Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Le Louvre (France, Part Two)

Good evening!

Thanks for all your warm comments about the last blog post! I feel like I've been away from my daily posting ritual for a lifetime, and it's only been a little over a month. At any rate, back in the swing of things with a second missive about our week long, years overdue trip to the city of light. La France, vous me manquez!

I took this picture out of a window on the third floor-- again, do you see how ridiculously gorgeous everything is over there?
Preamble: when we put together the package at AAA, there were a myriad of packages and features you could add on to your trip, from bus tours of the city to guided walks to day trips to different regional attractions. I  was leery of getting an "americanized" version of the French experience, so we veto'd any extra "travel packages" outside of a day trip to the beaches at Normandy, and essentially told our travel agent how much money we wanted to spend for the two of us to fly to CDG, stay seven days, six nights in a clean, safe hotel, close to the metro and be able to get around town to whatever we wanted to see. One of the items I requested was a five day metro pass and a museum pass, the latter of which gives you two days from the time it's initially used to see as many museums as you can cram in. We really only used our pass for one day, but it was a MASSIVE DAY of dragging ourselves through the two main museums I wanted to see, the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay. But, for the present, let's talk Louvre.

The Louvre was about a hundred times bigger than I thought it was going to be. I know, it was on the cover of my 10th grade French textbook, it's a huge palace...but the wings and additions and floors of this palace go on for seemingly forever in sculpture after sculpture, painting after painting, cultural treasure after cultural treasure. Upstairs, downstairs, over stairs, down one wing, down another-- we spent I think actually a full six hours just walking. I found myself gawking and hissing, "Look, look!" at Matthew as each collection unfolded. Overall verdict? One of the most amazing things I've seen in my life. No joke, you could stay here for a year and not see everything. Oh, and the outside's not bad looking, either.

No photoshop, it really is just that gorgeous over there, everywhere you go.
While we were in hour five of our nine hour flight, somewhere over the Atlantic, I broke down halfway through the wretched in-flight screening of The Tourist (how was that movie made? WHY was that movie made?) and started reading the Rick Steves' guide to Paris I'd downloaded on my phone earlier in the week (thanks, Nashville Public Library Overdrive). I tried to internalize some of the big names so I'd be sure not miss anything stupid-amazing, but the trick to the Louvre is (and the thought continues to boggle my mind)-- everything is stupid-amazing. There are some jewels in the crown of the collection, but you know how if you were visiting a museum in the US (other than say the Art Institute in Chicago, or the Moma, or the Whitney, or the Smithsonian), there's ONE world class thing you need to make sure and see, and everything else is good-to-fair? At the Louvre, everything you laid eyes on would be that one amazing thing in an American museum. Their worst display beats some museum's entire collections. I know that sounds so naive, but it was my honest reaction.

Also, the physical building of the Louvre is a work of art unto itself. If you could catch your breath from looking down and around, you would look up, and see something like this in EVERY. ROOM. Louis XIV abandoned the Louvre as a royal residence in the late 17th century in favor of Versailles, but seriously? Seriously:


I'm not too grand to admit that Matthew and I were both impressed and left a little tittering about the number of nude male statues in the Roman division. I don't know if it was sleep deprivation or my baser natures taking over, but I had to go into a stairwell to try to stop laughing like a middle schooler about Bub's bon mots about the proliferation of genitalia on display (we're trying to keep this a family blog, but ask me in person sometime the things he said, they're still funny to me now). He's not wrong:

"And then Claudius was all...and I was all...and then HE was alllll..." Plus ça change...

Do you see the Romulus and Remus representation here, or are you too distracted by Lord Nude-i-tude?

