My name is Tessa. I am from Los Angeles, and now I live in Brooklyn. This is as succinct as I get.
Email:strain.tessa@gmail.com Questions: Ask me them Twitter: @tessastrain
Fashion & Style: THE ONLY LOOK THAT MATTERS
Art: NUMBER 1 PEN NUMBER 2 THOUGHTS


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Apr 14, 2013
@ 3:41 pm
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13 notes

I had a dream about Aaron Carter and the internet.

I had a dream about Aaron Carter and the internet.


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Apr 11, 2013
@ 6:38 pm
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19 notes

My induction into the manliest film franchise.

My induction into the manliest film franchise.


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Apr 9, 2013
@ 10:57 am
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11 notes

my ego

my ego


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Apr 9, 2013
@ 10:34 am
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9 notes

Here’s the dog from Blue Hawaii.

Here’s the dog from Blue Hawaii.


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Apr 9, 2013
@ 10:20 am
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22 notes

Living in the Sunlight, Loving in the Moonlight

Spring is here, and I’ve been shaking the cobwebs out of my head.

Here is a picture of me right now:

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Warm weather fills me with equal parts excitement and dread. This is my first experience earning spring through a long, tedious winter, but I also loathe summer because it tends to bum me out and make my bangs greasy.

The Beach Party series was always a balm to my Summertime S.A.D.ness, so it seemed a particularly poignant time to lose Annette Funicello. She had the kind of girlish/mature voice that went out of fashion sometime in the ’70s, exuberant but with a weirdly threatening undertow. She sang about vacations and muscles and boyfriends with the best of them.

Roget Ebert also died, which I didn’t feel I could write about at the time. I can trace my desire to write my opinions on the internet to growing up watching At the Movies every Sunday evening. At the time, I didn’t realize how mind-boggling it was that there were critics who could make arguments that were sophisticated but also intelligible to actual children. When I was a kid I identified more with Gene Siskel because I also had brown hair and a long face.

Here is an image of me writing this:

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What amazed me about Ebert was returning to his criticism as an adult and being blown away by his writing. I had literally thought At the Movies was just a show for kids about movies their parents wouldn’t let them see. The idea of bickering in a balcony with a respectful frenemy  for television is still my dream job. I still feel more comfortable writing about movies than anything else because I was indoctrinated into film criticism at such a formative age.

Speaking of movies I wasn’t allowed to see as a child, I’m champing (not chomping! I used to think it was chomping but it is champing, and I hate it, but I am not the President of Idioms although I am running in the coming election) to see Jurassic Park on the big screen for the first time because when it was released I was five and my parents were like “This will be too scary for you.” My “BUT WHO LOVES DINOSAURS MORE THAN ME” argument went unanswered.

The book of Jurassic Park is about why people leave comments that say “first!!!1!” and the movie is about being a director. Steven Spielberg tried to make the character of John Hammond less hateable because he identified with his flair for spectacle.

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He ended up predicting his own future career as well as those of George Lucas and James Cameron. Things get out of hand very quickly when people stop saying no to you. Francis Ford Coppola should have been in this group, but, like Werner Herzog, he is at home in disaster and knows how to steer into the skid and just be crazy. We’ll get to enjoy more of this approach this summer. There is nothing worse than an expensive movie that looks cheap but an expensive movie that looks expensive might even better than a cheap movie that looks expensive, even though the latter requires more ingenuity to pull off (just ask me, I still shop at Forever 21).

Speaking of which, I’m writing about style and fashion now because I needed to do something a little bit out of my element to get my arrogant Valley girl voice back, and carrying a baseball bat around the streets of New York seems a little extreme, even though it would make me look tough as hell.

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Go Dodgers.

I helped table at MoCCA this past weekend, which was a nice change of pace for me because I have a short attention span (every paragraph in this post is basically an essay I feel too agitated to strap in and write) and need constant stimulation, even though I crave consistency and hate change. I contain multitudes.

I enjoy comics because, although I love to write and draw, it’s one of the few media I have no real desire to create. I have long been one of those assholes who thinks they can pretty much do whatever, so it’s hard for me to approach any situation without a veritable buttload of ego (this is why I categorically refuse to do private room karaoke—it defeats the entire purpose). I like reading comics; I like talking about them and meeting people who make them.

I’m always wary of getting in too deep with anything because I’m equal parts attracted and repulsed by cultishness and conformity. My sweet spot is Welcome but Non-Essential, which sometimes feels very lonely but provides the illusion of agency, much like owning a car. I am kind of not sure how I ended up in the comics community, but it permits me be an insider-y tourist, and actually, there’s a pretty great comic about that very phenomenon.

What I really want more than anything is to be a jock, and I’m pretty sure my abject failure as an athlete is what drove me directly into acting. I gave up on acting so I could stop hating my nose.

Here is a picture of my celebrity doppelganger:

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Thx 4 listening.


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Apr 8, 2013
@ 10:11 am
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12 notes

Pouring one out for Annette today. Summer won’t be the same without you, girl.


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Mar 24, 2013
@ 4:51 pm
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20 notes

I saw the movie Kazaam in theaters & here is the one part I remember:

The villain takes Shaq for a ride in a limo & tries to out him as a genie by offering him goats’ eyeballs, “the favorite food of genies.” Shaq takes one enthusiastically, exclaiming “I haven’t had one of these in about five thousand…uh, DAYS.”

That’s it.


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Mar 23, 2013
@ 11:34 am
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136 notes

The Only Look That Matters Mailbag: The Warriors

onlylookthatmatters:

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I’m so glad you asked!

