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Posts by Jaynie Van Roe

A Guide To Vintage Lucite Purses

By , 9 July, 2009, 25 Comments

I’ve long admired vintage Lucite purses — I say “admired” because these rare babies keep me at arm’s length with their hefty price tags and my fear of damaging them while using them. Don’t get me wrong; their rarity completely warrants the digits on tags. In fact, I don’t see them at antique stores or vintage fashion shops very often, and even online, they can be difficult to find. (All of this only reinforces my fear of using them.)

Anyway, because I don’t see them very often anymore, I was surprised to find not one but two sellers at my local antique mall selling multiple old Lucite purses; so I snapped some pics.

Vintage Lucite Purses

Vintage Lucite Purses

Shopping for vintage Lucite purses becomes even more thrilling when you consider the vast array of styles, shapes and colors these vintage purses came in. And that’s part of the challenge too — as with most fabulous vintage finds, when you fall in love with one, rest assured, finding another just like it is no picnic.

Of course, you can always fall in love again with another, right? (But trust me, your heart will still ache for that long lost love…)

pretty-vintage-lucite-purses

Because I do far more longing for & playing peek-a-boo with vintage plastic handbags, I know more about them than a non-owner or non-collector should…

Here are Thirteen Things About Vintage Lucite Purses

1. While we collectively call these vintage purses “Lucite purses,” there’s a bit of irony to the name. Technically the purses are made of Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) poly(methyl 2-methylpropenoate), a thermoplastic and transparent plastic first patented by German chemist Otto Röhm in the early 1930’s and sold under the name Plexiglass. Lucite is the registered name of DuPont‘s acrylic:

Both DuPont and Rohm & Haas licensed the process and began commercial production in 1936. Lucite®, however, never generated substantial earnings for DuPont. Since it was that company’s primary product, Rohm & Haas was able to commit more resources to Plexiglas® and it consistently undercut DuPont in price.

While DuPont claims poor earnings for Lucite, it’s the name we give to these beautiful vintage plastic purses.

2. Some people mistake Lucite for Bakelite. This is easy for novices to do, but once you’ve held both old plastics, you can more easily discern between the two. Deanna Dahlsad says:

[Lucite] has a slicker feel and is lighter than Bakelite. Like Bakelite, it would be rare to find a piece with mold marks or seams. Generally speaking, Lucite comes in bright colors and patterns that are not seen in Bakelite. Sometimes in darker colors it is confused with Bakelite. However, if you’ve done the Bakelite tests (and feel the piece does not have a damaged or altered finish), the piece is likely Lucite. “No smelli, Plexi” is what I say.

(Her article on identifying and caring for vintage plastics contains the referred to Bakelite tests.)

3. The most expensive Lucite purses were made by Wilardy of New York and once they were showcased in major department stores throughout the country, as a cheaper alternative to leather handbags. Some of the best Lucite purse designers were Rialto, Llewllyn, Charles S. Kahn, Gilli Originals, Patricia of Miami, Evans, and Myles & Maxim. Over time, of course, many cheaper versions, including knock-offs, were made. Most companies marked their handbag creations on the inside, with a stamp on the metal frames or by affixing a clear or paper label — but over the years many of the clear labels have fallen off, making identification & attribution difficult — both for Lucite purses by famous makers and even for identifying other makers of vintage Lucite purses.

4. There are many opaque or translucent colors of Lucite purses. While many agree the carved clear plastic is the most beautiful, it is far from practical in terms of use. Because it’s clear, you can see everything inside & most ladies prefer the contents of their handbags & clutches to be secret.

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse From Iwannas

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse From Iwannas

(You can see Marie Windsor displaying a clear carved Lucite purse — and the contents if it! — here.)

5. The most popular (and therefore pricey) color of vintage Lucite purses seems to be the tortoiseshell — followed closely by amber. My guess is that, along with being so pretty, the darker brown colors are more practical both in terms of keeping the purse’s contents hidden and, like brown leather, very easily mixed into one’s wardrobe.

Vintage Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse

Vintage Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse

Vintage Amber Lucite Purse

Vintage Amber Lucite Purse

Of course, the near rainbow of available colors, means fashionistas and collectors are always looking for the unusual shades, such as pearlized pastels and always-in-fashion black.

6. Vintage Lucite purses come in many shapes too. There are square & rectangular “box” styles, ovals, trapezoid, cylinders, “kidney” shapes, “beehives,” scalloped shaped “kidney” clutches… Some vintage Lucite purses will have “lids” that open, others open like “clams.” Most have Lucite handles, but some will have straps of chain or other material.

7. Along with the myriad of color choices & shapes, Lucite purses are often embellished with carvings, metal work (not just clasps, hinges & feet, but fancy filigree and woven metal work), and/or rhinestones, confetti, shells, flowers, lace, etc. embedded into or set upon it.

Vintage Cylindrical Lucite Purse With Carved Ends On Metal Feet

Vintage Cylindrical Lucite Purse With Carved Ends On Metal Feet

Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse With Open Metal Work ($96)

Tortoiseshell Lucite Purse With Open Metal Work ($96)

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse With Large Rhinestones

Vintage Clear Carved Lucite Purse With Large Rhinestones

When it comes to some of the designs & themes, like this fantastic vintage Lucite purse with a poodle on it — or this wooden purse with a genie on the Lucite lid, you’ll be competing with collectors of poodles & genies.

Vintage Grey Lucite Purse With Retro Poodle

Vintage Grey Lucite Purse With Retro Poodle

Vintage Purse With Lucite Lid With Genie Design

Vintage Purse With Lucite Lid With Genie Design

8. One area of cross-collecting, and therefore pieces with higher prices, are the Lucite purses with built-in compacts. (These are my ultimate fantasy pieces.)

9. As I said, I’m very worried about damaging vintage Lucite purses. Along with cracks, of which no elegant & effective repairs are known (the glue discolors &/or muddles the old plastic), Lucite scratches rather easily. These scratches are especially noticeable on clear and lighter shades of Lucite. Use soft cloths and avoid products with abrasives when cleaning them; extra caution should be taken with tortoiseshell purses because the pattern can be muddled or removed. Novus Polish Kit: Plastic Polish & Scratch Remover is highly recommended for cleaning & minimizing scratches in Lucite. (A metal polish, such as Simichrome Polish, is recommended to clean & keep the metal hardware in good condition — just keep it confined to the metal.)

10. If you find a lovely vintage Lucite purse with a missing rhinestone or two, they can be replaced with care; Sparklz has very detailed information on how to replace missing rhinestones. You’ll have to consider if the vintage purse is worth saving in terms of price, other conditions issues — and your dexterity to make the repairs. (Do not replace/repair and then sell without disclosing that you did so!)

11. Clutches especially have metal frames which should be inspected for damages; if they are too bent to clasp properly, I’d avoid them. Likewise missing or damaged clasps, handles etc. Sure, if you search diligently enough, you can find replacement Lucite handles and metal fittings. (Some are old store stock; others are salvaged from purses too badly damaged to rescue.) Purse-onally, I’m not sure I’d try to tackle all the varying metal fittings — risking cracking the purse. But there are those who claim to be able to make such repairs. (Exercise extreme caution & investigation in these persons/companies before entrusting your vintage purse in their care; see my other vintage guides for more on evaluating professional repair services.)

12. The myth that antique shops and vintage fashion boutiques (real stores or virtual ones) price their items higher than eBay is false. The purses I found & photographed at my local antique mall were priced from $60 to just under $300 (for the torti), which when compared to eBay prices is fair if not actually lower than current auction prices (and recent past sales). Of course, prices will depend upon the conditions & attributes mentioned above. And if you’re looking for something specific or quickly for a special event, online searching will produce more options & more quickly than hunting in physical locations.

Vintage Lucite Box Purse At Antique Mall ($64.50)

Vintage Lucite Box Purse At Antique Mall ($64.50)

13. If you love the look of vintage Lucite purses, there are folks making reproductions & “vintage style” Lucite purses. These vintage styled Lucite purses (found via The DebLog) are beautiful, and if you fear using an authentic vintage purse, it’s an option…

Vintage Style (Reproduction) Pink Lucite Purse

Vintage Style (Reproduction) Pink Lucite Purse

Carved Lucite Top and Handle on Reproduction Lucite Purse

Carved Lucite Top and Handle on Reproduction Lucite Purse

The prices on the modern made Lucite purses are in the same range as their vintage inspirations; but, again, you won’t have the worry of having destroyed a potential one of a kind vintage piece. However, please note that even the new Lucite will be prone to scratches (and cracks).

For more on these fabulous vintage pieces, pre-order Carry Me: 1950’s Lucite Purses: An American Fashion by Janice Berkson.

More Thursday Thirteen participants can be found here, and here.

Recognize This Cowgirl?

By , 3 July, 2009, 5 Comments

Perhaps there’s nothing more iconically American than the cowboy. And this lady is iconic herself, though not so oft seen as a cowgirl… Any guesses?

Guess Who?

Guess Who?

Happy 4th of July!

Venus de Gardner

By , 2 July, 2009, 3 Comments
Ava Gardner & Venus Statue From One Touch of Venus

Ava Gardner & Venus Statue From One Touch of Venus

One Touch of Venus is the 1948 version of Mannequin: a window dresser (Robert Walker) kisses a statue of Venus which then comes to life (Ava Gardner); hilarity ensues.

However, I don’t think one can really compare Ava Gardner to Kim Cattrall without thinking that Gardner’s the better-looking babe.

At least I’m more likely to fall in love with art than a merchandising hanger — and I’m not just comparing the statue of Venus to a mannequin here.

According to press releases for the film, Ava Gardner’s measurements were:

Bust 35 3/4
Waist 23 1/4
Hips 34
Thighs 19 inches
Calves 13
Ankles 7 1/2

All I know of Kim Cattrall’s measurements are that she wears a size 6 French maid costume and a 9.5 shoe; which is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. And we can’t always trust movie studios for precise measurement information either. But I think most would agree that Ava has a more curvy look.

(Also, regarding Ava’s measurements in the press release, I love the use of the word inches used only for “thighs”, presumably so people would know they weren’t quantity and wouldn’t mistakenly think Gardner had 19 thighs — as opposed to 34 hips and 7.5 ankles?)

Back to the sculpture of Venus for One Touch of Venus. The statue for the film was posed for by Gardner and sculpted by Joseph Nicolosi. Of its creation, the following story is told in Lee Server’s Ava Gardner: “Love Is Nothing”:

Sculptor Joseph Nicolosi with Ava Gardner

Sculptor Joseph Nicolosi with Ava Gardner

To help in the creation of a proper life-size statue to be used in the film, Ava was sent to pose for New York sculptor Joseph Nicolosi. Several hours each day for two weeks she assumed a position in the studio at Nicolosi’s Malibu home. At first clad in a two-piece bathing suit, she saw the sculptor repeatedly stop work to approach her and star with concern at the swimming costume. It seemed that the fabric disturbed him as an interruption of the body’s natural line; the Anatolian Venus, Nicolosi sighed dramatically, had worn no such garment.”Would you like the bra off?” Ava asked.

Nicolosi averred that it would surely aid the cause of art, and so Ava, after a steady stream of what she described as “hot drinks,” unhooked the swimsuit top and resumed her stance with breasts bared. Further sighs of dissatisfaction from Nicolosi eventually resulted in her rolling the bottom of the bathing suit to just below the pubic mound (the mons veneris, indeed). Sometime later, prompted by a reporter and sculpture enthusiast eager to hear more details of these modeling session, Nicolosi said, “Miss Gardner gives an appearance of slenderness but possesses the roundness and fullness in the necessary places which set her apart from the emaciated female whose cadaverous outlines most American women seem determined to achieve.”

In early February the sculptor proudly unveiled his finished work to producer Lester Cowan and was met with a torrent of invective.

“Are you crazy? Her tits are showing! How are we gonna put that in a movie?”

The sculptor had to go back and create a more modest goddess.

