GA GC Anne Marsen one
Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs
Jeana Sohn Jenny Slate Kristen Wentrcek Lisa Congdon Lola CAmacho Micu
Michelle Tarantelli Serena Mitnik-Miller [gotagirlcrush.co m]
Cover illustration by Erin Wengrovius
From opposite sides of the country (Meg in Brooklyn and Andrea in San Francisco), we started our blog Got a Girl Crush in 2009. It’s the little things we come across day after day that manifest and empower us to go out and do cool things. A video of a young Stevie Nicks singing “Wild Heart” in her dressing room. Illustrated essays on American history by Maira Kalman. A lesson in animal mating rituals from Isabella Rossellini in Green Porno. The compelling story of a 1950s nanny turned street photographer named Vivian Maier. There’s never a shortage of women we can turn to for inspiration, and Got a Girl Crush has been a place for us to harness that feeling. Now, two years later, we’d like to bring to you our very first issue of Got a Girl Crush Magazine. With the help of some friends in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, we photographed and interviewed ten ladies who we think are doing amazing things in our own backyards. We’re excited to shed light on them, and hope you walk away with a few more girl crushes to gush over. XOXO, Andrea Cheng & Meg Wachter
TABLE OF CONTENTS 04 08 12 16 22 26 28 32 40 42
Jenny Slate Lisa Congdon Michelle Tarantelli Kristen Wentrcek Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs Jeana Sohn Serena Mitnik-Miller Anne Marsen Frankie Rose Lola Camacho Micu
Got a Girl Crush Magazine • Issue #1 • Summer/Fall 2011
CONTRIBUTORS Erin Griffith is a writer living in Brooklyn. She is the keyboard player for Team Genius (teamgeniusmusic.com) and a big fan of lots of bands, probably even yours. You can follow her witty banter on Twitter: @griffitherin.
K. Nicole Murtagh is a graphic designer living in Harlem, working in Brooklyn, & always looking for ways to get herself lost in between. She has an unhealthy obsession with screen captures, to-do lists, and cheesy romance novels.Visit her at helloknicole.com.
Erin Wengrovius is a graphic designer and illustrator living in Brooklyn. When she is not busy at work as Senior Associate Art Director of Whole Living Magazine, she spends her time painting, eating tons of sugar, and watching Peep Show with her boyfriend. She also sells original one-of-kind paintings and prints at grovius.etsy.com.
Natalie Snoyman currently resides in Oakland, CA. She is an archivist, which basically means she is really good at organizing things. In March of 2009 she nearly slipped off of the Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland. Her stomach stills drops when she thinks about it.
Erin Crist hails from a background in food marketing & culinary arts, which gives good reason to start her new L.A. food truck business Deanoâ€™s Deli (www. deanosdeli.com). Erin has trekked her way around the globe embracing one particular passion: cooking (itsinmybelly.com). If not in her kitchen, you can find Erin out on the streets of L.A. researching that next best recipe.
Lisa Butterworth is a writer, editor, and daydreamer living in Brooklyn, who has more girl crushes than you can shake a stick at. Lucky enough to spend her days reporting on all things pop culture as the senior editor of BUST magazine, she also enjoys adventures on bikes, good bad movies, and anything that involves delicious food.
[Text and Photos By Meg Wachter] 4
Jenny from the block.
JENNY SLATE BAKED ME MUFFINS. Maple oatmeal muffins with fresh raspberries, to be exact. “I thought they’d be better, I’m so sorry!” she excuses. They’re apology muffins--a gesture for having rescheduled our meeting three or four times now. But they’re so delicious I eat two (and want a third), meanwhile wondering how you add fresh raspberries on top without baking them to a shriveled mess. Jenny’s beautiful pre-war apartment in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (which she shares with director/Marcel the Shell collaborator/ boyfriend Dean Fleischer-Camp) is impressive with vaulted ceilings and original molding--but the tiny carved-out kitchen is the bane of her existence. “I love to cook for my friends, but the kitchen is so small!” she says, “I think I go to the grocery store at least three times a day when prepping for a meal.” It’s a marketstyle of shopping that she owes to her French Grandmother. She also owes her years of higher learning (where she met her bestie and comedy partner, Gabe Liedman) and inadvertently her comedic career to her grandparents, who paid her way at
attend Columbia University. Jenny said she felt a lot of pressure to do well at school, but it’s also when she discovered pot. “But I was an English major, so all I had to do was read, so...” Even after her one-season stint on Saturday Night Live where she dropped the F-bomb on live TV and was subsequently let go, Jenny’s creativity clearly needs no crutch--it is cheerfully tootling along with no end in sight. Her collaboration on Marcel the Shell With Shoes On--an adorable three-minute video about a self-assured shell adapting to living in a human-sized world--has garnered 10 million hits (and counting) on YouTube. She now has a children’s book and TV show in the works based on the anthropomorphic mollusk. Her free weekly stand-up show, Big Terrific, which she co-hosts with Gabe is always packed and was named by Time Out NY as the Best Stand Up of 2010. She’s appeared multiple times as Jason Schwartzman’s pot-head love interest on HBO’s Bored to Death and has two movies in the can. Quite an oeuvre, no?
