Archive for Rule 5

Swift entanglements

This Australian radio interview of Taylor Swift is — oh, who cares? It’s Taylor Swift, fercryingoutloud:

I snagged this still from Twitter:

Taylor Swift on 2DayFM Sydney

The 1989 album, as I may have mentioned before, drops next week.

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Not from the New World

Actress Ann Dvorak is not related to composer Antonín Dvořák, or to psychologist and keyboard guru August Dvorak, or to computer columnist (and August’s nephew) John C. Dvorak, though apparently she was related to John C. Calhoun. I’m not quite sure why she took on the surname “Dvorak,” which corresponds to none of her three husbands; she was credited as Baby Anna Lehr, after her mother, in her film work as a child. (Her birth certificate reads “Anna McKim.”) Maybe it was just to listen to people mispronounce it:

“My name is properly pronounced vor’shack. The D remains silent. I have had quite a time with the name, having been called practically everything from Balzac to Bickelsrock.”

Dvorak was pretty busy in pre-Code Hollywood, appearing opposite Paul Muni in Howard Hughes’ Scarface (1932) and, here, with Richard Cromwell in Michael Curtiz’ The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (also 1932):

Ann Dvorak as Molly Louvain in 1932

Dvorak subsequently absented herself from Hollywood, by which is meant that she ran off to London and married cast member Leslie Fenton, thereby breaking her contract and, inevitably, annoying studio heads, who paid her back by engineering the decline of her career. She and Fenton broke up in 1945; eventually she retired to Hawaii, where she died in 1979.

Ann Dvorak doing promo work

This Elmer Fryer photo apparently served as the source for a trading card from the British tobacco company Carreras.

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All my bass are belong to her

Meghan Trainor has owned the charts of late with that weird little tune called “All About That Bass,” popularly interpreted as a body-acceptance anthem. (I think that line about “skinny bitches” probably disqualifies it, but I still adore the record.) And if she looks appallingly young, well, she’s not yet 21: she’s entitled.

Entertainment Weekly spent one page of a three-page article on this:

Meghan Trainor on a bicycle

And while her Amy-Winehouse-meets-the-Shirelles sound has its own charms, this is what seriously makes me grin: “All About That Bass” comes from a 2014 EP with the title Title. That’s the name of it. And she’s not pulling anyone’s chain, either. Here’s the (audio only) title song, so to speak:

I’ll consider that a supplementary explanation for the bicycle.

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Fox-y lady

I could not let this pass by:

Well, she wants to believe.

Addendum: Here’s the quiz.

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Uncap my lens

For Toni Braxton’s birthday — she’s forty-seven today — we have a couple of shots, one carefully staged, one not so much. This is the cover art to her late-2009 single “Yesterday,” released before the Pulse album:

Toni Braxton on the Yesterday sleeve

And this is a less-than-entirely-graceful exit from the back seat, earlier this year:

Toni Braxton arrives for dinner

Oh, the heck with that. Let’s go back to “Yesterday”:

Does this really require an Underwear Warning?

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Seven the hard way

I am somewhat unathletic, in the sense that a garden snail is somewhat unspeedy, so I tend to be at least slightly awed by competitive athletics, and rather more than that when the competitions are multiple and consecutive.

The women’s heptathlon consists of, yes, seven events, four on one day, three on the next: 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter run; long jump, javelin throw, 800-meter run. There is a scoring system that almost, but not quite, defies description. Here we see Polish heptathlete Karolina Tymińska on her way to a personal-best 6,544 points at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea:

Karolina Tyminska in the high jump

She also cleans up nicely after a workout:

Karolina Tyminska seated

It’s her 30th birthday today.

(The all-time record for women’s heptathlon was set by American Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988, with 7,291 points; Tymińska just missed the bronze in the 2011 Championships, won by Tatyana Chernova of Russia.)

