Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bring the smelling salts, goslings, for I am undone by this print. Absolutely undone.

The background of grey text is not easy to read in this closeup. I can only make out "Chevalier de, "Chasse Grand" and "Apres", and what look like perhaps Roman numerals for the year. But there they are, striding over the letters, these nattily dressed little Bonapartistes, with canes and plumes. Faithfully drawn in a style to mimic etchings of the time period, the ladies promenade with soldiers in smart uniforms. The figures are whimsical enough on their own, but together with the text, this is one of the most unusual prints I've seen in quite a while.

And to delight me even more, the fabric is lightweight polyester, the silky sort. Maybe even the kind that can go in the washing machine without complaint.

But, of course, it's too small for me. Oh, I thought of cutting it in half and just wearing the skirt but that would be wrong. Utterly wrong. The print would be less remarkable if it was relegated to a mere skirt or a blouse. I've seen blouses and skirts from the early 70s with some very lovely print reproductions of old etchings (even along with mod text graphics like this one), but never a 50s-styled shirtwaist dress with a full skirt. It is its very dressness, its all-overness that thrills. Go get it now.

If only I could collect the most outré and eye searing of 70s print fabrics and re-print them on silk. And then make a series of 50s dresses out of them. Is there a grant for this somewhere? A slush fund for people with lots of ideas but no hope of deliverability?

Did I mention that this dress is overwhelmingly inexpensive? $7.99 BIN!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Close but no cigar? There are about 5 yards of this fabric in polyester, available from Little Veggie, possibly my favorite ebayer for novelty print fabric.

This newsprint circus lets the animals run amok. It reminds me somehow of Alexander Calder's circus. The energy really stems from the torn bits of newspaper, the fragments of words, that animate these tiny tents and animals.

Ms. Lizzie: I know it's not the street scene with newprint blouse, but does this at all evoke that feeling?

Nostalgie de la mer.
This is a spectacular circle skirt. Terrific colorway, marvelous swirls and flourishes. Movement, movement, movement with that water. Doesn't that starfish strike a pose? Ta da. And fish just love synchronized swimming. Who knew? All are Esther Williams-ing it up here.
I'd be tempted to wear this skirt over a light blue bathing suit, and top it all off with a rubber bathing cap covered with red plastic fish. Quite memorably, someone wears a similar ensemble in Kamikaze 1989, a painfully bad German new wave dytopia flick from 1982, starring, of all people, Rainer Werner Fassbinder. I saw it probably in 1985, and remember little except this woman in an 50's style bathing suit and cap emerging on a skyscraper rooftop. She spoke in a high pitched keening while lurching about. But I remember thinking: I need a rubber bathing cap right away. And I only saw this once over 20 years ago.
Made not long before he died of a (perhaps intentional) overdose at 37, Fassbinder looks a bit out of it in the role of Detective Jansen. I take that back. Fassbinder looks completely and unambiguously drugged out of his mind. Not to mention the sweaty-foreheaded, red-eyed, bloated ill-health. Wandering around a totaliarian near future in a leopard print suit in search of a bomber, he films people using a camera hidden in a cocktail ring. Despensing with futuristic sets altogether (a la Alphaville), I believe there is a scene atop the Mercedes Benz building in Berlin that even includes the huge neon logo in the shot. In the end Jansen has some sort of melt down and humps a life sized photo of Neil Armstrong on the moon. See what I'm saying? You really don't need to see it. If you want new wave dystopia, see Liquid Sky (also from 1982) instead.
My favorite Fassbinder film will always be Querelle, written and directed by him that same year. Yellow and orange skies dominate a seascape in dry dock. Anachronisms, the fetishized form of Brad Davis, dissociated voiceovers, and Jeanne Moreau singing "Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves" in a brothel overrun with sailors. Fassbinder creates a brutal, damaged and stylized adaptation of Jean Genet's only novel. Genet takes the most extreme experiences (for example, murder) and gives them pet names, multiple costume changes, kinks, a back story, friends, hang-outs. Even political parties. All the while seeped in sensuality. Sordid and glorious. Fassbinder manages to capture not only the beauty of Genet's prose, but also the matter-of-fact violence.
As Genet's Querelle begins: "The notion of murder often brings to mind the notion of sea and sailors. Sea and sailors do not, at first, appear as a definite image--it is rather that murder starts up a feeling of waves."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

