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+ STYLE IDOL+ A River Phoenix Runs Through It . . .

river phoenix

Wicked and wild. Gorgeous and full of life.

You can see sometimes in the eyes of this strange boy; a burning fire that piercing your soul. Even past the screen, beneath the surface of every photograph of him, there is a brilliant mystery still waiting to be discovered and the very depth of the man named River Phoenix.

He was the most beautiful child you’ve ever seen, like a little Elvis.

-Iris Burton, River’s manager

 

River Phoenix - Stand By Me- Vintage Style Idol

River Phoenix - Academy Award Nomination Ceremony- Graphic Sweater- Cool Guy- Vintage Style Idol

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It’s more the history of these awards that is so special to me . . .

His acting was top notch, and before the age of …. he found himself nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor with dozens of offers at his feet thereafter.

Fame was of little consequence to him, though, and instead he sought a life of refuge from the hustle and bustle of the business. The industry was not the priority, and from his very core, River was an undeniable artist who not only excelled in the art of acting, but was also an accomplished musician, humanitarian, environmentalist and animal rights activist.

River Phoenix - Prada Meinhoff- The Eye of Faith

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You’ll never find him fur or leather as he was the original vegan style star- before it was in vogue or a trend. He had a soft and sensitive heart for world issues, the future of our planet, and most especially the well-being of animals.

While we think of the 80s for all its excesses, River appears the total antithesis to this vision of America. Even with his popularity and success, River defied typical Hollywood standards through what he wore; appearing at major red carpet events sometimes in only a graphic T-shirt, or a cool graphic sweater.

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River Phoenix is Fierce- Vintage Style Idol

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Martha Plimpton and River Phoenix- Hollywood Grunge- Vintage Style Idol

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"Batman" Los Angeles Premiere

Plaid shirts, graphic sweaters, denim jackets, patterned shirts, and over-sized blazers were a staple for the young star, whose quirky style seems right in tuned with the vibe of the street today. And yet we probably never even realized that River Phoenix made his mark over twenty years ago in the same garbs we rock today.

Perhaps this was indicative of his adventurous heart, the way he dressed. A co-star in probably his most accomplished and enigmatic acting effort, My Own Private Idaho, Jimmy Reardon described a moment the two shared together shortly after filming the 90s art-house flick about a narcoleptic male hustler decked out in pure grunge glory:

One time we were up in the mountains, and the clouds came right up to the top of the mountain. River grabbed (my) arm and said, “We’re going to run and jump into these clouds and our whole past lives will dissolve, and everything will be new from then on. Hold on.” And we did that…it was incredible, and we landed on this soft iceberg kind of ground covering. But we jumped through clouds, literally.

It’s hard to imagine a star today who could even imagine being as fearless, but that’s just how River really was. Fearless.

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Born River Jude Bottom, River grew up in a religious cult in South America known as the Children of God. He was named River after the river of life in Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, and Jude from the Beatle’s song. When their parents found that they were being embezzled by the cult and its leaders, they uprooted their children and moved to California where River was soon getting noticed for his movie star good looks, even as a boy.

He quickly began to take interest in acting and modelling, and it wasn’t long before his career took off. No one could deny the boy. He had a special edge that he never let go of until the very end.

Edward Lachman, superior director of photography for ‘Dogfight’ said:

 When I first met River, he had very long hair and he struck me- as he came out of an elevator-as an angel, some kind of supernatural being. An angel could be Gabriel, but an angel could be Lucifer too. He could as readily delve in to the deep dark recesses as he would fly up to the lofty, illuminated (places).

Certainly a zest for life was a strength of River, but it would definitely come into play with his tragic demise most mysteriously on Halloween night of 1993 at friend Johnny Depp’s bar – The Viper Room.

There is no doubting his talents, but there’s also no doubting the foolishness of getting involved with people who do not have your best intentions in mind. River was the unfortunate victim to a brainless party mentality that is ever prevalent in our society. Was it really worth it in the end?

River Phoenix- This Road Will Never End....

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I don’t want to die in a car accident. When I die it’ll be a glorious day. It’ll probably be a waterfall.

-River Phoenix

This year the world was shocked by the death of another young star who kicked the bucket at the expense of his family, friends, fame, and fortune – Cory Monteith, who died of an overdose much the same way River did. Heroine and alcohol. The same toxic cocktail that took the life of many more before them including Amy Winehouse,  Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin.

