In The Wind: Montauk

12/07/2013 § 1 Comment

Marilyn and Miller Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, Amagansett, 1958.  Taken by Sam Shaw.

This weekend finds me scampering off to the beaches of Long Island: Southampton, Amagansett and Montauk.  The weather seems a bit iffy, but I’m not going to let that dampen my spirits (pun intended).  I’ll be back in a flash with tons to share, I’m sure.  Hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever you’re getting up to.  Enjoy!

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Tending Bar: The Seven Year Itch

28/05/2012 § 2 Comments

While I may not be much of a cook, I do quite enjoy tending bar.  With an exceptionally warm Memorial Day Weekend (what thunderstorms?!?) and friends visiting from out of town, I took the opportunity to make my first pitcher cocktail of the season.  A bit bubbly, a bit tart, and completely refreshing, I’m calling this gin-based concoction of mine The Seven Year Itch.  To make it, you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cup of gin. I used Brooklyn Gin.
  • 1/2 cup elderflower liqueur.  I used St. Germain.
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 1 large handful of fresh raspberries
  • 1 handful of fresh mint, additional sprigs for garnish
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon
  • ice
  • large pitcher, wooden spoon or muddler, cocktail glasses

First, take all of the fresh ingredients and add them to your pitcher.
Take care to wash everything and slice up the lime and lemon.

Muddle, muddle, muddle.

Next, add a good amount of ice to the pitcher, and then pour the liquors and the club soda over the ice.  Serve immediately to avoid the club soda going flat and the ice melting.

Voila! Garnish with a raspberry and a mint sprig.

So, what’s with the name?

One of the most iconic Marilyn Monroe movies — yep, the white dress/subway grate one — The Seven Year Itch was directed and co-written by Billy Wilder and was released in 1955.  Featuring an exceptionally hot summer in New York (ahem), the story details the overactive imagination of publishing executive Richard Sherman (a role that Tom Ewell originated on Broadway), who has been left to his own devices in the city while his wife (yep, of seven years) heads off to Maine for the summer with their son.  Settling in for a long, hot few months, Mr. Sherman is surprised to find his upstairs neighbors have sublet their apartment for the summer to a model (Monroe).  Proper Wilder-esque hijinks then ensue. It’s a lovely little film and one of my very favorites.  And when I thought about what I wanted to call my cocktail, I immediately thought of Marilyn’s dress, crisp and fresh in the hot city night.  Perfectly fitting, no?

Cheers!

A Girl’s New Best Friend

09/02/2012 § 4 Comments

I wonder if anyone uses their Apple TV to watch as many classic films as I do.
Doubtful.

After much deliberation, I finally purchased the Apple TV receiver from the sparkling new Apple Store in Grand Central two weeks ago.  Initially a bit daunted by the tiny black box, its attendant cords and its installation, I was quite pleased to find the process a breeze.  After five minutes of plugging things in and hiding the cords away and two minutes of linking my router and entering my Netflix information, I was streaming media like none other.  A minute after that I blew my own mind when I figured out how to find my iTunes account on my laptop.  It was like a real-life Minority Report!  Ok, not really — but I was rather pleased with myself.

I have been running through the classic films on the instant streaming service of Netflix ever since, which is only $8/month.  My one complaint, if I must have one, is that specific artists can be difficult to find if you can’t guess (or don’t know) the name of one of their films that Netflix has available to stream.  You can’t simply search by actor or director name.  Now departing from my soapbox.  Overall, I highly recommend Apple TV.  It’s kind of amazing.

I recently spent an evening revisiting one of my very favorite films — which also happens the inspiration source for the name of this blog, in fact.  If you have never seen the Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), I will pause for a moment for you to drop absolutely everything you are doing and go watch it.  No, really.  I’ll wait.  Most famous of course for the iconic musical number “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” the film is a madcap romp detailing the adventures of two best friends as they search for suitable mates with suitably fat wallets.  Both actresses are at their archetypal best: Monroe as the ditzy blonde, Russell as the wisecracking brunette.

It’s kind of amazing how every time I watch Marilyn, I discover again how damned talented the woman was.  When made the transition from actor to icon, it became so easy to reduce her to representative symbols: her blonde hair, the billowing white dress, her beauty mark, her voice.  In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes you get to enjoy all that Marilyn has to offer: her spot-on comic timing, her lovely dancing and her singing (mostly, she got a little help on some songs).  It really is no wonder Marilyn’s performance has inspired so many homages, and that none really come close to touching the original.  Even if I do enjoy watching Nate, Dan and Chuck attempt choreography.

The original, 1953.

Madonna, Material Girl, 1985.

Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge, 2001.

Blake Lively for Gossip Girl, 2012.

Also charming is “Two Little Girls from Little Rock.”

Images via Life Archives.

As I visit with old favorites and make new discoveries (Gregory Peck in Twelve O’Clock High was a revelation!) I can’t help but find it a bit humorous that I’ve taken what is the probably one of the most modern ways to consume media and have turned it into a time machine into the past.  Humorous, but not surprising.  In any event, if you like classic films as much as I do, the winning combination of Apple TV and Netflix instant will be your new Best Friend.

But of course I still like diamonds.

Happy Birthday Norma Jeane

01/06/2011 § 1 Comment

June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962

Today, the woman known to the world as Marilyn Monroe would have been 85.
Happy Birthday, Norma Jeane.

LIFE Archives: Marilyn and Joe

10/02/2011 § Leave a comment

With Valentine’s Day approaching,
my mind has been turning to great love stories…

The marriage of film siren Marilyn Monroe and Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio, which lasted less than a year, has always stood out to me as one of most passionate affairs in history.  The joining of these two superstars proved too explosive to sustain, but the love they shared was to endure forever.

For twenty years after Marilyn’s death,
Joe continued to send roses to her grave twice a week.
All images via LIFE
Channel a bit of Marilyn for your Joe (or while looking for your Joe) with these lovely Garbo earrings by DANNIJO — that feel just a bit mid-century modern.
Image via Shopbop

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