all words: Morgan H. West; all behind-the-scenes photos: Kate Greene
YOU GUYS-this week is a big week for people who love great DC (life)style news. PANDA HEAD MAG, will be returning with a much anticipated ISSUE 6 which features some of the most magical talent walking the streets of DC right now, and then-to boot, celebrating it by building some vintage lace teepees and throwing some brightly colored afghans for you to lounge-party on our ZOU BISOU BISOU party @ Embassy of France this Saturday. Can we have an AMEN/YAY? So-as a preview, we asked Morgan West (nee Hungerford, and the spearheader of the project) to come together with a list of LIFESTYLE commandments if you wanted to live your life PANDA HEAD style (and who wouldn’t?) and Kate Greene contributed some truly magical behind the scenes coverage of the project. READY? OK.
When asked to put together a list of Panda Head-approved LIFESTYLE COMMANDMENTS, I was, of course, really, tremendously excited. Then I realized that in doing so, I’d be posturing as some sort of LIFESTYLE AUTHORITY – and then I got tremendously uncomfortable. YES – Panda Head Magazine qualifies (alongside art, culture, and fashion) as lifestyle, and YES – Panda Head Blog is absolutely lifestyle-oriented, but around my own brand of helter-skelter day-to-day (not the high-atop-a-mountain, minimalist and Swedish-designed, this-is-how-to-live-your-life-and-wear-this-shirt-if-you-want-to-look-FRENCH-while-doing-so HOW TO that the internet is currently so keen on). So. Please take the following not as DIRECTION, but instead as mere REPORTAGE of the tenets that (maybe literally, but definitely figuratively) – are scrawled in lipstick on my bathroom mirror, in pen on the back of my hand, and printed out and thumbtacked to all eye-level surfaces around the Panda Head Mag offices.
- 1.BE WEIRD/GET WEIRD/STAY WEIRD.
WEIRD is maybe the highest compliment I can dole out, and it is with PRIDE that I declare Panda Head Mag: Issue 6 to be just that. Our cover features artist Nilay Lawson’s skewed little take on the Sergeant Pepper imagery; Victoria F. Gaitán’s incredibly visceral, pastel-beautiful, gorgeously strange “Donut” series is a veritable FEAST of weird. My own stop motion animation for “Hands Across the Water” is a little disjointed (and a whole lot of cuckoo). WEIRD is what we strive for and WEIRD is what we prefer to surround ourselves with. At worst it keeps you on your toes; at best it comes wrapped up in a package of PRETTY – in which case count me in.
- 2. OBSESS.
A little obsession is a VERY GOOD thing, and Issue 6 is evidence of just that. Mag designer Erik Loften not only spent hours on the Magazine’s look and layout, but his “Avon Place” video contribution is clearly the result of some serious DETAIL OBSESSION. The same, relentless attention can be seen in Panda Mag partner Kate Greene’s styling – both for the aforementioned video and in our “Spanish Steps” fashion spread (photographed by Victoria Milko, and featuring pieces from Treasury Vintage).
In general, Issue 6 is the product of multiple and wild obsessions: our inspiration board was filled with all things Beatles, pastels, and that hazy sort of 60s, Vaseline-on-the-lens, Playboy Bunny-in-a-verdant-field style photography. Both musician Phil Carluzzo and illustrator Lauren Friedman understood this, totally; his take on Paul McCartney’s “Admiral Halsey” for “Hands Across The Water” is perfection, and her version of 60s Playboy, rock and roll centerfolds (in the aptly named “Centerfolds” feature) is at once gorgeous, fashion-y, and a little bit naughty – all obsession-worthy adjectives, no?
- 3. DINNER PARTY (AS A VERB).
We preemptively celebrated the completion of Issue 6 a couple of weekends ago with a seated dinner for 20 – we could think of no better, more personal way to thank everyone who had a hand in this issue (and a few of the people who have supported us along the way) than to share an evening under string lights and tissue paper flowers (and over food, wine, and excellent conversation). Oh please – allow me to name check the rest of our amazing Issue 6 contributors: Marie Beatriz Gauthiez, Liz Gorman, Cortney Peguese, Lauren Gildner, Ilene Tsui, Tamika Wilkins, Danielle Theroux, and Lucy Novick!
With that we can move out of all things ISSUE 6 and into the LIFESTYLE REALM in general – dinner party-ing has nearly always made it onto my annual list of New Year’s resolutions; it wasn’t until recently that I fully embraced it as mantra. If nothing else, it keeps your home in a pleasant state of having been shame-cleaned once a week, and re: $$$$ – to DINNER PARTY can mean as much as four courses and THE GOOD CHINA as or as little as getting the gang together for a DVD and an eight dollar box of Bagel Bites. Let it be known: I greatly prefer the latter.
- 4. KEEP GOOD COMPANY.
I’m lucky to be surrounded by some of the most amazing people in EXISTENCE, and that has everything to do with the quality of lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed. Nearly everyone falls into that WEIRD category I spoke so highly of earlier, and as busy as all of these humans are they also find time to make themselves available for the aforementioned Bagel Bites, for which I am eternally grateful. And regarding OBSESSIONS, I am nearly constantly in danger of being subjected to an animated diatribe on a wide variety of subjects, the three most likely to occur (as I’m married to them) being craft beer, the ups and downs of Apple stock, and the LOTR series (books vs. films). I wouldn’t have it any other way.
- 5. MAKE IT MAGICAL.
I love few things more than obsessively re-arranging various corners of the house until they make me FEEL SOMETHING (and then circling back to make me feel another something else a few weeks later). My 2012 lifestyle steez has been all about keeping things AESTHETICALLY PLEASING (even if only to my insane little eyes), and that may or may not include brainstorming some large-scale, lace-and-flower-covered TEEPEES for this Saturday’s Zou Bisou Bisou at the French Embassy. I do hope they make you feel something (and I do hope that SOMETHING is magic AND/OR enchantment. I really, really do).
- Panda Head Mag www.pandaheadmag.com
- Panda Head Blog www.pandahead.blogspot.com
- Panda Head Newsletter www.pandaheadnewsletter.blogspot.com
Issue 6 was staffed by myself, Kate Greene, and (as always) Erik Loften.
Issue 6 features work from:
- Phil Carluzzo
- Lauren Friedman (www.myclosetinsketches.com)
- Victoria F. Gaitán (www.victoriafgaitan.com)
- Liz Gorman (www.letsnottalkaboutart.blogspot.com)
- Marie Beatriz Gauthiez (http://mariebgauthiez.squarespace.com/)
- Kate Greene (http://www.brightestyoungthings.com/profile/katherine-g.htm)
- Nilay Lawson (http://apexoutboundresidentlawson.blogspot.com/)
- Erik Loften (www.erikloften.com)
- Victoria Milko (http://twitter.com/torimilko)
- Morgan Hungerford West
- and MORE.