Friday, 24 May 2013

Fall in love with Gilda, but stay for Rita

Rita Hayworth BFI Screen Goddess Stars Red Hair Colour
As any fan of the Godesses of the Silver Screen will tell you, Rita Hayworth is up there with the best of them.  Her gorgeous red hair (helped a little by Columbia Pictures), stunning smile and effortless charm made Rita, born Margarita Carmen Cansino, the most popular pin-up of World War II.

Rita Hayworth BFI Screen Goddess Gilda Smoking
"Men fell in love with Gilda, but they wake up with me"

As such, it comes as no surprise that British Film Institute (BFI) has decided to hold a Rita Hayworth season (starting on the 1st June), which showcases some of her greatest performances committed to film.  Some highlights include the two films she made with Fred Astaire: You'll Never Get Rich (1941) and You Were Never Lovelier (1942), in which she demonstrated her considerable dancing abilities and which she described as 'the only jewels of [her] life'.  Also showing is the classic Gilda (1946), in which Rita played the ultimate screen siren and Cover Girl (1944) which saw her paired with Gene Kelly.

Rita Hayworth BFI Screen Goddess Fred Astaire Dancing Colour

One of my favourite pictures of Rita
If you fancy seeing Rita up on the big screen, then make sure you get yourself along to BFI Southbank.  As an added bonus, if you use the code 'vintagenews' when booking, you can get £1.50 of your ticket price (apart from Tuesdays when tickets are only £6 anyway).

 Rita Hayworth BFI Screen Goddess Stars Red Hair Gilda

There will also be a competition on The Vintage News website to win a pair of tickets to the show of your choice, so keep your eyes peeled for that!
Rita Hayworth BFI Screen Goddess Stars Red Hair

What is your favourite Rita Hayworth film? Are you planning to see any of her films at the BFI?

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Contortionists, comedy horns and cocktails.

This is going to be quite a picture-heavy post as I am rather tired after quite a busy but brilliant weekend.  By force of habit, I tend to take my camera everywhere with me now and this weekend was no exception.

Hayley looking delightful
You may have seen my previous post on the Ric Rac club and how brilliant it is, so I made sure I could be in London for the circus themed bash.  All of my early costume ideas centred around face paint (to which I am allergic) so it wasn't until a couple of days before that I decided to don my best tight-rope walker/Big Top outfit (yes, I went as a tent). 

Ric Rac Club Vintage Circus Big Top Showgirl Trapeze
My outfit consisted of a gorgeous '50s sunsuit (label - "Sun fashions exclusive with Best's" - anyone have any information on them?), nude fishnets with a black seam, incredibly uncomfortable ballet pumps (courtesy of Primarché) with added ribbon and a hat I cobbled together the night before.

Ric Rac Club Vintage Circus Big Top Showgirl Trapeze
Sunsuit - vintage
Shoes - Primark
Hat - made by moi

 Here are some pictures of my lovely chums in all their circussy glory.

Vintage Sad Clown Circus Ric Rac Club
Much joy was had with the comedy horn
Ric Rac Club Vintage Circus Fortune Teller Jeni Yesterday
The lovely Jeni Yesterday
Ric Rac Club Vintage Circus Showgirl Tourguide Russell
Sara and Russell looking splendid as always
Ric Rac Club Vintage Mafia Fleur De Guerre Auntie Maureen
Fleur, Bethan and Auntie Maureen during the infamous raffle 
As well as Auntie Maureen on the decks, there was also a fantastic contortionist by the name of Stephanie Valentine.  In the words of Hayley, "she's so bendy!"
Vintage Circus Contortionist Contortion Showgirl Stephanie Valentine

Vintage Circus Contortionist Contortion Showgirl Stephanie Valentine
Vintage Circus Contortionist Contortion Showgirl Stephanie Valentine

Vintage Circus Contortionist Contortion Showgirl
My best attempt at being a contortionist!

After a lovely leisurely Sunday morning, Hayley, Katie and myself headed into town for a spot of lunch at the Brasserie Zédel and cocktails in the adjoining Bar Américain - that is, after quaffing some free champagne in Burberry, admiring some of the Great Gatsby costumes in Brooks Brothers and dancing to Trinidadian Calypso in Regent Street.  I'll do another post about Brasserie Zédel later on or this will get too long!

Brasserie Zedel Vintage Pin Ups 1930s
Did any of you attend the Ric Rac club?  What would you wear to a circus themed party?  Have any of you been to Brasserie Zédel?


