Thursday, August 17, 2017

PR 16: Meet The Designtestants

Tonight starts the sixteenth cycle of Project Runway and I am so ready to sharpen my claws pencil to rip to shreds critique this band of miscreants and losers talented folks.
But, since we are out of town, my first review won’t hit until sometimes next week ... sorry about that, but, you know, vacation.
Anyway, let’s meet the designtestants:

Aaron Meyers is 23 and hails from Ridgewood, New York.

Aaron also loves to talk, as we find out that he loves being challenged, took some art classes, went to an engineering school, loves clothes, wanted to be a buyer, and then slowly realized he loved to design.

His strengths as a designer lie in concept and design, and he loves designing feminine menswear; a kind of, what he calls, a “cool gender-queer” look. His main weakness is not working with too much womenswear ... oops ... and cutting fabric and patterns, which he blames on being left-handed, so, naturally, he’d love a menswear challenge and hate a wedding dress challenge.

Lastly Aaron is positive he can with the PR, despite not being able to cut fabrics or patterns or design for women. M’kay?

Amy Bond is 46 and is coming to us from Los Angeles. 

She first realized she had potential to be a designer when she was in seventh grade and could tell that her “eye” and taste was way different than anything else. She then studied, earning a Master’s of fine arts in fashion design, and a BFA.

She calls versatility, experience and “professionality” [sic] her strengths, and says if she discovers a weakness, she turns it into an opportunity:
“Never made a swimsuit? Time to figure out how!”
She’s up for the “Real People” challenge and hopes they never bring back the challenge with dogs. She is also looking forward to the team challenges—which, I think, means she’ll crumble—because “you need to learn to work with them.”

Amy also thinks she can win because, ahem, “as an educator and seasoned professional, I have a thorough set of relevant skills and experiences to draw from and the maturity to implement them.”

Yeah, she’s going down.

Ayana Ife is 27 and calls Salt Lake City home.

She keeps it brief; she knew she had designer potential when she was 10; her design experience is a BA and experience; her strength as a designer is courage, while her weakness is being a perfectionist; she loves a team challenge and knows she can win because she’s tenacious.

Yeah, tenacity will get you to The Tents.

Batani-Khalfani is 32 and from California.  

She says she has always designed, starting when she was four. But, alas, she has no formal training though she did take a sewing class at Downtown Magnets High School: Fashion Careers Center.

Tim will love that! But she’s strong because she works fast and is good with proportions and colors, while her weakness is that she’s still self-teaching herself. She’s hoping for the Black Light Challenge and is dreading any kind of Pet Supplies Challenge.

And she thinks she can win because she’s creative, thinks outside the box, works well under pressure, and is a great person ... who is still learning.

Brandon Kee is 24 and from the City by the Bay, San Francisco. 

He knew he was a designer at 13, but didn’t realize his potential until design school. He has a Bachelor’s in fashion design at The Academy of Arts in San Francisco and has been designing for about five years.

His strengths lie in being “tasteful, thoughtful, meticulous, and conceptual” which is PR speak for I Am A Loudmouth Diva. His weakness is getting things done.

Oy. I see Tim snapping. And Brandon is not keen on team challenges at all, and just says he’ll make the best of it ... which means he’ll throw anyone under a bus.

He also thinks he can win the PR if he has enough time ... like, you know, making a ball gown for Heidi in six hours?

ChaCha is 24 and from Taipei, Taiwan.

I also think ChaCha is the name of a drag queen from the drag race who doesn’t know how to sew, so maybe he’s on the wrong show? Plus, he realized he was a designer because he ... wait for it ... doodled fashion sketches on his high school text books and his classmates said they were super cute. But he did go to the School of Art Institute of Chicago and received a master in fashion, so, um, yeah.

His strengths are that he is fun and wacky, and will no doubt make Tim’s head explode, while his weakness is that he cannot fit a dress very well ... also something to make Tim go mad!

He doesn’t want a repeat of the Male Stripper Challenge—though something about him makes me think he likes male strippers—and he wants to make garments from candy.

Lastly, he’s not sure he can win, but believes he could show at The Tents if his lack of experience doesn’t ruin it for him.

And if Nina doesn’t eat him alive.