If I only had a brain.
Perhaps then I could explain why I didn't post this one when it was live. It is, alas, long gone.
Charmingly detailed scarecrow dress. 40s, I think, but post-war. I love the white leaves curling on each tripod trellis, the empty shirts and pork pie hats of the scarecrows, the sheaves of wheat carefully tied, and those green birds with avid, open beaks. I don't know how effective those scarecrows are. They are cetainly outweighed by the birds who loom large in this print. Somehow there is the feeling of an aerial view here, seeing the fields at harvest time from the vantage point of a helicopter.
At the risk of sounding like an art historian, there is great musicality to this print. Isn't that something Sister Wendy would say? I must confess that I adore her (as does another one of my heroes, Nathan Lane). I actually own a copy of her tour of the Norton Simon Art Museum in Pasadena. It's just the thing to watch when I feel glum. Her enthusiasm is as endearing as her lisp. She's always insightful. Plus she's a contemplative hermit who doesn't speak a word unless she's on TV. How great is that? Sounds like the perfect life to me. Where do I sign up?
Though I will always remain an atheist Jew (and one who inhabits a zone entirely free from Christianity and sports of any kind), part of me always wanted to be a nun. Shocking, I know. The habit really does look great, though I'd rather rock the Flying Nun look and Kabuki it up somehow with glitter goth make-up and false eyelashes. And host bingo games to raise funds for my favorite queer activist groups. And be on the Vatican's official list of heretics. I guess what I'd really like to be is one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.
Nuns and scarecrows? Have I proved that I'm both a Sound of Music person and a Wizard of Oz person?
Below is an autumnal skirt that is available. An unusual medium size: (W28). Again the scarecrows don't seem to be doing a particularly good job. I love the texture of the hay that sticks out of cuffs of the scarecrows' trousers evoking feet. I like that some of the scarecrows are wearing suits and others are in overalls. The gourds are a nice touch too. But it is not clear if a pine cone or a turtle has crawled into the center of the apple. What do you think that is?
Although the white background gives this print the feeling of a holiday table cloth, the scarecrows are large enough to distract from the fact that this is a border print. Unfortunately it does not come with the red belt as pictured. I think paired with a red or chocolate brown jacket or a nicely fitted sweater, all thoughts of a table cloth would be dispelled. Ray Bolger would approve.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Brush up your Shakespeare./ Start quoting him now.

This is a dress that would play in Peoria. Elizabethan actors, lutes, sheet music, flowers, books, and what look like perhaps plums (or onions) adorn this theatrical day dress with rhinestones sprinkled throughout. Purple, pink and french blue share the spotlight with a scribbling relaxed illustration style. Ribbons, streamers. Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.
The theater, she said dramatically, why I was born on the stage. (Just couldn't resist a Tom Swifty, or three.)
The skirt is so detailed it would be a shame not to wear a crinoline. It's got lutes, for crying out loud. Oh, the glitz and glamor of it all.
Go get it. It would be adorable on you. B32-34, W27. Too small for a robust and hearty creature such as myself.

Just look at the details on the books:

