Style Icons: Male »Jack Vance

vanceRIP

Jack Vance is simply my favorite science fiction author. His stories are clever, rich, unforgettable and funny. I became an immediate and immense fan after casually picking up Tales of the Dying Earth and have been delighted every time I’ve opened one of his books since.

If anyone’s ever asked for book recommendations, I’ve undoubtedly pushed Demon Princes Volume 1 and 2 on them, I’ve even made life long sci-fi haters fall in love with books like Showboat World.

I am sad! I will always regret I never sent a note to thank him for creating such fantastic worlds (he’s one of the only people I’ve felt compelled to write in such a way).

As a man, he was modest and gave much credit to his wife for helping edit his stories and had no pretenses of being a “great” writer (even though he was great).. But he enjoyed it and continued to write even after becoming legally blind with the aid of his wife and computers.

As I always say, if you haven’t read his work, do, it’s made my imagination sing and my life a richer place.

vance2 vance3

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Posted on May 29, 2013

Style Icons: Male »David Rakoff

20120812-204417.jpgRIP

If you’ve listened to This American Life, you’re likely familiar with David Rakoff. Gentle but biting, funny yet poignant, his poems, essays, and stories we’re some of the program’s most memorable.

He passed away earlier this week after a tough battle with cancer which he spoke of frankly. It’s such a terrible loss.

I’ve been relistening to his TAL contributions all week and highly recommend them to those unfamiliar with his work.

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Posted on August 12, 2012

Style Icons: Female »Anna Piaggi

Fashion Icon

This is such sad news. One of high fashions most unique and distinct icons has passed.

Anna Piaggi, who Lagerfeld called muse, was vibrant, eccentric, and theatrical and dressed accordingly.

A fashion journalist and true lover of clothes, she inspired the industry with her work as creative consultant at the excellent Italian Vogue.

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Posted on August 9, 2012

Books,Style Icons: Male »Ray Bradbury, The Vintage Bradbury

RIP

I’ve been wanting to write a little tribute to Ray Bradbury after his passing, but realized that it’s been some time since I read his books and thought revisiting his work was long overdue.

Jim and I have amassed quite a collection of his books from our teen years and I settled on The Vintage Bradbury, which I enjoyed immensely and only made his death sadder.

The stories I always most vividly remembered were of far away places like Mars or distant futures with wild (but not completely unrealistic) technologies (as in the memorable story The Veldt) but this time around, I responded more to his universal and terrestrial imaginings.

Many of his stories tackle relatable human fears and paranoia, whether giving birth or simply becoming aware of ones body, whether losing one’s status and sense of safety or finding out who you really are in your last moments – the horrors that face us daily.

A Vintage Bradbury is a “best of” collection, but one curated by the author himself and is a varied and thoroughly compelling read.

He was a prolific writer who helped bring speculative fiction to the main steam. A true original and an inspiration.

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Posted on June 15, 2012

Style Icons: Female »Marsha Hunt

Brown Sugar

If you’ve heard The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar” you know of Marsha Hunt. Mother to Jagger’s child, she was also once married to Mike Ratledge of Soft Machine and was romantically linked to Marc Bolan.

But Hunt was no career groupie. She was a singer in bands like The Ferris Wheel, an actress – she was literally the poster child for Hair in which she starred, and an author.

She is also a strong woman who is gorgeous and rocked an enviable, amazing afro.

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Posted on May 1, 2012

Style Icons: Female »Nancy Cunard

They Don’t Make Heiresses Like This Anymore

Nancy Cunard was an unconventional inspiration who beguiled authors (Langston Hughes, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway) and artists (Constantin Brancusi, Man Ray) with her passionate activism and unique style.

Often adorned with African bangles up and down her arms, Cunard made fashion headlines but shunned her heiress fortunes and a lifestyle of leisure, instead devoting her life to fighting racism and fascism.

Sadly, her views cost her her fortune and her addictions and gradual mental instability left her penniless and homeless.

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Posted on March 30, 2012

Hunks »Jack Kerouac

He Belonged to the Beat Generation

The recent Tom Palumbo entry lead me to these stunning, heart stopping Jack Kerouac portraits and re-lit old high school stirrings.

