Explaining Walter

Filed under: Collapsables, Nuages, Typecast — olivander July 20, 2009 @ 11:03 am

Click image for larger version.

Typewriter: 1926 Underwood #5 similar to one Walter Cronkite used and/or posed with as a young wire reporter in the Army.

Little girl lost

Filed under: Errata, Newsworthy, Nuages — olivander July 7, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

Paris Jackson quietly asked her aunt Janet if she could say something as her father’s public memorial service came to a close, and in doing so stripped away all the grandeur and became the one person to be able to cut through to Michael Jackson the human being. If this doesn’t get to you, you’re a heartless bastard.

Fishing for meaning

Filed under: Nuages, Rants, Typecast — olivander June 1, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

Relics from the Golden Age

Typewriter: Julieta, a 1956 Underwood De Luxe Quiet Tab

Birthday irony

Filed under: Nuages — olivander March 24, 2009 @ 9:39 am

It’s my birthday, and I received an ironic item in the mail this morning. Folded in along with a birthday card from my mom was a recent newspaper clipping, an obituary. It seems that Dr James Anderson, the doctor who delivered me, has died. He was a pilot in his spare time, and there’s a great picture of him from I’d guess the 1950s wearing a bomber jacket and looking a little bit like Sky Captain.

Thirty-eight years ago to the day you helped bring me into the world, Dr Anderson. On behalf of me and the over 5,000 other babies you delivered in your half-century career, thanks for literally everything.

Eartha Kitt: 1927-2008

Filed under: AV Club, Nuages — olivander December 26, 2008 @ 11:25 am

Everyone’s favorite Catwoman, Eartha Kitt, died yesterday. (Did you know she only appeared as Catwoman three times?) She was 81. Her life’s story sounds like a work of fiction. She was born in South Carolina to a part-black, part-Cherokee woman who had been raped by a white plantation owner. Her mother gave her up at age eight to relatives in Harlem. Eartha ran away from them at 15 and spent some time living in the subways. Then she joined a dance troup and, like many other black entertainers of the era, found freedom of expression in Paris. She began cutting records with Henri Rene’s orchestra and cultivated the sultry, kittenish persona for which she would become famous. (Many of those early records were in French and English; ultimately, she would sing in 10 languages.)

Echoes of her teasing style, like “Santa Baby” and “C’est Si Bon”, can be found in all sorts of places, such as the semi-naughty Christmas songs of Kay Martin, and in Blazing Saddles‘ Lili Von Shtupp.

I was going to post a few MP3 songs made from her old 78s, but all but one are easily found elsewhere. Instead, I decided to post this YouTube video of a 1962 television performance of one of my favorite Eartha songs, “I Want to be Evil”. One of the reasons I chose this particular video is that you can tell she’s just having a carefree ball with it, and that’s how I want to remember her.

Nuage: Bettie Page, 1923-2008

Filed under: Nuages — olivander December 12, 2008 @ 1:35 pm

Bye-bye, Bettie.  :’-(

Bettie Page, Queen of Pinups, Dies at 85

Bettie Page, a legendary pinup girl whose photographs in the nude, in bondage and in naughty-but-nice poses appeared in men’s magazines and private stashes across America in the 1950s and set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious ’60s, died Thursday in Los Angeles. She was 85.

Her death was reported by her agent, Mark Roesler, on Ms. Page’s Web site, bettiepage.com.

Ms. Page, whose popularity underwent a cult-like revival in the last 20 years, had been hospitalized for three weeks with pneumonia and was about to be released Dec. 2 when she suffered a heart attack, said Mr. Roesler, of CMG Worldwide. She was transferred in a coma to Kindred Hospital, where she died.

In her trademark raven bangs, spike heels and killer curves, Ms. Page was the most famous pinup girl of the post-World War II era, a centerfold on a million locker doors and garage walls. She was also a major influence in the fashion industry and a target of Senator Estes Kefauver’s anti-pornography investigators.

But in 1957, at the height of her fame, she disappeared, and for three decades her private life — two failed marriages, a fight against poverty and mental illness, resurrection as a born-again Christian, years of seclusion in Southern California — was a mystery to all but a few close friends.

Then in the late 1980s and early ’90s, she was rediscovered and a Bettie Page renaissance began. David Stevens, creator of the comic-book and later movie character the Rocketeer, immortalized her as the Rocketeer’s girlfriend. Fashion designers revived her look. Uma Thurman, in bangs, reincarnated Bettie in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” and Demi Moore, Madonna and others appeared in Page-like photos.

There were Bettie Page playing cards, lunch boxes, action figures, T-shirts and beach towels. Her saucy images went up in nightclubs. Bettie Page fan clubs sprang up. Look-alike contests, featuring leather-and-lace and kitten-with-a-whip Betties, were organized. Hundreds of Web sites appeared, including her own, which had 588 million hits in five years, CMG Worldwide said in 2006.

Biographies were published, including her authorized version, “Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend,” (General Publishing Group) which appeared in 1996. It was written by Karen Essex and James L. Swanson.

