Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Pretty Maids

It summer and I am god-awful tired of writing about war and oil, BP and economics.

It's summer, let's talk about girls. Here are six women I am endlessly fascinated by. None were the most talented or famous of their eras. I just like 'em.

Clara Bow
Big expressive eyes in an era when eyes were an actor's most valuable commodity, verve, and an excitement that sprang off the silent screen. What can I say, she had IT. I've only seen a few clips from her movies (here is a YouTube clip from the movie It!) but I can't help but love her. The gossip that she had sex with the entire 1927 USC football team was certainly phony studio publicity. Her career didn't last long into the talkie era, the microphone apparently gave her stage fright.
She danced even when her feet weren't moving. Some part of her was always in motion, if only her great, rolling eyes. It was an elemental magnetism, an animal vitality, that made her the center of attraction in any company. ~ Aldolf Zucor

Hedy Lamarr
Know now mostly for the character in Blazing Saddles ("It's not *Hedy*, it's *Hedley*."), Hedy was an odd mix. She was glamorous. She was also a genius. She invented a frequency-hopping communications system that was so ahead of its time it was not technically feasible until the 1960's but the system is still used today. And she was troubled. Jewish but married to a Nazi industrialist, Hedy disguised herself to escape to England in 1937 after which she made her way to Hollywood and fame. By the 1960's Hedy was broke, living off the grid with a painter half her age, and was arrested for shoplifting $21 of cosmetics.

Bettie Page
The ultimate pinup girl, no one has ever topped her. That raven hair, those bangs, her bright eyes, and that winning smile. It's sad that she never got her chance at acting and modeling with her clothes on. Her career ended when Estes Kefauver threatened to haul her in front of a Senate committee. Oh, and becoming a born-again Christian was also quite the buzz kill.

Janis Joplin
The least beautiful and most talented on this list. Janis was the first that I saw while she was in her prime. I could have gone with Gracie Slick but she was just a voice to me. Janis was the whole package - writer, singer, character, tragedy. You could feel every fiber of her soul when she sang including all the pain that killed her.
I don't even know where I'm gonna be twenty years from now, so I'm just gonna keep on rockin', cause if I start saving up bits and pieces of me...man, there ain't gonna be nothing left for Janis. ~ Janis Joplin
Cyndi Lauper
I never could get into Madonna. The frenetic Cyndi was more my speed. Cyndi was sort of a rock version of Clara Bow. I was really too old to be a fan (although I liked "Girls Just Want to Have Fun") and I never learned much about her. I just felt that Cyndi was my kind of girl. In the 1920's it was IT. in the 1980's it was je ne sais quoi. An undefinable something that Cyndi has.

Katy Perry
I've heard one of Katy's songs recently. She can't sing. She really can't sing. Don't care. If Cyndi Lauper is a rock Clara Bow, then Katy is a bubblegum version of Bettie Page. Sweet and innocent while at the same time sexy beyond belief. She seems to be truly joyful, as opposed to chemically enhanced joy, a very rare thing for a celebrity. Besides, who couldn't love someone who would let themselves be slimed on television at the Kid's Choice Awards?
Did I mention I love the blue hair?

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