Category Archives: random

RANDOM: The History Of Webster Hall, The Not So-New-Home of Vashtie’s Weekly Party – 1992 (Facts & Photos via KeithYorkCity)

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Okay, so if you made or you didn’t make it to the opening night of New York City’s latest and greatest in nightlife (HOUSE PARTY at WEBSTER HALL) – there are AMAZING facts you should know about the legendary nightclub WEBSTER HALL.

Take this fact for instance; Webster Hall has not only been a nightclub! It served as a recording facility for RCA Victor Records from 1953-1968. – where musical legends like; Louis Armstrong, Perry Como, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Bob Dylan and Lena Horne all recorded! 

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Webster Hall is a nightclub and concert venue located at 125 East 11th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues, near Astor Place, in Manhattan, New York City. Built in 1886, its current incarnation was opened by the Ballinger Brothers in 1992. It serves as a nightclub, concert venue, corporate events center, and recording venue, and has a capacity of 2,500 people – including the club; 1,400 for the main stage.

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The following text and photos via KEITHYORKCITY

“Beginning in 1870, the north side of East 11th Street in the East Village was dominated by the parochial school of St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church. But in 1886, the congregation’s feathers were ruffled when a new building began construction next door and had the audacity to apply for a liquor license. It would be “intended for balls, receptions, Hebrew weddings, and sociables, and not a barroom,” the New York Times quoted. And despite the church’s protests, Webster Hall opened in February of 1887.”

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Webster Hall sporting its ornate mansard roof ca 1900 (NYPL)

“The new events hall cost roughly $75,000, which was a tidy sum in the 1880s. Its eclectic Queen Anne facade was swathed in ornate red terra cotta tiles; terra cotta gained in popularity after a series of devastating fires leveled much of Chicago and Boston, and buildings constructed using brick and tiles were found to have fared much better than any others.

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A meeting of a garment makers union ca 1914
(NY Times)

Almost from the beginning, Webster Hall became known as a center for leftist, liberal political thought and action. An article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1888 stated, “Webster Hall … is a big, bare, dingy place, where all the year round discontented men meet to discuss their wrongs and sympathize with one another, and where secret societies and political organizations, labor unions and similar associations make a business of pleasure.”

By 1892, Webster Hall was doing so well that its owner, Charles Goldstein, began construction on a 3-story annex off its east side. The new wing would contain an apartment for Goldstein and his family, along with a saloon, restaurant, and ballroom. Charles died, however, in 1898, and the Hall shuffled through a series of lease and ownership exchanges for more than a decade until, in 1911, it suffered a devastating fire. The New York Times reported that, “all the upper floors of the hall were wrecked, with the damage estimated at $20,000.”

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A Masquerade Ball, 1910s
(Schlessinger Library, Harvard/NY Times)

Following repairs, Webster Hall became widely known for its extravagant masquerade balls, which attracted the beginnings of Greenwich Village’s Bohemian subculture. Allen Church, in his 1959 book The Improper Bohemians, waxed, “So many dances-till-dawn and fancy dress balls were held there that one Villager said of himself and his wife: ‘We’ve sold our bed. Why sleep when there’s a dance every night at Webster Hall?’”

The event space also served a significant role in the development of New York’s early gay and lesbian scene. By the 1920s, gay men were organizing their own masquerades, where they were free to arrive in full drag. And their heterosexual late-night counterparts welcomed, and even encouraged, their presence at their balls and masquerades, as “they knew they enhanced the reputation and appeal of such events.”

Webster Hall with its Catholic School neighbor in the foreground, ca 1900.

It still has its mansard roof and its 1892 annex is already completed on its far side.
(Museum of the City of New York)

Webster Hall continued changing hands thoughout the 1920s before being purchased by Wand Holding Co. Under their ownership, the building underwent $220,000 in renovations in 1928, and just two years later, suffered another severe fire. With repair costs ballooning above $200,000, the owners eliminated the building’s attic and accompanying mansard roof.

A repaired Webster Hall was leased out as event space beginning in 1932. In 1938, however, it was struck by yet another fire; this one lasted for hours and killed two employees. Even Mayor LaGuardia stopped to view the conflagration. The hall would be engulfed in flames yet again in 1949, when it was completely gutted. It seems to be a testament to its “fire-proof” construction that its exterior walls never failed.

