We're having another grey, rainy day which--if you are a reader of this blog--you know I adore. Especially since I'm already tired and still playing catch-up with sleep--it fits my mood perfectly. And thanks for the sleep suggestions from my last post. I bought some melatonin and a fellow cast member gave me some tryptophan (the chemical in turkey that puts you out on Thanksgiving day) in pill form (I had no idea!) so I have two new things to try--and on the look-out for a good meditation cd, as well. I did, however, sleep for 11 hours last night with no pills so obviously my body needed it.
Mr. Wood and I just went to a late lunch and now I'm back in the craft room working on dolls. I know I said I was done with sewing but I just meant in terms of clothes for me (retroactively :). The picture is my latest idea--Baby Bozo dolls packaged in a tiny popcorn box :) Kind of the baby version of her. (More pics of her here.) Right now she's about 6 inches tall--she will probably be about 8 inches when I'm done. This doll was my first effort/mock-up with the new pattern and right now I'm working on some changes to it. These will have lots of hand-painted details like shoes and collars in addition to the hand-painted faces and tiny red bozo noses. Each will be different. I just love having each doll totally unique to itself--they would be the ones I'd like to own so I figured somebody else out there would, too. I actually mocked her up months ago but have been so underwater with the play she had to be on the back-burner for awhile--thus her linty appearance. It's so nice to get back into the swing of my quiet little craft life.
I am watching this on Amazon (you can rent movies directly on your computer there! I had no idea! Amazon instant and tryptophan! Big day over here!) and I will probably do a whole other post on that movie and it's director--the only female studio director at that time, who lived as an out-and-proud lesbian, dressing almost exclusively as a man, having affairs with lots of her lead actresses (I'm looking at you, Joan Crawford), and re-writing scripts to more accurately reflect the complexity of a woman's life at that time. FASCINATING.
So here I go off to work--I hope you're enjoying your day!
Ah. I just looked it up: smorgasbord. Good to know. Especially since I have a couple of them over here at the moment. It's my day off and I'm so, so very happy to spend it doing what I wish I was paid to do: watching old movies and sewing.
I recently indulged myself and ordered the last two volumes of Forbidden Hollywood to complete my nerdy collection which I had been wanting since last year. It's not even that they're terribly expensive, it's just that they aren't a necessity. At least that's what I kept telling myself...until I caved. Right now I have Other Men's Women playing and Mary Astor is giving Grant Withers a haircut out in a bright, sunny yard. It's so delicious. And there's also a character named 'Peg-leg' and guess what: he has a wooden leg. A real, live wooden legged-person. I can't even get over it. As much as I enjoy the stories in these movies I think even more so it's what you get to see about their lives--the way the interior of the homes looked, the clothes, the nightlife (I really think seeing them drinking and dancing is my favorite part), the inside of a diner, the men all calling the women "sister"--I don't really know why but I can't get enough of it all. A man just offered to take a lady out for a chicken dinner. It's too strange and wonderful. I've also fallen head-over-heels for Joan Blondell. I want to see everything she's ever done immediately.
I also have these vintage patterns pulled out, ready to get started. Incidentally, you're seeing my system for keeping patterns organized: a color-copy of the pattern envelope taped to a manilla envelope, and all stored in cardboard magazine-holder-thingies. I think I read about this 'system' somewhere and it works great, should you be looking to keep your patterns safe and organized :)
In addition to the other two designs/ideas I had from this post (one of which is on hold due to frustration), I also have plans on working over those three into somewhat different versions of what you see here. Which brings the grand total of current sewing projects to FIVE. It feels slightly overwhelming, I will admit. What I really want to do is snap my fingers or wiggle my nose or whatever and have them all made instantly. Patience is not a virtue I possess.
I think I best get to sewing. I feel quiet and happy and want to soak up every possible second of my lovely, rainy day off...hope your day is equally nice :)
I am an irresponsible blogger. I am guilty. Of exhaustion, of emotional blank-ness, of a total cyclop-sian view of my life that has left no room whatsoever for the crafty part of my life. I have been an actor full-time and strangely enough I don't hate it. I might be enjoying what I am currently referring to as my most joyful acting job so far...more to come...but here's an interview I did recently. The show is going wonderfully. It's beyond a joy to do and I am in a constant state of gratitude to be so fortunate to be a part of this production and play.
However. This is not a blog about acting or show business. And one of the things I love talking about here--beyond crafts and my art and such--is silent movies. And one of my recent favorites is Piccadilly.
It turned Anna Mae Wong into an even bigger international superstar than she already was and confirmed her status as the most fashionable woman in the world of her time. I tried to take pictures of the movie with my camera (since I could find none online) but they didn't turn out. However--her outfits in it are DIVINE--even as she is the poor scullery maid with ripped pantyhose. And she is a stunner, in and of herself. But the story is especially moving given her personal story--and what passed for racial relations at that time, as represented in the movie. Politically--it's fascinating what was and wasn't tolerated then and fashionably--it's so beautiful to see what Ms. Wong had going on style-wise. The first scene when you see her dancing in the kitchen scullery is so incredibly sexy. As opposed to the poster--she's never topless in the movie but for my money she is total eye-candy and an utterly fascinating actress. I can't tell you how much respect I have for the silent actors and actresses--how difficult to articulate an emotional life without words or your voice. The good ones--like Anna Mae Wong--are real artists in my eyes.
As for other endeavors--we open this play on April 4 and though I have had little to zero time to make anything--rest assured all crafts will resume with the same vigilance and intensity as before all this nonsense started... just trying to make a living as they say... :) Here's an interview I did on its behalf...I find them very awkward but this one was kind of OK and seems relevant given my prolonged absence here.
Hope everyone is so well and happy..I've missed all your blogs and am so grateful for all your comments in my hiatus! I can't wait to have time to visit everyone again and see what yall are up to!! My life is better with everything I get from all of you!
This wonderful gift from my sweet mom for Christmas--a set of 100 markers. She knows me well!
This outrageously wonderful outfit that I stole from one of your blogs but forgot to note which one! Who did I steal it from? Let me know so I can give you proper credit...but this is perfection. Head to toe. (UPDATE: Rachel was very sweet and reminded me that I found it off her blog here. Unfortunately she didn't note where she found it from, either, but it sure it cute! And thank you, Rachel :)
This dress from Anthropologie that will be mine. Even if I have to make it. It. Is. Mine. That ruffle and collar? Cupcake perfection.
Bessie Smith. I just purchased the complete recordings on iTunes and she has been my soundtrack the past few days as I piddle about in my craft room or walk around the city... I have an old vinyl LP that I love but record-playing is rather site-specific so I took the plunge and bought it. She's just incredible. Sultry and sexy and hilarious and just a powerhouse. I'm so comforted by the lack of "production" in music like this: it's just her in real time, with minimal accompaniment belting it out from way down deep. Magic.
(Greer. Print of Graphite drawing, 5x7 with mat)
Another of what I think will be a series of "Cabinet Card Drawings." I'm a little bit obsessed with them and can't get enough of the semi-spooky, melancholy, mysterious little things. This one is obviously inspired by the paper moon ones I saw from this post. There are more of these in me, I'm sure. I'm also considering drawing on the actual mats (kinda like this) since some of them have such gorgeous designs.
This one isn't in the shop yet but will be later today...
Today I'm home getting orders ready to go out, I'm having more soup and crackers for my lunch, and watching a lot of Humphrey Bogart gangster movies in the background (though I still haven't seen this one and I'm dying to! Come on, Netflix--add it to your instant viewing, please!). But also on the agenda is a project for our bedroom that I am crazy excited about! I think it's going to be beautiful and it involves these...
Aren't I mysterious? You'll have to come back to see what it becomes...
Since I've finally gotten around to doing up our little bedroom, I thought I'd share...
These are the pillows I made the other day. I bought the fabric because it was so beautiful--but I had no plans for it. Our bed has needed new pillows for a while and since we can't paint and I need color--voila! Made envelope-style with covered buttons...
This fancy flowery fabric is probably a tad too thin to be a pillow covering, but it was too pretty to resist and I'm weak.
I think the window might need a matching curtain, though, don't you?
I love my vintage telephone. I found this on ebay a few years ago and it works! It's so funny to talk on the phone and be confined to an area determined by the length of the cord--how old-fashioned to sit in one place and chat...
I also bought a vintage jewelry box a bunch of years ago that I just love--it's so girly.
Another gorgeous weekend--we must be doing something right. Waiting on Mr. Wood to come home again--he's been travelling a lot lately, huh?
Made a beautiful kale salad for lunch...
Chopped kale, parsley, lettuce, snow peas, red bell pepper, red onion, walnuts, pinto beans, ground flax seed, ground chia seeds, and nutritional yeast with an apple cider vinaigrette and a mug of green tea. Divine.
Also finished a drawing I started last night...
