It”s Valentine’s Day tomorrow! This year I decided to prepare a playlist with my favourite love songs from the 1930s, 40s, 50s… They are sweet songs about how good it feels to be in love. That good feeling is what I wish for you this Valentine’s Day 🙂
01. “Unforgettable” — Nat King Cole 02. “It Had to Be You” — Ray Charles 03. “Someone To Watch Over Me” — Ella Fitzgerald 04. “Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words)” — Julie London 05. “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” — Frank Sinatra 06. “I Only Have Eyes For You” — The Flamingos 07. “A Sunday Kind Of Love” — Etta James 08. “Can’t Help Falling in Love” — Elvis Presley 09. “”Love Is Here To Stay” — Blossom Dearie 10. “My Baby Just Cares For Me” — Nina Simone 11. “I’m In The Mood For Love” — Julie London 12. “That Old Feeling” — Chet Baker 13. “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love)” — Eartha Kitt
“Judy” is a biographical film made on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of Judy Garland. It is also a textbook example of Oscar-bait, a film carefully constructed to attract as many Academy Award nominations as possible. A talented actress who changes her appearance and gives a showcase of the art of imitation? Check. A tragic story about the need to sacrifice important things in life for art? Check. A nomination for the Academy Award for the best leading actress was a sure thing. I think Renée Zellweger is likely to win the second Academy Award in her career. But is “Judy” a good movie?
Generally – yeah, sort of. But I do of course have some reservations 😉
The Artist vs. The Human
The movie states its thesis in the very first scene – clearly, without subtlety. A teenage Judy is walking around “The Wizard of Oz” movie set with Louis B. Mayer. She confides in him that sometimes she would like to be a normal girl. He tells her that she has a gift which normal girls do not own. This gift is what makes her stand out, so she must use it. Judy agrees, but her face expresses doubt. And immediately we know that this conflict will be the heart of the movie. We also know that ultimately it will not be resolved (because in such films it never is).
I think the biggest problem of this movie is that if someone doesn’t know why Judy Garland is one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century, they will not learn it watching this movie. The plot does not show the details of Judy’s career, except for her role in “The Wizard of Oz”. The movie expects the audience to either have a general knowledge of Judy’s life or to pay a lot of attention to what’s happening on screen. Important aspects of her life, like four marriages, addiction to alcohol and various prescription drugs, and the reasons for her endless financial problems, are only briefly outlined or summed up with single sentences.
It’s hard not to notice some similarities between the story of Judy and the stories of young Disney stars who in adulthood experience many problems caused by the restrictions imposed on them by the studio. Individual scenes suggest the enormous influence that MGM studio had on how young Judy looked, what she ate, how much she weighed, who she met with. In Judy’s adulthood, this leads to various addictions, and the overwhelming need to be loved. The need which is not satisfied by her five marriages or the adoration of the audience.
Yet, we do not see Judy’s greatest successes or her biggest problems. They are somewhere in the past. They influence her behaviour, her decisions, the way she relates to people in her life. But a viewer who has no knowledge of her biography may not have context and will misunderstand the fragments of Judy that we see on the screen.
Judy Garland, The Legend
My favourite subplot in the movie, which appears quite accidentally and ultimately does not lead anywhere, is the story of a pair of gay men. They come to every concert of Judy and one time end up spending an evening with her. I did not expect the movie to touch upon Judy’s status as an LGBT icon. In the 1940s and 1950s, when the so-called “homosexual activities” were illegal, and gay communities often used slang to not be understood by the straight majority, gays were often called “friends of Dorothy”.
There is a really touching scene when Judy sings a song for the two men, and one of them cries looking at her photos hanging on the wall. We do not know the details of their experiences, living in a long-term relationship during the times when they could have been imprisoned for it. But we see how the shared passion and inspiration found in their idol’s difficult life were what kept them alive.
