Monday, June 26, 2006

Sali Oguri Live: August 10th 7PM at CBGB's Lounge

Next Gig:
SALI OGURI--Female-fronted Rock-Electronica

CBGB's LOUNGE, 315 Bowery between 1st and 2nd St.,

Tell your friends and bring your fabulous self!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Fragrance of the Moment: Serge Lutens Douce Amere

I don't know if it's a new love but it's definitely a new like and I'd wear it again. It's a very unique fragrance with sharp and almost medicinal top notes over a sweet base, two extremes challenging eachother from opposite ends yet stay friends and work together. The notes seem to be spread apart like a Chopin or Herbie Hancock chord voicing--sparse but outstretched wide, a full chord with spaces between notes but it altogether makes divine sense in a dramatic, angular way. I like spaces because to me, such open chords are beautiful--not that I don't also like cluster chords that are densely close together like Bill Evans chords, but there's a certain active feeling in openness that energizes me.

Douce Amere means "bittersweet" in French; it's a sophisticated Oriental with a fresh opening but drying down to a Gourmand-sweet base that thankfully isn't too densely powdery warm. It's not too spicy but it has just enough tingly sharpness to make it bright and interesting. This is the only Serge Lutens perfume I've tried that isn't very heavy per se, even if some of the notes are low-pitched. It wasn't love at first sniff but my second sampling has proven Douce Amere to be the perfect scent for those times when I want something non-floral but alluring. However, if you don't like sharpness in scent, this one will feel like needles up your nose. It's still not as sharp as, say, Burberry Brit or Kenzo Flower to me, but it's sharp enough, like lemon peel. For me, the sharpness saves this sweet fragrance from smelling too much like the hypersweet ambery Gourmand, Chopard Casmir (1991), which I think it may have been inspired by and certainly resembles on drydown except Douce Amere doesn't sit on my skin like rich and heavy baked goods complete with stewed fruits, syrup and frosting the way Casmir does. Douce Amere is the more subtle "skin scent", one that doesn't overwhelm yet makes a similar statement as Casmir does: Oriental exoticism mixed with dessert-loving hedonism.

If you're a fan of Casmir, this might be the more refined, honey-and-bitter-herbs version. An interesting twist in Douce Amere is the absinthe (wormwood), and there is a liquor-like scent to this perfume that I feel makes it more suitable for evening. On drydown, Douce Amere loses all of its opening freshness and ends up a soft, ambery Gourmand. I actually like it better while it still has those jagged top notes. I think they add strength and attitude which Douce Amere seems to lack in the end.

Notes on Now Smell This blog:
Douce Amere was launched by Serge Lutens in 2000. The fragrance is described as a "fresh oriental", and features notes of cinnamon, artemisia absinthium, anise, lily, jasmine, tiare flower, tagette, cedar, musk.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sali Oguri Now On iTunes

Sali Oguri Pink Manhattan (Petit-CD)
Label: indie (WUJ Productions)

See you on iTunes!

Fred Kimmel: The Great Wizard of WUJ

Today's Music: Fred Kimmel "Riverflow", "Believe" (#1 on Broadjam's 15-24 Age Range Top 10 today), "Oh Lord". Wuj is on My Space too, so don't be shy, give a shout: FRED KIMMEL ON MY SPACE!

The pic is of us is at a radio station to promote our Yuming remixes. Isn't he a cutie? ;-)

Fragrance of the Moment: My own little blend...Mysore sandalwood, amber, not telling the rest...

Sali's On My Space

Forget what I said about Lea being my powdery holy grail. It's a very nice fragrance but it's too baby productish after all. I don't know--I have to be in the mood for these. But I will tell you this--I am loving my decants of Guerlain Attrape-Coeur so much, I've dared myself to wear it at night to go out in and I know it's strong, that people can't smell the beachy air when I'm around but hey, it's one passion besides music that consumes me at the moment so I'm riding this wave while I can!

Today's news: I'm up on My Space so look me up! :-D

Also: I've added 3 classifieds on Broadjam so please look me up there as well.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Chanel Pour Monsieur

Chanel for Men--Ah, yes, this is the very best. A man who aspires to be a civilized man is a friend of mine.

From Chanel's site:
The understated fragrance for today's civilized man. A fresh, spirited green-citrusy blend in a woody oriental base, with notes of Vanilla and Musk.

Chanel Pour Monsieur (1955)
Fragrance Family: Fresh green-citrusy blend with a woody oriental base.

A fresh burst of citrus (Bergamot, Lemon from Sicily and Neroli from Grasse) yields to a hint of spicy Cardamom. Tones of Cyprus, with Cedar and Bourbon Vetiver, for a refined, discreet aftermath.

