Sunday, 3 June 2018

Lobotomy Room at Fontaine's 25 May 2018 DJ Set List



From the Facebook event page:

Revel in sleaze, voodoo and rock’n’roll - when incredibly strange dance party Lobotomy Room returns to the Polynesian-style basement Bamboo Lounge of Dalston’s most unique nite spot Fontaine’s! Friday 25 May!

Lobotomy Room! Where sin lives! A punkabilly booze party! Sensual and depraved! A spectacle of decadence! Bad Music for Bad People! A Mondo Trasho evening of Beat, Beat Beatsville Beatnik Rock’n’Roll! Rockabilly Psychosis! Wailing Rhythm and Blues! Twisted Tittyshakers! Punk cretin hops! White Trash Rockers! Kitsch! Exotica! Curiosities and other weird shit! Think John Waters soundtracks, or Songs the Cramps Taught Us, hosted by Graham Russell. Expect desperate stabs from the jukebox jungle! Savage rhythms to make you writhe and rock! Grainy black-and-white vintage erotica projected on the big screen all night for your adult viewing pleasure! 

One FREE signature Lobotomy Room cocktail for the first twenty entrants! 

Admission: gratuit - that’s French for FREE!

Lobotomy Room: Faster. Further. Filthier.

It’s sleazy. It’s grubby. It’s trashy - you’ll love it!

A tawdry good time guaranteed!




/ Kick-happy? Thrill-hungry? Always reckless? Do I have the club night for you! /

This month we were graced by two visitors from Hollywood – well, Palm Springs via the Cannes film festival! Possibly lured by this month’s featured cocktail (the Jayne Mansfield), P David Ebersole and Todd Hughes – the flamboyant film-making duo behind red-hot recent documentary Mansfield 66/67 - took a break from hustling their new project at Cannes to swing by and do the frug and the Watusi! (If everything goes according to plan, Mansfield 66/67 will be the June 2018 Lobotomy Room film club presentation. Read my online review of Mansfield 66/67 for queer art and culture magazine Hiskind here). Like any self-respecting Los Angeles punk, David and Todd jumped up to thrash and flail when I played a track by X! There was even a tense moment of high conflict when a big group of crusty punks arrived, were caught smuggling-in their own booze and Fontaine’s boss lady Ruby forcibly ejected them!




/ Ladies and gentlemen - the Jayne Mansfield! The pink cocktail contained strawberry-infused vodka, Chambord, cherry bitters and was topped with sparkling champagne! Served with homemade raspberry sherbet and a heart-shaped lollipop, it’ll get you cooing and squealing like a sex kitten! /

There was additional drama when I ran upstairs to go for a piss and misjudged the timing! (This is  a perennial problem for all DJs - especially those of us who play short'n'snappy 2 1/2 minute punk and rockabilly tracks!). The current song ended and Pal (my stoical boyfriend) nipped into the DJ booth and turned up another tune. But when I came down, there were TWO songs playing simultaneously! Pal is still doing imitations of me demanding, “What have you done? What have you done?!” 

A handful of pics from the night:



/ Ruby (Fontaine's sex kitten proprietress) and I /


/ Red-headed vixen Louise - a vision in animal print! /


/ Filmmakers P David Ebersole and Todd Hughes /


/ P David Ebersole, Ruby and Todd Hughes /


/ Ruby and Pal /

My set list:

