My Little Jazz

It all started with a weird feeling. I left my office around 6:30 last evening and started roaming around the streets of TriBeCa, unable to get myself down to a subway station and then on a train home. I just didn't want to go home, but I had no idea where else to go. So, I texted my friend Andrea, who was in a similarly odd mindset. "I haven't been outside since 9am," she said. "Let's definitely do something. Anything." We quickly agreed to meet at her apartment in the Financial District and soon after I hopped onto a citibike and slowly, but surely made my way down there. After parking the bicycle about a block away, I saw my phone ringing with my mother's name. I answered, my Dad responded.

From personal experience it is a very bad sign when my Father calls me from my mother's phone. For one, my Dad, the hardworking Father, is constantly on his own phone sending emails, text messages and making calls. My mother, on the other hand, is almost the complete opposite. She doesn't care for the phone or for emails once she leaves her office for the day. So, as soon as I heard him say "Hi Sarah, it's Daddy." I knew I was in for bad news. In a hushed, barely audible voice he said, "Sarah, our little Jazz passed away today." I still could hardly hear him and wanted to pretend that maybe I hadn't heard his somber statement, so I had him say it again. The news was the same. My family dog of the past 10 years died after losing the desire to live to his leaking heart. 

To say that this dog brought anything but joy to my family is an understatement. He was nothing but a light in our family since the day we first took him home. But before that day, my brothers and I were in a constant battle against our mother, attempting to convince her to buy us a dog. She laughed, knowing that once making that purchase the pet would quickly become her responsibility, so she dared us, "If you guys really want a dog, than you have to buy it yourselves." I know she didn't think we were dedicated enough to this cause to save enough money for it. She was only sort of wrong. Between the three of us, my brothers and I saved around $50 dollars, and due to our youthful impatience we immediately dragged our parents to the local pet store to see what it could buy. Of course, we almost immediately realized a dog would cost about 10 times the amount we saved up, so we decided on a different pet - a much cheaper, smaller and honestly, less fun - guinea pig. We howled in excitement, presenting our mom with the pet we could afford together. In disgust of this hairy, mousey looking creature she immediately changed her initial decision. "No, no, no. We will get you kids a dog."

And that day finally came. We drove to my Dad's step sister's pet store in New Jersey and picked up, played with and smiled at a variety of different puppies. However, we were in the land of cuteness and we found that deciding on one dog was an immensely difficult task. Then, one of the store's employees offered to help. "I have a really special one for you guys," she said as she held up a tiny, ivory haired puppy with glossy black eyes. "Watch this," she implored before she sweetly chirped at the tiny dog she held up, "Kiss!". In a second the puppy started licking her cheek on command. It was enough to immediately melt all of our hearts. We knew this one was the one.

The entire way home was spent passing around our new, little gem, but also trying to land on a name for him. We went through hundreds, all quickly rejected. While exchanging ideas my Dad decided to tell us about his childhood dog, Jasmine - a full-size poodle, and how much he loved her. His story touched us and inspired our little dog's name. From the moment we got home, he was called Jazz.

Looking back at it all now, my mother may have been right in not wanting a dog at the time. Our home was currently under construction and not really the best place for a puppy. Nevertheless, it took a few weeks for Jazz to get settled in with the Mendelsohns. Of course, that was only after he cried when we put him in a cage (we got rid of it almost as soon as we got it), peed all over everything and ripped apart some of our belongings, which included a vintage Fendi purse my mother had given me. Needless to say that dog was worth so much more than any bag, regardless of brand, and he brought more happiness to me and my family than any material item possibly could. We always forgave him when he made token puppy mistakes, he was too cute to be mad at for long. He was our Jazz.

I went through the awkward teenage years with my little dog, Jazz. At 13, unsure of who I was and what I wanted to be, it was a relief to come home from school to a dog who didn't care either way. He would never judge my decisions, my outfits, my hair style, my opinions. It was all irrelevant. As long as we gave him treats and walked him, he was a happy dog and he was almost always a happy dog. From his puppy days to his final hours, you could expect him at the door greeting you. He would jump up and down for a solid five minutes, if you bent down to touch him he would cover you in kisses. This was always the case. Jazz was incredibly cheerful when anyone entered the house. It was the best thing to come home to, the most amazing feeling a dog could give you - that you were missed and that your presence was appreciated. Humans generally don't do much of this when you live with them for long. If any of my brothers ran to the door to hug me after a few hours of not seeing them, I would really be surprised. This was truly special and a very Jazz thing to do.

