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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Humpday Hunks (Male Pin up #1)

  Most of what I have posted maybe mainly considered eye candy for men and some ladies and I just thought it is past time for the ladies and some men to have some eye candy of their own. So, I don't know how often I'll do posts like this, once a week, once a month or so, I just really don't know but I do hope it is enjoyed. I'm going to start with MEN in KILTS :

Gerard Butler, what can I say?

I swear I think this one is my favorite

  I hope this isn't too many, I had a hard time choosing. And I think I'll call post like this "Humpday Hunks".

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day



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Friday, March 16, 2012

Imogen Cunningham & Her Photos

  American photographer of botanical photography, nudes and industrial landscapes Imogen Cunningham, also known as Imo, was born on April 12, 1883 in Portland, Oregon. At the age of 18 she bought her first camera, a 4x5 inch view camera, from the American School of Art located in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Ms. Cunningham quickly lost interest in the camera and sold it to a friend.  Five years later, while attending the University of Washington in Seattle, she became interested in photography again with her main inspiration, for picking up the camera again, influential American photographer, Gertrude Kasebier. With the help of  Dr. Horace Byers, Ms. Cunningham's chemistry professor, she began to study the chemistry behind photography and subsidized her tuition by taking pictures of plants for the botany department.

After graduating in 1907, Imogen Cunningham went to work for Edward S. Curtis, photographer of American Indians and the American West, in his Seattle, Washington studio, gaining knowledge about practical photography and the portrait business.

  She won a scholarship, in 1909, from her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, for foreign study and applied with Professor Robert Luther at Technische Hochschule in Dresden, Germany. There she did not take many photographs and instead concentrated on her studies. In May of 1910, she finished her paper on "About the Direct Development of Platinum Paper for Brown Tones, in which she described her process to increase printing speed, improve clarity of highlights tones and produce sepia tones. On her way back home to Seattle she met photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn in London and photographer and modern art promoter, Alfred Stieglitz and Gertrude Kasebier.

Dream - 1910

  Ms. Cunningham open her studio in Seattle and went on to win acclaim for her pictorial and portraiture work. Most of her studio work came from sitters in their own home, in her living room or in the woods surrounding her cottage. In 1913, she became a sought after photographer and had an exhibition at the Brooklyn Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  In 1914, Ms. Cunnigham's works were shown at An International Exhibition of Photography in New York. Also, Wilson's Photographic Magazine published a portfolio of her work.

  In 1915 she married teacher and artist, Roi Partridge. He posed for a series of nudes, which were shown by the Seattle Fine Arts Society. Even though she was critically praised for her work, Ms. Cunningham did not revisit those photographs for another 55 years. Between the time she married in 1915 and 1920, she continued her work and had 3 children. In 1920 the family moved to San Francisco where Roi Partridge taught at Mills College.

Imo refined her style and began taking a greater interest in pattern and detail and becoming increasingly interested in botanical photography, especially flowers. She carried out an in-depth study of the magnolia flower between 1923 and 1925. Later on in the decade she turned her attention to an industrial theme, creating several industrial landscapes in Oakland and Los Angles.

  In 1929, photographer Edward Winston nominated 10 of her photographs for inclusion in the Film und Foto exhibition, which was held in Stuggart, Germany in May - June of 1929, and her renowned Two Callas, debuted in that exhibition.

Unmade Bed - 1957

  Once again Imo changed direction, particularly the human form and specifically hands of artist and musicians. This led her to be employed by Vanity Fair magazine, photographing stars without make-up. With unsentimental straightforwardness, in 1932 she became one of the 7 founding member of Group f/6, a group of San Francisco photographers who shared a common photographic style characterized by sharp-focused and carefully framed images seen through a particular Western (U.S.) viewpoint.

  In 1934 Imo was invited to do some work for Vanity Fair in New York. She wanted to go and her husband wanted her to wait until he could go with her. She said no and went and they later divorced. She continued to work for the magazine until 1936, when it stopped publication.

Nude - 1936

  In 1940, while supporting herself with commercial and studio photography, Imo turned to documentary street photography. Ansel Adams, in 1945, invited Ms. Cunningham to accept a faculty position for the art photography department at the California School of Fine Arts.

