Saturday, October 31, 2009

Magic Casements

Poetry should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance. --John Keats

"Oh fer cryin' out loud, stop with the Keats." Well, no. I was rereading the odes last night, particularly Nightingale...& it's his birthday. What a good excuse to put in some stills from Jane Campion's Bright Star. (The blueandpurple is swoony.) Click on the Bright Star's Jane Campion's interactive production site--storyboards, rehearsal video, production design images, & the like. I still search for photographs of the director's cat, Topper who plays, well, the Cat. (He's a brilliant scene stealer.)

From today's The Writer's Almanac:

It's the birthday of the poet John Keats, (books by this author) born in London (1795), who was just starting his career as a poet in 1818 when a series of brutally negative reviews of his first two books appeared. And then, that same year, Keats learned that his brother was dying of tuberculosis. Keats spent the last few months of 1818 taking care of his brother, who died a few weeks before Christmas. In the wake of his brother's death, Keats moved into a duplex with a friend, and in the other half of the duplex lived a beautiful 18-year-old girl named Fanny Brawne, who became the love of his life. He declared his love to her soon after they met, but he decided not to marry her until he'd secured his reputation as a great poet.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Week's End - Happy Hallowe'en!

Boo! Please visit GG's blog. There are all sorts of free sources & links to holiday craft sites. Have a fun weekend! xo

[Ava Gardner & feline friend via
myvintagevogue; glow-y mask via LIFE archives, no photographer credit available; Victorian postcard via a great free clipart source, Vintage Holiday Crafts, here.]

Cougar = Cat

"The cougar (Puma concolor), also known as puma, mountain lion, mountain cat, catamount, or panther, depending on the region, is a mammal of the Felidae family, native to the Americas. This large, solitary cat has the greatest range of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere,[3] extending from Yukon in Canada to the southern Andes of South America. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in every major American habitat type. It is the second heaviest cat in the American continents after the jaguar, and the fourth heaviest in the world, along with the leopard, after the tiger, lion, and jaguar, although it is most closely related to smaller felines..."

Use the word 'cougar' around me referring to a human female? I'll rip your head off. It won't be pretty. You thought maybe I was nice & had a sense of humor? Yeah, I am & I do; however, this is war. (I can't believe I just used a Wikipedia page.)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Enemies, A Love Story

Saw it again, only the second time. I forgot how good it is; here's the NYTimes review. Also, dragged the book off the shelf, to re-read. You want a scary Hallowe'en story? Oy. Real life is scary enough. Many people just do not get it. (I just looked at some blogs/sites for images--there aren't many.) Oh well. Life is stranger than...etcetera. (You will also laugh--out loud.)

[photographs via scoopy]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hair Help

Get the idea that I'm under pressure & it's all the worse because I can barely see? A hat always helps (see Lucy) & I have lots, but one must take it off at some point. These Italian beauties' hairdos would be a solution but with avoirdupois (temporary!), I'd look a frump. Also, one can take vintage just too far. Now that so many are buying (literally) into the 1960s Mad Men look, I have to put away my long-ago purchases For now.

My hair grows as fast as that Tressy doll from ancient times. (A cousin had one & I promptly gave it a haircut; apparently I was not technically adept even then; no rewinding the hair for me. Just cut it off -- it looked very Audrey H. Well, I thought so anyway.) Are you obsessed with hair & salons & so on, Susan? Why yes, why do you ask? Because you seem to be off to have something done to your hair quite often; yet, you look the same. That's consistency & avoiding fads, cappellistas. My mother taught me to be loyal to hairdressers who did a great job, not necessarily the most expensive or 'fashionable.' (Although hers was this totally cool guy.) This advice, unlike most of her advice (sorry, Mom), has served me well.

So off to Camille-the-Genius...creeping across town, once again knowing that I will run into people I know who are uncharitable gossips. When I leave, not a soul I know will cross my path. Except possibly other human rights advocates, one of whom told me recently at an evening meeting sort of thing...that he thought I was frivolous about hair & clothes. I was wearing brown trousers, a brown jersey top, brown boots, & my father's Levi jacket (from his youth on a farm). Oh, & some sort of tiny earrings that were certainly not diamonds, & a long skinny scarf from I have no idea where...& dark pink cotton crocheted gloves (sort of 80s) that I bought in France for about 5 FF (so really old). Apparently a Grazie magazine tumbling out of my bag tipped him off to my insensitivity to the multitudes. Meanie.