Bullwinkle - The Centurions
Hey Little Star - Ann-Margret
Sugar Town - Lara and The Trailers
These Boots are Made for Walkin' - Mrs Miller
Fever - Edith Massey
Leave Married Women Alone - Jimmy Cavallo
Little Queenie - Bill Black's Combo
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
Two-Headed Sex Change - The Cramps
8-Ball - The Hustlers
Handclapping Time - The Fabulous Raiders
Nobody But You - Mamie Van Doren
Save It - Mel Robbins
Mau Mau - The Fabulous Wailers
Kismiaz - The Cramps
Monkey Bird - The Revels
Little Darlin' - Masaaki Hirao
Dream Boy - The 5,6,7,8s
Adult Books - X
Train to Nowhere - The Champs
Mambo Baby - Ruth Brown
She Wants to Mambo - Johnny Thunder and Patti Palladin
Havana Affair - The Ramones
Steel Pier - The Impacts
Drive Daddy Drive - Little Sylvia
Rockin' the Joint - Esquerita
Don't Be Cruel - Bill Black's Combo
All You Gotta Do - Tracy Pendarvis
Jukebox Babe - Alan Vega
Atomic Bongos - Lydia Lunch
Wipe-Out - The Lively Ones
Beatnik - The Champs
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Let's Go, Baby - Billy Eldridge
Scorpion - The Carnations
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Pass the Hatchet - Roger and The Gypsies
You're Driving Me Crazy - Dorothy Berry
I Can't Believe What You Say - Ike and Tina Turner
Krushchev Twist - Melvin Gayle
Bikini Girls with Machine Guns - The Cramps
I Don't Need You No More - The Rumblers
Riding with a Movie Star - L7
Hanky Panky - Rita Chao and The Quests
I Wanna Be Sedated - The Ramonetures
Batman Theme - Link Wray and His Raymen
Breathless - X
I'm a Woman - Peggy Lee
Funnel of Love - Wanda Jackson
Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad - Tammy Wynette
Muleskinner Blues - The Fendermen
Shortnin' Bread - The Readymen
C'mon Everybody - Sid Vicious
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades
I'm Not a Juvenile Delinquent - Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers
I'm a Juvenile Delinquent - Ronnie Allen
He's the One - Ike and Tina Turner
Party Lights - Claudine Clark
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
Pedro Pistolas Twist - Los Twisters
Comin' Home Baby - The Delmonas
Gostaria de Saber (River Deep, Mountain High) - Wanderlea
Under My Thumb - Tina Turner
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
The Girl Can't Help It - Little Richard
Wallflower (Roll with Me Henry) - Etta James
Jim Dandy - Ann-Margret
Bossa Nova Baby - Elvis Presley
Viva Las Vegas - Nina Hagen
Somethin' Else - Sid Vicious
Your Phone's off the Hook - X
Forming - The Germs
Do You Remember Rock'n'Roll Radio? The Ramonetures
Human Fly - The Cramps
Vampira - The Misfits
Surf Rat - The Rumblers
Wipe-Out - The Surfaris
Margaya - The Fender Four
The Swag - Link Wray
Year 1 - X
Boss - The Rumblers
Shake Appeal - Iggy and The Stooges
Strychnine - The Sonics
Lightning's Girl - Nancy Sinatra
Harley Davidson - Brigitte Bardot
Five Years Ahead of My Time - The Third Bardo
Touch the Leather - Fat White Family
Bad Boys Get Spanked - The Pretenders


/ This month’s birthday boy! Sex Pistols bassist and ultimate punk pin-up Sid Vicious (10 May 1957- 2 February 1979, born John Simon Ritchie) would have turned 61. As you can see, I dropped a few putrid Vicious tracks in tribute. Polaroid of Sid Vicious at the Mabuhay by Jim Jocoy from his essential 2002 book We’re Desperate /

Dates for your social calendar:



Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies is the FREE monthly film club downstairs at Fontaine’s devoted to Bad Movies We Love (our motto: Bad Movies for Bad People), specialising in the kitsch, the cult and the queer! And boy, are we cooing and squealing in ecstasy this month to present MANSFIELD 66/67! In fact, the night will be the launch party for the DVD release! Wednesday 20 June!

