Monday, April 27, 2009

no angel could replace, my nancy with a laughing face

I was watching "There Goes My Heart," a cute little comedy from 1938 that finds an AWOL heiress taking a job as a shopgirl and taking up with a reporter who she doesn't know is on to her game. The film, similar in basic plot to "It Happened One Night," starred Virginia Bruce as the heiress and Fredric March as the reporter, also featured another face I recognized but couldn't quite place. After a bit of digging around, I figured out who it was -- my favorite little flapper Nancy Carroll.

Nancy Carroll in a 1930s publicity shot

"There Goes My Heart" ended up being the last feature film for the then-35-year-old, and unfortunately she received only received fifth billing in the film, but she had an accomplished and successful film career up until then. In the late 1920s when talkies were first gaining popularity, Nancy Carroll quickly gained popularity with audiences for her Broadway-trained singing and dancing abilities. In 1928 alone she made eight films. One of these films, "Easy Come, Easy Go," made Carroll an overnight star. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, she was said to have received more fan mail than any of her fellow Hollywood starlets at Columbia Pictures. In 1930, Carroll was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for "The Devil's Holiday." It was during this time was she expanded her image from just a charming flapper girl to also a romantic heroine and screwball comedienne. By 1933, Nancy Carroll was an undeniable A-list star. She made films such as: "Hot Saturday" with Cary Grant, "The Woman Accused," "Laughter," and "Broken Lullaby" during just a few months.
During the mid-1930s, Carroll began to disagree with the types of roles Columbia was offering her. She was labelled uncooperative by the studio and was soon enough released by the studio from her contract. By the time she made "There Goes My Heart," Carroll was no longer an A-list star, and soon after the films completion, turned her attention towards Broadway and television work.

Read more about Nancy Carroll here.
images courtesy of corbis, google images,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

well, you must tell me, baby, how your head feels under somethin' like that, under your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat

Edie Sedgwick, Part Three
As a result of her growing popularity, Sedgwick was advised by many to break away from Warhol and go out to Hollywood to become a legitimate actress. One of these people was Bobby Neuwirth, who was associated with Bob Dylan at that time and whom Edie had first met briefly about a month before meeting Warhol. “Edie was fantastic,” Neuwirth said recalling their first meeting, “but she was always fantastic.” At the time that Bob and Bobby had met Edie, Dylan was living with his future wife Sara Lownds in the Chelsea Hotel, a fact that was apparently neglected to be passed on to Edie. As Sedgwick began to be drawn to the Dylan crowd, embarking on an affair with Neuwirth (not, as “Factory Girl” would have you think, with Bob Dylan) and being promised to be the leading lady alongside Dylan in a film they were supposedly planning, her relationship with Warhol began to flounder. As Paul Morrissey recounted that after Dylan and Neuwirth’s encouragement for her to leave the Factory, “suddenly it was Bobby this and Bobby that, and they [Warhol et al] realized that she had a crush on him. They thought he’d been leading her on, because just that day Andy had heard in his lawyer’s office that Dylan had been secretly married for a few months…” During an argument at the Gingerman Restaurant in February 1966 “Andy couldn’t resist asking, ‘did you know, Edie, that Bobby Dylan has gotten married?’ She was trembling. They realized that she really thought of herself as entering a relationship with Dylan, that maybe he hadn’t been truthful.” Whether Dylan had really led her on (intentionally or not) or if the idea that she hadn’t know about his marriage and she thought herself an inner part of his group from her relationship with Neuwirth, that issue will probably always remain clouded (it is reported that Sedgwick had feelings for Dylan, but it’s doubtful that they were requited, let alone reciprocated). What we do know is that after Warhol told her this at the Gingerman, Edie left to make a phone call before stating to Warhol and everyone that she was leaving the Factory for good. Gerard Malanga commented on the fight between Edie and Andy that “she left and everybody was kind of quiet. It was stormy and dramatic. Edie disappeared and that was the end of it – she never came back.”
In May 1966, Dylan’s critically and commercially successful “Blonde on Blonde” was released. Many of the songs are believed to be written about Edie and her relationship with Andy Warhol. While Patti Smith’s claim that without his relationship with Edie Dylan never could’ve recorded “Blonde on Blonde” can seem over-exaggerated to some, it is easy to see many allusions to her throughout the double album. Nico was one of the first to claim that “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” was about Edie, others believe the ‘debutante’ in “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” was referring to her, “Just Like a Woman” is believed in part to be inspired by Sedgwick (with ‘her amphetamines and her pearls’), and many believe that Dylan was addressing the Sedgwick-Warhol dynamic in “Like a Rolling Stone,” calling her ‘Miss Lonely’ and Warhol the ‘Napoleon in rags’ and the ‘diplomat on the chrome horse.’ Even Warhol was aware of the possible allusions to him on Dylan’s album. “I liked Dylan, the way he created a brilliant new style…I even gave him one of my silver Elvis paintings in the days when he was first around. Later on though, I got paranoid when I’d heard rumors that he’d used the Elvis as a dart board up in the country. When I'd ask, 'why did he do that?' I'd invariably get hearsay answers like 'I hear he feels you destroyed Edie,' or 'listen to “Like a Rolling Stone” - I think you're the 'diplomat on the chrome horse,' man.' I didn't know exactly what they meant by that - I never listened much to the words of songs - but I got the tenor of what people were saying – that Dylan didn't like me, that he blamed me for Edie's drugs.” A year after Edie made “Lupe,” she came back and filmed “The Andy Warhol Story” with Rene Ricard, an unreleased, drug-fueled film where the two of them pretend to be Warhol and satirize his aloof and ‘abusive’ ways. The film, only screened once at the Factory, is believed to be either lost of destroyed.

My 15 Favorite Male Characters in Film

My favorite guys in film, in no particular order:

1. CK Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) in The Philadelphia Story
As Mike Connor (Jimmy Stewart) said, CK Dexter Haven was a character of “unsuspected depth.” On the surface, Grant’s Haven is a charming divorced man with a sharp wit and an alcoholic nature. It’s an understated performance compared to Stewart’s Oscar-winning role as Mike and Katharine Hepburn’s signature role as Tracy, but its one of the most interesting. CK Dexter Haven is sort of the odd man out of the characters, watching from the sidelines as Tracy runs from George to Mike, all the while pining over her. Not that Tracy would really be able to tell he still felt tenderly for her – Dexter is constantly pushing her buttons, criticizing her judgmental and virginal ways as being the downfall of not only their marriage, but the eventual end for all her relationships. Dexter also relishes in his role on the outside; his dry humor and commentary on what’s going on is a constant highlight in the film. It’s odd to see Cary Grant in a role where he is so uncharacteristically heartbroken and needy. And yet, at the same time, Grant plays Dexter with the same charm and sophistication that we find in all of his characters. z
Quotable quotes:
[Asked if he has given up alcoholic drinks] “I’ve just changed their color, that’s all. I’m going for the pale pastel shades now, there’re more becoming of me.”
“You didn’t want a husband and a good companion, you wanted a kind of high priest to a virgin goddess.”
“I thought all writers drank to excess and beat their wives. You know, I think that at one time I secretly wanted to be a writer.”

