Friday, June 29, 2012

Film Flick Friday: His Girl Friday

His Girl Friday is typical Howard Hawks. His leading ladies are always tough, cold as steel, equal to men and "masculine" in their portrayal. No wilting lilies to be rescued on his set, Hawks found something sexy about a female who acted like a man. No surprise then, that when he heard a female read one of the lead male parts in Front Page, a Broadway hit he was considering as fodder for his next picture, he decided the lines sounded better from a woman. Cue one rewrite-a short one. Nearly all the lines remained the same; only a few genders were swapped- and the story gets changed to a screwball, romantic comedy.

The final result is a romping comedy, with fast paced dialogue (it's possibly the first to feature characters that talk over one another) that's backed up with some pretty great physical comedy as well. When Hildy Johnson comes back to the office to tell her boss (and former husband!), Walter Burns, that she's quitting the paper to get married and lead a "normal" life, she expects it to take only a moment or two. How wrong she was.Walter promises her money enough to get a nice start on that ordinary life- if she writes one last story. There's series of mishaps in the pressroom, a condemned prisioner on the loose, and one upset mother-in-law-to-be. It leaves both the other newpaper men and the audience waiting to see- can Hildy really let go of  the chase for the best scoop or will the thrill of adventure call her back?

The script was looking better by the minute, but it wasn't just the rewrites that made this a long trip from concept board to silver screen. Cary Grant as the leading man was an almost instantious decision, a seeming perfect fit, but who to act opposite of him? Once the script had been changed to call for a strong woman, they had a hard time finding her! A number of big names- including Ginger Rogers, Kathrine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert and more all turned down the part. Finally Rosalind Russell came onto the project on loan from another studio. Aware she wasn't the first choice, she came to her audition with wet hair, a clear sign she wasn't anymore thrilled to be there than Hawks was to not being getting the actress he wanted. "You don't want me, do you? Well, you're stuck with me, so you might as well make the most of it," she told him during film, and that wasn't all she did on set. Feeling that Walter Burns, Cary Grant's role, got better lines than Hildy Johsnon (her role) did, she hired a writer to punch up her own dialogue. Since Hawks encouraged ad-libbing on-set, only Grant grew wise to this tatic, causing him to greet her each morning with a "What have you got today?" Grant himself did excellent ad-libbing, and had many in-jokes. Referring to Bruce, Hildy's fiance, he ad-libbed "He looks like that fellow in the movies, you know...Ralph Bellamy!" when, of course, that's who Bruce was played by. But he poked fun at himself too.At one point his character talks about the last man, Archie Leach, who ran up against him and the horrible fate he encurred. Archie Leach being Cary Grant's real name.

All in all, while the film might not have been a "revolution" like Hildy's story was going to be, it's worth watching and rewatching for the laughs and smiles it is sure to bring.

PS This film makes a great one to show out of doors.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What I Wore: To Road's End Beach

Sand Castle ICoral Shorts + Breton Stripes Sand Castle IIBeach outfitRoad's End BeachBeach outfit

While out in Oregon, we managed to get a free afternoon, and decided on a whim to visit the beach. Now I'm a little jealous of people who live near beaches! This one is a state park near Lincoln City called Road's End Beach. Romantic name, yeah? Downright novelesque. Above you can see the fruits of our labor- a sand castle! The Boy and I may or may not have spent several hours making this with dollar store sand buckets. May or may not....

This outfit turned out to be pretty perfect for the beach too (well, provided we didn't want to get into the freezing water...). These shorts easily dusted off any sand, and what's more beach-like than breton stripes?

What are your favorite beach and/or summer time activities this year?

PS There's more to this road trip! Check out the Columbia Gorge, Portland, and the zoo

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Giveaway Winner + 15 Things to Put in a Care Package (9th ed.)

Thank you everyone who entered my giveaway! The winner was picked using  Randomizer I, and I'm pleased to announce Nicole of Treasure Tromp as the winner! Congratulations; I will be in touch. My email is; if you have not received an email from that address, check your spam box and then let me know here. Thanks! 

You might be wondering what sort of things will be in Nicole's care pacakage? Don't want to give away any surprises quite yet, but maybe something from this list of 15 Things You Can Put in a Care Package ( 9th Edition)
  1. Putty
  2. Stationary
  3. Hat
  4. Sunscreen
  5. Things to Blow Bubbles With
  6. Bumper Sticker
  7. Send a Hug (paper arms that can be wrapped around a person)
  8. goggles
  9. water bottle
  10. nail polish
  11. Chopsticks (or other utensils)
  12. Decorated Comb
  13. Chair Cushion
  14. Joke items like a rubber chicken or handshake buzzer
  15. A Map (Ex: World Maps, City Maps, Countries, Antique or historic maps, topographical, or natural features, maps of Never-Never Land or Oz or Narnia!)
Happy Mailing everybody!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Trip Review: Lions and Tigers and Zoo Dates, Oh My!

