About Joyatri

Avid thrifter and vintage clothes wearer. Love 1960s and early 1970s styles. Partial to Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, Victorian, Renaissance and Medieval art. Former art historian. Current packrat. On a continual quest for good-looking, comfortable vegan shoes. Bhangra dancer since 2002. Fascinated by all things Indian. Vegan and animal advocate. 

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"She was dressed, as usual, in an odd assortment of clothes, most of which had belonged to other people." 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1913-1980)

 

 

“I said "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realized I am somebody.”

 Lily Tomlin

 

 

 

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Entries in film (3)

Wednesday
May082013

Silents at the seaside

Greetings from the U.K.!

After a hectic few days of giving my apartment a good scrubbing in preparation for the house-sitter and trying on all of my clothes in order to figure out what to pack, I flew to London.

My luggage containing all the clothes I’ll need for the changeable weather of the U.K. and enough accessories to keep me from getting bored for two months.

The day after I arrived and before I really knew where I was, my boyfriend A. whisked me off to Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast for a silent film festival. As I’ve reported in previous posts, A. is quite a silent film buff and I’m learning to be one too.

The cinema there was built in 1919, screening many a silent film in its first decade.

We saw quintessentially English, sea-side themed films based on the early 20th-century stories by W.W. Jacobs. Of course, they were accompanied by live music.

© 1928 Collection George Eastman House The highlight of the weekend was a screening of the American film, Beggars of Life (1928), “a rollicking saga of hobos on the lam” starring the captivating Louise Brooks. In keeping with the era and location, the music was provided by silent film accompanist par excellence Neil Brand and the U.K. skiffle band, The Dodge Brothers (which includes Mark Kermode, a film critic and TV presenter). I had doubts about Americana music played by a group of Brits (although one member is an American now living in the U.K.), but their performance was amazing and their music ranged from soulful to exciting (to accompany the chase and train crash scenes). If you haven’t seen silent films -- the musicians pretty much make up the score as they watch the film. So Brandt’s piano playing set the tone and The Dodge Brothers had to follow along.

After the screening A. and I -- being the only attendees who had specially come to Aldeburgh for the festival -- were invited to a small after-party for the band and festival organizers.

Graves of Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears. Aldeburgh is best known as the home of the composer Benjamin Britten and it hosts numerous music festivals, including one founded by Britten himself. Other than the festival, it didn't seem like there’s a lot going on there, which it turns out is its appeal for those with holiday homes. It’s also incredibly expensive and does not have a train station, which helps keep the riff-raff out. On Sundays and bank holidays, we found out that there isn’t even bus service in or out of the town, so we ended up having to take a taxi to the nearest train station, then changing three times to get back to London.

Shingle beach, self-catering cottages, 16th Moot Hall, ’Snooks,’ a memorial to a veterinarian couple. Me in my element at a car boot sale, our B & B, a wicker fence lining the footpath, my boot finds.We did enjoy the picturesque views and the laid-back atmosphere. Our B & B was on the top floor of a 19th c. former convent. We took a walk along a footpath that led us through a churchyard and cemetery. Other than the films and the after party, a high point was getting to a car boot sale on Sunday morning (the charity shops in town were crazy-expensive), where I scored 1965 and 1969 issues of Queen magazine.

1940s frock coat, thrifted, Goodwill, Cambridge. Clogs, thrifted, Goodwill, Cambridge, and painted by me. Hat, thrifted, Goodwill, Cambridge, embellished by me. 1960s sunglasses, purchased at Dollar-A-Pound, Cambridge 20+ years ago. 1930s Bakelite brooch I’ve had for decades. 1960s scarf, purchased at Mr. Bird Vintage Fair, Birmingham. Bangles purchased in India.  I spent the weekend looking out-of-place amidst all the tourists in their t-shirts, shorts and sandals. Yeah, it was sunny but there was a nippy breeze. My boyfriend commented that I looked like I had an aversion to the sun. My one concession to summer was the straw hat and sunglasses. It’s not like I was following the tradition of older women wearing street clothes at the seaside, I just feel cold more than others. And we spent four or more hours each day inside a dark theater and not romping on the beach.

