Happy Birthday Edith Head

Today is the 117th birthday of the woman who made more influence on mid-century fashion than all the fashion designers of the time combined:  Edith Head.  If you are a fan of classic movies and pay attention to scenery and costuming, you already know her. She had THE influence on American style before clothing designers were known. A quick search for her on IMDB will soon have you realizing that her touch was added to most of the films that you know and love.

 

NAME: Edith Head
OCCUPATION: Fashion Designer
BIRTH DATE: October 28, 1897
DEATH DATE: October 24, 1981
PLACE OF BIRTH: San Bernardino, California
PLACE OF DEATH: Hollywood, California

Best Known For:  Edith Head was one of the most prolific costume designers in 20th century film, winning a record eight Academy Awards.

Edith Head (born October 28, 1897) became chief designer at Paramount Pictures in 1933 and later worked at Universal. Hollywood’s best-known designer, her costumes ranged from the elegantly simple to the elaborately flamboyant. She won a record eight Academy Awards for her work in films such as All About Eve (1950), Roman Holiday (1953), and The Sting (1973).

She became chief designer at Paramount Pictures in 1933 and later worked at Universal. Hollywood’s best-known designer, she was noted for the wide range of her costumes, from the elegantly simple to the elaborately flamboyant. She won a record eight Academy Awards for her work in films such as All About Eve (1950), Roman Holiday (1953), and The Sting (1973).

“Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.” – Edith Head

As part of a series of stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service in February 2003, commemorating the behind-the-camera personnel who make movies, Head was featured on one to honor costume design.

The band They Might Be Giants recorded the song “She Thinks She’s Edith Head,” which was included in the 1999 album Long Tall Weekend and the 2001 album Mink Car. The song is about a girl from the singer’s past, who had changed her persona to be more sophisticated, and compares her new attitude to Head and longtime Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown.

“You can have whatever you want if you dress for it.” ― Edith Head

To many viewers of the 2004 Pixar/Disney computer-animated film The Incredibles, the personality and mannerisms of the film’s fictional superhero costume designer Edna Mode suggest a colorful caricature of Edith Head. Edna Mode’s sense of style, round glasses, and assertive no-nonsense character are very likely a direct homage to Head’s legendary accomplishments and personal traits. But the film’s director, Brad Bird, has not yet confirmed or denied this.

 

Happy Birthday Dorothy Parker

Today is the 121st birthday of Dorothy Parker.  Her poem “Telephone” is something everyone has felt, if they want to admit it or not. She had the wit of three people and the alcohol tolerance to match.

dorothy parker

NAME: Dorothy Parker
OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist, Journalist, Poet
BIRTH DATE: August 22, 1893
DEATH DATE: June 07, 1967
PLACE OF BIRTH: West End, New Jersey
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York

BEST KNOWN FOR: Dorothy Parker was the sharpest wit of the Algonquin Round Table, as well as a master of short fiction and a blacklisted screenwriter.

Resumé
Razors pain you; Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you; And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful; Nooses give;
Gas smells awful; You might as well live.

Journalist, writer, and poet. Born Dorothy Rothschild on August 22, 1893, in West End, New Jersey. Dorothy Parker was a legendary literary figure, known for her biting wit. She worked on such magazines as Vogue andVanity Fair during the late 1910s. Parker went on to work as a book reviewer for The New Yorker in the 1920s. A selection of her reviews for this magazine was published in 1970 as Constant Reader, the title of her column. She remained a contributor to The New Yorker for many years; the magazine also published a number of her short stories. One of her most popular stories, “Big Blonde,” won the O. Henry Award in 1929.In addition to her writing, Dorothy Parker was a noted member of the New York literary scene in 1920s. She formed a group called the Algonquin Round Table with writer Robert Benchley and playwright Robert Sherwood. This artistic crowd also included such members as The New Yorker founder Harold Ross, comedian Harpo Marx, and playwright Edna Ferber among others. The group took its name from its hangout—the Algonquin Hotel, but also also known as the Vicious Circle for the number of cutting remarks made by its members and their habit of engaging in sharp-tongued banter.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Dorothy Parker spent much of her time in Hollywood, California. She wrote screenplays with her second husband Alan Campbell, including the 1937 adaptation of A Star Is Born and the 1942 Alfred Hitchcock film Saboteur. In her personal life, she had become politically active, supporting such causes as the fight for civil rights. She also was involved with the Communist Party in the 1930s. It was this association that led to her being blacklisted in Hollywood.

