Friday, June 29, 2012

Photo Friday: Let's Have a Party Edition

Good morning! What I am doing up at 7 in the morning on my day off? ESTATE SALES, DUH. I only have a minute before I have to dash out the door for Springfield, TN and the second day of a Family Tree Estate sale that looks of great say "lots of forties' ephemera!" and I say "How early do you want me to be there?". Did I mention it's going to be 104 degrees at some point in this miserable day? We cannot be deterred!

Before I dash though, here's another Photo Friday with Doris and Ray at their home in West Meade, the site of many a party. Who doesn't love a party! Let's take a look!

Well, it was driving me crazy trying to figure out who all the similarly-featured-to-Doris people were, and it turns out, she and her favorite sister Ruth have three other sisters and two brothers. One of the most helpful things in all this photo sleuthing has been a stack of newspaper cuttings from obituaries Doris kept in one of the boxes-- her father's notice mentioned the seven siblings, as well as the fact that the family hails from Columbia, TN, a small town just outside of Nashville. Well!

I think the woman on the left is one of the other sisters, though I have yet to pinpoint a name.

I have no idea what any of the objects in the sister's lap are, but the gaily perched little party hat, her rose print wiggle dress and bracelet, and the nubbiness of that fifties' couch are wonderful. Do you see Doris's pearls, clip earrings, and charm bracelet?

The details of this picture are what counts-- see the hats, blowers, and children's masks on the table? I see a king, a cowboy, and Indian...see the atomic-legged tv and the TO DIE FOR side chair the girl in plaid is sitting in? See that girl's bow and fringed bangs? See the woman in the right hand corner's impossibly small feet? It's the details, peeps!

I can't figure out, for the life of me, what the theme of this party is. And I lied, this one is obviously at some civic organization or meeting room, not Doris and Ray's house like the others. But how could I miss an opportunity to show you costume party pictures from the fifties'? Didn't think so. Fall ball of some kind, owing to the cornstalks?

What is the dude in the sweatshirt even dressed up as? The world may never know.

More party hats, more partying. Someone needs to tell the woman on the couch at left how to sit like Grace Kelly, legs to one side and together! I'm more than a little in love with Ray's crazy tie and striped blazer. I wonder what colors all these clothes were in real life. 

If there's a picture of Ray, and Doris is in it, this is usually the look he's giving her. SO. SWEET.

The progression between the two photos above and below is adorable to me. "Uncle Ray, how does this work?" "Well, let's looks like you take this one side...and then you kind of twist the end..." Don't the children's clothes and expressions look so grown up? On second thought, he may be opening his own presents from the stack on the table. Do you see the human figure on the candle in the background?

By her expression, the sister from the first set is not pleased that the night has ended in silly streamers. Alls well that ends well, sis! See Doris trying to untangle them and her glamorous outfit.

My favorite of the bunch, naturally, from the first set of photos. The masked woman  is Doris!

Had any epic parties lately? Any family folklore about the craziest birthday that ever went down? Which pic is your favorite?

Gotta slug some coffee and then split for the sales...have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kroehler Furniture Co. Couches (1958-1959)

Good morning! If you love color (and I know that you do), you're probably going to love this Lifesavers candy looking batch of ads I found for Kroehler furniture company.

Appearing in Life magazine for those two crucial mid century years, I have to say, if I ever find a freakin' sectional that looks like this, my current late sixties' living room furniture (which is kind of rocking a Louis XVI meets Graceland meets Needs-a-good-cleaning) is going out in the yard for all I care! Look how happy the woman on the teal sectional in her cheery mustard colored skirt and matching heels looks. That how happy I would look! Add a copy of Esquire, a big cup of coffee, and a Charles Aznavour record, and that's my dream living room!

According to this Napierville Historical Society pamphlet and this Chicago business encyclopedia article, Peter Edward Kroehler took over an existing furniture company in Napierville in the 1890's and went through many up's and down's (A tornado destroyed the original factory in the 'teens! 1920's revenues in the million dollar range! But then the Depression! But then by the 40's they were the number two furniture manufacturer in the US! But then WWII and material restrictions! A year long labor strike!) before his death in 1950. The mid-fifties' and sixties' were a good run for the Kroehler company, with revenues in the $100 million range, but it was back down again on this financial rollercoaster in the 70's and 80's. Two unrelated companies now manufacture furniture under the Kroehler name, but that's not what we're interested in.

