Happy Friday! With more Grannis family loving.

I for some reason cannot stop watching/listening to this video.  Something about the black-and-white, the measured pacing, the echo-y stairwell, the heartachingly good harmonizing. 

Lord these girls are gorgeous.  I would be happy to have a trio of daughters who sing like angels, as the Grannis sisters do.  And I have to agree with vchu that the most captivating one is Misa, the shy bookish-looking one on the left.  

And the original "God in My Bed" by K's Choice, for comparison.  Personally I prefer the Grannis sisters' rendition.

In all the stuff that happened in the last few weeks, I totally missed the release of Kina Grannis' new album, Stairwells!

This girl is so talented.  And gorgeous.  I'm so totally in love.  But you may have already known that - I blogged about her back in September.   It's certainly interesting to hear the fully produced versions of the songs she first played on YouTube.  In some cases I think I prefer the rough versions.

If you like her stuff, buy it on iTunes - support a true indie artist!

Here's the official video for her single, "Valentine":

Incidentally I wonder how Don Hertzfeldt feels about her borrowing the concept from his 1995 animated short:

My favorite Brittany Murphy clip. Rest in peace, girl.

From Clueless, when she gets knocked out by someone's flying shoe and Elton comes dashing in and we get just the tiniest snippet of her gorgeous voice.  I always thought her talent was underutilized... I would have like to see her cast in a musical that was not Sister Act 2.

It's sad when the stars we grew up with are passing away left and right.

Lessons from the movies: Game-changing dresses.

Posted simultaneously to wearability.posterous.com

I've been reading this excellent book, Audrey Style by Pamela Clarke Keogh, which is not a straightforward biography of America's most beloved silver screen star.  Rather, it's about the life-changing events, relationships, and personal convictions that went into creating Audrey Hepburn's innovative, singular and influential way of dressing--most notably her lifelong 'style' partnership with the designer Givenchy.

So far I've learned some interesting things that make me respect Audrey more as an individual, even though I haven't really been a fan of most of her movies (I know--gasp.).  Like the fact that from ages 12-16, during WWII, she practically starved and even tried to make bread out of grass.  Or that she spent her entire life yearning for warmth and affection from her rigid mother.

Anyway, I specifically wanted to discuss the one film that really put Audrey on the style map, and made every woman in America want to dress like her.  Most people assume that this film was Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), when in fact, Audrey's moment came much earlier, in 1954, in the original Sabrina.

It was a barely-known Audrey Hepburn that boldly made an appointment with Givenchy and dazzled him with the way she brought his designs to life, then proceeded to select three simple costumes from his 1953 Spring/Summer collection that would change everything:

1) The Glen Cove Suit: Audrey wore this with a simple white turban while waiting at the train station with her luggage and mini poodle.  Dark gray, double-breasted, cinch-waisted, scoop-neck jacket and a simple slim, calf-length skirt.

2) The White Ball Gown (pictured below): For her first party back at the Larrabee mansion, Audrey's character donned a magnificent concoction of silk and embroidery that stunned the Larrabee brothers, and the world.

3) The Denouement Date Dress (pictured below): The truly original Little Black Dress, a good 7 years before the one she wore in Breakfast.  Simple tea-length with boat neck and two sweet bows on her shoulders, it suited her gamine figure perfectly.

Interesting stuff, but what really got me fascinated was thinking of other game-changing style moments in cinematic history, when things changed very tangibly for the character because of what she wore, within the context of the film, or when what she wore changed the way the world, and especially women, viewed themselves and their potential.

I'm thinking specifically about dresses worn at pivotal moments in film, dresses we still think and talk and dream about, to this day.  Dresses that capture our imagination with their own breathless possibility.  Here are some of my favorites...can you think of any others?

