Pearls! PEARLS!


Just found this article on The Hairpin,
and just about died of *glurg*ing:


“Here, thousands of pieces of Hollywood history are crammed into drawers and trays. Open up one blue drawer, and you might find snakes; another could be all bejeweled daggers. The opposite wall is stacked floor to ceiling with black velvet-lined trays. This is where the most coveted pieces have been carefully catalogued, ordered first by type, and then by gem color.”


Eugene Joseff created this necklace for Leigh.


Holy. Crap.


What I love about Joseff is that he was crazy about historical accuracy,
and he did it with Swarovski crystals, paste jewelry, and gold-plating.
I love that he made stunning jewelry out of ordinary things.

When I become a production designer,
you betcherass I’ll be renting jewelry from Joseff’s.



Bless you, Hark! A Vagrant. Bless you.


The Victorian “What a cock” just about made me
piss myself with suppressed laughter.


K. Beaton, if you’re ever in Los Angeles,
let’s go get drunk and make giggly history jokes at each other,


Hark! A Vagrant!

Disney vs. History:


I could quibble with the accuracy of some of these,
but still, beautiful reinterpretations:

Claire Hummel Does Disney


Aurora is my favorite.



Off to Camp!

Will resume our…slightly erratic posting after the holiday.
Going camping at Wheeler Gorge in Ojai

(non-potable water! a river behind our campsite! s’mores!)

with The Boyo, The Roomates, LauraJane,
Dammit Dog, and other Colorful Characters.

Yay for independence and the madness of King George, y’all!

On Art:

And the “proper” discussion thereof.

One of my old students posted a provocative photo on Facebook from a
“One Million Years BC” promo, shot by Terry O’Neill:


A conversation of sorts ensued,
as much as is possible on Facebook.

Is it blasphemy?
Is it art?
According to one comment,
those of us who questioned this photo as art are “stupid ass people”.

…Ah, ad hominem, you never fail the internets…!

(for the record, I find this photo silly and kinda offensive, since it’s typifying Welch’s character as a type of Christ, which she certainly isn’t in the film.)

Here’s the thing about art–
it’s more than provoking interest,
it’s sustaining it.

It’s not just titillation,
it’s rapture.

It’s not just mockery,
it’s satire–sharp, incisive, and astringent.

It goes beyond the bounds of a time period,
of a history, of a story–
real art lasts for millenia *because* real art speaks to universal truths.

It’s a difficult balance, more often than not, because I very firmly believe in
freedom of speech, but that includes the person looking at the art in question–
nothing is allowed a vacuum.

I agree with Chaim Potok: “Art should make you sweat.”

On that thought, what about urinals in museums?


It’s up to the museum–but I reserve the right to roll my eyes at the “artist” in question.

Here’s the greater tangle–
should said urinal be taught as art?
Included with Van Gogh, Degas, Pollock, even (God forbid) Vermeer?

I don’t think so.

A statement?




(part of why I’m so adamant about this is because Duchamp wanted to shift the focus of art from physical craft to intellectual interpretation–this degrades the notion of art being work, of the value behind creating something oneself…and also? I think I might blame Duchamp for Thomas Kinkade and his proliferating works of schlock.)

Here, let me try to explain further:

Look at her face,
how Lange captured the agony and uncertainty of job loss and hunger–
it is beautiful and heart-breaking.

My favorite painting, the Mona Lisa of the North, by Vermeer.
Look at the balance, the contrast he uses with the deeply colored background
and her bright clothes–how the pearl reflects the white of her collar,
the mysterious expression in her eyes…I’ve always thought she looked sad.

Picasso used his Cubist styling to draw the viewer’s attention to the horror of the Spanish Civil War–perhaps more vividly than even photos or newreels of gore could manage. The mother in the far left portion makes me catch my breath every time I see this painting.

Here’s the thing:

Art–real art–is touched with the Divine,
a reflection of the Creator Himself,
of the power given to an artist to make something new with his or her own hands.

(This is said with the understanding that Art is a variable–what makes me stand in awe may not have the same effect on someone else. For example, I really dislike the Avant-Garde movement in general, but I can appreciate the design aesthetic and the pure labor behind some of those works.)

But the question comes down to this, really:

What, in a given work, makes it lasting?
What makes it sublime?

Art takes us outside of ourselves.
Statements just start fights.

Renaissance vs. Medieval: One of these things is not like the other…



Consider me your friendly tour guide for this wandering about in history business.

First off,
let us consider dates.

The Renaissance period lasted from the very tail end of the 15th century
(starting, really, with Gutenberg’s printing press in 1452),
and ending just before the 17th.

The Medieval period is considerably longer,
lasting from the 5th century to the 15th.
This time is also called “The Middle Ages”.

remembering dates is a pain in the ass,
so allow me to give a visual representation:



Two-Dimensional. Predominantly religious subject matter. Loose clothes.



Three-Dimensional. Secular subject. Fitted bodice.


Or look at it another way:
Is your art predominantly two-dimensional, simplistic,
and usually focused on religious subjects?

Monks doing monkish things.



You’re in the Middle Ages!

Are your clothes fairly shapeless, with perhaps an outer tunic for style?


Kinda jealous--these look waaay more comfortable than jeans.

Also Middle Ages!

Who’s ruling your country?
If the answer is, “Why, Queen Elizabeth I!”
Guess what?
You’re in the Renaissance!


Ah, Elizabeth I, CEO...

(she shaved her hairline to get that whole billiard-ball-forehead thing. crazy, nu?)


Are you wearing a device that pushes your boobs up around your eyeballs?


Yes. I used myself as an example. Annnnd?
(I look sad because I don't have beer. shutup.)


Perhaps it’s not *totally* accurate (historical costumers fight…GO!),
but still Renaissance!

(Very well…See below for a period sketch of a noble/upperclass woman in a
similarly boobifying contraption)

Notice the conical shape? That's pure Elizabethean, right there.


Are you a Crusader?



Is Shakespeare alive?



Are you quoting Lewis Carroll and wandering about in brass goggles?



Can’t help you there, mate.

But you look cool.



Seriously, right? The top hat kinda makes me swoon.

photo credit


(ladies in “princess” hats sprouting bits of tulle? just…no.)