Skulls! Pentagrams! Heart-shaped swimming pools! Chihuahuas! Mansfield 66/67 contains all the components essential for an irresistibly campy cult film-in-waiting. Think of Todd Hughes and P David Ebersole’s wildly enjoyable 2017 documentary (“a true story based on rumour and hearsay”) as When the Sex Kitten met the Satanist. It speculates about just what happened when Hollywood’s doomed, bosomy platinum blonde glamour queen Jayne Mansfield (1933 – 1967) encountered charismatic young devil-horned founder of the First Church of Satan Anton LaVey (1930 – 1997) during the messy final year of her life – in particular, whether he placed a curse on Mansfield, causing her fatal 1967 car crash. Featuring guest appearances from John Waters and Mamie Van Doren, a twangy surf guitar soundtrack, interpretive dance and animation, Mansfield 66/67 plays-out like a delirious hot-pink fever dream and is a suitably adoring valentine to Jayne Mansfield – the Patron Saint of Lobotomy Room!

Doors to the basement Bamboo Lounge open at 8 pm. Film starts at 8:30 pm prompt. Arrive early to grab a seat and order a drink! Dressing-up like Jayne is highly encouraged! A special-offer pink Jayne Mansfield cocktail will be available on the night! It’ll be a devil worshipin’ good time! Full squalid details on event page.


Next Lobotomy Room club: Friday 29 June 2018! 

Further reading:

Follow me on tumblr for all your kitsch, camp, retro vintage sleaze and fifties homoerotica needs!

Follow me on twitter!

"Like" and follow the official Lobotomy Room page on Facebook if you dare! 
 




Thursday, 10 May 2018

Lobotomy Room at Fontaine's 27 April 2018 DJ Set List


From the Facebook event page:

Attention, late night diversion seekers! Revel in sleaze, voodoo and rock’n’roll - when incredibly strange dance party Lobotomy Room returns to the Polynesian-style basement Bamboo Lounge of Dalston’s most unique nite spot Fontaine’s! Friday 27 April!

Lobotomy Room! Where sin lives! A punkabilly booze party! Sensual and depraved! A spectacle of decadence! Bad Music for Bad People! A Mondo Trasho evening of Beat, Beat Beatsville Beatnik Rock’n’Roll! Rockabilly Psychosis! Wailing Rhythm and Blues! Twisted Tittyshakers! Punk cretin hops! White Trash Rockers! Kitsch! Exotica! Curiosities and other weird shit! Think John Waters soundtracks, or Songs the Cramps Taught Us, hosted by Graham Russell. Expect desperate stabs from the jukebox jungle! Savage rhythms to make you writhe and rock! Grainy black-and-white vintage erotica projected on the big screen all night for your adult viewing pleasure! 

FREE cocktail for the first twenty entrants! 

Admission: gratuit - that’s French for FREE!

Lobotomy Room: Faster. Further. Filthier.

It’s sleazy. It’s grubby. It’s trashy - you’ll love it!

A tawdry good time guaranteed!




/ Cocktails - Lobotomy Room-style! /


The promise of a free cocktail makes all the difference! The April 2018 Lobotomy Room at Fontaine’s bar represented a bit of a re-launch. We’re now introducing a signature range of special Lobotomy Room cocktails exclusive to the club night (a new one is unveiled each month!) and the first twenty entrants to descend the stairs to the basement Bamboo Lounge received one free drink.This alluring offer seemed to do the trick as last month we had a buzzing, hip and sexy crowd of revelers! Special thanks in particular to Tara for bringing her vicious girl gang! Loud music, free-flowing alcohol and mean girls dancing ensures a raucous night! Booze party! Wild! Wild! WILD!  



For once, I actually have some photographic evidence from the night!


