Archive for April, 2011

He ain’t heavy, he’s tie brother

April 16, 2011

Yep, more rock songs are acting as muse for my subjects. You can’t fight a streak, I guess.

Before I get to the reason I went looking for a tietle with ‘brother’ in it, I need to point out an interesting fashion segué that I discovered while taking an Adult-ADD-inspired surf around YouTube. In this case, interesting means hilariously embarrassing.

First, check out The Hollies’ video of “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” It’s a good ol’, late-60s anthem, and lead singer Allan Clarke looks resplendent in his mod tuxedo and black tie. I especially love the pocket squares on them all that are exploding out of their pockets. Now, let’s go to (one of my favorite songs of all time, although I may demand a recount after seeing this video) “Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress” from 1972. The mod tux has been left at the cleaners for 3 years now, and the permed Mr. Clarke has tied his pocket square around his neck. The satin jacket WITH NO SHIRT underneath just slays me. Slays me dead with tears of laughter frozen on my face. So many fashion things have come back from that era—bell-bottoms and big hair—but please, God please don’t bring back the shirtless jacket look. I’m sure many of you out there agree with this fashion plea.

Anyway, today is my brother Grant’s birthday. He ain’t heavy, he’s just 39 (me minus 3), so next year should be a fun one, maybe even with a party. Hopefully I’ll get an invitation (inside joke).

My Tie du Jour has absolutely nothing to do with Grant, though. It’s a Colker Special, which signifies that it is one of the dozen or so ties loaned to me by my friend David Colker. The brand is Format, which I’ve never heard of, but it’s a long, cool black tie with some funky stripes in a V-pattern.

I wasn’t able to capture any real live Guys With Ties on this day, but I was able to pluck a shot of the incoming and outgoing managers at Dunder Mifflin. Michael Scott and DeAngelo Vickers are here, showing off their fashion sense. Diggin’ that tie clip on Vickers/Ferrell.

Thanks for reading, and Happy Birthday, Grant…Brooke

Tie do birds suddenly appear?

April 15, 2011

I’ve been on a lyrics kick lately, but I guess I’ll do whatever it takes to keep the subjects rolling. That’s the kind of service you should expect from 100 Days, 100 Ties. Oh, sure, we may be just another corporate behemoth, printing money and using third-world countries as our personal chessboard, but we employ an army of public relations professionals to make it seem like we care about service. And about you, oh loyal consumer.

Ohhhhhkay. That’s what happens when you fall asleep too early, wake up seemingly refreshed and sit down to post a blog (still hate that word).

We now return to our regularly scheduled program…

After even more blather about my lack of green ties, I fired up another one. My Tie du Jour is a multi-green from BCBG‘s Attitude collection. It definitely provoked a couple of different attitudes, as it garnered some comments from both ends of the spectrum. My friend Cynthia Early (a Girls With Ties alum), at a chamber event, said outright: “Well, that’s an ugly tie.” A couple of people defended it at the same meeting, but the damage to TdJ’s psyche was done. It was brought back to the sunshine later on, when a couple of folks complimented it. There, there…all better, greenie.

Wednesday evening was kind of a treat/blast-from-past. Went to see an amazing band called Expo ’76 at Simon’s down in Andersonville. Their drummer, John Carpender, is a good friend of Jenny’s, and three of his bandmates, including their lead singer Dag Juhlin, are in Poi Dog Pondering. Now, Poi Dog is the band that I have seen most in the world. From Mabel’s down in Champaign to Lounge Ax (RIP…respect) in Lincoln Park to Ravinia in Highland Park…I’ve probably seen them 10 or 12 times in various setups and getups and drinkups. They play a bunch of 70s and 80s covers, and yet, they throw in one of my favorite songs, “Can’t Hardly Wait” by the Replacements. Aaaanyway, last night was amazing because Poi Dog’s lead singer, Frank Orrall (can you get a more perfect name for a singer? well, maybe my former college roommate David Singer, of David Singer and the Sweet Science) guest-sang for a couple of songs. It had been at least a decade since I’d last seen him sing (that would be their mid-day kid’s show at Ravinia over a dozen years ago…Expo ’98, methinks?). He can still belt it out, believe me…I was about 4 feet from him. Very cool.

And, wouldn’t you know it…Expo ’76 keyboardist Kenn Goodman was sporting a tie again. I have actually taken a picture of him at prior shows, but the light was terrible. In this one the light is much better…but, sheesh. His face is a total blur. Sorry, Kenn, but I have a crapiPhone with a crapiCamera. Tie looks good, though…

Thanks for reading…Brooke

There’s gold in them thar ties

April 13, 2011

It becomes a special moment in a blogger’s life/career/project when he/she can use colloquial semi-words like ‘thar’ and think that she/he can get away with it. In my case, I needed a gold pun, and dammit, I went with it. Too late to go back, thar or anywhar.

Who Shot My Couch?

The reason for my gold-digging ways was my Tie du Jour, which is definitely more autumnal than April-esque. It’s from Wembley, which have definitely produced some of my best vintage numbers. Total fire hazard, with all its orlon and dacron  that some moron thought would be a good silk substitute. But, it made for some interesting colors, and in the 60s and 70s, highway-wide came right on the heels of the Mad Men-thinnies.

Some news in the professional arena…our search committee has found a more-than-suitable replacement for my former boss. The Chamber’s new Executive Director is Eve Doi, who has been an executive with the Ames (IA) Chamber. Elaine and I got a chance to speak with her last week, and she will do a fantastic job. As long as she doesn’t institute casual attire for the membership fella, I’ll be ok. Perhaps we’ll get her to wear a tie to a networking event.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

sex, ties and videotape

April 12, 2011

I wonder if the word ‘sex’ will spice up my google hits in the next day or so. We shall see.

Speaking of spicing up my google hits, Monday may turn out to be a bigger thing for 100 Days, 100 Ties. A few weeks ago, my friend Diana Turcotte told a WGN/WCIU-TV personality about my tie project/obsession. A few phone calls later, I spent the morning being interviewed for WCIU’s “Uniquely Chicago” series by the lovely Jane Monzures, who actually shares my love for neckties. In this photo she is wearing an amazing skirt that she designed and made out of–what else?–ties! She makes skirts, shirts, halter tops, belts, shorts…whatever her mind fancies–check out her collections on her company website, JEM-Stone. We’re already concocting a plan to collaborate on a very special ties project…stay tuned.

So, I have to admit that I played a little tie game yesterday. I donned my Tie du Jour for the pre-taping portion of my day, and then changed into another one for the shoot. There was a Lee Allison tie from a couple of weeks ago that I really wanted to wear for the taping. I know, I know, how can I choose from over 250 already-worns? It was nigh impossible, but it was the first one that came to me. A lot of my ties got air time, believe me.

As of now, the segment is slated to run on April 28 on WCIU Channel 26. It’ll also be on their web page, and I will of course let y’all know.

So, my TdJ has a little bit of home in it, and a little bit of a very good tie friend, Dan Murrell. I mentioned a few weeks ago that he came up to Chicago for a convention, and he brought me a tie from James Davis men’s store, a true Memphis institution. It’s a bit turquoise with purple medallions all over it…a great tie over all. And, since I have a friend here in town whose name is Jim Davis, I’m hoping to give it to him to wear. Not sure if he’ll be as excited.

My favorite roving photographer (my Mom) was on her game big time, down at my cousin Wes’s wedding in Louisiana.

Here we have her older brother, Buddy. My dad tells a great story. They were at some business dinner, and some guy found out that my Mom’s maiden name is Huval, and that she grew up in Louisiana. He said, “Oh, do you know a David Huval?” “No, I don’t think so,” she replied. My dad leaned into her and said, “Honey, that’s your brother…Buddy.”

Then we have GWT alum/contributor, Beaux Jones, sporting his sweet Jones New York tie that I sent him a couple of months back. He is with my beautiful Mom in one pic, and with my beautiful cousin Dawn Lopez in the other. Should’ve gone to this wedding…

And speaking of Joneses, here’s one of my boyhood heroes, Beaux’s dad, Bert Jones, with his tie-wearing grandson. I attended Bert’s wedding in 1976, and there is a great picture of a bunch of the kids with him and his wife, my cousin Danni. Gotta find that, cuz I’m sure Bert is wearing another tie.