OK, but the version I really love is the 1989 Chanel Pour Monsieur Concentrée which is different:

Basenotes says:
A longer lasting interpretation of the original Chanel Pour Monsieur. It has fresher notes and deepened base note.

Top Notes
Mandarine, Lavender, Petitgrain

Middle Notes
Cardamom, Nutmeg.

Base Notes
Oakmoss, Vetiver, Opoponax, Vanilla

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it has Chypre elements. That would explain why many people have said it smells like Coty Chypre. I hope I'll have a chance to smell that one day to compare with and know for sure.

(Image: from Image de Parfums)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Pilar & Lucy To Twirl All Girly

My fragrance of the moment is To Twirl All Girly by Pilar & Lucy. Pilar & Lucy is an indie brand that I think comes out of LA but I'm not sure. The scent certainly has that sweet, carefree LA vibe, and I even dig the bottle with kitchy but pretty marabou feathers, pink roses and all. One of the perfumers is an ex-ballerina, hence the name of this favorite new find. I love their poetic perfume names: the other two they have are called Tiptoeing Through Chambers of the Moon (a rich white floral blend of tuberose and amber, similar in feeling to Annick Goutal Passion) and The Exact Friction of Stars (a chocolate blend with a touch of orange). To Twirl All Girly is a sunny, delicious gardenia blend with supporting notes (which the company won't disclose so I can only guess what they are) such as vanilla, incense notes and subtle waterfruits (melon) and spice. I would call this a sweet, beachy scent with a hint of Eastern flavor, a spirited scent of unabashed femininity that feels both active and serene. This is a modern and minimalist blend but also one that's voluptuous and heady. It's an optimistic fragrance with a sexy, flirtatious sort of appeal. I don't know about you but I could always use some of that.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Finding Squares In A Room Full Of Circles

My Fragrance of the Moment is Serge Lutens Gris Clair. It's still only a decant but here I am, almost ready to make the full bottle plunge. It smells very sweet to me today, more Gourmand than herbaceous but that's OK--I'm in the mood for it. It's still a cool type of scent that's traditionally thought of as a Men's fragrance--I'm not sure Gris Clair is marketed just for Women but I certainly can think of a guy or two who would think this was too macho-smelling for themselves to wear (they also don't do Brut or Polo--not even the new Polo which is like a shadow of what we've all smelled before, only lighter). I'm not trying to smell like a guy; my taste in perfume is usually pegged as being ultragirly. I'm just into lavender right now, maybe because I find it comforting.

I think fresh scents can be very comforting, even though it's often said that people who need comforting are generally attracted to heavier, sweeter Oriental fragrances. I believe that would include Gourmand (a subgenre of Oriental) which I think Gris Clair qualifies as being because I certainly find it sweet and sugary (not as sweet as, say, Aquolina Pink Sugar but still sweet). Many people call Gourmand scents comforting but for me, sweets aren't about comfort--sweets to me are about youthfulness, like how kids (and overgrown kids) all worship candy. When I smell a sweet perfume, I get images of ice cream and cotton candy and in the perfumery realm, I tend to think of them as rebellious scents because some traditional perfume lovers still have a hard time accepting them as legitimate perfumes.

As more Men's fragrances are turning sweeter and heavier, going deep into the Oriental realm, I think some of Women's are getting woodier, more herbaceous, and perhaps we should thank FiFi Award winning Calvin Klein euphoria for the combination of masculine-cool and gourmand-sweet which has become mainstream for Women. I don't know about you but I think Gris Clair reminds me just a little bit of CK euphoria, only more airy and subtle (it's still not a subtle scent by any stretch). From the aromatic, gender-switching Guerlain Jicky till now, perfumery seems to have come full circle in little over a century. I like these angular and straight-forward semi-manly ones better than the onslaught of soft and powdery scents for Women I'm smelling lately, none of which appeal to me. Maybe I'll get more and more into the herbaceous ones as long as those unassuming powderies get pumped into our mainstream.

Speaking of Serge Lutens, I have a sudden desire to smell Douce Amére. Here's the blurb on Aedes: "Douce Ameré is concocted with a subtle balance of Absinthe. A fresh oriental, aromatic fragrance that is stylish and warm, softened with cinnamon, tiare flower and tagette. A delicate counterpoint of softness and bitterness". Actually, the word around town is that it's rather heavy and sweet, not very subtle but that's to be expected of a Serge Lutens perfume. I've yet to find one I'd call subtle and that's prolly why I love 'em.