“I think though, it’s super important to work your stuff out live, just so you understand how it affects
people, and so you don’t turn into a lazy pussy who just puts stuff online.” 6
Got a Girl Crush: Could you tell us more about your upcoming projects? Jenny Slate: Our Book, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me comes out November 1, 2011. It’s based on our film, and basically just shows more of Marcel’s life, what he does, and what he thinks. I think the book is simple and beautiful, sweet and funny, and I hope people think that too! It’s not just for kids, it’s for everybody. Everybody who likes Marcel will like his book! I also have a few films coming out next year, and one that I am especially into is The Lorax, an animated feature based on the Dr. Seuss book. GAGC: How great is it to live and work in Brooklyn? JS: It’s my dream come true. There is nothing better than living my whole life here in Brooklyn. I’m so lucky. I’m in love with my life! GAGC: Did you read any of Jonathan Ames’ books before you landed a spot on HBO’s Bored to Death? JS: Yes, I read ALL of Jonathan’s work, years before he did Bored to Death. I was SO excited to hear that he was writing a show, and then it really blew my mind when I found myself on the set. He’s a sweet and smart man. GAGC: Any tawdry stories from on set? JS: I mean, I do gross things all the time. I always wanted to fart under the covers while Jason [Schwartzman] and I were waiting around between takes, but I never had the nerve. One time I tucked the back of my dress into my butt-crack and told Jonathan and the producers that there was something wrong with my wardrobe. GAGC: What is the benefit of continuing personal side projects, including comedy videos like “Bestie x Bestie, ” when you have so many bigger ones going on? JS: I think it’s always good to do projects that invigorate me, make me laugh, make me better at my job, and most importantly, make me happy. So, I guess I just group them all to-
gether. Any size project is beneficial if it helps me grow as a person or make something new. I just like to work! Honestly, I just need to do stuff all the time. Maybe there’s more perks to doing bigger projects, but hanging out in my apartment, smoking pot, and doing “Bestie x Bestie” with Gabe and Dean is just as special and full of benefits. There are no hair and makeup people at my house though--so I guess that’s a bummer. That said, there’s not usually pot in the hair and make up trailer, so it all evens out. It’s all awesome! GAGC: Who’s your favorite celeb to impersonate? JS: Gloria Estefan GAGC: What’s your favorite made-up personality you’ve created? JS: Pamela Dogstein. A dog who does stand-up. GAGC: How has the Internet helped develop your career as a comedian versus if you were working the stand-up/improv circuit 20 years ago? JS: Well, it’s just easier to be seen, and to be seen immediately, so I think that’s the clear answer there. You can perfect your stuff, edit it, create a brand. There’s much more control, and you have the ability to create in private, rather than just do a stand-up set and work stuff out. I think though, that it’s super important to work your stuff out live, just so you understand how it affects people, and so you don’t turn into a lazy pussy who just puts stuff online. GAGC: You’re also pretty big on Twitter. I, personally, appreciate a lot of your TMI comments that one might not normally expect as girl-friendly subject matter. Is there anything you won’t tweet? JS: I wouldn’t ever tweet something that would hurt my friends’ or family’s feelings. That’s about it. I guess I TRY not to be too selfindulgent, but sometimes I am. <<< twitter.com/jennyslate25 >>>
LISA CONGDON LIFE IN NEON
[TEXT AND PHOTOS BY ANDREA CHENG]
Artist Lisa Congdon’s San Francisco studio is her character personified. It’s a precise representation of her style, personality, talent, and personal history. The accessories on her hand (a neon pink watch and cherry-red ring) are a near-perfect match to the colors she uses in her paintings, which seemed to bleed right into the surroundings. They say Miami Beach is where neon goes to die. Well, in that case, Lisa’s studio is where neon goes to vacation. <<< >>>
GAGC: Last year, you set out to document a different collection every single day of the year on your blog A Collection a Day (collectionaday2010.blogspot.com). Now, you’ve got a beautiful book to show for it! What was it like to start this challenge for yourself on January 1 and end up with a book deal by December 31? LC: It was awesome. I actually was in talks with the publisher of my book in May and had the book deal by August! Something I never would have dreamed could happen.
Got a Girl Crush: Your pieces for your recent solo show Boreas are heavily influenced by Scandinavian culture and landscapes. What led you to explore this region?
GAGC: There’s always a lot of pressure for artists to move to Los Angeles or New York. What is it about San Francisco that keeps you here?
Lisa Congdon: My latest body of work evolved out of an obsession with the beauty of the Icelandic landscape. This began after I watched Heima, a documentary on the Icelandic pop group Sigur Rós. The documentary follows the band as they tour through their own homeland, holding impromptu concerts across their countryside. The film documents the stunning raw beauty of Iceland, its rock formations, mountains, and valleys. My interest in countries with proximity to the Arctic grew. I began researching, painting, and drawing the people, landscapes, animals, and folk art of other Nordic countries like Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, along with iceberg formations in the Arctic Ocean. For years I’d been captivated by the more recent mid-century design from Nordic countries which is a heavy influence in my illustration work. I found myself newly immersed in older traditions and cultures.
LC: I have thought about moving to both places, but I have lived in San Francisco for 21 years. I have roots here. The art scene here is big enough to be challenging, but not so big that it’s overwhelming. Besides, what’s not to love about San Francisco? It’s filled with awesome, crazy people and beautiful scenery.
GAGC: What music did you listen to while you were working on Boreas? LC: Sigur Rós, of course! Ha, just kidding. I listened to lots of music. But mostly NPR. I am a news addict.
GAGC: Many other prominent female artists live in San Francisco or have called it home, including Ruth Asawa, Tauba Auerbach, and Margaret Kilgallen. Do you feel there’s a supportive female artist community here? What artists do you admire? LC: I do think there is a supportive community here. I have made so many female friends here through the art world, both through my art practice and through my involvement at Southern Exposure [a non-profit that provides arts, education, and community programs]. I think there is a great deal of admiration among female artists for the diversity of our work and for what it takes to make it here. There are so many talented people in San Francisco. I also think there is a strong “boys’ club” in the SF art world and so we are banding together
in small ways to form our own sense of unity. GAGC: Twitter has become this huge force in the last few years and you seem to have found a tight-knit community of artists and bloggers you interact with on a daily basis. How have tools like Twitter and Facebook helped or affected you and your art? Do you actively use them to market and brand yourself? LC: I rely pretty heavily on Twitter and Facebook because I don’t have a blog on which I write about my work. I feel like they are a sort of godsend. I hated blogging about my own work (I did it for a number of years). So they offer a built-in audience in the same way as a blog, but you don’t have to write a long, formatted post. You can just pop in an image and write a few words, or create an invitation to an opening, or share press you’ve gotten. They are really awesome ways to keep your collectors and fans updated on what you are doing. But more importantly, they are ways to connect with other creative people--to see what other artists are up to, to be inspired, to connect. I know there are lots of social networking haters out there. I fargin’ love social networking. GAGC: I can’t go a week without seeing your name mentioned on this or that blog! You’re very well-loved in the blogging community. What blogs do you personally follow and find the most inspiring?
