Apollonia = always relevant. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972).
Not ever. That thunderbolt is a killer.
Backstory: In the still-building comments on my sadly meager original Shannon Tweed entry, from the heady days of NSFW November when I was still relatively new to this game, reader Jed Leyland* suggested this morning that I chase down and post up what I could find from a shoot Shannon did with the legendary George Hurrell.
Here it is!
The new actresses don’t have the sense of posing that the old stars did. There’s no one around to train them. That’s why Hollywood seems less glamorous. But Shannon is different. She knows how to pose and what to do with herself. What surprised me more than anything was her nice personality — the kind of personality that has an intellect to go with it. I was quite impressed with that.
(George Hurrell on Shannon Tweed.)
The lovely and talented Ms. Tweed posed for Playboy Italia in February of 1984. Her spread was photographed by George Hurrell, on whom the article mainly focused.
«George Hurrell, famoso fotografo statunitense, non ha perso il pelo (dei suoi cappelli, della sua barba), ma nemmeno il vizio — che nel sui caso e senz’altro una notevole vurti — di roncorrerre con l’obiettivo il fascino femmininile, per catutrarly e renderlo fermo nel tempo, assoluto.»
«Nelle fotographie di questa paging potete vedere , attualissima playmate degli anni ottanta. Hurrell l’ha ritratta, nella sua inquieta e moderna bellezza, come trenta, quarant’anni fa andava a caccia del fascino segreto, quasi raccolto in una cornice antica del sex-appear, appena accennato ma no nper questio meno pruriginoso, di attrici che sarebbero restate nella storia del cinema. Anche per merito sui, occhio discreto e innamorato che chon le sue “ispiratrici del momento” sapeva creare un sodalizio, quasi un legame sentimentale, queste foto riescono a uscire dalle pieghe del tempo per restituirci un fascio che credebvamo di allora e che invece e anchi de adesso, incredibilmente attuale.»
What’s that? Unlucky enough to have grown up without smatterings of Italian and a certain gameness for descrying cognates? No sweat. Let’s hit the babelfish, shall we? I love living in DA‘s future.
«George Hurrell, famous American photographer, has not lost the hair (of its nails head, of its beard), but not even the defect — that in on the case and senz’ other a remarkable one vurti — of roncorrerre with l’ objective the femmininile fascination, for catutrarly and rendering it firm in the time, absolute.»
«In the fotographie of this paging you can see, most current playmate of years eighty. Hurrell it has ritratta, in its restless and modern beauty, like thirty, forty years ago it go huntinged of the secret fascination, nearly collected in an ancient frame of the sex-appear, as soon as pointed out but not nper questio less pruritic, than actresses who would have remained in the history of the cinema. Also for merit on i, discreet and fallen in love eye that chon its ” ispiratrici of the momento” it knew to create a society, nearly a sentimentale tie, these photos succeed to exit from the folds of the time in order to give back a bundle to us that credebamo then and that instead and anchi de now, incredibly they puts into effect.»
Clear as mud now, jes? Honestly, you get the gist, I wager. Thanks, babelfish! I had originally intended to show the above pictures as proof that Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed were still going strong and sometimes folks get it right, isn’t that affirming?, but in the interest of accuracy I gave “gene simmons and shannon tweed” a quick googly-moogly, and apparently they’re having problems. So that sucks. Different direction required.
George Hurrell was one of the premiere Hollywood photographers for the glamour portraits and studio stills of the 1930′s-40′s. He is particularly famous in classic Hollywood portraiture for his “north light,” seen here applied to Anna May Wong.
He achieved this dramatic effect chiefly with the use of fresnels (which we’ve defined and discussed before in the 12 Days of Highly Tolerable Holiday Movies post on my fave-ohs, Twelve Monkeys) placed on a boom well above and only slightly in front of the subject.
Joan Crawford photographed by George Hurrell for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1932.
This bright, diffuse key light, along with some artsy post-treatment of his negatives, created the glowing planes with deep contrasting shadows and illuminated, heroic facial lines in his shots that basically define Art Deco photography and made his name. Joan Crawford adored him (above and below) because his luminous portraits revealed — or maybe created — a softness in her that few other still photographers were capable of capturing, which ran as a nice counterpoint to the brassy, hard women she played, to say nothing of her reputation as a handful on set.
