Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Want a Little Who-Ha? (or, the Holy Family)

.................I do! Quite by accident, in reality the result of a love of vintage shoes, I have stumbled into the RAMONA HOTEL, of BisKiT'S POSSUM SAUSAGE EMPORIUM. And indeed, she still has some cool vintage shoes listed.....but I digress, led astray by the pretty shoes. Can't help myself.

When the shoes I nabbed from her arrived yesterday, my birthday even, she included some postcards featuring her artwork. I have to admit, when I shopped the shoes, I didn't even look at her other listings. Not only is that rude, but poor shopping (combined shipping!). Said postcards intrigued me.....bottlecap characters, Hank Williams, Bettie Page & the Virgin of Guadalupe. Behold....

Click, to see more. And buy some!

So, off the wee child & I go to bed, and she snagged the postcards as they were new & new is shiny & shiny is pretty to small girls. In bed, where we sit & read books before the sleeping, she becomes enamored of the Virgin bottlecap lady. Loves her. Says she is beautiful, is moony, smitten....she's beautiful, wonderful, looks like a nice lady, don't you think Mommy? Isn't she pretty? Yes, yes, I say. Who is she? Well, we're not terribly religious, but this worked....she's Mary, Jesus's Mommy. She likes that.....then tells me the other two look "evil". Her word (and again, I reiterate, we're not so religious, so no idea where "evil" came from, but admitting I was amused). Apparently the child is very perceptive.....even faces morphed into bottle cap critters can still tell stories.

Now, she asks.....where is Jesus's Daddy? I say, we don't have a picture of him. She says....THIS one can be his Daddy. That one being Hank Williams. So, in our home, apparently Hank Williams is now God. I mean, I like him, but now.....well, he's God. She goes on to announce that Bettie Page can be his sister. Sister Bettie. Yep.

That's a pretty twisted holy family, but wonderfully colorful & I wholly approve. I emailed Ramona Hotel about it, and have since had a chance to check out the WHO-HA SITE, which I won't claim to be all hip & in the know on, I'm a middle class chick from Iowa so what do I know of folk/outsider art?

What I do know is I love it. And I am glad my daughter loved it enough to force my interest in the midst of a busy world & life. It's a damn fine site, really cool stuff & in my limited experience thus far, fantastic people. I'll be taking up a collection for the Hank Williams/PBR altar, just contact me for my Paypal addy.


Monday, November 27, 2006

The Ilka Files, Final Chapter

.....................For now, as I also bought her book & may share parts of it now & then. Today will finish the 3 part series comprising an excerpt from a lecture she gave in 1941, published in Vogue magazine. See the last several entries to get the whole picture.

Ilka Chase, the Philosophy of Being a Woman, 1941

"Of course, I don't mean that we should make no effort to improve our taste- there is an enjoyment that is to be derived from the best, that nothing else equals- I just mean not to say "yes, yes" to what we don't care for through snobbishness & timidity. But it is just as unwise to condemn something on first sight or hearing it as it is to gush over it. We sometimes dislike things because we don't understand them; whereas, if we would take the trouble to see the creator's viewpoint, it might open up a whole new horizon.

And, if instead of always playing a passive role, we can create something ourselves, so much the better. It is obvious most of the stuff we do will not be very good, but the important thing, it seems to me, is to do it. Naturally, there are authors, inventors, scientists, in whom the creative urge still flourishes, but I feel there's a slowing down of that force in average people, the civilian population, so to speak. We aren't productive enough. We accept everything without trying to achieve anything ourselves.

We are eternally on the receiving end. We don't write a book, we read it. We don't compose music, we listed to it. We don't paint the pictures, we look at them. It's the same with our food- we eat it, but we don't grow it. Some of us, myself for instance, though I hate to admit it, can't even cook it. We buy our clothes instead of making them. We don't take a walk, we ride to the village. God help us when we find a subsitute for bearing our children or loving our men. It's not that all the time-saving devices aren't miraculous, but what are we going to do with the time we save? Don't let's atrophy like those forests of the West.

