Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Witty Wednesdays - The Cutting Edge of Puns

It wasn't until I left the house for work this morning that I realized I hadn't uploaded a Witty Wednesday for this week, so during my lunch hour I've fashioned one using prehistoric technology: Microsoft Paint. Enjoy!


For the record, I realize that her gown is not quite correct for the French Revolution in 1789, but I made an artistic choice and I'm sticking by it, so there!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Television Tuesdays - The Supersizers Eat the Twenties

I've actually blogged about this show before, but I've recently discovered some new episodes. I don't know if they're entirely new or just new to YouTube, but I had not seen these until now. In this episode, the Supersizers eat their way through the Roaring Twenties!

For those of you who don't know (or haven't yet watched the above video), Giles Coren (food critic) and Sue Perkins (entertainer) take on the challenge of eating the foods and (somewhat) living their lives as if they lived in different periods of history: Edwardian, Georgian, Restoration, etc. While the show takes a very loose approach to everything but the food, it's really fun to watch, and you always end up learning something. Click these links to watch parts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Coren and Perkins in full 20s Regalia.
I must admit I have rather a large crush on Coren. Especially when he wears a jerkin. I hope any Americans out there had a lovely holiday weekend. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Witty Wednesdays - Cats

I'm definitely a cat person. Sometimes, though, my cats can get on my nerves; specifically due to their seemingly spiteful sense of timing:







Monday, May 21, 2012

Macabre Mondays/Tableau Tuesdays - Draw This Dress and More

Please note that all artwork shown in this article is the intellectual property of Misses Carroll and Bee, and is used here fully crediting them as the creators thereof.

I recently stumbled onto a very, very interesting Tumblr: Draw This Dress, where the incredibly talented duo of Emily Carroll and Vera Bee get together and draw beautiful garments from bygone eras. Here are some examples:

Stunning. It's one of those things that just turns me green with envy at the sheer talent of these women, but I'm sure you're wondering why I called this "Macabre Monday" if I was just going to show you a bunch of pretty dresses - well, I'll get to that soon enough. If you have the time, also check out the sites they used for reference, such as Ye Olde Fashion or OMG! That Dress!. They have tons of amazing vintage and antique clothing for you to ogle, drool over, put into your swipe files, or what have you.

Like This one.
Or this one.
Or this one!
Vera Bee's website contains lots of beautiful artwork and a rather bizarre animation, but it was Emily Carroll's site that really dragged me down the rabbit hole of the macabre. Most of you are probably familiar with fairy tales, and because of movies like The Brothers Grimm or television shows like Once Upon a Time many of you will probably be familiar with the much darker origin of the fairy tale; stories told to young children to basically scare them into behaving. These were the original Goosebumps.

Wait for it. Here comes the macabre. If you know about these uber-macabre stories (for instance, how the Little Mermaid actually tries to stab her prince, or how Sleeping Beauty's mother-in-law was actually an Ogress who repeatedly tries to eat her grandchildren), and still enjoy them, I strongly encourage you to check out the Comics page on Carroll's website. However, these are not for the faint of heart or stomach. You have been warned. Check out Carroll's amazing comics here. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fashion Friday - Cannes of the Century

Now, I wasn't sure whether or not to wait to do this post, seeing as the Cannes Film Festival is still in full swing, and there are still several red carpets to, so maybe I'll end up doing some special weekend posts about the rest... or maybe not. Anyway, I realized a fun way for me to cover red carpet events without it just being another runway fashion review - I'll sort the gowns I like or don't like by time period! Here we go:


Romantic lace, a soft decolletage, and the diamond collar necklace all make for a beautiful Gibson Girl silhouette on the lovely Eva Herzigova. The a-la-Draper hair is simple and elegant.


Grecian detail, a wide belt, and chiffon shoulder panel all give a dash of Lucille to Eva Longoria's gown.


The simple design, drop waist and tiered ruffle skirt all give Ms. Rossy de Palma a Flapperish Flair. This gown is also reminiscent of the Sevillanas.

Honorable Mention


A Clingy silhouette, halter top, and bangles bring back memories of Nancy Cunard.