LC: I love so many blogs--not just art blogs but design and interiors blogs. I think My Love for You (myloveforyou.typepad.com) is my favorite art blog. Meighan has such a great eye, and she’s been such a great supporter of my fine art practice since WAY back in the day. I also love All the Mountains (allthemountains.blogspot.com), The Fox is Black (thefoxisblack.com), SFGirlbyBay (sfgirlbybay.com), and Poppytalk (poppytalk. blogspot.com). And of course I love Got a Girl Crush. But really there are too many to name. GAGC: If you could send a message to your teenage self what would it be? LC: Don’t give a fuck about what other people think. GAGC: Can you share with us your favorite vegan recipe? LC: Take some asparagus, wash it, put it on a baking sheet. Rub a little bit of olive oil on the asparagus and sprinkle some course sea salt on it. Set the oven on broil (525 degrees Fahrenheit). Put the asparagus in for 5-8 minutes until browned, flipping it occasionally. Don’t overcook! Eat. <<< lisacongdon.com >>>
Carrying Some Magick.
[Text and Photos by Meg Wachter] 12
Michelle Tarantelli is a New York City–based artist and tattooist. We first met in 2006 at the beginning of my own burgeoning desire to decorate my body the way many have for hundreds of years--but which has only recently become quasi-acceptable for women. Michelle has inscribed on me various times since and over the countless hours logged together in the intimate confines of a tattoo parlour chair, I’ve come to known her as a true born-and-raised New Yorker with a unique perspective on the private club that is the tattoo scene. I visited her (and her adorable English Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Sugar) in her Tribecca apartment for coffee, photos, and a few questions. <<< >>> Got a Girl Crush: At what age did you discover tattoos and how old were you when you first got one? Michelle Tarantelli: I remember seeing old photos of heavily tattooed circus women when I was younger and wishing I could tattoo my entire body like theirs. I thought they were so beautiful. I got my first tattoo when I was about 18. GAGC: What kind of experience was it and how did you go about getting a tattoo in NYC before the 1999 legalization of tattoo parlors? MT: I took the subway to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn by myself one afternoon and got tattooed by Mike Perfetto in the basement of a two-family house. I was nervous, but also on autopilot a bit and got a Mom and Dad tattoo I picked off the wall on my forearm. I guess I knew then that it was the beginning of something I would continue to do for the rest of my life. I sort of jumped right in by getting a big tattoo in a visible place. GAGC: When did you decide you wanted to start tattooing? Was it harder to get into as a female?
MT: I got a job as a tattoo assistant at NY Adorned and thought that if I could muster the confidence in myself then I could be a tattooer. GAGC: Would you consider tattooing to be a boys’ club? MT: It definitely is a club, boys’ club not necessarily. I suppose I thought it was more so when I first started working in the business, because I didn't know any female tattooers who the men took seriously. I was exposed to a small part of the tattoo community in the beginning; it had just been legalized in New York at the time and I wasn't well traveled. Later on I was exposed to more outspoken, confident, and talented hardworking women in
the business and I suppose just seeing them in a tangible sense opened up a window of opportunity I didn’t know existed. My first boss in a tattoo shop was a woman and she was the first person to mirror a confidence back to me I had a hard time seeing in myself. For sure I would not be where I am today without her in more ways than one; thank you Lori Leven! GAGC: Does being covered in ink, as a woman, make it harder to be taken seriously in certain situations? MT: Yes, but I have found that actions speak louder than words, always. Hard work and confidence, being articulate and on top of your game, taking care of your self, practice, and developing yourself as much as possible prepare you for what obstacles you may encounter. GAGC: How has the tattoo scene changed in the last 10 years? MT: Well, the Internet has had a huge impact on the tattoo scene, I think. At the touch of a button you can see so much more than you were able to years ago. People that are new to the industry can come across as experts just because they have read up on who’s who and they can memorize and take on a persona enabling them to be accepted into what was once a more closed, more secretive community.
GAGC: What inspires your style of work? MT: I love folk art, religion, obsessive belief systems, the occult, etc. I guess I’m more attracted to traditional tattoos because the style works and holds true to the test of time. Simple strong work will always look good regardless of trend. I have always been a creative person, have always made things, have always drawn and painted since I was a child. GAGC: I know it’s like asking you to pick a favorite child, but which is your favorite or most meaningful tattoo? MT: My favorite tattoos are those the people I love and respect gave me. I carry some of their magick with me every day, like a gift. <<< savedtattoo.com >>>
FACTORY [TEXT AND PHOTOS BY MEG WACHTER]
KRISTEN WENTRCEK My meeting with designer extraordinaire, Kristen Wentrcek (pronounced “Wintercheck”), takes me to her studio way out in the land of tortilla factories and used-tire lots of Bushwick, Brooklyn. The space is full of flea market finds, prototypes for metal shot glasses, and her grandma’s impressive vintage sportswear collection. Although all of these pieces vary in form and use, they all inspire her to recreate or improve upon. For example, she recently found a wire camping saw which she plans to repurpose as materials for a bracelet.
