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Screw You Recession!

   Unless you are a child, a hermit, or living in a vegetative state you know that we are awash in the blood that has been streaming from Wall Street since last year. TV talking heads and faceless radio voices have been regaling us with doom and gloom ranging from lost profits, lost jobs, lost homes, and lost pets to the point where the recession may be causing some of us to lose our grips. Enough already, screw you recession!

   Screw You Recession is the title and mantra of a website recently mounted by Virgin Mobile Canada (twitter 'em), and is a place where visitors share and swap hints and tips on how to save a few bucks in every consuming facet of their lives. Cheap chic websites and blogs are nothing new; there have always been people eager to tell us how to live on relatively nothing but Screw You Recession does it with its cyber-tongue planted firmly in its cheek (tip: “Don’t buy profuse amounts of diamonds.”)

   Since this is a Virgin site it is, at some level, connected to Sir Richard Branson, chair of Virgin Group. In our opinion Sir Richard is far better at making money than showing us how to save it, he is the proud owner of a $4.4 billion fortune, but perhaps his heart is in living an inexpensive eco-friendly lifestyle. Nah…

   Meet the woman known only as km. She has been a Virgin Mobile customer for years and although she likes their service she will not upgrade her basic cell plan, regardless of how many enticing offers Sir Richard’s minions send her way. A whistleblower in the telecom industry has told Angelina’s Wings that the Lord of the Cell has employed the carrot and stick approach to encourage local Virgin staffers to convince or cajole km into an upgrade. A successful pitch supposedly gets someone unlimited free air travel to anywhere Virgin flies. The numerous failed pitches have allegedly resulted in dismissals, public humiliations, and worse.

   Rumours abound claiming that Sir Richard is obsessed with seeing km upgrade her cell service but in a voice-modulated interview with AW km said it’s all Virgin’s fault. “I bought the phone during an unadvertised special and got four months free service to boot. I’ve never needed to upgrade. The phone’s indestructible; I’ve dropped it then talked to my girlfriend while holding the bits in my hands. Screw taking pictures and all that crap; the phone works as a flashlight so I can text someone while looking for stuff in my purse. How cool is that?”

   Limiting your cell service to only the necessary basics is one way to save money, there are many more if you use your imagination. Eating, for instance, is a constant expense unless you allow the generous or the well-to-do to feed you, or your kids. If you make high calorie lattes and over-priced pastries things of the past you’ll save money in the short term and you won’t puff up and outgrow your clothes.

   Despite the spin that streams out of Wall Street the recession is here and the situation may get worse. Either way, there will be long-term affects and we may be on the verge of a brave new, but less conspicuously affluent, world. In many circles extravagance has become unfashionable while living within one’s means takes on a glamour of its own. Will you, my dear shopaholic, be ready?

 


Retirement Community, ca.2011

 

 

Author: Alexandra Highcrest

Research: Angelina Pieros

Sources: Forbes, NASA, New York Times, Virgin Group, Virgin Mobile Canada, Wikipedia

   For the last couple of years a friend and I have been debating whether art must be aesthetically beautiful to be considered worthy. I’ve always believed that beauty is not a necessary quality of artistic expression, and the latest productions presented as part of the Harbourfront World Stage series underscores my position.

   Harbourfront Centre has travelled the world and chosen some of the globe’s best theatre, dance and performance for the World Stage 08:09 season. This season’s line-up is political, moving, controversial, enlightening and cutting-edge, but not necessarily pretty.

   The highlights for February included Tshepang, a play by South African writer/director Lara Foot Newton based on the true story of the rape of nine-month-old girl known only as Baby Tshepang, which occurred in a small South African settlement in October 2001. The investigation of the crime and the subsequent trial exposed an entire culture of infant sexual assault rooted in the nation's social and economic problems.

   When asked why deal with such a difficult subject Newton said, “Theatre contributes toward elevating a society in terms of transcending the mundane and the inevitable. I can't stop infant rape through theatre, but I can contribute to the development of a healthy society.”

   The second World Stage presentation of February was That Night Follows Day, a play by Tim Etchells of UK’s Forced Entertainment. The work features a cast of children and examines the systems of parenthood, upbringing, discipline, care and welfare that define the worlds of children and adolescents, and highlights how adults project their worlds onto the lives of the children around them. Although the cast is made up solely of children, ranging in age from eight to fourteen, this is a play for adults, especially those who are wrapped up in trying to raise children in what some call a nanny state, and produces hyper-allergenic nerf kids.

   If you’re thinking that the spring/summer World Stage season will be dominated by bleak or serious theatrical productions think again; for the schedule radically changes direction in April.