I'm off--it's a gorgeous, sunny day in NYC!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Sinful Chocolate

It's no secret that New Yorkers have this thing for chocolate. From Vosges' "yoga + chocolate (haut-chocolat)" holistic approach to chocolate marketing to the lesser-known Mom & Pop shops that make the best German chocolate cakes in Queens, they're here. Come fall, we look forward to the Chocolate Show ( where, besides tasting/buying chocolate from places unheard of, you could enjoy a live chocolate fashion show where designers showcase the best original outfits made of or with chocolate. Chocolate in New York is more than just sinful dessert; it's a celebrated medium of expression.

Somewhere along the line, chocolate became a note in modern perfumery, much to traditional perfume lovers' despair. Chocolate is still a relatively new note which Thierry Mugler Angel (1992) is known to have brought into the mainstream. Angel, which at the time was controversial but now could be smelled almost everywhere, is a heavy (nothing is heavier, they say), distinctive, hypersweet, patchouli-driven woody-Gourmand Oriental blend with loads of fruits, caramel, honey, helional (described as celestial notes) and did I mention patchouli?--supporting the chocolate. There are new variations of Angel out now which incorporate floral notes with the original Angel smell--because as you know, anything goes with chocolate and everything is better with it. Angel is known as a rebellious perfume, and there's no denying the hippy patchouli of the shocking and scandalous Angel accord that's here to stay no matter how the trend is trying to lean toward the proper clean green act, reminiscent of the "innocent" 1950s. I doubt Rock 'n Roll of the '60s will ever die, either, hard as they may try to make us forget or not know had ever existed. Sorry, but you can't go back after Jimi, either.

Serendipitous by Serendipity 3, a popular tourist attraction on the Upper East Side, is another perfume that followed in the unorthodox chocolate way. Although Serendipitous isn't nearly as widely known or regarded as a prestige perfume, it's a personal favorite that was made in NYC. It's a no-frills cotton candy-sweet milk chocolate scent with some orange peel-y garnish thrown in over whipped cream. I think it has a New York vibe: a little extravagant with a sense of humor. It doesn't take itself too seriously but as far as chocolate perfumes go, it's Divine. Incidentally, there's a book I absolutely love called "Kissing In Manhattan" by David Schickler which features a perfume called "Serendipity" but there's no relation. Nevertheless, I found reading this while wearing Serendipitous to be an interesting experience.

There are more perfumes out there with chocolate as a main or supporting note: Pilar & Lucy The Exact Friction of Stars and the new launch by Ralph Lauren, Ralph Hot come to mind. Because it's a new note, there aren't so many of them yet and I still haven't found my ultimate chocolate holy grail perfume but I'm on a sweet kick this year, and I believe that the perfume industry's love affair with chocolate has only just begun.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Prince of Rock: Sheldon Tarsha

Los Angeles-based Modern Rock singer Sheldon Tarsha is the first indie artist I found on Broadjam (where I also have an account) whose music and voice I loved and whom I immediately knew was an extraordinary talent. He is a singer with incomparable vocal prowess whose sound is passionate, dynamic and strong, a true Rock vocalist with both grit and soul, excellent pitch and mindblowing precision in his performance. His timbre is perfect--he reminds me of some of my favorite Rock vocalists who are much more celebrated in the public eye, yet Sheldon Tarsha is my vocalist of choice, a vocalist whose sound and style are uniquely his own. His songwriting skills are as stellar as his performance--they're all outstanding compositions melodically, chordally and structurally--"You Are Everything" in particular is the quintessential rock ballad anthem of the Modern Age, packed with emotional power to literally move me to tears. It helps that it happens to be in one of my favorite keys (Bb minor), opening with a heartwrenchingly beautiful minor 9th with passing notes on the upbeat setting the groove in slow motion, each lovingly handpicked, precious guitar note piercing through my heart like the gentle sounds of rain when one feels devastated and alone. It rocks and keeps rocking until the ending that is pure magic--without a root chord it floats in space on a long sustain suspended on a VI chord (with shades of Lydian mode) like an open-ended question about the meaning of life. Just where do we go from here? It makes me wonder, but wherever Sheldon Tarsha is going next musically, I'm sure to follow. I hope you'll check this and other songs out at

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Music To Travel By

Billie Holiday--"I Thought About You" (Jimmy Van Heusen / Johnny Mercer)

I took a trip on a train
And I thought about you
I passed a shadowy lane
And I thought about you

Two or three cars parked under the stars
A winding stream
Moon shining down on some little town
And with each beam, the same old dream

And every stop that we made, oh, I thought about you
When I pulled down the shade then I really felt blue
I peeked through the crack, looked at the track
The one going back to you
And what did I do? I thought about you


More Billie Holiday--Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday "Body and Soul", "These Foolish Things", "The Man I Love"

John Coltrane--Blue Train (1957) "I'm Old fashioned", "Blue Train", "Locomotion"

The classic album by one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time: Oscar Peterson--Night Train (1963)

Ralph Lauren Polo Sport Extreme for Men

I had to post about it because I like the ad. I haven't smelled Ralph Lauren Polo Sport Extreme for Men (1998) and even though I wear some Men's and unisex scents, I'm not sure I'd want to wear this one myself (considering the Polo Sport Woman wasn't really my thing, either) but the notes are interesting: one source lists bergamot, juniper and musk, another one lists mint, black pepper, nutmeg, sage, and incense, yet another says it's an arid woody fragrance with leather. I'm guessing that it's classified as an Aromatic fragrance but I can't be sure. If you've tried it or have other favorite Men's fragrances to share, please do! (Image: from Image de Parfums)

Serge Lutens A la Nuit: Carnal In a Civilized World

This one is a favorite of Sand (of Ombligo! fame), my cyberangel and perfpal. She's helped hook up my music onto the web more than once, and even hooked my perfume up with b-glowing. It's good to know that you have that kind of support from people who are willing to support and share your dreams. Now, it's really not because of our friendship that I felt moved to write about Serge Lutens A la Nuit. I think I'm a new believer: this is the ultimate jasmine perfume. It's warm and soft yet its headiness and intensity don't go unnoticed. It's passionate and pervasive but it doesn't come on too strong for such an uncompromising scent. I'm reminded of Schiaparelli Shocking which nearly knocked me out with its indolic, animal musky Powerjasmine quality. A la Nuit is the refined, perfected form of the wild and insatiable carnal flower. A la Nuit isn't shocking--it's a serene type of sensuality, and though its sexuality is seething underneath, disturbing and undeniable, its powers are controlled by intelligence to make its true character more effective. It's a civilized perfume for life in a civilized world. I'd call it a rapturous bombshell perfume with elegance and substance. Once in a lifetime, we can hope to experience something so real.

Serge Lutens A la Nuit--Floral Oriental, 2000
Notes: Egyptian, Indian and Moroccan jasmine (green shoots), clove, white honey, benzoin, musk

Pink Manhattan On Monkey Posh!

It's nice to know I have a perfangel in cyberspace. She wrote all this nice stuff about me but you know, Jen's the real Cinderella girl. Check out today's write-up on Pink Manhattan PURRFUME and other stylish info on Monkey Posh blog.

Songes, Lea, Elvin Jones

My search seems to be over! For the next 100 posts, all I want to talk about is Songes. I received a generous decant of the EDP from a perfumista pal yesterday (or has it been a couple of days?) and yes, I smell the plastic note that's talked about and yes, it's still incredibly animalic/indolic and anyone who doesn't like this aspect of it would want to run from it but I have fallen in love with both EDT and EDP in this gorgeous fragrance. The EDP has a sweeter vanillic drydown compared to the musky drydown of the EDT.

I'm not terribly attracted to either bottle design to be honest--not that the moon bottle isn't lovely and all, but it's very cute, cute not being my usual style. However, I wouldn't mind if a moon bottle dropped onto my lap one day unannounced. The regular spray bottles are also dainty and pretty, and I appreciate that these are glass. There's a ribbon with gold polka dots that adorns the Songes bottle. See two posts down for pics.

Today's fragrance however is Lea St. Barth. I've fallen in love with this simple sweet-powdery soft musky scent after all. Imagine a cross between marzipan and baby powder or baby oil. When I feel receptive to "clean" musk, Lea St. Barth is my holy grail comfort-skin scent. It's my perfect vanilla almond musk with a hint of cinnamon-like spicy sharpness to offset the light and fluffy airiness. It's probably too hypersweet to call "elegant" but it's well-mannered in an approchable, relaxed, down-to-earth way which I enjoy.

I've narrowed down my favorite perfumes to just 3. I don't know which of these I love the most but I'd probably die without these scents in my life (and never say never: surprisingly, they all have a softness about them that used to turn me off):

Annick Goutal Songes
Guerlain Attrape-Coeur
Lea St. Barth

The only perfume I feel like revisiting these days is Guerlain Mahora because I'd given away my mini before my frangipani craze began. I also feel like discovering a sheer summer perfume that might resemble one of my favorites. My current favorite notes are 1. frangipani, 2. jasmine and 3. vanilla.

Today's Music: Elvin Jones on My Space. Holy Mother of God Music.

Don't Miss TV!

Watch/listen: Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie - Hot House

He's got other Bird & Dizzy videos and some Brecker Brothers. Good Sunday Morning to you and thanks, Wuj!

(Image: More cool Dizzy & Bird footage at permalink/249407)

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Today: Sampling Caron Pour Un Homme and Penhaligon's of London Lavandula, two lavender-based scents. Pour Homme is obviously for Men but it smells almost identical to Guerlain Jicky which had crossed over from Men's to Women's sometime around its launch in the late 1800s. Fougere (abstract fern--because fern itself has no actual scent) has lasted through the years and gone full circle being tossed around between genders, staying herbaceously masculine for the most part while women wore traditionally sweeter blends. Oh, but I like the aromatic Fougeres for myself...

