23 December 2006

Style Shout-Out II: Our Tiny Red Lady


This shout-out's been a long time coming. In a poem I wrote in 1999, I referred to Tori Amos "Our Lady of Tiny Red Terrors." She was "Our Lickable Mother." choirgirl hotel is still my favorite Tori Amos album. I love its aesthetics! It was her high-water mark, fashion-wise. Though, to digress, the fashion styling on the Boys For Pele album art (slim white jeans with beige tuxedo stripe, strappy black slip-ons from which her crimson toenails peep in the brougham/Talula photo) are nothing to sneeze at? And who didn't almost piss their pants at the vegetable-bulb-as-choker Crucify image?

But for choirgirl hotel, Tori got electronic for the first time. It was compelling and strange after Pele and the previous albums. On the album cover, hair floating up, she reminds me of nothing so much as a mermaid. She's just fuckin glamorous on the single covers for Cruel and Jackie's Strength maxi single. As a 23 year old living in Manhattan, I endlessly trawled Virgin and Tower, obsessed with these images. I was breathless at the glamorous ankle boots she wears in the Spark video. Of course, as Kevyn Aucoin, may he rest, would point out, Tori Amos has the greatest face: her bottom lip and the wise-looking span of her cheekbones are breath-taking.

The pedal-to-the-metal transformations of Strange Little Girls would have been impossible without the fashionability of choirgirl hotel. (Yeesh, the black dress she wears in the Strange Little Girl video is gorge, and her hair has a tad more blonde, if I remember correctly.) The Don't Make Me Come to Vegas single cover is probably the most perfect photo taken of Tori Amos.

But more than that: I believe images or Tori wouldn't be nearly as compelling if she weren't lousy with talent. I bought Strange Little Girls in 2001 out of torobligation, but realized listening to it again in 2004 that it's a superb album. I love Scarlet's Walk for A Sorta Fairytale--duh--but came to appreciate a track I usually skip when I let the cd play out last week. Our Lady rules.

13 December 2006

Rhymes With "Quadracci"

Bambini, guess what Ms. Kansas discovered last night??! A sucker for Milwaukee's old buildings and an admitted history nerd, she could not pass up Larry Widen and Judi Anderson's book Silver Screens: A Pictorial History of Milwaukee's Movie Theaters. When she read that none other than LIBERACE was one of Milwaukee's native sons, Ms. Kansas's jaw bounced off the floor. OMKG!!! Liberace!! She couldn't quite believe it. It's too perfect. And while her taste is markedly different from Wladziu's--that's Lee's first name. Kids, it just doesn't get more Milwaukee than that--Ms. Kansas believes that all style beacons are to be embraced. Why, if this were Madison, Liberace, The Musical! would have run long ago at Broom Street Theatre.

10 December 2006

Dead Cold Style

Oy! Sorry, bambini. It has been a...challenging time for Ms. Kansas, leading her to neglect her posting duties. She did not mean to leave you all without a lifeline!! Well, so, it's not hard to see that winter is upon us, and few things make Ms. Kansas grumpier than trying to juggle the need to look stylish with the need to keep her tokhes from freezing off. In fact, the last time Ms. Kansas talked to her mama, Mrs. Oklahoma, she was fretting over her style baby keeping warm. Currently, Ms. Kansas's warmest coat is a manky, shapeless double-breasted thing matted in a few places that she scooped up at an anarchist clothing swap in Madison in 2004. Style truth is stranger than fiction. Ms. Kansas sees looks she'd prefer on the girlies riding the bus, but large-buttoned knockoff Marc Jacobs coats with adorable detailing and teetering suede boots likely aren't the answer. Hmm... What to do??

Off the top of her head, Ms. Kansas is feeling the second-hand fur. Ms. Kansas does, indeed, believe fur is murder--but she signs off on thrift store furs because buying second-hand is the responsible low-consumption thing to do, that shit is warm and, honey, that fur been killed. So, march up into some place like St Vinny's, Madison's second-hand Harrods, because those old furs are waiting for you, chile. If you're afraid you can't carry off a fur, Ms. Kansas suggests one of those Britcool heavy coats those boys in Oasis used to wear. Only make sure it's not too heavy or your silhouette will be ruined. Lastly, there is the dependable puffer from a Wisconsin firm like Lands' End. Again, you must watch your silhouette.

One of Ms. Kansas's secrets that she will share with you right now--happy holidays, kids--is wearing more than one winter scarf. It's very much the look. Ok, now get some faux furry boots or Moon Boots. (Ms. Kansas lives in dismay of her Sorel boots, but, honey, her feet don't get cold, now, do they? She is still looking for an adorable boot that can stand up to even a winter in St Paul. She will keep you posted.) Top it off with a hat with a little popcorn ball. Off you go.