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A voice from days gone by

Timi Yuro died in the spring of 2004 — the cancer that took away her voice eventually took the rest of her — and I gave her a sendoff in these pages. I wasn’t doing pictures back then, or at least not many, and I didn’t give the matter much more thought until a new-release announcement came down the wire from one of those reissue labels: a two-CD set containing her first four albums plus bonus tracks. And they’d used a manually-colored version of this old Hollywood publicity photo:

Timi Yuro glamour shot

If you’re interested, here’s an Amazon link. “Hurt” was her biggest hit, but the one that’s stayed with me is “What’s A Matter Baby,” which I described this way:

Sung and recorded at the very edge of distortion, then remixed by Phil Spector, this may be Yuro’s best: the voice is just as big, and the finger she’s pointing is even bigger.

Especially since Spector apparently did this without the approval of either Clyde Otis, who produced the track and co-wrote the song, or Al Bennett, who was running Liberty Records, Timi’s label.

But the operative word is “big,” and, well, she wasn’t all that big in real life:

Timi Yuro seated

Five foot one, maybe. On the radio, you never noticed this sort of thing, and you wouldn’t have cared if you did.

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Symphony, seated

First, the context:

During a Thursday appearance on The View, Viola Davis fired back at the New York Times writer who recently said she was “less classically beautiful.” Last week, in an article that received plenty of backlash, Times writer Alessandra Stanley not only critiqued Davis’ looks but also referred to Shonda Rhimes as an angry black woman.

There was enough backlash, in fact, to provoke Times “public editor” Margaret Sullivan into an admission:

The readers and commentators are correct to protest this story. Intended to be in praise of Ms. Rhimes, it delivered that message in a condescending way that was — at best — astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch.

For those of us for whom most of the Times is tone-deaf and out of touch, though seldom astonishingly so anymore, this wasn’t exactly news. And “less classically beautiful” inevitably implies a comparison: less than whom? Says the Times writer: Kerry Washington and Halle Berry. The question that remains: “But who isn’t?” Someone once asked me who, in my opinion, was the single most gorgeous woman on the planet. At the time, I said: “Either Halle Berry, or — who’s that woman who looks almost like Halle Berry?”

About the time I finished digesting the backlash articles, this appeared in the tweetstream:

Dayum.

Mr Dollar, sir, you speak truth.

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Rhymes with “yell”

Danielle Dax, according to Allmusic, just turned 56. I wouldn’t have guessed: the music she played seldom seemed to belong to any era, no matter when it came out. She did, however, look fetching behind a guitar-like object:

Danielle Dax tuning up

“Cat-House,” the single — it was eventually put out on a compilation album called Dark Adapted Eye — dates from around 1988.

In 1995, she released, on her own Biter of Thorpe (!) label, a compilation called Comatose Non-Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax, which goes on my One Of These Days list.

After the jump, a still from Neil Jordan’s 1984 fantasy film The Company of Wolves, in which Dax plays the Wolfgirl. She has no lines, but she will not be ignored:

Read the rest of this entry »

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The divine Sophia

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.” — Sophia Loren

She’s eighty today. I know my duty when I see it:

A Sophia Loren retrospective

As you may have come to expect, each of these may be enlarged with a click.

See also Roger Green’s Sophia retrospective.

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It’s just a print

Given Emily Deschanel’s longstanding commitment to animal welfare and vegetarianism and such, it’s not at all surprising that she’d make an appearance for Mercy For Animals, but I have to admit, I wouldn’t have expected this dress:

Emily Deschanel for Mercy For Animals 9-12-14

I mean, yeah, great dress, but it seems like it might suggest something contrary to the mission. (The organization’s annual gala was held Friday night at The London West Hollywood.)

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The adventures of Sophie

Once upon a time, there was a British band called “theaudience,” which was given to songs with fab titles like “A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed” and “If You Can’t Do It When You’re Young, When Can You Do It?”

Theaudience managed only the one album, back in 1998, before breaking up; lead singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, then nineteen, went on to a solo career, and has now released five albums, the most recent being Wanderlust, from which we extract the current single, “The Deer and the Wolf.”

Definitely a departure from her dance-pop days. And this came out day before yesterday:

I sort of explained Pretty Polly last summer.

