'When you look this clean:' The classic car

Classic car owners invade Harlem Week's Summer in the City 2015.

HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media
HARLEM, NY - AUGUST 15: Over 75 cars were on display at Harlem Week! 2015 Car Show on August 15, 2015 in Harlem, New York. Photo by Raymond Hagans/Steed Media

Frederick Douglass' Bronze Statue Unveiled in Nation's Capital

Frederick Doulgass' seven foot tall bronze statue erected at the Emancipation Hall of the United States Visitor Center on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Hailed as an "equality fighter" and a self-proclaimed member of the Republican Party, Frederick Douglass takes his place among other African American greats honored in the Capitol with a statue or a bust – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Sojourner Truth.

Gifted by residents of the District of Columbia, Douglass' bronze statue stands seven foot tall and depicts him in his 50s, leaning against a lectern while giving a speech.

 


Lexus IS 2014: Let's Ride

It's more than "fun to drive." The 2014 Lexus IS cruises a very fine line between menacing and chic. It's a badass babe. Yeah, I said it! It's a girl and she's on steroids. Having taken the F SPORT model for a spin around a NASCAR race track, the Rockingham Speedway, this writer knows this firsthand. The car whispered to me when the handler pulled up in the red one – Matador Red Mica to be exact. When I slid my long legs into the LFA-inspired cockpit, it was all she wrote. OK, I'm exaggerating a tad. I was a little intimidated after a test drive with a professional race car driver who showed me no mercy. But, I put her to the test my way, southern belle style.

Totally redesigned, the third-generation Lexus IS (Intelligent Sport) has an audacious exterior – vaunting a spindle grill and muscular hood. The IS 350 accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. It's equipped with a complimentary real-time traffic and weather indicator and has 10 airbags standard, including rear seat side airbags.

“The IS has always been precise and fun to drive,” Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager, says in a statement to press. “The all-new IS kicks it up a notch with true sport sedan driving dynamics, state of the art onboard technologies, and an all-new design that makes it look fast even when it’s standing still.”

The whip cream is she's picture perfect from all angles and, the cherry on top, she's priced 2.1 percent lower than her predecessor.

Check out the video below to see how she's been restyled.



Aston Martin Celebrates 100th Birthday: Gifts Car Lovers the Rapide S

2014 Aston Martin Rapide S (left) and 1963 Aston Martin DB5 (top right) that appeared in 'Goldfinger,' the movie.

You can't watch a James Bond movie without being mesmerized by the noble sports car that Agent 007 uses to fancy the girls, among other things. That amazing automobile has a name; it's called  an Aston Martin. The first one to catch our eye co-starred in Goldfinger, the 1963 DB5. Then there were cameos in others: Thunderball, Golden Eye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale and Skyfall. The very first one actually sold for $4.6 milion in October 2010.

The Aston Martin made its debut in the Bond franchise 50 years ago. However, the dashing little Ashton Martin is actually a century old, celebrating it's centenary this past January 15, 2013.

As part of the celebration, they've introduced the 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S which is longer and leaner than its predecessor, has a V-12 engine that goes zero to 60 in 4.7 seconds and reaches a top speed of 190 mph. The interior is comprised of deep layers of British of Weir leather, wool, wood and some carbon fiber. Asking price: $199,950.

Aston Martin CC100 Speedster

According to Vanity Fair, "The marque is celebrating its 100th birthday this year with a range of revelrous plans. These include the design of an effervescently pointillist logo, a party and exhibition in London, and the shilling of a limited number (100!) of spectrally opalescent, sterling-silver-trimmed Centenary editions of all of its cars, matching pen and cufflinks included."

The CC100 Speedster concept car has simple taillights, suicide doors and the interior is made of exposed carbon fiber, which is much lighter and stronger than metal. It's the equestrian accents – the saddle-like hide bits that cover the center tunnel – that amp you to want to take advantage of the roaring V12 engine.

Fun Facts:

  • DB is short for David Brown, the knight and businessman who acquired the company in 1947.
  • Aston Martin is nicknamed the British Ferrari with Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring styling the vehicles.
  • Queen Elizabeth gave Prince Charles a blue DB6 for his 21st birthday. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, drove it after their wedding in 2011.

Legendary Cabinetmaker Thomas Day Defied All Odds During Height of Slavery

African American furniture designer and cabinetmaker Thomas Day (1801 – 1861) was an iconoclast. A free man, his creations were in demand during the height of the south's antebellum era. From now through July 28, 36 of his best works and photographs of his architectural work are on display at the Smithsonian Museum's Renwick Gallery.

A slaveowner, Day was a wealthy businessman of mixed ancestry, which likely attributes to his acceptance by many elite white business owners and political leaders. While there are no pictures of him to reference, historians assume that he had fair skin and wavy brown hair like his brother John, a Liberian missionary.

A mandate for people of color, Day worked as an apprentice at home where he taught his younger son to repair and make furniture. Until now, his body of work has been seen only in museums or in position in his historic houses in North Carolina.

In the book Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color by Patricia Phillips Marshall and Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll, the authors say, "Day's furniture is unique in its vernacular interpretation of nineteenth-century Anglo urban designs ... As an artisan and master of his own shop, Day remained unconstrained by the dictates of tastemakers who worked in distant northern cities."

Their theory is supported by the fact that during Day's heyday, North Carolinians preferred furniture made in London, New York or Philadelphia – he was quite confident with his creations and unfazed by the competition.


