Tag Archives: ava gardner

The Short Stack, February 7

Every Friday, I share  the pop culture, fashion, lit and random blips that crossed my radar during the week. (+ stuff like art) Enjoy!

woman wearing swimming suit on cross country skis in the snow
What? Me, cold? Sick of the winter? Not a chance!

My life is being permeated by Frank Sinatra. First, there’s the fact that I’ve been listening to “That’s Life” on repeat as I drive to work in the morning to give myself an extra boost in order to face another sub-zero day. It’s helpful to be reminded that you can be riding high in April, shot down in May.

Frank loomed large in Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations (I need to quit that book like its Brokeback Mountain). She revealed tidbits about their marriage like this:

“Anyway, I heard this gun go off. We’d been fighting, of course. And drinking. Every single night, we would have three or four martinis, big ones, in big champagne glasses, then wine with dinner, then go to a nightclub and start drinking Scotch or bourbon.”

Considering this info, it was a little weird to open New York Magazine this week and see  this ad for Jack Daniels:

jack daniel's ad featuring Frank Sinatra

If you can’t read the paragraph copy it says he was even buried with a bottle of it, I guess to help ease his transition to the after world. Only in America can a person who abused a substance while living become it’s spokesperson and center of its marketing campaign in death.

And then, Keith brought this article from the New York Daily News to my attention – Paul Anka’s got a new memoir out called My Way (Paul Anka?! Sigh. Put it on the reading list. I cannot resist a show biz tell-all) that’s got a lot of Frank (and frank) material, too.

This week, the twists and turns in the Farrow Clan vs. Woody Allen drama were more than I could keep up with. Dylan Farrow in the NYT. The defected Moses Farrow in People. Oy. This whole thing could only be sorted out by one person: Dominick Dunne. Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us, so we’ll never get to read his 50,000-word article about it in Vanity Fair.

That got me thinking about Dominick, so I pulled his book The Way We Lived Then off my bookshelf. It’s a great Hollywood memoir/photo book mixed with his own riches to rags to semi-riches story. He battled alcohol and drug addiction that caused him to lose his wife and his position as a producer in Hollywood only to battle back, recreating himself as a writer.

And, of course, if you’re in the mood for books about out-of-control comedians (who isn’t!?):
The Chris Farley Show
Furious Cool

Still waiting for something that plumbs the depths of Jerry Lewis.

Of course, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The news had me longing to watch The Talented Mr. Ripley (streaming now on Netflix!) again, which is not just beautifully-shot, excellently cast but also filled with terrific dialog and cringe-worthy moments. This movie has a lot to say about class in America even though it takes place in Italy.  It sucks to be poor, especially when you’re hanging out with rich people, but don’t… ah… murder anyone over it. Who better to play the rich snob Freddie X than PSH? His voice, his inflections, the roll of his eyes – the first time I saw this movie (way back in the day – at the theater with my parents!) I didn’t quite grasp that he was acting, so perfectly did he embody the role.

Which Makes Me Think of More Reading:
Patricia Highsmith (author of Ripley) is on my reading list:  the biography, The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith, plus her books The Two Faces of January (adapted for a movie coming out this year starring Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac and Kirsten Dunst) and The Price of Salt (the first published lesbian love story with a happy ending) which is sometimes called Carol (as it will be when it comes out as a movie starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara and directed by Todd Haynes).

I wish I was wearing any of these costumes French photographer Charles Fréger documented in Europe.

We’re heading to the Graves 601 Hotel this weekend for a mini-escape, during which we’ll pretend to be visiting this strange, cold world known as Minneapolis as if visitors from a foreign land. Looking forward to cocktails at Bradstreet and brunch at Hell’s Kitchen.