He was like, "Take a closeup! Come on, I will never ask you for anything ever again." I demurred and we settled on this vacation snap. Ah, to show it to our kids some day.
On a more serious note, this gorgeous  statue was in its own alcove at the top of a stair. I'd seen Winged Victory before in some coffee table art survey book, but it was truly magnificent in real life. Why did I have to do a weird zoomy thing with my cell phone? You can tell the very important pieces of art because they are literally swarmed, from the time the place opens until it closes, by gaggles of tourists taking multiple pictures, videos, etc on their own phones. Even at six feet tall, this was the best vantage I could take from the ten deep crowd around the base of the sculpture. It sounds dumb, but I love this more for not having its head... the woman to which those wings belong could be anyone. More on how different a museum experience can be where photography is banned later.


Matthew continues to take the Louvre very seriously:

The Renaissance wing was much more my speed. I remember thinking ruefully as I took the picture below that however well the picture turned out, it wouldn't hold a candle to seeing an illuminated painting like this in real life. I thought about how I hate all those Michaels-y prints you see from time to time of "famous Renaissance works" because there's something so tired and flat to them, and whatever breath-of-life a truly great artist brings to the picture has been snuffed out. Everything I saw in this wing was just proof positive that that assumption was 100% correct. MAN ALIVE the gorgeous things there.


Lots of photos from this portion of the exhibition hall, I was a bit of a shutterbug:

There was a story in the little accompanying placard about this scorpion, but I can't remember what it was. Side note: it is metal as all get out to hang out with your ladies of the court and your pet scorpion. This is the story I am hoping is happening in this tableau. 
Baby Jesus in a proto-"boop"...the gilded crown on his head and Mary's lit up in the light like they were electric...
More of the stunning architecture inside and above. I couldn't stop craning my neck to see

This was part of a longer, rectangular portrait I think of four people...the black background made the images so stark it looked like they were looking back from behind a plate glass window.

Baby's first Boticelli...I kept having to remind myself that yes THE BOTTICELLI painted this, with his hands, hundreds and hundreds of years ago.

The head of John the Baptist, who is look surprisingly chill.
 And, of course, what you come to the Louvre to see. Voilà Lisa, devant le Mona Lisa


Because of a crush of people in line ahead of me, I didn't get to look eye-to-eye to La Giaconde, but I was impressed even at a distance at how mysterious the coloring makes the picture feel.


Another major league part of the collection was the impossibly (no, seriously, impossibly) long-lined Ingres nude, La Grande Odalisque. Another fabulous moment of "I know that picture!", which happened again and again in the museum.


As with this, Jacques-Louis David's depiction of the coronation of Napoleon and Josephine. Are you seeing how IMMENSELY LARGE this painting is. I mentioned in the last post my college trip to NYC-- while there, I was able to see Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avingnon and Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, two super-star famous works of art that most people could do a dummy sketch of for you from memory, because goodness, they're that famous. The only thing being-- seeing these pictures in an art book or reproduced on someone's tote bag or in a poster bin at a college poster sale, doesn't communicate to the viewer the context of the SIZE of these pieces. Picasso's great work was as high as a billboard...Starry Night could fit in a shopper tote, with room for groceries. Similarly, this piece was like...."WAIT, WHAT. How...it's ALWAYS been that big?!" Sounds silly, but it's true. I think of how daunting that empty canvas must have appeared to him, and how amazing it would be to step back from it what would seem an interminable time later and know it's "done". Fun fact: David painted himself into the crowd in one of the viewing boxes, I think-- I wish I'd known that when I was there so I could have gotten a snap.


The artist himself, in a self portrait that was startling for how realistic it looked in real life.



