Tuesday, March 27, 2012

You're invited: Cher-tacular art opening & costume party, April 7

Please come!  Nancy Drew, "66 Chers (Dear Cher)"
Art Opening, Cher-tacular & Costume Party, April 7, Brooklyn
see her Dear Cher Series at:  http://nancydrewpaintings.com

WHEN:  Saturday, April 7th, 6 to 10 pm
                  Show runs April 7th thru May 6th

WHERE:  The Backroom at Freddy's Bar
                     627 Fifth Avenue (between 17th & 18th Streets)
                     South Slope, Brooklyn

Freddy’s Bar announces its newest art exhibition, a show of recent work by Brooklyn artist Nancy Drew.
Nancy Drew's mixed-media portrait paintings of Cher explore the realm of celebrity, beauty and aging in the 21st Century's hyper-pop landscape. Employed as much as a stand-in for 'everywoman' as for her off-center iconic status, images of Cher from the 70's are printed onto contemporary magazine pages, mounted to canvas and amplified with collage, glitter, beading and various forms of adornment and deconstruction.

Also premiering in this exhibit, a very special Cher video mash-up by legendary video artist Donald O'Finn.

Don't miss Nancy Drew's Opening Night Cher-tacular Events:

6 - 8 pm:  Art Opening 
66 Chers, mixed-media paintings by artist Nancy Drew
With:  a very special Cher video mash-up by legendary video artist Donald O'Finn. 

6 - 10 pm:  Cher Costume Party
Come as Cher or Sonny, one of her fabulous ex-boyfriends or anyone else from those groovy days...
Be one of the first 25 guests to arrive in costume and receive a signed, "Dear Cher" monoprint by Nancy Drew. Special Prizes for Best Costumes include a Nancy Drew 'Cher' painting and Freddy's bar tab.
...Rumor has it that some of Cher's ex's, Greg Allman, Les Dudek and Brooklyn's very own Rob Camiletti
might make an appearance! 

8 - 9 pm:  Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour 
Hosted by premiere comic, VH1's Pat O'Shea. 
Special guest appearances by impersonators Tom Jones, Burt Reynolds and more!

9 - 10:30 pm:  Cher-aokee
Hosted by Tokyo Rosenberg & H-Bomb. 
Cher & Sonny wigs will be available for your performances! Special prize for best performance!
Freddy's Bar & Backroom
hours: Sun - Sat 12pm - 4am
subways: F train to 4th Avenue/9th Street
               R train to Prospect Avenue

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival Needs You to Step Up

The Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival needs your help!

This group of women artists comes to New York on July 13 to 15, in their eighth annual dance festival, but first they're raising money on Kickstarter to fund their education and performance efforts that put the focus on women and positive roles in hip-hop culture.

Right on, ladies.

The Ladies of Hip-Hop project will only be funded if at least $5,000 is pledged by Sunday, April 8, 2:20pm EDT. As of today, Kickstarter reports the project has 88 backers who have raised $3,187 so far.

"Nothing against our male artists but it is necessary to give focus and thanks to our girls and women in the culture," say the Ladies on their Kickstarter comments page.

Check 'em out and give 'em some love.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Louise Brooks: Lulu on the Run With a Gun

New York's Film Forum recently screened a rarely seen 1928 film starring Louise Brooks dressed as a boy and on the run after murdering the stepfather who molested her.

Called Beggars of Life, the film when it first came out was described as "sordid, grim and unpleasant" by Picture Play magazine. But Louise Brooks looks ravishing as always, sporting a cap set at a rakish angle rather than her trademark helmet of black hair. The face peeking out from beneath the cap could never in real life be mistaken for a boy's. It's Lulu, a year before Pabst released his German silent Pandora's Box, only here she's hopping trains instead of ruining men and being ruined in return.

Here's the thing: Louise Brooks had good reason to understand the motivation of a girl who would kill the man who molested her. When she was just nine years old, Louise was sexually abused by a local pervert in her hometown of Cherryvale, Kansas. From then on, she was cold to sexual love and felt nothing for the many men who fell in love with her in Hollywood, Europe and beyond.

"For me, nice, soft, easy men were never enough," she said. "There had to be an element of domination."

She lived for herself only, polishing her reputation as a great silent film star, but burning bridges behind her wherever she went, first with the Denishawn modern dance company in 1922, then Paramount Pictures, then a failed career as a courtesan to wealthy men.

