Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Driving in cars

A friend asked me this Formspring question ages ago, and I am finally catching up to her:

What is your favorite past-time? What past experiences do you have good memories from?

One aspect of myself I take a lot of pride in is my acceptance of "alone time." Popularity has always been a foreign concept to me. I never experienced it in school, and with the exception of a brief college period, I quit longing for it years ago. As a result, I love spending time with family and friends. However, it also does not scare me to entertain myself. 

Right after I got my license in high school, my solo recreation consisted mostly of taking long drives. I would spend an hour, sometimes several, just driving through nearby towns and countryside, with a Pretty Girls Make Graves album, or the American Graffiti soundtrack playing. I loved it. I explored the place I grew up in, and I also took time to reflect on my life, and where I wanted to go. Furthermore,  I found odd little places I felt no one else knew about. 

Now I would never take drives like that. Being more eco-conscious, I am too afraid of feeling guilty. I miss them.

Ask me a question via Formspring!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"I've been searching my soul tonight ..."

I do not watch a lot of TV, but one show I have fallen in love with over the past year is Ally McBeal. After I watched every episode of Sex and the City at least a dozen times, I decided I needed a new "girly show" to indulge in. Ally seemed like a natural choice. I remember my mom and my sister watched it when it aired in the '90s, but it seemed too "grown up" for me at the time. Now, I appreciate its quirky, hilarious, and often touching story lines.

Plus, I love the music Vonda Shepard contributes. "Searching My Soul" has become a real guiltless pleasure :-)

Oh, and this is hilarious:


Friday, June 24, 2011

Transported, courtesy Scott and Zelda ...

I saw Midnight in Paris last night. It's a lovely film, especially for a semi-Francophile and 1920s-lover like myself. I was surprised how big a role F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald played. I am fascinated by this couple, despite their sad story, and have researched them for years. One of Zelda's biographies has been sitting on my shelf for a few months, and next week I will finally get around to reading it. In the meantime, here is a fun video of her and Scott.

By the way, Paris is my favorite place I've never been to. After watching this movie, I decided if I ever visit, I need to find a flea market and go record-hunting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My sentiments, exactly, Marilyn!

Today the temperature will reach 94 degrees in Boise. I know some places have probably seen much more intense temperatures, but this is the hottest day of the year so far for us! I imagine I will spend most of today like Marilyn Monroe's character in The Seven Year Itch, who spends a great deal of the film figuring out how to keep cool in a sweltering summer apartment with no air conditioning.

I see myself downing a few glasses of frosty, frosty, iced tea this afternoon!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) and The Woman in the Window (1944)

I was hungry for some film noir last week, so I watched two new-two-me, Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Woman in the Window. I will keep these descriptions brief, and avoid details as I think the surprise element is important in films like these. I recommend both.

In Where the Sidewalk Ends, Detective Mark Dixon (Dana Andrews) wants so much to escape his criminal father's legacy, he goes to elaborate measures to cover up the accidental death of a murder suspect, to which he plays a part. This cover-up leads to more flawed suspects and investigations, along with Dixon's burgeoning relationship with the deceased suspect's wife, played by Gene Tierney. External and internal struggles abound as Dixon decides how to handle his mistake.

Otto Preminger directed Where the Sidewalk Ends, and after seeing several of his films, this one also kept me interested. His works I previously viewed, Laura, Bunny Lake is Missing, Angel Face, and River of No Return, contained suspense and complex characters. Dixon and his plight certainly parallel these. Juxtaposed with Andrews and Tierney's chemistry, it all became poetry disguised as a cop movie to me. Of course, I also liked Andrews and Tierney together in Laura, so I am not surprised they deliver another top-notch film together.

I then watched The Woman in the Window, and surprisingly loved the similarities between the two films. A man and woman (Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett) brought together by an accidental murder, and subsequent cover-up, also dominates this one. Robinson plays Richard Wanley, a professor whose family leaves on vacation. While downtown with some drinking buddies, he spots an intriguing-to-him portrait of a woman displayed in a window. After a few drinks, he meets the woman, Alice Reed (Bennett), she invites him to her apartment, and a brawl between Richard and the woman's lover ensues when the lover sees Richard there. In self-defense, Richard stabs the lover, and kills him. Panicked, Richard and Alice dispose the body, and try cover their tracks as the investigation ensues.

Fritz Lang, who directed the exquisite films M and Metropolis succeeds again in my view. While The Woman in the Window is much more fast-paced than M, it is still smartly played out, with an unexpected twist at the end. Also, I love the film's details. Richard's first sighting of Alice as a reflection in the window beside her portrait seemed original, and a little eerie to me.

