Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Books galore!

Although I certainly don't NEED any more books (I tend to grumble about owning too many, in fact, every time I have to move!), because I'm such a bookworm, I ask for and tend to get lots of them around Christmas. This year, this has been exacerbated by the fact that I've come across a couple good titles that I wasn't previously aware of and simply had to buy myself!

Let's start with what I've received so far:

BB: Brigitte Bardot:

A fantastic Italian-produced collection of photos, stills, and posters featuring the Divine BB, some of them never previously released.

The Story of the Supremes:

Light on text, but chock full of color and black and white photos of the Supremes in their heyday. From the current Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition.

Mika Ninagawa's Acid Bloom:

Mika Ninagawa is one of my favorite photographers. Her photos of flowers, fish, people, and all manner of things are always saturated with vivid colors.

And a few that I bought for myself!

Swinging 60s Fashion Style:

This is a Japanese-produced catalog of 1960s fashion photography. It seems to be the counterpart to the previously released (and now out of print, it seems) Early 60s Fashion Style and Late 60s Fashion Style, which I managed to miss when they were available. When I read about this edition, I scoured the internet trying to find a vendor who had it in stock and wasn't charging an arm and a leg. No easy task! Finally, I found it online at Blackwell in the UK for an extremely reasonable cost and shipping charge (both Amazon Japan and Amazon Germany had it in stock as well, but the cost was outrageous)! I can't wait to have it in hand!

Finally, I managed to catch this one, which had been unavailable for quite some time until Amazon magically got a few copies briefly back in stock:

All American Ads of the 60s:

One of the many, many reasons that the Taschen publishing house is brilliant. This is a nearly 1000-page book filled with, well, ads from the 1960s. They always do a great job of putting out very affordable (and often gigantic!) compendiums of photographs/reproductions on just about any subject you can imagine.

I'll have to come back to this entry the next time I move and I'm moaning and groaning about how many books I have to lug around. It's been worth every haul!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lizard in a Woman's Skin

This weekend, I revisited one of my favorite gialli, Lizard in a Woman's Skin:

I really had forgotten how good this film is, and how it is an example of this genre of Italian horror films with some of the best writing. Although I love gialli and am more often than not perfectly willing to overlook gaping plot holes, Lizard has a storyline that remains pretty tight throughout.

Also, visually, it is among the best-looking of director Lucio Fulci's films. I confess that I follow Fulci only up to a point, preferring his early '70s thrillers to the more gory, supernatural fare that followed (The Beyond excluded). The dream sequence that opens the film is gorgeously photographed, and doesn't have the cheap, effects-heavy quality that occasionally dream or fantasy sequences suffer from in fairly low-budget films of this era. Almost all of it was filmed on location in the UK (Mr. Bubblegum was excited to note that he'd actually been to a few of the buildings in some of the scenes).

Also bolstering Lizard's credentials is a top-notch score by Ennio Morricone. It's definitely one of the most psyche-rock outings I've heard from Morricone, although the title theme is quite pretty and atmospheric, and occasionally it wanders into experimental noodling territory, such as in the dream sequence.

There are plenty of other reasons to recommend Lizard in a Woman's Skin. The international cast (typical of co-productions of the period) features fine performances by Florinda Bolkan, Stanley Baker, Jean Sorel, and Leo Genn. Plus, there's great bits of trivia surrounding the production of the film, such as the anecdote about Academy Award winning-special effect master Carlo Rambaldi and how the dogs he created for the film landed he and Fulci in Italian court (the sequence in question is left out of versions of the film to this day).

Sadly, I purchased Lizard on DVD several years ago when Media Blasters released it as a two-disc edition: one disc contains a cleaned-up, but heavily cut print; the other is a longer (but STILL not uncut) full-screen transfer that looks like hell. Subsequently, a remastered full-length version (105 minutes, as opposed to the 95 and 98 minute versions on the DVD I have), was released, which I haven't made the effort to track down since the version I already own cost me about 30 dollars at the time. However, after this recent revisit, I'm thinking I might have to make the upgrade. That's only as long as the more recent edition contains the excellent featurette that my version contains.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I want candy!

