Saturday, May 31, 2008

Summer School

While the editorial staff seems to stand divided over the artistic merit of Blue Scholars, it is hard to disagree with the constant reminder that there "ain't nothin' better than the summer in the Northwest." So as the clouds and classes subside, we'll be keeping you updated as to our favorite summer movies, music, and our ever growing list of summer must-haves.
As for Blue Scholars, they joined 30 Rock's Judah Friedlander and Seattle favorite Minus the Bear for a free show Saturday at the University of Washington. It is tough to get excited about a band that seemingly comes to town every other week, but as the sun finally broke over their alma mater the Northwest's best rap group put on one of their best shows yet. Their old favorites were still fresh, and the two new cuts they premiered were easily some of their best. All in all, the future looks bright for the Upper Left. Stay tuned. more

Friday, May 30, 2008

Music Theory: Empires, Freebies, and the Future

-Tom Conrad, formerly of The Academy Is, has a new band called Empires. The band has released their full length album, Howl, as a free download on their Web site.
-I was never an academy is fan but this 'disc' is a surprisingly subtly catchy mix that flows from heavy rocking - to satisfyingly sedated - seamlessly.
-But the overall beauty of this release is not the music, it's the manner in which it was released. As a simple, free, download package, complete with an album art PDF and some bonus pictures (some are shown below.) This is the idealistic future of music; Where artists make music because they love making art, and they share it without greed. Bravo.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Music Theory: Neil Diamond (No, seriously.)

-First, I'm pumped to announce that we've got someone doing weekly tune reviews for us, so keep checking back. With that I turn it over to C.Clowers:

-I was listening to the drone melodies of NPR the other day when I heard a familiar voice. The voice was as powerful as an ox and it was in dire need of an accompaniment by an acoustic guitar. This voice was the one an only….


As I continued to listen I heard that he just released his 46th album. This is Neil Diamond’s first No. 1 debut on the pop charts and he has been in the music business for almost 5 decades. I was uncannily interested, so I purchased the album. (Click the More link for full post)

The first track ‘If I Don’t See You Again’ starts off with just Diamond’s mournful vocals while playing his guitar. It is a song that represents nostalgia and regret. Neil’s sorrowful singing and his powerful vibrato drive the emotions across to any listener. The album is much like Johnny Cash’s American series (also produced by Rick Rubin). His material is simple, yet powerful such as this line
“It’s time for saying goodbye
‘Cause if I stayed for too long
You’d get to know me too well
And find that something was wrong.”

As the song continues, the rest of the band comes in (all the essential instruments minus drums).

You can definitely hear Rick Rubin’s input come to play on many of these songs through the divine art of orchestration (choosing the right instruments for the right voicing). Rick Rubin likes to compliment the vocals/lyrics on many of his albums by having very warm instruments backing the vocalist. An example would be supporting Neil’s vibrato with a tremolo fixed organ that is smooth yet equal to the texture and mood of the song. Other well-blended instruments would be the choice of dull bass/double bass and an 11-piece orchestra comprised of soft instruments. In contrast to the smoother instruments, Rick reinforces the intensity of some of the melancholy songs by using the piano’s lower registers as the more INTENSE bass line. You can feel the frequency difference in your spine. This method truly delivers the message of the pieces without it having to repeat it’s self.

For a Neil Diamond fan, they will find the melodies in the song ‘Don’t Go There’ as a true Diamond staple. He has a thunderous melody line with bashing back up guitar chords that sound a bit Tom Petty-ish, as they should because his backing band is comprised of the guitarist (Mike Campbell) and the pianist/organ player (Benmont Tench) from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Diamond’s song entitled ‘No Words’ is an upbeat poppy love song. The lyrics are obvious, but heartfelt. The song is about how there are no words to describe his love to his significant other. It is a song that makes you warm and is a total convertible on a sunny day…song. This song is much like a good George Harrison/Beatlesque song with a richer sound.

To summarize the album would be injustice, but I’ll do it anyways. The album is a simple acoustic album filled with sorrow and sentimental feelings all at the same time. The album is carried through the hour and two minutes by the legacy that is…Neil Diamond’s powerful guitar playing and his brawny vocals. The backing on this album can only be described as warm, mellow, and fierce with emotion. Neil Diamond is a master of his craft and truly displays it in this album.

If you liked this album, or want to hear similar albums go buy….

