Grace Jones – Style Icon

Today is the 62nd birthday of the absolutely ageless Grace Jones.  I first experienced her when she and Adam Ant made a Honda Elite Scooter commercial.  I thought they were both the coolest people I had ever seen.

Birth name: Grace Jones
Born: 19 May 1952  Linstead, St. Catherine, Jamaica
Occupations: actress, singer/songwriter, model, artist

Grace Jones (born May 19, 1952) is a Jamaican-American singer, model and actress.
Jones started out as a model and became a muse to Andy Warhol, who photographed her extensively. During that era she regularly went to the New York City nightclub Studio 54. Grace secured a record deal with Island Records in 1977, which resulted in a string of dance-club hits. In the late 1970s, she adapted the emerging electronic music style and adopted a severe, androgynous look with square-cut hair and angular, padded clothes. Many of her the singles were hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Play and Hot Dance Airplay charts, for example 1981 “Pull Up to the Bumper“, which spent seven weeks at #2 on the U.S. dance chart. Jones was able to find mainstream success in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom, scoring a number of Top 40 entries on the UK Singles Chart. Her most notable albums are Warm Leatherette, Nightclubbing and Slave to the Rhythm, while her biggest hits (other than “Pull Up to the Bumper”) are “I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango)”, “Private Life”, “Slave to the Rhythm” and “I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect for You)”.

Jones is also an actress. Her acting occasionally overshadowed her musical output in America; but not in Europe, where her profile as a recording artist was much higher. She appeared in some low-budget films in the 1970s and early 1980s. Her work as an actress in mainstream film began in the 1984 fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill. In 1986 she played a vampire in Vamp, and both acted in and contributed a song to the 1992 film Boomerang with Eddie Murphy. In 2001, she appeared in Wolf Girl alongside Tim Curry.

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Happy Birthday Barbra Streisand

Today is the 72nd birthday of Barbara Streisand.  Please do yourself a favor and immediately watch What’s Up Doc?  It will change your life.  I promise.

NAME: Barbra Streisand
OCCUPATION: Actress, Singer
BIRTH DATE: April 24, 1942
EDUCATION: Bais Yakov School, Erasmus Hall High School
PLACE OF BIRTH: Brooklyn, New York

BEST KNOWN FOR: Barbra Streisand is the highest selling female artist of all time, and has won awards and acclaim in every medium she’s worked in.

Barbra Joan Streisand (pronounced /ˈstraɪsænd/; born April 24, 1942) is an American singer, actress, film producer and director. She has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award,[4] a Peabody Award, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award.

She is one of the most commercially and critically successful entertainers in modern entertainment history, with more than 71.5 million albums shipped in the United States and 140 million albums sold worldwide. She is the best-selling female artist on the Recording Industry Association of America‘s (RIAA) Top Selling Artists list, the only female recording artist in the top ten, and the only artist outside of the rock and roll genre. Along with Frank Sinatra, Cher, and Shirley Jones, she shares the distinction of being awarded an acting Oscar and also recording a number-one single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

According to the RIAA, Streisand holds the record for the most top-ten albums of any female recording artist – a total of 32 since 1963. Streisand has the widest span (48 years) between first and latest top-ten albums of any female recording artist. With her 2009 album, Love Is the Answer, she became one of the rare artists to achieve number-one albums in five consecutive decades. According to the RIAA, she has released 51 Gold albums, 30 Platinum albums, and 13 Multi-Platinum albums in the United States.

Streisand has personally raised $25 million for organizations through her live performances. The Streisand Foundation, established in 1986, has contributed over $16 million through nearly 1,000 grants to “national organizations working on preservation of the environment, voter education, the protection of civil liberties and civil rights, women’s issues and nuclear disarmament.”

In 2006, Streisand donated $1 million to the William J. Clinton Foundation in support of former President Bill Clinton’s climate change initiative.

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Nora Ephron – Self Help

This list kills me, reminds me. focuses me, shuts me up, angers me, softens me, and inspires me to grab life and wring every last drop out of it.  It forces me to look at the time I have wasted and vow to never waste any more.  I love Nora Ephron for so many reasons, but this list is what I think about most when I think about her:

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The great Nora Ephron passed away at the age of 71, following a battle with leukemia that began in 2006. She had many strings to her bow, but most notably wrote the screenplays to some of the best loved films ever to grace the big screen, many of which she also directed and produced. She wrote the following lists — of things she won’t and will miss — in 2010 and used them to close her book, I Remember Nothing.