A movie, “The Notorious Bettie Page,” starring Gretchen Mol as Bettie and directed by Mary Harron for Picturehouse and HBO Films, was released in 2006, adapted from “The Real Bettie Page,” by Richard Foster. Bettie May Page was born in Jackson, Tenn., the eldest girl of Roy and Edna Page’s six children. The father, an auto mechanic, molested all three of his daughters, Ms. Page said years later, and was divorced by his wife when Bettie was 10. She and some of her siblings were placed for a time in an orphanage. She attended high school in Nashville, and was almost a straight-A student, graduating second in her class.

She graduated from Peabody College, a part of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, but a teaching career was brief. “I couldn’t control my students, especially the boys,” she said. She tried secretarial work, married Billy Neal in 1943 and moved to San Francisco, where she modeled fur coats for a few years. She divorced Mr. Neal in 1947, moved to New York and enrolled in acting classes.

She had a few stage and television appearances, but it was a chance meeting that changed her life. On the beach at Coney Island in 1950, she met Jerry Tibbs, a police officer and photographer, who assembled her first pinup portfolio. By 1951, the brother-sister photographers Irving and Paula Klaw, who ran a mail-order business in cheesecake, were promoting the Bettie Page image with spike heels and whips, while Bunny Yeager’s pictures featured her in jungle shots, with and without leopards skins.

Her pictures were ogled in Wink, Eyeful, Titter, Beauty Parade and other magazines, and in leather-fetish 8- and 16-millimeter films. Her first name was often misspelled. Her big break was the Playboy centerfold in January 1955, when she winked in a Santa Claus cap as she put a bulb on a Christmas tree. Money and offers rolled in, but as she recalled years later, she was becoming depressed.

In 1955, she received a summons from a Senate committee headed by Senator Kefauver, a Tennessee Democrat, that was investigating pornography. She was never compelled to testify, but the uproar and other pressures drove her to quit modeling two years later. She moved to Florida. Subsequent marriages to Armond Walterson and Harry Lear ended in divorce, and there were no children. She moved to California in 1978.

For years Ms. Page lived on Social Security benefits. After a nervous breakdown, she was arrested for an attack on a landlady, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to a California mental institution. She emerged years later as a born-again Christian, immersing herself in Bible studies and serving as an adviser to the Billy Graham Crusade.

In recent years, she had lived in Southern California on the proceeds of her revival. Occasionally, she gave interviews in her gentle Southern drawl, but largely stayed out of the public eye — and steadfastly refused to be photographed.

“I want to be remembered as I was when I was young and in my golden times,” she told The Los Angeles Times in 2006. “I want to be remembered as a woman who changed people’s perspectives concerning nudity in its natural form.”

We’ll be Seeing You. Jo Stafford: 1917-2008

Filed under: Nuages — olivander July 20, 2008 @ 1:48 pm

Jo StaffordBig -band singer Jo Stafford died the other day at the age of 90. She made her name at the age of 17 as a member of Tommy Dorsey’s vocal group the Pied Pipers, the same group that would also introduce the world to Frank Sinatra. Her instantly recognizable husky-yet-lilting voice made her popular with servicemen on the front in WWII, earning her the nickname “GI Jo”. Later, she had a successful solo career and delved into more serious jazz.

I wish I had time to write a more in-depth obituary. Instead, I’ll let her music do the remembering for me. Here are a couple of my favorite tracks. “Bewitched” is off of one of those home-recorded disks, and is probably taken from the “Johnny Mercer’s Music Shop” radio show.

“I’ll be Seeing You” “Bewitched”

Nuage: Stan Winston, 1946-2008

Filed under: Nuages, Typecast — olivander June 21, 2008 @ 12:04 am

Typecast 6/20/2008

For Nico, wherever he may be

Filed under: Nuages — olivander September 28, 2006 @ 2:08 pm

So, I prayed
But you weren’t listening.
Making miracles?
So, I begged
But you were far away.
Saving souls perhaps?
So, I screamed
But she was very small
And you have worlds to mend
So, she died
And you were glorious
But you were somewhere else
If you are my shepherd
Then I’m lost and no-one can find me
If you are my saviour
Then I’m dead and no-one can help me
If you are my glory
Then I’m sick and no-one can cure me
If you light my darkness
Then I’m blind and no-one can see me
If you are my father
Then love lies abandoned and bleeding
If you are my comfort
Then nightmares are real and deceiving
If you are my answer
Then I must have asked the wrong question
I’d spit on your heaven
If I could find one to believe in

Gary Numan, A Prayer for the Unborn


Filed under: Nuages, Rants — olivander September 11, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

Originally uploaded by olivander.

In the span of a few hours, 2,973 people–of many nationalities–died in the terror attacks of Sept 11, 2001. In this week of memorials and tributes and renewed debate, let’s not forget that long after the towers fell, the dying continues.

Total US servicemen and -women who have died in Afghanistan since the October, 2001, US invasion: 302

Total US servicemen and -women who have died in Iraq since the March, 2003, US invasion: 2,670

Minimum estimated civilians who have died in Afghanistan since the October, 2001, US invasion: 3,485 (since civilian deaths are not officially tracked, this number may be much higher)

Minimum estimated civilians who have died in Iraq since the March, 2003, US invasion: 41,650 (since civilian deaths are not officially tracked, this number may be as high as 280,000)

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