Recommendation Time

Every once in a whiletreat yourself it’s important to treat yourself. Good food, some shoe shopping or listening to records in a local store. It’s recommendation time again on Talking Classics. So let’s see what we have:

1) Do you know Caro Emerald?! She’s a Dutch singer whose second album is about to be released in the US on May 14. Mark your calendars, fellow lovers of new vintage, The Shocking Miss Emerald is a real treat.

2) For Perry Mason fans it’s a joy to hear that season 9.1 will soon be available on DVD – on June 11 to be exact. That leaves us with only one half season to complete our collections. Fingers crossed for the TV movies to follow soon.

3) Scarecrow and Mrs. King’s fourth and final season was recently leased on DVD for anyone who has fond memories of a lovely show that sadly lost its heart when its female protagonist, Kate Jackson, fell severely ill.

4) Book-wise, I finally finished reading Eve Arden’s wonderful autobiography. In Three Phases of Eve, the actress takes us on a journey through her life on stage, in movies and beyond. Filled with funny anecdotes, the book is every bit as witty and charming as the woman herself used to be on radio and screen.

5) And last but not least, a new shopping discovery of mine is Unique Vintage. For all you ladies out there who can’t get enough of classy patterns and styles, this site may be a great addition to your favorite retailers. I know it is to mine. ♥

Friday Treats

Every once in a while, I love to share links to precious finds and sites. Today, I bring you a cheerful little mix of entertainment and gorgeous, vintage fashion.

  1. Bombshells and Babes Vintage is a shop I introduced to you before but can only praise again. If my wallet was well-fed, I’d be the first one to empty those lovely online shelves.
  2. Moxie is another favorite store of mine. The shop is located in DeKalb, Illinois (which tickles me immensely) and is up high on my list of must-go places. You can also find them on Etsy or follow their blog here.
  3. For my fellow music lovers, I have a wonderful country treat most of you may already know, Della Mae. Their music is so beautiful and uplifting, I really hope to get a chance to see/hear the ladies live anytime soon.
  4. And last but definitely not least, I bring you a modern Shirley and Laverne. Created and produced by the two leading ladies (Chloe Taylor and Jennifer Erholm) themselves, The Mop & Lucky Files are taking the internet by storm and get well-deserved laurels and praise for a true web series gem.

Recommendations

On this beautiful Saturday, I bring you a couple of new finds, favorite blogs and shops of mine:

And on a personal note – I recently started my creative writing blog on WordPress, Della’s Notepad. Please feel invited to come on over and enjoy. ♥

Tune in again tomorrow, will you?!

Do you like to listen to the radio?!

Well, if you’re like me and enjoy the beats, lyrics and commercials of the swing, big band and rock ‘n roll era, I just found the place for you today: Radio Vintage.

Go ahead and listen in, they are online and a wonderful addition to all the available programs on the Internet Archive  (including Lux Radio Theater, selected episodes from Dragnet or Father Knows Best, Mr. and Mrs. North, Our Miss Brooks and Perry Mason).

But be warned, you better plan to sing along and move your feet – I know I’ve been doing that all day and enjoyed every blessed minute!

Fetch Your Reading Glasses

It’s summer time, so I’m outside reading. My favorite season always affects the amounts of books I’m enjoying, for pleasure or research, doesn’t matter – in the end, I always enjoy even the most tiring topic. So, call me a book worm, but here are ten  recommendations for those of you who share my favorite summer pastime on the beach, in your garden, on the front porch or your balcony. I could list a ton more but I’m trying to practice moderation. So here they are, my ten picks – I hope you’ll find something to enjoy:

Fiction:

Non-Fiction:

Art, Fashion and Pin-Ups

For the past few days, I’ve been all covered in paint and charcoal, I’ll thus make it short and just throw a couple of book recommendations your way. I’m still in the middle of exploring these gems and don’t really know which one to pick first I’m so taken with them. If you’re like me and all giddy about vintage fashion, pin-ups and art, you may find these books just as helpful and amazing. What a lovely way to spend a “moody-weather weekend”, reading and sketching. See for yourselves if you agree:

The Artist

I know I’m a little late to the party but I finally saw The Artist. And I must say it lived up to what I expected. First of, the actors, the music and then the style: what a beautiful mix, winning me over from the first minute on. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo are a sensation. A deep bow to casting director Heidi Levitt. And then the dog of course. Such a darling addition to an entertaining story and a supporting cast that’s pure joy.

