I figured if I waited long enough, I’d get some shots of Chinese pianist Yuja Wang, a favorite in these parts, in something other than the abbreviated gowns in which she performs, and of course I was right.
Still, the obligatory performance video does indeed feature an abbreviated gown, and I swear, in this Arkady Volodos derangement of Mozart’s “Rondo alla turca,” she looks like she’s smiling.
Or don’t, if you’d rather not. Divya Spandana is her name; she was born 34 years ago in Bangalore and started acting at 21, sometimes as Ramya, sometimes as Divya. In 2013, she hinted that she might quit acting to go into politics.
Indeed, in an August 2013 by-election, she ran for a seat in the Indian parliament from the Mandya constituency in Karnataka and won; she lost her reelection bid in the 2014 general election. She’s since appeared in one more film: Aryan, in which she plays a “sprint queen.” I guess that means she runs a lot.
In a recent visit to a Mandya market, she was booed and taunted:
Ramya was taken to task by people here for her long absence from Mandya district. They alleged the sudden appearance in the district on the pretext of hearing people’s problems was opportunistic behaviour.
Ramya went to the Mandya city vegetable market to ask vendors if they were facing any hassles due to demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes but she didn’t realise she’d face the brunt of their anger.
Responding to a question asked at a programme in her former constituency Mandya about her recent visit to Pakistan as part of a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) delegation of young lawmakers, Ramya had said that she doesn’t agree with [Defence Minister Manohar] Parikkar’s view that going to Pakistan is same as “going to hell.”
This met with a curiously American-sounding response:
Following her comments, a complaint has been filed against her for sedition by a Karnataka lawyer named K. Vittal Gowda, who has also called for boycott of her movies.
Chemstrand, which began as a joint venture of American Viscose and Monsanto — eventually Monsanto bought out its partner — would like to show you their new plant in Pensacola, Florida, but they also figure that nobody reading whatever magazine this came from is interested in seeing their new plant. Instead, they show a product made from the output of that new plant:
At one time back in the 1950s through the 1970s, I would guess that Chemstrand was in the top five of employees in Escambia County Florida. Even though they had photography department, we were hired for miscellaneous jobs at the plant.
Monsanto spun off Chemstrand in 1997 as Solutia Inc., maker of industrial chemicals; it survives today in St. Louis County, Missouri. No hosiery, though: they sold off the nylon business in 2009.
Most of us first noticed her in Sports Illustrated, scattered around the Swimsuit Issue in 2010 and on the cover in 2014:
There is, of course, that whole Baby Bump thing:
She and husband John Legend welcomed daughter Luna Simone Stephens in April.
In the meantime, there’s the furor Chrissy raised at the American Music Awards this week, dressed in a Yousef Akbar gown that’s slit about 20 percent farther than I imagined a gown could be slit. Someone asked a Stupid Question, and Chrissy came back with a Snappy Answer:
Inevitably, something was shown that wasn’t intended to be shown, and Chrissy was up to defending that issue as well:
That InStyle cover describes her as a “social-media star.” Now you know why.
Years ago, when I was a college student, I was walking through the hall when I noticed my English instructor, Mrs. Williams, walking ahead of me. She was gray-haired and about 60, but a discerning eye could see she had been quite the dish back in her prime and, honestly, she was still pleasant to look at.
“Nice legs,” I said, prompting her to turn around. She was fighting the temptation to smile, and losing the fight, as she scolded me: “You just think you can charm your way through life, don’t you?”
Yeah, I made an “A” in Mrs. Williams’s class.
I couldn’t have gotten away with something like that, but I admit that there have been, um, opportunities.
Now: who’s 60 and has nice legs? Lots of women, I’m sure. From the archives, a 2012 red-carpet shot of Sela Ward, then fifty-six, followed by two from this year. Do the math.
As to what Sela Ward could teach me — well, there are so many things I don’t know and probably never will.
Let your brain process these thoughts: She’s got more than $5 million in the bank, but she only gets $100 a day. She’s sleeping on a sofa in the mall, she’s telling friends she wants to get a job as a bartender and she thinks she’s so ugly she needs plastic surgery.
Amanda has a new life coach, Joy Stevens, who stays by her side 24/7.
“Amanda is with Joy all the time,” says a student who attends the Fashion Institute of Design & Marketing (FIDM) in Los Angeles with Amanda. “She accompanies Amanda to class and basically everywhere. I’ve never seen them apart.”
Amanda, 30, originally enrolled at FIDM in 2014, but students claimed she seemed “clearly high” on marijuana back then. It was also alleged that she attempted to pay people to do her homework. Now, Amanda has apparently begun to apply herself.
Sometimes what you need is a single powerful influence for good.
She continues to act, billed as Lisa Bonet; she was a recurring character in Season 4 of Ray Donovan on Showtime and appeared in SundanceTV’s The Red Road alongside second husband Jason Momoa, anent which:
First hubby was Lenny Kravitz, with whom she eloped in 1988; she and Kravitz have one daughter, Zoë Isabella Kravitz. Lilakoi and Momoa have two children: Lola Iolani Momoa and Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa.
I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that she’ll be forty-nine tomorrow.
According to some sources, Demi Moore’s first name is actually Demetria; Demi demurs. “Moore,” at least, is easy to explain: she was married to musician Freddy Moore from 1980 to 1985, though apparently she adopted his surname before they were actually wed. In 1980, she was all of eighteen years old — Freddy was 30 — and she had left high school to pursue showbiz interests.
The usual sequence followed: model, then actress. For a bit over a decade, she was a legitimate superstar; she may have faded (slightly) into the shadows, but not so much that she can’t find work.
Much is made of her film career, and perhaps even more of her latter-day high-profile celebrity husbands. I’d like to dial back for a moment to the days of Freddy Moore. Demi apparently co-wrote three songs with Moore, and she appears in the music video for one of them: “It’s Not a Rumor,” recorded in 1980 by Freddy’s band The Nu-Kats.
Perfectly reasonable power pop, if you ask me. Rhino Records, then a Los Angeles indie label, put out a five-track 10-inch Nu-Kats LP called Plastic Facts, including both “It’s Not a Rumor” and “I Was a Teenage Shoplifter.”
It was expected that Deepika Padukone would become a professional badminton player, as her father was. But being a fashion model paid better, and eventually, she meandered into film, becoming one of the highest-paid actors on the Indian subcontinent. She won her second of three Filmfare awards for Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, a 2013 take on the old Romeo and Juliet story.
She does promote a lot of products, yes.
This latter is from this past weekend at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
Deepika has been very out front about her battle with depression:
Guys of the era, I’m pretty sure, surrendered pretty easily:
Cannon made its fame making sheets and towels and bedspreads; they came late to the hosiery game, but they did manage to get a seat at the table. This particular ad — they repeated it with variations for years — dates to 1964.
In September, 1997, Fieldcrest-Cannon was sold to the Pillowtex Corporation for $700,000,000. Sales slid, and problems began to appear as Pillowtex lost money. According to a former CEO of Pillowtex, its largest product buyer, Wal-Mart, encouraged the company to move production overseas [to remain competitive] but Pillowtex refused. It was undercut by competitors (producing overseas at lower prices) and when its prices were no longer competitive stopped (or lost) its opportunity to supplying Wal-Mart.
I throw in this gratuitous poster from ought-five mostly to tell you that someone who can make me not notice Cameron Diaz is probably pretty darn remarkable. (Note: I never did get to see the film, though I did read the Jennifer Weiner novel on which it’s based.)
Toni Collette once told an interviewer: “I used to do things to get attention when I was little.” She was pretty effective, too — aged 11, she faked appendicitis so convincingly, the doctors actually removed her appendix. “My mother had hers taken out at the same age, so that’s how it entered my brain. And she told me that when the doctor presses in, that’s not when it hurts, it’s when the hand’s taken away. So I knew when to react.”
Oh, and she’s a darn good singer too. From 2007, her performance of “Look Up” at Live Earth:
The song comes from the album Beautiful Awkward Pictures by Toni Collette and the Finish; she’s married to drummer Dave Galafassi. And “beautiful awkward” fits, doesn’t it?
The fact that singer Bat for Lashes is of Pashtun descent and British and Pakistani ancestry doesn’t tell you anything about, well, for one thing, why she goes by “Bat for Lashes.” (It says “Natasha Khan” on her birth certificate.) Her second album, Two Suns (2009) yielded up her largest-selling single to date, “Daniel,” which she described at the time as “the most straightforward, naive and purposely simple song I’ve ever done.”
