Monday, March 25, 2013

Project Runway 11.5: "I like everything but country."

Ohhhhhhkay, so I have officially become so far behind in recapping these Project Runway episodes on here that it's crossed over from "hopefully amusing" lateness to "why would anyone still even read these" lateness. Apparently, recapping a show on my own for fun while I'm simultaneously recapping THREE other shows for AfterEllen was not the greatest idea. Let's be honest, recapping three shows at a time is sort of exhausting me. And, okay, let's also be honest, I am officially "complaining" about GETTING PAID TO WRITE ABOUT TV SHOWS. THAT'S IT. KNOCK ME OUT EVERYONE WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME.

*shakes head* Phew! Okay, better now. Knocking yourself out is tough but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

In better news, I'm on "spring break" this week, which means my workload is slightly less, which means I have already made a list of 389432743 things I want to do so as to not actually be able to relax. One of those things is catching up on these recaps, because the truth is, I am actually strangely and completely in love with this season, so I want to get caught up and be more relevant.

This episode, numero cinco, is the Miranda Lambert challenge, which I found enjoyable because Miranda Lambert is fun but also a little less interesting than some of the challenges to come, so let's zoom through it so we can get to the really good stuff.

We begin with some team change-ups, which we don't have to go into detail about, other than knowing that we are NO LONGER IN THE MEGATEAMS. HAAAAALELUJAH. No more having to type Dream Team or Keeping it Fucking Real! Thank you, Lord. We're now in teams of two. Oh, and they're designing looks for Miranda Lambert. Hahaaaa, in case I didn't spoil that enough yet.

I best know her as The Hot One Who's Married to Blake Shelton, and after a serious Voice addiction I survived a few months ago, I. LOVE. BLAKE. SHELTON. And so by association I assume I love her? Anyway, they have to create one performance look and one red carpet look, so the teams of two will work out swell with each designer getting to do their own thang. Amanda feels pretty good because she's from Nashville; the designer who's definitely most out of their league is poor Tu, who I'm not sure has ever heard country music before. But he heard someone say that she's like the Lady Gaga of country and he knows a little about Gaga so LET'S DO THAT! Which eventually causes Tim to be so worried that he TAKES OFF THE GLASSES.

Everyone else though seems to be chugging along alright, except for Matt, who is just in a very dark place today. When Tim asks him about his design, he's all, "Maybe I'll do this, maybe I'll do this, ehhh, I don't know..." with the confidence and enthusiasm of a wobbly sad fish. He's partnered with Michelle, on whom my Slight Crush I Don't Understand is still building, and who is a good pair for him. But still. He says to the camera, "It's weird to be my age, and still struggle with insecurities, you know?" WE KNOW, MATT. Every single one of us knows, no matter what age. Anyone who doesn't is lying. Or just an asshole, and who needs those?

Bear hugs, child.
Daniel, who I typically love, is also feeling pretty much in love with himself, which he probably needs to calm down a bit from. AND we discover that Amanda's brother who's in Maroon 5 looks pretty much like Amanda With a Beard. So, there's that.

Now onto the runway, where it's Appreciate Heidi's Tiny Leather Skirt Time.

I appreciate you.
And Miranda's here with her hair back real tight, which I am not a huge fan of, although she does look lovely in that tight leather thing she's got goin' on.

And now, some highlights:

It's really hard to tell from the screencap, but this is Amanda's simple navy dress FILLED WITH FRINGE, and when the model walks, the fringe flows so beautifully. It's easy and comfortable and fits in with the sexy country theme and I would wear this if I could.

I also ended up really liking Tu's, even though it absolutely does not fit Miranda Lambert at all. But the structured lines of the top are very cool, and very Tu-like, so I dig it.

Aaaand the rest I either thought were somewhat boring or ugly, so let's hear what the judges have to say.

Let's start with Richard and Stanley. Richard took some black mesh and dangled a whole bunch of leather and sparkly things off it.