This is the cover art from Wanderlust:

Cover art from Wanderlust by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Why the lapses into Cyrillic? Ellis-Bextor has said that the album is like “a soundtrack to an Eastern European film from the 1970s,” and indeed one track features a Bulgarian choir, recorded at the Bulgarian Embassy in London:

It’s not often I’ve stuffed a post into four different categories.

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Coolen on the side

Nancy Anna Francina Coolen wound up with a shortened name (“Nance”), a career in Eurodance music, and a second career as a TV host, all before turning 40. (She’s 41 tomorrow.) There is, of course, the usual array of slightly exciting pictures:

Nance Coolen

Nance Coolen

Nance was discovered by Ruud van Rijen, who created the dance act Twenty 4 Seven in 1989. She remained with van Rijen through 1996; he continues the group today.

This video, set to Nance’s 2003 solo single “If You Wanna Dance,” contains a brief history of her career:

Last I looked, she was doing Showniews for the Dutch channel SBS 6.

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Wayne’s whirled

Carol Wayne, born on this date in 1942, started out as a perfectly serious figure skater, and later became a perfectly serious actress. Here we see her on an episode of I Spy, making a perfectly serious phone call:

Carol Wayne in The Trouble with Temple episode of I Spy

However, she’s probably best remembered as the Matinee Lady opposite Tea Time Movie host Art Fern:

Carol Wayne with Johnny Carson

I have no idea what that day’s movie was, but I suspect the sponsor was located near the Slauson Cutoff.

She died under mysterious circumstances in Mexico in 1985. All the more reason, I think, to see that she’s not forgotten. (As if.)

Update: Substituted another picture for the second one. (See comments).

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This could go on for a while

“Bengü” is a Turkish adjective commonly used as a given name: it means “eternal” or “endless.” Meet Turkish singer Bengü — last name Erden — born in İzmir in 1979, who has been making records since the turn of the century:

Publicity photo for Bengu, circa 2003

Album art from Saygimdan by BenguIf I’ve counted correctly, Saygımdan (“Out of Respect”), released in 2013, is her ninth album; the title song is up on YouTube but for some reason — presumably, the desire of her record label — is not embeddable. The lyrics are vaguely Taylor Swift-y:

I don’t bow before anyone, but with you I am leveled to the ground,
I always leave and walk away, it is for the first time I stopped and turned around,
I cried, I silently gathered it all within me,
I raged, but then I calmed down.

(Translation found here; it was better, I thought, than Google’s.)

An earlier song, “Unut Beni” (“Forget Me”), from her 2007 album Taktik, which means pretty much what it sounds like:

And a more recent photo:

Publicity photo for Bengu, circa 2014

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As real as it may seem

Former teen dream Debbie Gibson turns 44 this Sunday, and since I’ve been paying attention all along, I’m in a position to toss you a few not-entirely-random factoids regarding the Debster:

Oh, and she still dresses up nicely:

Debbie Gibson at Madison Square Garden

Of course, the main event for the evening was Rockets vs. Knicks, but hey: it’s exposure, and it’s New York exposure.

And because I think highly of this song, here’s Deb’s last official Billboard Hot 100 chart item: “Losin’ Myself,” a seriously moody number written by DG with Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers (Rythm Syndicate), which peaked at #86 in early 1993.

Too much too soon, maybe?

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Winding up like this

From about a week and a half ago, here’s Jessica Alba, doing that ceremonial first-pitch thing for the Dodgers:

Jessica Alba throws out the first pitch at Chavez Ravine

Good form, as they say. Still, the Brewers scored seven runs in the first four innings and the Dodgers failed to catch up, falling 7-2.

Speaking of good form, here’s a January still from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:

Jessica Alba looking Jessica Alba-esque

Readers of Fashion Bomb Daily approved this look by better than seven to two.

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The Hoffette

I almost titled this “Sand, which is there,” but thought better of it. This is Hayley Hasselhoff, twenty-two on Tuesday, the younger daughter of David Hasselhoff (yes!) and Pamela Bach:

Hayley Hasselhoff at the beach

In 1999 and 2000, she did a couple of episodes of Baywatch, the first alongside older sister Taylor-Ann. Since turning 14, she has worked mostly as a “plus-size” model, though she had a role in the short-lived ABC Family series Huge, playing the skinniest girl at fat camp.

