Posts Tagged ‘Franco Zeffirelli’

Heinlein Month: Bad shape

July 18, 2011

Cloistered SWF seeks poetic SWM, age not important, balcony-climbing skills a must. Send carrier pigeon to Villa Capulet. Your pic gets mine. No bots please.


You’re in bad shape when your emotions force you into acts which you know are foolish.

(Robert A. Heinlein. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. 1958.)

The Zeffirelli Romeo and Juliet is a beautiful, faithful classic. But — keep this under your hat because I don’t want to be kicked out of the super-cool smart kids’ club — the Baz Luhrmann hamfisted crazy-go-nuts adaptation of Shakespeare’s play is actually my favorite, because I unapologetically love his juxtapositive imagination and didn’t think it defiled the play particularly. A little excess never killed nobody. (Get it? A little excess? Oxymoron? Yes?) I like over the top lushness in a movie — I’m a decaphile and I’m not sorry for that. But I went with the picture of Olivia Hussey to illustrate this idea because she is so exponentially hotter than Claire Danes that Claire Danes just now suddenly got sad, purely from all of us nodding silently, and she doesn’t know why.


Left: Amateur hour. Right: Holy hell.

The mise-en-scene of Luhrmann’s R&J dazzles me, but compared to the chemistry in Zeffirelli’s 1968 version? There is no comparison. Absolutely none. By the way, am I the only one who read that thing where Zeffirelli claims to have totally been hit on by Aristotle Onassis? Still wrapping my mind around that one and weighing its potential truth. (Verdict so far: Depends. Was Onassis trying to get Zeff away from Callas once and for all? Or just bombed on some really good shit?) More on that story here, and don’t skip the comments for the full scope of the debate.

Valentine Vixen: Jessica St. George, Miss February 1965

February 7, 2010

Miss February 1965 was the lovely and talented Jessica St. George, the first Greek centerfold. Can I get a “hell, yeah” for my sisters across the sea? I am all for national pride, but it’s my belief that Mediterranean ladies must lay aside our ancient Greco-Roman differences and stick together when we are swarmed by A-cup blonde WASP-y types.


Photographed by Mario Casilli.

Ελληνική n. – (τυπογρ.) σαλόνι, γυμνό μοντέλο του κεντρικού σαλονιού περιοδικού.
translation:
centerfold n. – (sĕn’tər-fōld’) a magazine center spread, especially a foldout of an oversize photograph or feature.

The title of the article that accompanied this distinctly divergent pictorial (some shots are on one day, inside, with bad makeup, and the rest are really good and in-and-outdoors on a different day with much better styling) was, I wish I was kidding, “Greek Baring Gifts.” Ouch. I thought I made bad puns. Man. I am embarrassed for you right now, Playboy, not gonna lie. I mean, we’re still cool — but, dudes, I cannot even look at you right now.

In the interior photographs, Ms. St. George looks a little uncomfortable. Also, the stylist seems to have slightly wonked up her eye makeup, so her left eye looks different in size or level from the right. Totally outside Ms. St. George’s control. She is doing her best to awkwardly work it despite the handicap of shitty styling. In the outdoors shots, she is more relaxed in appearance and her smile looks less stiff.


PEOPLE I ADMIRE: Helen of Troy and President John F. Kennedy. She had complete command of men, and he was concerned about young people.

I wonder what Ms. St. George’s opinion of his widow Jacqueline Kennedy was after her sudden marriage to Aristotle Onassis. She snatched him right out from over beloved Greek-Italian opera diva and personal patron saint Maria Callas, who most Greek- and Italian-Americans idolized, celebrating her tempestuous romance with Onassis as much as her famous chilling voice.

I love Maria very, very much, and I used to be a big Jackie guy when I was younger, but no more. I know it’s unpopular and some people look at it as sacreligous to so much as cast a smidge of a shadow of hate on good ol’ Jacqueline Bouvier-Kennedy-Onassis-Polly-Wolly-Doodle-All-Day, that paragon of poise, style, Daddy Issues, and anorexia, but facts are facts.

And at some point in time, if you are going to give a serious read to the tangled web of 1960’s social history, and Ari Onassis and his interactions with the extraordinary, talented, and occasionally scandalous women his fat, arrogant, allegedly bisexual ass managed to land, you must choose sides; my personal journey through the threads of this time and my notions of fairness in love and war lead irrevocably to me renouncing Jackie and her neurotic little sister Lee forever in favor of my Maria. Team Callas. Period.

That was a long digression. Sorry, I get worked up. Apologies to Ms. St. George. Back to you, kiddo!


My favorite shot from the spread.

Jessica vows it has nothing to do with her Greek heritage, but we must admit we found just the slightest trace of chauvinism in the fact that her favorite music star is George Chakiris. (“Greeks Baring Gifts,” Playboy. February 1965.)

A thousand times, yes. Good call, Jessica! You may know George Chakiris as Bernardo, leader of the Puerto Rican street gang the Sharks and overprotective older brother to Natalie Wood in the role of Maria in West Side Story, for which he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1961. He was a real hottie. I always thought he was much, much better-looking than Tony, the lead.

I wonder what he’s up to today?

Looking back, [at 70] Chakiris is satisfied with his career. Chakiris has escorted Marilyn Monroe (he was one of the dancers) during the “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, he recorded several albums in the 1960s, he performed Gershwin songs for audiences in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Monte Carlo, he starred in numerous television guest roles—a spot on Hawaii Five-0 is among his favorites—and he played a villain on Dallas. He last starred [as Mr. Rochester] in a London stage production of Jane Eyre in 1997. (“A Boy Like That,” Holleran, Scott. Box Office Mojo. March 23, 2003.)

Well, that is all some dang awesome shit, if I do say so myself. Especially being Mr. Rochester — heat!

Ms. St. George’s ambition was to be a professional dancer and actress. No word on if she achieved her goal, but if I discover more I will update.