2. David Larrabee (William Holden) in Sabrina
Audrey Hepburn’s Sabrina Fairchild made a big mistake at the end of this film by choosing Linus Larrabee, not his dashing brother David. Yes, yes, I know that Linus was the honest man who had been in love with Sabrina but was too broken to realize it, and I know that David was a bit of a cad, but I can’t help but love him! Described as having been through several of the best Eastern colleges for short periods of time, and through several marriages for even shorter periods of time, David is like a typical wealthy playboy seen in so many other films, just minus the arrogant nature. Instead of being a jerk, David is a romantic.
Quotable quotes:
“I thought you two had eloped. I wouldn’t mind, just not in my car.”
“Now you make me feel like a heel. If I don’t marry Elizabeth, some kid’s gonna be running around Puerto Rico barefoot with cavities in his teeth.”
“What if we smuggled her up in the dumbwaiter?”
“Scrabble? I’m in no condition to play Scrabble!”

3. George (George Harrison) in A Hard Day's Night
Okay, so even though A Hard Day’s Night played into the stereotypes of the Beatles, not really giving them new ‘characters, I just loved George in this film. Playing into the perception that he was the ‘quiet one,’ George gives a string of one words answers and monosyllabic lines. Memorably, he calls his hair Arthur and unknowingly manages to get Susan Campy fired from her ‘trendsetting’ job. When asked if success has changed his life, George answers “No,” deadpanned. Personally, I think he was the best actor out of the Beatles, even though most people point toward Ringo as being the best (Ringo was also always given the most material in films, often n the storylines were centered around some problem Ringo was facing). His dry humor was much more subtle than John’s humor onscreen in those films, and he could make something as seemingly mundane as eating a sandwich on a train or teaching someone to shave in a mirror funny and perfectly charming.
Quotable quotes:
“Sorry we hurt your field, mister.”
“You won’t interfere with the basic rugged concept of me personality, will you madam?”
“Have I said something amiss?”
“And who’s this Susan when she’s at home?”
“Aye, but don’t rush. None of your five bar gate jumps and over sort of stuff… I don’t know, I just thought that it sounded distinguished-like.”
“Oh by all means. I’d be quite prepared for that eventuality.”
4. Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder) in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
I’ve always thought Willy Wonka was a rather dark character. Scarred from childhood and disliking of people, I wondered when I was a little girl why Wonka even opened the gates of his factory to young children, why didn’t he just leave it to an Oompa-Loompa after he passed on? Unlike Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Wonka, whose high voice and pale skin disturbingly reminded me of a certain Mr. Jackson, Gene Wilder’s Wonka was creepy in a different way. He seems not to care about the children he loses along the way throughout the factory as they were only getting in his way. He’s a bit nasty, a bit sardonic, a bit morose for a children’s film, but let’s face it – it’s not like any of us got the darker undertones of Wilder’s performance when we were children watching this (we were too taken in by the candy!). Now that I’m older, I can really appreciate Wilder’s humor as Wonka. Instead of thinking him to be the candy equivalent of Brando (a weird genius), I indulge in appreciating Wonka’s open causticity towards his guests. z
Quotable quotes:
“Oh, you should never ever doubt what nobody is sure about.”
“The suspense is terrible... I hope it'll last.” “So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.” “Well, I think that furnace is only lit every other day, so they have a good sporting chance, haven't they?” [Mrs. Gloop says her son Augustus doesn’t know how to swim] “There's no better time to learn.”
[Indifferently] “Help. Police, Murder.”
“And now, my dearest lady, it's time to say good-bye. No, no, don't speak. For some moments in life, there are no words. Run along, now.”
[After Mrs. Teevee asks if there’s an accident indemnity clause]
“Never between friends.”

5. Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) in The Big Lebowski
The Vietnam-obsessed, bowling fanatic who, despite his short temper and proness to draw his gun at the bowling alley, is also willing to take care of his ex-wife’s Pomeranian puppy while she’s on vacation with her new boyfriend. Oh, Walter has so many layers, like an onion, as Shrek would say. Best friend of The Dude, who also makes this list, Walter Sobchak will never be forgotten as one of the best Coen characters around. Those are the rules.
Quotable quotes:
“Three thousand years of beautiful tradition, from Moses to Sandy Koufax… You’re goddamn right I’m living in the fucking past!”
“…Also, Dude, Chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. Asian-American, please.”
“You know, Dude, I myself dabbled in pacifism once. Not in ‘Nam, of course.”
“Smokey, this is not ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.”
“You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me. There are ways Dude. You don’t wanna know about it, believe me.”
“No, without a hostage, there is no ransom. That’s what ransom is. Those are the fucking rules.”

6. Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) in This Is Spinal Tap
The reason I really loved Nigel Tufnel in “This Is Spinal Tap” is because he was the embodiment of every unaware, rather idiotic rockstar I had ever imagined. The way he states things that he considers in life to be certain truths, like “you can’t really dust for vomit” revelation and the famous “these go to eleven” line is brilliant. After being accused of being a sexist, Nigel responds, “well, so what? What’s wrong with being sexy?” That fact that Nigel is imaginable as a member of many of the major bands of the last thirty or so years just brings the character to like another level (…Fighting the urge to make a level eleven joke here…)
Quotable quotes:
[Of the food supplied before a show] “It really does disturb me, but I’ll rise above it. I’m a professional.”
“I love those little cans of tuna fish. No bones!”
“Authorities said... best leave it... unsolved.”
“It's like, 'how much more black could this be?' and the answer is none. None more black.”
“And, uh, it was tragic, really. He exploded on stage.”
“That's just nitpicking, isn't it?”
[Of his skeleton tee shirt] “This is my exact inner structure, done in a tee shirt. Exactly medically accurate.”
“Well, this piece is called ‘Lick My Love Pump.’”
[On what he would do if he couldn't be a rock star] “Well, I suppose I could, uh, work in a shop of some kind, or... or do, uh, freelance, uh, selling of some sort of, uh, product. You know... A salesman, like maybe in a, uh, haberdasher, or maybe like a, uh, um... a chapeau shop or something. You know, like, ‘Would you... what size do you wear, sir?’ And then you answer me.”
“Blues jazz, really.”
“We’re anything but racists.”
7. Peter L. Whitman (Adrien Brody) in The Darjeeling Limited
Peter would’ve just made the list because of his possession of the custom-made Louis Vuitton luggage set inherited from his father. One of the most underrated characters from one of Wes Anderson’s more overlooked films, Peter L. Whitman was the stylish second brother of Francis (Owen Wilson) and Jack (Jason Schwartzmann). Peter claims that he was his father’s favorite son, justifying why he deserves his late father’s belongings, and proceeds to get into a physical fight over the matter. Peter is like many Wes Anderson characters, in that he is extremely self-conscious and doubtful of other people. Peter fears that his marriage to his wife Alice will inevitably lead to divorce, despite the fact that they don’t have any real marital problems and she is presently pregnant with his child. Peter’s actions tend to act as a catalyst for many of the events in “The Darjeeling Limited.” He buys a venomous snake in an Indian market, brings it aboard a train, only for the snake to escape aboard the train and cause the brothers to be forced into an isolation room on the train. Also, later in the film he has to come to grips with his failure to save the life of a young Indian boy who falls in the river. It’s rare in a Wes Anderson movie to see a character dealing with an emotional problem in a serious way.
Quotable quotes:
“He said the train is lost.”
“I’m gonna go pray…at a different thing…”
[On why he was chuckling] “Oh, nothing. That just reminded me of something not-related to this.”
“Anyway, its definitely going to add a lot of character to you.”
“I didn’t get that. I still have mine.”
“I love the way this country smells. I’ll never forget it. It’s kind of spicy.”
“Those Germans are bothering me.”
“Fuck the itinerary.”
“Is our snake getting confiscated?”
“Could she be gaslighting you?”