Gordon Parks in L.A. (Lower Alabama)

A new generation of film aficionado was introduced to the character of Shaft when Sam Jackson starred in the 2003 re-make. While it was a fresh attempt at modern storytelling, the film didn’t quite have the same intensity or ‘storytelling without words’ feel that the original had. What was missing? The touch of famed photographer Gordon Parks.

Had Parks’ not been acclaimed as a photographer, acquiring the sometimes burdensome ‘first’ title of anything may have been daunting. Not so for Parks, the first African American to direct a major Hollywood movie, The Learning Tree. Parks also wrote the score and screenplay.  His next film, Shaft, was a major box office hit and was one of the highest grossing films in 1971. Starring the testosterone laden Richard Roundtree in the title role of detective John Shaft, Isacc Hayes’s theme song for the film won an Oscar.

A native of Fort Scott, Kansas, Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks was born November 30, 1912. After the death of his mother, Sarah, Parks left his father, Jackson, to tend their vegetable farm and began a journey of a lifetime to explore the world. He was 14 years old.

While still in his mid-20’s, Joe Louis’ wife, Marva, admired Parks’ fashion photography. Relocating to Chicago, Parks worked intermittently for several government agencies documenting by camera migrant workers and veterans. This was interspersed with work for Vogue and Life magazines. He had a distinct eye for the subject, forcing the viewer to see its very element or the beauty of the matter. Parks would seek that beauty in the ugliest of situations as if he was determined to show the world that there is grace in nearly all creation. Such was the case when he spent time traveling the deep South in the mid-1950’s. Parks’ work assigned humanity and dignity to those subjected to segregation and Jim Crow.

At segregated water fountain. Mobile, 1956.

Untitled. Mobile, 1956.

Outside looking in. Mobile, 1956.

Untitled. Shady Grove, 1956.

Black schoolroom. Shady Grove, 1956.

Atlanta air terminal. 1956.

Recommended Reading

A Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks & forward by Wing Young Huie (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2010)

Half-Past Autumn by Gordon Parks (Bulfinch, 1998)

Field of Vision: The Photographs of Gordon Parks (Library of Congress, 2011)


Tracy Reese Is Having Fun With Fall 2013 Collection


Tracy Reese’s Fall 2013 Collection is colorful, fun and alive with touches of retro-whimsy. Having an air of retro-styling that immediately recalls the 1980’s, old school Luther and Force MD’s were background music to the memory of our then-new love for all things thrift store. What was better than scoring a bold patterned, tea-length dress that, with a few alterations, was perfect for the office or the weekends? One with Reese’s impeccable cut and to-die-for fabric. The red peony A-line dress was a show stopper. Actually, most of the dresses and skirts were A-line (a pear-shaped girl’s dream!) with bold reds, greens, and blue patterns.

The topper coats were in animal prints, a practical black with a mod design, and jacket length with huge lapels. Does anyone do topper coats anymore? We know Sarah Vaughn loved them as did Diahann Carroll. Reese is betting you will, too. We tend to agree.

Reese made sure the pieces were interchangeable making cost of ownership more palatable.  This was across the board as the grey pencil skirt’s red cable sweater would also perfectly top paint-splashed bottom with matching top.


John Legend and Chrissy Teigen's Los Angeles home

Grammy Award–winning singer and songwriter John Legend and his beautiful fiancée model Christine Teigen show off their lovely 1960s home in the Hollywood Hills.

Legend tells Architectural Digest, “Our style is chic and tailored but also earthy and casual. Since this is our first home in Los Angeles, we wanted it to feel right not only for us but also for this city.”

Don Stewart, of the L.A. firm Desiderata Design, transformed their indoor-outdoor midcentury palace into their very own Thai temple. All that stands between the couple and the paparazzi is a bronze entry gate etched with an Asian village scene.

“Our style is chic and tailored but also earthy and casual,” Legend says. “Since this is our first home in Los Angeles, we wanted it to feel right not only for us but also for this city.”

The bed in the master suite is by B&B Italia; the linens and throw are by Anichini. The artwork includes a freestanding painting by R. Nelson Parrish and a framed Sri Lankan panel from Charles Jacobsen; the figurine is a retrofitted lamp by Stewart, and the sea-grass wall covering is by Phillip Jeffries.

Basalt counters and floor tiles complement rift-cut teak cabinetry in the kitchen, which features a trio of stools by Emmerson Troop, a ProLine hood, and Thermador cook top and ovens; the dining table was designed by Ferruccio Laviani for Emmembili, Blackman Cruz chairs, and Alison Berger for Plug Inc. pendant lights.

In the living area, the B&B Italia sectional sofa is paired with a vintage Osvaldo Borsani lounge chair, at left, and a silk shag carpet by Carini Lang from Woven Accents. An Alison Berger light fixture from Plug Inc. hangs above the Yamaha piano, a Samsung television, and the dog sculpture is from Craig Olsen.

Terrace is outfitted with a Rodolfo Dordoni sofa, low chairs by Blackman Cruz, and a James Perse daybed with cushions and pillows covered in Sunbrella fabrics. Terrace armchairs: Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia


A Look Inside Diddy’s $8.5 Million Dollar Home

Diddy has listed his 66th floor Midtown West apartment at The Park Imperial for $8.5 million. Photos of the apartment were held in privacy until yesterday. That’s when Prudential Douglas Elliman finally posted multiple pictures showing every room of this unique apartment. First thing that takes the attention is a large Notorious B.I.G. painting hanging in the living room. Besides that it’s very obvious that the apartment was meant for entertaining. Countless couches, a piano, world class sound system, super large TV’s and a cocktail bar let you know that this apartment belongs to someone who likes to party. The highlight might be the breathtaking views of Central Park presented by floor-to-ceiling windows and a telescope.