While her opportunities in Hollywood may have dried up, Dorothy Parker was still a well-regarded writer and poet. She even went on to write a play entitled Ladies of the Corridor in 1953. Parker returned to New York City in 1963, spending her last few years in fragile condition. She died on June 7, 1967.

The Flaw in Paganism

Drink and dance and laugh and lie,
Love, the reeling midnight through,
For tomorrow we shall die!
(But, alas, we never do.)

 

Happy Birthday Cole Porter

Today is the 123rd birthday of the man who wrote the songs “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top,” and “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love”: Cole Porter, born in Peru, Indiana (1891). Most of his great songs were written within a 10-year period: between his first popular Broadway musical, Paris (1928)—his first musicals had been complete flops—and a terrible riding accident in 1937.

porter

NAME: Cole Porter
OCCUPATION: Songwriter
BIRTH DATE: June 09, 1891
DEATH DATE: October 15, 1964
EDUCATION: Yale University, Harvard University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Peru, Indiana
PLACE OF DEATH: Santa Monica, California

Best Known For:  Cole Porter was a U.S. composer and lyricist who created songs like “I Get a Kick Out of You” and his own series of Broadway musicals including Anything Goes.

Cole Porter was born today in Peru, Indiana. He was a composer and lyricist, and he wrote a string of hit songs: “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Night and Day,” “You’re the Top,” “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love,” “I’ve got You Under My Skin,” and “Let’s Misbehave.” All of these songs were written within a 10-year period: between his first popular Broadway musical, Paris (1928) — his first musicals had been complete flops — and a terrible riding accident in 1937. Porter was at a party at the New York home of the Countess Edith di Zoppola when his horse rolled and crushed his legs. He claimed that he didn’t realize how badly he was hurt and that while someone ran for help he finished up the lyrics to “You Never Know.” But he was in fact seriously injured — the doctors insisted that his right leg be amputated, maybe his left as well. Porter refused. He preferred to be in intense pain than be missing a leg.

He lived with the pain for more than 20 years, and he continued to write songs, but never at the same rate of success as he had before his accident. In 1958, after 34 operations on his leg, he finally agreed to have it amputated. The playwright Noel Coward went to visit Porter in the hospital, and he said: “He has at last had his leg amputated and the lines of ceaseless pain have been wiped from his face. He is a bit fretful about having to manage his new leg but he will get over that. I think if I had had to endure all those years of agony I would have had the damned thing off at the beginning, but it is a cruel decision to have to make and involves much sex vanity and many fears of being repellent. However, it is now done at last and I am convinced that his whole life will cheer up and that his work will profit accordingly.” But Porter never recovered. He told friends, “I am only half a man now.” And never wrote another song. He died in 1964 at the age of 73.

The critic Alfred Kazin said of Porter: “The wit of his words depended on his ability to raise the audience immediately to his own level — and keep it there. The instant happiness that Porter gave his audience is the kind that becomes history.”

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Isadora Duncan – Style Icon

Today is Isadora Duncan’s 17th Birthday.  Ever since a winter scarf I was wearing was briefly caught in the handrail of the transit tunnel escalator, I have felt a connection to her.

NAME: Isadora Duncan
OCCUPATION: Choreographer
BIRTH DATE: c. May 27, 1877
DEATH DATE: September 14, 1927
PLACE OF BIRTH: San Francisco, California
PLACE OF DEATH: Nice, France
ORIGINALLY: Angela Duncan

BEST KNOWN FOR:  Isadora Duncan was a dancer who taught and performed in a new and less restrictive form. Many regard her as the mother of modern dance.