And there's another point, which, as we are women, we would do well not to overlook. Namely, nothing is so encouraging to a man as a little bright eyed interest in his work. We can bluff just so long, and, of course, while "Oh, isn't that wonderful" is not to be disregarded as a conversational winner, an intelligent question slyly inserted from time to time will do a great deal to boost our reputation of being a sympathetic and charming person.

And let us not forget that though they are sometimes overlooked in the rush, sympathy and charm are still the great feminine standbys. Goodness knows I don't mean to endorse that dreadful phony kind, the gushing, overflowing woman who says "Oh, my dear, tell me about yourself. I know what you must be going through. When I think what I suffered-". That aint good; or the charm girls with the rippling laughter, "Ha, ha, ha". We've all suffered from them. Thats not what I mean, and though we all have our own definition of charm, I sometimes think iit largely in taking time. Time to do the gracious, simple, kindly thing. To send the flowers to the hospital, to call on a newcomer in your neighbourhood, to write a gay and entertaining letter. That gentle art, alas, is nearly dead. We either telephone, or we send rude, abrupt telegrams. An invitation these days is almost an insult: "Stephensons coming to town Stop Will you dine Tuesday Stop Bring children Stop Jack's mother here so can't ask you to stop Stop Regards" Stop Stop Stop. Oh its terrible. Let us take just a little time."

That's how it ends, abruptly as the telegram she's just mentioned. I think there's a lot to consider in this article....a lot that applies, in many cases more so, today as much as it did in 1941. I do think we all assume that because we are not "officially" an author, painter, or chef, that we cannot do those things well. And we believe if we cannot do them well we ought not do them. And thats truly sad. I believe our society has become so inundated with professionals at absolutely everything that we've become accustomed to assuming someone does everything better than we do.

But creating is not about doing it well. I used to write.....wrote poetry, mostly. Poetry is hardly a way to make a living, and somehow I got it in my head that because I'd never be good enough to be a well paid poet (yeah, because those exist), I wasn't GOOD at it. My poetry was me. Why would I tell allow myself to believe that my feelings, thoughts & dreams weren't GOOD enough?

Whether or not I revisit poetry as a means of creative escape remains to be seen. I'll write here, and it helps.....no matter who reads it. But I hope if anyone DOES read this, that maybe they will come away with a little inspiration from this 60-some year old lecture.....and remember what they used to do that made them happy before they let the world tell them they weren't good enough at it to do it at ALL anymore.

Do it anyway! Be horrible at it, be mediocre at it......don't let anyone see/hear/experience what you do if doing so makes you feel inadequate. But do it. And if you have children....encourage them to do it too. Never tell them they're not good at something they love doing. I know what things I'm good at, and I ended up lucky enough to do that for a living. But I'm going to spend some time finding out what I'm NOT good at, that I like doing anyway. Like singing. Ang

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Interrupting Ilka

.................Ilka will be back, but while I am thinking of it, I want to share one of the most amazing movie star GLAMOUR nightgowns I've ever seen, from one of my favorite vintage lingerie sites, Silver Screen Loungerie.........

Click & enjoy. You can only find better (OK, as good, maybe not BETTER) at my own lingerie site! DOROTHEA'S LINGERIE

20% off all lingerie this month!


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ilka Chase part II

............I know I'm late, I know I know. On with the article (it gets better!)

Of course, it's pleasant if we can find time to cultivate the mind a teensy, weensy bit, too, so that if a gentleman, devastated by our beauty, addressed us, we have some comeback other than "Glug". Not, alas, that it's really necessary; if we are young enough and beautiful enough, and the gentleman is mentally inexperiences, shall we say, which frequently he is, "Glug" will sound just fine. You will hear him muttering, "That little blonde, the one with the lashes, very clever girl, bright, witty understanding". It's kind of discouraging, you join Book Clubs, you attend lectures like this, you listed to symphonies, you take a course in the drama, and what appeals to him? Glug. Sometimes the self-improvement scarcely seems worth the effort.