Joan by George, 1933. By applying the north light and having Joan cock her forehead with her hand, probably to break up the imposingly symmetrical lines of her face, Hurrell creates a sort of softer, aw-shucks face that catches the light and interests the eye. I think, at least.
Hurrell preferred his subjects wear as light of makeup as possible, to avoid cakey, pale faces from the fresnel key lighting, which tends to magnify pores and unevenness. As his technique progressed, he especially liked the subjects to be rubbed with a thin, consistent layer of baby oil. The baby oil gave a uniform, glossy surface for the fresnel lights to suffuse, creating a burnished glow when combined with the contrasting natural shadows from the planes of the face.
See how shiny Jean is? Otherworldly, thanks to the north light, the oil, and Hurrell’s radical retouching techniques. This became the defining “look” for MGM’s glamour publicity shots of their stars. Hurrell’s contract with MGM didn’t last long despite the support of Norma Shearer and Irving Thalberg; a fallout with a publicity department head resulted in Hurrell dramatically leaving the studio after serving there for three years. Though he continued to photograph almost exclusively for MGM throughout the next decade until contracting with Warner Bros in 1938, Hurrell mainly worked as a freelance, independent contractor.
The look wasn’t flattering on everyone — check out Greta Garbo above. While Anna May Wong’s baby oil-rubbed features work beautifully with the north light, Garbo looks harsh and washed-out. Not surprising that she fomented a close working relationship instead with Hurrell’s gentle contemporary, Clarence Sinclair Bull, who was “head” of the publicity still department at MGM for over four decades.
Maybe another day I’ll do a post comparing Bull, Hurrell, and … I don’t know, Leo Fuchs? I just dig this kind of thing. I mean, I did all this shit completely from memory and it seems crazy not to start using this knowledge for, like, a book or something.
Anyway, I’m over all this. I want to go eat a sandwich and watch the Giants game. Probably why I will never write that book: too much of a goof who keeps better track of eating sandwiches and watching ball than using her education for her profit. While I was writing this entry, I was drinking Diet 7-up from a licorice straw the entire time, but different straws every 5 minutes or so because when they start to get hard I like to eat them. This is all true. Super-mature and put together. Call me!
*Joe — “Of course we’re speaking, Jedediah. You’re fired.” Kane? Yes? Do I get a gold star?
“One does not kill oneself for the love of a woman, but because love — any love — reveals us in our nakedness, in our misery, in our vulnerability, in our nothingness.”
(Caesare Pavese, one of the greatest Italian poets and literary minds of the 20th century, c. 1950, just before his death by suicide after his failed affair with American actress Constance Dowling.)
Love strips us painfully, pitifully bare, like some shorn sheep or a little boy who’s just got his first buzzcut: this awkward, naked truth is very accurate, but I’m actually so glad of the many types of love; Sgr. Pavese seems to find all of them disheartening, but, respectfully, I dissent. I have struggled a long time with the difficulty of confronting and revealing my feelings, but I now believe that it is possible to examine my own self and still manage not to fall in to complete despair. Without the love of my family and friends I could never have borne some of the hard hits my heart has taken, historically and up to the present. I wish with all my soul that Sgr. Pavese could have found that same solace, but I wish him all the best in the life he has now. RIP.
The lovely and talented Joan Collins portrayed the Siren in the 1960s Batman television series, seen here with her henchmen Andante and Allegro. In music, andante means “moderately slow” like a walking pace and allegro means kind of like “cheerfully,” kind of bright and sprightly. Both terms refer to tempo but have greatly to do with mood, which has made them always stick in my mind more so than technical demarcations like signature and clef: I’m a romantic, what can I say?
In Honor Band when I was a kid we played a piece titled “Andante and Allegro,” which was a little challenging for our age group at the time (I think we were elementary-aged because I remember being shocked that the piece was over a page long) whose I think secret purpose was to teach us to be more expressive as musicians. Crafty and fun — it must be a fun job to compose music for children’s primers, I never thought of that before. Well, I guess, unless the person is a frustrated composer who is secretly working on some avant-garde opus and hates children, like a writer who has to pen copy for toy catalogues and works by candlelight on the Great American Novel because they can barely afford electricity. I hadn’t thought of that, maybe it’s actually awful to write music for children’s lesson books and the composers think of drinking Drain-o every morning when they wake up, to escape the hellish cacophony of unfulfilled dreams which is their job.
