Thursday, July 31, 2014

Photo Thursday/Friday: So Long, Library! (Vintage Nashville Public Library Photos, 1914-1962)

Good afternoon!

I hate to say it, but the time has come, folks-- today is my last day at the Nashville Public Library! After four years of service, I'm hanging up my reference desk spurs for an exciting new position a little ways out of town. Nerd that I am, it's still in the book business...and I'll have to tell you all the details about it as I figure them out myself! I start at the new gig on Monday. I'm not sure what that means for the future of She Was a Bird, especially in the next few weeks as I'm transitioning into a totally different work environment, but hopefully I'll still be spitting vintage on a semi-regular basis right here. So stay tuned! 

To commemorate this life event, I thought I would shamelessly borrow some photos from Nashville Public Library's Digital Collection of photos to show you the place (or at least the precursors of the place-- our building only dates to 2001, but its reputation precedes it!) I've been proud to call my home-away-from- home since 2010. I'm taking tomorrow off from blogging to celebrate, but not to worry-- I'll be back sometime next week to tell you all the news that's fit to print. Keep a good thought for me that I make the professional leap smoothly!! Find great stuff! Have a good weekend! We'll talk soon. :)


Carnegie Library, Nashville, Tenn., circa 1918 (source)

Photograph of the circulation desk of the Nashville Public Library, circa 1955 (source)
Carnegie Library, Nashville, Tenn., circa 1918 (source)

The circulation desk of the Nashville Public Library, circa 1948 (source)
Photograph of the reading room of the Nashville Public Library, circa 1953 (source)
Photograph of the Young Moderns Den of the Nashville Public Library, circa 1960 (source)
Photograph of the Nashville Public Library Airport Reading Room, circa 1962 (source)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Art Totes (MoMA Store Online)

Good afternoon!

I have been a luh-haaazy so and so today, I will tell you what! If I'm 100% honest, I would have to admit that a good portion of the morning was devoted to watching Alfred Hitchcock Hour and browsing the MoMA store online. The former yielded this episode with a creepy Bruce Dern and this episode with later Family Affair dad Brian Keith, the latter these gorgeous tote bags from the museum's gift selections. I am seriously in the market for a big tote bag with some kind of flair to it, and don't these just fit the bill to a tee.

Come take a look!

UNIQLO Jean-Michel Basquiat Collage Tote Bag
Q: Jean Michel Basquiat? A: Jean Michel YES. I was googling his name and tote this morning, which clued me in to MoMA's tote bag holdings in the first place. I wish this was one of his more intricate drawings, or on a darker background so it looks a little more dramatic, but as it is, I can't believe this just popped up at the top of my search results. Thank you, internet. Also, this exchange at the non-fiction desk: Me to my friend Jesse: I wish they'd done one of his self portraits or something instead of this, people are going to think I just made it myself. Jesse: So, one of his more tortured, painful pieces of art-- Me: ((sheepishly)) For me to carry my lunch in or whatever. #thedayimhaving #consumerist

UNIQLO Andy Warhol Flowers Tote Bag
When I started teaching and needed something other than a Jansport backpack to carry my lesson plans and grade book to and from school, I had the TJ Maxx Andy Warhol market cornered on tote bags. I must have had five or six of them, the ones I can remember being pink Elvis on a yellow background, "Happy Bug Day", a black and white striped one with a pink cat, and my favorite, Jackie Kennedy on a red background. The only problem with these bags is that the silver material on the straps (with quotes like "If I weren't me, I think I'd like to be Jackie Kennedy" and "In the future, everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes") flakes off when you put too much weight on the sturdy canvas bag itself, and it looks bad. Uuurgh. So, maybe this print of his famous flowers series would be nice!

Or maaaaybe this Keith Haring bag:

UNIQLO Keith Haring Turquoise Tote Bag
It is both a) the slickest looking of all four of these bags but conversely b) the one that looks the most like something from Forever 21, due to Haring's oft-copied, youthful street designs. Have you seen the documentary The Universe of Keith Haring? Watching one of his wall high murals being completed at time lapse speed is really neat.

And back to the Warhol:
UNIQLO Andy Warhol Soup Can Tote Bag
You can't get much more iconic than Andy Warhol's soup can series, and here it IS. Not some knock-off, but the real deal (or as real as a print of a soup can forty some years after the initial frisson of newness struck the art world).

