Buffalo Exchange

Vintage Chain Buffalo Exchange Coming to Washington D.C.

Buffalo Exchange

A Buffalo exchange seller trades in her gently used clothing. Photo: Courtesy of Buffalo Exchange.

Washington, D.C. just got a bit cooler.

In the coming months, the district will be blessed with its own, Buffalo Exchange, the famous vintage retailer that have stores across the nation, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.

For those of you unfamiliar with Buffalo Exchange, it is likely that you are:

A) Not a hipster.

B) Seriously missing out.

C) Probably spending too much money on clothing.

D) All of the above.

The 37 year-old consignment chain—which was the first of its kind—is a step above the average thrift shop, and works differently from the typical consignment store. “Our model is a bit different,” marketing director, Michelle Livingston, clarifies.

“Buffalo Exchange’s business model is actually Buy-Sell-Trade: We purchase directly from the seller and offer cash or trade on the spot. There’s no waiting for a check, and the seller doesn’t wait for the item to be sold to someone else.”

However, each store is staffed with well-trained employees who are trained to be highly selective and only purchase the “most desirable items from the public that can be resold,” Buffalo Exchange’s president, Kerstin Block told Meets Obsession.

So for those you thinking of selling those bunny ear muffs you got from grandma last Christmas, think again.

Because most of the stores’ merchandise averages $15 an item, it’s a safe bet for a last minute shopping-crisis. “You can find clothing from many places in one location – from Forever 21 to Versace. It’s one-stop shopping!” exclaims Block. The stores in San Francisco and Manhattan are always well stocked with merchandise and shoppers, and it is definitely a staple of fashion culture that D.C. has lacked over the years.

So what finally got Buffalo Exchange to the district?

“People kept asking for it, more and more,” says Block. “And we found a space in an area that would be conducive to our business.”

Eighty percent of Buffalo’s inventory comes directly from customers. “Each Buffalo Exchange store is a different shopping experience with local inventory,” explains Block, “By the community, for the community.”

The first Buffalo Exchange opened in Tucson in 1974, the D.C. location will be the “42nd company-owned” store in the country, not including their two franchises, says Livingston. The opening of Buffalo Exchange may be a positive step forward in D.C. Fashion.

Buffalo exchange will be located at 1314 14th St., NW between the Logan 14 Spa and the restaurant, The Pig.

Tayisha Busay

WhereTheGirlsGo & LezGetTogether's Glitter Explosion in Washington D.C.

Tayisha Busay

To celebrate the end of daylight savings time, last week, Brooklyn’s electro-dance band, Tayisha Busay took over D.C’s "The Islander Caribbean Restaurant & Lounge" with the help of two local queer and lesbian social media sites, WhereTheGirlsGo (WTGG) and LezGetTogether.

The event—which sold out several hours before the doors opened—could best be described as “glitter-tastic”  said WTGG writer Christina Cauterucci to Meets Obsession magazine.

While Tayisha Busay has “earned a reputation for toting copious amounts of glitter, as seen in their first music video in which they drink and puke the sparkly substance,” (as stated in their bio), the staff of WTGG brought their own. Each guest was greeted with a handful of brightly colored confetti and glitter hairspray; and some partygoers returned for a second helping of glitter spray while others requested to “do their own hair,” reported Cauterucci.

Though the band only played for 40 minutes, the diverse crowd danced like the world was ending. The audience sang along to Tayisha Busay’s most popular songs, “WTF You Doin in My Mouth” and “Bashy Face."

WhereTheGirlsGo Glitter ExplosionThe only downfall to their performance was the literal fall that the restaurant's flat screen TV took during the show. Luckily for everyone, (specifically the band’s DJ, Brandon, who’d been playing questionably close to the appliance), no one was injured. On the band's blog, they affectionately referred to this incident as “rock and roll at its finest and...a great highlight of [the] tour thus far.”

At the end of their set, an eclectic mash-up of top 40s, old school throw backs, and even a couple indie rock songs set the stage for a glittery dance party that lasted until the wee-hours of the night.