   The first of two headliners is Blind Date featuring Rebecca Northan, “the sexiest and most lovable Parisian woman to ever wear a clown nose,” according to The New West Magazine. This one woman/one audience member production opens in a Parisian café where Mimi awaits her blind date. When he doesn’t show Mimi looks to the audience for someone brave enough to answer Love’s call. If you think that person could, or should, be you Blind Date runs from March 3rd to the 7th. Good luck.

   If you are looking for beauty in performance art you will find it in the vibrant blend of modern dance and Balletic grace displayed by Grupo Corpo. The dance troupe, known for its sexy physicality and dramatic visual flair, will be performing to a dark score by multi-Grammy Award winner Lenine. The World Stage production will showcase some of the troupe’s most aggressive and confrontational choreography; take advantage of this chance to see why Grupo Corpo is considered one of the best dance troupes in the world. The performance runs from March 24th to the 28th.

   We know art doesn’t have to be pretty to be worthy art, but it certainly can be. For more information visit the Harbourfront World Stage website, or pop down to Harbourfront itself and chat someone up. If you see a pair of large birds circling overhead don’t be alarmed; they're just a couple of Angelina’s Wings’ culture vultures checking out the venues.  

 


Author: Alexandra Highcrest

Research: Angelina Pieros

Sources: Harbourfront World Stage, The Toronto Star, The Montreal Gazette

A Date With the Stone of Destiny

   The Stone of Destiny, a 152 kg oblong block of red sandstone, was used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland, England, and, more recently, the British Isles. It is a symbol of Scottish pride and nationalism, and has been the stuff of legend since the 13th century. The latest telling of the tale is Stone of Destiny, a film by Charles Martin Smith.

   In 1296 the Stone was captured by Edward I and taken to Westminster Abbey, where it was fitted into a wooden chair, known as St. Edward’s Chair. It is presumed that Edward did this to symbolize his claim to the title of Lord Paramount of Scotland, with the right to oversee its King. Since then all subsequent English monarchs except Queen Mary II have been crowned while sitting over the Stone.
   Edward may not have captured the authentic stone. One theory posits that monks hid the real Stone then passed a fake off on the English.

   In 1328 Edward III of England agreed to return the Stone to Scotland but, real or faux, it sat in Westminster until 1950 when, on Christmas Day, four Scottish students (Ian Hamilton, Gavin Vernon, Kay Matheson, and Alan Stuart) took the Stone from Westminster Abbey for return to Scotland.

   The film Stone of Destiny tells the story of this nationalism-motivated theft but, like many simple stories, it addresses other, underlying issues; in this case nationalism, the value of national symbols and icons, and non-violent activism. It may even motivate Canadian moviegoers, and inveterate navel gazers, to ponder the significance of their own national symbols and icons. How do ours compare to theirs?
   A simple comparison can be made between the Stone of Destiny and the Stanley Cup, which has been stolen three times and lost three times, but what if you’re like us and couldn’t care less about hockey? It seems Lord Stanley’s cup comes up short and is hardly a national symbol.

   Canada’s national animal is the beaver; Scotland is famous for being home to the legendary Loch Ness Monster which, although fantastic, has more cachet than an oversized, workaholic rodent. Our resident textile consultant suggests that Pamela Anderson would make a better comparison to Nessie, seeing as how much of Pamela is also fantastic.

   The kilt is certainly symbolic of Scotland but do we, shivering away in the great white north, have a similar fashion icon? The toque immediately comes to mind – unfortunately.

   Comparing our national symbols to Scotland’s may encourage you to drink but if you had the choice would you reach for a tumbler of Glenfiddich or Canadian Club? I know, I know,…rhetorical.

   You have to wonder whether a group of young Canadians would throw caution to the wind in order to recover a national icon, or engage in any form of non-violent activism. I suspect not; it’s easier to create a Facebook page expressing your position and invite other non-active activists to line up behind you by joining your online protest.
   We remember the anti-war protests of the 1970s and the anti-nuke activism of the 80s, and think the trend towards impersonal cyber-protesting is sad and pathetic. But occasionally our elected officials do pay attention to cyber-complaining so I suppose we should appreciate whatever works, even if it pales when compared to the real thing.


The Cast Toast the Stone of Destiny
In Cinemas Now

 

 

Author: Alexandra Highcrest

Research: Angelina Pieros

Sources: Alliance Films, IMBD, Wikipedia


Doing It on Do Over Day

   Lets face it, we’ve all done things we’ve later regretted, or regret not doing things we could’ve or should’ve done. Up until recently these regrets were just accepted as a part of life but now we’ve been given a semi-official day to reflect on our past highs and lows, or to begin setting things right – Do Over Day.

