“What are you reading?” It’s a simple and intimate question @subwaybookreview asks commuters all over the world. While explaining a book should be a rather straightforward task, the responses are often as revealing of the person as they are the work in question, making for great reads in their own right.
By his own account, Martin Frost “paints pictures that people can’t see.” A fore-edge painter, Frost constructs hidden worlds between the pages of books, revealed only to those who know where and how to look for them. The idea that such beautiful images could lay unknown to or undiscovered by a masterpiece’s owner is at once heartbreaking and delightful.
Part cartoon, part poem, and part history lesson, Angie Wang’s essay on trying to find that one perfect dish of her youth—that one delicious meal that just feels like home—is a culinary comment on the idea of home, the inadequacies of nostalgia, and the displacement (and rediscovery) of culture.
Despite continued hostility from governments around the world, study after study has shown CBD to be an efficient treatment for numerous conditions, especially epilepsy. DJ, model, activist, and filmmaker Chelsea Leyland is tackling all sides of the topic in a new documentary called Separating the Strains, the Kickstarter campaign for which launched earlier this week. (Leyland herself was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teen, though she's been seizure-free for over a year since weaning herself off prescribed meds and only using CBD oil for treatment.) She’s an inspiring advocate for the compound, and her film is worth supporting.
The next Instagram phenomenon is the New York launch of Color Factory, the “collaborative interactive exhibit” that had an incredible run in San Francisco. Starting in August, SoHo will be filled with ombré balloons, custom color ice cream scoops, light-up dance floors, and a way to find your “secret color.” The roster of talent involved is phenomenal, including Gossamer favorite Molly Young.
Got an idea? @bobby will draw it (for a fee). Over the past week or so, one of Twitter’s more prominent personalities has put his artistic skills to work for, well, if not good, than at least … money? If you’re looking for an illustration of, say, a “wiener dog in a wedding dress that got left at the altar,” a “stolen Volkswagen 2012 Passat with a bengal cat riding passenger seat,” or even “God’s butt,” then venmo him at his new account, @moneywanter.
Is it possible for one jumpsuit to replace all clothes forever? Probably not, but that isn’t stopping Abigail Glaum-Lathbury and Maura Brewer, the two artists behind Rational Dress Society, from trying. JUMPSUIT, as its known, is hand-sewn from sustainable fabric, comes in 248 NASA-approved sizes, and costs $150—the proceeds of which the two hope to put towards a single print advertisement in Vogue. All of which begs the question: would you wear it?
One glaring absence on music streaming services has long been the Drag City catalog. Home to some of the smartest indie rock, folk and alt-country bands over the last 30 years, the label has finally struck a deal with Spotify, TIDAL, and Google Play to let the likes of Smog, Ty Segall, Bill Callahan and, our personal favorite, Silver Jews, be heard. The one exception? It seems Joanna Newsom, who has referred to Spotify as a “villainous cabal,” won’t be appearing on the newly public company’s platform anytime soon.
We don’t normally go in for augmented reality apps—the helpful functionality of Ikea’s aside—but Dumb Fun, designer Tim Moore’s collage-inspired iteration, found its way straight to our aesthete’s heart. While we’re not entirely sure what we’re supposed to be doing with it (yet!), looking at the world through Dumb Fun’s floral-filled lens just makes us happy. Plus, you can’t argue with a name like that.
We’re hesitant to promote the bizarrely funny and surprisingly philosophical tweets of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, for fear that if someone in the Trump Administration finds out that there’s actually something good being done by the government, they’ll quickly move to shut it down. That said, if you like dinosaurs, sentient popcorn, pigeons and horses running through water, @USCPSC is for you.
A podcast about loneliness? It’s more comforting than it sounds. Writer and creator Julia Bainbridge’s meditations and interviews on what it means to be alone in the world today are a soothing balm against the various forms of isolation we all experience—through travel and technology, work, and romance (or lack thereof.) A good episode to start with: Kat Turner, a private chef to A-list celebrities, shares an intimate audio diary of a life abroad in someone else’s world.
It may not be hard to make a pipe beautiful (just look at Tetra, or Summerland, or The Pursuits of Happiness), but it’s rare for piece to feel so completely new. The clean, geometric lines of Laundry Day’s Tanjune are as satisfying to look at as they are to hold, and would fit in nicely just about anywhere.
“I have a confession to make: The Dancing Baby was kinda my fault.” And so begins one man’s tale of how, more than 20 years ago, he helped propel an animated, diapered baby dancing his heart out to internet and TV stardom. It’s the story you haven’t been waiting for, but you’ll enjoy it nevertheless.
