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Archive for June, 2009

The Fantasy Of Star-Crossed Cursed Lovers

By , 26 June, 2009, No Comment

With all the hype of Twilight, which I’ve not seen, I wanted to focus on my favorite star-crossed-by-fantasy-curse lovers film which captured my heart as fiercely as Twilight seems to have captured the hearts of legions today.

While Twilight seems to strike a chord with teens, who are very impressionable when it comes to romance sans sex, and, something which seems to amaze or impress the press, “moms” and other women who are missing the romance with or without the sex, this chord of emotional longing is also something that most of us hunger for at any age. (If you don’t believe me, please consider the theme of the bulk of popular music in our culture, of which longing, loss and pain are the mainstay. See also Alessia’s Puppies, Kittens & Vampires, Oh My!) So while this film is a film I first saw when I was in my still-wistful-and-not-yet-jaded 20’s, it continues to move me as an adult of a certain age.

The film is Ladyhawke (1985).

Ladyhawke (1985)

Ladyhawke (1985)

In Ladyhawke, thief Phillipe “The Mouse” Gaston (Matthew Broderick) escapes from the dungeon prison at Aquila, with the medieval soldiers of the guard of the ruler of Aquila in hot pursuit.

Phillipe "The Mouse" Gaston (Matthew Broderick) Escapes

Phillipe "The Mouse" Gaston (Matthew Broderick) Escapes

Just as The Mouse is cornered, he is rescued by a mysterious black knight. This knight is Etienne Navarre (Rutger Hauer), and his appearance creates quite a stir with the soldiers — not just for his rescue of the escaped prisoner, but, we soon learn, Etienne is the bishop’s sworn enemy.

Etienne Navarre (Rutger Hauer)

Etienne Navarre (Rutger Hauer)

When Etienne discovers that The Mouse has escaped from the dungeons of Aquila, the knight decides that the thief’s knowledge of escape can be used in reverse to sneak in unseen to Aquila and kill the evil bishop. As the two travel together, The Mouse (and we the audience) discover some odd things about the black knight…

He rides on horseback by day, talking to a hawk on his arm; at night he disappears, and at the same time a wolf appears. And that’s not all; when the hawk disappears at night, a beautiful woman appears.

The Mysterious Ladyhawke

The Mysterious Ladyhawke

When both Etienne and the hawk are injured during another fight with the bishop’s guards, The Mouse is instructed to take the hawk to an old abbey where Father Imperius the monk (Leo McKern), will heal her. It is there at that abbey that we see the hawk transform into the beautiful Isabeau d’Anjou (Michelle Pfeiffer) — and the monk tells the tale…

Wounded Ladyhawke

Wounded Ladyhawke

The wicked bishop lusted after Isabeau, but she and Etienne (then the captain of the bishop’s guards) were lovers. Once the bishop learned of their love, he turned in rejection, bitterness, and hate to the devil, selling his soul to the devil for a curse to be placed upon on the lovers.

The curse made Isabeau a hawk by day, resuming her human form at sunset when Etienne took the form of a wolf. At sunrise, Isabeau would get a glimpse of her love returning to human form before she would become a hawk again, and sit on his arm.

Etienne & The Hawk

Etienne & The Hawk

The cursed lovers were doomed to always be together… Yet always apart… Catching glimpses of each other at sunrise and sunset.

Doomed Glimpses

Doomed Glimpses

But now, armed with The Mouse’s knowledge of the dungeons & the monk’s belief in a scientific prediction, there just might be a way to break the curse — or at least seek revenge…

The film’s scenery is amazingly, undeniably breathtaking. So is Michelle Pfeiffer. I think Vincent Canby, at The New York Times, said it best:

… Miss Pfeiffer, who may well be the most beautiful woman in movies today, is demonstrably someone worth risking eternal damnation for. Her presence, both ethereal and erotic, is so vivid that even when she’s represented as a hawk, she still seems to be on the screen.

Isabeau d'Anjou (Michelle Pfeiffer)

Isabeau d'Anjou (Michelle Pfeiffer)

While Ladyhawke has been criticized for it’s “dialogue of a banality” (and please note that no one accuses the actors of ham-handed delivery of same — even considering Time Out‘s reference to Hauger being “camp”), I find the combination of stereotypical fairy tale talk & sometimes simplistic lines mixed with modern phrasings as both providing refreshing accessibility (sort of reversing the theory of Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 Romeo + Juliet) and amusing in a near fourth-wall breaking sort of a way.

The result is a transformation to a perceived collective “fantasy past” as well as a sense of possibility of living that dream today… It touches me, moves me, in ways that many might feel I should be ashamed to admit — or that I should refer to as a “guilty pleasure.” But I won’t, you see. Because to do so would smear Ladyhawke — and hasn’t she suffered enough? What’s more, calling Ladyhawke a “guilty pleasure” besmirches romance itself.

Why deny the existence of the power of romance? I’m no more likely to deny my love of romance than I am to deny my love of family (which is founded upon such notions & commitment) or my love of my country (which is a collection of families founded on romantic love — all of which agree to protect & pursue romance).

So, when the movie ends, I cry like The Mouse and the monk. And I won’t apologize for it either.

The Emotional Ending

The Emotional Ending

Twilight Lips: Past Bee-Stung Lips To Vampire Sucked Ones?

By , 25 June, 2009, No Comment

Continuing on the movie themed cosmetics, there’s a new Twilight lip product to be released on July 1:

This special limited edition Lip Venom is a sneak preview of our highly anticipated Twilight Venom, debuting this Fall. Lip Venom V is not your typical DuWop venom. Instead of a gloss, Lip Venom V is a shimmering crimson lip stain suspended in a venom-laced liquid lip conditioner with a bite, and contains argan, avocado, olive oils and vitamin E.

This product should be shaken before use to represent the blending of the human and vampire worlds and applied repeatedly until lips are plumped, revitalized and the desired intensity of color has been reached.

Only a limited number of Lip Venom V have been produced. Vampires may live forever, but this offer won’t. Due to limited quantity and exclusivity of this offer, limit 2 per customer.

Twilight Lip Venom V

Twilight Lip Venom V

According to the makers, Lip Venom is a blend of essential oils (including cinnamon, wintergreen, and ginger) that cause the blood to rush to the surface of the lips, flushing and swelling them slightly.

Let Audrey Hepburn Go To Your Head With Accessories

By , 24 June, 2009, No Comment

When most of us think of or visualize Audrey Hepburn, we see her simple elegance (at least when she wasn’t playing roles wearing period costumes) But Audrey did use accessories; she just wore less of them at a time and let each speak boldly. For example, head scarves.

Audrey Hepburn Scarf

Audrey Hepburn Scarf

Few today think of head scarves as a beautiful way to frame your face, but these practical pieces are found on the cheap — often for less than a dollar!

Audrey (and her costumers) made use of scarves on hats too.

Audrey Hepburn In Breakfast At Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn In Breakfast At Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn In Funny Face

Audrey Hepburn In Funny Face

We sure don’t wear fashion hats like we used to, so such dramatic statements are usually reserved for very special occasions, but just think of the extra life you can get out of your hat if you consider working it with a scarf from time to time? (Your wedding hat won’t look the same year after year if you change it up!)

These last two are stretching “scarves” a bit… But what is a wrap but a very big scarf? *wink* And you sure can’t beat these looks when it comes to bold fashion statements! Makes one reconsider raincoats & even cloaks to go for a dramatic wrap.

Audrey Hepburn In War & Peace

Audrey Hepburn In War & Peace

Audrey Hepburn Bold In Red

Audrey Hepburn Bold In Red

Vintage Sewing — My Lack Of Skills Are Showing

By , 18 June, 2009, No Comment

I have a rather large collection of vintage sewing patterns; but I do not have the skills to match. So when I read Vintage Women’s Fashions: Domestic Arts & Sciences Institute by Val Ubel, I had to laugh — not just at what I presume is a pen name (a collectibles dealer named Val-ubel, is just too cute to be real!), but I giggled at what she wrote:

I paged through the booklets, admiring the work that went into even the ’simplest’ of garments, and decided that I would not have made it in this class. Back then it was necessity and there is no way of knowing just how many ladies were actually good at what they did. There may have been a lot of kids who were unhappy with the attire they were forced to wear! I recall my husband saying his mom made him a white dress-shirt when he was in first grade and when he got to church, found the pocket had been put on upside down! Well, give her credit, she tried.

I don’t think anyone would give me credit for sewing pockets on upside down… Not my old home ec teacher; not the person I made the garment for. But believe it or not, such a blog post makes me think I really need to learn to sew.

Monday Movie Meme: Trauma In Your Drama?

By , 15 June, 2009, 3 Comments

This week’s Monday Movie Meme is all about trauma — and the minute I read it I knew just what I was going to say!

Just this past weekend, the girls & I in film club watched Easy Rider (1969) for our latest Classic Schmassic screening and, because there’s very little glamour and fashion to discuss, I wasn’t sure I’d mention it here… But now I have an excuse *wink*

Easy Rider was an easy choice for our Classic Schmassic viewing because it’s not only a film we’ve all heard glorified so much (it’s a “touchstone for a generation,” the start of “mockumentaries,” etc.) but it’s such a “male film” (motorcycles, traveling by two cross country — something even today that two women would be too vulnerable to do, and more motorcycles) that we all wrinkled our noses when the title was suggested; the collective nose wrinkling made it mandatory viewing.

For the first, what, quarter? half? of the movie, I (and the rest of the film club) were bored out of our minds. The two main leads, Peter Fonda as Wyatt & Dennis Hopper as Billy, were not particularly likable to us; selling drugs is not as glamorous to women who have children, and then there’s the rather sexist regard of women (no matter how accurate, it’s not likable). The trip itself makes some commentary on “others in our society,” both conservative powers that be (“The Man”) and those living on the fringe (sometimes supposedly “Utopian”); but we just found ourselves faced with further dislike of the characters (who really didn’t know how good they had it). It was becoming intolerable to watch (exhibited by our increasing talk) — and then Jack Nicholson appeared on screen (as George Hanson).

The Boys On Bikes In Easy Rider

The Boys On Bikes In Easy Rider

Easy Rider is supposed to be the movie that made Nicholson a star, so matter what your thoughts on him (and in my film club, they vary to the least flattering thoughts you can imagine!), you are sort of compelled to see what the fuss was about. As good as Nicholson is (and we all agreed that he was good here), even his charming performance wasn’t quite turning this movie into something we were all glued to.

We were anxious, shifting in our seats, trying not to talk when we desperately wanted to entertain ourselves somehow, when finally one scene pulled us all in.

It’s the scene were the three guys stop to eat in a Louisiana restaurant. Here we actually found a level of unpleasant realism which made us shift in our seats for completely different reasons; it was the sort of extreme vulnerability that we’d each felt at one time or another — the sort of fear which keeps us from trying to travel cross country in such small numbers.

This kept us riveted to the movie from then on.

And once engaged, we were shocked with what happened next.

I won’t tell you what it was. Doing so would be more than a spoiler; it would completely destroy your viewing of the film.

Part of our shock was wondering how we’d each managed not to know this about the film… Had everyone who talked about the film provided the same “non spoiler” respect? Was most of the chatter about this film perpetuated by those who had never even seen it? Or had each of us been living under rocks?

In any case, from that moment on we were in shock — the medical kind. We were cold, some of us were shaking, and we were aware that other things were happening on the screen — but we weren’t quite sure if we were seeing them or interpreting them right.

By the time we got to the doing drugs with hookers (played by Karen Black and Toni Basil) in the cemetery scene, we were already feeling disjointed and confused…

Perhaps the DVD spiked our Diet Cokes? We sure felt like we were on a trip.