[photographs from LIFE archives by Yale Joel & Loomis Dean; my now-traditional bangs-in-crisis photograph via Italia Vogue scan, here)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cat Naps

Even dogs catnap. A friend sent me an email today full of gratuitously cute animals (domestic & wild & two children) catnapping. (It was titled, "Have You Ever Been This Tired?") I don't usually do this (posting without permission or Creative Commons) but I don't know the sources of the photos. If you know, please let me know. I saw one (not posted here) that I used on Giulia Geranium for a St. Francis Blessing of the Animals day last year.

Anyway, Julie is getting a sense that she is not allowed to lie on the keyboard of the new laptop...probably from my semi-shriek when she gets near it.

I'm having a fairly miserable, tiring few weeks. So here are some of the cute pix to cheer myself up. Maybe you, too.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Week's End - Albert in Black & White

Camus, A Romance by Elizabeth Hawes is quite enjoyable. Here's an amusing review about literary obsession. Back to work.

Update: That's it. The end. (I mean for the week.)

bonne nuit

[molto famoso photograph by
H. Cartier-Bresson/Magmum; other photographs of Camus at work & play by Loomis Dean via LIFE archives]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Patterns in the Carpet

I don't know what mine are, much less yours, but I am interested. I am not referring to a new book by Margaret Drabble. But of course, a new book playing on a Henry James short story title is out & about. Ah well. It's up for grabs, that phrase/literary preoccupation/allusion/what-have-you. One could look at labels & conclude any number of things. I just did it myself...not really helpful. So here's a Lillian Bassman photo of Evelyn Tripp in the November 1948 Harper's Bazaar via myvintagevogue while I think about it some more. And write out a check to Made4Aid because apparently no one even bothered to go visit their site after my entreaties on both blogs. Wow. I'm pretty annoyed (& really disheartened).

Monday, October 19, 2009

French Twist, English Style

I'm busy with a cat who is having/causing a wild rumpus (seriously) & I'm hugely disappointed that more people aren't bidding over at Made4Aid. Hence same general post as at Giulia Geranium -- at least until the rebellion is put down (non-violently). I placed a bid on this great French-style string bag made by wonderful Sally aka Lettuce. The bag has an elegant twist--a vintage-fabric lining with a little inner purse. I'd love to have it--but if someone cares to make this interesting, you have until Wednesday, 9am, NYC time. The price is low, the cause is great.

There are also several other items up for auction & I would tell you more about that but a cat is climbing onto my head. (Oh please, let our adoption application be approved.) Below is part of Letty's description. Owwwwww. Must go

Please have a look....xo/svs

Update: Reader, I won/bought it. (The bag, silly.)

From Made4Aid blog:

"This auction is for a hand-knitted string bag, with a twist - the twist being the lining. The bag is lined with vintage lemon/gold satin fabric, in a textured and two-tone leaf design....

"The string bag itself is knitted in black mercerised cotton, using two strands together - this is strong yarn and shouldn't stretch too much, although the knit pattern has some stretch in it, as string bags normally do. This is a really nice pattern, fun to knit - and you can find it here."

[photo collage/Made4Aid photographs used by kind permission]

Friday, October 16, 2009

Week's End - Don't Shoot the Piano Player

"Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best."

Laughed out loud this morning when reminded of Oscar Wilde's reaction to an American saloon sign as "the only rational method of art criticism I have ever come across." Thanks to Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac.

Happy 155th Birthday, Oscar. You don't look a day over 30, darling. Never l'esprit d'escalier for you.

[Oscar Wilde in his favourite coat. New York. Picture by Napoleon Sarony(1821-1896) via Library of Congress.]

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weather Report

'Now wherefore, thus, by day and night,
In rain, in tempest, and in snow,
Thus to the dreary mountain-top
Does this poor Woman go?--Wordsworth

Only to the post office, actually. Just feeling floopy (e.g., bunny feels floopy, ears go droopy) & Sarah Bernhardt-y.

For excellent suggestions to keeping on track, see Scrap Basket at Work-in-Progress (it can involve wine, if you wish--always a welcome notion.)

[LIFE Archives photographs by Gjon Mili & David Scherman]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Leaving the Station

I do miss Strasbourg & all Alsace, especially this time of year. Powerfully.

[photograph by Louis Faurer - 1960s originally via myvintagevogue flickr/no longer available; here is another link]

Hair in the Air

Carol's Paris Hair post made me think of all the haircuts I've had. I usually don't go on about what I look like, my clothes, my apartment, etc. (really, who cares?) But I felt compelled to construct & send this quickie collage to Carol in reply to an email from her, in a reply to a comment. (Got that?) Carol cut her hair before she left for Paris; now she's espying long hair everywhere. *

Tina Tarnoff Thought Patterns post Hair, Wonderful Hair is fun. She's researching the subject for her husband's latest book. Fabulous vintage images of decidedly non-short hair. Go visit Carol & Tina & their respective etsy shops (connected to their blogs). They're both so very talented.