In High School, Jazz become a better friend of mine, a best friend I'd even say. Like many of us, I experienced my first heart break at age 16 and Jazz got me through it. That entire summer I would take him for a massive walk around the neighborhood every single day. We would do a huge loop around the neighborhood, through the town center and the community's two beaches and their respective board walks. I would pop in my head phones and listen to music, while he bounced around, exploring plants and people as we passed them. We often stopped for the occasional compliment - "What a sweet dog!" "What's his name?" "Can I pet him?". Jazz always obliged, he loved this aspect of our walks and I did too. I loved seeing people smile while interacting with him. He especially got a long well with small children, they loved him. It was the sweetest thing to observe.

As time went on, our walks got shorter. Over the past few years, I even got scolded by my mother for making him go on them. "Sarah, you know he has a heart murmur, he can't go on these long walks with you anymore. He's just not fit for it." She was sad about that fact. Out of all of us, my mother became the most attached to our dog. The one person in our family who was against having a pet from the start, quickly became the one to care for him the most. She treated that dog like a prince, buying him special ice cream, cuddling with him on the couch as her and my Father watched their evening television programs, buying him items of warm clothing for the winter. He became her baby and even more so once all her kids left for college, he seemed like the only one left for her to care for at home. 

He became even more important to her and the rest of our family during tougher times. I won't delve into our personal struggles, but they were definitely there. We had our fair share of pain and struggle and maybe Jazz could feel it, because he always made it better. For my mother who holds the family's worries in her heart, he gave cuddles, comfort, and just an endless amount of positive energy. Maybe this is what developed their bond, this little dog's ability to comfort her when she was stressed, but I know it meant the world to my mother and I know she is not dealing well with the loss of it now.

Or my father, the early bird, who woke up at 5am every morning with a dog for an alarm clock. Jazz would lick his face and they would get out of bed for the first walk of the day. Afterwards, you'd find my dad watching the news in the kitchen with a warm cup of coffee in hand and by his feet, you'd see Jazz curled up, keeping him company during a quiet part of the day. When my father had his doubts on certain aspects of life, Jazz gave him an extra dose of purpose. He loved my Dad. He especially loved to kiss him. Whenever my father returned home for the day and sat in his chair in the living room, Jazz would jump up on his lap and kiss his face off. Even though this happened on a regular basis, we all always thought it was hilarious. I'm sure my father will miss that.

For my brothers and I, I can confidently say that Jazz was the best gift our parents ever gave us. He taught us how to care for someone else, to see our problems as smaller ones, and just really to chill out. He was a blessing during both the good and the bad times. We will all miss him dearly. We already do. We love you Jazz.

RIP Jazz Mendelsohn, 5.28.2004 - 9.4.2014

Style vs. Trend

Style is defined as a particular, distinctive, or characteristic mode of fashion. When we recall icons of style, we consider the personal graces of many throughout history. In the 1960’s, we note the particular fashions worn by the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Edie Sedgwick, and Jackie Kennedy. Despite the fact that all of these women reigned during the same era, they each assumed their own unique and individual style. Their distinct senses of fashion are now remembered decades later and are constantly referred to as sources of inspiration throughout many artistic mediums. Ostensibly, these women will eternally be celebrated for their respective styles. 

However, nowadays it would seem that the word “stylish” has become almost completely synonymous with what’s on trend. In New York, you’ll spot a girl with ombre colored hair wearing leather pants and platform sneakers receiving praise for her appearance by an approaching street style photographer. Continue walking a few blocks and you will undoubtedly notice a few other women with the same exact fashion aesthetic. These specific pieces and beauty looks are currently trending in New York City. A month or two from now, it’ll be something else and that same girl you saw receiving recognition for her popular look will now be wearing an entirely new ensemble, nevertheless still garnering compliments on a look that is currently being consistently replicated throughout the city. 