That got completely out of control in a hurry. Sorry. Long story short, I can’t wait ’til the kidlet picks up an instrument.
Happy birthday to a very special Valentine Vixen, the lovely and talented Lorrie Menconi, Miss February 1969!
Tomorrow is brain-asplodin’ly cute Ms. Menconi’s 62nd birthday. Felicitazioni, bella!
The write-up which accompanied Ms. Menconi’s centerfold, titled “Tuesday’s Child,” focused on her birthday and the implications of her Pisces nativity. You know how I feel about zodiac-quackery (unless what I’m reading is painful, scathing, and insulting, I am highly skeptical), but how can I resist an Italian sister in pigtails? Flap-flap, quack-quack — let’s discuss the zodiac.
Astrologically speaking, Lorrie Menconi has her pretty head in the stars. “I was born on Tuesday,” our valentine Playmate told us, “February 24th 1948. That makes me a Pisces, so I think it’s perfect to appear in the February issue — it just has to be good luck. I guess you could call me a zodiac nut. But so many Piscean characteristics are true of me that it’s hard not to believe in it!” (“Tuesday’s Child,” Playboy, February 1969.)
Exhibiting a prime Piscean trait — talkativeness — Lorrie goes on: “Pisces is a water sign, which may explain why I’m so crazy about living in California. We moved to San Diego when I was very young, so I don’t know what it’s like to live away from the water.”(Ibid.)
Damned skippy, they are.
When Lorrie isn’t involved in the aquatic life, she indulges another Piscean fancy — a love of animals. Lorrie attributes some of her fondness for fauna to her mother, who wrote a children’s book called The Pony Who Lost Her Neigh. (Ibid.)
The Pony Who Lost Her Neigh must be out of print now, because all the traces that remain on a fairly deep search are Lee Menconi-Bandh’s copyright claims, first from 1965, renewed in 1993. Bummer. I’ll keep looking.
“All the animals in the story,” Lorrie explains, “were based on our family: my father, my three sisters and me. There was billy goat Harry, pony Susie, porky Marilyn and duck Rosane. I was a turkey — you know, ‘gobble, gobble’ — because I talk so much; there’s that Pisces again.”
Ms. Menconi, I can imagine many, many things. That you “sell anything you can imagine” made of rattan is a dangerous thing to say to a person who opens my eyes in the shower because I’m positive that, in the time it took me to suds up my hair, a shark has swum up the drain and is a centimeter from sinking his rows of razor sharp teeth into my foot (yes, I grasp physics and biology and am aware on an intellectual level of the impossibility of such a thing; no, that doesn’t stop me from opening my eyes and getting soap in them).
Rattan flyswatters, minivans, and light bulbs; rattan bikini bottoms; rattan file cabinets; rattan noodle soup; rattan statues of Ra, the Sun God; rattan Audubon guides to bird-watching and rattan flatware to compliment an ornate set of rattan china — all of these, you sold at your mother’s shop, Ms. Menconi? No? Then I cry fie and false advertising! “House of Rattan,” indeed. More like “Shack” or “Porta-Potty of Rattan.” Even “Junk Drawer of Unimaginative Rattan,” maybe. Pfft.
I kid. She was totally cute and is still completely beautiful; further, her family sounds very supportive. Ms. Menconi travels on the convention circuit, and also maintains an official website, where you can purchase autographed copies of prints from her justifiably popular Playboy spread.
Besides her looks, her adorable enthusiasm for her hometown of San Diego has also clearly held.
“You know, San Diego is called the place where California began, because the Spanish padres founded their first mission here in 1769. So this year, we’re celebrating our 200th birthday. I’m really proud of this city — it’s sunny and warm and beautiful.” (Ibid.)
Her official site is sponsored by the San Diego Beachlife Press.
Again, supersonic birthday wishes and eskimo kisses to the lovely and talented Ms. Menconi, and many, many happy returns!