1970s does 1940s dress, purchased at Spitalfields Market, London. Tights, retail. Clogs, thrifted and painted by me. 1940s necklace I’ve owned for decades.As above with thrifted straw hat with new ribbon and made-by-me fabric flower. I also made a red herringbone hatband that I wore the previous day. You can watch The Dodge Brothers and Neil Brand do a sound check for Beggars of Life.

After the film, The Dodge Brothers played this song, "No. 9." Here they perform it at The Royal Albert Hall.

Do go see Beggars of Life if the opportunity arises.

Friday
Nov302012

Collars and cuffs

The Hays Code went into affect in Hollywood in mid-1934 and determined what could and could not be shown in films (for example, a couple could not be shown in the same bed, crime could not go unpunished, and drug use was verboten).

This week, A and I went to see the pre-code cut of "Baby Face" with Barbara Stanwyck, made in 1933. Stanwyck plays Lily Powers, a small-town girl whose father prostituted her at age 14 (uh, yeah, that tidbit got cut out of the post-code version) and who eventually becomes a 'master of her own destiny' by sleeping her way to the top. You can read about the changes eventually made to the film to bring it up to code here (warning: there are spoilers if you plan to see the film).

Stanwyck's performance was stellar and the racy story was riveting. I was also riveted by Lily's costumes, particularly her office looks, as she her fortune rose.

As a bar girl "working the night shift" in her father's speakeasy, Lily wears a simple top with a pointy collar and white trim on the sleeves.

In her first office job in a bank in New York City, she wears a floral print dress suitable to her small-town past, with short, puffy sleeves that look girlish. The collar reminds me of a Puritan collar, perhaps suggesting the innocent image she was trying to convey. A very young John Wayne was her first conquest.

A few promotions later Lily wears a large crocheted collar and cuffs with a sleek, dark dress. I couldn't find more images online, but as her 'power' grows, her collars and cuffs become more elaborate.

Of course, once she no longer has to work, her everyday wardrobe consists of stunning velvet and satin gowns, ornamented with sequins and fur.

Have you seen the pre-code version of "Baby Face"? If so, please do let me know if you saw a similar progression in Lily's office outfits.

The screening that A and I saw included a discussion afterwards with my favorite director, Mike Leigh -- a treat all around.

Wednesday
Oct242012

Silence of the films

The London Film Festival has just been on and A. and I saw two films, Alfred Hitchcock’s last silent film, The Manxmen (1929), and a newly restored version of the 1923 Hollywood silent production, The Spanish Dancer. Both films were accompanied by live music which adds a certain extra thrill to viewing a film.

Ad with still from The ManxmenOf course, without sound, facial expressions are critical for silent film acting so I spent a lot of time studying 1920s make-up and hairstyles during the film. So forgive me if I start painting a cupid’s bow for lips and very long thin lines for eyebrows.

Pola Negri starred in The Spanish Dancer as a feisty and clever gypsy girl who wins the heart and saves the life of an impoverished nobleman. After seeing this wonderful costume drama/comedy, I may also start wearing peasant blouses, head scarves and dangling earrings. (Oh, that's right, I already do).

1970s beret, purchased new in the 1970s. Scarf with traditional Rabari embroidery, purchased in India. Red top, thrifted at Goodwill, $4.99. South American patchwork wrap skirt purchased new from a non-profit organization. Vegetarian Shoes boots, purchased new. Bag, purchased new in the 1990s, recently painted by me and to be featured in a future post.In my movie-going outfit (you can tell by the beret) at the BFI Southbank.

This weekend I’ll be traveling to Wolverhampton to attend the West Midlands Vegan Festival and meet up with the fabulous Vix. I’m so looking forward to meeting her!

Miracle of miracles! The sun is out for the first time since I've been in the U.K. Must get outside now!