Wednesday, January 28, 2015


We had the great honor of attending the opening night of Metro Curates, thanks to our friend Gaol Martin, who participates in several of New York's annual art fairs, showing a marvelous selection of hand made textiles from the Gail Martin Gallery. Above, we're posing in front of a 1988 acrylic on canvas untitled painting by Oli Sihvonen. Valerie is posing below with Gail Martin.

Metro Curates (formerly the Metro Show) has something for almost every taste.  There's Americana, Meso-American art, outsider art, ethnographic jewelry, just to name a few, and many other styles and periods in between.

Hill Gallery was showing the photography of Bill Rauhauser, whose style and period bring to mind Robert Frank.

The Scott Jacobson Gallery showed, among other things, furniture by Jay Stanger in beautifully hued marquetry.

At M. Finkel and Daughter, we loved this wooden sculpture of a flying fish, with the words Pitcairn Island carved into it.  A souvenir of the period (ca. 1920)?

At Gemini Antiques, a fabulous modernist sculpture seems to have been made from parts of salvaged equipment.

And how could we not include a Cameroonian headdress from the Douglas Dawson Gallery?

Metro Curates was great for people watching, too.  This gent was every bit as well curated as the show itself.  We've left this picture at high res so you can zoom in on his waxed mustache, but he's put thought into absolutely everything he's wearing, including his boots.

See?  Didn't we tell you they had something for everyone?

We loved this gent's whale-patterned jacket (where did he get that?!) as well as his glasses.  You can't see it, but there is also one bejeweled whale under his left elbow.

At Steven S. Powers Works of Art and Americana, we had to love Steve most, since he was wearing polka dots.

Special mention has to go to any man who dares to wear a lime green suit and red suede shoes in this minimalist city. In this case, the gent is from Adelson Galleries in Boston, MA.

Here, let us give you a close up. of the bunny head design. Where did he get that?

Self-taught artist Stephanie Wilde poses in front of Migration, one of her Golden Bees series begun in 2008. Through her Golden Bees, Wilde treats the disappearing Western Honeybee as a malevolent biological/ecological puzzle of helpless victims involving a creature embodying an elaboraete mythology.  Her work is available through private dealer Angela Usrey through Tannerhill Gallery.

 Effects of this inexplicable phenomenon are far-reaching given the role of the honeybee in the ecosystem, leading some scientists to describe it as AIDS of the colony or colony collapse disorder, just as the medical community struggled to accurately define AIDS in its early years. Both subjects resonate strongly in Wilde's art, addressing matters of  life and death.

What a fine pair! These incredibly dapper gents are from American Garage Antiques, which just celebrated its 25th year and which specializes in Americana and Folk Art.

This Porky Pig figure in Gemini Gallery's exhibit  combines a comic figure with Americana at its best.

Debby Lee Cohen and her two daughters are all a study in black and white. Debby also the wife of John Molloy (of John Molloy Gallery on East 78th Street i NYC).

This Johnny J. Jones Exposition in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a colorful cira 1940 circus poster.

Jean ran into Courtney, a neighbor from the East Village, who loved the show as much as we did.

The car is a circa 1925 African Native Dancer by Hubley Toy Company ofLancaster, PA, is a scarce elaborate hand cranked version. The Arcade Moving Van is a very rare circa 1930 van from Merchants Transfer and Storage of Washington, D.C. Both are from Gemini Gallery.

Jean says: 'How's this for a dandy pair of book ends?' None other than J.D. Hotchkiss of Hotchkiss Art and Daniel Park of Daniel Park Design did the honors.

The eye-pleasing manner in which the tools are displayed at Ames Gallery (from Berkeley, CA) is an artwork in itself.

Likewise, the Spartan nature of this circa 1940 three-gable house from Ames Gallery makes it all the more interesting.

