Sunday, December 11, 2011

Astray the Packs

I'd like to go astray for a moment of your time. Normally would there be a short description of a few paperbacks, why I like them, what might the artwork mean to the observer. This evening instead I'd like to do the same but with a couple of magazines, the November issue of Harper's Bazaar (2011), and the June issue of Vogue Italia (also 2011). Each of these issues represents something different, a different aspect of sleaze that might otherwise be termed "class." Serious class, and I dont mean clASS. The way it comes off sometimes, at the least, from the horse's mouth, can evoke a sort of grime. But within these magazines the grime washes away and leaves a gold brick road to the Emerald City, where not a bell will get you in but the descent of a zipper. 

Consulting again the issue of Bazaar, a magazine I would ordinarily leave on the shelf to collect dust with the other hundreds of issues that will never see the light of some one's bathroom overhead, I am struck first by the cover. A flowing, vibrant (though only so with a few colors), and pregnant, Beyonce Knowles. This newly deemed MILF has continued to open the doors of young men's, and women's, copacetically, mental and physical Emerald cities. She wears a tight black bathing suit and an alfalfa-textured Janis Joplin open poncho. Her nails have been painted black; her lips the color of ChapStick Classic Original, my favorite, reminds me of my grandmother. While the photo is not nearly the temperature to trigger that reflexive impulse to pick it up, the article (see link) on the inside is what is so captivating. Apparently, the magazine and famed director Martin Scorsese collaborated to "re-issue," were it, selected scenes from a few of his most celebrated films, staging familiar sequences with random personalities and photographed by Jason Schmidt. The first images is taken from "The Age of Innocence," re-enacted with Kate Bosworth and an unknown. Kate B can be cute. The next is "The Aviator," and shows Emily Mortimer, daughter of Sir John Mortimer, the author and screenwriter, who has maybe a few paperbacks to his name with cover art that might otherwise be termed "class," and Alessandro Nivolo. Not a bad image, but a little simple. Third is a mock of "Goodfellas," that killer Mob movie with Pesci, De Niro, and the always wonderful, Ray Liotta. Vincent Piazza, Michael Pitt and Sir Ben Kinglsey come off as three true, slick Gambinos who all probably know their way around a bottle of Valpolicella. The fourth image, and what should be a show-stopper, feature Christina Hendricks (the zipper falleth) and Jack Huston, inspired by the period piece, "Gangs of New York," with Hendricks as Cameron Diaz' character. I must say I appreciate the switch, as the babe in this image is far more in tune with my personal leanings. For a real zing however, turn your attention to the lost gem, "The Mask," starring Jim Carrey and a stellar, STELLAR Cameron Diaz (several very hot scenes, Diaz retaining that temp throughout the film, a scene in the park, one outside a night club with a tight black and white skirt, and this one); with her appearance in Scorsese's film, I find with ease my preferences for Hendricks in the photographs. Moving on, Emily Blunt in the photo for "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore." The shirt is nice and her hair is cool, just not on her. Finally, the last photo from this collection, and the reason this article is included in this post, Chloe Moretz and Keanu Reeves as Iris and Travis in "Taxi Driver." In the original footage Jodi Foster is looking at the ceiling while De Niro postulates, but in this image from Jason Schmidt, the Foster character seems to be looking more at the De Niro hero. This inspires all sorts of mental quandaries. What is happening? What will happen, and why wont what might happen happen? Reeves gives a wonderful performance, his greatest yet, as still-life. The icing though is Moretz, who killed (literally) in the newer "Let the Right One In," where sleaze plays no role. But this photograph causes me to pause and to reflect on the seriousness this young actress is poised to sustain. I hope she stays true and keeps the romantic comedy out of her oeuvre. The Moretz-Reeves version is slightly more crystalline, and her body is a little more farm-fed than that of Foster's, which I dont mind and in fact prefer. The relationship apparent in the M-R version is however not as pungent as in the original. Reeves is a bit beefy, and Moretz looks as though she's waiting for him to decide on the lo-mein or the fried rice. The photographer, Schmidt, did one thing right: he brought us closer to the action and outfitted the figures more aesthetically pleasant. I dig Moretz's shirt and her youthful bosom. Please dont do a romantic comedy! Please! Got that out.

The Italians have always been curvy, men and women, not necessarily overweight or even chunky, but curvy. It could be the bread, it could be the grapes, it might even be the cheese or the smoked meats or tomatoes. I'm guessing its all this, and the climate. Since the Renaissance, curves have been a major proponent of Italian art: photography, painting, cinema, modeling. The Vogue Italia issue remains straight with this philosophy of all things curvy and is one of my favorite collected items, and something I with which I can not part. Here is the cover. Right away I picked up this little pearl amongst the gumballs and was blown away, astray my usual perusal of Playboy, Vanity Fair, tattoo mags (which I will denote a post to later), and Guns and Ammo. Models Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine, and Robyn Lawley (almost in order of preferred French Maid outfit wearability) grace the cover and the internal spread (along with Marquita Pring) with curvaceous magnitude, something I havent seen on the mag racks in a long, long time, with respect to American Curves (where many of the models are faking It) or Shape. Tara, Candice, and Robyn (and Marquita), you may all cook my meals and draw my baths at your leisure, I will provide you with everything you need ($200 limit) and you may come and go as you please..these Aphrodites fake nothing before cameraman Steven Meisel, and give us their asses, their legs, their hips, their tits, and, perhaps most enduring and alluring, their eyes (although that other stuff is pretty damn enduring) The Italian look is all there: dark hair, dark eyes, full lips, full hips, and heels that double as roofing tools. So you skip all the drivel you cant comprehend because you took German in high school, and thumb the pages quickly hoping for that first black and white piece of history, a new found curvaceous goddess you were previously unaware, only you find you keep thumbing more than a page at a time and finally you scope the Indice dei contenuti, and eureka! Page 100 is the field of poppies before my Emerald City. These are no sleepy poppies, these are Pan's poppies, planted here so my thousands of mytho-erotico years ago. There are not textual hindrances in my way, just full-on throwback images of what appears to be a house of lust, where I stumble into their daily "play dress-up," only...oh you caught us we were in the middle of playing dress-up help us decide what to wear next zip me up will you but unzip Tara's first Sure Candice after I help Robyn into her stilettos right Marquita how did you manage to fit into that? Take it off! Eggs and toast please, bacon....In a low and even Italian tone.
The website has the images slightly out of order, and unfortunately the respiring observer with one hand on the mouse/finger pad and one hand...well, the images can not be enlarged. So here are some drawn from other websites for your edification, and welcome to my Emerald City.