Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Conversations of the week

Leaving the Holts Media cocktail:
"Next season, I'm going full out Arab at fashion week. What do you think people would say if I wore my revolutionary scarf like a chador?"
"Anything you do just looks cool, why is that?" she asks.
"It's because I'm Arab," I respond.
"That makes sense."
Moral: although no evidence proves this lately, Arabs do it better.

At whose house again?
"You boys want to put your pee pee everywhere, then when it comes to marriage, you want a girl who hasn't seen the light of day."
"Yes, one with low mileage," the tall one answers.
"But how do you count the mileage, like if she was with someone for two years or just with a lot of people?" he jumps in.
"Air Miles doesn't count how long you stay on your trip, they reward you with miles based on how many trips you take," I respond.
"Makes sense."
Moral: no matter what boys tell you, they still want low mileage.

At the store:
Coffee shop guy comes in and asks store owner,
"what are you doing?"
Store owner points at me and says,
"talking to my future wife!"
Coffee shop guy: "Keep dreaming."
Moral: Listen to coffee shop guy, he's got it right.

What Arty said:
I finally bought a pair of glasses, they're okay. Kind of look like a hipster asshole, I dunno, they're pretty standard and classic but like would actually wear them in public? I also got my sunglasses back. They're nice...I guess. They have like this real British look to them. Not so much the boppin' twiggy era London look to them, more like the teenager walking down a street in Newcastle look. They're pretty big...not sure how comfortable I am in them.
Moral: Arty is hilarious.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

il s'agit d'un Adieu mais je la prends comme un au revoir

11 hours of sleep total all weekend.
My lips are hurt from wearing too much red lipstick, my feet are begging me to stop wearing shoes, my Rhodia's pages are filled, my favourite pen is lost, and I'm angry at the weather for not allowing me to wear the dress I wanted. That marks the end of Fashion Week.
Friday was spent debating tears of happiness or relief, realizing that there's not even a thought of turning back, writing articles, and engaging in hilarious conversations with new people, followed by an unexpected and [very] late set of conversations. Saturday came too soon and I indulged myself in family, good food, a happy neighbour, a wonderful visitor, a housewarming, more food, and a movie slash conversation. Sunday started with a hilarious text message and proceeded to be spent on my feet. My familiar footsteps explored the city as they tapped alongside new ones, and brief goodbyes make for quick returns. Tomorrow marks my new journey, one I await eagerly. Nervous, excited, and scared, I plunge into the unknown and I feel great.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Fashion Week diaries, Spring/Summer 2010

With LG Fashion Week in full swing right now, my agenda is filled with shows to cover, events to attend, and housekeeping items to tend to. Like any "fashion person", I have pieces I hold dear in my closet and will wear them until they no longer have shape of their former glory. My oxfords (of which two more identical pairs grace my closet) are on their death bed, the buttons on my Napoleon coat are getting stuck between bodies on the TTC and popping out (ugh rush hour), and my tights are waiting for a run to come through them. Luckily, there aren’t many off site events to attend. On day one, I attended the Holts Media Cocktail and “how to walk in heels” at Chasse Gardée. There was a memorable moment at the Holts cocktail, courtesy of Robin Kay. No, she was not drunk, or trying to sell us a dime that’s top of the line, it was this quote: “And now we have our own group of seven.” Robin, baby, the group of seven is Canadian.

Holts media cocktail

I encountered various problems so far this season. In the media room, the computers that are the size of bunnies are DEATH, almost like the one I type from right now, the internet is slow, and the room is crammed. Missing this time is the kit-kat, coffee and champagne from last season. New this year are the benches in the Fashion Environment, which are better than the seats from previous seasons, except the no coat check thing makes sitting on benches more difficult because I can’t put my coat anywhere and since the weather is unpredictable, I can’t even dress for these things anymore.

Hometown girl Jasmine walks the runway for Travis Taddeo

Travis Taddeo finale

Yesterday was my crazy busy day with tons of things to cross off the agenda. I had to run from Liberty Village to pick up an essential package for a designer showing tomorrow in the St-Lawrence market, run back home, change, get to the tents for a few shows, run out to the Annex for a meeting (which ran late), run back to the tents, got to the show that actually started on time that I had to cover but missed due to incredible amount of people, hung around for the rest of the shows to cover, ran home, gave the designer her package, wrote my articles, and went to bed. Phew. Today is all about the Mimrans and so I’ll jump into my Lungta de Fancy and head over to the tents and end the night at ShadowplayCarte Blanche always throws a good party. Keep up with my fashion week coverage on blogTO.
photos: blogTO

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Comme ci, comme ça

Massimo Vignelli occupies two spaces in my home, his famous Stendig Calendar fills one. I almost did not walk away with a 2009 edition if it wasn't for one store in Toronto that had one last copy which was being neglected due to bent edges. Ever heard of ironing? Got my hands on the 2010 before it was too late.
illustration: Noma Bar
Maison de la Presse Internationale has tons of magazines, except the one I'm looking for of course (Bidoun), but throughout my customs search of the racks, I found what looked to be the most famous Arab singer of all time Umm Khalthoum in contemporary form on the cover of a magazine called Brownbook. It's about entertainment and arts in the Middle-East, pretty cool.

Author-title: Randa Jarrar, A Map of Home
Status: complete+recommended
Comments: Arab authors residing in Western countries are not common, however, they have been in the past few years (women in particular) and Randa Jarrar is one of them. Her book A Map of Home, a story about a young girl's experience growing up in the Middle East and America, is humourous, honest, and well written.
Read ei's book review
Author-title: Richard Poplak, The Sheikh's Batmobile
Status: In the process+don't know how I feel about it yet
Comments: This book discusses American popular culture in Muslim countries. Interesting two-year research, but I still can't seem to enjoy the writing style.
Status: I should finish Richard's book first and then get to this.
Comments: Ben just finished his Canadian book tour (include a stop at Ryerson University last week). He's also a really cool guy.

Speaking of Arab Americans, while doing some random research, I stumbled upon Marguerite Dabaie's work. Being a fan of illustrations, I surfed her site throughly, purchased her work and am now sharing it with you! She humourously illustrates memoirs of growing up Christian-Palestinian in America and her grandmother's cookbook.
Is that a younger Adrian Brody?

Oh, I write for blogTO now in the fashion section. Look out for my coverage of LG Fashion Week which starts tomorrow. I'll also have an article appearing in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs in a few weeks (thanks CamRon!), but that one isn't fashion related.

Monday, 12 October 2009


There are many reasons to feel unfortunately Arab. I mean check out the news and behaviour of some of the citizens, our leaders, etc. Sometimes, Arabs get mistaken for Persians (see below) and other times, we get branded as Ginos (or Guidos).

Exhibit A
Ginos are a staple of our culture (we're definitely close second to Italians). The selection of boys you can bring home to papa consist of guys that look like this (see below). Very unfortunate. This example is best presented by Karl Wolf.
Habibi, can you even speak Arabi? No. You know "yalla" and "habibi". You also said "yalla habibi" to Rime instead of "yalla habibti". Rime won't help you speak Arabic either, she's Moroccan, most Arabs don't understand her. Here are some free Arab lessons that will make you buy some Arabness using words I caught from your smooth lyrics:
Hey boo=hi ya darling (blend of Arabic and Western speak here)
Bonnie & Clyde=Raya we Skina
Flashing lights like Kanye=Amr Diab
Queen like Nefertiti=Get with the times, use Queen Rania
And if you really wanted me to believe you're Arab, you should've bought fake branded products from Syria, land of knock-offs, to make it more believable.

Exhibit B
Narcy got really angry with this song, especially its remix - see here, Busta has since apologized to him. Now off to the critique. First of all, the guy in the intro is totally Persian. Second, this song is terrible. Third, hey Dubai, thanks for like, um, giving us other reasons to be in the media other than terrorism, but seriously, acknowledge the fact that you don't represent the Middle-East. Fourth, if any of these guys went to the Middle-East, they would be arrested. Have you ever been criticized by a Middle-Eastern person? We demolish self esteem almost as well as a Jewish mother.
Embedding disabled, click here to view the video

Exhibit C
The Egyptian Yusuf Amir is totally Persian (proof lies in the guy who does the voice). The wiki about Yusuf claims he was born in Dubai although he says "we built the pyramids baby!" meaning he's Egyptian, or wait, according to the Wiki, "Arabian." Either way, the Emirati locals make up only 17% of the entire population, so it's not likely Yusuf's Emirati. And if you really wanted me to believe he was indeed Egyptian, could you of at least given him a name that is common in Egypt like Tamer, Hussein, Yosri, or Ahmad?
Conclusion: Arabs and Persians=not the same. We don't even speak the same language. How would you like it if I mistook you for a Mexican for example?

Off to the next topic, the orient in your home. Just like animals, this culture can be domesticated. Hummus has already made it in a big way. In the Western world, you can get a variety of hummus flavours, in the Middle-East, you will never be offered a barrage of choices, because in reality, there's only one hummus - don't be fooled by imitations. Couscous, argilah (sheesha, hookah, whatever), solidarity scarves, and classic beats sampled in hip-hop songs (Jay-Z, Foxy Brown's "duet" with Ragheb Alama) are all in Western homes and now you can add prescription product that makes your eyelashes actually grow longer to the mix. Latisse's product is FDA approved (which is really easy to get, sort of like the Nobel Peace Prize) and it's even endorsed by Brooke Shields! Okay, you're probably asking yourself, how is an eyelash growth product an Orient thing? The answer lies in our eyes. Example, my bottom eyelashes are longer than most people's top lashes. Mascara was inspired by people like us. Yes. True. Middle-Eastern people have crazy long, dark and full eyelashes, Western people created fake lashes to be like Middle-Eastern people and then developed a product to have it permanently.

