Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fast Away...

...The old year passes.  As it does, we can only hope to be as festive as ol' Mickey here.  And maybe not as killjoy as Frieda there in between him and the guy in the wizard hat.  Sheesh - if looks could kill!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Human Kindness

When I think fun, upbeat material for a New Year's Eve special, this is... not exactly what I come up with.  But then again I'm not the Smothers Brothers, and it's not 1967.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Past

I hope your Christmas has been lovely, if you have one.  Even if not, here's your chance to see my grandparents in distinctly festive mood.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Vedette de Noël

I hope your holidays are a shade less fraught than dear Mlle. Deneuve's appear to be.  I don't know about you, but I'm not usually reduced to hovering tensely near the tree in a fur and chain-smoking at least until the 27th.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Simple Joys

Do you have somewhere of which you are fond quite out of proportion to its objective merits?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

And Away We Go

We hear the UK's rather festive this time of year; we decided it might be a good idea to check it out first-hand.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

After All These Years, Still Definitely Not a Fruitcake

Here at the Café, our Christmas holiday has started, so it seems appropriate to kick off the festive season in the way that's become something of a tradition hereabouts.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hairway to Heaven

Sad news from Brussels this weekend - we're down one true-blue (and blue-blooded) Bouffant Aficionado with the death at 86 of Fabiola, the dowager Queen of the Belgians.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Check Your Personality

This is proving a rather trying week, for various reasons; all the better, then, that for once the Youtubes' usually mysterious "Recommended" feature turned up a treasure, which I joyfully pass on to you herewith.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Of Couture and Corn

The holiday weekend rolls on, with yesterday's highlight an outing to the Museum of Fine Arts, ostensibly to see their current exhibition of Goyas.  I found an unexpected treat, however, that very nearly outshone even the master's portrait of the Duchess of Alba (not, of course, the recently deceased edition thereof - she was old, but not that old...).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Last-Minute Menu Suggestion

Just in case your Thanksgiving isn't shaping up to be as perfectly apalling as you'd hoped, here's a tasty, terrifying treat - talk about putting the hell back in Hellmann's!

Monday, November 24, 2014

When Words Fail

Miss Nina tells it like it is.  Like it still fucking is. Goddamit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How Are You Celebrating?

Today is World Toilet Day.  Are you, like Jeannie Sue here, doing the traditional Dance of Bubble-Action Exhilaration?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Phone Home

So - have you been following the comet-landing?  Who could have thought, in these cynical days, that the adventures of a plucky little techno-pioneer could be so gripping?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Grace Under Pressure

As the years passed, she increasingly looked as if not every aspect of the bargain she'd made had worked out quite as expected...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Bulletin from an Invalid

Just a quick note, darlings, to let you know I'm alive, if not particularly well...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Talk of the Town

Café Central, by Jonelle Summerfield*

So my week in Vienna speeds by.  The days are spent toiling in the vineyard of corporate instruction, grappling with a very nice but definitely motley crew of new recruits drawn from various Golden Handcuffs locations across Europe and far beyond.  The nights, though... ah, that's another story.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Birthday Pepper Pot, Vitaphone-Style

Just a day late, here's a chance to celebrate not one but two October birthdays, and if the package this birthday gift is all wrapped up in is a little dated, the contents cram more talent into just about ten minutes than some studio super-spectaculars did into two hours plus...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Mystic Crystal Revelation

For reasons that will shortly become clear, I've been thinking about Hair, the 1979 film of which has to me always seemed too-little-shouted-about.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Grand Old Flag

Now, normally I don't approve of the kind of patriotism that involves wrapping oneself in the flag...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Birthday Girl: Heart of the World

Let's lift a glass, on this her 121st birthday, to the First Lady of Cinema, Miss Lillian Gish.  She's captured here by Steichen in the mid '30s, and he's caught an element of her she rarely showed in public.

Monday, October 13, 2014

In Which We Entertain

We decided to mark this Columbus Day weekend by Having People In for the first time in our new digs.  Actually, that's a complete lie.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Shameless Saturday Camp Explosion: Hi-dee...No

One of the many topics in regard to which I heartily agree with Mr. Ethan Mordden (novelist, raconteur, and entertainment historian par excellence) is the regrettability of the extent to which Hollywood (and, to a lesser extent, the stage) embraced the idea of the New Dance Sensation Number.  This surprisingly long-lived phenomenon consists nine times out of ten of a (frequently quite lavish) sequence based on a (nearly universally) sub-par song in praise of said terpsichory, staged without even a hint of what the damn dance was supposed to actually be.  I mean, face it - based on what you've seen on screen, could you attempt to dance the Varsity Rag?  The Continental?  I thought not.

