If you’re looking for the most powerful hair dryer or the handiest chef’s knife, those things can be easy enough to find. Other objects of desire are a little more taste-based. What’s the next status water bottle or hand wash, for instance? If you have a burning question about the next fanny pack or Noah rugby shirt, Chris Black is here to answer it in a regular column.
What a timely question. Over the holiday break, while you were skiing, eating your way through Japan, or basking in the Bali sun, I was having back-to-back dental surgeries and recovering at my parents’ house. It was a journey, and weeks later, I’m almost back to normal. Tooth stuff has been on the brain!
I also have this wild charcoal teeth-whitening powder that works! (Regular readers may recognize it, as Strategist has featured the stuff before.) It makes your sink look like you spit up a giant bowl of squid-ink pasta, but we do crazy stuff to make our teeth white. It’s worth it.
Can you recommend a stylish nightstand or side table?
The Ionick side table from Matter that I have my eye on retails for $4,100 … which is … too much. Luckily, I have some more affordable options on deck!
This low table that Charles and Ray Eames designed for Herman Miller is perfect if you keep your bed low to the ground (but not a mattress on the floor — grow up). It comes in a myriad of finishes that all feature the iconic wire base.
Hay’s Don’t Leave Me Side Table (sounds like a Smiths song title) has a cleverly placed handle for easy movement from room to room, should you ever tire of it next to your bed. Made from powder-coated steel, it’s also super light and comes in black, white, and three other neutralish colors in addition to this “racing green.”
What’s on your reading list these days?
Ah, yes, the beginning of a new year, a new decade. We should all hope to read more!
If you have even a passing interest in the art world, I highly recommend Michael Shnayerson’s Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art. It details all the big personalities, big transactions, and market manipulations within that industry from the 1940s until today, featuring characters like the wheeling-and-dealing gallerists Larry Gagosian and Gavin Brown, along with iconic artists like Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and Cy Twombly. An exceptional look behind the curtain.
Ben Lerner’s The Topeka School has garnered a lot of attention … because it is actually that good. It’s a family drama set in the Midwest at the turn of the century (1997). The overarching theme is the challenge of raising a good son in a culture of toxic masculinity, but the story also touches on the fall of public speech and the continuing identity crisis among white men.
I enjoyed Natasha Stagg’s Sleeveless — a collection of essays (so hot right now!) and stories commissioned by fashion, art, and culture magazines. Stagg is direct and cynical with a perfect sprinkling of nostalgia. Really up my street. She was an editor at a fashion magazine, an advertising copy writer, and a branding consultant, so her cultural criticism feels authentic and — more importantly — of the moment. The sections about fashion and the internet are the strongest.
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