My Week in Pictures.

I’ve spent the last week in Bendigo, staying with my mum, and it’s been such a lovely, quiet break. I went to the Grace Kelly exhibition and to see The Hunger Games with a friend (review pending, just got to finish the book first!), got my hair did, and tried to get in as much downtime as possible. I feel very refreshed and ready to head back to work for the Easter period, followed by another week of holidays!

The stack.

As I mentioned above, I’ve got about 150 pages left of The Hunger Games, and as a large print, young adult novel, I should breeze through it on the train ride back to Melbourne this afternoon. And I’ve still got to get around to reading the somewhat anti-feminist Sunday Life profile on Madonna.

Grace Kelly: Style Icon Exhibition.

Please see my review for my full thoughts on the exhibition.

The Hunger Games.

Secondhand book haul.

So Remarkable Creatures was actually leant to me by a friend (hi, Hannah!) in exchange for My Sister, My Love, which I picked up secondhand when I was in Bendigo last Easter, while 11.22.63 by Stephen King and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen were purchased from the Bendigo Book Mark, my favourite secondhand bookstore I’ve come across. My mum and I had watched the film version of Water for Elephants the night before, so I thought it was uncanny I should find the book and snapped it up. And I was surprised Book Mark even had 11.22.63, as it’s King’s latest and with a premise of “what would the world look like if JFK wasn’t assassinated”, it’s a must-read! Score!

Related: Grace Kelly: Style Icon Exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.

My Sister, My Love: The Intimate Story of Skyler Rampike by Joyce Carol Oates Review.

Book Shop: Book Now, Bendigo.

Elsewhere: [News with Nipples] Madonna, Never Put it Away—Unless You Want To.

Event: Grace Kelly—Style Icon Exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.

Yesterday I attending the much-hyped (both in the media and in my mind) Grace Kelly: Style Icon exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.

I’ve been a fan of Kelly since I first saw her in Rear Window three Christmas’ ago, and when my mum showed me the gallery’s brochure on upcoming events this time last year, I was wetting my pants with excitement to see an exhibition based around one of the most beautiful and talented actresses of the golden age of Hollywood.

In preparation, I watched High Society and To Catch a Thief (still have to check off Dial M for Murder on my list of Grace must-sees), but Rear Window will forever remain in my heart as my favourite Kelly film (and one of my favourite films, period).

While the exhibition disappointingly didn’t feature Kelly’s signature Rear Window dress, the black and white cocktail length ballgown from her opening scene in the movie, it did have on display the black mid-length dress from the film, which is so classic and timeless it could be seen on the street today.

The dearth of clothes from her first ten films were made up for in the several pieces from High Society, her last film and one from which she was allowed to keep her wardrobe. These were followed up with the dress she met Prince Rainier in, the famous Hermès Kelly bag, her bridal trousseau and, of course, a replica of her wedding gown (the original’s fabric is too delicate to travel).

The rest of the exhibition consisted of a myriad of Grace’s own clothes after she became a princess: a powder blue gown to conceal her baby bump and some elegantly embellished suits were my favourites. Despite references to the Princess’ reluctance to embrace the sky high hemlines of the sixties, there was an Yves Saint Laurent Mondrian dress, a staple of the times, and some flowing seventies-style gowns.

From the fairytale exhibition I had dreamed up in my head, I had much higher expectations than what was presented at the gallery. This is not to say that Grace Kelly: Style Icon isn’t an exhibition worth seeing, if fashion and movies and Kelly are your thing. But, compared with some of the other exhibitions Bendigo Art Gallery has hosted, it might be their most hyped one but certainly not their best.




Related: Bendigo Art Gallery: Giving the Metro Museums a Run for Their Money.

Loving… Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont in Rear Window.

Images via Grace Kelly Bendigo, Clothes on Film, Costumerism, YouTube.

My Week in Pictures.

Day trip to Bendigo.

Images via Fantomatik.

Image via Specialist Auctions.

Image via John Kobal Foundation.

Image via Fantomatik.

Image via Bendigo Art Gallery.

Image via Bridie Quilty.

On Friday I went to Bendigo to see the Made in Hollywood (images above) exhibition in its final days, as well as did some shopping at Bendigo Book Mark and caught up with a friend who’s back from America for dinner.

Birthday present.