An iconoclast of cool, his name is synonymous with the Beat movement and, just look at the man – he was wildly handsome.

Opinions on his writing vary (though the more poetic of my male friends have always fawned over On the Road), but his influence on culture and literature are undeniable.

While his life ended due to years of heavy, heavy drinking, you can feel his charisma radiating from any photograph taken of him.

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Posted on August 18, 2011

Hunks »Shel Silverstein

Poet, Illustrator, Musician, Generally Awesome Guy

Shel Silverstein was a big part of my childhood, probably like many of you. I grew up reading his books and once was so haunted by one of his cassettes that I brought it to my mom crying asking her to hide it from me since, even though it terrified me, I couldn’t stop listening to it.

A talented artist, wit and musician, you can also see he was a first rate babe. Can’t you just envision him teaching a class in old school butchering or being one of the only men that wouldn’t look lame holding a guitar down on the Williamsburg waterfront? Straight up heart melter, the kind that even dudes can get psyched about (just look at the joy in Dustin Hoffman’s face just to be hanging out with him).

He sadly passed away a little over a decade ago and suffered several tragedies in his own life including the early death of a wife and daughter. He gave the world much joy though with his quirky, awesome books.

 

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Posted on May 24, 2011

Hunks »Daniel Clowes

Brilliant Graphic Novelist

It seems almost cosmically unfair that Daniel Clowes should not only be prolifically genius as the author and illustrator of such mind blowing, earth shaking, genre bending masterworks as Ghost World, David Boring and Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron (we’ll forgive the recent dud, Wilson) but also be a gauntly handsome man with eyes to pierce the indie comic reading girl’s soul.

Somewhere there is a poor schmuck without talent or good looks to fill the void. Ironically, he’s probably a huge Clowes fan.

I met him briefly at a book signing in Austin (hello early 2000′s!) and he seemed to be a very nice fellow too. We asked if he understood Crispin Glover’s intro to Pussey! He did not.

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Posted on February 6, 2011

Hunks »Colin Wilson

Man of Many Interests

I stumbled across these fashionable and stunning photos of Colin Wilson at the insightful Another Nickle in the Machiene and knew I had found a very special, first rate man for my Hunk of the week and that was before I did some research to find out that he is a prolific and revered voice on the awesome subjects of existentialism, the occult, and murder. He is also a science fiction writer (it just keeps getting better, right?) who penned a novel called Space Vampires on which the movie Lifeforce was based.

His latest works include a non fiction look at the rise and fall of the “Angry Young Men” (of which he was part of) and criminal profilers. Such varied interests, dashing features, and roll neck sweaters paired with blazers? Swoon.

Click here for the rest of Colin Wilson

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Posted on September 18, 2010

Style Icons: Male »Harvey Pekar

RIP

I know that George Steinbrenner passing seems to be the biggest thing to ever happen in the state of New York, but if I ran the news there’d be more mention of the passing of Harvey Pekar. If you weren’t introduced to his self published, mostly autobiographical and highly influential comics, American Splendor, then perhaps you were aware of the unique artist through the movie of the same name.

His work was about the working class life, the mundane (as R Crumb described it “so staggeringly mundane it verges on the exotic.”) and personal anxieties – a far cry from the beginning of comics with their super hero fantasies. He always used artists he admired to illustrate his stories including like minded Crumb and Chester Brown.

He passed away July 12, the cause of death has not been released, but he had suffered with prostate cancer.

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Posted on July 18, 2010

Hunks »Nicholas Confessore

Times Reporter

Ok I’ll admit that there’s something distinctly Patrick Bateman, or at least Jay McInerney/Bret Easton Ellis privileged evil about the looks of Times reporter Nicholas Confessore and I’ll admit it’s probably unfair to judge a book by his cover, but here we are.

