This weekend I drove up the beautiful California coast to San Simeon, in central Cali. It is always a pleasure to escape the city of Los Angeles and all of it’s hubbub. The Golden State is gorgeous, and although the weather forcast predicted rain, it was a rare, sunny weekend (lucky me!) It is easy to see why William Randolph Hearst purchased the land above San Simeon Bay to build his castle for himself and Marion… a more spectacular setting would be difficult to find. The castle is as awe inspiring as it must have been in it’s prime party days of the roaring ’20s.
I have always been fascinated by Marion Davies. According to Wikipedia, she was a much better actress/comedienne than history has claimed (due in a large part to a sad portrayal in Orson Welles movie “Citizen Kane”), but Hearst’s love, devotion and immense wealth did nothing at all to help Marion’s career. She was doomed to throwing lavish parites and drunken revelries, and never achieved the success as an actress that she so dearly wanted. In later life, she worked tirelessly for charities.
Still partially intact is Marion’s beach house in Santa Monica; I pass it often and think of her. It is now a private beach club. She is the ultimate story of someone who had it all, and at the same time, had nothing. Hearst’s wife would not divorce him so they never married, and her talent went unacknowledged. Though I rarely focus on this era for my art prints, the trip up north and the sad story of Marion inspired me to do a image of her. It is the Golden Age of Hollywood in the Golden State!
Last night I visited my favorite theater in Hollywood, The Egyptian. It always showcases great retro movies, and it’s wonderful to see them on the big screen. Many times there are actors or directors from the movie for a Q and A after the film. I couldn’t miss “Vanishing Point”, a great car chase / road trip movie made in 1971. Paul Koslo, the actor who portrayed the (very mean) young cop in the movie, was there to reminisce about the groovy shoot of 10 weeks. The movie stars Barry Newman, a Vietnam war hero and ex-cop who develops a Forrest Gump-type following in his quest to beat the police through the western desert in his turbo white Charger. The film had some incredible shots and amazing car chases, and some really humorous dialogue that only belonged in the 70′s. At one point, Barry Newman flashbacks to a moment (when he was still a cop) with his girlfriend on the California coast, who rolls a joint and says “Wouldn’t it be funny if I turned you on and you turned me in?” Then she proceeds into the ocean to surf and promptly drowns.
What I love about screenings at the Egyptian is the warm and rowdy audience; they are always film and retro lovers who vocally express their pleasure with the films. There were quite a few laughs! I guess the real star of the show was the white Charger. The era of American muscle cars was a unique time in history. Those cars are worth tens of thousands of dollars now….if you can find them!!!
Today Helen Gurley-Brown, THE woman… the woman behind Cosmo magazine, the woman who told many many generations of other women that it was ok to enjoy being single…that it was ok for women to have sex without guilt, has died. All I could think about today though, was the luminous Natalie Wood, who starred in the movie based on Helen’s famous book, “Sex and the Single Woman.” The book was written in 1962, and if you are a fan of Mad Men, then you already know how it was for women in that pre- feminism era.
In retrospect, maybe the movie doesn’t have the impact or importance of the book. The incredibly beautiful Natalie is a “Sex Therapist”; she is a working woman- an educated woman. In the end of course, the inevitable happens and she falls for Tony Curtis. I haven’t seen it in a long time, so I can only reflect on these two thoughts… the death of a important cultural icon and feminist Helen Gurley-Brown, and the incandescent and unforgetable Natalie Wood. (Tony Curtis – meh!)
Rest in Peace, and thank you Helen!
Today I came across two different items related to the iconic Gustav Klimt. Having been to Vienna, which I love (where I swear his spirit lives on!) one is often caught by surprise when suddenly, looming around any corner, is an Art Deco architectural wonder. Of course it is a modern, bustling city, but it literally sings with music and art. I can’t help but love Klimt; of course I love his lyrical line and sense of the decorative, and gold leaf is always special to me (anything that is glittery works for me!) But also, he was a true lover of women and their sensuality, and he always messed and annoyed the establishment of his day, a character trait I admire. No shrinking violet was Gustav! And he produced some seriously beautiful art.
There is a review in The Wall Street Journal “Forever Between Two Worlds” for an exhibition at the Neue Gallery in New York, in honor of the 150th aniversary of his birth. And at the Getty Museum here in Los Angeles, we have “Gustav Klimt: The Magic of Line” which will showcase his drawings. An excerpt:
Discover the beautiful and evocative drawings of Gustav Klimt in this major retrospective, which explores the stylistic evolution of his drawings as well as their centrality to his work. Klimt’s drawings are characterized by an unsurpassed mastery of line, from his earliest days as a student to his maturity as an avant-garde master.
I am lucky enough to be able to see both, as I will soon be in New York (YAY!!) so I will get to absorb some Gustav magic.
Here is a Photo illustration collage I did that includes an image on Klimts very famous “The Kiss”. I no longer sell this image, but maybe I should revisit it! I love being inspired from other artist’s and incorporating them in my work.
The Rolling Stones are celebrating their 50 years in show business, as I recently read in the Wall Street Journal. It was interesting to be reminded that the Stones’ early style was very natural, as in, one could almost say JCrew-ish? I have to say that I prefer Mr. Jaggar in those clothes in that era. A most beautiful English lad! Here is what phtographer Gered Mankovitz said about their style in the early days:
“In late 1965, when I first shot them, it was against the band ethos to dress up too much,” said rock photographer Gered Mankowitz, who toured with the band that year, and shot Stones album covers such as 1965′s “Out of Our Heads” and ’67′s “Between the Buttons.” “There wasn’t a lot of difference between their off- and onstage style, really. The look was natural, real—not flashy. Part of their visual strength was their individuality. And each had their own look.”
