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
I dearly love my blog… and there are always so many cool things I want to write about, but sadly I have been absent from posting. Well, this is a new year, and there are always those resolutions to keep
I went to see “American Hustle” and they played that great movie trailer for the Jean Luc-Godard film with Brigitte Bardot “Le Mepris” (“Contempt” in English) as an advertisement to the films 50th anniversary release (FIFTY years… can you believe it?) It is considered one of the greatest film trailers of all time, and I have to say, it does the film proud. It is as stark, modern, bizarre, beautiful, and confusing as the film itself. I LOVE that film, and I love Bardot in it. Some things just have their right place and time, some things don’t need to have a lot said for them, they stand for themselves.
Watch it here!
Some film stills (omg how great were the sets!)
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.
It’s been long time between posts lately … you know, the holidays and all that. I’ve been enjoying my downtime and reading my iPad, watching movies (loved loved “The Artist”!), filling orders for my stores and generally being lazy! I recently have been perusing the Life Magazine app, which is just beautiful. They have organized their incredible iconic photos into slideshow-based themes and I discovered Françoise Sagan, (under the “romantic-drunken-mad-literary-artist category”) who by all accounts was a hard living, larger than life, precocious artist. Her first, and most famous book, “Bonjour Tristesse” was published when she was 18 years old. She was an eccentric, and I love her for that!
Here she is with some of her more famous quotes:
“To jealousy, nothing is more frightful than laughter.”
When asked if she believed in love: “Are you joking? I believe in passion. Nothing else. Two years, no more. All right, then: three.”
“A dress makes no sense unless it inspires men to want to take it off you.”
“I have loved to the point of madness, that which is called madness, that which to me is the only sensible way to love.”
“One can never speak enough of the virtues, the dangers, the power of shared laughter.”
“Art must take reality by surprise.”
I know it appears I am in love with all things French …and I am! Only the French would make the new silent movie “The Artist”, and possess the effortless style of everyday Parisiens, speak the lovely language that I now master fairly well, not to mention the great bread, the butter, and Brigitte Bardot.
Last weekend I caught “A Place in the Sun” on Turner Movie Classics. Of course, anything with Elizabeth Taylor in her prime is retro glamour heaven, especially when the movie includes her good friend Montgomery Clift (or James Dean.) It seemed a lot more melodramatic and over-acted than I remember- my how movies have changed! Oh well, they were very earnest and worked hard, and it was a good movie in it’s day. However now, it is a Old Hollywood Classic, and I love them all! The gowns by Edith Head were amazing, the black and white chiaroscuro lighting, the lovely and delicate Liz, the handsome Monty. I particularly love the bright pop-art orange and yellow movie poster.. so cool! A little Gone With the Wind-ish, don’t you think? Just more fodder for inspiration! I Love Turner Movie Classics!
I love to watch TV5Monde on cable. If you don’t know it, TV5Monde is France’s TV channel for the US. In my l-o-n-g struggle to learn to speak adequate french, I find I pick up quite a bit from watching old movies, French sit-coms, and even the news. It is quite interesting to see how global the news can (or can not) be, and particularly nice to see what is happening in other parts of the world.
The other day they were showing “Les Trois Glorieuses” with THE most fabulous glamour photos of three beautiful french actresses from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. I had heard of none of them, and yet they were as strikingly beautiful as all the other well-known icons from that era, like Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo. I wasn’t able to sit and watch it attentively, so I will re-watch it at another time. They have a extraordinary story and are quite lovely and charming today. Here is a bit about them that I deciphered from a French blog. Don’t you just love them, then and now?
110 films for Danielle Darrieux, 110 films for Micheline Presle, and 70 films for Michèle Morgan. These three actresses began their careers at hardly more than fifteen years of age, and reigned over the French cinema during the thirties to the fifties. Michèle Morgan was known as “de beaux yeux” (the beautiful eyes.) Michele and Micheline even shared the same husband for a time! They all tried their success in Hollywood, but they were never cast in anything other than French roles and were not able to attain worldwide stardom.
I think they are definitely the brightest of stars, and très très glorieuses.
I just finished a pop art interpretation of the one and only Audrey Hepburn. It took awhile for me to do a image of her. I think because she is the ultimate in my retro-love obsession. She is so iconic, and so loved by all; the epitome of chic retro style and glamour.
I read a biography of Audrey and if you have the time, I highly recommend reading more about her life. She suffered malnutrition and starvation as pre-teen during WWII, and she was deeply affected by her father’s abandonment of the family. (She found him years later and supported him the rest of her life.) You may know that her first dream was to be a ballet dancer, and I am happy she was often able to find roles that featured her dancing talents. Her actual success as a movie star was a bit accidental, which (I think) adds to her allure. She was truly “discovered.” She never felt very beautiful, she was very unlucky in love, she was a great advocate for children, and from what I have read, a wonderful and devoted mother. No wonder she is still so adored and worshipped!
Here is my art canvas piece of her. It is digitally mixed with a vintage photo and my original paintings. It is only available in my web store
Own it here!
I don’t really know what is quite so appealing to me about retro culture, but I can safely say that Twiggy is one of the best reasons I can name. Perhaps it is the fleeting sense of time, place, and youth that retro culture reminds us of. Perhaps it is the “otherness” from the style of today. Yes, we imitate and mine the past for inspiration, but it was REAL then… not just a source of inspiration. Or, perhaps I love the feeling of nostalgia!
I found this 70’s dress that reminds me of something Twiggy would wear, but not in an obvious way. She was so thin and androngynous that she really rocked feminine and boyish styles. You can purchase it here, in my etsy store…
….and enjoy these images of Twiggy!