I was all the more disappointed by a later scene of a conversation with the venue director, where Judy blames the pair for her exhaustion and calls them “fruits” (a pejorative slang term for gay men).
Being Judy Garland
Renée Zellweger is really good as Judy. You can see that she has done her homework when it comes to studying and learning Judy’s mannerisms. There were a few moments when I forgot it was Zellweger and not Garland I saw on the screen. To tell the truth, the make-artists are also to thank for that. They used not only make-up but also a prosthetic nose, teeth and contact lenses to make the actress look like Judy. Even so, I am sure that there will be those who will criticise this performance, talking about exaggeration, parodying gestures. Maybe they will even be right. In my opinion, Zellweger is so honest in it that I believe her. I believe Judy might have behaved like that.
But what about the singing?
The only false note (har har) in her performance is, in my opinion, the decision to use her own vocals. I’ve never thought of Renée Zellweger as a great singer, and her role in “Chicago” rather confirmed this for me. In “Judy” she sings much better and stronger, but still, it is not the voice of Judy Garland. It’s worth remembering that even at the end of her life, struggling with addictions, Judy still had an amazing voice.
Still, it is quite impressive that the vocals were reportedly recorded live. So what we see on screen is not a lipsync for a studio recording, but a record of how the scene really went. And although it wasn’t Judy’s vocal class, I admit, I shed a few tears during songs like “Come Rain or Come Shine” or “Over The Rainbow”.
The supporting roles in the film are quite solid, although no one stands out significantly. Above all, young Darci Shaw is memorable as young Judy. Known for his many roles in “American Horror Story”, Finn Wittrock does what he can as Mickey Deans, Judy’s last husband. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much to work with. Neither do Michael Gambon, Rufus Sewell and Jessie Buckley.
“Judy” is a good movie, but it absolutely is not an outstanding one. The creators’ intention to achieve a specific effect is a little too visible, but Renée Zellweger’s performance is really good. The dilemma at the heart of it – career or “real life” is a rather banal cliche, which, unfortunately, often plagues the biographies of great artists. But the determination of Judy, who knows nothing else than being a stage artist, and at the same time wants to be a good mother and wife, is shown credibly and poignantly at times.
If you’re interested in learning more about the movie and Judy in general, I recommend “The JUDY Companion”. Its author perfectly sums up what is missing in the movie. Personally, I agree with her 100%.
P.S. Watching “Judy” I couldn’t stop thinking about another movie about a brilliant singer in the last days of her life. I’m thinking about “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”, which I wholeheartedly recommend (you can watch it on HBO GO). Both films are adaptations of theatre plays and in both cases, it can be felt. In the case of “Lady Day …” this is obviously harder to avoid. The action takes place during one concert of Billie Holliday, during which she mentions the hardships of her life. The creators of the film simply shot the performance of the amazing Audra McDonald, using several different shots. This is a much simpler task, but there is still a similarity between the movies.
P.P.S. I wrote this review before, as I predicted, Renée Zellweger won an Academy Award for her performance in the movie. Called it.
It is getting warmer outside and you can almost feel spring in the air – my favorite time of year. This season saw a return of many fashion trends that retro-style enthusiast can incorporate into their wardrobe, so that you can be both retro and on trend!
Ultrafeminine dresses and whole outfits inspired by dolls will be very much en vogue – full of ruffles, lace, multilayered, in light colours and sweet but bold prints (so polka dots, flowers, stars). You could see them on the runways of Dolce & Gabbana, Erdem, Gucci, Marc Jacobsa, Molly Goddard, Rodarte, Simone Rocha, Valentino.
Inspiration from the seventies is still going strong. This time many collections featured knitted dresses, shirts and skirts (among others Luis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Oscar De La Renta), often finished with long fringe. Now they are suitable not only for the beach but also for everyday outfits! Time to take out the crochet!
This cute pattern appeared on the catwalks in an adult, black and white version in designs by Celine, Caroline Herrera, Giorgio Armani and Jaquemus. The dots here become a synonym of mature elegance. Polka dots at a business meeting? Why not!