We'll end with some tantalizing upcoming NYC events:
The Outsider Art Show starts Friday, January 29 through Sunday, February 1, 2015 in New York City at Center 548 at 548 West 22nd Street.  And next weekend, check out The Manhattan Vintage Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion on West 18th Street on Friday and Saturday, February 6 and 7, 2015 ... and again on Friday and Saturday, April 10 and 11, 2015.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Oyster Magazine Shoot: Behind the Scenes

On Thursday, we posted our photos by photographer Christine Hahn that appear in Oyster Magazine.  Needless to say, being referred to in print as "the Daring Duo" is a real kick!  The photos accompanied an article "Understanding the Saturn Return:  Wise Words from the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas ... Astrology IRL's Morgan Rehbock speaks to the Daring Duo".

We are big 'fans' (get it?) of Christine Hahn's work, so we were overjoyed when she asked us to work with her on the magazine shoot. We pinched ourselves when the call sheet arrived with all the pertinent information about the time and the place and the team Christine had assembled.  Although we had heard about the reincarnation of parts of the Brooklyn Navy Yard as photo studios, we were going to see it for ourselves. (Fun fact: Valerie's dad was in the Navy during WWII, and as we lived a short distance from the Navy Yard, Valerie got to visit in her youth, when it was off limits to civilians.  Ah, memory lane!)  An added bonus: Christina included the Dumpling Diva, Marja Samsom, in the shoot.  

As promised, here's our behind-the-scenes coverage! We were told we'd have two costume changes.  The outfits were all black, white or red, which simplified our task enormously, but we still had to prepare for every eventuality, so we brought all sorts of contingency items and oodles of accessories, in case the most obvious choices didn't work out.  Almost everything on the table in the front is a contingency accessory, not an item of clothing.  Let it not be said that we were not prepared!  On the rack, you can see the two Chromat 'cages' we wore.  The other Chromat items had not yet been brought out for us to drool over.  You can also see the white kimono with a pattern of black polka dots that Valerie brought from her collection.

It was definitely three ring, if not exactly a circus.  Everyone had a job to do, and everything had to be done simultaneously in the interests of time.  We were astounded at how fast and efficient everyone was.  As Jean had her make-up done, set artist Max Wittert was hard at work painting the first set.

Here is Valerie in the white Chromat 'cage' and white long sleeved dress (found for her by master finder/organizer Morgan - more on Morgan below). Hair styling was courtesy of Isaac Davidsson, who not only made us look glam,  but was also great at putting us both at ease.

Jean chose a similar but longer and wider version of the cage -- in black, of course!

Rest assured that the dramatic ebony and ivory Chromat cages and futuristic helmets by Heidi Lee didn't cramp our style. In fact, they inspired our own little "robot dance"!  We were asked to pose - not to dance - but the fabulous outlandish designs got to us.  The clothing made us do it!

Christine is very shy in front of the camera, but a powerhouse behind it.  All her photos went directly from her camera to a huge screen, where they were blown up to a size where every detail could be easily seen.  On the right side of this picture of us on the screen (not visible here) are smaller versions of probably the previous twenty or thirty thumbnail pictures that the viewer can click on at will for a fast review.  Great organizational equipment.  We're wearing Heidi Lee grid helmets with our Chromat cages.

Just a few feet away from us were a dozen or so photos that Christine had taped to the wall for inspiration.  Here are just a few of them.  We don't have to tell you that we both became a bit obsessed with the hat in the upper left corner, do we?

After Max had painted each of the backdrops and Christine was working her magic, Max sketched to relax. We loved his drawing of Jean in the cage.

We also got to play with and wear some amazing accessories.  Valerie had fun with these Venetian mask-like sunglasses, matching them to some of the other Chromat marvels Morgan brought.  The frames are called "Frankie". That Lady Gaga has been photographed wearing them comes as no surprise. You MUST check out the website for the glasses made by a-morir. The frames are unique, creative and adventurous.  They will knock you out!

Jean modeled Heidi Lee's so-called 'cone bra' fascinator, the inspiration for which was Jean Paul Gaultier's velvet cone bra dress, made famous by Madonna.  She combined it with the most amazing red Chromat shoulder cages.