More of the architecture:



A quick selfie ("Wanna take a selfie?" because Matthew's late-to-the-party catchphrase of this trip) :


Oh, right, recognize this? My dad, when looking over my travel snaps, related to me the story of his 1966 Christmas gift from his admittedly kooky/wonderful uncle George. "Oh yeah! The Venus di Milo! I used to have one of those, on my desk when I was kid." "Bit racy for a kid, right?" "Yep, and there was a David that went with it, too, about ten inches high, plastic. My uncle George gave them to me for Christmas!" "How old were you?!" "Six...seven...something like that." "Isn't that kind of weird?!" Dad ((after some thought)): "Yeah, I guess it was kind of weird!" An early dose of culture or a strange tchochke for a grade schooler to be waking up to next to his school books in the LBJ adminstration? You be the judge. I was flabbergasted by how large the statue is, and, again, like Winged Victory, at the careless, shortsightedness of the sacking and bombing that went on during whatever sacking and bombing lost Venus her arms was. Can you imagine? "Ah, those filthy Romans can just sculpt another one when they rebuild their city...haha, like NEVER...!" To the victors the spoils of war, though...

Me: "Look, ma...ARMS!"
I asked three separate tour guides, in French, how to find this last treasure, and after the eighth windy turn and twelfth staircase and second reorienteering of the exhibit map, we finally found it-- the Cooooode of Hammmmuuuuraaaabi:


That's right, one of the earliest known "deciphered writings of significant length in the world". My ninth grade history textbook has some pretty hardcore excerpts from this in a little infographic box that still seems of interest to me, lo, these many years later. Lots of death and dismemberment, including the very famous:
Ex. Law #196. "If a man destroy the eye of another man, they shall destroy his eye. If one break a man's bone, they shall break his bone. If one destroy the eye of a freeman or break the bone of a freeman he shall pay one mana of silver. If one destroy the eye of a man's slave or break a bone of a man's slave he shall pay one-half his price."
Dude, eyes and bones flyin. People and Babylon weren't messing around. Honestly, though, seeing the little tiny inscriptions was extremely cool. Also, thinking about ancient Mesopotamians walking up to this thing and squinting, going "NO, SERIOUSLY, YOU OWE ME LIKE THREE COWS. CHECK IT OUT. RIGHT HERE."

After hours, and hours, and hours, of art and walking, walking and art, we finally broke down and asked one of museum docents where the cafeteria was (still in French! I was going to use as much French as possible during this trip!). He said he was actually about to go get something to eat, so he'd be happy to walk us over the the restaurant and cafeteria, and chatted amiably to us about the exhibits and the different foods at the restaurant until we parted company. "Enjoy your visit!" he essayed in English with a genuine smile and wave....because I told you! EVERYONE WAS SO NICE.


At the cafeteria, though there were tempting hot dishes of every kind, we just grabbed an Orangina, a Coke Zero, and a Chanrdonnay to quell our considerable thirst. Item one: the Cokes in France also have the same marketing as the ones in America, except in French. This label invites me to "Partagez un Coca-Cola avec Loïc", the French equivalent of "Share a Coke with Luke". So here's to you, Loïc. Also, the Coke was aaaabooout as expensive as the Chardonnay (I think 2 euros?). Think about that for a minute.

And last but not least, here's a photo of the "McDo's" (That's right, McDonalds IN Paris) in the mini shopping center attached to the Louvre. Can you see a Royal with cheese? I was way too tired to find out if it was listed, but here's a blurry picture of it anyway:


Anyway, there's part two of our Parisian adventures! What did you think? Do you have any bucket list art items to see in real life? Have you been to the Louvre? What's the last piece of art that really knocked your socks off? Do you tend more towards museums or more towards leisure or more towards oddities when you travel? I feel like our trip hit all three!

Next blog, I'll have to tell you about the catacombs, Père Lachaise cemetery, and the world class taxidermy museum/shop we visited (almost in time for Halloween, right?). Thanks again for reading! I'll check back in soon. Til then, à bientôt!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

How Can You Keep Her Down on the Farm, After She's Seen Par-ee? (France, Part One)

Ugh, you guys! It has been too long!!

