Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tickled Pink: Crémant de Bourgogne for the Holidays!


TICKLED PINK: CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE:  Can you keep a secret?  Good!  Because we can't any longer -- you see, for years we at Studio of Style have been serving our guests (the best ones, of course!) this amazing bubbly wine from Burgundy, France (which is why we can't officially call it "champagne"-- but you understand, kids!) and our guests always (and we mean always) ask "What is this fabulous thing we're drinking???"   Well, like we said, we can't keep it a secret any longer because Crémant de Bourgogne Rosé "Perle d'Aurore" from Louis Bouillot is absolutely a stylish bubbly to serve any time of year.  Why, you ask?  With its blend of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay grapes, this heavenly concoction (did we just say that?) has the most unbelievable salmon-pink-rosé color and exquisitely fine bubbles (to tickle your fancy!) and, most importantly, a taste that can best be described as summer fruits ranging from strawberry to blackberry (my dear friends Jane and Bob are now aficionados of this nectar of the gods!).  After creating amazing Crémant de Bourgogne since 1877, Louis Bouillot has perfected this style and they truly know how to get the most flavor from their grapes from the hallowed grounds of Burgundy.  By the way -- this makes an excellent summer wine to serve!  Don't just wait for New Year's or someone's anniversary or birthday.  For goodness sakes, get lots of luscious Crémant (the price is amazingly wonderful too!) and serve it all the time!  So now you know our secret -- whatcha gonna do about it?  Shout it out loud, we hope!
Hollywood and San Francisco: http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1015268

Monday, December 17, 2012

Divine Decadence Darling! Have A Cabaret Holiday with Liza Minnelli

DIVINE DECADENCE DARLING! HAVE A CABARET HOLIDAY WITH LIZA MINNELLI

"I suppose you're wondering what I'm doing, working at a place like the Kit Kat Club," says Liza Minnelli's character Sally Bowles to Michael York's dashing English character Brian Roberts in Cabaret. To which he replies in his restrained tone of voice, "Well, it is a rather unusual place."  To which Bowles replies, "That's me, darling. Unusual places, unusual love affairs. I am a most strange and extraordinary person."

With that exchange, we're off and running with a most wonderful film musical -- the 1972 award-winning masterpiece that is Cabaret -- for which there are more reasons to watch it than you think!! Of course, it's not the conventional holiday viewing fare you normally think of when you think of mistletoe, fruitcake and The Sound of Music -- but you gotta admit that for those of us who just love a good song and dance film sprinkled with razzle dazzle, love affairs, great ensemble acting, a tinge of horror and sadness of 1930s Berlin and those good-looking guys Michael York and Helmut Griem -- well, how can you not feel festive and wanting to put down the knitting, the book and the broom? Well??

Did you know that Cabaret was selected by the United States National Film Registry in 1995 as being deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" (but we always knew that, didn't we?).  And the American Film Institute ranked it as #5 on its list of best musicals in 2006 -- preceded in 2004 with the song "Cabaret" positioned as #18 on the AFI's list "100 Years...100 Songs."  And later in 2007, the film was voted #63 on AFI's list of the 100 Greatest American Movies!! (Thank goodness for AFI validating what we always believed about this super flick!)  But the main reason to watch it, of course, is for the superb performances all around by a dream cast whose equal in movie musicals has yet to be matched.  Liza Minnelli was originally denied the Broadway stage role (boy, I bet they were sorry!).  Joel Grey reprised his stage role for the film.  Boyishly handsome Michael York was hand-picked by director Bob Fosse. And Marisa Berenson turns in a fab performance too -- as she transforms from department store heiress caught up in the world of social etiquette to a woman who finally finds love on the eve of darkness in anti-Semitic Germany.  And it the rehearsals and filming took place completely in Germany for a true period feel! Though it won eight Academy Awards, it was upstaged for Best Picture of the Year by The Godfather.  Rightfully, it won seven BAFTA Awards (including Best Film -- yes!) and won the title of Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy) at the Golden Globe Awards.  So, blow your horn and start celebrating -- it's time to watch Cabaret!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Music of Beethoven: Bizarre, Wild and Ugly?


THE MUSIC OF BEETHOVEN: BIZARRE, WILD AND UGLY? -- Yes, kids, it's hard imagine that the most beloved classical composer in today's world once had to suffer the slings and arrows of outraged music critics during his lifetime -- but it's all too true! You have to remember that the folks of the civilized world at the time were completely contented with the lovely harmonics generated by Mozart and Hayden and everything seemed to be right with the musical world -- and then along comes this upstart from Bonn, banging upon the pianos in the prim and proper salons of Vienna -- causing the folks in the crowd to plug their ears, denouncing this youngster with vast improvisational skills as just way too modern! Although Beethoven would have a host of notable and prestigious patrons and teachers along the way, the critics (and we know how they are!) weren't so sure that the new musical messiah had arrived and (as critics do) proceeded to rip him a new one in the press.  In the beginning, around 1795, critics first hailed him as a bright new star -- but within years, some began to turn on him, thinking he had veered "off course" (wherever that was!).  His Opus 12 Violin Sonata evoked cries of horror. His Appassionata Piano Sonata was deemed "incomprehensible, abrupt and dark" (yikes!) and much of it "enormously difficult" (oh really??).  Not even the masterful Eroica Symphony escaped those poison pens -- "Too long. Over-written.  The finale is all too bizarre, wild and ugly," wrote a critic in Leipzig in 1805.  Oh and yes, let's not overlook that lovely critic at The Harmonicom in London, who in 1825 wrote that the Eighth Symphony depended "wholely on its last movement for what little applause it receives" -- and that the rest of the work is "eccentric without being amusing."  And later it would say about the Ninth Symphony, "We found Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to be precisely one hour and five minutes long; a fearful period indeed, which puts the muscles and lungs of the band, and the patience of the audience to a severe trial. The symphony we could not make out; and here, as well as in other parts, the want of intelligible design is too apparent." Well, in the end, it all worked out and Beethoven would go on to conquer the musical world with just the first four notes of his immortal Fifth Symphony -- and this leaves us to wonder just how "wild and ugly" eventually becomes magnificent and amazing when left to the great leveler of all things: Time.  You might as well put on some Beethoven and let the world know just how wild you are!
Portrait of The Master by Josef Karl both defiled and enhanced by Greg Firlotte