Bonus: this bag by artist Lauren DiCioccio...about twice as expensive as the other four, but the cheeky play on throwaway plastic bags (as a luxe, satin and hand embroidered satchel) is wonderful. Maybe I could get this and carry it as my purse with one of the other totes. It's almost my birthday, after all!!

Thank You Bag
How about you? Which one of these bags would you schlep to work as a reminder of the outside world? What artwork would you like to see on a tote bag? Do you have a go-to brand or website for fun, novelty items that are more kitsch than kawaii? Let me know! I'm in the market!!

That's all for today, but I'll catch you back here tomorrow. Have a great Wednesday! We'll talk then.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mrs. Mia Wallace (Pulp Fiction Makeup series from Urban Decay)

Good afternoon!

I'm feeling a little under the weather today-- haven't stopped sneezing since what seems like yesterday afternoon and don't seem to have much hope of stopping before night fall today! I took the day off work and have just recently ingested some antihistamines which will hopefully knock me out until such time as my nasal passages decide to cease and desist, so keep a  good thought for me that they do! However, I wanted to check in on you and show you this little blast from the past: here I am in 2004, in the apartment dorm I shared with my friends Ryan (pictured, as gogo dancer) and Torey (not pictured, but probably equally awesome in costume), in all my sophomore year of at UT glory. Because of my goggle eyes, above average height, and long nose, I used to get a lot of comparisons in college to Uma Thurman (believe me, I'll take it!), so the year after Kill Bill's I and II came out, I decided to embrace Tarantino's muse in one of my all time favorite movies, Pulp Fiction, for Halloween*. You can't see, but I'm wearing black cigarette pants and silver flats, the latter of which MW took off for her iconic dance with Vincent Vega:

Why this trip through time? To show you I don't think I ever even tried to smile in photos until at least 2007? To reminisce on how I had to hack the wig I'm wearing down to a shorter length with bangs, which I overshot by a tad? To highlight the assortment of weird things taped to our kitchen wall (including a TV guide cover of Will Ferrell that is cracking me up a little now just to see it?). No! To commemorate the good news that Urban Decay has just released a line of makeup products, twenty years after the release of the movie, that bear homage to what is arguably one of the best written movies of the nineties'. Folks, check it out! Pulp Fiction makeup!

Yes, that is misquoted bible verse Ezekiel 25:17 on the back; yes, I used to be able to recite not just that passage, but the entire scene from the car ride to Brett's house to Brett and friends' demise in a cloud of "great vengeance and furious anger" as a party trick. In high school (have I told you this story before?), I hooked my dad's cassette deck and tuner up to the VHS player, and recorded two 90 minute cassettes of the audio of Pulp Fiction, and while I may have only physically seen the movie ten or fifteen times, I've listened to it something like 500 times. In my defense, it was before the internet! We had so much time on our hands back then, people. Also, how else was I going to internalize lines like "My name's Paul, and this is between y'all" or "Ha ha ha, m'f--ker, they're you're clothes", which still bring me joy to this day? I digress. Are you seeing the packaging? Wait til you check out the eyeshadow inside:

Yep, each are also from the speech. Urban Decay even includes a tutorial on how to get the Wallace look from the movie (in case you haven't studied that scene from Jack Rabbit Slim's nearly as much as you should have):

How do you think that stacks up to the real deal?

Though the lipstick and lipliner looks a lot more red than what they went for in 1994, I'm still drawn like a moth to this red, red, RED lipstick. I only wonder if in real life it wouldn't be too dark for my complexion. The Revlon "Fire and Ice" that I favor has like no dark undertones to it, which makes it so wearable for me and my fair-ish coloring. Isn't it super late forties' looking to you though? I might have to treat myself to this $22 lipstick..Fire and Ice is like $5 a tube, so that's a heck of a splurge, but maybe it'll be worth it to live out my dreams!

And last but not least, glitter eyeliner and rust red nailpolish. I'm less excited about these, because the eyeliner seems more Lou Reed's Transformer than Pulp Fiction, and I'm just not brave enough to do nail polish that isn't Revlon Red, but I still think they'd be neat on someone else. Is that someone else you?

When in doubt, What Would Lou Do?