8. Jeffrey 'The Dude' Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) in The Big Lebowski
The Dude, or His Dudeness, Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing, is inspired. As the white Russian-drinking, bowling, ex-member of the Seattle Seven, The Dude spends the film searching for his rug (it really tied the room together…) If you haven’t seen “The Big Lebowski,” please do yourself a favor and add it to your Netflix queue immediately.
Quotable quotes:
“Yeah, well, that’s just like your opinion, man.”
“Yeah, well, the dude abides.”
“Oh, the usual… I bowl, drive around, the occasional acid flashback.”
“Obviously you’re not a golfer.”
“That rug really tied the room together.”

9. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Is it sad that I still quote “Anchorman” in my day-to-day life? If Humphrey Bogart made a career out of playing rough-and-tumble gangster-types with a secret warmth buried deep within, Will Ferrell has made a career playing deluded, self-important men who are oblivious to how dimwitted they really are. And if this is the case, “Anchorman” will be remembered as Ferrell’s “Casablanca” of sorts.
Quotable quotes:
“I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal…People know me…I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books, and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.”
“I love scotch, scotchy scotch, scotch…Here it goes down, down into my belly…”
“Milk was a bad choice.”
“You are a smelly pirate hooker…Why don’t you go back to your home on Whore Island?”
[Picking at his teeth] “Ribs. I had ribs for lunch, that’s why I’m doing this.”
“I’m in a glass case of emotion.”
“You stay classy, Planet Earth.”
“I look good. I mean really good. Hey everyone, come see how good I look.”
10. Jerry/Daphne (Jack Lemmon) in Some Like it Hot
I pretty much love anything Jack Lemmon does, but I love his cross-dressing turn in “Some Like it Hot” a little more that others. His role as sax player-on-the-run Jerry who dresses as Daphne, a ‘girl’ who gets chummy with Sugar Kane and dates Osgood Fielding III, the mama-boy millionaire, is sheer brilliance. His character’s total immersion into becoming Daphne is so hilarious, even with Lemmon’s comically-unbelievable drag appearance. Well…nobody’s perfect.
Quotable quotes:
“Well I never did like the name Geraldine.”
“Now you’ve done it! Now you’ve done it...You tore off one of my chests!”
“Will you look at that, look how she moves! It’s like jell-o on springs. Must have some sort of built-in motor or something. I tell you, it’s a whole different sex…”

11. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in the Pirates of the Caribbean films
Described as a cross between Keith Richards and Pepé le Pew, Captain Jack Sparrow is one of the most ingenious characters I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. He basically runs around for three films chasing ships, rum, and women, really in no particular order. Probably a large part of why I love this character has to do with Johnny Depp, but Depp’s genius portrayal of Cap’n Jack is also why it has remained such an unforgettable character from the films. He is both the hero and the anti-hero in the films, the guy you’re rooting for to win but also at times the one you love to hate.
Quotable quotes:
“I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically.”
“A wedding? I love weddings. Drinks all around!”
“You need to find yourself a girl mate. Or perhaps the reason you practice three hours a day is that you already found one, and are otherwise incapable of wooing said strumpet. You’re not a eunuch are you?”
“But why is the rum gone?”
“Dirt. This is a jar of dirt.”
12. Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) in Zoolander
Derek Zoolander is having a bad daiye (D-A-I-Y-E). First, he finds his career being overshadowed by Hansel (…so hot right now), then all of his friends die in a freak gasoline fight accident, and then he is brainwashed into killing the Prime Minister of Malaysia. What is a three-time VH1 Male Model of the Year winner to do? Have a walk off.
Quotable quotes:
“How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building?”
“It needs to be at least…three times bigger than this.”
“You think that you're too cool for school, but I have a newsflash for you Walter Cronkite... you aren't.”
“Well I guess it all started the first time I went through the second grade. I caught my reflection in a spoon while I was eating my cereal, and I remember thinking ‘wow, you're ridiculously good looking, maybe you could do that for a career.’”
“I think I’m getting the black lung, pop.”
“Put a cork in it, Zane!”
“We were brothers. Not in the literal sense, but in the way that black people say it, which is more meaningful, I think.”

13. Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) in Ferris Bueller's Day Off
The most profound high schooler who’s ever lived, Ferris Bueller will live on as the rebel truly without a cause. Let’s face it – Ferris was cool, laid-back, wealthy (he got a computer for his birthday…and this was the ‘80s…), had a gorgeous girlfriend, and everybody loved him. His only really reason for rebellion? Wanting to have a good time and appreciate life while he’s still young. Ferris gets away with anything and everything – from singing along to the Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” atop a float in New York, to convincing people he is Abe Froman, the sausage king of Chicago.
Quotable quotes:
“Not that I condone fascism, or any ism for that matter. Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the Walrus. I could be the Walrus, but I'd still have to bum rides off of people.”
“Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
“You're not dying, you just can't think of anything good to do.”
“I do have a test today, that wasn't bullshit. It's on European socialism. I mean, really, what's the point? I'm not European. I don't plan on being European. So who gives a crap if they're socialists? They could be fascist anarchists, it still wouldn’t change the fact that I don't own a car.”
“A) You can never go too far. B) If I get caught, it is not going to be by a guy like that.”

14. Lola/Simon (Chiwetel Ejiafor) in Kinky Boots

The second appearance of a cross-dresser on this list (see Jack Lemmon in Some Like it Hot) – indicative of my personality? Perhaps... But Chiwetel Ejiafor’s role as muscular-but-beautiful Lola was inspired. I was completely in love with “Kinky Boots” when it was in theatres because of Lola. She was so stylish, so brilliant, so wise – kinda like Yoda for drag queens. It was equally as affecting to see Lola out of dress, as Simon, who felt very uncomfortable in normal male gear. Its rare to see the flip side of a flamboyant drag queen, to see Ejiafor’s character going through an identity crisis and down on himself was so moving.
Quotable quotes:
“Came all this way for my advice? I feel like Oprah!”
“I have to warn you, Charlie from Northampton, I have a terrible habit of doing exactly the opposite of what people want of me.”
“The sex is in the heel.”
“Please, God! Tell me I have not inspired something burgundy!”