The creator of LezGetTogether and a promoter of the event, sums it all up a “Wow... Tayisha Busay rocked it... I think just about everyone walked away from the Islander that night feeling like they had a great time… Perhaps additionally wondering if the glitter would wash out before work on Monday. Every rose has its thorn, I suppose.”

Cauterucci concurred. "I'm just going to say that it was an engaged, fun-loving, attractive and glitter-covered crowd. I think 90 percent of DC’s lesbians were there, and we had a great time.”

The three band members, Tessa, Ariel, and Brandon, have built up a large following since their EP “Shock-Woo!” debuted in 2010. Along with touring aside the band, JD Samson’s MEN, they’ve played multiple shows in D.C. over the past year, including the fifth annual Phasefest in September.  Their first full-length album “Focus/Virus” was released in August.

Jonathan Keats’s Photosynthetic Restaurant Exhibit

Is Washington D.C. the Best Place for Independent and Emerging Artists?

Is Washington D.C. a Best Bet for Independent and Emerging Artists?

Most people would consider cities like San Francisco and Manhattan the artistic Meccas. Those who call these cities home revel in the artistic culture that they’ve had a hand in creating, while fledgling artists dream of moving there. One the other hand, cities like Washington D.C. have begun to build an independent art scene, but have a difficult time attracting emerging artists.

Philippa Hughes, creator and “Chief Creative Contrarian” of the district's Pink Line Project has been involved with the city’s art scene since it started. “I moved here ten years ago when the art scene was very… dry,” she told Meets Obsession. “It’s only been in the last four or five years that it’s started to take off.” She notes that the district’s small-town feel can be frustrating at times because the artists here are territorial over their space, but she’s also quick to point out that the audience for art here in D.C. is huge. “There are a lot of smart, educated people here that want to be stimulated. With the Pink Line Project I’m trying to be the gateway to art, and people want that.”

Jonathan Keats’s Photosynthetic Restaurant Exhibit

Jonathan Keats’s Photosynthetic Restaurant Exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento California

San Francisco-based artist, Jonathon Keats sees things slightly differently. “The art world has become too insular, too self-absorbed,” he says. Keats recently opened a photosynthetic restaurant for plants at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento as well as the First Copernican Art Exposition at San Francisco’s Modernism Gallery. As an artist, he questions whether or not there’s such a thing as an established artist in the eyes of the general public. Keats worries about art stagnating in set environments. “I would prefer to be emerging, rather than established, and the moment that I find myself becoming established in any very minor capacity, I break off and try something I have no business doing.”

In Keats’ eyes, San Francisco suffers from an “inferiority complex” especially when compared to it’s counterparts: New York, London or Mexico City. “Institutionally the city mistrusts its own people, preferring to import culture from elsewhere. This tends to make the museums a bit provincial. That said, many of the alternative art scenes are thriving, perhaps because the official arbiters of culture can't be bothered to interfere.”

Interestingly enough, D.C. and San Francisco are similar in size, at least population-wise yet the two are worlds apart. “I’ve always fantasized about the Bay Area being a Mecca, and not just for art but for life in general,” says Hughes. “But I’ve had several friends move there and admit to being disappointed with what they found.”

Hughes started the Pink Line Project in 2007 when she was still a lawyer who was desperately searching for an art scene in DC. Inspired by the weekly writing salon she hosted, she started a blog, which quickly demanded more and more attention. Eventually, as she was being invited to put on after-hours museum events—she quit her day job and put all her efforts into the site. “It’s like a little cheerleader for the arts,” she says explaining the role of the project.

But does that make D.C. a better city for artists and writers just starting out? Local spoken word artist, Stine Bats, has mixed feelings about D.C’s creative community. “I like the small, intimate aspects of D.C’s scene,” Bats clarifies. “But at the same time—the illusion we often get of ‘seen it all, know everyone,’ –probably makes feeling bored easier and faster to fall into than in larger urban centers.”

