Monday, September 29, 2008

watch your faces


I couldn't open my refrigerator on Saturday without getting a bit emotional. See, I eat a lot of salads at home and on those salads I like to spritz on a little balsamic vinaigrette and on that bottle of spray-on balsamic vinaigrette is a portrait of Paul Newman looking very Shakespearean wearing a ruff. Philanthropist salad-dressing maker, Oscar-winning actor, race-car driver and all-around old-school hottie, I had a little crush on old pictures of Newman. Seriously. Look.

Those abs are tight.

I use the past tense because Paul Newman died on Friday after battling cancer. (Cancer can go f*ck itself, by the way.) I found out on Saturday when I discovered a New York Times alert in my Inbox around noon, just before I needed that delicious dressing; just before I lost my appetite. Goodbye, Hollywood legend, goodbye.

Bidding adieu to Cool Hand Luke made me think about how solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short life is. OK, so I guess bidding adieu to Butch Cassidy (thank God we still have the Sundance Kid) made me think of Thomas Hobbes's Leviathon, which then made me think about how solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short life is. It made me realize that I needed to start taking advantage of these few moments I have on Earth. I needed to stop staring longingly at that Elizabethan-era Newman and get out there and live. And so I ate my salad, sopping up every last drop of that scrumptious balsamic spray (only 2 calories per spritz!), hopped on my bicycle, Baguette, and headed out into the misty gray Saturday afternoon. And lo and behold, I discovered a secret DC gem, a reason to live, if you will (and I will, even without Fast Eddie Felson).

Surprisingly, I'm discovering that Washington, DC, has a pretty solid vintage and thrift shopping scene -- a scene of which I'm convinced I've barely scratched the surface. I've had luck down at the massive Indian Head Thrift in Anacostia, found a few good pieces in Unique in Virginia, procured a lovely little ensemble a couple weeks ago at the DC Goodwill fashion show and have seen the wide selection of vintage boutiques scattered around DC, Arlington and Bethesda. However, this weekend I may have [been the last to discover] the best -- Mercedes Bien, which has sat for the year-and-a-half I've lived in DC just a neighborhood away in Adams Morgan.

Only open on the weekends, Mercedes Bien, located on 18th above the Falafel Shop, doesn't have the widest selection of clothes, but it does have one of the best -- a stylized edit of the merchandise that I wish more secondhand-only boutiques would use to separate the good from the ghastly, or more importantly, the well-made from the tattered. If I hadn't blown through my rent money in New York City last weekend, I could've easily traded in all of that cash at MB for some lovely, one-of-a-kind finds, including a blue velvet Moroccan vest, a handmade brocade-and-bead cropped jacket and several pairs of vintage sunglasses that Jackie O. would adore.

And while we're at it, since I could've easily spent my rent money at Mercedes Bien, I'd have been remiss not to go ahead and bring my board money as well to drop on the fine finds of the newly permanent Listopad shop located in the rear of the store. I don't know how the Listopad trio does it, but those women have managed to collect three-plus jam-packed racks (and probably more) of some of the coolest vintage items I've seen. Ever. Sifting through their racks, I literally stumbled upon 20-some items that, again, if I didn't have those pesky needs of shelter and food, I would've scooped up in a heartbeat, of which my fair Newman reminded me we have so very few. The Missoni sweatervest (my love of the sweatervest is steadfast season-to-season); the cream-colored leather bomber jacket with the pleated shoulders; the velvet skimmer sneakers; the navy blue blouse with the bias lace detail...

And I could go on...and on...and on...

Thank Dionysus, though, that the Listopad crew provided mid-afternoon mimosas at their Saturday kick-off event so I could have something to distract me from looking at all the reasonably priced items that I'll have to return next week to buy after I hustle some bitches at street dice collect my paycheck that I earned legally. That is, if those items are still there. As a warning, though, I'll cut a bitch if I see someone wearing that leather coat. (But actually I won't. Not because I'm scared of a good old-fashioned knife-fight, but because I can't bear the thought of staining that jacket. And blood makes me squeamish. OK, so the shivving is out. I kick in the teeth, however, is still fair game. Watch your faces.)

Anypsychoticthoughts, it's a good day when you go to bed feeling like life is a little less solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short than you thought it was when you awoke. Well, maybe not. Cancer really is a bitch. But let's face it -- or maybe I'll just face it -- in DC, if you go to bed feeling this city is a little less ugly and a little more stylish, that'll do. :)


And tonight will be no different, thanks to the creative force that is Pandahead, whose highly skilled efforts have helped to expand DC's fashion/art world by exponential amounts. Check out the latest Pandahead magazine here! It's pretty tight.



LivitLuvit said...

Paul Newman was a truly a Real Man and a legend. Our world is a little darker without him in it.

Anonymous said...

Never told you this, but I was in love with Paul. He was a great guy in so many ways.

Anonymous said...

You know something, I've drawn cold to your posts as of late. Taking most of the articles as contemptual dribble. But you seem to be coming of age in your last couple posts. Be careful, saying so many kind things of DC are going to prove many right about you being so awfully wrong.

Marissa said...


I'm glad there's another person in their 20s feeling this pain with me...well, not glad that you're feeling any pain, but, you know. OK. Yeah.


I did know this!


I'm sorry my latest posts have left you cold. But "contemptual dribble"? Like, drool? Is it better or worse than drivel? It seems worse. That bad, huh? Well, I'm afraid to tell you that tomorrow will be a big ol' lugy then because I found something else in DC I enjoyed. Almost as much as I enjoyed Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. (That's a bit of a hint.)

But as far as me being proven wrong, well, who the hell knows. I'm open to changing my mind, but I think it'll take more than a handful of fun events and a couple of cool people among the throngs of jagbaggy tools to do so. Time will tell, though. Thanks for reading and commenting, for real. I like dissenters from time to time. Makes me think.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you were using a Pen, I would ask it if it was asleep while you were writing some of your posts. But let's be fair, You are an outstanding writer, just contradictory of late. I'm not a big fan. Ha. Enjoy.

Marissa said...


Uh...thanks? I did have one grammatical error today (since fixed, thanks to a reader email). I'll give you that. But I don't often write a single word without purpose, which is why the general "asleep" comment is a bit confusing to me. I don't mind criticism, but I like more specific examples. I'm sorry you're not a fan. Give it time. I'll probably grow on you like the algae on this punk rock turtle.

Listopad said...

Hey Marissa, Three words: We shall Overcome. Thanks for stopping by on Saturday and appreciating our goods. Such appreciation from you is reason enough for us to keep at it. See you soon, I'm sure! Much love, Cath