I'm trying to figure out how many perfumes I've smelled in my lifetime and can't begin to know for sure. A woman on the perfume forum has started wearing fragrances by going from A to Z (and I don't think she's gotten off of A yet). I'm thinking maybe I'll do the same since I don't have much incentive to wear fragrance these days. While I'm at it, I might start listing all of the perfumes that I "know" (the ones I've either tested or worn regularly) to attempt to count them all.

I'm digging the lavender today. Pour Un Homme is a little more powdery sweet and comforting while Penhaligon's stays very high-pitched, cool and crisp. Perfumer Ernest Dalroff may have created a holy grail fragrance for me with Pour Un Homme after all. Look at the notes: it's got vanilla and tonka, and I wouldn't be surprised if amber's in here, too. These are the notes I've been infatuated with in the last few weeks, so at least I'm consistent about the things I like. Or am I?

Michael Edwards' notes:

Caron Pour Un Homme -- 1930
Top Notes: Lavender, Rosemary, Bergamot, Lemon

Heart Notes: Clary Sage, Rose, Rosewood, Cedarwood

Base Notes: Vanilla, Tonka, Musk, Moss

Perfumes of Passion

Guerlain Nahéma is unique in that it has a following of singers: Shirley Manson, Natalie Cole, Madonna, Joan Jett. What is it about Nahéma that makes the cut with divas in the spotlight? It is an intense, powerful perfume, a robust blend of roses, passionfruit, vanilla, amber and woods, a huge perfume that intimidates most women but one that can keep up with the dynamic energy of women in Rock and in the limelight in general. Created by Jean-Paul Guerlain in 1979, it was a passionate composition inspired by his muse of the moment, French art film actress Catherine Deneuve. Did she wear it? I'm not sure, although she is known to have worn other Guerlain creations such as L'Heure Bleue and Chamade. I also don't know if Jean-Paul Guerlain's passion for Ms. Deneuve was ever reciprocated, but the important thing, at least in this perfume story, is that Nahéma has survived the years since its birth in '79 and continues to enjoy a cult following of women who aren't afraid of its power.

The beautiful bottle pictured is known for having a small teardrop etched in it. This design is no longer being produced. Sadly, I'm not sure if Nahéma is still made in its purest parfum form anymore.

Jan Moran's notes:
Nahéma--(Floral-Aldehyde) 1979
Top Notes: Peach, bergamot, greens, aldehydes
Heart Notes: Rose hyacinth, Bulgarian rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, lilac, lily of the valley
Base Notes: Passion fruit, Peru balsam, benzoin, vanilla, vetiver, sandalwood

Samsara is another creation by Jean-Paul Guerlain that was dedicated to a different woman, but this time, according to legend, it was this woman's inner beauty that enthralled him most of all. For her, he had dedicated not one but two perfumes: this Floral Oriental beauty called Samsara (1989) and later, a sultry white floral called Mahora (2000). Both perfumes are extraordinarily heady, passionate blends revealing the status of his heart. Samsara is a warm, powdery, musky, smoky, firey yet meditative, serene blend made for a woman who loved Eastern religion and spirituality. Her favorite notes, jasmine and sandalwood, embody the heart and soul of this intoxicating composition. The bottle design, according to Michael Edwards' book, Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances, was inspired by Chinese and Japanese pagodas. Samsara became a huge commercial success and is still a Guerlain bestseller.

Michael Edwards' notes:
Samsara (Woody Floral Oriental) 1989
Top: Bergamot
Heart: Jasmine, rose, narcissus, ylang-ylang
Base: Sandalwood, iris, tonka, vanilla

Sometime later, the lady had tired of Samsara when it became so popular around the world that everyone was wearing it. Even if Jean-Paul had blended her special blend by hand, Samsara was still Samsara and it was time for a new and exciting change. The perfumer created the devastating Mahora, described by Jan Moran as "a lush floral Oriental fragrance which draws its name from the native dialect of Mayotte, an island in the Indian Ocean where perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain once had a home". Based on frangipani, an exotic white flower known as "the Flower of the Gods", Mahora is another intense fragrance but this time, it's a fragrance full of light and tranquility, the scent of love once requited even if for one perfect moment in time, if only in a dream. If paradise had a scent, Mahora might be its languid overture of bliss.

According to Michael Edwards:
Mahora (Floral Oriental) 2000
Bewitching top notes of tuberose & essence of frangipani heightened by neroli & jasmine on a voluptuous bed of vetiver, vanilla & sandalwood.