It’s sad, so very sad, because these stars possessed such a zest for life and original spirit that didn’t need to compensate with heavy drugs and alcohol to make life interesting. They could have been resigned to just be themselves, and love every second of that.

River Phoenix- Bleach Blonde Cool- Vintage Style

This is why our advice at The Eye of Faith has always and will forever be to be yourself. Your truest self, beyond the effects of drugs and alcohol, you can have the most exciting and amazing life. You try to tread the line between reality and dream, and you can do this easily with the power of style and conjuring your idols to give you an extra boost away from the common day to day.

 “You would have thought we was ninety and had died in his sleep. The people who were saying this felt tremendous guilt that they had contributed to his death.

He’s already being made into a martyr. He’s become a metaphor for a fallen angel, a Messiah. But he wasn’t. He was just a boy, a very good hearted boy who was very $%##$% up and had no idea how to implement his good intentions. I don’t want to be comforted by his death. I think it’s right that I’m angry about it, angry at the people who helped him stay sick, and angry at River.”

-Martha Plimpton on River’s death.

We recommend this state of mind for all days and occasions, to keep you safe and elevated beyond the strife of the street.

Most people don’t know, but River was also a talented musician in a band called “Aleka’s Attic”. Here’s one of his songs to send you off with. Hope I gave us all something to think about, and some wicked new vintage inspiration for the road!

Also his long lost last film has been released for the first time. Check out the trailer here.

 

 

Don’t forget that XIXIXI gets you 25% Off in the {SHOP}

You can totally GET THE LOOK, as we have dozens of individual time travelled articles that will serve you well 

to invoke the spirit of River Phoenix. Above all, don’t forget to be yourself!

A little inspiration never hurts, though . . . 

+SHOP THE {SHOP} NOW+

So you don’t miss out.

 

Until next time,

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MALEFICENT, MALEFICENT, MALEFICENT!!!

Maleficent

Maleficent has always been a character that has captured our imagination. Since childhood, the prima donna of Disney villains seemed to strike a creepy chord in a way that no other cartoon evil could.

It could have been her sultry voice provided by the insatiably listenable Eleanor Audley (check her out in all her non-animated glory below), or perhaps it’s the sheer imagery of that everlastingly long black cloak with those crazy twisted ram horns that make her the epitome of devilish delight to our child-like eyes.

Whatever it may be, there’s no denying the staying power of she. It’s been 55 years since Disney first released its vivid version of Sleeping Beauty based off of Charles Perrault’s La Belle Au Bois Dormant, and the Grimms Brothers’ Little Briar Rose, and in the spirit of regeneration the {past} has made its way to the {present} yet again in a epic retelling of the story as seen through the eyes of the maniacal maven herself. . .

Maleficent.

It’s a name that will be on everybody’s lips in a few short months with an early release in France & Italy on the 28th of May, and the rest of the world, including the US on the 30th. It’s months away, but we can’t stop drooling over the new trailers which are feast for the senses in themselves, showcasing Elle Fanning’s angelic beauty as the Princess Aurora, and the Queen herself, Angelina Jolie taking the screen as the iconic villainess.

It’s bound to be a huge hit, and much praise shall be given to the cast and crew for creating this movie magic marvel. . . there’s no doubting it. Plus, how can you go wrong with Angelina Jolie leading the whole thing?

What strikes me most is that the film being told through the point of view of Maleficent will no doubt shed some light on why she decided to become so damn mean. I think I kind of get it – I mean, she was totally shafted from attending Aurora’s birthday party. That IS pretty rude, don’t you think? I guess we will just have to wait for all the insight . . .

In the meantime, you will find us getting drunk on another amalgamation of the {past}, {present}, and {future} with Lana Del Rey’s sweeping take on 1959’s Sleeping Beauty’s original love theme “Once Upon a Dream” based off a theme from Tchaikovsky’s 1890 ballet. With the cooing of her Monroe-esque voice, there was no one more perfect to elevate this classic to a place that resonates today, and beyond . . .

Listen to it below!

Don’t you love that feeling? Of having dreamt the moment before it happens . . .

I get that feeling a lot these days.

I guess that’s what you get for having that Eye of Faith.

Love predicting the {future}. Love keeping you posted.

Love you also for visiting.

Until we meet again!