But the movie doesn’t end there; and neither did our trauma. Again, I won’t go into details; if you’ve managed not to know the entire plot, I won’t be responsible for ruining it. Instead, I’d much rather be responsible for encouraging you to stop resisting this film. Easy Rider, for all it’s bluster & bluff, is legendary stuff.

Just don’t drive any deserted roads alone. Not after viewing — maybe not ever.

Easy Rider is one move that I can safely dub as Most Traumatic Film I’ve Seen.  I’ve cried more, I’ve been more depressed, I’ve been angrier; but I’ve never physically suffered from shock from a film before.

What Makes Your Life Colorful?

By , 10 June, 2009, No Comment

What makes your life colorful? Maybelline New York and More magazine want to hear your story!

Maybe you’ve started your own business based on a personal passion, or you’re a community leader who everyone looks up to. Perhaps you dedicate your time and energy to a cause, or use art as a means of creative expression. Tell us how you exude confidence, optimism and personality while balancing a variety of roles – at home or at work – all with grace, flair and style!

Three Grand-Prize winners will:

* Star in a Maybelline New York “Colorful Life” short film

* Take a fabulous, all-expenses paid trip with a guest to New York City

* Receive a Maybelline New York Makeover by a professional make-up artist

* Meet Candace Bushnell, best-selling author of Sex and the City, at her Webisode Premiere Party and appear in a “behind-the-scenes” webisode

Ten runners-up will also be selected. Each of them will receive signed copies of each of the three newest paperback novels from Candace Bushnell (Lipstick Jungle, Trading Up, and One Fifth Avenue) and a year’s supply of Maybelline New York Color Sensational lipcolor (4 shades).

Women can enter the nationwide contest today by logging on to www.Maybelline.com/ColorfulLife and following the instructions to upload a photo & an essay of 200 words or less about “what makes your life colorful.”

The contest ends June 30, 2009. Winners will be selected by Meredith Publications and Maybelline New York.

Marilyn Monroe Contest (And I Want To Win!)

By , 10 June, 2009, 1 Comment

To celebrate the launch of www.thisismarilyn.com, the first and only social network specifically designed for the devoted fans and collectors of Marilyn Monroe’s lifetime of work, the site will be giving away $100,000 in highly sought after vintage photographs and limited edition prints.

The original photographs and signed prints are from personal friends of Marilyn Monroe, Andre de Dienes and George Barris. The contest which started when the new site launched, on June 1st, 2009 (Marilyn Monroe’s Birthday) will award 55 prizes, ranging in value from $800 to a grand prize worth over $12,000! The contest will end on August 4th, on the anniversary of Marilyn’s death.

Official rules are posted on the website; but basically, you join and earn points by participating in the site. (Hint: please use me — username JaynieVanRoe — as your referral!)

The contest is being sponsored One West Publishing, Inc., and Marilyn Remembered.

Monday Movie Theme

By , 8 June, 2009, No Comment

I’m new to the Monday Movie Meme (I found it via Kitsch Slapped), so I’m not sure if there was a mistake in offering two distinctly different themes in one day — or if it was done to allow options in your posting. But since Deanna dished on the 80’s films, I thought I’d take a stab at the Alfred Hitchcock movie meme — even though I’ve only seen two of his films. (Which reminds me, since I’ve seen so few Hitchcock films, that I’ll have to add him to the Classic Schmassic list.)

My favorite — and the first Hitchcock film I’ve ever seen — was To Catch a Thief (1955). Even though I didn’t even realize that was a Hitchcock film! I just fell in love with Cary Grant (as John Robie, The Cat) and Grace Kelly was pretty enough to make me wonder if I was a lesbian.

Cary Grant & Grace Kelly

Cary Grant & Grace Kelly

Eventually, I just figured it was the fashions. New Look fashions just drop me to my knees. Always have; probably always will.

Talk about suave; who even cared if there was a plot? But of course there was, and for a little while, I even found myself (gasp!) routing for Danielle (Brigitte Auber) to catch The Cat.

