Happy Birthday W. Somerset Maugham

Today is the 141st birthday of the writer W. Somerset Maugham.  I was given a copy of “The Razor’s Edge” quite a while ago by a former employer stating “this is one of my favorite books and novels.”  He meant that he liked the story and like the look of the book, physically.  The book was given to him by the matriarch of a very prominent Seattle family when she was closing up and selling off her properties on the San Juan Islands.  I still have it and I hope to do the same with it one day.  The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

Born: 25 January 1874 UK Embassy, Paris, France
Died: 16 December 1965 (aged 91) Nice, France
Occupation: Playwright, novelist, short story writer
Notable works: Of Human Bondage, The Letter, Rain, The Razor’s Edge

Today is the birthday of W. Somerset Maugham, born in Paris (1874). His father was in Paris as a lawyer for the British Embassy. When Maugham was eight years old, his mother died from tuberculosis. His father died of cancer two years later. The boy was sent back to England into the care of a cold and distant uncle, a vicar. Maugham was miserable at his school. He said later: “I wasn’t even likeable as a boy. I was withdrawn and unhappy, and rejected most overtures of sympathy over my stuttering and shyness.” Maugham became a doctor and practiced in the London slums. He was particularly moved by the women he encountered in the hospital, where he delivered babies; and he was shocked by his fellow doctors’ callous approach to the poor. He wrote: “I saw how men died. I saw how they bore pain. I saw what hope looked like, fear and relief; I saw the dark lines that despair drew on a face; I saw courage and steadfastness. I saw faith shine in the eyes of those who trusted in what I could only think was an illusion and I saw the gallantry that made a man greet the prognosis of death with an ironic joke because he was too proud to let those about him see the terror of his soul.”

When he was 23, he published his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, about a working-class 18-year-old named Liza who has an affair with a 40-year-old married man named Jim, a father of nine. Jim’s wife beats up Liza, who is pregnant, and who miscarries, and dies. The novel was a big success, and Maugham made enough money to quit medicine and become a full-time writer. For many years, he made his living as a playwright, but eventually he became one of the most popular novelists in Britain. His novels include Of Human Bondage (1915), The Moon and Sixpence (1919), Cakes and Ale (1930), and The Razor’s Edge (1944).
Somerset Maugham said,

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.

At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely.

Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.

Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.

It was such a lovely day I thought it a pity to get up.

Happy Birthday Porfirio Rubirosa

Today is the 105th birthday of Porfirio Rubirosa.  He is quite possibly the last of the famous international playboys.  As a impeccably-dressed multiple-heiress-marrying polo playing race car driver, he set the standard for jet-set men in the mid 20th century.  The world is a better place that he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left it.

Born: January 22, 1909 San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic
Died: July 5, 1965 (aged 56) Paris, France
Occupation: Diplomat, polo player, race car driver

LAST OF THE FAMOUS INTERNATIONAL PLAYBOYS

Porfirio Rubirosa Ariza (January 22, 1909 – July 5, 1965) was a Dominican diplomat and adherent of Rafael Trujillo. He made his mark as an international playboy, for his jet setting lifestyle, and his legendary prowess with women.  Among his spouses were two of the richest women in the world.

Rubirosa was married five times, but never had any children. His wives were:

  • Flor de Oro Trujillo, Rafael Trujillo’s daughter, December 3, 1932-38
  • Danielle Darrieux, French actress, September 18, 1942 – May 21, 1947
  • Doris Duke, American heiress, September 1, 1947 – October 1948; with marital gifts and final settlement he received an alimony ($25,000 per year until remarriage), a fishing fleet off Africa, several sports cars, a converted B-25 bomber (La Ganza), and a 17th Century house at Rue de Bellechasse, Paris.
  • Barbara Hutton, American heiress, December 30, 1953 – on or before March 14, 1954; in the settlement he received a coffee plantation in the Dominican Republic, another B-25, polo ponies, jewelry, and she paid him a reported $2.5 million.
  • Odile Rodin, French actress, age 19, October 27, 1956 – July 5, 1965 (his death)