A relevant example of this can be seen in the ever-changing music, fashion choices, and beauty looks exemplified through superstar, Rihanna. Her management makes sure that she will always remain relevant. Her music is always aligned with what’s currently the most popular sound amongst consumers, her style embodies contemporary fashion trends, and her look is also one that’s presently the most repeated. It’s difficult to identify the star’s specific personal style, because it is one that has continually transformed with the times. She embodies America’s fixation with what’s fresh in almost everything she does. 

That’s the nature of our culture – we live in a society that has always been obsessed with what’s new. Media outlets constantly update their readers on the most prevalent looks, items and entertainment. In fact, the mainstream can conceivably agree that American lifestyle publications are almost all dedicated to dictating what is and what isn’t “in style.” Their notions reach the masses through endless blogging, tweeting, and posting, and soon enough, a new trend will be created. Everyone will covet the new paraphernalia, and it will appear literally everywhere. Starting from your computer screen on to the fashionistas squeezing into the L train and later to the hypebeasts you see lining up on the corner of Lafayette and Prince. In time, this trend will reach its end, fade away and we’ll laugh at the fact that we were willing to spend thousands of dollars on Air Yeezys or believe that shaving only half of our head was a good idea. In reality, we’re really just spending money on the prospect of remaining current. 

That’s the difference between personal style and trend. Your personal style is one that will forever be distinctively yours. The way you chose to wear your hair, dress yourself, and the music you listen too are all aspects of your personal style; which is something that really cannot be replicated. This sentiment is the basis for how style icons are created. For instance, you’ll forever associate Lady Gaga as the pop star who showed up to the MTV Music Video Awards in a dress made entirely out of raw meat. That outfit choice was one that most of the world found incredibly odd, but her look was preeminent and an example of a fashion choice that will eternally remain a symbol of Lady Gaga’s personal style. The same goes for Kanye West’s decision to wear leather skirts throughout his Watch the Throne tour. He can opt to trade the Givenchy kilts for a different piece in the future, but the pictures of him rapping his lungs off in a pleated mini will remain on the Internet and in our minds forever. 

Of course the rest of us will all continue to lust after the new, as our consumer driven media will always command it. After all, we are simply just a product of our environment right? To the rest of the world we are the greedy Americans with an endless need to spend, buy, and upgrade. That’s our nation’s personal style. However, while our yearning for unnecessary merchandise will eventually fade, our distinctive individualities never will. Just note that penchant the next time you find yourself desiring an overpriced item of clamor. Are you purchasing it because it’s trendy or because it personifies you?

My Experience as a Rain Room MoMa Cop

If you're a fan of contemporary art or better yet, if you're addicted to instagram, chances are that you've probably heard of the Rain Room. The highly publicized installation took the starring role at MoMa PS1's Expo 1 this summer. Even as I type this, the thought of explaining what the Rain Room is makes me cringe. Imagined by London based studio, Random International, the Rain Room offers visitors the experience of controlling the rain. Inside of a black box gallery, a field of falling water encompasses most of the space and it pauses whenever a human body is detected. Moreover, you can walk through this field of water and leave it remaining completely dry. It is something quite amazing to experience. However, this exhibition lead me to develop a new perception on technology and it's role in our generation. Even though many people visited the Rain Room- many of them did not actually experience it.

This observation was something that I often spoke to my co-workers about and sometimes the rare visitor picked up on it too. I thought about it for a while and came to realize a few different things. Technology is wonderful, we wouldn't have the Rain Room without it nor would we have the means to photograph it. However, I've found that our generation no longer really does things to experience them anymore. Instead, they would prefer to capture the moment on their cellphones and upload it onto social media outlets to share the event with their friends. It's great that we are able to do that, but since that has now been the priority, we are no longer stopping to smell the roses, we're just instagramming them. This issue of wanting to go to the Rain Room only to come out with a cool photograph lead to immense wait times. When I say immense, I mean that people would come to the museum at 8am and wait up to thirteen hours to get in. Those people received mere seconds inside the installation, even after waiting all day to see it. It is as ridiculous as it sounds. 

