Monday, April 28, 2008

Eureka. Today brought yet another ebay-generated epifany: what's ancient is modern. And I couldn't think of anything more fun than to complicate my contradictions by focusing on the 60s and 70s stylistic explorations of ancient Greece and Rome.

Now I have posted many a Greek frock here before. Well, at least 2 or 3, and more than a few Greco-Roman fabric themes. Since I was forced to study Latin in school, something about this stuff really cracks me up. And of course Fellini's Satiricon has long been a big style influence for me. I mean, the Greeks had class, they had sacred theaters and catharsis, for crying out loud. But the Romans just might have invented tacky. They developed waterproof concrete just to shallack amphitheaters to stage navel battles. "Think Roman!" could be my new battle cry.

This first dress is earnest, but shows a drinking scene, with a splendid elastic waist, and Greek Key patterns around the neckline. A solid and deserving frock to carry you through a summer day, slurping from a kylix and accompanied by pan pipes. It's hard to see in these photos, but it's brown and creme colored, which makes it infinitely more interesting than black and white. The Rome in ruins dress is a large to XL, and would light up a room, no doubt about that. A mustard-colored riot of too bright flowers, contrasted with the grey monument, gives the feeling of the animation that is featured in the credits of the old Monty Python shows. I just love the round covered buttons on the shoulders. And the label is just too precious. How could you ever feel out of place wearing something by Apropos?

Now the tapestry, or wall hanging, alas, was sold to someone long ago. I was bewitched by it, and rendered speechless before it's awesomeness. I love the blue figures vibrating against that yellow background, the inclusion of a Greek theater mask, and the bowed bellies and slim legs of those horses. I also love how the figures are drastically different sizes. The use of white outline on the black horses, the musician's head and the chariot wheel evoke x-rays or negatives. But the grouping of the scene really knocks me out. Nothing is really forgrounded, creating a lot of tension. This piece is by someone named Donald Clark, and was in Australia when I saw it on ebay. I think I shall become a devotee of Donald Clark, and toot sweet.

Now part of me feels like there's something inherently wrong in living in New York and buying something from Australia on ebay, especially a large thingamagig, since the shipping is not only inexpensive, but also not good for the environment. But since I'm a philistine, I think this while wearing my super-cheap made-in-China shoes and eating yogurt with a non-recyclable plastic spoon that was also made in China. Ah well, at least it's not Earth Day today.

Now the show stopper. Of course this one is a protected image so I couldn't make a copy of it, but Alfred Shaheen did a black cotton Greek Key themed dress that you can check out here. I'm salivating a little since this one is in my size.

And finally, at the library today as I was returning copies of The Prisoner, I literally stumbled over a 50s Ulysses with Kirk Douglas (Full Disclosure: Spartacus is one of my favorite movies).

Look out everyone. Once I get my hands on a bust of Hermes like this and a coupla cheesy plaques of the Collisseum, I will transform my living room into a veritable lupercania. My collection of kitschiana will make sense and it will all coordinate with the gold velvet chair I found in the garbage. After I'm finished watching The Prisoner, I can watch all the episodes of I, Claudius. That should take me clear up through next October.

The future, it ain't so bad.


Blogger tea said...

Fantastic, fantastic post.

I studied Latin, too. My professor in college was SUPER fantastic. He was a giant, first of all. He looked like that guy in Harry Potter. The one that lives in the cottage on the edge of the ground. What's his name? Hagrid? Anyway, and he proclaimed on the first day of class the following: "There are two things you should know about me: I'm a farmer, and I know my Latin." The implication was that was all we needed to know and not to eff with him.

But, of course, he was also a giant teddy bear. And an incredible long-distance bicycler. He'd bike across the country during the summer with a pack of similarly dedicated bicyclers. And he wore overalls to class with Birkenstocks. And he studied Sanskrit and Greek, too, so even though he was a master at Latin, that wasn't *all* there was to him.

Ah, Chris Frost. Fantastic man.

7:26 AM  
Blogger tea said...

p.s. I wrote some books for third graders about the Greeks and the Romans.

7:30 AM  
Blogger samsara said...

Ms. Tea, what a delight to hear of a positive Latin-learning experience and an inspiring teacher. Unfortunately Latin classes were dreary, and my copy of Cicero had teeth marks on it. It was more character-building than anything else.

I'd love to learn ancient Greek, but right now I'm learning Arabic.

I look forward to checking out your books. How awesome is that!

2:41 PM  

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