Monthly Archives: October 2012

BEWARE OF PEARL GRAY WITH PINK SAYS the original Diana Vreeland

From the Daily

Diana Vreeland’s Legendary Life: ‘The Eye Has to Travel’

by Sep 17, 2012 1:00 AM EDT

Diana Vreeland was imperious, eccentric, and unforgettable.

Diana Vreeland
The editor in her apartment, which she wanted to look like “a garden in hell.” ((c) Estate of Horst P. Horst-Art + Commerce / Courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films)

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Diana Vreeland is single-handedly responsible for the pop-culture meme that great fashion editors are flamboyant and eccentric, possess the temperaments of tyrants, and are prone to mysterious pronouncements about pink being the navy blue of India. But more important than her easily caricatured personality, Vreeland’s creative gestures were so bold and sweeping that ever since she strode the halls of Vogue magazine for much of the 1960s, all other editors in chief have been compared to her.

Vreeland was the inspiration for actress Kay Thompson’s imperious fashion editor in the film Funny Face. Vreeland was terrorizing assistants long before Meryl Streep made Anne Hathaway cower in The Devil Wears Prada. Vreeland was fashion’s original bulldozing diva—but she wore Chanel.

Vreeland began her career as the fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar, where she first gained confidence and made a reputation as a working woman with an eye for style and a nose for what’s next. But it was at Vogue, as editor in chief, that the legendary “DV” was born.

While at Vogue, from 1962 to 1971, she transformed a magazine focused on society swans and long-necked mannequins into a global souk sprinkled with Hollywood glitter. She sent a caravan of editors, photographers, and models around the world, instructing them to bring back souvenirs, stories, and elaborate fantasies that took readers outside their quotidian lives.

Vreeland was a well-traveled woman—having been born in Paris and living in London and then New York. But she often spoke about the magic of countries from Russia to Mongolia as if she had seen them with her own eyes when, instead, she had really only seen them in her imagination.

But few places could compare to Vreeland’s vast imagination. In everything from the story of her life to a photo story in the magazine, Vreeland tended to exaggerate and gild the lily. Indeed, she sometimes simply made things up. Her ease with the well-placed lie was as much a secret to her success as it was a flaw.

Over the years, Vreeland has been an irresistible subject for writers and filmmakers. Indeed, her memoir, D.V., which was edited by George Plimpton, is, in some ways, her own personal tall tale. The play Full Gallop took audiences into Vreeland’s red-lacquer Manhattan apartment just after she was fired from Vogue and before she became a consultant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. Full Gallop aimed to bring her spirit to life, if not tell the gimlet-eyed truth about the actual woman.

It may be that it takes the full complement of media to even get close to the story of a woman whose surface was so captivating—jet black hair, highly rouged cheeks, and a beak-like nose that plastic surgery never rendered characterless—but whose interior was so confounding. The Eye Has to Travel, a documentary by Lisa Immordino Vreeland scheduled for a limited release on Sept. 21, offers another set of clues to understanding a woman who pushed fashion into popular culture and used that culture to change the direction of fashion.

Diana Vreeland
Two style icons: Vreeland with model Marisa Berenson. (James Karales / Courtesy of Estate of James P. Karales-Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Immordino Vreeland never met her grandmother-in-law. Diana Vreeland died in 1989. So while Immordino had intimate access to the fashion icon’s sons and extended family, she had a useful distance from her subject that allowed her to see Vreeland in especially clear terms. The filmmaker also boasts a fashion background and a nuanced understanding of the industry’s mythmaking and social significance. Using television news clips and audiotapes from Vreeland’s lengthy conversations with Plimpton when she was working on D.V., the documentary allows Vreeland to speak for herself—but it also strives to keep her honest.

Hearing Vreeland’s voice with its vaguely continental accent and its alluring lyricism, it’s easy to understand how she could cajole others into bringing her fantasies to life. In her earnest enthusiasm, one hears the effusive rhythms of today’s fashion pop stars like André Leon Talley or Tyra Banks.

The most poignant aspects of the film are the personal meditations. Her sons, Thomas and Frederick, speak to the difficulty of having such a dynamic character as a mother. The discomforting hurt of her legendary status is evident on their adult faces. Vreeland’s blunt assessment of her looks is also startling. She considers herself terribly unattractive until she meets Thomas Reed Vreeland, her husband-to-be. He makes her feel beautiful, she says. That perilous state—having one’s physical confidence reliant on the admiration of another—affects her entire career. She is driven by a voyeur’s judgment of beauty. Personal satisfaction in her own beauty is a struggle—one as obvious as the slash of rouge on her cheeks.