“Prison is an oasis for me—a place for relaxation and comfort.” So says one member of Japan’s growing prison population of elderly women. The loneliness and economic vulnerability of aging have driven some senior citizens to commit petty crimes like shoplifting, not for the loot itself but for the punishment meted out. It’s in prison that many of these women feel heard, able to socialize, and get the proper food and care that they need.
Make music out of thin air via virtual bubbles at Bloom: Open Space, Brian Eno’s latest mixed-reality exhibit, which opens this weekend at Gropius Bau in Berlin. The bad news: you’ve only got through Monday to experience Eno’s music as part of the installation. The good news: Thom Yorke will be taking over the yurt-like mobile structure next weekend. The best news: it’s touring in Europe and the United States through 2019, and will add new artists with every city.
Though he lives halfway around the world, Moscow-based illustrator Gudim Anton seems to understand the universal frustrations of daily life. In the vein of “The Perry Bible Fellowship” or perhaps “The Far Side,” Anton’s soft absurdism captures more about modern life in a few brushstrokes than most writers can achieve in an entire book.
April showers bring April boredom. If you’re looking for something to do other than popping an edible and binge-watching yet another show, Bryce Wilner’s Gradient Puzzles are bound to add a little color to a grey day. Besides, you don’t need us to tell you to take a screen break, right?
We’ve been wanting to recommend Swedish stop-motion animator Alexander Unger for a while now and the release of [Isle of Dogs](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dt__kig8PVU) feels like as timely a news peg as we’re going to get. We suggest checking out his YouTube page for the full experience, including some seriously bonkers behind-the-scenes explainers, but we’re partial to his Instagram for bite-size installations that feel more like mini magic tricks than animation. Fun fact: he also moonlights as a gardener.
You may have read an article or a book or two about the Eameses. Maybe you saw an exhibition of theirs once. Hell, you might even be sitting in one of their chairs right now. Regardless, this interactive history of Charles and Ray Eames produced by ReadyMag is a fun exploration of their work that’s more than worth your while. You might end up wanting to replace all the furniture in your house when you’re through, but hey, you’re already getting a new pink velvet sofa, right?
It's been a long week made somewhat easier by a good soundtrack, namely Scottish trio Young Fathers’ newest album Cocoa Sugar. If you’re going to judge them on one song, jump straight to the rhythmic melancholy of “In My View,” which we can almost guarantee is currently solidifying its spot on weekend playlists everywhere. If you’ve got room for a couple more, try “Tremolo” followed by “See How.” We’d keep going but it’s hard to type and hum at the same time.
Speaking of catalogues, Emma Alpern at Racked got Mr. Catalogue himself, John “J.” Peterman to explain why it is that his company uses illustrations—or “art,” as they say—instead of the standard photography. To be honest, it’s hard for us to think of J. Peterman as anything but Elaine Benes' boss, but reading the real Peterman’s thoughts on the emotion of sketches does help to distinguish him from the caricature, if only just a bit.
The best kind of auction features historic items, decent prices, and things you don’t need but can’t live without. The upcoming Ritz Paris auction has two out of three. (The prices are ... not exactly decent.) But if you’re looking for a new-to-you monogrammed robe (not your initials, of course), a headboard from the Coco Chanel Suite, or a pink velvet sofa that has held the butts of the rich and famous, make sure to get your bids ready by April 17th. Please feel free to buy us a sconce or two—we’re in the market.
Meek Mill is at once the exception and the norm: a high-wattage hip hop star caught up in the criminal justice system as a kid and then made to walk through a legal minefield forever after. Paul Solatoroff’s Rolling Stone profile is an unflinching look at the undue impact a single judgement (and judge) has had on the prolific rapper’s life—and livelihood.
One could be forgiven for not giving the moon its due more regularly. After all, it’s always just … there. But like most things these days, perhaps we should be looking down at our screens less, and up at our skies more? With nothing more than a telescope and some charm, one man invited strangers to do just that.
We’re not usually in the habit of recommending that people watch more ads, but once in a blue moon something comes along that is just so bizarre it needs to be seen. This ridiculous short film of a cell phone commercial has it all: action, drama, romance, humor, and a plot that feels right out of Black Mirror, or, more accurately, a parody of Black Mirror.
Statistically, Steve Francis shouldn’t be Steve Francis. His father was sentenced to 20 years in prison for robbery. His mother passed away while he was still a kid. Instead of finishing high school, he was on the street selling drugs, both a victim of and a cog in the crack epidemic. Most stories like this end here, in tragedy. But not this one. Filled with laughter and sadness, Francis’ tale of how he made it out and into the NBA is one of the most compelling reads you’ll find.