15. James Bond (Sean Connery) in the Bond films
Despite my affection for Daniel Craig in the new Bond series, my favorite Bond will always be Sean Connery. Connery as Bond is like his character’s beloved Dom Perignon ’53 – timeless, sophisticated, delightful – a classic. Connery is considered the definitive Bond, starring in six of the Ian Fleming-based films. Like Craig, Connery’s Bond is dark at times, but mostly he has fun with cool gadgets and beautiful women. This balance of melancholy and manwhorish-ness in the character made Connery’s Bond one on its own.
Quotable quotes:
“Bond. James Bond.”
“There’s something I’d like to get off your chest…”
“I think it’s time Mr. Goldfinger and I met…socially, of course.”
“Red wine with fish... Well, that should have told me something.”
[On why he wears a gun] “I have a slight inferiority complex.”
“My dear girl, there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ’53 above the temperature of 38 degress Fahrenheit. That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs.”
“World domination, the same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they’re Napoleon…or God.”
“Auric Goldfinger…sounds like a French nail varnish…”
[After shooting someone] “Well I think he got the point.”

Friday, April 24, 2009

How to be like Patrica Franchini from "À bout de souffle"

I've always thought that Jean Seberg had incredible style. It gave me faith that a simple Midwestern girl could dress so easily and beautifully Parisian. Seberg's role as Patricia Franchini in Jean-Luc Godards's 1959 French Wave film "À bout de souffle" (named last week by TCM one of the 15 most influential films of all time) encapsulates the chic style she is remembered for. Like the real-life Seberg, Patricia was an American expat living in Paris. But because Patricia's end is far less tragis than Jean's, I've come up with a list of everything one would need to wear, say, live, and do to be like Godard's heroine.
Patricia's Wardrobe:
  • The New York Herald Tribune shirt – I purchased mine from Neighborhoodies. I suggest the Girls Communitee style in white (natch…), as it is closest to the type that Jean wore
  • Black Capri pants
  • A striped circle dress with a rounded collar, big buttons, and matching belt at the waist
  • White cashmere cardigan
  • Wool pencil dress, nipped at the waist, button down front and two large pockets on the chest
  • Your man’s large button down shirt
  • Black and white (horizontal) striped boatneck sweater
  • Black and grey (vertical) striped shirt with no sleeves
  • White twill shorts
  • Black pleated skirt (ending at your knees)
Patricia: What is your greatest ambition in life?
Parvulesco: To become immortal…and then die.

Patricia's Accessories:
  • Black oblong retro sunglasses
  • Small white purse
  • Flat black loafers
  • Black ballet slippers
  • A small silver watch (worn on the left wrist)
  • Fedora (borrowed from your man)
  • Copies of the New York Herald Tribune
  • White high heels
  • A teddy bear with a white bow
  • Prints from Renior, Picasso, and Paul Klee
Patricia: Why do you want to make love to me?
Michel: Because you’re beautiful.
Patricia: But I’m not beautiful.
Michel: Okay, then because you’re ugly.
Her Pastimes:
  • Aspiring to be a journalist
  • Selling the “New York Herald Tribune” on the Champs-Elysées
  • Harboring fugitives
  • Quoting Faulkner, Thomas, and Rilke
Patricia: Do you know William Faulkner?
Michel: No. Who’s he? Have you slept with him?


  • handsome young French thugs who think they're Humphrey Bogart
  • police men and detectives
  • sidewalk cafés
  • her apartment
  • the cinema (where she sneaks into the screening of Whirpool)
  • the Champs-Elysées
Pearls of Wisdom:
  • It’s sad to fall asleep. It separates people. Even when you’re sleeping together, you’re all alone.
  • I don’t know if I’m unhappy because I’m not free, or if I’m not free because I’m unhappy.
  • Are you afraid of getting old? I am.
  • Between grief and nothing, I will take grief.
  • We look at each other in the eye, and it’s no use.
  • I’d like to think about something, and I can’t.
Check out Vogue’s old editorial featuring Christy Turlington as Patricia, and look at Mia Kirshner’s reimagining of Patricia on “The L Word” for some modern-day inspirations of Patricia

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

though she was born a long, long time ago

Evelyn Nesbit (born December 25, 1884 - died January 17, 1967) was a famous model, chorus girl, and silent film actress. The inspiration for Anne in "Anne of Green Gables," the life of Evelyn Nesbit was far less innocent. Sometimes referred to as " the girl on the red velvet swing," Evelyn will be remembered for her involvement in one of the most famous murder trials of the early 20th century.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, this beautiful but shy girl attracted the attention of many local artists and photographers who begged her to pose for them. After her father died at an early age, leaving Evelyn and her family in near poverty, Nesbit convinced her mother to allow her to model. After moving into a tiny one-room apartment with her mother in 1901, Evelyn soon modeled for James Carroll Beckwith, an influential photographer who soon introduced her to many of his contemporaries, including Gertrude Kasebier, George Grey Barnard, and Frederick S. Church.
Evelyn was an extremely popular model, her look was the ideal for beauty during the turn of the century. Charles Dana Gibson even used Evelyn as a model for one of his infamous "Gibson Girls" portraits. At charging $10 a day for posing (approx. $30/hr today), Evelyn also was one of the wealthiest young women around at only sixteen years old. Nesbit baegan booking jobs in Broadway shows as a chorus girl.
Evelyn soon took up with famous architect Stanford White, who she met after a performance as Florodora girl. White, then 47 years old and married, became infatuated with the 16-year-old beauty. He was a notorious womanizer, his particular interest was in 'befriending' young teenage girls. Nesbit's mother encouraged the budding relationship, seeing as White was very in New York, and allowed Evelyn to pose for White under any terms (even though he often photographed her in suggestive clothing and poses). After one such session, White reportedly took Evelyn's virginity after getting her drunk on champagne. This would only spur on their relationship. White's notorious apartment -- installed with strategically-placed mirrors and a velvet red swing -- was a place Nesbit frequented.
After a few months, White sought younger, more 'innocent' girls and in the beginning of 1901 Evelyn began a relationship with 19-year-old John Barrymore. Like White, Barrymore met Evelyn after one of her Floradora shows. The now 17-year-old Nesbit became infatuated with Barrymore, often spending the hours she wasn't working at his Manhattan apartment. In 1902 and 1903 Evelyn even became pregnant twice by Barrymore -- the first she was forced to abort, the second, though most likely aborted, has long been rumored to have been carried to term where afterwards the child was given up for adoption). But Nesbit's mother and her former lover Stanford White strongly opposed to the young couple's romance, and worked hard to keep them apart until the relationship slowly died out.
Evelyn then moved on to Harry Kendall Thaw, an heir to a coal and railroad fortune. He came from Pittsburgh, Evelyn's home town, and quickly fell for her. Thaw was incredibly possessive of Evelyn, forcing her to reveal every detail of her past relationships (especially Stanford White, who Evelyn told Thaw he had raped her when she was 16), and carried a pistol with him whenever they went out together. A man fond of cocaine and whipping women and young boys, Thaw repeatedly proposed marriage to Nesbit, who for whatever reason agreed in 1905, marrying him that April when she was 20. In June of 1906, Nesbit and Thaw went to the restaurant the Cafe Martin and bumbed into Stanford White. They met again at Madison Square Garden when the three of them were attending Mam'zelle Champagne. During the performance of "I Could Love a Million Girls," Thaw shot White three times at close range in the face with his pistol, reportedly screaming "You ruined my life/wife!" and "You will never see that woman again!" At first the crowd thought the shooting was all part of the show, assuming it was a gag joke that was popular at the time, but soon it was discovered that White was really dead. Still holding the gun, Thaw walked back through the shocked crowd over to Evelyn. When she asked him what he had just done, Thaw said that he had "probably saved your life."
Though the exact reason for what triggered White's murder never came to light, not even during the case's two criminal trials, many have theorized. Nesbit testified on Thaw's behalf, claiming that he was avenging her honor after White had 'raped' her many years before. This has mostly been discredited because Nesbit testified only during the second trial after Thaw's mother promised Evelyn a quick divorce and tidy monetary settlement if she were to agree Thaw was temporarily insane. After Thaw was jailed (very laxly, though) Evelyn was cut off entirely by the Thaw family, never receiving a divorce settlement. After a modest career as a silent film actress and vaudeville performer, Evelyn found she couldn't escape her reputation as 'Harry K. Thaw's wife." She was plagued by depression in her later years, attempting suicide several times and develpoing addictions to alcohol and morphine. She married dancer Jack Clifford in 1916, only to be left by him less than two years later. They divorced in 1933. She spent her remaining time in New Jersey, doing ceramics and publishing several memoirs of her younger years.
Nesbit had one child, Russell William Thaw, who was born in Berlin in 1910 while Thaw was in jail. Though it seems impossible for Russell to have been the biological son of Harry Kendall Thaw, Evelyn insisted until her death that Harry was the father. Even after her claims at his murder trial, Evelyn would believe in her later years that 'Stanny' was the one man she had ever really loved.

