Lately I’ve been coming across Lee Grant a lot. A great (and underrated) retro icon! She has published a memoir, “I Said Yes to Everything.” LOVE the title. I always enjoyed her mix of sultry beauty mixed with intelligence, her excellent acting, and her signature look – bob with bangs in a fiery auburn hue. She won an academy award for her part in that 1970s classic movie, “Shampoo” with Warren Beatty, and was nominated for her first and second movie roles. This week TurnerClassic Movies has the fabulous Ms Grant as a guest, and is screening many of her movies. How delicious! She is now 87 years old, and she has a lot to say about her life in Hollywood in an era when an actress was not allowed to grow old (they barely are allowed now!) She really DID say yes to everything, including a facelift in her 20s!(?)
Here is a great quote from an article in the New York Post on July 5, 2014,
She might be forgiven for worrying about her looks: Because of husband Arnie Manoff’s membership in the Communist Party, Grant was blacklisted in 1952 by the House Un-American Activities Committee and banned from performing in TV or film until 1964. That career hiatus, spanning her most marketable years (ages 24 to 36), made the striking Grant agonizingly conscious of her sell-by date.
I am so enamored of these wonderful women in the coolest eras! If you get a chance, watch or record her on TMC. She is still as sharp and feisty and auburn as ever!
Last night I watched the 1976 movie “Network”. I forgot what a good movie it was, with great cinematography and cool, creative lighting. And who wouldn’t work hard on lighting the shots if you were framing the face of the glorious Faye Dunaway? She won the Academy Award for her performance, and she is perfect as the hard-driving career-climbing 1970s television visionary. The movie still rings true about the evils chasing the beast of ratings, especially now with the endless parade of reality shows.
But it was the unique and extraordinary beauty of Faye that struck me… I went googleing to see more images of her, and she literally took my breath away! Oh my, could there have been anyone as beautiful? Particularly in Bonnie and Clyde… poor Warren Beatty, no slouch himself, he had to compete with such a fabulous thing of nature!
Here are some images of her, and once again I know why I am in love with all things retro! If my hair was straight, I would get a “Bonnie” bob straight away and pull out my berets! Now she is on my list to add to my shop… click on the “shop” link above to see my retro homages and perhaps soon she will be there!
“Terry was everywhere in the 60s – he knew everything and everyone that was happening” Keith Richards
Before the annual Academy Awards show each year here in Los Angeles, there are many nostalgia – themed shows and articles remembering stars and icons from previous eras. It’s almost as if the past is more glamorous and impossibly cool than the present, and the stars of today are just waiting for enough time to pass when they too, will immortalized by one or two memorable photographs. Arguably, there is no greater documenter of cool than the amazing Terry O’Neill. His snap of Brigitte Bardot with the wind whipping her hair is one of the most famous shots of one of the most famous icons. There is a new reprint out with hundreds of his mesmerizing photographs, “Terry O’Neill, Introduction by Dylan Jones” published by ACC Editions. I want it! I could look at his photos endlessly. He is 75 years old and still going strong. Oh, the stories he could tell… but he won’t…
“I’ve been repeatedly asked to write my autobiography – I have seen an awful lot of famous people at their best and worst – but I’m not interested in making money trading their secrets or mine. I want my pictures to tell a story not sell a story.” Terry O’Neill
There is a new book out by Taschen Publishing, the amazing art book publishing house, on Emilio Pucci. Pucci, if you do not know already, was the absolute master of intricate kaleidoscope colors and prints. He liked to boast that no one with the surname of “Pucci” had held a working job for the last 1000 years! Hence, his first foray into business was called “Emilio of Capri” to hide the fact from the other Pucci family members that he was “working.”
By the early 1950s, Pucci was achieving international recognition for his bold and colorful prints, which were worn by the biggest celebrities of the era. His beautiful silk scarves are collectors items. I’m glad he decided to work!
We are in full summer swing, and I just happened to come across the surfing cult classic film “The Endless Summer.” I don’t even surf, but I do know that surfing for real surfers has become like the freeways in L.A… too crowded and not worth the hassle. It made me smile when Bruce Brown, the filmmaker, explained the “bikini” for those who were shocked by such flimsy beach attire. The film was released in 1966, and if you want a glimpse back in time to when your biggest life’s dream could be as simple as wearing a bikini all around the world and following the summer, waves, and surf music, then this is your ticket!
Of course, I have already 1960’d some of my favorite beach and surf images for my stores… the first image is available on Etsy printed on canvas! Just some happy colorful summer surf art
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!!!
I’ve always been a Led Zeppelin fan, they were something special, unique and never heard before … and never to be heard again. So thanks to YouTube, I’ve been watching all these old Zeppelin concerts, and I’ve grown to appreciate their unique genius in a new and more mature way. Of course, my retro love of the early 1970’s keeps me entralled, but especially the most absolutely gorgeous, sexy, blond God that was Young Robert Plant.
I still love Robert Plant, but I never really appreciated him fully until now. Of course, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham match him in genius, yet I think it’s his bare chest and curly locks that do it. Not to mention they are the greatest Rock and Roll band ever! Long live the Queen; the Brits surely have brought us much musical joy (influenced by solid American roots!
Watch Led Zeppelin in their prime!
Check out my etsy store here for a couple of 1970s inspired prints.
I read an excerpt of this book, “A Furious Love” by Sam Kashner, Nancy Schoenberger in Vanity Fair. I was so fascinated by the “Marriage of the Century” that I had to go and get the book! It was a fascinating read, and perhaps it romanticized their love, but Richard Burton was quite the romantic and wrote all kinds of sweet love notes and letters to Elizabeth. What woman doesn’t like that? They HATED to be called “Liz and Dick”…. they were Elizabeth and Richard. By many, many personal accounts, they were BOTH more beautiful in person than on film. Elizabeth’s loveliness lasted well into her prime and people were shock by her beauty in person. Richard, on the otherhand, was quite the hunk… every woman was attracted to him and his beautiful voice. I just love to read about their time and the era they lived in, and reflect about how it has passed, never to return. I miss old Hollywood glamour!
Tragic and sad story all around, though.
It inspired me to make a “Elizabeth” pop art influenced canvas of the infamous Hollywood icon for my store. If you like it, go check it out by clicking on the photos!
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!