Johnny Cash’s Unchained and/or American series
Tom Petty’s Wildflowers
Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story

Monday, May 26, 2008

Faculty Retirement: Oscar Winner's Exit Cue

We here at CA are deeply saddened by the second faculty passing in as many weeks. Sydney Pollack, the Oscar-winning director of Tootsie and Out of Africa, passed away in Los Angeles this afternoon. Pollack was a force in the film world for over 40 years. Over the course of his ten month battle with cancer, he saw his contributions as an actor and a producer earn Michael Clayton seven Oscar nominations. Pollack's vibrant personality shone through in even the smallest of roles (see his Ari-bashing cameo in season 4 of Entourage), and we will forever admire his charisma, versatility, and endless dedication to the medium. Michael Clayton himself, George Clooney, said, “Sydney made the world a little better, movies a little better and even dinner a little better. A tip of the hat to a class act." We couldn't agree more. more

Saturday, May 24, 2008

PowerPoint: On Campus

-Legit 90s ripped Levi's


Friday, May 23, 2008

PhysEd: Lady Rides

-We've taken a a pretty hard stance against cycle hipsters, but luckily stylish females have managed somewhat to avoid their ultra tight jean wearing, ass crack showing, stupid hat wearing, sweaty male counterparts; and maintained their right to rock cycles where form has a little edge over function without being another white Vans authentics wearing cliche1.

-One of our hipstertipster mafia members gave us word about this CoolHunting article about fresh cycles for the ladies. Here are a few of our faves from the list. Check out the full article for more info including tips for ladies about purchasing the right bike.

-Also, check out The Sartorialist's special section of bike photos for ideas on how to stay stylish on your new cycle.

-This one is called the Seattle by Specialized, so you know we had to show it love.

-This all black beauty was designed by Chanel, check out the official details here.

-This white rimmed cruiser reminds me of one I spotted last week.
1-You know what were talking about.
props to S-Jeezy for the tip. Um, yeah, if you're reading this, you clicked more. and we havnt figured that whole thing out yet. so yknow its whatevs


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Design Major: Carouselle Clothing

-We're all about promoting the young artists of a generation that overall, isn't living up to it's potential.
-Carouselle is the creation of Audrey A. who was outfitting the terminally hip with her signature handmade styles back when we were in high school.
-The fresh balance of attention to detail and ready to party in Audrey's garments got her into F.I.D.M., where she continues to explore her unique but simple aesthetic vision.
-Some of our favorite pieces below, and you can check out and purchase Carouselle goods here.


PoliSci: Bros Before Hoes

On Tuesday night, a certain Class Act All-Star all but clinched the Democratic nomination. We would thus like to take this time to officially endorse Barack Obama for President. The election is still anybody's game, but one thing is for certain: we haven't seen a candidate ball this hard since Bill Bradley ran in 2004.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Teacher's In-Service

-The four of you who check this blog regularly may have noticed we haven't posted in (gasp!) three days, it's shitty I know.

-Finals are nearing and we've been busy1, and also...

-We've been discussing, and have subsequently made some decisions, about: expanding the blog team, further specializing the nature of our content, and increasing the frequency of content (to something like 2-3 posts daily!), all of which we are planning to work on as we move forward.

-So that means: keep checking back daily for college lifestyle oriented style and media news. Good stuff coming soon, including our summer essentials (both male and female versions), collection reviews, cd reviews, summer movie reviews, etc. 

-So thats why we've been lazy, also the gossip girl finale was on, it was lackluster. And the Lakers won tonight. Also, my computer is a piece of shit and dies even when the battery is full, it actually died in the middle of writing this post, thank god for auto-saving drafts.


1-It is our opinion that 'group projects' at the university level are entirely inimical to any sort of valid educational theory, just a rant. 

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dress Code: Legendary Lids

In this month’s issue of GQ, Glenn O’Brien has some strong words for you and your New Era collection: “Caps are for boys, hats are for men." Not convinced? GQ’s Style Guy recommends you turn on HBO's Entourage and ask, “Do I look like Ari, or do I look like Turtle?”

While we personally wouldn’t spend all of Aquaman’s money at Lids, we stand by Turtle’s allegiance to the single classiest item in sports: the fitted Yankees cap. The logo, which has remained unchanged since 1913, has become synonymous with the mystique of a team and a city. Devotees range from the obvious (Spike Lee, Russell Simmons) to the inexplicable (Tom Brady, LeBron). While my Bostonian roots will forever keep me from donning one, the cap’s storied past and classic design are clearly enough to make anyone go to the dark side. more

Friday, May 16, 2008

PowerPoint: Subtle in Sun

-With the hot weather, were looking for people who find ways to keep cool with the same level of creativity that we looked for in cool weather layering.

-With that said, it was lovely to see a young lady doing subtle summer color and a nice addition with the mellow-toned neck scarf.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

PowerPoint: Downtown

-The sun is back so be ready for good photos in the coming days.

