Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I've been coloring my own hair for some time now, as was stated in my Manic Panic blog entry a few months ago. It saves me money and usually it turns out fine. Against my better judgement however, I decided to go w/ the Garnier Nutrisse color cream in 'True Red'this time, over my usual auburn shade of L'oreal Preference.
The difference was palpable. The L'oreal color is a liquid that you combine w/ the developer and which is quite thin after mixing. It's about the consistency of hair gel and is very easy to spread through the hair, saturating it thoroughly. I use a tint brush and have never had a problem w/ it. However, the Garnier color was a very thick cream and for that reason, I had difficulty getting it even. After I piled my hair on top of my head, waiting for the color to process, I already was developing misgivings. Sure enough, upon rinsing, I realized that the color had taken really well at the crown but the ends showed very little change.
Taking the advice of one of my channel subscribers, I bought a professional grade hair color from L'oreal at Sally's, one of their 'Mega Reds' options. I attempted to even the color out by applying it principally to the ends but ended up w/ a very mottled and very dark hair color. Ugh!
Once again, Manic Panic comes to the rescue. Since the crown of my head was a very deep burgundy, I decided to go w/ one of their blue based reds. The color I chose was called 'Pillarbox Red' and it looked like red Tempera paint. Using the same techniques as I had before, I applied the color and let it process about thirty minutes before rinsing. The result is a very deep cranberry and thankfully, it's mostly even. As you can see from the photo above, it's very different than the warm reds I've had in the past, and which I prefer. But it's very definitely preferable to the muddy mess that was there before.
Lesson learned: When you have good results with a product, DON'T bother changing it!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
This little bio is bound to be a bit emotional for me...I just love Ginger! Anyway, here we go:
Virginia Katherine McMath was born on July 16th, 1911 in Independance, Mo. Nicknamed 'Ginger', by family, she was said to have danced 'before she could walk'. Dancing in charity shows w/ her stepfather eventually led her to 'borrow' his last name 'Rogers' and thus, the legendary name was conceived.
At the age of 14, Ginger won the Texas Charleston Championship and eventually went on a tour of the western States, leading another group of dancers and going by the name 'Ginger and the Redheads'. This resulted in her being billed for various vaudeville acts in Chicago and St. Louis, performing alone and stealing the show.
In 1929 Ginger made her Broadway debut in the musical Top Speed, and found herself performing up to 8 shows a week in addition to making appearances in films for Paramount Pictures. Her first movie role was alongside Claudette Colbert in Young Man of Manhattan, in which she played a flapper at the ripe old age of 16. She didnt have much to say but her line 'Cigarette me, bad boy' became a much repeated phrase of the time.
Though she seemed very young when she first starred with Fred Astaire in RKO's Flying Down to Rio, she was actually 19 films into her career. Their chemistry became legendary and the dance team made 9 films together for RKO and reprised their status as a leading couple in MGM's 'The Berkley's of Broadway'(1949). They created something that no one had yet, a romantic mood that was inherently believeable and that lifted the spirits unequivocally. And they did it through dancing. Though Fred Astaire seems to get 'top billing', when it comes to basic skill level, the words of Bob Thaves ring very true: 'Ginger did everything Fred did; only she did it backwards and in high heels'.
Her dancing brought her great fame, but Ginger also wanted to be known as a serious actress. She starred in a number of quality non-musical pictures during the 1930's-1950's, including Stage Door,Vivacious Lady, The Major and the Minor, Monkey Business, and Lady in the Dark-films which placed her in the limelight and also set her opposite some of the industry's top leading men. She won an oscar for her role in 1940's Kitty Foyle, a performance that not only solidified her as a great actress but made her a heroine to working-women everywhere. By 1945 she was reportedly the highest paid female actress in Hollywood.
Her style was breezy but still glamorous,something difficult to achieve. Many casual shots of Ginger involve her playing tennis, her favorite pastime outside of dancing, and these photos are often more memorable than the ones classified as 'starlet shots'. She had a grace and poise that couldnt be denied, even on the tennis court, and a youthful energy that stayed with her throught her life. She simply glowed, onstage and off. Whether wearing a pair of loose trousers or a sequined gown, she never seemed out of her element or off her game. Her love life may have been rocky (she was married and divorced no less than five times), but there was no doubt that Ginger knew who she was. She maintained a certain levity throughout her years and kept tirelessly busy.