And, last but certainly not least, we have Dawn’s brother, Jimmy, hangin’ with my mom. Definitely should’ve gone to this nuptial affair…

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Can’t spell “Happy Birthday Brooke” without T-I-E

April 10, 2011

That’s what one of my cards said (more on that later), as well as one of my Facebook birthday shout-outs from GWT alum Pat Kelly.

So, my favorite day of the year came, and it was truly a great day, worthy of its #1 space in my rankings of all 365 days of the year. Next year, it will be even more powerful, as it will also rank ahead of February 29, which makes its quadrennial appearance.

Beyond the rankings, my day actually started the night before (which is definitely a Top 5 Jour du Year), when my ladyfriend Jenny made me a wonderful dinner, and presented me with a very special tie.

Here it is, a stunning purple (it’s officially called “Joker Purple”–Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson & Heath Ledger would all be pleased) solid from Handsome & Lace, a fantastic company run by a woman named Keira, who does wonderful things with recycled fabric. Jenny found her online and spent a lot of time pondering the perfect strip. I was glad I got to wear it on Friday, and it looked perfect with this shirt, although I do have a birthday bias.

There is a great touch on this tie, which I’ve not seen before…a small pocket under the keeper (the tie-holdie-thingie) that can fit a small iPod, or a couple sticks of gum, or money, or an ID, or, or…you get the picture. Keira did a marvelous job crafting it, and Jenny did a wonderful thing finding such a thoughtful gift. Thanks, Keira, and thanks Jenny (jon).

On the actual night of my birthday, I went out with my best gal…Julia! She had just returned from a trip to Cancun, just in time to take her ol’ dad out to Kuni’s for sushi. Jackie here has worked there for much longer than the 14 years I’ve been a customer, and wouldn’t you know it, she wears a small bow tie to work everyday?!

So, for my first official blog entry at the age of 42 (even though my last two were also written today), I again thank you for reading…Brooke


Hit the bulls-tie

April 10, 2011

It’s good to be a bull these days. The Chicago Bulls are clicking on all cylinders as they gun for the top seed in the NBA playoffs. Point guard Derrick Rose is the likely league Most Valuable Player and new coach Tom Thibodeau (can’t spell it w/o T-I-E, of course) will get serious consideration for Coach of the Year. As for real bulls, well, they are generally the only male in a field of 10-2000 cows, and get to do the nasty and make more hamburger for the world.

I call the toro to mind because my Tie du Jour is adorned with them. It may be difficult to see on the pictures, but they are there. My TdJ is tagless, so I don’t know where these bulls came from; well, I know that they came from the Salvation Army store on Oakton, but the original place of, um, origin is unbeknownst. To me.

Here’s a closeup, in case you can’t make out the bulls in the big picture.

This is (or at least this was, since it’s now press-time) my last day as a 41-year old, as tomorrow (or the other day, rather) is my birthday.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Ties, ties, ties yeah!

April 10, 2011

Really behind here…this is the first time I’ve had three posts to write. Really putting the blah in blog, so let’s get to it.

My subject calls to mind the Thompson Twins song, “Lies.” It is most definitely NOT rock, so co-lead vocalist Tom Bailey’s tie in this video gets him charter membership in the SPWT category (Synth Popper With Tie).

A bit of a rarity here with my Tie du Jour: a green tie! As much as I love green clothes, I’m rather surprised that I have so few green ties. I seem to recall wearing a couple of green ones in my first week or two of 100D100T, but I never really replenished the supply to great effect. This glowing green strip, with purple and blue stripes, is a beauty from Astor & Black. My friend Billie Kershasky works for A&B, and led me to a sweet tie sale on their website.

My GWT radar was in the ‘on’ position as I captured a pic of a new Guy With Tie, attorney Manish Bhatia. He has his own estate planning legal practice here in Evanston, and he came to our Lawyers, Guns & Money event at The Celtic Knot. The focus in this pic is awful…he had a great tie and you can barely tell.