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Making Holiday Nutcracker Magic with Los Angeles Ballet

MAKING HOLIDAY NUTCRACKER MAGIC WITH LOS ANGELES BALLET -- It is certainly the most magical of all ballets -- ever! And it is not surprising that six years ago in December of 2006, Los Angeles Ballet made its debut with Tchaikovsky's immortal The Nutcracker and thus established itself as Los Angeles' critically acclaimed dance company. Two years earlier in 2004, Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary founded LAB as Artistic Directors and since then it has been recognized as world-class and hailed for authentic stagings of the George Balanchine repertory, including both classical ballets and world premieres of cutting-edge new works. With at least 18 productions encompassing more than 35 works (including 13 commissioned works) under its collective belt, LAB performs regularly throughout Los Angeles County at seven venues and has provided thousands of free tickets to underserved and disadvantaged children and their families -- how wonderful is that? And once again, the beloved The Nutcracker ballet is being presented in several L.A. venues -- including Royce Hall at UCLA, December 15 & 16 -- and then at brand new Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge, December 22 & 23 (what a Christmas present that would be!!) and finally at Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, December 29 & 30 (a great way to ring out the old year and ring in the new!). At Studio of Style, we love taking a peak behind the scenes -- so here is a look at LAB rehearsals and on-stage performances of The Nutcracker. Principle dancer Allynne Noelle (top photo) rehearses under the watchful eyes of (from left to right) Michael Andreas, musical director; Christenson; and Neary; while in the mirror's reflection we see members of the ensemble in costume. Mice (middle left) rehearse in their furry garb. David Block and Helena Thordal-Christenson (middle right) in the midst of rehearsal. Company dancer Alexander Castillo lifts Julia Cinquemani (bottom left); and principal dancers Noelle and Kenta Shimizu (bottom right) perform one of the ballet's prominent numbers. Did you know that Artistic Director Thordal Christensen himself was once a dancer at the famed Royal Danish Ballet, the New York City Ballet and then at Pacific Northwest Ballet and has danced the role of the Prince in The Nutcracker among so many other leading roles? And that Colleen Neary was one of George Balanchine's quintessential ballerinas -- and that she has worked with ballet luminaries Rudolf Nureyev (!) and Maurice Béjart (!!) and has performed as Clara in The Nutcracker as well?? With so much ballet excellence found in the staff and dancers of Los Angeles Ballet, there is so much to experience -- not only in the LAB The Nutcracker performances around Los Angeles, but also in their upcoming two-part 2013 Balanchine Festival starting in March. So, don't let time slip away like Clara's Christmas Eve dream....go see Los Angeles Ballet and capture some of the holiday magic for yourself!!

Buy tickets: http://losangelesballet.org/
Photos by Reed Hutchinson / courtesy Los Angeles Ballet

Saturday, December 8, 2012

More Tiki Madness in Tinseltown! Don Tiki's Holiday Show at Disney Hall

MORE TIKI MADNESS IN TINSELTOWN! DON TIKI'S HOLIDAY SHOW AT DISNEY HALL -- Okay kids, let's mix up some rum drinks 'cos we're gonna celebrate the Yuletide with a Hawaiian twist on December 20 in Los Angeles! We at Studio of Style can never get enough tiki -- and there's no better way to get lei'd (did we say that??) than with the exotic sounds of Don Tiki -- Honolulu's legendary collective of musicians, vocalists and dancers.  There's so much to see and hear in this show coming direct from the Isle of Paradise that you'll swear that the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A. is just one big luau!! Everything will be shaken and definitely not stirred when this ensemble lets loose with their jungle jazzy sounds that pay homage to those Mid-Century masters of exotica music: Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman and Les Baxter!! Don Tiki has moved this beloved brand of music into the 21st century -- and even the master himself, Martin Denny, played on the band's 1997 debut album The Forbidden Sounds of Don Tiki and you can't get better than that! Of course, you'll be seeing dancer Violetta Beretta (that gorgeous living tiki lamp and Santa doll, shown above!) at Disney Hall, plus lots more dancers, guest vocalists, drummers, a comedienne, a bird-call man, and so many, many more performers and surprises -- what more can we say? In fact, Don Tiki co-founder Lloyd "Fluid Floyd" Kandell let us in on the Los Angeles program in an exclusive interview with Studio of Style: "We were requested to include some holiday-style tiki songs," says Kandell, "so our band leader and composer (and co-founder) Kit "Perry Coma" Ebersbach came up with "Jungle Jollyday" -- whose title came from our singer Sherry Shaoling. And another song "Xmas Eve at the Club Bambu" is a seductive updating of the duet standard "Baby It's Cold Outside." Not to mention some tiki-style instrumentals of traditional holiday songs -- plus lyrics from some of our existing songs to fit the holiday theme.  All of these will debut at Disney Hall."

Studio of Style: So how did this imaginative musical ensemble begin in the first place?

Fluid Floyd: First of all, I have fond memories of hearing exotica and tiki music at my parent's backyard luau parties while I was growing up in Southern California.  But the formation of the band was sparked by a sudden friendship with the legendary Martin Denny who invented and popularized this style of music during Hawaii's statehood days. The kindling of the flame was when we realized how interesting the conventions of Mr. Denny's sound stylings were and that those musical possibilities were endless.

Studio of Style: What was your first show like as the band Don Tiki?

Fluid Floyd:  Our first live gig was at the fabled Kahiki supper club in Columbus, Ohio -- thanks to Otto von Stroheim, publisher of Tiki News. Sadly, it was the last night of this insane tiki place and the tiki luminaries from around the world were in attendance -- and we filmed a lovely message from Martin Denny that concluded with him playing "Quiet Village" on his grand piano as our band starting playing along live with him. Those true tiki believers lost their minds and we were off and running with our set of original exotica music!

Studio of Style: What was Martin Denny like?

Fluid Floyd: I met him when he was 80 years old at a Steinway piano recital here in Honolulu and he was very gracious, warm and a great raconteur. He was thrilled that we were interested in reviving this almost-lost genre of music and he agreed to sit in on our first record release "The Forbidden Sounds of Don Tiki." Marty was always very positive and encouraging -- and attended every one of our live performances in Hawaii.

Studio of Style: What was it like to perform in Berlin, Germany?