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Sincerely,

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A Peak at Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster” . . .

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some people make films to provide answers, but the way I make films is posing questions . . .

-Wong Kar Wai {VICE}

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Costumes to die for. Cinematography to boot. These are some of things I’ve been hearing about Wong Kar Wai’s latest film, “The Grandmaster” which is supposed to be some sort of epic tale of the man who trained THE Bruce Lee – Ip Man.

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Granted, Bruce Lee is BOSS, but so was his mentor! 

The film also star’s two of cinema’s most beautiful faces; that being of the unequivocal Zhang Ziyi, and the uber underrated Kar Wai leading man Tony Leung Chiu Wai as the Grandmaster, himself.

tony leung and zhang ziyi styling at the grandmaster premiere- courtesy of chinadaily.com

{courtesy of ChinaDaily}

Check out Tony Leung’s bad-ass style choices! So chic, so casual, so COOL! Wool blazer, love the socks, and blue shoe-laces are a nice touch. He finishes it off nicely with the scarf. You’ll never see a star in Hollywood looking that smart. Zhang Ziyi – DYNAMITE. Love the holographic nature of this print – it’s so bold, and some might say too much, but paired with her timeless grace, she pulls off this dress with an effortless flare and edge that only Zhang Ziyi could inspire. 

Indeed, there’s been many who say the Weinstein’s hacked a good chunk off the piece, so I might wait to get my hands on a legit Hong Kong copy. So, until then, there are plenty of vids on the net to help entertain my fancy. Thought it would be nice to share them with you, too.

Let’s start with this wicked convo with Wong Kar Wai from VICE:

Now lets see Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung FIGHT!

(it’s always best to a little opera, don’t you think?

Congrats to Philippe le Sourd on his recent nomination for achievement in cinematography at this year’s American Society of Cinematographers Awards! Would love to see him make it to this year’s Academy Awards, as well, so fingers crossed in the meantime.

Just a bit of a taste. Did you catch how the VICE interviewer brilliantly brought up style in context to his films. It’s definitely a great feature, and one we’ve brought up many a time, most recently in a {MUSIC-MINUTE} a few weeks ago.

Movies will always be one of our major sources of inspiration, so don’t think we’ll ever stop watching!

Until next time,

{theEye}

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Don Draper Goes Medieval! Is Mad Men Don Draper’s “Inferno”?

Man Men - season 6 episoe 1 - don draper reading dantes inferno on the beach

Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost. . .

Those were the first words we hear Don Draper speak in the season 6 premier of AMC’s hit show, “Mad Men” which aired last night. Dante Alighieri’s legendary Medieval poem is not one’s expected choice to be reading on the beaches of Mauii, but for Don Draper it seems to have opened many questions of himself.

You could even point out that throughout the series, Don has endured through many of the nine circles of sin described in Dante’s “Inferno” (such as gluttony, lust, and sin), so to capture the man of perceived strength and self confidence bring alongside with him a poem about the author’s personal midlife crisis really speaks volumes. Don, however, doesn’t speak for another 10 minutes into the episode.

Dante Alighieri’s “Inferno” is a piece of Dante’s collection of poems known as “The Divine Comedy“. Written between 1308 and his death in 1321, the work is still seen as a pinnacle in literacy for mankind, and is still read today by students and scholars around the world. Split into three parts: Inferno, Purgatoria, and Paradiso; the story tells of the author’s descent into hell before ascending to paradise.

And as Don puts it, “Heaven is a little morbid. How do you get to heaven? Something terrible has to happen”.

As Dante had Virgil at his side, Don has Sterling; and like Dante’s muse Beatrice, Don seems to have found a new muse in his latest mistress who leant him the copy for his vacation. It’s strange life he is living, but luckily he notes he must stop “doing this”, before he never figures it out.

Dantes Purification on the Deserted Shore of Pergatory- The Divine COmedy - Dantes Inferno - Master of the Dominican Effigies (1325 - 1355) - AGO Revealing the Renaissance

We got a chance to see one of first illustrated copies of Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy” at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Revealing the Early Renaissance: Secrets and Stories in Florentine Art, by The Master of the Dominican Effigies between 1325 and 1355. Today, it still one of the most important works written.

A season back, or so, Don criticized Universities as a “Medieval” system, in an almost dismissive way, so its interesting to see him now delving into the pinnacle of Medieval philosophy. I guess it’s always good to stay well-rounded. And 800 year old wisdom, is just as good as any.