In addition to pursuing an acting career, Ginger also decided to try her hand at cattle ranching. For seven years, starting in 1945, she bred Guerney milk stock and started a modern dairy complex in Southern Oregon. There are still som strains of Ginger's breed of cattle in the area today.
By 1965, Ginger was mainly performing on Broadway. She had an 18 month run in 'Hello Dolly!', playing to packed houses, and a 14 month run in 'Mame'. Rogers also made many appearances on television, including starring in her own special, and it was said that she assisted good friend Lucille Ball in overcoming her chronic camera shyness. Though she was known as an actress and dancer principally, it is also of note that Ginger was an accomplished artist; she adored painting and sculpting. Her work was sought after to the point that she was offered her own New York art show but she declined since she felt her work was not prolific enough for the attention.
In the 1970s, Ginger devoted less time to her acting talents and focused on other endeavors, including a lingerie line she created for JC Penney. She also was an accredited spokeswoman and made a name for herself as such with several speeches concerning the American Bicentennial, speeches that were honored in Washington and even entered the Congressional Record.
The 1980's didnt slow her down. She directed 'Babes in Arms' in New York and published her autobigraphy entitled Ginger: My Story. The book was a best seller and Ginger herself traveled thousands of miles to promote it, signing autographs along the way.
When she finally died of congestive heart failure, at the age of 83, Ginger was an undisputed legend of the entertainment industry. April 25, 1995 would go down in history as a day of loss but also remembrance of a talented woman that never gave up.
She is one of my heroes.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Harlean Carpenter was born on March 3, 1911 in Kansas City Missouri. Her father was a successful dentist but her mother was an aspiring actress and eventually, she left the security of that marriage to pursue a career in Hollywood, taking her daughter along. Fearing his influence over the child, Mother Jean forbade Harlean to see her father. However, the girl continued to sneak in visits with him throughout her life and thus maintained a good relationship with her father. While Harlean was still a child, Mother Jean remarried and the newly formed family moved to Chicago where the girl attended high school.
Harlean married a 23 year old Chicago man when she was just 16. Her true aspiration was to be a wife and mother but to please Mother Jean, she sought out extra work in the movies and eventually changed her name to Jean Harlow. The marriage between she and Charles Mcgrew lasted only two years but the couple had since moved to Beverly Hills and Jean was therefore in prime condition to pounce on an opportunity to take her acting career more seriously. Howard Hughes cast her as an infamous sex symbol in the film 'Hell's Angels', which catapulted her to the ranks of super-star.
Over her 10 year acting career, she made 36 films. She was labeled a screen siren due to her sensational costumes and racey dialogue and she found a formidable leading man in Clark Gable, with whom she made 6 films.
To be such a vixen onscreen, her love life was surprisingly stable for an actress of that day. After she split with Charles in 1930, she married cinematographer Harold Rossson in 1933, a union that only lasted a few months. However, she seemed to find the love of her life in actor William Powell, to whom she was engaged at the time of her death.
In 1937, while filming the film 'Saratoga', she suffered uremic poisioning which could have been related to a childhood bout of Scarlet Fever. She died on June 7th. The world was shocked at the news since she was at the height of her popularity and was only 26 years old. Clark Gable was reported to have said that in completing the film,'Saratoga', by using long shots and an acting double in Jean's place, he felt as if he were 'in the arms of a ghost'.
Though she died young, there is no doubt that her career was heading for legendary status anyway. She would undoubtedly have had a long and fruitful career on the screen and considering the love she and Powell had for each other, her personal life could have been fulfilling as well. As it stands, we will never forget her and she continues to make her mark on Hollywood actresses today.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Greta Garbo will always be remembered for her dramatic roles and severe beauty. But few really know her history, due to her inscrutable private life.
Greta Gustafsson was born in Stockholm Sweden in 1905, to a loving home. She was particularly close to her father, who unforunately died when Greta was 14 years old. After working as a clerk and a model, Greta started to develop aspirations for the stage and eventually for film. Her first role as 'Greta Garbo' (a name conceived by director, Mauritz Stiller) was in the 1924 silent film entitled 'The Story of Gosta Berling', for which she won critical acclaim. The performance brought her to the attention of Louis B Mayer (MGM pictures).
