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THE

FRAGILESQUE No. 001

a lesson in eclecticism AARON HANSEN MICHEL BERANDI JAMES JAEGER

art, fashion, and film of today

CANDID An inside into the world of fashion, modeling, and the entertainment industry


subterranean because “underground” is so overplayed

THE FRAGILESQUE


005 Dear You, — A letter from the editor 006 Drop The Beat

024

The Machinist

Interview with model and actress, Breanna McDow

016 Secret Garden 036 Retro POP

052

DIR ECT ORY

Loose Cannon

Insider on street artist, Aaron Hansen

044 Day And Night 068 Decay of Youth

060

Harbinger

Photospread of the work of LA designer, Michel Berandi

086 Last Resort 094 Nudity: Art or Crass?

076

The Humdrummer

Editorial review by Kimberly Martinez

096 Mod Redux 114 Don’t Make Me Sad, Don’t Make Me Cry 120 The Hot Mess

104

Scotch Howard

Review and interview by Jazz Acuna and Kimberly Martinez FRAGILESQUE.COM | 3


art & fashion & design & music & culture the fragilesque


Dear

You,

clear path. He knew the end goal—the Emerald City, so to speak—but there was no path, no ever-useful yellow brick road to follow. That’s I can vividly remember where I come in. waking up on some random The Fragilesque is this January day feeling a new obtuse amalgamation of our sense of accomplishment, creative minds, something as if waking up was the first that we fabricated and step to victory, or something pieced together from our like that. My sister came own tastes and aesthetics. over, we sipped on tea and It’s what he envisioned gossiped, and from then for this new generation on the ball kept rolling. She of artists, fashionistas, helped me set up a new musicians, and creative account at a new bank and minds, while I came into we went together to the the picture to brush it up a fabric store to get some little; trim the fat, make it cotton jersey so I could presentable, and add a bit of make her a shirt. jazz into it. That shirt never got I was initially signed made—unfortunately for on as James’s stylist, to her—because as I ran the put together outfits for his fabric through the wash, I shoots, but after spending emailed James Jaeger about time together, finding out a proposition he sent me a that I am a self-proclaimed month previously. From then “Jazz-of-all-trades,” and on, from that single email, deeming me relatively sane, my world flipped. My days he set me up as the editor in of sitting around watching chief of The Fragilesque. Doctor Who reruns and So, here we are now. eating Doritos like a fiend After shooting a handful of were to be put on hold as models, working with the he set me up as his chief gracious owners of The stylist. This photographer Fine Art of Design, going extraordinaire, and perhaps through countless photos, one of the most creative and editing for hours we’ve men I’ve met, was basically put together the very first my White Rabbit. But issue of what will hopefully instead of anxiously running be something beautiful and about, worried about time, dynamic. To be released he smoked cigarettes and primarily online and then sipped on iced chai lattes, distributed where we see fit, with this certain ease. The Fragilesque is, as James The Fragilesque, puts it, “the past, present, only a mere concept at the and future of fashion, design, time, had a rough cover set and art.” And it’s with that up, a few shots, but not a tagline did I scheme up

the title of this first issue: A Lesson in Eclecticism. In this issue you’ll find everything that appeals to our creative animus from the dark and romantic, to the tortured and sultry. You’ll find our nod to the past and our gaze into the future all wrapped together in what we believe should stimulate all your senses (you can eat the magazine if you’d like, I wouldn’t recommend it). I put together this issue with my friends and my peers in mind: multifaceted people with varying tastes that can go from Best Coast to Britney Spears with the drop of a hat. These individuals with style and taste that go far beyond their predecessors. These people I see every day, who know Star Wars quotes by heart and are also familiar with Sarah Burton’s work under Alexander McQueen. We are all eclectic beings, and to categorize us into neat, little boxes is a huge disservice. This generation—this idealistic, open-minded, truly diverse generation—is educated and cultured, and even if they aren’t, we were instilled with the thirst and avarice to be. So this is for you.