Along those lines, this one's a lulu - and that's the least of its (many) sins.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Autumn Sonata

The changing season has me down, but I'm trying to handle it with at least a shred of the aplomb that Bette Davis brought to bear.  Although some of that may be coming from the cocktail glass she's so firmly clutching...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Singer and the Silents

I suppose Al Martino isn't the best remembered of all the last century's crooners, but back in the day it only took a note or two of "Spanish Eyes" to reduce Mother Muscato to sighs and faraway looks.  He would have been 87 today.

Monday, October 6, 2014

What It's All About

Well, rather a surprise this morning, no?  Today's great news has made me think about these two, to whom we owe so much.  In honor of Mildred and Richard Loving - and what author of fiction would ever dare give them that name? - tonight we raised a glass to being fully legal in our home state.  To read Mildred's statement 40 years after her marriage became legal is to realize just how far we've come, and how we walk a path made easier by pioneers.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

As If We Always Knew

It seemed for a while that "What I Did for Love" was going to become one of those inescapable songs, like "Feelings" or the song most usually known as "Mem'ry (from Cats)."  A Chorus Line was, after all, a phenomenal hit, a rare one for the mid-'70s that could be equally adored by aficionados of old-line musicals, those seeking some sign that musicals could still thrive in a rock-n-roll culture, and just the usual theatergoers who like a good story.  But at some point within a decade or so, it kind of went away for a while.  I thought it would be fun to think about that.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Eggies! - Royal Edition

Exciting news from Bangkok, kids!  Of course, the above regal creature is not our emerging Café obsession, HRH The Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (aka the Angel Princess), but instead the rather more, um, down to earth late film sensation Edith Massy, aka Edie the Egg Lady.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What's My Wednesdays? #12: Fair Lady

This delightful (if, as captured in the screen cap above, rather intent-looking) creature brightened up a dreary February Sunday evening for television watchers nationwide - 54 years ago.  Today, Dame Julie Andrews turns a still-sprightly 79.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Knight in Black Leather

I don't know quite how it's possible, but it would seem that it's more than a year since we last checked in with one of the Café's original virtual crushes, the lovely and presumably somehow (although it's really rather beside the point) talented Mr. Upen Patel.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Even a Lifetime

Some days - like this one, O Best Beloveds - are such that what you need at the end of them is a moment or two of truth and beauty.  Like this.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Last Hon

When thinking about a person who has had a really quite marvelous life that spans ten decades, and when one knows the person only at a great remove, it's probably not quite right to mourn, exactly, when at last they go on before.  Still, the death of Deborah, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, does seem a particularly melancholy thing.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Storybook Theatre

A little escapism in a rather dreary week, darlings, not to mention a reminder of half-forgotten childhood pleasure...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Max! Bring 'Round the Car!

I really do think I need an Isotta Fraschini, although I don't know how much success I'd have in getting Mr. Muscato into a suitably Stroheim-esque uniform (although he does look terribly dashing in tails, so perhaps he can be Bill Holden instead, far more suitable).  I'll have to inveigle Miss Rheba into the uniform.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Meanwhile, in the Attic...

"Well," thought Sir Edgar, "Isobel has little enough to worry about, poor fool - she wasn't even awake for the worst of it."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

All the Eyes That Watched Her Once

Over in his erudite corner of the blogiverse, the Post Apocalyptic Bohemian has reminded us that this week marks what should have been the birthday of a remarkable performer who made it on Broadway, became a household name in a vehicle unworthy of her talents, and then flamed out far too quickly.  Nell Carter would seem in no way to have been an easy person, but at her best, she was magical.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Balkan Belle

Here's a happy birthday to that Wallis Windsor of the Carpathians, the most scandalous woman of the 1920s (this side of Aimee Semple McPherson, at least) and a most unlikely homewrecker, Mme. Magda Lupescu.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My World, and Welcome to It

I've been wondering how to convey to you exactly what the last week or so has been like, but fortunately, I found this.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Road Trip Angel

At the risk of becoming a tad repetitive, I was thrilled to see that my fave-rave Thai Royal, the Angel Princess herself, has taken to the road - with adorable results.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hey There, Birthday Girl!

