Friday, March 27, 2009

lift up your hearts and sing me a song

One of my favorite films that has come out in recent years was Julie Taymor's "Across the Universe." It was a film I liked not because of the script, or the plotline, but because of the truth in the story and the visual aspect of it as a whole. The use of the Beatles' music really lifted the film to a completely new level, I think. On its own, I felt the story had an okay enough narrative that turned the last few years of the sixties into a recognizable and nostalgic time for anyone watching the film. This was something I both liked and disliked about the film -- I was somewhat glad that the film was relatable to a wide audience, but I didn't feel like Across the Universe really awarded any true devout fans of the sixties or the Beatles, more specifically. The names of the characters in the film were obvious (Jude...Lucy...Sadie...JoJo). Some of the events of the 60s are glossed over so that the audience receives a beautifully turbulent package of this time -- antiwar protesting, rock music, and the drug counterculture -- all tied up in a pretty bow. By assuming that the audience knows the Beatle basics and the major events of the sixties, Taymor is given license to have fun with creating a psychedelic scene scored with newly-arranged classics. The film truly is a visual masterpiece; even in scenes that are rather superfluous to the storyline, you can't help but get carried away in the excitement. I remember reading in the New York Times review that Across the Universe was a film that you watched and fell in love with. "[Its] like falling in love with another person. Imperfections, however glaring, become endearing quirks once you’ve tumbled." I feel like this is really true. Across the Universe is a film where style triumphs over substance, but in the end, I love it dearly.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

you need to go home and get your whole face remixed

Sorry I have been absent for a while, I am finishing up finals. And sorry if this post is not very insightful or interesting or frankly supplying any new information. I think my brain is temporarily devoid of any original thoughts. Hopefully a 24-hour recharge and I will be back on my game.
Vintage-inspired photography, especially if it is inspired by one particular person, is always a thin line to walk. On the one hand, when executed well, the shoot can be inspired, gorgeous, and the model will be the object of my envy/affection for weeks. But, if not done well, one risks looking like a cheap parody of a legend (cough cough Lindsay Lohan doing "the Last Sitting"). In my personal opinion, photoshoots that are inspired and then reinterpreted by the photographer are the most gorgeous and the most successful. I think where Lindsay went wrong was that the photographer, Bert Stern (who is one of my favorites, by the way), chose to redo the Marilyn shoot pose by pose. They did the mechanics of the shoot, as opposed to capturing the spirit of the original shoot. I know that this shoot is almost a year old by now, but its been on my mind recently. I began comparing it in my mind to other person-inspired photo shoots that I've seen. It reminded me a little of the Glamour post I did a few ago, because it seemed like a lot of those girls studied the poses, the facial ticks, the mechanics of the women they were supposed to embody, as opposed to trying to get into the spirit of the person. One shoot that I think appropriately captured the spirit of a person was the shoot Kate Beckinsale did a while back for Mean magazine. She was embodying Anna Karena, and its one of the best photoshoots of this kind I have seen. I don't think Kate B looks a thing quite honestly like Miss Karena, but for some reason I got the vibe that she WAS being her. See, dear reader(s), it's all about the vibes.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