Although Duncan’s birth date is generally believed to have been May 27, 1878, her baptismal certificate, discovered in San Francisco in 1976, records the date of May 26, 1877. Duncan was one of four children brought up in genteel poverty by their mother, a music teacher. As a child she rejected the rigidity of the classic ballet and based her dancing on more natural rhythms and movements, an approach she later used consciously in her interpretations of the works of such great composers as Brahms, Wagner, and Beethoven. Her earliest public appearances, in Chicago and New York City, met with little success, and at the age of 21 she left the United States to seek recognition abroad. With her meagre savings she sailed on a cattle boat for England.

At the British Museum her study of the sculptures of ancient Greece confirmed the classical use of those dance movements and gestures that hitherto instinct alone had caused her to practice and upon a revival of which her method was largely founded. Through the patronage of the celebrated actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, she was invited to appear at the private receptions of London’s leading hostesses, where her dancing, distinguished by a complete freedom of movement, enraptured those who were familiar only with the conventional forms of the ballet, which was then in a period of decay. It was not long before the phenomenon of a young woman dancing barefoot, as scantily clad as a woodland nymph, crowded theatres and concert halls throughout Europe. During her controversial first tour of Russia in 1905, Duncan made a deep impression on the choreographer Michel Fokine and on the art critic Serge Diaghilev, who as impresario was soon to lead a resurgence of ballet throughout western Europe. Duncan toured widely, and at one time or another she founded dance schools in Germany, Russia, and the United States, though none of these survived.

Her private life, quite as much as her art, kept her name in the headlines owing to her constant defiance of social taboos. The father of her first child, Deirdre, was the stage designer Gordon Craig, who shared her abhorrence of marriage; the father of her second child, Patrick, was Paris Singer, the heir to a sewing machine fortune and a prominent art patron. In 1913 a tragedy occurred from which Duncan never really recovered: the car in which her two children and their nurse were riding in Paris rolled into the Seine River and all three were drowned. In an effort to sublimate her grief she was about to open another school when the advent of World War I put an end to her plans. Her subsequent tours in South America, Germany, and France were less successful than before, but in 1920 she was invited to establish a school of her own in Moscow. To her revolutionary temperament, the Soviet Union seemed the land of promise. There she met Sergey Aleksandrovich Yesenin, a poet 17 years younger than she, whose work had won him a considerable reputation. She married him in 1922, sacrificing her scruples against marriage in order to take him with her on a tour of the United States. She could not have chosen a worse time for their arrival. Fear of the “Red Menace” was at its height, and she and her husband were unjustly labeled as Bolshevik agents. Leaving her native country once more, a bitter Duncan told reporters: “Good-bye America, I shall never see you again!” She never did. There followed an unhappy period with Yesenin in Europe, where his increasing mental instability turned him against her. He returned alone to the Soviet Union and, in 1925, committed suicide.

During the last years of her life Duncan was a somewhat pathetic figure, living precariously in Nice on the French Riviera, where she met with a fatal accident: her long scarf became entangled in the rear wheel of the car in which she was riding, and she was strangled. Her autobiography, My Life, was published in 1927 (reissued 1972).

Isadora Duncan was acclaimed by the foremost musicians, artists, and writers of her day, but she was often an object of attack by the less broad-minded. Her ideas were too much in advance of their time, and she flouted social conventions too flamboyantly to be regarded by the wider public as anything but an advocate of “free love.” Certainly her place as a great innovator in dance is secure: her repudiation of artificial technical restrictions and reliance on the grace of natural movement helped to liberate the dance from its dependence on rigid formulas and on displays of brilliant but empty technical virtuosity, paving the way for the later acceptance of modern dance as it was developed by Mary Wigman, Martha Graham, and others.

Isadora Duncan’s life has been portrayed most notably in the 1968 film, Isadora, starring Vanessa RedgraveVivian Pickles played her in Ken Russell’s 1966 biopic for the BBC, which was subtitled ‘The Biggest Dancer in the World’ and introduced by Duncan’s biographer, Sewell Stokes.