I watched Resident Alien last night, a rag-tag documentary of sorts about Quentin Crisp, featuring all sorts of NYC downtown fixtures, Michael Musto, Penny Arcade, Fran Lebowitz. Though Mr. Crisp is affable, and the cast of characters quotable, the film plods somewhat drearily along. Long shots of Mr. Crisp making tea on a hot plate in his one room flat. Or walking around the undeveloped East Village of the late 1980's. Although that was actually a treat for me. Having moved to New York in 1987, it was great to see the city as it was, all grit and possibilites. Very unlike the large mall it has become.
If you don't know about Quentin Crisp, I suggest you run out immediately and get hold of a copy of The Naked Civil Servant. The movie with John Hurt will do marvelously. It is an excellent adaptation and includes many of the conventions of silent cinema. I love the Intertitles saying things like: "Exhibitionism is a drug. You'll get hooked!" And Mr. Hurt really channels Mr. Crisp so well it's eerie.
Quentin Crisp is a controversial figure, mostly for his quips that can be construed as self-hating. Crowned with a purple pompadour and a fedora (you try and pull that off at 90), he has said that sex in general is a mistake, and that he didn't feel like a real person in comparison with the heterosexual world, that the world hates homosexuality so much it would be better off without it. He responds to some of the flap here. As the interviewer says: He was always more than you thought he was.
He has been criticized for being a stereotype of tragic effemininity. His autobiography ends with: "Even a monotonously undeviating path of self-examination does not necessarily lead to a mountain of self-knowledge. I stumble towards my grave confused and hurt and hungry." Quentin, I'm stumbling too. I mean, aren't we all?
Yet at the age of 72, Mr. Crisp moved to New York and reinvented himself as what he called a mini-star. A mini-star is someone who controls their own life (while a star can control others). He said that all he had to offer America was his boundless availability. He would speak wherever he was invited to do so. He appeared in many movies (good and bad). He was even listed in the telephone book and would go to lunch with anyone who'd pay. (Really, a friend of mine once took him to lunch at a Polish diner.) At the age when most people retire, Mr. Crisp fashioned himself into a work of art, and surrounded himself with successful artists. No mean feat for an old queen who called himself a professional failure. His American adventure is compared to Oscar Wilde's triumphant speaking tour of the United States. Everyone fawned over how English and polite he was. His mini-star was very bright indeed. Like Oscar Wilde he toured giving a series of Q &A lectures across the U.S. Answering all questions from all comers with aplomb and even hilarity.
Interviewer said that Quentin Crisp reminded him of an elderly geisha. He called himself, at times, a martyr. But I believe his passivity and martyrdom were a complicated subterfuge. In an interview with Guy Kettelhack (the same apologia I cited earlier), he describes a total abdication of force. He said: "I once met Mr. William Burroughs. Within minutes of our being introduced, he said, 'What is worth having is worth fighting for,' and I replied, 'That which we can only maintain by force we should try to do without.' " Beautifully said, no? His life was a protest against the violence directed toward him as an openly gay man in the England of the 1930's. Instead of using the oppressors' weapons, Mr. Crisp burnished his charm, and even his weakness. He cultivated his passivity to the point where he would tell interviewers that he would say whatever they wanted. But it's a faux naiveté meant to disarm and deflect. Saintly, sure, while remaining problematic. "Camp is not something I do," he said, "it's something I am."
Am I saying that Quentin Crisp was a Gandhi in eyeliner? Well, in some ways, yeah. Won't that always be denigrated in a world that values only force? Quentin Crisp has said that we live in a masculine world. True. The greatest horror is then reserved for a man who gravitates toward the feminine. Mr. Crisp has said that in England femininity is so reviled they don't even like effeminate women.
Mr. Crisp's struggle was not so much one of sexual identity but of gender. In his heart, he wanted to be Greta Garbo. A woman he described as alluring because she was completely aloof. Perhaps Quentin Crisp's total availability was a striving for aloofness through the wrong end of the telescope.
A paradox, that Quentin Crisp. I don't feel that I can do him justice. I leave you with one of my favorite quips from the film:
"If you are an eccentric in America, people think you are selling something. Which, in fact, you are."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Put a little love in your heart.
I was complaining to Spartacus and Lolita the other night. Saying that I didn't believe in love. That I was hopelessly jaded and jadedly hopeless. Spartacus (never one to let things slide) pointed out that I was wearing a choker with an enormous tin heart. Kind of contradictory, no?
Send a love letter to yourself. Or let these little doves bring them in pink and chartreuse envelopes. I love the pink shading on the birds' wings and tails and the grouping of the envelopes. This is a glorious 40s dress, but you can't have it. It sold the other day for $117.
Sorry I led you on like that. I meant to post it sooner, but alas. This one is still available though, and much more affordable.

Shirtwaist Valentine-themed dress. What I like best are the colors. Purple, light blue with touches of green make a nice counterpoint to the usual red and pink of Valentine branding. But that wasn't enough for me to post it. It's the check drawn on the Bank of Love that really gets to me. I have been longing for a financial dress. Pre-Euro European currency would be swell. Travelers checks would be ideal (Aren't those totally passé now that the world has an ATM on every corner?) Or even better, a print with copies of Marcel Duchamp's The Teeth's Loan and Trust Company Consolidated checks, a series of money art he created for in exchange for dental care.