i'll sing a song for you, that's what i'm here to do

With a bluesy voice and psychedelic look, Janis Joplin was unlike any other singer during the 1960s. When she broke out onto the scene in the band Big Brother and the Holding Company, she was dubbed, "probably the most powerful singer to emerge from the white rock movement." The only female member of the 27 club, Joplin had a distinctive sound and look. She wore beads, braids, and feathers in her hair, in addition to the stacks of bracelets, fur hats, and crocheted vests that she wore routinely. She has been the subject of several infamous movie projects that have never come about for one reason or another, the most recent of these attempted biopics was one that would have Zooey Deschanel as Joplin.
Born and raised in rural Port Arthur, Texas, Janis didn't subscribe to the typical Southern belle mold and felt like an outcast among her classmates. She socialized mostly with a group of fellow outcasts, ones who painted, read Beat poetry, and supported civil rights. While living in Texas, she discovered her love of jazz, folk, and especially the blues. Modelling her self after beat writers and blues singers, after high school Janis moved across the country - from North Beach in California to the Village in New York before ending up in Austin, Texas, where she would attend university and gained popularity for her distinct singing voice. Still influenced by the lifestyles of the beats, she experimented with alcohol and drugs, particularly speed and heroin.
This led her back to Port Arthur for a year to reevaluate her life. She enrolled in college where she excelled, began to dress modestly, and swore off alcohol and drugs.
But she was far from contented to spend her life in little Port Arthur so when she was offered to sing for the San Francisco-based band Big Brother and the Holding Company, Joplin jumped at the opportunity, despite he fears that music might lead her back to drugs. Big Brother became very popular in and around the San Fran area for their psychedelic rock brand of music, really breaking out at the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival. After being signed to Bob Dylan's manager Albert Grossman, Big Brother signed a record contract with Columbia Records, releasing their biggest hit album Cheap Thrills the next summer. The group was now huge, and Janis being an integral part of the band's success, the billing was changed to Janis Joplin with the Big Brother and the Holding Company.
But as their success grew, so did temptations for Janis to return to drug using. By December of 1968, Janis left Big Brother and formed the blues-based band the Kozmic Blues Band, releasing the album I Got Dem 'Ol Kozmic Blues Again, Mama in late 1969. While the new sound was greeted with enthusiasm, increased drug and alcohol use within the band caused as many problems as it caused artistic creativity. Janis then started another band, the Full Tilt Boogie Band, a white-blues sound, and quit drugs. Never happier with her sound or her lifestyle, while recording the album Pearl, Janis tried using heroin just once more. She accidentally overdosed in her Los Angeles motel at the age of 27 on October 4, 1970. The last known recording of Janis singing was a voice message she left on John Lennon's answering machine of her singing him Happy Trails for him for his birthday.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The 20 Greatest Love Triangles Ever

Here I present the top-twenty most infamous love triangles in television, film, and life. From the seductive powers of Kelly Taylor and Camilla Parker-Bowles (yeah, just let it be) to the faithful partners scorned, like Mia Farrow and Dita von Teese, let's take a walk down the boulevard of broken hearts....
  1. Julius Caesar - Cleopatra - Mark Anthony:
  2. This real-life love triangle didn't turn out too well for any of them -- Caesar is stabbed to death, Mark commits suicide (after thinking Cleopatra already did) and then Cleopatra kills herself in response.
  3. George Harrison - Pattie Boyd - Eric Clapton:
  4. Probably depressing as anything to have gone through, but hey at least we got some really, really great music out of this love triangle. It all worked out in the end though -- Eric and George kind of strangely/adorably called themselves "husbands-in-law."
  5. Brenda Walsh - Dylan McKay - Kelly Taylor:
  6. "Like ohmigodd, can you believe Dylan left Brendzz for Kelly??" That was the question on every teenaged Gen-Xers mind during the early nineties, and the repercussions of this affair can still be seen today (granted only on "90210"). When girlfriend Brenda leaves Bev Hills one summer to live in Paris with BFF Donna, Dylan is left to his own devices and begins to hang out a lot with Brenda's other BFF, the ever-lovely Kelly. Besides a few necking sessions and late-night conversations of considerable importance (for a high school kid), they spend their summer pretty innocently -- besides a few surf sessions, BBQs, and viewings of Casablanca (where at one point Dylan says "We'll always have Paris." Yeah about as corny as it sounds). But when the summer ends, they confess they are in love with each other and chaos ensues.
  7. Debbie Reynolds - Eddie Fisher - Elizabeth Taylor:
    Eddie left America's Sweetheart Debbie Reynolds for smoldering temptress Elizabeth Taylor, even though he just had a baby, future-Princess Leia Carrie Fisher, with his wifey. Classy. He later costarred with Taylor in "Butterfield 8," but after that their affair soon sputtered out.
  8. Eddie Fisher - Elizabeth Taylor - Richard Burton:
  9. Hows that for karma, eh Eddie? Ironically the love affair between Taylor and Burton started on the set of "Cleopatra," which was a little less than a year after Eddie divorced his wife Debbie for Miss Taylor.
  10. Jen Aniston - Brad Pitt - Angelina Jolie:
    This particular love triangle is still pretty recent and most gossip rags still report on this threesomes comings and goings. The former "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" costars now share a slew of children together, while Aniston seems to have found happiness with John Mayer.
  11. Dennis Quaid - Meg Ryan - Russell Crowe:
  12. When I first heard about this love triangle, I asked "Wait, Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan knew each other?" Then I asked myself "wait, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid knew each other?" So, yeah, that's pretty much my feeling on that matter.
  13. Hilary Duff - Aaron Carter - Lindsay Lohan:
  14. This was just... weak. Seriously, they were fighting over this guy.
  15. Mary-Louise Parker - Billy Crudup - Claire Danes:
  16. So when Russell Hammond left Nancy Botwin for Angela Chase, I was saddened and intrigued at the same time. Three actors I genuinely like caught up in all that madness, I was mystified. But then I realized that Parker was seven months pregnant with Crudup's second child at the time of his affair with his "Stage Beauty" costar. Not cool, Crudup, not cool.
  17. Dita von Teese - Marilyn Manson - Evan Rachel Wood:
  18. Perrenial creepster Marilyn Manson really lucked out when he met the gorgeous Dita von Teese in 2001. They were the poster-couple for Vitamin D-deficient couples everywhere. When they got married in 2005, it was the event for rockers, burlesque dancers, designers, and writers everywhere. Despite how great they were together, Dita filed for divorce thirteen months later, citing irreconciable differences, and left their home on Christmas Eve without anything with her. Von Teese has said, "I wasn't supportive of his partying or his relationship with another girl. As much as I loved him, I wasn't going to be part of that." The other girl was one Miss Evan Rachel Wood, then 19-years old. Over the next couple of months, Wood gradually changed her appearance to mimick that of von Teese.
  19. Meredith Grey - Derek Sheppard - Addison Sheppard:
  20. This is an unusual case where the other woman turns out to be the dude's wife. Gasps were heard around the world after the first season finale of "Grey's Anatomy" when it was revealed that underneath his thick-haired-and-trailer-homed adorableness, Dr. McDreamy had been married the entire time he was courting the neurotic intern.
  21. Nancy Sinatra - Frank Sinatra - Ava Gardner:
  22. Mrs. Ole Blue Eyes was no match for the former Mrs. Mickey Rooney. Frank Sinatra left the mother of his children Nancy for the beautiful Ava Gardner, who at the time held more power and popularity in Hollywood than Frank. She secured her paramour his Oscar-winning role in "From Here to Eternity" which revived his career. Unfortunately the passion in their marriage died out quickly and the two divorced a few years later.
  23. Princess Diana - Prince Charles - Camilla Parker-Bowles:
  24. Okay so when the Queen of England orders you to do something, you pretty much have to do it. So you can't blame Di and Charles for their loveless marriage, I doubt it ever was romantically passionate in the first. The prince was in love with Camilla before he married Diana, and carried on the relationship throughout his tumultuous royal marriage. Finally, after having sons William and Harry, the princess had reached her breaking point with her husband and filed for divorce. As Diana famously said in an interview of her marriage, "it was just a bit too crowded for me."
  25. Mia Farrow - Woody Allen - Soon-Yi Previn:
  26. Yucky.... The most incestuous love triangle on the list. Pixie mama Mia Farrow adopted a lot of kids, one of which struck the fancy of her long-time love Woody Allen. He eventually left Mia for Soon-Yi, who later produced his spawn. Excuse me while I barf forever.
  27. Aidan Shaw - Carrie Bradshaw - Mr. Big:
  28. The love triangle that caused a million "Hell no, Carrie"s across the nation. After being royally dumped by Mr. Big (who claims he could not and would not get married), Carrie moved on to furniture designer/most perfect guy in the universe Aidan Shaw. But, as her penchant for metallic bootie shorts and perpetual four-inch long roots had already revealed, Carrie can be an idiot a lot of the times. She goes and has an affair with the now-married Mr. Big (an ouch in itself) and screws over her first truly healthy relationship in the process. But whatever, Aidan was too good for Carrie anyways.
  29. Brian Jones - Anita Pallenberg - Keith Richards:
  30. During a trip to Morrocco in 1967, Brian Jones lost his girlfriend of over two years Anita Pallenberg to bandmate Keith Richards after he (may or may not have) roughed Anita up a little. About a year later, Jones was kicked out the Rolling Stones, a band that he created, and mysteriously drowned a few months after that in 1969. Keith and Anita stayed together for twelve years, sharing three children and many awesome psychedelic clothing together before splitting up at Richards lawyer's advice, following their shared arrest for heroin possession. On a side note, Pallenberg is rumoured to have had a brief dalliance with another Stones member Mick Jagger while filming “Performance” together. So you get a two-for-one deal here ladies and gents.
  31. Romeo Montague - Juliet Capulet - Paris:
  32. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy kills girl's brother. Girl still marries boy. Girl pretends to die to get out of marrying another boy to whom she is betrothed. Girl forgets to tell the boy she loves that she is alive and well. Both boys think she's dead. Both boys die. Then the girl dies for real. The end.
  33. Rick Blaine - Ilsa Lund - Victor Laslo:
  34. Arguably the most famous love triangle in film history, the story of "Casablanca" basically provided the blueprint for 20th century love triangles. US expat Rick meets up with his former lady love Ilsa in his cafe in Africa. She isn't alone though. She arrived with her husband Victor, and they need his help to escape the Nazis. At the film's end everyone is depressed but understand that sometimes you have to choose honor over love.
  35. Jules - Catherine - Jim:
  36. In Fran├žois Truffaut's 1962 film "Jules et Jim," two best friends fall in love with a beautiful and mesmerising woman named Catherine. In typical New Wave fashion, the characters meet a gruesome and depressing end.
  37. Mrs. Robinson - Benjamin Braddock - Elaine Robinson:
  38. This is the second most incestuous of the love triangles on the list (see #14 to see who claimed the top spot). Recent college grad Benjamin embarks on a love affair with his parents' friend Mrs. Robinson. Everything is fine and creepy until Mrs. Robinson's husband sets Benjamin up on a date with their daughter Elaine, then it gets even more creepy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