I've been busier than a bee at my new job in the publishing industry, and man-- it has been a ball so far. I work in a division that supplies academic titles to university libraries across the U.S. of A... and between getting to geek out about EC comic reissues (fabulous), essay collections on Marguerite Duras (FABULOUS), short fiction reviews, and exhibition catalogs of the work of art deco glassmakers (be still my beating heart), guess what, I am loving it. I can't get away from books, and I don't want to! My only break from nonstop title categorizing has been a one week trip to Paris, France. You heard right! I was scared to even tell anyone about it in case it fell through at the last minute, but passports and guidebooks in hand, we set off for Charles de Gaulle airport out of Chicago O'Hare a week after my 29th birthday. And just shy of a month before our first wedding anniversary! I'm telling you, things have been nuts this side of the computer screen. 

BUT ANYWAY, FRANCE. PLEASE LET ME TELL YOU ALL ABOUT FRANCE.

I ordered that coffee in French. My first francophone restaurant interaction!  I feel like we spent a semester in high school French II preparing me for this moment. Judges be like, "9.8...9.9...10! 10! 10!"
I have probably said it before, but I've actively studied French since about ninth grade. After a chance dip into the world of French New Wave in mid-high school and the rigors of a top-notch French class helmed by Mlle. Murphree, I graduated from the magnet I went to with such a degree of fluency that I was able to skip past my advanced credit (which only allowed me into like a second level class) straight into a 300 level course freshman year of college. Circa 2003, every waking moment was watching the complete Truffaut oeuvre with paper taped over the English subtitles on the tv (yep, VHS tapes from the library. I feel old just saying that). I remember watching the haunting La Chambre Verte the morning of my AP French exam in a perfect fit of pique. My college conversation professor, teaching the course entirely in the target language, was a dead ringer for Michael Caine of the present day-- an elderly Australian in a driver's cap and navy blue Member's Only jacket who had studied at the Sorbonne on a linguistics scholarship and spoke Chinese, Greek, and French as well as he did the Gallic tongue. When I piped up in the first class, eager to respond to some question posed to the group, he answered back, "Very well, mademoiselle. And you've obviously spent some time abroad, your accent is very good." Face burning, I replied "En fait, je n'ai jamais quitté les États-Unis." And it was true-- I'd learned all my francophone ways making cassette tapes of the dialogue to Jean Paul Belmondo movies. It was way easier for me to talk like a fifties' small-time hood in French than maybe talk about the current state of affairs in l'Hexagone, but hey! I was happy my accent was killin' it, blank as my non-existant passport would have been at the time.

"Le dimanche matin, c'est le moment revé...pour faire la grasse matinée." Chantez pour moi, JPB!
That class with Michael Caine's aussie doppelganger ended with the semester, and I was stultifyingly bored in most of my other French classes. The program at my college was weak, and though a deep infatuation with the music and life of Serge Gainsbourg the next year kept me a little invested in deciphering old French magazine articles online and lyrics on mix cds, mostly I would show up for exams and still average an A in the course. Years passed, and while I graduated with a minor and ended up teaching French at an inner city high school for three years, the latter of those activities was more about keeping kids from killing each other than the passé simple of common verbs. Going straight from high school to college to a grown up career, there just hadn't been time or money or, honestly, enough chutzpah on my part to get across the Atlantic to the place I'd dreamed about in front of my tv screen, as Jeanne Moreau sang about the whirlpool of life. As I spent most of the spring of this year reading books about how to transform your life and reach goals you never should have put aside, I realized that if I planned to start a family in the next year or so here, "someday" might end up being "never"...and wouldn't that just have been too sad for a girl who was truly Gallic at heart?