This dress does double duty. I'd like to read the fine print on that check, though. Does it say: Void where prohibited? Not to be combined with other offers? Free with proof of purchase? What? I mean, what if Cupid's account is overdrawn? And if his check for unlimited kisses should bounce, what's the penalty charge you gotta pay the Bank of Love?
As Uncle Monty would say, some things are just too emotionally expensive.
I dined with Uncle Monty at his club last night. He has put me on a 90 day rehabilitation plan. Daily excercize, lots of fruit and veggies, lay off the booze, and find a harmless but charming new hobby. He says that at the end of 90 days I'll be a whole new Samsara. Oh but how I resent anything that cuts into my drinking.
And he says I must take myself off the market. That's right. No rebounding, no transference, no weirdness. No unlicensed Gestalt Therapy with strangers picked up on weekend-long benders. Just the 3 M's: Maintenance, Mediation and Media. That translates to yoga, a steady diet of Bette Davis movies, and finding a foundation that better matches my skintone.
In addition I must fix a number of problems that have plagued me for years. These include clutter, apartment repairs, and creditors. I must also elentlessly interrogate my habitual patterns and find their structural flaws.
This will keep me busy for sure. It sounds like the Great Leap Forward, doesn't it? Maybe I'll send myself to the countryside to be re-educated.
He assures me that after 90 days I'll feel differently about life and love.
"But how," I asked, "can I convert my almost crippling sorrow into fuel for self-improvement?"
"Go about it like Method Acting. You're already dressed like a reform school girl, " he said, indicating my pleated skirt, blouse and Windsor-knotted tie. "Reform!"
And so I have entered Uncle Monty's Academy for Wayward Girls. And I have a uniform. And homework. And top secret missions.
But aren't reform school girls always sneaking over the wall?
One last love frock, before we change the subject:
These polyester flower children have gone to a good home no doubt. I don't know why I didn't post this one sooner. Probably because I was feeling very down with love. Or thought it was too heteronormative. The color combination is surprizing and fun and the little Adam and Eve blend into the background a bit, unless you are looking for them. The flower placement on their bodies is hilarious.
Alas, this one sold long ago. Wouldn't it make an excellent second date dress?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Summer's almost gone. Gather walnuts while you may.
Distinctly autumnal frock, slim through the hips with a plethora of acorns and walnuts. (B35, W25, H36) It's small and looks a bit long-waisted from here. Wear this one to drink apple cider and watch the leaves fall. I love that some of the shells are empty. Great colors and a vivid print.
Why did summer go so quickly, was it something that I said?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Let's get away from it all. Take the train to Spain.
Exciting Spanish circle skirt posted by Denisebrain, she of the very trim waist and an impressive Alfred Shaheen collection. I just love the stick figure-like blank faced figures. And the line drawings of the cafe chairs with a lone waiter standing watch, and the tiles on the red roofs. Great colorway with the beige keeping the light blue, red and pink very grounded, very earthy. Ms. Denisebrain is including the cute pink top.
Too small for me, alas. Didn't I just write something about a trim waistline? Drat.
An oncoming freight train, this transportation-themed circle skirt is about to run off the rails. I love how the train is about to run right off the skirt and mow down the viewer. Just like in the Lumiere brothers L'arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat. I love the mixture of fushia, deep avocado and teal. I love how it repeats over and over around the skirt. Look out.
Both are small. Spain has a 25 inch waist, but the train is a real tight squeeze at 22".

I like my Gentress Vested. Golf skirt. Loud colors and some kind of pun about the 9th hole. Currently a mere $14.00. Or hit the green with hippos on 'shrooms. Eye-scalding golf print, ultra whimsical. Get it now for $125, very collectible Vested Gentress handscreened print.

I thought the whole point of playing golf was to wear loud pants. In the late 70s, my father had a pair of golf pants in chartreuse, lemon and turquoise plaid. He'd play golf in the morning. When he would nap in the afternoon on the patio, bees, butterflies and hummingbirds would flock around. And I don't even think bees can see color. That's just how intensely the loudness vibrated.