downy sins of streetlight fancies, chase the costumes she shall wear

For its 70th anniversary issue, Glamour Magazine did an editorial this month on the icons of American style over the past 70 years. They enlisted several young actresses and singers to celebrate the "female risk taskers, rule breakers, and style makers" that have influenced style over the years. I personally loved Alexis Bledel as Rosie the Riveter, Paula Patton as Billie Holiday, Chanel Iman as Althea Gibson, Rumer Willis and Spencer Grammer as Woodstock Women, and Emma Stone as Carrie Bradshaw. I was sort of mad/jealous that Emma Roberts got to channel Audrey Hepburn and Hayden Pannetiere was Amelia Earhart. I didn't really get Elisha Cuthbert's Brandi Chastain impression or America Ferrera as Dolores Huerta as fashion icons per se. Definitely icons of feminism, but not quite icons of femininity. The Alicia Keys photo, where she gorgeously channeled Michelle Obame, mildly creeped me out for some reason. Perhaps because it is commenting on something so recent or perhaps its because of the creepy Malia and Sasha dopelgangers featured in the photo.
What do you think of this editorial? Do you agree with the models they had for the shoot? Are there any icons that you wished Glamour would've covered?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

please allow me to introduce myself, i’m a man of wealth and taste

Despite my admitted obsession with his former Ms. Faithfull, I am actually physically more attracted to Mick Jagger (and because i am hetero). Let's not confuse what I am saying with a passing "oh yeah, I think he's cute." No. I love Mick Jagger. No, actually I luuurrrve him. I even love his old wrinkly self still doing those whiplash dance moves of his. In fact, I find that makes him more attractive. But, because I am weird and think about these things, I think my affection for him would have to stay at a distance; I don't think I could ever handle relationship-Mick. 1) because he is thinner than I am (self-esteem issues), 2) because he has fuller lips than I have (again issues), 3) because he is all around prettier and better and cooler and sexier than I am or ever deserve to be around (truth). If I were to be with him I think I would be half crazy in awe and half bummed because he would always be way superior to everything I did. It would be unnerving. And no matter how many false lashes or how great of clothes I wear, he could come out in a Snuggie and a pair of rainbow Crocs and still radiate sexiness so palpable that I look like a toad.