Fluid Floyd: Berlin was amazing! I guess the further you are from the source, the more exotic it becomes. Fans came in vintage tiki attire and danced and sang along to every song. We felt like rock stars!

Studio of Style: What is it about exotica music and the tiki lifestyle that has endured over the decades and continues to attract people to it?

Fluid Floyd: Sven Kirsten, author of "The Book of Tiki" and "Modern Tiki," said it best in his liner notes for our album "Skinny Dip with Don Tiki" -- In this day and age, we are all aware that paradise on Earth does not exist. Yet the need for it is eternal and can be playfully indulged in. Tiki bars are being erected again in city centers, living room corners and office cubicles, where the sultry rhythms of Exotica resound. Don Tiki is providing the soundtrack for this Technicolor projection of a Polynesian pop paradise."

Don't miss the Los Angeles show!! Get tickets: http://www.dontiki.com/
Images courtesy Don Tiki / special thanks to Lee Joseph

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Anna Karenina and the Art of Cinematic Seduction

ANNA KARENINA AND THE ART OF CINEMATIC SEDUCTION -- From the moment the first images come onto the screen, you are seduced. And the seduction continues, layer upon layer, scene after scene, until you the viewer are caught up in this dance of love, infidelity, passion, jealousy, betrayal, defiance and human tragedy that is the new film from director Joe Wright that brings a beautiful sadness to the ill-fated romance of Anna Karenina -- a masterpiece of a novel written by Russian Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy in 1877.  Keira Knightley and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are brilliantly cast as the star-crossed lovers Anna and Count Vronsky -- but equally sharing the limelight is the production design, art direction and sumptuous lighting as well as the luscious set decoration by Katie Spencer (Sherlock Holmes, Atonement and Pride & Prejudice) which all combine to cast a spell from start to finish.  If some of the scenes have a slightly familiar look to them, that is perhaps due to the sun-dappled, pasteled references to iconic French Impressionist paintings (Degas and Manet) as well as Russian artists of roughly the same period. The musical score as well hints at Tchaikovsky and Satie for its haunting effects. And the clever use of St. Petersburg's famed Mariinsky and Kirov theaters as the setting for a good deal of the film is nothing short of genius on the part of Wright, allowing for a new way of telling this classic love story by injecting a different way of seeing it compared to set notions of previous film adaptations (it's been done 10 times before from 1914 to 2000). And we love seeing Downton Abbey vets Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley) and Thomas Howes (William Mason) in the mix as well! But -- and this is a big one -- the ultimate seduction for Studio of Style is Taylor-Johnson's Count Vronsky, a complex, mysterious character if there ever was one.  Remember, it was he that began the pursuit -- and who wouldn't want to fall for those baby blue eyes, his boyish yet manly features and his character's noble mannerisms?  Taylor-Johnson charms us into this affair and for the sake of love, we want to take the thrilling, forbidden ride. And at first, we're just as smitten as he is with finding this enchanting creature of Anna who has passion in her eyes at all times. But as the film unfolds, Vronsky's moods twist and turn and we are left wondering just who he really is....and how sad we become for Anna and even for Jude Law's astoundingly spot-on role as Count Karenin who must suffer all sorts of embarrassment, indignation and ultimately heartbreak over his wife's infidelity.  And just as we thought we knew Tolstoy's book by memory, Wright and his artistic ensemble redefine how powerful love is and will always be in the scheme of things. From the mesmerizing dance sequences to the candle-lit interiors of a snow-covered dasha in the Russian countryside, to the blue damask wall coverings (which you can't forget) to the costumes, jewelry and those wonderful little alphabet blocks (you'll have to see the movie!), Anna Karenina is one heckuva stylish film. Don't think twice about seeing this film -- just watch it without prejudice, without any comparisions to previous adaptions and you'll want to fall in love all over again. And if a Count Vronsky should come your way.....well, all we can say is that you can't ask why about love!
http://focusfeatures.com/Anna_Karenina

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Something New, Old, Colorful & Bold: The World of Alice Apple!

SOMETHING NEW, OLD, COLORFUL & BOLD: THE WORLD OF ALICE APPLE! -- Not many people have heard of the small town of Totnes, located at the head of the estuary of the River Dart in Devon in the southwest of England. But back in the Medieval times, this picturesque town was a bustling market center and it was here that further back in time to Ancient Rome that the mythical founder of Britain -- Brutus of Troy (a descendant of Trojan heroes) -- first came ashore and thus a new island kingdom was born! And in keeping with the tradition of merchants flourishing in Totnes over the centuries, one can find artist/designer Alice Burrows at the helm of her own business Alice Apple which offers a tasty array of colorfully-designed textiles and items made from these textiles (toys, cross stitch patterns and fabric decorations). Using vintage surface patterns from the 1960s and 1970s as a starting point for inspiration, Burrows creates bold textile designs that we at Studio of Style just love for their fun scale and timeless appeal. What a wonderful way to add color to napkins, placemats, table cloths, runners, throw pillows, curtains and drapery! And we also love the combinations of pink, orange, blue, purples, green and magenta that remind us of the flowers of spring and summer (think Cosmos, Ranuculus, Gerber Daisies, Tulips). With the longest days of winter looming ahead, why not think spring and start some interior design projects with Alice Apple fabrics? They're easily available in the U.S. through Spoonflower -- and they're offered in various cotton qualities, including poplin, voile, silk, canvas, knit, twill, sateen and crepe de chine -- and you can get test swatches and fat quarters in addition to the 42"-wide lengths -- how wonderful is that? Plus, you can tell all your friends that Alice Apple from Totnes designed them -- and they will all be impressed at your ability of finding the most fabulous fabrics! But then, we already knew that about you, didn't we?
http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/aliceapple
Images courtesy Alice Apple