/ They are the hellcats no one likes / Man-eaters on motorbikes! Tara (in black catsuit) and friends with me - the host of Lobotomy Room! /

      
/ “The wild, weird world of the Beatniks! Sullen rebels, defiant chicks, searching for a life of their own!” Dalston After Dark! Pal and Tara /


/ We now have gorgeous Lobotomy Room loyalty cards! It gets stamped with each drink you buy, and then you win a free bottle of prosecco! /


/ Savage rhythms to make you writhe and rock! /

The night's musical soundtrack:

Scratchin' - The Fabulous Wailers
Steel Pier - The Impacts
Train to Nowhere - The Champs
Little Queenie - The Bill Black Combo
Beaver Shot - The Periscopes
Surf Rat - The Rumblers
Jukebox Babe - Alan Vega
Atomic Bongos - Lydia Lunch
Kismiaz - The Cramps
Monkey Bird - The Revels
Mau Mau - The Fabulous Wailers
Fever - Nancy Sit
I'm a Woman - Peggy Lee
Don't Be Cruel - The Bill Black Combo
Johnny Hit and Run Pauline - The Ramonetures
Riding with a Movie Star - L7
Bombora - The Original Surfaris
Three Cool Chicks - The 5,6,7,8s
Woo Hoo - The Rock-a-Teens
Ain't That Lovin' You, Baby? The Earls of Suave
Sweet Little Pussycat - Andre Williams
I Live the Life I Love - Esquerita
Goodbye So Long - Ike and Tina Turner
Adult Books - X
Ah Poor Little Baby - Billy "Crash" Craddock
Let's Go Baby - Billy Eldridge
Wild Wild Party - Charlie Feathers
Let's Have a Party - Wanda Jackson
Killer - Sparkle Moore
Goin' Down that Road - Ersel Hickey
Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor - Johnny Horton
What's Wrong with Me? X
Teenage Lobotomy - The Ramones
Harley Davidson - Brigitte Bardot
Lightning's Girl - Nancy Sinatra
Bad Boys Get Spanked - The Pretenders
Touch the Leather - The Fat White Family
Pillow Case - The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black
Shake Appeal - Iggy and The Stooges
Woodpecker Rock - Nat County
Love Me - The Phantom
Dames, Booze, Chains and Boots - The Cramps
Your Phone's Off the Hook - X
You're Driving Me Crazy - Dorothy Berry
Complication - The Monks
Pedro Pistolas Twist - Los Twisters
Forming - The Germs
These Boots Are Made for Walkin' - Mrs Miller
How Does That Grab You Darlin'? Nancy Sinatra
Gostaria de Saber (River Deep, Mountain High) - Wanderlea
Hanky Panky - Rita Chao and The Quests
Lucille - Masaaki Hirao
Be Bop A Lula - Alan Vega
Nothing Means Nothing Anymore - The Alleycats
I Wanna Be Sedated - The Ramonetures
I Walk Like Jayne Mansfield - The 5,6,7,8s
That Makes It - Jayne Mansfield
What's Inside a Girl? The Cramps
Wipe Out - The Surfaris
Margaya - The Fender Four
C'mon Everybody - Sid Vicious
Scorpio - The Carnations
Wiped-Out - The Escorts
Here Comes the Bug - The Rumblers
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Pass the Hatchet - Roger and The Gypsies
Viva Las Vegas - Nina Hagen
Breathless - X
Rock Around the Clock - The Sex Pistols
Rockin' Bones - Ronnie Dawson
Whistle Bait - Larry Collins
Jim Dandy - Sara Lee and The Spades
Comin' Home, Baby - The Delmonas
Muleskinner Blues - The Fendermen
Shortnin' Bread - The Readymen
Surfin' Bird - The Trashmen
Batman - Link Wray and His Ray Men
Boys are Boys and Girls are Choice - The Monks
Peter Gunn Twist - The Jesters
Gunnin' for Peter - The Fabulous Wailers
Peter Gunn Locomotion - The Delmonas
Ultra Twist - The Cramps
Viens danser le twist - Johnny Hallyday
Twistin' the Night Away - Divine
Twist Talk - Jack Hammer
Johnny Are You Queer? Josie Cotton
Under My Thumb - Tina Turner
Big Girls Don't Cry - Edith Massey
Jailhouse Rock - Masaaki Hirao
Bossa Nova Baby - Elvis Presley
Heartbreak Hotel - Ann-Margret
My Way - Sid Vicious

Dates for your social calendar:



The next Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies film club is Wednesday 16 May!

Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies is the FREE monthly film club downstairs at Fontaine’s devoted to Bad Movies We Love, specialising in the kitsch, the cult and the camp! In May, the featured presentation is – Shanghai Express (1932)! 

The fourth of the seven sumptuously kinky films director Josef Von Sternberg and leading lady / muse Marlene Dietrich made together, Shanghai Express was the most commercially successful of their collaborations (it was the highest-grossing film of 1932) and widely considered their definitive masterwork. Set during the Chinese civil war, it stars impossibly sultry German glamour-puss Dietrich as “the notorious white flower of China” Shanghai Lily (“it took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily!”). She’s described as a "coaster" or "woman who lives by her wits along the China coast" (1930s shorthand for prostitute). When her fellow passengers on the express train from Peking to Shanghai are taken hostage, Shanghai Lily – the woman who “wrecked a dozen men up and down the China coast” - seizes the opportunity to redeem herself. A shimmering Art Deco spectacle, Shanghai Express is the perfect film to watch over cocktails in the splendour of Fontaine’s Bamboo Lounge!

Doors to the Polynesian-style basement Bamboo Lounge open at 8 pm. Film starts at 8:30 pm prompt. Arrive early to grab a seat and order a drink! Event page


The next Lobotomy Room dance party is Friday 25 May! Remember: one complimentary Lobotomy Room cocktail for the first twenty entrants! Event page


Further reading:

Follow me on tumblr for all your kitsch, camp, retro vintage sleaze and fifties homoerotica needs!

Follow me on twitter!

"Like" and follow the official Lobotomy Room page on Facebook if you dare! 
 

Friday, 27 April 2018

Reflections on ... Russ Meyer's Vixen (1968)


“Russ Meyer’s Vixen! The story of a girl who loves the joy of being alive and gives herself innocently to the merry chase of life! But like any other game, life has its rules – and if we trespass beyond them, the game can become deadly! Vixen! An adult motion picture experience which is rated X!” From the trailer for Vixen

“Basically, this is a woman that is a racist, a sex fiend, an incest partner, a lesbian … an all-American girl that saves a plane from being hijacked by the communists.” Actress Erica Gavin on the title character of Vixen

“Turn on the sex. Be voluptuous, evil, sinful. Look satanic. Conceive of yourself as a female animal.” Russ Meyer’s acting directions to Gavin

“The look of calculated lust with which she views every living thing is worth the price of admission, as striking in its own right as any of the more famous close-ups of Garbo or Dietrich.” Esteemed high-brow critic Kenneth Tynan on Gavin's performance in Vixen 



Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies is the FREE monthly film club downstairs at Fontaine’s devoted to Bad Movies We Love (our motto: Bad Movies for Bad People), specialising in the kitsch, the cult and the queer!

Previous film club triumphs have included b-movie maestro Russ Meyer’s Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. On Wednesday 18 April 2018 the featured selection is Meyer’s 1968 sexploitation shocker Vixen! An exercise in bad taste! Rated “X” upon its release! Something to offend everyone! Vixen! Is she woman or animal? A study in nymphomania starring the voluptuous Erica Gavin!

Doors to the Polynesian-style basement Bamboo Lounge open at 8 pm. Film starts at 8:30 pm prompt. Arrive early to grab a seat and order a drink!


From my pre-film introduction:

Russ Meyer’s Vixen is a sensitive, thoughtful and tasteful examination of the psychological condition of nymphomania. Only kidding! This is probably the most offensive and filthy film we’ve shown to date! Trigger warning!

Rated “X” upon its release, Vixen is structured like a porn film with (almost) each scene culminating in a sexual encounter. In some ways it's comparatively tame by 2018 standards - but it still feels genuinely grubby and sleazy! 

