A few months ago, I was browsing one of the many Facebook groups that I joined for photos of vintage fashion. While perusing some pics, I was quickly drawn in by one beauty that I’d never seen before. After a little digging, I confirmed that the lovely woman was Francine Everett, a Black actress from the 1930s and 1940s. Her career was brief, but she was a luminous and talented woman. I was so intrigued by her that I spent some time watching a couple of the movies that she starred in, as well as a few shorts that featured her.
I want to discuss “Dirty Gertie from Harlem“, which echoed the theme of “loose” women being doomed to a tragic ending. During this period, female characters that were not traditional or conservative were almost always written as tragic figures. It’s fascinating to see how, less than 60 years after “Dirty Gertie”, shows like “Sex and the City” thrive on the premise of women being in control of their sexuality and not “doomed” because they refuse to marry and “settle down” with one man.
I wish that Everett had more movies because she truly “lit up” the screen. I was impressed with her acting and I know that should could have been a star if she had only been born at a different, later time.
I hope you check out Everett’s movies, and tell me: do you have any vintage actor or actress favorites?
I’m taking a break from “Fibro Friday” (I’ll be back with FF next week) to share some exciting news. One of the most heartbreaking things that has happened since the emergence of COVID-19 is seeing Broadway go dark. While I don’t intend to minimize the tragic loss of life during this time, I was still saddened to see the live theater tradition halted in NYC.
Recently I posted some fan art of my favorite Disney princesses depicted as film noir heroines. I was entranced with the beautiful depiction of the cartoon damsels, re-envisioned as powerful protagonists in their stories.
Heather Theurer, Dig a Little Deeper (Tiana from The Princess and the Frog)
Heather Theurer, We’re All Mad Here (Alice in Wonderland)
These beauties are museum quality and they can be yours! Theurer sells her works on Wildstar Tempest, where you can check out her Disney themed oil paintings as well as her other works, including wildlife and fantasy paintings. I’m particularly fond of her fantasy pieces.
Heather Theurer, I Am
Theurer does an insanely good job of blending magic and realism. I’m so glad that Buzzfeed profiled this incredible artist! Please make sure to check her out on Instagram and support her work.
I’m sharing a couple of my favorite drawings with you all here. If you want to see more, be sure to check out the artist, Astor Alexander.
Pocahontas looks like the hero we all need but don’t deserve. I’d wear this outfit right now: it’s simultaneously vintage and current. Why is this photo everything I need in life?
Cunning, dangerous, gorgeous. Jasmine draws you in like a moth to a flame. That over-the-shoulder glance is EVERYTHING. And her signature teal ensemble hasn’t lost any of its allure in Alexander’s re-envisioning. Perfection!
My personal fave, not just because she’s a Black woman like myself, but because this drawing looks so much like the impossibly gorgeous Sanaa Lathan AND this dress is something I need in my wardrobe like, today. Tiana is the edgy seductress that I want to be when I grow up. Total goals.
Happy Tuesday, beloveds! I’m enjoying these glimmers of summer that will be happening this week, as I’m still a bit resistant to the beginning of fall. I’ll get on board eventually, but for now, I’ll savor whatever warm weather I can get!
In the past, I did the Collector Conundrum series, where I considered different issues regarding the world of art collecting. This is a sort of addendum to that topic: not directly related to the conundrums discussed but a little something to consider. I recently read this article on Angela Bassett curating an art show for Band of Vices Gallery in Los Angeles, CA. I thought about the appeal of a major celebrity, personally selecting artwork that she found interesting, impactful, and meaningful. It occurred to me that the celebrity curator could be a magic bullet for some of what’s ailing the art world.
Angela Bassett, actress and first-time art curator (photo courtesy of Instagram)
There will always be art collectors, enthusiasts, dealers, etc.,. However, the inclusion and integration of younger collectors has been challenge for some art institutions, especially in this age that emphasizes minimalism and location independence. With the prominent shift away from excess and a prioritization of living with less, art ownership is still prestigious but not as alluring to many young would-be collectors.
But the celebrity curator is a fascinating draw for museums and galleries: the collaboration can be good for the institutions as well as the celebrity. Institutions get a fresh vision from an individual that is probably very similar to many potential collectors (people that probably purchase art using their personal taste and amateur-to-intermediate level knowledge); celebrities get the chance to express themselves in a new way, meet new people that share their interests, and support cultural institutions in a substantial way.
Personally, I’m excited to see what other celebrity curators arise in the upcoming years. I’d also be interested to see how many galleries and museums see a rise in sales and visitors due to these celebrity-curated exhibits. This could be a great opportunity to leverage current tastes into museum and gallery success. I hope that these institutions explore and take advantage of celebrity curator opportunities in the future.
A few years ago, I watched the movie, “Boy What a Girl!“ and I was captivated by one of the actresses. The actress that really lit up the screen was Sheila Guyse. She played Francine, one of the two daughters of the wealthy Mr. Cummings. She was a gorgeous and talented actress – it’s a shame that she isn’t well known today.
Guyse as Francine Cummings, with Alan Jackson as Mr. Cummings
Another photo of Guyse, this time with Betti Mays who played her sister, Cristola Cummings
In honor of Sheila Guyse’s birthday (July 14th) I’m watching three of her movies this weekend. Luckily for us, all of these movies are available on Archive.org and YouTube, so you can enjoy them for free.
A radiant Guyse in Sepia Cinderella
Boy What a Girlwas my introduction to Guyse, but I’ve never seen the other two movies on the roster, Sepia Cinderella and Miracle in Harlem. I’ve added some stills from each of the movies, so you can see why she was a sought-after actress during her career.
Resplendent Lena Horne, in a still from Cabin in the Sky
I’ll be checking out Cabin in the Sky andThe Duke is Tops. Both movies are part of the public domain so I’ll watch them on the Internet Archive website. Lena’s role in Cabin in the Sky is minor, from what I recall, but I’ll still check it out. And I’m excited to see if she has a bigger role in The Duke is Tops, or if she is a minor character in that one, as well.
Let me get to my movie watching – I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!
Even if you don’t see any styles that you simply *must* have right now, you may want to save PsychedelicPinup in your Favorites, just in case that ensemble of your dreams becomes available. Many of the designs are one of kind, so if you see something you love, snap it up quickly!
One of my goals within the next few years is to learn how to sew. I can do simple repairs with a needle and thread, but I can’t operate a sewing machine, and I’ve never made a garment using a pattern. However, for those of you that are skilled at sewing (or if you’re working on mastering this skill), I have a treat for you.
Now, here’s where things go a little wonky: the patterns aren’t actually in the wiki links. For that reason, I have to admit that ArtFido did some clickbait shenanigans. The original article presented the wiki as having patterns when all that’s there are photos. That being said, I’m mentioning the vintage pattern wiki because the organized photos make it much easier to search for the patterns using the identifying information listed in the photo.
Here are a few of my favorite patterns listed on the wiki:
Lucille Ball’s princess coat is the thing dreams are made of
Olivia de Havilland’s dress is sweet and innocent
The crisp tailoring of Gloria Stuart’s dress would be flattering on a lot of different body types
Grace Kelly’s dress is fit for a princess (naturally!)
Do any of you sew? I need a good seamstress (really!), but I’d also love some sewing tips, too. Feel free to comment below and let me know what you think of these patterns.