Saturday, October 30, 2010

Horror Movie right there on my TV........

My favourite horror movie is, without a doubt, Psyco. Being the huge Alfred Hitchcock fan that I am, I am afraid no Freddy Krueger’s, Scream’s, or zombie flicks stand a chance. The story line is totally enthralling and a classic edge of your seat tale of intrigue and psychopathy.

From the very beginning Janet Leigh’s beauty and spur of the moment decision to steal $40,000 from her employer attracts intellectual fixation, right up until her demise in the now infamous ‘shower scene’. Yet that is just the beginning of the tale......

Anthony Perkins gives the most compelling and strangely 'empathetic' performance as Norman Bates and for me, not knowing the storyline at all, I was utterly shocked at the twist in the tail, even though being familiar with Hitchcockian films, and generally proficient at seeing the direction a story is taking.....

As with most of Hitchcock’s later films, the script is snappy and direct, the cinematography simple and dramatic – especially in haunting black and white.

It was released in 1960 and grossed 32million at the box office, and has since gone on to be reveired as one of the most classic horror films of all time. Staring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, John Galvin and Vera Miles it was nominated for 4 Oscars, althuogh it did not win, it held its own winning awards at the Golden Globes and the Film Preservation Board.

For little old me, a lover of sentiment, beauty and gentility, the true test of a marvellous horror flick is my ability to view it again. In the case of Psyco, although I have it in my DVD collection, I simply cannot bring myself to watch it again. I saw it first at a Friday the 13th celebration with friends in Ontario Canada away back in 1997, and it is as vivid in my head now as it was that day – hence my hesitation to sit through its chilling narrative again....the highest accolade my judgement can give a horror movie.

As such, it is with a great deal of shivering, October 28th delight that I give my first Alice Jean’s movie review 4.5 Jaffa’s to Psyco, 60 years old this year, and the best horror movie of all time.

Rating: 4.5 Choc Tops


 In Australia we don’t particularly celebrate Halloween, although there have been attempts by various chain stores to consumerise the day with cheap and nasty costumes and plastic pumpkins (we are in spring here, our autumnal harvest – including pumpkins – doesn’t occur for another 6 months!) Personally, I don’t really see the point in Halloween either. I LOVE the idea of trick or treating, of dressing up, and of all things scary and kookie, but just why is there a special day of the year to do that....I just don’t follow it? Couldn't I host a ghoul party any time of year if I wanted? Don't get me wrong, I am not criticising, just a bit confused by it all.... If any of my North American readers can enlighten me I would love to hear your various views on the role of Halloween in western culture.......

As a child I was quite enthralled by the mystery and intrigue of the world of kookie, goth,dark fairy tale type culture. Who didn’t adore The Addams Family, The Munsters, fairy tales with evil witches, ghost stories, classic tales like Frankenstein and Dracula, and of course, the plethora of really ‘bad’ sci-fi movies from the 50’s. I wonder what it is about ‘dark culture’ that is so weirdly appealing? Is there something almost glamorous, in a mysterious way, about it all? As an 18 year old I chose to go to my year 12 fancy dress night as Mortisha Addams....I am afraid that any other character just didn’t get a guernsey as being remotely attractive – unless it was Wonder Woman, but knee high red boots were just too hard to come by in my little home town in 1992!!

Speaking of which, the Salvation Army in the township of Echuca conducts a huge childrens event on Halloween, and calls it Heroeen, encouraging children to dress as their hero’s and participate in some great games, competitions and party has been a really big hit with the community, particularly young families and looks set to continue for many years to come. I like the idea of wanting to promote positivity and good role models to my kids.........

What is your experience with Halloween? Do you think it has a place in Australian culture? As for me, this Halloween I think I will sit down with a hot cocoa and watch my favourite kookie movie, Mars Attacks, and simply be thankful for the ability to have a bit of fun and a laugh.....I may even get out my Slim Whitman albums and play a bit of ‘Indian Love Call’, just to be safe !!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

An angel in her Grandmothers dress.....