This happened to me in London once. I had an unusual-for-me 'oh no what have I done to my hair? moment--but just a moment.. A very dashing man walking by, stopped, looked me in the eyes & said: "How marvellously Jean Seberg of you, darling." I treasure this, as it will never happen again. Sniff.

[Photograph credits forthcoming very soon. I didn't think that I'd post this but as it might seem, I'm running late & thought the haircuts might inspire someone on the fence to go for it. It does grow back, you know. Just don't get one of those helmet hair deals. Please.]

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Welcome to England, he said... better bring your own sun...

Update: forget it. Even the small YouTube format is too large & it's annoying me already. If you want to see it, go here.

Ages ago I connected these photographs with the song &...other things--instantly. That's all I'm saying about going to & leaving England here. [This YouTube version of Tori Amos on Craig Ferguson's show has a somewhat darker, heavier sound than the album's; I like both, but that's why I include it & not the one from her website.] And yes, I can now watch videos & the like. I can see how someone might still be in their pj's & braids & goofy glasses late of a Saturday afternoon (uh, early evening) when they have the ability to download an iTune in 20 seconds vs. an hour (I kid you not). Must watch that.

The computer is no longer dial-up (well, the laptop isn't, working on the desktop) nor on the edge-of-a-nervous I have to think up another excuse for this mess & lack of header photo or image & ridiculous subtitle.

[Photographs are by generous Nick Bartoletti who is in Seattle, not England. From his Clise Mansion shoot. The gown is featured in The Fuse-Blower post/ reminiscence if it looks familiar.]

Friday, October 9, 2009

Week's End - Nobel Peace Prize 2009

The Nobel Peace Prize 2009. Oh my. Random cuteness photograph of Uncle Barack with darling niece Sarita who is making her wiggly-waggly way over to Reggie Love. (She knows who's the keeper of the candy!)

SUNDAY UPDATE: Distress at the incivility towards President Obama. If you disapprove of the Nobel Peace Prize award why not show how classy you are--or aspire to be--by offering a general courteous "Congratulations, Mr. President."? If you feel you must express yourself (especially in vulgar terms), pester those in your immediate circle--but not on the bus, the Metro, the nail salon (!), the market, the newsstand. Please. Stop. It.

[photograph via White House flickr set/Pete Souza]

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Irving Penn

Irving Penn's death in Manhattan was announced a few hours ago; he was 92. It is difficult to think of who--or what-- he did not photograph in his long illustrious career. To say he was just a fashion & celebrity photographer is not enough. (But, of course, that is the headline.)

[photographs by Irving Penn/Masters of Photography via Ballet Photography]

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gourmet Café Closed

Update on Wednesday. 7 October afternoon: High scary winds felling trees & wreaking havoc with our power supply. More later but please, if so inclined, go to Made4Aid & do a little early (do-gooder) holiday shopping. Pretty please?

Why, what are you doing? Looking at photographs from the
GG blog. Looking at piles of to-do lists. Wondering where, what, how...oh yeah, the truth. Nah. Figuring out if I should have Cheerios or make real dinner. (Real dinner. I'm an adult, fer cryin' out loud.) Thankful I have a choice. Pondering riddles & perturbed at much...yet, none of these should be in a blog. So closed for business today.

Here's a link for free city photographs (for nonprofit use). Pictures of Amsterdam.

PS: No. Way. Gourmet magazine now kaput? I just heard way. I am upset. I'm sitting here with one on my lap looking for a recipe. &^%$&%$^ Bleep. More-than-bleep. Hey, deal with the stuff I do, you need Gourmet magazine. And no, looking at Epicurious-freaking-dot-com is NOT the same.Bleep.


RIP, Mercedes Sosa.

[image via Aleposta via Wikimedia Commons]

Friday, October 2, 2009

Week's End - The Trouble with the Truth

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you. --
Oscar Wilde

Well, then. This weekend, I'll be keeping my mouth shut in public (mostly). Having to self-censor--more than usual.

Yesterday, I enjoyed the new film, Paris. Very good cast, very French, & non-clichéd. It's not for people who will be upset that the Eiffel Tower is seen but briefly. But it is much, much more the 'truth.'

ciao/xo/more & better posts soon/maybe

[photograph by Peter Stackpole for LIFE]