Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

(Picture taken in a real costume shop today)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hard Times...


At a recent auction in London:

The most dramatic moment was the silence that fell when Murakami's 6.5-metre-high fibreglass sculpture Tongari-Kun (2003-04) failed to attract a single bid. It was expected to fetch at least £3.5 million. The Japanese artist, clad in a black puffy jacket, laughed after the lot was passed in a hushed room.

ill iterate is in The New Yorker!

This is true. I have made it into the New Yorker!
But it's not quite the mention that will dry the angst of my super novelist dreams deferred...who'm I kidding I'm friggin' STOKED to have my name printed in there at all. I'll relish while it lasts.

(Visual: Anne stroking two inch 8-point mention of self in NYer, singing "You're Gonna Make It After All" in falsetto...through Batman mask...and tears.)


(This is my last Batmanga post for the day, swears.)

Batmanga Update

Hey everybody. Thanks if you did and thanks if you didn't make it to Chip's talk at The Strand last night. Just wanted to let you know:

Last night was the only instance in which The Director (Chip), The Curator (Saul Ferris), The Photographer (Geoff Spear) and The Translator (Anne) were all in one place to sign copies, and we signed a lot of them for Strand stock. If you buy one of these babies and then got the original Batmanga creator (Jiro Kuwata) to add his autograph, you'd have the illest copy of the book.

Go get the second illest copy at The Strand.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chip Kidd's BATMANGA release "party" at The Strand, tonight! 7pm! He's introducing his team, which includes me, so hopefully I'll see y'all there.

Events at The Strand

ill iterate is ill-hungover

While I wait for my equilibrium to settle back in, I'm going to drop my kids off at the blog pool.

1. What are the odds of this very true fact happening: I moved into an apartment in Red Hook Brooklyn last year, to discover the third of three apartment tenants is a Japanese woman. It was a pleasant surprise for me, as it allows for some Japanese banter in the foyer, and if banter's good for anything it's to practice a foreign language, n'est-ce pas?

Then, one day I came into the foyer and found on the ground, a Japanese flyer for a neighborhood church. "Seek salvation in Him."
My mom sends me stuff like this all the time, hoping I'll start going to Sunday school again, so I took for granted that it might not be my flyer. So I took it inside and was about to (mom, close your eyes) throw it away, when I noticed penmanship not belonging to my mother, at the top of the thing. The flyer was addressed to a "Tomoko Tanaka" (this is clearly an alias. The Japanese equivalent of a jane doe or joe six-pack.). Apparently, the woman who used to live in my apartment a couple tenants back, was also a Japanese woman. Also, the landlord is not Japanese.

Is that odd, or is it just me?

2. Speaking of Joe Six-Pack, whatever happened to the other "Joe"s?

Joe Seder Plate
Joe Momma
Geo Prism
G.I. Jane
G.I. Lynndie
Cho-cho san
Yo soy el yo-yo

Why Anne Ishii Can't Do Nothing Right

Uh oh. Looks like the blog police have come out to radio my anus with the walkie talkie of comments:

"This is pretty banal...Your other posts have been significantly above this in quality."

Thanks, "anonymous." I take that as a backhanded compliment, a chocolate covered brick, an HIV positive feedback (Psst Daniel L. -- now THAT would make an awesome "before and after" for Wheel of Fortune).

Thing is, my idea of good writing has fluctuated of late. I look at virgin paper and think, am I going for funny? Profound? Righteous? Origami? And frankly, I've heard it from colleagues with other esteemed blogs: Anne, your blog just ain't funny like yous used to be.

Anne: You kiss your mom with that mouth? Cuz if not, I will.

Oh please God help me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Brilliance in Design

I'm not a graphic design aficionado, but this cup struck me as perfect. Ironically, I purchased this coffee in Brooklyn.

C'mon Brooklynites. If our outrageously expensive neighbors to the northwest can be the big apple, what do we GowAnus cAnal-ites have to say about ourselves?

Some of my useless candidates:

The Big Adam's Apple
The Big Snapple (locally run out of Red Hook y'all)
The Little Rotting Apple

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Random Observations in NYC

1.) In the subway the other day, a rotund/obese middle-aged white man in navy blue Dickies, translucent white shirt, suspenders, VA cap and chunky resin glasses waltzed into the train and started singing in perfect 1950s timbre:

When women are frustrated, you must have sex with them.

He repeated himself in this perfect classic piano bar intonation. A doubly large black woman seated nearby, who was eating Wise chips from a large bag (I'm not kidding!) shook her head and responded:

Nu-uh. Not true.

It was like a beautiful little duet the universe had unfolded for an audience of commuters. God, I love New York City.

2.) A while ago, my Korean-American friend accused me of being WASP-y when I said I hated being asked how much I made. I added, it was tacky. Recently I complained about a new question I get asked lately, which she also said was me being WASP-y. The question:

So how do you know (insert name of someone mildly more important than you)?

An even more tactless form of this question I've been asked:

How do I get to know (insert name of someone mildly more important than you)?

Trust me here guys. This will be in some publicists handbook soon. So start now. Don't ask how or why I know people. If you have to ask, as Louis Armstrong once said, you'll never know...

3.) There is a kind of woman I meet at parties lately: The Dater Betty. She's like a skater betty -- which as most of you already know, is someone who gets skater community cred or skater community poser cred by default of dating a skater. They learn all about the scene and soon they are talking the talk. Myself having sort of been a skater betty once for a flash in the pan, I can add that once you break up with the skater, you stop caring about the scene. Pretty much, altogether.