Like any classic film lover, this genre intrigues me, but I do not often view movies like this back-to-back. It was a fun experience. Do you like film noir? Which ones are your favorite?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Just Being Audrey

Just Being Audrey is a beautiful picture book biography written by Margaret Cardillo and illustrated by Julia Denos. I have read it several times since yesterday, and it has yet to get old. It tells Audrey Hepburn's story with charming prose, and the most exquisite artwork. Seriously, I am addicted to the spreads in this book, and feel so happy I learned about Julia's work via Emma's blog yesterday.

When I observe the children's/young adult literature characters and pop stars I personally do not believe make positive role models, I love knowing this book exists. In a small space, the book promotes being oneself, and being kind to others. This means more than trying to gain popularity, or a boyfriend, or whatever young girls and women constantly struggle with. Even as an adult, I constantly remind myself of this, no matter how "painful" it seems to let go of those who pressure me, or do not appreciate who I am. It is a lovely message connected with one of the most fashionable icons ever.

Anyway, enough of my spew! I am so addicted to Julia's art, I sought out her blog and website. Also, the book's trailer contains more Audrey artwork! So. Utterly. Fabulous.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Here is another fabulous question asked via Formspring:

What do you use to inspire an outfit? You come up with such great looks!

Everything and anything. Literally. I am visual person, and gain inspiration from sources such as: art books/museums, magazines, coffee table books, history books, blogs, people I see on the street, and even the imagery I create in my head while reading. I love fashion from all eras, including the present, so if I see a garment or look I think I could work, I give it a shot. 

However, for the sake of specificity, I gain probably the most inspiration from movies, particularly the older movies regular readers know I love. I think I become most inspired this way because when I watch a movie, I not only see an image of a garment, but also its movements and interactions with an environment. Not that an image cannot provide these. Movement just makes them richer. I most likely sound like the biggest nerd writing I love observing the movement of clothes, but it's true. I find few objects more charming than a skirt that gracefully rustles and sways. Also, I feel an emotional investment in garments inspired by movies because I often admire or care about the character who wears them. 

For instance, I found this hat in my parents' closet, and claimed it because it reminded me of Scarlett O'Hara's barbecue outfit in Gone With the Wind. I do not think Scarlett is a likeable character, but she possesses some endearing qualities. Not to mention, she wears "Civil War couture" throughout the movie. Despite the grim time period, I consider this wardrobe one of the most romantic I have ever seen. 

Furthermore, I think this hat also hearkens the Enchanted April ladies. Enchanted April follows four women in 1920s London who abandon their lives for a month-long vacation at an Italian castle. While there, they wear shift dresses and wide-brimmed straw hats galore. It is a lovely movie, but I still consider Scarlett my reason for adopting this hat. 

I only mention Enchanted April because looking timeless also remains an inspiration for me. I love the idea of looking fashionable for more than just a moment, or a trend's length. Even though I admire both vintage and contemporary fashion, my personal style is more about conveying myself than capturing a specific era or trend. Therefore, I try not to look too 1920s, or 1960s, or 2011, and I look for pieces that prove chic over time.

Feel free to ask my more fabulous questions on Formspring!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Now I'm smooth and snappy"

Here is another Formspring question, this time from Shybiker's Ally!

In the movie "Zelig," Woody Allen inserted himself into past events. If you could do that in real-life, what old movie or historical event would you want to be inserted into?

Great question (and movie recommendation :-))! The first classic film I really fell in love with was the 1962 musical, Gypsy. It stars Natalie Wood as the famous stripper and burlesque performer, Gypsy Rose Lee, with Rosalind Russell as her mother, Rose, and Karl Malden as Rose's boyfriend, Herbie. The musical actually chronicles Gypsy's life before she became famous, and her relationship with her mother. Her mother, "Mama Rose," pushes Gypsy (then known as "Louise") and her younger sister into show business by creating a ridiculous vaudeville act. The film mostly centers on this, runs at about two and a half hours, and does not introduce the burlesque until the last thirty minutes or so. 

I first saw Gypsy when I was 11 or 12, and it stuck with me. I developed an obsession as I learned the songs, and pined for Gypsy's sophistication and glamour. Therefore, of all the classic films I have seen, I would most like to be in Gypsy. First, its time period and genre make it ideal. Since it is a musical, I could express myself by singing and dancing with a 1920s and 1930s theater backdrop. Tulsa, another character who performs in Mama Rose's act, does this. One of my favorite numbers from Gypsy is Tulsa's "All I Need is the Girl." He comes off as so charming, and dances impressive choreography. I could not find the 1962 version on YouTube, but I did find 1993 film version. I have not seen this version, but the scene remains pretty much the same, except with different actors.

Second, as I mentioned before, Natalie Wood's portrayal of Gypsy has always inspired me. I would love to be in this movie and perform a striptease like this number. It looks fun and empowering, though I would probably never do anything similar in real life. This (which is from the 1962 version) is one of my favorite parts of any movie.

