Thursday, July 30, 2009

infinite wave


photo: Malene Thyssen

July roars out like a Lion

... and in L.A. it's a hot lion,
lyin' around. 

7 lions along the road in the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya
photo: by the lilac breasted roller

Above: Treasure Box Series (detail) Lura Astor 1995-98

Congratulations, Andy Tauer!

The NZZ am Sonntag article discusses niche perfumer Dr. Tauer's rising star. Tauer likes being considered a kitchen perfumer. His gaining notoriety takes him out of the home kitchen and into the larger arena, as any good cook!

his "tagline"
Tauer Perfumes: Perfumery the classical way, perfumes created with love

Tauer utilizes the commentary from his blog followers into his marketing and fragrance sketches.

For quite a few years I informally (unpaid), and regularly, wrote commentary, opinion, analysis and humor pieces for a few major online fragrance boards.

Occasionally I consciously threw out ideas to see how and when they would be picked up. These contributions all found their way to the marketplace. For every written contribution in the public forum, there were/are a substantial number of unseen eyes, or as the online community named them lurkers, within various industries who took/take the informal focus groups' information to heart, market or lawsuit. Tauer remains generous in his praise of follower's help and contributions.

Illustration: LOVE Lura Astor

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

news in beat poet form, move over haiku

When I moved to Los Angeles in 1996, I landed, via friends, into a fomentous poetry scene, co-edited one journal, watched performance poets, sat in on friends' teaching and heard things like got milk, got gas, got god.

Here, a true Los Angelian bit with cooool background sway beat to snap crackle and pop your fingers to

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

wishing you laughter

for all my leetle science geeeks

sending these out to ye of lab coat fashion

a few special shout outs to those at the Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases (CMMID) at Virginia Tech (see mid, see mid clone), Caltech, MIT

These videos include some shame free marketing ... and funny

*click here Pipettes (begins a little slow)

Lyrics here

If you've been in a malaise,
Polly Merase will cheer you
Polymerase Chain Reaction

Illustration: Life in Progress Lura Astor


painting: Zawierucha
(Gale/Storm) Wojciech Gerson, 1878

Sunday, July 19, 2009

muse collections

The odd audacity of creating longevity
and immortality that is museum

- Lura Astor
more to come on this

Windows Open

In my early 20's I apartment-sat during a sultry summer in Chicago, down the street from a bread making factory.

I would awake in a sweet sweat with added yeast, the magic transporter, bread dough rising and baking in the pre-dawn, dreaming city.

Smells of Eras

Do any of these bring memories to your mind’s nose?

freshly mown grass
hair spray
gasoline/petrol at the pump
suntan lotion
moth balls
cedar chests
freshly baking bread

Research continues to identify and categorize favored scents of eras, cultures, generations, pop culture, and geography.

The sunken perfume from the Titanic has been recreated and we learn that the scent is a rose-violet concoction. Violet waters and perfumes had a long run of popularity, today getting comments such as that smells like my grandmother though not from scent lovers or scent chasers who identify the variation of violet.

Creative perfumers work to frame the violet note for contemporary tastes. Creed's 2008 Love in Black is a violet homage to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Changes in popular smells are integrated into the timeline of fashion and food trends.

The 1969 Woodstock era had patchouli in the air, as did Kashmiri shawls imported to Europe in the 1800's. Patchouli leaves kept moths out and the scent in and became much in demand. Portland, Oregon 2007 has sweat mixed with patchouli in much nasal evidence.

Nasally detected or not, patchouli is often found at the base of fragrances. 
Image above: in a fragrant pyramid, Pat Chouly? And remember, top notes are more volatile.

The design of packaging, scent, and fashion for Yves Saint Laurent’s Oriental perfume Opium experienced breakthrough sales.
With its hefty price tag for the pure parfum, introduced in 1977, spray it today in the right crowd and watch swoons of nostalgia. The YSL Fashion corresponded to the fragrance with satiny modernized brocades and soft leathers in Moroccan reds with golden yellows. 
Perfumer: Jean-Louis Sieuzac
Bottle Designer: Pierre Dinand

The late 1970s began an era of ever more hair product usage, each with added fragrance. Even unscented is a fragrance combination. Women’s lips deepened reds, the Natural Look phased out.