Why he’s a style icon

Porfirio Rubirosa is the archetypal man’s man. He drove Ferraris at Le Mans, was a champion polo player, flew fighter planes from the South of France to South America for fun, married the two wealthiest women in the world back to back, and set the bar for all other Latin lotharios. While he stood only 5’9″, it was his manhood that made him a legend and the most desired man on the planet. He often described himself as half diplomat (which he actually was, after being appointed to numerous positions by Dominican dictator Generalissimo Trujillo, who happened to be Rubirosa’s first father-in-law) and half gigolo. While he was far too much of a gentleman to make mention of his now-legendary endowment, it is said that this alone caused women the world over to literally drag him into closets, bathrooms and under tables for a sample of what had entranced so many of the most beautiful and powerful women. He never held a steady job, and his goal was never to make money — but rather to spend it. Luckily, when a man can lay claim to romancing Barbara Hutton (a Woolworth heiress), Doris Duke (heiress to a tobacco and energy fortune), Zsa Zsa Gabor, Jayne Mansfield, Ava Gardner, Eva Peron, and countless other wealthy and powerful women, money tends to fall into one’s lap. Even his ex-wives were getting in on the action, as it is rumored that Rubirosa’s second wife, famed French actress Danielle Darrieux, received $1 million from Doris Duke to consent to a divorce so that she could lay a claim to Rubi herself. Has a woman ever paid someone $1 million to get a chance with you? Didn’t think so. At the age of only 47, Rubi died the night his team had won the Coupe de France polo cup. He died when his Ferrari skidded off the road and into a tree, and the steering column went through his heart. A true romantic even in death.

Dress the Rubirosa way

Rubirosa didn’t just act the part of Latin lover, he dressed the part. He was famously seen wearing thin three-piece suits of the finest quality, often with double-breasted jackets. His style of dress was equally influenced by the Latin flair that ran through his veins and the smooth, subtle cool of the Riviera. If you want to emulate Rubi you must remember that despite his generous endowment, he was not a showman and not a braggart, so the look must be quietly confident. In essence, he’s a prime example of “walk softly but carry a big stick.” One way to look like Rubi is to find a pink-gold Rolex like the one mentioned in American Psycho, but an even easier way is to buy a suit from Argentinean boutique Etiqueta Negra, whose polo-inspired flair would have certainly been a favorite of Rubi’s.

World War II, Rubirosa became engaged in two major passions, polo and car racing, both expensive sports that would be supported in years to come by his American wives. He organized and led his own polo team Cibao-La Pampa that was an often successful contender for the Coupe de France cup. Rubirosa played polo until the end of his life. In the same period, Rubirosa started to acquire fast cars and form friendships with race car drivers. He would own a number of Ferraris. His first race at 24 Hours of Le Mans took place in June 1950 with his partner Pierre Leygonie, and his second race, this time with Innocente Baggio, was four years later; in both races his car did not finish. Rubirosa participated in a number of races at Sebring, all but once as a private entry.

Rubirosa died early in the morning on July 5, 1965, when he crashed his Ferrari 250 GT into a chestnut tree and the steering column went through his heart after an all-night celebration at the Paris nightclub “Jimmy’s” in honor of winning the Coupe de France polo cup.  A true romantic even in death.

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Happy Birthday David Lynch

Today is the 69th birthday of David Lynch.  He is the only living director that I will see anything he does.  He makes films that are so achingly beautiful and moderately disturbing that compel me to watch and re-watch them, every time, I see something new.  The world is a better place because he is in it.

NAME: David Lynch
OCCUPATION: Director
BIRTH DATE: January 20, 1946
PLACE OF BIRTH: Missoula, Montana

BEST KNOWN FOR:  David Lynch is a film director and screenwriter known for his dark, offbeat films, notable Blue Velvet and Eraserhead.

David Keith Lynch (born January 20, 1946) is an American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor. Known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed “Lynchian“, and which is characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound design. The surreal, and in many cases violent, elements to his films have earned them the reputation that they “disturb, offend or mystify” their audiences.

Born to a middle class family in Missoula, Montana, Lynch spent his childhood traveling around the United States, before going on to study painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he first made the transition to producing short films. Deciding to devote himself more fully to this medium, he moved to Los Angeles, where he produced his first motion picture, the surrealist horror Eraserhead (1977). After Eraserhead became a cult classic on the midnight movie circuit, Lynch was employed to direct The Elephant Man (1980), from which he gained mainstream success. Then being employed by the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, he proceeded to make two films: the science-fiction epic Dune (1984), which proved to be a critical and commercial failure, and then a neo-noir crime film, Blue Velvet (1986), which was highly critically acclaimed.