Monday, November 12, 2012

Falling in Love....Again! Being "Romantique" with Elina Garanča

FALLING IN LOVE....AGAIN! BEING "ROMANTIQUE" WITH ELINA GARANČA -- This lady from Latvia is conquering the classical music world aria by aria, recital by recital, opera by opera. The clarity, the beauty, the depth of her voice is mesmerizing.  Clean, modern, a new voice for a new generation. Since entering the Latvian Academy of Music in 1996, mezzo-soprano Elina Garanča has entranced music lovers with her distinctive voice -- but it was an appearance in 2003 at the Salzburg Festival singing the part of Annio in Mozart's La clemenza di Tito that led to major engagements on international stages in Vienna, Paris and New York where The New York Times music critic Bernard Holland was so moved to write "Ms. Garanča is the real thing."  And we at Studio of Style have never been so taken with a mezzo-soprano as she -- her porcelain skin glows like the lingering effects of the White Nights of the Baltic midsummer. Writer Jeremy Nicholas of Grammophone magazine wrote "What sets her apart, however, is the unteachable ability to send shivers down the spine and make grown men salivate." Well, well.  With 10 CDs under her beautiful belt, we suggest that you neophytes to the world of opera -- and even you longtime veterans -- just simply plunge yourself into Garanča's newest CD "Romantique" -- with its songs of love and despair -- and there's no better way to do it than viewing the official video from Deutsche Grammophon shown below, where she sings that luscious aria from Camille Saint-Saen's Samson et Dalila "Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix" (my heart opens itself to your voice).  As you watch this video, just imagine yourself on a balmy midsummer night on the Baltic, and from among the stone monoliths Elina Garanča appears in the white light,  lulling you into a romantic reverie with her creamy, pure voice.  Aaaaah, how romantique is that?
http://www.elinagaranca.com
Images courtesy Elina Garanča & Deutsche Grammophon

Saturday, November 3, 2012

With Time on Her Side: The Unique Art of Doni Silver Simons


WITH TIME ON HER SIDE: THE UNIQUE ART OF DONI SILVER SIMONS --  We have to admit it: we at Studio of Style met Los Angeles artist Doni Silver Simons before we ‘met’ her work – and we knew immediately that something truly unique was in store for us if Simons’ gentle yet profound nature was to be found in it. And sure enough, this acclaimed artist with her equally profound, thoughtful art has made her mark in the art world by doing exactly that: mark-making. Markings – a series of 4 vertical and one cross-hatched line – have become Simons’ signature and a visual tally of the passage of time. The nearly obsessive need to mark this passage of time is at the core of all her works, be they painting or performance. If the marks are not made directly on the canvas, then they appear as strands pulled from a canvas. Los Angeles area gallery-goers will have an opportunity to see not one, but two Simons exhibits in November: Caesura at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica which opens November 8th; and Alchemy at the Projects Room at Liz’s Loft in Los Angeles (see Simons’ website for more info on both the show schedules and more about her art).  For her performance in Alchemy which opens November 10th, Simons will make the first mark and invite each visitor to the gallery to add a single mark on a long narrow paper scroll as they walk around three sides of the project space – and a video will also record their hand and the sound of the mark. Periodically, Simons will visit the gallery to continue marking the same way for two months – from November 10th to the closing on January 8th.  So here’s an opportunity for you – our stylish reader – to make your mark in the art world as well!  In this exclusive interview with Simons, Studio of Style asked the artist to tell us more about the hows and whys of her very intriguing style of art.

Studio of Style:  You call yourself a 'mark-maker' and have always considered yourself as such.  When did you first realize this fascination and what spurred it?

Doni Silver Simons:  I always drew, even as a young child. However, the first time I thought of myself as a mark-marker was when I was applying to graduate school and I realized that I wanted to study drawing as a finished product. Marking -- the act of drawing and its simplicity -- was where I resonated. It seems that I am always in search of essence -- and that search is realized in the unification of "writing" and drawing lines.

Studio of Style:  What first step as an artist did you take as a mark-maker?

Simons:  In the early '70s I started to document my life through marking. I did my first marked journal in those years, abandoning writing in favor of vertical parallel lines. I marked a journal that consisted of large sheets of graph paper with one vertical line per grid. The lines were drawn in graphite.  I "wrote" (marked) intuitively each day just as one would enter their thoughts and experiences into a personal journal. The journal was shown in part at the Feigenson-Rosenstein Gallery in Detroit in 1975. A page of that journal is in the Lila and Gil Silverman collection.  

Studio of Style:  As one who observes the passage of time in its many forms as you create your work, what goes through your mind during the creation process?

Simons:  There are various levels of concentration that I go through when I'm marking or pulling strands of fiber. On the most successful days, I'm propelled on a pathway that pulls me into a very quiet space, a meditation of sorts -- a place of stillness and clarity that allows me to imbue the marks with meaning. 

Studio of Style:  What is the significance of the separation of fibers in your canvas works; the pulling apart of the cloth threads? 

Simons:  The separation of the fabric is simply the reverse of mark-making. The unraveling is done in an effort to understand or arrive at essence. The strand-pulling and the accumulation of strands on the floor echo my drawings.

Studio of Style:  Your color palette leans toward the natural, the muted, the darker edge of the spectrum -- how do these color choices reflect your artistic POV?

Simons:  Color is crucial to my work, often representing the harmonics of the piece. I have been known to fall in love with certain colors and employ those hues throughout a season or a body of work. Every once in a while a piece will assert itself and  I’ll do something quite bright or colorful. The work tells me what to do -- I simply follow directions.

Studio of Style:  Albert Einstein concluded in his later years that the past, present and future all exist simultaneously. Have you pondered this and/or subscribe to this -- or any other scientific belief?  Or are such scientific beliefs separate from your work and your beliefs.

Simons:  I believe that time is a vertical, cylindrical spiral and as such, the past, present and future line up vertically and can be accessed vertically. So, the answer to your question is "yes," I have thought about this quite a bit and I do think that all time exists simultaneously and is available.

Studio of Style:  As a mark-maker, what aspect (or aspects) of time do you feel that we (as viewers or as a society) can learn from -- or have we changed the natural aspects of time itself by our unstoppable acceleration into technology that seems to disregard perhaps the human or natural aspects of time?

Simons:  The attribute itself of making a mark requires time. Rhythms are attained, time passes, and patterns emerge. Patterns speak to people.  I, the maker, have my own rhythm and the observer comes to my work with his/hers. In the act of observation the viewer identifies his/her own rhythm. This variation that defines differences in individuals and similarities in groups. Time and marking, inherent in this situation, bind us together. Technology -- I use it, I love it.  It is simply another tool.

