Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Friday, November 18, 2011

50s Hollywood Style Icons Rock!

Westside Story's 5oth Anniversary and those fab 50s Fashion: (see previous post)

Marilyn Monroe is still as hot as ever in the industry as my post on Michele Williams does Marilyn Monroe revealed: (see AFI 2011 post). The upcoming NBC TV show SMASH also is loving on Ms. Monroe. SMASH is produced by Steven Spielberg and it stars former American Idol Katherine McPhee as a young actress fighting for a role as Marilyn in a Broadway stage production. This show also features my favorite actors, Debra Messing and Angelica Huston, so I'll definitely check it out. Monroe's statue, likenesses, live impersonators and her Walk of Fame star are also very popular along Hollywood Blvd.

Elizabeth Taylor Rocks!
Elizabeth Taylor literally rocks as countless pieces of her jewelry collection will be on display at Christie's Auction House in New York City. This collection is legendary and includes costly "rocks" and sparkling "ice" diamonds as large as 8 carats. Can you say "B-L-I-N-G"!

Those Ruby Slippers:
It's all about the shoes, girl! I saw on TV that the original ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz were being shown at Solange jewelers on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills so I raced on down there for a fashionista-grade close-up and a trip down memory lane.

The Wizard of Oz was always shown on TV every Easter/Resurrection Sunday when I was a kid and I've loved Dorothy (iconically played by Judy Garland) and her ruby slippers since. Every time I bought a red shoe of any kind, it had to live up to the quintessential standard of the original and I frequently went shopping looking for a red sparkly shoe. (In fact, even bought a tiny pair for my sister's daughter for Christmas when she was only 2)!

I did some research on the slippers online and found out that there were actually 7 or 8 pairs of the ruby slippers made for the movie but this particular pair is the most famous ones because they are the ones Judy Garland wore in the scene when she clicked her heels to return back home to Kansas (“there's no place like home”). Some believe that they are the ones taken off the flattened witch, too.

I got to the jeweler and saw that the slippers were housed in a glass case with a mock up of the Emerald City but lots of beefy security men were around too, all wearing slick black suits and a hint that they were packing heat. I hesitated a bit 'til a pleasant lady in a black pant suit greeted me and ushered me right up to those slippers. I got about an inch away from the case to make sure I got a good look and I was looking for a few minutes before I realized I was holding my breath-lol.

The shoes are a little scuffed and faded to a pink in areas but I still got a tingle being so close to them. They have “Judy Garland #7” (or 7th pair) hand-written in ink on the insides and I'm told they are a size 6 or 6 and a half like Garland was. The sparkle of the shoe is not from jeweled appliques or glitter like I had thought but from is from rows and rows of sequences carefully sewn on with great skill. IMHO, it's the height of the heel and the delicate bow detail, along with that ruby sparkle, that makes this shoe the show stopper it is.

This is the last time these ruby slippers will be seen by the public because they are soon to be auctioned off with bids starting at 2 million dollars. So save that cash girls, 'cause Christmas is right around the corner.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Visual Arts In LA

Los Angeles is second only to New York City in its number of artists, art shows and museums spaces dedicated to the arts. There are also lots of artistic enclaves around town with style vibes ranging from the classic fine art greats to “retro-groovy”, to graffiti to “edgy- in your face” to “just way way out there”. Ecclesia Church is not to be left out and so they are having a Visual Arts exhibit the end of November that will be faith-based.

The theme we are to follow is about how Jesus, born into flesh i.e. the Nativity, is intersecting with our lives now or intersections of our faith in our reality in 2011, I guess. I was a bit confused with the concept initially but now I want to take the approach of Ecclesia “the called out ones” as Pastor Joseph discussed in church (listen to the downloadable sermon at ) and how we live “the Jesus in us” or a broader view of how the Holy Spirit operates and the “This Is Ecclesia” series we are delving into in the book of Acts . Then I guess I'll just let the Holy Spirit direct me from there :) .

Ecclesia supports many churches around the world and they are very dedicated to their support of the church in Kibera, Kenya, one of the African nation's most notable slums. Ecclesia's mission team went there recently to share the gospel with the children and teens of Kibera and I've wanted to do some art about that trip ever since.

In fact, a few Sundays back, various Kenya missions team members took the stage and shared their experiences with us at church and I can say it was life changing for me. I wasn't the only one touched by their words and pictures as there were many teary eyes and open hearts to go around. One member even shared that before going on this missions trip, she had been simply checking things off her “Christian bucket list” and not letting the Lord move her (something I 've been guilty of myself).

So Kibera's kids it is and our artwork is due in less than a month so I needed to start sketching quick. I bugged my friend M.W., a Kenyan missions 2011 team member, for any pictures he had of the mission team in Kenya and he had tons. I think that the final work will be in pencil, charcoal, ink or maybe oil pastel crayons because I am not able to work with paints and brushes as well these days. I may make it a 3D multi-media display or a performance piece but I'm still working on the concepts right now.

I'm a little nervous about submitting my art because most of the people submitting work were gifted artists many working currently in the field while my last official art classes were in high school in the 80s. I was found to have artistic skills at age 6 and I was blessed with wonderful art teacher from elementary school all the way through. I also come from a very artistic family and I watched my older brothers drawing at home up through high school then I frequented the fine arts building exhibits during college. But then I went off to medical school to do the doctor thing and I rarely did art after that.

I returned to art in 2001 as therapy and it works well as a distraction but some of my skills suffered I think. I usually do about 3-4 pieces a year now (body willing), most seen only by me in my small “art studio” at home so if I get this done, it would really be a dream come true.

