Friday, July 29, 2011
You see things and say "Why?" But I dream things that never were and say "Why not?"
-George Bernard Shaw
Nothing seemed to happen easily this week and the anticipation of another filled weekend doesn't exactly ease the spirit. It's a matter of perspective; remembering that busy schedules get you to your goals. Empty schedules get you nowhere and stagnancy is the most terrifying thing. At least two important birthdays will give the weekend something to celebrate. Enjoy the sun!
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Lately my friends and I have realized how incredibly different we are and, despite our differences, we are compatible as ever. We've grown up and more into ourselves without losing connection to each other and that, I must say, is a beautiful thing. From a group of bunhead ballerinas, we've turned into: a marriage and family therapist, inner city kids advocate & program director, modern dancer/writer, non-profit consultant, and actress/writer. It's so interesting to see the changes in long relationships, I consider myself lucky to have them. (photos via: HC + awesomepeople)
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Brigitte Bardot is one of the most iconic foreign actresses of all-time, possessing a puzzling combination of deep sultriness and doe-like innocence. One of the first foreign actresses to gain popularity in the US without making English-language films, the power of her impact is result of the naturalness of her talent and beauty.
Born in Paris France to a Roman Catholic family, Brigitte and her sister Marie-Jean were enrolled in dance classes at an early age. Although Marie-Jean stopped dancing to devote herself more seriously to academics, Brigitte devoted herself to the world of classical ballet, working towards a career as a dancer. In 1947 she was accepted to the Conservatoire de Paris, where she studied dance under the direction of Russian choreographer, Boris Knyazev for three years. One of her fellow students was Leslie Caron.
During her time at the Conservatoire, a friend of her mother’s asked Brigitte to model in a small fashion show. The fashion show lead her into various other modeling jobs, including a cover of Elle Magazine.
In the early 1950s, Bardot was working as a babysitter and was spotted by a young director, Roger Vadim. Vadim was shown the cover of Elle and immediately called film director Marc Allegret, asking him to call her in for an audition. Brigitte came in to audition for Allegret’s film and got the part, but the film never ended up being made. Nevertheless, the incident changed Bardot’s focus and she decided to pursue acting instead of dance.
Her debut performance as an actress was in 1952, in the film Crazy for Love. From 1952-1956, Bardot would appear in an astounding 17 films. She was typically cast in romantic comedies, or historical comedies, where she played an ingénue or vixen – usually only partially clothed. These roles, coupled with various seductive photo shoots, began to create a public persona for Bardot that established her as a siren.
In 1952, the same year she appeared in her first film and just after her 18th birthday, Bardot was married to Roger Vadim. Vadim was dissatisfied with the commercial films Bardot had chosen and encouraged her to participate in the New Wave movements of France and Italy. She took his advice, appearing in the film Vie Prive, for which she was nominated for a David di Donatello Award. She also appeared in Jean-Luc Godard’s critically acclaimed Contempt and And God Created Women.
After five years of marriage and an affair with actor Jean-Louis Trintignanat, Bardot and Vadim divorced. After their divorce, Bardot moved to Southern France. Two years after the divorce, she was re-married to Jacques Charrier, with whom she had a son, Nicolas-Jacques Charrier. Her marriage to Charrier also failed and subsequently, she married German millionaire, Gunter Sachs and later, Bernard d’Ormale. Later in life, she lived with sculptor Miroslav Brozek.
Bardot retired gracefully from acting in 1973, but continued recording music. Her most famous collaborations are with Serge Gainsbourg.
