Saturday, July 30, 2011

Euphonic Earworms: Blues in the Night

Gee here, finally doing a post in this series! This is probably my number one car song at the moment, really great for singing along with and listening to over and over again (for me, at least) for my daily half-hour commute into town. It's not the most soulful/deep of blues songs, but I enjoy it and I like the lyrics, even though they're a bit... negative.

I love original blues in general, and am attempting to visit some of the many blues museums in this here state. I actually went to one today, but alas it was not open on weekends - which is not logical to me at all, but hey, who am I to say when they should be open?... okay, I'm a potential customer, so I should have some say, but that's not the point. Anyway, I hope you can see some merit in this post, despite the not-so-appropriate image accompanying this song (it was the only good-quality version I could find).

Dinah Shore in 1942.

- Gee

Friday, July 29, 2011

Can't Help Lovin' That Man: James Stewart

Greetings all!
Here begins a new series, on the men Gee & I adore from afar - across time and space and TV screens. Mostly actors and musicians from the eras we love most, we'll share a bit about why we love them, and add plenty of pictures to give you the visual evidence to convince you that you should like them too!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Family Photos and the Birthday Suit.

Here are some pictures from the other side of my family and my outfit for today.
My other grandma, Ella when she was very young. She's 11 years younger than Grandma Ana, just for reference.

My pop when he was about 6 or 7 (1961). You can see where I get my sunny disposition.
Dad looking like an O.G. at 2 years old (1957). 
Awkward early morning outfit picture. This would be my birthday suit. Because today is my birthday.

Happy day all!

- Gee

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Euphonic Earworms: I Won't Dance, in 1935 & 1952

Here are three different versions of "I Won't Dance", composed by the famous Jerome Kern and penned by Hammerstein and Harbach.
The first two are from Roberta (1935), which Ginger and Fred starred in alongside Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott. Any Fred and Ginger fan has probably already seen these scenes before, but hey, there's no such thing as too much Fred & Ginger!

And here's the triumphant finale, with a high-energy dance by both Fred and Ginger to a reprise of the "I Won't Dance" theme.

Finally, the version of "I Won't Dance" from the 1952 adaption of Roberta, renamed Lovely to Look At, here featuring the singing and dancing of real-life husband and wife Marge and Gower Champion. I don't like the musical arrangement or the singing of this duo as much as the Fred & Ginger version, but the dance part is great! I love how they incorporated the environment/the mannequins, the number is so playful!

- Emily

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Dancing Plague of 1518 & Other Bizarre Historical Epidemics

This is kind of random, but I just heard about this bizarre historical event from a good friend of mine. And I figure, most vintage folks like history beyond just the era they dress in, right? Right? Okay.
So, I won't bother giving a full history of the event, when these articles, from the Discovery Channel and Wikipedia, do it so much better, but here's the general idea: in the summer of 1518, one woman in Strasbourg, France stopped in the streets and began to dance intensely, in a trance - and didn't stop for four to six days! Other people, seemingly overtaken by the same trance, joined her, and within the week 34 others had joined, and in a month, 400 had joined in! Many actually died from the dancing - heart attack, exhaustion, and strokes. At the time doctors proclaimed it was a natural disease caused by "hot blood".
The Discovery Channel article also cites examples of another dancing plague in Madagascar in the 1840s, and the Laughter Epidemic of 1962 (which lasted eighteen months!!).
Life really is stranger than fiction.
- Emily

Monday, July 25, 2011

Recently Acquired

Okay, I have a problem.
And it's Daniel Green.
I am obsessed.
Who is this fella, you may ask? Well, it's not really a him that I'm obsessed with - it's Daniel Green's slippers/boudoir shoes that I so adore. I recently acquired my third pair of Daniel Greens, and the place where I got them had more styles in a variety of colors, so I had to hold back from making it two new pairs! This is really getting ridikulous (as Gee and I like to put it, like the Harry Potter spell), considering I now own more vintage slippers than vintage shoes/heels, which I get more everyday use out of. But, they're so lovely, I really can't refuse! Plus, it's not like they make pretty and comfortable house/bedroom slippers anymore, the modern Daniel Green itself now makes rather ugly slippers, to put it bluntly. So I feel I've got to snatch them up every chance I've got!

