We met at a taco joint. At a long table of mutual friends, he was seated across from me. Saddled way, way back in his seat, this guy was quiet, brooding. He was wearing a deep V-neck t-shirt and his black fedora was tipped forward, covering his brow. When he did speak, it was with this husky, marble-mouthed baritone. Later, I came to find out he was harboring a bit of a cold that night. That night, we talked about stuff guys who are just meeting talk about. — What do you do? Where did you get that hat? You like to quote movies, too? These fried fish tacos are better than any fried fish tacos in the history of fried fish tacos. Do you want another beer? — Since that taco night, mostly through encounters when our paths cross while touring this wonderful country of ours, this mild-mannered gent has gone on to become something of a confidant, a champion, a check and a balance in my life. We’re friends who rarely see each other, but when we do, there’s always a spark of inspiration that emanates from an unspoken knowledge that we’re fighting the same fight.
When we were kids, my brother Ben was an avid collector of the strangest things: rocks, cardboard tubes, socks, and carrot sticks (don’t ask). Thankfully, as he entered adulthood, his cotton for collecting diminished. Socks, particularly boldly colorful ones, were the only collectible that managed to maintain his interest. To this day, anytime I see a remarkable pair, I feel obligated to buy them for my brother. That’s why, when I saw Garrett Colton’s schizo stockings at his newly renamed shop on Beverly Boulevard in sunny Los Angeles, California, it was safe to say I’d grab a pair for Ben.
The collection, a motley crew of crew socks are Garrett’s first offering from his forthcoming full line of collaborations with Rene Holguin, the owner of RTH, a perfectly appointed store near Garrett’s on North La Cienega.
They combined their names and came up with GAR.RTH. I’ve been wearing GAR.RTH’s socks since leaving Los Angeles, and I’ll tell you, they have the most incredible cushion. I’ll also tell you with absolutely no shame that I cannot pull them on, stretching the crew length leg without saying to myself, “Ribbed for her pleasure. Ew.” Wouldn’t it be cool if Dana Carvey was their spokesman? I’m not holding my breath, but someone please make that happen.
Until then, I can think of a couple brothers who will happily sport these socks whenever and wherever they can. Oh, and Ben, where’d you hide the carrots?
G. Colton’s grand opening is Saturday, March 30th in Los Angeles, California. Be there.
Whether it’s an “awful” corduroy hat he and some buddies each bought on a late ’70s ski trip, his high school jean jacket with sleeves destroyed by a dog and lovingly darned by my grandmother, or a custom-made oxford cloth shirt he bought to commemorate a new job and a move to the big city — one which both my brother and I wore while in high school — I cherish the hand-me-downs from my dad more than anything else.
Upon meeting the Hovey sisters some years ago, it was this bond with their parents, with their past — and the fact that our families both hail from Kansas City — that connected us immediately. And since then, it’s been such a thrill, as a fan and a friend to see their style mature into a full blown business and now a book from Rizzoli.
Frontwoman Mackenzie Scott explains in this excellent video from Pitchfork, that she chose the moniker “Torres” in tribute to her grandfather. As the co-owner of a store named for fathers and grandfathers, you can imagine my delight in learning this. I recently caught Torres throwing it down at The Empty Bottle in Chicago, and I was blown away by her intimate, emotionally-connected performance. I happily picked up the “still warm” first vinyl pressing of the debut album, and as mind-blowing as they were live, this band sounds just as good on the home HiFi.
Torres is playing tonight at SXSW as we speak. Seek them out.
When thinking about how to express what a shop dedicated to our fathers and grandfathers would look like, Joe Gannon and I turned to sign painters like Jeff Canham and one time sign painter, the artist — and one of my personal heroes — Ed Ruscha. Because as good a friend as she is, she’s an even better artist, we reached out to our buddy, Christine Mitchell, who put together a hand-drawn logo, which surpassed our expectations and, as a calling card goes, expresses what we never could with Buckshot Sonny’s.
Over the holidays his freshman year, my younger brother Ben came home from college and shared with the family his favorite new maxim. It was originally said by John F. Kennedy in reference to something about Washington, D.C., where Ben was in school.
“All the charm of the North. All the efficiency of the South.”
He saw it as the perfect description for our hometown of Saint Louis, Missouri, which falls one degree South of the imaginary latitudinal line drafted by surveyors Mason and Dixon. Since that time, it has become apparent that there is something of a cultural melting pot through the midsection of the country, particularly in the East and middle West.
“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.” – W.C. Fields
With wedding season fast-approaching, and graduation and father’s day not far beyond, the questions in my e-mail have quickly shifted from “How do I tie a bow tie?” to “Is there something unique I can get my dad or my groomsmen or my soon-to-graduate boyfriend or all of the above?” And the answer is: The Great American Flask from Jacob Bromwell, the oldest kitchenwares manufacturer in America.
It’s not a real problem like an economic crisis borne of these uncertain times, nor is it mental, physical, or otherwise somehow internally harmful. It’s not financial. It’s not like the problem of pesky neighbors nor a nagging parent nor an out-of-control rodent infestation. Truthfully, in the grandest of life’s schemes, this is rather small potatoes.
Make no mistake, if I have a favorite singer-songwriter, it’s Josh Ritter. With each new note, he gently unravels part of himself and in a deeply personal, admirable fashion. From all signs, with this new album, written in the months following the dissolution of his marriage, that gentle unravel snowballs towards a deeply personal album.
Of the tracks released, “Hopeful”, which comes courtesy of the CBC’s Studio Q, has quickly become a favorite.