Brighton Shows Love (and Pride) for Marilyn

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Brighton Pride is the biggest event of its kind in the UK, and one of the most popular worldwide. This weekend, a rainbow ribbon of graffiti streamed across my hometown – including this mural at the old Methodist Church on 88 London Road. Created by The Postman and broken//hartist, after Richard Avedon’s 1957 photograph, widely known as ‘Sad Marilyn‘ – all the more touching as this Pride weekend coincided with the 57th anniversary of Marilyn’s passing, and she will always be loved by our LGBTQ+ community.

Some Kind Of Mirror: Creating Marilyn Monroe

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In 1954, Marilyn Monroe was rehearsing ‘Do It Again’ as part of her show for U.S. troops in Korea, when the officer in charge of her tour deemed the Gershwin standard “too suggestive,” and insisted she change the title to ‘Kiss Me Again.’ “People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of as a person,” she remarked in her memoir, My Story. “They didn’t see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts.” Her comment inspired the title (and epigraph) for a new book, Some Kind of Mirror: Creating Marilyn Monroe by Amanda Konkle, assistant professor of literature and film studies at Georgia Southern University. Continue reading

Read All About ‘Dear Christine’ in ART NORTH

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‘Christine Reads the Denning Report’ by Fionn Wilson (2017)

Dear Christine: A Tribute to Christine Keeler, on display at Newcastle’s Vane Gallery until June 29 (and then touring), is featured on the ART NORTH website today, with an article by Julie Burchill (as quoted below) and ‘The Boy Looked At Christine,’ a review by Ian McKay. So if you’re in Newcastle this month, don’t miss this stunning (and free) exhibit – and you can check out the associated events here. Continue reading

‘Madame X’ is a Birthday Girl

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In my 35+ years of fandom, this is the first time a Madonna album has dropped on my birthday – and it’s a masterpiece! As well as the delectable Madame X, I also got a copy of Marilyn Monroe In Spain, a wonderful book by the artist, author and museum owner, Frederic Cabanas … Saludos a todos mis amigos!”

Soledad 2: Twin Peaks, Joe D’Amato and More

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The Italian actress Cinzia Monreale lies in her coffin on the cover of SOLEDAD Arts Journal‘s second volume, available now on Amazon for just $6 in the US, or £4.73 in the UK. It’s a still from Buio Omega (Beyond the Darkness), a 1979 horror flick, accompanied by a splendidly bizarre quote: “Darkness is not dark … time is not time … boys become dogs … girls become frogs …”  Continue reading

‘Dear Christine’ Opens in Newcastle

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Dear Christine: A Tribute to Christine Keeler has opened at the Vane Gallery in Newcastle, with free admission until June 29. During this first stop in a 3-city tour (more details here), there will also be a series of lectures and workshops by artists featured in the show. These events are also free, but it’s advisable to pre-book at info@vane.org.uk or 0191 261 8281. Continue reading

‘Dear Christine’ Draws Back the Curtains

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Dear Christine: A Tribute to Christine Keeler, a new exhibition curated by Fionn Wilson, will open at the Vane Gallery in Newcastle on June 1st (open from 12-5 pm on Wednesdays to Saturdays.) During its four week-stay, there will also be a series of lectures and workshops hosted by artists Caroline Coon, Claudia Clare, Sadie Hennessy, Helen Billinghurst and Cathy Lomax. Whether you see Christine Keeler as a Sixties icon or political figure, the women behind Dear Christine are, at long last, bringing her humanity into public view. Continue reading

Sunshine Blondes: Marilyn and Doris Day

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“You take the grey skies out of my way
You make the sun shine brighter than Doris Day…”
– Wham!, ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ (1984) Continue reading

Marilyn’s Monsters

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Marilyn Monroe has long been an inspiration to artists and writers. Among the many books devoted to her life and image are a number of comics and graphic novels. Kathryn Hyatt’s Marilyn: The Story of a Woman (1996) and Dana Gachman’s recent contribution to the Tribute series both opt for fairly conventional, if sympathetic narratives. It is from outside the USA that more imaginative retellings have emerged, such as Sergio Toppi’s 16-page comic, plus two full-length books: Jean-Francois Charles’ Shooting Star (2006) and Jose Correa’s Dreams of a Butterfly (2012.)

Tommy Redolfi’s Holy Wood was first published in France in 2016, and is now available in English as Marilyn’s Monsters, published by Life Drawn, a literary imprint from comic book publisher Humanoids. The French-born Redolfi now lives in Los Angeles, and has made several films as well as other graphic novels, including a 2007 tome about one of Marilyn’s idols, Mae West. Marilyn’s Monsters comes with an endorsement from cult filmmaker David Cronenberg: “A brilliant, hallucinatory meditation on the phenomenon of Marilyn Monroe. It will alter your understanding of both Hollywood and Marilyn.” Continue reading

Dear Christine: A Tribute to Christine Keeler

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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