Friday, 3 May 2013

The Great Gatsby Soundtrack review

I am, along with many others, eagerly awaiting the release of Baz Luhrmann's 'The Great Gatsby'.  One of my favourite books adapted by a director that has proven he can film a visually rich and sumptuous movie, looks set to be one of the highlights of the Hollywood calendar.  One aspect of the production that may prove to be slightly more questionable, is the soundtrack.  With Jay Z as executive producer, it was never going to be a straightforward reproduction of popular 1920s standards (for that, see the Boardwalk Empire soundtrack which is absolutely superb).  Rather than incorporating jazz-age music, considered daringly modern at the time of the novel's release, it has been replaced with the contemporary equivalent; that is replacing jazz with hip hop.

Great Gatsby Baz Luhrmann Leonardo DiCaprio Carey Mulligan F Scott Fitzgerald
The opener, '100$ Bill' from Jay-Z, (who was also executive producer on the film) sets the somewhat anachronistic tone for the rest of the album.  The track does sample dialogue from the film, but not in any meaningful way.

Following '100$ Bill' is 'Back to Black' by Beyoncé and André 3000.  Originally by Amy Winehouse, the song is quite jarring - especially Beyoncé singing 'I love blow and you love puff'.  I don't think the style or lyrics are relevant to The Great Gatsby and it just seems like a reason to have Jay Z's wife on the album.  Another cover, the evocative and despair-filled 'Love is Blindness' from Jack White (originally by U2), brings an emotional depth that seems to be lacking from some of the more morose tracks.
Great Gatsby Baz Luhrmann Leonardo DiCaprio Carey Mulligan F Scott Fitzgerald
'Bang Bang' seems one of the more promising tracks, sampling the ubiquitous 'Charleston'. produces a song more in line with what I was expecting from the album, combining his signature style with hints at early 20th century popular music.  At times, he employs a style reminiscent of a barber shop quartet as well as a few bars of scatting. On multiple listens, the track does tend to improve and seems to fulfil the brief of combining what was considered daring and new in the '20s, and what is contemporary and modern now.
A second appearance by a Black Eyed Peas alumnus is 'A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)' from Fergie (feat Q-tip & GoonRock).  A typical electroswing track, with a few horns thrown over the top of a classic club tune.

Lana Del Rey's 'Young and Beautiful' is the point at which the soundtrack takes an increasingly dark turn.  It was written to accompany a specific scene in the film, as was Florence + the Machine's characteristic alternating-between-haunting-and-powerful ballad 'Over the Love'.  They are both the dramatic trailer fare and they can be easily imagined scoring a poignant montage in many a film.  Sounding as though it was written for the same scene as 'Young and Beautiful' and 'Over the Love' (or perhaps hinting that a large proportion of the film will be of a pensive and brooding nature) 'Together' by The xx continues the mood with its lush orchestral sections, but doesn't say anything new.
Great Gatsby Baz Luhrmann Leonardo DiCaprio Carey Mulligan F Scott Fitzgerald Lana Del Rey

With the tinkling piano backing, 'Where the Wind Blows' by Coco O of Danish duo Quadron has a vaudevillian feel, but in no way sounds dated. One of the few uplifting songs on the soundtrack.  'Hearts a Mess' (Gotye), 'Into the Past' (Nero) and 'Kill and Run' (Sia) are all very low key, ambient tracks, with the latter two again featuring quite majestic strings.  Sia's vocals on the last track in particular, are well suited to the opulent look of the film.

'Love is the Drug' will be familiar to anyone that listened to the Bryan Ferry Orchestra's debut released last year, although this version also features the vocals of Mr Ferry himself.   One of the most 'authentic' tracks on the album, it goes some way to capture the essence of the jazz age portrayed in the film and can verge of sleazy - but definitely in a good way.  The second helping from the Bryan Ferry Orchestra this time features Emeli Sandé on vocals, in a reimagining of Beyoncé's 'Crazy in Love'.  Although good to hear another jazz-fuelled track, Sandé's vocals don't quite come up to scratch,  exacerbated by the fact that Beyoncé features as a reminder elsewhere on the album.

Great Gatsby Baz Luhrmann F Scott Fitzgerald Bryan Ferry Orchestra

It would have been more fitting to hear some 1920s songs among the covers, perhaps some that are mentioned in the novel itself.  I understand the theory behind Luhrmann's remark that, as the audience is living in the 'hip-hop age' as opposed to the jazz-age, they "want [their] viewers to feel the impact of modern-day music the way Fitzgerald did for the readers of his novel at the time of its publication" however I don't think it has quite hit the mark and may prove distracting.  It will be interesting to see the context into which each track is placed, and whether the soundtrack accurately reflects a rather bleak film.
The soundtrack is released on the 6th of May on Interscope Records with a deluxe version featuring three additional tracks.
Have you heard any of the songs from the soundtrack?  What did you think of them?  Are you looking forward to seeing The Great Gatsby?