Pirates within the Disney Archives

This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Disneyland attraction Pirates of the Caribbean. And with that, the Walt Disney Archives decided that their exhibit at D23 would be dedicated to pirates of all sorts! From early shorts to the latest in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. And since this was an amazing exhibit, thar be plenty o’ pictures ahead! Ye been warned!

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The Magic of the Movies

Back in March Patrick and I got passes to Universal Studios, and while I have been a handful of times between then and now with some of my friends, Patrick had only gone twice so far. So, over the weekend we went and I got dolled up in a vintage inspired Ravenclaw ensemble and we enjoyed a day at Universal Studios. I also took my first Harry Potter inspired parasol for a spin, which I made awhile ago real quick when some of my friends and I went on an extremely hot day.

I often insist on doing the Studio Tour every visit, as your route can change visit to visit depending on what is being shot on the backlot. During this visit we had an extensive spin around the Mexican Street, the western area of Six Points, and the European Village area. So below are loads of backlot photos!

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Undercover Rock-and-Roller

Last night Patrick and I went to go see Elvis & Nixon, a film inspired by what may or may not have occurred when Elvis Presley met President Richard Nixon on December 21, 1970. If I wasn’t already digging the idea, the cast made me eager to see it! Michael Shannon, who some may remember from his phenomenal role as Nelson Van Alden in Boardwalk Empire, as Elvis. Johnny Knoxville as Sonny, Elvis’ bodyguard. Kevin Spacey as President Nixon. And Colin Hanks and Evan Peters as members of the White House staff. The trailer was hysterical, and beyond ridiculous, so when it arrived at the local cinema I pulled out my TBC necklace and a belt I think Elvis would be proud of.

I have to talk about this coat though for a sec. It is one of my favorites, and a complete mystery. I snagged it at a local antique mall, and I have absolutely no idea what kind of fur it is. Yak? Llama? Just plain fluffy cow? I honestly don’t know. All I know is it’s rather soft. If you have any ideas, let me know. (Also know that anti-fur, or hate comments will be removed). The coat also does not feature a label of any kind, and has the craziest lining! And the closures are the twist kind that you would commonly find on a purse.

As for the film itself, the viewer must take all of it with a grain of salt. This much is true, Elvis did indeed write a letter to President Nixon wanting to “be of any service” that he could “to help the country out” and did want a badge from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, to likely add to is already large collection of police badges. And after meeting with Nixon, he did received a badge. Priscilla shared that she thought Elvis wanted the badge because he believed with it he could carry his own personal firearms and drugs wherever he wanted. (Source) Some may not view Shannon as a good Elvis, but, it worked for me within the context of the film, and Spacey was actually an amazing Nixon. The film offered many giggles, which is honestly what I’m into these days when it comes to going to the movies. I deal enough with the real world and political issues on the regular basis, I go to the movies to have a good time. The next film I’m looking forward to also happens to take place in the 70s and hopefully is just as funny as its trailer, which is The Nice Guys.

Jacket: Country Roads Antiques, Orange, California
Dress, Purse, & Shoes: Buffalo Exchange
Belt: Red Light, Portland, Oregon
Headband: Elsewhere Vintage, Orange, California
TCB Necklace: Ebay

“You built a time machine out of a DeLorean?”

I’m all about preservation. Especially when it comes to preserving movie history, which is often more fragile than one would think. When people make movies, the props, sets, and even costumes are not made to last, or even made well really. They are made well enough to be shot and often just tossed. And then some items are beloved enough to be saved, even if it isn’t very well. This is what happened with the “A” car or the “Hero” car of Doc Brown’s infamous DeLorean time machine from the Back to the Future films.

First off, what does “A” or “Hero” mean with regards to movie props? Often there are more than one copy or version of props, and they are usually of varying quality. “A” means best, with lower qualities following the grading scale schools have, with “B” and “C” props being not as well done. “Hero” is another term used and means the same as “A”. “Hero” and “A” props are the ones used for close-ups and have the most detail.

The Back to the Future time machine sat on display at Universal Studios Hollywood for years. Eventually, John Murdy, the Creative Director at Universal felt like it was worth saving, and handed the task of restoring it to the beloved fans of Back to the Future, more specifically a team that had faithfully recreated Doc’s time machine with their own DeLoreans. Joe Walser was the head of the restoration, and his friend Steve Concotelli wanted in, and even though he had no technical skills to help in the actual restoration, he decided he would film it, and documented the process with his film, Outatime: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine, due out later this year.

