Monday, September 20, 2010

Retrofit: My Favorite Shirtwaist at Fela!

I can't believe I went all summer without posting about this dress. It was a great find at a great shop in Brooklyn. The dress cost far too much money, but luckily, I didn't have to pay for it. It's made of linen and a lovely color for spring and summer.

It's not the best photo, but you get a sense of the dress. It's so lovely, in fact, that a palm reader chased me for half a block in Times Square, told me she liked it, and gave me a discount on a palm reading. I have a very strong aura, she said.

I made my poor, poor boyfriend snap this photo of me near Times Square after we got out of seeing Fela! It's a fantastic musical, and it definitely earned all three Tonys it won this year. Run, don't walk, to see it. Fela! tells the story of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the creator of Afrobeat and a huge political and cultural figure in his native Nigeria and all of Africa. The show itself is an incredible experience because the audience becomes part of the show, transformed into guests of Fela's legendary Shrine club. I first got introduced to Afrobeat in high school and always wanted to hear more; Fela! was a perfect chance.

The play sugarcoats a few things, of course. Most troubling is the omission of Fela's death due to complications from AIDS. I also have it on good authority that some of pidgin English has been translated incorrectly for American audiences. But the set, choreography and music are worth it. And in case you're not convinced:

P.S. Here are my fabulous shoes, from Poetic License.

I Dream of Vespa

There's one fellow in my apartment building who has parks a Vespa in our parking lot (which, incidentally, is the same color as my ModCloth dress). It makes me wish I had a Vespa, and a perfect Vespa outfit. Unfortunately, you can't rent a Vespa in New York because it's just too dangerous; the insurance companies won't have it. I'll just have to dream and wait until I get to Italy, hopefully before the end of this year but that's no reason not to brush up on my Vespa history.

Towards the end of World War II, Enrico Piaggio made a noisy little scooter nicked named Paperino, Italian for Donald Duck. He was frustrated and passed the project on to another engineer, Corradino D'Ascanio. The look and sound of D'Ascanio's novel design reminded Piaggio of a wasp, which where Vespa got its name. Piaggio achieved his goal of creating a low-cost product "for the masses" that had the benefit of keeping riders safe and clean; his new motorbike first went into production in 1946. By the 50s, "riding a Vespa was synonymous with freedom, with agile exploitation of space and with easier social relationships (from the Vespa website)."

But I know Vespa through the mods. According to the Wikipedia article on Vespa, the mods loved Vespas because it protected their clothing and didn't require them wear leather. Their speedy rides gave birth to scooter rides and scooter culture, with people modifying their Vespas with lights and the like.

Hopefully, this will be me in a few months

Scooting by the Coloseum in 1952, via the LIFE photo archive

I found this great vintage ad on the Vespa website

And of course, no scooter-riding mod can go for a ride without a fabulous outfit

(How anyone rode a Vespa in a scooter dress or mini skirt, I'll never know)

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Monday, September 13, 2010

More Retro Barbie

Barbie is a class act indeed and has had a ton of looks. I caught sight of these when wandering around Union Square and wanted to share them. Please excuse the terrible iPhone photo quality.
Love 80s Barbie, especially the white cowboy boots. I once had a pair of those, complete with fringe and sparkly stars. The zebra bathing suit is darling!

Barbie's red bathing suit and and short hair remind me of Sophia Loren.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blog Award, Pt. 2

After receiving the Versatile Blogger Award, I now have to pass it on to ten other fabulous blogs but I'm unfortunately coming up short and only have 8. It's only because I tried to pick blogs that weren't super popular and I sort of failed but here it is:

1. b. vikki vintage: After being featured on Jezebel, I'm sure this isn't that exciting, but b. vikki vintage is a great site for vintage fashion featuring black models and normal people.

2. Beauty is a Thing of the Past: A fantastic site that posts full of useful pages from old hair magazines. But there are also great videos and offensive ads that are always good for a laugh.

3. An American Bluestocking in London: Miss Bluestocking has a very obvious interest in vintage fashion and advertising, but her main duty is documenting her new life in London. Originally from the States, she's working at a publishing house and writes lots of really thoughtful essays on her new life abroad. She doesn't always post that often, but when she does, it's a delight.

4. Millie Deel: A beautiful blog about beautiful things, most of them vintage.

5. Lemondrop Vintage: I'm sure many of you are familiar with Lemondrop Vintage but I'm passing this on to Marie because her blog is lovely and because once upon a time, she sent me a link to a vintage Stetson that I couldn't afford but loved anyway.

6. La Tenoli: I know "La Tenoli" in my real life and I also like her blog. She's a cool girl (who owes me a trip to Little Italy for canolis) Take a look!

