Friday, July 30, 2010

A plug for something I am obsessed with: Osborn/Shoes

This morning, I have been thinking about tattoos. I'm ready for number two, and I have a lot of ideas ranging from an Ikat style print to botanical drawings of carrots and text. I really hope to be able to afford to have my next tattoo designed and inked by Amanda Wachob here in NYC. Her work is beautiful and totally anachronistic in the world of tattoo art. Rather than cartoonish, it's elegant, complex, and artful. Anyway, this post is about shoes, not tattoos...While google image searching Ikat prints that might work as a tattoo design, I came across Osborn/Shoes, an independent cordwainer/design company run by Carla Venticinque-Osborn and Aaron Osborn in Greenpoint. (The shoes are produced in a workshop in Guatemala that Carla and Aaron own.) Osborn/Shoes are hot. The fact that they have taken such a responsible and committed approach to humane and sustainable production and considered design makes me swoon.

Osborn/Shoes describes their studio as:
...a working environment where fine art and commercial art are conceived, blended, expanded upon, and produced. Our inspiration is drawn from human relationships, the vibrancy of life within its conflict and resolve, and artisanal grit. We showcase an evolving line of products, and through the continuous collaboration with friends, economically disadvantaged artisans, creative entities, and with each other, we seek now, more than ever, to embody hope in design. 

...And of course the shoes are really, really awesome. I'm particularly fond of these, which are not offered in a vegan version.

But, I may just buy these to support their efforts towards offering vegan shoes. (Rest assured that I sent them an e-mail asking if they had any plans to make more vegan offering in the future!)

I'm always excited to discover companies like Osborn/Shoes that are independent, artist run, efforts toward producing unique and sustainable products that are thoughtfully designed and interesting as opposed to mass-produced and generic.

I'll be sure to report back with their response to my query about vegan options!

* All images from the Osborn/Shoes website.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Salad of Carrots, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Black Eyed Peas, Canellini Beans, and FRESH herbs

I know, I know, Its the hottest New York July on record why am I using the oven? Because, dear friends, I have a window unit that I am not afraid to use when the need for a warm salad or home-made pizza strikes. When the cooking is complete, I throw open the windows and go eat in the park until the house cools down.

After a lovely trip to the New Museum for the Brion Gysin show and an afternoon planted at the Think coffee on Bowery reading Foucault (Thesis research!) I was starving, and once again not in the mood to go to yoga. Summer is making me lazy. More on that later.

When I went to the Dual-Specialty store a couple weeks ago I bought a big bag of dried black eyed peas and cannellini beans. They pair quite nicely together and pack some serious nutritional punch. Tossed with lightly roasted carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes in a decidedly french-inspired dressing they transform into a great meal. I especially like this salad along side some simple lemon-dressed raw kale and a pile of Maine blueberries.

1/2 cup black eyed peas
1/2 cup canellini beans
1 bay leaf
1/2 large sweet potato, cubed
1 Yukon Gold potato, cubed
4 large carrots, chopped into discs
2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 handful chopped fresh dill
1/2 handful chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 handful chopped fresh basil
1 T dijon mustard
1/3 cup champagne vinegar

Soak the beans in cold water for 8 hours. Rinse the beans and put in a pot with 4 cups cold water. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim any film that is sitting on the top of the water and then add the bay leaf. Simmer the beans covered for about 1 hour, until the beans are tender. Add 1/2 T of sea salt and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 400. Toss the chopped veggies in a minimal drizzle of olive oil and a little bit of salt. Roast for 25 minutes.

Drain the beans. Toss with the vegetables, add the minced garlic, and a dash of sea salt. Roast for 25 more minutes.

In a large bowl mix the mustard and the vinegar. When the beans and veggies are done (veggies lightly browned, beans firm but not dry) toss them with the dressing and the chopped herbs. Garnish with black pepper. Serve cold or warm.

Makes about 4 servings, keeps well in the fridge and will keep for 4 days or so in the fridge.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An army of lovers can never be defeated

On July 10th I went to an incredible screening at Light Industry, an amazing venue for film and video in Brooklyn. The program, coordinated by Scott Treleaven, featured his own films, collaborations with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Genesis's own work and was sealed with a performance by Locrian. It was an intense Saturday evening that found me in no mood for bars. As I wandered back, over the Manhattan bridge and through the East Village on foot I was consumed with thoughts about the possibilities of art and music, life, love and revolution. When I returned to that strange apartment that I am calling home for the Summer, I put on a particularly lovely John Cale and Terry Riley record and languished in the particular rush of being blown apart and then gently put back together by a visual/sonic/spatial experience. Because, isn't that, on some level, what art is supposed to do?

>It is a process ov individual and collective experimentation and research with no finite answers, dogmas or unchallengeable truths. It is for each to discover his or her own understanding ov thee questions that suggest themselves, and through that voyage ov discovery to find their personal and true identity, thee True Will.

Watching Temple Ov Psychick Youth ritual videos from 1990, Treleaven's Salivation Army and Breyer P-Orridge's new works Weird Woman was an appropriate end to a day that had me thinking long and hard about the incessant quality of binaries, wondering as I often do why we want to be either this or that and well-named and labeled instead of acknowledging that it is never that simple. I think binaries are at the root of a lot of civilized problems, and I am not alone. The Burroughs/Gysin-esque cut up technique that appears in both Treleaven's and Breyer P-Orridge's work speaks to that concern, it refuses to let things settle, so they don't cohere into this or that, things that we can name. I have not only a great respect for the work produced by Breyer P-Orridge, Treleaven and their cohort, I really like it.  I like that it effects me on both a cool intellectual level and a raw, vulnerable emotional one. I like the way it looks, and I like it's tone and it's aim to undo the impulse to be complacent and accept that things are as they are and remind the viewer that (in)actions and identities have consequences and should be undertaken mindfully.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mini-post: Ice cream made (almost) exclusively from fruit.

Last Summer my best friend and collaborator, Danica, and I were (f)unemployed together for three-months. While we may have been feeling a bit pinched in the wallet, we were definitely eating well...Meal after grilled meal, endless home-made pizzas, and some seriously successful homemade ice cream experiments. (Moroccan mint tea was my favorite.) After we'd been stuffing ourselves silly for months, The Kitchn posted a recipe for one-ingredient ice cream. The secret ingredient, as with most things, was banana. Since its been blazing hot in New York for most of the last month, I've been revisiting that oh, so simple recipe. Since the base is fruit, this makes a great afternoon snack with little to no possibility of a sugar crash. Also, making this "ice cream" is way less expensive than buying my favorite vegan ice cream at Whole Foods.

So, just for fun, here's my current favorite "recipe" for Peach/Banana Ice "Cream"
2 large, ripe bananas sliced and frozen
1 large peach, peeled, sliced and frozen
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To make magic happen: Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend, blend, blend until that magical moment when the bananas turn the whole shebang into creamy, delicious, ice cream.

I'd also recommend that you try this with no peaches, 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, and a swirl of vegan chocolate sauce...Maybe you should also play some Elvis Presley records while you're at it.