Seen today, the most disturbing aspect is the race angle. Meyer was a white middle-aged WW II veteran with conservative social attitudes, but he would have been very aware in 1968 that the civil rights / Black Power movements were hot topics and he would have wanted to muscle-in on that action to appear current and “with it.” Which he does – in an entirely tasteless and insensitive way! He is, after all, an exploitation director! The racist character in question learns the error of her ways by the end, but in the meantime a lot of unpleasant racist language is used.

Vixen gets roughed-up and slapped-around a fair bit and there are some uncomfortable “rape-y” moments. Once again, that’s common for its time. Meyer helped create a strain of sexploitation films called “roughies.” But it wasn’t just Meyer: see also Meyer's contemporary, the female director Doris Wishman (1912 – 2002) with films like Bad Girls Go to Hell (1965).

Vixen was Erica Gavin’s film debut. She’d previously go-go danced at the same topless night clubs as Tura Satana and Haji from Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) and they encouraged her to audition for Meyer. She was only 19 when she filmed this and admitted that seeing herself onscreen for the first time was so traumatic it led to her having a serious eating disorder for many years. She’s now 70 and is fine. Gavin made only one more film with Meyer – Beyond the Valley of the Dolls in 1970. She eventually drifted out of acting, but Vixen has ensured her b-movie cult status.

Finally: there is speculation that Divine’s performance as Dawn Davenport in Female Trouble was at least partially inspired by Erica Gavin in Vixen. The shout-y, snarling style of acting can definitely been seen as a clear influence.

Three final words: Erotic. Fish. Dance.





Further musings: I love how there is no “explanation” or justification for hot-pool-of-woman-need / cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof Vixen’s wild amorality. There is zero “back story” to how she came to be this way. She’s simply bad!



Vixen was filmed in six weeks, cost $72,000 and grossed $7 million in its first year. (Leading lady Gavin was reportedly paid $350 a week). Meyer estimated it eventually earned about $26 million! (It was this astronomical financial success that led Twentieth Century Fox to commission Meyer to make his next pop culture outrage Beyond the Valley of the Dolls for them – his first big-budget, major studio film). 



/ Artist at work: director Russ Meyer and leading lady Erica Gavin filming Vixen /



Gavin’s wild, slanting devilish eyebrows in Vixen demand special mention. “Vixen-era Gavin is fleshy in the most delectable way, lust personified, sporting a pair of thick, antennae-like eyebrows more appropriate for one of those disquieting translucent masks hanging by an elastic band on the joke shop wall,” is how Jimmy McDonough describes them in Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer (2005). Their precise origins are shrouded in mystery and subject to dispute. In his 1981 book Shock Value, John Waters ( a Meyer acolyte) raised the issue directly with Meyer. “I read an article where Erica Gavin says you forced her to wear those weird eyebrows in Russ Meyer’s Vixen.” Meyer retorted, “No, it’s not true. Erica is prone to make a lot of statements about what I forced her to do. I’m very indebted to her for what she did for that film, but hell I don’t know anything about makeup!” In McDonough’s biography at least, Gavin seems to take responsibility for them. He recounts Meyer and Gavin’s tempestuous working relationship: “At least at first, Gavin saw Russ as a father figure and when Big Daddy was pleased – as when Erica came up with the famous Vixen eye makeup – everything was groovy. “As soon as he said, “I love those eyebrows,” that was it. Anything to make him happy.””





Most of the factoids in this post have been gleaned from From Big Bosoms and Square Jaws: The Biography of Russ Meyer. Highly recommended!