Besides, I find Cofessore’s insights somewhat, well, insightful when he one ups the other reporters during the reporter round up on our favorite early evening local show Inside City Hall (which is better than ever with the dismissal of shockingly terrible Dominick Carter because of the lovely and tough (Jim crush) Elizabeth Kaledin). Well, he one ups style wise at least – imagine Jordan Catalano in a designer suit with a quirky (but expensive) tie plopped down among men and women that look like, well, normal hard working, no sleep, lots of cigarette Albany reporters. His baby blues stand out a mile away in the crowd and no doubt the pretty boy looks have gained him as many haters as admirers.

Gawker calls him a party-ho, but of course can’t help but take a photo of him at every single party he attends – usually with equally cute long time girlfriend Noelle Hancock on his arm. She’s also a reporter of sorts. Though while he was part of the crack team that took down Eliot Spitzer, she helped launch Us Weekly’s entertainment blog (laugh if you want – but I bet I know whose articles you’d secretly read more often).

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Posted on June 13, 2010

Style Icons: Male »Roland Topor

Artist and Renaissance Man of the Surreal

There’s so much awesomeness to admire in the career of Roland Topor that it’s hard to know where to begin. As a visual artist he’s created surreal and creepy magic. As an actor he was Renfield in Herzog’s Nosferatu and had a cameo in my favorite Yugoslavian filmmaker, Dusan Makavejev’s Sweet Movie. As a writer his novel The Tenant was adapted into the fantastic Roman Polanski adaptation and as an designer he (along with Rene Leloux )created one of the most visually stunning animated films of all time, Fantastic Planet. I’m in awe.

Click here for the rest of Roland Topor

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Posted on March 21, 2010

Style Icons: Male »JD Salinger

A Beloved Author

J.D. Salinger is one of the writers who has moved me most. I try to read Nine Stories once every couple years and its contents still touch me, so I was bummed to hear of his recent natural, though in no way untimely (the man was 91), passing.

I’m sure the publishing world is racked with curiosity as to whether or not this means that new work will finally emerge from the notoriously reclusive writer’s New Hampshire lair (or whether or not Salinger’s heirs will immediately sell all the rights in the manner of the Seuss widow, finally giving Hollywood the chance to cast Shia Labeouf as Holden Caulfield and subject the author’s oeuvre to the various exploitations and degradations Seuss’s work suffered after his death), but the books he’s already left behind are so amazing, legendary, and life-changing that if you haven’t read any of his stories (which I don’t believe many of you haven’t) don’t delay in discovering one of America’s most perfect bodies of work.

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Posted on January 31, 2010

Style Icons: Female »Carrie Fisher

carrieSpace Princess

The on-screen work of the great Carrie Fisher inspired past Halloween costumes of both myself and my sister (see below/after the jump) but it’s the woman herself that I love the most. Her wit, nuttiness, frankness, and wild charm were all clear and on display during her one woman show, Wishful Drinking, that we saw this weekend. She’s spectacular in her flaws.

Click here for the rest of Carrie Fisher

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Posted on January 17, 2010

Style Icons: Female »Nellie Bly

nellie blyLiving in a time where being “a straight up bitch” is worn like a badge of pride (clearly I've been watching too much reality TV) it's nice to learn about a true heroic woman with integrity and guts like Nellie Bly.

In 1887, she faked insanity in order to uncover the horrific conditions in insane asylums and her subsequent article and book Ten Days in the Madhouse prompted grand jury investigation and lasting changes to the mental health system.

If that weren't enough, she also once held the record for traveling around the world – this feat inspired an amusement park that still stands in Bensonhurst. All done with stylish panache in hounds-tooth suits and lace collars.

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Posted on July 13, 2009

Style Icons: Male »Fabio

FabioWhy do I mention it now?

Because I happened across the photo of the fabled meeting of the man that I mentioned in my previous entry. Do enjoy!

Here's what I said back on 2/12/07:

My family and I actually met Fabio at a strip mall book signing tour he was on to promote his self written romances “Pirate”, “Viking”, and “Rogue”. And yes, I have a singed copy of each along with a photograph of me with the hunk.

I have to say, I saw Fabio in a whole new light that day as he stayed extra hours to make sure that every lady got a signature and a hug or kiss. Since then he's earned even more of my respect with his phenomenal album, Fabio After Dark, and his part in the sadly defunct oxygen show Mr. Romance.

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Posted on June 15, 2009