Thursday, April 30, 2009

It Tolled for Them

The seventies truly were another world. Here, fashions of the day, as modeled by what looks like four random actors auditioning for leads in The Boys in the Band.

Just a Jack Knife

I seem to be in a teutonic mood today - perhaps it was that kind of week - and after Dietrich, it seems an obvious progression to Lenya.

Here, in a truly shocking clip from 1962 (and under the direction of Ken Russell, no less), La Lotte shows us how us how it's done, in two and a half minutes that are an evocation both of the birth of Fascism and of the spirit of Cabaret.

Enjoy, among the shudders...

Dietrich's Deco Disarray

This poster tells us one thing: even with her legendary business acumen, Miss Dietrich did not reserve for herself image approval for European releases. And this poster proves she needed it.

At least now we now what Shanghai Lily looks like when she wakes up in the morning...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Penny for their Thoughts

Well, we know what's on Diane's mind: "Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Mary's in her usual deep denial (a case that's now well into its fifth decade, and which here seems to extend to complete obliviousness to the fact the she has her wig on sideways).

As for Flo - I have a feeling that this might be the very moment at which she realized, once and for all, that things had gone very, very wrong, and that she was saddled with a pair of complete lunatics.

Upen Update

We've seen Upen in white before. Here, however, he is clearly delivering some good news..., in fact, that appears to be intimated in this possibly coincidentally posed study.

But whatever relation this new information has to actual reality, isn't it nice to know that on top of everything else, he likes dogs? I wonder if Koko would get along with some new siblings...

Undoubtedly not. Which is just as well, for whatever would Mr. Muscato say?


Farrell. We knew she could crack wise with the best of them, but who knew she had one of the most beautiful backs in screendom?

But what the hell is going on with that sleeve? Warner's never could get glamour just right, and cable knit with crushed velvet is just ... wrong.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why Ask Why?

"So - does sunshine yellow make me look fat?"


"New for Spring, only from Lane Bryant!"


"Waiter, there's a pachyderm in my sundress!"

Or what you will...

Who Becomes a Legend Most?

Or, Blackglama and her two white-lady sidekicks. Apparently, they did a one-off night of Legends earlier this year. Who knew? Must've been a helluva night in the theatre...

Trailer Trash: Tout Chantant! Tout Dansant!

Deneuve! Dorléac! Darrieux! Chakiris! Kelly! Piccoli! Les Demoiselles de Rochefort is like a slightly too-rich slice of French pastry. Visually, it's Valley of the Dolls on (more) speed; the singing is shall-we-say variable; and the dancing is just all over the place, from the Deneuve-Dorléac sisters gleeful and entrancing amateurism to the exhausting energy of Mr. West Side Story. The trailer is actually a fairly good précis, although it does shortchange the divine Danielle.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pink Drink

Doesn't this look ... no, appetizing's not the word I'm looking for... no, more like - I have it: vomit-inducing.

If you read the fine print, you'll find you can go one level even further out into madness: Isabel Rosé, Carbonated.

If it weren't such an obscure brand, Isabel Rosé might make a pretty good drag name, though...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Did You Know...

...that in France, Mame Dennis is Satan?

4 Gals 4

Oh, it's a formidable enough group , but what do you suppose they talked about?

Appearing Nitely

So ... what do you call this act of yours?

Let's Go Latin!

There was a time when everybody went Latin...

From psychedelic hipsters... psychedelic hippies;

artists square...

...squarer (I have a suspicion that people named Winterhalter don't naturally go Latin)...

...and almost surreally square (and just why is Walt Disney looking over George's shoulder?);

it was a trend that ignored geography...

...and thousands of years of musical tradition;

it was electrifying...

...and brazen.

And then, just as suddenly as it came, it was gone. When do you suppose was the last time that anyone consciously went Latin?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Golden Girl

b. Bernice Frankel, 1922; Lucy Brown, Yente, Vera Charles,
Maude Findlay, Dorothy Zbornak; d. Beatrice Arthur, 2009.

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun;
Nor the furious winter’s rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney sweepers come to dust.

Fear no more the frown of the great,
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke:
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning-flash,
Nor the all-dread thunder-stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan;
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renowned be thy grave!

- Shakespeare, Cymbeline

Doris and Elaine - Still Shopping

Yup - our favorite Haber's shoppers are still at it! Here Doris (who has apparently taken as her fashion guru Captain Kangaroo, right down to the piping) is trying desperately to think of something nice to say about Elaine's latest choice.

Don't you wish you could see it all in color? I'm thinking Doris's pantsuit is red, Elaine's animal print is a saturated version of the real thing, and her quite astonishing 'do is a festival of frosts and beiges. I can't image what shades that floral frock came in, but for Elaine to look that pleased, I'm think pink must be involved.