After watching her, eternally silent, in Pandora's Box, it can come as a surprise that Louise Brooks later spoke plenty in interviews, documentaries and the collection of essays she wrote, Lulu in Hollywood, before dying broke and alone in her Rochester, N.Y., apartment at the age of 79 in 1985.
"She was the most seductive, sexual image of woman ever committed to celluloid," says filmmaker Richard Leacock in Lulu in Berlin, a documentary that includes a lengthy interview with Louise Brooks. "She was the really unrepentant hedonist, the only pure pleasure-seeker I think I've ever known."

And what did Lulu think? "I never was an actress," Brooks told Leacock just a year before her death in this documentary where she appears as a graying, elegantly spoken lady in a housecoat, her face still strikingly pure and expressive. "I never was in love with myself....You can't be a great actress unless you think you're beautiful....When I acted I hadn't the slightest idea of what I was doing. I was simply playing myself, which is the hardest thing in the world to do."

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Diana Vreeland and Fashion Week for the Underemployed

My blogger friend Underemployed Is the New Organic recently wrote about New York Fashion Week, saying that if you're not fashion's servant, then you're its victim.

Every spring and fall at Fashion Week, we're presented with future trends, and you can either be fashion's servant by updating now or you can be its victim by ignoring it completely. (More fool you.)

"It pays, literally, to stay on top of fashion," writes my friend, whose blog is a treasure trove of thoughts and advice for the nouveau pauvre of the Great Recession.

What makes people fashion victims?  They can't or won't acknowledge that what they look like has any bearing on their quality of life, my friend writes. "The underemployed don't have this luxury. Well, they do, but it almost guarantees that they will remain underemployed. Simply put:  Society is kinder to people who look nice and who give the impression that they are aware of what century they live in.  And when I say 'kinder' I mean that society is more likely to give them a job."
Oh, dear. So sad yet true. As a writer for pay, I've spent much of my working life underemployed. In New York City. Not a good combination.

Here are some of my tricks to keep up with fashion on a budget:
  • Adopt an 'as if' attitude, meaning that you do your best to dress as if you're keeping up with fashion.
  • Page through fashion magazines for free that you find in your doctor's office or that people leave behind on the subway or at your friends' apartment when they're busy doing something else.
  • Go for looking womanly, and by that I mean cleavage and skirts and dresses that fit well.
  • Wear black tights eight months of the year and get your legs waxed below the knee for four (full leg is better, of course, but more expensive).
  • Buy clothes off the rack at cheap places like H&M or Century 21 or De Janeiro or Banana Republic on sale or god forgive me Strawberry. Make sure they're made of natural fabrics, cut stylishly, yet not in styles that are too much of the moment, which look so last Tuesday even before the week is out.
  • And finally, remember what Diana Vreeland famously said: "A new dress doesn't get you anywhere; it's the life you're living in the dress, and the sort of life you had lived before, and what you will do in it later."
Diana Vreeland. Now there's a bad girl after my heart. According to her granddaughter-in-law, Lisa Immordino Vreeland, who wrote a biography about the flamboyant Vogue magazine editor, “The legacy Mrs. Vreeland left behind is extremely strong and deep, and goes beyond being a mere fashion revolutionary: she really helped change social history and emancipated women. Her life, which spanned 1903 until 1989, is by all means a vivid portrait of the 20th century.”

Aside from looking at pictures of Mrs. Vreeland, a classic belle laide with an extraordinarily powerful sense of style, my favorite thing about her is all the thoughts and pronouncements that tumbled so easily out of her ceaselessly active brain:
  • "I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity."
  • "Pink is the navy blue of India."
  •  "Elegance is innate.  It has nothing to do with being well dressed.  Elegance is refusal."
  • "Blue jeans are the most beautiful things since the gondola."
  • "Balenciaga did the most delicious clothes. Clothes aren't delicious anymore."
  • "Fashion must be the intoxicating release from the banality of the world."
Mrs. Vreeland was a madcap known for embellishing the truth. As she wrote in her autobiography D.V.: "Did I tell you about the zebras lining the driveway at San Simeon? You believed that, didn't you? Did I tell you that Lindbergh flew over Brewster? It could have been someone else, but who cares--Fake it! . . . There's only one thing in life, and that's the continual renewal of inspiration."

We need more women in this world like Diana Vreeland, don't you think?