Reprise: Looks like an Avedon photo to me, probably Diana Vreeland was somewhere around barking about pizzazz!, fun!, beauty!

Suzy Parker with Robin Tattersall, dress by Dior, Place de la Concorde, Paris, August 1956One probably shouldn’t sit at the keyboard at four in the morning but, as you age sometimes these early mornings creep up, and it’s not because you have to be on set by six, it’s because your hormones are doing their last dance, the last fling in the mosh pit (so to speak) and thoughts can get very…unfiltered.

See those two exotic creatures above? That’s Suzy Parker and Robin Tattersall in the Place de la Condcorde in 1956. Looks like an Avedon photo to me, probably Diana Vreeland was somewhere around barking about pizzazz!, fun!, beauty!

Now we’re going to digress—but we’ll get back to the Vreeland ethos in a minute.

I saw Maleficent. Gorgeous. Impressive first time direction by Robert Stromberg. Great script by Linda Woolverton. Jolie owned the role. (Currently in a pickle with the Chinese.)

I read a short story by James Franco from his collection, Actor’s Anonymous, called, Bungalow 89. Wry. Impressionistic. Insightful. (Oh! The negative comments on Amazon.)

Yesterday, I sat in a theater and watched Edge of Tomorrow. Loved every second of it. Yes. Every second. The pacing was extraordinary. The story raced. The casting was perfect. The physical intensity of Emily Blunt and Mr. Cruise played both comic and touching. (There’s a reason Liman is directing and these two are movies stars, especially the colorful Mr. Cruise.)

Now, everything I jotted above about my experience of two movies and a short story is an opinion. With no more validity than anyone else. What’s peculiar to me is that opinion has become the currency of the Web. It was depressing to see how James Franco’s fiction was savaged, and it got me thinking, it seemed that people were responding more to his personality and celebrity than his work… Doug Liman’s a hard director to work with, I mean really hard; Tom Cruise may have some unfamiliar beliefs and Angelina Jolie sure as hell rubbed the Chinese delegation the wrong way—but that has almost nothing to do with the work they produce.

And here we make our way back to Vreeland and a core truth. Let me preface this by saying, Diana Vreeland, the powerhouse behind Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, was an inattentive mother, and had some difficult relationships with her family. But you can’t deny she created magic. Her perspective changed how people see…fashion…photography, so many things, and behind it all was her commitment, her intensity, her ferocity to work almost every day of her life. What you don’t hear about very often, in the midst of all the opinions that fly around the Internet, is the discipline, the driving demanding discipline required for every creative endeavor that catches your eye.

Look. If it makes an impact on you, someone worked their ass off to get your attention and hold it for the length of a movie, or the few pages of a short story.

Discipline + Imagination = Art

Yes, darlings, in my humble opinion.

15 comments

  1. Heather in Arles

    *standing ovation*
    While I dearly wish that your hormones would have piped the h*ll down long enough for you to get some decent rest, if this is the type of jazzy words that come out of sleep deprivation…well, I have to say that I am not all for it but quite impressed (certainly as my 4am wanderings lead me straight to scrolling through Garance Doré and no farther).
    In regards to the subject at hand, I tip this off to some sort of Popular Culture Revolution – as in “the critics don’t matter, we are the critics!” With the arrival of instagram, twitter, facebook and (oops) blogs, we all think that we are experts on everything, while in participating in these social media platforms, we are often (not always!) simply our own reality stars and our own Celebrity Judges. Building things up extravagantly and/or tearing them down with gusto just didn’t seem quite so important at the turn of this century, did they? I suppose folks need something to hold on to…even something as flimsy as an opinion.
    Bisous,
    H

    • Heather in Arles

      PS. Of course, you know how much I love Suzy Parker AND Mr. Avedon. How I do kick myself for not buying “Made in France” when it came out (saw it at the Met Museum bookstore for $75) as now a copy can’t be had for less than $650…

    • You know what those hormones are piping now? “Vickie-eeeeee, have some chocolate for lunch, it’s full of antioxidants-sssss…”
      I guess what I was raving about in the wee hours was that even if there is a Popular Cultural Revolution, and all sorts of social media platforms are employed, the reflection should be outward. There should be research and thought behind it. I think the tearing down speaks much more of who’s doing the tearing, than what they’re tearing at.
      Does that make sense? I don’t know. It might just be the hormones again 😉 .

  2. I understand your equation. But, I think for some we may hold art and the artists to a higher standard. The Snooki’s of the world will move into oblivion at some point. But, when artists such as Roman Polanski, Leni Rafenstalh (sp), Eli Kazan, Michael Jackson commit no-nos no matter how high the art they’ve produced, it can give a person reason to pause. The idea that Our idols are human can be a devastating blow. Also bring into it a persons own belief system and it becomes less about “Well, this is my opinion, I’m going to go blab about it on FB” but more about personal beliefs, and history and possibly the complicated notion of Forgiveness. I for one can’t go see a Tom Cruise movie. Just can’t. But, I’m not taking it to the internet, well except for here. As for the Franco brouhaha, no idea.
    Interesting thoughts at 4 am.

    • I get what you’re saying. (And this is another reason why I love this thoughtful community.) What confuses me is the notion that humans / artists become idols. Or another question, why idolize an artist? We both know artists, they can be pretty whack. I understand when an artist becomes part of a movement, and their work is used to promote a repellant idea, then I can equate the art with the idea that’s promoted, but otherwise they’re just flawed people—like the rest of us.

      But then again, I could be totally wrong. Jilly! I am going to be thinking about this all day… Thank you. xox, V

  3. It’s absolutely stellar that you just mentioned “Maleficent”…. not three seconds ago, I asked my husband if he would go and see it with me in the theater. We are generally avid non-movie-theater-goers, thanks to idiots who pay for a ticket and have no intention of watching the movie (texting and flapping their yaps instead) and the strange phenomenon of kids who troop into and out of the seating area during the entire length of the film. I’m a self-proclaimed Angelina Jolie addict (though I will admit I preferred her wild Billy Bob Thornton days). I would snog her in a New York minute, and I am an experientially-speaking straight married chick. (In other words, I would totally make out with Kate Moennig, but she hasn’t returned my calls.) Annnnyway, I can’t wait to see Angie in “Maleficent” – and the Chinese can stuff it up their poop chutes. I mean, honestly… because she said she admired Ang Lee… jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez!

  4. Life is construct. A person on a television show plays the role of someone who’s supposed to be ugly, or beautiful, and if repeated enough times, the description becomes part of the public perception. The media age means no one has to be on television anymore for that to happen. Each person self-categorizes and then tries to sell it.
    I remember being infuriated years ago when they started doing reality programs about the art market with ‘experts’ and ‘dealers’ who were anything but. A ridiculous pastiche of what really goes on. And the interior design shows that will do a room In One Hour? And the monstrous success of those 50 shades…?

  5. Pingback: Happy 109th Birthday Horst P. Horst | waldina

  6. iolacontessa

    LOVED THIS…………YES, we cannot be perfect in every aspect of our lives.DIANA,made photos come ALIVE. Made us DREAM…………….
    As for the negativity bit we see in social media…….I chalk it up to jealousy!
    I slept until 6 am this morning!!!!!!!

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