Carmen & Geoffrey

Yesterday, in my dance fever post, I included this photo of Carmen De Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder.

I posted it, even though they were not dancing, because I knew that they are both dancers.

Their impact on that world is massive and eternal. More so than I even knew at the time. Truthfully, before I read about Carmen & Geoffrey the documentary on Shadow & Act, I had never heard of her and only thought of him as my beloved Punjab from Annie.

Well, cut to last night. With that dance post heavy on my mind. I needed something to watch while I (finally, after much procrastinating) ironed the kids clothes for the next day. I clicked over to Netflix and put on C&G because that gorgeous picture of them was still on my mind.

WHAT A FASCINATING STORY!!

I was riveted to the TV! I stayed up, waaay too late, because I simply could not wait until the next day to see the film in its entirety. There should be classes taught about these two. Seriously. The amount of work they’ve done, barriers they’ve broken and longevity they’ve maintained is truly astonishing. There are, to me anyway, parallels in their lives and those of another powerhouse couple: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. While Carmen and Geoffrey continue to enjoy a long and happy marriage, and Frida and Diego did not, their creativity, talent, drive and equal levels of success in their respective fields is quite similar.

Very few artists are appreciated and celebrated in their own lifetime like these four were. Carmen and Geoffrey have stacks and stacks of awards and accolades. They branched beyond dance and performed in film and theater productions. Geoffrey is an amazing gifted painter and director. Shows that he choreographed in the 60s and 70s are still performed. Carmen has taught throughout her life and at over eighty years old, she still dances and performs. Often.  Learning about these two should be required for all artists for their lives are a lesson in staying relevant and happy. Their loyalty and support of one another is rare, too. Geoffrey was still calling her his goddess and muse at nearly 50 years together. Carmen still a frequent subject of his paintings. She still performs work he choreographed, wearing a dress he created just for her.

If you have a Netflix subscription, consider watching this beautiful film about these two extraordinarily interesting people and the highlights of a life lived completely on their own terms.

Gotta Dance

In my mind, I am a dancer.

I think I daydream about it at least once a day. More, if I’m being truthful. Usually while I’m listening to music.

But, real life is not a daydream. In the waking world, I have two (backwards) left feet.

The thing is….I think, if I could have gotten over feeling self conscious and awkward and unpretty, I could have been a dancer.

For real.

Lucky for me, I have true joy in watching others perform.

From musicals to PBS ballroom dance broadcasts to my children grooving to Nina Simone.

Gotta Dance

Eartha Kitt teaching a dance class. Yes, that is James Dean.

Judith Jamison and Mikhail Baryshnikov dance together during a 1976 press conference to announce the premiere of “Pas de Duke,” a duet choreographed for them by Alvin Ailey set to the music of Duke Ellington.

Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder

American Bandstand

Writing legends Amiri Baraka and Maya Angelou dance in the atrium of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, over the interred ashes of Langston Hughes.

Dancers, Mott Haven, David Gonzalez, New York.

Katherine Dunham dancing the Florida East-Coast shimmy with dancer Ohardieno during show “Shore Excursion”. New York, NY. 1943

Young Dancers c.1940s

Black burlesque dancer, Lotti the Body

Julie Andrews and Gene Kelly

Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly

Audrey & Fred dancing

Men of the Cloth

I found this via Lady Katza. It’s a Kickstarted campaign for a documentary film called

Men of the Cloth

“An inspiring portrait of three Italian master tailors with a passionate devotion to their Old World trade.”

What an awesome story! I hope that the filmmaker reaches her goal so that we all have a chance to see the entire documentary.

Limping, Crawling, Dragging Over the Line

I am limping, crawling, dragging myself over the blog-every-damn-day-in-November finish line, people. Since I’ve got NOTHING I will talk a bit about back in the saddle sewing. Care to join me?

I have a deadline to meet before they boot me off of the Refashion Coop site. I think it’s time to make some sweater hats since the weather here in NYC decided to be seasonally appropriate (read – COLD). My children are losing hats and scarves at an alarming rate. I need to get some supplies in reserve. STAT!

I want to sew. Really, I do. But, this weather won’t allow for any of the fun things I have in mind or outdoor photos. I’d like to use the cool heart print fabric I got when Maddie was in town to give this pattern a whirl.

Simplicity 4676

But, I’m thinking making darts in challis might not be the best idea for light and carefree sewing…

Thanks to Sonja what I really, REALLY want to make is this top!

But, I’m on a pattern diet. That I’m having a hard enough time sticking to. Between freecycle, craigslist and ebay I am in serious trouble. Serious. This week alone, I’m picking up a Super 8 projector and screen (for an after school program idea at Missy’s school. I have cameras from my film school days) from a LinkedIn contact, of all places and am trying to set up a time to view an estate sale that might have good vintage clothes and linens up for grabs.

I can sniff out free or cheap stuff anywhere. Just call me the bargain bloodhound! Lol. That reference should give you some idea of how tired I am. I become increasingly ridiculous when I’m sleepy ;D

Nite, nite!

If I were….

Question:

What can a list of random things tell you about me??

  • If I were a gemstone, I’d be an amethyst.
  • If I were a scent, I’d be lemon-y.
  • If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be a pair of finely detailed oxfords.
  • If I were the weather, I’d be sunny and clear with a warm-ish breeze.
  • If I were a facial expression, I’d be a natural, non-pissed, off frown (aka my natural facial expression).
  • If I were a car, I’d be an old square BMW with a hatch back.
  • If I were a time of day, I’d the small hours between midnight and daylight (when I’m my most productive).
  • If I were a month, I’d be October.
  • If I were a place, I’d be a Brooklyn.
  • If I were a liquid, I’d be ice tea, hold the lemon.
  • If I were a taste, I’d be bitter.
  • If I were a sea animal, I’d be a shark (if I have to be underwater, I wanna run shit).
  • If I were a food, I’d be fried chicken.
  • If I were a color, I’d be purple (all shades).
  • If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a drum.
  • If I were a flower, I’d be a violet
  • If I were an object, I’d be a belt (I hold shit up).
  • If I were a fruit, I’d be a cantaloupe.
  • If I were a sound, I’d be the tone of a bass drum.
  • If I were a day of the week, I’d be a Saturday.
  • If I were a nailpolish color, I’d be clear.
  • If I were a bakery treat, I’d be a double chocolate cake.
  • If I were a store, I’d be Target (essentials and fluff).
  • If I were a season, I’d be Spring.
  • If I were a perfume, I’d be any light, airy scent.

Answer:

If purple is an option, be it color, gemstone or flower, I’d choose that >.<

Found via Yessiree Petunia back at the beginning of the month.

Illustration to Life

I’ve spent way too much (like WAY TOO MUCH) time today looking at my pattern stash and vintage pinboards trying to make some matches. Fun!!! As much as I love the old fashioned illustrations, I like to see the clothes made up, too.

Here are some of the connections I made.

 Two Piece Ensembles

Models Cordie King and Alberta Culbreath model afternoon fashions for Ebony Fashion Fair in 1958.


Barbara Smith (right) and another model pose for the legendary Pittsburgh photographer, Charles “Teenie” Harris, backstage at a fashion show around 1969.

Simplicity 4018

Simplicity 4132

A-line skirts, blouses and knits.

Howard University theater students photographed in 1946 by LIFE magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.

African American teenage girls c.1950′s

Simplicity 4676

Advance 9916

Simplicity 3117

40s Pants

Dorothy Dandridge rehearsing with composer, arranger and vocal coach extraordinaire Phil Moore in March 1951.

Three women, one wearing dark sweater with two daschund appliques, posed around a suitcase in front of brick building, 1940s.

Lauren Bacall

Simplicity 3223

40s Power Shoulders

Advance 4328