Giraffe LoveHippoBaboonRed-Handed MonkyAsian ElephantZoo-45Zoo-11water lionGernukCheetahUntitled

One of the things we definitely wanted to do while in a metropolis was a day at the zoo, so on our last day in Portland, we struck out for one.Now I haven't been one since I was in grade school, so there's no expert here, but the Oregon Zoo seemed like a pretty fabulous zoo all said. They seem to support a lot of research and charity work. It was also impressive how many different events they do though out the summer. Is anyone living near a zoo a member who goes to events?

We saw so man animals! Also so many children, but rather than detracting from the mood, it added to the fun, free adventurous spirit of it.Above our some of our favorite new friends. Amos (The Boy) had a field day with his camera; all of these photos are his.

There were old favorite stops, like the elephants, or the giraffe who sported that neat spot on his back, but there were also unexpected delights, like the graceful sea lions or the gernuk who surprisingly can stand up right on his hind legs to reach food! What are your favorite animals to see at the zoo?

Earlier in the trip we toured downtown Portland and stayed at the Kennedy School, and we saw Oregon's waterfalls.

P.S. Don't forget to go enter my Care Package Giveaway!  It ends tomorrow! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekend Review: In The Good Old Summertime

Roasting MarshmellowsMovie in the GarageBriscoGrandma and SisterMovie in the GarageAmosDogsS'more!

The summer heat has arrived. But while we are all melting in the day (and I just tell myself, at least it isn't humid. Thank goodness! Sorry for all of you in such places), we proved this weekend we know how to relax in the evening air. A family Barbeque, and outdoor movie in a garage (if you're in the area, learn more about Movies in the Park. We will be showing movies throughout the sumer) and a s'more bonfire made for a memorable weekend.

photo 1: roasting marshmallows
photo 2: watching His Girl Friday in a garage (screwball comedy starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell)
photo 3: Brisco, our wired fox terrier
photo 4: My grandmother and sister
photo 5: Amos and my mother at the movie
photo 6: Amos lighting the fire
photo 7: our wired fox terriers at the BBQ
photo 8: eating the fruits of our labor

P.S. Don't forget to go enter the Care Package Giveaway! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Trip Review: Portland(ia)

Gimme Some of That Voodoo That You Do

That Voodoo You Do

That Voodoo You DoThat Voodoo You Do

The second part of our road took place in Portland, Oregon. They take their unofficial slogan of "Keep Portland Weird" seriously here (though, our tour guide said she preferred the term "quirky" herself). One of Portland's famous institutions is Voodoo Doughnuts, home of some of the "quirkest" doughnuts you'll ever stomach! You can spot their many slogans in our pictures, but the bizzare looking doughnuts seem to speak for themselves. We got "Bacon Maple Bars" (DELICIOUS! Bacon, how can you make anything better?). Others included "Gay Bars," (some kind of jelly-filled one) "O Captain, My Captians" (has Captian Crunch Ceral on it) and "Voodoo Doughnuts" (Shaped like a spirit with a pretzel stabbing it, blood-colored filling squirts out on eating it!) Which doughnut would you choose?

PortlandiaA long wayInPortland-10InPortland-11chairleprechaun hunting

Blogger Confession- I was most excited about the shopping in Portland, mainly the thrifting and more unique boutiques of Hawthorne Street. (Um, Wyoming is so remote there is not much shopping in general. Even box stores seem very exotic. I was also excited for Forever 21 though it was not nearly as cool). I got a great find via the Buffalo Exchange and, after months of unsuccessfully hunting for a petticoat that was both long enough for my needs and that did not require international shipping (or exchange rates!) Actually, every single store we walked in that day had petticoats. Portland is the Petticoat Capital of America?