Update: My friend Kelsey, who clued me in on this whole amazingness to begin with, has ordered us both some of the lipstick, so I'll have to let you know how it turns out when it gets here. Also, THANK YOU KELSEY!!!! How about you? Are you a huge Pulp Fiction or makeup fan? Which of these are you probably going to break down and buy? And what movie do you think would be a fun one to do a beauty-along with? I'm thinking of all the vintage color movies I would like to emulate, and am drafting a letter to Urban Decay in my head as it happens. This is only the beginning, haha!

PS, I now want to watch Pulp Fiction again. Did you know we almost used this as our first dance at my wedding? I finally decided you wouldn't be able to see my feet under my bell-shaped gown, and that Matthew's superior dance skills would shame my own, but it would have been neat to do anyway!

I have to go lay down my weary head, but have a fabulous Tuesday! Godwilling, I'll talk to you tomorrow! Til then.

* Just wanted to mention that on the way out of Andy Holt Apartments, the night this photo was taken, I was in an elevator with a Kill Bill Uma in the yellow track suit, a katana bearing O-ren Ishii, and another Mia Wallace, this one post-heroin-O.D. with a syringe sticking out of her chest. Isn't that wild? "Calling all Tarantino characters, please board the elevator at the same time". I still think mine was the most convincing, but I'm biased. :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Standard Textbook of Cosmetology (1938, 1954, 1959, 1962)

Good afternoon!

I hope you had a great weekend-- ours was busy, busy, busy! Friday, Dad and I hit the flea market; Saturday, we went to a couple estate sales and watched some Jimmy Stewart westerns, and Sunday, Matthew and I lounged as hard as we could possibly lounge on a rare, shared day off. Six hours of season one of the Real Housewives of Atlanta and delivery General Tso's tofu yesterday is making me feel a little bad for my gluttonous indulgence of high calorie food and low quality (BEST POSSIBLE QUALITY)  reality tv...but you're only young once, right?

Speaking of being young, I'm thinking of cutting my hair to sync up with big changes on the not-so-distant horizon (don't worry, it's good news!). It's down to my elbows right now, but as you can tell from blog pictures, I always wear it up, and I think I'm ready for a bob for the first time in six years. As far as short hair styles, do we consult Celebrity Hair Now or similar shiny tabloid hair makeover rags? Nope-- you know us better than that! I dug up this Standard Textbook of Cosmetology, originally published in 1938 but updated as recently as 1962, to take a look at what was good in the world of coiffures. I didn't find my new hairstyle, but I did find some pretty neat stuff! Wanna take a look?

Mr. Lee's State Beauty College was a cosmetology school in Yakima, Washington...while I couldn't find much information on the institution, I like to think it was like that episode of Tabatha's Salon Takeover where she updates a beauty school that was started by the suave and then-eighty-some-odd year old proprietor named Flavio in the fifties'. Imagine the kind of Warren Beatty in Shampoo like hot guy hair stylist, and these are the dreams I'm projecting on Mr. Lee. The book, from page one, is a hoot-- it combines all the different editions of the book (1938-1962....quite a wide swath of beauty trends there) as one semi-cohesive textbook for the would be beautician.

First, please color me thrilled about this forecast for your success or failure as a working beauty professional:

That pert, swept-updo gal Friday is SO. CUTE. And I whole heartedly agree with the Goofus and Gallant like juxtaposition of how you should do and how you shouldn't. Could someone please needlepoint "TO BE SUCCESSFUL-- you must learn to do the little things that will make people like you" for me to hang up in my home and place of business?

Two pages later, we've jumped from the late forties' to the early fifties' (but still not au courant with the 1962 publication of the book) and what your own personal hygiene as a beautician should entail.

Do you ever notice in hair salons (or maybe the hair salons I would go to in college that specialize in $10 haircuts), there will be two or three girls with perfect, asymmetrical bobs streaked in cute highlights, wearing skinny jeans and a nice top, and they are never the person who comes to cut my hair? I am 9 times out of 10 stuck with a mountainous woman with over, over, OVER processed hair the color of  nothing found in nature, and styled (herself! After all, she's a beautician!) in the fashion of Kate Gosselin or somebody's-trying-too-hard-mom. This woman unwaveringly would look at my photo of Mia Farrow or Jean Seberg or whatever waif-like style icon I was going for at the time, and say "Yeah, I can do that," and proceed to give me a shorter version of her own hair cut. What I wouldn't give to see someone like this smiling brightly at me over the counter-- she would understand how I want hair um exactly like hers and what's more, know how to do it!

