Dear Christine: A Tribute to Christine Keeler

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know Christine Keeler. She’s almost a mythical character, like folklore …

Dear Christine: A Tribute to Christine Keeler, a new multi-media exhibition of women’s art curated by artist Fionn Wilson, will open in Newcastle next month before moving on to Swansea in October, and London next February. Among the talented contributors are Caroline Coon, Cathy Lomax and Stella Vine. I have contributed some writing alongside Julie Burchill, Amanda Coe, Tanya Gold and Christine’s son, Seymour Platt, which will be published in an exhibition catalogue. Artists Shani Rhys James and Sadie Lee have talked about Keeler’s impact in this trailer, presented by Fionn and released today. Continue reading

‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Albert Finney was born in Salford in 1936. His father, Albert Sr., was a bookmaker. He attended Salford Grammar School and won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). After graduating in 1956, he worked in the theatre, and was an understudy to Sir Laurence Olivier. Continue reading

Artists in Love: Marilyn and Arthur Miller

Tags

, , , , , ,

This article was first published at Immortal Marilyn in October 2017

Artists in Love is a ten-part documentary series, produced in Italy for the satellite channel Sky Arts, and first broadcast in 2016. Among the famous couples profiled are the Mexican artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera; opera singer Maria Callas’s tortured relationship with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis; plus singers Johnny Cash and June Carter, and filmmaker Federico Fellini and his actress wife, Giulietta Masina. Continue reading

The Ladies of Rockhaven

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Nestled among the hills and mountain ranges just beyond Los Angeles, Crescenta Valley was home to the indigenous Tongva people for thousands of years. During the Spanish colonial period it became part of the San Gabriel Mission. By the late 1800s, its warm, dry climate was attracting both tourists and health seekers, and after his wife’s death from tuberculosis, Dr. Benjamin Briggs moved there to build a sanitarium for those suffering from lung ailments. His success encouraged others to follow suit, including Merritt Kimball who founded a sanitarium for psychiatric patients. Perhaps the most unique of these pioneering establishments was Rockhaven, a sanctuary for vulnerable women opened by Agnes Richards in the 1920s.  Continue reading

‘Peak Strange’: The Jeanne Eagels Biopic

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Whenever I mention Jeanne Eagels, movie fans invariably ask if I’ve seen Kim Novak playing her onscreen. And my answer is usually this: “love Kim, hate the film.” Over at her Self-Styled Siren blog today, Farran Smith Nehme takes a closer look at the ‘Highly Fictionalised Biopics’ that were all the rage in 1957. (Jeanne’s friend, singer Helen Morgan, was another victim that year.) Continue reading

From ‘Soledad’ to Hope, With Lynch and Lana

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

SOLEDAD is a new journal from my good friend Jeremy Richey, the maestro behind ART DECADES. Soledad is (of course) the Spanish word for solitude, which is one of my favourite things. It can be sad, but also beautiful – a state of mind reflected in the magazine’s black and white imagery. I’m proud to have contributed a sixteen-page article about David Lynch’s return to Twin Peaks for the first volume. It’s the opening instalment in a two-part series, and while I can’t promise to unlock all of its mysteries, I hope fans of the show will enjoy my personal impressions. Continue reading

Penny Marshall 1943-2018

Tags

, , , , ,

Carole Penny Marshall was born in the Bronx in 1943. Her mother Marjorie ran a dance school, and her father directed industrial films. Of Italian descent, he had changed his name from Masciarelli to Marshall. Their youngest daughter was named after Carole Lombard, the much-loved comedic actress and wife of Clark Gable, who had died in a plane crash the year before. Young Carole’s middle name was inspired by her sister Ronny, who was ‘saving her pennies’ to buy a horse: and it was that name, ‘Penny’, which finally stuck. The family lived in a building which also housed the young Neil Simon, Paddy Chayevsky, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.  Continue reading

2018: A Year In Books

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With her third novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh confirms herself as a major writer of our time. This darkly comic tale follows the sleepy adventures of a young, beautiful and rich but miserable New Yorker who embarks on a drug-fuelled sabbatical at the dawn of the 21st century. Moshfegh’s mischievous delight in the squalid details of everyday life powers her absurd yet visionary narrative.  Continue reading

2018: A Year in Film and TV

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m lucky enough to live just around the corner from the Duke of York’s, England’s oldest independent cinema; and so this year I made the most of my Picturehouse membership. I like movies that blend a touch of realism with a sense of style: Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, Mike Leigh’s Peterloo and Kore-Eda Hirokazu’s Shoplifters satisfied those needs.  Continue reading

2018: A Year in Music

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

She may have left the stage decades ago, but 2018 was a vintage year for die-hard fans of the mysterious Bobbie Gentry, with a rare vinyl release on Record Store Day followed in September by a career-spanning CD box-set, The Girl From Chickasaw County Continue reading