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Leotard - Versace circa 1990 $150

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Gown - Escada $550

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She walked into the room and commanded attention. James met her already outside, telling her where to park so that LA cops wouldn’t fine her car, and brought her into our makeshift studio as I was shooting another model. She gave a spunky, “hey,” with a curt wave and went into the back to smoke a cigarette with James. I remember looking at a lineup of girls, wondering who would be great to shoot, and settled my eyes on her, Breana McDow. She had this “girl-next-door” look, something relatable, something easy, but I also got this haunting and intense feeling from her. Dressed up with an easy-going style, one much like any other LA fashionista, she shouted out comments to the current model, giving her tips on what else to emote. It was at this point did I feel a pseudo-connection with Breana. She was outspoken, but intelligent; a level of taste and culture that only a few her age have acquired. She was educated, witty, and wry; all qualities I find incredibly attractive. Taking a break from the shoot, I sat outside with her and had a bit of a chat. Breathing in the smoke-filled air, I simply looked at her. I already planned out what I wanted her to wear, but seeing her look, seeing her act, and just her overall presence inspired me to work with her. It was this electrifying synergy that was intense and perhaps, dare I say it, cosmic, to a certain degree. With only a few coy words, I was hooked on her. “Oh my God, I love this band,” she said as James’s iPod began playing Modest Mouse. To which I replied, “You know that this is James’s favorite band too, right?” “No shit!” she blurted as she exhaled a cloud of smoke. We peddled our previous model home, but not before Breana gave her some advice on how to remove her makeup. Another model strolled in with a fixed time frame and Breana, with grace and poise, said, “it’s totally okay. Shoot her and then you can shoot me after.” In between replacing memory cards, Breana and I would chat and she would tell me about her life; it’s amazing what stories models tell behind the scenes, but more so what Breana had to say about her life. She was candid and real, and every moment felt like a performance piece. Not to say that she was disingenuous—no—more so along the lines that it was an open mic, like she was on stage revealing herself, layer by layer, until she revealed her core. As night rolled in, James and I came to the sound conclusion that we were in love with Breana McDow, and, as a testament of our love, that all three of us would wed. We already planned this fantasy where we would drive up to Utah and all three of us would get married, and upon finding out that it was only permissible for a man to have multiple wives and not a woman having multiple

husbands, James would undergo gender reassignment. It was quirky, it was twisted, but it was Breana. And all this before she was even put behind the lens. With some models I would have to give an entire backstory for the shoot. I would have to tell them exactly what I wanted, what I had in mind, and what look I wanted them to evoke. Some would latch on quickly, others would need a few looks to finally get in the groove. For Breana, I only had to say a word and she fell into place. Her movements were hypnotic and tantalizing. There was an intrinsic energy that just ran from photographer to model in a way that truly created this spark of genius that I, while completely amateur to fashion photography, could only liken to Stendhal syndrome. She was sexy and forlorn, seductive and depressed. It was this abrasive dichotomy of concepts that rolled off of her skin and shot through her eyes like beams of light. There was an ease, and a tension. She would raise her shirt up to reveal a nipple in the most sultry of ways, but it was not erotic; it was artistic. Having been one of the first few models I’ve ever shot, it was like my virginity was taken by an experienced lover. Her talent in the industry was apparent at first glance, but what I only came to find out later, during a quaint dinner under heating lamps in a cabana overlooking a figure-eight pool, was that she was so incredibly savvy. Slightly inebriated due to a rum and coke (for me) and a bloody mary (for her), we got down to the bare bones of it all. Sex, drugs, and the blunt truth. In this world of entertainment, where nudity is almost on the cusp of being classified as porn, the question came up: what do you define as porn? “To me, pornography isn’t a naked woman. It’s a tasteless, negative approach on sexuality. It’s strictly there for the purpose of cheap arousal.” “Is it okay?” “It’s okay for it to exist, but I think the label is improper in where it is in America right now. I think that Snooki is more pornography than, like, the shit that Ward Robinson takes.” With her opinionated mindset, I just had to ask, “did you enjoy the shoot?” “No, I did. I really love working with people that… you can get a sense of each other artistically? Which you don’t always come across. You kinda walk into things blindly. It’s like a horse with blinders on. You’re kinda just looking in front of you and you’re like ‘I gotta fuckin’ do this, I gotta suck it up and do what’s in front of me.’” “And what were your expectations for the shoot?” “You kinda learn to walk into these things and have no expectations.” We sat there dining on fine Italian cuisine while indie renditions of jazz music played over the PA. There FRAGILESQUE.COM | 33


