Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with photographer and writer Mark Vieira. Vieira makes glamour portraits in the classic Hollywood mode, working in the historic Granada Buildings, where George Hurrell had his first Los Angeles studio.
George Hurrell gave the Golden Age of Hollywood its glossy sheen and soft-focus seductiveness. He was the foremost publicity stills photographer of the day - a man responsible for creating icons. Hurrell’s portfolio reads like an A-list who’s who: Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn, Lawrence Olivier, Rita Hayworth, to name a few. Many stars refused to sit for anyone else. [Matilda Battersby for the Independent]
Vieira writes books about the artists, genres, and photographic technique of Hollywood’s Golden Era. He’s written seventeen books since 1988, giving voices to George Hurrell, Tony Curtis, Boris Karloff, Greta Garbo, Irving Thalberg, Joan Crawford, and Norma Shearer. He publicizes his books with exhibitions of photographs that he prints by hand from original Hollywood negatives.
It was a thrill to sit with Vieira and photographer Armando Gallo and talk about dark room printing. Afterwards I was able to share selections from the Hollywood Foreign Press archives with Vieira who was able to help me identify who had taken some of the 1940s/50s prints.
Photos by Armando Gallo for the HFPA
I recently found a beautiful photograph of a Golden Globe Awards stage prop from 1989. It was the most complete photo of one of the 80s stage props that I’ve come across but still it was missing the top and bottom of the globe. I worked on the image over a couple of weeks and just in time for the HFPA Film Restoration Summit at the historic Ace Hotel theater. Thierry Fremaux spoke on the birth of film and Jane Fonda appeared in support of preserving historic films.
Circus of Books, a longtime West Hollywood business that was once a vital institution for the city’s gay community, has closed for good after almost 60 years.
Circus of Books was one of several Santa Monica boulevard establishments I visited with my Husband, David, the night we met in May, 2007. We walked along to the bookstore after being introduced to each other at Hamburger Mary’s. After the bookstore, we continued along the boulevard to the Gold Coast Bar where we took our first photos together.
Would Circus of Books have survived if it updated its characterless decor and replenished the shelves with more desirable publications? I left the Bob Mizer Foundation bookstore in San Francisco last year wanting 100 things and spending 100 bucks. I’d probably have done that every few months if the Circus had more to offer.
The year I designed the ticket and program for the 76th Golden Globe Awards restored photos from the 1940s for the party decor. A nice treat left over from my work for the 75th Awards. I also established a trophy archive (under my desk) and made a selection of trophies for display at the official Golden Globe Awards Celebration.
Last night we attended the premiere episode of ‘I Am The Night’ at the Harmony Gold Theater.
For the cast and crew of TNT’s new mystery drama “I Am the Night,” filming in the John Sowden House was all too real. Nicknamed the “Jaws House” for its sharklike facade, the famous Los Angeles residence was once home to Dr. George Hodel, a well known Hollywood gynecologist in the 1940s and prime suspect in the Black Dahlia case.
The limited series tells the true story of Fauna Hodel, a young girl played by India Eisley who finds out that she’s Dr. Hodel’s biological granddaughter. Alongside Jay Singletary (Chris Pine), a washed up journalist obsessed with the Black Dahlia murder, the two delve into the secrets of the past and soon get twisted up in the surreal world of Dr. Hodel.
[After the premiere episode of I Am The Night at the Harmony Gold Theater] an after-party was held at the Chateau Marmont, featuring surrealist art created by Brooklyn immersive art collective Little Cinema.
Part 2 of the evening took place down the street underneath the watchful and beautiful eyes of Chris Pine… or at least his face via billboard: The recently replaced ALLY sign (A Star Is Born) on Sunset now sports an advertisement for the TNT series, perfectly placed adjacent to the scene of the crime, or at least the scene of party, the Chateau Marmont Hotel.
There is perhaps no better location for a throwback to 1965 Hollywood combined with a television show’s artsy premise than the Chateau Marmont. Enter the surrealist artists from above, mix in the interactive experiences, add an environment conducive to friendly introductions and conversations, and it became a night that not only beckoned the stars from the show but also noted attendees Regina Hall, Steve Perry, and Patricia Clarkson.
Founded by Jay Rinsky, the collective was commissioned and flown in by TNT to take over the Marmont to re-create a scene from a future episode in which Dr. Hodel hosts a surrealist art party. With an atmosphere reminiscent of old Hollywood glamour and ’60s dreamlike weirdness, one room, bathed in red light, featured a live band playing classic jazz standards. In the center of the room was a performance artist inside a cage, dancing on pointe in ballet slippers and wearing a headdress covered in butterflies. Surrealist paintings were on display throughout the event, along with several other live dancers, artists, and performers dressed in delicate, silken red and white costumes, and mime-like face paint.
Another room featured an interactive installation, called “Universal Light,” where guests could write on walls covered in white sheets, painted in black with words and phrases like “black or white,” “feel,” and “human kind” to symbolize Fauna Hodel’s journey of identity as a white-passing woman raised by a woman of color.
But upstairs in Room 29 was the real spectacle of the night. Select guests were given secret envelopes instructing them to meet in a hidden suite and “tell no one.” At the door, attendees were immersed into a guided tour of an art gallery “curated for Dr. Hodel himself,” with a Black Dahlia-inspired motif of surrealist paintings of disembodied women. Actors interacted with guests as if it were actually 1965, discussing the art over Old Fashioneds and dirty martinis. In another dark room, real daily footage from “I Am the Night” was projected onto sheer screens, behind which performers dressed in ’60s garb acted out the dialogue, beckoning guests to join them as part of the installation.