Proceeding to create his own television series with Mark Frost, the highly popular murder mystery Twin Peaks (1990–1992), he also created a cinematic prequel, Fire Walk With Me (1992); a road movie, Wild at Heart (1990) and a family film, The Straight Story (1999), in the same period. Turning further towards surrealist filmmaking, three of his following films worked on “dream logic” non-linear narrative structures, Lost Highway (1997), Mulholland Drive (2001) and Inland Empire (2006). Meanwhile, Lynch proceeded to embrace the internet as a medium, producing several web-based shows, such as the animation Dumbland (2002) and the surreal sitcom Rabbits (2002).

In the course of his career, Lynch has received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director, and a nomination for best screenplay. Lynch has twice won France’s César Award for Best Foreign Film, as well as the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Lion award for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival. The French government awarded him the Legion of Honor, the country’s top civilian honor, as a Chevalier in 2002 and then an Officier in 2007, while that same year, The Guardian described Lynch as “the most important director of this era”. Allmovie called him “the Renaissance man of modern American filmmaking”, whilst the success of his films have led to him being labelled “the first popular Surrealist.”

Lynch is an avid coffee drinker and even has his own line of special organic blends available for purchase on his website. Called “David Lynch Signature Cup”, the coffee has been advertised via flyers included with several recent Lynch-related DVD releases, including Inland Empire and the Gold Box edition of Twin Peaks. The possibly self-mocking tag-line for the brand is “It’s all in the beans … and I’m just full of beans.” This is also a quote of a line said by Justin Theroux’s character in Inland Empire.

TELEVISION
Twin Peaks Creator/Director (1990-91)
Twin Peaks FBI Chief Gordon Cole (1990-91)
On the Air Director/Writer/Producer (1992)
Hotel Room Director/Producer (1993)

FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
Inland Empire (6-Sep-2006)
Rabbits (2002)
Mulholland Dr. (16-May-2001)
The Straight Story (21-May-1999)
Lost Highway (21-Feb-1997)
Lumière and Company (20-Dec-1995)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (28-Aug-1992)
Wild at Heart (17-Aug-1990)
Industrial Symphony No. 1: The Dream of the Broken Hearted (1990)
Blue Velvet (19-Sep-1986)
Dune (14-Dec-1984)
The Elephant Man (3-Oct-1980)
Eraserhead (17-Mar-1977)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (4-Sep-2012) · Himself
Side by Side (Feb-2012) · Himself
Pearl Jam Twenty (10-Sep-2011) · Himself
Great Directors (19-May-2009) · Himself
Lynch (23-Jun-2007) · Himself
Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (13-May-2005) · Himself
Lumière and Company (20-Dec-1995) · Himself
Nadja (13-Sep-1994)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (28-Aug-1992)
Zelly and Me (15-Apr-1988)

 

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S.P.A. v45.0 Launch is Live

Today is the 45th birthday of me. As the numbers grow they mean less and less and I understand them to be less and less important. Am i where I thought I would be 25 years ago or 20 years ago or even five years ago? I guess it depends on how I am measuring I guess it depends on the measurements. If I’m counting up all the outside material things that I thought I should have by this time, probably not. If I measure by type of person I wanted to become I know I’m on the right path do.

I guess the real accomplishment, the one that eclipses all others, is that I am still here. If the negative thoughts of my 20’s could have manifested physical results, I would be dead ten thousand times over. But they can’t and I’m not and I think about all the friends and family that I have that have died too early.

My cousin Erik killing himself saved my life. It took me out of my head, put life in perspective and made me understand that maybe I wasn’t where I wanted to be or who I wanted to be right then, but I was smart and capable enough to become anything I want. My path swerved sharply that day.

The next year, my boss David died in his mid 40s. We spent long days talking about what was important, who was important when you know the end is just around the bend. Love, family, beauty, art. I still have his copy of “The Razor’s Edge” on my book shelf and think about him often.

Everyone’s friend Jared had a seizure in his sleep and died in his early 30s. I could spend the rest of my life trying to influence as many people he did and never be able to balance the score. I think I will try…

I stand on the shoulders of my grandparents and great grandparents before them.  Their bravery and sacrifices have allowed me to be in the position I am in today and for that, I must honor them with being the best person I can be, to continue their work and do what I can to make the world a better place.

I’m not always perfect. I’m never perfect. But through that consistent imperfection I continue to strive to make myself a better person. To be in possession of more compassion and understanding and empathy. I hope I will never stop trying to improve.

