Marilyn: A Life in Biographics

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“When we can recognise an actor by a set of icons, we can also recognise how completely that actor and their work have entered our culture and our consciousness.” A snapper board, a ukulele, and a birthday cake; the imprint of red lipstick, a bottle of Chanel No. 5, and a white halter dress blowing in the wind above a subway grate. These are all visual signifiers of the ultimate Hollywood bombshell, Marilyn Monroe. Continue reading

Soledad 3: Twin Peaks, Blondie and More

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The third issue of SOLEDAD Arts Journal is now available to order via Amazon, for £5.18 in the UK or a devilish $6.66 Stateside. The cover photo shows Carol Lynley, who sadly passed away recently, with Gig Young in The Shuttered Room (1967), to which editor Jeremy Richey pays tribute inside. This issue’s muse is Debbie Harry, with Blondie lyrics peppered throughout, and a profile by superfan Dave Stewart (no, not that one.) Debbie was my first pop idol, and her recent memoir, Face It, has brought me back into the fold.

Still on the music front, Jeremy has also interviewed Texan duo Teenage Cavegirl, and Steven Darrow from Sonic Medusa and Sister Midnight. There are short stories by Les Bohem and Robert Monell, poems by Emily Clare Bryant, and photography by Amy Pangburn. John Greco talks about his Noir fiction, and Marcelline Block writes about reading in the digital age. As always, the film world is well-represented, with a review of a new Scorpio Films anthology – including Obsessions (Hole in the Wall), co-scripted by a young Martin Scorsese – and an insightful essay by Laura Kupp Beerman, ‘Seen/Unseen: Halloween, Peeping Tom and Empire of Signs.’

And finally, the concluding part of my Twin Peaks trilogy is also published in this issue, which I’ll dedicate to Robert Forster, who played Sheriff Frank Truman in the revival. He had a long and varied career, from his debut in Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), through to his comeback in Jackie Brown (1999) and Mulholland Drive (2001.) His surprise appearance in El Camino, the Breaking Bad sequel which aired last month, will now be remembered as his swansong.

The ‘Rain Girl’ in November

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As noted in the Playbill Vault, Jeanne Eagels began her legendary Broadway run as Sadie Thompson, “a prostitute at odds with a jungle missionary in Rain, primarily based on a W. Somerset Maugham quick story,” on this day, November 7, in 1922. We’re now just three years away from its centenary. Continue reading

Swansea Celebrates ‘Dear Christine’ in Art and Poetry

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Dear Christine: A Tribute to Christine Keeler continues its run at the Elysium Gallery in Swansea with an evening of poetry this Saturday, as curator Fionn Wilson told Wales Art Review recently. An artist panel discussion will follow on October 26, and the exhibition will be on show until November 9. (If you can’t make it, Dear Christine will move to London next February.) Continue reading

‘Dear Christine’ Opens in Swansea

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Dear Christine: A Tribute to Christine Keeler is now on display at Elysium Gallery in Swansea, open from Tuesdays to Sundays at 12pm until November 9, with a series of associated events. (Shown above is ‘Welcome to the Sixties’ by Cathy Lomax.) Continue reading

Marilyn, the Morning Star and Me

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I’m proud to have a letter published in the British newspaper, The Morning Star, today. I have written to newspapers three times in my life, and all were about Marilyn Monroe (she is, perhaps, the subject about whom I feel most qualified to share my views in public.) Continue reading

Christine Keeler’s ‘Secrets and Lies’ Redux

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“I never met Christine Keeler,” Seymour Platt writes in his foreword to the latest edition of her memoirs, Secrets and Lies: The Trials of Christine Keeler. (This is a paperback reissue of her 2012 book, itself an update to her 2001 autobiography, The Truth At Last.) His mother changed her name, he explains, “to get away from being Christine Keeler. In our house Christine Keeler was talked about in the third person – who would want to be associated with Christine Keeler? Christine Keeler would get the blame for a lot of things that happened. Friends, family, relationships that soured, all that would be Christine Keeler’s fault.” Continue reading

‘The Best Way to Forget, Until You Find Something You Want to Remember’

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Nina Mae Fowler is a British artist who trained at the University of Brighton, and lives in Norfolk. Her latest solo exhibition, If You Don’t Want My Peaches (You’d Better Stop Shaking the Tree), on display at London’s Cob Gallery until September 28, borrows its title from an Irving Berlin song, and draws heavily on the iconography of Hollywood’s golden age. I was delighted to find Jeanne Eagels among the subjects, as she is often neglected. This portrait shows Jeanne in her penultimate movie (and only surviving talkie), The Letter (1929.) Continue reading

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