images courtesy of flickr, corbis, and google images

Thursday, April 16, 2009

you didn't care to know who else may have been you before

I was talking to one of my friends about Samantha Juste (who I just posted on the other day) and told her that my post on her came about because I had been watching something about the Monkees and felt inspired. She was practically appalled that I hadn't done a post on her (and apparently many Monkee-crazed peoples) favorite Monkee-wifee Phyllis Nesmith (w. Mike Nesmith).
Phyllis Ann Barbour was born into a military family in 1946 Manhattan. She and her three younger siblings (two brothers and a sister) moved around a lot as a child, living in Los Angeles, Germany, and eventually living in Texas three separate times. By her sixteenth birthday, Phyllis was already in college in San Antonio, majoring in Journalism and English. While at school, she met Mike Nesmith who was three years her senior. Nesmith later claimed love-at-first-sight, saying, "when I met Phyllis, I had a feeling that I had never experienced before...I was so sure she was the girl for me that I asked her to marry me before I ever asked her for a date," though unfortunately for Mike, Phyllis was already seeing someone else. They later crossed paths again and began seeing each other quietly. When she was seventeen and Mike was twenty, she discovered that she was pregnant, and she and Mike were soon after married in March 1963. Phyllis had a son, Christian, that next January. Of married life, Mike said (in 1968) "since I've been married I have been a complete person. Before I think I was a half-person. Phyllis now makes up my other hald and makes me whole."
In 1964 the newlyweds left San Antonio for Los Angeles, where Mike was working as one-half of a folk duo with John London. For about a year, the family lived with hardly any money to spare, up until Mike was cast as 'the guitarist in the wool cap' in "The Monkees" in early 1966 and experienced practically overnight success. Of her husband's newfound fame, Phyllis said "I was along for the ride; I happened to be married to someone who was in that position... I think it was very tough... I think it was hard to have a normal life and maintain some stable values. You have a loss of privacy and a distortion of personal identity."
By early the next year, the Nesmiths were both truly celebrities and living like ones. They lived in a Hollywood Hills mansion and dipped their toes in the crazy (i.e. drug-fueled, wild, fast-paced, generally awesome) atmosphere that was available to them with fame, whereas the others seemed to dive head first. "Naturally," of fame, Phyllis said, "there was some interesting byproduct - the fame and money... none of which were particularly important to me." Unlike the other Monkee wives and girlfriends, fans were not envious or hateful of Phyllis - they actually celebrated her, calling her the ideal wife and mother to her family. A regular in magazines like "16," which featured her latest wardrobe choices, 'exclusive' beauty tips, and cast her as a role model to young girls, Phyllis became famous in her own right (though still for being wife to a Monkee). Mike and Phyllis went to London in early 1967, being invited to stay at the home of John and Cynthia Lennon (it was during this time John was recording Sgt. Pepper, where the Monkees would occasionally pop in at sessions). They would go to England again during that summer when the Monkees were on tour, and it was during this trip that she became pregnant with their second child, Jonathan, born early February of the next year. In lte '67, Phyllis got into an awful car accident in the Hollywood Hills off of Mulholland Drive, crashing one of Mike's cars (some report it was a Mercedes, other say it was Mike's new Lamborghini). She was rushed to her home after sustaining serious injuries. Despite this, she never went to the hospital. Her faith in Christian Science did not allow her to seek medical attention, instead using her faith in God for recovery. Today, the only physical thing that remains from the accident is a scar that runs across her right cheek.
It was during this time that Mike had an affair with Israeli-born, Californian-based rock music photographer Nurit Wilde (who also appeared in two episodes of "the Monkees"), who gave birth to his third son, Jason, in August of 1968. Despite his infidelity, Mike and Phyllis stayed together (in the legal sense). She moved with Christian and Jonathan back to Texas for nearly a year before going back to Mike, but their marriage remained rocky. She had a third child (Mike's fourth), a daughter Jessica, in 1970, but this did not keep them from divorcing in 1975/1976. After their marriage ended, Phyllis had to adjust to being a single mother and in need of a job for the first time. She has been involved in political public relations (working for various senators and other public politicians) since the mid-1970s.

you've gone to the finest school all right, miss lonely, but you know you only used to get juiced in it