At her one-stop-shop, Wintercheck Factory, you can buy vintage-inspired welder-style sunglasses, simplistically stylized wallets, and midcentury influenced desks. Call it an Americangirl version of Muiji. <<< >>> Got a Girl Crush: What’s your design background? What’s your story? Kristen Wentrcek: I grew up in El Paso, Texas and came to New York for school. The design background that I have is more experience-based than actual schooling. Working for a real estate developer was probably the best training for the direction that I’d eventually go. I was heavily involved with the financial side which gave me a lot of confidence with money management and investing, ideal for any future business owner. The other half of the job, though, was management, working to marry the goals of the designers with the constraints of the contractors, materials, and budgets. There are so many parallels between erecting a building and fabricating an object, both of which have to be sold at completion. I took that knowledge and applied it to a more contained, faster turnover, smaller budget format [with Wintercheck Factory].
there’s a lot of integrity in creating an object that’s going
GAGC: How would you describe the appeal of Wintercheck Factory’s one-stop shopping aesthetic?
KW: I think in some ways you could compare it to [Japanese design superstore] Muji. We’re really taking one concept and applying it to all different types of products that we want, need, or think could have a place in the market. The goal is to produce classic, lasting, high-quality, design-focused, American-made goods. We’re selling online because it makes more sense to have direct access to our customers. We want to make a product and be able to offer it for the price we want, at the exact time we want, and with all the exact and accurate information and images. We love all of our retailers and think it’s important, as a brand, to be in stores but it takes so many domestically manufactured products to an unattainable price point. So we’re working to balance that out by aligning with retailers that represent the same values, but also keeping the online format. Other than that, I think you’ll start to see a more consistent aesthetic across all the products once some of our older items are sold out. GAGC: What is it about designs of the past that you are drawn to recreate? KW: I think it all has to do with the manufacturing and materials. So many of the older products that we’ve collected and admire were originally made to be permanent objects in someone’s life--bottle openers, hairbrushes, lighters. Today, so many of those objects are made and priced to be temporary. I think there’s a lot of integrity in creating an object that’s going to last. I think it does a disservice to everyone, from the person in the factory producing the components to the end customer who has to toss it out six months later. So we draw from the products that have stood the test of time, partially because many of them have very simple aesthetics, but also because the materials used and process in which they were created have shown to be successful. I think it’s important to look at the big picture when it comes to smaller-run U.S. manufacturing. There are still so many domestic vendors and manufacturers who need business and [corresponding] amount of designers looking for a way to have their products made. The more business a manufacturer has, the greater their efficiency becomes, which means that designers can produce more and offer lower pricing to customers. Once you go overseas, it’s a different game, but with domestic manufacturing, that’s a huge benefit. GAGC: Where do you see your business heading in the future? KW: Product wise, I think you’ll start to see
more complex designs as we’re gaining experience with a wider array of materials. It took almost two years to really figure out what I wanted the company to represent, and it may take another two to really develop that into a set of products I feel are very strong. In the meantime though, the goal is to be consistent and really create a brand that people like, understand, trust, etc. I think you do that through making genuinely good products. GAGC: What’s it like being one of the few--that I know of--women furniture designers? Have you ever experienced a questioning of your capabilities or knowledge in the field?
KW: I’m way too focused on developing new products to question my own capabilities or knowledge in a field. What’s the point? If there is anything that I don’t know, I’m confident it’s something I can learn. In such a case, I’ll just research, observe, and ask tons of questions of the people who know the answers. A manufacturer will sometimes question my ability to sell the product (or if there’s a customer that it will appeal to), but I just tell them, “Don’t worry about it. That’s my job.” And then we get on with it. Regarding women furniture designers, that’s a great question. I have a feeling there are many women furni-
ture designers, but perhaps they’re working for larger companies. I wish I could elaborate on that more, it’s sort of a conundrum, being that there are so many women interested in both DIY and interiors. You’d think they’d be a natural component. <<< wintercheckfactory.com >>>
(L) Kristen’s motion-activated wildlife camera that she borrowed from her parents’ ranch in Texas, just for kicks. (R) Screenshot of photo taken with the camera.
QUEEN OF MASKS
[TEXT AND PHOTOS BY NATALIE SNOYMAN]
carolyn pennypacker RIGGS
Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs lives in Los Angeles and is one of the more talented ladies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She’s a masterful musician who writes beautiful and heartfelt songs for her band, The Finches. Additionally, she’s a talented printmaker and has recently delved into the world of mask-making. To top it all off, Carolyn is completely charming and funny--basically the word “lovely” personified. I’ve been majorly girl crushin’ on Carolyn for years--it’s almost impossible not to. <<< >>> Got a Girl Crush: I know you studied printmaking in college and are quite accomplished in this area. When and how did you decide to design masks? Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs: I had a solo show scheduled for late October at L.A.’s Echo Curio. Everyone, including myself, assumed it would be a print show, but every time I sat down to work, I’d draw masks: heroes, hybrid animals, melty-faces, new deities. At first I was in what in hindsight resembles a state of denial--planning to carve prints of masks--but eventually I realized, Aha! I had to bring them into the third dimension. I built a series of 10 masks, and called the show MASCUS. GAGC: What kind of future plans do you have for your masks? CPR: I’m working on a group of songs that
correspond to the masks, all of which have very distinct personalities. My plan is to perform the songs while masked actors or dancers illustrate the story. A few filmmaker friends are colluding to screen video stage-sets for the live presentation. GAGC: I see your prints as being a little whimsical and gentle whereas the masks are decidedly darker. Where did you draw inspiration from for this project? CPR: Someone just told me it’s bad luck to have a mask hanging in your home, that it serves as an open invitation to spirits and you never know which one will show up! While I don’t necessarily agree, it does seem that masks have an extraordinary ability to invoke the supernatural--even the goofiest Sponge Bob mask assumes some spooky mojo as soon as someone puts it on. Most of my 2D work refers to the supernatural in some way, but prints and collages just don’t feel as heavy (literally! wakka wakka). I mean, when I view a mask, I imagine putting it on. I imagine how it will feel on my face or body, how I would move while wearing it. So I experience this kind of instantaneous, interactive performance, even if it’s only in my imagination. The prints I make are very representational, often linear narratives. Even though they depict weird and unearthly situations, the individual ingredients are familiar animals, areas, or archetypes. GAGC: Not only are you a talented artist, but you manage to write some of my favorite songs! Music that sounds classic and new all at once. I’m really curious about your songwriting
process. What inspires you to write your music? CPR: Oh, thank you! I get a lot of song ideas while doing dishes. Honestly. I keep my tape recorder on a towel by the sink. I write about what most people think about when they do dishes: my hobbies and interests and situations I find fun or frustrating. So, like the masks and prints, the songs usually venture into supernatural realms, accompanied by hefty doses of social science and science fiction. GAGC: I noticed you have a visitor sticker from an elementary school on your guitar case. Please tell me you sang at a storytime! CPR: Oh yes, more than once! I have a lot of friends who are teachers. My all-time favorite shows have been for Ms. Joneâ€™s K-1 class in North Oakland.
