Celebrate at Cicada

Over the weekend one of my friends celebrated her birthday, and she decided to do it in style by having a Gatsby themed dinner at Cicada Club, which is located in the Oviatt Building, the oldest Art Deco building in Los Angeles. Even before moving to California I had heard of Cicada. Portland friends like Sarah of Simply Vintage and Julie of FabGabs Vintage had been during visits to LA, and boasted of its elegant ambiance. So, needless to say I was excited!

If you truly ever wanted to step back in time to a jazz supper club of the 1920s or 30s, with dinner, drinks, live entertainment, and dancing, Cicada is closest you’re going to get. With its live performances, it’s simply spectacular, and many people take the evenings quite seriously, as there were quite a few women in floor length gowns. For the evening, I pulled out my one real 20s gown. Even though I recently purchased a repro beaded flapper dress from Unique Vintage, but I’m saving it for an event in April. And just before the event I found blue velvet heels at Elsewhere Vintage! Along with repros of Daisy’s pieces from Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby.

The interior of Cicada may be familiar to fans of American Horror Story: Hotel, as its interior is the inspiration for the lobby of the Hotel Cortez, and the outside was used for the exterior shots of the Cortez. And at the conclusion of Hotel, Cicada received the Art Deco light fixtures used in the lobby. But Cicada wasn’t always a swank supper club, it actually started out as a haberdashery that many classic stars of the silver screen frequented. Speaking of the silver screen and seeming a bit familiar. A scene from The Artist was also filmed here, and prior to Cicada taking over the space, another restaurant, Rex Il Ristorante, was home here, and was the location for the infamous “slippery little suckers” scene in Pretty Woman.

Our whole party had a delightful time, and I am looking forward to returning, as it is the perfect place to go all gussied up!

1920s Blue Velvet Gown: Thrifted, if you can believe it!
Vintage Fur Stole: Nobody’s Baby, Eugene, Oregon
Pearls: Gift from my mother
Brooch: Belonged to my grandmother
Purse, Heels, Gatsby Repro headpiece and bracelet/ring combo: Elsewhere Vintage, Orange, California

For the Love of the Garish

Recently I was contacted by a Robert Jones, a photographer who had published a book called Garish: Roadside Color Polaroids, after seeing my interest in roadside and photography on my blog. I am always eager to look at photos featuring roadside attractions, dilapidated buildings and long forgotten signage, and the fact that this book was shot entirely with a Polaroid Colorpack III made it all the more interesting.

I honestly couldn’t help smiling when going through Jones’ book. It was full of exactly what I love. Signs, both of the hand painted and neon variety, bizarre statues, buildings, and much more. Plus, he did it with a vintage camera, and if you’re a long-time reader, you may recall that Patrick has a love for shooting a vintage Kodak Dual Flex II, especially with color film, for all the same reasons Jones does. Vintage, middle-class consumer level cameras, of the Polaroid and Kodak variety, have relatively poor lenses, ones that create soft focuses, and natural vignetting. These effects, combined with the rich colors that are ever more saturated with the film, create an almost dream like effect, like you are looking at an image from a memory of something long since past. It personally made me feel good knowing someone else is out there doing what I love to do, and finding these delightful bits of history and taking a snapshot to share with the rest of the world.

