Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What you gonna do?

Billie Davis singing "Whatcha gonna do?" (1965) from the movie "Pop Gear"

I love this! 

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Album Covers of Etta James: Part 3.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Eerie scenes by photographer Alex Prager.

After dark.

Interviews with the couple Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate on Playboy After Dark, circa 1967

I've always found Valley of the Dolls actress Sharon Tate and infamous Rosemary's Baby director and internationally wanted controversial criminal Roman Polanski such a strange and haunting couple.  Sharon Tate is always so perfect, so blonde, so sweet and so vacant. Its hard for me to really separate her from that Stepford Wives Valley of the Dolls female image.  I don't want to be too disparaging of her, she really did seem lovely, but in the most distant and plastic way.  Its so eerie that she was so brutally killed in such mysterious, cult-like rituals by other women, willing slaves submissive to the misogynistic mind control of wildman and oddball Charles Manson.   

Although it was stated by all his friend and family that Polanski was completely broken and shattered by Tate's death, it is hard to view him as the grieving widower, knowing he was still an infamous womanizer during their marriage and was swiftly on the hunt for young teen girls after Sharon and their unborn son's death.  While Tate reportedly wanted a traditional marriage, Polanski remained somewhat promiscuous and described Tate's attitude to his infidelity as "Sharon's big hang-up". He reminded her that she had promised that she would not try to change him, and she tried to accept it. Peter Evans quoted Tate as saying, "We have a good arrangement. Roman lies to me and I pretend to believe him."  Polanski is even mentioned in the Pam Miller Des Barres bio I'm with the Band as having tried to bed a teenage Pam during his marriage to Tate, harassing Pam with constant phone calls, but he severely creeped Pam out so she completely avoided his advances.

Its so eerie to watch these videos of Sharon with husband Roman on Hugh Hefner's Playboy hour After Dark.  For those unfamiliar with the story, Tate, 9 months pregnant at the time of her death, was one of the victims in the 1969 Charles Manson Cult murders.  She was entertaining guests in her Benedict Canyon home, previously owned by friends Terry Melcher and Candice Bergen, which Sharon and Roman called their 'love house'.   They regularly entertained odd groups of friends and hangers-on at their parties, and maintained an open-door policy with friends and strangers alike visiting their home at all hours.  Close friends often said they were too trusting to the point of recklessness.

On this night, in particular,  she had brought actress friends Joanna Pettet and Barbara Lewis over for lunch, confiding that Polanski was taking a long time to return home from London.  Tate was 2 weeks away from her due date and Roman was schedule to arrive back from overseas film production at any minute to prepare for the birth with her.  Polanski telephoned that evening to chat, as did Tate's little sister to ask if she and their other sister Patti could come over that night to sleep over.  For some reason, Sharon said no they couldn't sleep over that night.  Instead, she went to dinner with famous hairstylist Jay Seybring and two others, returning back to her home at 10:30 PM to chat.  That infamous night, Manson encouraged his followers to sacrifice someone, to prove their loyalty to the cult.  Although Manson did not personally enter Tate's home or cause physical harm, he was later charged with his role in influencing his followers to murder.     

The wealthy of Los Angeles were in panic and the tabloids were a-buzz post-murders. The timing of Polanski's epic psychological/supernatural horror film Rosemary's Baby, having recently arrived in theatres, made many speculate about an occult force rising up against the anti-Satanist themes of the film by slaying Polanski's wife.  Eeriely enough, Sharon actually did a film not long before her death called Eye of the Devil that had similar occult themes of blood sacrifice and Satanism.   The New York Times called Tate's performance in this film "chillingly beautiful, but expressionless".  

To those intrigued, I highly recommend the film Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired sometimes available on Netflix instant.  Its a complex and fascinating documentary of layers, twists, and turns in the dark labyrinth of Roman Polanski's story-- from his marriage to Sharon Tate, to his trials, to his troubled childhood, to his post-trials lifestyle on the run.   

Triple vision.

Combined ad for Lovables' Seychelles Collection and Dorothy Gray. Scanned from Vogue UK, April 15, 1972.

Technical difficulties...

Sorry lovely readers for the recent onslaught of poorly formatted posts.  I went on a weekend trip and put several posts in the queue so you'd have reading material while I was away, but to ensure things were going smoothly I checked the blog yesterday I saw they had reverted to old drafts rather than published the final polished versions!  I'm usually such a stickler for proper presentation so I'm going to polish them up and send them back out on their way very soon with a whole lot more.   xo  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Album Covers of Julie London

The Peanuts.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

'Round midnight.

