Saturday, December 28, 2013

Alarums and Excursions

So there we were last night, the four of us, two large and two small, sleeping quietly in our little room...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Mamie Christmas!

What does it say about me that one of reasons I treasure the holidays - not a major one, granted, but an annual moment to cherish nonetheless - is the opportunity to appreciate again the Eisenhower's 1960 Christmas card?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

Distinctly Not a Fruitcake

In many ways, I truly don't feel like the holidays are upon us until I've seen this a few [dozen] times.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Shameless Saturday Camp Explosion: Accept No Substitutes

"...the Camp sensibility is one that is alive to a double 
sense in which some things can be taken." 
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"

In the recent televisual Sound of Music, Poor Miss Carrie Underwood was given the unenviable task of filling the shoes of the likes of Miss Martin and Miss Andrews.  The phenomenon is hardly new.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

File Under "Architectural Ornamentation, Unlikely"

The dogs and I, in the course of our daily 6:00 a.m. morning constitutional (a time I generally devote to heartily missing the Villa Muscato's small but exceedingly convenient garden, a household feature that rendered 6:00 a.m. morning constitutionals an extremely rare feature of life), regularly pass this formidable gentleman.

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Head So High Above the Clouds

If you remember this song from childhood, and then remember being surprised/annoyed/bereft when it suddenly disappeared from the annual broadcast, you're probably about my age, more or less two-score-and-ten.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Shameless Sunday Camp Explosion: The Divine

Taste has no system and no proofs.
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"

Since it's Bette Midler's birthday, herewith, Dear Readers, a gift for you.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Birthday Boy: The Pre-Impressionist

Male Nude, 1850
William-Adolphe Bouguereau, a sprightly 188 today, was the toast of Paris at the height of his career, but his brand of meticulous technique and strict adherence to the conventions of that dread monolith, The Academy, guaranteed his place as a principal villain of each successive aesthetic revolution that changed the world's perception of painting from the rise of Manet until just the past couple of decades.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Irma la Douce

This week ushers in the season in which millions of Americans, whether they know it or not, pay homage to the mild-mannered matron seen here clutching her magnum opus...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Redux: Freeze Tag

Stop time.  Have her remember why they need to leave.  Decide to fly out that night, back to the capital, fly back to the children.  Think of a reason.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sales Pitches of Yesteryear

Hard to imagine trying to make this slogan work in one of today's Madison Avenue campaigns, no?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bonus Camp Explosion: Birthday Stupenda

It was Dame Joan Sutherland's birthday earlier this week (November 7), and I felt badly about missing it, not least because of the marvelous treat you have in store, just after the jump...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Shameless Saturday Camp Explosion: A Piece of Happiness...

It's simply that the process of aging or deterioration provides 
the necessary detachment - or arouses a necessary sympathy. 
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

Early and Often

So tomorrow is Election Day here in the Old Dominion, and even though it's an off-off-year round, I'm inordinately excited at the prospect.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Shameless Saturday Camp Explosion: "Galli-Curci, Flagstad, and Myself"

"Camp rests on innocence. That means Camp discloses 
innocence, but also, when it can, corrupts it." 
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"

It struck me suddenly as odd that we'd gotten this far into this apparently endless series without ever addressing some of the most basic ur-texts, as it were, of the Camp canon.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why Don't You...

...frame your entire approach to this year's Hallowe'en in the context of this sublime work, Sally Cruikshank's magnificent Face Like a Frog?  Even if it's only all in your mind.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

All Hallow's Roz

Funny, really - you don't think of Rosalind Russell as someone who spent too much time in the stills gallery, at least doing this kind of theme-y leg art.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Birthday Boy: On the Beach

One of my first crushes, and still one today - dear Mr. Kevin Kline is an improbable 66.  He may not today have quite the youthful je ne sais quoi so much on offer here, but still...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Three Notes on an Ill-Spent Life

The Dook and his Duchess arrive in Manhattan, October 22, 1941.  If there was a war on, you wouldn't know it...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

My Book Crush

What joy it is to have my books around me.  The only thing I'm really liking a lot about our new digs is that the books are once again a part of daily life.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Rainy Days and...

...nearly naked Bollywood stars.  A step up from that treacly '70s lyric if you ask me.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Shameless Saturday Camp Explosion: Hart Attack

Camp introduces a new standard: artifice as an ideal, theatricality.
- Susan Sontag, "Notes on Camp"

The glory days of camp were made possible because the mainstream culture fed it - with fodder both ridiculous (the lows of vaudeville and burlesque; the rigid norms of an inflexible society, so ripe for travesty) and, as here, in a song by Rodgers and Hart, sublime.  Wit, kids - whatever happened to it?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Life's Little Joys

The weather in Our Nation's Capital has turned - decisively - toward fall, even as the mood of the city has soured in light of the parlous state of current politics.  The gray, chilly rain, steady and unrelenting, seems entirely apropos.  All the more reason, then, to take a moment and appreciate a sight as pretty as Rock Hudson resplendent in a pale pink bathroom with matching princess phone.  Isn't it sad that things like coordinating telephones are no more?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Birthday Girl(s): The Thespic Spectrum

Miss Helen Hayes, First Lady of the American Theatre (seen here as HIM Maria Feodorovna, Dowager Empress of Russia) turns a spry 113 today.  That is not in itself remarkable.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Angelic Avenger

A few years ago, on a whim, I created one of those pages on that Facebook thing that everyone was talking about back then, and in short order - in what I'm sure is an experience familiar to many Gentle Readers - I was suddenly surrounded, virtually, by a raft of people I hadn't seen (nor, often, thought of) in a decade or three.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Prix de Beauté

Apparently, all it takes is a few discreet swipes of Maybelline to turn the dullest plain jane into a creditable Loretta Young impersonator.  Who knew?

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Quarter-Millionaire

So, I don't know how much you look around when you visit here, but over there on the right-hand column there's a lot going on.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Interesting Times

So, isn't this a... fascinating... time to be living in Our Nation's Capital?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Medicine Show

For one reason or another - possibly because the flat is in such a state of extreme chaos that we've simply given up - Mr. Muscat and I have been watching more television than normal.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Having a Moment...

...Greta Gustaffson style.  I love this shot; I don't think I've ever seen her looking so peeved.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Birthday Boy: The Feats of Strength

Let's wish a very happy 99, shall we, to the decorative creature seen here on one of your finer Eisenhower-era periodicals?