Tết Nguyên Đán (audio pronunciation), more commonly known by its shortened name Tết, is the most important and popular holiday and festival in Vietnam. It is the Vietnamese New Year which is based on the Chinese calendar, a lunisolar calendar. The name Tết Nguyên Đán is derived from the Hán nôm characters 節元旦. In modern Chinese, the characters for Nguyên Ðán (元旦) have evolved to refer to New Year in the Gregorian calendar.
Tết is celebrated on the same day as Chinese New Year and shared many of the same customs of its Chinese counterpart. Similar to the Western tradition of Spring cleaning, many vietnamese prepare for Tết by cleaning house, with the added benefit of cooking special holiday foods. On Tết, Vietnamese visit their families and temples, forgetting about the troubles of the past year and hoping for a better upcoming year. Tết traditionally marks the coming of spring. Each home is thoroughly swept and decorated with flowers and offerings for ancestors by the night before Tết. In the morning, actual Tết celebrations begin.
The first day of Tết is reserved for the nuclear family. In big cities, the streets are usually empty as most people stay at home or leave the city to visit their close relatives in the countryside. Children receive a red envelope containing money from their elders. This tradional is called mừng tuổi (happy new age) in the north and lì xì in the south. Usually, children don their new clothes and give their elders the traditional Tết greetings before receiving the money. Along with the traditional greeting of Happy New Year, the Vietnamese also wish each other prosperity and luck along with other happy wishes. Some common wishes for Tết include:
- Live up to 100 years–used by children to their elders. Traditionally, everyone is one year older on Tết, so children would wish their grandparents health and longevity in exchange for the wish of Happy New Age.
- Security, good health, and prosperity
- May a myriad things go according to your will
- Plenty of health
- May money flow in like water
Along with well wishing traditions, there are forbidden customs (the Do’s and Dont’s) that must be followed. These forbidden customs are not based on any scientific foundations, but they are the traditions passing from generation to generation.
- One should give people lucky presents to enhance the relationship between themselves and others: new clothes, peach branches (for expelling evil), cocks (wishing for good manners), new rice (wishing for being well-fed), rice wine in a gourd (wishing for a rich and comfortable life), red things (red symbolizes happiness, luckiness, advantages), medicated oil. or a dog (the bark – gâu gâu – sounds like the word giàu – which means richness in Vietnamese language)
- One should give lucky Dong Ho Paintings that represent good wishes.
- One should buy a lot of water to promote the wish for money to flow like water currents in a stream.
- One should return all things borrowed, and pay debts before Tết.
- One shouldn’t say or do bad things during Tết.
- One shouldn’t sweep the house or empty out the rubbish to avoid good luck and benefits from being swept or thrown away, especially on the first day of the new year.
- One shouldn’t give these presents to others: clock or watch (the recipient’s time is going to pass), cats (mèo in Vietnamese language pronounced sounds like nghèo, which means poverty), medicine (the receiver will get ill), cuttle fish (its ink is black, an unlucky color), writing ink (for the same reason), scissors or knives (they bring incompatibility).
- One shouldn’t have shrimp because they’re afraid that they would move back like shrimp, in other words, they would not succeed.
- One shouldn’t buy or wear white clothes because white is the colour of funerals in Vietnam.
- One shouldn’t refuse anything others give or wish you during Tết.
Born in United States in 1932
“Master in the art of superimpression, his ghostly visions blur the boundaries between reality and imagination.”
Michals photographs are an artistic ponderance into the quantum physics of reality, describing the invisible and intangible world within the world of visible and tangible.
Furthermore, others of Michals works are cyclical tromp l’oeils on film that read like movie reels, going not from left to right but clockwise, and always bring you back to the very first image you started with (like the 12th hand of a clock) only to make you realize the short comings of your small brain for not seeing what was there before your eyes all along. Such as in his series “Things are Queer,” where you are taken from the image of a bathroom, to the next image which has a lower half of a man’s leg and foot now standing in the center of the bathroom. It is the first hint that there is something just a little not right happening within the series. The next image is that of the man and you see that he is not of an abnormal size (a giant as is initially led to ‘believe’) but that the bathroom itself is the abnormality as it is built on a miniature scale. From here we are taken to the image of the previous image appearing in the page of a book, the pages being held open by one large thumb. The following image is then of that book with that image being held open by that thumb, only now we see that the man that is reading the book as he walks down a long dark corridor. But even that is not quite right, as we are then taken to that image but now see that it is hung in a picture frame on a wall. But wait, that is not all, for that picture frame is hung above a sink. And once again we are taken to that first image–the bathroom–and only then do we truly pay attention to the content of the picture hanging on the wall within this porcelain bathroom of white. The series without words tell the story of distorted or skewed perception, of a reality that is there but not seen, tangible but not personally lived–or was it. With it there is a forced persuasion that we who believe are the outsiders looking in may actually be another part of this cyclical piece of work and just don’t know it. Are we being watched from behind, a photograph of our being staring at this image but actually an image ourselves hanging above some queer landscape as a kitchen sink. Its quantum physics, my dear, quantum physics. Or psychosis–whichever way you choose to perceive it.