7. Midnight Maniac: Rebecca is a charming blogger with great style. Even better: she bakes!

8. Fashionable Academics: My inner nerd is dying to be back in college. The transition to freshman year of life is hard but with Fashionable Academics I don't have to feel bad.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Blog Award!

This summer, I was very slow about blogging, indeed. Summers are usually pretty productive, but life got in the way. Anywho, Pam of Go Retro, a consistent reader and charming blogger herself, passed on The Versatile Blogger Award to me. Congrats to Pam, and big thanks. Now, I have to reveal ten things about myself before passing it on. I don't think I'm terribly interesting, but here it goes:

1. I love to dance. This goes for both social dancing and formal dance. I took ballet, tap and jazz for several years but stopped because the girls in my class started to suck. As for social dancing, when I was little, I was terrified of dancing in public. But with the guidance of some rather precocious friends, I found that I was actually a better dancer than I thought and started to enjoy doing it. I love Latin dance (merengue, salsa, bachata, cha-cha) and secretly hope to perform again. Til then, I'll stick to leading the Electric Slide.

2. I love to cook. And eat. I asked my mom for a Magic Bullet and a tagine for graduation. I got neither, but that hasn't kept me from trying lots of new recipes and making a huge mess in my kitchen.

3. I never played with dolls when I was little. I was a tomboy who would rather climb trees, chase frogs, and play video games than play with stupid dolls. Many Barbies loss their heads in the process.

4. I've never finished a Jane Austen novel. I was supposed to read Pride and Prejudice for a class but didn't have enough time to read it and I just couldn't get into it. Yawn. Louisa May Alcott, please.

5. My favorite movie is The Godfather Part II. I don't know how I never posted about it, since I'm essentially obsessed. Those were the days: Al Pacino was a little less crazy and Marlon Brando was still alive. It's such a rich story and visually so appealing. The story and visuals make in Part II make Part III that much more disappointing.

6. Seeing Prince live in concert changed my life.
a. Also seen live: Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, Tina Turner, Tito Puente, Jeffrey Osbourne

7. I love R&B, hip-hop, rock, and dance music, but classical music is my first love. I played piano for ten years and clarinet for 13. I competed and played in orchestras and ensembles all over the state and auditioned for conservatories. The joint conservatory-bachelors programs I wanted to do didn't work out, but that doesn't change the fact that I cried hearingwhen the New York Philharmonic performed the last movement of Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony (which, ironically, became the song the mice sing in Babe).

8. I'm a trivia junkie. I watch Jeopardy every day like it's my job and don't answer my phone when it's on. Bar trivia isn't about the free bar tab; it's about the glory.

9. I'm what's called a "grammar Nazi", but there was a point in time where I consistently failed grammar quizzes. It was my first year at my new, super rigorous high school and it was terrible. I cried every time I had to write a paper.

10. If/when I get married, I'm thinking about reusing my parents' wedding song, Ribbon in the Sky by Stevie Wonder. It's a great song.

I have to think really hard about who to pass The Versatile Blogger award onto, because I've found so many great blogs that have probably gotten it already! Stay tuned.
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cee-Lo Video for "Fuck You"

Cee-Lo's new song "fuck You" has gotetn a lot of buzz over the last week, especially at the lame attempt to clean it up and make it "Forget You". Is the change necessary for radio play? Yes. But be honest; most of us listen to music on YouTube, and we all know that YouTube doesn't care too much about foul language.

Now, that charming song gets a video treatment that's retro and sweet. Who doesn't love a revenge of the nerds track?

I love the titles that remind us of a cheap theatre, and the diner is always a great place for drama to play out (one of his last videos was set in a dinner, but wasn't nearly as palatable; a girl dumps a guy over breakfast and his heart leaves his chest and sings a sad song. It was really gross.) How I wish I had three identically-dressed singers to back me up wherever I went. Auditions will be held next week.

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The March of Time Comes to MoMA

This whole having a job thing is putting more of a damper on my blogging than I would have thought. But during my bits of downtime, I do get to read, which is what I did yesterday, and I found out that MoMA will be paying a tribute to the historic newreel series "The March of Time".

Ah, yes, those were the days. The dime you paid to go to the movies got you news, one crap movie and one good movie. "The March of Time", which ran from 1931 to 1951, stood out as a series because there was a strong narrative (which some would argue bordered on propoganda, especially during WWII). In one of my classes, we watched a March of Time feature that told us World War II was about fighting so towheaded boys could play football and freckled girls could play with dolls.

Here is a clip of a documentary that discusses a (in)famous March of Time reel "Inside Nazi Germany".

Newsreels are so interesting because they tell us so many things that, under the Code, you weren't supposed to talk about, at least not in movies. It's too bad they're so hard to track down.

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