I think the lovely and talented Amber Campisi, Miss February 2005, is a really special woman from an amazing family, so it was a pleasure putting together this post, although there was sadness in it, too.
Photographed by Arny Freytag and Stephen Wayda.
As one of the managers of Campisi’s Restaurant, a family-run business that has been a Dallas favorite since 1946, Amber Campisi can be chauvinistic about her family’s cooking. “I’ll eat anything,” she says, “but I don’t usually like Italian anywhere else. The way we do it is just better.”
When the 23-year-old restaurateur visited our office, she hauled in enough oval Campisi’s pizzas to feed the staff. “My family can’t travel without them,” she says. “When we go to the Cayman Islands every year, we bring lasagna and pizzas in a cooler. It’s ridiculous.”
“There are pictures of me wearing an apron and a name tag when I was five years old,” she says. “I would go to work with my dad when I was little and stay until closing time. They’d cover me with napkins, and I’d sleep in a booth.”
Jack Ruby, a friend of Amber’s grandfather Joe, dined there the night before he shot Lee Harvey Oswald. This led the Warren Commission to interview the elder Campisi. “One of the stories is that Ruby came in and told my grandfather he was going to do it to spare the Kennedys the pain of a trial,” she says. Whatever was said that night, Dallas now has seven Campisi’s restaurants that are better known for their squisito Italian cuisine. (“Specialty of the House,” Playboy, February 2005.)
AMBITIONS: To help run the family restaurant and one day pass it on to my children.
TURN-ONS: Athletic men, someone who is confident but not cocky, and redheads.
FAVORITE COLLEGE COURSES: Nonprofit Communication, Communication Research and Argumentation
Heck yeah, charity and hot gingers — you see what I mean? This girl is super awesome. And you know she eats spaghetti. Strong family bonds, love of cooking, she’s got some great and special qualities, in my opinion. This is not some airbrushed airhead looking to launch a D-list career with her rack. Ms. Campisi seems fun-loving and genuine.
Her father, was on an E! special called Wildest Party Parents, which focused on his restaurant Campisi’s Egyptian Room.
The handlers at the E! cable network have been very soothing to Dallas restaurateur Corky Campisi, who will be featured in Friday night’s Wildest Party Parents.
“They said, ‘Don’t worry, you won’t be embarrassed,’ ” says Corky. “The previews show me with a girl’s high heel in my mouth.”
Regardless, Corky is anything but embarrassed. “As long as it’s good for business,” he says, referring to his family’s Mockingbird Lane eatery, Campisi’s Egyptian.
An E! camera crew was in Dallas in December and filmed Corky out on the town with his three daughters, former Playboy centerfold Amber Campisi and twin sisters Tara and Gina Campisi. (“Campisi puts the E! in party.” Peppard, Alan. The Dallas Morning News, May 30, 2007.)
You may hit Ms. Campisi up on the myspace, or follow her on the twitter. Sadly, Amber’s younger sister Gina just passed away last Wednesday, February 3. She was only 26. Amber got this tattoo as a memorial.
I’m sure their large family is beside themselves over losing her sister so young, especially Gina’s twin Tara. So maybe, please, don’t send Amber a bunch of pervy or weird stuff right now?
The Morning News is reporting that Gina Campisi’s death is an apparent suicide, which understandably makes the loss that much more tragic and difficult for her family to process. It’s especially tragic because she had only recently begun to build on her family’s food history and make a name for herself.
With business partner Brittany O’Daniel, Gina had opened her own restaurant, Fedora Restaurant & Lounge at One Arts Plaza, just last year. When you go to the website for Fedora, it is not only gorgeous and well-designed, but, on a fun note, it plays the “Parla più piano” (“Speak softly, love”) theme made famous in the Godfather films. It seems that, like Amber, Gina was sensitive to family traditions, stylish history, and culinary flair.
Interior shot during a party.