I think I don’t spend enough time experiencing the journey because I am too focused on the destination. I will try to recognize my incremental improvements. They are really thousands of little destinations and accomplishments along my path that deserve celebrating.

Have a happy my birthday today. As you know, I dust off my old list of things that are important to me, make changes, and repost them every birthday. Here is the new improved spa V45.0:

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One of my goals today was to get a new profile pic, I have all day to do it, so a new one should pop up sometime today…

“What I Have Learned So Far”

I’ve learned that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I want to continue to grow and change and progress until I die.  I do not ever want to rest on my laurels, get set in my ways, do something a specific way for no other reason that I have always done it that way.  I want to be routinely evaluating my choices to see if they still match with the person I am and the person I am on my way to becoming.  We can all do that, think about what is important to you and then reflect at the end of the day, as you drift off to sleep, to see if you accomplished it.  It is really less of a score card and more of a reminder for the next day.  Did you possess compassion whenever possible and applicable?  Did you express gratitude to your friends and family for being able to share each other’s life?

I’ve learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.  The past is nothing we can control and it can color who we are, but we can make the decision to be anything we set our minds to.  Create your identity, do not let it be assigned to you.  The traumas of our childhoods can easily make us into “victims” or “survivors” and we can hide behind that identity for the rest of our lives if we desire.  That trauma happened a long time ago and is over, to continue the trauma is your choice, but it does not give you a free pass to poor behavior.  It is a long struggle to be able to recognize you are worth good things happening to you, once you allow that thought to enter your consciousness, you start to let go of the past.

I’ve learned that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change. Sometimes, our paths run right along each other at the same speed, seeing the same sights.  Then our paths may separate, but that does not erase our history and the reasons why we first became friends.  We all understand that we change, so thinking that our friends shouldn’t is unreasonable.

I’ve learned that money is a horrible way of keeping score.  Money does not make you better or worse than anyone, it is an instrument.  Like any other instrument, it can be used in a million different ways.  The most beautiful concerto can be played on an old piano just as easily as the keys of a Steinway can be smashed with a mallet.  Find something you are passionate about and devote your extra money to it’s promotion.  Make your money work for you as hard as you worked for it.  Keep the circle of energy flowing.

I’ve learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different. “I say tomato, you say tomato. Let’s call the whole thing off. But oh! If we call the whole thing off, then we must part. And oh! If we ever part, then that might break my heart!”  The Gershwins were on to something.  Learning to not be so arrogant that your way is the right and only way will take you far in love and life.  The ability to see things from different perspectives, even if you disagree with those perspectives is a valuable skill.

I’ve learned that you can get by on charm and looks for only so long.  After that, you’d better know something.  This does not always seem true and maybe the length can stretch out for years, but in the end the boys and girls will stop turning their heads when you pass, so you better at least have some good stories of your youth to retell.  There is nothing wrong with physical charm, but giving it any weight and worth as a way to judge yourself or others is a mistake.  It is just a roll of the DNA dice. It does not matter how attractive a person is if they are ugly on the inside.  Everyone has a unique talent or gift in life.  Personally, I have always been drawn to people that have an ability to tell a story, that have a talent of finding humor everywhere, and people that know that life is an ongoing journey of exploration.  It is a physical attraction, an attraction to a glow or fire or something that people possess inside.  Have you ever tried having a conversation with nice biceps and teeth? Exactly.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do. We all have our talents, we all have our accomplishments, and for the most part, they are unique to us. Comparing yourself to the best parts of others will of course cause you to feel inferior.  The exercise in being proud of and happy for your friend’s success is a hard one.  It is hard to remove your jealousy or envy.  When you are able to do it, however, you become a better friend and a better person.  If you still cannot remove yourself from the equation, think about how awesome you are for choosing such talented and successful friends.  We can be happy when our friend’s are successful, no matter what Morrissey says.

I’ve learned that you can keep going long after you can’t.  It applies to running, it applies to life.  It is always darkest before the dawn for a reason, so you appreciate the dawn all the more.  Heartbreak and disappointment are horrible and painful, they can tear you into pieces from which you think you can never reassemble.  You can, and in time, you will.  That ability is one of the most exciting and unique parts of being human: resilience.  Knowing that life right now is hard, but having the memory and perspective that none of it is permanent and situations will change.  “Don’t give up, I know you can make it good.”