Each and every time I brush out my curled hair, I manage to look like one of the Mandrell sisters-- not-that-that's-a-bad-thing, but I can't not do bouncy, 70's prom curls even when I specifically wanted short, forties' defined waves. My hair has a natural wave to it, but is by no means curly, and I have the hardest time figuring out what kind of potions or potents I need to put on it to make the curls stay curled! I know a lot of it is in the comb out... vis à vis the chart below. SO MANY CUTE CURLS. So little that have actually appeared on my head:

I can just see myself with a pen and paper trying to remember if I was doing C curls or CC curls:

Oh, look! The exact marcelled wave from the 20's and 30's I want, but here in this 1962 textbook! Do you think it would be super, unbelievably difficult to recreate this style in the 21st century? Also, would I look like a fruit damn cake? I'm going to do research in the text of the book, but chime in if you know anything about these hair dids. Can I look like La Swanson with the basic, limited hair skills I already possess?

I love thinking of the illustrator going, ok, I need to show how this would work in the theoretical. Also, I need a poster of this crazy figure for my house.

Pin curls! Another thing I will be able to do once I hack off about a foot of this hair. Make me look like Carole Lombard, pin curls!

 This one reminds me of Norma Shearer-- doesn't it you?

Poor, dopey looking "convex" and Disney villainess looking "low forehead, sharp chin"-- I feel like I have a straight pointed profile? Can I vote none of these?

Ok, now that you've seen some of the actually helpful portions of the book, I present to you the truly weird and wackadoodle illustrations from the second half:

Jim! Jim, what happened to your FAAAAACE?! I love how nonplussed he looks even without skin.
It's a rake...for your scalp...wired for electricity...soooo....
With and without protective goggles.
A quartet of horrors. 1) Pattymelt face, 2) I'll worry about my foot bones, you worry about keeping me in Louboutins, 3)Why does Simone Signoret have such a hairy face, 4) Why does this diagram have a face at all! Disturbing! 

I've got to get going, but let me know what you think! Should I cut my hair? What vintage styling tips have you found helpful? Seen any weird textbook illustrations lately? Spill, spill!

Have a great Monday, and hopefully I'll be back tomorrow with some weekend finds! Take care; talk to you then.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Rerun: Photo Friday: Flappers in the Sun Edition (1920's)

This blog originally appeared on She Was a Bird April 27, 2012.



I found this non-descript portfolio, about the size reproduced above, in a box of photos at an estate sale in Inglewood a few years ago. Nashville-ites who know the area, it was one of those big Tudor houses near the library on Gallatin Road, the HUGE 1920's and 30's houses built on the main drag, many of which have been converted into law offices, dental offices, or in one memorable case, a palmistry shoppe. The layout of the house featured a rabbit's warren of twisty, narrow little rooms on the first floor, and a slope-ceilinged second floor area up a central set of stairs, and just lo-o-o-ots of stuff. As it was a Sunday, everything was deeply discounted and I bought the whole box of pictures for less than five bucks, thinking I would go through it later to enjoy the treasures. I'd forgotten all about them (remember how I said I was a kind of, sort of a hoarder?) until I was scanning some from the box in, and met the cutest little couple in doing so!


People, meet Gentleman Jim and Flapper Fran. The snapshots didn't come with any kind of descriptive captions or names other than the St. Louis based developing company on the back, but we'll go with those descriptive monikers for the moment.


As much as I like any kind of vernacular photography, the kind I like best, being a little dress-a-holic, is seeing the detail of old clothes in old photos. I thought this was Flapper Fran, but in looking at the other photos, and by way of the clothes, turns out this is her cousin Flapper Frieda! The second flapper is wearing a daisy of an outfit in sharp heeled satin pumps with little bows on them, a straight-up-and-down flapper dress with tiers of ruffles at the bottom, a drop-bead neclace, corsage, and the de riguer cloche hat of the day (the coat from the first picture seems to have taken a powder). Frieda, Fran and Jim are posing on and in front of some kind of public building, but I can't tell from the photos what building. Is this a shot on the courthouse steps just after they've been married ? Or is it just a good looking building on an afternoon stroll downtown?