John DeFore accompanies Jones’ photographs with an essay on the topic of color film. From the beginning, color film was shunned by the photography world’s elite. Black and white was the only way to go in order to be taken seriously as an artist working in the photographic medium. I found DeFore’s essay very interesting, and in many ways could relate. When I was in high school I took what was one of the last black and white film photography classes at our school. The year after I graduated our school replaced it with digital photography. (I guess I should be thankful that they kept a photography program.) However the subject matter I always wanted to capture involved color! The lush blonde hair of my friend set against red bricks, when we had to do a portrait, the red of a rose in our still-life assignment, and the brightly colored 99W Drive-In when we were able to shoot whatever we wanted for our final project. And the items I enjoyed shooting outside of the classroom also involved color, especially when I would attend car shows with my dad. Candy apple red, aqua, and plum crazy (yes, an actual factory color from Dodge). Yes, the dynamic lines of vintage automobiles, the curve of a friend’s face, could all be captured in stark black and white, but for so long what man has created has never been the subject matter of “real artists” when it comes to photography. For me, and it seems for Jones as well, photographing the man made is not just one of artistic endeavor, but also one of preservation, to capture something that someone else put time and love into, before it is lost to time. Jones, as DeFore discusses, does not appear to look at his subject matter with “ironic juxtapositions, or framed them in ways that suggest a new layer of meaning is being created, Jones is happy to simply celebrate what he has found.” That isn’t to say that Jones just takes a picture without giving it thought. Much of his framing is glorious, and I would love to have nearly any one of these pieces featured in this book hanging on my wall.

I utterly appreciate what Jones has done here. He lets his images speak for themselves, with their vibrate colors, and the use of the Colorpack III film size. It is books like Garish that continue to inspire me, to seek out the unique, bizarre and manmade attractions that dot our landscape here in America.

Rey Day

Unless you either live under a rock or simply don’t care one ounce about Star Wars, then you’ve heard of the controversy surrounding the lack of Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise featuring its lead character, Rey. There has been a slew of articles written (including one where the film’s director J.J. Abrams chimes in.), and the latest says that toymakers were told specifically not to include her, as they didn’t believe boys would want toys that included a female (no, never mind that in 1977 boys played with ’em.). And after the outcry over the lack of Rey in the Force Awakens Monopoly game, (which Hasbro claims she was omitted because of spoilers, which I think is a load of BS), they are finally re-issuing the game with her in it. Where am I going with all of this? Well, we felt like we should show our support for the awesome character by giving Rey her own day. A few of my friends came up with idea and organized the event and we converged on Disneyland in Rey Disneybounds.

Later in the day a few of us decided we should visit Chewbacca, who was overjoyed to see so many gals dressed up as his new friend. Also, wookies give the best hugs. Period.

Also mid-way through the day I met one of my art idols, Brianna of Brianna Garcia Illustration! If you love Disney you should for sure check her out.

For as much as I love Disney, I hardly Disneybound. I think a lot of this is because my wardrobe isn’t full of color blocked basics, which I think are key to Disneybounding. This is why my Maleficent Disneybound felt like an accomplishment. So, when I got invited to Rey Day I thought “Oh, she’s just khaki…I got loads of that.” Sadly, my initial idea failed miserably, so I dashed the TJ Maxx that is practically next door and found nearly my entire bound there. My feelings that I had while shopping the racks of TJ Maxx could be a post in itself, but I’ll spare you. Despite the numerous “WTF!?” moments when shopping and trying stuff on, I am overjoyed with the outcome, and it was so well received.

Wrap & Belt: Thrifted
Sweater, Top & Pants: TJ Maxx
Boots: Buffalo Exchange
Purse & Rey Button by Loungefly: Charming Shoppe, Orange, California

Dolly and Dotty

Recently I was contacted by the UK based, retro influenced clothing company Dolly and Dotty to see if I was interested in test driving one of their items for review. For the most part Dolly and Dotty’s website is full of the classic retro staples, with fitted dresses, swing dresses, pencil skirts and striped tops, and also features its fair share of polka-dots and cherries. In flipping through their pages, I spied a navy pencil skirt (one of many shades I am lacking) and I instantly opted for it.

When the skirt arrived I was impressed by the smoothness of the fabric, and that it had great body to it, but didn’t feel bulky. The garment is made of 95% cotton (yay!) and 5% spandex, which is to be expected from almost any modern garment. The skirt is fully lined in a super soft fabric, that feels like a thin, old, cotton t-shirt (in the best way, you know the one you’ve had for ages and feels fabulous). All of the visible fabric edges are surged, and I believe the lining hem is surged prior to being folded over and hemmed, as there is a bit of extra surging thread peeking out at the hem. Speaking of hems, like most contemporary garments, this skirt features a regularly stitched hem.