The indefatigable (and indefatigably glamourous) Miss Mitzi Gaynor turns an ever-youthful 83 today, and we can all thank our lucky stars that still she's with us.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Earth Angel

I have a new girl-crush, of a most unlikely nature, but I really am entranced.  She's a fixture, you see, of the news in Bangkok, and since I spent so much time during this trip sitting in a stupor in the hotel room that I saw rather a lot of her.  Such, however, are the local lèse-majesté laws that I thought it wiser to write about her only when safely elsewhere.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The [Airport] Bars are Temples...

...and the god's a he...

Up is Down, Black is White...

...And Hello Kitty is not a cat.  At the risk of continuing the feline trend earlier this week, I feel obliged to note how thoroughly my mind has been blown by this startling news from the good people at Sanrio.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cat and Mouse

Let's not even address the oddity of encountering an Amy Winehouse Siamese while actually in Siam; what troubles me is whether there's any significance to the fact that Her Majesty is prey and the other two predators.  That only one was actually a Rock Star (before becoming a ChocStar) pales in comparison.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Been Shopping

At breakfast this morning, taken in the briskly efficient 31st-floor executive lounge of my very comfortable hotel, those of my students who have lingered on were fully of dauntingly ambitious plans for their Saturday, burbling on about elephant excursions and trips downriver and temple crawls of epic proportions.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


So this evening, for the first time since I got here, I ventured out even a little bit for dinner, going down to one of the hotel restaurants rather than having a tray in my room.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mysterious Beige

Who knew? In these parts, Blythe is a spokesmodel with her own hair color line.  It's about time the big-eyed one got one over on that damn Barbie Roberts and her endless merchandise machine.

Business and Pleasure

Because I know you worry, I thought I should reassure you that all work and no play is not, in fact, making this Jack a dull boy.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

(Two) Day Tripper

So all this time we've been going through the move - and even as we dwell in the resulting chaos - I've been dreading what comes next.  I honestly didn't even really start putting it all together until I went back to work on Thursday, but now the reality of it is coming at me just like an American President Line ship bearing down on a little Siamese fishing vessel.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Positively, Absolutely, Undeniably, and Reliably... Perfect

This hasn't been the brightest shining week hereabouts, what with one thing and another, so it's nice to take a moment and experience some pure joy.  The picture had its premiere at Grauman's Chinese 75 years ago today, and I hope you'll agree that it really rather holds up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Goodnight, Schatze...

I hate weeks when I have to quote Shakespeare more than once:
Now boast thee, death, in thy possession lies 
A lass unparallel'd...
I won't lie to you, kids - this one hurts.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Same is True of the Laugh

He made the leap from television to movies, and then went on to make a lot of them. Probably too many, truth be told, and many of them not very good.  The snap above is from one not all that much better than some, but I'm fond of it, not least because he looked so wonderful - the youthful mischief carried more calmly than before, the wildness disciplined.  How hard it must be for such a natural clown to play - as it were - the straight man and let others take the reins, outrageously; and yet he did it well.  Shortly thereafter, something seemed to go wrong, physically; the look, once so lush and in service of the role at hand, because harsher, pinched somehow.  Neither comedy nor pathos seemed to work so well as once they had.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

...Your Portrait of the Queen...

A little blast from the past the feels all too much like a moment torn from our own personal headlines at the moment...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Marlene, Norma, Joan, Loretta...and Margaret?

So, with our move ever more imminent, I'm responding in a calm, measured, and practical way - not by any kind of rational planning, mind you, or anything like actual preparation.  No, I'm mostly leafing through some of the higher works of literature that form such a feature - such a heavy, enormous, infinitely packable feature - of life chez nous.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What's My Wednesdays? #11: It Must Be!

Ah, it's another antic Sunday night out there in TVland (whatever day of the week it is here in these lower realms), and I thought it might be fun to look in on an encounter with today's birthday girl, 103 today.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

So, Anyway...

Apologies, mes chers, that things have been a little quiet here of late.  We've been on the go.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

And Now, a Word from our Sponsor

This is exactly how I imagine our United Van Lines consultant, although her name is Juanita, not Betty.  Maybe Juanita is the Betty of 2014?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Madame D

I realize that I'm probably boring you with my sudden infatuation with all things MerriweatherPostian, but when life is as vexing as is ours at the moment, one does find consolation in the contemplation of beautiful things.