(Images: Image de Parfums, Perfumes4less,

Friday, June 02, 2006

Another Woman

By Carol Geneya Kaplan

Today another woman died
and not on a foreign field
and not with a rifle strapped to her back,
and not with a large defense of tanks
rumbling and rolling behind her.
She died without CNN covering her war.
She died without talk of intelligent bombs
and strategic targets
The target was simply her face, her back
her pregnant belly.

The target was her precious flesh
that was once composed like music
in her mother’s body and sung
in the anthem of birth.

The target was this life
that had lived its own dear wildness,
had been loved and not loved,
had danced and not danced.

A life like yours or mine
that had stumbled up
from a beginning
and had learned to walk
and had learned to read.
and had learned to sing.

Another woman died today.
not far from where you live;
Just there, next door where the tall light
falls across the pavement.

Just there, a few steps away
where you’ve often heard shouting,
Another woman died today.

She was the same girl
her mother used to kiss;
the same child you dreamed
beside in school.
The same baby her parents
walked in the night with
and listened and listened and listened
For her cries even while they slept.

And someone has confused his rage
with this woman’s only life.


If you are a victim of domestic violence, please take advantage of the services and rights that are available to you. I've added permanent links on the left but here they are below--Juct click and the links will take you to organizations that can help save your life. You are not alone. The cycle of violence gets worse over time and will not change until you take the first step.
Domestic Violence Hotlines and Resources
Domestic Violence Information
Domestic Violence and Child Custody Legal Resource Kit

Ding Dong!

So it looks like Allure magazine isn't the only one going the wedding promo way. One of my favorite makeup forums has just added a wedding planning board and I'm not sure why but I'm not exactly happy about it. Maybe because it feels like we're taking more timewarps into the 1950s and I fear the true motive behind the trend, perhaps for a new baby boom so we could send more boys out to war. I also don't think promoting weddings to young women without there being more promotion of higher education and basic economics is a good idea. Princes come and go, or don't show up, or are frauds after all. Oh, well. I feel like I'm trying to ride the wave and fighting the powers at the same time and I'm getting tired.

I'm not anti-marriage. I'm just aware that in most cohabitation scenarios between a man and a woman, the woman gets the shorter end of the stick if the guy happens to be--oh, not such a nice a guy after all. I've never been in an abusive relationship (and I've thankfully gotten out of the ones that I felt could have gone that route--a wise being once told me to listen to the words that people use--they are clues--it's easy to forget when your body (attraction--chemistry, etc.--it's important to us) says otherwise) but I'm around it more than I want, and I know now that it's more complicated than it seems and that it's harder to get out of once you're in it. So, for the people who'll call the victims names and say they're stupid for getting into a dangerous situation from the get-go, consider this: Most women instinctively withdraw when we're feeling under attack which is why it makes it easier to be targeted. Oh, and FEAR (of consequences of leaving--e.g., getting themselves and/or their children killed)--this makes it harder to leave than anything! We're told we should be trusting so we are till the living end. So, please consider taking your ignorant criticism that women are dumb to do something to help empower us so that we don't have to continue to be victimized and ridiculed by people who won't take the time to understand but are quick to judge. Have you *been* to a domestic violence shelter (I've played there, too!)? It's not OUR fault!!!

Where was I? Weddings. If you're planning one with the man of your dreams, I'm happy for you and best wishes from Pink Manhattan. It's time for my afternoon tea.

Skin Color, Ph and Fragrance

The Fragrance Foundation isn't alone in suggesting suitablility of scent families based on people's skin color. I found a perfume blog which broke down the color-coding to blonde, brunette, redhead and black-haired. Guess which people are best suited to wear the heavy Orientals? The darkest people, of course, and this time, they also listed the heavy florals such as tuberose as being "suitable" for black-haired people (and even though this generalization hurts, I'm not about to forgo my white florals--I'm not that crazy--but I am turned off to Oriental scents for the time being).

The way they explain how they find "suitability" is actually based on an unproven, unscientific method which is ultimately based on a theory that because darker haired people (with darker skins--it really comes down to the skin color) are proven to be oilier than true blondes and redheads and thereby making lighter skins more alkaline and darker (oilier) skins acidic, acidic people should wear alkaline scents and vice versa. Here's the unproven part of it all: how do you prove what smells better? Isn't the dry down of a perfume, or even our perception of which perfumes smell good, subjective to a large degree? Where is the study that shows that all dark people smell better wearing spices and resins than citrus or chypre?

