Sal Jones Gives Christine (and Marilyn) the Last Laugh


, , , , , , , , ,

London-based artist Sal Jones, whose paintings were featured in the recent exhibition, Dear Christine: A Tribute to Christine Keeler, has painted another portrait, ‘The Last Laugh,’ based on a candid photo taken by the pool at Cliveden during that fateful summer of 1961. Continue reading

A Birthday Wish for Marilyn


, , , ,

Today marks what would be Marilyn Monroe’s 94th birthday. It’s also ten years since I started my sister blog, ES Updates (affiliated to Everlasting Star, the longest-running online forum about Monroe.) Whereas on this website I cover a range of subjects in mostly long-form pieces, ES Updates is dedicated solely to Marilyn with shorter, more frequent posts relating to all aspects of her life and legacy. So if you’re looking for ways to celebrate her birthday, please head over to ES Updates and subscribe to the daily email bulletin; and for a deeper dive, read my novel, The Mmm Girl. (The photo shown above was taken by László Willinger in 1950 to promote one of Marilyn’s first important roles in All About Eve, which turns 70 this year.)

Soledad 4: Madonna’s ‘Madame X,’ and More


, , ,

The fourth issue of SOLEDAD Arts Journal is out now on Amazon, for $7.71 (US) or £6.28 (UK.) And at 186 pages, it’s a content-heavy issue, with a cover story on filmmaker Cosmotropia de Xam. Inside she revisits locations and compares them with other movies made there. These include several areas of Spain, and the Polish city of Lodz, where David Lynch filmed Inland Empire (2006.) There’s also an interview with actress Rachel Audrey, who has appeared in five Cosmotropia projects.

Arizona duo Grumpy Bear, interviewed by editor Jeremy Richey, have released a five-track Soledad EP with a cinematic theme, free to readers on Bandcamp (contact Jeremy at for the code.) Jeremy has also written a fascinating review of Henry Jaglom’s A Safe Place (1971), starring Tuesday Weld. Elsewhere, LaShane Arnett writes about her love affair with Psychedelic Furs, and Rachael Dunnett and Peter Jilmstead talk about Fragments of Fear, their podcast for fans of Italian horror and ‘giallo’ films.

Marcelline Block’s interview with artist Miles Ladin during his Masquerade exhibit is also featured, and Chris O’Neill talks with singer Gabbie Bam Bam about her influences. Filmmaker John Levy shares still photos from This Wild Wild Wound. Poetry and short fiction make a strong showing, with contributions from regulars Les Bohem, Robert Monell and Emily Clare Bryant, plus newcomers Neddal Ayad and Ruth La Sure, who combines writing and photography to striking effect.

And finally, you can read my review of Madonna’s Madame X – it’s fully illustrated over eighteen pages, and leaves no stone unturned!


Dear Christine: A Tribute in Art, Poetry and Prose


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

Dear Christine: A Tribute to Christine Keeler first took root in 2014, when Fionn Wilson painted a set of four portraits in black and white, based on 1960s photographs by Lewis Morley and others. Like myself, Fionn first discovered Keeler in retrospect. She asked other women artists, some of whom had lived through the Profumo Affair to contribute works about Christine. For many of us, her story represents a rite of passage. As Fionn notes in her foreword to the exhibition catalogue, the scandal “let the genie of sex out of the bottle” and “dealt a death blow” to class deference. At the same time, it unleashed a brave new world of tabloid exposure. “Never had the press been so bold and it has never looked back.” Continue reading

Mark Blum 1950-2020


, , , , ,

Mark Blum was born in Newark and raised in Maplewood, New Jersey. As a teenager, trips to Broadway shows taught him to love the theatre, though he never considered acting as a career. “I was raised in one of those basic middle-class Jewish families in the suburbs,” he told the New York Times, “and that just wasn’t something somebody thought about.” Continue reading