The Dater Betty is someone who like the skater bettery, is pretty "whatever" about "the scene." If the scene is "NY dating," Dater Betty secretly believes in true love, she believes in marriage, probably thinks about weddings and wants kids. But a Dater Betty, i.e. poser hedonist, dates Cassanovas and pretends she loves the heartache of non-monogamy and mornings spent alone. She talks about all her non-attachment, and her total indifference, and complete disdain for the traditional relationship, because her man's a douchebag.

4.) Men feel small next to the words "black man." Even black men.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

GWAR in The New Yorker

The New Yorker's "About Town" events listing is an interesting example of all the inherent fallouts of a liberal approach to "entertainment." Listings like,

Mark Morris interprets hip-hop.
Jonathan Safron Seagull on the meaning of 'writing.'
And because it's not fair to list only "M.A. fare" occasionally they pop in with the Coca-Cola equivalent of a trend that the Astors and the Andersons can both buy into. "Best Chinese restaurants in Flushing...great stopover after your U.S. Open!"

No no, you're right. I'm being completely unfair. The New Yorker is never excited enough to use exclamation points.

But you gotta love them when they DO speak "to the common people."

In this week's election special double-issue, they list...


I never thought I'd see the day.



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

NYC is the toughest city in the world!

Not really the toughest, but...

About a year ago I was on a subway platform and heard a pretty dumpy looking guy make a cat call to a good looking woman:

Hey, gorgeous.

She immediately stopped in her tracks, spun on a heel, gave a long neck roll and started a tirade that went something like this:

(Incredulously) Hey?
Do YOU want to talk to ME?
You want to talk? Alright. Let's talk.
Let's talk about YOU instead.
Let's talk about your yellow teeth.
Let's talk about your beat up timberlands.
What about your dirty clothes?

Etc. Etc. The dude started walking away from HER and frankly, as funny and redemptive as I found the woman's riposte, I was a little embarrassed for him. Then, the woman decided to let it go, and finished with Shakespearean volume:


Today, not disimilarly, I was walking through SoHo, thinking about crazy Tokyo fashion (who isn't?), when in the distance I saw a crew of GLAY-lookalikes who had clearly just gotten off a flight from Narita. I thought, "wow. Harajuku halloween," upon eavesdropping, they did not fail. They were "cool."

Glay 1: That was a sick shirt.
Glay 2: Man, for real.
Glay 3: Hey guys, I gotta take a mad piss, like, now, dude.

These are approximate translations, mind you, but just take my word for it. These were confident young men (in skin-tight pleather pants and wearing eyeliner).

Fast forward a block to them walking past a group of NYC SCHOOL CHILDREN who literally, point, and, laugh. Glay went dead silent.

It's a tough city, my friends.

Ladies First

Interesting NYTimes article about gender biased food service. (see below for link)
What I didn't realize is that those computerized server tablets let waiters/waitresses have "gender" line items, so that food is prepared and sent appropriately. i.e. Ladies first. The best part is, the designation is, in fact, "ladies." Like, old school chivlary in triplicate!

According to the piece, restaurants are trying to do away with the old school chivalry but then customers complain. "Ladies first!" [Can you imagine what that might sound like chanted by thousands at a Palin rally?]

Anyway, this being New York City, and myself having once been a waitress at a sushi bar in lesbian capital of California (Santa Cruz) I wondered, "what about gays and lesbians?"

Host to waiter: I put a two top at table 8.
Waiter to host: Ha! They definitely look like two "tops." But who do I serve first? I need there to be LADIES so I know what order to follow!!!
Host: Calm down. Just serve whichever one who says the bitchy thing about our salad dressing first.

Ladies First

Monday, October 6, 2008

After weeks of sounding important...

I finally feel "normal." Yes, I was derailed by myself for a moment there. Business is calm now, considering we have a future of poverty to look forward to, but business is also pleasure, because I am in the business of being myself. Constantly at odds when asked "what do you do?" I finally realized last week while in Los Angeles for Imprint Culture Lab that the problem isn't that there isn't a sufficient word for my work. The problem is that I care what my work is called.

I blame capitalism (and I think this mundane blamership is clear indication that I'm back to feeling normal, actually.)
Capitalism is a strange thing. Certainly when you freelance, or work in the ephemeral state of "marketing" like I sometimes do. Because you see, marketers are nothing if not self-referential. We quote Rushkoff, Walker, Gladwell. We make fun of our other marketers. We don't see any contradiction in "selling the noose with which to hang capitalism" (Trotsky). This is the sole and mind-numbing onus of our responsibility -- self-reference. Self-reference. Self-reference.

What do I mean.

Marketing is fueled by the work of idea-men. This work cannot be accomplished without convincing idea-men to sell their ideas wholesale, to others. We are recruited by the conviction that we are "special," "on it," "plugged in," "hot," "deserving of more." Because the reality is that we're doing precious little good. Then, your ideas are borrowed from, reconstituted, sometimes rejected. In the midst of building for others, our personal identities become powerful antidotes, artisinal artifact, precious secret, a safe place we call home, whatever. And whenever the identity is compromised (i.e. every single day), it hurts. You protect your identity even more. Repeat.

But you wouldn't have cared what happened to your identity if no one noticed you in the first place.

This is what I mean by self-reference.

I thought it was just me, but in talking to several people, there is a consensus; that unless we are producing a tactile experience or being paid butt loads, our egos will never be fulfilled.

One friend recommends taking up skill-based hobbies for the disenchanted marketer to counter his or her malaise. Another reminds himself everyday he could be shoveling manure for a living and that would be much worse. But here's the kicker: everyone agrees to either one or the other of the following statements.

Your work will be meaningless if its not authenticated by your life.
Your life will be meaningless if you buy the b.s. you're selling.

What if my work is selling my b.s. life?