Monday, March 23, 2015

At the Movies - Lucy (2003)

After seeing Everybody Loves Lucy a few weeks back I was inspired to find out more about the charismatic redhead so when this movie popped up on YouTube I just had to watch.

Lucy (2003) tells the story of Lucille Balls rise to fame and her tumultuous relationship with husband Desi Arnaz. The movie starts with Lucille as a young girl in the midst of her first romance with a local bootlegger. In order to put an end to the relationship Lucille's mother save the money to send her to drama school in New York. However drama school does not go as Lucille planned and after the principle returns her tuition telling her she does not have what it takes Lucille returns to her family home.
The family suffer a setback and are left peniless when a local neighbourhood kid is paralysed while target shooting with Lucille's grandfather and her brother. Lucy does not give up and spends the 1930's working as a cigerette girl and model. Lucille soon manages to get herself a contract and ends up in a string of B movies. 

Lucy meets and befriends Caroll Lombard and Lucy and Desi meet whilst working on a film together. They eventually marry but while Lucy's career continues to soar Desi's film contract gets cancelled and when he gets sick of being recognized as Lucille Ball's husband he turns to womanizing, drinking and gambling. 

After recovering from Lombard's death in 1943, she moves to Metro Goldwyn Mayer and becomes a red-head for her new picture DuBarry Was a Lady, with fellow comedian Red Skelton (Mark Clare). All is not well on the home-front, however, what with Desi away in the service and persistent rumors of his infidelity. The death of her grandfather, Fred Hunt, and a devastating miscarriage only makes matters worse.
After being released from MGM, silent movie legend Buster Keaton (Ian Mune) takes Lucy under his wing, convinced of her talent as a clown. Her comedic skills further gestate on her new radio program, My Favorite Husband. Lucy not only becomes more convinced of her comedic abilities, but of her desire to work with Desi to keep them together.
Gathering the radio team together, the idea for I Love Lucy is formed and pitched to CBS. Although skeptical of the public's readiness to buy Arnaz as Ball's husband, the couple set out to prove them wrong by performing musical and comedy routines on the road, and the network gives way, convinced the show will flop.

It proves a huge success, however, and remains a favorite for the next six years, overcoming a communist scare and even incorporating Lucille's real-life second pregnancy into the show, forever changing the shape of television.

By 1958, their company, Desilu had bought the former RKO studio where Lucille had once worked, and continued to expand as a television empire. Lucy and Desi's relationship problems increase, however, with Desi's worsening alcoholism and Lucille's fierce commitment to her craft making her more and more difficult to work with.

By 1960, it was obvious they could not go on, and prepared to end their show along with their marriage. The film concludes after the taping has ended, with Lucy and Desi walking out of the studio, hand in hand, no longer a couple but still friends, bonded for life by what they had accomplished.
Although this movie has a lot of bad reviews I absolutely adored it. The film has a perfect balance of comedy and drama topped of with a heart wrenching and bittersweet ending. I thought Rachel York perfectly embodied Lucy and got her mannerisms and sense of comic timing down pat and Danny Pino made a fab Desi. True fans of Lucille Ball will pick up on the inaccuracies on the movie such as some recreations of episodes of I Love Lucy that did not occur and events not in the correct chronological order but the movie is highly entertaining and is a must for Lucy fans.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What Emma Did - 22nd March 2015

I have just realised that I have failed to post a 'What Emma Did' post for since the beginning of the month so I thought I would do a post to catch you all up with what I have been up to.

The last 3 weeks I have been:
♥ Getting some new fish for our tank
♥ Going for a trip to Coolangatta to do some shopping at That Shop and picking up a few bags in 20th Century Antiques & Collectables
♥ Taking the kayaks out on the river
♥ Going for a swim at the beach
♥ Flying down to Sydney for a long weekend
♥ Catching up with the UN girls including the Italian Fairy who had just flown back from Cambodia
♥ Going out to dinner at Doughbox Diner with Annora of Nora Finds and Ellen of A Wild Tea Party and laughing at the fact Annora and I were wearing almost the same outfit!
♥ Attending the wedding of our friends and the Hubby's old apprentice
♥ Heading into the city to visit Paddy's Market
♥ Trying archery at Sydney Olympic Park and not being very good!
♥ Taking another trip to Seaworld
♥ Watching the last few episodes of Boardwalk Empire
♥ Going to Bangalow Markets

Friday, March 13, 2015

Daily Outfit - Looking Like Lucy

I thought I share with you today my outfit that I wore when we went to see Everybody Loves Lucy. I was inspired by Lucy's 1950's polka dot dresses that appears in a number of episodes:
I attempted to copy Lucy's poodle updo by following my lovely friend Ellen of A Wild Tea Party tutorial unfortunately my hair refused to hold any curl for more than 10 minutes. 

White ballet flats - Kmart

I leave you with this snap of me reenacting the poster of Everybody Loves Lucy

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Everybody Loves Lucy

A while back the Hubby and I headed to the Cremorne Theatre to check out Everybody Loves Lucy. Being a Lucy fan, when I heard about the show I just knew we had to go and see it.

Everybody Loves Lucy is a cabaret tribute to the queen of the B's Lucille Ball. Australian musical theatre star Elise McCann stars in this hilarious cabaret tribute to a true trail-blazer.

After years paying her dues in B-movies, Lucille Ball won the public’s hearts and reigned supreme as television’s biggest star in I Love Lucy – one of the most popular sitcoms in American history. Wacky, fearless, and totally endearing, Lucy broke the mold for the way women were allowed to behave on screen.

But beneath the seemingly ditzy veneer of a 1950's housewife was an ambitious and savvy businesswoman whose success owed little to luck. As the producer of I Love Lucy once said, “Lucille Ball is about as different from Lucy Ricardo as anyone could possibly be.”

The show charts Lucille's rise from B movie actress to having her own show and studio, incorporating her own family life and pregnancy into the show, the fallout between Lucille and Desi, their divorce and the end of I Love Lucy.

Elise McCann is fantastic in her tribute to Lucille Ball. The show is cleverly staged as if it was an episode of I love Lucy being filmed in front of a live audience. Nigel Ubrihien does a stellar job as Desi Arnaz and as musical accompaniment playing piano.

I loved the show however I thought the time of 70 minutes was a little rushed to the point where it left some audience members questioning if this really was the end of the show or an intermission. The show could have been a little longer and some of Lucy's back-story explained a little more. As a Lucy fan I already knew the details of Lucille Ball's rise to fame, her turbulent relationship with Dessi and the reasons behind their split and the end of the show however this did not always come across completely in the musical numbers and a little more narrative and back story would really give the show what it lacks.

Having said that I absolutely adored the show Elise McCann perfectly captured Lucille Ball's sense of comedy and the show was thoroughly entertaining.

The idea of having a secondary character of a gin swilling housewife was who watched the show  was inspired as it gives the audience an insight into how I love Lucy broke boundaries and inspired women to be independent.

I would recommend the show to any Lucy fans

Everybody Loves Lucy has now closed in Brisbane but will be touring the country. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

A day out in Brisbane

A few weeks back the Hubby and I took a day trip to Brisbane to see Everybody Loves Lucy. We decided to drive up early and spend the whole day there so we could check out some of the things we missed when we had our mini break a while back.

Our first port of call was the City Hall to check out the fabulous Costumes from the Golden Age of Hollywood exhibition. The exhibition showcased the private collection owned by Brisbane resident Nicholas Inglis who has been avidly acquiring motion picture costumes and memorabilia for close to two decades. There were costumes dating from the 1920's to the 1950's from a number of Hollywood blockbusters and worn by a number of stars including Julie Andrews, Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando, Judy Garland, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner and Barbra Streisand.

The collection was absolutely stunning and I wish I could share some pictures with you but unfortunately no photography was allowed inside the exhibition. There is however this video which will give you a peak inside the exhibit:

Costumes from the Golden Age of Hollywood is on at the Brisbane Museum until 24th May and entry is absolutely free!

After fawning over all the stunning costumes on display we took a tour of the clock tower, riding up to the top of the 1930's cage elevator to admire the view from the top. Here are a few snaps from the top:
By which point it was almost lunch time so we decided to head for Room with Roses for a spot of tea. Unfortunately we were very disappointed by our lunch which consisted of two sandwiches mine the Ruben and the Hubby went for the ribbon sandwiches. The corned beef in my Ruben was so tough it was almost impossible to eat and the Hubby's sandwich had a huge chunk of fat in. We wondered if the cakes would be any better so attempted to catch a waiters eye to order some but after being ignored a number of times we gave up and just went up to pay the exorbitant bill. Needless to say it wasn't the lunch experience we were looking for so I won't waste any more column inches talking about it

After lunch we headed back over to the Southbank to the Cremorne Theatre to see Everybody Loves Lucy but I will leave that for another post!  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Daily Outfit - Outback Spectacular

A few weeks back the Hubby and went to see the amazing Australian Outback Spectacular. You can read about it in my post here but today I thought I'd share with you what I wore. I teamed a horse shirt dress that I picked up in my local Lifeline op shop the day before with a skirt from a 50s patio set and then added the belt to finish it off. The red banded hat that is Australian Outback Spectacular merchandise that is a free gift for every visitor just tops of the outfit!  
Horse print shirt dress - Originally Kmart but picked up in my local Lifeline op shop
Red 50s skirt - part of a vintage patio/squaw set 
White elasticated wide belt - ?
Straw Hats - courtesy of Australian Outback Spectacular 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Monthly Muse - May Wirth

This month's muse is someone a little different. Inspired by our trip to the Australian Outback Legends, I decided to find out a little more about one of the legends we heard about May Wirth.

May Emmeline Wirth (1894-1978), circus rider, was born on 6 June 1894 at Bundaberg, Queensland, daughter of John Edward Zinga, a circus artist from Mauritius whose real name was Despoges, and his native-born second wife Dezeppo Marie, née Beaumont. After her parents separated, May was adopted in 1901 by Mary Elizabeth Victoria ('Marizles') Wirth (1868-1948), equestrienne and sister of Philip and George Wirth. Born on 7 December 1868 at Dalby, Queensland, Marizles had married John Augustin Martin (d.1907), circus musician, on 9 February 1891 at St Andrew's Anglican Cathedral, Sydney. With their only daughter Stella (b.1892), they toured overseas with Wirth Brothers' Circus in 1893-1900.

Having been taught by her father to do the 'flip-flap', May soon featured in balancing and tumbling acts, and as a tightwire performer and contortionist. From Philip and Marizles she learned equestrian skills and from ringmaster John Cooke the feet-to-feet forward somersault on a bareback horse. At the age of 10 she was a 'real trick rider' and began appearing in acts with Stella and Marizles. In Melbourne in 1906 she was billed as 'May Ringling', the 'American fearless hurricane hurdle rider'. A 'remarkably pretty girl', she grew to only 4 ft 11 ins (150 cm) tall.
After starring in Sydney in April 1911, when she 'rode and drove eight ponies, and turned somersaults on a cantering grey', May visited the United States of America with her mother and sister. Engaged by John Ringling for two seasons to tour with his Barnum & Bailey circus, she was billed as 'the world's greatest bareback rider' and given a conspicuous place on the programme at their opening show in New York on 21 March 1912. The elegantly gowned Marizles was ringmistress and Stella also performed. An immediate success, May developed her act by somersaulting backwards through rings and by leaping from the ground to the back of her galloping horse with her feet encased in baskets. Although seriously injured in a fall during a performance in April 1913, she appeared with Carl Hagenbeck's Wonder Zoo and Circus at London's Olympia next December. In 1914 Marizles, May and Stella appeared with two male riders in vaudeville in England and France.
As the 'Royal Wirth Family', the troupe toured Australasia with Wirth Bros Ltd Circus in 1915-16, performing vaudeville, burlesque and equestrian items. May was dainty, 'like a butterfly in flight … alive, alert' and delighted Sydney audiences. In 1917 the troupe toured North America with Ringling Brothers. As the 'May Wirth Troupe', they were joined by Philip Vincent Jones, known as St Leon, who later married Stella. May remained the star equestrienne when the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circuses amalgamated in 1919. At the Church of the Transfiguration ('The Little Church around the Corner'), New York, on 27 November that year, she married her manager Frank White who also adopted the professional name of Wirth; they were to remain childless.
May and her troupe toured with the Walter L. Main circus in the 1921 and 1923 seasons, performing in 1922 at the Coliseum, London; in the winter months they played in vaudeville in Europe. She again starred in Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey combined shows in 1924, but left in 1927 to tour country fairs and indoor circuses. In the winter of 1931 her troupe was featured as the St Leon Indoor Circus and in March next year she performed the live circus scenes in the operetta, The Blue Mask, at Chicago.

Retiring at the peak of her career in 1937, May Wirth settled in New York; Marizles died there on 30 March 1948. May moved to Sarasota, Florida, where her name was added to the Circus Hall of Fame in 1964. A gracious, gentle woman, with 'merry brown eyes', she remained 'sprightly' and enjoyed sharing her circus memories. Predeceased by her husband, she died on 18 October 1978 at Sarasota and was cremated.