Were pleased to introduce a new weekly column by Jane Helpern.
Jane Helpern is a freelance writer and full-time over-sharer
living and working in Los Angeles. More specifically, she is Executive
Editor at Cultist Zine, Managing Editor at The Hundreds, and an
excessive consumer of female-penned memoirs, striped turtlenecks, and
cheese. For more of her run-on sentences about body hair, feelings,
and feminism, visit cultistzine.com or follow her on twitter
The Neckline Of Writers and Dreamers
One can never have too many turtlenecks, unless you have a tendency toward feeling constricted, in which case, a turtleneck may not be the
neckline for you. A turtleneck is not just a modest and slimming
garment, it is also worldly. And a conversation starter. Be prepared
to be asked things like, “Where have you been traveling lately?”
and “Do you follow Diane Keaton on twitter?”
There is something about a tight-fitting, elastic turtleneck, the way
it hugs the flesh, accentuates the breasts, keeps you warm and safe
but doesn’t suffocate, elongates the neck like a giraffe wearing nautical stripes instead of spots, and rather than foraging for leaves to feed on,
it strains and stretches for a closer glimpse of Patti Smith at the poetry
reading in Los Feliz or for another perfectly proportioned bite of fig
spread and crackers at Thursday night book club.
Inside of my uniform I am prep, a mod, an art teacher, a beatnik.
I live in a loft, a concrete jungle full of books and Mid-Century
furniture and vintage leopard coats. I don’t have a record player,
though. Other turtleneck wearers may scoff at me for that,
but I don’t care. I have so many turtlenecks in my collection,
I’m not out to prove anything. I listen to folk and soul on Spotify
and dance in the candlelight wearing a long-sleeve turtleneck dress
and red lipstick. I have the reclaimed wood picnic table to host a dinner party, but I haven’t, yet. First, I need to find the right kind of friends.
Wherever I am, I am at home in a turtleneck. Even better if it is
snowing outside and I can smell the crispness. Better yet if I’m
sipping a latte out of a paper cup as I stroll through the city
admiring the rows of tall blue-grey buildings through my breath, and
thinking that everything looks like a Gursky photograph. I am ten
times more quick-witted and well read in a turtleneck. Even a mock
one. Even in a chunky cable-knit that consumes my chin and nose area,
which comes in handy when temperatures drop. I’m especially attracted
to a turtleneck peeking out from beneath a navy trench coat. How very
French. I like to imagine I am in a Parisian salon somewhere (probably
in Paris) discussing Manet and Monet and Man Ray and Lesbian
experimental cinema and the way it subverts hetero-normative notions
of female pleasure. Turtlenecks have an androgynous quality to them,
especially when worn by shorthaired women, who, from the back, are
often mistaken for gentleman.
In my turtleneck, this one is black cashmere, I am a Woody Allen
anti-heroine. I am quirky, mousy, lanky in my wide-legged pants,
with lots of lip and nail biting and nervous laughter attributed to the fact
that caffeine makes me act awkward in public. According to something
I read once, there is a correlation between picking and intelligence.
I don’t mean to flatter myself, but I don’t doubt it. Maybe, in my turtleneck, I’m a playwright who lives in a beach town and wears
linen and all white, with towels that match each other and also match
my slippers, which are embroidered with my name, which would still be Jane, because it is a strong name for an artist and conjures images of female heroes such as Jane Eyre or Jane Austen.
A turtleneck is a sort of reverse invisibility cloak. It wraps you in
sophistication and book smart and confidence, and everyone is
immediately struck by this version of you and can’t see the other, less
refined parts. So sure of yourself that you do not command attention
with your body, with those plunging necklines, with that cleavage that
the boys like.
A turtleneck is a story about winter, poetry, and family trips to
Mammoth during which you became traumatized by your ski school
instructor because he looked like Darth Vader under his dark helmet
and goggles. It’s about drinking hot cocoa in a log cabin by a
fireplace with your lover who you’d surely marry if you could ever get
around to planning an event for 100 people plus. Perhaps when that day
comes, you will wear a lace turtleneck dress, but probably not,
because white wedding gowns are a bit juvenile after a certain age. A
turtleneck should feel very grown up, like black coffee out of your
Some people don’t like turtlenecks because they are unsexy and
claustrophobic, or because they feel it makes them look older. I
respect their right to reject the turtleneck. The turtleneck does not
need your pity. It is a historic garment with a royal legacy.
