Hooves of the Devil

People ask me (they do!) what are my favorite shoes, and without any hesitation I say Florsheim’s Duke line of ankle boots. I don’t go in for prissy John Lobbs or that sort of precious “Old Bean” fetish gear: It’s not my world. Hell, it’s not anyone’s world, anymore. It’s cosplay! The shoes I’m talking about are inexpensive, but beautifully made. Classic cut. Black. Clean lines. Zippers. Leather soles. Wooden heels. None of that elastic band and rubber soles metrosexual nonsense. These boots are true old-school chariots, long worn by the soaplocks, lounge lizards, pool sharks, preachers, guttersnipes, frontmen, wise guys, hustlers, and pimps of the Greater Mid-Atlantic. They force you to walk (and dance The Slop) on the balls of your feet, like a nimble sex panther, like a lynx across the cobblestone wildernesses of places like Philly or Brooklyn. Best of all: SQUARES CAN’T PULL THEM OFF. So get to know them.
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Bergdorf Goodman: I Am Dandy Fete

On Thursday evening, Bergdorf Goodman hosted the launch party for Rose Callahan and Nathaniel ‘Natty’ Adams‘ book, I Am Dandy; The Return of the Elegant Gentleman (Gestalten). (It was by invitation only, of course: We’re talking dandies, here. Standards must be kept, you know.) The second floor of Bergdorf’s was absolutely packed: I could barely move, which is saying something since I’m such a runt. There was quite a menagerie of human specimens on display, some of whom looked decadent, even nefarious. It was a comfort knowing that Baron Ambrosia was there, just in case a walk-off or male diva meltdown broke out (Speaking of which: the Baron has confided in me a caper of such magnificence that I cannot resist being a part of it. More later). All lenses were fixed on the ever-photogenic Patrick McDonald, as evidenced by the media’s reportage of the event. As always, with Patrick in the room no other professional peacock stands a chance. And last night, the competition was fierce.

And because no event would be complete without my expecting to be congratulated for putting on clothes, here is my “gentleman ranger” ensemble for the evening: a lean but hardy green tweed suit by Against Nature, blue tie and socks, green pocket square (the colors of the Pine Barrens), and a horseshoe crab pin I got from the NJ Dept of Fish & Wildlife for reporting a tagged crab. It’s not my flashiest ensemble, but it is my favorite: I feel the  personal emblems I don in this particular getup best represent what I’m about. Besides, it was my way of publicly thanking the incredibly generous folks at Against Nature for giving me such a fine suit. And again, my thanks to Rose and Natty for including me in their book: It’s a beautiful object, and one worthy of unseemly pride. Congratulations.

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“I Am Dandy” has arrived!

Just received my copy of Rose Callahan’s and Natty Adams’ magnum opus, I Am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman (Gestalten). I was amazed at the number and variety of profiles in this book: quite a menagerie of personalities. I look forward to reading the profiles. I’m the potato in the rose garden of course (Compared to the other exquisites, martinets and peacocks, I’m rather shabbily clad), but I’m deeply flattered to have been included. Thank you, Rose and Natty!

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Summer Vacation Was A Blast

Where have I been? Well, I’ve been spending the summer in the early Nineteenth Century, toying with your world’s history without you knowing it while getting some excellent deals on antiques (you might say I charged everything). These are some snapshots from my trip across the Continent. Have to say, I had a grand time: went through a lot of boots, horses, and peasants (I’m a frigging lord, after all). Probably would have stayed if it weren’t for the cholera and syphilis. Yikes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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October: Death in LA

Yet another announcement: In mid-October I’ll be in LA for Death Salon, where I’ll be serving as a Johnny-on-the-spot and all-purpose master of ceremonies. So many of my favorite people will be there–should be a grand time. Hope to see you there. For tickets and more info, go here.

(Image by Paul Koudounaris)

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Walking a Lobster, Again

Another book announcement: the German translation of my first book The Affected Provincial’s Companion Vol. I is being published by Metrolit Verlag in Berlin! Die Kunst mit einem Hummer spazieren zu gehen Handbuch für den wahrhaftigen Dandy will be released on Oct. 4th.

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I Am Dandy: Return of the Elegant Gentleman, out Sept. 25th

Happy to announce that I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman (Gestalten, Berlin) will be released worldwide at the end of this month. The core of the book is comprised of beautiful photographs of sartorially rare birds and their dwellings. For several years my good friend, Rose Callahan has been documenting the worlds of these gentlemen. Profiles and introduction were written by the dandiacally astute Nathaniel “Natty” Adams, whose writings on the topic are among the best I’ve read by any contemporary. I’m one of the lesser lights featured in the book, but some of my good friends make appearances and really bring the proverbial goods. Order it online, or ask for it by name in better bookstores near you.

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June 8th: Cenacle

Interstate Projects website.

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Book Week in New York

This was me yesterday afternoon, before the heat transmogrified me into a wet, fungal ape. Nothing–not even the coolest linen and cotton summer ensemble I can muster–can ever withstand the hellishly fetid breath of the NYC subway system (many of you NYers would agree that the subway in Summer is like traversing the alimentary canal of a giant syphillitic chimpanzee that also has a touch of dysentery). I was a wilted, sweaty mess by the time I arrived at the Upper East Side apartment that was hosting a Book Expo cocktail party, courtesy of my publisher, Tin House. Met up with my trusty agent and his wife, and met the good folks of Tin House, who were just as gracious in person. They presented me with some pretty handmade mockups of my Whitman book, which they will be showing buyers this weekend (Those of you attending this year’s BEA can see mockups of my Whitman book at Tin House’s booth, No. 1221-A).
Later on, I met and briefly chatted with Amy Stewart of “Drunken Botanist” fame. I also discovered over the course of the evening that any photos of me taken with a smartphone make me look as though I’ve had work done.
On my way home I must have been driven mad by the godawful heat, because I hopped onto the wrong train platform and wound up in Queens, on a stop where the Manhattan-bound train was out of service. Finally found my way out of the labyrinth, and helped a couple other minotaurs in the process. Got home late and had a long, defungifying soak before bed (been enjoying this new French gardenia soap lately, but that’s another story).
And so, back to the basement to continue work on this Whitman book, which should be out this time next year (It’s Walt’s birthday today). I hope to complete the book in about eight weeks. I got to play Theseus last night, but now I’m back to being plain old Orpheus. Sorry for being so boring, lately. See you sometime this summer.
 
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Redbud Jelly Time!

An old friend of mine sent a delicious parcel to me this week: a jar of redbud jelly. One look at the color and I was smitten. It has a nice sweet/sour tang that is fantastic on toast. Many people enjoy redbud trees as an ornamental spring plant, but few realize that this tree’s blooms are edible, even choice. Redbud (Cercis canadensis) was once known as “salad tree,” and notables like Thomas Jefferson were said to have eaten their blooms by the bowl (the blooms have a lovely taste that brings to mind snowpeas). Want to learn how to make redbud jelly? Go here. Enjoy this all-too-ephemeral springtime treat!

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