Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Magic lantern show. Just look at this silk blouse. The officious bow cracks me up, but the print is so simple and airy, I feel buoyant just looking at it. And that's not easy, the way gravity has been hitting me lately.

Do you ever feel that all the fun and games are behind you? That the only reliable thing you've got comes in a bottle? Is your forwarding address on Well of Loneliness Lane? When then, tadpoles, we are neighbors. I've got a summer home there.

My inner goth girl sublets it for most of the year. There in black silk on a black chaise lounge, she is utterly melancholy. She's decked out in Victorian mourning jewelry and listening to Blind Blake on an old victrola. She drinks black tea from a cracked china. Her only friend, a taxidermied fox, gives her the glass eye.

I stop by now and again to take her out for a walk. I just love how she huddles under her parasol and occassionally trips over the cathedral length train that's hooked to her bustle of shredded tulle and ravens' feathers. We've got an excellent view of Heartbreak Hotel, but I've got to keep my inner goth girl away from Lovers' Leap: it gives her ideas.

If only I could play "Bela Lugosi's Dead" on the ukulele. She would like that. Being with her gives me some perspective on my own sorrow. My blunt, deep and prosaic woes are not half as charming as hers.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Yes, you do. You absolutely need a Gauguin skirt, complete with art historian commentary in higlighted French. 80s, printed on lightweight cotton, with a marvelous waist detail. A square, set-in waist panel keeps the pleats low on your hips giving this full skirt a more sleek look. The pattern has been expertly deployed here, creating a frame for the ladies, a detail from the 1891 painting "Hail Mary" on this obi-like waist.
Gauguin is a guilty pleasure for me. His work is undeniably beautiful, I can't help enjoying it. But the guy was a real schmuck. When he wasn't busy giving syphilis to 13-year-old Tahitian girls, he was at work appropriating their culture. Sounds traditionally colonialist to me. At the same time it is problematic (at best) to reject someone's art simply because you don't like their personal life. Isn't that what conservatives do? But then again, Monsieur Gauguin was molesting minors, for crying out loud!
Why not buy paintings by serial killers? This was the subject of a documentary called "Collectors", profiling the people who collect paintings and artwork made by serial killers, along with, Rick Stanton, a Lousiana mortician who began organizing what he calls "Death Row Art Shows" and has become an art dealer for the incarcerated. There has been considerable public outcry at the marketing of this murderabilia, a term coined by Andrew Kahn, Director of the Mayor's Crime Victims Office in Houston (at least according to this article).
Suffice to say that there isn't a serial killers wing in any museum I know of. (Not yet anyway, though many museums seem like one big misogyny exhibit.) Serial Killer art remains a sick joke of a novelty act. The collectors are more interested in the artist, rather than the work. I haven't actually seen the documentary, so I can't really describe how the issue is presented.
I have not found my way out of this moral dilemma. And I started watching Woody Allen films again last year, though I boycotted him for a while when he married his daughter.
Spartacus and I played Movie Theater Roulette last night and hit the jackpot with "The Lives of Others."
Movie Theater Roulette, for those who don't know, is a game of chance (and to some degree strategy). To play you need to be desperate for a movie. Or perhaps just desperate for airconditioning. Or maybe just desperate. A little depression can only make this game more fun. If you are slightly drunk and crying into your Crown Royal over your credit card bill, even better. Then barge into the nearest movie theater and buy a ticket for whatever is playing at that moment. Yep. You gotta take it without reading a review.
Now as you goslings well know, I am an incorrigible snob. I hedge my bets by only playing Movie Theater Roulette at my local art movie houses. I won't watch just anything, you know, but I'll generally watch anything subtitled. I've been this way since I was a tadpole.
"The Lives of Others" deserves all its accolades indeed. Expertly acted, the film is a morality play whose characters are still gritty and complicated. It's hard to believe that the film was Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's first feature. (Anthony Lane, writing for the New Yorker points out that the director has a name worthy of a hero with a dueling scar from the pages of the 19th Century novel.)
Though set in the not so distant past of Germany's GDR, and elaborately faithful to the aesthetic and technology of 1984 (Prop Master Klaus Spielhagen even borrowed items from the Stasi Museum in Leipzig for extra authenticity), the overarching themes of what makes a person decent, and how much pressure one can stand could easily be applied to other regimes. Von Donnersmarck has created a taut thriller that has been particularly cathartic in the former Eastern Germany. In an interview, the director lists various cast members who were persecuted under the former regime, but that in his picture, they were given the roles of Stasi thugs to gain mastery of their own experiences.
I am subject to Ostalgie, viewing the defunct GDR as quaint and kitsch as in films like "Goodbye Lenin". "The Lives of Others" is a good antidote.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Morning becomes eclectic with your very own knight radio.
As you know, goslings, I rarely go in for novelty objects. But as you also know, I am a sucker for for anything that masquerades as something else. Especially if it does a good job of it. And this radio sure does. Pewter-plated metal on a plastic base. I'd say circa 1965-67 as part of that pseudo-Spanish design trend.
The ebayer says it works. I guess the metal grill acts as a speaker.
It also looks heavy, like you could really brain someone with it. A knight's helmet that is also a radio and a home security device. That's a tchotchke that seriously earns its keep.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Egyptomania. Glorious color way, well-printed. Scenes taken from ancient Egyptian devotional art alternated with bands of papyrus. This is a good one, and a very wearable B38, W28 1/4. I love the open lattice work on the shoulders and the way the pleats fall on the skirt.

