Friday, October 29, 2010

Tricks, Treats and Threads

This year I decided to dress up as a mystic fortune teller (one of my go-to costumes). First let me start by saying that Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, and perhaps my favorite day of the year (even more than my birthday sometimes). Since I can remember I have always loved Halloween. The costumes, the trick-or-treating, the jack-o-lanterns, the parties and even just the sheer fact that once a year your neighbors all let you come to their house for candy (and, um, am I the only one that loves getting a sneak peek of the inside of their homes? Anyone!? Anyone!?).  Every year you see new costume trends, especially those centered around the media (can we say Lady Gaga and Jersey Shore?), but I think the classics are always the best, and of course, homemade is better. 


Friday, October 22, 2010

Book Review: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Victor Gollancz, 1938; 448 pages; ISBN 1844080382
Goodreads Rating: 4.5 stars

As Halloween approaches (my absolute favorite holiday), I was
reminded of one of the very few suspenseful novels I have read, and of course it's a classic. At first I wasn't too impressed with the "suspenseful" aspects of the book, but once I got into the characters, the setting, and the plot, I was hooked and definitely not disappointed. I've been wanting to watch the Hitchcock version (Rebecca, Selznick International Pictures, 1940) of this book for ages, but I didn't want to watch it without having read the book first. I loved the writing, the atmosphere, the characters and just the whole story. It wasn't necessarily scary, but the sense of it was very foreboding, like something was going to happen and you didn't know what. I was truly surprised at the climax and even though the title character never really appears in the story, she appears through the character's reverence towards her; it was like I hated her but I wanted to meet her still. It took me a few weeks to get through this, but not because it wasn't a page turner, it's just that I chose to digest it a little bit at a time.  As soon as I finished the novel, I watched the film version.  I have to say that they did an excellent job of capturing the novel in the film, which was due in large part to the producer's controlling demeanor.  Nonetheless I was very happy with the casting and the way the movie unfolded.  It had that same suspenseful edge that the book had, without being in any way gory, blatant, or sensational.  I'm a Hitchcock fan, so I'm familiar with some of his other films, but I do have to say that this one is not as Hitchcockian (which is actually a real word!) as some of his other works.  If you are looking for something a bit more on the subtle side for the scary season, I would venture to find a copy of the film, or just curl up with the original.

Photo: From website

Friday, October 15, 2010

Here Comes the Bride....

Photo from (LIFE Photo Archive)
Photo from (LIFE Photo Archive)
I have a lifelong love of weddings.  How can you not love them?  A celebration of love, a gathering of friends and family (dressed up, mind you), food, drink, music, and an endless array of decor and fashion to critique, copy or adore!  So far this month I've attended one wedding and next week I will attend another, which got me thinking about bridal looks that seem to be back from the past and those that have stayed there. We've all seen the whole birdcage veil comeback (which I actually really adore), and I'm also noticing some tea-length ballgown dresses for brides (as well as for bridesmaids). I haven't yet seen the bridesmaids-in-veils trend of the 50's and 60's (photo above is of President Johnson's daughter, Lynda Baines Johnson's wedding), or the whole puffy, long-sleeve dress action of the 40's (this bride doesn't seem to fond of it), but there is no denying that certain "vintage inspired" looks are pretty evident elsewhere. Red lipstick, pin curls and forties inspired do's, gloves, skinny ties for men, and antique brooches and hair adornments. Even pastel colors seem to be back, with yellows, blushy pinks, pale blues, and sea foam greens making it into the latest issue of Brides Magazine and on the ΓΌber popular wedding website, The Knot.  Here are my favorite vintage looks that are making their way back down the aisle, and I'm looking forward to attending my next wedding extravaganza later this month (for now I'll have to settle for my new favorite show, Four Weddings on TLC and the absolutely stunning website Style Me Pretty).
Photo from Flickr Creative Commons
Photo from
Photo from