“It’s not easier for artists in D.C. to get off the ground,” says Hughes. “It’s an expensive city, and not yet considered art-y, but I think a lot of artists like the scene here because it’s the big fish/small pond scenario. You can make a name here very quickly, and get recognized.”

So where should artists go when starting out their career? Answers and feelings are mixed, but Keats added in a final tip for those just starting out. “Find contexts and spaces where art is absent, and make it happen.”


Lindsay Lohan

The Glamorization of Cosmetic Surgery for Young Adults

The Glamorization of Cosmetic SurgeryIs cosmetic surgery seeping into generation young? It seems that more and more women today are seeking out botox, liposuction and nose and breast enhancement treatments at younger and younger ages.

Like many popular trends, plastic surgery for twenty-somethings seems to have originated in Hollywood. With younger celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian going under the knife or needle, it’s no wonder that ordinary girls are seeking out the same work. In fact, in 2009, botox was the most common cosmetic procedure in the U.S.

But maybe the cause for increased interest in plastic surgery for teens and young adults comes from the rise in school bullying.  Just last week, ABC’s Nightline told the story of 13-year-old Nicolette Taylor from Long Island whose parents bought her a nose job because she was incessantly teased by her classmates.

Lindsay Lohan

Actress Lindsay Lohan

Her nose, which had been broken twice, “developed a crooked bump,” the girl’s mother explained during her interview with JuJu Chang. “It made her the target of taunting both in person and online.” With the rise of social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, kids can no longer leave the teasing on the school bus. Rather, it follows them home, floods their computers, and at times, invades their phones via text messages. Taylor was harassed on Facebook almost daily by her classmates.

Many teens can relate to Taylor's situation. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) website, “nearly 219,000 cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed on people age 13-19” in 2010.

Rhinoplasty, or in laymen’s terms, nose “reshaping” accounted for almost 50 percent of the procedures in that age group. Dr. Michael Olding, a board certified plastic surgeon by the American Board of Medical Specialties, confirmed that rhinoplasty was the most common procedure requested by teenagers. He added that acne treatments, as well as male breast reduction (Gynecomastia) were becoming increasingly common procedures for adolescents.

And while breast implant and liposuction procedures have lower numbers due to their higher risks, the demand for them have steadily gone up. In a 2008 report from the Journal of Adolescent Health, Doctors Diana Zuckerman and Anisha Abraham wrote that “there were roughly 3000-6000 breast implant surgeries performed yearly between 2004 and 2006” on American youth under 19 years of age.

“I see a lot of patients for breast augmentation, many of them are in their 20s, but there’s another slight peak in the 30s and early 40s after women have their kids,” said Dr. Olding.

The ASPS states on their website that “Teens frequently gain self-esteem and confidence when their physical problems are corrected.” However, couldn't it be argued that the majority of teenagers undergo a period of physical dissatisfaction with their bodies that they will eventually grow out of within a few years?

Dr. Olding agreed, “I think everyone was teased at some point in time and that can prepare you for the rest of your life as well.” Noses stop developing between 13 and 16 years of age, and breasts continue to grow through the early twenties that teens and young adults don't account for when they ask for surgeries at a young age.

TV shows, such as Extreme Makeover and Bridalplasty are also adding to the glamorization of cosmetic surgery. "Unfortunately, the media and the makeover shows have made it look so darn easy, like going to get a hair cut," said plastic surgeon, Dr. Grant Stevens to the blog, PopEater.

“Honestly I don’t think there‘s been a dramatic drop in age over the past decade,” says Dr. Olding, “But the number of procedures has increased in general which means that a higher number of teenagers are seeking out cosmetic surgery.”

As for his thoughts on Nicolette Taylor’s nose reshaping, he sympathizes with her, but points out that “when someone is under 18, surgeons have to be very careful. If the patient isn’t mature it’ll make things worse.”

He went on to explain that cosmetic surgery will not stop bullying. "If anything, it will make it worse," he said, "People need to be very aware that cosmetic surgery will not solve the problem…but Taylor seemed quite mature for her age and I don’t think it was an unreasonable thing to consider.”