In truth, my own mother and I don't smell alike nor do we agree on the same fragrances. They say Guerlain L'Heure Bleue was created for blondes and Mitsouko for brunettes (way back in the days of segregation--but then again, this is Paris we're talking about). I don't like Mitsouko but my mother does. I prefer L'Heure Bleue. So, I don't want to hear about "most people"--I am one person with particular skin chemistry and individual taste, and I strongly dislike being stereotyped because it makes me feel insignificant and unworthy of wearing certain scents I love--unfit because I'm supposedly too oily to wear any flower that isn't tropical (sexual).

Furthermore, ph skin color-coding fragrances is sexist. Why should we continue to perpetuate the notion that dark people are more sexual beings or that blondes are dumber, redheads are...I don't know, something about being complex, but they're all labels to keep women from being anything more than these stereotypes. I guess it's all in fun for people who like to be told where they fit in. I have never liked that, so maybe that's why I rebel against the notion of scent typing. But it's deeper than that. Stereotyping and being stereotyped actually hurts me on the inside in a way I can't even fully express.

The whole unproven theory is as useful as Color Me Beautiful--not at all for those of us who are all black-haired and can really only look one way--Ethnic. There is no variation for us.


Music Playlist: Hot Fuss

Fragrance of the Moment: Pink Manhattan

Outfit: Black

Waiting for arrival: A DVD copy of Ciao! Manhattan

Plan for the year: Multimedia art

(Image: The Killers Hot Fuss Sheet Music

Eyes On Edie

Even though it's been awhile since Edie Sedgwick has been on our minds (what with the Wild, Wild West and Las Vegas being trendy and all), a film about her life called Factory Girl starring Sienna Miller is due to come out this year. Call me shallow but I just can't wait to see how the actress is going to be styled for the role. I do hope that the visuals will be groovy. I also hope that the depictions of the characters will be respectful and from a kind, compassionate perspective. They supposedly created a fictional love character for Edie when controversy arose regarding Bob Dylan and Edie Sedgwick's relationship. So, they rewrote Bob Dylan's character and added another, because, you know, they couldn't just keep a story about a guy and a girl who were good friends and leave the mystery as part of the story. Anyway, let me not judge before I see it. The Hollywood movie is due out in September.

Check out a clip from the original Warhol art film, Ciao! Manhattan here (Lost Footage of Edie).

Deadlyne: Rockin' the East Coast

This band rocks so hard they deserve their own post, so here it is. Deadlyne--Their limited edition 2002 CD is still one of my favorite CDs. Deadlyne's music is so very evocative--a deep, dark, intelligent, angular, hard-hitting, at times Hip-Hop-inspired Hard Rock/Punk/Active Rock with an atmosphere that drones like an altered state. They write great grooves in wild modes which create a sophisticated and exotic vibe. The music is inspired but I happen to think the lyricist is prolific; these beautifully structured lyrics are tailored to the music and as abstract as they are really say something. Deadlyne lyrics are to music what haiku is to poetry--less words tell all. I think everything about their music is well-constructed and they write these hooks that are unforgettable. Singer/guitarist Mike Martin's voice is very appealing as well as emotionally captivating. One moment, he slams hard with that biting tone and the next he'll sound pained and withdrawn in his surreal, dreamy way . Some of my favorite songs are "My World", "The Pressure", "Gluesniffer's Bridge", "Bottle", "No Time For Depressant" and "Cellophane". In truth, I love just about everything they got. Visit for an updated schedule of summer gigs. Next gig: June 18th, 2006, one o'clock-ish PM!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Today's Music News

Fred Kimmel "Exotica" is currently #3 on Broadjam's Earth Top 10 chart. Congratulations, Wuj! This is a song I collaborated with Fred on--check it out:

Broadjam Earth Top 10

The standings may be different by the time you log on since the chart moves in real time.

Working with Wuj is a total blast! I think he's one of the most talented musicians I've ever had the honor of working with. He's the one who produced my Pink Manhattan Petit-CD. If you haven't checked it out yet, it's now on sale at and CD!!

I'm always open to collaborating with more musicians and writers. I'm going to put up an ad of my own on Broadjam sometime soon but if you're a musician who's interested in working with Sali Oguri (serious inquiries only), please contact me through my site at or through Broadjam. Thank you!

Bombshell Perfumes--Sex, Power and Femininity

How are these different from Wedding Perfumes? I think some perfumes could be both (in fact they all could be both), but I'd say that Bombshell Perfumes are the ones you generally won't wear to church. When I first joined an online perfume forum, I'd followed a link from my search for the book "Bombshell Manual of Style" by Laren Stover (with fabulous illustrations by Ruben Toledo) and ended up on a perfume forum. I didn't know before I got the book that there was a chapter in the book dedicated to perfumes described by the author as "bombshell" but on this forum, people were discussing their own favorite "bombshell perfumes" and I naturally had to jump into the conversation (and I've been talking about perfume ever since). I remember saying that I thought Boucheron was bombshell; a member replied and said that she thought Caron Montaigne was. I've always been drawn to perfumes that were dramatic, seductive, intoxicating and perhaps a little disturbing. Laren Stover has her own definition but that's how I would describe the Bombshell Perfume.

The difference between the well-mannered perfume and the bombshell is that the bombshell is distinctive, pervasive and often daringly animalic (musky with notes such as civet or castoreum) whereas the non-bombshells are innocent, polite and clean, seeming to just fit into the background of life and never call attention to itself or to the wearer. I would say "bombshell" and "sexy" are interchangeable adjectives but some people oppose the idea of calling any perfume "sexy", especially if it's used to describe straightforward and powerful scents. Of course, some people don't like the idea of women being sexually empowered at all ("sensual" is better than "sexy", they argue). Too bad--what they consider vulgar I see as a necessity to survive and be happy. I believe in female power and refuse to be quieted down. My philosophy extends into the olfactory realm.

I bring up the term "powerful" because someone on one of the forums described bombshell (or sexy) perfumes as being "powerful" and I think that sums it up--except I don't think being powerful alone makes a seductive scent. What each person perceives as being sexy or sensual or seductive depends on our own individual associations (some think leather's sexy, others think violets are sexy, etc). They say woods are the strongest notes in perfumery but most woody perfumes are fragrances for Men (although this is changing as the industry realizes than many women love heavily wooded fragrances for themselves). Typically, the Oriental family is base-heavy with rich, sweet notes of amber, vanilla and incense, as well as spices; these are generally seen as being too strong for a professional office setting. Oriental perfumes are often marketed as sexy perfumes. Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur comes to mind.

There are certain flowers which are symbols of femininity, and most of these are strongly scented flowers, disturbing (in the best way) in the air if you wore them as perfume in very large quantity. Tuberose is one of the most precious notes in perfumery, a staple of the industry. It's a heady tropical white flower known as "Mistress of the Night". White flowers are symbols of femininity in many cultures: Peony in China, tiare in Tahiti and jasmine, known as the King of Flowers (as rose is known as the Queen of Flowers) the world over, are considered aphrodisiacs. Rose, in a class of its own, is a timeless symbol of femininity and another precious ingredient in perfumery; in fact, most perfumes are built on jasmine and rose. Speaking of being strong and disturbing, the mere presence of women was once so disturbing to some that women have been banned from holy sites--for instance, in Japan, women were forbidden to enter the sumo ring, a symbol of spiritual purity. In a misogynistic society, women are often despised for their "scent". A Japanese bartender once told me that traditionally, women are not allowed to become sushi chefs because women's hands are deemed too soft and strongly scented to make sushi, a clean-tasting dish. Misogyny aside, the scent of women is celebrated in perfumery.

In a time when the '50s trend will have women believe that being strong and owning our own sexuality (by being sexy) is bad and being soft and unassuming is more feminine (and socially more acceptable), I hope we keep talking about the bombshell perfumes lest these scents--and we who love them--become invisible or obsolete. Light and airy fragrances are enjoyable and I certainly wear them, but they are not replacements for truly great, grand perfumes (I need both). Whereas many retro perfumes were meant to be soft and unassuming, (to quote an actual perfume ad) to let the man be more of a man (by being a soft and quiet "woman", smelling like a non-threatening being), I believe we need to move forward in the perfume realm and either find new ways of selling light and clean or soft and powdery perfumes to women without succumbing mindlessly to that backward way of thinking, or put out some fragrances for women with body, substance and power. Yes, power. It's sexy--and feminine--to me.

Some that I see as bombshells are: Jean Patou Joy, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, Guerlain Shalimar, Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, Guerlain Samsara, Guerlian Nahema, Caron Narcisse Noir, Caron Tabac Blond, Caron Montaigne, Robert Piguet Fracas, Paloma Picasso, Ungaro Diva, Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle, Jil Sander No.4, Rochas Femme, Panthere de Cartier, Givenchy Amarige, Givenchy Ysatis, Van Cleef & Arpels Gem, Giorgio Beverly Hills Red, Calvin Klein Obsession, Yves Saint-Laurent Y. I will also add Christian Dior Poison even if Laren Stover disagrees, saying it's too strong. Apparently, she didn't know that a strong perfume like Poison isn't meant to be doused but deftly, wisely worn in the most discreet amounts to create the perfect sillage. A bombshell perfume isn't supposed to walk ahead of you but when you move, it should leave behind a subtle trail of scent that says "yes, a real woman just slinked past". Poison is a tuberose-based bombshell, a controversial '80s futuristic masterpiece. I think it's powerful and confident, therefore sexy. Above all, it's distinctive. Do you have favorite bombshell perfumes? (Images: Images de Parfums)