In reality, you do not need more than five minutes inside of the Rain Room. That is how much time you need to slowly walk from one end to the other, stand in one place for a moment, look around you, and feel and experience the installation. Yet, the average time spent in the Rain Room was above that. Most people stayed for around twenty minutes, and at that point we would have to remind them to be courteous of the multiple hour long waits behind them. Why would you need that long in the rain? That is beyond me, but I also did not understand why people felt the need to take hundreds of photographs inside of it.

The problem with people being more concerned in taking photos than taking part in the actual exhibit also catapulted into another issue- the amount of people coming to see the Rain Room. Every day thousands of people flocked to the exhibition’s gates and although the show received tons of press- that wasn't what enticed them to come. In actuality, The Rain Room did not get good reviews in the papers. The New York Times wrote an awful (and exaggerated) piece on how the Museum of Modern Art handled this exhibition.

If anyone had based their decision to go through a publication's review of it, I guarantee they would of thought twice of attending it. Most of these people came because they saw a cool picture on instagram, facebook, or twitter. This fact alone is a huge statement on how powerful social media is. Perhaps, people are more intrigued by what they see on social media then what they see in a publication. That's incredible and it only backs up the reasons tumblr and instagram went for a billion dollars, while The Washington Post only went for a quarter of that amount. 

All in all, the message that these artists attempted to send was stronger than most people perceived it to be. It was a social experiment with an unfortunate result. People waiting for hours to enter a room only to see rain, saddened because they traveled long distances and the lines were already at capacity by the time they arrived. It only escalated their frustration when others spent too much time inside the space. The irony? These same individuals spent that same amount of time inside the space themselves. The list goes on and on. I just hope that some people left the Rain Room with something other than a cool instagram picture. Photographing an event to retain its memory is a wonderful thing, but what is a photo if you don't even have the memory to begin with?

Photography via: My Modern Met

Being Sarah Mendelsohn

Though I had been itching to spend more time with my girl, Sarah, and though I had dreamed for years of experiencing New York Fashion Week, let’s be honest… I was in it for the free shit. As a recent graduate, broke and lost, I jumped – leapt, flew, rocketed – at the opportunity to dress up, gallivant through Manhattan, sip wine with the beautifuls, and accept complimentary accessories. And, holy Prada, was I glad that I did. The first event to which Ms. Mendelsohn invited me was’s New York Fashion Week Breakfast. Sarah and I entered the private residence on the fifty-seventh floor of the Bloomberg Towers... “Welcome, ladies. You look beautiful. Would you like to wear your necklaces now or later?” That’s right, as we entered, a woman stood with a gold necklace in hand, ready to clasp around any guest’s willing neck. The accessory was not unlike Carrie Bradshaw’s famous tag – don’t act like you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about – however, this one read, “I’m A Keeper.” I looked at the golden, cursive letters… Cheesy? A little, yes. True? I can’t be so sure. Free? So fucking free. “Yes. I’ll wear mine now, thank you.”

My date and I immediately migrated to the floor-to-ceiling windows, which boasted breathtaking, sweeping views of New York City.Rhapsody in Blue played in my head as I tried not to begrime the pristine windows with my begrimey nose. As we gazed out, my stomach growled audibly enough to make the anorexic guests blush. We looked around for the spread… there was coffee… and juice… and water. Bagels? Maybe a quiche? Please, people. We’re hungry. We’re broke. It’s early. And I’m menstruating. Someone bring some fucking food. I drank as much free coffee as my empty gullet could take when, finally, the fit cater waiters surfaced with several super sexy serving salvers.Aha! Food alert! Twelve o’clock. We made a beeline for the waiter with the great backside (I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help butt stare). So, you know how things look much smaller when they’re far away? This food looked even smaller than that, up close. I picked up a “mini glazed donut” the same way one might struggle to pick up a needle off a smooth surface. The only thing more awkward than eating enormous foods is eating creepily tiny foods. I prayed the charming street photographer didn’t catch me in his lens while I nibbled on the micro-fare.