One of the most famous publications of “The Divine Comedy” featured engravings by French artist Gustave Doré, offering fantastical and surreal visuals to compliment Dante’s classic words. We thought them a wonderful showcase to accompany Don Draper and his voyage of self-discovery, and maybe provide a little insight and intrigue into the world of Dante Alighieri.

Maybe we will go on one too. Anyone want to join us?

Everyone’s got a little figuring out to do.

Why not get lost a little on the way.

Until next time,

{theEye}

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God is in the Details: Revealing the Early Renaissance @AGOToronto

Revealing the Renaissance at the AGO - secrets in florentine art - the Peruzzi Altar Piece

Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art (March 16 – June 16, 2013)

ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO (317 Dundas Street West)

$25 adult admission (includes admission to the rest of the gallery)

When thinking of the Renaissance, one might automatically conjure up images of Da Vinci, his Vetruvian man, and Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. It is a period in history renowned for its surge of creativity, knowledge, and innovation in areas of art, literature, music, architecture, and science.

It is a period that is also become more and more in vogue due to its resurgence in popular culture with T.V. shows like “The Tudors”, “The Borgias”, and the upcoming “Da Vinci’s Demons”, all putting their spin to this exciting and important moment in history.

But, what is rarely captured is the true birth of this period, and the movers and shakers who brought it all to life.

Perhaps its the fact that most art historians do not even know the names of most of the incredible artisans who painstakingly brought the churches of Florence to life with incredibly illuminated manuscripts, carvings, stained glass windows, and beautifully detailed panel paintings, between the years 1300 and 1350, that truly did start it all.

Revealing the renaissance: stories and secrets in florentine art

This is what Sasha Suda and the curators of the Art Gallery of Ontario‘s latest exhibition, “Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art“, aim to bring to the forefront, allowing visitors to explore the lost masterworks that truly sparked a revolution, and would change the face of history forever.

In partnership with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the curators have painstakingly worked on this exhibition for the past 10 years, travelling far and wide to analyze and bring overseas for the first time some of the most elaborate examples of work from this period that define the breaking point from the flatness of Medieval art to a more expressive and “humanized” perspective that has come to characterize the Renaissance.

Many of these pieces have been shut away from the public for centuries, making this one of the most impressive exhibits the AGO has ever premiered, and one that is sure to capture the imagination of all those lucky enough to visit.

The main gallery at Revealing the early renaissance- stories and secrets in florentine art - AGO- March 12, 2013

Sasha Suda Talks Art With Culture Minister Michael Chan

Curator Sasha Suda talks art with Michael Chan, Ontario Minister of Culture, Tourism, & Sport.  

One might, at first, be intimidated by the prestige of such an exhibit, but fear not, as this portal on the past is as much a reflection of our present day, as it is the 14th Century.

Whether or not you know a great deal about Renaissance art, the exhibition is packed full of information, from the audio guide, to the i-pads strategically placed amongst the exhibition to give you the full backstory on some of the exhibition’s most intriguing pieces. The curators have created an easy to understand story, that truly captures all the excitement and mystery of the artists and the works they created amidst the social context of Florence during this period.

Detail of the Peruzzi Altarpiece - christ wounds- revealing the early renaissance: stories and secrets in florentine art at the AGORevealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art at the AGO -

God is in the Details . . .

As you first step into the gallery, it may not immediately strike you how these works differ from the Medieval illustrations and paintings you are used to, but upon closer examination, you will find how rich, textured, and full of emotion each piece truly is.

They are not works of art to be admired from afar, but works that deserve an acute eye, and a willingness to get lost in the stories being told within them.

There is a certain excitement generated as you begin to see the layers of colour, and painstakingly small brush strokes that capture the most miniscule details of hair and embroidery. While our culture might be used to multiple images rapidly flashing before our eyes (surely a luxury akin to witchcraft for the men and women of the Renaissance), one must note that the multi-faceted panels and illuminated manuscripts are akin to the cinema of the Renaissance, with all the drama, suspense, horror, and spectacle you could expect from a film of today, with even a bit of special effects here and there.

Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art at the AGO

An exquisite panel painting. Blood, gore, and devotion. The piece reads almost like an expensive 14th Century comic . . .