   The ‘do over’ was envisioned by physicists constructing the CERN particle accelerator in Switzerland in the 1980s. While creating the means to examine and perhaps alter the space-time continuum, they tossed around the idea of doing over certain portions of one’s life, should time-travel dreams ever become reality. The idea languished amongst the scientists until finally one man with foresight and intrepidness stepped forward and transformed a mere notion into a nationwide, unqualified, bona fide reality, or at least, for some, a non-stat holiday.  That man, founder of Do Over Day, is known as Reggie.

   Reggie knew what he had to do. “It struck me that Canadians inhabit a maze of social conundrums,” he said. “On the one hand we think of ourselves as an easy-going, polite, even mild, people. But there’s also a passive-aggressiveness in Canadians that is tempered, thankfully, with a collective deep sense of embarrassment about our many flaws. That’s why we decided Canada needed Do Over Day, a notion resoundingly confirmed by the over four thousand focus groups we convened for this very purpose.”

   The Angelina’s Wings staff can spend days reliving past glories: the fabulous parties we’ve attended, our brilliant business decisions, our sexual adventures, however we’re not big on regrets. We’ve still managed to embrace the idea of Do Over Day by modifying it to suit our needs. Our flagship offices in downtown Toronto are in desperate need of renovations and our overworked staff have been demanding more help.


   In the spirit of the day, work has begun. We’ve hired a contractor and an interior designer to do the heavy lifting, and we’ve brought Padraig O’Conure, better known as Paddy, on board as our first intern/PA. Paddy will also provide our journal with a guy’s point of view, so watch for his articles once we’ve chosen an appropriate avatar for him.

   Time travel may be a few years away but when it does arrive Do Over Day – by then an international event – will be awaiting it, with a backlog 6.8 billion-plus do-overs. We’ll be ready too, lounging in our newly renovated digs while our interns and PAs satisfy our every whim.

   Happy Do Over Day.


 

 

Author: Alexandra Highcrest

Research: Angelina Pieros


February 26, Everywhere


MAC Cashing In With Hello Kitty

   We at Angelina’s Wings have always felt that any colour board of makeup aimed at children, or would look good on children, or reminds adult women of their childhood, would be inappropriate for adult women to wear because they’d look silly with it on. MAC Cosmetics has not gotten our memo.

 

   MAC has teamed up with Sanrio Global Consumer Products to create a Hello Kitty color cosmetics collection. The line will arrive on MAC’s Web site Feb. 10, in North American stores on Feb. 12 and into overseas stores in March.

   “MAC has been mining pop culture since the brand was founded,” said John Demsey, group president of the Estée Lauder Cosmetics Inc. (MAC is Estée Lauder’s bitch). “This is a sexy and innocent fashion line, and a true MAC moment. In these times, everyone can use a little fun — and a little Kitty.” 

   We think women could use a little more cash in their purses and less crap in their makeup cases. 

   “The partnership was a no-brainer,” said James Gager, senior vice president and creative director of MAC Worldwide. “We cater to people who love to play with makeup.” Read, “kids.” 

   While in many licensing partnerships, the licensor shops his or her property around; MAC went after Sanrio, Hello Kitty’s owner, to do the deal. “They had never done makeup before, and I was certain that all those women who already own a bit of Hello Kitty would also want to own branded makeup,” said Gager. 

   Sanrio’s worldwide retail sales of licensed products for 2007 are estimated at $5 billion. “We are thrilled to partner with a brand that shares the vision of offering an innovative, authentic and transforming experience to our loyal fan base,” said Janet Hsu, president of Sanrio. Read, “We are thrilled to partner with a brand that will make us even more money.” 

   The 34-year-old Hello Kitty character is usually assumed to be a cat but she is actually a girl, according to Sanrio, a girl without a mouth. “She may not have a mouth, but she’s going to sell a lot of lipstick,” cracked Demsey. You know that when a company president is cracking jokes he’s getting ready to pick your pockets. 

   “To me, MAC Hello Kitty embodies the ultimate beauty icon,” said Jennifer Balbier, senior vice president of product development for MAC Worldwide. Sorry Jennifer but a 34-year-old cartoon girl with no mouth is not a beauty icon. 

   “She’s sweet and sexy, slightly edgy,” said Balbier, “and appeals to a wide range of customers. We wanted to reflect that through a sweet side, but also something slightly mischievous when it came to the colors. I started out by creating a palette of pinks, since they fit and always trend well in the spring. And this look is so much about the eyes that we did two eye shadow quads.” The Lucky Tom quad has violet blue, brown, gold and pink-coral shades, while the Too Dolly palette has mint, blue-silver, pale pink and magenta shades. 