Friday, 9 October 2009

The Publication of Renata Kaveh

You all know the story of how Renata and I met during LG Fashion Week in March and how she used my roof to shoot a test shoot, but here's what you don't know: in April, we got mistaken for lovers, in May, I became her muse, in June she moved out of Tehronto and closer to civilization, and now she's published. This is why I'm writing about her again. I mean, she got published in Lush Magazine's Fall issue...PRINT! Renata was in Paris back in the spring and took some great photos which are now gracing the pages of this Canadian publication. She managed to shoot at the exact spot where I hailed a cab driven by what could have very well been Grace Jones. I kid you not. Grace. Jones. (non, je ne suis pas folle). I went over to her place last night to pick up some forgotten items from last Friday's celebration and decided to make it even more special by flipping through the pages and taking photos of it.
Renata boit toujours du vin blanc
c'est quoi une loupe en anglais?
je m'baladais sur l'avenue, le coeur ouvert à l'inconnu

Lush Magazine is now available

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

From my ears to yours

I've come across lots of great music this year, but unfortunately, sometimes, you only like a few songs on the album. There are a few artists who have managed to make every song they release enjoyable, and now from my ears, I pass them down to yours.

Artist: Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele (myspace)
Album: The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele (purchase)
The Deal: Dent May is a "think global, buy local" type of guy. He's also kind of a dorky showman but the type of guy you want as your friend. His blog chronicles his touring experience and he posts various videos and photos - good interaction with the fans. His music is a little like Beirut, but has more of a feel good tone to it.
Tour: Brace yourself, he has Canadian stops including Toronto on November 7th at El Mocambo
Yuppie recommends: Oh Paris, Meet me in the garden, When you were mine (Prince cover)
Conclusion: As the album name suggests, it really is feel good music. Oh and be warned, these songs will be trapped in your head once you hear them, but that's a good thing.

Artist: Emil & Friends
Album: Downed Economy EP+Various random tracks
The Deal: So is this Emile Hirsch's project or what? Who knows for sure but regardless, Emil & Friends is fantastic (read this interview to find out more about the band). The music does a sound a bit like MGMT but better and very intergalactic. They even remixed a song I couldn't stand and made it GOOD, did a better job with Passion Pit's "Sleepyhead" than Passion Pit themselves (even Asian Man Dan agrees) and covered MGMT's "Electric Feel".
Yuppie recommends: Every song, but since I have to choose: The Shrine, Josephine, Downed Economy
Conclusion: Prepare to dance, sing, dance, dance, and fly.

Artist: Neon Indian
Album: Psychic Chasms - available Oct. 13 (pre-order)
The Deal: Alan Palomo's third project (Ghosthustler, VEGA previously (ongoing)) makes you feel like you're on acid, or just staring at a dreammachine for a long time. Pitchfork calls it "A gauzy combination of Buggles-style 1980s pop, video game soundtracks, and cheeseball elevator music, (...) songs are effervescent, goofy, and achingly nostalgic. Kind of like MGMT on a ramen budget-- and with less face paint." And although I agree with Pitchfork, readers, I don't care for Pitchfork.
Yuppie recommends: Should've taken acid with you, Deadbeat Summer and 6669 (I don't know if you know)
Tour: The tour has one Canadian stop (Vancouver, Nov 16) but hopefully, he'll decide to stop by sometime.
Conclusion: Prepare to dance, sing and get nostalgic

Sunday, 4 October 2009

From my moleskine

This past year, coffee sleeves inspired me to doodle on them, which then inspired me to bring my passed down Prismacolor markers from retirement and return to my drawing ways, wherever possible. Contrary to popular belief, my doodling at all possible sightings of paper does not mean I am A.D.D. In fact, I'm listening, I just like pictures to accompany your words.
Feed me grapes
Est-ce? Non, ce n'est pas Kitsuné.
In a perfect city
Comme au club

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Jawaz El Safar

"Jawaz el safar" is Arabic for "passport". And Marcel Khalifé is universal for magnificent or, to quote my second grade teacher, "fantastronomique!". Used beautifully in the final scene of Amreeka, I must thank Beyondthehummus (is this an official name now?) for saving time in what might have been a tedious search for the song title.
The words are from a Mahmoud Darwish poem.