Tuesday, May 28, 2013

vivre sa vie

"Vivre Sa Vie," directed by Jean Luc Godard, was captivating. Told in tableau, each a bang on a bass drum that measured out the life of the protagonist, a silly, young, directionless woman, who, looking to climb up, falls down ... and as far down as one would hope to not.

At one point, she writes to a Madame for a place in her brothel. Her hand is shaky and unfamiliar, it would seem, to putting words to paper. Her self-value is her 'jolie' and her height. It's no wonder that our girl gets herself into the predicament that she does, but the film is exquisite. The story is cinematically told ... gorgeous screen shots filled the screen of her face that has not yet been colored by a life of experience.

Her face will never change for what becomes of her, but that wasn't as sad as for the fact that the film was over. No, the story arced and resolved, no more was necessary to be said ... but it isn't every film that is as provocative for the craft with which it was produced.

Honestly, I don't have the words in this southside mouth of mine to do justice to this film. What I can say is that this is only the second film that I've seen of Godard's, and as soon as I'm finished here, I'm going to sign in to Netflix and put every one of his films in the queue. I can't wait to see what else that he has in store for me.

Monday, May 27, 2013

before midnight

Elle May 2013
Years ago, I read a review of "Before Sunset," and was surprised by it. I knew that "Before Sunrise" had been made and was in theaters, but I wasn't really interested. I wasn't a big fan of Ethan Hawke ... I kind of classified it before seeing it as silly.

Well, I was wrong. I decided to give Sunset a shot, so I had to watch Sunrise first. And I was besotted. Having at the time been in a relationship that relied A LOT on talk for a reason not worth mentioning here, but I totally got it. I was so enthralled by the movies that I had my sister sit down with me to watch them ... she didn't care for all of the talking at all. She's more of an action girl, but I loved it.

First, I've been to Europe many times. Some times with more coins in my pocket than others, but for the times when I was broke, what was there to do but walk the cities and talk. I had a consistent traveling companion at the time, my boyfriend for lack of a better description of our relationship, and we could have been these two characters. Plus, my guy didn't live in my city; he lived on the other side of the country, so there was always a very finite feeling to the festivities of the time spent carousing European cities; and later, more distant locales. Because the time was so definite, we had to put all of our living into those weeks that we spent together.

I liked Sunrise, but Sunset more ... probably because I watched with eyes that were more the age of the characters. Sunrise was about the lives of twenty somethings, and anyone out of that age knows that for all of the pain and suffering and drama that those years might entail, out of them, it's a relief. I liked how the conversation picked up even after seven years. With my companion, it didn't matter how many years passed, we could always go right into a natural rhythm of being together. I found that to be true of someone else recently. And though we do not have a relationship anymore, it made me feel like what it was that we had was real because we were able to go right back into what was best about what we were. In Sunset, my favorite scene, of course, is the last when Jesse realizes that he ain't gonna catch that plane home. Oh! the number of times that I've missed a flight because we had just one more conversation left to consider. Although now with the exorbitant ticket change fees, I wonder if that would have made a difference. That $100 or more in some cases is killing romance. But just one more night ...

I will see the new film ... "Before Midnight." It will be sad for me because I won't get the next ten years with my faithful friend ... he has gone on beyond living years. I wonder at what I will miss for each of the coming decades not having him in my life. In the article, the plot is revealed that these two will be in Greece and they meet a writer who has lost the love of her life. The reviewer writes, "as her memory of her husband dims before her undiminished love does, feels as if she's losing him all over again." That line sort of made me wince ... I expect a life time of that ... to some degree. But I imagine that is the same for any grief that we must learn to live with in our lifetimes.