Go get it.

There was a news item today about Queen Hapshepsut, whose mummy was recently unwrapped and scrutinized. The DNA matches a tooth known to have belonged to Queen Hatshepsut (circa 1479-1457 B.C.), making this the first royal mummy to be identified since King Tut in 1922.

But the writer of this piece, Ms. Small, describes Egypt's female pharaoh as a "50 year-old fat lady". She goes on to describe her bad hair (balding in the front and long in the back) along with some outre nail polish (black and red). I find something catty in Ms. Small's tone, though I sense that she is trying to be flip and funny.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Somewhere beyond the sea. Just look at those adorable fish and the uneven net that covers the entire ocean. The fishermen in their caps and all those jaunty boats. I'm mad about the fisherman mending his net, and the two ladies chatting. The color scale is terrific. I'd wear it with a yellow blouse and promenade where ocean breezes could tousle my hair.
I may just be a sentimental mermaid, but this one is worth writing home about.

I saw a dress with a similar feeling and illustration style last fall. It had only fish and the net but I utterly plotzed over it. Of course it was too small, as is this one, with a 25" waist. Go get this skirt. In it, you will cover the waterfront.

The ebay seller is particularly informative about the designer, Mr. Joseph Zukin of California, who made smart resort and cruisewear from about the early 20s to 1951. This one is a collectors' item, tadpoles. Jump on it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A bird in hand, or another one that got away. I saw this one a long time ago and saved it in the rainy day file.

No, it's not available anymore.

I love the silhouettes of the birds. It's as though they've liberated themselves from the cages entirely, leaving only shadows behind. These cages, while palatial, are still cages.

This would make an adorable summer shift, wouldn't it?

Eat your veggies. Another vegetable themed dress to love. This one is quite trim through the waist at 26". I like the abstract, blueprint quality to the drawings. The slate-green gives the feeling of a blackboard, doesn't it? Very cute, remarkable and currently affordable. Go get it.
I love the collar. What are those called? It evokes Doris Day for me. I'll bet it looks even better in focus. Do wear this dress while whirling about (Sound of Music style) in the green areas of your town. Wear it to picnics, and brunches.
Alas, I actually wanted to post photos of another dress. Celery stalks and apples are realistically shown, along with baskets with roses, and here and there, an egg. Not to mention the mushrooms, cherries and strawberries and daisies. Deliriously fabulous, and photos are blocked from copying by the poster, alas. Look at it here. It's even a wrap dress for crying out loud.