankly if you don’t, I don’t want to know you.) For most folks, women in particular, that person is probably an ex. Oddly, though, the person I picture is an incredibly tall and wealthy Texan I was pals with when I was a younger lass. He wasn’t even particularly arrogant; it’s more that I always thought he would look dashing in an apricot scarf.
None of that is really here nor there, but serves to illustrate the sort of devotion people have to "You’re So Vain." It’s one of those songs that feels nearly universal for women of a certain type, though of course it’s not (how many of us actually know people who charter Lear jets to Nova Scotia?) (Um actually? Do they still even make Lear jets?) It’s a bit like "I Will Survive" in that respect, except it’s not as excruciatingly embarrassing for everyone involved.
So right, everyone knows the story, but just in case we have a young’un in the audience who’s all, "Carly? Like iCarly? Oh yuh sure, of course I know who she is [insert epic eye roll]," causing the rest of us to die instantly of old age, here’s the quick and dirty summary: In 1972, Carly Simon released "You’re So Vain," the lyrics of which detail a romance with an unnamed casanova who was in possession of a rather healthy ego. Since then, the identity of Ms. Simon’s overly cocky paramour has remained one of rock’s greatest mysteries (indulge me and read that in your best AJ Benza voice).
Naturally, music’s most well known guessing game is one that’s often played at Rita’s, the imaginary fern bar that exists in my head. If I had to pick just one swaggering fella who so thoroughly wronged Our Carly, for my money Warren Beatty gets the nod. But in all honesty, I believe her when she said, before the song became a huge hit, that it’s about "men" rather than one single man. But that’s just no fun! Other common speculative egoists include Mick Jagger, Cat Stevens, David Bowie, Nick Nolte, and Kris Kristofferson, all of whom Carly was romantically linked to prior to marrying her now ex-husband James Taylor in November 1972, just a month before "You’re So Vain" was released.
Then there’s the so-called hint she included on the re-recorded version she released in 2010 that included a clue in the form of a man’s name, David, whispered when played backwards. Which? Marvelous. Clues found by playing records backwards are so ferny, especially when done in whisper form. We love ourselves a salacious mystery down at Rita’s, but can we all acknowledge that "David" backwards is basically… David?
That led to speculation that the David in question was David Bowie; the problem with that is that it conflicts with Angela Bowie’s claim to be "the wife of a good friend," which I mean… it takes a real special asshole to say publicly that they think the song—even as a bit character—is about them. Just a stunning display of narcissism going on here. I half expect that underworld spy to come out and be all, "Yes, I’m the underworld spy. Nick Nolte and I go way back."
But then! Then it came out that perhaps the whispery, backwards David is actually David Geffen. Who is gay. So that can’t parse right? Until you consider that perhaps it really is David Geffen, and that Our Carly was just wicked pissed that Mr. Geffen was paying more attention to rival Joni Mitchell and BOOM THIS IS MY NEW THEORY. I absolutely love it.
With that out of the way, TO THE SONG!
While I’m not overly thrilled with the video selections available to me (I wanted vintage Carly, foot-stomp pout waaaaaaah), I picked this one for the ferny quality of a dockside concert. And because I generally like to get into the lyrics of our weekly picks, but have already nattered on at great length on the topic, I’ll keep this last observation short: we should all commend Ms. Simon for rhyming ‘gavotte’ with ‘cravat’ because that is a spectacular achievement, particularly given that it took place in an age before rhymezone.com.
But back to that apricot scarf. Because it’s the lyric I tend to focus on, I was insistent that whatever drink I chose for this week’s pairing featured apricot in some way, shape or form. I’m particularly tickled by the cocktail I landed on, not only because it contains apricot brandy but because it’s called—bongo roll please—The Lady Killer!
I know, it’s so perfect I can hardly stand it. But how to make this delight? Here’s how:
1 oz gin ½ oz Cointreau ½ oz apricot brandy 2 oz passion fruit juice 2 oz pineapple juice
Shake all ingredients together in shaker with ice and strain into a Champagne flute or highball glass over a few cubes of ice. Garnish with mint and cherry.
Taylor Swift and Alison Pill are in the running to play Joni Mitchell and Carole King, respectively, in the film adaptation of Sheila Weller’s bookGirls Like Us. Swift did just fine in Valentine’s Day, and she has certainly got the pipes — why not give her a go? [IndieWire]
The Frozen Planet series has nearly covered the whole of Earth, and in high-definition no less. What series has not done, in high-def or otherwise, is address the climate changes that it so vividly evidences. The New York Times asks, why not? [NYT]
As tribute to the late Levon Helm, Bon Iver added a worthy cover of The Band’s "Ophelia" to his set last night. [Pitchfork]
FIfth Ave. Frogger, a game created and developed by Tyler DeAngelo, takes that imperiled amphibian you know and love from the classic Frogger game and throws him into real-time Fifth Avenue traffic. Shit gets real. [AnimalNY]
In honor of Paste‘s inaugural comedy issue, Marc Maron of the very funny twice-a-week comedy podcast WTF with Marc Maron has made a list of five up-and-coming funny people he has his eye on. Perhaps you might keep an eye on them, too? [Paste]
Raymond Chandler would not have it with copy editors rejoining his split infinitives nor clearing up his "sudden words of barroom vernacular." This, as he explained to the poor Atlantic Monthly‘s copy editor in both both letter and poem form, "is done with the eyes wide open and the mind relaxed but attentive." [D+T]
Quick check: Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez? Still not engaged. Happy Friday! [MTV]
Earlier this year, James Blake released a debut album beloved by listeners, with delicate tastes and aesthetic sensibilities. Did you listen to it? You probably did! You also probably watched his transformation into an Indie It Figure, and maybe read interviews in which he talked about the evolution of dubstep and pointed out the anti-testosterone current running through his music. All in all, it was a very James Blake 2011.
But 2011 is not over, and today, Blake released a music video for his cover of Joni Mitchell’s "A Case of You." His version first got attention back in February, when he covered it for the BBC, but this take is all cleaned up and very crisp sounding. Actress Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Town) is the centerpiece of the entire video: she shaves her legs in the bathtub, does her makeup in a mirror, talks to someone off-screen, looks alternately sad and happy, and everything in between. There’s a lot more gravitas than The Town, that’s for sure! (Jokes, I’ve got jokes for days.)
You can also watch Joni Mitchell perform the song below, if that’s more your speed.