I simply had to share these photos with you all (after allot of fiddling and playing with them by me!!) Here is one of my baby angels, all dressed up and looking mischievous (as always) in her Grandmothers 58 year old dress. Isn't it just too cute - the smocking and filmy fabric is beautiful. This dress was made by hand by my angel's great great grandmother and it is still in pristine condition. Children's dresses of mid century are precious items, do treasure them if you happen across one......after all, think of the playing and mud and dirt and play dough etc etc that children's clothing is subjected to !! To last 50 or 60 years is a marvelous achievement !! That said, I believe this little number was a 'Sunday Best' and Angel's great grandmother was always very strict about Sunday clothes being taken off and put away as soon as they arrived home from church - hence we now have this little family jewel to adore !!! And the Angel isn't half bad either !!!

Flower of the Season - Spring 2010

Spring time isnt springtime without my mothers crab apple tree bursting into glorious bright pink colour every always heralds warmer days, tall grasses waving in spring breezes, picnics, cups of tea and cake outside in the sunshine, and lying on the lawn staring at fluffy white clouds and blue, blue sky through boughs of joyfullest blossom. Mum's stunning 30 year old tree always brings a smile to my face - in the spring time with it's flowers, and in the Autumn with its cheery red fruits....there is nothing like a crab apple for delightful garden 'romance' ! When I have my own (hopefully acres) of garden again, I am going to plant a walk of crab apples to tryst down dreamily on spring mornings adorned with birdsong, and meander along in the mellowness of Autumn twilight's. I am dreaming big and blossomy !!

Crab apples are available in a huge array of colours from pearly white, to delicate pinks and deep reds, and almost everything in between including corals and salmon colours. They are in the rose family (Rosaceae) and are differentiated from apples by the size of their fruit. if the fruit of a tree is two inches or less it is deemed to be a crab apple. larger than two inches and it is officially an apple. Fruit colour is just as spectacular as the flowers with variations from dark-reddish purples, to reds and oranges, golden yellows and even green on occasion. Larger varieties of crab apple fruit can be used in jellies or spiced.

Crab apples have diverse growth habits or tree shapes. The shapes consist of weeping (pendulous), rounded, spreading (horizontal), upright (columnar), vase-shaped, and pyramidal. They vary greatly in size - from a shrubby 2.5m tall to over 11-12 m. Check the label before you buy to make sure it is suited to the position you want it.

Flowering crab apples are adaptable but thrive in rich loam type soil (a combination of clay, silt, and sand). Regardless of soil type, good drainage is a must for tree health. Rrelatively dry sites can be tolerated by crab apples if plant stresses are minimized during the first year after transplanting. They need 8-12 hours of direct sunlight to get the best flowering and fruiting. Fortunately for most areas of Australia, they are also frost tolerant.

If you are looking for a medium to largish shrub/tree to make your garden look positively mid century, then you cant go past crab apples...the perfect old fashioned flower for drought conscious modern times.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Late Notice - Camperdown Criuse

Oh dear oh dear !!! I almost missed it !!! This weekend in the Camperdown Cruise - an event not to be missed !! Check out the website for all the details......we are certianly in Vintage Events Season at the moment, they are coming thick and fast !! Make sure you get along to at least one outing this year - and if you are from overseas (ie Not Australia) please let me know of any events coming up in your 'neck of the woods' !!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A market not to be missed !!!

Oh clap hands, I am so very excited !! My darling friend Julie - from Narioka - and I are embarking on a market stall at the start of November, at the Murrabit Market - Australia's biggest outdoor market event. I just cant wait.....I have been scouring second hand shops for little bits and peices in keeping with the whole Alice Jean's ethos of mid century vintage. Today I picked up a darling chaneille bedspread, a cute picinic basket, some Shag coasters, a 1960's home set hairdryer (with plastic hair bag in brilliant condition), some fabbo novals from the 50's and 60's, some little golden books and a jug and bowl set.

Added to my bits and bobs, I am also making childrens dresses, womens peasant tops and skirts, and artworks. If you are really keen you can also sample one of my cupcakes !! Its going to be super duper fun, so please come along and check out our goodies for sale....and do let me know if you are an Alice Jeans follower for a discount !!!

An exhibition - be quick !

I have been meaning to post about this exhibition for months now, and have simply not gotten around to it - oh dear !! It ends on the 31 October - so make a dash to see it if this sounds like you and you reside near Melbourne !!

Music of the Moment - October 2010 - The Cleftones

I have made an executive decision to include a new segment in my blog. A once a month feature of an inspiring musical artist. After all, what is any era of the last century without a soundtrack to accompany it?! Hope you all enjoy the up coming musical selection.......

Fast becoming one of my very favorite doo wop groups, The Cleftones capture all that was so attractive about this genre of music. Rich harmonies, catchy melodies and romantic lyrics to carry one away to dream are a couple of my favourite songs from Youtube.....

Info from Wikipedia:

The Cleftones were a doo-wop group from Queens, New York. They were formed in 1955 at Jamaica High School. The group consisted of Herbie Cox (lead), Charlie (McGhee) James (first tenor), Berman Patterson, (second tenor), William McClane (baritone), and Warren Corbin (bass). They were originally called The Silvertones. Initial charted hits by the group started in 1955, "You Baby You", "Little Girl of Mine", and "Can't We Be Sweethearts". In 1961 the 2nd generation of The Cleftones produced hits consisting of members Herb Cox, Charlie James, Warren Corbin, Gene Pearson, and Pat Spann. Pat was the first and only female to sing with the group. They reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with Heart and Soul, followed by "For Sentimental Reasons". The recordings were released on the Gee & Roulette Record labels.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Living Dolls - Miss October 2010

A lovely big welcome to our Living Doll for October - absolutely stunning Ximena Trunoske

What does 'vintage' mean to you?

Anything pre 1960.

What was it that first prompted your interest in vintage culture?

When I was a little kid my Mum always recalls how I would sit and watch vintage films for hours. I was particularly fond of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, but if it was old and it was on TV I’d probably watch it. When I moved into my teens however I went through a lot of different stages in an attempt to find out who I was and what I liked. I tried Nu-Metal, Punk, Goth, Emo, Scene and Indie but non of them really seemed to stick. And then one night I was out at a small indie club near where I live with friends and I saw a couple of girls in leopard print with Betty Bangs. When we were driving home I asked my friend who they were and he said they were ‘rockabillies’ which wasn’t a term I’d actually encountered before but I knew right then I wanted something of that aesthetic. Over time I became more interested in 1950s vintage than Rockabilly. The aesthetic of the 50s really appealed to me and combined a lot of interests I already had but had previously felt very separated. All the kids at school used to make fun of me when I told them my favourite musician was Elvis when I was about 9 yrs old, but when I really got into vintage in my late teens it all started to make sense!

What is your favourite era, and do you 'live it' every day?

My favourite era is the New Look era of the post war years. Particularly 1950-1954. I don’t get to wear the clothes every day as I’m a manager of a high end high street womens brand and have to wear their clothes to work, but I wear it whenever I’m not at work, and my makeup is always done in a 50s style. That said, my husband and I collect 1950s homewares and music too, so although I may not wear the clothes all the time I’m certainly surrounded by the era every day! We also go out dancing pretty much every week at vintage clubs around London. My ideal would be to eventually get a job where I could wear the clothing and hairstyles everyday, but I may have to wait on that!

Tell us about your favourite item of vintage clothing, kitchenalia, music, furniture or whatever !

One of my favourite pieces is a 1950s floral dress with a big bow in the back. I don’t get to wear it out that often as dry cleaning it costs a bomb (£26 a time. Ouch) so I save it for special occasions. I’ve always loved it but one day I was sitting watching Mad Men with my husband and suddenly Betty Draper appears in the same dress. And you know that woman has style! And to top it off, the new Betty Draper Barbie Doll they’ve brought out is wearing the dress as well. That’s made the dress very special to me as I love the Mad Men series. Another piece I love is a late 1940s suit I found in a thrift store in Michigan for $8 this summer. I’m not much of a suit person but this one is in cherry red and you can’t beat it for eye-popping colour. I also have a beautiful taffeta maroon and black striped strapless dress and match bolero that I found in a charity shop over here for £20 when I was 17. I don’t get to wear that one much either as it’s very delicate and not terribly appropriate for dancing in.