Feel free to keep asking me such awesome questions!


Monday, June 13, 2011


These photos are not that pretty, but I had to share the great harem pants I bought months ago. They may or may not be hideous ... I am so into them I do not know or care. Also, I could not decide on shoes, so I decided to go barefoot, and use some of my past dance training. Ha. 

Also, I posted this on my Twitter, but due to lack of content inspiration, I decided to set up a Formspring. So far I have been asked a grand total of ONE question ;-) Here we go:

If one life just bled into another going from past life to current life, who do you think you were in your past life?

Hard question! This may sound arrogant, but I like to think I have a special connection with the actor, Natalie Wood. I read one of her biographies a couple years ago, and felt I related to some aspects of her personality and experiences. Also, when I watch her films, I root for her characters more than any other actors'. I just want everything to turn out for them. So, basically, I may have been her in my past life, in my opinion. Or not!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dancing in the 1920s: Charleston

Gotta love the Charleston. I actually learned how to do it at one point, not nearly as well as the people in this clip, but well enough! Here are some flappers and gents dancing the Charleston and others.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Transported, courtesy Annette Hanshaw

Annette Hanshaw was a popular Jazz Age-era singer. I imagine she is little-remembered today (I came across some of her songs completely by chance), which seems too bad. I love listening to vintage music that transports me to its recording time. Annette does that. When I listen to her sing, I imagine being a flapper who falls in love, experiences a broken heart, and then falls in love again. It may sound weird, but I cannot help but feel she takes me away for awhile.

I believe much popular music today tends to be a little over-the-top, so it's refreshing to listen to something more simple and romantic. However, who knows? Some people in the 1920s may have thought Annette was a little much.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Harvey (1950)

Elwood P. Dowd is a gentle man who makes friends wherever he goes. He shakes new acquaintances' hands, offers them his "card," and invites them home for dinner. Yet others misunderstand him. He supposedly spends hours in saloons, and dotes on a invisible, giant rabbit-friend named Harvey. Because of this, the sister and aunt he lives with think him crazy and an embarrassment. They want his quirks to disappear.

So begins the premise of Harvey, a film released in 1950, and starring James Stewart, Josephine Hull, and the rabbit, Harvey. I heard many positive reviews before viewing, but I did not anticipate the delight I felt throughout. Harvey is one of the best films I have seen in awhile. I love the humor Hull provides, and the affection Stewart, as Dowd, shows Harvey, and everyone around him. I always forget what a great actor I consider Stewart until I watch one of his films. He creates relatable characters, and I easily empathize. In my opinion, no other actor during that time or since (with the exception of perhaps Tom Hanks) portrayed these "everyman" souls quite like him.

I think the film also captures the idea that everyone remains more than others give them credit. Dowd reveals himself as someone who has seen a lot of life, and exists as he does because of his experiences. However, few people appreciate what he can offer, particularly his family. His friendship with Harvey balances this out, but I still wanted his relatives to cut him some slack.

I adored that rabbit, by the way. He completely stole my heart.

In all, I recommend this if you want a feel-good movie with a happy ending. I think I made it sound more dramatic than it is. It is actually a comedy! I re-watched it as soon as I finished it.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Dancing in the 1920s: The Waltz and The Baltimore

It has been awhile since I have shared 1920s dance videos. I love dancing, especially from this era. It seems so romantic. These prove no exception.

The Waltz:

The Baltimore:

What do you think? Any favorites from the two? I had a hard time picking between these dances, so I had to post both.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vintage purple skirt and floral jacket

Marlon on a Wednesday: "What's a rhinestone?"

Last night I watched one of my favorite movies, A Streetcar Named Desire. I think Tennessee Williams' writing is brilliant, and Marlon plays one of my favorite characters ever. As Stanley Kowalski, he hardly portrays the gentle sort. He shouts, throws radios and dishes, and demeans his wife Stella and her sister, Blanche. At the same time, he slurs words together like a little kid, and daintily picks a stray thread from Stella's dress as he relates gossip. Stanley exhibits so many layers I always look forward to exploring.

While I would not want to know (and certainly not live with) someone like this, I find Marlon's performance spellbinding. I saw a theater production of Streetcar last fall, and while I enjoyed it, I do not think anyone else can play Stanley. He captures the turbulence and humor perfectly. Despite how unlikeable Stanley seems, Marlon also shows moments where I understand why Stella fell for him.

This scene, which I consider one of the more humorous, explores Stanley and Stella's relationship. Stanley digging through Blanche's dresses, describing his "acquaintances," and tossing snarky comments cracks me up. YouTube will not allow embedding, but follow the link to watch:

What's a rhinestone?