It”s all for devotion sake, of course; used to invoke prayer, meditation, deep-thought, or contemplation. There’s definitely that sense of entertainment in the midst, often showcasing the more brutal and tumultuous moments of martyrs and Christ: Agatha with her breasts being cut off, another martyr is grilled on coals in ecstasy, and check out any crucified Christ in the mix and you’re bound to see more than your year’s worth of blood squirt (the most impressive, hands down, being Pacino Di Bonaguido’s “The Crucifixion” from 1315-1320, whose flowing blood rains on the spectators of the scene, as well as a juicy squirt from the chest for the viewer).

The Crucifixion by Pacino Bonaguida at the AGO - March 12, 2013 - Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and secrets in florentine art Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art at the AGO - Detail of Bonaguida's "THE CRUCIFIXION"

Pacino De Bonaguida’s “The Crucifixion” and Detail of (1315-1320)

And while, we might cringe at the sight of this, its patrons felt the bloodshed and pain was the human aspect of their faith, and that one day perhaps, they may themselves reach divination, as did their faithful predecessors.

Getting lost in each piece, you begin to see that this society was obsessed with their idols, and their chance to be a part of them was as easy as getting a master to paint them into a panel or manuscript. In essence, it equated a wealthy merchant to the status of celebrity, having made his way onto the pages alongside the kingdom of heaven complete with Christ, the Virgin, and all the many martyrs who gave their life to the dedication of their fate.

The most entertaining example of this is the Laudario of Sant’Agnesse; an illuminated choir book commissioned by the Compagnia di Sant’Agnese, a fraternity of merchants, for use in charitable events and prayer, and who are also illustrated along the margins of the music. This remarkable collection of 24 illustrated manuscripts have been framed and reunited for the first time since the early 1800s, and will be performed by musical guests Lionheart on April 6 in the Walker Court of the AGO (click for more details).

Detail of Daddi's "Crowned Virgin Martyr" - Revealin ghte Early Renaissance at the AGO - Toronto

Detail of “A Crowned Virgin Martyr {Catherine of Alexandria}” (1334 – 1338) by Bernardo Daddi. 

It is amazing to think that at one time, masters like Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Michelangelo must have set their gaze on these exact works to hone their own craft, and garner inspiration to create the masterpieces of the Renaissance we marvel at today. For when staring at the suggestive expression of Bernardo Daddi’s “A Crowned Virgin Martyr” (1334-1338), a glimpse of Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”  with her mysterious stare, and face full of subtle shadows that delicately sculpt her face, can definitely be seen,  which make the exhibition all the more exciting, and relevant.

In many ways, the exhibition brings to light that not much has changed in the world of art and commerce; citing the importance of banking and the prosperous merchant class to the creation of these vital works of art. Being so wealthy, members of the merchant class became so concerned that they may not  reach heaven, that they began spending their fortunes on commissioning buildings, and filling them with new art that expressed their hopes, fears, ideals, and emotions.

Revealing the Early Renaissance at the AGO-A view of Bernardo Daddi Italian The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula and 11,000 Virgins

With prosperity, comes art – and not much has changed today, as many of the world’s most successful artists rely on wealthy investors and corporate big wigs to the cut the cheque on a commission. Perhaps they no longer fear purgatory for their sins, but they are most definitely keeping their fingers crossed that their commission could strike them big dollars, and in that way, achieve idol status, and a bit of heaven.

The exhibition has already been lauded by the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times as one of the most important exhibitions in recent years, so don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel through time, and take in 90 once-hidden masterworks that came to redefine life as we know it today.

Agony and the Ecstacy - Blood and Gore - Revealing the Early Renaissance at the AGO

All the Agony & The Ecstacy . . .

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Revealing the Early Renaissance: Stories and Secrets in Florentine Art” opens at the AGO on March 16 and runs until June 16, 2013. To book your tickets today, click here!

Also be sure to check out the event schedule at the AGO for exciting insights inspired by this latest exhibit (Click here).

Sasha Suda, Michael Chan (Ontario Minister of Culture), and CEO at the AGO, Matthew Teitelbaum - March 12, 2013 - AGO Press Preview

Matthew Teitelbaum (CEO at the AGO), Sasha Suda (Assistant Curator of European art at the AGO), and Michael Chan (Ontario Minister of Culture, Tourism, & Sport) – March 12, 2013. 

Until next time,

{theEye}

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