Can you share with us why vintage culture continues to hold such appeal for you?

I think partly because everyone has their own take on it. When I look at a lot of other sub-cultures all the people involved tend to look the same. But with vintage everyone retains their own style. Some love the suits of the late 40s, some love the outlandish shirts and argyle prints of the 50s, some love pretty lace dresses and pillarbox hats, others love the military looks of the 40s. Everyone looks different and everyone adds something to the scene. Each person has kept their individuality while maintaining a similar interest. And everyone has a story to tell. I love meeting new people in the vintage scene and getting to know more about them.

Do you have any tips for anyone starting out in the vintage scene?

Go out and dance! It’s such a great way to meet people and make friends who have the same interest as you. It’s also a whole lot of fun. And don’t be afraid to join forums, I’ve met a lot of friends who lived surprisingly close to me through vintage themed forums (the one I used to use when I started out was The Fedora Lounge). Also, ask questions. There will always be people who know more than you and who are more than happy to help out. One thing I’ve learnt from being part of the London Vintage Scene is how friendly everyone is and how willing they often are to help each other out.

Now is your chance to provide us with an overview of who you are and what you do....
My real name is Ximena and my married surname is now Trunoske, leaving me with a very complicated name! I just turned 25 and will have been married to my husband Adam for two years as of Friday 13th August. I work for a womens clothing company called Whistles and my husband works for a vintage, retro and antiques store called The Old Cinema in Chiswick. I love sewing and make a lot of repro outfits for myself, and occasionally for friends. Our dream is to one day open a vintage shop of our own.

Finally, what or who inspires you and why?

I constantly look for different sources of inspiration. I’m always trawling the internet for new images (the Google LIFE archives are particularly good for this), and my husband and I have a large collection of books that I like to go through when I’m feeling uninspired. I also love visiting a store near us called Attic which stocks vintage and upcycled furniture, and little bits and pieces for your home. I also love looking at all the different people I meet on the vintage scene in London, I think they will be endlessly inspiring to me with all their panache. I also admire the style and grace of Audrey Hepburn. I think that, like most people, my inspiration comes from lots of different sources, because there’s so much about vintage to discover it would be a shame to narrow your options!

Rescue mission for children....

The 1950's were not immune from war, revolts and uprisings, and humanitarian crisis. If anyone tells you otherwise remind them of Tibet and the Dalai Lama, Riots in Rhodesia, The Cuban Revolution, the Algeria Revolt, segregation and racism in many countries worldwide, the invasion of Egypt over the Suez Canal, and the Hungarian Uprising to name but a few. And we all know that today, nothing much has changed.....

Wars continue, famines and natural disasters strike continually at some point on the globe, political stouches make common life difficult, and everyday citizens are more ofton than not the ones who suffer most.

I once heard a speaker say that it is great to follow your passions in life, to pursue that which you love, but have we considered what we detest? What gets us angry and fired up? What gets our blood boiling? Those things are as important for us to pursue as the things we love, when it all comes down to it. It is what fires us up and makes us angry that will drive us to make the world a better place for future generations.

What gets my blood boiling more than anything else is the abuse of women and children. The abuse of those who in many circumstances are the more vulnerable members of society. Like it or not, there were abused women and children in the 1950's, and there are just as many in such situations today. So, I went looking for just how I could make a difference.

I cant very well go overseas and help in a more practical sense as a newly single Mum with three little ones in tow, but I can budget to assist others in need where I can.

This is why I wanted to share with my readers that under the name of Alice Jean's, I have signed up to regularly (monthly) contribute to Rescue Mission For Children. Please check out this website if abuse of the vulnerable is your 'anger passion' too. This great organisation is particularly focused on freeing children from sexual slavery - what more noble and worthy cause could there be? In the 1800's they were able to largely abolish slavery (in the form of ownership of another human being at least) in the western world, I hope that in 100 years people will be able to say that sexual slavery of children (and women for that matter) was abolished in this new decade too.
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