Hi Anna! What do you do at UO? Hello, blog team! I am the women's department manager at Urban Outfitters on Rush St. in Chicago's magical Gold Coast neighborhood.
Can you tell us what you're wearing? It's all thrifted, except the socks are from Urban. The '90s mom jeans I thrifted in Omaha, Nebraska (where I'm from); everything else I scored in Chicago.
Did you make your shirt, or thrift it? What are your favorite thrift stores in Chicago? Well, both! I found this amazing Simpsons printed flat sheet for 50 cents at the Village Discount Outlet in Irving Park in Chicago and couldn't pass it up. I thought maybe I'd make it into curtains or something. Then my best friend, Lauren (a fashion student and sales associate at the Urban in London, UK), designed an outfit from the fabric when she was here for a visit recently. There's a matching skirt, too!
I'm obsessed with thrifting, and Chicago is home to some of my favorite thrift stores. I love the Village Discount Outlet in Logan Square. It's a massive space, not the kind of thrift store you can peruse if you have only 10 minutes to kill. You gotta commit to an hour at least and do a lot of digging. But it's worth it when you leave with a garbage bag full of treasure!
But seriously, that Simpsons tank is amazing. Who is your favorite character on The Simpsons? Ralph! He has some of the best quotes on the show. "Eww, Daddy, this tastes like Grandma!"
Do you love donuts the way Homer loves donuts? Any favorite donut places in Chicago? (MMM, donuts.) That's a tough passion to rival. No, Homer has me beat. But I do love Glazed and Infused in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. They make some really creative donuts, like Peach Iced Tea or Blackberry Goat Cheese.
Where can we find you online? I have an Instagram page where I post a lot of thrifted looks. Annarifraf is me!
Brother and sister team Natalie and Elliot Bergman are the duo behind the band Wild Belle, and they take the stage at Coachella for the first time this year. We recently caught up with them when they came through on tour.
When you guys were growing up did you play any games that revolved around music? Because there was such an age difference, what was your collaboration like? Elliot: I’m 8 years older than she is but Natalie’s been such a natural performer since she was young. Last night some old family friends came to visit in DC and they were talking about how it used to be, like “Okay, Natalie’s going to do a performance for everyone in the kitchen, gather round.” I always watched her and then she started coming on tour with my band when she was 16. It was pretty recently that we were like, “Okay, let’s do something a little more serious together.” That’s when Wild Belle started to come together.
How did you talk your parents into letting you go on tour with your older brother when you were 16? Natalie: I think they were always very encouraging and pushing us to work together in some capacity. I didn’t leave high school or anything, it was summer, I think after my freshman year of high school I went and – Elliott: I convinced them it was 'an internship.'
What were some of the musical influences that you guys were around as kids? Natalie: Lots of Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. Elliot: Michael Jackson and Prince, a lot of that.
How did you guys get into world music as two kids from Chicago? Natalie: It’s what our ears liked. I think it’s because our parents are both very well-traveled and they love world music. They love India, they love Africa and they brought a lot of beautiful things back from their travels and shared that with us. I think that’s where it began.
What was the first instrument you started playing? Elliot: I started playing the clarinet.
Were you in school band? Elliot: I played in band all through high school and then I studied music at college in Michigan. But when we grew up, music was pretty much part of the landscape. I started on the clarinet, but my grandma gave me a saxophone when I was a freshman in high school. She played saxophone so I got this really cool Martin tenor sax with red lipstick on the reeds and then I progressed from there. But jazz was always my interest as a young kid which was weird. All my friends were into grunge and I was listening to Miles Davis' In a Silent Way.
How many instruments do you own? Elliot: Hundreds. We have a storage unit full of instruments in Brooklyn and then our house is like, everywhere we live has instruments. There’s probably 50 instruments in the band. I like to build instruments too, so those accumulate. Natalie loves vintage keyboards and that comes through on the record. There’s all kinds of crazy synthesizers and percussion. It’s not only a collection of objects but it’s a collection of sounds you can use – it’s your palette. Instruments are beautiful and there’s a reason people take the time and care to make them beautiful. You can really fall in love with instruments. We both love searching for sounds and trying to find something that’s evocative. I’m drawn to sounds that are both wooden and metallic and I love working with wood and metal. The instruments just keep piling up. Everywhere we go, there’s something new to find.
Any particular ones have a nostalgic story behind them? Elliot: We have all of our mom’s guitars, and my grandma’s saxophone is really cool to have, but my mom has this old, big-bodied Guild acoustic guitar we love, and she has a number of really cool electric guitars. She passed away about six years ago so her guitars sat around until a friend in Milwaukee fixed ‘em all up for us.
How has your relationship as siblings evolved now that you’re working together in a band? Natalie: It’s been surprisingly easy. It’s like, we just see eye to eye on so many things regarding our music or not regarding our music. The way we perceive the world is very similar. It’s been fun. There are challenges but it doesn’t necessarily have to do with our relationship as siblings, but challenges of the business. I guess that is sort of the hardest thing if we run into any difficult situations.
How is the music you’re making together different from what you were previously doing separately? Elliot: I think we both needed something. It wasn’t necessarily the most conscious decision. We were both doing things and they kept overlapping a bit. It happened pretty organically. The energy that we were getting people responded positively to. It was definitely a coming together of our influences and ideas.
How did shooting the video “Keep You” with director Malina Matsoukas come about? She’s done some epic videos. Natalie: She has. How it really came about was I saw the video “Why Don’t You Love Me” by Beyoncé which they shot on Super 8. Have you seen it? I love that video.
I have. I didn’t know until I looked it up, but she did the Rihanna video too. Natalie: "We Found Love"? That video rules! It was a little bigger than what we had plans for our video to be. I was just so attracted to that Beyoncé video, so I said let’s try and see if she wants to work with us. And she was so cool. It was fun to bounce ideas back and forth. I would love to work with her again.
The full Pitchfork lineup was announced! Do you guys see what this means?! Solange, Sky Ferreira and MIA are all going to be in the same place, and I am going to explode from lady pop music excitement! See all my exclamation points?! Our pal Autre Ne Veut is also gonna be there, killin' it like always I'm sure. The 3-day passes haven't sold out yet, so if you'd like to get in on this action, you can purchase them here. See ya then, guys! (If you want to find me, just look for the sweaty monster hulking in the corner of every show.) —Katie
According to the internet, the Lollapalooza lineup for this year has leaked. Oh shit! Looks like a pretty decent lineup, so if you want a chance to see The Cure alongside 2 Chainz, you better buy your tickets quick; single-day passes are the only ones left! —Katie
One of the acts I'm most excited to see at Coachella this year is Smith Westerns, who are back with "Varsity" off their new album Soft Will (out June 11th via Mom + Pop). Chicago boys Cullen Omori, Cameron Omori, and Max Kakacek won my hearts over in 2011 with their second album, Dye it Blonde, so I'm very pleased to finally hear something new from them. Listen on SoundCloud via Pitchfork.—Maddie
StyleSeek and company took a squad of friends to Camp Wandawega for a weekend of maxing and relaxing. They took plenty of photos—how could they not with such a stylish backdrop and group of ladies and gents? Check out the whole set over here. -Bob
Barack Obama is the best. After winning the election on Tuesday he gave a short speech to his campaign staff, thanking them for all their hard work, and he even shed a little tear. Do you hear that? There is a man in charge of this country who will cry in front of us! And then put it on YouTube! God bless America, for real. After your "USA" chants have died down, watch the full video below - it really is a very touching speech. -Katie
We spoke with UO Nice List participant Tavi Gevinson, founder of Rookie Mag and accomplisher of the wildest of teenage dreams, to get her take on the holiday season, what she's asking for (seriously, LOL), and her proudest moments of the year 2012.
Introduce yourself! I'm Tavi Gevinson, I edit and founded the online site Rookie Mag, and I edited and art directed our first annual print edition, Rookie Yearbook One.
What do you love and loathe most about the holidays? I love all the decorations people put up and how a Starbucks run suddenly feels like some holy occurrence and wrapping presents and seeing my sisters. I loathe how quickly the snow gets depressing basically as soon as the holidays are over.
What’s your gift-giving style? Personalized presents, or a Starbucks card for everyone? Personalized, of course! It'd be no fun anonymously giving threatening ransom notes if I wasn't cutting out all the little magazine clippings myself.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? I got an electric guitar for a birthday/middle school graduation present.
What’s the worst gift you’ve ever received? I can't think of one, but once my mom got my sister a broom for Christmas.
If you could ask for anything this year (and money is no object) what would you ask for? Blue Ivy, the child.
What is your favorite holiday tradition that you share with friends or family? My mom is from Norway, so we do Jul, which is basically Norwegian Christmas, only instead of a nice jolly man who brings you presents, this little troll guy just delivers the ones your family was already giving you, and instead of putting out milk and cookies, you put out this really nasty porridge. There's one tradition where a single almond (OOOOH, AN ALMOND) gets mixed into the porridge pot before it is served, and whoever gets the almond in their bowl gets an extra present, which in our home means something vaguely Judaism-related because we feel bad for neglecting Hanukkah.
What’s your favorite holiday snack or food? That disgusting porridge, because as much as it disagrees with my taste buds, it's the ultimate signifier of Jul, holding a very special place in my heart.
Without looking it up, what are the ingredients in eggnog?
I've never had eggnog!
Any idea how you will spend New Year’s Eve this year? Not yet! I'll probably just watch movies about the apocalypse with my friends.
If you could be any character from a holiday movie, who would you be and why? The little girl from Love, Actually because she gets to sing "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and that cute kid crushes on her. Or Kevin from Home Alone cuz duh.
If you could plant a New Year’s kiss on your dream crush, who would that be and why? Anders from Workaholics.
What was your proudest moment from this past year? Publishing Rookie Yearbook One was a lot of work, reaching Rookie's one-year anniversary was a lot of work, and getting to hold events with our readers and meet these people in real life and talk with them about all the stuff we normally just type about online was really, really rewarding and special. I kind of feel like the luckiest person ever.
What are you looking forward to most about 2013? Starting my senior year of high school.
Lana Wachowski's HRC Visibility Award Acceptance Speech
You should watch the awe-inspiring acceptance speech from Lana Wachowski (co-director of The Matrix) after winning the Visibility Award at the Human Rights Campaign's annual gala. This is one video that is well worth a half hour of your day (or for those unable to watch, you can read the transcript here). Then, go support her and her brother's new film, Cloud Atlas!-Ally
Our Marketing Coordinator, Vanessa W., went to Lollapalooza for the first time last weekend and lived to tell the story. Read about her journey through the crazy Midwest weather, the amazing performances, and the creepy 12-foot clowns (we're scared just thinking about it!).
"Mind. Blown. Upon entering the heavenly gates of Lollapalooza for the first time, it was impossible to not feel the energy of the hundreds and thousands of people inside. Grant Park is HUGE—it's gorgeous and it perfectly accommodated the crowd of all-ages (seriously, I saw some elderly gentlemen who looked like they just stepped off the golf course, as well as some babies with mohawks). The next three days were wild. Shirts (and some pants) became optional. Pacifiers were in. Wine was sold in sport bottles. We sang, we danced, we sweated, we evacuated.
Friday What can I even say? I saw Black Sabbath. Friggin’ Ozzy Osbourne! I couldn’t believe it. He sang, screamed, swayed and had his own little headbang move going on. Yes, they played “War Pigs,” “Iron Man” and “Paranoid,” and yes, everyone completely lost it. Legendary. Enough said. Other noteworthy Friday bands: First Aid Kit, Dr. Dog, The War on Drugs, Tame Impala, Metric, Passion Pit and The Head and The Heart. Major shoutout to Charity Rose Thielen of The Head and The Heart, with whom I became slightly obsessed, from her rocking it out on the violin and melting the audience with her powerhouse voice. She once tweeted, “Life goal: becoming the female Jimmy Page”. I die.
Saturday On Saturday, aka Evacuation Day, we started off with Milo Greene and then Bear In Heaven. We caught Neon Indian (pictured above) right before we had to evacuate the park due to the impending apocalypse (seriously, people freaked). Before evacuating—I love how intense that sounds—frontman Alan Palomo had some kind words of advice for those who may be “experimenting” for the first time: “It’s going to be okay. Just drink lots of water. It’s going to be awesome.” Thanks, Alan! Let’s hope everyone felt safe after that. Washed Out played after the storm (no pun intended!) and Red Hot Chili Peppers closed out to a muddy, smelly and extremely pumped crowd. Nothing like a mud slip 'n’ slide to play in during “Suck My Kiss”. Other Saturday awesomeness: Twin Shadow and Santigold.
I saw some seriously amazing outfits during these three days. I spotted this tank from a mile away. Check out that mullet! The staggering question of “Dudes or Dudes?” made it even better. Turns out this tank was representing a wondrous event called “Dudefest”…obviously. A close second to this tank was an “I’m Perkisizing” tee (Heavyweights, people! One of the all-time classics). I took a creepy distant picture of it and unfortunately forgot to ask where the man got it. So, if anyone knows where to get a Perkis Power tee, please let me know. Besides the amazing tees and tanks, there were other random items being thrown into the mix. In no specific order: an Alf doll (terrifying), a 12-foot clown with a spinning head (exorcist-style and even more terrifying than the Alf doll), inflatable helmets, unicorn balloons, and I definitely saw at least one person “riding” around on a stick pony (you know, those toy sticks with a horse head on them). Just your average festival crew.
Sunday Sunday had a sad vibe to it because it was the last day of the fest and I couldn’t see the final performances because of my flight time. Sad. However, I did get to see Florence + The Machine. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but had heard she was incredible live. No disappointment there. She has the whole ethereal goddess thing down and her flowy, gypsy witch-like maxi dress didn’t miss a twirl or frolic. I was into it. She also got the audience to make friends by telling us to hug the person we were next to. What more can you ask for? (Sorry to the random man next to me for my forceful embrace—Florence made me do it!). Some of my favorite shows for this day also go to Trampled by Turtles, Dum Dum Girls, Sigur Ros and Amadou and Mariam.
Overall, it was an incredible, eclectic festival that left me in a zombie-like state of mind on Monday. I saw some ultimate performances by new favorites and old loves. Lollapalooza did a fab job of showcasing the best talent from all walks of music life.
Oh, I almost forgot! I want to give some love to the sign language performers—holy crap. That cannot be an easy task and they killed it. Air guitar never looked so good. Even Ozzy gave his performer a hug. Rock on, guys!
I want to end this little post with a lovely inspirational quote from Flea of RHCP, “Be nice. Be gentle. Be kind… and f*ck shit up.” See you next year, Lolla!" -Vanessa
Two weekends ago, we asked you to show us your #FESTEVER photos from the 2012 Pitchfork Music Festival for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card at Urban Outfitters. Throughout the weekend (and the rain, the mud, and the performances) we were sent so many great shots, and going through them made us feel incredibly nostalgic. We wish we were back in Chicago! Above and below are the three #FESTEVER winners, congrats! -Ally
This year's Pitchfork Festival hit us like a tidal wave! Between the pouring rain, the hot, hot sun, and the amazing performances, we had the #FESTEVER weekend—ever. Overall, we saw some really great looks and some very interesting rain gear (shout out to everyone who wore those huge blue trash bags like we did). Here are some of our favorite photos we managed to snap between the storms at this weekend's festival!
Going to be at Pitchfork Music Festival 2012? Show us your #FESTEVER photos on Instagram and you could win a $100 Urban Outfitters Gift Card! We’ll feature our favorites here on the blog and choose the top three #FESTEVER pics to get a $100 UO Gift Card!
Get your air guitars out, your head bangs prepped to perfection, and your preferred filters ready—we want to see some serious #FESTEVER magic!
For our second little Rookie event in the Windy City we went to Girls Rock! Chicago to listen to girls rock their heart out! All the girls there were so cute. They sang songs about being yourself and breaking gender norms (so punk!) and were the coolest and most confident group of young ladies I've ever met.
It's so easy to get to the stage at a show when the audience is filled with young children. I wished for a mosh pit but, sadly, didn't get one.
This girl in the middle was from a band called The Sharks, which was probably my favorite band in the showcase. They sang a song about a girl shark that nobody likes because she's a shark, of course. There was this one break in the song where every band member shouted in unison, "HOW COULD ANYONE NOT LOVE SHARKS?!" Then they threw Swedish Fish and beach balls into the crowd! Give her a few years, she's going to be so famous. (Photo via Anaheed)
Strummin'! (Photo via Anaheed)
(Photo via Anaheed)
Tomorrow we will be off to Iowa City! Meet up with us at the White Rabbit at 2:00 pm and then we'll head over to The Record Collector around 3:00! See you there! - Hazel
On Friday we drove to Chicago in a crazy thunderstorm. Tavi had Fruit-Rollups (so typical) that we ate in the car like little children.
Last night, Petra dislocated her knee while chasing Tavi down a hotel hallway. She's fine, but now uses crutches as her main accessory. Here she is in a 7-Eleven looking sassy.
Our meet-up was at Saki, a record, book, and art store in Chicago. There we had a little zine-making party using the awesome Rookie zine-making tutorial! Readers brought magazines, stickers, old photos, gems, and more to make their collaged zines.
Petra posing with readers in a wheelchair that Saki just randomly had in the store
So many girls had cute candy-colored hair and flower crowns!
The Chicago-based duo Tiny Fireflies played while we made zines. Their shoegazy music was perfect for zine-making and collaging.
Illustrator, typographer, and graphic designer Jeremy Pettis can do no wrong. His intricate, candy-colored doodles and his retro typography showcased on his flickr are so awesome. You can check out his latest typography project, Twenty-Six Types Of Animals, on his personal website. He also has a new, cute looking zine out called Tres Leches. - Hazel