Sunday, September 22, 2013

vogue's september cinderella

From the pages of the September Vouge ... you may very well have a subscription or buy off of the rack, but I thought that I would share the images that I found exquisite in the "Cinderella Story" editorial.

This first dress is a statement, si? This is a Dolce and Gabbana creation shown in a Venetian palace. Several designers are showing painterly work this season, and I rather enjoy it. The headpiece is phenomenal and reminds me of Spain, not Venice. Perhaps, it is a tribute to Carnivale, but even the pose looks flamenco. I would love to see the model move into the next step to face a partner for a impassioned pas de deux. You don't suppose that she has a tap shoe under the folds of her dress? For the size of it, there is no telling what is hidden there.

Here is another head piece created by Dolce and Gabbana. I have been known to feature a beautiful creation such as this in this blog before. I know that this cannot be made of fresh flowers, but can you imagine how lovely it would smell if it were? If you notice, the cape worn with it is also stunning. I love the rich, saturated pink and the bold flower. Nothing is demure here, yet it is delicate and feminine. Wearing it, I would imagine, would afford one a floral, not rose, colored view. What would the world look like, I wonder.

The description of this creation by Karl Lagerfeld on the left does not adequately describe it in my opinion. It's titled 'Pixie Dust,' and says the dress is "magicked up a fairy-light play of translucence and layering on modern, metropolitan dropped-waist dresses with a hinge of Art Deco allure .... as if the tiny hands of Tinker Bell and company had rushed to the aid of les petites mains.'

In my view, I think that 'les petites mains' fashioned a PUNK rock couture dress. It may be how they've styled the model with the dark hair and lip, and shiny black boot, but if it were still 1985, and I was still dancin' at the Smart Bar or Neo, this is what I would want to wear. I am tempted to say that perhaps the white and black need a reverse ... my punk was always pretty dark, but the white now seems very forward. It is a modern white wedding dress. Billy Idol would look even better leathered up next to this creation.

The dress on the right of the first punk look is also Karl Lagerfeld. Dare I say that it is also punk, not fairy tale ... well, unless of course your idea of a fairy tale is punk. I think that Cyndi Lauper is out on tour now, and this seems the perfect dress for her. Come on Vogue ... when does Lagerfeld ever do Cinderella? Of course one has to include his work as it is always noteworthy, but it would have been better to start off by saying that we do not have a Cinderella here. It could be a fairy tale as we know those to be dark, and so punk.

To the left, this is a lovely, almost Audrey Hepburn-esque confection by Dior. The white is so pure. So delicate. And the ribbons control the purity so that it doesn't become too meringued, too floaty. Of course, it is styled beautifully. The gloves are perfect.

I do wonder, however, if the strap around the derriere could ever really translate to a gown that every woman could wear. Of course, couture is not for all. It is a vision ... a statement. And this certainly makes that.

And this is the one for me. Giorgio Armani: not a designer that I normally move toward. At first look, I thought that this was Chanel. Why wouldn't I? The pearls. And I think that they are what drew me to the dress. I love a pearl. Reminds me of my grandmother and hers.

The color of this dress I really like too. A sort of blush, like a whisper. The flowers  remind me of Queen's Anne Lace. As a child, knocking along the roads near to my grandfather's cottage, I couldn't collect enough of the spidery, delicate wild flowers. This embraces all of that dream ... the wild is the overuse of the pearls. Why stop with one strand? Why not bathe in their iridescent delight. And the delicateness of the frothy fabric is a contrast even though they are nearly the same color.

As I said, I'm not as familiar with Armani, but for this ... I will look a little closer as this dress is divine.

douglas booth

Tatler August 2013
Look closely and you will see the face of an angel ... nah, it's Pip! Was it last year that the BBC did a new adaptation of Great Expectations? Yes,  and it was an excellent remake starring young Douglas Booth, pictured here, and Gillian Anderson of the XFiles. I hadn't, when I saw it, thought to call him 'pretty,' but as I recall, he was a rather dashing figure as the man with great expectations.

I love the story. The idea that love, or double crossing for that matter, can can drive one to madness. Miss Havisham is a romantic character ... frozen in her moment of devastation. I think that is what happens to many of us mere mortals, who freeze in not the best moment of our lives, but our worst. I'm sure there is a psychology to that somewhere, but being Irish, it is the little black cloud that seems most ... known.

There has been another adaptation of Great Expectations recently. One that stars Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes, released in 2012. Now, Gillian Anderson was excellent as Miss Havisham. She was tortured, haunted, and strongly manipulative. But Helena ... wow. She would be, in my estimation, a very scary Havisham. A cross between Bellatrix, of Harry Potter, and any other of her oddly formed characters. Or better yet: Lucy Honeychurch of Room with a View.  She may be a very Victorian whack-job. But I haven't been able to get my hands on that version. It's available, but the DVD is an English one, and it carries a warning that it may not play on players outside the UK? I don't know anything about that, but it is on my list.

Now young Booth is "Around Town" as he is starring a new version of Romeo and Juliet. I wasn't aware that one was needed, but he does seem very Romeo. I think it's in the lips, which are 'bee stung,' and the heavy brow that has a life of its own. I'm not as enamored with R&J as much as Great Expectations. Star crossed lovers? A feud? A mean mom who will make Juliet marry that old Paris? I think that there are plenty enough versions of it. It just isn't as interesting as the psychological play that goes on in the Havisham household. Psychological torture is always so much more interesting than physical. And Pip and Estella fall in love. Theirs is not a fleeting whim; rather, theirs is more than adolescent fantasy ... it's a bond that I don't envy, but it is enduring nonetheless.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lorde's Royals

I have heard this song twice ... and am entranced by it. I almost didn't want to look it up to know who was singing. I didn't want the buzz killed. And here she is, a 16 year old from New Zealand: Ella Yelich-O'Connor, a.k.a. Lorde. Quel surprise! Check her out:

The record, Royals, according to Billboard Magazine, has beaten Alanis Morrisette's record for being top Alternative song by a woman. Morrisette's run lasted 5 weeks for You Oughta Know. And she should know that this girl's song kicks that song's butt.

I've got to keep on this one. I'd like to see her knock out the wreck that sings Wrecking Ball, if you know what I mean.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Adam n' Ireland

Vogue September 2013
I've said before that I have a crush on Adam Driver, Adam of Girls. Vogue was right to feature him in a shoot in Ireland. He seems to be as rugged, windswept, and salty enough to be in the landscape that I escape to in my mind in slow minutes of the day.

I have now watched Girls Season One and Two at least twice. I didn't watch it initially, though I had read about it. I don't have HBO in my cable package, and wouldn't think to sign on to catch a hot series that I've read about. Television isn't that important to me to go looking for, paying for, it. But my kind sister had me over ... the one who has HBO, and as I've said before, we did a marathon of Girls, and I've been running along side in any way I can without ever committing to HBO.

Vogue September 2013
Adam Driver is not cute. I'm not so sure that one would characterize him as handsome either, but the character that he portrays is hot, white hot. So hot that he isn't red anymore. He's the smoldering white ash that is quiet, but that could burn the whole place down given time. He does that to me. And I find that when I watch him, I wonder where is he for me. Silly, really. But a girl can dream.

In the show, Adam is kinesthetic. He's not flopping around: his movements are controlled, but he is a force. Annie Leibovitz has him doing manly things, physical things in the shoot, which captures that of him. My favorite episode is of course the season two finale when he races through the streets of NYC shirt-less to be with Hannah in her meltdown. Her's is a real need, and Adam is able to push all aside, including the fact that they are longer together, to hold her up. That strength, though obviously fictional, is what the stuff is that I would want in any man. Leibovitz took many beautiful pictures, but I chose these to highlight as it shows his movement, his strength.

And lest I get too corny on my character crush, I did choose the photo with the goat 'cause I know a goat in Ireland. On one of my trips there, I was with my brother and sister. We drove all around the island for a couple of weeks going to where ever the wind blew us. It was a wonderful trip. At one point we were winding up a rocky road the side of a mountain in a dense fog. We could hardly see the road in front that lie ahead. Having no sense of direction, we decided to turn round and head back down. At a crossing, we ran into a herd that circled the car. We stopped, got out, and decided to take some pictures. I got back into the car, and one of the goats decided to climb through the open window and come on in. It was doing a really good job of trying to climb over me to get in the car. I didn't know what to do and started yelling to my brother, "Bill, the goat is coming in the car!" He yelled back, "Shoo it, shoo it." And of course being a girl, I just sort of spurtered and found that I couldn't do any shooing. So Bill crawled in from the other side, leaned over, and pushed the goat out of the car.

It's raining out my window now. And nearly Autumn. I dream of Ireland and its landscape. Wouldn't I like to be there now on a craggy knoll, peat fire burning, a dram, and an Adam.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

alexander mcQueen

Vogue September 2013
Stunning. Fashion. Fierceness. I imagine that when I dress in the morning anymore that I am armoring up to face the day. And I do need armor at the workplace, lord knows.

Vogue September 2013
Sarah Burton, McQueen's  chief designer, mixes light/dark, hard/soft, masculine/feminine sublimely. The belt indicates chastity, but the precise pattern of the lace and metal, along with the contraption that holds the bustier in place, indicates aggression. Instead of pattern play, control is played.

In this next look, any innocence is hidden with the medieval knight in full-on riot gear. I suppose, we are at war on many levels in our world, whether job crisis, world politics, or credit crunch ... we've something to fight. Burton would have us suited up beautifully for it.

Of course, looking at these, I wonder how it will translate for those that would afford the luxury of wearing McQueen. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, likes to wear a McQueen, how will this tame to abide the rules of monarchy. I wonder. I would love to see her step out on William's arm with the look to the left. Can you imagine? She would be channeling what I suppose would be the spirit of Elizabeth, the virgin queen. This is certainly a get-up that I imagine her wearing to ward off the wolves. And Catherine has to ward some of those off certainly.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Finally, Cary Grant

Google Image
I've been working through the 'most' romantic movies as reported by Vanity Fair a couple of months back; and finally, one that I've never seen, was actually romantic: Holiday. Made in 1938, it stars Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant.

The Vanity Fair article as I recall did not have a by-line, but by the content of the list, I figured it was a man because so many of the movies were set against the backdrop of war. Not that I didn't enjoy the films, but I don't think that I would classify a few of them as being romantic. But put Cary Grant in a film, and his being in it makes for romance.

The premise was predictable, naturally. Boy meets girl out of town. Girl is rich. Boy is a dreamer. They set to marry as he's not a flake, and father consents. Aha! But the girl is really only daddy's little rich girl, and he really does want only to chase out his George Bailey dreams, so he ditches her. And flies off with the free spirit that is her SISTER! Lord, help the sister who comes between ... but the first doesn't really care if he isn't interested in daddy's money.

Of course what makes this romantic is the play between Grant and Hepburn. It isn't just that she finds him dreamy, but I'm convinced that Hepburn saw what was the real deal of the character that Grant portrayed. They sizzled. And it was hard to take my eyes off of one to look at the other. And even harder to pull away from the second back to the first. 

Oh, what fun! What does love have to do with it? Everything. And that is romantic.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hide Out Block Party

Maybe if I didn't spend any free time  that I have hanging out, I would have more time to write! But how could I resist the great outdoors, a cold beer, and great music on a Saturday afternoon into evening! I haven't been to the Hide Out's Block Party since I met my brother Glen Hansard (just a joke! And if you've been keeping up, you know that story already), and what do you know ... this time 'round, I met my sister! I'm kidding of course, but it's funny that first I met him, and then I met one of the singer's from the wonderfully entertaining Chicago band: Girl Group, and we three could all be kin. The Girl Group is a riot. What musical girl wouldn't want to be a part of this band. They have it all: talent, fun, and great hair. I can't play an instrument, or sing, but I could be a go-go dancer, and they pack their own.

One of Girl Group's 'people' worked the crowd during the show with snazzy postcards and buttons. I took a postcard and a button. After their set, one of the singers came through and stopped for a chat. I thought of the postcard, and asked her to sign it for me. That's what I love about small music festivals ... the musicians are so accessible. And the stage is so close! She was, and I'm sorry to say that I didn't get her name, was delighted to indulge me. I told her that I would frame it and hang it on my wall of ... let's just say other stuff of its kind. No one had a pen, so her 'assisstant' went running to look for one. We got to talking in the meantime, and when I mentioned the woman that I saw who had peacock colored eyebrows, she said, 'that's the girl who does our hair.' Before every performance, all of the girls get their hair and make-up done. I asked her if she used a bump-it (my students love the bump-it), and she said no. Apparently, it is all them. The pen arrived, and I got my autograph. The picture taken here is on the band's Facebook page. I don't subscribe to that particular social media, but a friend was good enough to send it along. It was exciting. I think that I handled it pretty well. Certainly better than if, for instance, I ran into Bono and asked him for an autograph! This was definitely a win-win. I got to be a fan, a role that I was born to play, and she got her first autograph!

never quite in the light
What a lark! And then ... Young the Giant. I had to put my serious face on for this group. The sun had set by the time that he hit the stage. The spot light rarely, if at all really, touched him, yet he was luminescent. Sometimes, I don't know if it's the night or the way the moon is positioned in the sky or that it was meant to be, but when I saw Sameer Ghadia hit the stage, I was ... lost. If I allow myself too many words, I may waste them on pure cane. So I will resist. And say that for a day that I didn't think that I would get too late into out in the world, he pulled me up and set me down. His voice could sing to me always, and his power reminds me of, dare I say his name twice in one writing without revealing the one that I really love, Bono. I'm still trying to process ... him. Yeah, I can get like this. When I was a  kid, it was David Cassidy that I couldn't get enough. And from him to others, I've always found a voice, a look, that I can get hooked up in. Doesn't everyone? Or is it just me? If it is, that's fine. Four people away from the energy that he emanates from the stage is just fine by me.

Enough said.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Seamus Heaney

google image
I was talking to mom today about the passing of poet Seamus Heaney. She asked, 'is he Irish?.' I told her that all of the great poets are Irish, to which she replied, 'yes, I suppose, it is the melancholy that is in them.'

Yes, the melancholy. I know something of that myself with the wee bit of Irish that I am. I first was introduced to Heaney in graduate school. I took an Irish Studies course, and Heaney was on heavy rotation for the poetry section of it. I knew him as I read his work. I understood it to the very core of who I am, and I understood the language that he spoke beyond the metaphor, beyond the intended meaning of the poem.

Each year, when I teach high school students through a unit of the Holocaust and genocide, I always pull out Heaney's Punishment. Elie Wiesel implores us to bear witness. That silence is approval. But in Heaney's poem, the speaker understands the very human possibility that 'I almost love you/ but would have cast, I know, / the stones of silence.' Why do we cast these stones of silence, I ask my students? Working in a community riddled with crime, and the disturbing 'no trick rule' that is employed, we can answer this. Wiesel has us singing with the angels, where Heaney has us rolling 'round in the muck with what is all of humanity.

A few years back, Heaney lectured at the Art Institute. The tickets were $50 ... rock star prices. I would have paid anything to see him, but it sold out quicker that I could dial the number. Fortunately, he came back 'round. In Poetry magazine's 100th anniversary year, an evening of Seamus Heaney was offered to the public at no charge. I made the call and was able to reserve two tickets. I was so excited. And happy to share the evening with a friend, also a poet. But it wasn't meant to be. I had only the thought of poetry on my mind, and his was colored by what he thought was another motive. In neither the time, nor place, he decided to break my heart.

I very nearly left and went home. But I knew that if I sat in a dimly lit auditorium and soaked in some of what Heaney had to offer, I would follow through with what my intention was to be for the evening. I arrived early, and so was seated close to the stage. Slightly hunched over and shuffling a little toward the podium, tears fell like a veil over my face. I may as well have been in church for the silence and the hum of a group of people who had gathered to listen to the word, or shall I say words.

Those moments when I heard Heaney recite his poetry, and sing his little ditties between, I felt a soul that held me divinely. All things happen for a reason. I was meant to see him that night. The other  man... his soul was meant to be exposed to me. His is not nearly as knowing, and his words never as dear.