Apparently loud pants have gone the way of false eyelashes and martini lunches. My father now dresses demurely on the course. Will the pendulum swing back? This company, Loudmouth Golf Pants, certainly hopes so. (Beware of the customer photos section. There a a couple of photos of guys with women dressed like cheerleaders--yuck. And why can't women wear loud golf pants too? Alas, only men's sizes, but perhaps an intrepid lass like yourself could make them work.)

I hate sports. This includes golf. Though golf seems less egregious than the others. Perhaps it's just quieter. I object to any past-time that includes denuding a landscape of trees and schlepping around in the heat. Unless it's a fleamarket, then I'm all for it.

However, I like these guys. Probably because they are dancing and goofing around (or is that a sumo wrestler move?). I'd prefer that they had on coordinating golf shirts in fushia and lime green. The key is that they have fairly trim waist lines, which make everything look good. (Note to self: trim your own waistline, Samsara.) Other great photos include golf action scenes. And some random dudes in knickers and coordinating golf caps, of which I heartily approve. A bigger guy has a harder time pulling off this style. But the older guys really look fabulous in the houndstooth. I can't endorse the golf pants with the pin-up girls on them, though. Those are in poor taste and any man would look like a tool wearing them.

Unfortunately, most men look like tools when wearing novelty prints. I'm not sure why that is. Perhaps it's because men's wear in general is so sombre that any pizzazz looks overdone.

A bunch of young puppies got on the elevator at work the other day. They all worked at some brokerage and were talking loudly about how the wine at so-and-so's party was definitely second rate. Okay, so they seemed like schmucks from the get-go. One of them, fair-haired with pouty lips, was wearing a silk tie. Good silk too. A french blue printed in creme with the symbols for Yen, Euros, Pounds Sterling, etc. It made him look like even more of an asshole. When they got off the elevator a young woman rolled her eyes, she mentioned to me how scandalized she was by the tie in particular.

The boyfriend of a friend showed up to an event wearing a t-shirt with a squirrel on it that said: protect your nuts. It made him look like a jerk.

Gentlemen, please refrain from vulgar t-shirts. And I'll add: stay away from the Hawaiian shirt unless you are Hawaiian. Gambling or money themed prints are also déclassé, unless you are over 60, wearing a straw hat and entering a casino.

I will try to find an acceptable novelty print for a man.

I wish we lived in a world where a man could wear a shirt covered with hearts and carry a man bag that would comfortably hold is wallet, keys, ipod and a good book.

Friday, September 14, 2007

These prints evoke similar feelings in me. Wind, movement and wonder.