Charlotte Free

Color Me Blush: Is Pink the New Blonde?

Charlotte Free
Model Charlotte Free. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Pink Hair: it’s been a long-time staple of punk culture, but as more celebrities take on the hair color, it has, perhaps, become a part of mainstream culture.

Earlier this year, 19-year old model Charlotte Free graced the fashion show runways with pixie features and vibrant pink locks after being discovered by designer Vivienne Westwood in a Los Angeles arcade.

As Free’s career continues to progress, it’s become clear that her signature hair color is what's setting her apart from the rest.

In fact, Vogue India has compared her to Kate Moss, and has credited Free for “bringing personality and dash back to the runway.”

Free, who does her own hair, has been dying it pink for the past four years but only recently has become famous for her color choice. “I used to always get shit for it,” she told the Daily Beast in an interview. “It’s kind of strange that now—all of a sudden—it’s very accepted. And it’s not just accepted—it’s everywhere.”

It does seem to be everywhere these days. Singer Katy Perry donned pink hair this past August, while baby pink seems to be the staple for rapper, Nicki Minaj.

Sienna Miller went with a peachy-rose color this fall, and even Barbie has gotten an edgy punk, pink-haired makeover.

Sienna Miller
 Sienna Miller. Photo: Splash News

But is this color craze a fad or will pink become the what was I thinking moment among bad fashion hairdos of the decade?

“We have a lot of request for funky colored tips,” says Lauren Kenny, a colorist at Andy Lecompte Salon in West Hollywood. “For a while shades of lilac and purple were...sought after, but we’re...seeing more pink now... Kate Bosworth, of Blue Crush, just did mint green tips. I think because celebrities are now doing it, non-natural hair color is becoming more mainstream with non-funky people.”

Even Kenny, who’s been with the salon since they opened three years ago, dyed her hair completely pink last week. “I’ve been experimenting with funky colored tips for the past 6 months. But I decided to go all out with cotton candy pink. Having your whole head dyed is a lot of fun!”

The receptionist at Bang Salon in DC however, isn’t quite so sure. “There are some crazy colors coming and going, but I haven't seen any pink-haired girls leave or make...appointments for pink dye jobs. I have noticed a lot of purple and merlots for fall though, but then I’m also not here every day.”


Artisphere: The Future of Arlington's Urban Arts Center


Last Saturday, Arlington’s very own Artisphere celebrated its one-year anniversary with “The 1 Party” that was filled with DJs, dancing, dome lighting, and art made onsite.

Artisphere—which opened its doors last October—was created from a collaboration between Arlington county and local non profits. The venue houses multiple programs, events and workshops for all ages.

“One of our signature ideas is serving as a connection point between the artist and the audience,” says communications and marketing director, Annalisa Meyer. “Over the past year we’ve really worked to strengthen this connection.”

Saturday’s “The 1 Party” turned out a crowd of 400. “It was a really great evening. People really responded quite well,” says Meyer.Artisphere

However, the art center, funded by Arlington County, hosted less than a third of their estimated 300,000 visitors in its first year.

They are currently requesting an additional $800,000 to supplement the original first year budget of $3 million.

The director, Jose Ortiz, admitted to the Washington Post that Artisphere did not meet their original “very ambitious” predictions (notes Meyer), but Oritiz and the rest of the Artisphere team are still maintaining a positive attitude.

They’re currently rewriting their business plan that will be presented to the county board later this fall.

Starting this week, Rosanna Ruscetti—who headed George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium for 18 years—will become the newest addition to the Artisphere crew.  “We’re very excited about this,” says Meyer. “Ruscetti is incredibly knowledgeable about operating an art center of this size.”

The rough first year hasn’t disheartened the people behind Artisphere. They believe that the venue will soon distinguish itself from its better-known, more traditional neighbors just across the Key Bridge. “Most of our art is interactive, and the artists tend to create a their work onsite. Here you can have a direct dialogue with the artist,” Meyer points out. “You don’t see those types of projects that often.”

