I have a minor love affair with Chemex coffeemakers. Truth is, though, I have never lived with one for any reasonable length of time. Sure, we’ve had our flings, our weekend rendezvous in the Berkshires. I would wake up early, the snow bright white and crisp outside, and run warm water down her mouth… but it never lasted.
Soon, I will take the ultimate step and invite Chemex to move in with me. The danger is I don’t know which kind I want yet. Do I want to tie myself to the rustic Classic, with its jacket of wood and leather? The sleek, supple, and natural Handblown? Or the geometrically resplendent Handled version? Do I want her small, medium, large? Oh, so many questions.
The NY Times’ Oliver Strand had this to say about Chemex:
Often, a pedigree like this speaks to form more than function – plenty of gorgeous, impractical things are found at MoMA. But the Chemex really works, a cult object within the world of coffee. I know a few professionals who will start the day by flipping on an espresso machine that costs about the same as a BMW 5-Series just off the lease and, while it warms up, make coffee for themselves on a Chemex that retails for less than $40.
The appeal is simple. It’s for purists.
- Oliver Strand, “Ristretto - Chemex” (The NY Times Magazine, April 22, 2010)
Be sure to check out Chemex on their website. The company also sells a drop-dead beautiful handblown glass kettle.
Also, be sure to read the Gourmet Magazine article on the Chemex’s creator, Peter Schlumbohm, which has this to say on the man:
“He loved to drink and he loved to eat,” says Roy Doty, a cartoonist who was a friend of the late inventor, “so going out for dinner with Dr. Schlumbohm was a horrifying experience.” Guests were treated to epic all-night food crawls in his huge Cadillac Coupe De Ville, which he pimped out with built-in shades and a solid-gold Chemex coffee maker bolted to the driver’s door.
- Tejal Rao, “Dr. Chemex” (Gourmet Magazine, June 10, 2008)
Floating Spiral Staircase at Itamaraty Palace, Brazil’s Foreign Ministry Building, in Brasília
Oscar Niemeyer, Brazilian Modernist Architect, is dead at 104.
“The languorous sensuality of Mr. Niemeyer’s designs are underscored in early sketches for Brasília. They often depict naked young women sunbathing on a vast empty plaza as his buildings recede in the background. It’s an image of romantic alienation that has more in common with the films of Michelangelo Antonioni than with the utopian aspirations of early Modernism.”
- Nicolai Ouroussoff, “Oscar Niemeyer, Architect Who Gave Brasília Its Flair, Dies at 104” (New York Times, December 5, 2012)
This is a promotional video teasing Makeup and Vanity Set’s score for the sci-fi/horror short, 88:88. (If you are curious about the film, enjoy a good short film, or are a fan of sci-fi or horror, you’ll want to click this link to watch the movie on YouTube (it is around 13 minutes long)).
The featured composition from 88:88, titled “A Glowing Light, A Promise,” is a great introduction to Makeup and Vanity Set’s (or MAVS’) oeuvre. We experience a shaky, hand-held, blurry and color-distorted VHS videocam recording of a highway, the ambient rush of the passing cars lulls us. We become aware of a triangle of lights in the sky… soon they begin to pulse and dance with color, in time to the music we hear. What or who are these apparitions in the sky?
This short clip captures several distinct aspects of MAVS’ electronic music’s aesthetic: the decreased/warped fidelity of older technology, the inability to trust what our senses at first perceive to be true, the darkness (in an intuitive sense) and mystery of the night, the retro future (even as it becomes the present), and exacting, orderly sequencing and arpeggiation.
Makeup and Vanity Set’s website has an array of links to his various social media and commercial presences. Be sure to check out the Nashville musician’s Bandcamp page and download some of his shiny, dingy, and blazingly evocative music today. You will be transported into the diegesis of a 1980s horror film, you will cry out as visitors from an unknowable world trespass in your house, and, finally, you will scream as a psychopath crosses the threshold of your doorway. I particularly love his album Never Let Go.
If you like your music on a universally accessible cloud, I suggest you buy Makeup and Vanity Set’s music on Amazon.