Though we left the New York Fashion Week Hunger Game with empty stomachs, we each left with a free necklace, a free Cleobella clutch, and a free hairdo. Score. Sarah and I parted ways outside, she to Lincoln Center for a few shows, and I to my apartment, where I would sit in my skivvies, Tweeting too, for, and about comedians. Around four o’clock, I dressed for my second NYFW event of the day. I was feeling frivolous, beautiful, and important, so I sprung for a cab I couldn’t afford. This time, I arrived at a gorgeous location on Central Park West. I approached Sarah who stood outside next to an attractive stranger who ended up being a photographer, though he would cringe if you introduced him as such, for whatever cool-person faux-humility hipster-man reason. He would be the shutterbug for A Hit Of Sarah at this event, which ended up being the Lorry Newhouse show. 

The show was not a runway, but a presentation. Therefore, the models are right there, standing in a room like statues so you may gawk, up close. It’s like going to an exhibit where the mannequins found the light and smiled if you took out your camera. (That sounds much more horrifying than it was.)  If I were high, it would’ve been weird. But in that setting, during that week, it feels perfectly normal. Really, it makes the whole world of fashion seem almost approachable. The collection wasn’t my favorite, but the chardonnay, the company, the Hamish Bowles sighting, and the balcony - across from Chuck Bass’s HOTEL EMPIRE - were all worth the trip and the uncomfortable 

A week later, after Sarah and I had gotten drunk and recorded an episode of my stupid podcast, New York Fashion Week was over. But there was one more event for me to attend. Melissa Shoes had invited Sarah to their SoHo flagship, so she may report back on their latest collections and partnership with Lorenzo Martone Bikes. But, having left for her adventure across America, she couldn’t attend, herself. So, yes, Sarah sent an All Things Comedy manager, playwright, and amateur podcaster to moonlight as a fashion blogger for the day.

It was another beautiful day in the city. It had been awhile since I was dressed perfectly for walking through the high-end streets of SoHo. I wove through the talented sidewalk artists and loaded shoppers, recalling my Freshman self, who used to dress her best just to walk in and out of designer stores, pretending she would actually buy something. I approached the boutique of renewed plastic pumps, happy to see that Sarah had sent backup. Andrea Pardo was there, who knew who the fuck she was talking to, and what the fuck she was talking about, which I did not, at all. For thirty minutes I stood by Andrea like a mentally handicapped puppy. Occasionally a beautiful boot or fabulous flat would distract me, now and then I wandered off to snap photos for Sarah, but most of the time I kept my mouth shut, conversation bombed, and photo bombed. The few words I did utter were, “wow”, “oh I love these”, “yes”, and “I’m here representing A Hit of Sarah.” That last one I said a lot. And, fans, you should see the respect I got when I dropped that name. I knew Sarah was a boss, but I had no idea just how bossy her bossness was until proxy had me being treated like a boss.

Before long, the owner of the store said the words you only dream of hearing, knowing nothing like this could or will ever happen to you… “Take a look around and choose a shoe.” Are they saying what I think they’re saying? They were. Overwhelmed by the options, I went for the loudest pair by one of my favorites, Vivienne Westwood. When in doubt and when under pressure, I never ever go for practical. I go for loud. I go for funky. It’s something I need to change about myself, I know. But, when I slipped on my pair of Melissa by Westwood black heels topped with big shiny red lips on the toe, I didn’t care. In fact, I loved the fact that I didn’t go for practical, comfort, or wearability. These were bitchin’ heels. And they were mine. For free. Score number I-had-lost-count.

So, what did I learn by being Sarah Mendelsohn? I learned that I could never do what she does with the level of class that she does it. I share with Sarah an adoration for clothing, art, and aesthetics. I knew early on, though, that being part of the fashion world would leave me feeling slightly empty or unfulfilled. Looking past the glitz, glam, and superficiality that mask the art of the clothing would be difficult for me. I would either quit early or let the fab events and treatment go to my head. Somehow, Sarah does what she does with an astounding maturity, understanding, and humbleness. What that is, I became aware of, is a true, rare love for fashion; one we definitely don’t see everyday. I may be biased, but I compare Sarah to the big wigs: the Ana Wintour’s and Bill Cunningham’s, those silent, demure spectators whose power is unmatchable. There are very few of these in fashion. After my first fashion week with Sarah Mendelsohn, I do not hesitate to say that she will probably be one of them. Keep your eye on her.