Monday, September 27, 2010
♥ Watching old movies
♥ Planning a train holiday and trying to track down an old steamer trunk
♥ Breaking out my spring dresses as the weather warms up
♥ Eating more yummy Thai food from Satang Thai (I'm becoming obsessed with this place!)
♥ Having a party for the French fairy and her other half to celebrate their return from France
♥ Feeling summer is on its way whilst gorging myself on my hubby's strawberries and cream sponge and champagne.
♥ Enjoying more burlesque at the very sultry Noir Review
♥ Going baby bananas at my very spoilt niece's baby shower
♥ Reliving my youth by reading the Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I did a Google search 'Romantic train journeys in Australia' and it came up with The Indian-Pacific. Although these fab train trips do not come cheap they have to be well worth the prices just for that spirit of adventure and old fashioned charm that train travel brings. All that's left to do is to pack your steamer trunk!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Charlotte Smith will be at the Sydney Vintage Clothing Jewellery and Textile Show giving a talk on some of the dresses that make up the Darnell Collection and there will be the opportunity to see some of the dresses in all their glory. The show is on at Canterbury Racecourse Function Centre from October 15th - 17th.
Charlotte Smith's next book Dreaming of Chanel is out on 1st November.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
This weeks post is this fab article on 'Old Fashioned Advice for the Modern Home'. Unfortunately I can't remember where I came across this fab piece so if anyone knows please let me know!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
♥ Getting extremely sea sick whilst whale watching with my big sis
♥ Catching up with season 4 of Mad Men
♥ Waving my sister off at the airport :o(
♥ Booking tickets to Noir Review - part of the Sydney Fringe Festival
♥ Watching Bump and Grind: The Story of Burlesque
♥ Nursing a cold
♥ Checking out the yummy teas at T2 - I especially love the black rose tea and the kokeshi doll canisters
♥ Buying a gorgeous 1940s hat but missing out on the suit I wanted to wear it with!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The DVD then goes on to describe burlesques beginnings. The word burlesque is thought to derive from the Italian burlesco meaning to 'make fun of' or 'send up' and the original burlesque act were bawdy and satirical plays of this nature. The burlesque tradition continued to the musical halls in the early part of the 19th century where working classes went to find some light comic relief from the strains of the industrial revolution. The acts were often bawdy and featured a lot of sexual innuendo.
In USA vaudeville dancers toured gold rush towns entertaining the men. The two styles met when Lydia Thompson and her British Blondes took their show to USA in 1860's. The show was a huge hit and was deemed very risque at the time even though the dancers wore tunics and flesh coloured tights. The show saw the beginning of the blond bombshell.
Bump and Grind explores the origins of the moves seen in burlesque dancing namely the bump, the grind, the shimmy and high kicks. The high graceful kicks seen in burlesque originated in France with the Can Can - a dance seen as very risque at the time as rumour has it that the dancers wore no underwear. The bump and grind motions come from the Hula dancing of Hawaii. This was brought to the mainstream by Mae West who performed the dance. The shimmy movements seen in burlesque originate from belly dancing. These were brought to burlesque by Little Egypt when a film of her belly dancing was circulated to movie theatres in the USA. Although Little Egypt is covered in the film it was deemed as scandalous in a very conservative age. These burlesque moves all parody moves during sex.
In the 1920s when women were moving to the city for work seeking their independence and jobs were at a premium burlesque became a way for women to become independently wealthy. Star such a Mae West started in the burlesque theatres and many burlesque stars went on to other enterprises such as Lili St Cyr who had her own lingerie line.
Burlesque gave way to pin ups when the war broke out as the men that would see burlesque shows were away fighting so pin ups of burlesque and film stars were sent to GI's. The most famous of which was Betty Grable.
The DVD also explores the burlesque outfit (whose flimsiness with just the erogenous zones covering is the predecessor of the modern bikini) and the Minski theatre with the first use of a runway lending the idea to fashion shows.
Bump and Grind also explores some of burlesque biggest stars such as Lili St Cyr, Gypsy, Sally Rand, Kalantan, Faith Bacon, Lois De Fee, Georgia Sothern and Rosita Royce and the DVD contains biographies for all these stars in the 'Bonus Features' section. Also in the bonus features are clips of Faith Bacon performing her fan dance, Sally Rand's bubble dance, a saucy Betty Boop cartoon entitled 'Silly Sandals' and Kalantan's fire dance.
