Saturday, January 24, 2009

Irish Rose

"There are very few people, just a handful, who have a relationship with their clothes like Daphne Guinness. The Guinness heir and fashion muse doesn't dress up or down. She dresses out"
Featured in the August 2008 issue of Vanity Fair

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yes we can!

I was at the inauguration, as many of you kindly asked. I spent the morning at a friend's watching the swearing in, drinking mimosas, then walked down to the national mall hoping to catch just a glimpse of the parade as it passed.
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time. We accidentally went to one of the few gates allowing non-ticket holders onto the route. We happened to be at the front of a line we didn't know existed in the chaos and got ushered to a few available seats in the grandstands! It sounds easy, but this involved about 2 hours of waiting. Just happenstance though...AMAZING signs on a nearby office building read 'welcome Mr. President'. Every building and roof of the surrounding buildings were crowded with viewers.

I wish I could describe to you the atmopshere at the parade other than saying it was magical. I have never met so many warm, friendly people. We were bound together by our excitement of the coming administration, our hope for the future and our FRIGIDITY. While it may not have felt cold at first, being outside in low 30 degree temperatures soon took its tole. It was worth all discomfort though. 2 photos of the crowd surrounding us. It was packed! As the news reported though, due to the cold and long wait, as soon as the president's motorcade past, most of us left the stands and left the parade route. I had to get someplace warm!
Security was tight but everything was managed surprisingly efficiently. While waiting in line the many volunteers tried to keep the crowd entertained with chants and cheers. The hundreds of thousands of spectators were incredibly patient and understanding while we waited in long lines with no clue what was going on, herded together like cattle (which was a blessing as it provided warmth and blocked cold winds). It will be a day I'll never forget and neither will my frozen toes! One of the bands in period costume which preceded the president's motorcade,

While waiting for 2 hours for the parade to begin we all talked about where we came from, the cold, how we spent the morning and did 'the wave' up and down the bleachers while reciting different chants people knew. We were a rowdy part of the crowd, but even the police and army guards seemed to be in on the fun!an antique dc metro bus which led the president's motorcade

I felt like a part of this countries' history and of something bigger than just an individual citizen. I made so many friends waiting in line and while waiting for the parade to begin and was touched by their stories. I'll never know their names but I know many traveled long distances (not 5 blocks like me). A group of women drove all night from Toronto, tickets in hand; an older couple (pictured below with me in the hat) who came up from Texas, an entire family spanning generations from the Czcech Republic who came 1/2 way across the world just to see a parade and hope for the future. I hope you all managed to see some of the inauguration on tv and celebrate with me the hope and faith in the future of our country.
President Barack Obama passing in his motorcade in front of the DC mayor's booth across from us, above and below.
In the video below we took, you can see the president in his limo waving as he drove by. Unfortunately I was at a part of the parade route where the president rode and did not walk. I caught a glimpse of him smiling and waving to us with his little girls. I can't say I blame him because of the cold and his long, tiring day, but we were all a bit disappointed!

The flag of dc which we sat under - we also sat under a huge US flag pictured at the top of the post. All photos taken by myself.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mary Pickford and Pickfair

Mary Pickford was our first real international movie star. Here she is shown above in front of Pickfair, the home she shared with her husband Douglas Fairbanks and spent her life in. She was known as 'America's Sweetheart' and 'the girl with the curls'.
While she rose to fame in the early 1920s, Mary Pickford was born on April 8, 1892 in Toronto as Gladys Smith (not a very glamorous name). She was put to work by her mother to earn a living after her father passed away. She eventually moved on to Broadway in 1907 for a part in The Warrens of Virginia which was written by William Demille, the brother of Cecile B. Demille (who also starred in the play!) I think you can see where this is going.... Her film career spanned from 1909 until 1933 when she retired. She appeared in 236 films during that time period, appearing in 51 films in 1909 alone!Pickford was also a brilliant business woman. She marketed her image in a way seen today by young actresses and celebrities such as Paris Hilton. She was Hollywood's first millionaire - commanding $350,000 a picture and a percentage of the profits by the end of her career. The invention of sound was her undoing though as well as her 'bob' when she cut her hair in 1928. She was no longer able to pull off the young, ingenue roles the public loved to see her in.
Mary Pickford, center, with Loretta Young to the left -hedda hopper can be seen in the background
Mary toured during both world wars selling war bonds and entertaining the troops. She and her 2nd husband, Douglas Fairbanks were seen as 'hollywood royalty' and their home, Pickfair, was seen as it's castle. Mary passed away in 1979 at the age of 87 while still living at Pickfair.
Pickfair was designed by the architect Wallace Neff and was located in the San Ysidro Valley near Los Angeles (1143 Summit Drive). The house featured 22 rooms and had beautiful ceiling frescoes in most of the rooms. It was the first home in Los Angles to feature a swimming pool which was set into a formal garden.
During the 1920s it was, as I mentioned, the capital of Hollywood -where the elite from all over the world were entertained, not just movie stars. Mary Pickford lived there till her death in 1979, although it had become run down. the 'western bar' at pickfair
The actress Pia Zadora later bought the home with her husband and demolished it, building a new one in its place. She claimed it was beyond repair and full of termites after much negative press. The only remaining parts of the mansion are the original gates with the letter P on them. The current mansion was sold for $60 million in 2008.the original gates seen in front of the new mansion.