In 1930, Greta starred in the much publicized (and well received) film 'Anna Christie', which was advertised with the slogan 'Garbo Talks!'. The film was a huge achievement and led to many other films that were equally popular among the public. Garbo's success as a silent film star paled into insignificance when compared with her victory in talking pictures. The film 'Camille' (1936) was her most critically acclaimed performance and many still feel it was her finest work, though there are those who stand by 'Ninotchka' (in which Garbo first 'laughed' without restraint) and 'Queen Christina' as her best. The latter is my personal favorite, and a film that I believe set the bar for all actresses of her generation.
It is often debated as to why Garbo left the cinema. Many feel that it is due to the world's need for 'lighter' films with the onset of WWII. Greta's proclivity for dramatic roles and the poor box office returns for her last comedy, 'Two Faced Woman', may well have contributed to her decision to retire from acting. She gradually withdrew from the world of entertainment altogether, entering a secluded life in NYC and refusing to make public appearances.
Though her most popular quote of 'I want to be alone' followed her to her death, Garbo was not desirous of being known for that notorious bit of dialogue from 'Grand Hotel'. She actually corrected those who used it in her presence stating: 'The line is 'I want to be let alone. There lies the difference'. That could very well sum up her entire attitude at the end of her career.
After leaving John Gilbert, her co-star in the silent film 'Flesh and the Devil', at the altar, Greta entered into a series of short lived love affairs that never resulted in much publicity. Some stated that she was indeed bi-sexual but this has never been officially confirmed. There have also been reports of severe depression that may have led her to become more and more reclusive as her life progressed. Whatever the case may be, when she finally died of renal failure in 1990, the movie industry suffered a severe blow. She was and remains one of the best.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I placed a quick blurb in video form on my channel, about this great little hobby magazine due out in the fall. It will be a hit, I'm sure, and I'm so proud to be a part of it. The magazine will deal with all things nostalgic, from movies and music to fashion and lifestyle. I hope all of you will visit this classy little website and subscribe! We're super excited about it!
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
As I do my Starlet Series on Youtube, I thought I'd post a celebratory post for each of the ladies we visit.
Clara Bow was the 'it' girl of the 1920's...in fact, she might have coined the phrase. Before the rise of women in the workplace, she was the first 'blue collar' screen siren-often being cast in the role of a waitress, a salesgirl, or even a sassy manicurist. Her pretty face held just the right mix of childish innocence and vampish vixen to make her especially memorable. Though her lack of education and raw presence may have caused her to be looked down upon in the high society of the day, she clearly deserves to be in the ranks of both Gish and Garbo.
Clara was born in 1905, among dire circumstances. She was unwanted and inconsequential to both her mother and father. There was not even trouble taken to file a birth certificate since her mother was certain the baby would eventually die of heat exhaustion. Mother and Grandmother both suffered from mental illness and therefore could hardly be counted upon to give the child a proper upbringing. Clara's fater was a wastrel and her mother resorted to selling herself in order to provide for her daughter. The terrified child reportedly hid in closets during these 'visits'. It is no wonder she grew up with a speech impediment and a sad lack of companionship.
Except for the movies. They were her best friends and watching actresses like Theda Bara was the catalyst she needed to enter a fan magazine contest and eventually win her way into the film business. At sixteen, her range of emotion and startling beauty were exquisitely captured on film. After several unsuccessful efforts, Clara finally broke into the mainstream by performing a series of films for Preferred Pictures, at the rate of 50.00 a week.
She had a knack for showing any demanded emotion, almost at the drop of a hat, and without any apparent concentration. 'Ya want me to cry?', she'd ask...and upon receiving an affirmative response, was known to park her gum behind her ear and immediately dissolve into a river of tears. This command of dramatic acting was evident in roles that called for it, but it was Flapper roles that won her popularity, as well as her much publicized love affairs.
This publicity may have led her to downfall, as an actress, when media attention eventually overshadowed her success as an onscreen personality. A series of flops as well as a nervous breakdown during the filming of 'Kick In', her final Paramount feature, resulted in her making a drastic decision-it was time to stop making movies.
Over the years, revivals have brought her back into the public eye and champions of her talents, like Hugh Hefner, have worked hard to get her catalogue of films restored and available to the masses. In spite of her wild reputation, Clara was a gifted actress and deserves recognition for her contribution to film.
“All the time the flapper is laughin’ and dancin’, there’s a feelin’ of tragedy underneath…” ~Clara Bow