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Wine Tasting on Etna…

Marc de Grazia & Elisabeth English of currentVintage at Terre Nere Et-NA!  Et-NA!  Et-NA!  Yes, I drank the kool-aid, the grape kool-aid, if you will, and I have now joined the wild pack of Etna-obsessed wine lovers.  Specifically, the red grape Nerello Mascalese and white Carricante.  These...

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In Memory of Farrah

Posted by admin | Posted in currentVintage, Events, Fashion, Vintage | Posted on 30-06-2009

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Farrah 1976

There is no more awkward age than 7th grade.  The though of it still makes me squirm a little, more than 30 years later. I was that age in 1976 when Farrah was the pinnacle of pop culture.  Every boy in my class had the iconic Farrah pin-up poster and most of the girls had some sort of hair homage to her signature look.  Charlie’s Angels was the height of beauty cool and replaced The Mod Squad as my ideal for good-looking detectives with great outfits.
At 12 years old, it was impossible for me to imagine growing up at all, let alone becoming a sexy creature like Farrah.  It never occurred to me that she was ever in 7th grade; I just assumed that she had been born in a slinky red maillot.

There are young 12 yr-olds, completely unprepared for teendom,  and worldly 12 yr-olds, going on 20.  I was the former, still shopping in the kids dept, and fascinated by the 8th graders in their tight bootcut jeans and wing-back hair.  One year later, I would come into my own and start developing my personal style, which would include the ubiquitous Calvin Klein jeans, but in 1976-77, Calvin was not yet a household name, and Farrah was.

It is remarkable how a Tri-Delt from Corpus Christi could move to Hollywood, like so many aspiring actors, and hit it so big.  Farrah had her share of talent and success in tv and film early on, but it was the swimsuit poster of 1976 that cemented her fame.  And she wasn’t just the pretty face—Farrah selected that photo from 40 rolls of film (film!) shot that day and it was her taste and prescience that sealed her fate.

One thing I was right about in 7th grade is that I would not grow up to look like Farrah, although I finally, just last month, got my hair cut in “wings”.

for beautiful photos of Farrah:


awesome YouTube tribute:


Noxema commercial with Joe Namath:


I survived another Nantucket Film Festival…

Posted by admin | Posted in currentVintage, Events, Nantucket, travel | Posted on 23-06-2009

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Brian Williams at NFF Late-Night Storytelling with Peter Farrelly & Anne Meara looking on

The 14th annual Nantucket Film Festival ended this past Sunday and I felt the usual ambivalence of sadness, joy and relief.  I have attended 14 of 14, and as I get older, it gets more and more challenging to see films all day, party all night and not run my business into the ground.  This year was the usual marathon:  currentVintage co-sponsored the Opening Night party at the Chanticleer following “Cold Souls” and people seemed to appreciate above-average party wine.

Late-Night Storytelling was wildly funny & bizarre as usual.  I loved Cheryl Hine’s story of hospitalization with no health insurance or pocket change on the eve of her transition to stardom via “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.  I may never get over our local GYN’s tale of a hit and run, and I delight in knowing that Ben Stiller took acid and lost his virginity on Nantucket (perhaps at the same time?).

The Tribute Event, honoring Harold Ramis, was larger than life, in that it featured the 40’ tall Ghostbusters Stay-puft marshmallow man outside the Sconset Casino.  Brian Williams was side-splittingly funny as usual, which served as our annual reminder of how his talent is wasted on the nightly news.

ee, df, stay-puft

The Stay-Puft Man

Ben Stiller gives tribute to Howard Ramis

Ben Stiller gives tribute to Harold Ramis at NFF

There’s really nothing better than being around passionate people and I think that’s why I love the NFF so much.  Each morning, I drag myself to work at the crack of dawn so I can make it to the  “Morning Coffee with a writer” panel at the Rose & Crown.  It is such an amazing opportunity to drop in on the lives of people who are living their (usually far from glamorous) dream.  There are filmmakers with hedgefund-blank-check-produced projects sitting next to some who financed their short on five credit cards and a loan from their parents.  Both solemn and irreverent things are said…Cherien Dabis told that the racism in “Amreeka” was based on her own life experiences growing up in Ohio.  John Shea, noting that only 6 out of 5400 film submissions to Sundance got distribution, suggested filmmakers be hearded into “the cove”.  Anne Meara said it was a great panel because no one brought up “vision” or “arc”.  The writers and filmmakers meet each other, stories are shared, connections are made and the audience learns as well.

