Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Forget it Jake, it's China Town"

I took a trip into downtown China Town yesterday to explore the area. I was very surprised to see tons of avant garde art galleries going in. It really is fun to see places change and grow over time. Many of the stores were open by appointment only- so we couldn't see everything. But there were a few notable stores there. "Realm"---was in the historic China Town plaza. It was full of very designer-y items to decorate your house with---as well as books and jewelry. It had a very Chinese as well as Sea shore influence. Another cool store was "Fong's- Gift Shop," which is close by the plaza, down Chungking road. It had some really pretty Asian jewelry- and I enjoyed looking around here.

This was a wishing well in the middle of the China Town plaza---It had all these little Buddhas around it- with words like "vacation" "love" "happy" "long life". I couldn't help feel tranquil and content when I looked at it- and when I threw in my penny.

The China Town website it a really good reference to see what shops are there and what events are going on in the area. The stores say if they are appointment only or not. China town is generally located at Broadway and Hill streets in downtown Los Angeles.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Old Traditions vs. New Styles

A few weekends ago, Stacey and I engaged in some scarf experimentation which we documented through photos over an entire weekend. While this entry comes somewhat late in the game it is entirely necessary and long overdue! This weekend-long fashion escapade was not long after my return from Israel where I got to observe several traditional Arab men wearing the Kafiya, a traditional headscarf, most commonly found in a white/black combination.

In the past few months, there has been an upsurge of a new observable trend in which several hipsters in urban American cities have been seen wearing the Kafiya around their necks. The scarf which is also a symbol of Palestinian nationalistic pride has taken on a whole new form of use and interpretation. It has evolved as a Western trend and the only implication for these young style-conscious individuals to wear it is fashion-based and not political. This appropriation of a traditional style is not only limited to men; several women have also been sporting the scarf. It has also been reproduced in a variety of bright colors including red, magenta, teal, and purple.

Below are some of the different ways in which the Kafiya can be worn.

I want to give a shoutout to my amazing model for letting me tie a Kafiya around her in more ways than I ever thought existed. Next time you think a style is limited or dated, i urge you to give it another look and dig a little deeper!

To find out more about the origins of the Kafiya please click on the link.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fraiche or Fresh?

I dined at Fraiche restaurant in Culver City this evening. The restaurant boasts a "Rustic French and Italian cuisine, reminiscent of tasting one's way through the European countryside, emphasizing market-fresh, seasonal ingredients." Looking at the menu, I knew this to be true when they featured rabbit and speck on the menu, which were very common dishes I was exposed to while in the Italian countryside. Not that I enjoyed those dishes specifically while I was there, but I was intrigued and feeling somewhat nostalgic.

The space is very open and tranquil. The colors and textures have a rustic vibe- bringing you back to the European country side feel. The wood walls have wine bottles resting along them- and they have a critically acclaimed wine bar in a sunken corner of the restaurant. You can also see right into the kitchen, and interesting choice, Which I don't think I like. (theres something to be said for seeing your food magically appear in front of you, as opposed to watching the chefs sweat and create it.)

We started off with the corn soup- which was delicious, a great beginning to the meal. For our entrees, we enjoyed the roasted chicken, the four cheese tortellini, the sea bass and the steak frites. Of all these dishes, the steak was by far the best. The chicken was tasty (but nothing special), the sea bass very delicate and subtle, but the steak was very good quality for not being very expensive. The tortellini was actually really good as well- with an amazing brown butter sauce on it. For dessert we shared a confection of cookies and a peach crisp. Which were tasty but I was not blown away at all.

All in all it was a very good meal, at not such a high price--like all the other "best restaurants" in LA. I would recommend checking it out---just don't play it safe with what you order--you might just be a little bored.

Fraiche Restaurant
9411 Culver Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 839-6800


Monday, July 28, 2008

Reporting Live from NYC!

As Lady D mentioned in a recent post, the Culturistas are now bi-coastal. While we are sad to no longer live in such close proximity to each other, we will now be able to bring you a more diverse set of reviews covering comparisons of coastal trends, art events, cinema, food, and most importantly fashion! NYC postings SOON TO COME.

Miss u D!!


Have you ever wondered what's 'under the dinner table'?

Lady L and I went to see the "Age of the Imagination" exhibit at L.A.C.M.A last week. I am a huge fan of Japanese art--especially from the Edo period, which this exhibit boasted. But to be honest, I was sorely disappointed. There were a few noteworthy pieces, including-- a gorgeous kimono, an original samurai costume and a modern interpretation of the Tales of Genji, told in a series of photographs from a live theater performance. But the exhibition was very small- and while it did make use of the Japanese pavillion's round architecture--it didn't look very different from what has always been in there.