Sorry for the poor photo quality... I really don't know what's up with my D90!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Museum Musings

Howdy all!
This weekend was grand (only a personal level, obviously - Norway's horrifying attacks were utterly shocking and saddening, to put it mildly. But this is a vintage blog so I will keep it peppy), especially since today the heat wave cleared up and it was a tolerable 80-ish degrees!
Saturday was the last day (fingers crossed!) of the heat, but it was really bad and I was fed up with suffocating in my apartment with no A/C, so I headed out to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, partly to escape the heat, but mainly since I'd been meaning to go to the museum since I got to Boston.
And boy, am I glad I didn't leave it to the last minute! Because I definitely need to make at least one trip back there, it was so huge I missed out on one and a half floors and the Chihuly exhibit because the museum closed before I was finished!
And I had a nice encounter with a stranger - I was staring at Victorian-era American painting when a young Irish fella came up to me and asked me if I had any experience with time travel. I took it as a compliment (even though he said I looked like I was out of the 50s, when technically my hair and outfit pointed to mid-late 40s, but hey, I won't be persnickety lol) and we started chatting, and exchanged numbers. Eventually, after the museum closed, we got coffee at a nearby cafe. It was a pleasant day, and good stranger-meeting events always put me in a good mood and make me feel like the general friendliness of the past isn't totally dying out (I read this article a few months ago that was on the Yahoo front page about how research shows most American young people think it's creepy/inappropriate to talk to strangers, which makes me sad because how else are you supposed to meet people outside of your normal circle??)
And then today I went out to a vintage shop I hadn't yet visited - and it was a success! More on that tomorrow, when I'll post some recent finds.
Anyway, I thought I'd post just a very few of my favorite parts of the museum that I saw - it was really difficult to narrow it down, but here's a few nice pieces that I found images of on the MFA website (except for the first two images).

"Stream in the Forest Near Plombieres" (1870s) by Francois Louis Francais. I don't know why I liked this so much - I mean, it is beautiful, way more so in person, but usually I'm drawn to paintings/art of people. But I just stood in front of this one for at least five full minutes, feeling really weird. After a bit I realized that I think part of it was that at that moment, even though I was enjoying the museum, I so badly wanted to be there, in that forest, by the stream, alone, with a picnic blanket and a cool breeze, to just lie there for ages - it would be perfect happiness.   Hah, okay, mushy ramblyness over. 
"The Haymaker and the Sleeping Girl" (1785) by Thomas Gainsborough. This one was pretty, and the description accompanying it was interesting, talking about the social context of it and whatnot. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

College Swing

Okay, so I often add movies to my netflix queue solely because actors I love are in very minor parts in them and I enjoy seeing stars pre-stardom. This is why I added College Swing (1938) to my queue. It has a not yet famous Betty Grable and John Payne so I just had to see it. And ohmygod. I loved it. Bits of it where a little too slapstick-y for my normal taste, but all in all it was really enjoyable. I hadn't realized how much I love Bob Hope until I saw it, too. The film is on the same DVD as The Big Broadcast of 1938 so here are some shots I got of each (but mostly College Swing.) If you like comedies, adorable people and dramatic irony I highly recommend this movie. The Big Broadcast however.. meh it was okay. I'd say watch it just because you can, I guess.

Betty Grable being amazing and beautiful.

Just change that last name and this could very well belong to me.

Gracie and Bob 

Artist Feature: Chéri Hérouard

Chéri Hérouard (1881-1961) was a French artist known for his numerous illustrations for the magazine La Vie Parisienne. Here are some of my favorite of his works - they're sometimes humorous, often sentimental, and always whimsical!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Whatcha Gonna Do Now?

Here's a cute and funny musical number from the short film Service With a Smile (1934), which I watched in it's entirety on YouTube a few months ago, but can't find anymore. This little song clip, which I suppose is called "Whatcha Gonna Do Now?" is not only charming and a bit intentionally silly, but it features some really cute outfits on the ladies! And one fella wears a cheerful mint green suit and tie.

Once again, blogger wouldn't let me embed the video! So click on the picture to watch it on YouTube. Or click here, in case it doesn't link properly.

- Emily

More Vintage Family Photos

I found a few more old family pictures on my computer - they aren't as pretty, style-wise, as the last set I put up, but I thought I'd share them anyway.