Commenting on that “plus-size” thing:

“There’s two different types of plus size — there’s plus size in the world, which may seem demeaning, but then there’s plus size in the industry, which is completely different… People always want to go to the extreme negative side of things, and it’s the same with plus-sized models. Plus size in the industry means curves. Let me break it down for you. Straight sized boards are models size 0-6. Plus size boards are models starting at a 10. If a size 8 girl was 5’11” and curvy, she’d be on the plus sized board, because there’s nothing in between.”

Hayley is five-seven and wears a 14:

Hayley Hasselhoff posing

She’s represented by Wilhelmina.

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Unfrosted Scandinavian

Let’s say you’re a single mom in her late twenties with a four-year-old boy. What are your dating prospects? If you’re Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, evidently pretty good, because you met up with Crown Prince Haakon, next in line to the Norwegian throne, and now you’re the Crown Princess.

After writing that, I couldn’t resist passing this on:

Mette-Marit at church

Here, Mette-Marit is attending a service at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church of New York, on the upper West Side. Her Royal Highness is forty-one today; she and the Crown Prince have two children with titles. (Her son from her wild single days is acknowledged, but of course carries no title.)

One more for good measure:

Mette-Marit at the podium

Reportedly, HRH is subject to wild weight swings, and other rumors persist. Then again, what would royalty be without rumors?

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No sign of the dollar

I admit to not having had much use for Ke$ha, as the singer used to spell it, even if she did move 14 million downloads of “Tik Tok.” Having reverted to simply “Kesha,” she’s pushed herself a little farther, and while looking for something else — isn’t that always the case? — I stumbled across this track from her 2012 album Warrior. It’s the last song in the collection, it’s the only one she wrote herself, and I think she’s won me over:

(If this vaguely reminds you of Sia’s “Chandelier,” a favorite in these parts, well, it’s the same producer: Greg Kurstin. And Kesha’s song came out first.)

And you know, I’m the last guy in the world to complain about blue and/or purple hair, even on the Tonight Show:

Kesha on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon July 2014

(Photo by Theo Wargo/NBC.)

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In the interests of civilization

Meaningless factoid: Lauren Bacall was a first cousin to Israeli president Shimon Peres.

Lauren Bacall and friend

Above, Bacall’s influence on a well-trained critter. Below, Bacall’s influence on a somewhat less well-trained critter:

Bugs Bunny and Lauren Bacall in 'Slick Hare', 1947

Meaningless factoid: Lauren Bacall is the only Oscar winner to have been married to two other Oscar winners: Humphrey Bogart (of course) and Jason Robards.

Something to track down: the dubbed English version of Ernest et Célestine, a French-Belgian animated film based on Gabrielle Vincent’s books, in which Bacall is the voice of The Grey One, caretaker at a mouse orphanage. Released early this year, it was her last film credit.

Not at all meaningless, an exchange between Bogie and Bacall from The Big Sleep:

Philip Marlowe: You wanna tell me now?

Vivian Rutledge: Tell you what?

Philip: What it is you’re trying to find out. You know, it’s a funny thing. You’re trying to find out what your father hired me to find out, and I’m trying to find out why you want to find out.

Vivian: You could go on forever, couldn’t you? Anyway it’ll give us something to talk about next time we meet.

Philip: Among other things.

The world seems a bit less civilized now.

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Double the licks

Electra and Elise Avellán are 28 today; you may have seen them in the Robert Rodriguez segment of Grindhouse or Rodriguez’ subsequent screamfests Machete and Machete Kills. Here they’re just a pair of twins selling sweet stuff:

Electra and Elise Avellan in Two Scoops

Except, of course, that they’re not. Rodriguez’ short Two Scoops — I’d embed it here, but it’s technically unlisted at YouTube, so I’m sending you to Miramax instead — reveals their True Identities and a great deal more. (It helps, if you’re looking for a role in a Rodriguez film, to be his niece; they’re actually related to Rodriguez’ ex-wife, Elizabeth Avellán, but she is still VP and co-owner of his production company, so they’re not entirely estranged.)

