Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Next Page - Six Months Later

Note to Readers:  It's been six months.  What happened?  Day job, other project, fight with AT & T, near death of Mac and DVD-ectomy of said Mac.   And everything else that is life.  

On the other had - second insanely impractical and totally wonderful blog-related trip to New York.  

I've missed writing this.   It's been frustrating to view the stats and see regular readers checking in (Most Loyal Readers from Isle de France and San Bruno, CA - I'm sorry!) with nothing to show them.   Reading Vintage Vogues will be appearing irregularly, but more frequently, until the end of the bloggable pages of this issue.   Then we'll be moving to Word Press -- and the U.K. - for British Vogue January 1960.  

Today - 

Family Blogging From the Guggenheim Museum,  Violent Summer Revisited, Hamster Rescue S.O.S. 
Turning back one page - 

See the thing that looks like a space ship in upper right corner?

Quoting from the last post, six months ago:  

People are talking about . . .    The jam-up of spectators in long lines to get into the new Guggenheim Museum, that luminous, exquisite enclosed bubble in which the collection, including the greatest Kandinskys in the world, is framed in air and light, some brilliantly cantilevered in space by James Johnson Sweeney, the Museum's director . . . I have not been to the Guggenheim, damn it.  Nor the Carnegie.  But let's go back to 1959 and wander through the Guggenheim with our behatted fellow New Yorkers: (be patient - you eventually get inside the building.  Completely amateur film is exactly like my own phone video efforts.)

Interesting.  Reminded me of the British Museum, the Rotunda Building in Oakland, oh - the hated (by me as well) San Francisco Public Library.  So - a mixed bag, but the huge atrium must be a cliche by now.  Vogue goes for "luminous, exquisite bubble,"  let's read the Times review.  Highlight:  ". . . a war between architecture and painting in which both come out badly maimed."  Ouch.  Reviewer describes a scheme not unlike the Ikea showroom, in which you are forced to wander further and further into a spiral with only the lucky glimpse of an elevator to save you.  Further investigation reveals that reviewer John Canaday was a relentless enemy of modern art and modern architecture.  (I myself see nothing in Abstract Expressionism.)  A provocateur, actually.  If you were to go to the Guggenheim this weekend, you could catch the end of a retrospective of works collected by James Sweeney during the 1950s.  

We return to March 2013.  If you were to go to the Guggenheim the first week of February 2013, you would still pay the full price of admission, but you would be able to see the "luminous, exquisite bubble" only from the outside.  But it didn't really matter.  It was still great.  We were there - at last: you wouldn't think tourists could get so perplexingly lost trying to find 89th and Central Park, but we are the people who mistook the Manhattan Bridge for the Brooklyn Bridge and wondered what all the fuss was about -- a few days before the opening of the Gutai exhibition.   Much rushing about and hammering.  Also very few visitors, so we had the informative Ask Me folks to ourselves.  

Is the Guggenheim like other buildings with atriums?  No.  The proportions are perfect.  I found it warm and intimate.  

As for "the greatest Kandinskys in the world."  The Kandinsky room is tiny.  I walked around and asked, apparently too loudly, "Is that it?"  An Ask Me guy sprang to the defense.  "Is that it?"   Tall, thin, long flowing dark brown hair, filling the room like a car lot Windyman.   "Look at these Kandinskys!  You never see these!"  I guess you don't.  These are from Kandinsky 1911-1913, at the point in his life when Kandinsky pivots toward "complete Abstractionism."  

I was dutifully staring at a painting of a Russian icon, possibly not by Kandinsky, when I noticed that my son was hovering over a display case, reading a poem aloud in German to the Exuberant Ask Me guy.  It was a poem about a fish and a horse and something else.  My son - recent graduate, double major in German/Criminal Justice - translated.  (Shameless plug of proud parent.)  When Alex finished, the Ask Me guy did a double take and laughed.  "That's so Kandinsky!"

View from outside the Kandinsky room over the roof of the Guggenheim, toward Central Park, the day after the blizzard in February:


Yes, that's Jane Fonda.  Let's do the right side first.  

From PATA, left side:  "The crushing, rather claustrophobic Upstairs at the Downstairs, a night place, bright with 'Pieces-of-Eight,' a lurching revue of sorts with Ceil Cabot, a funny girl with a homely but delightful face; and Jane Connell, anguished and equally funny as a girl in love with Mr. Clean."  

That's the cast album from this review on the lower right, of which a fragment was found on Spotify once, but I can't find it now.  Some things don't date well, and this, I think, is one of them.  

I was trying to not find anything interesting (to me) about Pieces-of-Eight, but I see that Jane Connell was born and raised in Berkeley, so bull's eye with the local angle.  I'm going to stop looking now.

Jane Fonda in her first incarnation!  "A star in next year's movie Tall Story (with Anthony Perkins), Jane Fonda first appeared in Vogue, April 1958 ('the dazzle of a baby femme du monde').  She wears here the ginchiest new shirt-look going:  high-powered real jewels for buttons; reading from left to right, rubies-sapphires-pearls; turquoises-sapphires-pearls; emeralds-sapphires-diamonds. . ." Then comes a bunch of credits, including "hamster skirt, by Philip Hulitar."  

See why I do this?  One throwaway little paragraph and you have "ginchiest look going" and "hamster skirt." 

I expect to find ginchy in Urban Dictinary.  "You hella ginchy."  Not a compliment.

And the hamster skirt.  You can find this exact skirt in the NYT, which notes that the hamster makes a swell fedora as well.  Yes, it is made out of hamsters.

The buttons:  nothing new in fashion is old.  Exact same thing shown in last year's fall collections.

Let's go to the movies!

This came unexpectedly to the Pacific Film Archive, thanks to recent interest in Jean-Louis Trintignant.  I had to see it on the kinda big screen.   (No new 1959 films until I get an external DVD drive.  We've seen most of the streamable Netflix movies.)

*Italy, toward end of World War II.  Teen-aged draft-dodging son of fascist politician and widow of naval hero fall in love.  

*When Jean-Louis Trintignant takes Eleanora Rossi Drago in his arms. . . Just watch the clip.  

*Moody, beautiful cinematography, well-paced.  I liked it even better in the theater.  The pacing is really remarkable.  The fascist father, whom I thought was the only flaw when I watched the film on the Mac, seems not so clownish; on the big screen. You see the grenade sitting casually on the desk as the father rants about the war.  

Next: Lady Diana Cooper and a dive back to the 1920s.

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