Rising, yet again, from the ashes, Webster Hall became a recording studio for RCA Victor Records from 1953-1968. Music icons including Louis Armstrong, Perry Como, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Lena Horne all recorded in the hall, whose famed acoustics were difficult to match elsewhere in the city. In fact, a young Bob Dylan played harmonica on a 1962 recording of Harry Belafonte’s album Midnight Special, marking Dylan’s recording debut. Webster also became a favored location for the recording of cast recordings for Broadway musicals. Julie Andrews, Ethel Merman, Carol Channing, and Liza Minnelli are but a few of the more notable names from the Great White Way who recorded at RCA’s Webster Hall studios.

Tina Turner performing at The Ritz in Webster Hall in 1983

Beginning in 1980, Webster Hall housed the legendary rock & roll venue “The Ritz,” which was routinely referred to as “the best stage in New York City.” U2 and Depeche Mode both made their American stage debuts at The Ritz, Sting made his solo debut there in 1985, and the stage also hosted a pantheon of rock legends including Aerosmith, Metallica, KISS, Black Sabbath, Run-DMC, Iggy Pop, Bo Diddley, Guns N’ Roses, and even Tina Turner and Prince. Scenes for both Raging Bull and Big were also filmed at Webster during its 1980s renaissance.

The Ritz moved out in 1990, taking up residence in the space vacated by Studio 54, and Webster Hall underwent a significant renovation. Reopening in 1992 with state-of-the-art lighting and audio equipment, Webster once again became a premiere performance venue for New York City. Madonna filmed a special concert at Webster in 1995, Bill Clinton hosted an event there, and it even played host to an episode of Iron Chef. The 21st century saw Webster partner with the Bowery Ballroom to bring even more great and emerging artists to the stage, including Linkin Park, Mika, John Mayer, Robyn, and Modest Mouse.

In 2008, Webster Hall was designated a New York City Landmark, protecting it from the wave of new development that has recently washed over the East Village. For more than 125 years, the little red event space whose liquor license so upset its Catholic neighbors has risen from the ashes of fires four times, served as a political sounding board, fostered the development of the Greenwich Village Bohemian movements and its gay subculture, and hosted virtually every major musician and recording artist of the past century. There is perhaps no greater venue in New York that is so grossly overlooked by the rest of the country.”

(via KEITH YORK CITY)

RANDOM: To All My Haterzzz (via LeMeme.Com)

This cat scratches back! Boo-ya!
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via LeMeme.Com

RANDOM: New York, I Love You…But You’re Bringing Me Down

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Sigh…

I’ve been hiding my deepening sadness of New York City for some time now. It’s been eating me up, but what else could I do? I’m “Downtown’s Sweetheart”, right? I’m constantly professing my love of this old dirt bag – how could I show any weakness about my love. I am still absolutely smitten with New York, my memories of what this city was intertwined with my fantasies of it keep me inspired – but, lately…I don’t know.

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Vashtie, Coney Island NYC 2002

Sure, I may have been born in the capital and am no native New Yorker…but I am invested and obsessed with this city, forever.

For a while now, I have been voicing my opinions to friends about my depression over the state of New York City. So much has changed post 9-11 and not for the better; historic locally owned businesses are shuttering for ATM lobbies (as if we need more), the imbalance in demographic flocking to the city (mainly business types who contribute nothing to the culture of New York), artists who can no longer afford to live or create here, the very fact that SantaCon can happen here without those people being jumped is a mind boggle, etcetera!

Yes, times have changed and even before I moved here the city was changing, but not in the way that it is now. Now, it’s a HYPER-GENTRIFICATION – as stated and documented by James and Karla Murray (the photographers who brought us the wonderful book Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York). They have a new project that documents how New York has changed drastically in the past 10 years and it’s frightening
 

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I used to walk down the street and find so many interesting people living their own lives with their own unique style; now everyone feels the same and it’s not just because of the internet which is good for homogenizing the world.

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 Vashtie, Little Italy NYC 2011

I could go on and on, but I won’t.

In October 2013, David Byrne wrote an article for Creative Times Reports on the very topic that was tearing me apart…titled “Will Work For Inspiration” (I meant to blog about it then, but my heartbreak over New York was being numbed by all my fun London & Paris travel). It’s an incredible read, especially for New York City residents.