Most notably, Duncan was the subject of a balletIsadora, written and choreographed in 1981 by the Royal Ballet‘s Kenneth MacMillan, and performed at Covent Garden.[17] When She Danced, a stage play about Duncan’s later years by Martin Sherman, won the 1991 Evening Standard Award (best actress) for Vanessa Redgrave. A Hungarian musical based on this play was produced in Budapest in 2008.

Robert Calvert recorded a song about Duncan on his Revenge LP. The song is called “Isadora”. Salsa diva Celia Cruz sang a song titled “Isadora” in Duncan’s honor. Finnish musician Juice Leskinen recorded a song called “Isadora Duncan”. Russian singer Alexander Malinin recorded a song about the death of Isadora Duncan. Russian band Leningradhave a song about her on their Pulya (Bullet) album. American post-hardcore group Burden of a Day has a song titled, “Isadora Duncan” on their 2009 album OneOneThousand.

The children’s gothic book series, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, includes a set of fraternal triplets named Isadora, Duncan, and Quigley Quagmire.

And Then There’s Maude, the theme song to the 1970s American TV sitcom Maude contains a reference to Duncan with the line “Isadora was a bra burner.”

In his song Salome, British singer Pete Doherty makes a reference to Isadora Duncan by saying: “As she dances and demands, the head of Isadora Duncan on a plate”.

2003 in “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”, the necklace Andie wears is named after Isadora Duncan

In a deleted scene of Titanic (1997), Rose talks about her dreams, saying “I don’t know what it is, whether I should be an artist or a sculpter or a, I don’t know, a dancer like Isadora Duncan, or wild pagan spirit!”

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Hapy Birthday Jasper Johns

Tomorrow is the 84th birthday of the the best American Abstract Expressionist artist alive, maybe the best American Abstract Expressionist artist, maybe the best Abstract Expressionist artist.  It’s all about who you ask, I guess.  Thank you for asking.  The best American Abstract Expressionist artist alive is having his 84th birthday tomorrow:  Jasper Johns.  I love his work.  I can remember sitting in the college library looking through art books and being mesmerized by his paintings, how iconic and pedestrian are mixed into beautiful imagery.

johns2

NAME: Jasper Johns
OCCUPATION: Painter, Sculptor
BIRTH DATE: May 15, 1930
PLACE OF BIRTH: Augusta, Georgia
ZODIAC SIGN: Taurus

Best Known For:  Jasper Johns is an American printmaker, painter, and sculptor. His work depicts commonplace emblems, such as flags and maps, that he raises to iconic status.

johns

Born in Georgia in 1930, Jasper Johns is an American printmaker, painter, and sculptor. His work depicts commonplace emblems such as flags, targets, maps, and numbers, and through his genius manipulation to the canvas’ surface texture, he raises the images to iconic status. In the mid-century, his works stood opposite to the Abstract Expressionist style of the time. His best known paint is Flag.

 

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Rear View Mirror – My Week in Review

It started snowing last night and by the time my coworkers and I left the restaurant, there was enough stuck to the city streets to watch people do ridiculously reckless things with their cars on Madison street.  On the way to the train station, I witnessed a car slide into another car, both drivers get out, inquired as to each other’s physical condition, apologized, and told each other good luck and be careful.  So Seattle.  I took a few photos of the snow, but it was dark and it was still snowing, so they just came out blurry.  Plus, everyone has seen snow (that is a gentle reminder to a few facebook friends).  I will see if I can get a few today, if they seem interesting and different.  We have to go retrieve a car from a hotel parking garage and do the Sunday shopping.  My look for the day will be called “He Finally Has A Legit Reason To Wear Those Rubber Boots.” 

Today is my grandfather’s birthday, he would have been 94.  A lot of people live to be 94 now, but he died at a far-too-young 68.  Seems unfair.