Friday, October 8, 2010

They Say the Neon Lights are Bright on Broadway

Chandelier in the Pantages Theatre
I am so excited to be going to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theatre this weekend.  Which got me thinking about all the beautiful theatres we have in Los Angeles, and my favorites of course.  The Pantages is definitely up there, as is the Westwood Crest Theatre in Westwood.  I also love the Egyptian, the Palladium, and the El Rey TheatreEl Capitan is beautiful too, but the seats are tiny!  The Music Box theatre is also quite wonderful, especially if you go for a private event and get to experience their rooftop lounge (which I was very lucky to do so last year).  Although theatre history here in Los Angeles may not quite extend to that of a city such as New York, I think it's definitely worth the drive and the time to go and experience these historic landmarks, especially to get that 'Old Hollywood' feeling.  Most have that art deco feel, which is so opulent and luxurious, but some also carry their own unique take on a theme, like the Egyptian.  Many theaters were built for the sole reason of a new movie premiere, while others were just a sign of the times.  I'm listing some trivia here for each of my favorite theatres.
  • The Westwood Crest Theatre, opened in 1940 and was designed by Arthur W. Hawes.  The theater first opened as a live theatre and is also known as the Magestic Crest Theatre.  Currently it operates as a movie theatre and before the movie begins, a falling star shoots across the ceiling, bursting onto the screen as the curtains open (it's worth going to see any movie here just for that falling star).
  • The Pantages Theatre, opened in 1930 and was designed by B. Marcus Priteca.  Originally the theatre showed movies as well as live Vaudeville acts.  In 1949 Howard Hughes acquired the theatre and had his personal offices on the second floor.
  • The Egyptian Theatre, opened in 1922 and was designed by architects Meyer and Holler.  Originally the theatre was supposed to have a Spanish theme, but at some point this was changed to Egyptian because of all the hype in the world over King Tutankhamun's tomb (you can still see this Spanish influence in the roof pans, which have a tiled effect).  The theatre was the location of the first ever Hollywood movie premiere.
  • The El Rey Theatre, opened in 1936 and was designed by Clifford A. Balch. Originally it was opened as a movie house, but it currently serves as a music venue, although it can be booked for private events (I would love to have an event here!).  In the 1980's and 90's it operated as a nightclub called 'Wall Street'. I wonder if the Douglas/Sheen movie Wall Street (Twentieth Century Fox, 1987) had anything to do with that?  In any case, I saw the sequel last weekend, and in my opinion it's worth a look.
  • The Hollywood Palladium Theatre, opened in 1940 and was designed by Gordon Kaufmann.  Kaufmann also designed the Santa Anita Racetrack and the Los Angeles Times building.  The Palladium opened in the Fall of 1940 with a dinner and live music by Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra (admission was $1 and dinner was $3).  Over the years it has hosted charity balls, auto shows, political events and radio broadcasts.  It currently operates as a concert venue.
  • The El Capitan Theatre, opened in 1926 and was designed by the firm Morgan, Walls and Clements.  For the first decade of operations the theatre was a venue for live productions.  In 1941 Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (RKO Radio Pictures, 1941) was premiered after Welles couldn't find a theatre that would be willing to show the film.
  • The Music Box Theatre, opened in 1926 and was designed by the firm Morgan, Walls and Clements.  It has also been known as the Fox, the Henry Fonda Theatre, and the Pix.  It originally opened for revues in the style of Ziegfield, but when this didn't work out it was the stage for many live productions, including the play Chicago featuring Clark Gable in 1927 (perhaps the picture below from the LIFE Photo Archive was taken sometime that year).
Photograph: AMER(USA) Hollywood; LIFE Photo Archive

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Look Back: 1955

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons by anyjazz65
Back in May I did a look back to 1958 in honor of my mom's birthday. Now I'm looking three years earlier, at 1955, the year my dad was born.  As we near the holiday season, shopping is inevitably an activity that follows suit.  Although I love to do some shopping, it can be somewhat of a hassle when the crowds get large and the parking lots are full.  Oh what I would give to just be able to stroll my way through an afternoon of shopping on a wide thouroughfare with a couple of friends and my billowy, circle skirt.  On such a shopping trip in 1955 you might be able to find the following in stores and in your town for the very first time: