Sylva Koscina will always be remembered as an Italian actress; a few wise guys might point out along the way that she was born on the Dalmatian coast of what used to be Yugoslavia, but nobody listens to them.
As is essential for an Italian actress of this vintage, she rocks the Little Black Dress:
Or, should the situation demand, even less:
In 1968, she did a segment of the anthology film Vedo Nudo (“I See Naked”), playing a woman identified as The Diva. She is not actually naked in this clip:
She does, however, get to drive an Italian sports car. You don’t usually get this kind of deal in Yugoslavia.
Sylva Koscina would have been 83 today; she was struck down by breast cancer in her early 60s.
Taiwanese actress Annie Wu came to prominence in Jackie Chan’s Police Story 4: First Strike in 1996; Chan had said, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, that her Cantonese was terrible, and whether it was true or not, all of her lines were dubbed for the final release.
Still, Wu, thirty-eight tomorrow, has sustained a career, mostly in Chinese TV, occasionally in a feature film like From Vegas to Macau:
Not that she has a whole heck of a lot to do in those films.
It’s not too startling, perhaps, to discover that Lupita Nyong’o was the first, um, Mexican to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (for 12 Years a Slave): her parents are indeed Kenyan, but she was born in Mexico City. Being the superficial soul I am, I noticed something else: she’s absolutely fearless on the red carpet. I mean, she can wear anything, any style, any color. Examples:
Bonus points if you noticed that “Lupita” is, in fact, the diminutive of “Guadalupe.” Says Wikipedia on the subject: “It is a tradition of the Luo people to name a child after the events of the day, so her parents gave her a Spanish name.”
And I dearly loved her 73 Questions for Vogue:
This series is always good, but Nyong’o’s episode might be the best of them all.
I got silly one afternoon — Monday, if you care — on Google, and typed in: “politicians with nice legs.”
Result the first:
Valérie Pécresse, forty-nine, is the President of the Regional Council
of Île-de-France; she has served on the Council for twelve years. She is a member of a center-right party called The Republicans, formed from the remains of Jacques Chirac’s Union for a Popular Movement. (Could you imagine an American center-right party called the Republicans? I didn’t think so.)
Since I generally react like Gomez Addams to a woman speaking French, here’s Mme. Pécresse debating French academic Axel Kahn:
They were giving out the annual Prix de la Carpette Anglaise the other day. Literally it means the English Rug Prize, but doormat would be the better translation.
As the citation explains, the award goes to the French person or institution who has given the best display of “fawning servility” to further the insinuation into France of the accursed English language… topping the poll for grave disservices to the mother tongue is France’s higher education minister, Valérie Pécresse.
Her crime: proclaiming to the press that she had no intention of speaking French when attending European meetings in Brussels, because, she said, it was quite obvious that English was now the easiest mode of communication.
Perhaps she should have tried Russian. Or Japanese.
Um, yeah. Well played, Wiki. Let’s assume you already know all the other details of the life of Monica Lewinsky, M.Sc.
This one I did not know: in 2005, she enrolled at the London School of Economics — abandoning her handbag line — and pursued a degree in social psychology. By December 2006 she’d earned a Master’s degree. Her thesis: “In Search of the Impartial Juror: An Exploration of the Third-Person Effect and Pre-Trial Publicity.”
After that, she dropped out of sight, resurfacing in 2014. The next year she gave this TED Talk:
Whatever role she may have to play in the 2016 election remains to be seen.
Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani social media star, was strangled to death by her brother in Multan, Pakistan, on Friday. The fashion model garnered fame and notoriety with her unconventional and scandalous — by Pakistani standards — public persona, and she had recently caused a stir by posting selfies with a prominent Muslim cleric, Mufti Qawi, during Ramadan. Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, had a huge social media fanbase, with 40,000 Twitter followers and more than 700,000 on her official Facebook page.
As a women we must stand up for ourselves..As a women we must stand up for each other… As a women we must stand up for justice
I believe I am a modern day feminist. I believe in equality. I need not to choose what type of women should be. I don’t think there is any need to label ourselves just for sake of society. I am just a women with free thoughts free mindset and I LOVE THE WAY I AM. :)
On 15 July 2016, Baloch was asphyxiated by her brother Waseem while she was asleep in her parents’ house in Multan. Her death was reported by her father Azeem. It was first reported as a shooting, but an autopsy report confirmed that Baloch was murdered by asphyxiation while she was asleep, on the night of 15–16 July around 11:15p.m. to 11:30p.m.; by the time her body was found she had already been dead for fifteen to thirty-six hours. Marks on Baloch’s body revealed that her mouth and nose were pinned shut to asphyxiate her. Police called the murder an honor killing.
Brenda Holloway hit the Top 40 three times for Motown, and each time there’s a story to tell.
California composer Ed Cobb, once one of the Four Preps, wrote “Every Little Bit Hurts”; Brenda had cut it for the Del-Fi label in Los Angeles, circa 1962, and she’d record it once more for the new Motown West Coast office, manned by producers Hal Davis and Marc Gordon. It was a song she did not want to do: been there, done that. In April 1964, the new version of “Every Little Bit Hurts” was turned loose; it hit #13 in Billboard, getting her a slot on the next Motortown Revue.
After “I’ll Always Love You,” another Cobb tune (not the same “I’ll Always Love You” cut by the Spinners during their Motown years) failed to hit big, Mary Wells was packing up for 20th Century-Fox, and seeing Brenda as the Next Mary Wells, the company brought her to Detroit to replace Mary on a Smokey Robinson number. It’s the same backing track over which Mary sang; some orchestral sweetening was added for Brenda. “When I’m Gone” reached #25.
Brenda’s last Top 40 entry was a song she wrote with her sister Patrice; Berry Gordy and producer Frank Wilson added a few bits and slapped their names on as co-writers. (Wilson, says Brenda, came up with the bridge.) “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” stalled at #39; a subsequent cover by Blood, Sweat & Tears reached #2, by which time Brenda had left Motown and sued Gordy over his alleged contribution to the song.
After a long time away from the microphone, she began to record again, and to make personal appearances. (One such appearance, I am told, was with BS&T.)
She turned 70 this past week, and she’s still singing.
Judging from this interview, conducted three days before the election, she does stage presence well:
Movimento 5 Stelle, Raggi’s political party, which says it doesn’t particularly want to be called a “party” as such, is generally considered to be populist, anti-establishment, environmentalist, anti-globalist and Eurosceptic. Who would start a non-party like that? Beppe Grillo, comedian, activist, and, um, blogger.
Raggi will turn 38 next month. As a proper Italian woman, she’s working some pretty high heels:
I note purely in passing that her campaign site was apparently set up to take donations from abroad.
The other day I did a piece on shoes that aren’t all there, illustrated with a picture of actress Eva LaRue from here down. It occurs to me that someone might want to see the outfit she was wearing with those shoes, so:
LaRue, forty-nine, first established herself on All My Children as Dr. Maria Santos Grey; she was nominated for two Emmys during her seven years on the show. Currently she’s working on Fuller House, a sequel to a show you may have seen before.
Some celebrity types don’t make a point of showing themselves off, and therefore there aren’t that many semi-salacious photos of them for the weekly Rule 5 roundup. (If you’re not familiar with this particular Rule 5, not part of the Rules of the Internet compendium, here’s your introduction. Short version: clickbait with heels on.)
And at the other end of the spectrum, there’s Bai Ling, who will happily drop stuff like this into her Twitter feed on a regular basis:
Those two, in fact, came out within 24 hours of each other, this week.
Let’s have an oldie but goodie from, oh, five weeks ago:
By the numbers: Maya Moore is twenty-seven today, and wears number 23; after four years of utterly stunning numbers at Connecticut, during which time the UConn women won 90 games in a row, she was drafted Number One (of course) by the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx.
Before you ask: she’s reported to be six feet tall.
And come to think of it, she’s produced rather a lot of amazing numbers:
We might know Lizzy Caplan best from her role as Virginia Johnson on the Showtime series Masters of Sex, which got her an Emmy award nomination in 2014. Given the nature of the series, she does a lot of work in her birthday suit, but her birthday isn’t until the 30th, so we’re not going to go screencapping through Season Two or anything like that.
Then again, she is kind of a quirky dresser:
This week marked the premiere of Now You See Me 2, which somehow seems to be a cross between Ocean’s 11 and Ghostbusters. Or something. Anyway, Lizzy wasn’t in the first NYSM, three years ago.
What sort of role is she playing? I’m not entirely sure:
“It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day…”
Everything you know about Bobbie Gentry starts with that one line, and of course you know the song:
That half-raspy belle-but-not-of-the-ball voice of hers became instantly recognizable, and it saw her through a few smaller hits on the way to oblivion.
This is about the place where I’d insert a recent picture. But here’s the catch: there aren’t any recent pictures. Some time after her 1978 single “He Did Me Wrong (But He Did It Right)” failed to catch on, she withdrew from the public eye almost entirely.
Bobbie Gentry lives about a two-hour drive from the site of the Tallahatchie Bridge that made her so famous, in a gated community, in a very nice house that cost about $1.5 million. Her neighbors, some locals and some real estate agents know who she is, although it’s not clear which of her many possible names she goes by.