The skirt features an eight and a half inch invisible zipper and hook and eye along the back. Also note the skirt features a Hollywood Waist (no separate waistband), and I have become really fond of the style. The skirt’s care tag is located along the left side lining, and recommends it gets hand washed, which I will likely do. The tag also reads that this skirt was made in China. A bit of a bummer. The skirt is 25 inches in length and you can see in the next few pictures, it hits me right below my knee cap, and I stand 5′ 6″.

At a 27 inch waist and 38 inch hip, I opted for a UK size 10 by using their size chart. And the skirt fits like a gem. It hugs just right, and feels great because of that soft lining. Patrick and I had to run a few errands today so wore the skirt for its trial run.

I will say that because it is cotton, it does wrinkle fairly easily. The visible wrinkles are from me adjusting my top when getting dressed and from our car ride. But I will also so I really do like this skirt, as it was incredibly comfortable, and the wee bit of stretch and the seven inch slit in the back made walking easy. Those familiar with older pencils will know some skirts don’t allow for a good stride. And I’m a girl with a fairly long stride. I also got a handful of compliments as we popped in and out of shops. So, I’m pretty happy!

Two-Tone Fringe Leather Jacket & Tooled Leather Purse: Found by my dad!
Blouse: Buffalo Exchange
Skirt: Courtesy of Dolly & Dotty. Thank you!
Nude Fishnets: Oroblu
Shoes: Olvera Street, Los Angeles, California
Turquoise Bracelet: Christmas present from my mother
Turquoise Rings: One came from Expo I think…the other…not sure…

Disclaimer: I received this skirt free of charge from Dolly and Dotty in exchange for an honest review of their garment.

Fur & Feathers Comes to LA!

Just a little preface: This post will show a lot of vintage fur. To read my views on fur please read this post. Please also note that unkind comments will be deleted from the comments section.

Long time readers of my blog will remember an annual event that Julie of FabGabs Vintage would put on, called Fur & Feathers, which I attended multiple times during the time I lived in Portland. Fur & Feathers was boasted as a time when vintage lovers could break out their beloved pieces that featured fur and feathers, hence the name, as well as incorporate items of alligator or snake, or other wearable items derived from animals, insects, etc. When January came around in 2015 I saw many of my vintage loving Portland friends attending the luncheon and I bemoaned missing out on the event. But in the last year I have met a slew of vintage lovers here, and I was able to put together the first ever Fur & Feathers: Los Angeles! We wanted to include the men folk as well, so prints were also encouraged, and the men came out wearing fun ties featuring birds, feathers and other animals!

In Portland, the Fur & Feathers Luncheon was held at Huber’s, Portland’s oldest restaurant, but for LA I decided the newly remodeled Clifton’s would be quite fitting because it is home to quite a few pieces of taxidermy.

We had an awesome turn out, I think we had 22 people! Including friend and fellow blogger, Christine of Smitten. And we received quite a lot compliments, which is always wonderful. I can’t wait to do this again next year!

Vintage Fur Wrap: Christmas present from Patrick
Hat: Expo
Dress (which features one of my favorite labels, Miss Hollywood): Plucky Maidens Junk Fest
Shoes: Farylrobin
Bracelets: Belonged to my great grandmother

The La Brea Tar Pits

Over the weekend Patrick and I went to the La Brea Tar Pits. Finally! We had been wanting to go since we moved, but I wanted to wait until I found myself a piece of jewelry featuring my favorite prehistoric creature, the saber-toothed cat (formally known as the Smilodon), which I happily found on Etsy from Hungry Designs. I was beyond excited to finally see the loads of fossils that have been discovered right in the heart of Los Angeles since 1913, and are still being found to this day.

