Saturday, October 3, 2009

Twin Blessings

Lynette and Marie Pena, singing "God Bless America" at Dodger Stadium Friday night.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Juliette of the Spirits

This is the photograph of Juliette Lewis that I'd hoped would accompany my L.A. Times profile of the actress, rocker, and style maverick. I dunno, maybe they thought it was a bit out there, but I can *totally* see this dress in Urban Outfitters, can't you?!

Photograph by Robert Sebree
Mu & H- Cazzie Mayorga
Lead Stylist- Marina Toybina for GLAZA
Second key Stylist- Dawn Ritz

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Slumber Party Tonight!

Hey L.A.! Finding little joy in the same old scene? Why not venture beyond your well-trodden turf to celebrate the first anniversary of Historic Monument 157, aka the Church of Fashion, in Lincoln Heights?

For the past year my friends Charon (Tricky Poodle) Nogues and Reid Maxwell, along with a shapeshifting band of artists and musicians in residence, have been hosting events in a ramshackle Victorian house that has shades of both Haight-Ashbury circa '66, and the Munsters. The space has seen roller skating, square dancing, bands galore, movies, medicine women, urban activists, and impromptu fashion shows. I snapped the pretty babies above (apologies for the blur...that's mistress of ceremonies Tricky in the silver) at a birthday party earlier this summer. You truly never know what you will find.

Tonight the entertainment includes hunky hobos Eben Stewart and Frank Fairfield and burlesque by Jewel of Denial. All guests are invited to bring their sleeping bags and wake up to huevos and nopales in the AM.

Hope to see you there: 3110 N. Broadway, L.A.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sexy Sadie, What Have You Done?

Sharon Tate's killer Susan Atkins, aka Sadie Mae Glutz, died today in prison at the age of 61. During her 1969 trial, Sadie told the court that she was "stoned, man, stoned on acid" when she stabbed Sharon 16 times and wrote "Pig" with her blood. She said she felt no guilt, because she did it out of "love." The loving lady also managed to find herself not one but two husbands in the slammer. You think you've got baggage? Think again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Had Some Dreams, They Were Clouds in My Coffee

In October, 1976, this cloud passed over the city of Los Angeles. It was visible from the hills and from the beach, and much like the Station Fire pyrocumulus, it was also photographed repeatedly, by people who couldn't quite believe what they were seeing. My friend Jennifer, who grew up in L.A. in the '70s but missed the awesome visitation (homework, maybe?), has a poster of the cloud, caught from a dozen different angles, hanging on the wall of her Santa Monica home. These are two of them, and the pictures aren't airbrushed or enhanced; the thing really did look like a cotton candy Zeppelin floating by. What was it?! "Nuclear testing" - that's Jennifer's guess.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Grievous Angel

R.I.P. Gram Parsons: beautiful dreamer, cosmic cowboy, and hippie heartbreaker who flew off to the Great Gilded Palace of Sin in the Sky 36 years ago today, leaving his body in room 8 of the Joshua Tree Inn. He is survived by a daughter, Polly, a granddaughter, Harper Lee, and his songs.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dress Her Up in Your Love

While we're on a little Madonna jag (and while I'm on deadline), I thought I'd post an old L.A. Weekly story I wrote about Madonna's stylist, Arianne Phillips. The L.A. lady designed the costumes for Tom Ford's directorial debut, A Single Man (based on a Christopher Isherwood novel), which premiered last week at the Venice Film Festival and is already generating Oscar talk.

Without further ado, here's "Exterior Decorator," published May 31, 2007.

“Oscar nominee” is a title you keep for life in Hollywood, and though it has served style visionary Arianne Phillips well, the honor, received for her work as costume designer of the Johnny Cash–June Carter biopic Walk the Line in 2005, was kind of like a tiara on top of furs, jewels, a couture evening gown and glitter platform shoes. In other words, Phillips’ career, which includes ongoing collaborations with Madonna and Courtney Love, was already pretty stellar.

“I plod my path pretty solidly,” says the stylist and designer, whose credits also include dressing Hedwig and Tank Girl. “A lot of people I work with are people I have long-term relationships with.”

But that hardly means things get static; Phillips mixes up her gigs from season to season. At the moment, she’s doing mostly editorial work here in L.A., after five months on the New Mexico set of 3:10 to Yuma, James Mangold’s follow-up to Walk the Line. To prepare for the “down and dirty” 1870 Western starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, she gave herself a crash course in Westerns, watching a lot of Sam Peckinpah and Sergio Leone films. For the actual costume “building,” Phillips worked closely with Western Costume, the “granddaddy of costume houses” — which she describes as a public archive for the industry.

Born in New York City and raised in Northern California by writer parents, Phillips is most gratified when she’s helping to tell a story — whether it’s through a narrative film, an album cover or a fashion spread. She doesn’t do red-carpet or event styling, and prefers to work with artists — like Madonna — who are forward-thinking and seeking transformation. “That, to me, offers an opportunity for clothes and costumes to help underscore change . . . I’m not attracted to films where the character starts out and ends up in the same place.”

Although she remembers seminal fashion moments like seeing Cabaret or staring at a Robert Plant poster when she was 12 or hearing the Slits for the first time, style icons, for Phillips, have been the people in her life. “My aunt was a superchic, rock & roll, thrift-store genius who used to drag me to the flea markets,” she recalls. Today she finds great inspiration just people watching on the streets of Manhattan, where she travels often for work (and, yes, she is bored with the New York–L.A. debate).

Style is simply a natural mode of expression for Phillips — be it discovering a new talent or designing, with Carlos Rosario, her own dress to wear to the Oscars, honoring the tradition of Hollywood costume designers rather than playing the game of fashion politics.

“I’ve always liked decoration, whether it’s been on my wall or on my body,” she says. “I’ve always been attracted to pretty things and glitter. I don’t think there’s a lot of evolution between the 5-year-old me and the 40-year-old me. Maybe I’m a little more sophisticated now than I was when I was 5, but sometimes I’m not at all.”

(photo by Joe Mama-Nitzberg)