Fine Italian dining demands a swanky, romantic setting –– like that of Fedora Restaurant & Lounge, owned by Dallas’ Gina Campisi and Brittney O’Daniel and designed by Tyler Duncan of Duncan Design Group. Reminiscent of a scene from The Godfather or an Al Pacino mobster movie, large plush red couches, black, white and cream interiors and dramatic chandeliers give the restaurant a 1940s feel. Flat screen televisions play classic Hollywood flicks as the sensational smells of Chef Jordan’s creations waft from the kitchen. (“About Fedora,” official site)
Gina in 2008 at a DIFFA Dining by Design event in North Dallas; photograph by Christopher Wynn of Eats Blog, guidelive.com
Enter Gina Campisi. The 25-year-old granddaughter of the legendary Joe Campisi is no stranger to the local scene. Her family’s Campisi’s Egyptian has been dishing out pizza and pasta for more than 60 years, though her new restaurant is far removed from the old-school appeal of the family business. …
Campisi says her aim was to create a place that was hip and modern while appealing to a broad cross section of Dallas diners. “And really, I just wanted to stay as true to my roots and upbringing as possible,” she says.
For delivering credible, updated Italian food with flair* – and an approachably modest price point – I’ll give Fedora a tip of the hat.
(“Restaurant Review: Fedora.” Harwell, Kim. The Dallas Morning News, March 13, 2009.)
*Please note that the chef at the time of Ms. Harwell’s review, Christopher Patrick, is no longer with Fedora. Beginning in December 2009, the kitchen has been headed by Chef Jordan Rogers.
All of my condolences to the Campisi family, and R.I.P. to Gina Campisi. Male a che muori; s’acconza la menestra (“Pity he who dies; those who live, continue to prepare the supper.”).
«Introduci un po’ di anarchia; stravolgi l’ordine prestabilito.»
(Introduce a little anarchy; distort the established order)
Il cavaliere oscuro (Christopher Nolan, 2008), edizione speciale featuring the Joker.
«Sono un agente del caos. Lo sai qual è il bello del caos? È equo.»
(Be an agent of chaos. You know what’s beautiful about chaos? It’s fair.)
I totally dropped the ball on Dark Knight December, and I had so much cool shit planned. I’ll get back to that, I promise. Sorry.
The Campari calendar is similar to the Pirelli calendar in terms of history and intent, albeit Campari’s is ostensibly promotional photoshoots for alkyhol and not auto parts. But they both still heavily feature naked famous beautiful ladies, shot by artistic and internationally famous photographers. Don’t you just love the way Italian marketing works? Italians know how to Sell It. You are so jealous right now that you’re not Italian. Don’t front.
Eschewing the blonde stick aesthetic, Campari has traditionally featured calendars solely modeled by luminary multi-ethnic beauties known for their bodies, such as Eva Mendes, Salma Hayek, and Jessica Alba. This year’s Campari model is model-actress Olga Kurylenko, native of the Ukraine and the latest Bond girl (she played Camille Montes in Quantum of Solace). I’m a little bummed because she’s airbrushed within an inch of her life and she seems to have gone on some kind of crash diet since her Bond turn, with the result that I’ve had boyfriends with bigger tits. See below:
So they are moving a bit away from their hourglass lasses of the last few years. Don’t get me wrong — Olga Kurylenko still looks very beautiful, though, and recognizably feminine. The calendar is totally worth checking out. Here is another large example:
See? Classy and hot in that sophisticated, kind of uppity Euro-glam way. If stuff like that there is your thing, then swing by the Gruppo Campari official site to ogle some more, and consider giving their new drink Red Passion, which is what this calendar issue is allll about promoting (Olga K is from a former soviet-bloc country: “Red” passion; get it? you know I’m on board!) a tipple or ten. Again — click any picture to see it enlarged!
“Olga was a natural choice: an international actress, with great charm, grace, elegance and sensuality that represents the perfect incarnation of the Campari brand.” (message from Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Gruppo Campari.)
Besides promoting Red Passion, the calendar’s 2010 theme is Campari Milani. It was shot on location in Milan by native rising star, experimental fashion and portrait photographer Simone Nervi, whose vision and composition Campari obviously does not respect highly enough not to airbrush the unholy fuck out of his work.