I think, fundamentally though, it is, and I'll tell you why, for two reasons. One is it's surprising how enjoyable learning can be. You can, yourself, personally, have an awfully good time. Learning about things can be lovely, like opening windows and seeing the most beautiful views. One may experience tremendous satisfaction. We may someday find a man wandering in that magic country, too. THAT'S the second reason. If a man and a women find each other there, thet have really entered into a secret garden. The bloom on their affection will never wither, but be constantly refreshed by quick sympathy and mutual enjoyment.

Now all this I am sincere about, but I do feel there is one pitfall we must avoid in our search for the good, the true, and the beautiful, and that is a kind of intellectual snobishness. I am thinking primarily of the world o' arts and letters, where more of it goes on than was ever seen in the haunts of duchesses.

Better be born on the wrong side of the tracks, for instance, than admit to liking the wrong piece of music, although if you cotton to the 1812 Overture, I don't know why you shouldn't come out and say so. The intellectual snobs, however, are waiting like vultures to tear you to ribbons, but don't be afraid, speak up, even if your taste isn't in accord with the experts. After you look, listen, and read for your own pleasure, not their approval. Personally, I revel in low-class literature, where everybody sins in sables and Lord Dumbarton breaks his heart over the beautiful Lady Cecily and sails away to Africa. "Good-bye, Cecily, I shall neva forget you". And Lady Cecily says "Dear Bunny, if only our lives had been different- think of me sometimes- not too harshly". And she turns away with a little sob. (GULP) Escapist literature, I think they call it, and thats for me. Remember THE GREEN HAT some years back? For sheer effulgent tripe its never been equalled, and I can think of no book I emjoyed more. And only the other day, no less a light then Miss Ethel Barrymore, the first lady of the theatah, confided to me that the only movies she ever liked were B pictures.

More tomorrow! And here's Ilka in the dress described in the last post.....

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Philosophy of Being a Woman (Vogue 1941)

.................Have I mentioned I love old fashion magazines? Love. The pictures, the fashions, the advertisements, the products I cannot have without a full scale lifetime search.....love them. When time allows, I even love the articles. This particular Vogue magazine came from Jean's estate (more on Jean HERE). Its from November of 1941, making it timely as well as fantastic. Thought I'd share an excerpt from an article I've enjoyed about and BY Miss Ilka Chase (perhaps best remembered for her role in the deliciously wicked film, "The Women"). The editor introduces her this way.....

Known as a calmly acidulous actress, a radio star who can make a program sparkle by rubbing together two wisecracks and one celebrity, Miss Chase this winter adds two new strings to her bow. She is writing a book of memoirs, and she is buckling down to a full-term lecture tour. For some lectures, Miss Chase will wear the dress from Falkenstein shown opposite- a close black jersey top, a spreading skirt of brown faille, hung with black tassels. And from this vantage point, she will utter her own light-hearted, debunked thoughts on being a woman.

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"THE PHILOSOPHY OF BEING A WOMAN A Gay and Pithy Excerpt From a Lecture" by Ilka Chase

"I think its very important to be well dressed. No matter how fancy our astral bodies, until that day when we lean them against a harp and shake the feathers out of our wings, they are invisible to the common people. We might as well make the mosta out of the besta that we got. I think its important to be well-dressed. I also think it is extremely difficult, particularly if you have the minor distractions of a husband, home, children, in-laws, possibly a job, etc. etc. it becomes a little harassing. You doubtless know better than to wear those rather fancy shoes with a sports suit, but, good Lord, you're in a hurry, and those shoes were handy.