AND THE JUDGES LOVED IT. HEIDI SAID IT LOOKED EXPENSIVE. HUH? I mean, as evidenced from my love of Amanda's fringe, I like things that dangle and things that sway and move; I like things that are shiny; they are all in fact some of my favorite things. But the whole time Richard was working on this, it just looked like a trainwreck. But Miranda totally loved it too so what do I know? I did, however, think Stanley's runway outfit was cool. Classy with a slight edge, and a bit of sex with the wide boob opening. Not exactly mind blowing, but good.

The other team on the top is Amanda and Benjamin. Benjamin's dress seems rather plain to me, but everyone else loves it. I think construction wise, it is impressive in the fact that there are no seams and it's so fitted and so smooth and I understand that. But, eh? But still, glad they also loved Amanda's dress.

In the bottom two pairs, we first have Michelle and Matt. They hate Michelle's leather fringe necklace and her overall look, but to Michelle's credit, she fights for it, without being totally obnoxious. And I agree; I also like the crazy fringe necklace and the vest is bad-ass. Matt meanwhile, I feel like his look wasn't horrible, but he was just sooooo sad about it, even while describing it. Michelle did jump in and try to over explain his own depression about it, which probably wasn't necessary, but Miranda gave him a good talking to about believing in himself. He did tell her, "You're cool as shit," and she said, "Thanks for thinking I'm cool," and I liked that and ugh Matt I just like you so much you're wearing bright blue pants and a great scarf don't be sad you're a good person.

The other pair on the bottom is Daniel and Samantha, two of my faves, but their pieces are sort of cringe worthy today. Daniel was sooooo in love with the way he treated the leather on the top of his dress, and everyone HATES. IT. Especially Nina. Nina hates it so much she eventually, after rambling about how awful it is, disintegrates into just saying "BAD, BAD, BAD" with Heidi hiding back laughter behind her note cards. For Samantha, they basically said, "You dress more interesting than the clothes you make, so stop doing that," which is a criticism I also feel often on Project Runway. Matt, for instance, look at your outfit compared to what you made! Look at your cool yellow necklace! Look at your choices!

"Between a napkin and a tablecloth."
When the verdicts come down, Richard's black mess of a thing wins. His happiness is LIKE THIS! Which is hard to deny.

The cutting block, however, lands on Matt. Sad, sad Matt. :(

:( :( :(
While Tim usually says the right thing after eliminations, this time he tells Matt that he feels it was a self-fulfilling prophecy, which while TRUE, and Matt agrees that he "self sabotages," that probably still doesn't feel very good. He doesn't quite understand why his confidence was so shaken, but he says still, an older version of himself would have found excuses to not even show up to Project Runway in the first place. And he knows that just showing up with a clear head, for him, is an accomplishment. And how true is that? It's really true, is what it is.

Keep fighting the good fight, Matt. I'd love to have a drink with you in New Orleans some time, at least in my head.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Project Runway 11.4: Hard & Soft & Bette

This is a BIG EPISODE, Y'ALL. A NEAR PERFECT EPISODE, if you will. As this is not merely the "unconventional" challenge (which I luuuuuurve), but also the BETTE MIDLER GUEST JUDGE CHALLENGE. Which really IS everything.

I also love the idea for this unconventional challenge, which is using materials from a flower shop AND a hardware store, for a combo of hard and soft. Perfect. Oh, and the workroom is filled with candles as Heidi and Tim tell the designers about it (Heidi is repping for the hardware store, obvs; Gunny likes the flowers), because the challenge is technically called the Glade 2-in-1 challenge, because the flower shop/hardware store combo is JUST LIKE A GLADE 2-IN-1 CANDLE.

Heidi + polka dots = yes yes yes!
Then there's a bit of team switcharoos, as Dream Team is down to five players and Team Keeping It Real has eight. So DT can choose two from TKIR; they choose Stanley and Layana.

And the world rejoiced, and it was good.
And then TKIR got to choose someone from DT, just for an extra kick of drama. Barely hesitating, they chose Michelle, Girl From Portland Who I Thought Was Awful At First But Who I am Now Kind of Maybe Attracted to Somehow, Who Is Also Rocking a Kickass Pair of Huge Earrings Today, Which is Always a Plus for Jill. Anyway, Michelle is full of sad faces inside her head because apparently the only thing she wants out of life at this moment is to not work with Patricia. Sorry, girl.