 

I’ve copied and pasted it below with pictures of New York that make me sad and some that make me happy. It’s all of my feelings, just explained much better by Mr. Byrne. He mentions that he always waves to tourist double decker buses, which I always do too – for which he gets no response and neither do I. At the end of the article, Mr. Byrne asks the same question I’ve pondered…

“Where will I go?”. The very thought makes me want to cry…but, it’s the realest talk I’ve had to think about in a long time. It’s been in my head so much that I will be living in a new city for a few weeks come September, or at least I am planning on it…eeek. Where should I go? Actually, I already know where I am going – but, I’m open to suggestion.

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As part of Creative Time Reports’ Summit Series, musician, artist and bicycle diarist David Byrne considers New York City’s present and future ahead of the 2013 Creative Time Summit: Art, Place & Dislocation in the 21st Century City.
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“I’m writing this in Venice, Italy. This city is a pleasantly confusing maze, once an island of fortresses, and now a city of tourists, culture (biennales galore) and crumbling relics. Venice used to be the most powerful city in Europe—a military, mercantile and cultural leader. Sort of like New York.

Venice is now a case study in the complete transformation of a city (there’s public transportation, but NO cars). Is it a living city? Is it a fossil? The mayor of Venice recently wrote a letter to the New York Review of Books, arguing that his city is indeed a place to live, not simply a theme park for tourists (he would like very much if the big cruise ships steered clear). I guess it’s a living place if you count tourism as an industry, which I suppose it is. New York has its share of tourists, too. I wave to the double-decker buses from my bike, but the passengers never wave back. Why? Am I not an attraction?

New York was recently voted the world’s favorite city—but when you break down the survey’s results, the city comes in at #1 for business and only #5 for living. Fifth place isn’t completely embarrassing, but what are the criteria? What is it that attracts people to this or any city? Forget the business part. I’ve been in Hong Kong, and unless one already has the means to live luxuriously, business hubs aren’t necessarily good places for living. Cities may have mercantile exchange as one of their reasons for being, but once people are lured to a place for work, they need more than offices, gyms and strip clubs to really live.

“New York is funky, in the original sense of the word—New York smells like sex.”

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Michael Jackson, NYC Subway 1980′s

Work aside, we come to New York for the possibility of interaction and inspiration. Sometimes that possibility of serendipitous encounters—and I don’t mean in the meat market—is the principal lure. If one were to vote based on criteria like comfort or economic security, then one wonders why anyone would ever vote for New York at all over Copenhagen, Stockholm or some other less antagonistic city that offers practical amenities like affordable health care, free universities, free museums, common spaces and, yes, bike lanes. But why can’t one have both—the invigorating energy and the civic, intelligent humanism?

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Basquiat & Warhol by Ricky Powell

Maybe those Scandinavian cities do in fact have both, but New York has something else to offer, thanks to successive waves of immigrants that have shaped the city. Arriving from overseas, one is immediately struck by the multi-ethnic makeup of New York. Other cities might be cleaner, more efficient or comfortable, but New York is funky, in the original sense of the word—New York smells like sex.

 

Times Square 1962_1Times Square, Photo by Joel Meyerowitz

Immigrants to New York have contributed to the city’s vibrancy decade after decade. In some cities around the world, immigrants are relegated to being a worker class, or a guest-worker class; they’re not invited to the civic table. New York has generally been more welcoming, though people of color have never been invited to the table to the same extent as European immigrants.

I moved to New York in the mid-1970s because it was a center of cultural ferment—especially in the visual arts (my dream trajectory, until I made a detour), though there was a musical draw too, even before the downtown scene exploded. New York was legendary. It was where things happened, on the East Coast anyway. One knew in advance that life in New York would not be easy, but there were cheap rents in cold-water lofts without heat, and the excitement of being here made up for those hardships. I didn’t move to New York to make a fortune. Survival, at that time, and at my age then, was enough. Hardship was the price one paid for being in the thick of it.

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“I don’t believe that crime, danger and poverty make for good art. That’s bullshit.”

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 Photo by Bruce Davidson

As one gets a little older, those hardships aren’t so romantic—they’re just hard. The tradeoff begins to look like a real pain in the ass if one has been here for years and years and is barely eking out a living. The idea of making an ongoing creative life—whether as a writer, an artist, a filmmaker or a musician—is difficult unless one gets a foothold on the ladder, as I was lucky enough to do. I say “lucky” because I have no illusions that talent is enough; there are plenty of talented folks out there who never get the break they deserve.