So I called AAA (did you know they do travel agency stuff? Spoiler: They do travel agency stuff.), wrote some checks out of funds socked away in our savings account, and started studying maps of the different arondissements. Truth be told, I was so overwhelmed with my first two weeks on a new job and my birthday, that I didn't get to do my honor student due-dilligence of having the métro routes memorized before I went. Luckily, they have an app for that. Our plane from Nashville was delayed two and half hours, and we literally had to beg them to let us on the about-to-depart plane in Chicago. While my checked-at-the-gate vintage naugahyde hard case suitcase (empty but for a pair of sneakers and an umbrella, because I anticipated bringing home souvenirs) didn't make it to France until the next day, we touched down in Paris around 9 AM French time. Which, omg, crash course in how time zones work, was 2 AM NASHVILLE TIME. I'd always understood that jetlag was a thing, and time zones were a thing, but I felt like the near-hysteria I was at after a nine hour flight and later, in the afternoon, 24 hours of being awake, was a real "whuh, whoa, ok" for this little non-traveler.

This was our hotel, in the 10ème, very close to la Gare du Nord. We could see Sacré-Coeur very well, and the very tip of the Eiffel Tower, from our windows on the seventh floor...see those x's in the dormers waaaaay up on top of the building? That was us!


Check out the view from said window:


Seriously? Are you even serious right now? The thing I would like to set out here on the beginning of recounting my trip is that I am, for better or for worse, completely predisposed to thinking something I'm really excited about will be terrible before I actually experience it. I prepare for something to be awful to protect myself from having my heart broken when things inevitably turn out for the worse. France, after the fourteen year old build up of anticipation, was so COMPLETELY WONDERFUL that the only regret I have from the trip is that I didn't get over my apprehensions and go sooner. Or that we didn't get to spend a year there rather than a week. At any rate, if you have expectations, whatever they are, seriously, my experience of it surpassed them.

"Uh, we're moving here, right? What do we have to do in order to move here?" --Me

The short list of things I was surprised about:
  • How clean everything was. I tend to think of Nashville as being clean but the boulevards and cafes were immaculate everywhere we went. Movie-shoot clean. Compare that to my trip to New York City in college, where I was actually staggered by the sight and smell of a towering ziggurat of plastic garbage bags in every alley I passed. Oh, and the rat the size of a cat that at one point crossed my path. None of that in France, which I would have somehow expected for a city of its size?
  • How friendly everyone was. My initial, long held fears of being scoffed at by natives for my slightly-imperfect-after-years-of-disuse French were completely unfounded. SO. COMPLETELY. UNFOUNDED. The biggest problem I had in learning French was never comprehension or reading or vocabulary, or even conjugation, but having the confidence to speak without second guessing my word choice in front of a classroom full of people ready to remind me that it was the plus que parfait form, NOT the simple passé composé. Believe it or not, for someone who dresses as odd duck as I do, I have confidence issues. Based on the enthusiastic and kind responses of people to conversation and the odd "which way is the this?" question, however, I was trying to make up reasons to speak to people in restaurants and stores and historic sites by the second day. And never was I disappointed by how charming and nice they were.
  • How little time I spent shopping or on my phone. Uh, I LIVE to shop, and I found myself balling past stalls of knickknacks and paper goods on the Seine's Left Bank to try and get to the next restaurant or museum. I wanted to be in France and my natural hunter-gatherer instinct was taken over by wanting to see EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE. Weird, right? I only bought four things. Now next time, if I get to go to Les Puces, all bets are off, friends...
  • How not-homesick I was. I have never been on a trip that was longer than three days and not woken up day four going "WHY AM I STILL HERE. I want to be home with my records and my books and my stove and my own bed!" Though we went every DAY from 8 am til about 8 pm, walking, taking the metro, visiting places-- and though we were bone tired by the day of our departure, I was literally tearing up in the shuttle on the way to the airport, listening to "Les Initiales B.B." on France Bleu on the radio and our cab driver have a low key discussion in French about when his girlfriend's parents were coming to town, "Non, non, mon amour, j'ai dit pas ça ,"watching the store fronts and the other cars zooming by, because I didn't want to leave. But not to worry! I'll just have to go back again tout de suite! :)
Here's my sweet little husband, who, as always, is the best travel companion a human could possibly ask for. He stayed positive when I put us on the wrong metro line at least twice, when I made him wait in line for three hours, listening to possibly the worst electric guitar busker of all time during all three of these hours, so I could go to the Catacombes (more on that later), and even when I dragged him out of bed at four in the morning so we could catch an early train to the beaches at Normandy. Shoutout to Matthew also for being just as much into France as I was. That might have partially been because our hotel was in walking distance of a painfully hip, 1980's video game themed pizza parlor and cocktail bar, but...again, more on that later.