Although I also must say I love their jumpsuit and cape wearing in the years that were to follow, I think their classic look fit their youth well.
Click to view more fabulous Rolling Stones looks! May they Rock and Roll forever!!!
If you have ever studied another language, one of the first things you need to grasp completely is that you CANNOT translate phrases word for word from your language. That is not learning the language! Which is why the phrase “I miss Paris” never rolls off my tongue quickly enough. To miss Paris, or anyone, they must be “missed to you.” Last night I saw a House Hunters International on apartment hunting in Paris (a daunting task, of course) and today I saw a wonderful article about a new exhibition of Gertrude and The Brother’s Stein’s art collection. (If you saw “Midnight in Paris” you were probably amused by Kathy Bates’ portrayal of Gertrude and that fabulous copy of Picasso’s painting he did of her!) The exhibition, “The Stein’s Collect” is at the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, then travels to New York, and finally Paris, where it all began. From the Wall Street Journal article:
For several years, almost the only places in Paris where one could go to see collections of works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse were Gertrude and Leo’s (and later Alice’s) weekly Saturday-evening salons on rue de Fleurus, and Sarah and Michael’s the same evening on the rue Madame. Eventually, “everybody” came—writers, musicians, cafe society and the gay demimonde, foreign searchers after the new, and the artists the Steins collected.
The Steins were such influential and astute art collectors that they managed to have owned some of the most beautiful and important paintings ever created, such as these two glorious Matisse portraits. They are breathtaking!
So I’m sure you can understand why I have learned to say correctly “Paris me manque” whilst my head is thinking: “Paris is missed to me!”
Today I read about an interesting shopping event that is organized by Jill Alexander in Orange County, Southern California. Women who have downsized their lifestyle due to divorce, are downsizing their wardrobes as a means to provide themselves with extra cash! If you are looking for that perfect Chanel bag or Jimmy Choo shoes at a incredible discount, this would be the place to go. The ex-wives who provide the clothes and shoes for the event are looking forward to breaking with the past and freeing themselves from “too much (designer) stuff.” Sounds like a win-win all around! Sip some champagne as you peruse the goods!
Below is a photo of recently divorced Julie Spira. She is not selling the polka dot Badgley Mischka gown in the photo; she says she is wearing it at her next wedding!
See more photos and read the article here!
If you live in Los Angeles (or even if you don’t) you have undoubtedly heard of the dreaded “Carmegeddon”; the three day closure of the north/south 405 freeway between the east/west 10 freeway and the Hollywood freeway. Today is the day, and we are very, very afraid. In L.A., we are quite used to thinking around traffic times. It is automatic – (don’t head downtown after 2 pm from the westside, or to the valley or to LAX on the 405, to Santa Monica EVER… on and on and on). Of course, this is only when you have the option; many times we don’t. Then you try to find a work-around, which just ends up infuriating you and making you very, very upset. (This is where road rage comes from out here.) So, I am hoping that many of us just stay around our respective neighborhoods. I have heard many ingenious money-making events scheduled, from champagne helicopter ride over the closed freeway, to five-course dinners at restaurants being offered for $40.05. Renegade, the huge and awesome indie craft fair (that I participated in last year) is being held this weekend downtown; I hope they do ok! I was even thinking of taking the surface streets to go check it out…
I’ll let you know how it goes!
This weekend I was very excited to go to Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s film event “Monster Matinee” and see the retro sci-fi film “Fantastic Voyage.” (The series is running concurrently with the Tim Burton exhibition, and he has selected all the film features that were important influences on him.) “Fantastic Voyage” stars Stephen Boyd and Raquel Welch and was made in super swingin’ 1966. Our movie’s heroes work for the good guys (of course!) and they need to be miniturized in order to save the life of a important scientist vis-a-vis his circulatory system, hence the “fantastic voyage.” SO awesome! Great special effects, preposterous dialogue and story line, and a great marriage of retro and sci-fi. (I’m not sure which I love more, retro or sci-fi…I was glued to the 4th of July Twilight Zone marathon!)
Getting to see a movie like this on the big screen is really priceless. There is a innocence and a sweetness I see in the things from other eras that I miss in today’s world.
I have been in a cleaning/organization frenzy lately, and the last stop has been my little art studio. I fearlessly tossed away some life-size paintings on paper (but they were of a live model, and the instructors played a trick on us…our model was a VERY heavy set older man!) I did like the paintings, though
In my studio I found this fabulous poster I had kept of the summer event “L.A.Flash”, which was a 2008 recreation of the ORIGINAL 1973 version! I have to say that 70′s style, fashion, art and photography is absolutely one of my favorite eras. It’s was so real and authentic, yet so over the top. Pointy collars,polyester, and hair hair hair! I love these photos from the original event.
Here is what is written on the poster:
“In 1973, LACMA commissioned five photographers to document L.A.’s street style. Thirty-five years later, we’re celebrating the project by asking what your L.A. street style looks like today. Dress the part for this late-night art event- photos taken during the evening will be added to the museum’s archives at lacmaflash.org.”
In my new store, I have a few homages to the glamour of the 1970′s that you can purchase. I love this sparkling, decadent image of Bianca Jagger in her studio 54 era! Click on the image to purchase in my store. Also available as a SUPER large “Statement Piece”!