We! Want! The Vintage! Stuff!

Ok, things to go gaga over in the above photo: trapezoidal shape of couch cushions with deliberately low-lying accent buttons. Wafer thin table top of coffee table, placed so far from the couch that you can't reach any of the faux fruits on said table. Linear perspective mural on the back wall, which looks like some trees and an Eames-y, Frank Lloyd Wright-style glass wall. Ceiling to floor white gauzy drapes, to stage right. Umph! This is good!

I'm not super impressed with this one, but I wanted to show you the crazy, two foot high lamp and the little be-ribboned poodle curled up to one side. I would name her "Cookie".

NOW we're talking. Why don't you ever see couches in this lipstick-fire-engine-red color? Every time I look for "red couch" on craiglist, I come up with sectionals in this blech Target-red. I'm nuts about the semi-winged armpieces, the gold tipped, atomic-angled legs, and the coordinating coal colored chair. SWA.GGER.

Poodles and the canary color seem to be a 1958-1959 theme here. The primary color palette is actually killing me with how cute it is. It's interesting how some of the ads feature this all-white background, negative space effect thing. I prefer to see the furniture already in a room so I'm not confronted with the nagging suspicion that you'd have to build the room around the furniture rather than vice versa. Until I see the pieces situated, sometimes it's hard to picture their size and scale in your own house.This is what keeps me from pulling the trigger on 90% of Craigslist vintage home goods that pique my interest...because dadgum it, when you take a picture of it sitting in your garage or so close-up you can't really make out what it is, how am I to imagine myself napping on a Saturday afternoon in it? Exactly.

Now this is more like it. All neatly arranged with wall hangings and everything! Doesn't the couch look like it just landed from outer space? I saw a chair and a couch along the same out-of-this-world lines once at a Hendersonville estate sale, but the color was a kind of weird mauve shot-through-with-silver that I wasn't nuts about, and the asking price was $475. That's on the high end of estate sale furniture.. again, my fresh-out-the-Andy-Griffith-Show-set-living-room-suite was $75 (I'm starting to wonder if that one steal-of-the-century transaction has poisoned all future estate sale dealing for me). I kept trying to offer them $250 (you can't keep a good dog down), but again, they had that look like "Is it that you don't realize how much it's worth or is it that you don't have the money?" ((stamps feet, tears hair)) You can't win 'em all.

Above: YESSSSSSSSS! Yes to the Danish modern entertainment center (I know there's a better word for that piece, but it eludes me). Yes to the spindly-thin dining room chairs! Yes to the wall mural! Yes to turquoise! I'll take the whole thing, kit and caboodle.

In spite of the fact that there's not a wall long enough in my house to provide a home for that wall-unit, I. WANT. IT. Look at the wasp-waisted woman in shirtwaist looking on like "Yes. I have achieved so much home decor. My work is through."

How do you like the to-one-side-and-not-centered mirror hanging above the vanity here? The hanging lights are too cute, too.

Dear chair, did I ever tell you your lines remind me of a Picasso sketch? Also, I want to be with you. I wish there was any available space in the house for a china hutch. Aren't they fabulous? I have a kind of metal baker's rack thing holding my Fiestaware pitchers (plural; of course that noun is plural) and Ben Siebel for whats-it-called serving dishes, but I wish they had an even more decorative setting!

Last but not least, one thing this room is not lacking in ....drama! Another thing? Atmosphere! I love how it looks like a set from early 60's, MGM, Rex Harrison-involved movie (you know how I feel about Rex Harrison, but there it is). The glowing yellow of it all, plus the I think painted-onto-the-wall Greek urns? High concept. Love it.

Which Kroehler piece is your favorite? Do you know any of the vintage brands behind your vintage furniture? Which overall room would you rather pick up, wholesale, and use in your own place of residence? Tell!

See you tomorrow for Photo Friday!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plein Soleil (1960)

Good morning! And isn't this a nice face to wake up to?