I’ve learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you.  Every second of every day, we have the choice on how we are going to behave.  We can fly off the handle at the slightest things or we can choose to not let them ruin our day.  How we react and behave to every day situations is completely in our control.  Our past experiences may point us in a knee-jerk direction, but they have no actual power over us today.  Choose an attitude that would make you proud of the person you are.  If it does not feel natural to behave that way, fake it, eventually, it will become part of you.  I am a strong believer in the school of “Fake it ’till you make it.” I am a result of that philosophy.  I didn’t like something about me or recognized something about me that didn’t work, thought about how I could do it differently, and consciously did it that way going forward.  It did not immediately feel natural, but eventually, it became a part of me.  It is like diet and exercise for your character, it is hard and strenuous, but eventually, it becomes who you are.  Anger is ego, we all know this.  That person that cut you off in traffic did not do it to you because of who you are, they just did it.  It didn’t happen to you, it just happened, don’t take it so personally that it changes your mood.  Don’t hold onto it, that energy is undirected and wasted.

I’ve learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. The title of “Hero” has been been attributed to so many people in so many ways that it’s meaning has been diluted.  For this, I mean a person whose courage and strength I admire.  Heroes are quite often not popular or even liked at the time, usually because their actions cause discomfort and disruption.  Heroes see how the world can be a better place and do their best to change it.  For the most part, actors, athletes, popular musicians, and politicians are bad choices as personal heroes, there are plenty of examples why.

I’ve learned that it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts. Everyone knows this.  Your job and your stuff you love will never give you a ride to the airport or love you back. Your things you have will not bring you love.  That BMW will get you attention that at first may seem a lot like love, but it is probably more like envy. The people you touch in your life may not sit impressively on your mantle or fill up your checking account, but they will hold your hand when you cry and bring you soup when you are sick. In life, the immeasurable out-values all. There are no price tickets attached to love, devotion, friendship, and loyalty.

I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back. None of this changes how I should feel.  Zelda Fitzgerald is quoted as saying, “I don’t want to live — I want to love first, and live incidentally.”  I find myself thinking of this quote often and understanding it to mean that we need love to live, that we should approach life as a series of opportunities to love.  Everyone has been on both sides of this coin at one point in life: the lover and the loved.  It sucks and I hate it, but at the same time, there is a real rawness to heartbreak that is the purest of emotions.  That emotion has no ulterior motives, no hidden agendas that it hopes by creating one, another will follow.  It is pure loss, pure ache, and purely human. No matter how horrible it is, you feel so alive and wonderful knowing that you possess such capacity for feeling.

I’ve learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words.  It may be the last time you see them.  Bring everyone you meet a gift.  This obviously does not mean a physical item wrapped with a bow, it could be a compliment, a touch, a smile.  Do not leave things unsaid for fear of over exposing your heart.  Your heart functions best when exposed raw to the air, it expands and produces more than ever imaginable.  This applies too even if you were thinking about someone during the day, send them a text or email to tell them.  Keep communications open, don’t let too much time pass.

Move.  Motivate.  Moisturize.  Do your best to create and maintain healthy habits.  I know that when I am not physically active (running, lifting weights) I feel depressed.  My body feels depressed and out of sorts when I miss more than a couple days at the gym.  It’s because it’s my body’s habit to be active, to experience an elevated heart rate, to stretch and push the boundaries of my musculature.  I feel so much better having gone to the gym.  That does not mean that I am always super-excited about going to the gym.  My motivation for keeping a regular gym habit is elevated energy/mood, stress management, strength as I age, and vanity.  Do not underestimate the power of vanity, when harnessed for good, it can accomplish a lot.  Moisturizing falls under the Gym/Motivate/Vanity tab and plays a part in taking care of yourself.  I hope that I can live at least another 50 years (who knows what science will have done by then?) and I want those 50 years to be healthy active ones.  It is my job to keep myself in the best shape I can.

**New for SPA v45.0**

Stop Worrying.  Stop Caring.  The bottom line is you need to live your life.  All those judge-y haters don’t pay your bills and in five years you probably won’t even remember their names.  Keep moving in the right direction.
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Happy Birthday Cary Grant

Today is Cary Grant’s 111th birthday.  It is no secret I love Cary Grant.  The quote on the top of my blog is from him and applies to me as much as it applied to him.  I long to have a mid-century mid-atlantic accent, to have effortless style, and to have a wit as sharp as my wardrobe.  He is everything a woman wants to have and everything a man wants to be.  Some of my favorite Cary Grant movies are The Awful Truth, Bringing up Baby, Holiday, His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia Story, Arsenic and Old Lace, Notorious, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, People Will Talk, To Catch a Thief, Houseboat, North by Northwest, That Touch of Mink, Charade, and Father Goose.  I know, that is a long list and contains most of his movies, I said I loved him.  The world is a better place because Cary Grant was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

 

NAME: Cary Grant
OCCUPATION: Film Actor
BIRTH DATE: January 18, 1904
DEATH DATE: December 29, 1986
PLACE OF BIRTH: Bristol, England
PLACE OF DEATH: Davenport, Iowa

BEST KNOWN FOR: Actor Cary Grant performed in films from the 1930s through the 1960s. He starred in several Hitchcock films, including the 1959 hit North by Northwest.

Born Archibald Alexander Leach, better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English actor who later took U.S. citizenship. Known for his transatlantic accent, debonair demeanor and “dashing good looks”, Grant is considered one of classic Hollywood’s definitive leading men.

Grant was named the second Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute. Noted particularly for his work in comedy but also for drama, Grant’s best-known films include The Awful Truth (1937), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Gunga Din (1939), The Philadelphia Story (1940), His Girl Friday (1940), Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), Notorious (1946), To Catch A Thief (1955), An Affair to Remember (1957), North by Northwest (1959) and Charade (1963).

Nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Actor, for Penny Serenade (1941) and None But the Lonely Heart (1944), and five times for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, Grant was continually passed over, and in 1970 was given an Honorary Oscar at the 42nd Academy Awards. Frank Sinatra presented Grant with the award, “for his unique mastery of the art of screen acting with the respect and affection of his colleagues”.

I’ve often been accused by the critics of being myself on the screen. But being oneself is more difficult than you’d suppose.

Grant was a favorite of Hitchcock, who called him “the only actor I ever loved in my whole life”. Besides Suspicion, Grant appeared in the Hitchcock classics Notorious (1946), To Catch a Thief (1955) and North by Northwest (1959). Biographer Patrick McGilligan wrote that, in 1965, Hitchcock asked Grant to star in Torn Curtain (1966), only to learn that Grant had decided to retire after making one more film, Walk, Don’t Run (1966); Paul Newman was cast instead, opposite Julie Andrews.

In the mid-1950s, Grant formed his own production company, Granart Productions, and produced a number of movies distributed by Universal, such as Operation Petticoat (1959), Indiscreet (1958), That Touch of Mink (co-starring with Doris Day, 1962), and Father Goose (1964). In 1963, he appeared opposite Audrey Hepburn in Charade. His last feature film was Walk, Don’t Run three years later, with Samantha Eggar and Jim Hutton.

American Masters Online presents a sampling of witticisms, one liners, and knock-out dialog from Cary Grant, the characters he played, and some of his best known co-stars.

BRINGING UP BABY
David Huxley: Now it isn’t that I don’t like you, Susan, because, after all, in moments of quiet, I’m strangely drawn toward you, but – well, there haven’t been any quiet moments.

THE PHILADELPHIA STORY
C. K. Dexter Haven: Sometimes, for your own sake, Red, I think you should’ve stuck to me longer.
Tracy Lord: I thought it was for life, but the nice judge gave me a full pardon.
C. K. Dexter Haven: Aaah, that’s the old redhead. No bitterness, no recrimination, just a good swift left to the jaw.

NORTH BY NORTHWEST
Roger Thornhill: Now you listen to me, I’m an advertising man, not a red herring. I’ve got a job, a secretary, a mother, two ex-wives and several bartenders that depend upon me, and I don’t intend to disappoint them all by getting myself “slightly” killed.

CHARADE
Regina Lampert: I already know an awful lot of people and until one of them dies I couldn’t possibly meet anyone else.
Peter Joshua: Well, if anyone goes on the critical list, let me know.

CARY GRANT ON CARY GRANT
“I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be until finally I became that person. Or he became me.”

“My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can.”

“Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.”