Still, dressing well needn't be a chore; it can be great fun, but I have long contended that to be well-dressed, two of three things are essential- time, money and taste. Of course, if you have all three, you're on velvet, but you must make two points to score on all. If you're very busy, but very rich, its no problem- the hair dresser comes to your house, you go to the best shops, and, with your unerring instinct, you pick up a but of perfection for a casual two or three hundred dollars, you add a clip especially designed for you, and, in a trice, you are the ten best-dressed women.

That, however, is a dreamy kind of set-up, which few of us suffer from. Of course, if you are very poor and deperately busy, the chances are you have more pressing matters on your mind than "Are padded shoulders on the wane?"- but let us suppose for the purpose of today's lyrics that you are an average woman like the rest of us, with some time on your hands, a little money, and better-than-average taste in dress.

You can go far on a limited budget with unlimited imagination, provided you have a litte time to shop around, or to run up little marvels for yourself. We may, indeed we should, wear simple clothes, but a fresh and unexpected combination of colour, an amusing and unusual accessory, and individual manner of wearing your hair, will go a long way towards establishing your repuation for chic.

In an effort to achieve simplicity, it is, I think, important to avoid the drab. Clothes may be practical, but it is inexcusable for them to be dull. A well cut top-coat in raspberry-red will keep you just as warm and twice as chipper as one in poor-house brown.

Two articles of apparel, which, if a girl wore them, used to put her in the "poor thing" class, are now so well designed that the smartest women have adopted them. I refer to flat-heeled shoes and glasses. Some of the best cut footwear, with the smart chunky look, has low or no heels, and glasses have become great beau-catchers. Especially those tiptilted pixie ones, and those with tortoise-shell rims; the movie stars began it with their dark glasses for disguise- which had the added value of being sure to attract a good deal of attention- and now, summer and winter, women wear them against the bright sun, and, recently, glamour girls who are blind as bats without them have taken to wearing them gaily and with no self-consciousness. Joan Bennet wears them all the time, and is amazed to see what goes on, and one night at the prize-fights, I saw Miss Brenda Frazier, now Mrs. John Simms Shipwreck Kelly, who is still the Atlantic seaboard's ranking contribution to the lists of glamour, peering happily through hers at the mastadons exchanging blows.

If we are ingenious, there are all kinds of stunts we can pull in dress, which are fun and original and are still all right. I do not say "and are still in good taste", purposely. As Mr. Omar Kiam, the well-known dress designer, not the tent-maker, once remarked when I interviewed him on my radio program, "There's too much good taste in clothes these days. I'm all for a little exciting vulgarity".

I must say, in a way I agree with him. I'm against dark blue serge with a ladylike string of pearls at the throat. I think we ought to be flamboyant. We are living in dark times; we should do what we can locally to brighten the outlook, and, if we are honest, I think we will admit that today there is less excuse for being badly dressed than ever before. In spite of priorities, the quantity and quality of clothes in the market are extraordinary. I don't know how its possible, but it still is, so let us be grateful, as it may not last long, as goodness knows we are being deprived of the oddest things. False eyelashes, for instance. Would you believe it, they are at a premium. It seems they grind them into cannons or something. I wouldn't be in a position to bring you this report were it not for the fact that I need them for the theatre and was recently stymied by the short rations.

Of course, if we devote ourselves to the pursuit of beauty exclusively and really pleased the advertisers, dust would accumulate on the furniture, the jungle creep over our towns, and the children pine away from hunger, as Mummy would be so busy acquiring the smile of health, the glow of youth, combating cold-weather skin, and trying on "Clothes which express the real You" that she couldn't conceivably attend to her chores.

But there is a happy medium, and we should always have high standards. I personally don't always live up to my own. Who does? But even if you don't like clothes and fuss, I think it is every woman's duty to make herself as attractive as her time and means permit. After all, there you are, in your person- a living symbol of the progress of art, science and imagination. To be as attractive as we can be is almost a civic duty; there are so many sad and ugly things in the world that I think women should say to themselves humbly, not with vanity, "I will try to be as pretty as I can, so that when people look at me, they will feel refreshed. I will make an effort to be easy on the eye".