My particular favorite work of Michals is “The Annunciation,” his photographic take on the Bible passage in the Book of Luke, Chapter 1, verses 26-38. In Christianity, it is the revelation to Mary, the mother of Jesus, by the archangel Gabriel that she would conceive a child to be born the Son of God. Again, there is a look and feel of distorted perception, but there is also an eroticism, a feeling of soft sensuality in the semi-nakedness of “Mary” coupled with that of the raw sensuality in the very male body of “Gabriel.” There is also a feeling of wrongness as “Gabriel” appears to have tail (the distortion of his wing creates this blurred effect), which could represent Gabriel’s alter presence as the Angel of Death, or as the physical manifestation of penitence for Gabriel’s once having fallen into disgrace for not obeying a command exactly as given.
This one image leads into a series of images entitled “The Fallen Angel.” As the images within the series carry on we see the angel commit the gravest sin of all–to fall to the wiles of the woman’s beauty–upon which he loses his wings, and somehow we are left with a sense of loss–of being cheated–that earthly flesh was worth more than divinity.
These remind Gilding of those grade school notes silly young girls pass to their girlfriends, delicately folded in some new twist and fold shape learned from one girl to the next.
Johnson Banks Post Office specially produced these airmail letters, a special twist on self-sealing aerogramme letters apparently popularly sent by children in Australia.
Johnson Banks designed eight in total which fold down from die-cut shapes into square letters.
“The dam, which would be located over a gorge at Lake Lagoda in north-west Russia, includes a cup-shaped spinnaker sail, believed to be the first of its kind, which will generate renewable energy by funnelling the wind through an attached turbine.
The spinnaker shape is similar to the mainsail of a yacht, and is thought to be particularly effective in capturing wind.
Project architect Laurie Chetwood, said that the shape of the sail was influenced by functionality and a desire to produce something “sculptural”.
He added: “The sail looks like a bird dipping its beak into the water, which will be much less of a blot on this beautiful and unblemished landscape.
“But it is also highly effective at capturing the wind because it replicates the work of a dam and doesn’t let the wind escape in the way it does using traditional propellers.”
If granted planning, the dam will be 25 meters high and boast a 75 meter span when it goes on site next year. The practice is also looking at applying for planning permission for a similar scheme at another gorge, further up the valley.”
“Freaks suffers from the same problems most movies from the 30s share. The editing is choppy and the acting overdone. However, the movie is filled with show-stealers.
The most notable scene stealer for me is Daisy Earles. A member of The Doll Family, she was paired with her brother Harry as Frieda and Hans, an engaged couple. While by today’s standards it is a little ooky to watch a brother and sister play lovers on the screen, I believe it gave Daisy a source of emotion for her scenes. Her nemesis in the film, the beautiful trapeze artist Cleopatra…”
Oh the things one finds when wandering. But imagine wandering upon a fantastical toilet-paper pink knitted giant creation of a Viennese artist collective of “grandmothers-in-heart” in the shape of your coziest, most worn, childhood stuffed bunnny and strewn atop a hillside.
Made to make you feel as small as a daisy, the giant creature lies on its back in waiting to be conquered in joyful playfulness by wandering hikers “climb[ing] up along its ears, almost falling into its cavernous mouth, to the belly-summit and look out over the pink woolen landscape of the rabbitÌs body…ears and limbs sneaking into the distance…
…from its side flowing heart, liver and intestines. Happily in love you step down the decaying corpse, through the wound, now small like a maggot, over woolen kidney and bowel.”
And you thought it was going to be all fuzzy love and green clovers.
After almost 5 years of knitting, the giant, pink creation was laid in the Italian Alps where it waits for visitors. The artistic wonder will remain there for the next 20 years. For non-math majors like Gilding, that means the piece will remain till 2025.