Edie Sedgwick, Part Two
It was in early 1965 that Edie met Andy Warhol, at Lester Persky’s apartment. A few weeks later Sedgwick and Wein began frequenting the Factory at the apex of the romantic and still-new Warhol image. Her first film with Warhol was “Horse,” a quick cameo of sorts of her entering the Factory doors at the end. After that was “Vinyl,” an otherwise all-male imagining of “A Clockwork Orange” that Warhol stuck Edie into at the last minute (much to Gerard Malanga’s annoyance). In March they filmed “Poor Little Rich Girl,” a film that would become synonymous with Sedgwick’s persona. Part of the ‘saga’ including “Restaurant,” “Face,” and “Afternoon,” “Poor Little Rich Girl” featured Edie in her apartment as she’s waking up, applying her makeup, listening to albums, trying on clothes, making plans for the evening, smoking cigarettes, and talking about how she spent her entire inheritance in six months. In April, 1965, Edie (now “the queen of the Factory”) accompanied Warhol (and Gerard Malanga and Chuck Wein) to Paris for an exhibit of Warhol’s work. Following their return, Warhol requested from Factory screenwriter Ron Tavel a script for Edie, “something in a kitchen. White and clean and plastic.” Warhol got exactly what he asked for, “Kitchen” starring Edie with Rene Ricard and Roger Trudeau was the result. After “Kitchen,” Chuck Wein replaced Tavel as writer/assistant director for “Beauty No. 2,” a film with Gino Piserchio that some consider to be her finest work with Warhol. The film, featuring Sedgwick kissing Piserchio only to keep being interrupted by an ominous voice’s aggressive and prying string of questions (courtesy of Chuck Wein), earned the underground star comparisons to Marilyn Monroe. By now, Warhol had long dubbed her his ‘superstar’ and the pair were often seen together around New York, at both classy socialite events and dingy downtown clubs. With Edie on his arm, Warhol was introduced to a new level of publicity and fame, eventually being welcomed into the wealthy world of upper New York.
Sedgwick was now one of the most popular girls in New York, embodying the edgy “now” image associated with Warhol, but also combined with her refined, upper-class upbringing. Her appearances in Warhol’s films were earning her a following; her trademark shoulder-duster earrings, cropped platinum hair (done to resemble Warhol), and wardrobe of black tights, leotards, and mini dresses (worn to ‘defy’ her upbringing and her parents) were becoming quite fashionable among girls who were both lanky like Edie, and some that weren’t really but just liked to pretend they were. She appeared in the August 1965 issue of Vogue, where Editor Diane Vreeland dubbed her a ‘youthquaker,’ and in the September issue of Life magazine in a fashion spread. Warhol had requested for Lou Reed of the Factory band The Velvet Underground to write a song about Edie, saying ‘oh, don’t you think Edie’s a femme fatale, Lou?’ The result was the Nico-sung ballad “Femme Fatale.” Throughout the rest of 1965, Edie continued to make films with Warhol, including “Prison,” “Outer and Inner Space,” “Chelsea Girls,” and her last official film for Warhol, “Lupe.” But by late 1965, Sedgwick and Warhol’s relationship had grown distant, namely because of Edie’s growing connection with the Dylan camp and her dissatisfaction over Warhol not paying or rewarding her in any way for her work. While out, Edie had always customarily picked up the tab; after months of paying for the Factory gang without seeing any profit from the films she made and the celebrity she experienced, she felt taken advantage of, not believing when Andy would say that his films weren’t commercial and made no money. She requested that Warhol not show any of her films again and for the footage of her in “Chelsea Girls” to be edited out (it would be replaced with a trippy lights sequence of Nico with Velvet Underground music playing in the background).

*Stay tuned for more Edie-entries*

and she aches just like a woman, but she breaks just like a little girl

Edie Sedgwick, Part One In an anticipatory celebration of this Monday (April 20), which would have been her 66th birthday, I will be doing a series of posts about the life of Edie Sedgwick. I have had a long-held fascination with her -- her iconic style and troubled life, her famous relationship with Andy Warhol and her sensationalized one with Bob Dylan. She was the odd combination of a vulnerable innocent and someone who has seen the ugliest ends of the Earth. The fact that despite how many people have published books, blogs, articles, and films around her, Edie Sedgwick can still remain a mystery is astonishing. Her life has been plagued by ugly lies and, at times, uglier truths. I hope that my entries can help you understand (even if only a little bit) her life, and, even if it doesn't, I hope that it at least piques your curiosity in her.
There have been many (false) stories spread about Edie that are considered truths in her life. One is that Andy Warhol was responsible for her drug addiction, introducing her to drugs and then disposing of her once she had served her purpose to him. Another is that she had an affair with Bob Dylan, who convinced her to leave Warhol and the Factory behind to become a Hollywood star and then proceeded to toss her aside just as Warhol had, telling her he would put her in a film with him that he was never really planning to make.
As opposed to the oft-told story of Warhol using-and-abusing Sedgwick, it seems that Sedgwick’s choice to break away from the drug-addled reputation of the Warhol group was closer to the truth. The length of their friendship is also over-exaggerated at times; their relationship, though probably very intense and connected, lasted only eleven months (March 1965 to February 1966). The reason for Andy’s later dismissive treatment of a mention of Edie was probably because he felt something akin to a jilted lover, still bitter from a partner leaving him. He said in his autobiography that what he felt for Sedgwick was “probably close to a certain kind of love.” He used the name “Taxi” for Edie, a name he had used for her previously in his 1968 novel “a, A novel,” but despite the guise his love for Edie still shines through. He describes how magnetic and wonderful she was, saying she was the “one person in the 60s [who] fascinated me more than anybody I had ever known,” but describes how she “drifted away from us after she started seeing a singer-musician who can only be described as The Definitive Pop Star – possibly of all time – who was then fast gaining recognition on both sides of the Atlantic as the thinking man’s Elvis Presley.” To Warhol, Bob Dylan stole Edie, his Edie, away. In the chapter entitled ‘Love (Prime) – The rise and fall of my favorite sixties girl’ Warhol admitted a humble but ultimately unsuccessful truth: “I missed having her around, but I told myself that it was probably a good thing that he was taking care of her now, because maybe he knew how to do it better than we had.”

The tragic story of Sedgwick’s short life has just compounded her “Poor Little Rich Girl” persona. Born the 7th of eight children into a mentally unstable, socially important family (her great-great-great grandfather was a signer of the Declaration of Independence) in Santa Barbara, Edith Minturn Sedgwick was born on April 20, 1943. Because of her father Francis’s history of mental breakdowns, a doctor advised Francis (Fuzzy) and his wife Alice that they shouldn’t have children. Edie admitted during the 60s that as a child both her father and two of her brothers had tried to sleep with her but she turned all of them away. Her first real encounter with drugs of any form came after she found her father cheating on her mother with a neighbor. After she tried to tell her mother what she witnessed, her father told her that she was crazy and called a doctor who “gave me so many tranquilizers I lost all my feelings.” Edie was first institutionalized during the fall of 1962. She suffered from anorexia while in school (a disease which would plague her until the end of her life) and, like her brother Minty, was placed in the Silver Hill mental hospital (Minty would live there until the end of his life when in 1964 he committed suicide; another brother Bobby was institutionalized in Manhattan and died early January 1965 after a motorcycle accident left him in a coma since New Years Eve, 1964). Her anorexia persisted while she was at Silver Hill, getting to the point where she weighed a dangerously low ninety pounds, and she was moved to the far stricter Bloomingdale hospital. Toward the end of her stay at Bloomingdale, Sedgwick became pregnant and had to have an abortion.
In the fall of 1963 Edie was released from Bloomingdale and moved to Cambridge to attend Radcliffe College, where she began hanging out with Ed Hennessy, “a kind of deliberately outrageous dandy,” and Chuck Wein, a recent graduate of Harvard who had “come back to bum around.” She left Cambridge soon after her twenty-first birthday, moving into her grandmother’s Park Avenue apartment in 1964, with Chuck Wein also moving to Manhattan as well. Edie’s friend at the time recalled that in their early New York days Wein “would be plotting out the next move of their strategy, whom he was going to introduce to Edie that night, what they could do for her. Chuck had a real promoter’s vision about her; he knew that she had this quality but that she was totally disorganized and wouldn’t be able to pull it off herself…so he took over her life.”

