Wishing you a beautiful day with love and kindness, friendship and peace on earth.
Photo by John Ambrosino, Denver, Colorado www.cityratphoto.com
With warm wishes for a healthy and happy new year.
Last Friday night, amidst the Parade of Lights’s tacky, colorful floats, kids lagging behind focused party-animal parents, fire engines, cars and roped off sidewalks and streets, The Clyfford Still Museum hosted a birthday party for what would have been their namesake’s 108th birthday.
The opening of the museum in 2011, will forever be remembered as one of John Hickenlooper‘s major deals. When most Denverites, art lovers to boot, had barely heard of Clyfford Still, Hickenlooper was on the East Coast negotiating an agreement to bring the artist’s entire body of work to the Mile High City. Our Hick (was he governor or mayor then?) conceived before anyone else that Still’s work would create an art destination for Denver. Actually there was no other way but to bring the whole kit n’ kaboodle because the artist’s will firmly stated his work could not be separated, and could only be shown alone and in a dedicated museum. I think we all thought that was rather arrogant at the time, but it has ultimately proven to be a significant art coup for Denver. As we’ve become comfortable with the museum and Still’s work, it is understandably, the only way it could have been. And Hickenlooper was spot-on. Still’s art and state-of-the-art museum has put Denver on the world art map. We are sincerely thankful to the largely, unfamiliar, mysterious 20th century American artist and his heirs, for this incomparable gift. Clyfford Still will forever be Denver’s.
Clyfford Still was a multi-faceted, cantankerous man. He was among the group of Abstract Expressionist artists in the 1950s , you’ve heard of: Jackson Pollack, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko. But his temperament and talent entreated him to sever ties with the art world and the renown Betty Parsons Gallery in New York City and, thus, leave the world of commercial promotion and galleries behind him. He then moved to Maryland where he worked for the next twenty years. Meticulously he rolled his finished, dried canvases then stored each one in his barn. He died in 1980.
His birthday party was an opportunity for fans to take another look around at this all inclusive art gem. The museum itself, is a work of art. Designed by Allied Works. The structure is a continuous form that is opened up by natural light. From every doorway and angled gallery, one of Still’s exquisitely large, colorful abstract creations is in full view. The building, walls and all, is made of textured concrete. Each gallery highlights Still’s larger than life art with changing scale, proportion, and varying light intensity. There is a serene beauty to the layout and one can never get enough of the artist’s changing styles and moods – from representational to severe abstract. I plan to learn more about this artist. What I’ve read and heard so far…he was the real thing.
At the party, left to right: Candice Pulliam, Art Services, http://www.locatefineart.com; Dean Sobel, Director of the Clyfford Still Museum, http://www.clyffordstillmuseum.org, Robin & Jack Lima, owners of the Native American Trading Company & Gallery, http://www.nativeamericantradingco.com. The Lima’s confirmed that people come from all over the world to see the museum and the work of Clyfford Still. Explaining that after visiting the DAM and the Still Museum, tourists wander into their gallery across the street.
The Clyfford Still Museum, 1250 Bannock Street, Denver, 80204. 720-354-4880.
It’s a Par-tay. Honestly. Girls and boys get your ticket to Dixie Longate’s riotous, “Dixie’s Tupperware Party,” at the Denver Center Attractions, Garner Galleria theatre.
Not knowing what to expect, I reckon’d I’d laugh, hear profanity and off color jokes about the venerable Tupperware product. Sure enough, I did hear all that…and more.
Dixie Longate is an institution. She’s kind of like Jill Connor Browne’s Sweet Potato Queen and our very own Nuclia Waste. It’s what one might consider high struttin’ and dissin’. But hey, where can you go see an intimate performance, witness a demonstration for airtight plastic storage, toast your neighbor with the special par-tay punch in a vagina tight holder, and best of all, buy a complete set of Tupperware at an honest to god, Tupperware Party, I ask you, where can you do all that?
Dixie is a bonafide starlette. I’ve rarely seen an actor ad lib and improvise as she does. After ten years of selling tupperware, a la Brownie Wise style, it’s safe to say Miss Dixie’s heard it all and answered every question in the book. By the way, Dixie applauds Brownie Wise as the victor of Tupperware products. It was she who took those stacks of plastics into her friend’s living rooms, calling them home parties a la Sara Coventry. Who’da ever thought those plastic bowls would rival costume jewelry, and skyrocket Wise onto the history pages of home parties. She and her friends sold bazilions of forever plastics crowning Tupperware and Brownie the queen of a woman’s can’t-do-with-out-kitchen-items.