  In 1973 her work was exhibited at the Rencontres d'Arles festival in France through the group exhibition : Trois photographes americaines, Imogen Cunningham, Linda Connor, Judy Dater. Ms. Cunningham was continuing her work taking photographs until shortly before her death at the age of 93 on June 24, 1976 in San Francisco, California.

Phoenix on Her Side - 1968

Nude - 1939

two sisters - 1928 

Imogen Cunningham and model/writer, Twinka - 1974 by Judy Dater

Gerard Malanga - poet, 1973

Dance 3 - 1926

Three Dancers - Mills College, 1929

Three Heads and Four Hands - 1964

Phoenix - 1969

Navajo Rug - 1968

Martha Graham


Friday, March 9, 2012

Sally Rand

  Sally Rand was considered the greatest fan dancer ever with her ostrich feather fans. She was also noted for her balloon bubble dance. But Sally Rand was not only a burlesque queen she was an actress appearing in 29 films from 1925 to 1938 and at times performing under the name Billie Beck.

  Sally Rand was born in in Elkton, Hickory County, Missouri on April 3, 1904 as Helen Harriet Beck or Helen Gould Beck.  When she was a child she was inspired by the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.Sally became interested in dance and at a young age she ran away to join a carnival. At 13 she found herself in  Kansas City and became a cigarette girl in a nightclub. She held many similar jobs, including as a circus performer in Ringling, until she began acting on stage and in silent films in the 1920's. It was American film director, Cecil B. DeMille who gave Helen the name Sally Rand, which was inspired by a Rand McNally atlas. In 1927 Sally Rand was chosen to be a WAMPAS Baby Stars. * And even though she had appeared in numerous average quality movies, her career in movies ended with advent of talkies because she suffered from a lisp.  It was at this time that the 5'1" 35-22-35 shapely  Sally Rand decided to work on incorporating her talent for dancing back into her career. Using the right mixture of enticement, imagination and intricate feather placement. It was at the Paramount Club, where she had a long standing job, that in 1932, Sally came up with the fan dance.

  Sally Rand came to prominence in the 1933-1934 Chicago World's Fair entitled Century of Progress, that was meant to celebrate the progress of civilization during Chicago's first century of existence. It is here, earning $125 a week, where she performed with her ostrich feather fans to the music of Chopin and Debussy. She was subsequently arrested 4 times in a single day because of perceived nudity while riding a white horse down the streets of Chicago, apparently nude. This became known as "Lady Godiva" stunt. Sally Rand was charged with lewd conduct but the charges were later dropped because as Superior Court Judge Joseph B. David stated, "Some people would want to put pants on a horse...if a woman wants to wiggle about with a fan, it is not the business of this court." The publicity from this incident made her a burlesque sensation and raised her weekly wages to $3,000 in a single summer. Because she never was actually showing everything, by using white theatrical cream or a body stocking, she was fond of saying "the Rand is quicker than the eye".

  Things got so bad that after her arrest the World' Fair was being threatened with not being allowed to open if  Sally Rand performed again, to which they agreed to but the World's Fair lost money because Sally Rand was not performing and was threatened with strikes, so they had no choice but to bring her back. This time Sally Rand came back with a new act, the bubble dance " I wanted balloon sixty inches in diameter, which is my height, made of a translucent or transparent material". The problem with that was that balloons were only made up to 30" in diameter and were red because they were used as target balloons by the War Department. So Sally, herself, fronted the money needed to have the translucent balloon made. It took many test but the super-sized balloon was eventually made and Sally Rand made her bubble dance debut in 1934, with 24 dancers and 16 showgirls.

Sally Rand being arrested in Chicago in 1933

  When the Chicago expedition finally closed, Sally went out on the road and sometimes it got more than a bit rough. For when she was at the California Pacific Exhibition, in San Diego in 1935-1936, Sally got bruises under her left eye and thigh after pebbles were thrown at her as she danced on stage. She left the stage bleeding  but soon reappeared with her fans and completed her dance routine. After the incident the management promised to have security in future crowds when she performed.