WHY HE’S A STYLE ICON

Selecting Cary Grant as a style icon is hardly groundbreaking. He’s considered by many to be the most influential dresser of all time. However, this dashing leading man wasn’t born on Hollywood’s red carpet. It all started when an uneducated Archibald Leach from working-class Bristol became a troupe-touring teenage stilt-walker in the U.S. and decided to permanently leave England behind to pursue a stateside stage career. Naturally, good looks didn’t hurt his case for being written into history’s fashion annals. However, it takes real bravado to completely reinvent yourself. Grant realized that in order to transform from a peon into a prince, he needed not only to change his name, but also to dress the part.

Grant’s initial fashion inspiration was fellow style icon Fred Astaire whose look was defined by bold, bright colors as well as an expert integration of the casual with the formal. In the end, you would be hard-pressed to find two men more opposite on the style spectrum. Grant eventually developed a subdued, monochromatic aesthetic where the focus was on fit and proportion rather than quirky color. The lines of his suits, shirts and shoes all blended together in harmony to draw your eye to the real moneymaker: his movie-star face. But like everyone else, Grant had some serious flaws, like a broad neck and oversize head. He often wore shirt collars turned up to disguise his neck, and his suits and topcoats were tailored with padded shoulders that were wide-set and squared-off to match the proportion of his massive mug. Turning flaws into fashion: that’s what sets Grant apart from everyone else.

DRESS THE GRANT WAY

You don’t need celebrity looks to learn a thing or two from Cary Grant. His sense of style is so revered that an entire book Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style is devoted to discussing it. You have to ask yourself: What could a man who became famous over half a century ago teach the modern guy about how to dress today? In short; everything. Cary Grant is a style icon because he is timeless and perhaps more relevant than ever in an age where slovenliness and bad behavior can lead to fame. Grant was definitely a suit-and-tie guy, and even his casual looks often included an ascot. However, every man — yes, even the bad boys — should own at least one good suit like the Topman Special Edition Grey Suit. Forget about color and pattern and look for a suit that simply fits your frame. A slimmer-cut jacket with equally trim trousers makes just about every guy look like a star regardless of the size and shape nature gave you. Grant typically opted for a single, inverted pant pleat, but a flat-front trouser is optimal for looking fit even if you’re lugging around a few extra pounds. Grant also wore his jacket sleeves high to expose about ¾ of an inch of bright white cuff. It’s a subtle detail, but striking enough that it almost reads as an accessory. It’s the mark of someone who truly understands fit and fine tailoring, and Grant did it all before celebrity stylists even existed.

 

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Happy Birthday David Bowie

Today is the 67th 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.  Now, whenever I hear that song, even a cover of it, I think of J.  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.  And then there is the David Bowie/Annie Lennox live version of Queen’s “Under Pressure” at the Freddy Mercury tribute concert.  That performance changed my life, became one of my anthems, and is very often in the periphery of my thoughts.  The world is a better place because David Bowie is in it.

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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Happy Birthday Diego Rivera

Today is the 128th birthday of the artist Diego Rivera.  His full name is a sentence.  I first experienced Diego Rivera at Interlochen Center for the Arts when I stumbled across a book of his work in the library.  I used to go to the library a lot in the summertime, it was cool and quiet and a nice place to read for a couple hours.  My aunt was the librarian, so that was nice.  I remember looking at the photographs of his murals and reading the dimensions and being absolutely amazed.  I remember loving the complexity in his artistry of simple subjects.  It is like he took his time to honor every detail of the task of bundling this basket of produce, it just was so wonderful to understand that art was partially bringing light to and celebrating the every day existence of everyone.  It became much more accessible and personal.  The world is a better place because Diego was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Diego Rivera
OCCUPATION: Painter
BIRTH DATE: December 08, 1886
DEATH DATE: November 24, 1957
EDUCATION: San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts
PLACE OF BIRTH: Guanajuato, Mexico
PLACE OF DEATH: Mexico City, Mexico

Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez (December 8, 1886 – November 24, 1957) better known simply as Diego Rivera was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo (1929–1939 and 1940–1954). His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in Mexican art. Between 1922 and 1953, Rivera painted murals among others in Mexico City, Chapingo, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and New York City.[1] In 1931, a retrospective exhibition of his works was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Rivera was an atheist. His mural Dreams of a Sunday in the Alameda depicted Ignacio Ramírez holding a sign which read, “God does not exist”. This work caused a furor, but Rivera refused to remove the inscription. The painting was not shown for 9 years – until Rivera agreed to remove the inscription. He stated: “To affirm ‘God does not exist’, I do not have to hide behind Don Ignacio Ramírez; I am an atheist and I consider religions to be a form of collective neurosis.”