But with a fully restored car, where should it go? Well earlier this week it found its forever home. No, not back on Universal’s backlot, but in a museum, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, and Patrick and I were there for its unveiling!

Murdy, Walser, and Concotelli, along with Back to the Future writer Bob Gale, were there to unveil the car, as well as offer their insight on the film and the car in a panel (which you can view here).

It is always nice to be reminded that there are people out there who care so much about film and film history to go through such efforts. The restoration lasted over a year, and it was worth every second, the care is phenomenal, and I can’t wait until the film is released to watch how it happen!

Universal Studios

After living in California for nearly a year (seriously, where does the time go, but I’ll reflect on that in a later post), Patrick and I finally made it to Universal Studios yesterday. I hadn’t been since I believe 1997, and Patrick had never been. With the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening in spring of next year, I assumed there is going to be a mob of people visiting the park, and decided that we should go and experience Universal prior to all of that madness, and then return once Harry Potter opens and enjoy it without the stress of needing to visit other portions of the park. Thankfully Universal Studios was also doing a promotion of buy one day, get two days free, so we have two more days (until mid-February) to return.

A lot has certainly changed over the years, gone is the Back to the Future ride, as well as the E.T. ride, and sadly the Wild West Stunt Show has also shuttered its doors. With a fire in 2008 that took out many iconic sets, as well a King Kong animatronic, which was part of the studio tour, a 3-D experience has been installed, featuring a scene from Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of King Kong. Additionally, for you Fast and the Furious fans, Universal has added a 3-D aspect to the end of their studio tour that incorporates the latest film. 3-D has a much greater presence at Universal verses Disneyland, with multiple attractions using in, such as Despicable Me, Transformers, and the Simpsons ride. Which, I won’t lie, is kind of disappointing. I often feel like 3-D, simulation attractions are cop outs. We see movies every day that are images on screens, which use special effects, having an image virtually come toward me doesn’t feel much different. I am much more impressed physical and practical effects when visiting amusement parks. But these feelings aside, Universal Studios is still a really neat place to go, and the studio tour offers a unique look behind the scenes of movies and television, and it’s always wonderful to be so close to such iconic locations that have been used in countless movies and television series. Some of my favorites that have graced Universal’s backlot are I Dream of Jeannie, The Muntsters, Back to the Future, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jaws, Psycho, and Universal’s classic horror films such as Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Frankenstein, just to name a few.

Shirt: The Wigwam Motel, Rialto, CA
Shorts & Belt (I think…): Buffalo Exchange
Jewelry: Here and there
Mocs: Minnetonka
Purse: Target, bought when I had a purse tear on me while on vacation awhile back, has turned out quite useful actually.

Hollywood Costume Exhibition

Yesterday Patrick and I went to the Hollywood Costume Exhibition in LA. I really had no idea what I was getting into when we visited, I just saw that is boasted a great number of costumes, and the website showcased the first shot we see of Kate Winslet as Rose in Titanic, and I was sold! As I’ve been to a fair number of museums and special exhibits, I figured ahead of time that they would not allow photography inside, and I was correct in that assumption, though I was still saddened, especially when we began walking through. So you’ll just have to settle for what I wore to the exhibit.

As it was quite cool, and we even got rained on a bit, I was chose to wear the outfit I had intended to wear to the Blue Skies Disneyland meet-up. This hat is a favorite of mine, though it hardly gets the wearing it deserves as I don’t have very many pieces that match its ice blue tone, and I believe it has yet to even be seen on the blog, despite owning it for about a year I believe! Anyway, enough about my clothing, on to raving on the exhibit!

The exhibit showcases over 150 costumes from Hollywood’s early days, including one of Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp suits through very recent films such as American Hustle and The Hunger Games. Not only are these magnificent costumes on display, they are aided by information regarding their development including quotes from actors, directors and of course costume designers involved in the film. Filmed interviews with actors, directors and costume designers are also utilized, with some period interviews with people who are no longer with us, such as Edith Head. Additionally many of the costumes were displayed on mannequins befitting the characters who originally wore the costumes, in pose and props.