Dior’s Poison, perfumer Jean Guichard, spiked through in 1985 making a loud statement at a time when noses were seared during the American 1980’s you can have it all consumption, the white powder epidemic of cocaine or baking soda (1980's Time Magazine article reference).

Other 1980s names include Calvin Klein’s Obsession launched in 1985, Chris Evert, Eternity, Cool Water, Arrogance pour Homme, Animale, Passion, Gambler Musk.

Early 2000s and the war on terror in America emphasized fear and safety. Scents became clean, even antiseptic, a category called safe or transparent. Gourmand fragrances grew in popularity, a food-like category of scent for caramel, vanilla, candy, and sweet fruit notes.

A surprise runaway hit out of Italy in 2003 was Aquolina’s Pink Sugar with its spun sugar cotton candy, touch of black licorice. Pre-adolescents, as well as adult men and women, keep the sales coming in. A more sophisticated licorice work was the award winning Lolita Lempicka. Lolita Lempicka au Masculin uses a deep coffee note.


If lucky enough to smell historical fragrances, one can smell ingredients that are now outlawed, can smell a particular history in a bottle. Was fur in fashion? Mauve? Whale bone corsets, powdered wigs, civet?

… take another whiff

Peek into a busy mid-1700’s fragrant boudoir with Elisabeth de Feydeau’s book A Scented Palace: The Secret History of Marie Antoinette’s Perfumer.


Fragrance and Fabric Staging, for display in museum, gallery, retail or photo shoot, brings in color relationships between fragrance and fabric, and textural relationships between scents’ texture and textiles.


Profumeria Campo Marzio, a niche perfume destination in Rome, Italy displays Andy Tauer's L'air du Desert MarocainSpring 200

A fashion designer, like any designer, must force the public to move forward: 
he must astonish, take the public beyond accepted traditions
 to reveal other possibilities, other frontiers. 
- Paco Rabanne

Images: crayolas
painting: Henry Meynell Rheam Violets 1904
Profumeria Campo Marzio photos: Andy Tauer

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ice is Nice

I like ice

cool summer read

The Frozen Ice Trade by Gavin Weightman

ice and, what to do about it 
... Yankee ingenuity 
... getting it from there to here 
... marketing in the form of iced tea, among other delicacies

we really are bananas

Promises in a Container
... continuing on,

AXE says Spray More Get More. That's about as mark mark as it gets; alpha alpha.

Here, the Visual is used to sell the Olfactive, with promises, humor and a good deal of hope, or as we say, the aspirational. One aspires to ... the promised rewards.

I used to go to a perfume boutique, no longer in business, and loved talking fragrance with the owner. He knew his stuff, but he loved to sell the sex part. He'd warn that you were a weapon now, walking out wearing your new fragrance, loaded for bear. Though it didn't work on me, he never stopped trying.

One day, his young teen son walked in clutching a brown paper bag, looking slightly embarrassed, if not sneaky. It did not fly by the dad who immediately asked, what do you have there? And then, Who bought that for you!

Uncle, mumbled his son, looking apologetically at his dad who looked apologetically at me. I was laughing. Here were shelf upon shelf of hard to find fragrances and his son wanted ... AXE.
Like father, like son? ... susceptible to the not-so-subliminal, not even sublime, messaging?

With taglines fit for young boy-men, such as
how dirty boys get clean, there's the market.

to continue ... the selling of fragrance as sexual enhancement, seen here in some commercials; many more online.

*click to see  AXE commercial 2002? Keep your eye on the scent ...

In the AXE ad, Which one is you? you are told that you can mix them together, just as I was told I could do with the Creeds by a sales rep. Two Creeds at $260-460+ each, Two Axes at $10+ each usd

This one I'll call replay

For all you chiropractors, massage therapists, healers out there, fragrance induced Back Pain

I've never smelled the stuff. All I know is it is laughing to the bank.