Next Friday is Valentine’s Day (look forward to a special love edition of Short Stack!). I have to admit I like this holiday. Like many people, I hated it when I was younger and not attached. Now I like it because it’s full of cute things in pink and it really doesn’t require much prep work if you don’t think you have to be cheesy about it. Plus, you can use it to widen the definition of the holiday and celebrate whoever you love, not just your lover. I will be giving my dog a special treat that day for being such a faithful friend.

Be happy we’re all here together. Make it an excuse to wear something bright. Make sure all your Christmas decorations are tucked away. Be bright and full of hope.

Order something cheap and pretty. Like this.

If you’ve got an arty person in your life this V-Day, consider taking them to go see Monuments Men and then buzz on over to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to go on a Monuments Men tour of artwork rescued by this group of art heroes. My favorite kind of heroes. Or go on Valentine’s Day Eve, which is a Thursday night, when the museum is open until 9 pm and you’ll probably have most of the galleries to yourself, which means no one will mind if you steal a kiss in the Prairie School Architecture gallery.

Hope my own sister is reading this, because I found our Halloween costumes…


The Short Stack: January 31 (Finally)

Every Friday, I share  the pop culture, fashion, lit and randomness that crossed my radar during the week. + stuff like food. Enjoy!

First things first… masks and eye coverings are on the rise in fashion…. it’s time to hide your face, I guess.

masks featured on models in fashion ads
Masks in Dior ad, Louis Vuitton ad, Calvin Klein editorial.

Oh Maw Gawd The Weather
Not only does the weather suck, it’s sucking the life out of me. I got stranded in a snowbank trying to go to Body Pump! Not a finer moment. Plus, my hair is gross. My dog is crazy. So crazy I was looking at puppies online today, thinking that if I just gave her something interactive to play with, she’d stop whining. People are mean to each other. There is no civility. Mad Men is not coming back until April? Great, we’ll all be dead by then.

[Favorite Mad Men scene: Don enters a meeting and Lane is going over their expenses from their Baltimore trip and then complains about office supplies and disappearing credenzas. Don leaves the meeting.]

I’m not sure how anyone who had Ava Gardner calling him at 3 am to slur her deepest, darkest secrets manages to write a boring book but Peter Evans pulled it off. Granted, after she spilled the beans she decided against publishing  – he had to wait until she died and then, after he finished writing it, he died. Makes me wonder if Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations is a first draft. Maybe he sent it to his editor with a note that said, “Here’s something I banged out over the weekend. What do you think?” and then kicked off that very night. In any case, you have to read A LOT of the same conversation before you get to the dirt. Take out all those parts where she’s wondering if she’d doing the right thing by telling her story and you’re left with about 20 pages of what a horn dog Mickey Rooney was, what a brute Artie Shaw and George C Scott were and something about Sinatra having a big dick.

About to embark upon Tori Spelling memoir number 3: uncharted terriTORI. After flipping through it I suspect that it’s about as uncharted as a Sandals resort in the Bahamas: seems like a retread of Mommywood. But I can’t say no to this…

Tori Spelling
Safari, anyone?

Plus, I want to be completely up-to-date when living in purgaTORI, her book about her troubles with Dean cheating and going to rehab, comes out. Christmas, er, Hanukkah, 2014?

Here’s what happened to Charlie from Girls, in case you care.

Sweatshirts (or sweaters) with lace fronts. See here. That’s all I have to say. Kind of “Physical” by Olivia Newton John meets Stevie Nicks running errands.

Also, I got back into a pair of jeans I wore in… 2008. They are not in style. They were probably not in style then. I have never been so happy. (see reference to Body Pump above.)

Do you have a hard time figuring out what to snack on? I spend more time figuring out what is an appropriate snack than worrying about my retirement fund (which I spend zero time thinking about – I’m American!) Now baked pea crisps are sweeping the country. One week I had never had a baked pea and now I’m being offered them by strangers. My boss has an economy-size bag on her desk. And there must be a very effective marketing campaign going on because no fewer than three people have said to me, “Probably not great for you but so much better than eating potato chips.” May I ask when is the last time you saw anyone having a bag of potato chips for a snack? But here’s the truth about the peas.