It should be noted that in Art in the Cinematic Imagination, author Susan Felleman takes issue with Nicolosi’s Venus statue:

Gardner with Venus Statue

Gardner with Venus Statue

Joseph Nicolosi (1893-1961), an Italian-born American sculptor, executed the figure for One Touch of Venus. The statue, which bears a passable but not remarkable resemblance to Gradner, is thoroughly indigestible as a veritable antiquity, recently excavated from the Anatolian earth. In Nicolosi’s defense, however, certain conditions mitigated strongly against the figure acquiring the aura or patina of “authenticity.” Materials are one. It would have been foolhardy, never mind improbably in terms of budgets and schedules, for a motion picture studio to invite an artist — even an academically trained one, like Nicolosi, accustomed to doing so — to work in the sort of materials that were used in antiquity and might survive many hundreds of years intact, that is, bronze, or, more likely, hard stone, such as marble. The processes involved are too elaborate and the materials too expensive for the manufacture of what is, ultimately, a mere prop. Even so, one might expect more in terms of style from a neoclassical sculptor like Nicolosi. An anecdote from Gardner’s memoir explains how the statue used in the film had to made under considerable time pressures, due to a rather amusing and telling misunderstanding:

Most Venuses I’d seen in art books were nude or had a magically clinging drape low on the hips, and Mr. Nicolosi clearly had the same idea. Because when I took off my clothes behind a screen and appeared modestly clothed in a two piece bathing suit, he looked at me rather severely and gave a sigh that could have been heard as far away as the Acropolis…

Nude? Me? Not even MGM had that in their contract. Bare my breasts? What would Mama have thought?… The artist, however, prevailed… “Your body is beautiful. It will make all the difference.” And do you know what? He was right. Immodest as it may sound, I have to say that the final statue looked very nice indeed. It was carted off to the studio with filming scheduled to begin in a little more than a week.

Then came the explosion. A nude statue! Who said anything about nudity? Tits! Didn’t anyone tell you that tits aren’t allowed in a Hollywood film? It doesn’t matter how beautiful they are, it’s immoral and indecent. Plus, the goddamn statue has to come to life on screen. Do you want us to be accused of corrupting the whole of America?

As the owner of the offending objects, I sat back and did not say a word. After all, I’d done my bit for the arts. But the poor sculptor, who’d poured his soul into this clay, was shattered. No one had told him they’d wanted a Venus dressed up like Queen Victoria. Finally, another statue was made, this one with me wearing the belted-at-the-waist off-th-shoulder gown that Orry Kelly had designed for Venus, and America’s morals survived to fight another day.

Another factor, of course, although one with which one might not expect Nicolosi, who studied with Solon Borglum and was a fellow of the National Sculture Society with numerous public commissions, to be particularly sympathetic, is that the film is a comedy. The aesthetic distance between the Venus de Milo and Savory’s “Anatolian Venus” ultimately affords another possibility source of amusement in a rather sweet and frothy amusement.

Ah, it’s rather like a retailer complaining about the look of the titular mannequin and then realizing, “Hey, it’s a comedy!”

But for more of Ava Gardner — and some cheeky humor — we return to Lee Server’s bio of Ava Gardner & discussion of statues for the film One Touch of Venus:

Ava Gardner As Venus

Ava Gardner As Venus

Another piece of art was created, a small souvenir knockoff of the Nicolosi statue, an idea cooked up by the Universal publicity department, to be sent to select members of the press as a promotional giveaway. Someone in the art department created the eight-inch clay version of Venus, and before it was sent out for casting, publicist Bob Rains decided that as a courtesy they should show it to Ava first. “I took the clay model over to her dressing room. I said, ‘Ava, you want to take a look at this? What do you think?’ She looked it over an laughed. She said, ‘That’s not my figure.’ And then with a cute smile on her face she pinched off some of the clay from the chest area and stuck it to the rear end. She smoothed it on with her finger and made the fanny bigger. She said, ‘That’s more like my ass.’ I was startled by amused. I took it back to the department and told them what happened and everyone broke into hysterics.”

No word on which figure, the art department’s original or Gardner’s adjusted clay model, was used to cast the promotional Venus.

And because you know I find it so damn amazing that a woman’s nipples are a danger to society, it should be noted that Server also mentions that many good takes on the filming of One Touch of Venus had to be discarded due to the chiffon gown worn by Gardner on a chilly set; eventually prop man Roy Neal was assigned to follow the actress everywhere with a portable heater to avoid such horrors as visible erect female nipples.

However, I think you’ll agree if you click to see the larger photo below, that you can see Ava Gardner’s areola. I guess that’s OK because it’s not going to poke your eye out, or whatever it is that erect nipples are feared to do.

Ava Gardner

Ava Gardner

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.