-It was refreshing to see someone stylish on a cycle that wasn't a crazily painted hipster one speed. She keeps it simple and achieves a great deal. I also love the white rims on the cruiser. (click to enlarge)


Intro to Cinema: Paranoid Park

As a Northwest-centric publication, we have always taken a lot of pride in the work of Gus Van Sant. The Portland resident celebrates the Upper Left in nearly every film he makes. Famous for his recruitment of homegrown talent, Van Sant asked fellow Rose City resident and Class Act All-Star Elliott Smith to contribute to the Good Will Hunting soundtrack, thus propelling him toward a Grammy nomination and the national spotlight. Van Sant also discovered one of our favorite young actors, John Robinson of Elephant. However, despite Robinson's performance, Elephant's unscripted dialogue and intensely experimental structure caused it to miss its mark entirely. His next film, Last Days, was similarly written off. If through all that you lost any faith in Gus Van Sant, Paranoid Park is your wake up call. It is the haunting story of a skateboarder who loses himself after a freak accident, with a script tight enough to keep it grounded amongst dreamy photography and Van Sant’s inevitable experimentation. Plus, you can't beat the location. It is the year’s best movie to date, and we are proud to witness the resurgence of the Northwest's best filmmaker. more

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Faculty Retirement: Art World Laments, Robert Rauschenberg dead at 82

-The New York Times is reporting today that american modernist master Robert Rauschenberg died Monday of heart failure. Rauschenberg was a contemporary of Marcel Duchamp and Jasper Johns, and with them, helped to continually question and redefine the nature of art.

-Rauschenberg was an artist of almost every conceivable medium, and Jasper Johns was quoted as saying that nobody had invented more in the way of artistic expression that Rauschenberg1.

-Perhaps Rauschenberg's most memorable piece (and our favorite) is Erased De Kooning. The piece (below) was a originally a drawing by abstract expressionist pioneer Willem De Kooning, an idol of Rasuchenberg's. Rauschenberg asked De Kooning for a drawing, then spent nearly a year erasing the sketch, thereby creating a new and groundbreaking work of art. The sentiment of Erased De Kooning is one we feel strongly about: Honoring those who have come before us, but asserting a new and progressive vision.

Pilgrim, 1953

1-Paraphrased form the NYT article

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dress Code: The Quiet Life

Some say you should always dress for the job you want. As both of us would be totally content taking pictures for 40 hours a week, we were lucky to stumble upon
The Quiet Life, a photography/design collective turned clothing company based out of Los Angeles. In addition to selling their own camera bags and aptly themed clothing, The Quiet Life is known for collaborations with brands like Upper Playground and Girl Skateboards. Creator Andy Mueller works for Girl full-time, and insists on showcasing others’ creativity as well as his own. TQL often features up and coming artists and hosts The Quiet Life Camera Club, a place for amateur photographers to show off their work. Submit your best snaps and you could even get published.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Art School: Writing on the Wall

We at CA have seen our fair share of street art this week. With the new addition of a campus graffiti wall (see previous post) came a flurry of related activity: we witnessed the possible unmasking of a superstar and remembered a classic graffiti film.

-According to Gawker and Animal NY, the identity of British street artist/provocateur Banksy may have been revealed in New York earlier this week. Several passersby claimed to have seen Banksy stenciling outside of a West Village nightclub. While the artist in question turned out to be Nick Walker, Banksy's Bristol contemporary, some have come out and said that they are one and the same. Others claim that Banksy is not actually one person, but instead a counterculture conglomerate. Either way, the mystique surrounding one of the art world's most enigmatic celebrities grows with each new rumor, and we are sure that is exactly what he/they want.
-We also happened upon Downtown 81, which showcases a day in the life of the late Jean-Michel Basquiat. The film, which was made by Glenn O'Brien (GQ's Style Guy), follows Basquiat's semi-fictional misadventures over the course of one day in 1981. It makes for a vivid urban fairytale, and we think pretty highly of it.

"I saw the writing on the wall; and it was mine."- Jean-Michel Basquiat more

Friday, May 9, 2008

PowerPoint: WTF Blogger

-Blogger has been retarded for the last three days, it wouldn't let me upload pictures. But its not that big of a deal because I haven't seen anything snapworthy all week, except this blingin dog and the graffiti wall that sprung up.
-Good stuff coming this week though, sorry about the downtime.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

School Supplies: Class Act Endorsements

-This post comes from a few different things floating around in my head this morning. Firstly, its been raining, secondly: Hypebeast had a blurb about the Band of Outsiders x Sperry collaboration, albeit they're a little late with the news, given that GQ and even Teen Vogue had pieces from the collab months ago. We are, of course, true Sperry fans, and I've been a B.O.O. fan ever since I saw their take on classic ties. But I've always had a problem with overpriced simplicity. To me, Band of Outsiders didn't do much different to the classic Sperry form, but the price of the collab shoes are between $200-300, instead of $50-100 like most Sperrys. Marc Jacobs did Vans slip-ons and they were priced at a reasonable $85. The point of all this is that, like the overpriced B.O.O. Sperrys, their ties are also overpriced, for what they are (muted tonal striped ties, mostly).