My friend Lana’s birthday’s coming up on Saturday, so a few friends and I went in on Share-a-Smile Becky (she comes in a wheelchair! How cool is that?! There was some controversy surrounding the Barbie when she came out in 1997 because her chair didn’t fit through the doors to the Barbie Dream House.) and Make Hey While the Sun Shines by Meet Me at Mikes founder Pip Lincoln. I hope she likes them!

The stack.

If you missed Sunday Life, you can read full version of the cover story here.

Martha Marcy May Marlene Mind-numbing.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when heading into Martha Marcy May Marlene on Monday night, but a friend I mentioned it to said her boyfriend’s sister said it was the best movie she’d ever seen. I’d heard all the awards buzz, so I had to see what all the fuss was about for myself. I don’t feel like my life was any more enriched than before the movie, and I’m glad I only paid $9 for it.

This is what happens when your washing machine stops working.

The spin is fine, it’s just that the pump is stuffed, so I’ve taken to filling up the bath with water and washing detergent, and smooshing my clothes around in it with the mop! It’s quite efficient, actually. Although I’m dreading towel- and sheet-washing day…

Images via John Kobal Foundation.

Event: The White Wedding Dress Exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery.

Gwen Stefani’s pink-tinged John Galliano for Christian Dior wedding dress, and Dita Von Teese’s wedding undergarments, by Nina Ricci and Mr. Pearl.

While there were some non-white dresses, such as Dita Von Teese and Gwen Stefani’s gowns and a to die for red frock, most of them were white and cream dresses from Australia and Britain, dating as far back as 1828.

But more than their colour, the exhibition focused on the tradition of the wedding in white societies. There was a token shout-out to Aboriginal brides, and two groom suits (above) worn by a same-sex couple married in England in 2006, but ultimately, the white, cisgendered, heterosexual, middle- to upper-class bride reigned supreme.

Liberty of London gown, front left, and Baba Beaton’s wedding dress, back right.

That’s not the say that the dresses on their own weren’t spectacular. There were frocks from Australian designers J’Aton, worn by Rebecca Judd for her wedding to Chris Judd (one of my favourites on display), Romance Was Born and Akira Isogawa, if I’m not mistaken. Fashion legend Baba Beaton’s wedding dress, with a train to rival Diana’s, as well as one from Liberty of London, represented Britain’s high society.

One of my favourites looked ’80s inspired, but it turns out it was from the 1930s, and held up impeccably over time. I have hand-me-downs from my mum that haven’t weathered as well as some of the gowns from the 19th century!

While some of the gowns were just nice to look at, some had very interesting backstories. The red dress I mentioned (above) broke away from the emerging tradition of white, and echoed the tough times of war. Other dresses featured in the same section were bought with fabric stamps. Perhaps drawing inspiration from this time, a modern Australian creation from the end of the exhibition was designed with sustainability in mind, and can be used as a curtain when not being worn. That really gives a whole new meaning to the critique, “she looks like she’s wearing curtains”.

On the throwaway modern culture of the “event” wedding, the celebrity wedding section also features a magnificent black Spanish Barbie/Madonna-esque couture creation by Christian Lacroix. Made and paraded down the runway in 1993, Lacroix christened the gown “Qui a le Driot?”; “Who has the right?” In this era of gay marriage debate who, indeed, has the right?

The White Wedding Dress Exhibition is on until 6th November, a pre-booking is recommended.

Related: [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] It’s a Nice Day for a White Wedding Dress Exhibition.

Elsewhere: [Bendigo Art Gallery] The White Wedding Dress.

Images via Bendigo Art Gallery, Facebook.

Bendigo Art Gallery: Giving the Metro Museums a Run for Their Money.

As past posts this week would indicate, I spent the weekend in Bendigo, in country Victoria. I visited some old friends, went secondhand book shopping, got my hair did, and attended the opening of the Bendigo Art Gallery’s American Dreams exhibition.

There were some stunning portraits by some of America’s most gifted and famous photographers, like Walker Evans, Cindy Sherman and Richard Avedon.

While this exhibition isn’t the greatest I’ve seen (FYI, that was The Golden Age of Couture, also hosted by the Bendigo Art Gallery, which displayed gorgeous garments from the likes of Christian Dior and his 1940s “New Look”, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Balmain), it is one in a long line of coups for the country gallery.

Last year I saw Frederick McCubbin’s Last Impressions and Looking for Faeries, in addition to 2009’s Golden Age of Couture, and this year the gallery has The White Wedding Dress display in store for us. But the exhibition I’m most looking forward to won’t be opening until 2012, but it’s well worth the wait: Grace Kelly—Style Icon, featuring costumes from her most famous films (Rear Window, I’m looking at you) and couture gowns from her reign as Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco.