Online commentaries include derisiveness towards the smell and wistful it never did that for me!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

crow, crow, crow your feet

received due to post 7/13/2009:

If you have any Creed scents left on kleenex, please forward immediately as I am wrinkling as we speak.

 caw caw, or, as my French speaking crows laugh, Fracas Fracas

Monday, July 13, 2009

sniffing my way through life may prevent wrinkles

Stopped to smell some scents ...

One Sales Associate (SA), showing me a tuberose based fragrance, expressing how much she likes roses.

Tuberose by any other name is swollen grey flower of the agave family
agavaceae not rosaceae

It is easy to over-sell or over-teach. For whatever reasons, sometimes it's hard to pull in the reins and just shut up.

Though repeatedly agreeable with what various Sales Associates were saying about a fragrance, they would not stop, even when I backed up, moved away, said, yes, yes, yes. 

Though I was sold, the sale was not.

Finally, it got to percentages. The percentage of oils in Creed and comparative percentages of alcohol in Creeds and other perfume brands. Creed! the hard sell ... how the oils have antioxidants, and here, the SA looked at my neck, and said, they help prevent wrinkles.

Creed Prevents Wrinkles the newest tagline?

Deah, deah, deah. My laughline crow's feet positively crowed.

I did get a laugh out of the serious, aggressive, Clive Christian rep. She told me that the night fragrance drove men bananas. I said, men are already bananas.

Thus, I got to hear about the sex life of other SAs raving about the effect of this potent potion and, though she poised to spray me, I retreated to mark myself ...with oud.

Oud Wood by Tom Ford, the tester spilled over my hand. I did not complain, though hearing a chorus of background whispered gasps; I wiped the floor with a kleenex. Acting gauche in an upscale store? due to carrying a spritz of Rive Gauche pour Homme/YSL on a kleenex on my person?

Kleenex the new tester strips no matter how expensive the appointments in decor (Calder mobile, etc.)

I was told the Tom Ford representatives train the sales help to say Ooh, or, Oh Wood, with the oud expressing a silent D. 

I learned it as oudh, silent H, or OoD, pronounced D, agarwood, aloeswood or jinkoh. Caring more about the smell than pronouncetorial correctness. Some say extreeeeeme, another says extrhehhmm.

Once, smelling Fairy Dust/Paris Hilton/Parlux, I walked away shaking my head, smiling, praising how succinctly the group targeted their market. The grape Kool-Aid note with Tinkerbell magic is the stuff their target age group gobbles up, as sales show.

Paris Hilton and Guess? brands represented over 90% of Parlux's total business in fiscal year 2008 FY end March 2008 pre-Fairy Dust and Paris Hilton brand had shot up 37%. 

Parlux 2008 Annual Report

Asked which scent does make men bananas, I sigh. Every perfume/fragrance/scent makes one sexual. Supposedly. Scent signals of flowers, pollen, petals, wink wink dew, nectar, sap, sweat, wink wink insects, birds, hormones and pheromones ... bottle it up, apply to homo sapiens (truth in marketing: wise man or knowing man) and it is sex in a vessel, container, bottle or grail.

Walking by a kiosk, denying a spritz of the fragrance that day, the lovely accented one yelled after me, It Will Make You Sexy!

I yelled back, don't you think I'm already sexy? wink

Sunday, July 12, 2009

secret sniffs

People of all ages take pleasurable moments to smell things that bring joy to them.

This blogpost with comments delights me:
What an Owl Smells Like

Illustration: Lura Astor

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tip 'o the HAT

behind the scenes,
people create entertainment magic.

The group includes choreographers.

Having been one, I know the majesty of working with excellent instruments, those who make the moves their own, over and over again.

A Tip 'o the Hat to Michael Peters 1948-1994 during this week of iconography retrospective.

Michael Peters' choreographic work includes Thriller, Beat It, Hello, Love is a Battlefield, Love to Love You Baby, DreamGirls.

He danced and worked with some greats in the dance/performance world and received a personal award from Fred Astaire.

As we Moon Dance during 3 summer eclipses, rest in peace dancers, and all of us keep dancin' while alive. 

Keep on pollinating

Illustration: Pollen Lura Astor

Preposition Pedophilia

No child has sex with an adult. It is sex done to a child.