(Source: “I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections” by Nora Ephron)

What I Won’t Miss

  • Dry skin
  • Bad dinners like the one we went to last night
  • E-mail
  • Technology in general
  • My closet
  • Washing my hair
  • Bras
  • Funerals
  • Illness everywhere
  • Polls that show that 32 percent of the American people believe in creationism
  • Polls
  • Fox TV
  • The collapse of the dollar
  • Bar mitzvahs
  • Mammograms
  • Dead flowers
  • The sound of the vacuum cleaner
  • Bills
  • E-mail. I know I already said it, but I want to emphasize it.
  • Small print
  • Panels on Women in Film
  • Taking off makeup every night

What I Will Miss

  • My kids
  • Nick
  • Spring
  • Fall
  • Waffles
  • The concept of waffles
  • Bacon
  • A walk in the park
  • The idea of a walk in the park
  • The park
  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • The bed
  • Reading in bed
  • Fireworks
  • Laughs
  • The view out the window
  • Twinkle lights
  • Butter
  • Dinner at home just the two of us
  • Dinner with friends
  • Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives
  • Paris
  • Next year in Istanbul
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The Christmas tree
  • Thanksgiving dinner
  • One for the table
  • The dogwood
  • Taking a bath
  • Coming over the bridge to Manhattan
  • Pie

 

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Happy Birthday Antonio Lopez

Today is the 71st Birthday of Antonio Lopez (February 11, 1943 – March 17, 1987).  Antonio was a fashion illustrator whose work appeared in such publications as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Interview and The New York Times. Several books collecting his illustrations have been published. In his obituary, the New York Times called him a “major fashion illustrator.” He generally signed his works as “Antonio.”

Antonio Lopez is the Picasso of fashion illustration. Mostly known as just plain ‘Antonio’, he was a giant in the field of fashion illustration. He captured the pulse of style from the 60s to the 80s, and is still revered as the most inspiring illustrator by today’s practitioners. He worked with a variety of materials including pencil, pen and ink, charcoal, watercolor and polaroid film. His work appeared frequently in Vogue, Harper’s bazzar, Elle and Interview.

Recording and predicting contemporary style trends, Antonio also used his immense versatility to adopt a broad range of art movements, from Pop Art to Surrealism.

For Antonio, life – bestial and sublime – surpassed any fiction. His illustrations and photographs capture the beautiful people who are part of celebrity folklore, and who were more often than not his friends: Jerry Hall (to whom he was engaged), Grace Jones, Mick Jagger, Audrey Hepburn, Andy Warhol (with whom he worked on Interview magazine), Paloma Picasso and Marlene Dietrich.

Packed with previously unpublished material, this is a thrilling retrospective about an artist who is represented in major collections from the Metropolitan to the Louvre. Even posthumously, Antonio has not relinquished his grip on the fashion world: his style and quest for beauty live on.

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Happy Birthday Robert Wagner

Today is the 84th birthday of Robert Wagner.  I am a big fan of Hart to Hart and It Takes a Thief and not coincidentally, Robert Wagner’s swagger.  He turns in great performances, so much so I am sure that most people confuse him as being those characters.  I still think I should get some gold medallions like Jonathan Hart…
robert wagner3

NAME: Robert Wagner
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Television Actor, Television Personality
BIRTH DATE: February 10, 1930
PLACE OF BIRTH: Detroit, Michigan

BEST KNOWN FOR: Robert Wagner is an American film and television actor known for his popularity in numerous television series and most recently, in the Austin Powers films.

Robert John Wagner (born February 10, 1930) is an American actor of stage, screen, and television.
A veteran of many films in the 1950s and ’60s, Wagner gained prominence in three American television series that spanned three decades: It Takes a Thief (1968–70), Switch (1975–78), and Hart to Hart (1979–84). In movies, Wagner is known for his role as Number Two in the Austin Powers films (1997, 1999, 2002). He also had a recurring role as Teddy Leopold on the TV sitcom Two and a Half Men.

Wagner’s autobiography, Pieces of My Heart: A Life, written with author Scott Eyman, was published on September 23, 2008.

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Happy Birthday David Bowie

Tomorrow is the 66th birthday of David Bowie.  His song “Ashes to Ashes” was playing on my iPhone and in my ears when I got a call from W telling me that J had died.  It is just a coincidence, but I think that J would be happy it wasn’t Hillary Duff.  He has played a role in the soundtrack of many people’s lives for decades, including mine.  I remember doing rows and rows of floor exercise passes while “Let’s Dance” and “China Girl” played on what seemed a continual loop.