Meanwhile, I’m falling in love with vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I got her recipe book, Isa Does It!, for Xmas and I’ve made meals that have rocked the house. Plus, she has her website, The Post Punk Kitchen, with new recipes all the time, like this one for buffalo chickpea pitas with ranch for Super Bowl/ Puppy Bowl/Kitten Bowl. Get on that Isa train! She’s also on Twitter. And she lives in Omaha.

Nothing. Everything. Cardio. Staring at the wall. Watching dogs cross country ski.

Keith says, “Everyone should go running this weekend. Running is good.”

The Short Stack: January 10

Every Friday, I share  the pop culture, fashion, lit and random blips that were on my radar during the week. Enjoy! 

Sometimes  you read a book because you’re looking for answers but you’ll only end up with more questions when you read The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. I first saw The Room in 2009 and it replaced Deep Blue Sea as my favorite terrible movie –  I got my prized DVD signed by Tommy Wiseau at a midnight screening at the Uptown Theater in Minneapolis. After reading this book I want to know:  what does Tommy think of it? And is he ever going to make that vampire movie? Could he please, please be on The Bachelor?

Look deep into my eyes:

tommy wiseau of The Rooom

A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True 1907-1940 is only the first volume of this new biography and the brick is 1056 pages long. This is my beach read for 2014 since I plan to spend a lot of time working on my tan. I mean a lot of time. If I want a shorter, trashier read I’ll go with Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations.

Just finished Johnny Carson by his lawyer Henry Bushkin. Ultimately a sad portrait of a tormented man but Bushkin is equally as pathetic, giving up his family to trail around after Johnny like a puppy. Lots of boring details about their business dealings, not enough juicy Ed McMahon tidbits. Also question Bushkin’s taste in girlfriends: Joyce DeWitt and Mary Hart (from Entertainment Tonight?). Yick.

I first looked at the book (un)fashion a couple of years ago, after I learned that Maira Kalman, one of my favorite illustrators, put it together with her husband. It’s a strange collection of, well,  unfashion photos from around the world that seem random at first except for the one or two word headings they’re grouped by, like “headgear” and “wedding.” I couldn’t stop thinking about it the book so I checked it out from the library again, trying to decode its message. I think maybe fashion can only be headed this way, into a disjointed but global, ethnic, freestyle vibe. Unfashion is the next, last, thing.

So in 2014 I’ll try to start cultivating my look of plaid pants, shawl, basket hat and mask now so as to be part of the first wave. The look is hard to explain but there’s something to this sweater:

child wearing hat, sweater and amulet necklace

Or this headgear:

sweet headgear, shirt, tie, cane combo

On the other hand, can someone bring riding habits back for, like, everyday wear, no horse required?

vintage riding habit, top hat and crop

Crafting Front
I’m trying to figure out if there is some way to make macrame truly cool. In my quest I spent a lot of time on etsy, where I stumbled into a nest of hundreds of macrame owls. Why the owl? Why no other animal?? I want to buy them all and make one gigantic exhibit.

OK, here is one thing you can do with macrame knots that could kick some ass.

If you’re looking for a craft project, ornamental knots (I wish I was “respected internationally” for my knotting skills) offer some potential coolness. Rock an ornamental knot necklace with your cape and rag & bone jeans with your hair tied up in a rag and you got it – unfashion!

Places To Be
On January 29, Jake Rudh’s Transmission at the Varsity Theater is a tribute to Bowie. Start crafting your costume immediately.

Um… who is in this photo and is it really possible for breasts to be this far apart and this perky at the same time?? Doesn’t even look like the blowsy Brit we’ve come to know and love. This looks like some woman named Candy waiting for her curtain call in Vegas Atlantic City Des Moines. But that “Work B**ch?” Very fine tune for running.

Work Bitch album cover Britney Spears

It may be 2014 but Homey still don’t play that.