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 Notorious B.I.G.

Some folks believe that hardship breeds artistic creativity. I don’t buy it. One can put up with poverty for a while when one is young, but it will inevitably wear a person down. I don’t romanticize the bad old days. I find the drop in crime over the last couple of decades refreshing. Manhattan and Brooklyn, those vibrant playgrounds, are way less scary than they were when I moved here. I have no illusions that there was a connection between that city on its knees and a flourishing of creativity; I don’t believe that crime, danger and poverty make for good art. That’s bullshit. But I also don’t believe that the drop in crime means the city has to be more exclusively for those who have money. Increases in the quality of life should be for all, not just a few.

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 Photo by Bruce Davidson

The city is a body and a mind—a physical structure as well as a repository of ideas and information. Knowledge and creativity are resources. If the physical (and financial) parts are functional, then the flow of ideas, creativity and information are facilitated. The city is a fountain that never stops: it generates its energy from the human interactions that take place in it. Unfortunately, we’re getting to a point where many of New York’s citizens have been excluded from this equation for too long. The physical part of our city—the body—has been improved immeasurably. I’m a huge supporter of the bike lanes and the bike-share program, the new public plazas, the waterfront parks and the functional public transportation system. But the cultural part of the city—the mind—has been usurped by the top 1 percent.

“In New York there has been no public 
rejection of the culture that led to the financial crisis.”
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What then is the future of New York, or really of any number of big urban centers, in this New Gilded Age? Does culture have a role to play? If we look at the city as it is now, then we would have to say that it looks a lot like the divided city that presumptive mayor Bill De Blasio has been harping about: most of Manhattan and many parts of Brooklyn are virtual walled communities, pleasure domes for the rich (which, full disclosure, includes me and some of the Creative Time team), and aside from those of us who managed years ago to find our niche and some means of income, there is no room for fresh creative types. Middle-class people can barely afford to live here anymore, so forget about emerging artists, musicians, actors, dancers, writers, journalists and small business people. Bit by bit, the resources that keep the city vibrant are being eliminated.

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 Beastie Boys Photo by Lynn Goldstein 1986

This city doesn’t make things anymore. Creativity, of all kinds, is the resource we have to draw on as a city and a country in order to survive. In the recent past, before the 2008 crash, the best and the brightest were lured into the world of finance. Many a bright kid graduating from university knew that they could become fairly wealthy almost instantly if they found employment at a hedge fund or some similar institution. But before the financial sector came to dominate the world, they might have made things: in publishing, manufacturing, television, fashion, you name it. As in many other countries the lure of easy bucks Hoovered this talent and intelligence up—and made it difficult for those other kinds of businesses to attract any of the top talent.

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 Photo by Jeff Mermelstein

A culture of arrogance, hubris and winner-take-all was established. It wasn’t cool to be poor or struggling. The bully was celebrated and cheered. The talent pool became a limited resource for any industry, except Wall Street. I’m not talking about artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians—they weren’t exactly on a trajectory toward Wall Street anyway—but any businesses that might have employed creative individuals were having difficulties surviving, and naturally the arty types had a hard time finding employment too.

“If young, emerging
talent of all types can’t find a foothold in this city, then it will be a city closer to Hong Kong or Abu Dhabi than to the rich fertile place it has historically been.”

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 Keith Haring, 1980′s Subway Station

Unlike Iceland, where the government let misbehaving banks fail and talented kids became less interested in leaping into the cesspool of finance, in New York there has been no public rejection of the culture that led to the financial crisis. Instead, there has been tacit encouragement of the banking industry’s actions from figures like Mayor Bloomberg. The nation’s largest financial institutions are almost all still around, still “too big to fail” and as powerful as ever. One might hope that enlightened bankers might emulate the Medicis and fund culture-makers—both emerging artists and those still in school—as a way of ensuring a continued talent pool that would invent stuff and fill the world with ideas and inspiration, but other than buying blue-chip art for their walls and donating to some institutions what is, for them, small change, they don’t seem to be very much interested in replenishing the talent pool.

