In 2015, I read a novel called The Look of Love by Sarah Jio. How it unwinds:
Love, they say (for certain values of “they”), is where you find it. Jane Williams finds it in unexpected places, in an unexpected manner: something mysterious takes place in her limbic system, and she can actually somehow see it. The day she turns twenty-nine, she receives a greeting, an instruction and a warning, all rolled into a single communication: she has this gift, she is told, to enable her to identify six different types of love, which she must complete before the first full moon after her thirtieth birthday — or the consequences will be dire. Her neurologist, meanwhile, predicts a different set of dire consequences if she doesn’t have an operation on her temporal lobe, which may kill her “seeing” ability.
It was a dandy book, with an almost-satisfactory resolution — I don’t think having everything neatly tied up would have improved it any — and I looked up more Jio. I found several books, and several amazing photographs:
Perhaps unexpectedly, she sells a heck of a lot of books in Turkey:
She does enough business there, in fact, to justify a Turkish Twitter account and this video:
This is the Turkish trailer for her third novel, Blackberry Winter:
There are eight Sarah Jio novels in print somewhere.
How does one become a professional cosplayer, anyway? Yaya Han describes how she got there:
The short answer is that I went to a con, saw cosplay in action, and got hooked. But to elaborate — I have been an anime/manga fan since childhood after watching “Saint Seiya”. By my teen years, I had read and watched tons of Japanimation and was an avid artist in Arizona. Through the local anime club I learned about Anime Expo and decided to attend the con to sell my artwork. I found the former website “A Fan’s View” and photos of the previous AX years, including pictures of people dressed up as these cool anime characters. Before knowing what this phenomenon was, I instantly became attracted to it — what better way to show my childhood love for the anime/manga fandom than to “become” my favorite characters?
Unfortunately I didn’t know how to sew back then, so I asked a kind friend to show me the basic use of a sewing machine and patterns. With her help I made my first (Asian inspired) garment and wore it to Anime Expo. Throughout the weekend I kept seeing more people dressed up and learned that this was called COSPLAY! It was all over from that point on.
A few samples:
It was this last appearance that drew my attention. (What, doesn’t everyone have a Google alert for Jessica Rabbit?) In the top photo, she’s Psylocke of the X-Men, or I guess “X-Persons” these days, and in the middle she’s done up in high Yakuza style.
Needless to say, a lot goes into these transformations:
Yaya Han is thirty-six and has been doing this for half her life. I think we can safely assume she’s awfully good at it.
Andrew Crossett’s annual Best Legs survey ended pretty much like the last two:
Taylor Swift must be learning to be a really good sharer. She has now won this contest three years in a row, but she’s had to share the title each time. In 2014 she tied with Emma Watson, in 2015 with her pal Selena Gomez, and this year with fellow pop princess Ariana Grande. For being such a good sport, I’m going to make sure she finds something special in her stocking this Christmas … maybe even in both stockings. :-)
I can’t imagine anything in Taylor Swift’s stockings that could be much nicer than what’s already there.
Still, at least there’s the semblance of variety, something that did not exist when Jennifer Aniston won something like five times in a row.
Those guys at Strutwear, circa 1940, weren’t above playing on the old woman-driver stereotype:
“Dainty lace tops,” they said, “combine with an inside out leg and foot, seams are nicely tucked in where they belong.” This results, we are told, in “that dull sheer look you admire.”
Five years before, things weren’t dull at all at Strutwear. The workers struck for 32 weeks, with incidents such as this:
The Hennepin County Farmer-Labor Women’s Club protested that the welfare board “ha[d] made an organized effort to force single girls who are on relief to accept jobs as domestics in homes at starvation wages, resulting in forcing these girls to accept employment at substandard wages and possibly forcing them into prostitution.” While the women were “heartily in favor of seeing that these girls are employed,” they condemned the board for forcing women back to work. The board yielded to public outcry and those pushed off the relief roles once again became eligible.
After Strutwear melted away into gossamer history, their building at 1010 South 7th Street in Minneapolis was repurposed as the headquarters of Marquette National Bank, which was later absorbed into US Bancorp.
Actually, this is Sia earlier: the singer/songwriter born Sia Kate Isobelle Furler this week in 1975 in Australia, got into the habit, circa 2014, of hiding behind a blonde bob and/or young dancer Maddie Ziegler. She explained why:
“I’m trying to have some control over my image. And I’m allowed to maintain some modicum of privacy. But also I would like not to be picked apart or for people to observe when I put on ten pounds or take off ten pounds or I have a hair extension out of place or my fake tan is botched. Most people don’t have to be under that pressure, and I’d like to be one of them.”
It didn’t keep her off the charts or anything; “Chandelier,” the lead single from her 1000 Forms of Fear album, had two official videos, one in which Sia does not appear but Maddie Ziegler dances up a storm, and a lyric video in which Sia is invisible except for that blonde bob and a pair of sneakers. So she was serious about not being seen; in fact, she sang “Chandelier” on the Ellen show with her back to the audience and Maddie jumping about.
I have no idea who’s dancing up a storm in this video, made for the 2015 film San Andreas. The song, of course, dates back half a century.
Sia was nominated for three 2017 Grammy Awards. Maybe she’ll win one.
Tomorrow Hailee Steinfeld turns twenty, but already she has enough of a CV to make you think she’s rather a lot older than that. As Mattie Ross in the 2010 version of True Grit, she garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress; in the 2016 indie favorite The Edge of Seventeen, she was a suicidal high-school junior.
That last shot, from last year’s American Music Awards, reminds us that she’s also a singer. Her most recent single, a collaboration with the duo Grey, featuring Zedd, is called “Starving”:
She really sounds like she’s a long way from the edge of seventeen, if you know what I mean.
It must be nice to be able to retire in your thirties. Racing driver Susie Wolff, thirty-four today, started off in karting, graduated to DTM and moved up to Formula One in 2012.
In F1, Wolff was classified as a development driver, later upgraded to test driver. In general, she was good, if seldom great, and in late 2015 she announced she’d be retiring after that year’s Race of Champions, in which she failed to make it to the semifinals, though her co-driver David Coulthard did survive that long.
In 2016, Wolff was a race commentator for Britain’s Channel 4. She’s married to Toto Wolff, executive director of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team; they’re expecting their first child.
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.
She also caught some flak for saying not-nasty things about Pakistan:
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:
If you’d rather see the production facility itself, Frank Hardy has a photo of the plant in the 1950s:
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.
Chrissy Teigen will be 31 next week, an age when some believe dead seriousness is in order. There is, it appears, no evidence that Teigen herself subscribes to this notion.
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.
There were times early on, I thought, that Amanda Bynes just wasn’t all there:
Still, nothing in her early career, before becoming what Wikipedia calls “an American former actress”, really hinted at the horrors to come:
But everything gradually went down the chute for her:
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.
Things are better, if quieter, now:
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.
Lilakoi Moon, should you wonder, is the legal name, since 1995, of the actress more commonly known as Lisa Bonet, and perhaps best remembered as Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show:
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.
Fieldcrest-Cannon made it into the 1990s before the inevitable death spiral:
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.
The Cannon brand still exists, should anyone wish to license it from its current owners.
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.)
That said, Toni Collette has put together a pretty solid body of work since Spotswood and Muriel’s Wedding in the 1990s. Then again, she’s always been good at grabbing the spotlight:
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?