GAGC: Tell me about one your fondest musical memories while you were living in the Bay Area. CPR: One of our first shows was at Berkeley High, my alma mater: a variety show that included the multifarious talents of BHS students...and The Evens [comprising Ian MacKaye of Fugazi and Amy Farina of The Warmers]! GAGC: And how about Los Angeles? CPR: About a year ago, I had the ecstatic experience of backing up [American psychedelic folk singer] Linda Perhacs at REDCAT. Whoa, I still canâ€™t believe that happened. And I saw Prince perform in Inglewood a few weeks ago. Damn! He started out the show by lying face down on the symbol-shaped stage, his head in his elbow for many minutes, surrounded by the
soft glow of purple lights. That’s STYLE! GAGC: Who are some of your favorite female singer-songwriters? CPR: Ack, too many to fit in a zine, so I’ll just tell you the ones I’ve listened to this week: Kate Bush, Meredith Monk, Sandy Denny, Katy Davidson, Laurie Anderson, Beyoncé, Stevie Nicks, Sade, Nina Simone, Julee Cruise, Joni Mitchell, Sinéad O’Connor, Elizabeth Fraser. GAGC: Has your songwriting process changed much since you first started writing songs? CPR: Not so much. I still write most of the song skeletons on acoustic guitar or piano. I know more chords now, I play electric guitar and sometimes use vocal processors, and I’m writing a little less autobiographically, but the basic process still feels the same. I guess
the biggest difference is these days I try to keep it soft and gooey for as long as possible. The later parts--the “sound” development--is often more of a collaboration with bandmates and our gear. GAGC: What WAS the first song you ever wrote? CPR: The first Finches song I wrote was “The Road.” I used every single chord that I knew at the time--most of them learned from “Wayfaring Stranger.” I recorded a tape of gothic synth tracks in high school, and before that, like many kids, I had a bunch of pre- through elementary school rapping-pop song experiments/ hott tracks. <<< finchesmusic.com >>>
JEANA SOHN, Storyteller. [Interview by Andrea Cheng, Photo and PAINTINGS by Jeana Sohn] You know those people who decide to pick something up one day and are immediately awesome at it? Yeah, Jeana Sohn is one of them. The L.A.based artist is one well-rounded lady. Between her artwork, fashion site Closet Visit (closetvisit.com), and food blog Bap Story (bapstory.blogspot.com), Jeana has many stories to tell, and the world is captivated. <<< >>> Got a Girl Crush: It seems like you’re able to tap into different types of creativity through your artwork, Closet Visit, and Bap Story. How do you balance your creative mental space for each project? Do you find that they affect one another?
GAGC: How did the Closet Visit project come about? JS: I kind of got bored with my blog and wanted to have a regular feature that’s more creative. I love photography and fashion, and I always wanted to be a magazine editor. I thought I could start my own little fashion editorial pages and use that to do some of the stuff I’ve been dreaming about as well as meet new people. GAGC: How do you pick the women you feature on Closet Visit? JS: I curate based on my preference in style. Many of them are my friends and people I’ve met before. I also take recommendations from people I’ve already shot because I trust their taste.
Jeana Sohn: When I was only making paintings, I wasn’t happy. I got to the point where I hated painting. It’s a lonely job. I’ve found through doing these other projects that I love doing different things and working with other people. Sometimes it’s overwhelming doing all of these projects, but it’s worth it for me to be able to tap into different aspects of creativity, as well as have the chance to be social. And yes, I think one affects the other. For example, when I take photos for Closet Visit, I often use the same compositions and moods for my paintings.
GAGC: Who would your dream Closet Visit subject be?
GAGC: Can you describe your typical day?
JS: I think she can be anyone. Some people think she’s me. Some people project themselves on to that character or someone they know. My goal is for people to come up with their own stories based on the image.
JS: Every day is different, but usually I get up, eat brunch, and get to work. My work day might be emailing all day or doing a photo shoot, or editing photos, filming, or painting. I work until dinner and eat with my husband or friends. In the evening, I usually watch
something fun and work on my laptop or hang out with my friends.
JS: Miranda July, Isabel Marant, Jenna Lyons, Stevie Dance. GAGC: I notice that you tend to draw sets of paintings that feature one main girl. It’s as if you’re telling her story. How do you go about creating these characters, and are they taken from people you know in your personal life? Can you tell us a story about one of these girls?
About five years ago, I made a painting with a blue faced girl and a fox for my solo show
in NYC. I got an email from a guy in Germany two years ago. He said he was in NYC in 2006 and saw the painting on my show flyer. It was four weeks after his daughter was born and the flyer became very meaningful for him and his wife. During his daughter’s birth he was watching out of a window of the hospital and there was a fox sitting in the garden looking up to the window. The baby girl had a heart disease and was born with a blue face. She got an operation and now she is healthy and everything is fine. The painting was sold so I made him another painting with the blue-faced girl and fox. I have another painting with a girl trying to reach out to a fox. This time, a woman emailed me and said this painting looked like her and her dog. She said the dog was abused badly before she adopted him. It took almost two years for the dog to open up to her, and when she saw the painting she thought about the first moment she tried to reach out to the dog. I just love hearing stories like these from my audience. GAGC: Were there any female artists you admired growing up? JS: I started getting into art when I was in college and I admired Kiki Smith’s work very much. GAGC: So, not only are you an inspired artist and skilled photographer, but Bap Story has shown us that you’re also a fantastic cook. Where did you learn to cook? JS: I love cooking, but I don’t consider myself a great cook at all. Bo and I started Bap Story so we can learn and be better cooks. We research and try recipes from our moms and friends. GAGC: What’s your favorite meal to make? JS: I love making kimchi fried rice. It’s easy, cheap, and always good! GAGC: OK, we have to ask. Got any girl crushes? JS: MANY!! She’s probably everyone’s girl crush, but I love Sofia Coppola as I’m very much into film making. Also I have a girl crush every time I see a girl who can pull off masculine tomboy style or who has a big heart. <<< jeanasohn.com >>>
[TEXT AND PHOTOS BY ANDREA CHENG] 28
SERENA MITNIK-MILLER Artist and boutique owner Serena MitnikMiller is a creator of environments, big and small. Scattered around her shop General Store in San Francisco, and in her home studio are visual vignettes formed by pieces her and her husband Mason have carefully collected over the years. There’s a distinct aesthetic in how she chooses to present these items. On the wall directly above her work table is a collection of life savers, lunar tide charts, and other nautical items, while the basket sitting beside it holds a pile of textiles from different corners of the earth. There’s depth in these objects beyond their physical forms, and Serena’s responsible for bringing it to surface.
Got a Girl Crush: The 4000 block of Judah street has such a strong sense of community and your shop has put the Outer Sunset on the map as a culturally vibrant neighborhood. Can you talk about how you and General Store have helped shape this neighborhood and what you love most about your community? Serena Mitnik-Miller: Mason and I never intended to open a store, but when the space became available we started thinking about what the neighborhood needed. The result was General Store--a little bit of everything we wanted to bring to the Sunset, which keeps growing everyday! GAGC: General Store carries a wide array of items ranging from print to housewares to clothing and everything in between. Is there one category of items that you prefer researching and buying over another? SMM: I cannot choose one category. The store is really a reflection of all the things I like. I love it when something knocks my socks off! GAGC: Your pup Macie has become General Store’s mascot and she’s always seen by your side. Can you tell us a favorite story of you and Macie? SMM: It’s true, Macie goes with me everywhere.
Our favorite spot is on the beach where she loves to chase seagulls. Recently people I don’t know have been calling her by name when we are out for a walk, she is definitely a neighborhood starlet. GAGC: Your home, work, and retail spaces are filled with all sorts of beautiful items from your personal collection. How has your collection grown over time and what kind of items do you look for when you’re traveling? SMM: My collection has grown, especially after opening General Store and moving into a larger
“I love finding pieces that are unsuspecting or overlooked.”
home. I love finding pieces that are unsuspecting or overlooked, particularly focusing on the handmade. GAGC: You’ve also got a knack for styling interiors. Even though you’ve amassed a ton of great objects, there’s a thoughtful style to the way you present them and your spaces don’t feel cluttered at all. Have any tips on how to discerningly arrange objects? SMM: My husband Mason is the master organizer, but I do enjoy putting the finishing touches on each space. For me, it’s like a visual puzzle pairing objects and placing them with space to stand alone and complement others around them. I like space to be filled and lived in, but I still end up fighting the clutter everyday. GAGC: Your ability to draw perfect circles is mind-blowing. How did you get so good at it? Do you have any tips for future circle drawers of America? SMM: Practice makes almost perfect, but I don’t think I have ever achieved a perfect circle. I actually like to embrace the imperfections. GAGC: The beach is a few blocks from your shop, you live by the ocean, and your paintings often draw inspiration from the sea. What is it about the ocean that draws you in? SMM: It’s a limitless space that is a fascinating unknown with quintessential beauty and diverse history and to me the most enjoyable place in the world. GAGC: The General Store has hosted a number of live performances. Who are some of your favorite artists to listen to when you paint? SMM: I actually prefer silence when I paint. But Little Wings and Sonny and the Sunsets have been some of my favorite store performances and they get played regularly on road trips. GAGC: And of course...got any girl crushes of your own? SMM: Jane Birkin, Margaret Kilgallen, Agnes Martin, and Georgia O’Keeffe. <<< serenamitnikmiller.com >>>
[TEXT AND PHOTOS by meg wachter]
ANNE MARSEN Anne Marsen first came into the internet meme conscious in a pastel windbreaker fury of arm waggling and moon-walking on the Staten Island Ferry. Her long form dance music video Girl Walk // All Day is tailored to mash-up music mastermind Girl Talkâ€™s latest album, All Day. This New Jersey native has catapulted from dance-school drop-out obscurity to the center of one of the most unique, creative, and fun projects the web and dance worlds have seen yet.