One of the most fashionable additions is definitely a scarf wrapped around the head. Models were wearing them at Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Anna Sui and Kate Spade shows.
You can wear it as a turban, wrapped around your head and neck in the style of Jackie Kennedy, or tied on the neck like a bandana. A silk scarf, preferably with a coloured print, helps to hide windblown hair, protect the hairstyle from moisture and adds a touch of chic!
The sleeves that were popular in the 1930s and then again in the 1980s are back in favour! Some of the designers to feature them were Christian Siriano, Delpozo and Lanvin. They are especially beneficial for people who have a pear-shaped figure and want to optically widen the upper torso.
Feathers were a real hit on the runways. Ostrich, peacock, marabou – take your pick! They also appeared on the clothes – shirts (like at the Dries Van Noten show), dresses (Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Oscar De La Renta), or even trousers (Richard Quinn). Feathers will add airiness and a pinch of decadent glamour to any outfit.
If you’re shy about this trend, try feathered earrings (now not reserved only for boho style). And if you’re feeling more extravagant – mules with marabou puffs are finally trendy!
How do you like these retro trends? Will you incorporate some of them into your spring wardrobe? Let me know in the comments!
Oh, the things you can sometimes find on Tumblr! These noir-themed reimaginations of Disney princesses are just the perfect thing to look at during Noirvember.
Ástor Alexander is an illustrator and painter who also drew some fairly interesting artwork for The Witcher (including a similarly noir-themed set!), Legend of Zelda, Pokemon (seriously) and others, as well as some pretty stunning retro-themed original artwork. Be sure to check it out!
As for this set, I especially like how the designs incorporate the original colour schemes while still being fairly realistic. And the titles sound so intriguing!… I think my favourite is Bella from “The Beauty and the Beast” in her blue trousers & waistcoat combo.
Leopard print is hailed as one of the hottest trends for fall 2018, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m not a big fan of minimalism, so when I do prints, I want to do it dramatically. And animal prints bring all the drama!
For me, leopard print is one of these things that have been creeping up on me. As a young adult I used to be all about solid colours and struggled with incorporating prints into my looks, but at some point I found myself having leopard shoes, scarfs, shirts, dresses…
How to do leopard print everyday?
A great way to start out is with accents – a scarf or a collar you can wear with your cardigan are great accents that add a bit of spice to your outfit! This works especially if, for instance, your place of work does not allow for the extravagance of a full leopard shirt or dress. Accessory-wise, I’m partial to a leopard print shoe, and already miss the warmer days when I could wear this outfit!
You can mix things up by using leopard print in different colours – or even mixing different colours of the same print in one outfit if you’re brave (like me).
And if you’re interested in the history of leopard print, you can always get the book “Fierce! The History of Leopard Print” written by Jo Weldon of New York School of Burlesque. With its lively narrative, informative sidebars, and stunning images, “Fierce” is a must-have collection for designers and fashionistas of all kinds!
Have you got some leopard print in your closet? What are your favourite go-to accessories or clothes? How do you incorporate it into your daily style? Please, share your own tips in the comments!
I’m a sucker for a glitter lip. First, because I’m a complete glitter addict, and second, nothing makes your lips pop on stage quite like a bit of glitter. The usual trick us burlesque artists do is to put on a matte lipstick and then put some glitter glue and loose makeup glitter. However, when I saw the new glitter lipsticks from Kat Von D – Everlasting Glimmer Veil – I decided to give them a try.
definitely NOT all the lipsticks I own
Kat Von D cosmetics are advertised as cruelty-free and 100% vegan. The lipsticks do not contain parabens.
In Poland, Kat Von D cosmetics are available exclusively at Sephora and that’s where I bought mine. There are 9 colours available in total. To be honest, not all of them are winners in my book. Ultimately I selected two – Televator, which is a purple shade with pink glimmer, and Razzle, a bright magenta with pink glimmer.