Overall I'd say at $16.99 the DVD is good value for money as although the documentary in itself is not that long at just 60 minutes it is very informative and the DVD has heaps of extra features. The only criticisms I would have is that the beginning of the documentary at first watch made me think it wouldn't be as informative as it is. Its interviewing of unknown burlesque performers at a small venue seemed a bit low budget and didn't really do the rest of the documentary justice. My other criticism is at times the narrative of the history of burlesque seems to jump from one idea to another almost randomly with no chronology or linking ideas. However I feel that this is a very informative DVD and has plenty of good stock footage of old burlesque stars if that's your kind of thing!
Bump & Grind the Story of Burlesque can be purchased at amazon.com for $16.99
Thursday, September 16, 2010
The second half started with a heady and intoxicating performance from Venus Vamp followed by fluffy pink poodle Lucille Spilfuchs who gave us all puppy love. Next Rita Fontaine shocked and delighted us when she showed us her pussy! Vixen Noir rounded up the night with her sophisticated to booty shaking act!!
The night didn't end there as we when then treated to the fab talents of Sydney Rockabilly band The Jukebox Zombies who also gave inadvertently gave us a cheap laugh as their base player held a canny resemblance to my sisters boyfriend!
The next ruby revue will be held on Sunday 10th October - tickets can be booked here.
Many of this months acts can be seen competing for the title of Miss Burlesque Australia on Friday 8th October - tickets can be booked here.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
This week I have been:
♥ Feeling very zen sipping jasmine tea in the Chinese Garden of Friendship
♥ Seeing the fab sights of Sydney from a height at the Sydney Tower
♥ Searching for little penguins and perusing the surf shops at Manly
♥ Having a beautiful lamb roast dinner cooked by my lovely hubby
♥ Feeling the spring is in the air at the Cronulla Spring Festival
♥ Enjoying some burlesque beauties at the Ruby Revue
♥ Seeing The Other Guys in comfort at Gold Class
♥ Getting wild at Wildlife World
♥ Digesting some yummy Thai food at Satang Thai
♥ Shopping for bargains at DFO
Sunday, September 5, 2010
♥ Walking through the Botanical Gardens
♥ Checking out the views from the Bridge Pylon
♥ Perusing some art and the Gallery of NSW and the Museum of Contemporary Art
♥ Shopping at Paddy's Market
♥ Trying the Escargot and having a fab meal at The Little Snail
♥ Being mesmerised by the beautiful aquatic life at Sydney Aquarium
♥ Watching my new burlesque DVD - Bump and Grind: The Story of Burlesque - (I'll post a review in the week!)
♥ Wandering around Circular Quay and admiring the beautiful Opera House
Friday, September 3, 2010
Greta Garbo was born Greta Lovisa Gustafsson on 18th September 1905 in Stockholm, Sweden. She was the youngest of three children born to Karl Alfred Gustafsson and Anna Lovisa (née Karlsson. Greta's parents had migrated from the farming country of southern Sweden drawn by the hope of work and housing in the capital. The family lived in a small tenement.
Greta was a shy, daydreaming child, who hated school, did not play much but was drawn to the theatre at an early age. Greta graduated from school age 13 and did not pursue further education. Despite the fact that the family lived in poverty Greta still dreamed of stardom. When Greta was 14 her father died. Her first job was as a soap-lather girl in a barbershop. One day a young man by the name of Kristian Bergström, son of the founder of PUB department store, Paul U. Bergström, entered the barbershop for a shave. He offered Greta a job as a clerk at PUB. She accepted and started to work for PUB in July 1920, where she also modeled for newspaper advertisements. She appeared in two short film advertisements, the first for PUB, and they were eventually seen by comedy director Erik Arthur Petschler. He gave her a part in his upcoming film Peter the Tramp.
For two years Greta studied at the The Royal Dramatic Theatre's Acting School in Stockholm. There she met director Mauritz Stiller who gave her the stage name Greta Garbo and cast her in a major role in the silent film The Saga of Gosta Berling. She followed this up with a part in the 1925 German film Die freudlose Gasse.
Greta and Stiller were bought to MGM by Louis B. Mayer when The Saga of Gosta Berling caught his attention. Greta moved to Hollywood and was cast in The Torrent in 1925 for which she received good reviews. Greta then got cast in a similar vamp role in another Ibáñez adaption, The Temptress, this time getting top billing opposite Antonio Moreno. It was during the filming of the Temptress the Greta received news that her sister Alva had died at the young age of 23. However MGM would not permit Greta to go back to Stockholm for the funeral.
Greta's next and most well received silent movies were Flesh and the Devil (1926), Love (1927) and The Mysterious Lady (1928). Having achieved enormous success as a silent movie star, Garbo feared that her Swedish accent might impair her work in sound, and delayed the shift for as long as possible.
Garbo is among the actors and actresses who successfully made the transition to talkies; publicized with the slogan "Garbo Talks!" her voice was first heard on screen in Anna Christie (1930), Garbo next appeared as the World War I spy Mata Hari (1931). She was subsequently part of an all-star cast in Grand Hotel (1932) in which she played a Russian ballerina.
After a contract dispute with MGM, she eventually signed a new contract with the studio in July 1932, which gave her more control over her parts and her private life. She exercised her new control by visiting Sweden the same month and by having her leading man in Queen Christina (1933), Laurence Olivier, replaced with Gilbert. In 1935, David O. Selznick wanted to cast her as the dying heiress in Dark Victory, but she insisted on doing Tolstoy's Anna Karenina instead. Although Anna Karenina was arguably one of her most famous roles, Garbo regarded her role as the doomed courtesan in George Cukor's Camille (1936), opposite Robert Taylor, as her finest performance.
She then starred opposite Melvyn Douglas in Ninotchka (1939), directed by Ernst Lubitsch. Ninotchka attempted to lighten Garbo's somber and melancholy image. The comedy, Garbo's first, was marketed with the tagline, "Garbo laughs!", playing off the tagline for Anna Christie, "Garbo talks!" The follow-up film, George Cukor's Two-Faced Woman (1941), attempted to capitalize on Garbo's restyled war-time image by casting Garbo in a romantic comedy, where she played a double role that featured her dancing, and tried to portray her as an ordinary girl. The film, Garbo's last, was a critical, although not a commercial, failure, and Garbo referenced to the ill-fated Two-Faced Woman as "my grave".
Although it is often reported that it was this films failure that forced Garbo to retire but by her own admission, Garbo felt that after World War II the world changed, perhaps forever. She was offered many roles over the years, and showed serious interest in about half a dozen but either she eventually turned them down or the projects failed.
Grabo made a comeback when in 1948 she signed a contract for $200,000 with producer Walter Wanger, who had produced Queen Christina in 1933, to shoot a picture based on Balzac's La Duchesse de Langeais. Garbo made several screen tests, learned the script and in the summer of 1949 arrived in Rome, where the picture was to be filmed, but the plans for this film collapsed when financing failed to materialize, and in the end the project was abandoned.
Italian motion picture director Luchino Visconti had actively been working on a film adaptation of Proust's colossal work Remembrance of Things Past since 1969 with a breathtaking prospective cast including Silvana Mangano, Alain Delon, Helmut Berger, Charlotte Rampling, Laurence Olivier and Garbo in the small part of Maria Sophia, Queen of Naples. Reportedly Garbo went to Rome and did a color screen test for the role in 1971 and Visconti esclaimed:
I am very pleased at the idea that this woman, with her severe and authoritarian presence, should figure in the decadent and rarefied climate of the world described by Proust.
Visconti's dream of making his Proust film came closest to realization in 1971, but with its length of almost four hours, the budget turned out to be astronomical, and the project never came to fruition.
In 1951 Greta became a citizen of the USA. She lead a quiet and secluded life. She was known for taking long walks through the city's streets dressed casually and wearing large sunglasses, always avoiding prying eyes, the paparazzi, and media attention. Garbo did, however, receive one last flurry of publicity when topless photos, taken with a long-range lens during her vacation in Antigua with her niece, Gray Reisfield, were published in People in 1976.
Garbo lived the last years of her life in relative seclusion. She died in New York Hospital on 15 April 1990, aged 84, as a result of pneumonia and renal failure.
Garbo received praise from many industry colleagues:
Her instinct, her mastery over the machine, was pure witchcraft. I cannot analyse this woman's acting. I only know that no one else so effectively worked in front of a camera. —Bette Davis
She had a talent that few actresses or actors possess. In close-ups she gave the impression, the illusion of great movement. She would move her head just a little bit and the whole screen would come alive — like a strong breeze that made itself felt. —George Cukor
Robert E. Sherwood observed in 1929:
She is one of the most amazing, puzzling, most provocative characters of this extraordinary age. She definitely doesn't belong in the 20th century. She doesn't even belong in this world