“I have a great passion for life and for the work that I do, I enjoy being constantly active. For this reason, I feel a sense of affinity with Campari, which like me is dynamic, passionate and cosmopolitan.” (Olga Kurylenko)
Lou Doillon by Max Vadukul for Vogue Italia, August 2009
“Crescendo ho ocupato l’unico spazio rimasto libero in famiglia; quello dell’eccentrica, del giullare che strappa un sorriso. c’era talmente tanta perfezione che solo comportandomi in modo diverso sono ruiscita a trovare me stessa.”
Photograph via The Following Aesthetic Reasons
If you are not lucky enough to speak Italian (I am mainly not, either, no worries!), then here is a very rough translation pieced together via babelfish (don’t you love that it’s named for a Douglas Adams invention), Conversational Italian in college — which I spent most of my time ditching to fuma (smoke) and hang out with various uomi (men!), in my defense, I was being hella Italian — and a couple online dictionaries:
Image via thebeautymanifesto
“Growing up, I occupied the only space which remained free in my family: that of the eccentric, that of the jester who snags a smile. There was so much perfection that being involved in various ways has helped me to find the same [in life].”
A bit of background. Her father is director Jacques Doillon, and her mother is international superstar, ye-ye idol, and reknowned vintage beauty (a personal patron saint) Jane Birkin. Oh, and Jane’s previous husband was probably the most famous and successful male French musician of all time, (a personal devil) Serge Gainsbourg.
Beautiful, marvelous, multi-talented Jane Birkin during her marriage to That Creepy Soul-Reaper (Gainsbourg).
Birkin’s relationship with Lou’s father, film director Jacques Doillon, ended her marriage to Gainsbourg, and because of that the French press have a love-hate relationship with Lou: on the one hand, she is a daughter of cultural aristocracy; on the other, her very existence symbolises the end of one of France’s great love affairs.
Lou’s various step and half-sisters are famously beautiful models, actresses, and musicians such as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kate Barry, and Lily Doillon.
After a deliberately outre ugly duckling phase and some raw turns in cool indie flicks, Lou has been slowly transitioning in to a model citizen herself. So … yes, I can see where she is coming from with that quote. She’s a really cool chick, and as you can see from this small smattering from my collection of pics, she has taken it off, so she gets to be billed as lovely and talented, to boot!
I’ll get to more about her another day, I guarantee, because I think she is a smashing girl! but right now I need to go put on my Square Face (read: look freshly-made-up, decently-dressed, and reliable and maternal) for my kidlet’s first parent-teacher conference. I don’t want my appearance or attitude or nuttiness or any grain of reality about myself to seep through to her teacher and influence said teacher’s attitude toward her. I know that’s crazy, but it’s a fear. Wish me luck!
New feature! Model Citizens! And I can think of no better inaugural edition.
Ladies and gentlemen, the lovely and talented Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, model, singer, songwriter, indie actress and … something else …. oh, right, First freaking Lady of France, if you please.
“Nothing was calculated, nothing foreseen. I’ve never been married before and I’m Italian and I don’t like divorce. Therefore I’m the First Lady of France until the end of my husband’s term, and then his wife until death. I know that can hold surprises but that’s just what I want.” — Bruni on her surprise wedding to Sarko, shortly after his split from wife Cecilia (who had her own lover, too, don’t panic — they’re European)
I said goddamn, Carla Bruni. Haters to the left! Her sister also is a singer/actress/model. Very slashy, those Tedeschi girls. Bruni started out modeling for Guess, Dior, and Givenchy, but gave it up to pursue her singing career. She met Nicolas Sarkozy not long after his divorce, at a dinner party in November of 2007. They were engaged by December (it is rumored). I like a woman who doesn’t let any grass grow under her feet, and it also confirms two of her often-reported quotes:
“I’m monogamous from time to time, but I prefer polygamy and polyandry.”
“I want a man with nuclear power.”
Kudos to keeping your eyes on the prize, Mme. Bruni-Sarkozy.
Here is her cover of one of my favorite songs, widely charted by the Ink Spots and one Miss Patsy Cline, “You Belong To Me.” The track appears on her most recent album, the 2008 LP Comme si de rien n’était (It is as if nothing happened).
Carla Bruni – You Belong To Me
This has been your very, very NSFW inaugural Model Citizen dossier on Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. Eskimo kisses and you’re welcome!