The very name Lolita Lempicka invites us to take a journey into femininity, a journey filled with sensuality and creativity. Like the designer, her fashion creations play on contrast. The result is exquisitely feminine and seductive. Like her designs, the Lolita Lempicka fragrance collection is filled with stark contrasts brought together by subtle nuances.
Lolita Lempicka is an enchanting and alluring fragrance that gently balances the sweetness of ivy leaves and aniseed with delicate violet and iris root, and finishes with a smooth hint of vanilla and musk. This sensual fragrance is pure, light, and endearing.
This fragrance has notes of Ivy leaves, Aniseed, Amarena Heart, violets, Iris Roots, Vetiver, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, and Musk for a style that is sensual, romantic, and enchanting.
But enough of this superficial advertising jargoning. Perfumum has a much more enticing analysis of this enchanting perfume.
“The apple-shaped bottle of purple glass is marked by the periwinkle ivy leaf (Hedera helix), the symbol of poison and immortality but also of friendship, constancy (as the ivy needs something to cling to) and in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome also symbol of serenity and cheerfulness as it was assigned to the gods of wine. For the Celtic druids ivy was a sacred plant. Ivy leaves are common symbols on tombs, sarcophagi and catacombs as it shows that the soul lives on, even if the body dies. In ancient Greece ivy was presented the young couple on their wedding day. Intertwined are the creeper and the tree (or stake) just as the twigs and branches of this plant are.
In Westphalia (Germany) ivy was used in wreaths for spring rites and for consulting oracles one would let float ivy leaves on a bowl with water overnight. As well in European Gothic architecture details as in Jugendstil-pieces we see the crawling twines building vegetative ornamentals.
The colour of its evergreen leaves differs from dark green to violet, yellow or green with a whitish rim. The leaves have been used in medicine since its healing issued were discovered by Hildegard von Bingen as they contain flavonoids and saponines and are able to block fungi and viruses. Its antispasmodic effects for the anatomical airways are well-known.
Lolita Lempicka captures tradition and renewal, addiction and force in this perfume, which features notes of anise seed and ivy leaves in the head, violet, amarena, amarise and licorice in the middle and vetiver, tonka, vanilla and musk in the base, which is also labeled as a ‘praliné accord’.
The drydown is smooth, soft and powdery…
Luring and enticing as a winding path of velvet-like moss it leads you into the forest of childhood, tempts you to come deeper into the woods of adolescence only to finalise on the glade of womanhood.
More woodsy than gourmand this Angel-inspired creation purveys a dreamy and fairylike feeling to its female wearer, which of course must decide herself in which camp she finds herself: Light Elves or Dark Elves?”
See, isn’t that a much more sensual, gorgeous description.
Sue Lyon was fourteen years old when she was cast in the role of Dolores Haze, the sexually charged adolescent and the object of an older man’s obsessions in Stanley Kubrick’s 1962 film, Lolita. She was chosen for the role partly because her curvy figure suggested an appearance of older adolescent. Based on the Vladimir Nabokov novel of the same name, Kubrick’s Lolita, although a toned-down version of the story (Lolita is but age twelve in the novel), was nonetheless one of the most controversial films of its day. Only fifteen when the film premiered, Lyon became an instant celebrity and won a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female. When released, Lolita was Rated BBFC X by the British Board of Film Censors, meaning no one under sixteen years of age was permitted in theaters—including Lyon.
Link: Sue Lyon–Wikipedia
As Ellen Tien editorializes, vampy and creepy red satin and black lace lingerie are just, well, vampy and creepy. This Valentine’s Day, why not be simply irresistible?
Synergy by N. V. Perricone M.D. is an anti-aging aromatic neuropeptide pheromone (say that 10 times fast) purported to improve your mental clarity and make you more attractive to the opposite sex. Dab it on pulse points; $250 at sephora.com.
‘Step by Step’ is a new chandelier concept that merges the mathematical precision of computer controlled robotics with the elegance of Swarovski crystals. Each crystal is suspended from two computer controlled motors that allow the crystal to move in a two dimensional plane. The synchronized motion of all crystals creates an astonishing three-dimensional choreography of sparkle.