Claire Buitendorp is 27, resides in Michigan, and, when asked what made her think she was a designer, name drop Katy Perry:
I never expected that the first person I would ever design for would be Katy Perry! That experience truly opened my eyes to the idea that I could make a living as a designer.”
I sense a large head here. She has an Associate’s degree in fashion technology from Lansing Community College and a Bachelor’s degree of applied science with a concentration in entrepreneurial business and communication from the University of Michigan.
“I am especially proud that my degrees were funded entirely through academic scholarships.”
Yes, so Katy loves you and you’re so smart. Ick.

She says her strengths are “strong sewing, construction skills, color usage, and embellishment” and her weakness is that she is so good, it’s hard for her to hear criticism.

I am not liking her. She wants a challenge where they send her to Europe—to never be heard from again?—and loathes any kind of Unconventional Challenge. She would like a team challenge only if she gets to work with her twin sister Shawn Buitendorp—yes, twin—but loathes the idea of working with anyone else.

And, yes, no surprise, she knows she’s going to win.

I loathe her already.

Deyonté Weather is 36 and joins the PR from Lynnwood, Washington.

He realized he could be a designer at 18 when I designed my own garment for prom ... I’m not sure if it was a gown or a tuxedo though I think he could rock both. He has a degree from the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago and feels his strengths are making innovative, sexy and smart clothes; his weakness? He’s an “over-thinker”. He’d like a repeat of the Stilt Challenge, but is not thrilled if they repeat the Party Store challenge.

And he wants to make it clear—to Claire—that he can win the PR because this is his time.

Kentaro Kameyama is from LA and is 38.

He’s known he wanted to be a designer since he was five and went to FCI in DTLA ... I don't know ... it’s all letters.

He is strong in being able to see “perfect balance” in potions and colors, but his weakness lies in working during daylight ... is he a vampire? ... and he thinks that if he makes it to the Final Three he can win.

If it’s held at night.

Kenya Freeman is 37, from Atlanta, and has known she wanted to be a designer since she was in high school and worked at being cute. She did, however, take fashion merchandising in high school and has a BFA in fashion design.

She is a strong tailor but hates knits; I guess knits aren’t cute? She wants to be challenged to make a Day-to-Night look for a major retailer, but doesn’t wanna make fashion from candy. She’s okay with a team challenge as long as everyone pulls their weight so she won’t have to kill anyone.

And, of course, she thinks she can win because she has a “reasonable understanding of the business of fashion and understand my customer enough to design things that are not just visually appealing, but also sales-worthy.”

Sounds like mall clothes. Paging, Nina Garcia! Nina Garcia to the guillotine, please.

Kudzanai Kardizi is 32 and also from Atlanta. 

He’s wanted to be a designer since the ninth grade when he began designing and making his own clothes. His strength is being resourceful—perfect for the Unconventional Challenges—but his weakness is “doubt”. Uh oh.

He wants to do a 99 cent store challenge, but not a Dollar Tree challenge, and would cringe at a Miss Piggy challenge.

He is also sure he’ll win ... unless .... doubt.

Margarita Alvarez is 30 and has traveled all the way from San Juan, Puerto Rico to be on the PR. 

When she was 15 a fashion designer came across her sketches and hired her as an intern. She then went to the Rhode Island School of Design and majored in apparel and textile design.

Her strength is patternmaking; her weakness is hand sewing and finishes ... the couture challenge will break her.

She also wants a challenge where she can go to Paris, but does not want to makes clothes for dogs. 

And she has the skills, drive and passion to win ... unless it’s Project Petway.

Michael Brambila is 25, from Oakland, and giving me Mondo-wannabe. 

He knew he wanted to be a designer when people noticed he was sketching a lot of clothes. Um, okay .... He studied at Parsons ... does Tim know him ... until he left after two years to work with local NYC designers.

He says his strength is that he has a “very youthful eye” with an “elevated luxury feel” to his clothes; his weakness is over thinking ... that his clothes are all that and a bag of chips? He’s up for a Menswear challenge, a Black Light challenge, or a Rainway challenge, and doesn’t have a challenge he hates ... uh huh, sure.

He also thinks he can win because he can “properly shed some light on all the gross and freaky, tacky, sexual, and weird things that society isn’t familiar with.”

Yeah, he’s a Mondo-wannabe.

Samantha Rei is 36 and hails from the Twin City of Minneapolis. 

She’s wanted to be a designer since she was 13, watched fashion shows, and said, “I can do that!” Her design training is her mom always sewed and so she was able to kick everyone’s butts in Middle School Home Ec classes.

Michael Kors watch out!