  When Sally wasn't dancing she would go to church, go sightseeing around San Diego and give interviews. She even baked a cake for her part in the home show of the Palace of Better Housing. blew a balloon in a contest at he Zone and gave a lecture to teachers and women groups on the art of dancing.

  In 1936 Sally purchased The Music Box burlesque hall in San Francisco, which would later become The Great American Music Hall.

  After San Diego Sally Rand went to San Francisco in anticipation for the 1939 Treasure Island's World's Fair, where she starred in "Sally Rand's Nude Ranch" , which was one of the highlights of the fair. It featured women wearing gun belts, cowboy hats, boots and little else. The fairs official guide delicately described it as " Sally Rand Nude Ranch : a dude ranch a la 1939".

  In 1946 Sally Rand found herself  arrested twice in a row while performing in San Francisco at Club Savoy  on corrupting the morals of an audience, indecent exposure and conducting an obscene show.  The first arrest came when she was performing for an audience, filled with six cops in it, seemingly nude and with a large white fan. She then hired renowned defense attorney Jake Ehrlich, who kept American jazz and big band  drummer Gene Krupa and blues legend Billie Holiday out of jail on drug charges. Ehlrich made the argument that nudity was respected in the art of great masters and suggested that the court view the dance in question, as an artistic expression. The judge agreed to this proposition and released Sally Rand and let her continue her performance, unaltered, until the trial was over. But that very same night she was arrested again when she began dancing by the San Francisco Police Department. But the joke was on them, for when the lights came up Sally Rand was hiding a pair of long johns behind her fans. Plus, in place of her customary triangleof costume, was a note marked "CENSORED. SFPD!" The next morning she performed her usual routine in front of judge and jury and was immediately acquitted on the grounds that, "Anyone who could find something lewd about the dance as she puts it on has to have a perverted idea of moral",as Judge Shoemaker pronounced it.

  Sally Rand was not only an artist but a lady who was not afraid to speak her mind. An ad-lib remark she made on a radio appearance for NBC, about Al Wagner resulted in him filing a lawsuit against NBC for "defamatory remarks". In 1952, the court ruled that NBC was not liable for unexpected remarks made by guest performer.

  Naturally Sally attracted more than her fair share of marriage proposals. She married for the third time on August 12, 1954, in Las Vegas to 35year old contractor, Fred Lalla. Sally Rand was past 50.

  As an intellect, Sally Rand once took time time off from dancing to appear on stage with former boxer and World  Heavyweight Champion from 1926-1928, Gene Tunney to discuss Shakespeare. Another time, she went before 1,300 Harvard freshmen to lecture on the evils of communism. Also, while appearing at the Silver Slipper in Las Vegas in 1954, she conducted a weekly television program. Of all things, Sally was an advisor of universal problems. She would also do celebrity interviews and have discussions on music, books and the home. Sally Rand had said " Beauty comes from within; a greedy, avaricious woman cannot be beautiful". 

 Having reached the age of 50 in 1953, Sally played the Dallas fair and claimed to have made  $14,000 in one day. For the rest of the week she was there Sally averaged $6,000 a day. From May of 1954 - January of 1955 she appeared at the Last Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas, " I had the longest run that anyone has ever had there." Sally milked the same basic act for the rest of her career, continuing her fan dance routine into the 1970's. Sally even replaced fellow burlesque performer, Ann Corio in the stage show This was Burlesque, appeared at the Mitchell Brothers club in San Francisco in the early '70's and toured as one of the big stars in the 1972 nostalgia revue, "Big Show of 1928" which played at big revues, including Madison Square Garden. For that matter, Sally was wearing miniskirts and turning heads in 1974. When pressed about continuing her act into her 7th decade, Sally replied " What in heaven's name is strange about a grandmother dancing nude? I'll bet lots of grandmothers do it." 

  Sally Rand died in Glendora, California from undisclosed causes on August 31,1979 at the age of 75. Because she had insurmountable debt, at the time of her death, entertainer Sammy Davis,Jr. stepped in with a $10,000 check to help cover expenses, according to Sally Rand's adopted son.


Sally Rand with friend, one time Ziegfeld dancer, Dorothy Rubel
Sally Rand White Peacock Dance- 1939