I've got to go get on with my Saturday, but I hope to update you more on our trip next week, and try to find some rhythm or balance to posting here on a regular basis. I've missed your comments and I've missed blabbing to you about the world at large! Don't worry, I'm still reading sixties' home decorating manuals and hoarding old photos and books, so I'll chime in on those again soon as time permits. In the meantime, HOW ARE YOU? What have you been up to? Have I missed any insane sales or vintage goings on? I'd love to hear anything and everything from you.

Well, that's it for today-- have a FABULOUS weekend and I'll talk to you soon! Au revoir!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dispatch From New Job (1953 Leather Upholstery)

Well, how's tricks, kids? Long time no see!

I've been almost a week at my new gig, and I'm liking it very much so far! I'm working in approvals for academic titles at a publishing distributor (read: bibliophile HEAVEN), which so far is a lot of reading titles and author bios and skimming books to see what university would want what book and why. At least that's what I'll be doing when I get a handle on things-- at the moment, I'm asking a lot of questions and sitting through a lot of training and HOPING to do something like that with some degree of facility at the end of it all. What strikes me the most is how similar it is to my first week of college, yea those eleven years ago-- lots of trying to impress upon people how capable/smart/useful you are when you're feeling anything but! I started at the same time as two other fellows, and the entire division is relatively new, so it's not so bad as far as having to ask questions constantly. And Lord knows I've been enjoying getting to work with books up close and personal! Other items on the radar, next week, I turn 29, and the week after that, Bub and I are off to La France (Je ne plaisante pas!)...it sounds like I'm making things up. "AND I won the lottery...AND I was voted president of Mars..." But it's really true! I've been having to pinch myself lately for how thankful I am about the way things are shaking out. Keep a good thought for me that someone doesn't come and explain the Alan Funt nature of these recent occurrences to me. :)

I've got to get back to business, but I've missed talking kitsch to you all, though! Have you found anything good out at the sales lately? Seen any amazing feats of vintage wonder? How are things in your neck of the woods? I can't stay and chat but I thought I would leave you with this 1953 two-page ad from (you guessed it) House and Garden magazine on the wonders of leather upholstery. If you ask me, it looks pretty wonderful. Let me know what you think of them if you're still out there!

Have a great Thursday! I hope to talk to you soon!

Lisa



                        






                              



              

               


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Photo Thursday/Friday: So Long, Library! (Vintage Nashville Public Library Photos, 1914-1962)

Good afternoon!

I hate to say it, but the time has come, folks-- today is my last day at the Nashville Public Library! After four years of service, I'm hanging up my reference desk spurs for an exciting new position a little ways out of town. Nerd that I am, it's still in the book business...and I'll have to tell you all the details about it as I figure them out myself! I start at the new gig on Monday. I'm not sure what that means for the future of She Was a Bird, especially in the next few weeks as I'm transitioning into a totally different work environment, but hopefully I'll still be spitting vintage on a semi-regular basis right here. So stay tuned! 