I see you seein' me, Alain Delon. Lookin' good, sir!
I just finished watching Plein Soleil (Purple Noon) on YouTube this morning, and what a picture! WHAT A PICTURE! In spite of the American title and poster making it look like a late eighties', Brigitte Nelson, steamy-romance type movie you'd catch on USA Network in the mid-afternoon (blech!), it's actually the first film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley. Surprised? I was. Above, Alain Delon steps into Ripley's shoes, who, eventually, if you're familiar with the plot, steps into Dickie Greenleaf's shoes. Dickie is renamed "Phillippe" for the movie, while his girlfriend "Marge" retains her American moniker. Not sure how that works, but there you go.

If you didn't catch the 1999 movie version with a pre-baldness Jude Law (do you remember how gorgeous millenium-era Jude Law was?) and Matt Damon, or the book, the plot of all three properties revolves around a classic-definition sociopath named Tom Ripley, who (spoiler alert) murders a rich young American living in Italy and assumes his identity. If you think he'd spend the rest of the movie living it up, Riviera-style, you'd be wrong-- has Dateline taught you nothing? Most of the post-murder of the story involve an ever tightening, ever claustrophobic web of deceit, as one lie leads to another and another, and one murder leads to another. And the ending! I purposefully didn't show you what happens in the last five minutes. Lemme tell you though, for 1960, it was a h-a-r-s-h ending, up there with the last five minutes of Cagney in The Public Enemy.

Director René Clément was a big name in mid-century French cinema (Forbidden Games, Is Paris Burning?), and you can really see his talent for framing shots in this movie. Every scene looks like a still painting. Alain Delon is famous for being a) one of the most handsome French actors of all time, hands down and b) with Romy Schneider, one half of one of the most gorgeous superstar-couples of all time. Oh, and Le Samouraï. Something about his eyes in particular....the man is almost preternaturally handsome.

Imitating Greenleaf in the mirror while wearing his clothes...sure, why not?

The casting of Tom in either of these movies is interesting to me-- I read a compilation of the three Ripley books Highsmith wrote but I can't remember her intial description of Tom's looks. Isn't it interesting that he's attractive? Using gorgeous Alain Delon and gorgeous Matt Damon as the "have-nots" to the Greenleaf character's "have" makes their naked ambition all the more poignant-- the only thing separating Tom from the upper crust is his lack of money. He's intelligent, he's good looking, but broke. While the 1997 film has an open, clear policy that Tom is obviously physically as well as emotionally attracted to Dickie, the 1960 version leaves that part of Tom's character ambiguous. While he Tom worships Phillippe/Dickie on some levels, it's also clear that Tom hates him as much as he wants to be him. I don't want to give too much away, but it's just so good!

Marie LaForêt plays Marge, the third party in this love triangle, and spends a lot of time on screen wearing clothes I would like to wear. Some scenes are shot with a Leone-style tight closeup of Tom and Marge's eyes, and my, what big eyes they do have. Laforêt's seem to take up the most part of her face in some shots. Plein Soleil marks her first screen appearance, a year after she was a last minute replacement for her sister on a Star Search style radio programme and won. Pauvre sœur Laforêt!

Enough backstory, though; take a look at the movie!

See Greenleaf's apartment? I want to live, while wearing the aforementioned Marge wardrobe! The red accent on the far wall is killing me. So chic! Right down to the plants. Umph.

What better than Alain Delon in an early 60's movie? Alain Delon in an early 60's movie in tiki themed clothes. This Hawaiian shirt is adorable.:

Slick as a whistle in a deep blue suit:

What an ELMO projector of the 1960's looked like:

Again, the composition is perfect. See the yellow and grey striped wallpaper contrasted with his blue patterned dressing gown?

I never noticed that the underside of a stingray has a kind of face! From a scene in the market:

And again, multiple evidences of the knock-you-down beauty of the two stars:

If you like French murder mystery kind of movies, and even if you don't, Plein Soleil is a winner. If you don't, well you should, and it's still a winner. You can see the whole film on youtube under this playlist. Nashville Public Library used to have a copy, but it was on VHS, and we've apparently gotten rid of it. Dommage!

Seen any good movies lately? Have any French cinema classics that are a particular fave? Let a little francophile know! See you tomorrow.

PS: I knew I had a Marie Laforêt song somewhere on my iTunes. Here she is singing the very one, impossibly large eyes and all. Doesn't she look like one of those Victorian engravings of beautiful but doomed tubercular patients?