Gentleman Jim's friend, Gentleman Hal, makes an appearance in the next shot:


Something about the posing in this one reminds me of a ventriloquist and his dummy. Am I right? Dig Hal's tie.


Whoah! Double vision! Flapper Fran and Flapper Frieda together. See how similar their faces are? I assume they're related, but again, by the lack of markings, I really have no way to tell.


Frieda and Hal together. It looks Frieda and Hal are a couple, and then Fran and Jim are a couple. Don't you love making conjectures about old pictures with no hope of ever finding out if you had the context correct? It's kind of fun and it's kind of sad, thinking there were at least four people at one time who knew exactly what was going on in each of these photos.


THIS IS PROBABLY MY FAVORITE. Moving out of town to the country side for a picnic, the foursome pose in various rocky/scenic places around an old wooden bridge. I love the stiff body language and scowling faces of people in the pre-digital-camera, how-did-I-look-no-erase-that-one era. Those planar, Cherokee cheekbones remind me of Loretta Lynn and my own great-grandmother on my dad's side. Look at that dress!


This one turned out very fuzzy, but look at Jim's hat. Nice hat, Jim.


Rethinking straw for the summer 1929 season, Jim removes the hat for a solo portrait. See the sharp crease in his pants and the short-at-sides-longer-at-top-F-Scott-Fitz haircut. Handsome, huh?

Last but not least, Fran looking as rawbone and skinny and scowly as her cousin:


I still love it.

Do you have any vacation/day trip photos in your collection that tell a narrative like Fran + Jim + Frieda + Hal? Which flapper styles do you wish would make a comeback so you could copy Fran and Frieda's look without looking like you're doing a stage production? Have any good estate sales coming up this weekend? Let us know!

Have a great Friday, and we'll see you on the other side of the weekend!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Straight Jacket on Youtube (1964)

Good afternoon!

Sorry to only pop in for a moment again! This blog has been getting later and later, and isn't it a shame! So much drama in the LBC again...but not nearly as much as JC has to put up with in her late career schlock masterwork, Straight Jacket (1964). Did you know it was on Youtube? Did you know it was just what the doctor ordered this afternoon? Take me away, crazy early sixties' horror movie...take me away!

Poor unhinged Joanie is honestly still pretty wonderful as convicted ax murderess Lucy Harbin, trying to put together the pieces of her life after twenty years in an institution for a crime she...possibly didn't commit? I need to change my ringtone to Crawford just screaming "Noooooo" for thirty seconds in the opening scene. It ain't no Mildred Pierce, but you have to admire the picture for a) its full commitment to camp and b) Joan's consummate professionalism even as she's hacking up her adulterous husband in the opening scene, charm bracelet jangling as she delivers the "forty whacks" of the later children's rhyme made up about her (just....directly...lifted from Lizzie Borden's similar tune?). Also, while the wig is bad (though NOT Beyond the Forest Bette Davis bad, to her credit!), the sixties' dresses are on point!

The stills don't really do Joan justice-- in the movie, in spite of the wacky hair and eyebrows, her "movie star" quality still shines blindingly through every scene she appears in. When she's in the frame, you can't look at anybody else!

Some stills from the picture:

After her makeover, wig application, and about ten rounds with the eyebrow pencil...#luhyoujoanie
Did you know this bust was originally presented to JC on the set of A Woman's Face (1941), sculpted by Yugoslavian artist Yucca Salamunich? You can see her in 1941 with the bust here.
Two severed heads in the bed-- about two more than you want to wake up to.
Who makes Joan Crawford ride in the backseat?! Uncomfortable!
But as ye olde Levar Burton used to say, don't take my word for it! The whole film (and a bonus documentary about making the film) is available on Youtube. Watch the first, then watch the second, and see if the afternoon doesn't just fly by.

How I'm cutting my cake this year. Also, dang JC, nice arm muscle!
So! How about you? What kind of mindless entertainment gets you through a wild work week? Do you have a favorite camp horror movie or good-star-in-a-bad-movie that you would recommend? Have you seen Straight Jacket? Let's discuss!

That's all for today, but hopefully I'll be back a little earlier tomorrow for Photo Friday. Have a great Thursday! We'll talk then!


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