Honorable Mentions


Woah. Who brought Gilda to life? This is 100% Rita Hayworth. Lovely!

Honorable Mentions


It's no surprise that Marion Cotillard should be chosen for the 50s when she's decked out in Dior. Gorgeous.


I find it ironic that Ms. Fonda should have been picked for this decade, as it was the decade of her youth. Her sweetheart neckline, ratted hair, and cinched waist all bring back the stylin' sixties.


I'm torn. I really can't tell how I feel about these disco era digs. They are very seventies, and very very much the color of mustard. Either way that is Charlie Chaplin's grand-daughter.

Hope this was fun! I might go through this again next week to round up some more dresses... Or I may simply update this post. Either way you'll be updated of anything I do with this. Have a great weekend, readers!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Witty Wednesdays - Lady Marmalade

Sometimes when I listen to songs - especially ones that tell specific stories, I'm left wondering exactly how certain things would go down:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Movie Mondays - All About Eve (Tired Old Queen at the Movies)

Last week, Tired Old Queen at the Movies celebrated filmed their 100th episode! I've written about Steve Hayes' webseries before, and I still thoroughly enjoy watching his reviews. To mark the occasion, Hayes decided to take a look at one of his (and my) favorite films: All About Eve.

I have always enjoyed his quirky commentaries and impressions. Congratulations, Mr. Hayes! Here's to 100 more episodes! Be sure to subscribe to his Youtube Channel and follow him on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Witty Wednesdays - Guide to Etiquette: Driving

This week's comic is the beginning of a series of Etiquette lessons from Yours Truly. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Food For Thought - Beyoncé's "Countdown"

It seems that Mrs. Beyoncé Knowles-Z has decided that her entire career is going to be dedicated to providing fodder for my blog posts. I don't have a problem with that, I'm just sayin'... This time it's her new video for Countdown:

For me, the most obvious inspiration is right here:

Yes, everyone remembers that famous Gap commercial that features Audrey Hepburn dancing (but not wearing Gap clothing). Fewer people remember where that footage of Ms. Hepburn came from:

That dance comes from Funny Face, one of my all-time favorite movies, and clearly also one of Beyonce's, as she's drawn inspiration from it before. The outfits of the musicians match those of Hepburn's backup dancers, and even the layout of the bandstand shots mimics that of the nightclub set from the movie. The dancing, however, doesn't match. It clearly took me too long to write this article because just in the week or so since I began researching this article, there has been an explosion of press regarding similarities between "Countdown" and the choreography of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. To see a side-by-side comparison of De Keersmaeker and the music video, click here.

"Achterland", left, "Countdown", right.
Left and right, Beyoncé is being accused of stealing the choreography from De Keersmaeker. So much so that Knowles decided to release an alternate version of the video that excluded all of the controversial footage. Even De Keersmaeker herself had some things to say  about the music video, though she seems kinder than most. This is similar to the criticism rained down on Lady Gaga every time she does anything that even remotely resembles anything Madonna has done. Because Madonna has never, ever imitated anyone herself, right?

If you're like me, you were incessantly lectured about plagiarism in school (if you're really like me, you worries about being accused of plagiarizing even after taking every precaution to avoid it). What were the things we were told to do to ensure we weren't plagiarizing someone else's work?
  • Re-write the information in your own words.
  • Use multiple sources.
  • Credit the author(s) of the work.
Knowles has done all but one of those things- she took the parts of the dances she liked and changed the context; she set it to different music and put different bits of the choreography together. De Keersmaeker has pointed out that even though they are performing the same dance, what Knowles and her dancers are doing is distinct from the films they mimic because of their context:

"In the 1980s, this was seen as a statement of girl power, based on assuming a feminine stance on sexual expression. I was often asked then if it was feminist. Now that I see Beyoncé dancing it, I find it pleasant but I don’t see any edge to it. It’s seductive in an entertaining consumerist way."

"Countdown", left. "Rosas danst Rosas", right.
Knowles also took inspiration from all kinds of other sources: Op art, Pop art, Mary Quant, Whtiney Houston... even Gap commercials! All of these things together created a unique work that is separate from all of its inspirations yet tied to them at the same time.