A socially awkward penguin hug if there ever was one.
They have a budget of $2,500 (WHATTTT) and two days for the challenge. Stanley takes charge of the newly invented Dream Team and decides to have a theme of 1950s Dior couture. I don't know what that means but it sounds fancy. Everyone can design their own look on that team, but there has to be another pairing on TKIR due to numbers, which ends up being Michelle and Richard. At the hardware store, they get the idea to make a skirt out of black and white blinds, while Richard bounces around on his constant gay man high proclaiming that everything "is everything" and Michelle wonders what she's gotten herself into while continuing to avoid more Patricia hugs. 

The best part about the trip to the flower shop is this quote from Joseph Aaron: "I like weird flowers that look like that look like they're going to eat the model. I hope this dress does something like that." Ha! Joseph Aaron!

In the workroom, Kate makes a poofy princess dress, Benjamin constructs his own loom, Amanda makes a swamp dress out of moss, Patrica makes....a thing, and Joseph makes an oversized sweater dress, which everyone feels doubtful about. He says, "I don't think every piece of clothing has to have a sexy fit. Like, what if it's cold out?" Ha! Joseph Aaron!

Moss and Nails, by Amanda.
Onto the runway so we can actually see what these things look like. One of our guest judges is a girl with skinny shiny legs who runs a fashion blog, I guess. 

Hey, you!
They then do a big dramatic reveal for BETTE AND EVERYONE FREAKS OUT OOOOBVIOUSLY.


She says that everyone looks full of piss and vinegar and everyone squees because who wouldn't also how is she still so perfect?

We start with Team Keeping It Real, who had realized in the workroom that they all liked what they were doing but that they also had no team cohesion whatsoever. Oops! Here's a sampling of some of the totally irrelevant to each other looks.

Joseph Aaron's sweater dress, which I actually thought was pretty cool?

Michelle and Richard's design, which ended up being a stone cold badass black top made of blinds with the bottom filled in with flowers behind the black frame.

Amanda's moss dress, which everyone almost gave themselves hernias about in the workroom, but which looks okay to me?

Kate's princess cupcake.

And the full line. Now onto Dream Team.

Matthews' black and white and yellow combo, which I think is hot. That skirt is divine.

Stanley has to ease up on being Mr. Serious All The Time, but man, his dress was gorgeous.

Benjamin says that he just feels happy looking at his dress; I do, too!

Layana's dress had flowers placed over an increasingly transparent string mesh thing; it was surprisingly delicate looking and beautiful.

The full line. You're the winning team for once, Dream Team! (Sorry, Michelle. You just can't win.) Although Heidi tries to lessen the blow by calling TKIR the "second place" team this time instead of the "losing" team, because they really enjoyed all their looks so much.

The judges call out a lot of people on Dream Team for being awesome; Tu, Stanley, Layana, Matt, and Samantha.

Samantha did use a lot of the material in cool ways.
They also really do seem to love almost everybody on TKIR; after a bunch of compliments, they do find some things to complain about.

They criticize the fit of Joseph Aaron's look; he says that he normally works with oversized garments, which he is realizing is "totally inappropriate for this experience," which he says not in a bitter way, but in an accepting, lightbulb type of way.

Since they had come up with a haphazard idea that their designs were supposed to represent different decades of fashion in order to have some cohesion (shockingly, it didn't work), Joe's was supposed to represent the future. Zac Posen asks Joe to define the future of fashion in his eyes. He responds, "A world where unconventional form is okay. Wearing clothes that make you feel good, rather than define your figure." Bette Middler says that's sweet, almost spiritual in a way. Hearts, Joe and Bette. Hearts.

The judges then ask who the team thinks should go home, wherein every single person on the team throws Amanda under the bus. Mannnn, awkward! But the judges don't necessarily agree. Who they do really hate, though, is Joe. Apparently the idea of wearing clothes that make you feel good doesn't really hold sway with them. SIGH SIGH SIGH. Although to be honest, his seemed more of a cohesive, well executed idea than Patricia's. Her "pow wow chic" design is standing next to Joseph's in the above cap, and I don't see the huge difference that makes hers work so much better than his. I mean I do actually kind of like hers, because I like weird, but there is a LOT of stuff going on there.