What I like best about these films is that they aren't imaginary. I think that they capture what can be real conversation between two people ... something that I'm always very drawn to. And in the end, like the reviewer says, "marriage isn't for sissies, and neither is love." True that. I've known it for love ... marriage, no. But I'm hopeful that I can find a man that wants to talk to me as much as I do him.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

freud's girl

Imagine Freud's granddaughter singing. I tried to. I checked it out on ITunes. The new release isn't available, so I downloaded the album available to give it a listen. It's as I imagined ... a guitar, a paper thin/ vulnerable voice, and some dude in the background. Oh, to be the progeny of a famous name.

UK Vogue April 2013
I have to say though that I am drawn to quirky little albums that only a handful of people listen to. Not that I want to be so cool that I do it. No, it has something to do with being vulnerable and just going for it anyway. I'm all for it. One of my favorite albums of this genre of mine is Pete Doherty's album Last of the English Roses. Doherty's band is Babyshambles, an English band that may or may not only be famous as Doherty notoriously dated Kate Moss. The Kate Moss association is probably the only reason that he landed on my radar. I was curious, so I bought his album, and it ran in heavy rotation. Vulnerable. It's all over it, and there's a charm to it ... very English, very real, and easy for me to listen to as I like, I suppose, confessionals. I can hang a hat on imperfection, and some of the best bits of people, for me, are the ones that aren't perfect. Of course, Doherty is a notorious bad boy with drugs, drink, and I suppose poetry as his best pals. But I like his record. And he has a lot of bits to hang one's hat on.

Another album that it in this category for me is Karen Elson's The Ghost Who Walks. Produced by her husband at the time, uh! Jack White, Elson made a nice little record that I like to listen to. Of course the production of hers compared to Freud's is in a different stratosphere. When your husband is Jack White and you have access to all of the musicians and all of the other stuff that goes into making a record, including a sprinkle of White's magic, I don't know how you couldn't make a good one. I believe that I have said before that I would love to have the chance to make a record with him. His magic would make something out of the nothing that I have in terms of talent for singing and making music. I have the desire ... but surely I do not have the talent.

The second run through of Freud's is almost to its end. I think that there is a slip here ... I'm not getting pulled into it. She is young, and the record plays like a teenage magazine whispered to a beloved collection of stuffed animals. Maybe with a few years and the road, she'll find her groove and have something to show for it. That's the record that I would rotate often.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

gatsby and me

Vogue May 2013
Carey Mulligan is stunning in the pale blue Chanel that Rita Ora rocked in pink in Elle last month. The brightness makes her  ghost-like. In this month's interview as Baz Lurhmann's Gatsby hits theaters, Mulligan talks at length about the woman that inspired the character of Daisy who is not F. Scott's wife, Zelda. Mulligan was given copies of the letters that Fitzgerald wrote to Ginervra King, a Chicago socialite that Fitzgerald loved. One remark: "There's so little to me that I'm not hard to forget quickly." This photograph reads that for me. Mulligan is being absorbed by the light; she seems to be leaving the room imagining that with her gone, she'll not be there anymore. No she won't, but how can one not remember that dress. Perhaps it is that she goes to the ledge and flutters away into the blue on the wing'd cape of her gown.

I believe that I've gone over this before, but I was very taken by F.Scott Fitzgerald during high school. Before I had to read the requisite The Great Gatsby for junior English, I had gotten a hold of an old book that my grandmother had on one of her gold shelves in her apartment in the city. She herself was very glamorous to me. She wore black and large framed Jackie O-esque sunglasses. She drove a '68 red Mustang. And she lived in the city. Hers was a studio apartment, which I didn't understand at the time. It was so small, but to me it was so cool. I was enamored of how she fitted it with little compartments and sections and her art easel. One wall in the main room was lined with gold bookcases full of hardcover books that always fascinated me. And it is there that I found the short stories. 

