Recommendations, 3/28

This week we like things. Lots and lots of things.


I follow a few fashion bloggers I like. I hate-follow a few I’m not really sure about. And the rest definitely irritate me. Especially when I start to think about what their lives are actually like. I imagine these girls carefully selecting unfeasible outfits from their exploding closets and trekking out to some different part of the city each day (under the guise of another activity perhaps) and opportunistically posing while their subdued significant other snaps photographs until they’re allowed to go home, where the blogger will quickly change into sweatpants while uploading her pics.

Wow. Or maybe I just described is just how I would do it if I was a fashion blogger? But no — really, how I would do it is how the ladies behind Style Journal Blog are doing it. About five months ago, Charmaine Verhagen, Britt Wilson and Vicki Nerino were chatting casually on Twitter about wanting to draw “what I wore” comics. Finding that they were all actually serious, they went ahead and started their own blog. They post when they please, and have invited some other uber-talented illustrator pals to chime in as well.

I may be biased because I’m an illustrator myself, but SJB is my new favorite style blog. The clothing, being drawn, becomes super expressive, and the little notations capture the wearer’s personality and relationship with what they wear. While one post might be about a dressy day, the next might be about a day they didn’t even put real pants on. After all, as the tagline reads, SJB is all about what people actually wear.

Rather than changing out of the crusty sweatshirt or yoga pants into a “stylish” getup to blog about, they’ll keep it on and tell the funny story instead. As someone who is wearing both a crusty sweatshirt and yoga pants right now, I can totally get behind this.


Last week officially marked the end of winter on our calendars; here in the Northeast, Mother Nature gave us the middle finger and temperatures plummeted back towards freezing. I gritted my teeth as I pulled out my heaviest coat once again (after a weekend in light, leather-jacketed bliss), determined not to let my mood be entirely affected by the weather, as it so often is. Here’s how I banished my seasonal affective disorder — I recommend you try the same:


I can’t stop talking about the new Future Islands record, Singles. But it’s the first album I’ve really loved this year.

I suppose this is the part where I talk about how I was into Future Islands before their excellent Letterman performance of “Seasons” went kinda viral. But I can’t help but be happy to see that the weirdness of frontman Samuel T. Herring is getting such a positive response — it inspired a thing on Deadspin defending “the schlub frontman.”. He sways like an uncool Jack Black and pounds his chest like a P.E. teacher being impersonated by a gorilla. Sometimes his voice dips into a Satanic growl. What the fuck is going on with this guy?

Future Islands sounds a bit like synth pop on the surface, but it’s stranger than that. Herring and company are writing songs that are anthemic, with the bald-faced enthusiasm of a slam poetry reading. It’s not really that subtle, but it’s as enjoyable as it is endlessly earnest. Singles is a more assured, more accessible album than their last, On the Water. I also think it’s better — at least more consistent from beginning to end. It’s the perfect entry point for new listeners. “Seasons” is maybe the catchiest song they’ve written to date.

Still, I expected people to be drawn to Future Islands’ music in spite of Herring’s personality, not because of it. But maybe there’s something to being endlessly GIF-able.


What I recommend this week:

  • The Kroll Show, very much.
  • Dumas’ Three Musketeers. Do people still read this book? I do. It’s not quite Monte Cristo but it’s exciting.
  • Going to the symphony as cheaply as possible. Not knowing jack squat about the symphony. Enjoying the symphony.
  • Goulash if horseradish is involved.
  • Dean Wareham’s new album Dean Wareham. It’s the Dean Warehamiest thing there is.
  • Andrew Solomon’s profile of Adam Lanza’s father, “The Reckoning.” Solomon is the exact right person to write this piece: humane and unflinching.


I missed out on the original incarnation of Anna Kreider’s awesome feminist gaming blog Go Make Me a Sandwich, but now that it’s back with a vengeance, you shouldn’t make the same mistake. GMMAS covers many topics, but its main beat is tearing down the terrible, awful, no good ways women are depicted in various forms of nerdy art. While she covers similar ground as Tumblrs like Eschergilrs and Female Fighters in Unrealistic Armor, Kreider brings a secret weapon to the terrible art war: she’s actually a talented illustrator in her own right. Her anatomy corrections of grossly deformed bodies are both hilarious and completely damning. Her recent dismantling of Jonboy Meyers’ poster for GenCon 2013 is a perfect example of how valuable this sort of work can be — you don’t realize how awful the drawing is until you see the lengths to which Kreider must go to turn it into something that resembles a human figure.

Sadly, anyone who follows feminist discourse online knows what happens next. For daring to point out an established male artist’s ugly sexist scribbles, Kreider was targeted by a textbook example of boys’ club misogyny. Comics artists J. Scott Campbell (of Danger Girl fame, lol) and Mark Brooks posted on Facebook about Kreider’s correction, lazily hand-waving away her critique and stoking the ire of their presumably pubescent fandom. Predictably, the GMMAS post then faced a torrent of hate. Kreider smacked it down gracefully, but it’s still an impossibly shitty situation. The world of nerds clearly needs as many Anita Sarkeesian-types as it can muster, but the abuse such women face is unconscionable. The least we can do is support them, and what do you know, GMMAS is Patreon supported.