And here’s a shot out of costume, I think:

Elise and Electra Avellan at a press conference

Maybe I’ll rethink that vanilla.

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Zooeypalooza 21!

I can go on only so long without knocking out one of these. And it’s slightly bigger than usual: twelve pictures instead of nine, ten or eleven.

Zooeypalooza 21!

As usual, you may click to embiggen.

YesterPaloozas: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13, ZP 14, ZP 15, ZP 16, ZP 17, ZP 18, ZP 19, ZP 20.

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Ninety plus ten?

About the only thing I knew about singer/songwriter Charli XCX, born Charlotte Emma Aitchison 23 years ago, is that she wrote Icona Pop’s weird international hit “I Love It.” (Charli is listed as “featured” on the track, though apparently she joins in only on the one line “I don’t care/I love it,” and she doesn’t appear in the video. And the only reason I know “I Love It” is because I happened upon a note-perfect parody called “I Ship It,” devoted to implausible fanfiction, something I know a little bit about.

Charli has been making music since her teens, and she shares the blame for Iggy Azalea’s irritating but catchy “Fancy,” lampooned by “Weird Al” Yankovic as “Handy.” But Charli’s own stuff works pretty decently on its own terms. “Nuclear Seasons” was the first track on (and the second single from) her 2013 album True Romance:

With all the graphic gizmos cleared away, we see her this way:

Charli XCX in the summer of 2013

And what’s the deal with the Roman numerals, if that’s what they are? Hint: they aren’t:

Well, people have speculated that it means “Kiss Kiss,” but I really just chose the name because I thought it looked cool and sounded catchy. Of course, when I was signed to my record label, I suddenly felt like it needed to stand for something. So I told my label that it could mean, “X-Rated Content” or something like that, and everyone there just kind of looked at me as if I was crazy. They were all probably thinking, “Oh, no, what did we get ourselves into?!” But really, at the moment, it just stands for everything I’ve done so far.

Whatever the heck that means.

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The operative word is “funny”

The Daily Show’s bio of correspondent Jessica Williams:

Jessica Williams is an actress, writer, and all-around funny lady from Los Angeles, California. She credits her ability to be hilarious on her very large funny bone. No really, she has been six feet tall since she was in middle school. At first she was awkward and super weird. Then she became funny and still super weird.

They say “super weird” like it’s a bad thing.

She started on The Daily Show in 2012, reporting from the Republican primary in South Carolina, which gave her the perfect excuse to show up to the Comedy Awards:

Jessica Williams at the 2012 Comedy Awards

I do love that dress. (And I wonder how hard it was to find the shoes, since she admits to a size 11.) She turns 25 on Wednesday.

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In which Mindy projects

There’s actually no projected date for the publication of Mindy Kaling’s second book, Why Not Me? It didn’t stop her, though, from putting up some Instagrams from the photo shoot for the book cover, a couple of which I’ve borrowed, with the help of InStyle.

This first lacy thingumabob comes from Dolce & Gabbana:

Mindy Kaling in D and G

And this, with pockets yet, from 5th & Mercer:

Mindy Kaling in 5th and Mercer

If you’re not familiar with 5th & Mercer, it’s a line designed by La La Anthony, who is married to NBA star Carmelo Anthony. The shoes are all Jimmy Choos.

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Getting procedural

Ever been fired and then rehired? AJ Cook has:

After a week of negotiations, AJ Cook just closed a two-year deal to return to CBS’ drama Criminal Minds as a regular. She will guest star in the series’ sixth season finale on May 18 before re-joining the show full-time in the fall.

Cook departed Criminal Minds after the end of last season when her option was not picked up, stirring outcry among fans of the show. She appeared in the first two episodes of this season to wrap the storyline of her character JJ, who was transferred from the BAU to a job at the Pentagon.

She wasn’t a proper profiler, but was serving as the BAU’s media liaison; when she returned in season seven, she’d apparently been trained as a profiler.