was this glow about all of us, or perhaps I was just drunk, but I asked, “so why modeling?” She laughed, slightly embarrassed, and shook her head as if she were dreading the question. “I was seventeen and I was working a mall job and it fuckin’ sucked, obviously. Nobody in my high school liked me.” “Why?” I asked as I twirled spaghetti on my fork. “I dunno. I was bullied really bad. People just thought I sucked. I dunno, I guess I kinda did sometimes. Whatever…” “Were you a bitch or just a loner?” “No, no I was just a loner.” Though she never really answered why she got into the business of modeling, she did reveal, in so many words, that she had to grow up fast. Perhaps it was this expedited journey through life did she come across the industry, to get her name out there. But ultimately she said that it’s, “the poor experiences, like a shit time in school, that wake you up to how society really is.” Sensing a touch of resentment towards her fellow man, or maybe just a hint of misanthropy, I asked, “what are your thoughts on models?” To this she giggled slightly, a hint of red welling behind her cheeks. “Well I don’t want to say anything too negative. I mean, I’ve met like a model or two that are cool. For a while I tried to make a few acquaintances; it seemed really important to me when I first started modeling to be friends with models just because it’s good. I mean, I was around people and I would overhear people in castings who are getting each other jobs, and they’re sitting there talking about these great jobs they did together and I was like ‘well I wanna be a part of that,’ but I really don’t. I couldn’t give two shits about that. “And for a lot of models, they come here and they don’t really have a sense of who they are. That means sexually, emotionally, mentally: they just have no idea where to put everything they’ve ever learned and have no idea what’s ahead of them and they don’t care. They don’t care about and I think that having a lack of personality, the first instinct they have is when they come into this industry is to pull pieces of personalities from everything that’s around them. “And so I think that’s why you have all these models that are the exact same personality and it’s all the ‘being super stoked to shoot and I’m so excited to go to the Roosevelt for this great party by the pool and I’m so fuckin’ stoked and I hate my agency’ and everybody has the exact same answer. And they ask the same fuckin’ generic questions and they’re not hearing a single fuckin’ thing you’re saying.” Her flurry of words come out like an uninhibited torrential flood, and I realized that was why she had gone red. It’s as if these were the words she’d tried so hard to hold back during the entire conversation, 34 | FRAGILESQUE.COM

but she doesn’t stop. I redirect her flow, get her to slow down the pace of her heated words, because I know behind every syllable that rolled off her tongue, a lick of fire was surrounding it. I ask, “then what do you think of the industry? Not just the modeling industry, but the entertainment industry in general?” “I mean, I’m a part of it, and I’d love to stay a part of it. I don’t like actors. Actors are worse than models by like a trillion. I consider myself an actor, but there’s this actor mentality where you go into things and they’ll laugh at everything a casting director fucking says and squeeze in their jokes as much as possible. “And it’s just… they create these fake personalities and like they want everybody to feed off of them as much as possible and they’ll live their life with this fake persona and that’ll make you happy? That wouldn’t make me happy.” She sighs, noticing how heated she’s become, and simply caps it by uttering, “I love the industry, but it’s so fucked.” Our conversation took many turns that night. From talking about how she can perform simple surgeries to how she’s an avid cook. She goes on a diatribe about common pulp literature, and her distaste for Ed Hardy. She even says her favorite film, and I quote, is a “tie between The Secretary and Space Jam.” Whether she’s facetious or sarcastic, or completely genuine doesn’t really matter, at least not to me. You have to understand, that after a four day trip of shooting models back and forth, meeting so many personalities from the quiet and demure to the loud and outspoken, Breana broke through the walls of what I imagined a model to be. I hate to sound so metaphysical, but there’s something to be said about the ability of kindred souls to just reverberate with one another. It could all just be bullshit, or it could be the fact that wavelengths finally honed in to something real. Breana’s absolute candidness and her willing to speak so liberally is so refreshing in this world of fame and glitz and glamour. interview | Jazz Acuna


