Posts Tagged ‘maria callas’

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.

Goethe Month: Das Märchen [von der grünen Schlange und der schönen Lilie]

July 29, 2010

Rachel Weisz for Esquire.

“Remember the Snake in honour,” said the Man with the Lamp; “thou owest her thy life; thy people owe her the Bridge, by which these neighbouring banks are now animated and combined into one land. Those swimming and shining jewels, the remains of her sacrificed body, are the piers of this royal bridge; upon these she has built and will maintain herself.”

(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Das Märchen/The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily, 1795. Translated by Thomas Carlyle, 1832.)

[Das Märchen] portrays in imaginative form Goethe’s impressions of [Friedrich] Schiller’s On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a series of Letters. The story revolves around the crossing and bridging of a river, which represents the divide between the outer life of the senses and the ideal aspirations of the human being.

(the wiki)

“Goethe’s Ferryman, The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.” William Sauts Netamuxwe Bock.

The heroes of Goethe’s very atypical fairy tale are an elderly couple and a female snake. There are also four kings in an underground temple: one king is gold, another silver, the third bronze, and the last a mix of the three. The kings are pushy and really argumentative. I don’t want to judge, but I need to say that they just seem to disagree and threaten much more than necessary.

Cast of the short-lived TV series Four Kings (2006).*

Also featured: a dog named Mops; cabbage; onions and onyxes; a pair of tricky will o’ the wisps; and a dashing prince who is captivated by a beautiful flower. Their love is mutual but the lily is poisonous to anyone who touches her so, to their poignant agony, the lovers can’t consummate their passion. I think that is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the complications a prince and a flower might encounter, sexwise, but again — I try not to judge.

“Goethe’s Beginning, The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily.” William Sauts Netamuxwe Bock.

It’s actually kind of murky in Goethe’s story whether she’s a flower or a woman, for the record. Everyone calls her the fair lily and she has flowerlike attributes but she’s also got hands and can talk, and she is traditionally portrayed in illustrations as an actual woman. There is a modern opera based on this fairy tale, but I’ve never heard it. However, I predict the part of the fair lily is played by a human and not a flower. Flowers simply do not have the range for the coloratura compositions that had become the neoclassic fashion in the 1960s.

Beautiful Maria, patronest saintest of all my patron saints.

Look — Callas lily. Get it? God, I’m so awful. All done.

*I will never pass up an opportunity to post up pictures of Seth Green and I am neither sad nor proud about that. Also, Scrubs supafly ukemaster Kate Micucci, she of the brain-asplodin’ cuteness, was on Four Kings. Such a woeful disappointment that the show was canned.

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.
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.

Advice: Maria Callas and hiding beneath the sheets edition

October 4, 2009

It happens. Hiding: it is a thing.

“Love is so much better when you’re not married.” — Maria Callas

Maria Callas – Queen of the Night aria, “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen,” The Magic Flute (W.A. Mozart)

I finally have free time and I’m hiding from my writing today. I need to think about why. I think I know. But I need to admit it.

Hylocereus undatus, or Night-blooming cereus, sometimes called the Queen of the Night.

The nightblooming cereus is also known as the lunar flower, moon flower and luna flower. … The plant grows as a thin, almost dead looking stick from a single stem in the ground. They bloom just on one or two nights of the year. Pack rats often eat these blossoms before morning, so catching a glimpse of them can be fleeting. — The wiki.

And there you have it.

Advice: will work for love

September 6, 2009

“I don’t need the money, dear. I work for art.” –Maria Callas

And how she struggled for that art, and how the circumstances of her artistic and personal life tried to beat her back so many times, and how she prevailed, and how enriched the world is because of her voice.

Think about doing this. Believe so strongly in the power and entitlement of Your Voice that you would kill tigers just to hear it echo in triumph. Love your art first and best, before anyone else does. Work for love.