For years, this vicarious dream-living appealed to me because I was less than enchanted by my own work.  Owning two casual, seasonal eateries with a zillion employees was grueling and ungratifying and I was completely fascinated by anyone in more creative pursuits, which generally included everyone at the Nantucket Film Festival.  These days, I have a fabulous new business and I’m so creative I could drop, but I still love meeting inspired and inspiring people at the NFF each year, and this weekend they were present in large numbers…

Louie, Fisher & Ric of "The Cove" and Katherine Bigelow of "The Hurt Locker" at NFF Morning Coffee panel

Louie, Fisher & Ric of "The Cove" and Katherine Bigelow of "The Hurt Locker" at NFF Morning Coffee panel

Any brush with Ric O’Barry, Fisher Stevens, Louis Psiphoyos, party boy Charles Hambleton and the gang from “The Cove” was memorable.  These guys are combination activists, evangelists and adrenaline junkies.  They spent years and millions to expose the ugly Japanese dolphin industry, risking life and limb.  Their mission evolved on the journey from saving ocean reefs to saving cetaceans (dolphins and whales) to a public health cry for mercury-awareness.  Ric’s passion and commitment to stop the dolphin slaughter in Taiji are palpable and contagious and will no doubt prevail with the help of the Cove team and the visceral reaction and inevitable action of every single person who sees the film.

“The Messenger” was another film that really moved me.  An army story centered around casualty-notification starring Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson in powerful performances, it was quite depressing, but a little bit hopeful. I watched it back to back with “The Cove” and could hardly get out of my seat when it was over.  The Stiller Family sat right behind me for the double feature and their enthusiasm and observations made for interesting Q&A discussions following both films.  That’s what I mean about passion—the fact that Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, Amy and Ben were still sitting in the Sconset Casino all afternoon on day 4 of the festival, after all that had gone before, was very cool indeed.

Doug Foregger and me w/ the Marshmallow Man

Doug Foregger and me w/ the Marshmallow Man


Marshmallow photos: Mai Norton

I ♥ Joel Gott!

Posted by admin | Posted in currentVintage, Food, Nantucket, travel, Vintage, Wine | Posted on 16-06-2009

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my crush, Joel Gott

my crush, Joel Gott

I was reading a wine blog recently and the writer referred to her  “wine crush”—and she was not referring to stomping grapes.  That made me think of Joel Gott, who I would say is my current wine crush.  He is one of the coolest, cutest and busiest winemakers in Napa.  He makes an $18 Zin they call “The poor man’s Turley”. When we met, he was wearing a killer preppy vintage green tweed blazer. Not getting a photo with him is one of my life regrets.

When you are born in a place that the rest of the world envies, you are considered a “native” of that place and other people will always be jealous.  If you are born on Nantucket Island, you are a considered far, far superior to all the other people in the world, including those that moved to the island when they were 6 days old or have lived on-island for 55 years.  If they weren’t born here, they’re not “natives”.

Joel Gott is a Napa native, but the pedigree is only part of makes him so cute.  His grandfather was the winemaker and President of Inglenook.  His Mother started Montevina out of their basement.  His Dad began as the first cellar rat at Sterling and worked his way up to CEO, and also founded Corbett Canyon.  Joel’s wife, Sarah, was the winemaker at prestigious Joseph Phelps and Quintessa.  They have kids who will probably grow up to do cool things.

Joel Gott makes great wine for the $.  He owns a car wash , the beloved Palisades Market in Calistoga, and, most famously of all, Taylor’s Refresher.  Yes, the original Taylor’s in St Helena and the spiffy one in the Ferry Building in SFO and one in Oxbow.

Taylor's Refresher, St Helena

Taylor's Refresher, St Helena

I don’t know which I love more: his Zin or his Texas Burger w/ Jack, fresh guac and pickled jalapenos paired w/ sweet potato fries?  What I do know is that combined they make for the perfect lunch.