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Supreme Skate Video Premiere, Lafayette Street NYC 1990′sAaron-Bondaroff-on-his-early-inspirationsAaron Bondaroff, Supreme Store Lafayette NYC 1990′s

One would expect that the 1 percent would have a vested interest in keeping the civic body healthy at least—that they’d want green parks, museums and symphony halls for themselves and their friends, if not everyone. Those indeed are institutions to which they habitually contribute. But it’s like funding your own clubhouse. It doesn’t exactly do much for the rest of us or for the general health of the city. At least, we might sigh, they do that, as they don’t pay taxes—that we know.

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Stills from Larry Clark’s film “Kids” 1995

Many of the wealthy don’t even live here. In the neighborhood where I live (near the art galleries in Chelsea), I can see three large condos from my window that are pretty much empty all the time. What the fuck!? Apparently rich folks buy the apartments, but might only stay in them a few weeks out of a year. So why should they have an incentive to maintain or improve the general health of the city? They’re never here.

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 Photo by Martha Cooper

This real estate situation—a topic New Yorkers love to complain about over dinner—doesn’t help the future health of the city. If young, emerging talent of all types can’t find a foothold in this city, then it will be a city closer to Hong Kong or Abu Dhabi than to the rich fertile place it has historically been. Those places might have museums, but they don’t have culture. Ugh. If New York goes there—more than it already has—I’m leaving.

But where will I go? Join the expat hipsters upstate in Hudson?

Can New York change its trajectory a little bit, become more inclusive and financially egalitarian? Is that possible? I think it is. It’s still the most stimulating and exciting place in the world to live and work, but it’s in danger of walking away from its greatest strengths. The physical improvements are happening—though much of the crumbling public infrastructure still needs fixing. If the social and economic situation can be addressed, we’re halfway there. It really could be a model of how to make a large, economically sustainable and creatively energetic city. I want to live in THAT city.”

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I still love you New York…always and forever. I just need you to get it together…for me, for you, for us.

RANDOM: Anyone Check This Thing Anymore? *Tapping Microphone

elephant in the room

 

I won’t ignore the elephant in the room any longer!

I know it…

You don’t even have to say it…

My posts have become less abundant.

Fine. There – I said it…now I can exhale.

Other than being busy and working 4-5 jobs (no lie) like a good West Indian – It feels as though this has happened because of 2 reasons (that weirdly coincide).

1. It seemed like more and more people were RAPIDLY following me on INSTAGRAM and less were checking my BLOG.

2. I subconsciously started posting less since on my BLOG and more on INSTAGRAM since it quenched an immediate and mass share in social.

Oy vey.

So – my question to you 3 people who are still reading this. Should I be posting more? Is there a demand? Or should I shut this blog down? Hahaha, just kidding – that won’t happen. I guess I’m just seeing if you guys check this still. If so, how often? Is there something you want to see more of or less of? Is there a way to connect my socials and blog cohesively? I’m thinking about an app, what ya’ll think? Let me know, yo!

Thanks!

V!

 

 

RANDOM: Tote-ally Overwhelmed In The Search For The Perfect Tote

Yep, my current adult dilemma is figuring out the perfect work and life bag. Oy vey! It’s such a difficulty, especially when you want a nice bag – it could mean a costly commitment. Seeing a bag online and in person helps, but I feel like bags (like cars) should be given test drives. Sure, it looks great in the store – but is there room for my laptop or will it fit comfortably on my shoulder? Oh…and that’s not the only conundrum. There are many other issues to consider…I know some of you are in the same boat!

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Vashtie, NYC 2012

Although this photo was taken last year – I’ve made it a habit to use a random canvas tote for my everyday life.

FUNCTION:

My life as a freelance artist is constantly changing – sometimes I bring a laptop to work, sometimes I take my iPad Mini, other days I just grab a notebook and other days I grab it all. I need something big enough for the biggest component and yet small enough for the minimal days.

blog_bags1With friends and a Louis Vuitton Red Epi Leather Duffle, NYC 2005.

This bag was cute, not an everyday bag and I’ve also grown to loathe this shape by any brand

STYLE:
For the longest, I’ve carried random dusty canvas tote bags to all my work meetings and sometimes evening events. Sure – it gets the job done, but besides not having compartments, it lacks real style. It’s fine for everyday work, but I’m now taking meetings with Tommy Hilfiger and Heads of Companies…it may be time to step it up and “dress the part”. BUT – I also don’t want an overpriced fancy shmancy bag that celebrities have played out…someone at Jeffrey tried to get me to buy a Celine Bag that everyone and their Mama has (no thanks you).

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Celine Trapeze Bag

This is definitely a beautiful bag, but everyone has it…and it’s DUMB exepensive. Like almost $3,500

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Me and Oscar 2013, in Paris France. I’m wearing a DQM Tote.

LONGEVITY:
For the most part, I am a frugal female. I’m not cheap, but I certainly don’t spend a lot of money on clothing – EXCEPT when it comes to things I will own for a long time. T-shirts and jeans I like to keep on the cheap side, but for staple items that need and can last a lifetime ( like motorcycle jackets and bags)…I believe in investing. A lot of these bags are beautifully crafted, but don’t seem like they will last the test of time. That’s important to me, especially if a pretty penny is attached to it.

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Miami Beach 2007, me and my Marc by Marc.

This bag was incredible! As you can see I was able to carry my cumbersome old school Polaroid camera in it as well as the other necessities.

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PRICE:
Shockingly enough, I’m open. It could be a no name bag or a high end luxury bag, I am willing to check it out. I will also point out that I believe in getting a discount for expensive purchases, only because I live in a big city and my local friends are all about a hookup.

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Dinner at Lucky Strike, NYC 2010 with my baby Balenciaga.

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What bags am I considering to perfect my adult work life and my immature play life? Take a look and weigh in…

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SAINT LAURENT REVERSIBLE TOTE $1,495

PRO: I love anything reversible because you get two different looks for one price and it resembles a basic tote and that’s convenient since I’m used to that look

CON: There aren’t really compartments. Everything all in one big pocket can suck.

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Prada Double Zip Executive Tote $1,995

PRO: This bag has a detachable long strap which can be worn for work during the day and detached at night with the shorter handles for a more evening look. It also has compartments and Saffiano leather has a longer life span than most other leathers.

CON: I debate if its really my style, although I’m leaning towards this one.

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A nice dressier and night-time way to wear the bag.photo112 photo311What do you guys think?

A vote between the two or something else I should consider?

Something that works for you?

Drop a line or a link in the comment section and I will check it out.

I’m open. Help your girl out! Please!

I’ll keep you posted on what happens and once I get a bag, I’ll let you know how it’s working out for me.

 

RANDOM: Buzzfeed’s “You Know You’re A Night Owl When” Is Strumming My Pain With Its Fingers…

This post made me feel like someone read my diary. Each and every reason for being a night owl in this post is spot on. Dare you question my belief? Hello?! I am writing this draft at 4am Tuesday morning and all. I know…

This post was so good I had to poorly screenshot it and share it, but the full and brilliant post with moving gifs is HERE:

RANDOM: My Birthday Wish List! April 23rd Is The Big Day!

Hey Boo’s & Babes.

My birthday is around the corner and just like I have done for the past few years, I have once again compiled my Birthday Wish List! Consumerism at its best! Okay, here goes and in no order of importance…

(I just realized that some of the same things that are on this list were on previous lists, so pardon the repeats).

 

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1. VINTAGE GOLD MEN’S ROLEX (CHAMPAGNE FACE): $11,000 – 17,000


My ladyboy style has evolved here and there into grown man steez. I drink whiskey neat from time to time and now I want a Vintage Gold Men’s Rolex. The chances that I might ever buy myself an expensive timepiece is slim to none, but hey – a tomboy can dream, can’t she?

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2. GHOST CHAIR BY STARCK: $410.00


Oh, the woes of being an adult and taking your home’s landscape seriously! I believe in buying affordable items (lord knows I own enough Ikea), but here and there adding in some fancy pieces. Enter, Starck’s Ghost Chairs. Sure, it’s just clear acrylic in the form of a simple chair – but I just love the way they look!

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3. Black + Blum’s Thermo Pot: $42.00


I’m all about containers for food and beverages that are finely designed and healthy (BPA Free, etc). This little thermos is excellently put together and sleek, making bringing your lunch a fashion forward move!

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4. OPENING CEREMONY COSMETIC BAG: $75

Opening Ceremony can do no wrong. Everything they make is amazing and this little makeup bag is the perfect addition to my life.