*Stay tuned for the continuing story of Edie Sedgwick*

Monday, April 13, 2009

and all i gotta do is act naturally

I have talked about the many accomplishments of Peggy Lipton's life here briefly before. Recently I picked up a copy of her memoir Breathing Out, hoping that there were even more great secrets about this beautiful sixties star than I knew before. As I read her account of her years growing up, I found out there were many more secrets about Ms. Lipton -- but too many of them were great ones. She was born into a wealthy, Jewish, Long Island family where she was sexually abused as a young girl. She began her modelling career at sixteen with the Ford Modelling Agency before moving out to Los Angeles in 1964 to sign a contract with Universal Studios. Like many children of abuse, she became promiscuous, sleeping with a string of musicians, actors, alcoholics, and married men. She was admittedly "rapaciously romantic." In 1966 she slept with Paul McCartney when he was in California on tour with the Beatles.
Soon after moving to LA, she wast cast as a schoolgirl in the sitcom "The John Forsythe Show" and the Civil War-set "Mosby's Marauders" where she played sister to Kurt Russell. In 1968 she was cast as the beautiful-but-troubled Julie Barnes in "The Mod Squad." Her role as the prettiest undercover cop of the Haight-Ashburty area cast Lipton in the real-life role as the hippie child role model to the greater America. With her long blonde hair, fresh face, and hip clothing, Lipton became both the image of the mod girl and the flower girl during the late sixties. During its five-year run, "The Mod Squad" nabbed Lipton four Golden Globe nominations and one win in 1971 for Best TV Actress in a Drama.
Her sudden celebrity introduced her to a whole new world of people. She had a brief singing career, and an even briefer dalliance with Sammy Davis Jr., who she also recorded a duet with. In addition to McCartney and Davis Jr., Lipton also had, erm, encounters with Keith Moon and Terence Stamp, who she experimented with drugs with. Also on the list was Elvis, who Lipton said "was a great kisser but that was about it." As a way to move past her need for drugs and men, Lipton looked toward religion for a solution. She became involved with Hinduism and Scientology, which she tried to persuade Elvis to join and is still involved with today.
While still with Sammy Davis Jr., Peggy met Quincy Jones in 1974, a then-married musician/producer who immediately fell in love with her. They wed later on that same year and Lipton went on a self-imposed retirement at Quincy's request in order to become a full-time mom to daughters Kidada and Rashida Jones. Their interracial marriage caused controversy for some. Lipton said that when out at night with her husband, they were often pulled over by the police because they assumed that a white woman who was in a car with a black man could only be either a prostitute or a kidnapping victim. Quincy and Peggy were married for sixteen years until their marriage fell apart in 1990. Their marriage had been strained since the late 80s following Quincy's increasingly-demanding career and her growing interest in her faith. After their divorce, Lipton said she struggled with deep depression and dehabilitating fatigue. She eventually found strength from her two daughters, her return to acting (she has had roles on "Twin Peaks" and "Alias"), and her guru Gurumayi. She has remained good friends with her ex-husband, even collaborating with him on Jones's book "Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones."
Her book ends on a more somber note as just before "Breathing Out" was going to press, Lipton was diagnosed with colon cancer. She has since undergone treatment and the cancer seems to be in remission.
I really enjoyed Lipton's autobiography and recommend it for anyone who enjoys a pleasant look back at California during the sixties and seventies. During Peggy's journey, she has met many famous people along the way, but never in her book does she make it seem like she's just name-dropping so that everyone knows how important she is. She could've been talking about Steve-the-homeless-man-she-met-on-the-street and it still would've been just as charming as when she talks about Kurt Russell.

The opening theme to the Mod Squad:
Singing a duet with former flame Sammy Davis Jr:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

she's a wonderful lady and she's all mine, and there doesn't seem a way that she won't come and lose my mind

Happy Easter ev'rybody! In honor of this glorious day, the Easter bunny left a little treat for me on my TiVo -- two back-to-back episodes of "Biography" on A&E channel. I love the biography programs, but today it was extra special because the programs were first about Davy Jones, and then about the Monkees! Because I am essentially a fourteen-year-old girl on the inside, I couldn't help but get extremely excited and feel inspired to post. I am posting about Samantha Juste, the first wife of Monkee Micky Dolenz from 1968 until 1975. Though only my second favorite Monkee (behind Davy...remember that I have the emotional capacity of a tween), I always really liked Micky and Samantha together.

Samantha was born Sandra Slater in 1944 in Manchester, England. As a teenager, she became a model and changed her name to Samantha -- a still uncommon name in England at the time, though gaining popularity due to Grace Kelly's role as Samantha Lord in "High Society" and Elizabeth Montgomery's role as Samantha Stephens in "Bewitched." It is said that during the 1960s, Samantha Juste was one of the most popular Samanthas in Britain. As a model, she was popular because of her thin frame, long long legs, and blonde hair. She also made some of her clothing on the side after studying textiles and dress design at college. She favored minidresses with somewhat simple neckline and at times with long sleeves.
In the mid-60s, she became known as the "disc girl" on the popular Top of the Pops program, and released her own album. She appeared in the now-rare photobook, John D. Green's "Birds of Britain," a 1967 coffee table book highlighting the bright young things in England at that time (including Marianne Faithfull, Jane Asher, Pattie Boyd, Julie Christie, Lulu, and more!) In early 1967 she met Dolenz when the Monkees performed on Top of the Pops. He recalled that Samantha "was tall, blonde, beautiful, and wearing an emerald green outfit that ends up in a short skirt (very short) which tops off her unbelievably gorgeous legs." Micky said that all during their performance on TotP, "she hold his glance briefly then looks quickly away with that haughty sophistication that only the British can do so well."
Dolenz and Juste soon began dating, which caused media frenzy and fan upset during the time known as 'Monkeemania.' Samantha received a lot of the flack for their relationship, and had to endure female fans cruelty and newspaper headlines like "Pops girl goes ape" and "Samantha traps Monkee." The couple split their time between Samantha's flat in London and Micky's place in Laurel Canyon, with Samantha eventually moving in with him and leaving Top of the Pops. They wed in the summer of 1968, and their daughter Ami Bluebell was born in January of the next year. Dolenz wrote at least one song inspired in part by Samantha, "Randy Scouse Git," referring to her as the "girl in the yellow dress." During their marriage, the Dolenzes socialize with some of the top names in the music industry, including Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr, who dubbed Samantha "Earth Mother." During the 70s, Micky's admittedly self-indulgent nature took a toll on the marriage, leading to Juste filing for divorce in 1975. She now runs an online boutique with her daughter Ami (an actress) called Bluebell Boutique.
(thanks to and wikipedia for info)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

13 most beautiful women (right now)