Did insecurity spark more than a little unkind treatment of assistants and junior editors? How much of fashion is fueled by insecurity—for better or worse?

And, of course, there are her lies. There are tales of Charles Lindbergh flying overhead while she sat with her boys on holiday, descriptions of a never-seen Russia. Fact did not interfere with a story or a myth. And in contemporary times, such blatant untruthfulness would be looked upon with derision. A million tweets would send scolding commentary into the universe. But Vreeland understood that fashion had little to do with truth. She glosses blithely over topics such as diversity or feminism with a kind of wry and dismissive humor.

As a piece of filmmaking, The Eye Has to Travel is not especially dazzling. But Immordino Vreeland has the patience to, at times, simply let Vreeland speak. Often she is witty. Sometimes she is heartbreaking. And occasionally she is baffling. And in her fibs, exaggerations, and outright lies, she reveals something of the complicated truth about fashion.

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Robin Givhan is a special correspondent for style and culture for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. In 1995 she became the fashion editor of The Washington Post, where she covered the news, trends, and business of the international fashion industry. She contributed to Runway Madness, No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade and the Rights of Garment Workers and Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary: Reflections by Women Writers. She is the author, along with the Washington Post photo staff, of Michelle: Her First Year as First Lady. In 2006 she won the Pulitzer Prize in criticism for her fashion coverage. She lives and works in Washington, D.C.

For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at

 Delightfully entertaining documentary full of wisecracks, insights, gossip, exotic fashion shots, models, designers, and factions from the irrepressible Ms. Vreeland. It’s showing at the Esquire now. Treat yourself to this completely original look at an unsurpassed original fashion editor.  Jan

TAGS: Denver, Esquire Theatre, Fashion, Diana Vreeland

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Loveland Artists swarm Little Rock, Arkansas

Photo of Little Rock, Arkansas, 

from the West, October 22, 2012.

Marble sculpture

by Michael Warrick, Little Rock.

Is there anything in the whole world better than old friends? I think not. I had the distinct pleasure last week of seeing childhood friends in Little Rock and at the same time, seeing friends from my Art Revue Magazine days in Loveland.

In October I had free time on my hands. My oldest friend in Benton, Arkansas, needed help with her campaign in the small city south of Little Rock. I pulled dates out of a hat for the best airfare then luckily landed in Little Rock the week of the sculpture show.

What I loved most about the River Market Sculpture Show, every sculptor I spoke to loved Little Rock. I’ve always found it hard to believe people do not know Little Rock, Arkansas, and most have never been there. Just to let you know, it’s a beautiful city with the Arkansas River running through it and like Denver, it sits under a classic cityscape and growing art community. The Clinton Library sits on the river at the East end of the River Market area in downtown. The revitalized neighborhood is alive with restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels.  In the last ten years the city has created a beautiful walk along the river banks dotted with sculpture, most of them Colorado artists.

I walked into the pavillion on the last day of the show. The first people I saw were Adam Schultz and Lori Acott, and in no particular order Pati Stajcar, Kim Shaklee, Dee Clements, Mark Hopkins, Michael & Shelley Buonaiuto, Sandy Scott, Tim Cherry, Wayne Salge, Kevin & Diane Robb, Kathleen Caricof, Denny Haskew, Mark Leichliter, Jane Decker’s brother, Ron Chapel – won the 2012, $50,000 commission at the show, Clay Enoch and John Sewell.

All those familiar faces from two distinct areas of my life was just enough to make me lightheaded, considering my cold and all, you can understand my confusion. Here I was in my beloved Little Rock with childhood friends beside me while talking to Dee & Kevin & Denny & Sandy…I had to stop and remember where I was again & again. It was a great homecoming and a humbling reconnect with the many friends I made in Loveland years ago. Together, during those years, 1990-2004, when Loveland was finding its niche we became an art community and I like to think we all helped in our own way to put Loveland on the art map.

From L to R: Sandy Scott’s pig. Adam Schultz and Lori Alcott.

Take a look:

Authentic Southern art: Coconut Cream Pie from Ed & Kay’s in Benton, Arkansas.

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Denver Go to Memphis


I waited three years to see Memphis, The Musical. I dreamed of seeing it on Broadway but before I could travel to NYC from Florida, I moved back to Denver.  Then I dreamed of being in Memphis, Tennessee, for the namesake’s opening night.  I vowed to myself. I wouldn’t miss it if it came to Denver. Last week was my opportunity and I didn’t miss it.  I was like the young boy I was shoulder to shoulder with at the pre-show merchandise counter.  We were two star-struck teens, we shopped, fidgeted, handled all novelty items, magnets, CD’s, key chains and lip-synched the songs. I quickly made my decision, a pink, girl-cut T-shirt with the orange guitar running up the side with the words: Memphis Lives in Me.

I grew up west of Memphis in Little Rock, Arkansas. My favorite radio station was KOKE,  with the tag line, The Black Spot on Your Radio Dial. Those late night shows were the beginning of my love affair with blues, hip-shakin’ rock’n roll, jive, jump blues from the likes of Sam Cooke, Etta James, Big Mamma Thornton, Little Richard, Gatemouth Brown, Muddy Waters, BB King and Ben E. King, Bobby Blue Bland and one of my all time favs Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry.  The impact on my life from their music and my Southern heritage is a badge I’m proud to wear.

Memphis, The Musical is about that era in our musical history when white adolescents discovered and loved black music. If  the 45 rpm “A White Sports Coat with a Pink Carnation,” by Marty Robbins crossed over from country to pop, Little Richard’s  ‘Tutti Frutti’ the same year, 1957, hit the airwaves with another explosion. The hit parade songs from Perry and Frank didn’t resonate with white suburban kids anymore, they had heard rock ‘n roll.  One night, as the musical story goes, black & whites met on common ground at a colored juke joint in Memphis, Tennessee. Huey Calhoun, the white boy who became Memphis’s first cross-over DJ, was lured by the toe-tapping, soulful music seeping under the door. It changed Huey’s life, Memphis town, and rock ‘n roll forever.

I will not go on & on about how wonderful this show is and what it meant to me. I don’t have time to write my childhood story to include my Memphis Aunt Jamie Sue or Aunt Jack (who told Elvis’s father to kiss her ass when he left her waiting in the Graceland foyer for over an hour) on this little blog.  But here’re the facts, Memphis, The Musical, won four Tony Awards in 2010 for Best Musical, Best Original Score (David Bryan from Bon Jovi, and Joe DePietro), and Best Orchestrations (David Bryan and Daryl Waters). If you have a chance to see MTM you will be singing and longing, depending on where you’re from, for Memphis the Musical or hankering for the hometown flavors of Memphis, Blues & BBQ.

The show is beautifully orchestrated and choreographed with fabulous dancers, singers, brilliant stage & set design and music that fills the heart. Everyone leaves the show with the song title embedded in their soul:  Memphis Lives in Me.  click here for Little Richard singing “Tutti Frutti.”

Get your tickets at

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Twofers at Avenue Theater


Thursday 10/11 & SUNDAY 10/14

ONLY $20 for TWO

Call about our Dinner Date deal at the Avenue Grill. 

Get your Tickets.
Your quicklinks to get on with buying some tickets:

Sunday 10/14 at 2:00pm will be our ONLY matinee performance ofMurder Most Fowl, and it’s your chance to see it again, and

bring a friend for free!

Offer Valid

Thursday 10/11 & Sunday 10/14 ONLY


Due to popular demand, we’ve extending the run to include performances on Nov 2, 3, 9 & 10!  Show time remains 7:30pm

All About Avenue Theater

Avenue Theater is marking its 25th year of producing new plays and musicals, regional premieres, and productions of favorite standards from the world’s theater! Since 1987, the Avenue has been one of Denver’s favorite places for entertaining and thoughtful theater, and has won many Henry, Denver Post Ovation, Marlowe and other awards for adult and children’s theater. There are many great restaurants nearby, parking is easy and we are RTD accessible.
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The Play “8”

Oct 15, 2012-Oct 15, 2012
The Stage Theatre
One Night Only!
Oct 15, 2012
Tickets: $20
by Dustin Lance Black
5:30pm Reception
7pm Reading
8:30pm Talkback
One Night Only!
5:30pm Reception  |  7pm Reading  |  8:30pm TalkbackJoin the Denver Center Theatre Company on Oct 15 for an exclusive staged reading of the new documentary play 8. Written by Dustin Lance Black (of Milk and J.Edgar fame) 8 documents the trial of Perry vs. Schwarzenegger, the federal case which ultimately overturned Proposition 8 and granted marriage equality to the people of California. Based on courtroom transcripts, first-hand observations and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families, 8 is a glimpse into this historic 2010 trial.Proceeds from this one-night-only event will benefit ONE Colorado Education Fund, American Foundation for Equal Rights, as well as Denver Center Theatre Company. Following the performance, guests are invited to participate in a panel discussion with local politicians led by Brad Clark, Executive Director ONE Colorado to learn more about the fight for equality in Colorado.

Individual Tickets  & VIP Tickets

Buy tickets at

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