To be Continued, meanwhile, enjoy these QUOTES attributed to Miss Chase!.......Ang

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lingerie Lou

.............................Who among us can claim to not love the vintage lingerie? I love it wholeheartedly....in fact, it was my love of the vintage slip that lead me to my current career. The soft nylon, the sheer chiffons, the delicate lace, the elegant bias cut satins & silks. I found this doll amidst my grandmother's things after she passed away & I can only imagine that playing with this doll as a child at her house helped to spur my fascination with it. Should I ever come across a snazzy GREEN hard plastic bra & tap pants set, I'll be complete! Meet Lingerie Lou........

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Apparently, one was to make clothing for our friend Lou....

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And I'm going to go 40s on her dating, based on the shape of that midriff top. Lou has mohair hair, a plastic body & odd sharp fins coming out of her ribs. I'm not sure how those wouldn't harm a small child's hands, but no matter! I loved Lou, and I still do. And I still love lingerie! In honor of Lou, and my grandma Dorothea, I give you a sampling of the lovely lingerie offered on the eBay store as well as the website. Pretty pretty!

Much more to be seen at either site, I've added alot to the website in the last few days....seems our Eleanor (of Stork Club lipstick fame, see previous post) had a weakness for the delicate & frilly as well....I'm only barely making a dent in all the gorgeous things I brought home from her place now! The website has a stunning bias cut silk crepe pale blue nightgown from the 30s, slips, bras & more....much more to come! An inspirational site that boasts some of the best vintage lingerie available is SILVER SCREEN LOUNGERIE, one of my favorites to visit for the eye candy & education. And keep in mind, I collect Daniel Green satin slippers (red satin 7.5 wedges *swoon*).....Christmas is coming! Ang


...........................Ever so far from what you'd have thought. Stork as in THE STORK CLUB (a little click there will get you to a cool website about legendary nightclubs). I've been working with the estate of a lovely gal named Eleanor, she of heavenly lingerie fame (see tomorrow's post for that!). A woman with wonderful taste, and well travelled as well. Within this estate I came across these.....

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Three lipsticks, a parfum & a leather holder, all from the fabled Stork Club. Squealworthy! I'm oh so far from being a person who could have been to the Stork Club, both in age and proximity. Not in the cards, so I'll settle for these mementos.

One of my favorite films of all time is "The STORK CLUB", a fabulous musical starring Betty Hutton. The plot is charming, the music wonderful and the scenes where she & a friend sit & watch the models in a department store as she decides what dresses to get feature STUNNING vintage fashions! She & her coat check co-worker wear full length mink coats through the scene while nearly passing out from heat...

"But Judy, its August, and one of the hottest days of the year! You'll melt!" (Judy)"Yeah, but I'll look awful good doin' it!"

I adore the character actor Barry Fitzgerald in this picture as well. A charming film, a little screwball, a little romance, a little music and some killer dresses.

Click to picture to get to the listing, a mere $13ish and you can own it too! But the lipsticks are MINE. Ang

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Panning for Vintage

....................I'm convinced it will come to that, so to speak. I think the same thing every Monday night (or Tuesday) as I go through my shipping information for ended auctions.......WHY is all the vintage going to California? I believe nearly half my sales are to the west coast. I get that the coasts have larger cities....more "culture". I do send a lot to New York as well, but nowhere near what goes to Cali. Fine by me, I don't have any preference for where it GOES as long as I can make my living & the clothes get to be worn again. If ever that state DOES break clean away from the continent & sink (please know I jest here), its a pity how much vintage will be lost! Ang

Monday, November 06, 2006


.............I'm not a maroon, I just don't get a lot of time to sit & read. I'm working about 10 hours a day, most days, and the days I don't those "free hours" are spent with my daughter who sees me sitting at a computer or taking pictures of a mannequin more than she sees me blowing bubbles for her or pushing her on a swing. Sad but true, as we have to eat & pay rent. The books I end up reading more often than not are kids books at bedtime.