I have found some of my most treasured pieces in thrift stores, for as
little as $3. Earthy hues and snowflake patterns and even cropped,
sleeveless ones that are impractical because of their seasonal
confusion. The secret to these turtlenecks is layering, the ability to
peel them off one by one as the fire water comes and your cheeks
Some people collect jewelry, shoes and club dresses, I collect
turtlenecks. When I wear one, I have a clearer vision of myself, of my
future as a published author or maybe a psychologist. Like a crystal
ball, when I pull one over my head and it gets stuck over my mouth for
a half a second, I have premonitions, of a redheaded daughter with
freckles, surrounded by antique lamps, and a patio. I’m not sure what
kind of parent I’d be to a boy. I don’t know how to relate to men in a
way that is non-sexual, but I’m sure I’d figure it
out. With more therapy. I don’t care much for cars and baseball. I
think I’d do better with a gay son. If I’m being honest, women look really classy in turtlenecks, but men really shouldn’t wear them.
Peru is one of the most vibrant countries I’ve ever had the pleasure (and honor) of visiting. The cities are incredibly diverse, the food is rich, and Machu Picchu is worth the trip alone. Mario Testino, Peruvian himself, has brought to life a beautiful piece of this country’s culture in his latest exhibition, Alta Moda. The photographs show the traditional dress of indigenous people that live in the region of Cusco, one of my favorite places in the country. I had a festive skirt made for myself while visiting; it is one of my most prized possessions and truly a piece of art.
Alta Moda is showing at the Queen Sofía Institute in New York City until March 29, 2014.
- Katherine Aplin
Listing things is hugely popular this time of year, and who am I to break tradition? Rather than think about any more food, I’m going to go with juice. Delicious, delicious cleansing juice, because the thought of chewing anything after yesterday’s indulgence seems like a terrible idea. Below, you’ll find 7 great and not so great juices and places ranked from no to yes. Why not?
7. Any of the juices from the juice bar at the Sunset/Vine Walgreens. Everything that could be wrong with anything exists in the previous sentence.
6. That horrible green juice from Trader Joes. It tastes like bottled sadness.
5. Life Food Organic. I can’t find a juice that doesn’t taste icky. I’m sorry I said icky.
4. Moon Juice. Cucumber with beet. No.
3. BluePrint Juice. Up Beet! Cash In! I’m a sucker for names.
2. Open Source Organics Truck. The Recovery Shot is a thing of beauty and will fix all that is wrong in your life. Please park in front of my office again.
1. Pressed Juicery. I crave their Root #3 the same way I crave tacos, sometimes more. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
— Kaiza Losch
Time spent in nature is precious to me and makes up some of the most magical moments of my life. It is all around us all the time, but our days sometimes get so busy that we forget to really look at the world that we inhabit. The engineering of a leaf or a flower petal can change the course of your day if you just take the time to really appreciate its genius.
When I need a little jolt of outside love, I like to walk aimlessly down streets I don’t know, looking at things my eyes have never seen. If getting outdoors for some fresh air and a reboot isn’t in the cards for you today, peer upon the beauty that is the Cabinet of Natural Curiosities by Albertus Seba. It is one of my favorite books.
- Katherine Aplin
Simply walking into Mess Hall makes me happy. Located in the historic building which most recently housed Louise’s, it’s a lofty space complete with an outdoor fire pit, an oyster bar and a couple of flat screens strategically placed out of the way for people who can’t eat without team sports. (Also, it makes me feel like I’m in the NW without actually having to be there. Squee.)
Brunching is serious business, and Mess Hall’s is wonderful—more family friendly than other restaurants in the neighborhood, so there’s less of a wait, though if seeing children stuck to iPads instead of learning to be real people enrages you, stay away. The butcher steak with harissa butter melts in your mouth, as does the deliciously creamy and surprisingly well-balanced pork belly breakfast sandwich. Piled high with a cilantro slaw and finished with a red chili aioli, it’s one of the best I’ve had –even though they have an annoying habit of referring to it as a “Sando” on the menu.
To egg lovers: the frittata is delicious, please eat it. Filled with smoked grape tomatoes, braised onions and tangy white cheddar, it is the stuff of eggy daydreams. Also, the Benedict really is better than most—adorned with shaved, smoked ham instead of the usual rounds of Canadian bacon, it ends up less heavy than some of its local counterparts. But Benedicts are everywhere and a well-cooked frittata is everything. Please order the frittata.
For those of you like a side of vodka with your eggs, the drinks are simply okay. The brunch bartender is earnest in their efforts, but leaves a little something to be desired (hint: the something is the carefree pour at Little Dom’s). However, you can get a Moscow Mule made with Kombucha, if that’s your thing. Just know if you order it, I will probably make fun of you.