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5. MASSAGE AT GREAT JONES SPA: $140


This little gem has made my list every year. Great Jones is an exceptional spa for a local New York City breather. They have a water lounge that you can hang in with a sauna, hot tub, cold pool and steam room. From the moment I walk in, I forget that I am in the city and my stress melts away.

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6. KLEAN KANTEEN WATER BOTTLE (27 OZ.): $19.95

Hydration is super important, but it’s even more important not to drink from plastic water bottles…especially the ones we all mostly drink out of that has dangerous chemicals in them, just seeping out into our water. Klean Kanteen offers cute bottles made from BPA free stainless steel.

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7. VITAMIX BLENDER - 5200 SUPER HEALTHY LIFESTYLE: $549.00


I’ve always wanted one of these bad boys, they are the best in the business. A good blender is crucial for a healthy lifestyle and the more I delve into vegan recipes, raw recipes and smoothies…I find that I definitely could use a Vitamix!

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8. FUJI INSTAX CAMERA: $95.00

I can’t believe I still haven’t gotten this bad boy, especially being someone obsessed with cameras and Polaroids. I need to get it together!

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9. DSPTCH CAMERA SLING STRAP: $44.00


And for the many cameras I own, having a good strap is necessary once you realize the stock ones that come with most cameras these days are dreadful.

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10. GIFTCARD TO THE CONTAINER STORE: $$$

Let’s face it people, it’s hard to stay organized with life throwing fast ones at you left and right. Between work and home, I need a good organizational system and Container Store has some really good products.

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You could get me ANYTHING from this place and I would love you forever. One Lucky Duck has all the most delicious food, juices and treats that are RAW! All of my teeth are sweet teeth and eating raw desserts makes me feel less guilty about my inner fat kid.

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12. DIPTYQUE CANDLE – VIOLETTE or FIGUIER: $60.00

Candles are just the bomb. They are the perfect gift and can please almost anyone. Diptyqe has long been creating classic candles that spruce up any space with a chic feel.

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13. SOMETHING INSPIRATIONAL:

A good mix CD of music I don’t know, an inspiring second-hand book, a record with a nice design…something…anything fun and inspiring.

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14. KING KRULE MERCH T-SHIRT: £14

My longtime readers know my love for King Krule and his music. Formerly known as Zoo Kid, this young ginger boy stole my heart and then crushed it with his somber music – oh, how I love misery! Anyways, his site finally has fully replenished stock and I need some tees.

 

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15. HANDMADE CARD: Free

I told my readers a while back that I loved handmade cards and on my birthday found an inbox full of the sweetest notes I could ever have asked for…seriously! You can check out all of them HERE. Since we were just on the topic of King Krule, peep one of my favorite cards made by B. Denise.

If you feel like sending me some birthday love, email it to INFO@VASHTIE.COM!

Oh and I have to mention that I share a birthday with William Shakespeare, Shirley Temple, Michael Moore, Taio, Roy Orbinson, Dev Patel, Kal Penn, Jessica Stam, Jaime King! Yay for bull-headed Tauruses!

 

RANDOM: Why Haven’t I Been Properly Blogging Lately?

Hey Guys…

As some of you might have noticed, I haven’t been properly blogging in my usual fashion lately. The reason you ask? Actually, I’m embarrassed to say that there is nothing in particular to take the blame…just life. As most of you know – I was in Paris for the Kenzo Show in March, then I had the flu for 3 weeks and lost about 15lbs from it (it was basically the Black Plague), took a few weeks after that to play catchup and now I’m here. I’m a Taurus and love routine, but after my routine was wiped out due to illness – I’ve been scrambling to get it back.

 

Me at the height of my flu with just enough energy for a selfie, tugging on my hair that hadn’t been washed in about 2 weeks because I had the chills. Also note: I sweated through about 4-5 shirts a day at a minimum. The moment I took this photo was also the moment that I realized I had lost a TON of weight. I always thought being super skinny would work for me, but when I tried my clothes on I looked like a pre-pubescent boy playing dress-up with his moms clothes. I’ve always stayed in a range of 118-130 since I was in Junior High (I was the same height in 5th grade that I am now, 5’4″) and prior to getting sick I was about 119lbs, but I’m positive I got down to about 105lbs at my sickest. Which means, I haven’t been at that weight since I was in about 3rd or 4th grade. That is so shocking. A few of you have left some concerned comments about my weight loss and I appreciate it. Hahaha, what if I was like “stay out my business” and @’ed the people who left the comments. I’m totally kidding and I really do appreciate the supporters I have that care. I’m gaining the weight back, slowly…but surely.