Clearly we’ve got a thing for geometry, but take one look at this half-moon pipe from Brooklyn-based Yew Yew Shop and tell us it doesn’t make you smile. Plus, each piece comes with its own suede carrying case and a custom lighter which, at the very least, will make you wonder why all pipes don’t come with that. Now the question is: which color?
Chicken out. Chicken shit. Chicken scratch. Is there any animal more maligned than the chicken? When we’re not busy plucking and boiling them, we’re using their name to describe the worst in people. But photographers Moreno Monti and Matteo Tranchellini want to change that. With @chicken_ph (and its accompanying coffee table book), the two have set out to prove that chickens aren’t just worthy of more—they truly rule the roost.
It’s a question we’ve asked ourselves for years, at the tail-end of dinner parties that stretch late into the night and on lazy Sunday afternoons when The Mummy inevitably appears on some channel: Whatever happened to Brendan Fraser? The answer is much more complicated than anyone would’ve guessed.
While it might seem like there are now more craft pipes than you can shake a stick at, Pigeon Toe Ceramics' actual Stick Pipe is a keeper. In true Oregonian fashion, the beautiful piece is cast in tinted buff speckle stoneware from "driftwood found on the Oregon coast.”
Baker Lauren Ko’s pies are so gorgeous we’re not sure whether to eat them or hang them on the wall. (Obviously we know we should eat them, but what we’re trying to say is that they’re extremely beautiful pies and a little hyperbole never hurt anyone and you should just follow @lokokitchen already.)
Employment options for those just out of prison are sadly and unjustly limited, but one restaurant in Cleveland offers a chance for hardworking ex-inmates to learn a new trade and put themselves on a new path. The Academy Award-nominated Knife Skills captures the struggle and the amazing opportunity given to these men and women.
A little over two years after his death, the exhibition dedicated to David Bowie’s singular creative process is also coming to a close. David Bowie Is has traveled around the world for the last five years, displaying everything from the icon’s lyric sheets to his original art to the wardrobes of his many personalities. We all miss Bowie, but make sure you don’t miss this.
There’s a lot of noise out there when it comes to cannabis-related products, which means we’re quite particular about the ones we use. Herb Essntls’ unisex body and skincare collection is made with hemp seed oil, which has no THC or CBD but is known for its moisturizing properties, natural SPF (that doesn’t mean you should skip yours though!), and the fact that it scores a zero on the comedogenic scale (read: it’s least likely to clog pores and great for all skin types). TL;DR: we’ve been using the facial moisturizer and lip balm, we like it, and we think you would, too.
Lauren Edelstein’s emoji-only (and 100% photoshop-free) re-creations of runway designs may seem straightforward at first, but look closer: are those teeny-tiny squids masquerading as marabou feathers? Artfully layered hedgehogs standing in for face-framing faux fur? Give her a follow now and when the account goes viral, you’ll be able to say you were one of the originals.
While most retirees are content to live out their remaining days quietly contemplating all the things they wish they had done differently, this wasn’t good enough for Jerry and Marge Selbee. Instead, the elderly, small-town Michigan couple turned their interest in solving puzzles into a multi-million dollar scheme that would eventually pit them against the government, the media, and a bunch of know-it-all MIT students.
Fiorella Valdesolo is a writer, editor, and the co-founder of Gather Journal (which you should be reading if you’re not). She’s also a bit of an Instagram genius. A hodgepodge of pop culture, nostalgia, political statements, witty remarks, and simply beautiful things, Valdesolo’s account is guaranteed to stand apart from just about anyone else you follow.
Before there was reality TV, there was Cops. Supposedly true vignettes of our criminal justice system in action, the show has for decades made people feel proud of a broken system and helped viewers double down on their biases. The Marshall Project’s Tim Stelloh explores the show’s place in our culture, and whether its existence is merely a reflection of society’s criminal justice failings, or a catalyst for them.
Warning: you’re about to lose the ability to ever cry boredom again. Whether it’s counting giraffes in Kenya, recording the colors and markings of 10,000 birds, or looking for comets in an asteroid belt, crowd-sourced science site Zooniverse matches people with a bit of time on their hands (i.e., you) with wildlife studies, historical research, and other projects that require massive amounts of data to be identified and catalogued. It’s a pretty great (and virtuous) thing to do while stoned.
Imagine crossing Michelangelo Antonioni’s early films with mid-'80s Benetton ads: that’s Michelle Norris. One half of the creative duo Tropico Photo, Norris lives and works in Atlanta, but her art feels more grounded in some safe and unblemished island paradise somewhere far from the mess we’re dealing with within our borders. Still, there’s an air of unfinishedness to her portraits—or the sense that there’s some action just out of frame that we’ll never see—and that’s what keeps us scrolling.
