Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Vignettes from Vermont: "The ______est Girl in the World"

BENNINGTON -- I'm mid-riff through another #musicalmarrow tweet-a-thon when Letters to Cleo pops to mind and becomes the next YouTube link. 

That's right, Letters to Cleo. 

"Here and Now" is #musicalmarrow. Which means you can't get enough of a song that penetrates to your core. 

Then there's Kay Hanley, the super cute, super girlie singer. It's her voice and her eyes and her innocent 21-year-old smile full of manipulation. It's her grunge outfit, jorts over hose. 

And yes, it's her long blonde ponytails hanging off each side. The person who conceptualized her look in the video is a genius. (May I may have another, indeed, Butthead.)

Kay Hanley. Letters to Cleo. Here and Now. #musicalmarrow Almost 20 years later, Kay is a mom. She's still got that rocker edge. She tweets about life and baseball (bonus points) and politics and throughout it all she takes guff from no one. Ask Chuck Klosterman the author who tweeted something a few weeks ago that read very curious. Compliment? Slam?

Within minutes Kay sent the above tweet to make @cklosterman explain the remark, which he did relatively quickly, and then the famous book dude and still-hot singer tweeted back and forth for the next hour or so. Love, Twitter-style. I began to follow Kay. A few weeks later she tweeted this:

I clicked on the link, which led to THIS. @aurocka is an artist by the name of Aurora Armijo from somewhere in Los Angeles, my hometown. Aurora Lady describes herself as a fine artist, illustrator and dream maker.

* * *


One of the hottest/cutest girl-next-door rock chicks of my generation is promoting art so naturally I'm interested to check it out.  

I e-flipped through a few pages of Aurora Lady's zine, and it intrigued me enough to spend 10 bucks to have it delivered.   

The ______est Girl in the World arrived today.

The zine is 7.5 by 5.5 and weighs in at 16 pages. The first thing that struck me was the introduction Aurora Lady wrote:

Aurora used the kind of horizontal-lined (2-lane highway) paper I remember from kindergarten when we learned how tall to write upper-case letters and how small to write lower-case letters.

Aurora's penmanship -- her words are in cursive and they're clean and simple -- should be a font.

The spine of the zine is hand-stitched the spine with red sewing string. Subtle yet strong.

The final and most important thing you notice about Aurora Lady's work is the watercolor and ink portraits of 16 women, she said, "who thought outside the box to make their dreams reality" -- and these portraits are art of the highest order.

The sneering brunette is Almie Rose, a writer and blogger at She's a Scorpio. The quote she provided is by Yoda and goes "Do or do not. There is no try."

Pinky is Maria Ewing, an entrepreneur, artist, designer and crafter at Her saying is "It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be." 

The funny thing about Maria emerges when you find her card in the bonus bag of goodies that goes to the first 20 people who order The ____est Girl in the World. 

Kim's card (not bone ... ) has 3 lines:

Kim Burly 
Not Girlfriend Material. 



... it is filled with a thing from each of the 16 women in the zine -- the bag is a portal to their websites via postcard or a cutesy art booklet (House of Plants by Goldstone) or a business card or a sticker or a handmade lingerie accessory or a scratch-off card ...


... or even Lime Crime gold dust vegan loose eyeshadow.

Basically, it's artisans celebrating and promoting artisans.


IT ENDED when I gave the zine creator's vision of strong, forward-thinking women to my oldest goddaughter, who is 8 years old and awesome because shs blessed with the personality of The ______est Girl in the World.

Addie watched part of the Republican National Convention the other night, when the Valenzuela woman talked about how the family found a 25th hour each day to grow the family business. Here was Addie's response, which I tweeted because it was pure funny: