Archive for Stemware

Lest we forget

From the summer of ’15, a perfectly irrelevant comment, as is my wont, about then-Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina:

The skirtwatcher side of me gives her a solid B, not bad for sixty: ahead of Bachmann, behind Palin.

Today being her sixty-first, I figure I may as well expand upon that irrelevancy:

Carly Fiorina waiting her turn

Carly Fiorina hits her stride

Carly Fiorina hobnobs with Jimmy Fallon

Of course, since she is past sixty, we’re expected to be concerned about her health. Here she seems to take a spill:

Not sure what happened there, but she seems to recover quickly enough.

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Don’t step on the puppy

Seriously. Just don’t:

1946 advertisement for Fine Feathers hosiery

Some of those postwar shoe styles might be au courant even today.

Miller-Smith Hosiery Mills was located in Chattanooga, and they last renewed the Fine Feathers trademark in 1969; it has since fallen into desuetude.

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Where she danced

“The most beautiful girl in the world,” said producer Walter Wanger about Yvonne de Carlo, whom he chose for the lead role in 1945’s Salome, Where She Danced, an implausible story that nonetheless made her a star at twenty-three.

And hey, I’m not one to argue with Walter Wanger:

Yvonne de Carlo, 1940s

Yvonne de Carlo, 1940s

Yvonne de Carlo, 1940s

The film roles began to dry up in the early 1960s; Universal talked her into a TV series.

Yvonne de Carlo as Lily Munster

After The Munsters was canceled, de Carlo made her way to the stage; her signature role, perhaps, was Carlotta Campion in Stephen Sondheim’s Follies.

Yvonne de Carlo died in 2007 at eighty-five.

(With thanks to Van Dyke Parks. Yes, that Van Dyke Parks.)

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X marks the spot

Xenia Tchoumitcheva was born in the Urals in 1987 but grew up in Switzerland speaking Italian. She studied economics, worked in London banks, but decided the take would be better as a model — or, in her term, a “digital influencer.”

Xenia Tchoumi looks at you

She does do formal modeling work, but it’s secondary to her writing and video work. She also runs a fashion blog called Chic Overload.

Xenia Tchoumi thinks about it

Last year, she decided to shorten her public name to “Xenia Tchoumi,” saying that it’s easier to pronounce.

Xenia Tchoumi by the pool

And, perhaps inevitably, she’s staking out a position as a YouTube vlogger:

Clearly a woman of many facets.

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Meanwhile in the Southern Hemisphere

I suppose you couldn’t run an ad like this today:

Fiesta hosiery ad from Australia

A poodle in a sombrero? Sure, why not? And I smile at that bit about “made in an air-conditioned factory where nylon cannot contract.” Said factory, incidentally, was in Australia; Bond’s Industries sold it off in 1958, citing a decline in demand for its uncontracted products.

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Modern art, folks

A statue by Colombian artist Juan Sebastián Peláez was unveiled earlier this year and is currently on display at the Biennale for Contemporary Art in Berlin. The subject of the statue? Rihanna, from here down. An explanation, of sorts, from the Biennale:

Titled “Ewaipanoma (Rihanna)”, the piece makes reference to a mythical race of headless humanoids purported to have been discovered by British explorer Walter Raleigh in Venezuela at the end of the 16th century.

The Biennale website describes the artist’s work as containing “upright, oversize photo-cutouts of headless human bodies — captured in athletic positions, sporting bikini swimwear, or posing in the limelight in glitzy, bling gowns — with faces surreally integrated into their chests. Both the bodies and faces are sourced from pop queens and soccer stars from the Caribbean or Latin America.”

Rihanna, very sensibly, Snapchatted herself in front of this, um, thing:

Rihanna poses in front of a statue of her in Berlin

Should you find these weirdly compelling, there are others.

Elsewhere in Berlin that week:

Rihanna poses in Berlin

I’m pretty sure that incident didn’t give her any ideas, except maybe to sit back and relax:

Rihanna on the sofa

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Very Italian

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:

Sylva Koscina sitting there

Sylva Koscina has finished her drink

Or, should the situation demand, even less:

Sylva Koscina standing there

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.