The carpet, of course, is pea green, in two slightly different shades - it would seem that Haber's fitting area - but not the sales floor proper, even in Better Dresses - featured shag carpeting. Who said that the Watergate era lacked elegance? Elaine certainly knows better than that...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Our Lady of the Gurkhas

We've been following with interest the latest twists and turns in the saga of Britain's gurkhas, the right of whom to stay in the UK is being championed by none than dear Miss Joanna Lumley, seen here waxing wroth, and apparently quite appropropriately, at the latest judicial attempt to skirt previous rulings on behalf of open admission.

I don't know about you, but I just adore that in real life Patsy Stone is more than faintly patrician and a real Daughter of the Regiment.

Saloon Singer

Her name was Mildred, Mildred Irwin, and as of '38, she was singing in a dive in North Platte, Nebraska. Isn't she splendid?

And who knew that Northe Platte even had dives? Truly, the past is another country...


This week, thanks to the perspicacious Princess Sparkle Pony and other reporting, we were introduced to a Goddess of Style who has hitherto flown under our Fashion Radar: Her Excellency the First Lady of Cameroon, the ravishing creature known as Chantal Biya.

She's seen here with a gathering of her fellow African first ladies, and I'm sure you'll have no trouble in picking out our new idol. Whereas the undoubtedly mortified lady to her left is trying out her best Michelle O. look (and whereas it looks like at least one of these first ladies may be a first gentleman), La Chantal stands out - bigger, brighter, and and way more high-strung looking.

She's living proof that the influence of Van Smith, John Waters's groundbreaking stylist, has spread worldwide. Here she throws some Chantal-style disdain at the UK's dowdy FL-equivalent, a woman who clearly doesn't measure up to Chantal's high standards. Or hair.

Here's what she came up with for luncheon with the Empress of Japan. I can't tell you how fabulous it seems to me that her coiffure is actually larger than the Empress's entire torso.

And here she is, back in Cameroon, leaving - no, not a nightclub, and no, not the afterparty for the Cameroon Film Awards - no, believe it or not, she is striding out of vespers presided over by the Pope. For once, someone has managed to outdress that Prada-loving, lace-encrusted old Nazi. I'm so glad - and not one whit surprised - it was Chantal.

While Chantal's husband is a well-documented 76 years old, Madame's hold over her country's media is such that is has reported, apparently straightfaced, that the lady is 38. What do you think?

Beautiful and New

Audio-collagist Pogo got a fair amount of cyber-attention a while back with a techno-distillation of samples from Disney's Alice in Wonderland, making something rich and strange of that generally misbegotten Carroll adaptation.

Here he works his magic on a few moments from The King and I. It's hypnotic, unsettling, and disorienting - just the thing for a bucolic weekend morning. I may never see Deborah Kerr in quite the same way.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Why Don't You...

...give Mr. Roger carte blanche the next time you pop down to your local salon? The results might surprise you!

By the Beautiful Sea

On Thursdays, I often like to come up with some slice-of-life moment, a chance to give Koko his moment in the spotlight or to muse fondly on Mr. Muscato. The fact is, though, that our lives are far from packed with incident: we work, we grocery-shop, we spend a significant part of our weekends sleeping in, and, as you can gather from the snap, these days we are taking advantage of an usually temperate April to continue lazing about near the water.

I suppose I could rave about the nearly completed revamp of our favorite supermarket, one that has added such (by local ken) exotic touches as signs at the end of each aisle describing the goods found therein (and more or less accurately, too - there's the wonder). And it stocks maple syrup (although still, maddeningly, not sage - a spice too far, perhaps, in a nation obsessed with cumin and cardamom).

Perhaps I could natter on about office politics (plenty, at the moment, and of the most soul-crushingly boring kind), or local traffic woes, or this week's social highlights, such as they are (chief among them, I suppose, the Queen's birthday, as observed by the British Embassy - rather lovely, really), or the depressing fact that the most appealing film playing at the moment in our fair Sultanate is something called Midnight Meat Train (since I can be quite certain it's not porn, I do not want to know more).

This last I find especially dread-inducing, since whenever there is anything particularly vivid at the cinema set in the West, I know I will have at least one solemn conversation with a local colleague, friend, or other acquaintance who has taken it on as yet another facet of the Gospel Truth He Knows About America. "If your country is so good," (I can just hear it now), "what about all those slaughtered co-eds at the lake house?"

