Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Debbie Reynold's Costume Collection/History for Sale

The most important private collection of motion picture costumes and memorabilia belongs to Debbie Reynolds. It is rivaled only by The Smithsonian Institute in Washington. For the first time in 50 years, she is selling many of the pieces at auction.

If you click on the red title above, you will be directed to the site for the auction. Look at the catalog.

For me, this is the Holy Grail. Getting to get up close some of the most important pieces of historical film, made by skilled hands of spectacularly gifted craftspeople, (the likes of which simply do not exist anymore, except in the tiny, tiny world of couture, premium costume houses, and some boot and hat makers for film), is a luxury. Many of them came here from Europe, escaping Nazis, in the early part of the 20th Century. They turned their crafts into film making, and gave the world magic. Their crafts pretty much died with them. There are a few left around town, and in some parts of Europe; England, and Prague, most notably. We also see the finesse of their nimble fingers and lightening fast needles in the great Japanese and Australian epics, but they are a very rare and specialized handful. I get to see some of these workers of magic and dreams when I go into the backrooms at Western Costume, where they are keeping the dreams alive.

I, for one, am very grateful to Debbie Reynolds for preserving and collecting these pieces of history. Everything form Marie Antoinette to Ben Hur, Little Women to Laurel and Hardy, My Fair Lady to Singing in The Rain, Cleopatra, it goes on and on, remarkable in it scope. These pieces will never again been seen together, and very likely never again in their current condition.

If you love costumes, history, and the art of making film, you will love this!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Please Adopt

I spent a couple of hours today at the Best Friends Animal Society Adoption Drive at the La Brea Tar Pits, in Los Angeles. Hundreds of beautiful and loving dogs, all running around with bright orange neckerchiefs that read ADOPT ME.

Then I went to the cat tent, and there they were, so gorgeous and warm, soft and making motorboat sounds, waiting for a new home with someone to love, who could love them back.

It was heartwarming, and heartbreaking, all at the same time. So much love sitting there, ready to be given a chance. So many good, decent people, volunteering to help them to, literally, get a leg up.

If I regret one thing, it is that I have not yet figured out how to help them all. How to reach people and ask them to wake up. So much innocence and life lost, by the simple refusal of humans to neuter or spay.

I thank all of you who have reached into your hearts and taken one of these lovely beings home with you. I know you feel, as the rest of us do, that in the end it is they who have saved us, and not the reverse.

Petfinder.com has hundreds of thousands of animal available to view online, as there are so many waiting for a home at a shelter near you. Sometimes they have been beaten so down by sadness, so they don't show themselves to be the ones they will become, after they've had a chance to feel safe and welcome. Please give them your patience and a chance to blossom.

You will be repaid for your kindness a million kisses over ^..^~~

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Arnold Schwarzenegger and The Maid Who Polished His Helmet.

I have a funny job in an odd business. We do the equivalent of a small film in a week or two, selling stuff to people who probably don't need it. I am always very, very polite to the talent, and they normally respond in kind.

I've seen more famous people in their underwear than I care to remember. I know more secrets and vulnerabilities than I'll ever tell. But this one I'll let go. Because it's about Arnold. And Arnold may be a very smart businessman, but he's just another dumbass who destroyed his family. I can't imagine how his kids will feel going to school tomorrow.

Here's a peek into the dark side of the business, with the guy the world sees as a happy go lucky guy tossing jokes on late night TV.

Many years ago, I did the above commercial for DIRECTV Japan. At the time, there were a lot of celebrities getting paid tons of money to shoot things that would supposedly never be seen in America. Nobody thought about the internet.

The job was with Arnold playing a bunch of characters; the Terminator, a conductor who looked a bit Leonard Bernstein, a rock star ( I used Axl Rose as a model), a baseball player, a samurai, soccer player, and a cowboy. It was supposed to be one of those fun ones. Except it wasn't.

The Princess had two motorhomes. One for his gym. One for his personal comfort. Part of his deal called for a land line to be put in and connected to his motorhome. So the phone company literally strung a hard line in from a telephone pole. Because he didn't trust cell phones. No wonder. He had things to hide.

Although I was responsible for creating his costumes, he had his own dresser. A bit awkward, but, whatever. It was a night shoot, so we came in at 6pm, got it together and waited for Arnold. And waited. And waited.

About midnight, I got a call that we had a problem. Arnold had shown up with no underwear. I'm not kidding. It was the middle of the night, and he was about to put on a baseball uniform with nothing to hold in the package. Jeezus, people! Really? For millions of dollars, can't you come in panties? Shouldn't your $5000 a day dresser have this information in his notes? Thankfully, I had some in my trunk, leftover from an earlier job, so I put them in a discreet shopping bag and walked over to his trailer. I made the mistake of knocking on the door while he was having his hair washed/dyed... Quel horror! He sat up and snapped at me and I got a look at the unpublic Arnold- the meanest, gnarliest thing you've ever seen BECAUSE I OPENED THE DOOR FOR SIX SECONDS AND HE GOT COLD. Waah. Waah. Yeesh. You're welcome.