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What a Weekend! (Protomen show, Tenacious D)

Good morning! Lord! How did I live through this weekend?

Event #1: Protomen show, with Noncomissioned Officers opening:
I shamefully don't know the bass player's name, but here you can see Jordan Lehning's right shoulder, Eric Lehning in skull-ish makeup up front, the nameless bass player, a cymbal-obscured Mixta Huxtable on drums, and Bab on keys in the tiki shirt to the right.

Friday night, Matthew sat in with the Lehning brothers' Non Comissioned Officers on a set of Iggy Pop covers that looked a little like this, except way cooler in person. Things I have learned about myself this weekend: I need a better camera and....I need a better camera

Iphone pictures aside, I was really impressed with the sound of the set, being a freakin' DE-VO-TEE of the Lust for Life record. David Bowie produced it; what more do you want from me? I must have listened to that and Lou Reed's Transformer about a million times in a three month period in late high school. "Turn Blue" was probably the high point of the show, but of course, I was too busy boppin' to the beat to even take a video. I do have this one of "Some Weird Sin" (above), also excellent, also dead on. I had the impression that 90% of the audience, having come for the Protomen-doing-Queen set that would follow an act later, had no idea that Noncoms was doing an album's-worth-of-covers, and probably just thought this was a really great opening band. Ah, well!

I didn't notice Eric's grey jacket is a nod to the cover of The Idiot until some time after the set. WELL. Good job, sir.

Here's a shot of Bab backstage, where people are doing makeup and hair and all other kinds of things. The light! It's blinding! On the left, another from the moon shot, this one with Wayne, frontman for the Protomen and all around nice guy:

Pre-jam group hug with Joey and Matthew and Jordan (Eric is being body-painted for his death-pallor stage makeup in the background):

Event #2: Tenacious D TIIIIIIIIIIIME:

We! Are! Fam-i-ly!
My sister Susan and I have been huge Tenacious D fans since the early 2000's, so it was only fitting that the second they released tickets for a show in Nashville at the Ryman, we were THERRRRRRE. I missed Jack Black appearing on stage at the Protomen show because after Bab's set and a bit of socializing across the street at the Gold Rush, I was just too tired (am I no longer rock and roll?). However! I did see him an' his brother Kyle, as he refers to him in "Tribute", on stage in one of the best venues this side of the Mississipp'. So no big regrets. The photo above is from a Nissan photobooth thing they had set up in front of the building. See the family resemblance?

Sus is a really good concert-going buddy. We've seen Eddie Izzard, the Kids in the Hall, and the Hives together so far (Note: And Neil Diamond, she reminds me. How did I not mention that epic concert?!), and I always forget until we actually get to the event how neat it is to go to shows. We had so much fun gabbin' before the set started that it was like "Oh! I almost forgot! We're here to see the D!" Hopeless cases, tous les deux.

Here we are in the balcony, taking the obligatory "we're at a show!" photo
This is before the giant, winged genitalia blow-up stage set thing came up. I spared you! You're welcome.
Yes, I'm one of those "always buy the t-shirt" concert go-ers. It is my nature! How great is this Dawn of the Dead homage design? Also, FYI, this is what they call a women's LARGE. I thought it would be too big because I usually wear a small or a medium. Concert t-shirt makers, consult a sizing chart next time! Your shirts are too teeny!

Last but not least, my day was MADE yesterday when I opened up the mailbox and found a care package from one of the our own readers, Mrs. Leapheart! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the goodies therein, including a book on female juvenile delinquents for Bab (spicy!), an orange bead necklace set from Topeka, KS, and the gorgeous cheetah-print-collar she mentioned in an earlier comment! It's real fur that's maybe has been painted? Or maybe there's some poor naked cheetah out there in the sixties' savannah. Either way, I l-o-o-o-o-o-ove it. And, most importantly, Snappy loves it, too.

I'm ready to take this collar out on the town! Excuse the messy beehive; it was the end of the day.

Whew! Just re-living that weekend has me a little tired! What did you do this past weekend, anything fun? Any great estate sale finds? I've gotta get back to work on this blinkin' educational paper for my Thursday class, but hopefully I'll have it done tonight and get back to the vintage goods tomorrow. See you then!


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