   “We incorporated glitter eyeliners because she (no, no, it…Kitty is a thing) loves anything that twinkles, and we took the coral and hot pink theme and did pretty, poppy [coloured] blush,” added Balbier. Isn’t this beginning to sound like stripper makeup, or something that would appeal to Joy Hickey from the sitcom My Name is Earl? 

   While this collection is intended to have a sophisticated presentation, MAC hopes to appeal to younger fans (future customers) with two shades of lip conditioners. 

   Here’s the crunch; the Hello Kitty offerings fall into two collections: the Hello Kitty Colour Collection and the higher-end Hello Kitty Kouture. The bulk of the items fall into the former category with cosmetics ranging in price from $12 for a mascara, $14 for a lipstick, to $38 for a four-colour eye shadow palette. Affordable for a teenager. 

   Hello Kitty Kouture prices range from $28 for a tube of Dazzleglass lip gloss (each comes with a reusable silver chain pendant, something we all look for when buying makeup…not) to $90 for a silver, Hello-Kitty-branded powder compact. My nieces would probably gladly buy these items; the oldest is six.


   MAC has also Hello-Kitty-branded a collection of bracelets, dolls, makeup bags, mirrors, and totes priced from $22 to $50. We’re sure many of these items will find their way onto tween wish lists.

   It is the dream of every cosmetics company to capture new, ever-younger customers and regardless of what you think of MAC or Hello Kitty this marketing ploy is aimed at tweens and teenagers. The Angelina’s Wings girls are not fond of MAC or the Kitty, but we have found other, more interesting, methods of employing Hello Kitty imagery. We doubt Sanrio would approve.


 



Author: Alexandra Highcrest

Research: Angelina Pieros

Source: MAC Cosmetics, Sanrio, Women’s Wear Daily
 

What Brought Down Flight 1549?

What brought down US Airways Flight 1549? I like airplanes and flying, I used to have a private pilots licence, so I had to find out for sure.

The drawing is of an Airbus A320, the plane which crashed, the way an engineer might see her.




This is a typical A320 in current US Airways livery.


The fate of Flight 1549, down in the Hudson River – but why?



The shocking truth!



Author:
Alexandra Highcrest

Research: Angelina Pieros

Source (Primary): The New York Times
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Wrestling With Canine Couture

   Little dogs have been used as fashion accessories for hundreds of years. When Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife and a fashion icon of early 16th century England, wasn’t out hunting with her greyhound she could often be found cavorting with her lapdog Purkoy. Paris Hilton dresses her Chihuahua Tinkerbell better than some moms dress their kids. Despite the fact that this trend is coming under fire it’s not likely to fade, especially now that Mickey Rourke has thanked his dogs when he accepted a Golden Globe for his performance in the comeback movie The Wrestler. "Sometimes when a man's alone, that's all you've got is your dog. They've meant the world to me."



Mickey Rourke with Loki
The Wrestler Premier, Venice Film Festival


  
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is threatening legal action against Brit dog owners who “over-dress” their pets. Officials claim that forcing dogs to wear items such as boots, all-in-one trousers and hoodies, could be harmful and lead to prosecution for owners if the RSPCA feels an animal's welfare is at risk.



Paris Hilton and Tinkerbell


  
Canine couture is big business and the increasing trend among owners to dress their pets fashionably has led to top designers including Vivienne Westwood and Ben de Lisi creating dog outfits.



Lily, a Vivienne Westwood Bride


  
Experts said there are a few occasions where dog clothing is acceptable, such as with small dogs and shorthaired varieties. Dog clothing serves its purpose when it's cold and wet, but it has to fit properly. However, Lynn Williams, founder of the dog charity Happy Dogs said: 'To see a little dog dressed up in boots, I think, is a little over the top.” The RSPCA believes dressing dogs as people is “humiliating and sends out the wrong message about pet care. We've seen trends in recent years brought about by the rise in celebrities with  ‘handbag dogs’. This usually leads to people taking on pets because they are ‘fashionable’ and sadly that means many are neglected."



