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Entries in bohemian life (8)


Dreams Are Real 031: Making Magic With Beth Hommel

I met Beth through the internet and tarot.  When we did finally meet face to face it was instant love, and we've been friends ever since.  Recently Beth and I decised to do an impromtu shoot.  I am completely in awe of the photos.  So much magic in them and so completely NYC. More images in my modeling section



Dreams Are Real 025: The Art of Sorrow, The Joie de Vivre

"She was a girl who knew how to be happy even when she was sad. And that’s important—you know "
Marilyn Monroe

What a winter.  Sherene and I were talking the other day about the tremendous amounts of sadness and mourning that seem to be taking place as of late.  "It's the heavy Dark balsamic moon-Pluto in Capricorn plus Saturn retrograde." She said. 

I sighed, I'm used to sorrow.  If you're mourning the loss of someone, I'll cry for you. I cry for people that have been dead for years, relationships that can never be, relationships that ended, friends that moved on.  You name it, I'll cry over it.  Got a sad song, oh don't you get me started. 

I'm crying everyone's tears
I have already paid for all my future sins
There's nothing anyone
Can say to take this away
It's just another day and nothing's any good

-Sade King of Sorrow

But song lyrics aside, I also know how to use that sorrow in a constructive way.  I know, deep down no matter how sad I get, I'll get out of bed in the morning.  I'll still check email, make plans, create, or socialize. I know how to smile for the camera and I can laugh genuinely.  But can you be sad and happy at the same time? I'm pretty sure you can.You just have to balance those winter blues with a little light.

Some of my best work has been in times of sadness. I can tell you a story about each piece, how the layers came to be.

I painted Ophelia after a breakup.  I was living in MA and trying to come to the terms with the fact that I had broken someone's heart, which in turn broke mine.  I kept dreaming of Ophelia and so the process began. 

Apparently I'm really into Ophelia as once again I went into her mode.  I was dating a guy who made music for a living.  I was really taken with the first single on the album and created the image to the song.  At the time I felt like I was drowning, so what better way to get it out than to document it's existance. Like the chorus it's named after: Air I Breathe Under.

This may be my longest running painting.  It was worked on, on and off for about two years, adding layers and then taking them away.  It started off with a full body and a double headed snake.  From there I went into a very dark period and just let the past swim up from the bottom and float to the top.  In order to really get over something you have to wade through the muck.  Sometimes these paintings, music, writing etc are brilliant and other times they are just a conduit and can later be burned. Yes I think it's ok to destroy your creations sometimes, other times you have to in order to see the light.  These however stayed intact.

Because sometimes beauty comes out of sadness and that can lead to other things like enchantment.

The other night I  danced with belly dancers all the while sipping champagne and eating middle eastern cuisine with my one of my favorite Russian Gypsies.  We had both had rough weeks, had meetings and then spent the rest of the night laughing and enjoying each others company.  Sometimes you need a little bit of girlfriend time in pretty places.  These days I'm trying to get as much Vitamin D infused sunshine as possible.  Even if the world seems a little dreary.

Casa La Femme

Now it's time for me to create some new images.  Lets see what happens.  It's all about balance these days.

And here's a little music to perk you up.

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En Gypsy Couture 017: The Monroe Days

"I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together."
Marilyn Monroe

I'm in a Marilyn phase right now.  I've always been a Monroe girl but some days are stronger than others.  It's been a crazy couple of weeks.  I've attended book parties of friends Parag Khanna and Michael Malice. I've seen Sxip Shirey perform twice, spent time with my Godfamily (my Godfather was in town), attended a gorgeous all girl party at Cynthia von Buhler's, did some cat sitting in a beautiful apartment for two darling cats, created some mojo for my friend Jill Tracy, dinner with Emily Poole and Bear, and a million other things that I'm probably forgetting. These days I'm locked away in my little strega house, finishing up articles, preparing paintings, and answering interview questions.

"I don't mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. Beauty and femininity are ageless and can't be contrived, and glamour, although the manufacturers won't like this, cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour; it's based on femininity."
Marilyn Monroe
Cynthia von Buhler and her husband Russell Farhang gave me this gorgeous fur coat.  I don't normally wear fur but, because this was vintage and passed down from Russell's mother who was a bohemian artist herself, I felt it was okay.  I feel incredibly honored to have it and have many thank yous to bestow upon Cynthia and Russell.
These two pieces were both purchased at Victoria's secret.  The first is a sequin jumper with a long black skirt over it and the second a slip dress.  Both on sale for $35.
"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."
Marilyn Monroe
My grandmother gave me white styrofoam heads, to help with the lack of hat boxes in the caravan.  On their own they can be quite scary, but with just a little bit of paint, I now have myself two darling creatures.  And every Gypsy needs darling things in their home.


"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."
Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words)
So smile hard, even when you're sad little kumquats and I'll be back soon.  And perhaps, by the time I'm finished, I'll actually have strings for my baby.
"We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets."
Marilyn Monroe

Dreams Are Real 023: The Next Chapter

This Saturday will be the last time I read from my memoir, Blood and Pudding publicly unless in conjunction with the Needle Exchange. Jess Tilley, the Overdose Prevention Coordinator and I will be working hand in hand on getting the Needle Exchange into the public eye, and informing people of the benefits of having a harm reduction center in their area.