Link: Moritz Waldemeyer
The term vanitas istelf refers to the arts, learning, and time, and is a type of symbolic still life painting commonly executed by Northern European painters in Flanders and the Netherlands in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The word is Latin, meaning “emptiness” and loosely translated corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:2 from the Bible is often quoted in conjuntion with this term. The Vulgate (Latin translation of the Bible) renders the verse as Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas. The verse is translated as Vanity of vanities; all is vanity by the King James Version of the Bible.
Paintings executed in the vanitas style are meant as a reminder of the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death, encouraging a sombre world view.
Common vanitas symbols include skulls, which are a reminder of the certainty of death; rotten fruit, which symbolizes decay like ageing; bubbles, which symbolize the brevity of life and suddenness of death; smoke, watches, and hourglasses, which symbolize the brevity of life; and musical instruments, which symbolize brevity and the ephemeral nature of life.
Born in United States in 1953
“Stages scenes of her life and that of her kith and kin. The work is set in the heart and darkness of New York’s underground life…”
A developing youth in a high school of free tuition, no classes, no real true structure and filled with the free spirited, riff-raff no other school would take and gilded in the hippy revolution of the 60′s, Nan Goldin’s photographs are a mixture of counter-culture and deep dark recesses of forbidden and tasted.
David, Goldin’s best friend, defines his sexual liberation living as a transvestite, bringing Goldin and her photographic journalism into the fold of the transvestite world. Goldin is an artist that works at a level of ‘most intimate,’ not only because of the recesses of human privacy that she creeps in the shadows with her camera to capture, but also because her subjects are people, beings that have names to go along with the faces on film. Goldin’s photographs are a photographic documentary of the intimate, illicit, a little too much information lives, activities, and experiences of her subjects–a photographic diary “penned” by the hands of someone else.
Her images themselves have a quality more like that of the amateur ‘point and click’ shooting, but the quality of essence that Goldin captures in her photographs sets them apart from others.
Heavily influenced by fashion photography (and who wouldn’t be with all that soon-to-be transvestite fabulousness surrounding them), Goldin and her friends experimentation in cross-dressing, drag, and gender identity helped to shape Goldin’s photographic style. Essentially, the blur of the photographs make both a literal and metaphorical blurring of the lines that separate gender.
Goldin’s images are an enticing mixture of morbid curiosity, queasiness perhaps bordering on disgust, and intimate beauty. There is an absolute sense of the voyeur looking in followed by an almost guilty justification because the photos were taken willingly. Somehow like a closet pedophile enjoying the photographs of a faux 12 year-old because in reality she’s a 19 year-old model. Certainly it’s not a pretty analogy, and its not that I’m accusing Goldin’s work of being ‘vile.’ Rather, its that Goldin photographs a living, thriving ‘scene’ that secretly throbs of hidden desire and/or fantasy in the recesses of the “vanilla” mind.
Footnote: “Nan Goldin.” Brain-Juice. 2002. 3 Feb. 2008. Brain-Juice.
“…the lasting legacy of his novels and short stories: exquisite, lapidary prose; a love of games and puzzles and coincidence; and self-conscious, self-reflexive narratives that would inform the work of several generations of writers to come…
If there was a chilly detachment to Mr. Nabokov’s work and a decidedly unsentimental approach to his characters — he famously got rid of the narrator’s mother in “Lolita” with a two-word parenthesis “(picnic, lightning)” – there was also a strain of melancholy and defensive hurt in his earlier stories, stemming in part, no doubt, from the author’s own experience as an émigré, forced to flee Russia in 1919 with his family after the revolution.”
PlantLove lipsticks by Cargo aspire to an unusual mission: save chapped lips, save the world. Whimsical lipstick tubes are made of biodegradable corn–a renewable and abundant resource. The outer carton is made of flower paper embedded with real flower seeds. Simply moisten, plant, and wait for a bouquet of wild flowers to grow.
Smooth and silky, the innovative botanical formula is infused with Orchid Complex™ and meadowfoam seed oil as well as jojoba and shea butter. Not only that, but it’s environmentally friendly, containing no mineral oils or petroleums. $20 each at Sephora.com.
CARGO is donating two dollars from the sale of every shade to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Link: Pulse | NYTimes.com
As Ellen Tien editorializes, vampy and creepy red satin and black lace lingerie are just, well, vampy and creepy. This Valentine’s Day, why not be simply irresistible?
Four silk-chiffon bikini briefs nestled in a round box make up a sweet and sexy Mini-kini Set from Si Belle by Sibel Mesta; $140 at sibellenyc.com.
Link: Pulse | NYTimes.com