 

Name:  Ivan Selmer Parker
Birth: Feb. 9, 1920
Death: May 18, 1988 (68)
 Burial: Miller-Woodlawn Memorial Park Bremerton Washington, USA

Social Security Number:  537-03-8042

I remember that he had this strange way of floating on his back in the lake, his feet sticking out of the water, his hands slowly moving back and forth. It was sort of like treading water, sort of like floating on his back, but very casual. I try to recreate that floating when I am in the lake each summer, but I don’t have it exactly right because his head was sort of sticking up out of the water and he could hold conversations. I remember once, when my sister and I were very young, he was tucking us into our sleeping bags out at the lake house and my sister wanted to sleep in her socks. He told her that if she wore her socks to bed that her toes would rot off, jokingly. We laughed and laughed. I wish I could write down every single thing I remember about him, I probably will over time. I want to write it all down so I remember it all, forever.

I will keep looking for more information and adding it when I find it, but he has very little internet presence, no obituary or anything like that.  I guess if I joined that family tree website, I could find things…

This week on Waldina, I celebrated the birthdays of James Dean, Jack Lemmon, Ramon Novarro and Elaine Stritch. I also added Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times to the “Required Viewing” film list and openly confessed my obsession with the 1970s detective TV show Columbo.

The Stats:

Views This Week: 318
Total Views: 101,540
Total Subscribers: 247
Most Popular Post: Happy Birthday Jack Lemmon

This week on Wasp & Pear on tumblr, I covered the topics that are de riguer: classic Hollywood photographs, vintage Seattle photographs, photographs of abandoned places and the art of Warhol, Lichtenstein and Klee.  I also celebrated the birthdays of James Michener and Norman Rockwell as well as celebrated the reopening of Bauhaus Books & Coffee.

The Stats:

Posts This Week: 49
Total Posts: 1,675
Total Subscribers: 153
New Subscribers: 1
Most Popular Post: West Side Story: Original Broadway Cast Album (still, I know)

This week over on RRCD, the Tumblr blog I manage for all of Rick’s paintings, I posted three new paintings and added a link to his ETSY page for sales. I will be posting all new photographs taken with a considerably better quality camera. You should check out The Art of Ricardo Romero Cortez Duque and follow him if you are a tumblr type.

This week on @TheRealSPA on twitter, I apparently appreciated my @UBER ride more than I remember and declared my love for it on Friday. #HomeSafe I tweeted an Instagram photo of the crowds at Westlake Station after the @Seahawks parade (it was crazy). #12thMan #700000thMan I (tried) to remind everyone that @Oprah told us YERS AGO to stop using our phones while driving. #HandsFree I tweeted a lot of photos of Rick’s paintings.

The Stats:

Following: 285
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Tweets: 720

 here is where i’m @:

I chronicle what inspires me at Waldina.com
I faceplace at facebook.com/parkeranderson
I store my selfies at instagram.com/therealspa#
I tumblr at waspandpear.tumblr.com/
I tweet at twitter.com/TheRealSPA
I ADN at alpha.app.net/spa

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Happy Birthday George Burns

Two days ago was the 118th birthday of George Burns.  We all keep track or at least know a few people that we share a birthday with and am please to share one with him as well as David Lynch and Federico Fellini.  I admire George’s longevity, career-wise and life in general.  I have quite a few of his radio shows on my computer and listen to them from time to time and always stop flipping channels when I come across his TV show he did with his wife Gracie Allen.  Absolutely brilliant.

NAME: George Burns
OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Theater Actor, Television Actor, Comedian, Radio Personality, Television Personality
BIRTH DATE: January 20, 1896
DEATH DATE: March 09, 1996
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York City, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Beverly Hills, California
ORIGINALLY: Nathan Birnbaum

BEST KNOWN FOR: George Burns was a comedian who worked in vaudeville, radio, film and television. His long-time performance partner and wife was comedienne Gracie Allen. Burns lived until age 100.

George Burns was born on January 20, 1896 in New York City. He got his show business start at age 7, singing for pennies in a candy shop. While working the vaudeville circuit, Burns met Gracie Allen and the pair formed a successful comic duo, marrying in 1926. The Burns and Allen partnership continued on radio, television and film until Allen’s death in 1964. Forced to redefine himself as a solo act, Burns continued to perform well into his 90s. He died in 1996 at age 100.

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