They do like to threaten us with snow, don’t they? OMG HUUUUUUUUUUGE storms are coming! Snow everywhere! We’re going to drown in it, stay inside and hope your building has snow salt so you can get out! And when it finally comes… nothing. A few flakes that disappear into the pavement and melt before they can stick. But you still get the cold. Hot chocolate and tea are two of my favorite things, but I’m ready for not-cold.
So to distract myself, and for your distraction, have some cultural things.
Hassan Hajjaj – “Kesh Angels”
Showing it’s last week at the Taymore Grahne Gallery in Tribeca. Hassan Hajjaj moved to the UK as a 12 year old boy from Morocco, where he did a bit of everything before setting his sights on art; now this New York debut of his work is a portrayal of Moroccan street culture and biker women. In vivid colors or start black-and-white, he plays with fashion-shoot techniques and studio photography; uses consumer goods and captures photos of women in traditional veils on motorcycles to subvert stereotypes. This is a gorgeous exhibition of traditionally-clad women standing before historic places or by hastily thrown together sets; confidently modern and young. Everybody should see it for another perspective of Arab culture; of which the West persists in knowing very little.
Museum at FIT – “Beyond Rebellion: Fashioning the Biker Jacket”
Not many people are privy to the knowledge that FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) has a museum; because it’s just a school for fashion, right? But fashion says as much about our past as it does our present trends, and plays a big part in society whether we like it or not. The newest exhibit, set to open tomorrow and to run through April, is organized by FIT grad students. The biker jacket was once a symbol of the ultimate rebellion – a garment that was meant to be practical protection for open-air motorcycle riding was used as a symbol of violence, disrespect of authority, and drifters. It quickly became something much, much more, attracting attention from fashion designers and becoming just another fashionable thing. This exhibition will follow the progress from functional to fashionable, from rebellious to trendy, and it’s all going to be pretty cool.
Read a Damn Book: The Race Underground, by Doug Most.
Let’s face it, the New York City subway is pretty amazing engineering-wise – for all that we take it as a commuting annoyance that never comes ‘on-time’, and constantly hikes fares on riders because the MTA doesn’t know how to run on a budget and maintain the system so that it doesn’t NEED the damn repairs and track changes every other day. (What, I’m not bitter. Not at all.) Before we ever had a subway, of course, New York barely existed above thirty-fourth street and people laughed at the very idea (in terror, for the most part). Who’d ever put people underground? Only the dead and the demonic lived underground! But some men of their day were father-sighted than that and knew it was the only way. Doug Most examines those minds that DID think you could put people underground, could move them by the hundreds and unclog the streets above, and shares the story of how the subway that we know today came to be.