When it comes to Looks That Matter, The Warriors is in the celestial heights with the rarified company of such films as Barbarella and Valley of the Dolls. Something worthwhile in damn near every frame, but I’ll try to boil it down to a few of my favorites.

Matching embroidered satin jackets is a look that matters.

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The Warriors breaks a lot of new ground as far as matching gang uniforms go, but you absolutely can’t go wrong with this old chestnut. I’ll advocate for the ol’ greyscale ‘til I die, but this is a look that demands color, so GIVE IT WHAT IT WANTS.

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Nightmare baseball clown is a look that matters. The Baseball Furies are my favorite Warriors gang (sorry, the actual Warriors), and they have a lot to teach us about a look that is more than the sum of its parts. Elements that would be silly individually are intimidating in combination. A baseball player with a baseball bat isn’t threatening—who better to actually have a baseball bat? But a clown with a baseball bat is terrifying. For sheer intimidation, the Furies take it.

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On the other end of it, 1950s hoodlums who haven’t done laundry in years is a look that matters. The Orphans are supposed to be the sad sack gang of New York City, but I absolutely love what they’re wearing. Look at these skinny little street toughs—they’re like the Ramones before they bought jackets! Fit and filth are the key words here; these would be dad jeans if they weren’t worn to oblivion and fitted within an inch of their lives. Shirts tucked in, for heaven’s sake. If you’re committing to the higher waist, you have to go all the way (or half and half! half and half works). Great look for tattoos. 

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Late ’70s post-prom teens is a look that matters. A signature era for promwear (see also: Carrie), it’s a more is more look. Big lapels, lots of ruffles, which makes it look great out of context. This is actually the measure of a good prom look. Prom clothes are not for looking good at the prom; they are for looking good at the mantlepiece where your parents are taking pictures of you and for looking good at the fast food restaurant you go to before the after party. These are collars for tucking paper napkins into and devouring cheeseburgers with great care to keep your fancy ‘dos out of the ketchup, skirts for hiking up in the back seat of a limo. This is how you play the game.

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What the cat dragged in is a look that matters. A flexible look, too—it can be almost anything, as long as it provokes someone to ask “What the hell happened to you?” All you have to do in response is grin (because you’ll have a missing tooth, right?).

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The Canadian Tuxedo is a look that matters. Look at this beautiful lumberjack of a woman. You can do it with either the denim jacket or a tucked in denim shirt, but the jeans are definitely high-waisted. Love the neckerchief, the mug should be metal, though.

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Your friends are a look that matters (that’s kind of what this whole movie is about, come to think of it). These two girls look so much cooler standing next to each other than they would alone. I love that The Lizzies aren’t immediately obvious as a gang (except to the audience) because their uniform (the diagonal tie-dyed t-shirt) is buried under a variety of cool jackets and fun hairstyles.

And speaking of fun hairstyles, big hair is a look that matters, and The Warriors has it for days.

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You can even put a headband around it! I’m waiting for a big hair renaissance. We’re about due, no?

Listen to me talk about some more looks that matter.


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Mar 21, 2013
@ 11:57 am
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24 notes

onlylookthatmatters:

All-denim couple’s formal wear is the only look that matters.
The gesture is manufactured, but it takes genuine earnestness to carry it off. You are looking at two people who think this is a really good idea. It gives them an ease that, for example, many starlets who are too quickly labeled “fashion icons” for merely being clotheshorses can never attain. 
The look may not have been their idea, but it could have been, which is the missing ingredient in most celebrity styling. Look at Britney’s gown: it’s hideous, but the fit is flawless. Looking costume-y and looking credible are not mutually exclusive.

I’ll never stop telling you about the looks that matter. 

onlylookthatmatters:

All-denim couple’s formal wear is the only look that matters.

The gesture is manufactured, but it takes genuine earnestness to carry it off. You are looking at two people who think this is a really good idea. It gives them an ease that, for example, many starlets who are too quickly labeled “fashion icons” for merely being clotheshorses can never attain. 

The look may not have been their idea, but it could have been, which is the missing ingredient in most celebrity styling. Look at Britney’s gown: it’s hideous, but the fit is flawless. Looking costume-y and looking credible are not mutually exclusive.

I’ll never stop telling you about the looks that matter. 


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Mar 21, 2013
@ 10:11 am
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19 notes

onlylookthatmatters:

(Dirty Dancing)
Shirtless with glasses is the only look that matters, Coco Chanel’s oft-paraphrased instruction to “remove one thing at the door” taken to its logical Platonic conclusion.
The glasses tell you this is no accident (the watch might be, but what a perfect Boring Watch). It’s the deliberateness that makes it so ruinous. Look at Baby on the right, quietly wigging out as she is inducted into a world of real life, grown-ass, on purpose sexuality. This is a look that was engineered for grinding.
Don’t you just wanna weep?

My new vanity project, wherein I rant about style and fashion. Won’t you join me?

onlylookthatmatters:

(Dirty Dancing)

Shirtless with glasses is the only look that matters, Coco Chanel’s oft-paraphrased instruction to “remove one thing at the door” taken to its logical Platonic conclusion.

The glasses tell you this is no accident (the watch might be, but what a perfect Boring Watch). It’s the deliberateness that makes it so ruinous. Look at Baby on the right, quietly wigging out as she is inducted into a world of real life, grown-ass, on purpose sexuality. This is a look that was engineered for grinding.

Don’t you just wanna weep?

My new vanity project, wherein I rant about style and fashion. Won’t you join me?