So, when Amos wanted to do a tour of Portland, I thought it might be a good idea, since he was going to be putting up with shopping (no matter how much he says he likes that too.) Boy, I'm glad I listened! The tour was fun, focussing on how Portland came to be such a green, sustainable place. We saw the famous Portlandia Statue, which is the second largest copper statue in he US (next to The Statue of Liberty). We also saw several fun nods to Portland's many "sister cities," such as the mile post (note the milage "A Long Way" for Tipperary!) and this unique chair. It was suppose to symbolize what the artist thought of when he thought of Portland. I'm not sure what I think of what he thinks either. We also learned about the world's smallest park! It made the record and everything. Supposedly, the city made a hole for a lamp post, but no lamp post ever appeared. After one journalist complained for several months about the ugly hole he could see out his office window, he took matters into his own hands. Some greenery and clovers got planted; the park became famous through his column, which he filled with exploits about the leprechaun that lived there. Sadly, I couldn't spy any little men to give me a pot of gold... but our tour was treasure enough. Try one out on the next trip you take!

 Making the Grade at the Kennedy School
Kennedy SchoolchalkboardchalkboardKennedy SchoolTall BikeTom Thumb

Called one of America's Quirkiest Hotels by Trip Advisor, Micmenamin's Kennedy School was a fascinating and delightful stay! It is a hotel that is housed in an old elementary school! Signs of its past are alluded to everywhere, from the names of places to the unique artwork on the walls. Also housed in this building are several resteraunts, bars, a movie theatre, a soaking pool and multiple conference rooms! All of these are open to the public, so even if you don't stay with them, the school is worth checking out! We liked the food served in the Boiler Room, and the beer is brewed right on the premise (another thing to add to this list about the multi-functional building!) We may have taken advantage of the soaking pool every night, but other guests got a kick out of smoking a cigar in dentation (while funny, our choice is clearly the healthier and more relaxing! The pool was in the teacher's lounge. if only all teacher lounges had this!)

All of the hotel rooms, originally classrooms and cloakrooms, had both the original chalkboards and storybook names! We stayed in Thumbelina's Room, but next to us was Mr. Toad's I drew a tribute to them ;)

Stay tune for more Oregon Summer Fun at the zoo and the beach, or check out what other road trip adventures we had! 

P.S. Don't forget to go enter my Care Package Giveaway! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Film Flick Friday: The Jazz Singer

"There are lots of jazz singers, but you have a tear in your voice." So is the common praise for the voice of a son of a Jewish cantor who defies his home and hertitage to seek out a career as a jazz singer. His big chance finally arrives with the help of a pretty girl, but trouble at home puts him in conflict with himself. Will the ideal of following your dreams be his guiding light, or will the importance of family and home win out?

It is a plot that is unremittedly hammy and smaltzy, outdated even when the film was being made. Critics at the New York Tribune called the film "a pleasantly sentimental orgy dealing with a struggle between religion and art...." Yet this movie makes the grade as #90 on the American Film Institute's top 100 films for one very important reason- hearing that voice with a tear. Sound had come to film with 1927's The Jazz Singer.

The Jazz Singer was not, as commonly believed, the first film with sound. Several shorts with sound had been premeired before this, but it was the first commercially sucessful sound film, and the first feature length film to use sound. There was one other way it broke presidence too- and not entirely on purpose either! Except for the musical numbers and the symphonic soundtrack, the film is silent, utilizing titlecards. A technical oddity was all that made this the first film where actors talked. Though people from Edison on had been trying to put sychronized sound to moving pictures, the idea of having dialogue had never been the purpose. "Who would want to hear actors talk?" Sam Warner, the man behind the studio's push toward sound, famously asked. Recorded on Vitaphone, The Jazz Singer took an unprecedented nine reels of film. Not because its so long- it runs a little over an hour- but because Vitaphone, the process then used to record sound, was so expensive only the music numbers got it. They had to switch back to the cheaper, silent reels when no one was singing. However, twice talking sneaks in the middle of a Vitaphone reel. As these scenes were played on opening night, people described a sense of excitment like electricity rippling shockwaves through the audience when they heard those voices talk. "Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You ain't heard nothin' yet!" Three simple sentences to change the face of film forever. Al Joleson couldn't be more right; they hadn't heard anything yet. Through it would take several years to change things over to the expensive, sound-producing equipment both in Hollywood and in movie theaters around the country, sound was to become the way of the movie-making world.

It was not just the talking people went to see though. In The Jazz Singer, technilogical advancement, and the perfect star came together when Al Joleson, The World's Greatest Entertianer, crooned on the silver screen. In fact, corny as the script is, it is based on Al Joleson's life. He nearly wasn't given a part to play though. The Jazz Singer had started out life as a book and was made into a Broadway play when the Warner brothers snatched up the movie rights, intending to make a silent picture. Along with the rights they had to sign the (musicless) play's main actor. When they made the decision to switch to sound and add in music, that actor wanted more money, so it gave them the excuse to give him the boot! Al Joleson gives his first acting performance in this film, and if it sometimes shows, that hardly matters. He got his title of World's Greatest for a reason: music.