The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits offers a lot of insight into the area we now know as Los Angeles during the prehistoric time period, with thousands of fossils on display, active dig sites and labs. When peeking through the window into a lab we observed paleontologists working on finding micro-fossils using microscopes. One used her phone to take a picture through her microscope to show what she had found, which I thought was a really nifty way of showing what she was seeing. Another unique offering at the Page Museum is the Encounter Theatre where guests learn more about Rancho La Brea, the current digs going on, and even encounter a real life saber-toothed cat! Or, at least a very incredible, life sized puppet of one.

I’ve loved saber-toothed cats since I can remember. I recall once at day care (like pre-kindergarten) we used stencils to decorate necklaces we were making, and after using a cat stencil I added the large teeth to make a saber-toothed cat. And as a full grown adult I made a saber tooth cat at Build-a-Bear when it was offered a little ways back. Also, fun fact the saber-toothed cat is the official state fossil of California!

Sweater: I honestly don’t remember…
Skirt & Penny Loafers: Buffalo Exchange
Purse: Present from my sister
Sabor Tooth Cat Brooch: Hungry Designs
Scarf: Thrifted…probably…

Happy Trails to You

Gosh, I haven’t blogged since the New Year!? That’s crazy! Well, for good reason. Like mentioned before, Patrick and I caught colds in December, and have been battling them since, including New Years. And after recovering, my dad came down from Oregon to visit for a week, hence all of this non-blogging! But onwards!

Sunday was a rather emotional day at the Disneyland Resort as several attractions closed permanently, and Patrick and I spent the day visiting such locations. As mentioned in past posts, the Big Thunder Ranch area of Frontierland is meeting the wrecking ball, or perhaps should I say the beam of the Deathstar? As the location (and some backstage areas) is the future location for the upcoming Star Wars themed land. Just to clarify, when I say Big Thunder Ranch, I mean three specific areas, none of which include Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which is safe. The areas I mean are the Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, Big Thunder Ranch petting zoo, and the Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue. Other areas being affected include the Rivers of America (including Tom Sawyer’s Island, the Sailing Ship Columbia, the Mark Twain riverboat, and the Davy Crockett Canoes) and the Disneyland Railroad, as these converge with areas that will be under construction. So, Sunday we visited the Ranch one last time, as well as rode the Mark Twain and Railroad.

The area was also the location of my favorite hidden Mickey in the Resort, which was made up of horseshoes. When we arrived in the morning we were shocked to see the Mickey was gone! Apparently someone stole it! But we watched as a Cast Member selected horseshoes to create another one. You can spy it in the background in the above photo.

We were lucky enough to witness the last running of the goats, which is when the goats are herded from their pen to Circle D (the backstage ranch), as well as watch the final performance of Miss Chris and Tex Tumbleweed (in which other Cast Members joined in) and eat barbecue, before riding the last Grand Circle Tour aboard the Disneyland Railroad.

Sadly, the Jamboree area closed after spring (you can see pictures from our visit then here), and Miss Chris’ cabin, located within the petting zoo area, which housed a table with coloring pages and also was home to character meet and greets, shuttered after Halloween. I was upset to not be properly informed of these early closures to give them a proper goodbye and I am crushed to see this area go (and I say that as a huge Star Wars fan). It was one of the few quiet locations in the Resort to escape the craziness, maybe pet a a few farm animals, and in years past was home to the presidentially pardoned turkeys! I’m glad to have been able to have experienced this area so much within the little over a year we’ve been here, and I just hope the new Star Wars area is beyond amazing to help take the sting out of losing such a gem. The Rivers of America and the Disneyland Railroad will be out of commission for one to two years, but the Disney Parks Blog will be keeping people up to date with the expansion, and already has by releasing the new Rivers of America concept art, which you can check out here.

Fringe Leather Jacket: Plucky Maidens Junk Fest
Western Wear Shirt: Really not sure…
Jeans: Freddies of Pinewood
Boots: Antique Alley, Portland, Oregon
Cowboy hat: Disneyland