Does a great song have to be good? Some of the most popular tunes in history are nonsensical, repetitive, or just plain bad, but none of that matters if they’re infectious. And Toto’s “Africa,” while maybe guilty of all three strikes, is 100%, unstoppable plague-levels of infectious. Billboard’s oral history of the song is almost as great as the song itself—even if, much like Toto’s surprise hit, nobody really asked for it.
One of the New Yorker’s crown jewels, David Grann has made a career of documenting the characters who make life exceptional, and the tales that make it seem stranger than fiction. We’ll admit we have yet to read “The White Darkness,” his first original piece for the magazine since 2012, as we’ve been saving it for a weekend on the couch with a hot cup of tea. But if history serves (and the Twitter chorus is right), his latest story is more than worth your time.
The words “concrete” and “ashtray” don’t inherently inspire much design envy, but the Grammont model from Canadian duo Concrete Cat proves there’s beauty in the unexpected. Throw a Mystery Secret in with your order and then see how long it will take you to wonder why more things aren’t made of concrete. (Baseball bats, cameras, and tiny cat incense holders aside.)
It’s been almost two years since Freetown Sound, but while we wait for Dev Hynes to finish up the last 23% of his upcoming fourth album, the ever-prolific musician released a new two-song EP. Hynes announced the two tracks—the low-fi “Christopher & 6th” and beat-heavy “June 12”—on Instagram, confirming they would not appear on the new album, and closed with a worthy reminder that we’ll pass on here: “Happy Black History Month. (all year).”
Last month, Mario Batali offered a mealy mouthed apology in response to numerous accusations of sexual misconduct. As part of said apology, Batali now-infamously included a recipe for Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls. Why? We have no idea. But Geraldine DeRuiter of The Everywhereist took Batali up on the half-baked idea and documented her process—and thoughts—along the way.
Chances are you’ll never actually see Donald Hanson’s digital piece “Permanent Redirect,” but that won’t stop you from trying. The work moves to a new URL every time someone sees it, making it impossible to know how to reach it or link to it at any given time. Whatever your interpretation might be, it certainly mirrors our own mindless use of the Internet in which we keep clicking and clicking though we know we should’ve stepped away from the computer hours ago.
If you follow Katja Blichfeld on Instagram, you know she’s long overdue for a feature profile. So it makes sense that with the second season premiere of High Maintenance just around the corner, she’s the subject of two this week: an as-told-to essay in Vogue and a cover story for The Cut. Both are worth your time, but Emily Gould’s sharp and nuanced portrait of a woman in the midst of a compelling transformation is really spectacular.
For as large as they loom in popular culture and American history, the origins of the Sicilian mafia are surprisingly mysterious. A new study in the Journal of Economic History (yet another lifestyle publication) proposes that the mafia came to fruition as a response to the rise in demand for oranges and lemons once it was discovered citrus fruit cures scurvy. They’ve been putting the squeeze on people ever since.
MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora is exactly what it sounds like: a journal dedicated to the work of black female photographers. Named for Mfon Essien, the young photographer who died tragically just one day before an exhibition of her work at the Brooklyn Museum was set to open, the biannual features work from 100 photographers from across the globe. Starting next month, the group will also begin accepting applications for their MFON Legacy Grant, to be awarded to a female photographer of African descent who “has demonstrated a commitment to exceptional image-making in the spirit of Mfon’s body of work.”
Murder, She Wrote has had a bit of a resurgence on Instagram in recent years. It seems the world has fallen back in love with Jessica Fletcher, New England’s most famous writer-detective (and possible serial killer), and her unique sense of style. But @interiorsofmudershewrote makes the case that it’s not just Fletcher’s look that’s worth remembering, but the garish and neon crime scenes, too.
Can you tell which of these chimps are related? Humans are quite good at recognizing “biological relatives through facial features,” but does that ability apply to our ultra-extended ones? Researchers need your help in figuring out how this trait evolved in humans and all you need to do is look at some cute chimp pictures. A real win-win.
Sustainably caught? Sure. Ethically farmed? Yes, please. But when was the last time the non-vegans among you gave any thought to the pain once felt by the tuna on your midday sandwich? Overwhelming evidence points to the fact that fish do, indeed, feel it. So the question is: now what?