Televator (above) & Razzle (below) in natural light, also – my hands were really trembling when I was putting it on, lol
After application, it dries pretty quickly and stays in its place. Also, they leave no weird taste on your lips. It doesn’t smudge and doesn’t need reapplication unless you eat something oily/fatty.
Televator (left) & Razzle (right) in natural light. Full disclosure – I did smooth out my skin a bit because I’m vain, but I did not manipulate how the lips look.
Like with any liquid lipstick, the application can be tricky if you like a precise, sharply defined lip. For that, you will need a lip liner.
I found Kat Von D Everlasting Glimmer Veil Liquid Lipsticks a bit… flat.
The pigmentation of the lipstick is different between the shades. Colours such as Starflyer and Thunderstruck are clearly less pigmented than Televator or Dazzle. I was especially disappointed in the pigmentation of the black Wizard shade – I would so wear a black glitter lipstick!
If you have a tendency for dry skin like me, you HAVE to make sure your lips are properly moisturized before applying. So use your preferred lip balm. Kat Von D lipsticks REALLY ‘eat’ into the skin, so it’s best to use oil-based cleansers to remove them.
Kat Von D Everlasting Glimmer Veil Liquid Lipsticks are advertised as having “24-hour wear”. They do not last 24 hours. The lipstick breaks down a bit with every liquid (even water). It stays on pretty evenly on the lips, but there are prints on the glass.
Razzle over MAC Candy Yum Yum (aka the most pink combination I could think of) – left; Televator over Inglot (forgot what it is actually, will add it later)
What do I think?
I think Kat Von D Everlasting Glimmer Veil Liquid Lipstick will work better as a topper for a regular lipstick, for an evening makeup (at least my version of an evening makeup). It definitely doesn’t have enough sparkle for the stage. For 95 zł ($22 in US) I was expecting a bit more oomph. It’s not going to be a staple in my make up, but I’ll definitely use it when I need a shiny finish for my lip.
I think I discovered Madame Dabi Boudouir by Amalia Russiello completely by chance, on Instagram of all places, and I was immediately enamoured in her style! Of course, you should know by now that I like nice, stylish illustrations, so this finding perfectly fits my aesthetic 🙂
Amalia Russiello, based in Italy, is the creator of Madame Dabi. She is an art historian and illustrator, and the person behind the delicate, stylized artwork. The other half of the project is Loredana de Simone, who creates felt Boudoir Doll brooches and puff wands.
Madame Dabi Boudoir
It is clear that the two eras favoured by Amalia are baroque (especially the exuberantly decorative rococo) and 1920s. In my opinion, the illustrations would not be out of place on the covers of La Vie Parisienne or other such magazines. Her style is very feminine, full of bobbed flappers, flowing dresses, flowers, ruffles, feathers, and pearls, with a bit of BDSM, John Willie-inspired fetish eroticism thrown in for good measure 🙂 It really seems like her illustrations would look perfect hanging on the wall of a personal boudoir or a jazzy burlesque club.
If you would like to learn more about or perhaps buy Amalia’s artwork, you’ll find links to her website and Etsy shop below. As usual, I’m very open to receiving gifts from you :*
It’s already the end of Noirvember’s second week! I don’t know where all this time went to be honest. Do you?
Tonight I’m publishing an English version of one of my older posts – still on topic though! So if you are an aspiring femme fatale and in need of some tips, read on…
The fatal woman. Mysterious, strong, sensual; everyone wants her, but no one can have her.
She’s got the look!
Take the example of film noir stars. Avoid flashy, bright colors. Choose subdued, jewel tones: black, bottle green, burgundy, dark violet. Match them to your skin tone. Invest in black or beige trench and some sexy heels. Emphasize your figure but do not exaggerate it. Remember about accessories – there don’t have to be a lot of them (there even shouldn’t), but a string of pearls, a pair of gloves or a stylish hat often give the whole outfit this desired note of elegance. Work on hairstyles, make-up, manicure – femme fatale certainly does not have short, bitten nails! Also have a characteristic scent of perfume – one that everyone will associate with you.
When I’m good, I’m very good. But when I’m bad, I’m better.
Speak in a low voice. Think about the way Scarlett Johansson speaks, or the way Lauren Bacall, Mae West, Marlene Dietrich spoke. Women with low voices are seen as more sexy! In the movie “The Iron Lady” there is a scene when Margaret Thatcher’s advisor tells her, “[,,,] the main thing is your voice. It’s too high and it has no authority”. Meryl Streep as Thatcher immediately lowers her voice register by an octave and responds, “That’s the tone that we want to strike.” A high, squeaky voice is associated with infantility, and this is about being a femme – a woman, not a girl. Try also not to speak too loudly. The trick is not to suddenly start whispering, just to talk so softly that people have to get close to you, to hear you.
Have a sense of humor too. Think of May West or Lauren Bacall. Dialogues from their films are full of sparkling double entendres. A sense of humour is a sign of intelligence, which is very sexy.
Be mysterious. Do not let everyone you know how you feel and what is happening with you. Being a riddle is part of the charm of the real femme fatale. Be a lady. Be independent. A femme fatale is certainly a strong woman. A person who can take care of herself and is not afraid of responsibility. She pays for her drinks, opens the door, drives the car. That does not mean you cannot let a gentleman do it for you – but let him know that you can take care of yourself too. Also know how, if needed, to politely but firmly say “no”. Femme fatale often plays with fire, so she must be able to take care of her own safety.
What are you drinking?
“Femme fatale” drink:
1 oz of vodka
1 oz Southern Comfort
1 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz Amaretto
2 oz of pineapple juice
2 oz orange juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
oz is an acronym for American ounce which is approximately 30 ml. Southern Comfort is a bourbon liqueur with 35% alcohol content.
Combine all ingredients in shaker, shake, serve on ice. Most recipes suggest the use of a hurricane glass, but a martini glass looks much more elegant;)
Hello lovelies! In this Noirvember post, we’re back to the topic of music! As you may remember, in my previous music-oriented post I wrote that the sound of film noir is, ostensibly, jazz. But what would the modern sound of film noir be? I think the music of Jill Tracy provides a very good example.
Modern-Day Woman of Mystery
Who is this Jill Tracy? You might know her music without realizing it’s hers! Noirvember is the perfect occasion to get to know her music, as it is a combination of sultry vocals, evocative piano, and dark, dark mood.
Jill Tracy is a San Francisco-based singer/pianist, storyteller, and “sonic archeologist” who has garnered multiple awards and a passionate following for her beautifully haunting, cinematic music, sophisticated lyrics, old-world glamour—and curious passion for strange tales.
Hailed a “femme fatale for the thinking man” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Jill Tracy was described by NPR’s All Things Considered as “utterly intriguing, transporting you into a magical world solely of her creation.” LA Weekly has deemed her “the cult darling of the Underworld.”
Her music has appeared on film and television, including Showtime’s Dexter, CBS hit Navy NCIS, and the motion picture Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
“Diabolical Streak”, the album I’m specifically recommending to you, is Jill Tracy’s second album. I think artists of burlesque, cabaret and belly dance will definitely recognize its songs, as they are very popular. Jill Tracy recorded three other albums after “Diabolical Streak”. One of them is a score to F.W. Murnau’s 1922 silent vampire classic “Nosferatu”, an another is an “accidental Christmas album”. According to her website, she is currently recording new material. Still, none of her other recordings reached the popularity of “Diabolical Streak”.
Please, listen to these few of my favourites, although I highly recommend listening to the whole album!
Do you like Jill Tracy’s music? Do you have your favourite artists whose music makes you think of film noir? Perhaps you even have a speciali playlist for Noirvember? If so, please share it in the comments!