I have come across some great books having to do with vintage, and I LOVE spending a half hour or so with an actual VINTAGE Vogue or fashion magazine (despite the obvious frustration at not being able to run out & just shop for the things I see in them!). Whilst passing the magazine racks at the local grocery, I have many times lamented there just isn't a fashion magazine for people like me....like my customers. People who prefer a good 40's gabardine suit to low slung jeans & midriff exposing shirts. People who prefer a kicky novelty print shirtwaist to a raunchy mini skirt & ill fitting "shrunken" jacket.

I may be jumping the gun, having not seen it, but it appears there is hope on the horizon! The kids over at the FEDORA LOUNGE have created a new periodical..... CLASSIC STYLE MAGAZINE. Premier issue available November 2006 (that's NOW!). Articles about vintage fashion, the return of the hat, Golden Era Celebrity Profile, a holiday gift giving guide & more. Sounds cool, and at $15 for a year's subscription (4 issues), not a shabby deal. I'm looking forward to my copy! Ang

PS.....this 60's alligator-that-may-be-crocodile handbag by Lucille de Paris ends in an hour & a half & the suspense is killing me. *Should* be a good ending, wish me luck! Click to see it, and bid already!!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I'm HTML-tarded

.................but with a little template generator thingy I re-invented myself here, almost to my liking. I'd like my original profile image to still show up over there ----------->, but eh, this looks a kabillion times better so no worries. I had to kill several images back in older posts because they were mammoth & making my links & info drop down below all the posts, counterproductive as I'd like people to click on my sites & shop (I like money, the child likes to eat).

So I'll add smaller versions back in as time allows....after an hour of messing with getting colors & images & links correct, I need to actually work on vintage listings. So to the 2 or 3 folks who bother to check in now & then.......hope you like it! And behold, the original image used to tile the background. I love it for how bitchy those dames look, yet so stylish! Ang

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

HALLOWEEN, NyQuil Style.

....................Trick or treating on Beggar's Night here left us with little to do the night of Halloween proper. It was a Tuesday night, we'd done the school party, the house to house gig, the little one had a few events AT school. We have loads of candy. Done deal. By Halloween night I was good & sick anyway.....having walked face first into hurricane force 45 degree winds for an hour & a half with a nasty head cold brewing left me in pretty rough shape anyway.

I am not a fan of cold meds....daytime is like legal meth, nighttime knocks me on my arse which is NOT good with a toddler about. So I stuck it out all day with a few ibuprofen. But settling in to sleep, things were NOT going well and the NyQuil called to me.

It takes a bit to kick in, so I got up and turned on the TV while I waited for that lovely, sleepy release from sinus pain hell. Stumbled across an old (and yes, they're ALL old, but this was VERY old) Halloween episode of ROSEANNE. The meds started to kick in and I sat & mused about how funny this show was back in the day.......how simple MY life was, back in that day........how bad John Goodman's HAIR was back in the day......and just what Disney film have I seen recently that he did a voice in? Wasn't it something with David Spade? And didn't Sara Gilbert end up on ER, is she still on it? How CUTE was David, her edgy little boyfriend....he LIVED with them at some point, didn't he? Why is it so damn HOT in here?.................

I believe I watched 3 episodes. All Halloween. Remember the one where Roseanne is dressed like a man, and she & Jackie get stranded at a bar (the Lobo) and she pretends to BE a man, hanging with the guys playing pool, learning about what guys talk about when women aren't around.......ah, funny funny stuff. Especially high on NyQuil. And high or no, this website devoted to ROSEANNE
is fascinating as well.......enjoy! Ang

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