Now, I do believe Knowles and her team should have credited De Keersmaeker since they did borrow so heavily (and directly) from her, especially since they credited Boyz II Men after sampling from their song "Uhh, Ahh". However, according to a GQ interview with the video's director, Andria Petty, it was the team's intention to credit her but they overlooked this due to the tight deadline.

Can you say Andy Warhol?
This isn't the first time Knowles has borrowed heavily from others, nor will it be the last. This is also not the first time this sort of happened in the music video industry, nor in the music industry at large. Paula Abdul's "Rush Rush" is basically "Rebel Without a Cause", and Madonna's "Express Yourself" is basically "Metropolis". Music sampling has existed for decades. "Ice Ice Baby" sampled from "Under Pressure", "Rapper's Delight" sampled from "Good Times", "U Can't Touch This" sampled from "Super Freak"... The list goes on and on... If artists can't borrow from each other or imitate or build upon the work of others, then art cannot advance.

Knowles in Thierry Mugler
In addition, Beyoncé used the choreography to a different end than De Keersmaeker. The original footage was a work of choreography. It was a dance film. Knowles was presenting a video for her song. She was not presenting a dance, she was presenting a music video.

Finally, I think this whole climate of ideas as property contributes to rise of dangerous legislation such as CISPA. If we continue to consider artistic ideas as property in every context then we will be left with major corporations holding a monopoly on creativity because they're the only ones with the money to consistently defend "their" properties. We need to chill out about these kinds of things and start worrying about bigger problems.

Hope I haven't completely chewed off your ears!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fabulous Find Friday / N'awlins - Thrifting in the Big Easy

If you're a huge history nerd, as I am, you probably really like thrifting, which is basically what young people call antiquing to avoid sounding like their parents, because heaven forbid we should be anything like the former generation. Anyway, there is one store in particular here in New Orleans (well, technically in Metairie, if one is being picky) that I've gone to several times and have always found the most amazing things: Renaissance Interiors. I was going to put up some of the stuff I found last time I went but it just got swept under the "I'm supposed to be looking for a job" rug... Here is the stuff I saw on both trips:

First off, we have a pair of lobster traps. Feels like something you would see in an Abercrombie & Fitch.

This is an early-mid 20th century washer/dryer.

This is a type of fainting couch called a Duchesse Brisée, which means "Broken Duchess" in French (apparently the name origin is unknown). These were the original sectional sofa, and I suppose it came about when it became too difficult to lift ladies into the actual couches. Instead they would just sit her in the chair, lift her legs and push the rest of the couch under her...

Just a cute old-timey phone.

Here's something for you Puritans out there - a bible box from 1673. Yeah, you're reading that date correctly:

This was amazing - it's an index typewriter, an alternative to the typewriter that never really caught on like its cousin the typewriter. Can you imagine what computers would look like if these had become the business standard? Here's one in action.

I bought this for my dad (shhhh). It's an old-fashioned film editing device from when they actually used film in Hollywood (gasp!).

Guh. I flipped when I saw this - and the mid-century ashtrays? Yes, please. This is why I need a mansion.

This globe just exudes a sober, scholarly atmosphere, doesn't it? Oh, wait. It's a bar.

Here's a portable gramophone from around WWI.

Just a normal, regular lamp, right? Nope - that's a turn-of-the-20th-century fire extinguisher.

This was neat - though it took me a second to realize it was a mirror...!

Here we have something incredible. Many of you probably know what a hope chest is (if you don't, it's essentially where a bride-to-be put all of the clothes, linens, etc., she anticipates using in married life). Well, here is an example from 1750.

The decoration was beautiful, and I believe the "Marie" emblazoned on both sides wasn't her name but was added when she got married or "mariée" in French.

Now, not everything in the place was an amazing treasure... In fact, there were a few less-than-memorable items. Others were good fodder for nightmares:

For the low, low price of your soul you can have your very own Gladys!

Happy Cinco de Mayo, readers!