Bardot’s prolific career includes 47 films, 80 recorded songs, numerous musical productions, and a long-time devotion to animal rights. Her life was not without controversy – her extra-marital affairs were highly publicized and she was a major target for French paparazzi. She also received huge criticism for her staunch opposition to Islamic immigration to France, for which she has been accused of racism. But Bardot will always be remembered for the iconic images of her sweeping hair, gap tooth, and crooked smile. Her talent and beauty, as well as her impact in fashion have created a legacy not soon forgotten.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Today marks the 100 year anniversary of the (re)discovery of Macchu Pichu. In 1911, a Yale professor named Hiram Bingham discovered the 15th century Andian city under years of vines and overgrown foliage. Though the Incan people had never considered the city lost, Bingham's discovery initiated a restoration effort that would revive the ruins and reveal them to a new audience. I had the opportunity to walk the archeological site last year and if you have the opportunity, it is definitely worth a trip. Conservancies are considering closing the archeological site to tourists in the near future (because the foot traffic is distorting some of the stones), so now's the time to go and see the site as the Incas did.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
It's a countdown to 10,000 views on Closely Watched! Thank you ALL for stopping by to look, or read, or look and read. I would be HONORED to have any of you onlookers as "followers" - please consider selecting the "follow" option and I'll send you LOVE.
"I knew that I had come face to face with someone whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself"
The week was a mixture of surprises and expected events, as only the good ones are - starting with a ballsy e-mail and ending with an unexpected, handwritten letter. I can feel the momentum pick up in rehearsals as we get to know our characters and feel around the stage (Saturday is my only day off all week, so you can be sure that I'll make every effort to stay close to home). Auditions came out of nowhere, which is always best because it doesn't allow time for hopes to inflate. Although traffic has been an absolute nightmare, if that's my worst complaint, I'd say things are on the right track. Enjoy the sun boys and girls.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Hanging with the boys. Photos via: awesomepeople
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Lauren Bacall is the brooding blonde of the noir era, whose husky voice and androgynous aspect made her the ultimate femme fatale.
She was born Betty Joan Perske on September 16, 1924 in Manhattan, New York - the only child to Natalie Weinstein-Bacal, a secretary, and William Perske, a salesman – both of whom were Jewish immigrants from Romania and Germany. At five, her parents divorced and Betty subsequently took her mother’s Americanized last name, Bacall. While in New York, Bacall began studying theater at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, working simultaneously as a theater usher and print model. Her first professional role was in 1942 as a walk on in Johnny 2x4 on Broadway.
Bacall garnered some success as a commercial model and caught the eye of Nancy Hawks (wife of Howard Hawks) in an issue of Harpers Bazaar. Nancy showed the image to Howard and urged him to get her a screen test for the upcoming film, To Have and Have Not. Hawks saw potential and immediately flew her and her mother to Los Angeles. In California, Bacall was offered a 7 year contract with Hawks who became her manager. As her manager, Hawks arranged for Bacall to take etiquette classes in addition to voice lessons, where her famous tone was born and developed.
The screen-test inevitably arrived, but, still a newcomer to the business, she was hugely nervous. Out of nervousness, she delivered her lines with a lowered chin, looking up at the camera. “The Look,” as it became known, was mistaken for confidence and sex appeal and Bacall was offered the role.
On set, Bacall met her co-star and on-screen love interest, Humphrey Bogart, with whom she immediately became enamored. Although Bogart was married to Mayo Methot at the time, he was undeniably attracted to Bacall and their relationship developed quickly off-screen.
Bacall’s debut performance was met with good reviews, but she did not received national recognition until photos surfaced of her strewn across a piano, being played by then Vice President of the United States, Harry S. Truman. The photos sparked huge controversy and Bacall became a household name.
Bacall appeared in a number of noir films following To Have and Have Not, including: Confidential Agent (1945), The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947), and Key Largo (1948), but her selectiveness with scripts labeled her “difficult” in Hollywood circles.
Bacall and Bogart married in 1945 and had two children together. They remained happily married until Bogart’s death. Subsequently, she was famously linked to Frank Sinatra – a widely publicized and tumultuous relationship. Her second marriage was to actor Jason Robards, with whom she had one son.
Though her career began to lose momentum after the end of the noir movement, she continued working in film, television, and theater for decades. Her first Academy Award nomination was in 1996 for her role in The Mirror Has Two Faces. Although she received a Golden Globe for the role, she lost the Oscar to Juliette Binoche.
Bacall still works as an actress, but she will always be synonymous with the dark, mysterious, sensual femme fatale whose air of masculinity only made her more attractive.