¨¨¨°º the adventures of choklit chanteuse º°¨¨¨


Things That Please Me: Good Bourbon

Having been on a self~imposed dry spell that has thus far lasted almost three months, I thought now would be a perfect time for an ode to my libation of choice ~ bourbon.

Though I'll happily down the more common top-shelf stand-bys like Maker's and Bulleit, it's when the craft labels start pouring that I really get feverish. Noah's Mill and Woodford Reserve are favorites, though in researching this post I realized many of my loved ones are the small-batch labels of larger breweries - Knob Creek, Basil Hayden and Booker's are all owned by (shudder) Jim Beam, and Buffalo Trace makes Elmer T. Lee and Hancock's Reserve.

Considering my deep and abiding love of bourbon, it's positively shameful that I have yet to visit San Francisco speakeasy Bourbon and Branch, known for its period decor and password-only-entry.

It's also a mystery why I do not yet own one of these awesome vintage decanter tag bourbon necklaces I've been drooling over for years, by Dust Design Co. on Etsy.

If it must be mixed, my very favorite libation is a whiskey old-fashioned ~ but only the version made by our local country bar, the Underwood, which involves Guinness-marinated organic bing cherries ~ none of those unholy-red maraschinos. And on a cold night I might be convinced of a bourbon toddy...

But truly, I'm a simple woman. Straight-up, no ice please, that's my drink. O sweet brown medicine, though we are apart right now, we shall one day be together again, and once again your sinfully rich toffee-kissed balm will soothe my savage soul.


The Candy~Colored Glory of 666 Photography

What better occasion than a new Facebook fan page and an upcoming large-format book to celebrate the amazing artistry of 666 Photography?

The first image I discovered by Austin photographer Gayla Partridge was a portrait of a petulant corseted beauty holding a pygmy goat. I was new to the world of neo-Victorian costuming and had stumbled upon the picture while looking at the fabulous hats of Topsy Turvy Design. I was instantly besotted.

{Photo: Gayla Partridge / Makeup: Lisa Naeyaert / Model: Kayleigh / Hat: Topsy Turvy}

Burrowing into the colorful website of 666, I found pinup girls and drama queens, harlots and virgins, burlesque beauties and high concept art. Gayla makes all her own props and often hand-paints her backdrops, which gives the sets a timeless tintype feel.

{Wardrobe/Photo: Gayla Partridge / Makeup: Lisa Naeyaert / Model: Ali}

Like pages from a story-book, her photos speak of stolen moments and hidden treasures, epic display windows in the most delectable shop ever.

{Photo: Gayla Partridge / Makeup: Lisa Naeyaert / Model: Jenovia / Fascinator: Topsy Turvy}

Gayla delights in technicolor gloss and vintage va-va-voom. Truly, you have to love an artist who constructs five-foot mushrooms for her shoots and recreates period sets and moods ~ but with a campy modern twist.

{Wardrobe/Photo: Gayla Partridge / Makeup: Lisa Naeyaert / Model: Kalani Kokonuts}

Most recently, her breathtaking series of "Muertos" photographs, with longtime collaborator Lisa Naeyaert as the model and make-up artist, graced the glossy pages of my beloved Coilhouse.

{Wardrobe/Hair/Photo: Gayla Partridge / Model/Makeup: Lisa Naeyaert}

Gayla's love of the female form is clear, and it must be as joyful an experience to model for her as it is to behold the images. Peek behind the scenes in a recent interview with Gayla from Austin's Rare Magazine.

{Wardrobe/Photo: Gayla Partridge / Makeup: Lisa Naeyaert / Model: Jenovia}

See more of Gayla's delicious pictures and keep up with her on her blog, her mySpace page, or Twitter, as well as her website and new FB page.

Bonus temptation: the cephalopod-lovers won't be able to resist clicking this link to see Gayla's perfectly odd portrait of a little girl on the Cephalopod Tea Party blog...


Noble Beast, Indeed

I fall in love with some albums the same way I fall in love with people... immediately, with abandon, and with all my heart. And I've got a serious crush on Andrew Bird's 2009 release, Noble Bird.

I've known of the quirky Chicago song-crafter for quite some time, but was most familiar with his early music, as a collaborator with the great Squirrel Nut Zippers and then with his genre-confounding outfit Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire. His solo work is a departure from the old-timey jazzy stuff, and wanders instead to shoegazing indie, but is just as pleasing.

An accomplished classical violinist trained from the age of four, he seems equally at home juggling four instruments and a loop pedal as he is with his trademark astonishingly lovely whistling. He often collaborates with fanciful artists for his album covers and tour posters ~ this one by Diana Sudyka is particularly incredible, and she has prints in her Etsy shop.

A chameleon of a songmaster, Bird's lyrics tend towards the nonsensical, chosen more for poetic aural cartwheels than meaning. Extra points for penning lyrics like this ~ "No peace in the valleys, malarial alleys, where the kittens have pleurisy... Donning our goggles, Valerian ogles, to see microscopically." In this video, he manages to conjure up an amazing maelstrom of swirling sounds by himself, in a church.

On the amazing resource Internet Archive, a simple search for Andrew Bird yields audio from more than a dozen live shows, interviews, and more. I highly recommend pursuing them, and letting Mr. Bird take you on an audio journey.

I mean, the man wears stripey socks in his press photos. How can I not adore him?