Her strength is that she is fast and can dress all sizes—which will be good because this year the PR is doing models of all sizes—but her weakness is that she can tell people what to do but then she does it herself; I see Team Challenge meltdown.

She loves the unconventional challenges but hated the one where the designers had to run around a track; she’s a sitter, y’all.

And she’ll win because, ahem, she’s a “winner by nature.”

Sentell McDonald is from New York and is 33; he’s also adorable. 

He says he knew he wanted to be a designer because he grew up on a farm in the South and had to make his own clothes. He didn’t take design classes until he was 31, though, so, yeah, there’s that. His strength lies in patternmaking and the ability to use scraps of fabric; his weakness is that he doesn’t really sketch.

He hated the season where it was all team challenges, so he doesn’t want that repeated, and also doesn’t want to run around a track; another sitter?

He also has the “ideas, talent and most of all, the drive” to win.

And he is cute.

Shawn Buitendorp, like her twin Claire, is 27 and from Michigan. 

She knew she wanted to design when at 21, she was accepted to an internship with Betsey Johnson and after only one month was hired to work as part of her design team. Clearly, her ego is something she shares with Claire.

She also shares an Associate’s degree in fashion technology from Lansing Community College and a Bachelor’s degree of applied science with a concentration in entrepreneurial business and communication from the University of Michigan. Her strengths are concept development, unique fabric selection and detail work, but says her flaw is that Claire sews better.

Ugh. I loathe this one, too.

She wants to revisit the Dylan’s Candy Bar challenge but would die if they made her cut up her own clothes—I am so wanting this to happen, now.

And she says she will win the PR, unless Claire beats her to it, because only those two can win. I’d like them both gone first, please.

And, there you have it: PR 16, The Design Bunch.

Let the games begin ...

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Architecture Wednesday: House in Azpitia

This house, located in the Azpitia Valley, south of Lima and close to the sea, sits in an area known for its local vineyards and pre-Columbian ruins. It’s a natural oasis for people escaping from the big metropolis of Lima.

The landscape is a mix of dry desert and green grasses alongside the Mala River that flows into the Pacific and the house sits on a slope, at the foot of the mountain with a view toward the Mala and facing the vineyards. The house was designed to integrate with the dry landscape using a palette of textures and colors common to the area.

The architects used local craftsmen to create this new home atop an area rich with ruins; the home is constructed of bricks, made of clay and sand, and fired in local handcrafted brick ovens. The foundation of the house is composed of from local stone covered with drought tolerant plantings; above the stone layer are the terraces—extensions of the kitchen, dining room and living room—beneath a wood roof, a textile grid, that offers protection from the sun. The roof-lines create a sense of shadow, semi-shade and open areas to project the interiors toward the outdoor spaces.

The first floor, all social areas, is one open space surrounded by gardens and views, while the private areas, bedrooms and baths, are on the second level capturing some gorgeous vistas.

It seems the best of both worlds; hot and arid, and cool and green—and green environmentally, too—with views for miles.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Programming Note ....

We are off for a long weekend ... and by that I mean a six day weekend ... and so there will be some new pre-planned posts to fill the space in my absence.

I will be back to regular live ... or as close to live as possible ... blogging next Tuesday ... unless the eclipse kills us all. We're right in its path here in Smallville.

Anyhoo, see you all next week, and play nice!

Peter Cvjetanovic Wants Y'all To Know He's Not A Racist ... Except He Is

Peter Cvjetanovic is a twenty-year-old White Nationalist who attends the University of Reno, Nevada. This past weekend he traveled across the country to attend that rally in Charlottesville, Virginia to oppose the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

And that’s him, up there, looking evil and angry, even though now he wants you to know he’s not those things, and he’s not a racist:
“I came to this march for the message that white European culture has a right to be here just like every other culture. It is not perfect; there are flaws to it, of course. However I do believe that the replacement of the statue will be the slow replacement of white heritage within the United States and the people who fought and defended and built their homeland. Robert E Lee is a great example of that. He wasn’t a perfect man, but I want to honor and respect what he stood for during his time.”
Um, Peter, you dumb fuck. Please, please, tell me how the white man has struggled in America lo these last two-hundred-plus years. Please, please, tell me how endangered the white race is in America today because I take one look at our government, big business and the military and I see mostly white men in charge. How is the white race in danger?
“I did not expect the photo to be shared as much as it was. I understand the photo has a very negative connotation. But I hope that the people sharing the photo are willing to listen that I’m not the angry racist they see in that photo.”
Well, Peter, if it looks like a racist, and shouts like a racist and carries a torch like a racist ...
“As a white nationalist, I care for all people. We all deserve a future for our children and for our culture. White nationalists aren’t all hateful; we just want to preserve what we have.”
Again, he, as all white nationalist, white supremacist, neo-Nazi, Klan members do, Peter fails to explain how the white race is suffering. And I need to know cuz I’m a white guy and I don’t feel the pain. I don’t see ... and this sickens me to even write this ... my race being harmed or hurt or in danger; I live for diversity and all that it entails. I don’t see danger, I see promise.

