Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's Never Too Late to be Sassy

For the last 12 hours or so I've developed a new obsession: finding back issues of Sassy magazine (which is proving to be quite futile, unless you want to spend about $20 for an issue on eBay).

It all started with looking up Kirsten Miller, my new favorite YA author (yes there is some jealousy involved...) and finding this blog she's writing based on her Kiki Strike books (which are about a group of urban grrl scouts called the Irregulars who spend their time exploring and defending the Shadow City: a series of mysterious underground rooms and tunnels underneath New York City). Anyway, from this blog, I found a post about Tavi Gevinson, a 14-year-old fashionista from Chicago who keeps this amazing blog, The Style Rookie. There was one particular post (or several, actually) about how she's obsessed with Sassy. That got me thinking about it, and wanting to look at back issues because I wasn't cool enough to read or subscribe to it when I was a teenager.

I'm feeling like I totally missed out! The more I read about it online, the more I find women of my generation who loved this magazine and say that it changed their lives.

I remember I had friends in elementary/jr. high school who subscribed to it, and I must have looked at a few issues and thought, this is way above my head. It's too cool for me. I don't get it. If I had been the person I am now I totally would have subscribed to it (not saying I'm cool now, but I get it). But unfortunately? I was a goody-two-shoes. I was first-chair flute in band. I wore Guess jean skirts with my pink oxford shirt tucked in when other girls wore shorts and tee-shirts to slumber parties. I listened to Debbie Gibson, NKOTB, showtunes, and classical music (meaning pre-20th century "classical" music). I subscribed to YM and Seventeen (but even I thought Teen magazine was too vanilla and twee). I read Nancy Drew. I never picked up Tiger Beat or hung up posters of boys on my walls (my walls were covered with ballerina and music-themed posters and paraphernalia). I loved (and wanted to be) Maria from The Sound of Music.

However, thinking back on things, maybe there was a glimmer of coolness in me. I'd sequester myself in my room (stenciled with mint-green bows across the top; a mauve homemade quilt on my bed; my pink boombox on my night stand--you know the kind I'm talking about--the ones that came in mint green, purple, and pink?) and dream up my own fashion designs, drawing them into my sketchbook (could I have been a Tavi had I grown up in a big city as opposed to a small town?). Also, mom used to let us watch MTV in elementary school, so I was hip on all the current music videos. I used to wear my mom's silk scarves around my ponytails and hoop earrings. I could play Mozart's Concerto for Two Pianos on our living room carpet (the Amadeus soundtrack played endlessly in my childhood). My grandma used to let me look at my aunt's Seventeen magazines from the 70s. I wrote tons of poems and short stories. I knew who Toulouse-Lautrec was (thanks to art-teacher mom). I was also the only girl with an asymmetrical haircut in high school.

Since I can't go back in time and listen to Sonic Youth on my record player at the height of their popularity or read copies of Sassy on my bed, I'm determined to discover what I missed out on. For some reason I need to know what my generation is about, from the point of view of Sassy. I want it to change my life. I want to be that hip kid in school wearing green tights, a purple mini skirt and plaid Doc Martens. I want to reacquaint myself with 80's and 90's indie rock (even in the 90's, in college, I wasn't listening to what my friends were listening to--i.e. Radiohead and Cake. I was listening to Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. Luckily my punk friend Margo made me a mixed tape entitled 'No more hippie shit for Chiffon').

If you or anyone you know have any back issues of Sassy, I would love to borrow or buy them from you. My childhood depends on it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Dream House (part 1)

I was browsing through my favorite blogs just now when I came across this. Yes. That's my house.

That is, I wish it were my house, but it was Gabrielle Munter's house in Murnau, Germany, about an hour outside Munich. For a long time I had a picture of this house on my desktop. It made me so happy--the bright blue shutters against the white paint, the barn-style house overlooking a yard overflowing with flowers and trees.

I first saw this house in a book called "Artists' Houses" at a bookstore/art gallery in Spokane. In it, there are pictures of the interior of Gabrielle's house. Simple geometric stencils are stamped across the walls, and paintings of German and Scandinavian folk art and designs are hand-painted by Gabrielle and Kandinsky along the stairs and on furniture. I didn't buy the book but I kept going back to the bookstore to look at those pictures because I wanted my house to look like that.

Do you ever have past-life fantasies? I do. This is mine. It's been especially acute lately since reading Kirsten Miller's YA novel, The Eternal Ones. This is one of the first contemporary YA novels that I've read that I actually liked. The story is so fun, and I love how she's kept a blog where she makes up past-life scenarios for anyone who sends her a picture. But going back to my past life fantasy--for some reason I'm really drawn to Gabrielle Munter (1877-1962) and Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876-1907)--two German Expressionist painters. Maybe it's because they were born about 100 years before I was, or they are both from Germany (Paula grew up in Bremen, where I think my German cousins live. There is some mystery surrounding that part of the family...).