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Sunglasses - Courreges circa 1980 $440 Fox fur shawl - 60s Vintage $240

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Aaron Hansen is a busy man these days. The graffiti artist is keeping himself occupied with art shows, a t-shirt line, and hopefully an upcoming road trip, which involves him and others painting murals along the 10 freeway, a project connected with the Inspire the 10. Aaron just wrapped up his first solo art show, Inspire the 10 Art Show/ Experience in January. The show was a success and Aaron sold most of his art pieces. Other than having a success with his first solo art show, Aaron is working with Ancient Youth, a clothing line he started. Today, with the Coachella Valley weather calm and a bit cool, Aaron dives deep into his art projects and the meaning behind them.

Kimberly Martinez: How old are you? Aaron Hansen: A Libra, I was born September 29, 1987. I’m 25. KM: When did you start graffiti? AH: When I was 14. I started doing graffiti because my friends did it. It was something cool to do. You were a cool kid. A rebel. KM: Were you going out at night and tagging the streets? AH: Mhm (smiles). It’s easier now when I ask people. Everything about it was scary. You have to be ready to run from the cops. KM: What is Inspire the 10? AH: It is a nation wide project of painting murals on the 10 as a service to humanity. Whatever faces the 10 freeway: businesses, houses, etc. This is to serve your country and inspire your city. KM: How did you start the 10? AH: I wanted to do something to makeup for lost time. While I was driving on the freeway from Redlands, on the on-ramp, there was a four-foot wall with graffiti on it and I thought about asking them if I could remove it, but then I thought about painting a mural. The way I get ideas is to let the journey and spot inspire the painting. I always wanted to do a road trip. I went to Arizona and got just past Tuscon when my truck started smelling like antifreeze. I don’t even think I’ll put my name on it. My projects have more value to it when it is done anonymously. KM: How long ago was that? AH: October FRAGILESQUE.COM | 55


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KM: When are you going on the road for Inspire the 10? AH: Whenever we can. It’s going to be a series of trips. KM: What is Ancient Youth? AH: A t-shirt line that I started, designed, and screenprinted. KM: And you do collaborations on Ancient Youth? AH: Yeah, I’m actually working with Anta, a t-shirt designer. Anta is a creative force that materializes ideas, stickers, and painters. KM: When did you start Ancient Youth? AH: Dang, long time now. Spring of 2010, I believe. KM: What is the objective of your art? AH: To do my job and to get the ideas and actually do the work. You can get these ideas but if you don’t do anything with them then you’re not adding; you’re taking away. We are all here for something. You can work for the universe if you pay attention. Make people better and learn more about themselves. The goal keeps changing. Right now, it is to promote self-awareness.

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model Lisa Marie FRAGILESQUE.COM | 61


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Michel Berandi has a sense of style and fashion that’s refreshing against this wall of So-Cal ease. There’s a tension to his work that emanates clearly through each of his pieces, but it’s not to say that it’s uncomfortable or rough. In fact, one piece look so elegantly draped—aptly titled the tornado dress—but there’s still this push and pull. Some pieces, while simple, hold details in a frayed hem, or a carefully placed zipper. Other garments are laced with meticulous intricacies. There’s a juxtaposition in the garments in that he uses masculine fabrics that hold strong connotations like leather, and employs them to shape a woman’s body with such feminine ease. While not pictured, some of Berandi’s work is FRAGILESQUE.COM | 65


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models Amanda & Zane makeup PolishedbyDana


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In James Jaeger’s directorial debut,