And no, we still don’t know what was being thrown off that bridge before Billie Joe consigned himself to those muddy waters. There was a film sort of based on the song, but there’s no reason to suspect it’s canon; it’s not even spelled right. Nor is the death of Billie Joe the worst thing that ever happened on the Tallahatchie; Emmett Till wound up there, and he was murdered.
(I am indebted to Roger Green for turning up that B&W picture, which apparently the BBC had in one of its libraries.)
I put nothing past singer/actress Shirley Manson, who once upon a time was a shop assistant at Miss Selfridge, but wound up assigned to the stockroom, lest she come into contact with actual customers. (This is almost exactly my attitude toward retail.) That voice, however, was meant to sing, and after about a decade of various English appearances, she wound up fronting a Madison, Wisconsin band called Garbage, which would put out four albums in ten years before going on hiatus. Their third album, beautifulgarbage, contained an extremely catchy song — “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)” — with an extremely sketchy video in which the band is faceless and then some.
Manson does not remember this video fondly.
Garbage reunited in 2012, and Manson did her part to promote their efforts:
In the interim, she had recorded, but ultimately shelved, a solo album. The sixth Garbage album, Strange Little Birds, will be out in June, and this is the lead single:
Later this summer, Shirley Manson turns 50. I don’t believe it either.
Ciara’s 2015 single “Dance Like We’re Making Love” somehow managed to crawl only up to the very bottom of the Billboard Hot 100, and I’m not sure why; the song is catchy enough, and I can’t really fault the visuals here:
I mean, it’s not like she’s prudish and buttoned-down and such. From about that same time, a trip to the ESPYs:
Ciara is generally very good at working that slit-up-to-here style, as she demonstrated at the Grammys earlier this year:
And to be fair, it’s not always the left leg on display:
Then again, you haven’t seen the front of this dress, which I have decided to put after the jump:
This is, of course, because I’m prudish and buttoned-down and such.
Which is high praise indeed. Zizi’s breakthrough ballet was Carmen, choreographed in 1949 by Roland Petit, who also danced the role of Don José, and to whom she was married five years later.
Although we will note for record that Zizi was still officially Renée Jeanmaire in those days.
In addition to ballet, she would appear in films through the 1950s, and actually cut a few records in the Sixties, the biggest of which might have been “Mon truc en plumes” (“My Thing With Feathers,” 1961). In this twelve-minute clip from 1979, she sings two songs, neither of which are “Mon truc en plumes,” and dances up a storm:
Zizi retired in 1982; she was widowed in 2011 when Petit died. She lives in Geneva, and she just turned 92 last month.
Mexican actress Anahí Giovanna Puente de Velasco — you can just call her Anahí, everyone else does — occupies a rather uncommon spot near the intersection of Pop Culture and Politics: in her thirty-three years she’s been an actress, a member of a musical girl group, and a solo singer/songwriter, and last year she wed Manuel Velasco Coello, governor of the Mexican state of Chiapas.
One might expect from this CV that she’d have a certain visual appeal, and you’ll get no argument from me:
In 2009, Anahí came up with this poppy tune called “Mi Delirio,” which I think was her first entry into the Billboard US Latin chart, peaking at #29. Parts of the video are perhaps disturbing:
Then again, you don’t need Google to translate “Mi Delirio.”
In fact, several grand: back in 1990, supermodel Linda Evangelista said of herself and her few peers, “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.” On this, her 51st birthday, it seems fit to look back a bit: two of these shots qualify as vintage, but the last comes from 2015, part of a campaign she did for Hudson’s Bay. (I continue to be gobsmacked by the fact that this is the Hudson’s Bay Company that showed up in my history texts, many years ago: the firm dates to 1670.)
And who better to embody the red, white and blue than a woman from St. Catharines, Ontario?
She retired from the runway in 1998, only to return in 2001. Maybe she needed a reason to wake up in the morning.
You could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather when I found out that the actual poster for this big hit film was seriously doctored: that’s Julia Roberts’ head, all right, but everything from here down belongs to actress Shelly Michelle. (Never you mind about Richard Gere’s hair.) I didn’t understand this: it seemed to me, based on the evidence of the actual film, that Roberts had some perfectly nice gams.
A quarter-century and more later, this flashed back to me, with Julia on the cover of the June InStyle, and in a relatively leggy pose at that. As a subscriber, though, I knew I could count on this portrait being ruined by an address label. (The version you see here comes from the British press, probably the Daily Mail.)
As counterpoint, two relatively recent red-carpet looks: the 2014 Emmy Awards, followed by the 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Still, my favorite picture of Julia might be this page from a late-1990s fashion spread, complete with inscrutable caption:
I wonder what situation she was trying to escape at the time.