Some distant male relative, looking like he feels pretty bad-ass in his uniform and sunglasses. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More McCall's, 1934-1935

More again from the archives! I only have about four more sets of these to share before I run out of everything I photographed. But Gee and I have plans for after our reunion in Atlanta - we were going to make a day trip down to my college town with a scanner in tow and pour over those babies until we collapse, hungry and tired and covered in dust - but very, very happy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Euphonic Earworms: Sleepwalk

Not to continue the trend of apologizing for being a bad blogger (like Gee in the last post), but I will apologize for being a bad blogger! I've been a bit busy over the past few weeks - a trip with my family over the 4th, and work has really picked up, and I met this one really awesome guy a few weeks ago who connected me to more awesome people that I've since spent a few happy afternoons/evenings with! So time for post-assembling has been slim.
Anyway, on to the point of this post: music! "Sleepwalk" is fitting for me right now on many levels: due to aforementioned activity in my social life I've been up wayyy past my bedtime a few times these past weeks, and after a new friend's birthday party last night I only got 3 and a half hours of sleep! Add that to the fact that I only got 5 hours the night before, and I'm totally exhausted right now, feeling a bit fuzzy-eyed and in a bit of a sleepwalk. But it was well worth it, because in sacrificing normal sleeping hours I've heard some incredibly amazing musicians in this group of people and I can't believe my luck in meeting them! I swear they're all going places, they're wonderful and so talented and I feel totally content to be able to listen. Leading me to the next reason that "Sleepwalk" is an appropriate song for me right now: One of these musicians is a guy (the first I met in the group) whose songs are so lyrically charming and happy-making, and more mellow, compared to the big band/swing music I've been in a mood for over the past few months. And now I'm finding myself choosing softer-sounding songs on my iPod, such as "Sleepwalk". This song also sounds like (to me) a perfect mix of melancholy and joy, if that makes sense, which is kind of how I'm feeling at this point in my summer, in this big city alone and just meeting these great people, trying to relish being young and here and now while trying not to stress about all the changes I've got coming up in the next year and all the work I need to do to bring them about. Le sigh.
Alright, this isn't supposed to be a personal blog. Point is, I've loved this song since I first heard it as a kid (I think on a road trip with my dad, but I may be projecting), and I still love it all these years later! I hope it does something for you too.

"Sleepwalk" by Santo & Johnny, 1959.

- Emily

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

Hey guys, it's Gracie. I feel like such a crap blogger... because I am. And for that I'm sorry. Since I have nothing of significance to say all I have to offer this post is some of the outfit pictures I've been taking the past couple of weeks. Forgive my facial expressions and my lack of authentic vintage clothes.

Dress from Goodwill and my Steve Madden Inga shoes.
One of the dresses my gran bought for me and beautiful (but falling apart) 40s shoes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Imitation(s) of Life: 1934 & 1959

A few months ago I watched both versions of Imitation of Life. At the time they were both available on Netflix Instant (now only the 1959 version is). Since this story/both movies are very famous, I won't tell you too much about it plot-wise, but here's my little review: I do highly recommend both films. Neither are very politically correct, which isn't surprising considering the subject matter and the eras in which they were dealing with it, but they are both entertaining and tell an interesting story if you keep in mind the times and are able to separate the medium from the message (as Lauren so perfectly put it when describing watching The Sheik). I watched the 1934 version first, and the next day, I was still thinking about the story, so I sat down and watched the 1959 version. What I noticed in terms of distribution of offensiveness, was that the 1934 version was more racist, and the 1959 version was more sexist (though both films have plenty of both).
Now to talk about some of the good points of the films:

Imitation of Life (1934), starring Claudette Colbert.
I've got a major girl-crush on Claudette Colbert, so in my opinion her presence alone gives this version major points. And of course she was great as usual. In general this film was engaging, and the characters pull you in enough to snag tears and laughs from you more than a few times.
Louise Beavers, playing the black maid Delilah Johnson opposite Colbert's Beatrice Pullman, was widely praised at the time of the film's release for a fine performance, but I can't say I loved it - not because she was necessarily a bad actress, but because despite the fact that her character was relatively developed compared to other roles for black actors at the time, the character is still a racist caricature (this wasn't her fault - of course she would've been directed to act this way).
Fredi Washington, who plays Delilah's daughter Peola, was absolutely gorgeous and portrayed the terrible anxiety and anger of her character very affectingly. Washington actually has a very interesting life story: She had a very rocky relationship with Hollywood, since she proudly defined herself as a black woman despite the fact that most people thought she looked white. She arguably lost chances at stardom due to racism and her refusal to pretend to be white, saying that success and fame wasn't worth the insult of having to deny one's identity/heritage. Her bravery in the face of racism and strong sense of self in general is admirable, but it's a shame she didn't get to do more pictures.
The last of the four main women, Rochelle Hudson as Jessie Pullman, was probably the least affecting, but mainly because her character is so unsympathetic. But Hudson plays it off well enough that you don't hate her, you just find her kind of annoying and naive (for falling in love with her mother's boyfriend). Also, she is delightfully adorable and wears a few cute outfits, which always helps!