It’s hard to say what I enjoyed most – the score, the silence or the plot? Every little detail is so important, supporting the classic impact of the film and the artistic shots, giving the motion picture a dramatic quality that only works in black and white. The Artist is a creative gem, a movie that’s much more than “only” and homage to the era of Hollywoodland. It is a film that reduces the cinematic medium to its roots, its core, and captivates its audience by returning to a lost tradition of performing arts and good storytelling. It is already a modern classic that deserves to be more than just an exception to contemporary rules or the dish of the day. The Artist has the potential to remind us of the power of simplicity as well as the beauty of old-school entertainment. It is a film that captures a bygone mood, a feeling of melancholy and escapism a lot of modern stories lack these days. It is moving and does without cynicism, violence or explicit nudity. The Artist is not in your face, it is subtle and romantic, poignant and uplifting. It is a movie that will follow you when the end credits have long stopped, a real gem because of and not despite its lack of color, the classic aspect ratio and its enticing silence.

The Artist theatrical trailer

Respect for Acting

As y’all may know by now, Friday is miscellaneous day. So today I am writing about one of my favorite topics: acting.

Acting can be a fun hobby but it is a tough job if you do it for a living, if you are a working actor fishing for parts or a newcomer who is barely scraping by. Personally, I love to act and I have great respect for everyone who does try to live by it. It is one of those creative professions that is often underestimated all the while it is the most popularly celebrated job in all of Hollywood.

Actors are predominantly associated with the projects they are working on although in essence they do not shape the film, play or program as much as is often insinuated in interviews and features. Without actors a script will not come to life however, no matter how good an idea the director has or how much money the producer provides. It is a very interesting job actually, exhausting at times, following orders yet breathing life into a character so it will be distinctively your own creation.

In my experience, every actor has a different approach, background and method to work with. And no matter how much training you get, every actor has to find what works for her (or him for that matter) best. So apart from never-ending practice, singing, dance or voice lessons, joy and the necessity of an undying craving to perform, careful observation and second hand experience may do wonders for your style.

“Eight Women of the American Stage – Talking about Acting” by Roy Harris (with a foreword by Emily Mann) and “Actors at Work” by Rosemarie Tischler and Barry Jay Kaplan (with a foreword by Mike Nichols) are two books I can recommend in this context, from the bottom of my heart. They give beautiful insight into the process of acquiring a part by a variety of great American talents such as Meryl Streep, Donna Murphy or Mary McDonnell.

Furthermore, I can highly recommend Uta Hagen’s “Respect for Acting” and “Challenge for the Actor”, two books that made a big difference for me and opened my inquisitive mind. Multidisciplinary shaped as I am, it was a great addition to the different methods I looked into in classes and on stage. Uta Hagen’s approach really pushed me forward and made me feel at home emotionally. It was the one method I finally connected with.

For everybody who prefers to see and hear more about her method, “Uta Hagen’s Acting Class” is also available on DVD. In my opinion, the DVD is a worthy investment and a helpful addition to her second book, “Challenge for the Actor”. “Theater of War” may be another adjuvant purchase. The documentary features Meryl Streep’s 2008 Central Park performance of Mother Courage and her journey of mastering that challenging character.

I really wish there was a book featuring my favorite classic actresses with interviews on their acquired wisdom in and expert approach to acting . Most of them got their training on the job and successfully so, and maybe that’s their legacy for anyone who wishes to follow in their footsteps – there’s no such thing as a studio system anymore, but individual classes are available everywhere and if you’re lucky the one or other extra or stage job in your area.

When Women Call the Shots

Friday is miscellaneous day and today I’ve decided to bring you a recommendation for a book.

The book is called When Women Call the Shots – The Developing Power and Influence of Women in Television and Film and was written by Linda Seger.

This book is an excellent source of information and a real treat for everyone who is interested in the roots of Hollywood, the golden age of the studio system and the development thereafter. It’s a book that goes beyond movie stardom and lime light fairy tales. When Women Call the Shots is about the actual filmmakers – women behind the camera, in the studios, in management and storytelling.

Furthermore, the book addresses women who work in film these days – their responsibility, impact and perspective.

How did Hollywood present female characters, and how has that changed? What’s the perception of female filmmakers? How have female voices influenced success?

When Women Call the Shots is a smooth read, a witty book that touches all of these questions in times when more and more women are emerging in fields that are still dominated by male filmmakers.

Have a look inside the book on amazon and judge for yourselves.