The Humdrummer is a movie about the human mind gone array and close relationships gone wrong. Grim and titillating, The Humdrummer is separated into the “Acts”. Peeking into the descent of one man’s mind, The Humdrummer portrays mental illness with accuracy. A car salesman, played by Rene Heger, relocates to a new location after losing his job. The location is never named, but it appears to be the high desert in California. Having marriage problems, Todd and his wife Jessica attend counseling. Giving an outstanding performance, Lauren DeLong plays the pious, religious wife attending counseling while dutifully preparing her husbands lunch. While Todd adjusts in his new town with his wife and daughter, a murder has occurred in Los Angeles. Todd receives the news through a local radio station and throughout the course of the movie, Todd makes occasional phone calls to the radio station. He makes confessions to the radio host, confessions he wont reveal to those closest around him While at a strip club, our protagonist meets a young, beautiful stripper. Enchanting and attractive,

he has an affair with the exotic dancer. As the affair begins, Todd and Jessica’s marriage falls apart. Jessica, who is often so calm and reserved starts to slowly breakdown as well her husband, whose antics get more bizarre and strange. Only until the end, does the movie give a startling detail as to why Todd’s family is coming undone. The movie is slow and the plot is explained more through actions as opposed to dialogue. Suspenseful music plays from beginning to end, setting off the mood of the actors. The tone of the movie is always tense and you start to get worn out watching it because the movie is dramatic. You want to see the family get better, but things just get worse and worse. I wish the director had put some sort of comical relief but when you’re going crazy it’s kind of hard to have a sense of humor. Todd’s relationship with his daughter is estranged and hard to watch. There’s a scene at the dinner table where the Todd asks his daughter if she wants to go to public school as opposed to private. You just want to slap the crap out of Todd for talking so crudely to her. I know I did. Then there are these flashbacks that Todd has of his abusive father, growing up and appears to be suffering from PTSD. The plot, nor the dialogue, never explains this and as a viewer you want more insight into it. Towards the end it is discovered during therapy, that their son had died and that’s why they moved. His son seemed to have had a huge FRAGILESQUE.COM | 79


impact on the family, but the plot never explores this area either. Although the movie, because of the subject matter, is exhausting to watch, Rene Heger gives an outstanding performance. He reminds me of Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Her facial expression in that movie were parallel to the plot, a perfectionist ballerina loses her mind to her dream role in The Swan Lake. Rene Heger is the same with The Humdrummer. When you look 80 | FRAGILESQUE.COM

at his face, you actual feel what he feels. Heger definitely establishes himself as an actor in The Humdrummer. Lauren DeLong was amazing too. In the beginning of the movie you see her have a consistent smile on her face but slowly and steadily as the movie progresses you see the smile disintegrate and transcend into tears. Overall, the film could be compared to one of Darren Aronofsky or Harmony Korine’s films, a movie as dark and depraved as the director


who made it. If you like nihilistic films where the characters are crushed to death by a world they cannot control, The Humdrummer is for you. If you are more into escapism and love Hollywood remakes with a cliche storyline and happy ending, skip this one. It won’t be for you. watch The Humdrummer for free at http://www.a2arthouse.com FRAGILESQUE.COM | 81


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Nudity: Art or Meet Charleene Ebezik.* At 24 years of age she balances a job at a church’s office and a bookstore by going to art classes. Charleene isn’t a student or a teacher, though; instead, this young raven-haired woman finds her checkbook padded with money earned as a nude model for a university in Claremont, California. She strips off her clothes and stands on a pedestal as men and women scratch pencil lead on papers to contour her curves. “I feel an internal struggle every time,” Ebezik said. “It’s not that I’m ashamed of my body, but half the time it feels like art and half the time I feel like I’m waiting for smooth jazz to play and some guy to come in and start making moves on me.” The goal, she specifies, is that the naked body is just a form. It’s an object and has been desexualized. “Sometimes, I catch guys looking a little too long, but I’m like a slab of marble up there. And my legs are usually crossed or closed.” The question isn’t whether nudity can be art, but rather where that distinction lies. There is an inherent distinction between nudity and the nude, just as there is between art that contains nudity and nude art. And the answers aren’t easy. 94 | FRAGILESQUE.COM