UPDATE: 11-13-11
I submitted eight 9 x 12 inch matted portraits of the Kenyan kids done in graphite pencil and charcoal on paper today so wish me luck. I did them all in about a week and a half and I really wanted to present something for those young mission team members at my church who go yearly to the slums of Kibera. The faces of these kids and teens from Kenya make you want to do for God and give your all and all I can do for them right now is my art.

All this my art is Holy Spirit inspired work because this is not the technique I had before. I also didn't have much supplies but an artist from church hooked me up (thanks R.R.) and another artist matted them for me at a discount in his frame shop (thanks A.B. and fam).

Seriously, seeing my work properly matted and mounted was heavenly and worth the effort. God is amazing! Oh, and I named my pieces as a group, Ecclesia, the "sent out ones": Lives Touched, Kibera.

UPDATE- 11-16-11
Good news! I just got word that 3 of my pieces made the cut and will be on exhibit at the historic Pacific Theater on Hollywood Blvd during Ecclesia's church hours or exhibit hours throughout the Christmas Advent season. I'll make sure to video tape the opening reception especially since I'm going to wear the authentic Kenyan Masai necklace that I bought at the Alternative Christmas Market at Ecclesia last year.

The Alternative Christmas Market:
Speaking of which the Alternative Christmas Market at Ecclesia will be on Dec 3rd this year in its new locale in the outside garden space so it's going to be bigger and better (weather allowing). This is a lovely and novel shopping event for Christmas gifts and it has many jewelry, scarfs, belts, bracelets, purses and ornaments for sale all made by women from Africa, India and Asia. You can also buy or donate for a cow or chicken for a poor family in a developing country, a perfect gift for that man in your life or your young kids.

I plan to make tons of hand made cards with the other women of the church to send to the kids in Kenya like we did last year. I'm also working on some detailed original artwork for Christmas cards, stationary, gift wrap and Christmas trees with an Kenyan/African safari feel for sale on Dec 3rd. I have the concept But I need to get more card stock and envelopes. I'm also going to make my own stamp and logo the old fashioned way. If I get this done, I hope to sell them as a box set of five with the profits going to help the mission in Kenya. I plan to do my pine cone work, too so I have to get cracking now.

***See video of last year's Alternative Christmas Market on an old blog post.

The International Day of Prayer (IDOP)

The International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the Persecuted Church was this past Sunday and we saw a video about it at church which drove home the fact that every 5 minutes a Christian is matyred and numerous others persecuted, imprisoned or killed.

Our pastor asked us to be bold in support of our faith like Peter and John were when they were pulled in for questioning after healing the man at the Gate Beautiful. In fact, Pastor Joseph and many others have extended observance of IDOP to a week of prayer and fasting because of the seriousness of this growing humanitarian crisis.

I've been praying and fasting too... in the dark with a single candle (which represents "the light of the world" that we Christian are to be), a prayer shawl and a small clock that ticks a loud 5 minute count down. Every time I think I'm hungry (which is often) or my stomach growls, I try to think of a Christian in a North Korean prison on meager food rations... when my body hurts (which is often too)I think about a man sore and bruised in India or Saudi Arabia... beaten only because he believes in Our Lord... When the candle blows out and I'm left in darkness, I mourn those Christians killed in Egypt, Iraq, Somalia... And I think, "tick-tock"...

Rita Moreno & Westside Story's 50th Anniversary

God is amazing! I spent he day yesterday strolling Hollywood's Walk Of Stars and chatting with talented Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy award winner, Rita Moreno for over 20 minutes as we searched for her star then took pictures.

Moreno was in for the 50th Anniversary ceremony for Westside Story and had her hand/feet prints immortalized in cement. I had planned to go to this event but I ended up getting there late and missing most of the event. I could barely see anything when I got there because the crowd was barricaded on the other side of the street across from Grauman's Chinese and across 2 lanes of traffic. I waited to see if one of the stars would came to greet the crowd but most of the crowd was leaving. Then I spied Ms. Moreno, her daughter and grandson and a small entourage making their way up Hollywood Blvd and I waved to her and ask if I could join them. Moreno said, "sure, just keep up the pace" and I did (barely)- lol.

Ms. Moreno is so tiny and beautiful and she wore a stone washed fitted jeans jacket, a floral dress with ruffles and sparkly blue low-heeled shoes. Moreno is also still very spry and light on her feet from years of training as a dancer. In fact, she was walking so fast that I struggled to keep up with her as we walked the last 2 blocks.

She was also very sweet to put up with me gushing about her role of Anita in Westside story (both on film and on stage), her roles on Electric Company (Millie, the little girl in pink, the director, Otto), her role on Oz, and her most recent role as Vincent D'Onofrio's mother on Law & Order Criminal Intent... (read yada yada) as we walked to her star. I even got to tell her how only God could have allowed us to meet in the way we did.

I have to work harder on suppressing my natural campiness because I so wanted to sing and dance to the song "In America" as Moreno posed on her star but I had it all recorded on my iphone but my phone died on me. I also resisted asking Moreno to yell her signature "hey, you guys!" like she did in the opening of each Electric Company episode but it took me literally biting my tongue to do it.

Ms. Moreno signed my drawing depicting her on the LIFE magazine cover in 1954 and she gave me a 1,000 watt smile, too. Moreno's manager, John, also took a pic of Ms. Moreno and I and some other picture for me as my hands were just shaking. Then Moreno's family, friends and her grandson gathered around her and we all gave a shout out to Puerto Rico where Moreno was born. Boriqua!