Take Us to the Future

Well, Jennifer Herrema put out a new record last week, and not a moment too soon!

Introducing BLACK BANANAS:

My friend Ryan clued me in to the title track from the brilliantly-titled Rad Times Xpress IV:

I love this! It totally makes sense as the next step in Ms. Herrrema's Intergalactic Time Travel Lifetime Gesamtkunstwerk, but it also feels very modern. I love that this song keeps coming back to the phrase "take us to the future." I also love that she sounds like more of a rapper than she ever has before. The record is really all over the place and fairly great. The last song ("Killer Weed") is high-larious. I think that Jennifer Herrema's whole trip about retro styles is really smart and well thought-out. Remember how each Royal Trux record for a while was about a different decade? But not sonically. Like, each record sought to articulate that decade or that generation's feeling about the future, their place in time. It's kind of brilliant. Rad Times Xpress IV is in some ways a very late-1980s  flavored gem, drawing equally from Freestyle and Hair Metal. The cover art perfectly articulates this sound (as all the RTX albums' art has). Here we see Jennifer with the accouterments of 70s rock'n'roll lifestyle, decadent and decorated in way a burnout or troublemaker in the 1970s would typically look, but of course as a fantasy. The drawing perfectly depicts Herrema as she should be/really is: an idealized rock Goddess, painstakingly scribbled on the cover of a high school notebook. Now imagine that the person who made that drawing kept making them, and they got really good, and in fact turned into real life? Note that the cigarette doesn't hang from her lip, but rather sticks defiantly up, like a lollipop. Instead of hoisting the boombox on her shoulder, she has a paean to Satan. But, of course, these symbols (especially the retro D&D "occult" mystical references) have been recycled by our more recently as fashion trends, signifying otherworldly luxury, the louche trappings of the idle. She reveals the arcane degenerate trashy roots of things we celebrate as new and sophisticated today: Jennifer's groovy demons have big muscles and sharp teeth, they wield guitars like axes (and also weild actual medieval actual double-sided axes, the chosen mystical weapon power symbol of 1970s lesbian separatists). Her fringed and be-raccooned look suggests motorcycle trips through the southwest, an actual encounter with some kind of wilderness or hunting. She predicts and emasculates puny Witch House and turns up like a back country bastard daughter at a BoHo Chic Olsen Twins family affair. Jennifer Herrema lives outside of time and wants to tell us what it's like, but will we understand?

In other news it's Friday and I'm a little bit hungover because I went to Fashion Week last night after therapy. It was kind of insane at Milk Studios, they had a bunch of shows starting at the same time, and only one big line for all of them. I heard someone say that the Libertines were playing? There was a really long line, full of people who all felt that they did not deserve to be in a line, especially in fancy clothes and uncomfortable high heels, and especially in frigid weather. And they were all right! Nobody deserved to wait in line, but at least we were all in it together. We all had that in common. There was of course a gigantic crowd by the front of the building, the doormen insisted that we'd all have to wait in line, but it became clear you could probably just push your way through. Anyway. I was a good sport about people letting their friends cut in front of me. I eavesdropped on a nice young girl talking to these older developer dudes about how much fun it is in Mexico, and a cigarette butt fell from the night sky and landed on my (thankfully, covered) head. SO that was the line. Okay!

Once inside there was a brief moment of panic when I realized that I might in all likelihood not get in. You never know with things like this. I did RSVP but I'm not exactly a famous person, I have no official right to go to Fashion Week other than the fact that I like pretty clothes and want to write about them. Anyway after a moment of confusion I was waved up to the 8th floor, where all the shows happen, and immediately ran into DJ Lambchop, who I always see at Milk during Fashion Things, and she asked if I was going to the Wu-Tang concert on the first floor. What? I couldn't wrap my head around it. She said as long as I had one of the wristbands I should be fine to get in. I didn't have a wristband of course, and I wanted to actually just see the clothes. No more crowds! No more waiting!

I was there primarily to see the Tim Hamilton Redux presentation, which was way cool! I have much love for Tim Hamilton's work, ever since I first found out about him when deer heart Weston hooked me up with a gig serving drinks at his first presentation at Milk, oh so many years ago. (SIDENOTE: That gig ended up being life-changing, I met my good friend Kevin there, I got a free Tim Hamilton shirt which I love a lot, and I sliced open my thumb very badly. While waiting in the bathroom line to get more paper towels to soak up the blood I had dripped all over myself, the floor, etc. I met a drunk CEO who "liked my look" and hired me on the spot to work at his fancy hotel party the next week where I got paid a lot of money to stand around in fancy borrowed clothes and get drunk, I wrote a neat story about that night called "LUXURY CITY." This was before the recession hit.)

Anyway I also like to wear Tim Hamilton's clothes! A lot. His Redux line, a sort of diffusion and recapitulation of his greatest hits, is rad and I liked the presentation a lot.

These photos might suck a little. I was running around and snapping as fast as I could!

As much as I do admittedly like to dress like a crazy person, one of the things I like about Hamilton's clothes are that they're not particularly "busy". They seem a bit easier. Especially the women's looks. This girl doesn't look like she's trying too hard or like her beautiful clothes are restricting her movement or something. She just looks like a really well-dressed girl.

I feel like his clothes are a sort of more American Margiela. Without the batshit recycling/deconstruction fetishes. Whenever I wear his clothes out, people always stop to ask me where I got them (sample sales, baby). The Redux line is lower-priced, but still a little pricey. It feels like a much more workable Raf Simons silhouette, or for people who would wear Marc by Marc but have a bit more severe taste.

I'm generally not part of Fashion Week but it was fun to go to the presentation last night. The only other show I'm going to see is, of course, my Favorite Designer Ever: BCALLA next week. I can't wait.

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