Got a Girl Crush: So, let’s start from the beginning--you had traditional training in dance, correct? Anne Marsen: Yeah. I was in a pretty competitive ballet school at 8 or 9 to like 14 at the School of American Ballet [in New York]. My mom really wanted me to be a ballerina or on Broadway. GAGC: But what did you want to do? AM: I didn’t really know. When I had my headphones in, I would look out the window while we were driving to class and just think of dancers bouncing off the light poles. I feel like I was always dreaming up choreography with stories. GAGC: It’s apparent, though, that you have that control over your body from years of training even though what you are now know for in Girl Walk is seemingly improvised. AM: Right, it’s just like learning a language. If you learn a bunch of words and have the vocabulary at your disposal you can start saying random words! GAGC: Do you feel you are constantly bombarded living in the information age and too many possibilities? AM: I feel so lucky to be living in a time when I can make myself and not have to rely on getting jobs and working up in that traditional way, like how you’re taught. Personally, I find
it more fun to play with what’s in your head and just keep getting better at what you love to do so that eventually people start gravitating towards that. And I can’t believe how many amazing video and dance people have come into my life just from me making a commitment to do what I want. GAGC: What’s exciting about the Internet age, I think--like with platforms like Kickstarter that give artists access to funding to create these amazing projects and it’s not all just controlled by big industry. It’s giving access to the actual people who are interested in what is being made and not the money behind it. I think it’s really exciting and it’s very clear what everyone at Girl Walk is doing. Were you already planning on going to India before you decided to shoot your Bollywood music video send-up, BollyBrook, out there? AM: I decided a couple of years ago that I can’t do winter in New Jersey anymore--I just get pretty down. So I’m really lucky I got to go [to India] and see how other people live their lives. You hear about it and can see it on TV and in movies, but to go there and feel it and see it with your own eyes. I had originally planned on making a video about Couch Surfing [A volunteer-based worldwide network connecting travelers with members of local communities, who offer free accommodation] while I was out there. I wanted to share that it’s not this scary thing. But, once I found out that Girl Walk [being
successfully funded on Kickstarter] I decided I had to stay put in Mumbai to train in dance so I would be in shape when I got back. So I couldn’t make [my original] video, but then an acquaintance of Jacob [Krupnik, director of Girl Walk] emailed me because he was coming to India and wanted to collaborate on making a “Brooklyn meets Bollywood video.” It was originally going to be a quick thing, but because I love editing and making stories it developed into something bigger. GAGC: Had you been a fan of Bollywood movies? AM: I’m really into the playful style.
“ I find it more fun to play with what’s in your head and just keep getting better at what you love to do.” GAGC: Are you incorporating anything you learned there in the Girl Walk video? AM: I really don’t think about it, I don’t like to think, “OK, now I’m going to do a Bollywood move!” GAGC: So do you have a bag of tricks? AM: It depends on the scene we’re shooting. In general I’m going off the music. GAGC: When I first photographed you for the magazine, you mentioned that the process of collaborating with a production team has been hard for you in terms of giving up a lot of
Dancing it out on the streets on New York City (courtesy girlwalkallday.com)
And in the streets of Mumbai (courtesy www.bollybrook.com)
control. Do you have any say in the editing or do you just prohibit yourself from trying to do too much? Has it alleviated the stresses of multitasking? AM: It’s a little of both a relief and wishing I could have more control over this aspect. But it’s been a great learning experience in terms of knowing how much to insist on my ideas because sometimes I feel like they could be great and usually when we try them they end up really working out. I want to carry out a vision. I don’t want it to be about ego but I want it to be something great and I don’t want to be stuck wishing “oh dang I wish I could’ve done this.” I really want to stress the story and how everything fits in. It’s been great! Usually we are able to combine our visions and both [director Jacob Krupnik and I] are willing to try out the other person’s idea. We shoot things two ways. I’ve been able to surrender more. GAGC: Have you thought about your plans beyond this project? Will you collaborate again? AM: I have no idea what the future has in store. I have been wanting for awhile now to delve into multimedia and create a music video experience. Like walking through a fun house and each room tells a chapter of the story and maybe push buttons in tune with the music to get to the next level... GAGC: Like a video game meets music video meets fun house meets Dance Dance Revolution--amazing!
AM: It’s just fun to bounce around. I’m starting to take some Parkour classes and I’d like to get more comfortable dancing with different types of surroundings and understanding what shapes complement them. Because I grew up with just a floor and a mirror. GAGC: Right, because then suddenly a wall becomes a possibility. AM: Yeah. It offers restrictions and also things to put your weight on. Like when you have play time when you’re four or five. You learn more that way. This video is such ridiculously amazing opportunity to explore some of that because I still really don’t have the guts to flail around the city if it’s not for a camera. GAGC: You should start carrying a flip cam with you and just set it up. Then there’s no excuse! AM: I’m still worried about being weird. GAGC: But you’re in the city where it’s OK to be weird! <<< >>> Be sure to check out Anne dance her way through New York City in the epic Girl Walk // All Day-slated for release the end of August 2011 at girlwalkallday.com! <<< vimeo.com/annemarsen >>>
AM: Whenever I talk to people about it I know it sounds nuts, but I know I can make it. GAGC: It sounds like it’d be really huge in Japan! Are you listening to any new music right now or do you need to turn it off after a day of nonstop music? AM: I always love listening to music. I’ve been having trouble finding any new artists lately, so I’ve been listening to a lot of the Chemical Brothers older stuff and enjoying that. Because whenever I put on Pandora it always plays the same stuff or ads! GAGC: If there were there no restrictions, time, access, illegality--where would be your ideal place to film/dance? AM: Ikea? I would just invite a bunch of friends over and blast music and jump on the beds! That would be awesome. GAGC: So much space! So many Pöangs to dance on!
