April 2018:  Thinks, Reads and Sees

Think About This:  What Does Donald Trump have to do with the return of the fanny pack?

Fashion often has a collective zeitgeist; right now it’s the return of the Fanny Pack.  Where’d THAT come from?  Geometry has a rule that you can draw a straight line between any two points; here’s ours. . .The experience many members of the fashion community had of being at the women’s march or other demonstrations and realizing that hands free was the way to go.  As a rough ‘proof of concept’ we compared the date of the first women’s march with the time when designers often begin working on their collections —  the ones when fanny packs started to show up —  and. . . voila.

Why does this matter?  Sometimes answers aren’t obvious.  Insights are often a matter of connecting seemingly disparate dots to find the line.  Of course you can’t connect the dots if you don’t find and know about them.  That’s why we’re strong proponents of staying abreast of culture and zeitgeist in all its forms.  Here’s some culture and zeitgeist that intrigues us . . .

Read This:  Super – Longform:  After-On

An amazingly prescient novel about the Bay Area tech scene weaving together, well, to say too much would spoil it, but suffice to say that open plan offices, AI, acquihires and social networking all play a pivotal role in Rob Reid’s tale.  Wonderfully imaginative, multi-layered and by turns funny and scary.  500+ pages, but worth it.

Read This:  Shortform: Good Paperback Vibrations

Before there was 50 Shades of Grey there was 70s popular fiction.  Here’s Dwight Garner’s take on how everything from The Godfather to Scruples contributed to his, er, pre-pubescent edification.  Both charming and a useful reminder that while developmental stages play out differently as cultures change, at their core, the needs themselves are consistent.  Separating needs from manifestation matters.

Watch This:  Longform

If you’re a fan of political drama, Occupied – the biggest budget Norwegian series ever – is worth a look.  Premised on a Russian velvet glove occupation of Norway there are now two seasons up on Netflix.

Watch This:  Shortform

It’s hard to finish bingewatching a series and go straight on to something else – we often feel like we need some kind of ‘interstitial programming’. Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man – available on YouTube – is the perfect antidote.  Ayoade spends 48 hours in a preselected city with a celebrity companion in tow.  He’s droll, quirky and just uptight enough to make us think that his depiction of Moss on the UK series The IT Crowd alongside Chris O’Dowd wasn’t too much of a stretch.

Overlooked City: Columbus, OH

We do qual so we travel.  A lot.  We often find ourselves in cities off the tourist radar, but try to get to know each and every one of them, and find something to love just about everywhere we go.  More often that not, that leads to the realization that these are great places, just a bit overlooked.  Today’s city:  Columbus, Ohio.

Columbus is back.  We’ve been visiting it for the past 5 years or so and it always felt a little, well, left behind to us.  Those days are gone!  The Short North is a vibrant area with unique shops, one of the best coffee houses I’ve found in a while, and more than one great gallery for local craft artists.  Germantown is another great neighborhood, with a shoutout to G.Michaels for excellent low country cooking.  The RiverWalk has wonderful ‘porch swing style’ seating and, the one of the city’s crown jewels is the newly redone art museum.  A solid collection including this Kehinde Walker – Barack Obama’s official portrait painter — that literally stopped me dead in my tracks.  It’s larger than life size and unbelievably arresting.  The image to the left is the Old Master portrait on which it is styled.  Worth a trip just for this piece.  But for more. . . kehindewiley.com