backstage (pink swan)

One of my favorite genres of photography is “performers backstage”. They’re in costume, or partially so, but they have yet to trade their humanity for something bolder. It’s the in-between that attracts me. The grandeur plus the mundane.

I never had a ballerina phase as a kid, so it’s only fitting that I make up for that now. I mean, I thrifted a genuine Capezio’s tutu. I’d be mad not to.

tutu I

tutu II

tutu III

tutu VI

tutu XII

tutu VII tutu X tutu VIII

 

 

 

tutu XItutu V

teal polka dots, black button hat, & pink everything else

dots Idots IV

I am so very fond of finding the kind of dresses that ModLoaf marks up for dozens of dollars at thrift stores for cheap. (And in better, sturdier fabrics, I might add.) This dress, plucked from the Classy Closet for $14, is almost a parody of the ModCloth aesthetic.

Sometimes it seems like ModCloth and co. are caricaturing the “retro” look. Actual vintage dresses, to that crowd, might not be recognizable as vintage, because they don’t hit all the tropes in one. Most dresses do not have polka dots and Peter Pan collars and froofy skirts (though how wonderful it would be if they did!).

And then I find dresses like this and go “I guess the stereotype had to come from somewhere.”

dots II dots VI

dots IX dots V dots VIII dots VII dots X

 

hell bunny vixen dress & dollar-store pearls

hb IX hb X

Let me first acknowledge that my absence this month has not been by choice. I had the flu for a solid week, followed by a laptop that blue-screened and a camera cord lost. I’m trying to upload photos in batches to my work computer, but it might be slow going for a while. That said, I’ve got a pretty significant backlog, so look forward to several posts over the next few days.

hb II hb III

You might recall that I resolved this year to wear 100% vintage. Yeah, I don’t think that’s gonna happen. And not just because I bought this Hell Bunny dress in a fit of premenstrual pique. I’m just getting frustrated with my vintage collection lately. Three of my staple dresses are quite literally coming apart at the seams. I don’t treat them violently; the fabric is just plain wearing out. It bums me out that as we get further and further from the ’50s, I’ll have to start wearing more and more reproduction. That or attempt to fall in love with a later era.

It just bothers me that history is so transient. I don’t like displaying my collectibles; I like to live them. I wish I could actually read my 1890s Bible rather than shelving it, but paper splits and fabric thins.

hb VII hb V

I do want to find better reproductions that goddamn Hell Bunny, though. Much as I like this dress, I prefer ethical fashion. Annika at Pineneedle Collective maintains an excellent ethical fashion directory, but not all of it is to my taste. Any other suggestions for high-quality, sustainably produced retro clothes? None of this flimsy ModCloth rigmarole.

hb XII

 

hb VI hb XI

hb IV hb I hb XIII

 

 

anachronism

II

This past November, we had one 67-degree day. One beautiful, damnable, climate-change-can’t-be-all-bad 67-degree day. I took these pictures and saved them for the next time I would crave the sun on my tattoos. A day like today, almost 3/4 through what I think we can all agree is the worst month of the year.

VII

I

III

IV

VI

VIII

gray chevron dress, red coat, & a short story

The story I’m currently working on.

VI

She knew the pace of these streets. The bread truck at nine, the garbage at nine-oh-six, the hospital shuttle at quarter after. Ruth could set her watch by each morning’s cadence. If she wasn’t out the door in time to cross the garbage truck down at Seventh and Peck, a scathing Look awaited her. Any later than that and Ruth was looking at a write-up. Maybe a pay dock to keep her in her place. Never mind that she had thirty years on the manager.

IIV III

VIII

She wasn’t prepared the morning the hospital shuttle came too late. Her daily grooves were carved too deep; her vision was tunneled. She was still mid-crosswalk when the driver’s foot screeched, his mouth shrieked, and Ruth went still, struck dumb by the impending splat.

Suddenly her fleshy knees met concrete. There were hands on her shoulders, inarticulate soothing in her ear. The shuttle had careened to the side. Its driver was practically hopping: “oh Jesus, oh Christ, fuck, that was way too close –”

X

“She’ll be fine,” said the woman who had saved Ruth’s life. “It’s okay, you’re already late. I’ll get her on her way.”

The shuttle lumbered away, and Ruth’s savior helped her to her feet.

“Thank you,” Ruth said when she could speak. “You saved my life. I don’t even know what happened there – deer in the headlights, I guess.”

XI VII IX

“No problem. You weren’t supposed to die today.”

“No, but really –” Ruth felt herself welling up; goodwill and menopause could do that to a person. “You came out of nowhere, just for me. It’s like you’re my angel.”

The second woman’s eyes gleamed and her mouth twitched upward. “Yes,” she said. “I am.”

II