But I think I'll just leave you with the photo; a seaside café on a perfect weekend morning. The dog adores going, as he usually gets scraps; we adore going, as the juice is very good; and our friend The Artist adores meeting us there, as the place tends to act as a kind of preview for the tourists and other short-stay visitors who will likely be turning up in our local pub (another usual weekend destination) just ten or so hours later. If nothing else, it provides him the chance to see them in full light, which is probably very wise.

A Cautionary Tale

Distinctly not a sequel to Flesh and the Devil. True story: VD strips you of your cocktail sheath, forces you to wear a cardigan and unflattering skirt, ruins your bouff, and may result in your spending time in a flesh pot in Africa. In the immortal words of Bela Lugosi: "Bevare - take care!"

Three on a Match

Well, definitely three on something. If I had to guess, I'd say the Quaaludes were just kicking in. Still, wouldn't you kill to have been there?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Multi-Purpose Melodies

"Music for" many moods and goals. Consider it our little tribute to dear Shirley Kevin's long-running feature...

What exactly is the sound of recriminations and regret? My guess is that it sounds something like Fascinating Aida's "Herpes Tango".

More recriminations and regret, brought to you by the fine people at High In-Fidelity Records (get it?!). I don't know about you, but the only music I want to hear in that state is the sound of a soothing popping cork. Nothing like Champagne in the morning to put the little excesses of last night into perspective.

The target audience apparently went wild for Gary's synth-pop medley of "Color My World" and "I'm Changing"...

No, no, no - how many times do I have to tell you: bourbon for courage and confidence!

The cover art gives me the jitters; I have a feeling that any movement inspired by the contents would not be the kind envisioned by Miss Lohoefer DeBoeck.

While we're all for Gracious Living, we're less keen on this purported aspect of the concept; this is, therefore, a recording that I can confidently assure you has never been and never will be played within the walls of the Villa Muscato.

Similarly, not really up our alley. If it reflected life chez nous, it would consist in its entirety of me calling out "Ermilia! We're leaving now! Thank you!"

I've always found Mark's rendition of "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" flat and uninspired, but Anne really brought something to "D.I.V.O.R.C.E".

People who either consider themselves or refer to others as "funsters" are not, as a rule, any fun (oddly, the same rule applies to the word "hipster"). As to the name of the band, I'm inclined to think it may be less an ironic joke than a straightforward description.

I'm less interested in the bizarre nature of the overall concept - although that could keep one occupied for a very long time - than I am by the tagline. If the record inside the sleeve is described as "free", was there originally some charge for the record jacket on it's own? It's like saying that the contents of a box of cereal is free - you're just paying $3.oo or whatever for the fun graphics on the box. Sometimes I think I'll never understand the world of free enterprise; I know I'll never understand the world of valves. And for that I'm grateful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fashion Victim

Proof positive that even the greatest beauties can suffer serious, serious glamour-stumbles - one can only think that the stylist at this catwalk event was in the pay of one of our dear Mr. Upen Patel's Bollywood rivals.

In between rebuffing the Ganges-Gorgeous one's ceaseless protestations of devotion, I have to keep reminding him that, when it comes to clothing, less is more. This sarong is a step in the right direction, for example, but I remain hopeful he'll take it a step further.

Trailer Trash: In The Midnight Hour

We'll be staying up late for this week's movie, since it's one that truly is best appreciated at a midnight screening. I mostly remember The Forbidden Zone as a gateway drug, in that it was the first time I heard Josephine Baker sing, albeit lipsynched by a crazy lady in a classroom full of freaks. That and the truly demented performance by the great Susan Tyrrell. And the simple fact of the presence of Hervé Villechaize. And... oh, just see for yourself.

Me and the Misses Joan


Children, it has to stop somewhere. Herewith, Miss de Havilland's baby sister, as she flips through her bedside book of bad childhood memories, looking for more reasons to continue what is still, in these late days of the first decade of the 21st century, Hollywood's longest-running feud.

I think we'll let her stand as the poster-girl for all the other Joans out there, great and small, - Rivers, Van Ark, Jett, Allen, Hickson, the great Blondell; slight variants Woodward and Worley (now there's a Vaudeville team); historical sisters d'Arc, Pope, and la Loca; fictional namesakes Holloway and She-Who-Loved-Chachi.

We adore them all. But it's time to move on, no?

One of These Things...

Joan Miró, Barcelona, 1935 not like the others. But never let it be said, MJ, that I do not live to serve.

Have You Met Miss Joan?

Darling joe*to*hell points out a signal error in our previous post - the omission of perhaps the hairhoppiest Joan of all, the lovely and (semi)talented Miss Collins. Consider it an error rectified (and doesn't that always sound like a much dirtier word than it actually is?).

Monday, April 20, 2009