Wednesday, January 17, 2007

When life hands you lemons, wear a matching novelty print.

This tart little number is an 80s shift dress that just might cling in all the wrong places, but who knows? B 40-44, W 37, H 41-44, it might just skim over you on a bright summer day. Cotton, no zippers or buttons. It goes over your head and might be just the frock to take you from a day in your cubicle to a night on the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island. I like the stitching around the neck, the boat collar and the wide cap sleeves.
Is 80s vintage enough? Well, not always. But the print is obviously late 50s inspired which is enough for me. Go on, the starting bid is only $15. Of course you can’t wear it now, unless you live in Argentina. But it could give you something to look forward to. Or what the hell, just pile on the leggings, sweater, boots and scarf, spritz yourself with Static Guard and dare to wear it in the cold.

Oh, goslings. 4 days without posting and I found myself mainlining. That’s right, any time I was not in rehearsal, I pawed through every rack of vintage clothing I could find. Tried on every item with a novelty print on it and generally acted the part of an addict.

Although it was entirely unnecessary, I bought 2 novelty print dresses this weekend. One in oxblood and hunter green polyester printed with Aubrey Beardsley drawings for $12, and a 1950s cotton dress in beige and brown with tiny pagodas and figures in boats and a fabulous caramel-colored velvet scarf detail for $18. If I figure out how to upload from my camera I will show you in more detail than you ever required. Of course I still haven’t managed to fix my Don Quixote dress yet, and this pagoda frock is a fixer-upper as well.

I really need to start my ukulele lessons soon, if only to keep me off the streets.

If you are in NYC do whatever it takes to get yourself to a screening of “Tears of the Black Tiger” at Film Forum. This vividly-colorized, over-acted, Thai western uses all the tricks of 50s and 60s cinema, from melodrama, to wipe-fades, to obviously projected backdrops. Director Wisit Sasanatieng, has lovingly re-created everything from swells in the music to what appear to be scratches on the negative. As with other creators of Faux Retro cinema, like Guy Maddin or Kaizo Hayashi, Sasanatieng has been accused of putting style over substance. Those critics couldn’t be more wrong: melodrama is the real star here. Though it is a discredited genre in Europe and North America, sentiment will trump even the over-the top ersatz violence that drives the film.

Now let’s talk about the costumes: Playing the part of the heroine, Rumpoey, the gorgeous Ms. Stella Malucci wears 50s silk dresses in eye-scalding hues of fushia, orange and pink, while standing in front of turquoise walls. Her curly locks seem deliberately styled to evoke Elizabeth Taylor. She also bears a startling resemblance to my friend Modesty Blaise. The romantic lead, Dum, is played by the utterly dreamy Mr. Chartchai Ngamsan, who looks equally dashing in a black cowboy hat or a white linen suit. I would run away with that man in a heartbeat. And if I were Rumpoey, I would have waited in the gazebo for a few days.

Novelty prints? Yes! The other lead cowboy bandit, Mahasuan, (played with the bravado of one raised eyebrow by Mr. Supakorn Kitsuwon) wears a cowboy skirt with a cartoony scene of adobe huts and cacti printed across the shoulders. If that isn’t enough, his pencil moustache is glued on and he is constantly chewing betel leaves.

And then, smack in the middle of the story, is a Morricone-esque theme song with a whistling solo. If that soundtrack can be had for love or money, you bet I shall find it.