I can accept that he is married, I don’t mind that he makes some bulk wines and I am happy about his recent deal with Trinchero.  I only hope that he will stay the same cool, down-to-earth dude making really good, smartly priced wines that I presently have a crush on.

I ♥ Joel Gott!

photos courtesy of: http://www.volunteer.blogs.com/winewaves/

got soul?

Posted by admin | Posted in currentVintage, Nantucket, travel, Wine | Posted on 10-06-2009

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wines with soul

wines with soul

There is a lot of great wine in the world. In a way, you would think that makes my job easier, but actually, it doesn’t.  Not only do I have to carefully choose which wines we are going to put on the shelf, each week, I must also select wines with a story to share at our in-store tastings.  This means hours of research and reading, trips to trade events, travel to wine country and of course, frequent visits to fabulous restaurants in Nantucket, New York and beyond.

The emphasis at currentVintage is on boutique wineries.  To us, that means small-production, hand-crafted wines with a sense of place.  If 300,000-case Yellowtail is your thing, no problem, but my high is from meeting a winemaker who is also the viticulturist, who eats, breathes and sleeps in the vineyard to create a couple  hundred cases of a wine that deftly expresses the terroir.  Think Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe:

Of course, there are a couple of problems with using exclusively these criteria:

A Small production wines are often expensive
B  There are a lot of great wines from big(ger) wineries

So, I make sure that the selection at cV is a thoughtful mix–our only hard and fast rule is that the wine taste more expensive than it is.  With a mere 150-175 facings, editing the perfect mix is not easy.  It requires constant updating and rotations; the process is actually a way of life.

I found this bit on the Hahn Estate SLH website:
“What makes up the soul of a wine? Or a specific vineyard site? Or a wine region? It’s more than “terroir”—technically, the soil and climate; it’s that plus the sum total of the perseverance, dedication, commitment and simple trial and error of the people who came together at a specific place and time, with a vision to plant the vineyard and create the wine.”

And so, I realized, we actually have two rules, the second being:
the wine must have soul.

Elisabeth & Wes Hagen in the vineyard at Clos Pepe

Elisabeth & Wes Hagen in the vineyard at Clos Pepe

Kelly Copy Cat (or Owl)

Posted by admin | Posted in currentVintage, Fashion, Nantucket | Posted on 03-06-2009

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Kelly in Vintage-Inspired Owl T

Kelly in Vintage-Inspired Owl T

Vintage Owl T

Vintage Owl T

When is a designer a not a designer but a cheating copycat?
I “design” dresses using a 1950s pattern and modern fabrics.  I tweak the proportions for a modern figure sans foundations, but I’m not so sure it is “designing” so much as it is “re-imagining”…
The dresses are stunning, wearable and I am proud of the work nevertheless!

One day last summer, a film crew swept into currentVintage while following Hamptons personality and “Real Housewife of NY” Kelly Killoren Bensimon around Nantucket.  She is a real glamazon—tall, big-boned and tanned—and it was exciting for her to come in and make a fuss over the store, especially the dozens of cool vintage owl and animal necklaces we have hanging from our shelf (currentVintage has been owl-crazy for the last three seasons and people marvel at our collection).  She modeled several pieces for the camera and settled on a funky ruby-rhinestone-eyed horsehead medallion, which was fabulous.
What’s interesting a year later is the controversy over her new line of Owl jewelry.  It seems that Kelly and a stylist at Elle “designed” some Swarovski crystal embellished Owl pendants, only Kelly took the idea and ran with it and the mad stylist is now suing her.

I find it fascinating that:
A.  Someone can be sued over stealing an idea to copy vintage jewelry and
B.  That people pay $300+ on the Home Shopping Network for a mass-produced knockoff when the original one sells for $78 at currentVintage.

But maybe that’s why I’m not yet a famous designer or a real housewife of  Nanucket.

http://tinyurl.com/l4cwxf KKB Owl Scandal link

IMG_1803.JPG copy

Vintage Original

Vintage Knock-off Owl Necklaces

Vintage Knock-off Owl Necklaces