FRANKIE ROSE DON’T GIVE
[Interview by Erin Griffith and Photos by Meg Wachter] 40
The Honey Badger
Frankie Rose is not afraid to be a total bitch, and she’s happy to admit it. As the serial divorcee of a laundry list of Brooklyn indie darling acts, it’s fair to say she’s ruffled a few feathers in the past. But the thing is, she doesn’t really care about that, or about any scene, or even, really, about performing. She cares about writing, recording and producing kick-ass music, something she happens to be very, very good at. After exiting her roles as drummer in Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts and even disbanding her namesake band, Frankie and the Outs, Rose this year embarked on a new project, named after herself again, but this time, the Outs are out. She hired a bevy of musicians to record and play out with, but they aren’t necessarily permanent fixtures. They won’t be touring together--Rose admits she doesn’t really like playing live--but they contributed to her forthcoming full-length, due out in September. Self-produced project. Self titled album. Self titled band. Rose is the front-woman, of course.
She’s completely unapologetic about her sharklike need to keep moving forward. Or perhaps it’s just ADD. “I don’t want to be married to anyone,” Rose says of her band-hopping, recognizing that she hasn’t always left on great terms. Would she ever start a Dandy Warhols/ Brian Jonestown Massacre--style feud with a former band? “Honestly they aren’t worth it,” she shoots back, not skipping a beat. Rose thinks for a few seconds and adds, “I know I’m not the easiest person to be in a band with... but I’m no Anton!” She’s no one-trick pony either. Like many prolific songwriters, Rose is apt to create something and abandon it immediately. “I get sick of things very quickly,” she says. Those things include the fuzzy, garage sound popularized by her first band, the Vivian Girls. Her new album’s sound will have a cleaner, angular pop feel, featuring synthesizers. Be on the lookout for her latest effort slated for release in January 2012! <<< missfrankierose.com >>> 41
[TEXT AND PHOTOS BY ERIN CRIST]
LOLA CAMACHO MICU
DAMN, SHEâ€™S GOOD. Female entrepreneurs are not only inspiring to other females, but provide an injection of faith into our society. Lola Camacho Micu owns The Wien Hot Dog Co., a Los Angeles-roaming food truck that serves classic wiener sandwiches. Brought up in a family that spent their quality time in a kitchen, Lola shows us that following your true passions and aspirations leads to cool things.
Got a Girl Crush: What was your first memorable meal as a child? Lola Camacho Micu: While I was born in Romania, I grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, so I definitely lived two different childhoods. But there was always two staples: corn and cheese. Pretty much anything corn based, from tamales to cornmeal was on my plate. GAGC: Where did you get your start in the kitchen? LCM: My mom is a former chef, which made dinner a big deal in our house. Our neighborhood always had a surplus of fresh tortillas and cheese. By the time I was able to reach the stove, I was preparing cheese quesadillas. GAGC: Who were your major culinary influences along the way? LCM: My most important culinary influence is my mom. However, I was always very moved by street food culture and respected the people behind the offerings and the passion they had for their food. Since I grew up in a rugged area, food was always a celebration. GAGC: What drew you to the food truck business? LCM: After my mom sold her second restaurant, I told myself I never wanted to cook professionally. As I became older, my desire to cook for other people grew tremendously, especially in terms of making it an affordable and enjoyable experience. I knew that I had to be realistic with modern times and starting a real restaurant was financial suicide. GAGC: How did your idea spawn? LCM: My buddies and I were partying at a pool in the Valley, sharing stories of disenchantment with our day jobs over drinks. We wanted to BBQ a pig, something not so ordinary, and knew we had it in us to make this dream become a reality.
GAGC: How do you find your place working amongst two dudes? What is your role in daily operations?
GAGC: The Wien is such an interesting name for a business. How much of a hand did you have in your image and marketing?
LCM: I find myself on a hot submarine working with two stinky boys. We all have a strong personality and I find myself being the mediator too often. I take the grill position and zone out in my own world, since I can get socially awkward.
LCM: A huge role! The Wien is set apart from other food trucks as it’s a concept that we brought back to life from an old hot dog restaurant from our childhoods. The Wien was built from my vision and experience at the old spot and I wanted to bring it back with the same vibe. Essentially the truck is a display of my unwillingness to grow up.
GAGC: Was becoming an entrepreneur something you’ve always wanted? LCM: Absolutely! I ultimately defy living someone else’s dream and focus on living the Mexican American dream. In my former life as a fashion production stylist, I was always following in someone else’s footsteps and answering their demands--I’m over that. GAGC: Was it hard for you to quit your day job and take this risk? LCM: Since film production also has a heinous schedule, I was already exposed to working a ton. Now on the truck, I push shifts up to 18 hours a day. Needless to say, it’s time well spent.
GAGC: Do you get sick of the all the wiener jokes? LCM: Yes! There really is only one: “How big is your wiener?” I say, “Above average.” GAGC: Finally, if you had 10 minutes left in life, what would you eat? LCM: Breakfast! Including café con leche, eggs over easy with salsa, and sweet corn tamales. <<< thewien.com >>>
THANK YOU! K. Nicole Murtagh for her ninja design agility; Lisa Butterworth for her keen eyes; the talents of Erin Wengrovius for hand-painting our first cover; our contributors: Erin Crist, Erin Griffith, Natalie Snoyman, and the perfect amount of push by Rinee Shah; Tumblr for introducing Meg and Andrea; Dropbox for making bi-coastal magazine creation possible and not a nightmare; all of the ladies in the first issue who agreed to help us make this happen: Anne Marsen, Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, Frankie Rose, Jeana Sohn, Jenny Slate, Kristen Wentrcek, Lisa Congdon, Lola Camacho Micu, Michelle Tarantelli, Serena Mitnik-Miller; and most of all, to ALL our readers for their amazing support!
Find us online at: @gotagirlcrush gotagirlcrush.com firstname.lastname@example.org