But alas. It comes down to Amanda and Joe, and the auf goes to Joe.

The win meanwhile went to Samantha, which I'm fine with since I like Samantha a lot, and even though I thought other looks were prettier than hers, I always appreciate the judges giving credit to FASHION FORWARDNESS.

How hot ARE you? (Answer: real hot)
Joe takes the loss with standard Joseph Aaron humility, saying, "What I like to make isn't right for everybody, and I'm totally okay with that." Ugh, Joe. :( I wish you didn't have to go! I love you even more for being so nice! At least we all know that there is a world full of weirdos waiting for your clothes, even if Heidi and Zac and Nina don't get it!

Up next time: country music stars, y'all!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

5 Decemberists songs.

There will most definitely be a "5 Decemberists songs: Part II" at some point in the future. I'm shocked it's taken me this long to even make the first. Come at me with your intellectual feels, Colin Meloy!

1. The Engine Driver

Oh, my ennui. Christ. #1 and I'm already so crippled by emotion that I don't even know what to say. It's all about the bridge, isn't it? If I were Richard Hallmarq, I'd say, THIS BRIDGE IS EVERYTHING, HONEY.

And I am a writer, writer of fictions. I am the heart that you call home. And I've written pages upon pages trying to rid you from my bones.

Writing pages upon pages to rid someone from my bones? Why, I have never done that. Nope. Nope. Nopenopenope.

2. The Bus Mall

The Engine Driver leads seamlessly--seamlessly!--into The Bus Mall on Picaresque, and while The Bus Mall doesn't pack as powerful a punch as The Engine Driver--it's sort of a more atmospheric ride of feels, as opposed to a punch in all my cry places--I simply cannot include one without the other and it's almost unfair I have to take up two slots with them because they're both one mushed together tangle of perfection in my head. Also, it's a must because as perhaps the most Portlandy band of them all, this song feels the most Portlandy to me as it's about "the bus mall" in downtown, and you know how I am with emotions and songs and places, so.

3. The Crane Wife 1 & 2

Fuck. Fuck. Sorry for the cursing, Mom, but that's all I can think when it comes to the depths to which I love this, all eleven-plus minutes of it. ELEVEN PLUS MINUTES. The Decemberists could have produced NOTHING other than Crane Wife 1 & 2 and I would still think they were FOREVER GENIUSES. The quiet, but pressing anticipation of the first two minutes, until it explodes (well, in an extremely subtle, Decemberistsy way) at 2:25 and AHHHHH I AM SO HAPPY AND LOVE IT SO MUCH ALL THE WAY TO THE FIVE MINUTE MARK, and then it gets moody and broody and ominous even though it's the wedding part? And right so that lasts for a while, and thennnnnn there's a bend in the wind and it rakes at my heart. There is blood in the thread and it rakes at my heart. Rakes at my heart! Heeaaaaarrrrt!



(brief musical interlude)


Heeeeeaaarrrt! Heeeaaaarrrrrrt! 


(I love you I love you I love you)

4. Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect

I mean, have you ever heard a better song title than "Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect"? No, no you haven't.

Also, remember that time Ted Mosby was feeling all womp womp about life when How I Met Your Mother was really good and they played this song and it was awesome because this song is awesome and also Ted Mosby was actually an architect and RIGHT?

5. The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid

Ah, the dark beast that is The Hazards of Love, a record which is entirely worth it if just FOR THIS. All right, well if "Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect" wasn't already the winner for best song title, "The Wanting Comes in Waves" is also pretty badass in its lyrical angst. But what makes this is the inclusion of vocalist Shara Worden who hoooooly crap gives me chills and grooves so deep into my blood. When she really screams reeeeppaaaaAAAIIIIID, it gives me the most Carrie Brownstein vibes I have ever heard since, like,  Carrie Brownstein. And that is one high compliment.

[ My previous 5 Songs posts, a series that really needs to be longer, for those who are new here: