The moment has come! I’ve been struggling for a good while now to post here regularly, which you can see by the dates of my posts. Since New Year 2021 I’ve decided to move my retro fascinations to a different medium.
You can find me and follow my retro burlesque adventures on my YouTube channel!
In this difficult time that is the quarantine caused by the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic, we must take care not only of our physical health, but our mental health as well. Music is one of my personal favourite tools of escapism. This is why I prepared another retro playlist for you, adequately named “COVID-19 but make it retro”. So, retro tunes, retro covers of songs that are kinds funny right now. You gotta keep laughing, right?
And yes, I know some songs appear more thatn once. It was hard choosing just one cover, so have all of them 🙂 That way the playlist is longer and you won’t get bored of it so quickly.
COVID-19 But Make It Retro
01. “Fever” — Peggy Lee 02. “Stayin Alive” — Bee Gees 03. “Down With The Sickness” — Richard Cheese 04. “Toxic” — Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox 05. “Help!” — The Beatles 06. “Isolation” — John Lennon 07. “Dear Doctor” — The Rolling Stones 08. “I’m Sick Y’All” — Otis Redding 09. “When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going” — Easy Virtue Soundtrack 10. “My Baby Just Cares For Me” — Nina Simone 11. “Hot in Herre” — Gypsies of Bohemia 12. “I Will Survive” — The Puppini Sisters 13. “Love Is The Drug” — Bryan Ferry & The Bryan Ferry Orchestra 14. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” — The Beatles 15. “Night Fever” — Bee Gees 16. “Don’t Touch Me” — Etta James 17. “Your Love Is My Drug” — Robyn Adele Anderson 18. “St James Infirmary” — Louis Armstrong 19. “The End of the World” — Skeeter Davis 20. “That’s Life” — Frank Sinatra 21. “Panic” — The Puppini Sisters 22. “Everybody Hurts” — Paul Anka 23. “Feer” — Mongo Santamaria 24. “In The Air Tonight” — James Farrelli 25. “Bad Blood” — Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox 26. “Another One Bites The Dust” — Eve St. Jones 27. “Every Breath You Take” — Karen Souza 28. “Tainted Love” — Stella Starlight Trio 29. “Toxic” — Sugarpie And The Candymen 30. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” — Sugarpie And The Candymen 31. “Help!” — Sugarpie And The Candymen 32. “Toxic” — Gypsies of Bohemia 33. “Can’t Feel My Face” — Stella Starlight Trio 34. “The Final Countdown” — Minimatic 35. “Stayin’ Alive” — Funky Butt Brass Band 36. “Cough/Cool” — Misfits
♫ Listen to my playlist on Spotify and add it to your favourites!
If you have your own suggestions about songs that could be added to this playlist, please let me know in the comments!
“Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears” is the cinematic continuation (and in a way, the finale) of the TV show “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries”. The show has been very popular among retro fans, which is hardly surprising. Phryne Fisher is an independent, stylish, easy-going lady detective who solves crimes as a hobby and loves to get on the nerves of the local police force (and especially one detective). Five years after the last season of the show, we can finally see the continuation of her adventures. With her trusty gold and pearl-handled revolver in hand, she and detective Jack Robinson come across another murder that needs solving. And because it’s a movie, everything is Bigger. The action moves to exotic places! The gags are bigger! We meet new characters!
I’m going to discuss certain elements of the storyline, so if you don’t want to read any spoilers, you can return to this review after you’ve seen the movie!
The Power of a Fanbase
Just the fact that this movie was created, and so long after the show had finished, is undoubtedly a success. “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” are an Australian production. It’s probably hard to find producers outside of Hollywood to finance a niche, period mystery adventure film. The creators decided to partially solve this problem by asking for the fans’ support. The show’s fanbase may not be the biggest, but they are committed to the cause. So the movie got part of its budget from crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. Both campaigns collected over AUD 1.5 million!
Did this collective effort pay off? Film adaptations of TV shows tend to be a bit hit or miss. So, watching this movie, we need to answer the question – does this story work on the big screen?
Well, not entirely.
Good Old Friends
The long break seems to have affected the actors playing the main parts. It took me a while to believe that Essie Davis is Phryne Fisher, and not just practicing lines for the camera. A huge disappointment was Nathan Page’s complete lack of involvement. In most scenes he seems to be barely present. I don’t know what the director’s notes were, but the actor seems to be doing just the bare minimum of work that will allow him to collect his salary and do something else.