Speaking of accessories, the exaggerated frames on these a-morir cat-eye sunglasses were perfect for Jean.  She's wearing all of her own clothes with the glasses, including an origami turban by Amy Downs.

Here is a shot of Max hard at work, painting free hand an entire wall and floor for one of the shots, inspired by Valerie's kimono.

As you can see from the results, the effect is dazzling! Valerie looked amazing in her polka dot kimono and Heidi Lee cocktail parasol hat against the backdrop of Max's inspired handiwork!  (Some of you will say 'hey, that's not the correct way to wear a kimono.'  Yes, we know that.  We just liked the material and the pattern.)

Marja got to wear a witty pair of a-morir's bright white fur-framed "Liam" sunglasses (named for Liam Howlett from the band "outside of a rave")! They were the perfect accessory for a modern sheath dress with an exaggerated shoulder.

From the front, the dress looks minimalist, but you need the rear view to appreciate the real shoulder action: the way in which the multi-layered collar cascades down the back is an unexpected delight.

And check out the shoes Marja wore. Although we were soooo glad neither of us had to wear them (heels, you know), she wore them like a queen.  Not everyone has a problem with heights!

In no time at all, and again freehand, Max created another backdrop just for Marja, who modeled a black oversized boxy coat, with her black and white striped chef apron and shorts, with those black and white high heels.  She is wearing a pair of a-morir "Armstrong" glasses (named for Tim Armstrong, of "Operation Ivy" and later "Rancid")  to which the hat is actually attached. The black muslin fedora is hand trimmed in Swarovski Elements crystals and is attached by a chain to the hand pave'd frames.

Valerie borrowed Jean's Jean Paul Gaultier top and black tunic and red necklace to wear with her own silver and black gladiator sandals and her own earrings, rings and bracelet, adding the Chromat epaulets and peplum as a backdrop for the a-morir "Frankie" glasses.

Jean wore her Junya Watanabe for Puma coat; H&M leggings; Happy Feet red and white polka dot socks; vintage bakelite and plastic rings, earrings, bracelets and glasses; and her customized Dankso clogs. The red heart-shaped fan (clasped in prayer below and unfurled in the opening photograph) is from Lynn Dell's Off-Broadway Boutique.

Morgan started organizing to take everything back where it came from.  As stylist, Morgan was in charge of gathering all the clothes, putting them out, making sure everything was accounted for (security at the entrance was super strict!), and finding whatever was needed at really short notice.  Valerie had a black dress to go under the kimono, and when it was decided a white dress would be better, Morgan found one on the premises.  (The premises are fully equipped for just such an emergency.)  A jack-of-all-trades, Morgan also conducted the interviews and wrote the article that accompanies the photographs.

The mood on the set was a wonderful combination of fun and efficiency. When we wrapped ahead of schedule, everyone breathed a sigh of relief, and we all congratulated each other on a job well done. Max and Christine couldn't resist ending on a hilarious note with some of the wonderful accessories Morgan put together.  Max is wearing the "Jett Silver" frame (named for Joan Jett) and Christine wears the "Frankie".

And the next day, we went back to our respective offices, kinda sorta like Cinderalla after the ball.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The World is Our Oyster, Well, Sort Of ...

We're in Oyster Magazine!  Follow the link to the article: "Understanding The Saturn Return: Wise Words from the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas ... Astrology IRL's Morgan Rehbock Speaks to the Daring Duo".

Following are the additional shots by photographer Christine Hahn that accompany the article from the photo shoot we did last July at a studio at Brooklyn Navy Yard along with the Dumpling Diva herself, Marja Samsom.  The unexpected, added treat:  hats by Heidi Lee and cages by Chromat!!! (Swoon.)

Stay tuned for Sunday's post with behind-the scenes shots of us AND the wonderful team that made it all happen: set art by Max Wittert; hair by Isaac Davidson; make-up by Ingeborg.  And ...  the most amazing part:  shots of Jean without glasses!