Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Persian print extravaganza. Gorgeous polyester photo print of Persian minature paintings seemlessly arranged to evoke a total landscape by Liberty House. Get it here from MomsVintage and wear it with everything. Absolutely everything. This is a medium and an absolute steal at $30.

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Perversely, nothing can put a dent in my desire for photo prints. This eye-popping tropical fish photo print skirt is a small and is available here from ebayer Aptwithaview AKA Vogue Runway. I'm giving out trade secrets here, as this is an ebayer who often has photo prints, and has been my source for number of spectacular examples over the years.

Just look at this beauty. It has all the earmarks of what makes photo prints so magical. A bunch of photos, including reproductions of paintings, all thematically related are grouped together in a vertiginous manner, some upside down, but all in the same color scheme. I love the mark of the scissors. You can really see how postcards and illustrations were cut-out and placed in gravity defying conjunctions. I love how the seams show between the images. I love the seagulls winging through. There is no attempt at verisimilitude, we have gone to the land of make believe. This print is virgin polyestah fabric available here from Fifisfinds and is a mere $25. All 57 x 74 inches of it, maybe you could make an evening gown out of it. Would you do that? It would be spectacular on you.

So enthrall to the photo print am I, that I want to create my own. Of course this has involved some additional schooling, something I said I would never do. But that is where my unholy lust has taken me. Surely you goslings know of Spoonflower, which will print fabric you create and upload. I know I need a three-piece suit made from this Nebula print. There are more brilliant photo prints available from the same designer, listed as Corseceng, or alternatively, Jonathan Bowen. Beautiful prints with views from the Hubble telescope, and aerial photos. I can't think of anything that could make one look more goddess-like. And if it hasn't started already, there will be a major run on photo prints in the coming seasons. It's the next logical step for printed clothing to take. And that's the progression that happened in the 70s.

Now if I could only learn to sew. Sigh.

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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Quill pens, ink wells and over-seeing owls. Pieces of music and pipes also adorn this stunning library print with exquisite detail and bright colors. Wouldn't this make a lovely dress? You can get it here, for sale by Ownbackyard on Etsy. I also love the styling on this room and the ceramic cat is a priceless touch.

Also, a library print apron in silk with Charles Dickens' Old Curiousity Shop.

This is too pretty to wear as an apron. Treasure Island, Little Women and The Songs of Sappho are a nice touch as well. But it is Thomas Mann's Joseph in Egypt that really sends me. It is available here from Playback.

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Do you call it a Library Print, a Bookshelf Pattern, or the Bookworm's Delight? The lack of established labeling conventions for these prints make searching for them difficult. I'd like to agree on library print.

This greyscale library print on rayon is the loveliest I have seen in quite some time. A library print must have other elements besides book spines and here we have some very active-looking statuettes (art deco ladies in crash helmets with arms akimbo)and some vases, but the real tour de force comes from the addition of the electric fan. The vintage radio too is a great touch, though more muted, its horizontal lines mirroring the stacking of books. But the fan in all its circularity is what elevates this print to greatness.

This terrific blouse is available for sale here, from Adrian Company Vintage, who has posted these pictures on Etsy. While the print is spectacular, and it appears to be a very wearable medium, over-sized 80's blouses can be difficult to wear. I'd pair it with a rather short skirt to elongate the silhouette widened by the boxy top. I'd be tempted to keep the rest of the ensemble greyscale as well.

I have long been looking for a library print book bag. This is a print that has been made into various bags.

This one was part of last summer's collection by WoodWood in Denmark. I like the placement of the print on this bag and how the vertical books move down along the body on the strap, but that style of bag is difficult for a short woman to wear (the long strap would leave the bag itself somewhere around my knees). The same print was also available last summer in a tote bag at the Morgan Library gift shop, which I keenly regret not snapping up when I had the chance. The closest I've been able to find in this photoprint of some book spines from Thomas Jefferson's Library.

While this bag is reasonably priced and available through the History Channel, of all places,and looks bookishly practical, nonetheless I don't believe in wearing novelty prints that one cannot vouch for or discuss coherently. U.S. History routinely fails to interest me and I often horrify the young Akhenaten with the gaps in my knowledge. Akhenaten, my young Egyptian paramour, can name more U.S. Presidents (and in chronological order) than I can. In order to comply with my own rule about standing by one's novelty prints, I'd have to visit the Library of Congress (the originator of this tote) and read a book or two about Thomas Jefferson just to keep from embarassing myself. And what if I am cornered on the subway by a Constitution enthusiast? For the love of Maude, isn't all of that a heavy trip to put on a tote bag?

Then I got to thinking about U.S. Presidential Libraries. Do they all have gift shops? Do they all put out tote bags? Have I hit a vein of Library Print items? Is this the motherlode?