Midnight and melancholy go so well together.   

All you need is a chair by the window, a glass of something amber, a pack of cigarettes, a fuzzy radio station playing on low in the background, when old midnight comes around.  

Street Angel (1928)

 Via Honey Hi

The above stills are from a 1928 silent film called Street Angel by director Frank Borzage, starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell.  Honey Hi says that the movie is full of tattered 20s frocks and circus costumes, and the IMDB tags are "Circus", "Melodrama", "Naples Italy", "Based on a Novel" and "Jail"! ... I'm certainly putting this one on my Netflix queue.  

In Naples, where prostitutes can pay their rent, Angela is sentenced to a year in the workhouse when she tries to steal (while streetwalking) to pay for medicine for her dying mother. She escapes and is hidden by a circus, where she's a natural talent and meets Gino, a painter. When she breaks her ankle in a fall, her career ends. What can she and Gino do? He wants to go to Naples, but the law may still be looking for her, and Gino doesn't know about her past. Starving artist and a beauty with a secret: is there room in this world for them?   via IMDB

"Never Such Soul-Stirring Love Scenes! 

Never Such Nerve-Tingling Drama! 
Never Such Eye-Feasting Beauty! 

Never Such Magnificent Screen Entertainment as This One Offers!"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In search of space...

What amazing and rare scans from Little lamb.  It seems like lost pages from the secret manual of a bohemian cult.

She says:
"In Search of Space, Hawkwind's second album from 1971. It features a collage of text and photos/illustrations - supposedly a found log book belonging to a space ship - containing notes left by these wandering space travellers, cryptic messages to whatever roaming earthling might stumble upon it: in search of space, in search of the past..."

Hands in the dark.

Hands in the dark
Touch and depart
Fingers probe and return to the glove
And fall away across the floor
Leading left from right.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Strange visions of Pandora.

I have been home alone for days now and each night was a little scary.  I heard that some people I knew were secretly part of a cult, hidden in the countryside.   They drink a strange tea and have visions.  I read up on rare South American religions late into the night, then I kept going until daylight.  
That night I had a dream that a giant diety, fleshed out in large human proportions, with mass and weight to his presence, came up to me, walking out from an empty room in my apartment.  He looked almost like a diety out of an old Hindu painting-- which are usually so charming and light, but he was gravely serious and massive.  He was part animal, and blue, and wearing big leather boots and beading.  I remember the sound of his heavy shoes and the little tinkling of trinkets, pendants, beads, hanging, rattling.  

It felt so real that later after waking myself, when I summoned the courage, I went back to the room and closed the door.  I didn't open it for three days.  I used to do that when I was young, there would be a Pandora's box-like place that I would close and never open, like a closet, or a deep drawer.  I felt that I could keep all the nightmares in that one place as long as I keep it shut and never opened it.   It was a strong feeling, like a superstition. 
I thought about the 27 club.  Brian Jones' death is listed as "Death by misadventure"

[Stills are from the silent film Pandora's Box]

Art: Tina Berning

Tina Berning makes a huge range of work from pieces for fashion spreads in glossy magazines to antique looking portraits of stoic crowds for a gallery opening, to a book of 100 paintings focusing on female images.  I love how watercolor paintings pool and make shadows, how she works on very cheap paper sometimes, and her line work that that distorts things just-so and they almost look like ancient children's book illustrations.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Some images via Photo Instant

These photographs are from the set of Performance (1970) starring Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg, among more traditional British actors.  Still shrouded in rock legend mystery is the question of whether Jagger and Pallenberg (she was with Keith at the time) had an alleged tryst during the filming of the movie.  A more curious mystery surrounding this film is surrounding one of the directors, Donald Cammell, who committed suicide in 1995 at age 62.  He only made four films in total and this film Performance, with its dark, disturbing undertones, is said to be very indicative of his unusual, dark perspective.  He was a painter to start, later a director, and always a fixture of the swinging sixties scene and an admirer of occultist Aleister Crowley.   He had peculiar sexual tendencies and indulged his desires, as a part of a hip group called The Chelsea Set.  He lived on the fringes and still intrigues those who knew him with his mysterious, seductive, melancholy presence.

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