(Edith. Graphite on cardstock, 6x8)
I was watching Suspicion late last night and enjoying Joan Fontaine in all these beautiful 40s proper English ladies' dresses and hats and out of nowhere in a dinner scene was this tall blonde woman dressed like a man. She was nowhere else in the movie and then there she was in one scene and said 4 weird things and gave everyone around the table the hairy eyeball and you never saw her again. At least that was my experience of it. But it was really late and she hypnotized me. She reminded me of that large blonde lesbian in Pandora's Box who follows Lulu around at a party--know who I mean? I love her. It was so amazing and weird and it got me really inspired. I got to thinking about old-timey photographs and printed this onto a sepia-colored cardstock and popped it into a black oval mat...
(Edith. Print of graphite drawing, 6x8 in black matting)
And it was just the look I wanted. That doesn't always happen but when it does...dang it feels good :) I'm selling these in the shop also. Just 3 for now since that's all the mats I have. BUT--hopefully I can find some more because I think I want to do a whole series of these old-fashioned women in men's clothes. Got some ideas stirring...I also did one in ink, so that will also be something eventually perhaps... One simply never knows, does one?
Hope your Sunday is absolutely lovely...
Another film recommendation for you!
I'm a huge fan of the TCM Forbidden Hollywood Collections. I only own one (for now... :) but I've seen some of the films from the other two and I find them just thrilling and can't wait to see them all. In case you don't know--these are the films made pre-Hays Code and for the most part they have a raciness (read: honesty) about them that later movies of the 40s and 50s couldn't get away with.
I finally saw Waterloo Bridge and it's now one of my new favorites. (There was a cleaned-up remake in 1940 with Vivien Leigh.) Not only do you get scenes with scantily-clad chorus girls (they had the best underwear back then!) and lots of great outfits, but oh my goodness the two leads: Mae Clarke and Kent Douglass are so wonderful, I hardly have the words. I want to see all of her movies now (like this one). She has such charisma! She's adorable and sassy, and so comfortable in her skin--you never feel like she's 'Capital-A-Acting'. Sexy and vulnerable at the same time with a deep belly laugh--I want to be best girlfriends with her! Oddly enough, Bette Davis has a small supporting role and seems so much stiffer and uncomfortable by comparison. Sadly, it seems Mae's career sort of dwindled away in the 40s but I have more research to do on her yet.
And he--(who mysteriously went by the name Douglass Montgomery later in his career) is this big, beautiful sweetheart of a man who actually cries a few times in this movie. There's one moment when he's exiting a shot and he's literally wiping away his little tears--I can't tell you how moving it was. And look for the scene when they're holding hands in the back of a car--he's precious. As much as I love old movies I never get terribly emotional watching them, but I teared up more than once in Waterloo Bridge. Especially because it got me thinking a lot about what it meant to be female at that time and not be born into wealth and priveledge. It's really quite moving.
Tonight! In a real live theater with other real live people who love these movies as much as I do! It was just....divine. I couldn't even get over being in an actual theater with other actual people! As much as I love these movies, and they totally transport me to a very special "netherworld"--it's a netherworld that always happens alone. And always has! And this is why I so love living in a city like New York (Brooklyn, actually) because I can't imagine many cities having audiences for movies likes these--as brilliant as they are. And this one is a wonderful one to see with other people--it's funny both for its time...and also for ours. BAM is having a Cary Grant month (lucky us!) who is one of my ultimates. And that Constance Bennett...she is a human cupcake. I love her dearly. And how about Roland Young?? Quite a performance. Highly, highly recommended.
I'll be back tomorrow with a drawing I've been working on. I do have an audition but it shouldn't be too time-consuming. I hope.
I just watched this the other night and it really could be one of my most favorite movies ever. It was totally random--I wasn't looking for it, hadn't heard of it and then happened upon it at the library--and I am so so glad I did.
It's based loosely on the life of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (played by Bill Robinson himself) and tells the story using some of the most prominent black acts of that time. The story is so-so--there's a vague romance between him and Lena Horne (this movie made her a star, by the way) but really that's neither here nor there. What completely takes your breath away are these dance numbers the likes of which I have never seen. There's a tap dance routine performed by the Nicholas Brothers that will stop your heart. These guys are Olympic athletes and look like they're simply exhaling. And Cab Calloway--who plays himself--is so brilliant it's psychedelic. He's one of my all-time favorites, anyway, but watching him in his zoot suits (so good) and the dance moves--I just don't have the adjectives. It's just incredible.
Especially knowing that a Hollywood movie studio (20th Century Fox) backed an all-black movie in 1943, and knowing Ms. Horne's struggle with the studios for most of her career, and probably the rest of them--and knowing that it had nothing to do with any lack of talent, for Gods' sake--and the impact these performers have had on everyone coming up behind them...makes it even more incredible.