Sadly, no. I was really hoping for a Nixon Presidential Memorial and Library Watergate Commerative tote bag, but there is no such animal. I would have settled for a Nixon in China tote, but Tricky Dick's library is one of the few without a gift shop. Most of the Presidential libraries are administered by NARA, National Archives and Records Administration. The gift shops are fairly standardized with pens and caps with the particular president's signature or a famous quote, a section for books by and about the president, and a kids section with model Airforce1 planes and tiny t-shirts that say "Future President". Perhaps a section with costume jewelry reproductions of pieces worn by the first lady. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Library and Museum has the New Deal Store where you can pick up mugs commemorating 75 years of Social Security. There are also busts and sculptures of both FDR and Eleanor. But my favorite so far would have to be a 6 inch statue of FDR as the Sphinx. Apparently based on a caricature of FDR it must be seen to be believed.

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

Angel, Angel, Down We Go (also released as Cult of the Damned) is a marvelously psychedelic film. It is also unabashedly campy and clearly made by people who were hoping they could get those crazy hippies into the movie theater doing some weird stuff. It comes complete with dissociative episodes expressed in painterly collages by Shirley Kaplan and flatly narrated by folk singer and songwriter Holly Near. Ms. Near plays the role of Tara Nicole Steele, an unhappy debutante (also known as "The Fat Girl") who takes up with cultish band of sky-diving rock stars. Jennifer Jones plays Tara Nicole's mother, Astrid, a status-obsessed harpy who is also constantly referred to as "The Most Beautiful Woman in the World". And Ms. Jones does look absolutely gorgeous at 50 years young wearing nothing beside a bed sheet, or evening gowns designed to look like she's wearing nothing but a bed sheet casually tied at her bosom. There are scenes of hilarious cruelty between Astrid and her billionaire Airline tycoon husband, who prefers the company of naked young men.

Oddly enough, the film pre-dates the story of the Manson Family, which broke soon after the 1969 release. Oh, and it's a musical. Jordan Christopher, who plays the cult's leader, improbably named Bogart Peter Stuyvesant, does all the singing as a Jim Morrison-type: shirtless and in leather pants. Mr. Christopher is really pulling out all the stops for this performance. Like he's not saving any energy to drive home afterwards. One of the tamer songs "The Fat Song", can be seen in high quality here. A faded version of the theatrical trailer, which really encapsulates everything you need can be seen here. But sadly for Mr. Christopher, his character is so over the top that he reminded me of Dick Shawn's turn as L.S.D. or Lorenzo St. Dubois in the 1968 film The Producers. If you haven't seen Mr. Shawn's hilarious hippie parody watch it here, and do a little compare and contrast.

Roddy McDowell has the role of a cult member that was probably a real let-down after Planet of the Apes. But he does it as if it were Lear.

The whole thing can be found under its alternate title here. Should you watch this movie? No, you should not. Well, maybe just a little. The first 15 to 20 minutes are great. The party scene in particular is gorgeous. Ms. Near's slow-motion descent down the staircase to the sitar-inflected titled song is a highlight. I'd say it's great up through "The Fat Song" and then the whole thing gets bogged down in over-blown dialogue. There is a terrible scene in the middle of the film when Bogart Peter Stuyvesant meets Tara's parents and he talks Lorenzo St. Dubois-style nonsense for what seems like five hours. It is unbearable. The dialogue feels like it was originally written for a play, where it would make sense to have lots of expository dialogue about sky-diving. You'd need to create the scene with words because you can't sky-dive in the theater. But with the extreme visuals of the film it becomes, at the very least, de trop, and at full throttle, like nails on a chalk board painful. Someone needed to cut at least 1/3 of the dialogue.

Ms. Near does a terrific job. I loved the scene when she was trapped upside down on the ceiling while everyone else was sitting down below (mostly because I feel that way a lot). Ms. Near gives such a good-natured performance, game for anything and with laughter in her eyes. And she looks beautiful, the brocade robes and towering wigs really suit her. The film posits her as "The Fat Girl" but she isn't particularly big. If she does have any extra on her, it looks great. In fact, the other women just look weirdly emaciated around her.

Ms. Jones has some marvelously catty lines and plenty of meaty situations to explore. Many have bemoaned the appearance of a gen-u-ine Hollywood star in this sort of rubbish. But perhaps Ms. Jones merely knew the Bette Davis truth of the matter: that plum roles for women over 40 are best found in B movies.

But don't watch the whole thing. Really, you'll just be hurting yourself. Instead, check out Les Blank's terrific God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance, an un-narrated documentary of the 1967 Love-In in Los Angeles on Easter Sunday. A beautiful day in the park with a lot of sweet souls doing their own thing. Each mediating, playing music, dancing, or even totally tripping out. There is lots of style inspiration here and the gentle editing almost makes you feel like you are there. A wonderful hypnotic quality permeates this film, along with a kindness, both to the participants and to you as you watch.

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