Though I am not entirely convinced that the hot air ballon shift is vintage (that neck seam looks too recent--I'll let you know definitively once I get a carbon reading on it), it sure is aloft. The flags strung between the parasails are a terrific source of asymmetry and breathing room. I love the propellors on the end of the ship dangling from the largest balloon cluster. And these little people! Look at them wearing leisure suits. They don't know that it's not polite to point. And that's okay. Lilliputians can point all they like. It makes them look even cuter.
So what do you think? Vintage or not? Vintage fabric perhaps, and recent construction? I'll call in a very expensive outside consultant. Mom, what do you think?
The Lipizzaner Horse Show is no longer available. It sold for a whopping $66. I love the combination of uncombinable colors, the movement in the manes and tails. And the eyelashes. I especially enjoy the headdress on the horse in the bottom right hand corner. Why the Lipizzaners look like unkempt old nags next to these fillies.
Oy. I just realized why I put these prints together. The Yellow Submarine. Yes, that Yellow Submarine. Both prints mimic the animation style of the Beatles animated trip-fest. But wait, there's more.
I saw The Yellow Submarine a couple of years ago. I rented it randomly along with a pre-code Joan Crawford vehicle called Dancing Lady. Of course, I watched Joan first. Dancing Lady is arguably more mind-bending than The Yellow Submarine, even with all its bad puns and Blue Meanies.
No expense was spared for Dancing Lady, a backstage dramedy about a spunky shopgirl who just wants to dance. La Crawford has two leading men: Clark Gable and Franchot Tone. Rumor has it that she was fooling around with both of them during filming. Fred Astaire makes his film debut, as do The Three Stooges (though they are not yet called that).
The finale dance number includes a magic carpet ride to a Bavaria (Singing: Here in Bavaria/They take good care-a-ya.) that obviously inspired Mel Brook's Nazi number in The Producers. And finally, all the chorus girls mount carousel horses on a mirrored merri-go-round turning amongst the stars in outer space. Really. Not even I could make this up. The chorines grip carousel poles and go into deep back-bends, one right after another. The last is Joan. Slowly, she leans back until her head rests on the horse's rump. She's smiling, staring into outer space. Triumphant. Director Robert Z. Leonard lets her ride that look long and hard to the finish. There's a little coda at the end with Joan and Mr. Gable but it is cheap and superfluous. All you need is Joan and that look.
When I watched The Yellow Submarine afterward I was aghast. It is this exact moment from Dancing Lady that appears in the Beatles animated film. I kid you not. The film has been drawn over in places and eventually morphs into an animated version of itself. But it lasts a long time and represents, dare I say it, a kind of climax. What are the odds of randomly choosing those two films to watch together?
But then I'm psychic like that.
I also once chose 3 Kenneth Mars films at random. The Producers (yes, the original with the incomparable Zero Mostel playing to the backrow like he's still on Broadway), What's Up, Doc?, and possibly the worst movie I have ever seen: Rough Magic.
The original Producers has much to recommend it. Though it is terribly dated now (I don't know why they remade it), the scene with Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder and the blue blanket will always make me laugh. ( Full disclosure: My mother once dated Dick Shawn, the guy who plays Hitler in the 1968 film.) Mr. Mars plays the nazi playwright, all nervous tics and clenched teeth.
Mr. Mars plays a similar character in What's Up, Doc?, only Serbian this time, but with similar intensity and wild gestures. Although the film runs out of steam once it turns into a car chase, and Babs herself is embarrassed by it (despite all the snuggling with co-star Ryan O'Neil), I enjoyed the first half. It marks the debut of the Great (and unfortunately Late) Madeline Kahn. As O'Neil's neurotic fiancée, The Great Kahn utterly slays me. She does shtick with wigs, with handkerchiefs; she even has a neurotic walk. I genuflect before the Great Kahn. She deserves a post of her own.
Mr. Mars plays a magician in Rough Magic. For the love of all that's holy, do not see this movie. Oh, it's got all kinds of elements that sound appealing: card tricks, magic realism, Mexico in the 1940s, and a vendetta against the heir to a uranium fortune. But stay away. You'd be better off sniffing glue.
Bridget Fonda seems to be heavily sedated. Russell Crowe even more so, and he never really decides whether or not to have an American accent. The depiction of Mexico is overwhelmingly racist. The indigenous medicine lady adopting the skinny blonde gringa is an imperialist fantasy, inspired perhaps by Carlos Castaneda's spurious anthropology. It's not worth it even for the costumes. Not even for the scene where a man is turned into a giant sausage and eaten by a terrier.
Oh dear, I'm making it sound better than it is. Don't see it. And this is coming from a person who enjoyed Ishtar.
Mr. Mars cannot save this Hindenburg. Though he tries. He plays the elderly magician like a cross between Santa Claus and King Lear. He is blustering, shouting, rolling his rrrs. He waves his arms so much, I was worried that this was a snuff film. I mean, he really goes for it in the death scene.
I am happy to say that Mr. Mars is alive and well and currently has a very robust career as a voice-over artist.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

L' shana tova, goslings. Happy New Year. It's now the year 5768.

So many new beginnings. A new year for the blog. A new year for me (I'm 38!). This year I hope to finally photograph my own vintage novelty prints and post them. Take Arabic classes. Assemble the definitive whistling solos cd. Make a fall coat out of cheap tapestries. Learn to play "Cry Me A River" on the ukulele. I've got a list of projects longer than my arm. It should keep me busy and out of trouble until 5778.

A big and hearty thank you goes out to Ms. FuzzyLizzie, whose blog I enjoy immensely.

Ms. FuzzyLizzie: Thanks so much for your kind words on my bloggerversary post. I just read them today. It's great to know someone is reading and enjoying the novelty prints. I'd love to know which ones you were inspired to buy. And how they worked out for you.

Perhaps you would enjoy this Ode on a Grecian Urn frock. Lovely 40s rayon, excellent condition, square neckline, detailed peplum draped across the front and longer in the back. Yes, yes and yes. I'd like it even more if these urns had lavish pictorals showing, oh I don't know, Oedipus and the Sphinx or Theseus and the Minatour. Or why not Medea killing her children? That one's always good for a laugh. It would be nice if one of these urns was adorned with coffee cups and said "We are happy to serve you."