I started with "Berniece Bobs Her Hair," quickly moving on to the others. I loved the idea of how they lived as it was so different that how I lived on the southside, a million miles away from Evanston and the hoi polloi that Fitzgerald seem to know. I didn't fall for Gatsby. Even so, I read beyond that as my appetite was wetted by the short stories. As I've written before, the novel that I love the most is Tender is the Night. I loved Dick Diver and his family and how they knocked around the South of France. He made that dream for me of wanting to go there and know what that world was like along the Mediterranean. And I noted that having read the novel again a couple of years ago; as an adult, the story took on so much more meaning. Fitzgerald was not Gatsby, of course, but he was Dick Diver. Married to a beautiful, fragile woman, he thought that he was king of his castle, when in the end, he wasn't so much. How he saw himself was not what he actually was. I've known a couple of Dick Divers ... one who reads the book every year. I don't know if he realizes why he is so drawn to the story.

And I have visited the Rivera. I told that too if you go back a couple of months. It was there, in Nice, where I met up with my friend's landlady from Baltimore who had been a French ballerina. She lived half of the year in France, the rest in Baltimore. Baltimore is a place that the Fitzgeralds lived too. They lived in Bolton Hill, and that is where when I visited all those times, my head lie. Bolton Hill, though I have not been there in a few years, is very shabby chic, and I easily could place the Fitzgeralds living there. My friend had a wonderful apartment that he decorated with antiques. I would visit and we would drink champagne, French of course, in pretty crystal glasses that were nestled in pewter filigreed holders. He had a working gramaphone with many old records in his collection. We would light the fire and candles, uncork the bubbly, and listen to Billie Holliday, another Baltimore resident, into the wee hours. To me, that was Fitzgerald living. We were reckless with our conversation and the hours that we spent into the night.
Vogue May 2013
Now this dress that Miss Mulligan is wearing here: wowza! The costumes for the movie were designed by Catherine Martin, Luhrmann's wife and Oscar winning costumer, in partnership with Prada. The blue satin of this dress reminds me of a dressing gown of my grandmother's. When I was still in high school, she died. And it was left to my Mom to clear out the apartment in the city. She brought us with to help. It was strange being there without her there when really, we hadn't been too often. I was happy to go through her drawers of scarves and jewelry. She just was so fancy in my mind. Her jewelry for the most part was costume, but it was the good stuff that ladies bought back in the day ... in her closet, I found two things that I wore for many years. One was a black cropped wool jacket with a shawl collar, and the other was the pale blue satin dressing gown. It looked like something Joan Crawford would wear ... big shoulders, pleating in the back from a sewn in belt. It was georgeous. At the time, I would hang out at the teen disco nights, and for Halloween, I wore the dressing gown, layers of fake pearls, and a fur muff that I found in that closet too. I was asked all night: what are you? a hooker? I didn't let them bother me. I wasn't dressed up in a trick or treat way. No, I was dressed as a mood. As a period. I felt as if I could be in any of the salons in Paris hanging out with Zelda and Fitzgerald, sipping champagne and living large.

Vogue May 2013
Oh! to still have that one piece ... but there is something else that I have of grandmas and it's something that I don't ever have to worry about not having. Chanel #5. Cause that is what the lady wore, and it is what I consider to be my signature scent. Certainly, I have a petite collection of perfume, but it is the one that I always go to. I think that I may have even written a poem about ... if I were rich, I would buy enough Chanel #5 cream to smooth on my skin every day ... head to toe. And here it is in Vogue this month. It was different because it isn't just one note. 80 ingredients make this lovely elixhir. When she had it made, Coco, in 1921, sat in a restaurant on the Riviera and sprayed it, and waited for the crowds to come. Such a clever girl as it is, I believe, the top selling perfume in the world.

I wonder. Did Daisy wear it?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Gywneth's un-fun night at the Met

Gywneth Paltrow was not my pick for best dressed at the Met Ball. I don't know what her affinity for pink is at big shows (uh, that pale pink Ralph Lauren disaster that she wore when she won the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love ... she looked like she needed some tissue to give that dress some form), but typically, she's very modern looking. Sleek. Shiny. All-American. This pink thing would have been better as a Nancy Kerrigan skating costume, and I'm not sure how it is 'punk,' the theme of the ball, but I digress.

What I love about her attendance this year is that she didn't have any fun, and she wasn't shy about announcing it. I would have to imagine that it would be 'crowded' and 'hot'  as she reported with all of that fluff and spectacle. I have always wondered what they even did once they went in from the red carpet? Do they dance? View the exhibit? Eat? I imagine that most of them are exhausted from all of the preparation: Botox, check; Cellulite scrub, check; facial, check; tanner, check; fittings, check; hair management, check; make-up application, check; squeezing into dress, check. Of course I am being a little silly, but I imagine that it's a big day of getting ready, and then you're thrown onto the red carpet, pose for a bazillion photographs, stick your hand in nail-cam, and then ... can I stick my stomach out now?

Sounds un-fun to me too. I heard ... oh dear, Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue and host, won't invite her back! I don't think that snub is going to hurt Miss Paltrow. She's survived a lot of hits for ... oh, I don't know, that her Spring must haves as reported on her web site totaled somewhere in the vicinity of a half million dollars! But she moves through all of that and manages to end up as People Magazine's most beautiful woman in the world. She's charmed.

You know, Gwyneth knows these people. She knows who she wants to spend time with ... and not at the Met. Good for her for knowing that she doesn't have to go to the party. Where she decides to go, I imagine, is where the party is. Pinch me, but I want to be just like her (in this regard).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

lollapalooza chic

Elle May 2013
This is from the article: "The most urban fest on the circuit, Lolla's downtown location (and come-and-go policy) means you can be headbanging one minute and sipping a lager at Little Goat the next. Choose a versatile ensemble such as this chic Prada onesie, which I energized with a kitschy Levi's shirt."

Joe Zee prefaces his article by saying that he's never been to a music festival ... wouldn't ever want to be at one. And then I read ... just throw on a Prada onesie?! (Is it just me, or does this young lady have camel toe in her onesie?) Prada? Do I have VIP passes where there are likely to be fans, and comfy chairs, and cold drinks. Cause if you are in Chicago in August at Lollapalooza, you're likely to be in 90 degree heat and possible thunder storms. I remember a couple of years ago when fest-goers cooled in mud baths ... conveniently created by heat and rain!

I love looking at the 'stars' who go to the other festivals ... they're all chic'd out and ready to rock, but somehow I take offense that in Chicago, a hard working town, is gonna put on a onesie. We aren't babies ... and we need to pee. A onesie and a port-a-pottie seem to be a recipe for disaster.

Here, wear a cool band tee and some cut-offs. The boots are fine, but let's get real! The business here is music: devil may care ... not devil wear Prada.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Zac Efron

Elle May 2013
I am way too old to have seen all of the High School Musical movies ... though I have seen a flash of them as my nieces and nephews have watched them over the years.

But I have had my eye on this blue velvet of a man, cause he's so damn handsome.

He wants to be the younger Leonardo DiCaprio? Sweetheart, you are going to be the new everything ... I don't particularly care for Leonardo ... he's too ... macho? stiff? arrogant?  No, you'll be your own man, and so much the better for it.

Zac says in the article, "Fame is inherently uncomfortable. But I want it to be fun. It's just something that you have to navigate carefully. There's a way to do it with grace."

Grace. That's what it is behind those blue eyes.

Rita Ora's Chanel Float

Elle May 2013
As soon as I turned the page, I knew that this was a Chanel creation. Oh, and in pink and black ... what a lovely cotton candy confection. And the scouse-brows and red lips are so francais. This month's Elle is the yearly women in music edition, and it was chockfull of fascinating stories and pictures of the women in music: young and old. This is Rita Ora, a British songstress ... I am not a fan of her popness, but she is lovely in these pictures.