Marc Johnson, University of Nevada president, released a statement, without mentioning Cvjetanovic, about the march:
"Racism and white supremacist movements have a corrosive effect on our society. These movements do not represent our values as a university. We denounce any movement that targets individuals due to the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, political beliefs, sexual orientation, ability/disability, or whether they were born in our country." 
Now, a petition is circulaing on Change.Org calling for Cvjetanovic's expulsion from the university and I may have an issue with that.

What Peter Cvjetanovic  was exercise his right to Free Speech—albeit hateful speech—but he did not, at least that we know of, commit any crimes, or hurt anyone, or participate in the violence.

He has a right to his opinion just like I have a right to mine that he is a racist fuck who does not represent America or the white race ... white race. Sheesh, I can’t with that.

You’re a racist, Peter; you drove 3,000 miles to attend a racist rally with a group of white supremacists and Nazis and Klan members.

You’re a racist and we all know it.

Monday, August 14, 2017

My Two Cents: Charlottesville, Free Speech, Hate and _____

As you may know, if you’ve been by here a few times, I am all about Free Speech; say what you want, but understand that there might be repercussions for your speech. And we saw that this past weekend during that White-Supremacist-KKK-Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Right-wing blogger Jason Kessler and Unite the Right ... ironic, that, ‘the right’ ... organized the “pro white”  rally to protest the removal of a statute of Robert E. Lee—the man who led an armed rebellion against the United States to protect the institution of slavery—from a city park.

Need more irony? Many of those protestors waved American flags while demanding the city honor a man best known for his fight against the America, but then white supremacists, Klan members and Neo–Nazis aren’t the smartest tools in the shed ... just the loudest ...
“Fuck you, faggots.”
“White lives matter.”
“Jews will not replace us.”
“Blood and soil.”
That last one is a Nazi slogan about the bond between Aryan people and the German homeland.

But the protestors, those hate-filled racists and bigots, anti-Semites and homophobes, weren’t the only ones out this weekend. There were counter-protestors carrying Black Lives Matter signs, and LGBT Rights signs, practicing their rights to Free Speech, too.

The rally began Friday night when hundreds of racists, bigots, homophobes, anti-Semites, and asshats marched through the University of Virginia campus carrying tiki torches as though they were marching from the Home Depot to a luau-themed garden party. I mean, where were the manly-man wooden torches of old?

I digress ... I just find the image of the haters carrying tiki torches to be a bit too much.

That first night march was relatively safe; one person was arrested and there were a few reports of injuries, while the real hate was saved for Saturday ...

Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman, was killed, and nineteen more injured, when a car driven by James Alex Fields, plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters. As of now, Fields has been charged with second-degree murder.

Second degree? He got into his car and aimed it at a crowd and drove at a high speed into the crowd; and then reversed, hitting yet more people. That should be first degree murder, at the very least.

But, amazingly enough, it’s the bigots in charge of the Hate Fest that are crying foul and laying blame at what happened everywhere except their own feet ...

Richard Spencer, Alt-Right asshat, neo-Nazi, white supremacist, says he takes no responsibility for the violence and murder, and instead has accused state and local police of endangering lives in how they handled the rally.  Spencer says he “did not attempt to engage in any kind of violence”, other than, you know shouting hate-filled slogans while marching. And he claims he was pepper sprayed twice while marching.

So sad; a woman protesting bigots and racists was murdered but Spencer wants our tears for being pepper sprayed.

And Spencer’s cohort in hate, Jason Kessler also disavows the violence; he simply said that the person who drove a car into a group of counter-protesters “did the wrong thing.”

Um, Jason, the person who drove the car was there for you, for your cause, so let’s not act like it was some horrific accident; it was hate that became murder. And all of you who marched and shouted and threw bottles at counter-protestors are to blame.

But, like Spencer, Kessler also criticized law enforcement’s response to the event, saying they did a poor job controlling the chaos to allow free speech.