1 Sabrina's white Givenchy ball gown. 2 Sabrina's little black dress.  3-4 The gorgeous green silk dress Keira Knightley wore in Atonement. 5-7Drew Barrymore's Renaissance-style dress and wings in Ever After. 8 The climactic flamenco ball gown in Strictly Ballroom. Anastasia's lovely dark blue opera dress and white gloves. 10 Kate Winslet in beaded finery in Titanic. 11-12 Princess Leia's slave girl chic vs. chaste white gown in Star Wars. 13 Penelope's wedding dress - corset and shredded skirt.  14 Nicole Kidman's satin confection in Moulin Rouge. 15-17 All of Maggie Cheung's gorgeous cheongsam-style dresses in In the Mood for Love. 18 I always had a thing for Maria's lovely, light-as-air frock in The Sound of Music. 19-20 Jennifer Connelly in an over-the-top concoction for Labyrinth. 21-22 Grace Kelly's opening scene dress in Rear Window. 23 Zhang Ziyi's debut in Memoirs of a Geisha. 24 Marilyn Monroe's classic halter in Seven Year Itch. 25-26 Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days - love the unusual yellow color.  27 Kim Basinger's cloak in LA Confidential. 28 All of Jennifer Lopez's crazy get-ups in The cell. 29 Dustin Hoffman's sequined wonder in Tootsie. 30 Renee Zelleweger in a super simple little black dress for her first date in Jerry Maguire. 31 THe gloriously over-the-top wedding gown in Coming to America. 32-33 Julia Stiles' simple, striking blue prom dress + red flower in 10 Things I Hate About You. 34 And finally, the magnificent Lauren Bacall.

Subtle romance: my favorite clip from Fallen Angels

I can't believe this movie is 15 years old, and that I first watched it almost five years ago.  I was reminded of it today when we were watching Chungking Express and I thought to myself, sure, I kind of like this movie but there was something about Fallen Angels, the sequel/companion film by Wong Kar Wai, that spoke to me.  Maybe because the characters are much more shockingly odd, and the film itself that much murkier, sad and ardent.

I don't remember a whole lot about the film (you can find an analysis of it here) except this one scene where Cherry and the Mute are sitting in a cafe after they've been chasing down her ex-boyfriend and Mute realizes he's falling in love with her.  I love the way the shot is set up, with hapless Cherry gazing obliviously in the other direction while Mute, whom we have come to know as someone unworthy of respect, yet whom we want to indulge despite ourselves, leans towards her and breathes her in with such dreamy enjoyment that you really wish she'd come to her senses already.  Meanwhile, the world behind them buzzes with activity, but you can't take your eyes off this quiet moment of stolen intimacy.

I don't think this scene is supposed to be taken literally, but I think it captures an element of misappropriate longing that anyone with a little wistful strangeness in them will recognize right away.  There's something about the bold, unrequited movement in this scene that I like very much. I screen-capped it for your viewing pleasure, followed by a very excellent fan-made vide o that centers on the weird but beautiful Takeshi Kaneshiro's character, the Mute.

Sorry, I totally couldn't resist posting about the second official New Moon trailer...in which Jacob Black makes his moves and swishes around that beautiful long hair of his.

I know I am just setting myself up for disappointment when November comes and me and my grown-up friends get trampled in the theater by scores of rabid teenagers on their way to watch the New Moon movie. But I find myself pouncing on every little morsel we're getting in the way of previews, and savoring it in a most untoward fashion.

Anyway I really wish Jacob Black didn't have to chop his beautiful hair off halfway through the movie. It's such a shame. I am not usually into long-haired dudes but on native Americans, it works. In fact, on Jacob Black, the mane is downright dreamy. (I mean... 0:30-32, 0:39 even though it's so obviously CGI'd, and that intense look at 0:55 omg omg omg omg OMG!).

Yes I realize I'm talking as if he's a real person. Shut up. Team Jacob 4-evarrrrr.

Alex Wong's latest project: The Paper Raincoat

This weekend I organized a bunch of coworkers to go take in the sultry sounds of Vienna Teng (more on her later).  We started the evening with delicious Nepalese food at Taste of the Himalayas , then off to the Palace of Fine Arts, and capped the night with dessert at Kowloon Tong Dessert Cafe (more on that later, too).

What I really wanted to talk about though, is The Paper Raincoat, the latest in a series of collaborations by the talented Alex Wong of The Animators, an Asian-American singer-songwriter-producer who can play an incredible number of instruments, from guitar to drums to glockenspiel.  Alex usually accompanies Vienna on tour, playing percussion and producing for her, but I'd never really seen him perform center stage.  He and his partner Amber made for a surprising treat of an opening act--you know how those are always hit or miss, but mostly miss?  Not so here. 

I like how they're kind of fun/whimsical, a living fantasy of sounds, and more upbeat and wonder-filled than neurotic and whiny.  Hats off to them for being optimistic in this day and age.