Then again, that two-year deal was signed in 2011. Two years later, here she is doing an upfront at CTV:

AJ Cook at CTV

Criminal Minds finished its ninth season this spring, and will be back this fall; everything I’ve seen says that AJ will be back with it.

From the massive collection of Things I Didn’t Know: As a child, AJ was legally blind, and wasn’t much better than that as an adult. Severe astigmatism, they said:

“I was that little kid with Coke bottle glasses,” she recalls. “I started wearing contacts at a really young age because I was a dancer and I couldn’t dance on stage with glasses on.”

Even laser eye surgery wasn’t an option because, as the actress explains, “They’d have to take away too much of my eye. It’s way too dangerous.”

Then a new procedure emerged called Visian ICL, a lens implant that corrects the impairment. So [in 2007] Cook had the surgery done.

Incidentally, this is the second character on Criminal Minds who’s gotten a mention here, the first being Kirsten Vangsness, who plays Penelope Garcia.

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A hint of thirst

First she was Agnes Monica Muljoto, which was quickly shortened to simply “Agnes Monica,” under which name the Indonesian singer released several albums, the last of which was a best-of package called Agnes Is My Name. And then, suddenly, it wasn’t; she resurfaced as “Agnez Mo,” perhaps in the interest of getting some recognition in the States. I think I’d recognize someone like this:

Agnez Mo in 12/13 Regard Magazine

That business about “Coke Bottle” in the text refers to this:

Something of a departure, I think, from her earlier image:

Agnez Mo

Of course, I’m old enough to remember when “Coke Bottle” described cars:

Chevrolet Camaro

And it’s not like Agnez is some sort of throwback, either. In a weird sort of marketing innovation, the aforementioned Agnes Is My Name compilation was distributed through KFC locations in Indonesia: you could buy it separately, or it could be thrown in with the purchase of a combo meal. The album moved about a million copies.

(Now that I think about it, though, it’s probably a good thing that the album came out before the “Coke Bottle” single, inasmuch as the 400-odd KFC stores in Indonesia sell Pepsi.)

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Swiftly moving

Literally tens of pictures of Taylor Swift cross my desk every month. More, even, now that the @SwiftOnSecurity Twitter account is up to teach us civilians about encryption and post observations like this:

But I wanted to run this one, reportedly snapped after she left the gym Monday, because (1) I can’t help wondering what she’s listening to and (2) she’s a trifle banged up, which supports my ongoing notion that anything perfect is fake.

Taylor Swift doing the long stride

First person to ask “You noticed she’s wearing earbuds?” is forthwith banished.

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Some last-century thinking

There are message boards that specialize in girlie pix, and even in sections of girlie pix, one of which (never you mind) was offering this stirring photo of Carole Lombard from here down:

Carole Lombard, mostly

The description hinted that there was something risqué about the full photo, which of course I immediately sought out:

Carole Lombard with John Barrymore

Her partner in crime here is John Barrymore, and this turns out to be a publicity still for Columbia’s 1934 comedy Twentieth Century, much of which is set on the fabled 20th Century Limited train between New York and Chicago. The key number here is 1934, that being the year that the Production Code was first enforced, and needless to say, the Hays Office would have had a problem with this sort of thing. This image wasn’t in the actual film, though, so it fell under the jurisdiction of the Advertising Advisory Council, headed by Joseph I. Breen, later the Production Code’s chief enforcer. An explanation, plus a larger version of the photo:

One wonders which more drew the wrath of the moralist Breen: the acres and acres of lovely Lombard leg on display, or the hint of a nipple just above Barrymore’s hand. Maybe both were equal opportunity offenders. And perhaps Carole and John knew this picture wasn’t going to pass muster anyway, so instead they decided to milk it for all its worth, sort of along the lines of Jean Harlow flashing a topless display “for the boys in the lab” at the end of her rain barrel scene in Red Dust two years before.

Oh, my, yes, Red Dust (MGM, ’32). Even in the surviving footage, the normally unflappable Clark Gable seems seriously flapped.

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