Further reading:

Read my reflections on Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! here

Read more about the free monthly Lobotomy Room Goes to the Movies film club here

For all your Lobotomy Room needs, "Like" and "Follow" the official Facebook page

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Holy Religious Artefacts from Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Palace


/ Jayne Mansfield luxuriating in the boudoir of her Pink Palace /

The Pink Palace – the legendarily kitsch, lurid and nouveau riche Mediterranean-style mansion on 10100 Sunset Boulevard belonging to Hollywood’s platinum blonde sex-kitten-gone-berserk par excellence Jayne Mansfield (1933 – 1967) from 1957 until her death – was razed in November 2002. In my dreams, the Pink Palace would have been preserved exactly as Jayne left it and open to the public as a museum, like Elvis’ Graceland. (I’m sorry, but in low-brow trash culture terms Mansfield is every bit Presley’s equal!). Incredibly, though – five decades after Mansfield’s tragic premature death in a car crash en route to New Orleans – treasures from her long-demolished Pink Palace occasionally re-surface in the present day! For me, these are sacred holy relics!



Now this is what I call “art”! When I saw this listed online as part of Engelbert Humperdinck’s auction in autumn 2017, I felt like setting up an urgent crowdfunding page just so I could bid on this spectacular genuine vintage bust as seen in The Wild, Wild World of Jayne Mansfield (1968)! (The online auction happened in April 2017, but I didn’t find out about it until later). The bust used to be prominently displayed in the Pink Palace.  Humperdinck (who, of course, bought the Pink Palace following Jayne’s death) must have kept it in storage for decades before auctioning it off. Weird: why wouldn’t one of Jayne’s five children have this gorgeous object? Imagine how great this would look on my mantelpiece (if I had a mantelpiece). Read the full details here – and note the status “Lot closed – unsold”. Where is it now? Some hip entrepreneur should make a mould of this bust and sell replicas commercially, like those plaster-of-Paris Elvis Presley busts that were ubiquitous in the seventies and eighties. (I had one when I was a university student! Eventually it got smashed – I don’t like to talk about it!).




/ Glimpses of the bust in situ at the Pink Palace. Mansfield seems to have kept it the bedroom / 

Then came this announcement from the Burlesque Hall of Fame's Facebook page on Valentine’s Day 2018: 
“A special Valentine’s Day reveal: Jayne Mansfield’s heart-shaped settee, refurbished for our upcoming Exotic World exhibit! 
We acquired this piece in the 1990s, shortly before Mansfield’s iconic mansion, the Pink Palace, was razed. The heart shape and colour was a theme of the mansion, which also featured a heart-shaped pool and bathtub.” 
The historical significance of this cannot be overstated! Seeing this put me in a state of religious awe - a genuine artifact from Jayne Mansfield’s Pink Palace! Jayne, Mickey and her Chihuahuas once frolicked and cavorted on this pink settee! (When I visited the Burlesque Hall of Fame last April when I was in town for Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender 2017,  this was most definitely not on display then! Now I have to return to pay homage!).




Let’s hope further riches are exhumed!  Maybe we could re-assemble the Pink Palace piece-by-piece!


/ Bath time at the Pink Palace /

Monday, 9 April 2018

At Home with Zsa Zsa Gabor



At home with Zsa Zsa Gabor in 1967 in her palatial Bel Air mansion! For aficionados of kitsch, this represents a goldmine and a fascinating oddity - 28 minutes and 20 seconds of pure bliss!



The TV show Good Company was apparently some kind of atomic-era variation of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous or MTV Cribs with celebrities inviting you behind the security gates into their private inner sanctums. It begins with the Hungarian glamourpuss, famous-for-being famous movie diva, glorified courtesan and camp icon addressing the viewer directly (“Hello, darlings!”) from her bubble bath with soap suds up to her décolletage. Her décor is spectacular: check out the golden cherubs festooning the bathtub – a testament to her baroque / rococo taste. While waiting for Zsa Zsa to dress, host F. Lee Baily interrogates her queen-y gay male private secretary Karl. Is it a difficult job? Karl breaks into a sweat, attempting tactful diplomacy. “I can’t say it’s not difficult,” he stammers. “I guess it is. She’s very complex.” Read between the lines: she’s a temperamental nightmare! Karl backpedals, adding, “She really is this beautiful, this chic, this exciting, this witty, this unpredictable!” Phew!