Dinner is a low-lit affair with an equally appealing menu and some of the nicest servers in Los Angeles. Note: the noise level is high, so if you’re looking for intimate, I’d ask for the patio. The chicken is incredible, maybe better than most, and large enough for two to share (don’t be fooled by its title of “Crispy”, you are ordering a large quantity of fried chicken, put on the menu as an ode to the first restaurant that made its home here).
The kale Caesar is very heavy on the anchovy so if that’s not your thing, as with most decisions in life, go with the beets. All in all it’s a solid place to go for comfort food done well, at a reasonable price. Or a delicious brunch, sticky buns and no 45 minute wait. Like I said, it makes me happy. Mess Hall is located at 4500 Los Feliz Blvd., LA, 323-660-6377
Scribe Winery has been on my to-do list for awhile now. I’ve heard stories of the dinner series, wine parties — all run by people under the age of 35. I knew if there was one winery to stop at while traveling north through Napa / Sonoma—this was it.
We drove up the palm tree lined main road and passed a 100-year-old Mission Revival style Hacienda aged in the perfect “let’s do a photoshoot here” kind of way. From there you pass by beautiful vegetable & flower gardens before being lead up to the tip of the hill where the tastings occur. The hillside has a stunning view of the valley with a rope swing for you to use giving it that “good clean fun” kind of feel.
This winery for me has the perfect mix of old and new. Historic property that was purchased in 1858 by a German Champagne producer, this is a vineyard started with smuggled cuttings. The vineyard was the first Riesling and Sylvaner varities imported into the United States. I’m just scratching the surface of the story of this piece of land, but you can feel it when you are there. Steeped in history and mixed with a young energy, it’s completely infectious.
Run by two brothers who grew up in a farming community, they see themselves as “scribes of the land” and practice what they call “Forever Wild Farming”, aiming to integrate farming into the existent ecosystem. From the tables you sit at & the food served to the cute staffer who sat down & talked to me without a hint of snark (thanks Jessica), it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had with wine. Every detail of this place made me smile.
I also have to mention I normally HATE chardonnay but this place—i bought some.
- Jenelle Campbell
Photos by Jenelle Campbell & Dana Barenfeld
With the end of November (err….Movember….) quickly approaching we wanted to take a look at some of history’s most iconic mustaches.
While grooming your stache, don’t forget what Movember is all about. Check out the Movember website for more information and how to get involved.
This Saturday is an event you DO NOT want to miss! Art by Tasya Van Ree (who was in last issue of WORK!), Rick Rodney & Steve Arroyo. As if that wasn’t enticing enough, there will be music by Garcia and juice by LA darling Moon Juice. I’m willing to bet that the people watching will be art in itself.
Here are some images from the artists to get you geared up.
Having a career that spans over 25 years, model Mitzi Martin has travelled the globe and graced the covers of the world’s most notable fashion magazines including Elle, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar, and worked on high profile campaigns with Pepsi, Oil of Olay, Lexus, Christian Dior, and L’Oreal. Modeling came naturally to Martin leading the way at a young age. With her organic beauty, unusually light eyes and alabaster skin, she traveled the globe working runways, television, and print. With the upcoming release of Makeup Artist Francesca Tolot’s new book “One woman a 100 faces” The book will work as a document to Martin’s career and accomplishments.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Mitzi Martin and I’m a model, mom, and part time actress.
Where is your workspace?
Any studio or location I’m told to show up at. Recently I shot a commercial at the Ontario Airport in Ca. in a terminal that is no longer in use. It was kind of creepy before lights and camera were up … being in a dark empty abandoned airport.
What made you turn to this direction?
I wanted to see the world.
Was this always your dream job?
No, I wanted to be a singer … I cannot sing … but I did marry a singer so it all worked out.
How much of the week is work, how much is play?
I would say 90% is work and 10% is play.
What has been the most exciting thing you have done with your work, and what is a dream situation you’d like to find yourself in?
Acclaimed makeup artist Francesca Tolot and photographer Alberto Tolot did the most exciting thing with our work … created a book “One Woman 100 Faces” I feel like my life is a dream situation.
How do you find your inspiration?
I’m inspired by the hair and makeup artists I work with … the photographers and directors … the stylist the set decorators … the designers … they are all so creative, hard working and passionate about what they do. And I’m inspired by my husband … he is not afraid of anything.
How do you define your personal style, work and clothing, etc.?
Classic … I keep it pretty simple.
What’s something someone may not know about you?
I am one of eight girls … I have seven sister’s!
Anything else you would like to say or for us to know?
No, I think that’s good.
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