Now for a few pictures from this film, mainly of pretty close-ups and cute outfits (though the clothing was not really a main feature, as you can see by the lack of full-length "look at the the pretty clothing" shots):
Lovely Claudette.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Artist Feature: Charles Dana Gibson

Charles Dana Gibson was an illustrator whose work was prominent from the 1880s to the end of WWI. I love his images for their humor, wry wit, and aesthetic loveliness (I do love the Gibson Girl look!), and I hope you enjoy them too!

Lovely Ladies of the Past: Ginger Rogers

We know, we know, we're not very original in thinking Ginger Rogers is the bee's knees. But there's a reason Ginger-lovin' is so widespread - she's impossibly lovable! One of the ultimate triple threats, Ginger was ridiculously talented and beautiful, able to be both beguilingly vulnerable and scintillatingly shrewd and cheeky, full of spunk. Here are some pictures of Ginger that we've gathered up between us, because of course no post here is complete without a photo-heavy ending, especially when there are beautiful ladies involved!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

LIFE and Times in the Semi-Wilderness

I'm writing this quick little post from a cafe in a small town in West Massachusetts. My family has come up north to visit me over the week, and we'll be traveling around the state, so my internet access will be pretty unpredictable. Of course I had to pop in to read up on y'all's (I've become defensive of the word, being surrounded by northern "you guys"-ers) posts and to do one myself!
The other day I was flipping through the online LIFE archives, and I found these images in a couple of magazines from around 1936-39. They caught my eye, so I thought I'd share them with you...

A picture of Ginger Rogers that accompanied an article about Vivacious Lady. 

I just thought this swimsuit was interesting! It seems like it could be a bit complex to put on. 
And now, an article about the way the modern American girl travels (from June 27, 1938). How I wish I could claim to be able to pack so lightly and with such wonderful clothes! Click on the photos to enlarge if you'd like to read the text!

- Emily
P.S -Yesterday as we drove through the one main street in this small town, I happened to look up from my nap and saw a decent-looking vintage shop with Victorian ladies in the window. I exclaimed and begged my family to stop for just a moment, and thankfully they obliged. I dashed in there like a madwoman and found that I had stumbled upon the best vintage shop I've ever seen. Very well kept, clean clothes, good condition, sizes marked - and almost all from the 50s and back! Even to the 1800s! It was pure bliss, marred by the fact that my mom was getting peevish and kept harassing me to hurry up. Twenty minutes later, after running through there and feeling stressed knowing I was missing so much, I left with a new petticoat (50s), full-length girdle/garters (50s), blazer/jacket (mid 40s), black rayon dress (early/mid 40s), and tie-waist sporty style floral top (30s/40s)! Of course, the more recent the clothing, the less expensive, so my wallet couldn't get me much of the 30s and back, but I'm sure if I had had more time I would've found some great deals in the 30s section! I'm pleased with my finds but regretful of how quickly I had to go through there. I'll do a post later with shop details and pictures of my finds. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Vogue, 1936

More archive images! I finally confirmed the year of the magazine because of some text in one image that I just noticed - the fashion spread in the second image says "The High Tide Fashions of 1936"! Huzzah!

Love. Love. Love. So much prettiness going on here. 

Euphonic Earworms: The Man I Love & Miss Hannah

Here are two peppy songs that I've been listening to a lot recently, especially as a wake-me-up in the morning while I get dressed and ready for the day. The past week or so I've been in a 20s/early 30s mood, music wise.  The vocals in both songs are very dating to that era's style of male crooners, and I love it!
Also, I think its interesting how in "The Man I Love", the singer is male - I feel like it's way more common/accepted to see girls singing songs with lyrics originally written for a male than it is to see a man singing lyrics written for a girl. Anyway, I really like the lyrics. I also like that this version is upbeat, whereas other versions I've heard (Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Bille Holiday - there are tons of covers!) are slow and ballad-like. Not that that's bad, it's just in this case, I happen to like the uptempo one best!

The Man I Love - Sam Lanin & His Orchestra, vocals by Irving Kaufman.

And this one especially makes me want to dance! (Click on the picture below to go to the YouTube page, for some reason Blogger wouldn't let me insert this one as a video.)

Miss Hannah - Isham Jones  & His Orchestra, vocals by Eddie Stone.
- Emily