Crass

Some argue that nudity is a naked body being watched while a nude is simply a body devoid of clothing. The semantics aside, the argument boils down to power. Lucy Lawless naked in Spartacus is seemingly there to emulate the hypersexual times and produce an erotic feel. Naturally, this is no nude, strictly nudity. A naked Aphrodite, gingerly watching fruit hang off a tree is a classic nude. Lady Gaga made headlines by wearing a see through mesh outfit that clearly showcased her nipples. Lady Gaga argues it is art. Moms in Minnesota think, “she’s just going straight to hell, don’t you know.” Janet Jackson’s famous Superbowl half-time “nip-slip” is a clear indicator of judging whether something is art or tasteless. If it’s meant purely to entice, there’s no art. Fashion tends to blur this edge. Hollister regularly employs wallsize posters of their models, male and female, generally wearing little clothing. In recent months, models wear no conceivable clothing in the actual shot. While they may be wearing pants, the topless top-halves are


A nude mode in a dynamic pose is not crass and pornographic. The purpose is to create an interesting shot using the shapes of the body as a visual canvas. The distinction lies in the purpose. If the central focus of the shot is genitals, it’s crass. In a sex scene, if the focus is on how hard the actors are “ramming,” chances are you should check your browser for viruses and clear your history, just to be safe, because that’s porn. Sometimes sex is art, and sometimes art has sex. Porn and art, however, are like Uggs and fashion: they don’t mix. And it should be illegal to try.

s?

words | Darren Bonaparte *names have been changed by request.

“Purpose, it seems, plays the central role in the debate” devoid of any fashion. Is this art, then, or simply a ploy to elevate the sexual ambience of the store? What product do these photographers intend to market? The answer could be pure marketing gimmicks. So the proper way to market fashion and sex together would be to find a compromise. Nude and fashion, but mixed with class. America’s Next Top Model features a past cycle where the hopeful models modeled nude with only accessories to cover them. One contestant used a handbag to cover her bottom while looking over her shoulder. She is naked, but the merchandise is obvious and censoring. The shot could be considered crass as it is obviously sexualized, but to claim it as crass, one would have to stop and admit that there is no merit of art in the shot. If there is art, the most it may be is “racy” or “sexy.” Purpose, it seems, plays the central role in the debate. FRAGILESQUE.COM | 95


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PREVIOUS Polka dot top - Fragilesque $15 CURRENT Bib shirt - Fragilesque $20 Grey leggings - Fragilesque $6

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Sheer top - Valentino $250 Vintage skirt - Fragilesque $20 Ripped nylons - Fragilesque $6 118 | FRAGILESQUE.COM


Embellished dress - Escada $600 Marching jacket - Fragilesque $30 Red leggings - Fragilesque $6 Madonna boots - Fragilesque $80

FRAGILESQUE.COM | 119


120 | FRAGILESQUE.COM


White lace dress - Betsey Johnson $110 Red heart belt - Fragilesque $7 Strapped shoes - Dolce & Gabbana $$$ FRAGILESQUE.COM | 121


Plaid dress - The Fine Art of Design $140 Leather Jacket - H&M $40 Silver chain necklace - St. John $80

122 | FRAGILESQUE.COM


Vintage, embellished cut-offs Levi’s by The Fine Art of Design $55 Trench coat - Betsey Johnson $250 Lace top - Escada $250

FRAGILESQUE.COM | 123


Lisa Turtle jacket - The Fine Art of Design $70 Plaid wrap dress - Norma Kamali $190 Madonna boots - Fragilesque $80

124 | FRAGILESQUE.COM


Marilyn top - Fragilesque $17 Plaid skirt - Fragilesque $20 FRAGILESQUE.COM | 125


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THE FRAGILESQUE - ISSUE 001  

ISSUE 001 - A Lesson In Eclecticism

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