-That brings me to this: Although my co-editor dissed Urban Outfitters in the last post, I think that if you approach U.O. with the right perspective, you can pick out the gems (like Fred Perry or Modern Amusement1).

-I was recently at urban and they had a line of ties (pictured) I was previously unaware of. The brand on the ties was Hi-Brow, but I couldn't find a company Web site, so I'm unsure of the origin. Nonetheless, there was an assortment of interestingly patterned, perfectly narrow (6cm at the widest point) ties. For about $28, not $128. However, there were about 30 different ties in the store and I could find only two from this particular line at the urban online shop, so make the trip to the nearest retail location. 

-Now I know that the counter point, as it usually is when arguing in favor of designer goods, is that the pricier goods are quality made, probably by hand, probably not by kids in Indonesia, probably with better materials. But when you're young and on a budget let your conscience and wallet take a break and score some fresh ties. 

1-Interestingly, a Modern Amusement logo patterned tie that was, to me, overpriced, was featured in both GQ and Details in recent months, it's whatevs.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

PhysEd: Bike Month

It was recently brought to our attention that May is National Bike Month. As the Northwest rain subsides, biking becomes a much more plausible and enjoyable mode of transportation. If you are looking for an environmentally friendly way to get around, buy a bike. If you are looking for an image, go back to Urban Outfitters.
I saw this bumper sticker at Monorail Espresso in Seattle a few months back, but I didn't have my camera. Fortunately, someone else did. Perfectly put, "your track bike is not a fashion accessory." more

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Design Major: Hedi Slimane x Diesel?

<---There are a few rumors circling around today about where Hedi Slimane, the former Dior Homme creative director, might find his next job. The concerning part is where he's rumored to be heading. Some rumors have him heading back to Louis Vuitton, which would be fitting, however some reports have him collaborating with Italian denim label Diesel. This concerns me because I've never been a fan of Diesel, and the bro'd out destroyed denim (or most overpriced designer jeans in general) they produce.

-Adding to the intrigue of the story, is the aspect of Kris Van Assche, who came out of relative obscurity to take over Slimane's position at Dior. Van Assche's style is decidedly more masculine that Slimane's which may have been a conscious theme change by Dior.--->

-Of course, Class Act predicted that KVA would blow up when we first heard of him nearly four years ago, and had the picture below on our myspace under the heading "name to remember." We're on our shit. Overall, if the Diesel rumors materialize, we say KVA is still on the way up (if not already at the top) and Hedi Slimane is on the way down.


Monday, May 5, 2008

Extra Curricular: Weekend

-Never take a weekend off from being stylish:

-Below: shirt by Blacktooth


Saturday, May 3, 2008


When French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard famously stated that "all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun," he overlooked another key element: an actor who knows his way around both. Jean-Paul Belmondo's breakthrough role in Godard's Breathless proved he was the right man for the job and propelled him to New Wave stardom. Despite countless cigarettes and a battered face reminiscent of Joe Frazier after the Thrilla in Manila, Belmondo's effortless style rightfully earned him a place on GQ's list of the 50 Most Stylish Men of the Past 50 Years. We recommend the newly re-released Pierrot Le Fou, 110 minutes of girls, guns, and precise filmic and sartorial style. more

Friday, May 2, 2008

PowerPoint: Blues


PowerPoint: Ray Bans

-And scarves and boots and such. Well done.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Art School: Aaron Kraten + Carry5

-When it comes to art, even those of us who admire the modernist greats like Marcel and Jasper long for art that exhibits the themes we are familiar with.

-Thats why we at E5S-CA think you should know about Aaron Kraten, one of our favorite contemporary artists.
-Aaron's self taught brand of mixed media pieces are filled with imagery anyone vaguely familiar with any of the various urban subcultures of the past decade will find appealing. If I had any sort of income, I would purchase one of his pieces.

Above: Reclusion, 18" x 20", mixed media on wood, $475

Above: Analog Skys, 12" x 16", mixed media on wood, $350

-What makes this post timely is that Kraten contributed to the Carry5 Art Exhibit & Fundraiser in Seattle today.
- Carry5 is a project created by Nancy Chang of the Old Redmond Firehouse that aims to raise awareness about the need for clean water in third world countries like Honduras and Bangladesh. Besides working for the City of Redmond Parks & Recreation department, her off time is spent utilizing her passion for art to address international humanitarian issues she feels strongly about.