Ella Fitzgerald at 100

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Ella Fitzgerald in Cannes by Jean-Pierre LeLoir, 1958

Ella Fitzgerald was born a century ago today, on April 25, 1917. Her voice was like sunshine, or a glass of champagne. As a woman, she had great warmth and dignity. She was also a friend to Marilyn Monroe, who had been introduced to her work by jazz pianist and arranger Hal Schaefer in 1953. Continue reading

Art Decades 11: Interviewing Michelle Morgan

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The gorgeous sepia cover of Art Decades 11, out now, features model Belladonna photographed by Ian Preston Cinnamon, with an extended layout inside. This issue is dedicated to author and filmmaker William Peter Blatty. Elsewhere, Marcelline Block talks to fashion photographer Miles Ladin about his recent exhibition, Supermodels at the End of Time. Editors Jeremy Richey and Kelley Avery list their cultural highlights of 2016, and celebrate their recent move to Denver with a trip to the Fancy Tiger Crafts store. There’s also a profile of hip-hop collective Loyal-T, and another instalment in the popular ‘readers and pets’ series, starring Abigail Evans and her black cat, Boo.

Finally, I’ve been lucky enough to interview one of my busiest writer friends, Michelle Morgan, who has published biographies of Thelma Todd, Carole Lombard, Marilyn Monroe and Madonna. Art Decades 11 is available now via Amazon, priced at £9.60 (UK) or $13 (USA.)

Marilyn Monroe: Auction of a Lifetime

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These rare stills are taken from amateur footage filmed in July 1960 by Frieda Hull, one of the fabled ‘Monroe Six’, as Marilyn arrived in New York to make test shots for The Misfits. Miss Hull’s vast archive of candid images went under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions last November, alongside never-seen items from the Lee Strasberg estate and movie costumes collected by David Gainsborough Roberts, in the largest dedicated sale since the Christie’s auction of 1999. This one-off event – raising $11 million in total bids – was the subject of a recent Channel 4 documentary, Marilyn Monroe: Auction of a Lifetime, which I’ve reviewed at Immortal Marilyn.

At the time of writing, the programme is still available to watch online. And if you’re looking for a more detailed view of the sale, I also wrote a series of reports on my Marilyn-only blog, ES Updates.

Art Decades 10: Lana’s ‘Honeymoon’ and More

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The cover shoot for Art Decades‘ tenth issue, out now, has a Log Lady meets Readers’ Wives vibe, and the green font gives a nod to the upcoming return of Twin Peaks. ‘Puyallup Suburban Chic’ is shot by filmmaker Kimberly Kane, starring actress Lily LaBeau. Their collaboration evokes memories of Bunny Yeager’s 1950s work with Bettie Page.

Dedicated to the late Leonard Cohen, Volume 10 features two more striking pictorials. John Levy’s ethereal ‘Veiled Valentine’ is accompanied by lines from ‘Dance Me to the End of Time.’ Kelley Richey’s ‘A Well-Read Woman is a Dangerous Creature’, shot at Black Swan Books in Lexington, reminded me of the bookstore scene from The Big Sleep.

‘Keep All the Animals Warm’ is the first in a new series of layouts celebrating readers and their pets. Elsewhere, there’s ‘Famous People Dead’, a short story from Les Bohem, set in Pere LaChaise cemetery in Paris; conversations with filmmakers Nick Hunt, whose debut horror, Safe Place, will be released this fall; and the writer and director of acclaimed Italian satire, Pecore in Erba. Marcio Lima talks about his Los Angeles-based clothing line, The Sellout, and Jeremy Richey interviews Bill Ackerman, whose Supporting Characters podcast is a regular on the Now Playing Network. In my favourite article this time aroun, Jeremy explores the underrated ‘blaxploitation’ films of Gordon Parks Jr., son of the great American photographer.

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Finally, my review of Lana Del Rey’s third album, Honeymoon, comes right on time as her fourth is due this year. Art Decades 10 is available from Amazon (UK price £12.17, or $15 in the US.)

I Dreamed of Obama …

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I discovered Barack Obama in the pages of a Sunday supplement, while sitting in a doctor’s waiting room. A year later, he was running for president. His rival for the Democratic nomination was Hillary Clinton, and at first it seemed unlikely that this little-known senator could outrun a former First Lady. But Obama’s message renewed long-buried hopes, and in the early days of social media he ran a people-powered campaign, based on word of mouth and thousands of small donations. Continue reading

‘I’m Never Gonna Dance Again…’

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Another musical crush from my giddy youth was lost on Christmas Day with the news that George Michael had passed away. Wham! were among my first pop heroes, and like many other girls, my best friend and I dreamed of marrying them – although as my BFF bagged George, I settled for Andrew Ridgeley (which wasn’t such a bad idea, after all.) Continue reading

Merry Christmas to All My Readers!

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Thanks to my readers for your continued support and have a very happy holiday, whether you’re at home, at work or far away. (And if all you want for Christmas is to settle down with a good book, Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed is now available on Kindle.)

2016: A Year in Fiction

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This extraordinary second novel from Eimear McBride charts the unlikely romance of a young Irish drama student and a world-weary actor, set in gritty, hedonistic North London during the 1990s. Together the lovers confront their demons, and the narrative is both emotionally brutal and often highly erotic. Continue reading

2016: A Year In Non-Fiction

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British journalist Gary Younge has a sharp eye for how political events impact on ordinary lives. While living in Chicago, he investigated the stories behind the blunt statistics of ten children and teenagers shot dead in a single day. Never intrusive, but quietly devastating, Another Day in the Death of America illuminates with rare power. Continue reading

2016: A Year On Film

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My favourite films this year were homegrown, showcasing what British cinema does best – not plummy period pieces, half-baked gangster flicks or corny rom-coms, but cutting-edge dramas with true grit. Continue reading