If These Jewels Could Talk...

top: silver ring from israel, koi fish bracelet, meandro garnet bracelet middle: necklaces passed down from my grandmother's cousin, markus humer leather cuff last: snake twisty bracelet worn as an arm band, fake gold bangle

..they'd have many stories to tell. Since I was around 7 years old, my grandmother and I have had a tradition of playing "show and tell". She does more of the showing and telling, I listen, with my eyes "ooing and ahhing". We sit on her bed with a multitude of jewelry boxes-- a mix of beautifully lacquered ones with painted Japanese cherry blossoms, and freebie white boxes with Macy's logos and synthetic cotton-candy cushions. When I showed her my new crystal koi fish bracelet it ignited her childlike spirit. "Let's play!" she said. I've inherited from my grandmother a love of adornment. It doesn't matter if it's made of a rare gem stone or a piece of plastic, we get the same amount of pleasure. Value is measured by the uniqueness of the piece and all of the memories it triggers. My grandmother's philosophy of consumption is purely about what makes her happy. This also applies to what she eats. She loves everything she buys and enjoys rediscovering pieces in her closet. I've learned from her, that jewelry helps you remember things. Every single piece (going back to the 1940s), has a story for how she found it, where she bought it, or who gave it to her. As we went through she came across a gold choker necklace (not real gold, but some mystery metal). She said everyone thought it was real "It's all in how you carry it". She called it her "date necklace". My grandmother rarely parts with anything from her collection, but she decided I should have this one to bring me luck.

My favorite pieces of jewelry become a part of me the more I wear them, even though the piece may have had a completely unique life before it came to me. I've lost pieces of sentimental value over the years, but I try not to get too broken up, because I still have my memories. When I think of a piece that got lost or broken along the way, I know I really loved it.


Rock N' Roll Style Guide: Betty Blowtorch

all images courtesy of google images

I recently watched Anthony Scarpa’s wonderful documentary "Betty Blowtorch: And Her Amazing True Life Adventures" about the late great rock band. It was bittersweet. Four ferocious women break ground on the LA rock scene, come close to achieving some commercial success, and then lose everything due to the untimely death of lead singer and bassist Bianca “Butthole” Halstead. Their music was a combination of 80’s style hair metal with a bit of pop/ punk mixed in.

The film was shot with a small DV camera. The beauty of the low-fi approach is that you feel like you’re living moment to moment with the band on the road. Nowadays, everything has such high production value. Just because 24p and HD cameras are readily available doesn’t mean they’re appropriate for the content. Some scenes feel like a fan captured them on their camera phone. The effect is a raw quality that a high gloss “Behind the Music” episode could never have. The interviews with Bianca feel especially candid. You see her sprawled out on her leopard couch, casually recounting stories as if she were hanging with one of her best friends.

The film opens with a Betty Boop cartoon. She wiggles her hips while singing a song about how to keep your "girlish" figure. When the songs stops, drums kick in, and you hear the roar, "We're from Hollywoooood" as the four foul mouthed, hard rocking women, with greasy hair and tattoos launch into the anthem "Hell on Wheels". While they share the namesake of the 1930’s cartoon star, Betty Boop’s restrained sexiness and demure “girlish” charm is a far cry from Betty Blowtorch’s in-your-face explicitness.

Betty Blowtorch were disciples of the Runaways, further paving new territory for women in the hard rock genre. As a feminist, I often have to reconcile my love of hard rock with my disdain for misogynist lyrics. Whether or not it’s right, it’s refreshing to hear a song like “Size Queen”…it feels like the answer to GNR’s “It’s So Easy”. Most of their songs were purely fun and tongue-in-cheek, but others pact a “personal is political” punch. “Get off”, confronts incest and “Rock my World” is an anthem of sexual autonomy. Bianca Halstead and Betty Blowtorch will be sorely missed, but hopefully their legacy will inspire the next generation of women in rock.

For more info on the film check out bettyblowtorch.com. Watch the trailer here.

Now just for fun.. if you want to look like a hard rocking biker chick, I’ve supplied you with the goods. Grab your bass, drum set, or guitar and you’re ready to rock!

topshop tank $36, pimkie boustier , sailor jerry belt buckle $24 , forever 21 vest $40 , von zipper sunglasses $90, ash sneaker heels $186 , french connection leather pants $260 , alexander mcqueen spiked cuff , sam edelman boots $112 , sang a clutch , luxury divas studded belt $13