Here is the second installment of my "13 most beautiful..." series. Just to rehash what I'm doing with this, I publish a list of the 13 women that I envy and/or admire at the moment. This idea was stolen from Andy Warhol, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind.
  1. Susan Bottomly - the immediate successor to Edie Sedgwick at the Factory, sixteen-year-old Susan Bottomly was dubbed "International Velvet" by Warhol himself in 1966. She lived a lot like Sedgwick -- holing up at the Chelsea after moving away from her New England family, who gave her a handsome weekly allowance. She also looked a bit like Edie -- wearing long, elaborate earrings and painting herself for hours with makeup. Warhol once said, "watching someone like Susan Bottomly, who had such perfect, full, fine features, doing all this on her face was like watching a beautiful statue painting itself." The semblances to Andy's former friend were not coincidental; Susan said that the desire to go to the Factory and live in New York came after seeing Edie's Youthquaker spread in Vogue. Her main lasting fame came from her appearance in Warhol's cult film "Chelsea Girls," where she played up her decadent reputation. Her fame at the Factory was not long-lasting because just as Sedgwick was replaced, Bottomly would soon be replaced by Viva as Andy's no. 1.
  2. Françoise Hardy - an iconic French singer/actress/astrologer, Hardy has remained as influential today as she was in the sixties during the yé-yé music movement. With her chic rockstar style and cutglass cheekbones, it is quite understandable why Nicolas Ghesquière names her as one of the chief influences in his creations for Balenciaga. Back during her heyday, she hung out with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, the latter of which mentioned her in a poem on the cover of the album "Another Side of Bob Dylan."
  3. Audrey Hepburn - when discussing actresses of the 20th century, Audrey Hepburn approaches almost untouchable Mother Teresa territory for some people. And who could blame them for loving the most un-diva A-list actress who essentially gave up her career to volunteer for UNICEF and help malnourished and sick children of wartorn countries, children that she identified with after going through many of the same experiences in occupied Netherlands. After her debut in "Roman Holiday," Hepburn would become a fashion icon for women who sought after a classic yet modern style. Her innate style, slim ballerina figure, and relationship with Hubert de Givenchy is legendary. Recently she has been named the most influential fashion icon of the entire twentieth century and the infamous black Givenchy gown she wore in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" being named the best costume ever.
  4. Jean Shrimpton - "the Shrimp," as she was known during the 60s, was really the first important waifish gamine model. Coming before Twiggy and the flood of pin-thin girls after her, Shrimpton developed a strong modelling career in high fashion magazines. She had a four-year relationship with David Bailey, one of the most celebrated photographers of the time, and soon became the face of Swinging London. She was the first to publicly wear a 'mini dress' (a shocking 3.9 inches above the knee) to an event that had women wearing modest dress, pantyhose, and elaborate hats.
  5. Kim Novak - probably best known for her portrayal of the beautiful and aloof Madeleine in Hitchcock's "Vertigo," it probably is no coincidence that Novak's first job was modelling as "Miss Deepfreeze." She first gained success in the mid-50s, touted as Columbia Studios's version of Marilyn Monroe, this curvy blonde made a name for herself doing films with Jimmy Stewart and boys from the Rat Pack. She was among the most tortured of Hitchcock's leading women; his demands for her to repeatedly do takes for a scene requiring her to jump into an icy river below her for his own amusement (without even filming) are legendary.
  6. Ali MacGraw - admittedly the only film I have seen her in is "Love Story," but that's okay, right? When she wasn't romancing Ryan O'Neal as Jennifer Cavelleri, the epitome of collegiate cool, Ali had a five-year marriage to Steve McQueen (the epitome of cool in general). Now a yoga-enthusiast, Ali's seventies style was similar to that of her Love Story character -- simple, minimalist clothing, tanned makeup-free skin, long middle-parted hair, and the "Ali cap."
  7. Britt Ekland - Ekland accomplished two of my goals in life at an early age: one, to meet and marry Peter Sellers; two, to become a Bond girl. The first of those goals is quite impossible for me now, but still I am envious. She was a Bond girl in '74's "The Man with the Golden Gun." She was Roman Polanski's first choice to play Rosemary Woodhouse in his 1968 masterpiece "Rosemary's Baby." Now she just sort of is a fabulous jetsetter who kind of stalks rock stars. Which is pretty awesome, too.
  8. Ingrid Bergman - my favorite actress of all time, Bergman will probably go down in history as the lead Ilsa Lund in the most romantic film ever made (not my opinion -- its a legit fact). She is a fascinating woman who, during her life, endured both being the most celebrated -- then the most hated (following her affair with Roberto Rossellini where she was forced into exile)-- star of her day.
  9. Ann Margret - what can one really say about the girl who made red hair hot, was dubbed the female Elvis, and had her own Flintstones character named after her? Ann Margret is simply cool...and hot...all at the same time. Didn't think it was possible, did you? Well Ann-Margret makes it possible.
  10. Anita Pallenberg - if it was possible, I would worship at the altar of Anita Pallenberg. The model-actress who possessed an 'evil glamour' has become a legend in the fashion community for her utterly decadent approach to dressing. Someone a half-degree less cool than Pallenberg would look like an absolute fool in the outfits she wears, but I suppose that is the way she has remained the number one icon for gypsy cool. Someone who can wear a velvet bolero with silk Chinese silk pants and a large turquoise necklace is worthy of that kid of title though.
  11. Tippi Hedren - the last important Hitchcock heroine, Tippi (mama to Melanie Griffiths) made a name for herself starring in two back-to-back films for the Master of Suspense, "The Birds" and "Marnie," with Sean Connery. After these two films, Tippi - who was under an exclusive contract with Hitchcock and had to endure a creepy crush he had on her - wanted out. She was a big star by then, having been stylized by Hitch to be the sixties answer to Grace Kelly. But Hitch wouldn't have that, and made sure that if he couldn't work with her, then no one else would want to either.
  12. Michelle Phillips - Mama Michelle was one of the most gorgeous rock stars in history. She dressed in a very cool laid-back California style which involved colored jeans, knit ponchos, and pigtails. All of those clothing items sounds as though they would be in the third grade reject pile, but somehow Michelle made it all look so damn cool. The last surviving member of the original lineup of the Mamas and the Papas, Michelle has segwayed over into acting (including a stint on the original 90210), but will always be remembered for being the mama of California cool.
  13. Jane Birkin - the unearthly gorgeous singer and actress who has seemed to blur the lines of French sophistication and English cool must have something magical in her genes -- both her daughters (Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon) exude the same coolness factor their mother does, much to my jealousy.

Monday, April 6, 2009

i've got the money if you've got the time

I saw a photo over at Child of the Moon (such a super-genius blog) that I quite enjoyed and wanted to share:
I liked the ad for whatever reason -- I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be funny in a way that I suppose I am too ignorant to understand, or if there wasn't a real point to it besides having a real pretty model carting this particular brand of cigarettes. Then I remembered why I liked it. I vaguely remember during my Michelle Williams obsession (early-2007) seeing a photo that was done of her during filming of "I'm Not There."
Michelle played the character Coco Rivington, the "queen of the underground," an Edie Sedgwick-type that interacts with Cate Blanchett's Jude Quinn (the mid-60s Bob Dylan-type character). Now I admit that I am a bad person and haven't yet seen "I'm Not There" (though I am recording it tonight on HBO) so I don't know if this photo is utilized at all in the film. Here is just another example of vintage-inspired photography being pretty successful -- I think that Michelle looks gorgeous here.