The work in my current and upcoming exhibitions explores time, rhythm, pattern and marking. In Caesura, a group exhibition opening November 8th at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica, I will be presenting a three-dimensional work entitled Tidal, which incorporates the tide schedule to produce the rhythm of the work. In Alchemy opening November 10th in the Projects Room at The Loft at Liz's in Los Angeles, I will present a two-month interactive piece called Whisper Pitch. This drawing will encourage the gallery visitors to participate in the creation of the piece by applying a single line to the work that will weave itself into the lines I've made. This is a reprise of a performative drawing that I made in the ‘70s. It explores the value of community and communication, the "alchemy"  between an artist and her audience. In March 2013, the Shulamit Gallery in Venice, California will be presenting my work as its first solo exhibition. The show will feature the work I've done on Rumpelstiltskin entitled Homage to a Fairy Tale. 

Images courtesy the artist

Literary Bombshell: Marilyn Monroe & Her Passion for the Classics


(NOTE: when Studio of Style posted this item back in March, we had so many requests for more, more, more Marilyn! So, we're working on something for you, okay? In the meanwhile, for those of you who might have missed the first-go-round on this story of ours, here it is once again!)

LITERARY BOMBSHELL: MARILYN MONROE & HER PASSION FOR THE CLASSICS -- She practically devoured books -- and not just any old book -- but the kind of stuff that college courses are made of.  So we're gonna compare notes here, okay?  Marilyn Monroe spent many an hour reading scripts when she finally made her mark in Hollywood -- and along with those scripts, she was burning the midnight oil reading some of the heavyweights in literature that surprised many, given the fact that she often portrayed characters whose interests were bent more towards pleasurable pursuits than in the cerebral. Which is why we at Studio of Style have poked around her bookcase to sniff out the kind of reading material that interested our blonde bombshell when she was able to enjoy those precious hours away from the lights and cameras of Tinseltown.  In 1945, she was a member of the Westwood Public Library (Westwood is the neighborhood of L.A. that is home to UCLA) and during that time she opened a charge account at a local bookstore -- and in 1951 she was taking a night course "Backgrounds in Literature" at UCLA, but that didn't last long due to the distraction she caused in class (!).  "I restore myself when I'm alone," Monroe once said. And it seemed that immersing herself in books by both contemporary and time-tested authors was one way of restoring her mind -- and the book shown in the photo above (A) How to Develop Your Thinking Ability by Kenneth Keyes published in 1950 was a very popular "self-help" book that offered mental techniques for increasing one's thinking effectiveness (which probably came in very handy among Monroe's arsenal when employing her acting skills).  Before we delve into the books, let's look at a couple of items fleshing out her book nook: (B) A classic carriage clock (the first one was created by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1812 for Napoleon Bonaparte!).  (C) Reproductions of scenes from the Sistine Chapel ceiling in Rome, painted by Michelangelo.  (D) A black Emerson clock radio.  Oh, and we love those button-up Levis jeans! Now onto the books: how many of these have you read?  You'll get 10 points for each one, okay? (1) Actors on Acting by Toby Cole and Helen Frich Chinoy, first published in 1949 by Crown.  (2) The Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  (3) The Red Pony by John Steinbeck, first published in 1933 as an episodic novella.  (4) The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky was a serial between 1868 and 1869 -- and considered one of the most brilliant literary achievements of the Golden Age of Russian literature.  (5) The amazing 1869 masterpiece War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy which (to top the accolades we just gave to The Idiot) is one of the most important books ever written!  (6) Nana, the story of a streetwalker's rise to high-class cocotte, completed in 1880 by French author Emile Zola.  (7) Dead Souls by Russian author Nikolai Gogol, published in 1842.  (8) An Enemy of the Peoplean 1882 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. (9) Death of a Salesman, the 1949 play written by Monroe's third husband, playwright Arthur Miller.  (10) The New Abridged American Dictionary.  (11) The Holy Bible.  (12) A Farewell to Arms, the semi-autobiographical novel by Ernest Hemingway, first published in 1929.  (13) The Little Prince, the 1943 novella by French aristocrat Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  So, how many points did you rack up? We're not counting, of course, but we are curious!  And we're not taking into consideration the other authors that Monroe relished: James Joyce (Ulysses); Sigmund Freud (Psychology of Everyday Life); Shirley Jackson (Life Among the Savages); Edith Hamilton (Greek Mythology); Thomas Wolfe (The Web and the Rock); and, of course, Jack Kerouac and his influential masterpiece On the Road.  So there you have it, kids! Our advice to you: (1) You can always read more.  (2) Never forget that you're always a star here at Studio of Style!
Special thanks to librarian Jared Burton for his tireless research.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Head Mistress: Susan Claassen bring's Edith Head's Hollywood to Life!

HEAD MISTRESS: SUSAN CLAASSEN BRINGS EDITH HEAD'S HOLLYWOOD TO LIFE!  Every now and then, something comes along that draws you into another world -- a world seemingly lost in time and yet so vividly alive in our imaginations that you wish somehow it would be real, indeed. Well, for those of us who just love anything and everything about the Golden Era of Hollywood (ranging from the silent film era of the 1920s to the late 1950s depending on who you ask) something very special is coming to Southern Californina -- and it's A Conversation with Edith Head -- a critically-acclaimed one-woman production starring Susan Claassen as the most famous costume designer of all time Edith Head. Even celebrities who've worked with and have known Head (see interview below) practically swear that Claassen's take on Head is spot-on in every way -- so much so that they too feel as though the toughest lady to ever work the studios was in their midsts once again. (In the photos above, Claassen is pictured with Joan Rivers and Tippi Hedren -- and there's a photo of Ms. Head with Doris Day!) Seeing as how most of the dialogue in the play is taken directly from Head's own words, it's no wonder that audiences have been entranced by Claassen's performance. We encourage you to visit the play's site to learn more and to get tickets to shows at the Santa Barbara Center Stage (November 2 - 4); the Pasadena Playhouse Carrie Hamilton Theater (November 8 - December 1); or at Working Wardrobes in Costa Mesa (December 4 & 5). Since this production by Claassen and Head's biographer Paddy Calistro is so engaging and so filled with stories, gossip and insight into a studio system that no longer exists, we hardly know where to begin to describe it. So, we went to the top! Below is an exclusive Studio of Style interview with the star herself -- and we look forward to her Pasadena performance as well.  Won't you join us and take a fashionable stroll down Hollywood's memory lane and experience a great night of live theater? You will? Fabulous! By the way, for all you pet lovers (yes!) the opening night in Pasadena on November 9 will benefit the Motion Picture and Television Fund's Pet Care Program (Head herself once said that "Animals are my best friends, always have been."). So get your tickets, pick out a nifty ensemble to wear and we'll see you there!

Studio of Style: When you first began preparing yourself to portray Edith Head many years ago, what was the first aspect of her personality or mannerisms that you recall perfecting? How did the rest fall into place from there?

Claassen: I first got the idea to create a theatrical presentation when I was watching a television biography. I contacted Edith's estate and they granted me permission to pursue this project. I madly read anything I could find and when I came upon Paddy Calistro's 1983 book, Edith Head's Hollywood, I decided to attempt to locate its author. I called telephone information for where I thought Paddy lived and, voila!, she was listed. I placed the phone call and it was kismet. At our first meeting in Los Angeles we knew the connection was right and we agreed to collaborate.

With Paddy’s connections we received the blessings of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They prepared a reel of film clips of Miss Head’s appearances and I was able to study her physical traits: the way she walked, a tilt of the head, how she gestured -- really, how she carried herself.  I also studied her speech patterns and rhythms.  She had been a school teacher so she had distinct way of speaking -- clipped and to the point!  I worked with a voice and movement coach in order to constantly perfect the details of her mannerisms and vocal qualities. My studying is ongoing.

I remember seeing Edith Head on television when I was a child. I was aware of her work when I would see the film credit “Gowns by Edith Head” but I wasn’t really aware of her as a person. Some of the common misconceptions are that she lacked a sense of humor and that she was rigid. You rarely hear about her charitable efforts and her kindness and mentoring of other designers. She was extremely charitable and provided many opportunities for other designers. In fact, she was one of the founders of the Costume Designers Guild and an early member of Fashion Group International -- 1935. 

Studio of Style: You were given access to 13 hours of taped interviews with Ms. Head.  Was there anything about her, based on those tapes, that struck you more so than anything else?

Claassen: Paddy had not only written the book but had inherited 13 hours of taped interviews with Edith Head - it was truly a gift from heaven. We can honestly say that A Conversation with Edith is based upon the words and thoughts of Edith Head -- the ‘Edith-isms'. In hearing her speak, it struck me how bright she was -- and she did not suffer fools lightly. She had to keep up a strong exterior in order to mask her vulnerability. Her longevity is a direct result of her tenacity. Paddy and I have worked very hard to create an intimate portrait that reveals the complexity of this fascinating woman.

Studio of Style: Because your portrayal of Ms. Head is so uncannily realistic, have people (especially Hollywood insiders or celebrities) who've known her or worked with her made some interesting comments of particular note?

Claassen: I know I'm not Edith. And the audience knows I'm not Edith Head. But there's a shared moment. Everybody can remember a film they saw, or a date they had, or the first time they saw the film credit “Gowns by Edith Head” or the first time they saw Grace Kelly in the gorgeous gown, or Elizabeth Taylor in the A Place in the Sun dress. It brings back something that in some way touched them. And that is a connection that I just treasure.

Norman Lear and Barbara Rush, who both worked with Head on Come Blow Your Horn, came to see us and said, “You are more Edith than Edith!”  Jean-Pierre Dorléac, a costume designer who was one of Edith's contemporaries, came to opening night and said, "I just felt I was with my friend again."
The list goes on from Joan Rivers to Anthony Powell to Tippi Hedren to Elke Sommer to Kate Burton (Richard Burton's daughter) who said, “I am having an out of body experience. I used to come to your fittings ‘Miss Head’ with my step-mom!”
Studio of Style: How do you prepare yourself for this role before going onstage each night?
Claassen: I’m very disciplined. I study the script every day. I listen to her interviews. Arrive at the theater two hours before curtain to slowly and thoroughly get into Miss Head’s “head” -- it is a wonderful time and very precious to me. I have my rituals that I go through like eating the same thing prior to every performance. It is an awesome responsibility to keep someone’s legacy alive and I embrace that wholeheartedly.

Studio of Style: Have there ever been moments, while onstage, when the expectations from the audience and their desire to believe and your desire to deliver Ms. Head for them resulted in transcendental moments where you've felt as though reincarnation had happened?

Claassen: I feel every moment to be transcendent - not a reincarnation but a shared moment in time. We set the play in 1981 during the making of her last film, Carl Reiner’s Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid starring Steve Martin. She died two weeks after the wrap of the film and the film is dedicated to her. Throughout the play, we see glimpses of a woman who has outlived all her contemporaries and is wrestling with a lifetime of memories and regrets. It is some those vulnerable moments that resonate so deeply.

Studio of Style: Are there particular mannerisms of Ms. Head's that you do onstage that only insiders, perhaps, would catch or notice?

Claassen: I have studied her mannerisms like the way she tilted her head or posed for photos and it seems to pass the test of industry insiders!

Studio of Style: Is there a greater message about the long-lasting career of Ms. Head that those looking for careers themselves in Hollywood can learn from?

Claassen: Edith paved the way for all costume designers. Edith was an executive woman before there was such a thing! It was a “boy’s club” when she started in 1923. Women in the Unites Stated had just recently got the vote, if you can imagine. It has been said that Edith had the instincts of a pastry chef and the authority of a factory foreman. She herself said, “I knew I was not a creative design genius…I am a better diplomat than I am a designer...I was never going to be the world’s greatest costume designer, but there was no reason I could not be the smartest and most celebrated.”  She knew how to play the game better than anyone. Her concern really was to change actors into characters. Edith said, “I make people into what they are not - ten years older or younger, fatter or thinner, more handsome or more ridiculous, glamorous or sexy or horrible.  The camera never lies, after all, so my work is really an exercise in camouflage.” She was women with a great heart, a great sense of humor and great, great determination.
Studio of Style: Of all your global performances for this play over the years, has there been an especially notable one that you'll always remember?

Claassen: Every audience is notable and remarkable. From our first night in London when Dame Cleo Laine came to my student matinees -- each opportunity is a blessing.

Studio of Style: What do you want theater-goers to walk away with from this play or from your performance that they didn't necessarily have when they walked through the theater doors that evening?

Claassen: The audience response has been amazing. From Tbilisi to Edinburgh to Chicago audiences have been touched by Edith’s story.  What they take with them after having seen the performance is truly dependent on what they bring to it. Film buffs get immersed in  hearing stories from someone who has lived through the evolution of contemporary film; older audiences remember always seeing the closing credits, “Gowns by Edith Head”  and it evokes a bygone era; and younger audiences think of the Pixar animated film The Incredibles and Edna Mode, designer to the super heroes. The universal response is summed up by a note I received from a fan: “My friend saw the show on Saturday and adored it. He said the same as me -- i.e, if someone mentions Edith Head to me now, my first reaction will be to say "Oh yes, I met her once and it was unforgettable!"

Pasadena Playhouse Tickets click here.
Images courtesy Susan Claassen.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28 & 29, 1957: Elvis Presley has L.A. All Shook Up!

OCTOBER 28 & 29, 1957: ELVIS PRESLEY HAS L.A. ALL SHOOK UP! -- It was one of those defining moments in rock 'n roll history -- that is, depending on which night you were there! Elvis was at a golden high in 1957: the classic film Jailhouse Rock was about to open nationally on November 18; and the Elvis hits All Shook Up and (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear were burning up the radio airwaves. So when Elvis hit Los Angeles for two performances at the now-long-gone Pan Pacific Auditorium on Beverly Boulevard, there was Elvis-mania all over town for 1950's biggest music star. But after the first night's show, all hell broke loose in L.A. the next day!! Newspaper reporter Dick Williams of the Mirror-News thought the entire thing was obscene! "The madness reached its peak at the finish," he reported, "with Hound Dog. Elvis writhed in complete abandon, hair hanging over his face. He got down on the floor with a huge replica of the RCA singing dog (Nipper) and made love to it as if it were a girl." WOW -- now that musta been some show! Obscene? Hardly! Sexy? Yes!! You gotta remember that up until Elvis hit the music scene, the world had yet to see a white male performer quite like him -- gyrating all over and shaking every part of his body -- love it! Okay, so Elvis was indeed rolling across the stage that night -- and he did hug the little doggy statue (shown in upper middle right photo) very, very tight indeed -- but hey, kids, this was rock 'n roll, but no one really knew it at the time.  Of course Little Richard (whom Elvis once attributed as being the real "king") was already gyrating and cavorting onstage in blatantly sexual overtones -- but you gotta remember that nice white kids weren't really going in droves to Little Richard's shows, thus Elvis was as wild as it got in those days! Well, to Elvis' defense, singer Gordon Stoker of the famed Jordanaires (who backed Elvis on his live shows and recordings) commented that Elvis "did not do anything onstage with Nipper that was suggestive or off-color" and then added, "We were standing very close to him as we always were. Williams was simply out to get Elvis."  But unfortunately that wasn't enough for the Los Angeles Police Department! Before the second show the next night, the city's Vice Squad contacted Elvis' manager Colonel Tom Parker with a warning for Elvis to basically clean up his act or go to jail! Now that would have been a real jailhouse rock show, for sure! Elvis was justifiably angered by this attack on this onstage actions -- but that didn't stop the police from showing up on the second night -- with movie cameras to capture any lewd gestures!!! Throughout that performance, Elvis repeatedly informed the audience that he was being filmed by the cops -- and at one point during the show, he put his hands together as if they were cuffed and said to the crowd, "You should have been here last night!" Good for you Elvis! Nothing, not even the threat of going to jail, could stop Elvis that second night -- he gave the fans what they wanted and they screamed back in sheer delight. By the end of 1957, Elvis had performed for at least a quarter of a million people across the country -- but it was the now-legendary shows at the Pan Pacific Auditorium that caused the folks of L.A. to go into a tizzy fit that sparked paranoia from city officials and adoring pandemonium from Elvis' legion of followers. Talk about getting all shook up!


Insalata Caprese: The Enduring Style of Italian Cuisine

INSALATA CAPRESE: THE ENDURING STYLE OF ITALIAN CUISINE -- No one can quite say when or where the most famously simple of all salads -- the insalata caprese -- first appeared on the scene, or the exact origin of when it was named after that beautiful sun-soaked isle of Capri, part of very historic Campania region. But one thing we do know is that it is absolutely one of the most enduring of all Italian antipasti and so evocative of those heady days of fun, vino and romance along the Mediterranean coast.  (Speaking of fabulous Italian things, be sure to check out the recent post Studio of Style did on Campari.)  Of course, the famed tricolor look of the dish which, like the equally famed margherita pizza of Napoli, depict the colors of the Italian flag. But let's dig a little bit deeper into history, okay? (We know how you regular readers of Studio of Style just love a little bit more of everything, right?)  First of all, so much of the world associates Italian cuisine with that wonderful deep red tomato sauce found on many dishes -- but wait! The word "pomodoro" from the words "pomo d'oro" or "golden apple" doesn't quite match up with the color red, now does it? That's because the first tomatoes brought to Europe from the New World (i.e. The Americas) were actually more likely to have been yellow than red! More on that in a moment.  But some say that "pomo d'oro" might also be a mistranslation of the phrase "pomo di moro" or "fruit of the Moors" who had introduced so many exotic foods to Italy.  You see, it was Italian physician and botanist Pietro Andrea Mattioli who wrote in 1544 that a new type of eggplant had been brought to Italy which was blood red or golden in color that could be eaten like an eggplant -- and 10 years later Mattioli used the words "pomo d'oro" in print.  The yellow variety of the tomato definitely made landfall in Europe sometime after 1521 when Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés captured the Aztec capital of Tenochtítlan in Mexico -- though Christopher Columbus of Genoa (who was also working on behalf of the Spanish monarchy) might very well have brought some back around 1493! And did you know that the earliest known Italian cookbook with tomato recipes was published in Naples (naturally!) around 1692 -- most likely the recipes were translated from Spanish sources. Thus, by a slight twist of history the famed marinara sauces became red and not yellow (but the name "golden apple" still stuck!). But the bigger question is: who put together that amazing combination of basil, mozzarella di bufala, tomatoes and olive oil -- crowned with a light sprinkling of salt and black pepper -- a combo that epicureans have been raving about ever since? To enjoy this antipasto to the fullest, try to find the freshest handmade mozzarella, the ripest seasonal tomatoes, absolutely fresh basil, the best extra virgin olive oil and high quality salt and freshly ground black pepper (and please, no vinegar of any kind!!).  Said perhaps one of the most famous Italians of all history, Leonardo da Vinci: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." And how right he was...and still is! The simple yet profound pleasures found in insalata caprese transcend time itself! And in the words of so many Italians throughout the ages: Mangia bene, vivi felice!
Italian Trade Commission: http://www.italianmade.com/
Styling and Photography by Greg Firlotte

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pearl Girl: The Outrageously Bejeweled Queen Elizabeth I

PEARL GIRL: THE OUTRAGEOUSLY BEJEWELED ELIZABETH I -- The older she got, the more outrageous she dressed (sounds like a great idea to us!) --and the laws she set into motion about who could wear what were just as outrageous  (more about that later!) -- and the things that people (i.e. royalty, nobility and stylish folks like us!) did in the name of fashion were, well, just plain crazy -- but then, the Elizabethan Era (1558 to 1603) named for the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England, symbolized the height of English Renaissance poetry, music, fashion and literature (think Shakespeare and traveling minstrels) which has curiously never left us in one way or another (think renaissance faires!). She was a tough old bird, for sure, but she certainly loved her clothes, jewelry, wigs and makeup (sounds like us!) and she used all of these to great effect in projecting her image as the greatest ruler of the Western world -- and sitting for portraits was one of her favorite pastimes (other than defeating the Spanish navy) it seemed -- as there were so many portraits of her during her 45-year rule. At age 65, the Queen granted an audience to French ambassador Andre Hurault-Sieur de Maisse Andre (and you thought you had a clever name!) who left us with this most wonderful firsthand look at the real Queen -- not simply a portrait (as we have above painted by George Gower).  Says the ambassador: "She was strangely attired (oh really?) in a dress of silver cloth, white and crimson, or silver 'gauze' as they call it. She kept the front of her dress open and one could see the whole of her bosom (good for you, girl!) and she would often open the front of this robe with her hands as if she was too hot (you would be too with all that velvet and pearls!). The collar of the robe was very high and the lining of the inner part adorned with little pendants of rubies and pearls and she had a chain of rubies and pearls about her neck. On her head, she wore a garland of the same material (she really did love those rubies and pearls, didn't she?) and beneath it a great reddish coloured wig. Her bosom is somewhat wrinkled as well (hey, she was 65!), but lower down her flesh is exceedingly white and delicate (well, that's a relief!). Her figure is tall and graceful in whatever she does, yet humbly and graciously withal."  In other words, she was one stylish lady!  Now as for that dress code -- the "Sumptuary Laws" which Elizabeth enacted in June of 1574 dictated that if you were poor (ouch!) that you could only wear items of wool, linen and sheepskin (however silk, taffeta and velvet trimmings were allowed, but only in certain colors!).  If you were noble or of the upper class, you could wear velvet, silk, lace, furs and taffeta -- but only in certain colors and you could only spend so much for them.  Breaking these rules among the rich meant loss of property, your title and even harsher punishment!  But in the words of the Queen herself, these laws were basically to protect against "the wasting and undoing of a great number of young gentlemen and others...allured by the vain show of things...which only consume themselves, their goods and lands which their parents left unto them."  Such was the power of fashion in Merry Ol' England!  Could we, today, ever be allured by vanity?  Spend all our money on clothes and jewelry?  Expose our bosoms to French men?  Yes, yes and double yes!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hello Dali: A Surreal Interview with Salvador Dali!

HELLO DALI: A SURREAL INTERVIEW WITH SALVADOR DALI -- Spanish-born artist Salvador Domingo Filipe Jacinto Dali di Domènech (1904-1989) spent his entire life being very clever – having been expelled twice from the Royal Academy of Art in Madrid Spain in his youth, claiming he was more qualified as an artist than those would have examined him – with history proving him right on this one. So, in 1928 he packed up his bags and paintbrushes and headed to Paris – the capital of all things artistic in the early twentieth century -- and met those titans of art Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro and by the time 1929 rolled around Dali had established his unique brand of art known as Surrealism (the Surrealist theory is based on those of renowned Viennese psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud). Dali’s mad, dream-into-nightmare, colorful imagery secured him a singular place in art history.  At Studio of Style, we enjoy peering into the minds of genius as much as we do observing the art – so here is Dali in his own wonderfully surreal words!

Studio of Style: Why surrealistic art?
Dali: We are all hungry and thirsty for concrete images. Abstract art will have been good for one thing: to restore its exact virginity to figurative art. Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision. Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation. Instead of stubbornly attempting to use surrealism for purposes of subversion, it is necessary to try to make of surrealism something as solid, complete and classic as the works of museums.

Studio of Style: Did you always want to be an artist?
Dali: At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since! In order to acquire a growing and lasting respect in society, it is a good thing, if you possess great talent, to give, early in your youth, a very hard kick to the right shin of the society that you love. After that, be a snob!

Studio of Style: Is art ever perfect?
Dali: I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject – rather, does the person grow to look like his portrait? Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary -- rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them. Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it. And it is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself.

Studio of Style: What about drawing?
Dali: Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad. And painting is an infinitely minute part of my personality.

Studio of Style: What is your secret to your creativity?
Dali: The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret! I have Dalinian thought -- the one thing the world will never have enough of is the outrageous! I don't do drugs. I am drugs! I seated ugliness on my knee, and almost immediately grew tired of it. What is a television apparatus to man, who has only to shut his eyes to see the most inaccessible regions of the seen and the never seen, who has only to imagine in order to pierce through walls and cause all the planetary Baghdads of his dreams to rise from the dust. Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure - that of being Salvador Dali!

Studio of Style: Have you achieved success?
Dali: The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents. Let my enemies devour each other! Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing! Democratic societies are unfit for the publication of such thunderous revelations as I am in the habit of making. Liking money like I like it, is nothing less than mysticism. Money is a glory!

Studio of Style: Is there such a thing as happiness?
Dali: There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction!

Studio of Style: Or purity?
Dali: When I was five years old, I saw an insect that had been eaten by ants and of which nothing remained except the shell. Through the holes of its anatomy, one could see the sky. Every time I wish to attain purity, I look at the sky through flesh.

Studio of Style: Some people thing you’re a bit strange….
Dali: I am not strange – I am just not normal! The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.