This video drew a nomination for Best Breakthrough Video at the 2009 VMAs, which may or may not say something about MTV.
In 2015, she started a side project with the band TOY and producer Dan Carey, under the name “Sexwitch”; they released an EP with tracks like “Helelyos,” which turns out to be, um, Iranian funk.
In 2016, she has an album called The Bride, a narrative by a young woman whose fiancé was killed in a car crash on the way to their wedding. “Joe’s Dream,” track two, was the third single.
I’m not quite sure what musical niche might easily accommodate Bat for Lashes, though my first thought was “a more subdued Siouxsie Sioux.”
In 2014, Russell Johnson — the Professor — died, leaving only two survivors from Gilligan’s Island: Ginger Grant (Tina Louise) and Mary Ann Summers (Dawn Wells). Back in the Sixties, Ginger vs. Mary Ann was as serious a topic for debate as Ford vs. Chevy, and it’s just about as persistent today. I declared for Mary Ann early on, mostly because she (along with the Professor) was given short shrift in the theme song: they mention “a movie star,” of course, but then it was “and the rest.” This was corrected in subsequent seasons, but I am not one to be forgiving in such matters.
That said, non-Gilligan-related photos of Dawn Wells, who was, after all, Miss Nevada in the 1960 Miss America pageant, are drowned out by three-hour tour guides and such. We try harder:
A bit of weirdness: in 1982-83, CBS aired something cartoonoid called Gilligan’s Planet, featuring all the original Gilligan cast except one. Tina Louise was otherwise occupied, and so Ginger was voiced by, um, Dawn Wells. Maybe the two of them were more interchangeable than we thought.
This is Harris Faulkner, a minor character in the fourth generation of Littlest Pet Shop toys by Hasbro:
And this is Harris Faulkner, Fox News Channel reporter and anchor for the last decade or so:
Now if you ask me, which the United States District Court for the State of New Jersey did not, there’s not a whole lot in the way of resemblance here. That said, after initially denying a Hasbro motion to dismiss, the court has dismissed Fox’s Faulkner’s lawsuit “with prejudice”: it cannot be refiled. Did the warring parties settle? We’ll probably never know.
That said, Harris Faulkner the newsperson does well with simple colors:
From Chris Walton’s interim report on the Chevrolet Camaro in Motor Trend’s long-term test fleet:
[W]e wonder if other 2016 Camaro owners have been treated to a reflection of the passenger’s seat when peering at the sizable color touchscreen. We love the proximity, its quick responses, the crisp graphics, and Apple CarPlay, but we wish we could somehow alter the angle of the screen or change its reflectivity. Front-seat passengers wearing miniskirts be warned.
Me, I just wonder where all these front-seat passengers wearing miniskirts might be.
How Marina Diamandis became “Marina and the Diamonds”:
“I created the name ‘Marina and the Diamonds’ [in 2005] and I never envisaged a character, pop project, band or solo artist. I saw a simple group made up of many people who had the same hearts. A space for people with similar ideals who could not fit in to life’s pre-made mold. I was terribly awkward for a long time! I really craved to be part of one thing because I never felt too connected to anybody and now I feel I have that all around me.”
Appropriate, I guess, for a singer/songwriter with a strong DIY ethos.
Thirty-one this week, Marina has recorded three albums, the most recent 2015’s Froot. I first noticed her in “Oh No!,” back in 2010.
Hard not to notice under those conditions, know what I mean?
“You can’t be a beacon,” warned Donna Fargo, “if your light don’t shine.” Not a whole lot of women in country music were writing their own stuff in the 1970s, and to their credit, neither of the major labels for which she recorded — Dot, then not yet on the wane, and Warner Bros., new to Nashville — pushed her (much) to record covers of other people’s songs. She’s probably best remembered for “The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.,” but at least some album-cover compilers thought of her as the leggiest girl in the land. This is the liner of the Dot Happiest Girl LP:
Five years later, the jacket of her Warners album Shame On Me:
And from the fall of 2016, a compilation of her Warner Bros. work on Varése Sarabande:
Just to put the emphasis back on Donna’s way with words, here’s a deep cut from the Happiest Girl LP which has so far escaped reissue:
I love that. “Society’s got us by the you-know-what” — but doesn’t it always?