Personally, I found the movie entertianing. The plot, as I said, is sentimental and somewhat hokey, but it draws you in just the same! I felt for the mother everytime she was on screen; you could just feel the familial love. The music is what you really stay for. Not every song is going to thrill modern audiences who, use to the more daring jazz of the thirties and forties, may find the "sweet" jazz/ragtime beats a little bland. However, Al Joleson's "Toot, Toot, Tootsie" and "Blue Skies" are sure to be winners, remaining classics even today! The whistling might be my favorite part.

Modern viewers might also be warned that this movie does have the main character, Jack (Al Joleson), perform in blackface. Some might argue that the blackface is used to further the story; the Jew confronts his place in American Culture while dressed as another outsider. Some might say that unlike some other blackface performers, Al Joleson did not do stereotypical impressions, but merely used the makeup to better highlight his eyes, lips and hands (the most important parts to see when a singer has the stage). Some might point out that African Americans of the time also used blackface, and that African American papers praised the film and Joleson. But the fact of the matter is simple. It was a different time whose views should not be argued away nor ignored. While I feel this new century has the right attitude towards racist depictions, it should be acknowledged that each time has its own morals, values antis own issues, and that trying to condemn it  based on that would deprive us of a historical moment in film and art. It was at that moment cinema audiences realized they hadn't heard nothin' yet.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Care Package Giveaway

Blogging- it sounds easy, but can be hard. Probably preaching to the choir on this account, but the social media maze that comes with the territory of being a blogger can be daunting. However, oh-so-slowly I'm figuring it out. So, I'm psyched to announce that Never Fully Dressed (Without a Style) now has a Facebook Page.


To celebrate, I'm hosting a giveaway on Never Fully Dressed! The winner will have one of the care packages I often write about winging its way to them via the postal service!

 If you'd like to enter:
1) Follow me (You can do so via bloglovin or google both links are in my sidebar) and
2) leave a comment below telling me about a special postage item you have received in the mail before  (letter, postcard, package, shoe, whatever!). This is open to international readers; just remember it might take a little longer to get a package through the mail to you.

For additional entries:
* 'Like' Never Fully Dressed (Without a Style)'s new Facebook Page!

The winner will be drawn a week from today, on June 27th. Leave a separate comment for each entry, so I know you've been to the new Facebook Page, and, lastly, make sure your email address is available, so I can contact you.

Best of luck!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Trip Review: Columbia Gorge

Inn at the Gorge

As I mentioned last post, last week we took a road trip to Portland and back. The trip actually started with two shorter stops to see friends and family along the way, but we are strangely photo-less when it comes to these get togethers. Too busy talking and catching up, I guess...

We spent a lovely day or so in the Columbia Gorge though. Its so different than the beauty of Wyoming. Everything is lush and green! Arguably the highlight was staying here, at the Inn at the Gorge. Our first experience with a Bed and Breakfast, we found it not much more expensive than a regular hotel, and with the breakfast they served, we probably even saved money! Our B&B had a Victorian theme, and we all ate breakfast together, leaving the table friends with the outer guests when we'd sat down strangers. How cosy- even if I did probably eat too much!
Lavender FarmLavender Farm
Lavender Farm
Lavender Farm

Hood River, where we stayed, if famous for something called the "Fruit Loop." Its a loop of road where many farms, orchards and wineries are. You can stop along any of them for a U-Pick session or a taste at a tasting room. Sadly, early June is not really the season for anything, so many places were closed. No U-Pick for us! But we did stop at this unbelievably pleasant lavender farm, that also had a wild flower garden.

Below you can see a few of our attempts at outfit photos, but they were taken in the middle of the day (harsher light), and the flowers proved awfully distracting!
waterfall waterfall waterfallwaterfall waterfall

Heading in towards Portland, we detoured to take the Columbia Scenic Highway to see several waterfalls, the most famous of which is, of course, Multnomah falls. As you can see, the water made things a little chiller and may have wreaked havoc with my hair a bit! This arid-dessert dweller was not use to such things! Breathtaking beauty in the gorge. Did you know that there are plants there from the ice age that don't grown anywhere else? Learn something new everyday! Plus, we managed to get a rare picture of The Boy! (Why is it when you ask people to take pictures of you, they almost always cut off your feet at your ankles? It looks so strange to me...)

Stay tuned for more next post! Next up: Portland's quirkiest hotel.
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