Free Speech. Hate Speech. Hate.

Michael Von Kotch, a self-proclaimed Nazi from Pennsylvania, said the rally made him “proud to be white.”

Let that sink in ... proud to be white, as though white people have had a hard time in this country. White people. I can’t .... Von Kotch says he’s been a white supremacist for a long time and that _____’s election has “emboldened” him and the members of his own Nazi group:
“We are assembled to defend our history, our heritage and to protect our race to the last man. We came here to stand up for the white race.”
Von Kotch said this while wearing a protective helmet and sporting a wooden shield and a broken pool cue to protect the white man ... from what?

So, while we lay blame at the feet of Richard Spencer and Jason Kessler and Michael Von Kotch, and their special brand of hate, let’s also take time to lay blame at the feet of that asshat in the White House, who ran a campaign based on hate ... against Mexicans, Muslims, and, as of the last couple of weeks, Transgender Americans.

When the man at the top spreads hate and discrimination, he has blood on his hands; especially when he stays silent for far too long and, then when he does speak, doesn’t condemn the white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazis ... perhaps because he doesn’t want to offend his base, and members of his team.

See, this rally, while an attempt to stop the removal of a statue, was also planned by the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members to “take America back” and doesn’t that sound a little bit like “Make America Great Again;” a _____ slogan that seems to imply that we need to move backwards to a more racist time.

But _____, who Tweets every single time he gets his knickers twisted, was silent all morning long. It wasn’t until the afternoon, possibly after his nap after a round of golf, that he finally Tweeted:
“We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”
Where was the condemnation of the white supremacists? The Nazis? The Klan? Even later, a late-afternoon news conference, this was his response:
“The hate and the division must stop and must stop right now.  We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.”
On many sides? I saw hate on one side, and protests against hate on the other.

But how do we expect a man who calls Mexicans rapists and murderers and Muslims terrorists and killers and Transgender Americans unfit to serve their country, and women just something to grab, to react? This is his mess; he ran on it; fed on it; campaigned on it; and was, sadly, elected on it.

Even one of his biggest supporters, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, acknowledged that this is a result of _____’s rhetoric:
“I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists. This represents a turning point for the people of this country. We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald _____. That’s what we believed in. That’s why we voted for Donald _____, because he said he’s going to take our country back.”
And when a reporter at that news conference asked _____ about his support from white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Klan members, many of whom wore red Make America Great Again hats during the riots, _____ did not respond ... so as not to offend his base.

And yet that’s not new, or even news; _____ has never directly condemned any movement, protest or statements of white supremacists, and you have to wonder why? I mean, those are the people who marched in hate ...
“Fuck you, faggots.”
“White lives matter.”
“Jews will not replace us.”
“Blood and soil.”
I think the NAACP put it best:
“Guess it's hard to disavow bigots and hate when they are amongst your key strategists.”
As I said before, Free Speech is a great thing; I’d never want to live in a world where my opinion, my voice, my thought, could get me arrested or jailed, or worse. And protests and marches are a huge part of our history; to paraphrase the bigot in the White House, those protests and marches are what truly make America great.

But what happened in Charlottesville is the ugly side of Free Speech; it’s hate; it’s terror; it’s terrorism. And what makes it all the more disgusting is not having our president denounce the hate for what it is; instead, he called for calm on both sides ... though it was just one side spreading hate, it was one side that sent a car driving into a crowd.

We needed to hear our president denounce this hatred ...
“Fuck you, faggots.”
 “White lives matter.”
“Jews will not replace us.”
“Blood and soil.”
And he did not.

So, where do we go from here? Well, we learn the lesson; our cities and towns learn that, if they wish to allow white supremacists and Nazis and Klan members the right to march—and, yes, they do have that right—then we need our police force out in force to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

We also need to ask our representatives to not only condemn this kind of violence, but condemn the president for his lack of a backbone, for his lack of compassion, for not denouncing the hatred of his base; it not “many sides,” it’s one side.

And we need to speak up when we hear the hate; stop it in  its tracks; denounce it. Tell anyone and everyone that you find this disgusting and that anyone who disagrees with you has blood on their hands, too.

Speak up against hate; vote against hate; demand that, while these groups have rights to their opinions, they cannot spread hate speech and call it free.

Heather Heyer wasn’t murdered for Free Speech; she was murdered by hate.

LGBTQ Nation
Revere Press 
Revere Press
Washington Post
Dallas News