All I know about this is that it came out in the middle Sixties, a period when, if I had a dollar to spare, I bought a phonograph record:
Then again, at that tender age I had yet to see even one issue of Tip Top magazine, a periodical that apparently did not concern itself with matters above the waist. (Their slogan: “Fron the tip of the toes to the top of the hose.”) Their editors would likely despair at our present-day barelegged era. And the mag itself has long since gone away: the address is currently occupied by B A Marble and Granite.
A few days back, reporting on a Russian movie, I said something to the effect that “the semi-invisible girl, however, was kind of cute.” It occurred to me that there should be a picture, and so we have one:
We may assume that this was before she gained any sort of mastery of her powers. And of course, I got curious as to what else Oksana Akinshina had been up to:
Inevitably, there would be magazine covers:
And there would be lots of movies; perhaps she’s best known in this country for The Bourne Supremacy (2004), in which she plays the daughter of one Vladimir Neski, whom Bourne had previously killed but forgot about.
Lest we get too serious, though, here’s a 2011 TV appearance in which Oksana sings “The Song of the White Elephant”:
“Immoral,” sniffed Nikita Khrushchev during a visit to the Can-Can set, his Soviet sensibilities evidently upset by the dancing of Juliet Prowse. My own thinking is that it was 1959, and therefore Khrushchev’s objections were probably good for a 20- to 30-percent boost in the American box office for Can-Can. (Today’s communists are inexplicably treated with less disdain.)
About this time, Prowse costarred with Elvis Presley in G. I. Blues.
Not quite so successful was Mona McCluskey, a 1965 NBC sitcom that starred Prowse as an actress married to an Air Force sergeant; the shtick was that they were going to live on his salary. Mona lasted 26 episodes and was not renewed.
And when the roles became fewer and farther between, well, there were always commercials:
In 1994, Juliet Prowse was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; the disease went into remission for about a year, allowing her one final tour in Sugar Babies with the evergreen Mickey Rooney. But cancer, as it too often will, returned, and she died in September 1996, a few days short of her 60th birthday.
It was in fact raining on Saturday when I got the notification of a new box set:
Which gave me an excuse to spin Dinah Washington’s last pop hit, from 1963:
Quite apart from the pop stuff, Washington was known as a blues singer, and in that same year of 1963 she cut an album called Back to the Blues, some of which was actually bluesy. (See, for instance, the last track, “Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning.”)
And sadly, in that same year of 1963, Dinah Washington, only thirty-nine, died, after having apparently dabbled in barbiturates. Meanwhile, in 2016, the rain has stopped for now.
If you’re a Certain Age, this may be the most famous female leg in (your) history:
As it happens, Anne Bancroft was only six years older than Dustin Hoffman, and she was apparently of two minds about The Graduate: it was one of her signature roles, but she worried that it overshadowed the rest of her body of work.
Not that you can overshadow this. From somewhere around 1983, when Bancroft’s doting spouse Mel Brooks remade Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be Or Not To Be, a possibly impromptu song-and-dance number:
Girls, we all know, mature faster than boys, and it’s worse when the boy is much younger than his alleged peer group: the seventh-grade version of me, barely ten years old, was not at all able to deal with thirteen-year-old classmates in skirts. There’s a line in Bill Forsyth’s Gregory’s Girl in which some lad is extolling the virtues of Gregory’s younger sister Madeline: “She’s only ten,” he declared, “but she has the body of a woman of thirteen.” Fortunately for me, this film didn’t come out until I was nearly thirty.
That said, I once came up with the Dave Barry-esque idea of tacking up a pair of sheer stockings on the mantel, in the hope that Santa might see fit to, um, fill them up. The parental units did not approve, and the scheme was never implemented. And I’m not about to claim that I’m the only person who ever thought along these lines:
Actual Sears catalog displays were, if anything, even more endearing, which probably explains why I don’t have any of them anymore.
Tanimura told fans that she was pleased to have graduated, but “I want to concentrate on my music from now on.” She said she didn’t join in many activities while she was at university, “not even ‘gokon’ (matchmaking parties).”
Three years before, she’d begun recording for Japan’s Avex Group. I think my favorite Nana track is “If I’m Not the One,” recorded in 2008:
If she doesn’t look too happy in that last shot, it may be a reflection of her dwindling music career: Avex put out a Greatest Hits compilation in 2011, and we really haven’t heard from her since, except via socialmedia.
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