Fans of the TV show’s secondary characters like Dot, constable Hugh or Bert and Cec will also be disappointed. Apart from Phryne, Jack and aunt Prudence, all other TV show characters appear only in one scene. Story-wise it makes sense, of course. If your story jumps between Jerusalem, London and the Negev desert, it might be hard to justify the presence of a police constable or two taxi drivers. But I think that these characters also had their fans and their missing presence is palpable. If not for the humour, then just for the contrast between the glamour of Phryne’s everyday life and the working-class reality of her partners in crime solving.
What Was It About?
The story itself is… not great. The script doesn’t adapt any of the novels on which the TV show is based. Deb Cox, the film writer, is one of the show’s creators. It seems to be a similar situation to D. Benioff and D.B. Weiss, creators of “Game of Thrones”. They, too, were doing a good job until they had base material and their job was to adapt it to the screen and not create their own stories. The moment the show went further than the books, a lot of the audience and critics noticed a difference in the quality of storytelling.
“Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears” has a similar problem. The story has problems with rhythm, it’s hard to understand what motivates the characters at times. In many scenes, I felt like things happened because this is what the writers imagined, not because it was the logical result of the story told. In fact, I felt like before they wrote the script (or maybe in addition to the script), the movie creators simply wrote a last of cool things Phryne Fisher should do in a movie (because it’s supposed to be Bigger *insert jazz hands here*). Phryne on a motorcycle. Phryne helping someone escape from prison. Phryne walking on the roof of a moving train. Phryne crashing her own funeral by landing a plane in the garden. Someone made this list and then tried to connect these dots into something resembling a movie.
Now, to be fair, the TV show didn’t shy away from certain story cliches. But many things were forgivable there because the actors sold it all with grace and charm. Here the charm is missing, and its lack reveals plot holes haphazardly covered with some pretty outdated and bad CGI.
What’s Good Though?
As you might have guessed, all costumes, especially those worn by Miss Fisher, are absolutely breathtaking. More and more impractical, considering where the action takes place, but still – just gorgeous. However, I have growing doubts about their historical accuracy. I think even the most fashion-forward women didn’t were see-through fabrics like those used in the movie. I would love to hear the opinion of a historical fashion expert about it.
The story itself, although badly told, is… well, not great but rather good. One of the strengths of “Murder Mysteries” and, as I suspect, the reasons for the show’s popularity was its progressiveness. It translated not only to the character of Miss Fisher, a woman in her thirties… or forties?
Okay, I checked and Essie Davis was born in 1970 which makes her fifty now? (oh wow, does she look GOOD, right?)
Anyway, Miss Fisher is a woman of a certain age, who enjoys her life, her independence, her sexuality and freedom. But the show’s progressiveness influenced the stories it told. These stories were often about women as well. Topics such as abortion, contraception, sexism, were factors in the storylines. The movie continues this tradition by centering its murder mystery around the massacre of a Bedouin village populated mostly by women. One of the big plot points is the trauma that this massacre’s only survivor, a young girl, experienced and could not explain. We have a sweet (if inconsequential) series of flashbacks of the relationship between a mother and daughter. There’s even some commentary about the British imperialism. It’s still a rarity in a genre that by definition strives to be easy and pleasant. Which is why I want to praise something that in my opinion deserves that praise.
To be continued…?
During the production of the movie, there were voices that it was to be the first of three installments. Looking at its quality and rather limited marketing campaign, I find it unlikely. The movie was shown in cinemas only in Australia and New Zealand, and had a limited cinema release in the United States. The US distribution is handled by Acorn TV, a relatively small streaming company. Distribution in other countries is handled by All3Media and I think they didn’t put that much effort in marketing. In Poland you could see the movie on TV only and on a channel only available on cable.
In Poland the channel AleKino+ showed the movie twice. As of now, it’s available for watching on Player.pl. In my opinion “Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears” is a position primarily for fans of the show. New viewers will not get a lot out of it. will certainly help me pass the time waiting for when the show’s spin-off “Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries” becomes available to watch somewhere. The protagonist of the spin-off is Phryne’s niece, Peregrine Fisher, and the action takes place in the 1960s.
Did you watch “Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears” already? What do you think? Or maybe you have your own favourite retro TV-to-screen adaptations? Let me know in the comments!
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.