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It’s bad for you

Dear Granny of KTRK-TV Houston weighs in on a question close to my heart:

Note: 30-second ad before content; other stories follow.

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Wu!

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.

Annie Wu in black

Annie Wu in white

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.

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An institution unto herself

Over the weekend, Halle Berry turned 50.

Fifty.

Halle Berry in something shiny

Halle Berry takes a walk

Halle Berry in something else shiny

Halle Berry takes a Lexus

You gotta figure she’ll make it at least to 91, equaling the old Cleveland department store Halle Brothers Company, for whom she was named.

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Little Guadalupe

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:

Lupita Nyong'o in red

Lupita Nyong'o in a car

Lupita Nyong'o in a yellow bikini

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.

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Meanwhile in France

I got silly one afternoon — Monday, if you care — on Google, and typed in: “politicians with nice legs.”

Result the first:

Valerie Pecresse seated

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.)

Valerie Pecresse standing

Valerie Pecresse standing

Since I generally react like Gomez Addams to a woman speaking French, here’s Mme. Pécresse debating French academic Axel Kahn:

Which is not to say she’s emotionally wedded to her language. She speaks four, and one of them got her into trouble in 2009:

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.

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Sweet bird of youth

Japanese model Risa Hirako, doing a commercial for Somewhere Else Entirely:

The industry is always looking for fresh faces, especially when they come attached to bodies like this:

Risa Hirako in a short dress

Risa Hirako in lingerie

Risa Hirako wearing nothing but shoes

If any of this rouses romantic notions, well, yes, as it happens, she was born on Valentine’s Day.

The 14th of February, 1971. She is forty-five years old.

She has over 100,000 followers on Instagram. I can’t for the life of me imagine why.

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That’s as May be

When Theresa May became Prime Minister, someone asked me what differences we could expect. Unthinkingly, I responded: “Well, she has nicer legs than David Cameron.”

This is of course irrelevant to her new position, but I will stand by that statement:

Theresa May

Theresa May

Theresa May

Theresa May

I am not buying the theory that Prime Minister May actually has three legs.

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That one face in the crowd

I never get tired of Carly Rae Jepsen: she’s reinvented herself so many ways without ever jeopardizing her girl-next-door persona. In 2014, she did a three-month run on Broadway as Cinderella:

Carly Rae Jepsen at the ball

And I’m not sure I can explain this shot from her Twitter feed, taken in Taipei:

Carly Rae Jepsen goes for a ride

Still, I always come back to the voice. This is an early sample: “Bucket” was the third single from Tug of War, her 2008 album, four years before “Call Me Maybe.” Before bangs, even:

Reportedly, it was a damned cold day on the beach when this was shot.

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Mrs. T

This picture of Melania Trump caught my eye:

Melania Trump on being so much younger

“The age difference,” she says, “is not a problem for us: Donald wants more children from me.” Well, she’s only forty-six, so it could happen. Maybe.

Still, she doesn’t come across as a brood mare, if you know what I mean:

Melania Trump resplendent in orange

Melania Trump resplendent in blue

Before you ask: no, she never did finish her degree work at the University of Ljubljana, despite what you may have heard.

The guys at ShePolitico thought she was worthy of one of their legendary gawk sessions, complete with unidentifiable background music:

You’ll get no argument from the likes of me. She’s reported to wear a size 10½ shoe, which is definitely nothing to sneeze at.

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The ingenue

I was thumbing through July 23 births on Wikipedia, and encountered this:

Monica Lewinsky, American author and handbag designer

Um, yeah. Well played, Wiki. Let’s assume you already know all the other details of the life of Monica Lewinsky, M.Sc.

Monica Lewinsky smiles

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.”

Monica Lewinsky stands

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.

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Lots of indemnity

Is this still from Double Indemnity — Fred MacMurray is the mark — the definitive picture of Barbara Stanwyck?

Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity

I mean, I’m pretty sure this isn’t, though it has its charms:

Barbara Stanwyck in color

And there’s one under the break about which I shall say little:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Because I needed this

I didn’t do any Rule 5 stuff this week due to, um, illness, but I had to say something about this Bai Ling tweet.

“Rawr” should about do it.

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Pictorial judgment

I stumbled across this picture over the weekend, and mostly, I think, I was surprised that I was surprised: I mean, there’s a definite trend toward Moar Body Art, and patterned hosiery is coming back into style, so I should expect to see potential clashes like this:

Thigh-highs but not as high as the ink

On one level, I’m thinking “This does not work.” On another, perhaps more elemental, I’m thinking “Rawr.”

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We want to see more

Bai Ling has been in Moscow of late, and she sent up an Instagram of an impromptu photo shoot, which ended like this:

Bai Ling takes the floor

But that’s the last frame of a short video. If you look at the whole thing, you’ll get the idea that someone asked her to display a bit more flesh, and it might have been someone who saw her here:

Bai Ling takes the stairs

Not that she’s ever balked at displaying more flesh, as you’ll see in a turn-of-the-century magazine shot below the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t leave Rome without her

Meet Virginia Raggi, newly elected Mayor of Rome:

Virginia Raggi

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:

Virginia Raggi in d'Orsay pumps

I note purely in passing that her campaign site was apparently set up to take donations from abroad.

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LaRue to you, too

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:

Eva LaRue at the second-season premiere of Ray Donovan

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.

Eva LaRue at the L.A. Art Show 2013

Eva LaRue at the 2015 Golden Globes

She has one daughter, Kaya, whom we’ll meet here:

And Kaya has acted once: both she and Mom appeared in the video for Devon Gundry’s song “Armed” in 2008.

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Always a reason to Bai

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:

Bai Ling Twitter pic from 13 June 2016

Bai Ling Twitter pic from 13 June 2016

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:

Bai Ling Twitter pic from 7 May 2016

And as her 13,000 followers know, she’s a #true #hashtag #fiend.

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Moore than almost anyone else

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.

Maya Moore in uniform

Before you ask: she’s reported to be six feet tall.

Maya Moore out of uniform

And come to think of it, she’s produced rather a lot of amazing numbers:

Last night in a 110-78 win against the Atlanta Dream, she scored 19, with five rebounds and four steals.

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Not at all dizzy

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:

Lizzy Caplan in absurdly high shoes

Lizzy Caplan sitting not quite in the dark

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.

Lizzy Caplan at the premiere of Now You See Me 2

What sort of role is she playing? I’m not entirely sure:

Explains the collar on the cape, anyway. Sort of.

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Meanwhile on Choctaw Ridge

“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.

Bobbie Gentry for Top of the Pops circa August 1968

Bobbie Gentry goes slightly wild

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.

Neely Tucker went looking for her:

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.)

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Shirley, she can be serious

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.

Shirley Manson green-screened out of the frame

Manson does not remember this video fondly.

Garbage reunited in 2012, and Manson did her part to promote their efforts:

Shirley Manson on a carpet that isn't red

Shirley Manson in a publicity pose

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.

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Edge of nineteen

Someone t’other day on Yahoo! was asking for one word — just one word — to describe Rebecca Black. I figured no one was going to buy the one word I thought of, which was “blossoming.”

Still:

I still have not seen Royal Crush, a Web series set on a cruise ship; she appears in Season Three. And I did not know that BrainyQuote had given her a page.

What’s more, apparently she’s struck a deal with Hollister Co. to provide her with some casual wear in return for letting herself be seen in it:

Very enterprising, she’s turned out to be.

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Looking for the goodies

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 at the 2015 ESPYs

Ciara is generally very good at working that slit-up-to-here style, as she demonstrated at the Grammys earlier this year:

Ciara at the 58th Grammy Awards

And to be fair, it’s not always the left leg on display:

Ciara at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards

Then again, you haven’t seen the front of this dress, which I have decided to put after the jump:

Ciara at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards

This is, of course, because I’m prudish and buttoned-down and such.

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