To Catch A Thief Still With Auber On Left

To Catch A Thief Still With Auber On Left

I’m not sure if that was routing for the underdog, or just more of the fashions and their fit (Brigitte Auber wasn’t built like Audrey Hepburn, but she wore similar styles — and Auber’s build was more “real,” more like me than ultra-waif-like).

In any case, I did swing back to the more aloof Kelly — but was there really a choice? *wink*

Catching A Thief

Catching A Thief

Joan Diener, I Hardly Knew Ye

By , 5 June, 2009, 2 Comments

In the July 31, 1950 issue of Quick magazine, on page 67 in the “Quick Predicts” section, a brief prediction about Joan Diener accompanied by this small photo:

Joan Diener

Joan Diener

The quick prediction reads:

Young Star:

Joan Diener (r.), only 20, will step from TV to Hollywood, where MGM, RKO and Sam Goldwyn have been paging her. She’s had dramatic roles on most networks, recently scored as a night-club singer.

I wasn’t familiar with Diener at all; which makes sense because she was known primarily for her the theatrical performances (Kismet & Man of La Mancha) and we all know how I do try to avoid theatre performances.

However, somethings just don’t add up.

Like the fact that IMDB lists very few TV appearances by the singer/actress — and none of them before 1956 — six years after this blurb in Quick.

In her obit (Diener died in May, 2006), The Independent says:

Diener’s career was given a boost when, while playing a small role in Wolcott Gibbs’s comedy Season in the Sun (1950), she was spotted by a photographer for Life magazine, who placed photographs of her there, emphasising her décolletage. She later described the offers that followed as for the Jayne Mansfield-type part, and really that’s so foreign to me. I don’t do it well. If I’d had to work, I’d have taken them. But since I was married and wanted a family, I could afford to wait.

But that’s not entirely true (and The New York Times didn’t have it right either); Diener captured the Life cover on September 20, 1948, after she made her Broadway début in the revue Small Wonder (1948). (How bold of Quick to “predict” Diener a “young star” when she’d already made the cover of Life two years earlier!)

Diener On Cover Of Life September 20, 1948

Diener On Cover Of Life September 20, 1948

As for Diener’s offers for “the Jayne Mansfield-type part,” this certainly fits not only the tone of the 1950 clipping but after seeing the other photos published in the 1948 issue of Life, who can blame them for making such offers?

Hayes Gordon & Joan Diener, Life 1948

Hayes Gordon & Joan Diener, Life 1948

That three-and-a-half-octave range operatic trained singer made one heck of a sweater girl! (Must be the lungs lol)

Despite all the positive press & obvious Hollywood promotion, Diener didn’t make any films — she didn’t even get “her” roles in Kismet & Man of La Mancha when they were filmed. (Dolores Gray was in Kismet, and Sophia Loren was in Man of La Mancha.) So it’s no real wonder I didn’t know her…

But I sort of did.

Once I read this at Divas – The Site, I said to myself, “Oh, she was the one!”

Diener was famously thrown into a pool by Fernando Lamas during a 1953 dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel, after throwing her arms around him, crying, “You look divine!”– in the middle of a huge feud between Lamas and his then-lover Lana Turner!

But then again, since neither Divas — The Site nor I can show you that old story… Maybe we’re wrong.

In 1953, Diener was getting married (to Albert Marre, who was her husband until her death). Not that it precludes a woman from hugging another man… In any case, Lamas probably threw many a woman into a pool (among other things). Jerk. But whether or not it was Joan Diener is another thing altogether.

So the one thing I thought I kinda knew about Joan Diener is probably nothing at all.

First June Vintage Roadshow

By , 5 June, 2009, No Comment

Things Your Grandmother Knew has tips on darning stockings.

The Bobbypin Blog shows us how to get a fingerwave look like Keira Knightley.

Kitsch-Slapped shares vintage party games.

Glamoursplash has a customer win a prize in a vintage beach bathing beauty contest.

Debutante Clothing introduces Vintage Style Muse Helsinki Pinup, Freelancer’s Fashionblog.

Couture Allure shows how to stretch your wardrobe with a vintage sheath dress.