At the Galleria, Dixie invites you right into her living room accompanied by the ghost of the hallowed Miss Wise. With gratitude, Dixie smacks her indebtedness for Tupperware which has given her a new life she could never have lived without Mr. Earl Tupper’s invention. After all, before her party skills, she was a single mom, semi-raising three children Wynona, Dwayne and Absorbine, Jr.
The audience sings along with Dixie as she demonstrates her gum chewing wit explaining items such as the nifty pickle keeper. She cracks with well informed knowledge, “You simply lift out the strainer and grab a liquid free pickle – from the #443,” wickedly adding, “so your fingers won’t smell like ass, when you’re done.” Then there’s the #1289, Can Opener. Dixie swears that after the nuclear war there’ll be three things left on this earth: Cher, cockroaches and the #1289 can opener. She’s knows things like that. She knows that things come into focus better after that second shot of tequilla and she’s forever grateful for Brownie & Earl, “There ain’t a day that goes by that I don’t pick up a piece of Tupperware and thank my lucky stars at how much better off I am now than I was just a couple of years ago.”
Stuttering, laughing, gum chewing, drinking wine, poking fun, engaging innocent audience participants is the uncut version of a top rated fun evening. The dialogue is clever and naughty and Dixie is without a doubt one of the funniest character actors on the stage today.
Don’t be surprised. You’ll actually love the new tupperware and by golly, it is quality stuff, still. Everyone gets a catalog and order form at your seat. You will quickly recognize the changes over the years. The lettuce crisper was a standard for all new wives in the 50’s -70’s, now costs a whopping $59.00. Crisp or not, lettuce can’t last long enough to pay for that piece of plastic. But if you listen to Dixie, you’ll be buying the berry colored tumbler set, the meat tenderizer, and airtight bowls our mothers swore by.
In fact, I bought the party punch in a Berry Bliss tumbler and by golly, not a drop of sweat on the outside and, the ice was perfect at the end of the evening.
Dixie’s Tupperware Party is the real thing.
THE FITZGERALD FAMILY CHRISTMAS
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY EDWARD BURNS
The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, previewed at the Film Center two days before the festival officially opened, was written and directed by Edward Burns, the Queens native known for his breakout movie, The Brothers McMullen, 1995, and his marriage to Christy Turlington, the model. Today he’s Spencer Tracey reincarnated.
The Family Christmas felt like an autobiographical film so it was not surprising to learn Burns’s middle name is Fitzgerald. That’s how deeply he understands the ferociously loyal Irish-Catholic family dynamics. If he didn’t live it daily growing up, his friends did and he took it all in. In fact, he believes he was preordained to lay bare the innards of New York’s working class families who live by one Irish-Italian-Catholic rule: family is everything.
In Burns’s new movie, The Fitzgerald’s are a family torn when Dad (Ed Lauter) left seven children and a wife to fend for themselves. Burns portrays the oldest son, Gerry, who takes on the responsibility of the absent father for the younger siblings and his mother. When the grandfather dies, he also halts his future to run the family owned Fitzgerald Tavern.
As Christmas, 2012, rolls around the clan’s patriarch surfaces with a benevolent request to spend Christmas day with his family. Rosie, (Anita Gillette) his ex-wife, was adamant when she heard his request, “I told him when he left he’d never step foot in this house again.” Twenty years later, she is still mad as hell. His children, especially the younger ones, wrote dad off long ago.
In the traditional holiday movies of yesteryear, immigrant families prove to be if nothing else, resilient, anchored by church and family. So it is with this year’s first holiday movie about the Fitzgerald Family.
There were no surprises, except for the scene with Connie’s (Caitlin Fitzgerald) nasty husband. I enjoyed the typical bantering among siblings; whether Irish-Catholic, living in New York or Los Angeles all children react emotionally when dealing with life and lousy fathers. In the Fitzgerald’s Christmas, bad-dad does an about face toward the family he abandoned years ago. The Fitzgerald’s comes to terms with their Christmas Day dilemma, even Rosie.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRING A FRIEND FREE!
Thursday 10/11 & SUNDAY 10/14
ONLY $20 for TWO
Get your 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!
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.
(previews Aug 30 and 31)
Thurs – Sat at 8pm
Sundays at 3pm
717 Lipan Street,
or at box office
1hr before the show
Box Office / Groups:
OCTOBER 9 – 21, 2012
Get your tickets now, they are selling fast. Tony Award for best Musical, 2010.
Box Office open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
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