ArtisphereSo what does year number two have in store?

Apparently, more of the same thing, “What does that mean?” asks Meyer. “It means our audience can expect to continue exploring a favorite art form while discovering something new.”

Meyer is most excited about one of  Artisphere's fall exhibit,  Data/Fields, a new media—sound and technology art that’s interactive with the audience—installation work curated by Richard Chartier.

Data/Fields is up in the Terrace Gallery now through November 27.  “We’re feeling really good about the first year,” says Meyer. “In the last 12 months we’ve done an incredible amount of art and now we’re excited about the year to come.”

To view pictures from Artisphere's 1 Party, click here.

Kathleen Hanna and Sini Anderson

The Punk Singer: Kathleen Hanna's Story in True DIY Fashion

The Punk SIngerShe just pretty much started the whole riot grrrl music scene, but hey..."

I might be quoting The L Word but I’m talking about Kathleen Hanna—the former front woman of both Bikini Kill and Le Tigre.

For the past 20 years Hanna, a huge woman’s rights and pro-choice activist as well as a “founder” of third wave feminism, has been an idol to many. Finally she, along with her close friend, filmmaker Sini Anderson, are ready to tell her story.

Nearly two years ago Hanna approached Anderson about working on the documentary Who Took The Bomp? Le Tigre on Tour, but instead of focusing on one year of Le Tigre’s run, Anderson wanted to concentrate on Hanna’s entire career.

“Kathleen was scared,” says Anderson to Meets Obsession magazine. “But I kept telling her how crucial her personal story is and that needs to be told before she’s seventy, or dead.”

Hanna finally agreed and the two friends began working on the project now known as The Punk Singer.

The film combines 20 years of footage and interviews with Hanna’s former bandmates Kathi Wilcox (Bikini Kill), and Johanna Fateman and J.D. Samson of Le Tigre, her husband Adam Horovitz (aka Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys), feminist scholars, and of course, Hanna herself.

“I paid a lot of attention to the aesthetic,” says Anderson. “The film is shot like her art, but I also wanted to hear her story and push her to answer questions she’s never answered before. I think we’ve done that.”

The Punk Singer, Anderson’s first feature film, was shot with nearly no funding other than the director’s savings account and a crew that was willing to work for free.

On September 13, the final interviews were handed over to editor, Bo Mehrad, who’s been working on the project for the past several months.

“I was more concerned with making the film than raising the money to make the film,” explains Anderson who says that only three percent of the budget was raised for the year and a half of filming. “The production was produced on magic. Post-production, however, takes more than magic. It needs tangible money.”

Kathleen Hanna and Sini Anderson

Kathleen Hanna (left) with Sini Anderson (right). Courtesy of Sini Anderson.

How much money does The Punk Singer need to be completed? The “bare-bone minimum” as Anderson calls it, is $44,000.

On September 27, Anderson created an account on Kickstarter.com and has one month to raise the entire amount. But in the true DIY spirit of punk rock and riot girl fashion, over $39,000 has already been pledged.

“I didn’t want to do a kickstarter ‘cause I didn’t want to ask,” explains Anderson. “But what I’ve realized is that all this support we’re getting is artistic fuel for me. It’s the thing I didn’t know I needed until I saw it.”

If the money isn’t raised by October 27, Anderson says they’ll keep going just like they have been, but editing will come to a halt.

However, if more than $44,000 is raised, the remaining money will be put towards color correction, sound mixing, and paying debts.

“We cannot get too much money pledged for this project. We have a budget that’s a year and a half long. The $44,000 only covers 16 weeks of that.”

Why pledge?

Because this film is for everyone who loves Kathleen Hanna, her music, her message, queer art, and independent art.

Anderson says that the best part of making The Punk Singer for her has consistently been that “every time I thought it was more than I could handle, I’ve gone back to the footage and within minutes of watching it, I’m convinced it's not too much for me. Kathleen is really inspiring in that way.”