August 04, 2005

How Much Is That Marilyn in the Window?

The new Marilyn in the window is here! An ode to swimming pool weather, a still from Marilyn's last (uncompleted) film which also serves as commentary to the St. Louis heat wave: Something's Gotta Give.
The backstory is here.
The Marilyn previous to the above is here.

An extraordinarily gifted photographer friend of mine has been enthusiastically following the Marilyn Shrine since being introduced to it. Upon seeing this latest exhibit, she wondered how the artist could stand to work in such anonymity and solitude, for artists thrive on the experience of others viewing their work, commenting on it, and (hopefully) buying some of it.

While I do wish Kabbaz would come forward and answer a dozen questions, I'm in awe of the seeming integrity of his mystery. His love for Marilyn is shared in a consistent and heart-felt way, and because of the very public nature of his solitary art gallery, he has a potentially bigger audience than most any fine artist. His work is in a high traffic area, but it sits back quietly, waiting for the true believers to find it, ponder it, keep an eye out. All of this goes on without the artist ever knowing or caring. It's merely his expression of adoration, unsullied by any modern standards of artistic commerce and publicity. While alive, Marilyn let herself be bought and sold, but these paintings of her are not for sale because love is priceless.

August 02, 2005

Heroic Diane Lane

My mother and I went to see the movie Must Love Dogs, which is very well-written and well-played (though John Cusack could stand to lose a few pounds). Afterwards, my mother says, “Between the previews and the movie, we sure saw a lot of actresses letting their age show.” This was not said as a slam. It was actually refreshing.

We’re both rather sensitive about celebrity plastic surgery – who’s had it and who’s brave enough not to. A preview for Rumor Has It reveals slight lines on Jennifer Aniston’s (36) forehead and that Shirley McClaine (71) has had barely anything done all these decades on. A preview for In Her Shoes lets Toni Collette (32) look her age (but Cameron Diaz – who’s only a scootch older than Collette - really needs some work, or at least a healthier lifestyle) while the Prime preview finds Meryl Streep (56) made to look even slightly older than she is. Co-starring in the feature presentation is the relatively untouched Stockard Channing (61), and she has always been defiantly comfortable with her looks, no matter her age (think playing teenage Rizzo while in her early 30's).

But the biggest revelation was Diane Lane (40), all glowing and serene on the big screen, her wrinkles and slightly loosening skin not detracting from her fabulousness in any way. In fact, it was odd to see a woman so naturally beautiful, her features mobile and able to express the slightest nuance. But it was also odd to see Elizabeth Perkins (44) playing Lane’s older sister with the smoother face. While Miss Perkins couldn’t make nearly as many nuanced faces as Lane, she did have some deadly funny lines that completely halted my imaginings of Perkins trying to convince Lane to see her Botox Artist as they ate yogurt together at the craft service table.

With every extreme close-up, I mentally high-fived Diane for aging so naturally, so gracefully….and then it hit me:
She’s The Same Age As Me. Dammit!
Even though she’s stunning, I guess I shouldn’t fixate on her looking so "good for her age" because that’s what 40 looks like in the real world. OK, so Miss Lane – an actress since 13 – only lives in the real world part-time, but still, follow along with me.

What other actresses are 40-ish?
Brooke Shields has had some work done. Very tasteful, but still altered.
Sandra Bullock looks pretty darn good. It seems she lives a hearty lifestyle, but (unlike Diaz) she still looks fresh and lovely. So has she had some tasteful maintenance work done?
Courtney Cox has probably had some minor work done, because she seems the self-conscious sort.
Teri Hatcher has certainly been worked on, but like Miss Shields, it looks natural.
Rosie Perez appears to be untouched and still cute as a bug.

I can’t come up with any more actresses born between 1964 – 65; statistically, those were the years the post-WW2 baby boom came to a screeching halt, so the numbers are a little low. But of that group, they all look relatively – or completely – natural from top to bottom, which makes me proud. My female peers in Hollywood are not a bunch of plastic surgery junkie whores, and that helps me wrap my head around turning 40. If Miss Lane can proudly face the brutal honesty of the close-up lens, then I won’t max out my credit cards with a birthday Botox bash and brow lift. Thank you, Diane.

Diane Lane finally teams with John Cusack, and she's been in 3 movies with Matt Dillon, which leads to the obvious: Hollywood needs to cast Dillon & Cusack in a movie. Same age, same era, endless possibilities. In this era of Hollywood lacking original ideas, they could shortcut it by teaming them for a remake of Tequila Sunrise, and put Lane in the Michelle Pfeiffer role. To the casting agent smart enough to mull over this thought, consider the first ticket already bought.