This is a decision I made recently.  When the book came out in August I was eager to tell Holly and Brian's stories.  I felt like I owed them that.  They had enriched my life so much and I missed them so dearly that it consumed me.  They were my muses and I was okay with it.  But as time went on that feeling began to shift.  It started with a conversation I had with Chelsea G. Summers.  She was editing my piece for Red Umbrella Diaries.  I had been having trouble vocalizing what exactly I was trying to say and needed an outside opinion.  Not only did she do a bang up job editing it, she also gave me some sage advice.  What started out as constructive criticism turned into an epiphany.  Chelsea simply explained to me that I write about the past almost entirely and rarely about the present.  I talk in code and while it can be intriguing to have a little mystery in writing, too much just adds up to gaps and questions.  It was true.  I was still acting as if this was a secret journal that someone was going to break into and read.  I was still completely guarded and not ready to let go of the past, which was why it was so hard to talk about the present.  This scared me.  While it's nice to reminisce, you can't live with ghosts and say it's the future. I needed to move on.

The picture above was taken two years ago during a period where my world with Brian and my relationship with the drummer were colliding.  The drummer was dealing with the death of his fiancée, and I was forced to deal with Brian's death again.  I fell in love with the drummer while he mourned her. The picture was taken in the midst of that.  I wore the dress when Brian and I took the car ride that could have killed us, and I wore it again while I fell deeply for a man that couldn't love me back.  I harbored a lot of resentment for the drummer, and even more so for myself, for letting the situation happen.  But there were a lot of losses that happened between us, to us. We were brought together by death and in the end divided by it as well.  In the long-run I'm really not sure we could have made it anyway. 

I recently wore the dress and vintage looking lace shawl to a networking party in the city.  Under the shadow of the dim lighted bar, I told Travis the story of the dress. We sat down on the velveteen seats and talked about our work and where it was going.  "I've been inspired by Cynthia von Buhler's idea to take a year off to create an entire new body of work.  My life is changing once again.  It's becoming more of what I envisioned for myself."  Our work as artists changes with us.  Sometimes the style changes and sometimes the content shifts where our style stays the same.  We go through phases and shifts.  Our muses change over the years. Some things taken on different meanings as time passes.  The dress used to symbolize my past with Brian, then it shifted into a darker more magical time, where the aphotic essence of the drummer, fired up my passion and played muse to my creativity.  And now it's propelled into a new role.  A role of decadence, and winter parties, boas, and absinthe.  It's a symbol of bohemia at it's best, nights making magic, tarot readings, writing, photography, and painting.  It represents becoming exactly who and what you want to be.

Last Saturday in the dressing room of The Red Lotus Room, Amber and I discussed the edelweiss flower as we dressed for Dr. Sketchy'sThe edelweiss symbolizes courage and noble purity in Austria. If someone were to give you a edelweiss as a gift, he risked a lot to show you his affection.  The edelweiss grows sparsely at the top of mountains and is illegal to pick. I see it as a symbol of being a self-made through hard work.


En Gypsy Couture 016: Gypsy Life, Mantilla Love

Wednesday morning I received an email from Kim Boekbinder, it simply stated, "I come bearing gifts."  Thursday evening a fuschia haired songstress and her brilliant film-maker boyfriend showed up at my doorstep.  And into the caravan they came with vintage luggage, a tin filled with old fashioned photographs, and secret presents for me & Miss Crabapple

I'm not quite sure when I fell in love with the mantilla, but over the course of a few months they've become one of my staples.  Below is the glorious mantilla Kim gave to me, the comb was purchased from a vendor in Spain, and the dress is Rozae Nichols. I adore this outfit for so many reasons.  Mostly because it makes me feel like something out of Italian Vogue.

This photo reminds me of the old polaroids we used to take back in Bedstuy.  A little Russian Red lipstick and some eyeliner, and you came out looking like an Italian movie star.

Robin LeBlanc took this in Williamsburg.  This image is of my first mantilla, much shorter than the other. The flowers are from my collection, the necklace from France, the gloves were gifted and the tank and skirt both thrifted. This was taken right before my Frida Kahlo session for Dr. Sketchy's.

Mantilla love from Italian Vogue Sept 2007 and Anais Nin

Kim also gave me this beautiful lace fan which I have been running around the house with, pretending I'm a flamenco dancer.  Sherene bought these beautiful mini tarot cards for me when she was In Spain, and the silver coin is from none other than the fabulous Travis Louie.  This Gypsy lives a full rich life you see.

The next few days are filled with tarot, candles, writing assignments, and full moon rituals.  Till then take a peak into the caravan and enjoy this yummy recipe for peanut butter, coconut, oatmeal muffins.

  • 1 1/4 cups of boiling water 
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of uncooked oats
  • 1/2 cup of butter or butter substitute
  • 1 cup of firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup of apple sauce
  • 6 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 1/3 cup of flour 
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup of flaked coconut

  • Combine water, salt and oats; let stand a few minutes
  • Add butter or butter substitute, sugar, add apple sauce, mixing well.
  • Combine flour and cinnamon, stir into mixture.
  • Add coconut, stir well.
  • Fill in greased muffin cups, 2/3 full.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.