To commemorate this life event, I thought I would shamelessly borrow some photos from Nashville Public Library's Digital Collection of photos to show you the place (or at least the precursors of the place-- our building only dates to 2001, but its reputation precedes it!) I've been proud to call my home-away-from- home since 2010. I'm taking tomorrow off from blogging to celebrate, but not to worry-- I'll be back sometime next week to tell you all the news that's fit to print. Keep a good thought for me that I make the professional leap smoothly!! Find great stuff! Have a good weekend! We'll talk soon. :)

-Lisa

Carnegie Library, Nashville, Tenn., circa 1918 (source)

Photograph of the circulation desk of the Nashville Public Library, circa 1955 (source)
Carnegie Library, Nashville, Tenn., circa 1918 (source)

The circulation desk of the Nashville Public Library, circa 1948 (source)
Photograph of the reading room of the Nashville Public Library, circa 1953 (source)
Photograph of the Young Moderns Den of the Nashville Public Library, circa 1960 (source)
Photograph of the Nashville Public Library Airport Reading Room, circa 1962 (source)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Art Totes (MoMA Store Online)

Good afternoon!

I have been a luh-haaazy so and so today, I will tell you what! If I'm 100% honest, I would have to admit that a good portion of the morning was devoted to watching Alfred Hitchcock Hour and browsing the MoMA store online. The former yielded this episode with a creepy Bruce Dern and this episode with later Family Affair dad Brian Keith, the latter these gorgeous tote bags from the museum's gift selections. I am seriously in the market for a big tote bag with some kind of flair to it, and don't these just fit the bill to a tee.

Come take a look!

UNIQLO Jean-Michel Basquiat Collage Tote Bag
Q: Jean Michel Basquiat? A: Jean Michel YES. I was googling his name and tote this morning, which clued me in to MoMA's tote bag holdings in the first place. I wish this was one of his more intricate drawings, or on a darker background so it looks a little more dramatic, but as it is, I can't believe this just popped up at the top of my search results. Thank you, internet. Also, this exchange at the non-fiction desk: Me to my friend Jesse: I wish they'd done one of his self portraits or something instead of this, people are going to think I just made it myself. Jesse: So, one of his more tortured, painful pieces of art-- Me: ((sheepishly)) For me to carry my lunch in or whatever. #thedayimhaving #consumerist

UNIQLO Andy Warhol Flowers Tote Bag
When I started teaching and needed something other than a Jansport backpack to carry my lesson plans and grade book to and from school, I had the TJ Maxx Andy Warhol market cornered on tote bags. I must have had five or six of them, the ones I can remember being pink Elvis on a yellow background, "Happy Bug Day", a black and white striped one with a pink cat, and my favorite, Jackie Kennedy on a red background. The only problem with these bags is that the silver material on the straps (with quotes like "If I weren't me, I think I'd like to be Jackie Kennedy" and "In the future, everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes") flakes off when you put too much weight on the sturdy canvas bag itself, and it looks bad. Uuurgh. So, maybe this print of his famous flowers series would be nice!

Or maaaaybe this Keith Haring bag:

UNIQLO Keith Haring Turquoise Tote Bag
It is both a) the slickest looking of all four of these bags but conversely b) the one that looks the most like something from Forever 21, due to Haring's oft-copied, youthful street designs. Have you seen the documentary The Universe of Keith Haring? Watching one of his wall high murals being completed at time lapse speed is really neat.

And back to the Warhol:
UNIQLO Andy Warhol Soup Can Tote Bag
You can't get much more iconic than Andy Warhol's soup can series, and here it IS. Not some knock-off, but the real deal (or as real as a print of a soup can forty some years after the initial frisson of newness struck the art world).

Bonus: this bag by artist Lauren DiCioccio...about twice as expensive as the other four, but the cheeky play on throwaway plastic bags (as a luxe, satin and hand embroidered satchel) is wonderful. Maybe I could get this and carry it as my purse with one of the other totes. It's almost my birthday, after all!!

Thank You Bag
How about you? Which one of these bags would you schlep to work as a reminder of the outside world? What artwork would you like to see on a tote bag? Do you have a go-to brand or website for fun, novelty items that are more kitsch than kawaii? Let me know! I'm in the market!!

That's all for today, but I'll catch you back here tomorrow. Have a great Wednesday! We'll talk then.

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