How excited am I that Sephora is now stocking Dylan's Candy Bar bath and beauty products!? I'm a huge fan of anything cake-batter related, scented or flavored, and Dylan's version is second to none! I have a textbook Proustian reaction to the sugary smell of birthday cake. It takes me right back to being six years old and the cakes my parents used to buy for us.

If you're more of a chocolate lover, the line makes a knockout chocolate cupcake product line!

On the subject of sweets, I also just picked up a really delicious Belgian chocolate bar from one of my favorite local gourmet grocery stores, Savenor's:

I'd never heard of the Dolfin brand before, but just reading the names of their different kinds of chocolate bar makes me drool: dark chocolate with fresh ginger, milk chocolate with Japanese green tea or hot masala, or the one I chose: dark chocolate with pink pepper. Soooo delicious! After a week or so of indulging before and after the wedding, I swore I'd go back to my more healthy eating habits, but apparently I'm not quite there yet!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just married!

More to follow, but the wedding went beautifully!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Lula!

About a year ago, I first stumbled on the amazing Lula magazine totally by accident. I was killing time at Barnes & Noble and was completely seduced by the luxurious, dreamy (and admittedly, expensive) publication at first glance. It's everything a magazine should be: chock full of gorgeous and gauzy photography, high fashion, interviews with celebrities and artists who aren't completely overexposed (people like Clémence Poésy and Mia Farrow, and bands like Au Revoir Simone and Beach House), and style to burn (there are often beautifully done collages and drawings featured amongst the articles and fashion spreads).

This is one of my favorite shoots from the last issue, because they remind me so much of the Czech new wave film Daisies:

I picked up the new issue, number 7, as pictured above. Perusing through it is always like slipping into another world. There are interviews with photographer/filmmaker Floria Sigismondi, Zac Posen and Lou Doillon; an article on scrapbooking; and some very autumnal photo spreads that make me really excited about the fall (I confess I wasn't ready to start putting on tights again just YET). There's also an article on a band called Effi Briest. Never heard of them before, but I'm eager to find out!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Atomic Bubblegum does Pop Montreal

Mr. Bubblegum and I ventured to Montreal over the past weekend to see a few shows that were pat of the Pop Montreal festival. Friday was our big marathon, as we went to see none other than the legendary Mr. Burt Bacharach at 8:00pm, and then scurry a few streets over to see the equally legendary M. Jean-Jacques Perrey at 11:00.

Burt performed at the very elegant Église Saint Jean-Baptiste on Rue Rachel. The man is 80 years old now, but he still looks amazing, is very energetic and charming, and most importantly all class. He played piano and was backed by a full band and three vocalists (who were sadly no Cilla Black, Dionne Warwick or Dusty Springfield). It was absolutely amazing to hear my 1960s favorites like "Don't Make Me Over" (I almost cried during this one), "Walk On By", "The Look of Love", and "Anyone Who Had a Heart". My favorite Burt Bacharach-related record is an Italian compilation called Mo'Plen Bacharach that came out a few years ago, so I know a lot of these songs better in Italian than I do in English. The whole CD is chock full of goodness, but my absolute favorite is the cover of "Anyone Who Had a Heart", "Quelli Che Hanno Un Cuore" performed gorgeously by Petula Clark. I think it's so much more haunting than the original. I thought I'd post it for the occassion:

Burt played a lot of later tracks too, which I don't much care for being a '60s nut (sorry, but the Arthur theme just doesn't do it for me), but I certainly got to hear everything I'd hoped to.

Perrey was fantastic as well. His set was performed with the person he's been collaborating with recently, Dana Countryman. The tracks they did were more or less variations on the tracks Perrey did with Gershon Kingsley on The In Sound From Way Out. So, short of hearing those songs, it was really what any fan would have hoped for. Plus, he, although slightly more frail, was certainly as charming as Burt had been. I believe they're the same age. Perrey did perform "E.V.A." from the album Moog Indigo, so that was a big fan bonus. Afterwards, we rocked down to one of our favorite brassieres, Dieu du Ciel!, for drinks. I am a huge fan of their Route des Épices beer, and was on a mission to find some in bottles to bring back to home, which happily I was able to do on the last day.

On Saturday, we had a little more time to chill out around town. We had noodles at a fun place called Tampopo, and for dinner ate at a wonderful, relatively inexpensive French bistro called Bistro Justine à vin. After dinner, it was back to gigging, and we went to La Gymnase a few blocks away to see Darren Hayman, former frontman of Hefner (a radical change from the '60s maser of the previous night, but there you go!). Mr. Bubblegum and I are big fans of Hefner's first few albums, and luckily Darren played excellent renditions of "The Weight of the Stars", "I Stole a Bride" and "A Hymn to the Postal Service".

We'd hoped to grab a late-night poutine around the corner at La Banquise, but we were still full from dinner by the time we left the gig (which was quite late), so we just returned to the hotel.

The next morning on our way out of town, we stopped at our favorite breakfast place, St.-Viateur bagels. It's the perfect breakfast when you're just about to set off on a five-and-a-half hour drive and want to make sure you're full enough not to be tempted by fast food on the way home! They serve an AMAZING artichoke and green olive salad that I'm determined to learn the recipe for!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Queen of Rockabilly

I usually don't care much about things like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but how awesome is it that Wanda Jackson got nominated? I'm not even really much of a fan of rockabilly music, but Wanda is absolutely transcendent of all genres. With her raspy, bad-ass voice, she purred and snarled her way through such killer tracks as "Fujiyama Mama" and my personal favorite "Funnel of Love". Wanda also did a lot of country and eventually (I believe) gospel music, but you can check out a few of Wanda's rock tracks here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lovin' these shoes

So sleek, so art deco. I've never really been one for snake skin (even when it's faux), but this is so subtle that I can't resist. It's also a bit of a lower heel than I usually wear.

Nevertheless, they're perfect for the dress I'm planning to wear as the "going-away" outfit (although actually, it will be the "wedding after-party" outfit).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Japanese pop to get you going in the morning

I know there are a lot of '60s Japanese pop fans out there, and since part of the reason I started this blog was to give back to the audioblog community that has given me so much, here's '60s Cutie Pop Collection: Psychedelic Town Edit. It features tons of great stuff, like Reiko Mari's "In the Town" and Katsuko Kanai's "Mini Mini Girl". It's part of a series of comps, most of which have been out of print for a long time (including this one). Enjoy!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Monday's Yuka (aka Only On Mondays)

Love this title sequence from Getsuyoubi no Yuka:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

This is really sad news.

Don LaFontaine (he of the "In a world ..." film trailer voiceovers, and many more) has died.

As someone who has also loved watching film trailers, I find this particularly depressing. Even though he was so ubiquitous as to court parody, he seemed to take it in stride, as evidenced by the Geico commercial he did.

R.I.P., Don.

Time to make the paella

A month or two ago, I discovered this fantastic recipe online for a Filipino paella. I found some chorizo that was on special at the time, and wanted to try something interesting with it. This recipe is amazingly easy and it was quite the crowd-pleaser at a barbecue we had at the house over the weekend. It help me get over my reservations about using our cast-iron pan!

The ingredients are all quite easy to find (as long as you can get your hands on chorizo). The only trouble I had initially with this recipe was the annatto seeds (achiote). I was able to locate it fairly easily, however the seeds are unbelievably HARD, and the first time I tried grinding them with a mortar and pestle, I nearly ended up ruining both as the seeds dye everything red that they come into contact with! I finally worked out that the best way to grind the seeds is by using a old coffee bean grinder that we had lying around. It also minimizes the chance of having your fingers (or clothes) dyed.

Friday, August 29, 2008