According to a 1982 New York Times article, when violent children housed at the San Bernardino County Probation Department in California were put in an 8-foot by 4-foot “bubble gum pink” cell, they relaxed, stopped “yelling and banging,” and often fell asleep within 10 minutes. That’s probably the most disturbing fact we could find in our attempt to justify how much we love these magenta color therapy glasses from Sweetflag.
Floral designer Doan Ly’s still lifes look like they’ve been taken off the set of a ‘70s erotic film—in a good way. Ly’s use of light, angle, focus and color make her work more reminiscent of classic LP covers than the wedding arrangements they often are. It makes sense, then, that her New York studio, a.p. bio (also a class we nearly failed in high school), is dedicated to “elevating floral design to art,” a goal already more than met.
Here’s a thing you should do tomorrow: upon waking—without rising, turning on the lights, or checking Instagram—start your day with Just For Us, the new Francis and the Lights album that dropped as a post-holiday, pre-2018 surprise last week. The first track is called “Morning,” and it definitely makes for a good one. (Optional: sleeping in; getting yourself just the tiniest bit high.)
That the David Hockney retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art runs through a frigid winter in New York makes an odd kind of sense: the warmth his work radiates could heat a city. Our love for Hockney has only grown with time, and this exhibition is well worth yours. (And if you’re not from New York, you’ve only got a couple of months left to see the museum Pierce Brosnan stole a Monet from for free, so hurry up.)
After a year in which the current administration has sought to weaken environmental protections at every turn, the recent reissue of the EPA's 1977 Graphic Standards Manual feels especially timely. The team behind the book is donating a portion of the proceeds from every copy sold to Earthjustice, the nation’s largest nonprofit environmental law organization.
Sometimes you need a break from a break. Escape whatever family bonding or strife is going on with a joint and a 40-minute ride through the mountain peaks of Norway on the famous Flåm train line. And while virtually gliding through the snow is soothing with the sound on, we like to hit mute and pair the “journey” with our own musical choices.
Sitting. We all do it. But that shouldn’t stop you from buying How To Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh’s pocket-sized book on meditation. The Vietnamese Buddhist monk strings together short prompts for breathing exercises and self-reflection that are perfect for beginners or long-time practitioners, or people with short attention spans who just want to try something new. (The book is also a great gift or stocking stuffer that makes you look like a thoughtful and caring person even though you’re definitely buying it at the last minute.)
Veja sneakers are designed in France and sustainably made out of everything from recycled plastic bottles to tilapia skin to Hermès-approved silk. You can’t go wrong with any of their vintage-looking, athletic-inspired designs, but the silver pair above make a particularly perfect (and seasonally appropriate) antidote to white footwear fatigue.
Margaret Atwood once said, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” In Cat Person, the fiction selection in this week’s New Yorker, author Kristen Roupenian applies this premise to the banality of modern courtship with an acutely terrifying result.
Having only recently been introduced to Buffalo Zine, we can’t vouch for all the issues—especially since they re-think the design, layout and format of every installation. (Think: a send-up of ‘70s catalogues in one shipment followed by a hand-scrawled street ‘zine the next.) We can, however, vouch for the ones we've seen and for the fact that this indie fashion publication won the Stack Awards’ “Magazine of the Year” just last week.
Tuck one in a corner of your bookshelf, bring another as a hostess gift to the next dinner party you attend, and add the rest to your holiday wish list for anyone who’s asking: these three-inch tall ceramic spirits are each handmade and accordingly one of a kind. We’re partial to the bumpy dude dipped in green, but who says you have to pick just one?
The best new podcast is being made by inmates in San Quentin State Prison. Ear Hustle’s Earlonne Woods, Antwan Williams, and prison volunteer Nigel Poor have managed to record and produce a riveting series that takes a candid and honest look at what life on the inside is really like.
Turns out you don’t need to break the bank to eat a Michelin-starred meal, but the flight might cost you. The $1.50 braised chicken Chef Chan Hon Meng serves from his “Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle” food cart in Singapore has earned him the rare culinary honor, if not a ton of money.
Obsessed with the flight patterns of birds, photographer Xavi Bou has spent the last five years on his "Ornitographies" project. In his attempts at "making visible the invisible," Bou painstakingly layers stills from films of birds in motion to create beautiful, undulating, and near-abstract images of a nature that cannot be seen as a whole with the human eye.
“If you could broadcast your story to the world, what would you share?” This is the question Lifetime asked women across the country as part of their multimedia endeavor, #HerAmerica. From a gallerist of African-American art in Arkansas to a DREAMer in Vegas, a refugee in Nebraska to a struggling country musician in Nashville, every woman’s tale deserves to be told.
For people who also smoke weed. Sign up for the good stuff.