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I will say that I am MUCH busier with a lot of behind the scenes work while juggling many different gigs, but I’d hate to be all “I’m too busy working to blog” blah blah.

I am very busy, as I’m sure you all are – so I won’t make any excuses. I will say that I promise to make time for you guys, because I do love you and appreciate the support. If you guys want to continue reading and seeing my posts, then I will carry on! In the mean-time, I offer you a Mariah Carey Video and some photos of things I haven’t had time to blog…

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212 Tuesdays // The Darby (The night before I got the Black Plague)

Angelo Baque & Me

Angelo Baque & Hunter Muraira

Dee Twin, Ricky Powell & Ricky Twin

Bobby Waltzer (Two One Two), Young Scoozle & Sebo

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I went to Miami for Winter Music Conference and I was so ready to take many pictures when my camera died after I took this photo…

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I also went to Albany to attend a memorial for Jessica, my dear friend Dave’s fiancee. She was an absolute sweetheart who was loved immensely by everyone who knew her. I’m sad I didn’t have the chance to get to know her as well as other people did. Her life was taken too soon, but she won’t be forgotten. #breatheeasysmiley


While I was in Albany, I also found out that my father’s good friend who we affectionately called “Uncle Mike” also passed away. I remember him fondly, he was very loving and kind. I have wonderful memories of him from my childhood. He will be missed.

All in all, my Albany trip was nice but sad. I re-connected with some old chums and realized just how fast time flies and as resilient as life is, it’s also fragile. We must truly spend time with the ones we love…and the ones that you love, but are too busy to spend time with. I’ve spent too much time away from my hometown of Albany. I have my reasons, but…when events like these happen, those reasons don’t add up to much.





RANDOM: Where You At?! 2013

Having a website affords you many rad things (but, I guess since I pay for my site I’m actually just getting what I pay for). One, for example, is finding out who your site visitors are. I especially love seeing the country list to see where the visitors are actually clicking from. As a kid, I was in love with the idea of Pen Pals from around the world, and this sort of fulfills that for me. I assume I am most popular in the United States, which I am – but, knowing that someone in Russia or Finland might be checking out my posts is so amazing to me!

Here is the screen shot of this list (ranging from most hits to least). Although, I have a good sense of who is coming through to good ol’ Vashtie.Com, I like to ask you since it’s more personal. Think of it (for you old people like me) as an updated version of “A/S/L”

 

Whats your name?


Where are you from?


Where are you living now?

RANDOM: The Torture & Joy Of Insomniac Habits

It’s 2:48 am as I write this…

Las Vegas 2008, The Wynn Hotel

I’ve been an insomniac since as far back as I can remember. I can recall being around 8 or 9 years old and my Mother barging into my room to only find me re-arranging it…at 2am. It’s been a burden, but the fact that it’s carried on with me for so long makes it nostalgic in some ways.

Solitude spent with yourself as the sleeping world rests is quite exciting and depressing. You can almost feel how limitless the universe is while being the seemingly only person to recognize it. At the same time, you’re contemplating every single issue that is happening or “could” happen. Over-thinking every problem, but imagining solutions. It’s a strange place to be…

What are the habits of an insomniac, you ask? Well, pre-cell phones with internet plans…it was being up late online on a computer. Maybe updating a page here, posting something there, searching for an old friend/bully or crush. On the rare and best of occasions, it would take me to my sketchbook. There I would write stream of consciousness paragraphs or draw the portraits of loved ones, while listening to a song that I was obsessed with at the moment.

Right now at this moment (because it will change), my insomniac habits are (in no specific order):


1. Listening to Gang Gang Dance’s “Adult Goth” on Repeat…like literally!

2. Online Shopping for Home Goods & Furnishings…

3. Searching My Junior High Bullies Online or Checking on My Friend’s Pages that have Kids…I usually go with the latter, I’m not completely a vengeful-maniac.

My Beautiful God-Baby Amaya! She’s getting so big!

What about you guys? Anyone else a night person like me? Don’t leave me hanging friends. If you are a recovering insomniac, share your remedies!