Since the exhibition took us only about a half hour or so-- we decided to pop on over to the new building (which is called the Broad Contemporary Art Museum). I must say- every time I drive by the museum on Wilshire and stare at those light posts- I still think they are under construction and are going to move them. But anyways- I was not disappointed with this collection of contemporary art at all. The rooms are full of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons and Robert Rauchenberg. Enough to keep you very well occupied, shocked, excited and amused. I especially enjoyed by Robert Therrien's "Under the Dinner Table," which is an oversize dining room table (complete with chairs) that the viewer can walk underneath. So if you haven't been already-- go check out BCAM! You wont be sorry.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Culturistas are Bi-costal

Attention fellow culturistas:
As of tomorrow the Culturista's are Bi-costal. Lady L is moving to Manhattan and will be clueing us into all the great events in New York to keep us fashionable, cultured, and well informed.

But I have to say--- We will miss you!!!!
Lady D


Monday, July 21, 2008

Musical night

I went to see "The Drowsy Chaperone" Saturday at the Ahmanson. Knowing nothing about this musical before I saw it- I was pleasantly surprised at how great it was. It is a delightful and clever comedy- about a 1920's show brought back to life to the audience through a man in his apartment. The costumes were 20's period so you can imagine gorgeous. My favorite costume of the night was this ethereal nightgown worn by the leading lady (played by Andrea Chamberlain):

The 1920's wedding outfit.

Unfortunately- this was the last weekend in LA- but it still is touring around California until October.


Friday, July 18, 2008

The Wackness= The Dopeness

D and I saw The Wackness a few nights ago, and I went into it having no expectations and had not even seen a trailer of the film. All I know was MK Olsen was in a movie which took place in the early 90s. Those two things were reason enough for me to go see a film which I knew nothing concrete about. Written and directed by Jonathan Levine, this film examines an Upper East Side lone teenager Luke Shapiro's experience living in NYC and having to deal drugs in order to have any type of an income. It is a dark comedy which I immediately appreciated. It explores his relationship with his much older psychiatrist turned friend. The film also touches upon his first experience with women and heartbreak. The writing was sensitive and comical and both Joshua Peck and Ben Kingsley delivered wonderful performances.

The soundtrack for the film was an amazing throwback of early 90s hip hop artists. Some examples included A Tribe Called Quest, Notorious BIG, De La Soul, and Wu-Tang Clan. The emphasis placed on the concept of the "mixtape" proved to be quite nostalgic. No one ever makes mixtapes anymore...

In addition, the urban styles depicted in the costume design fit perfectly with the time period being portrayed. Lady D and i especially enjoyed this, seeing as we were both elementary school students wearing tons of neon and high tops during this era. The acid-washed jeans, Reebok "pumps", baby-tees, and side ponytails can be appreciated by all people who were in their youth at this time.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by the caliber of this film and thoroughly enjoyed myself for the duration of it. I strongly recommend it to anyone who is ready to reminisce about their youth in the early 90s.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dr Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog

The first webisode of Dr. Horrible (Joss Whedon's pet project- which he co-wrote with his brothers) was released yesterday. I assisted in the wardrobe department on this shoot with Shawna Trpcic (the designer). It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day. It was a lot of fun to work on- and so funny to watch! So check it out at their website:
and enjoy!


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Culturista Abroad: East Jerusalem Styles

During my one week trip to Israel, I had the opportunity to scope out the styles in the Arab Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem. Their sense of style and creativity has been seriously overlooked. All this time we (somewhat elitist fashionistas) have been thinking that our concepts of Western trends are the epitome of fashion and style. We have overlooked an entire population of women who do not necessarily sport high waisted mini shorts or knit tunics. In a culture where modesty is considered an esteemed feminine quality, these women are still capable of expressing themselves through style and fashion. Whether it is the intricately sewn designs found on a dress or the various styles of the hejib (headcovering), these women are showing the world that fashion does not always have to involve the showing of skin.

These dresses are all hand made and require hours of skill to create these extremely detailed adorning patterns.

Here we see some creative ways to wear headscarfs which are made out of a variety of different types of fabric.

As a former Women's Studies major who has particular fascination in women in the Middle East, this analysis of style lead me to conduct a google search on Muslim fashionistas. The results were astounding. I found articles on topics ranging from wealthy Saudi Arabian women's love of designer purses and shoes, to surveys of the clothing certain women wear behind closed doors and under their jilbabs (full body covering.) Additionally, several websites presented contemporary styles for the "trendy Muslim girl." To find out more about various women's viewpoints on this topic, read the article in the link below.