Elle May 2013
Oh goodness, and turn the page ... the cotton candy hardens to become punk rock. What I love about the look is that it is so bird-like. The leather boots are her crane legs: skinny, long, and strong. Look closely and they are scaled ... like a lizard or some other reptilian creature. They are some bad ass boots, and the contrast of the pale fluff and the hard, scaled black is sublime. The pose mirrors it as our pop star pouts and nervously chews a nail ... the girl hesitates, but she wears the big ones. It's powerful.
But then, Karl Lagerfeld is the master of this look. He can make creations of float better than anyone, and then style it with racing gloves, or some other such envisioned toughness. But that is how we women, I imagine, must protect what is feminine in us. That is rock 'n roll.

I would not wear these boots, perhaps the gloves. And I am not a fan of the hi-low dress. But pull that front hem down a bit, and put that fascinator on my head, and I think that I would float swan-like across any surface that I encountered, and find the strength to stand up.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


UK Vogue April 2013
I understand this. But not so much that one must have a 'creative visualization.' The key here is: "you have to 'keep on trucking.'"

I can creatively visualize with the best of them, but if I don't move on the notion or idea or plan, it ain't gonna happen. Hence the expression: all talk and no action.

I was just talking about this to my sister who has a stepson who spends a lot of time, two years actually, sitting in the basement wondering what he's going to do when he grows up. He's enrolled in college, sort of. I think that he might be taking 1 or 2 classes a semester. He spends that time gripped in the decision of a major. Well, that boy is going to be sitting there for a long time if this is his strategy. My sister knows this too, and has tried to encourage him to 'just pick something.' It may not be what he will end up doing for the rest of his life, but it will get him out of that basement and on a path toward something. Who knows? He might find something that he would have never thought to do before.

There are limits to this thinking, naturally. I have found that if the only person that I'm calling on is me, it's going to be okay. It's when the vision involves someone else that the same result is not as certain. What am I talking about? The vision board. A few years back, a woman that I work with who believes wholeheartedly in vision boards convinced me to make one for a particular reason ... to envision a man. Oh, that's a sticky wicked. It just doesn't make any sense now that I think of it. I liked putting the board together. I cut out beautiful pictures of dresses and country homes and a beautiful diamond ring and a handsome man. Yeah, well, after 3 years ... I'm no closer to what I've been trying so hard to creatively visualize. Of course I had a particular man in mind. I'm not thinking that one is just going to fall from Heaven into my life beside me. But he wasn't a magic man ...

On the same note ... a few years ago, I read in Glamour magazine that if a woman hangs a St. Anthony of Padua medal on her bed post, a man would come. I loved the idea, and bought three. I threaded a beautiful ribbon through, and gave them to my sister, a friend, and myself for Valentine's Day. Well, the ribbon got dusty. A couple men came through, but no one stayed. I was done with it and decided to give it back to the Virgin Mary. At the time, I was visiting a church every day with someone who had a lot of praying to do. I enjoyed going along as the church had beautiful stained glass windows, and there  is something about the smell of incense in the air that is ... comforting. The church was also chockfull of statues and kneelers. I like the pause a kneeler allows, and one Mary in particular drew me to her. When I was done with the St. Anthony of Padua medal, I marched to that church and left it there with Mary.  I told her that I didn't want it! The thing is, every time that I went back, it was still there. That doesn't seem so remarkable, except for the fact that the church was a busy one and the gifts left at all of the altars were swept out weekly. But there St. Anthony stayed. My sister didn't believe it, so on a Saturday we went there and ran into .... a wedding. How strange. And St. Anthony presided over it. After the wedding, we crossed the street and drank margaritas. The medal finally was gone several weeks later. Maybe Mary didn't want me to give up ... I don't know.

But what I do know is that if it has anything to do with me, little ole me, I'm going to march on and get it done. I don't live a big life, but in the life I live, I like to think that I can make big things happen because I move toward it.