A Pirate-themed Pooch Struts the Dogwalk

Harrod’s Pet-a-Porter Show


  
According to Sean Woods, who interviewed Rourke for Rolling Stone magazine, “It's impossible to watch The Wrestler and not see it as an allegory for Rourke's career: on top in the Eighties, AWOL in the Nineties and looking for redemption in the new century. The more Rourke talks, the more agitated he becomes. On cue, his manager arrives with a white pill and one of his pet Chihuahuas, Taco Bell, to soothe him. Rourke swallows the medication. "I have panic attacks when I talk about this stuff," he says. At his lowest, he says he was sitting in a closet with his favorite dog, Beau Jack, "doing some crazy shit, but I saw a look in Beau Jack's eyes, and I put the shit down. That dog saved my life. There's still a little man inside me with an ax — but I keep that little fucker quiet." We at Angelina’s Wings doubt Mickey will ever neglect his dogs.



Mickey and Friend at LAX

 

Posted by Alexandra, courtesy of Angelina



 

Bargain Hunting Barbarism

    In the US “Back Friday” was the day retailers began earning a profit because their sales skyrocketed due to the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. In recent years Black Friday began earning its name due to violence. Frenzied shoppers, driven mad by their insatiable desire to buy discounted electronics and other normally high end toys, have killed store staff, and each other, over cheap TVs and Play Stations.


A Mob Lays Seige to Wal-Mart
 

    During this year’s Black Friday a clerk was trampled to death by a mob of shoppers storming a Wal-Mart on Long Island in New York. Bargain hunters were involved in numerous punch-ups in other Wal-Mart stores around the country. Later the same day two men shot each other to death outside a Toys R Us in Palm Desert California while their girlfriends duked it out inside.

    Angelina’s Wings contacted Wal-Mart for comment and received a predictable response.


Wal-Mart’s response to Angelina’s Wings

    We disapprove of chaotic consumerism but unfortunately we see this as a growing trend, one that may change the style of shopping in the US forever. In our desire to remain fashion forward we’ve asked our design atelier to predict the future looks of the stylish bargain shopper and the associate who will greet her.


Better Safe Than Sorry



A Greeter Ready for the Rush


 

 

Disclaimer: this article, although based on real events, is satire

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A Keyboard for Blondes

    When Angelina and I began Angelina’s Wings we promised ourselves we would not turn our journal into yet another shopping blog masquerading as a fashion blog. You know the type; the bloggers go on and on about their fave local stores, or why they prefer MAC’s expensive crap makeup over Cover Girl’s cheap makeup because Cover Girl’s smells weird (it does). We committed ourselves to providing information and commentary, something lacking in traditional fashion magazines (when was the last time a Vogue writer trashed a designer’s latest collection?), spiced up with doses of satire.

    There are exceptions to every rule and this article is one of ours. An enterprising company with a sense of humour has released the Keyboard for Blondes and at $50 USD I want one.


I Want
 

    Not only would the new keyboard give our basic black computer setup a badly needed splash of colour, it talks back and has fun titles for boring keystrokes, such as the “I need my space” bar. The “F” keys across the top spell out “Useless keys” but there are dedicated keys ideal for women like me: “Smart Blond Button, OMG, LOL,” and “ZZZD,” girl-text for a boring date. The number keys are used for tapping out musical notes, and the keyboard exclaims “oops” when you backspace and rings like a cash register when you hit the dollar sign. Very useful.


 

    Angelina, this keyboard is cheap and would look so good in the media centre; think about it.

 

Source: New York Daily News

 

 

Posted by Alexandra, courtesy of Angelina
 

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Karl Lagerfeld Grins and Bears It



   
Alexandra and I aren’t teddy bear girls. As a child I couldn’t have a pet so I had a stuffed dog that I adored, but he’s gone to Stuffy Heaven (Alexandra’s girlfriend calls plush toys such as teddy bears “Stuffys”).


My Childhood Neighbourhood
 

    Alexandra had a posh childhood and had pets to cuddle, and never got into teddy bears, although as an adult she collected Beanie Baby birds for a while; she loves birds.


Alexandra’s Childhood Neighbourhood
 

    We know there are people who have a real passion for teddy bears and pay serious money for the most desirable collectibles, but they share a passion we just don’t understand.

    Karl Lagerfeld has created a teddy bear that just might find its way into our teddy bear-free zone. Naturally the toy bears a striking resemblance to its creator, even though Lagerfeld said teddy bears weren’t a part of his childhood. “I never played with anything like toys. I wanted to be grown-up”


 

    The man who grew up simply wanting to be a grown-up has already been made into a lead figure, a plastic toy, and a character in a video game.

    Karl, what else would you call this bear, has been produced by the German stuffed toy maker Steiff, and if you must have one Neiman Marcus has a couple of thousand of them to sell at $1,500 USD a pop.


The Man Who Would be Grown-Up


   
Alexandra is already shaking her head.