/ Zsa Zsa Gabor’s ultra-glamorous passport, issued in 1966: I love that her passport photo is a beautifully lit and re-touched soft-focus Hollywood portrait and that she’s clearly doctored her birth date with a pen (which in theory should make the document invalid!). For the record, Gabor was apparently born in 1917! /



/ If this blue gown isn't the actual ensemble Zsa Zsa wears in this episode of Good Company, it's an awfully good facsimile! /

Post-bubble bath, fragrant chatelaine Zsa Zsa sweeps down the staircase and joins them. She’s donned a powder-blue, fur-trimmed floor-length muumuu and bouffant ringleted wiglet for the interview that Lady Bunny herself might covet. Zsa Zsa graciously takes Baily for a tour of her ostentatious nouveau riche home. Her closest neighbor, we learn, is Nancy Sinatra! We see the swimming pool, the Steinway gold grand piano (the one borrowed later for the 2013 Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra) covered with family photos, Zsa Zsa’s ultra-flattering idealized portrait above the fireplace, her collection of original Renoirs and various objets d’art and antiques.



/ This is the portrait of Zsa Zsa with her young daughter Francesca above the mantelpiece she contemplates with Baily /

Things turn seriously interesting and awkward when Zsa Zsa’s 18-year old aspiring actress daughter Francesca joins them. Dressed like a matronly socialite and looking like an escapee from Valley of the Dolls, the ultra-poised Francesca is one world-weary teenager.  Baily asks Francesca some outrageously intrusive, lecherous and tactless questions like if she’s “going steady” and what age of men she’s attracted to. “Between 25 and infinity,” she snarls. Zsa Zsa think Francesca says, “Between 25 and 70” and admits she doesn’t understand what “infinity” means. When Francesca leaves the room, Baily complements Zsa Zsa on how well-bred she is. “It’s not “groovy” to be polite nowadays,” Zsa Zsa laments. Postcript: the troubled Francesca’s acting career never took off and she never managed to carve a satisfying niche for herself. Later Francesca would repeatedly clash with Zsa Zsa’s ninth and final husband (the parasitic gold-digging ersatz “Prince” Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt) and she pre-deceased her mother, dying in 2015. (Wracked with ill health and dementia by then, Zsa Zsa herself died in 2016 without ever having been informed of her daughter’s death).



/ Zsa Zsa's bed - an exact replica of  Empress Joséphine’s. apparently /


/ Zsa Zsa and Francesca lounging on mama's bed. This is very how much how they both appear in this episode /

Zsa Zsa coquette-ishly invites Baily to see her boudoir, guiding him by the hand upstairs. “If I don’t come back after this next commercial, you know where I am,” Baily leers to the camera. Her bed, draped and canopied in lurid green, is an exact replica of Empress Joséphine’s, Zsa Zsa claims. Baily asks if the bed expresses her personality and Zsa Zsa nonsensically responds, “Well of course it does! It’s blue and green. Sometimes I’m blue and most of the time I’m green!” Huh? Lounging in bed, Zsa Zsa then lists the men she thinks are sexy: Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen, Frank Sinatra. Turning to Baily she flutters her false eyelashes: “I’m sure you are a very sexy and glamorous man!” Watch and squirm!


/ Little sister Eva Gabor (1919 - 1995) and Zsa Zsa (1917 - 2016) sharing a laugh - and a wig /


/ Now that's what I call art: trompe l'oeil portrait of Zsa Zsa by Margaret Keane / 

Pretty much all of the photos illustrating this post are swiped from the Heritage Auctions' website for The Estate of Zsa Zsa Gabor Signature Auction later this month. The video below is a handy guide to the deluxe glitzy trash on offer /