I never could figure out what Keats meant with those Truth and Beauty lines. Then there's the whole controversy as to who is speaking them. (The poet? The urn?) If truth and beauty are the same thing, then is anything ugly would be untrue, and I know that ain't right. Is the urn an unreliable narrator? Is the urn spewing propaganda? Never trust a ventriloquist or an urn, I always say.

Well, I'm off to eat pomegranates and apples dipped in honey. I have a good feeling about 5768, don't you?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The close-ups are a bit murky, so it is hard to take in the full splendor of this circle skirt. The clothespins are certainly whimsical, along with the green string tied in loose bows. It's not clear if these red-breasted robins did the dishes and then hung them up to dry, or if they are making a mess of someone else's chores. I love the avid expressions on their little faces.
It is quite small (W 26) and would probably only fit Hello Dolly. It's currently weighing in at $65.
This is my 200th post. Who knew I'd be still at it? And that I still haven't bought anything on ebay. Who knew there were so many fabulous vintage novelty prints out there?
Some competitive intelligence in Anthropologie ( touching all the frocks, not unlike the old lady manhandling the fruit in Tampopo) , has revealed more bird prints for this season. But none were even in the same league as this one.
I have not yet watched The Most Terrible Time of My Life. The video print I got from the library is a bit dark and grey. I must admit that I fell asleep during the first viewing attempt. Sadly, I think this is one that really needs the big screen. And my schedule needs to let up so I can get my beauty rest. I am knackered.
Or perhaps my brain is just fried from watching Ken Russell movies. I watched both Liztomania and Mahler recently and anything can look rather sober next to Frankenstein Hitlers on a rampage and a strip tease atop a glass coffin (yes, seen from below). Mr. Russell is a great director of musicals, The Boy Friend, being my favorite (what with Twiggy and Tommy Tune) and he takes the lives of famous western composers and makes hallucinogenic magic. I love that he takes liberties, evoking silent cinema and obscene Busby Berkeley tableaux. I mean, why the hell not?
Goslings, we live in a literal age. Sadly, such movies would not be made now.
I demand that a movie take me to places unreachable, show me dazzling images, and give me enough ambiguity to keep thinking about it afterward. This means I should probably confine myself to the films of the early 70s.
I choose a director each winter and try to see everything on the cv. The Almodovar winter was the most fun. The Kurasawa, not so much. Should I spend this winter with Alejandro Jodorowski?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Palatial. This fabric would make an excellent circle skirt. There are 6 yards of it for $59.99. You'd need at least 4 yards for a proper circle skirt, and you could definitely squeeze a top out of the remains. But wouldn't this make the most excellent curtain? It would definitely make a nice view.

Today I will seek out other panoramic vistas.

This robe with a view is cheap and cheerful. I love how the pattern on the flag stone pathway disintegrates into the jagged stems of the flowers.

And now, goslings, the showstopper.

A late 70s Lanz Original in polyester. A fanciful cityscape with onion domes, fluffy trees and here and there a floating pineapple. As always with Lanz, a well- constructed bodice and beautifully draped skirt. Oooh. I am so tempted on this one. It fulfills two fantasy frock requirements: Lanz label and construction, along with an imaginary psychedelic city. The color way is also lucious, and the boarder at the bottom gives it just enough to evoke a dirndl.

And I do love a dirndl, I said germanely.

A big thank you to my dear friend Hello Dolly, who told me what those puns are called: Tom Swifties. (And after years of searching! Hello Dolly, it's so nice to have you back where you belong.) Named after the protagonist of a series of children's books written from 1908-1993 by a number of writers under the Stratemeyer Syndicate (who also published the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books), Tom Swifies demonstrate verbal acrobatics to avoid long he said/she said passages. (It's soda, said Tom caustically.) It is perhaps a cousin of the Wellerism, a combination of a cliched proverb and something ribald or scatological (You've got to draw the line somewhere, as the monkey said when he pissed on the carpet.), named after a Dickens character in The Pickwick Papers.

I haven't read that one yet. I usually read a Dickens novel every winter. Sometimes I worry about running out of them.