NAME: David Bowie
OCCUPATION: Actor, Songwriter, Drummer, Guitarist, Pianist, Singer
BIRTH DATE: January 08, 1947
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, England
ORIGINALLY: David Robert Jones

BEST KNOWN FOR: David Bowie is an English rock musician who was incredibly innovative and popular during the 1970s. His distinctive voice and depth of work endures.

David Bowie (born David Robert Jones on 8 January 1947) is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. He is known for his distinctive voice and the intellectual depth and eclecticism of his work.

Bowie first caught the eye and ear of the public in July 1969, when his song “Space Oddity” reached the top five of the UK Singles Chart. After a three-year period of experimentation he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with the flamboyant, androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust, spearheaded by the hit single “Starman” and the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Bowie’s impact at that time, as described by biographer David Buckley, “challenged the core belief of the rock music of its day” and “created perhaps the biggest cult in popular culture.” The relatively short-lived Ziggy persona proved merely one facet of a career marked by continual reinvention, musical innovation and striking visual presentation.

In 1975, Bowie achieved his first major American crossover success with the number-one single “Fame” and the hit album Young Americans, which the singer characterized as “plastic soul”. The sound constituted a radical shift in style that initially alienated many of his UK devotees. He then confounded the expectations of both his record label and his American audiences by recording the minimalist album Low (1977)—the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno over the next two years. The so-called “Berlin Trilogy” albums all reached the UK top five and garnered lasting critical praise.

After uneven commercial success in the late 1970s, Bowie had UK number ones with the 1980 single “Ashes to Ashes”, its parent album Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), and “Under Pressure”, a 1981 collaboration with Queen. He then reached a new commercial peak in 1983 with Let’s Dance, which yielded several hit singles. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Bowie continued to experiment with musical styles, including blue-eyed soul, industrial, adult contemporary, and jungle. His last recorded album was Reality (2003), which was supported by the 2003–04 Reality Tour.

Buckley says of Bowie: “His influence has been unique in popular culture—he has permeated and altered more lives than any comparable figure.” In the BBC’s 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, Bowie was placed at number 29. Throughout his career, he has sold an estimated 140 million albums. In the UK, he has been awarded nine Platinum album certifications, 11 Gold and eight Silver, and in the US, five Platinum and seven Gold certifications. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him 39th on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”, and 23rd on their list of the best singers of all-time.

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Take Your Own Advice

I wrote this last year and it works for me, maybe it will work for you too?  I think about it from time to time and even just typing little notes on my phone and saving them for later seems to work for me.

Advice From Yourself

For this exercise, you are going to need a piece of paper, a pen, and some free time to think. You will need the free time first, I suggest you noodle on it while you are doing your daily thirty minutes of cardio. (You are doing thirty minutes of cardio every day, aren’t you? I’m not interested in your excuses.) Ask yourself this question:

If you could use a time machine just once to travel back and tell yourself one sentence, what age would you travel back to and what would you say?

If we had a month to go back in time and be the guidance counselors to our younger versions, I would let you write paragraphs with bullet points. I would let you outline a schedule of future events and how you should handle them. You only have a couple minutes to give yourself one sentence of advice and it should be in the form of advice. I am the first to admit that if I could, I would go back to 1985 and whisper in my ear to buy Microsoft stock when it goes public, but that really isn’t what this exercise is about.

Mine would be 14 years old and I would say “Hi, I’m you in the future, I came back to tell you that there is an amazing life for you with limitless possibilities out there, you just need to be fearless and know that you can do absolutely anything you put your mind to.”

Now that you have had time to think about it and come up with one sentence that you would want to tell the younger you, write it down on a piece of paper. I know one sentence is hard no one is going to make you diagram it if it turns out to be a bit of a run on, but try to keep it to one sentence.

You are all ready to go back in time, you have your one sentence script, you know exactly what you want to tell yourself. Go to your bathroom mirror. Read the sentence.

You can’t go back in time, but it is never too late. Life has not passed you by, it may be passing you by, it it is never too late. If you went back in time and whispered to yourself to become a teen pop star, that may not have been the best use of your one trip in a time machine, but you can still adapt it to your life today. Take singing lessons, surround yourself with kids, take hip hop dance lessons. It is never too late for hip hop dance lessons.

My guess is that most of you gave yourself advice similar to mine, to stand up, stand out, not be afraid of going after your dreams, grasp for the brass ring, to love hard and fearlessly, and to wring every ounce of juice out of life.

Tape that piece of paper to your bathroom mirror, read it every morning and honor that younger you by making up for lost time. You can’t go back in time, but it’s never too late.