Thinking back, I wondered why he wanted me to leave the bag on the stairs. He knew who I was. Normally, I would have been in there. Oh, well. Never mind...

Anyhoo, that was that. I trotted away, back to the seamstress on set who was cutting his size 52 cutaway tuxedo down to a 32 inch waist, remembering that I had a secret, which he'd now never be told...

Earlier in the day, I was running around town, trying to find leather bracelets to make him into the rockstar. Nobody had them big enough. (All those steroids make for a big neck and wrists, don't y'know).  I decided to get some leather ropes or wang, and wrap it around his wrists. In wardrobe, some things come from the strangest places. The best place in LA to get leather wang is from The Pleasure Chest, an emporium of all things sexual, on Santa Monica Blvd. They use them for the whips.

I took a new, green, male P.A. with me in case he needed to try things on his wrist. He was slightly horrified, but such is the life of creating magic. After peering into down into a glass cabinet, I inched my way left, left, left...so much to see. Fascinated, slowly, I continued left, and bumped right into a wall of dildos sticking out. I screamed so loud, the whole shop came running.

Peering down into that glass cabinet we discovered another world... cock rings! Who knew there were such things? For those of you who have never ventured into a porn haven, they are leather straps with snaps on the ends that a man might strap around his meat and potatoes for a (hopefully) extended romp with his partner. The ones I found particularly enchanting were brown leather, covered in pointed studs, big enough for Arnold's wrist. They looked like, (and I imagine, were) all kinds of S+M nasty and danger. Oh, joy, that part was settled, and off I went in search of the samurai...

Cut to 5 am. After the coldfest, I'd resorted to handing everything over to the dresser, lest Mr. Nasty spat at me again, but decided this one was too much fun to stay away. I gave him the Guns n' Roses costume and he fell in love with the "bracelets." He said, (admiring his wrists- I could scarcely contain myself)... "These are really cool. I'm keeping them. I'm going to wear them to dinner tomorrow at Morton's." (Morton's was, at the time, the #1 A list restaurant in Hollywood, and Monday night was when the heaviest hitters all went.)

No argument from me, dickhead. Every waiter and hot chick who looks at you at dinner is gonna know you're wearing cock rings for bracelets, and I am not going to protect you from that one.

Years later, he's proven himself to be the one I saw the night he snarled. He has no grace. No amount of expensive suits or anything he might have learned from rubbing shoulders with the Kennedys can disguise the very unfabulous Mr. Universe.

I've seen him around town a zillion times, long before he became the Gov. He would blithely park one of his many enormous, revolting Hummers anywhere he chose in Beverly Hills and strut away, puffing away on a Cuban cigar. He's always had that arrogance about him.

Cut to now: He will not be brought to his knees over this. He doesn't have the heart for it.

Maria will come out of this alright. She has a steely inner strength in her favor. She's had a rough couple of years within her family. No one would wish this on anyone, but it's hard to believe she knew nothing about his lack of character. She's not a victim. She's a strong woman who was deceived by someone whose deceit she thought she was immune to, because she thought she knew him too well for him to do to her that which he had done to so many other woman. Treated them as objects, toys for his own use. In the end, that what she was. As a young, homely, chubby girl, enamored with this buffoon, she was an easy pawn for his ambitions and enormous ego; she played right into it, certain she was different. Looking back to her speech for his gubernatorial campaign regarding him with other women, it must haunt her to hear the playback of herself, "I know him. You can listen to them (the press and the other women), or you can listen to me."  Read the link below, and you'll see how she enabled him, and took him from clownish bodybuilder to Governor of the fifth largest economy in the world, with serious eyes on the White House.

Fortunately for her,  it's over. Here's where the unpopular class differential comes in. She comes from American royalty. She has dignity, and a history of coming through tragedy well. He will always be a pig in a shiny suit. The perennial wannabe.

Their kids, though, and even that poor little 14 year old illegitimate boy, are caught in the crossfire. How does one protect them? How's he going to PR himself out of this one?

The idea that the servant/mother and the boy were in the house all those years with the family welcoming them into their private space is so, so disturbing. Humiliating and painful, to be sure.
Really, I'm so disgusted by Arnold, the maid and the dirty mess he and his political predecessors (Edwards, Clinton, that idiot Mark Sanford who went chasing went after his "soulmate" in South America) have dumped on everyone. If they don't want us judging them, then stop parading the wife and kids and and painting Norman Rockwell pictures. I preferred Jerry Brown's honesty up there smoking weed and whatever else whatever he and Linda Ronstadt did when he was Governor the first time around. At least they weren't pretending anything. The deal is, if you are determined to sell us your family, then expect there to be a price when you sell them out.
If you haven't had your fill of all things Arnie and the exceedingly plain Maiden Mildred, here's the eerie Vanity Fair article. To put it in perspective, the "love child" would be about eight years old at the time. Arnold had apparently kept his son secret for five years at that point. Maria thinks everyone wants to be just like them. It's all cozy at Conan's.  Click on the link below.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver: Mr. and Mrs. California Politics: vanityfair.com