I’ll say this, it was a miracle I did not walk out of there in handcuffs as some of my all-time favorite costumes were on display. First my mouth dropped at the sign of Judy’s green and white number from Vertigo, an outfit I would wear on a daily basis in a heartbeat. Then I turned a corner to see Marion Ravenwood’s “Streets of Cairo” outfit from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the very same that I had spent countless hours on recreating. Initially I was terrified to step up to it, fearing that even though I had poured over many screencaps I would still come home loathing my creation. However, I will say I am still quite pleased with what I made, but not without wanting to add some details I observed upon close inspection of the real deal in order to create a more accurate cosplay. The Marion costume was also side by side with Willie’s gold and red opening act dress from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and one of Elsa’s suits from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, as well as one of Indy’s famous ensembles. I then cast my eyes upon Satine’s pink and rhinestone covered number from Moulin Rouge! when she tells Christian “Let’s dance!” Then I saw a costume that made me grip Patrick’s arm so tight he told me I was hurting him. It was Lynn Bracken’s black velvet and white stain lined hooded coat from when she makes her first appearance in LA Confidential. I have been longing to make this coat for years now, but have held back, not happy with the fabric options I was finding in many of the stores, but one of these days, I will make a screen accurate version, although in the meantime I purchased this beauty (which has yet to make its debut on the streets of LA) to tide me over until I make my own.

Among other favorites on display were Darth Vader and Han Solo from Star Wars, Mary Poppins’ arrival outfit from Disney’s Mary Poppins, Tippi Hedren’s green outfit from The Birds, two outfits from Baz Luhrmann’s recent take on The Great Gatsby, including Gatsby’s pink suit, one of Johnny Depp’s costumes from Sweeney Todd and a Captain Jack Sparrow costume from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, several costumes from the various Elizabeth the First films that have been made over the years, Queen Guinevere’s intricate crochet and pumpkin seed gown from 1967’s Camelot, one of Faye Dunaway’s outfits from Bonnie & Clyde, and most notably Marilyn Monroe’s infamous white dress from The Seven Year Itch and Dorothy’s blue and white outfit as well as ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, among so many others.

On our way out I made sure to purchase a catalog of the exhibit, though in flipping through it is more like a history of costuming in film rather than really showcasing all of the costumes on display, but nevertheless I cannot wait to read it. Additionally, I purchased a copy that was signed by the curator of the exhibit, Deborah Nadoolman Landis, a costume designer whose credits include Raiders of the Lost Ark!

If you’re in the Los Angeles area before March 2nd, I can’t recommend the exhibition enough. You can learn more and purchase tickets on-line.

Dress: Red Light, Portland, Oregon
Hat: Simply Vintage, Portland, Oregon
Belt: Nordstorm
Palm Tree Brooch: Living Threads, Portland, Oregon
Hollywood Charm Bracelet: Don’t remember!
Seamed Fishnets: Buffalo Exchange, I think…
Shoes: Miz Mooz
Purse: Christmas gift from my sister

“Tell ’em Howard Hughes Said So”

Over the weekend one of my favorite movies showed at The Hollywood, Disney’s The Rocketeer. It was an early afternoon screening, so I decided to go for a more casual look, instead of getting gussied up.

The Rocketeer remains one of my favorite films over the years for its endearing characters and great story, and while I also love the comics, there is just something about the movie that I like more. Sadly, its initial box office numbers were rather sad, though over the years The Rocketeer has developed a cult like following, especially at comic conventions. Over the last few years there have been rumblings of Disney attempting a remake, and I pray to god they don’t. I really have my reservations on the matter because since when has a Disney remake ever been better than its original? Alice in Wonderland, Escape to Witch Mountain, and most recently the entirely new twist with Sleeping Beauty in Maleficent, anyone? These remakes also have me cringing over the news that the next live action Disney films on the table are Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, the latter of which being my absolute favorite Disney film.

How about you? Are you a fan of The Rocketeer? How do you feel about the possibilities of a remake? Or about these live action remakes of animated classics?

Peasant Blouse: FabGabs
Jeans: Vivian of Holloway via Animal Traffic, Portland, Oregon
Shoes: Miss L Fire
Purse: Thrifted by my dad!
Necklace: Birthday present from my dear friend Alicia
Bangles: Here and there