I have a birthday coming up (at press time it has already come and gone), so I’m pondering the Tie du Birthday (at press time I already know the TdB). Stay tuned for the reveal…

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Give it the old college tie…

April 6, 2011

After the battle royale on Monday that really didn’t happen, I was indeed locked in a battle on Tuesday. [Insert athletically-motivational and Olympically-inspirational music here] The theater: the McGaw YMCA. The battlefield: Racquetball Court 1. The spoils: The B-League racquetball championship of the galaxy (plus trophy and permanent plaque placement). Chris Tirres, champion of the B-1 Division, was pitted against yours truly, who survived B-2, for all the marbles.

Alas, Chris is a better player, and he proved it on this day. Using a wicked array of mixed-speed serves, he took the games 15-10 and 15-14. I did my best, but a few unforced errors (along with several more of the forced-by-kickass-shot variety) did me in. Oh, and I had him 14-12 in the second game. Wonder what the 2nd place trophy looks like.

No time for crying, though, it was a busy day, and my vintage purple TdJ got me through it. Not sure how to describe it beyond vintage. And purple. It’s got a couple of patterns, as you can see from the pic. One of the tags says Artcraft Creations, and the other tells where the tie was sold: B&F Toggery of Springfield, Illinois.

Thanks for reading…Brooke

Searching Tie and Low

April 6, 2011

Monday was a pretty big day in Chamberland (or should I call it Chambertown? Chamberville? Dang, Chamber City sounds pretty cool, too). A several-week search for a new Executive Director culminated in a decathlon-style, 10-event face-to-face battle, held at Ryan Field/Dyche Stadium. A pulsating throng of 55,000 rabid citizens chanted the opponents’ names as they vied for the opportunity to lead the…oh, who am I kidding? Two very qualified candidates interviewed with Elaine and me at the chamber offices before making a presentation before our board, our search committee and other members. It was a very nice process…but tell me the decathlon battle-royal wouldn’t have been cool. You can’t! Oh, well, next time.

I felt it was a day for a professional tie, and I think my John W. Nordstrom strip (the Nordstrip?) fit the bill. It’s a dark navy with lighter blue diamonds and ninja throwing stars adorning. Actually they’re probably regular stars, as condoning such a violent implement of death was likely not Nordstrom’s intent. That would’ve definitely affected my choice along the aforementioned professional lines.

There were a lot of ties in the room, and I was able to get a couple of GWT alums to re-pose…

Dave Skrodzki was a vital cog in the machine that was our search committee. Through his firm, PharmExecs, Dave has been a part of a multitude of executive recruiting exercises, so his expertise was very valuable to us. Plus, he wears only Jerry Garcia ties…

Our board president, Steve Hagerty, was of course on hand to direct the proceedings. He has overseen this process from the very beginning.

Back at the office, I found that Andrew Freeman, of Pension Specialists (who sub-lease part of our office from us), was sporting a tie (it’s not that often that he does). It takes a real man to wear a pink tie, in my humble, Chinese-throwing-star-tie-wearing opinion. Not many Harley Davidson riders can pull it off, but Andrew certainly did.

Thanks for reading…Brooke


Tie Me Out To The Ballgame

April 5, 2011

Well, my plans were to attend the Cubs Opening Day extravaganza on Friday, but work got in the way. My former boss, Jonathan Perman, was tending to his final days as Executive Director of the Evanston Chamber, and he kept extending that tending. Thursday the 31st was to be his last day; then he made it Friday the 1st; and, in an action that was not a late April Fool’s Day gag, his last day was Saturday the 2nd.

I mention him because, as a going-away present, I gave him (what else?) a tie. And not just any tie…I gifted him the one, the only, Tie No. 1. The very first tie that I wore, oh, 256 ties ago or something. What a nice guy.

As the opening line suggests, I ended up NOT going to the game, but my Tie du Jour somewhat reflects the day’s (planned) activity. My Geoffrey Beene is not only (Cubbie?) blue, but it has diamonds all over it. And yes, they double as squares, but then again, so does the baseball diamond.

With a spot of decent weather on Saturday, I was somehow reminded that it is almost time to bust out the seersucker. Which gets me to the fact that I need to get a couple more bow ties. My friend Dan will soon be loaning me some, hopefully enough that I can hold another Bow Tie Fortnight.

Thanks for reading…Brooke