With stellar exhibitions like these, Melbourne’s galleries and museums had better watch out!

Related: Book Shop: Book Now, Bendigo.

Loving… Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont in Rear Window.

Gustave Moreau’s The Eternal Feminine Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Elsewhere: [Bendigo Art Gallery] Homepage.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] American Dreams: 20th Century Photography from George Eastman House.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] The Golden Age of Couture: Paris & London, 1947–1957.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] McCubbin Last Impressions: 1907–1917.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] Looking for Faeries: The Victorian Tradition.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] The White Wedding Dress: 200 Years of Wedding Fashions.

[Bendigo Art Gallery] Grace Kelly: Style Icon.

Images via Bendigo Art Gallery, Ethical Style.

Book Shop: Book Now, Bendigo.

So this review was originally going to be about Bendigo’s Book Mark, which still remains the best secondhand book store I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting.

Such gems I’ve managed to find there are Mick Foley’s rare first novel, Tietam Brown, and a $7 copy of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk. I scoured the shelves for over an hour looking for that one. When I took it to the counter, the man who served me marveled at it being left on the shelves; he’d put all Jackson-related literature on their website to be sold at an elevated price after his sudden death.

But perhaps my friend Hannah and I left it too late on a Saturday afternoon to visit the shop: they close at 4pm and we got there at 4:05!

So we decided instead to venture over to Book Now, located at 1 Farmers Lane, opposite Rosiland Park. There’s no denying I’ve gotten some good titles there before—a first edition of The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving springs to mind—but I find it a bit stuffy and overpriced for a secondhand book store.

However, this weekend’s trip yielded some fantastic finds for both me and Hannah. Hannah is studying to be a doctor in Russian history and social sciences, so she took home a book on Nicholas II of Russia, and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna, parents of Anastasia of Russia, and Atonement by Ian McEwan.

I knew Book Now has a large collection of Joyce Carol Oates books, so I rummaged through them in the vain hope of finding My Sister, My Love, a recent novel based on the JonBenet Ramsey murder. And low and behold, I did find it resting on a shelf right up the back of the shop.

My Book Now trip was pretty much complete after that, however I did spot some Armistead Maupin titles, and picked up a few of those. (To be honest, I own so many of his books I wasn’t 100% sure that I don’t already own The Night Listener and Maybe the Moon. But at $6 a pop, who am I to complain if I do?!) Finally, I stumbled across Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth and decided to add that to my ever-growing pile.

So what began as a somewhat disappointing afternoon when Book Mark wasn’t open, ended as a surprisingly great one, with four new additions to my bookshelf.

Bendigo only has a few really good bookstores, so if you’re ever up in Central Victoria, visiting the Bendigo Art Gallery (stay tuned for more this afternoon) or the Golden Dragon Chinese Museum, pop on over to Book Now or Book Mark.

I know I will on my next visit.

Related: Evolution of the Bookshop at the Wheeler Centre.

In Appreciation of Mick Foley.

The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving Review.

Is There Really a Beauty Myth?

Armistead Maupin in Conversation with Noni Hazlehurst.

Elsewhere: [Book Now] Homepage.

[Bendigo Book Mark] Homepage.

Image via Book Now.

Drug of Choice: The Disney Heroine.

Last weekend’s The Age supplement, A2, was jammed packed full of goodness , including a feature on the recent spate of fairytale-inspired exhibitions.

One of the exhibitions talked about in the article is the Bendigo Art Gallery’s “Looking for Faeries: The Victorian Tradition”, which I saw yesterday, and ACMI’s “Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairy Tales”, about the fairytales adapted for the screen by Walt Disney, with the groundbreaking (for the time) Snow White & the Seven Dwarves being a key component.

As you know, I can’t get enough of my Disney princesses, especially the constant discourse surrounding their affect on young girls, so this passage from the article took my fancy:

“In the past, and particularly in the 1950s, Disney fairytale heroes and, above all, heroines, were insubstantial figures, despite their predicaments, and energy and comedy were provided by the sidekicksthe dwarves in Snow White, for example. You can see a change in 1991’s witty, thoroughly engaging Beauty & the Beast: Belle was a more dynamic heroine than Snow White, and there was a character in the film who thought he was a handsome prince, but definitely wasn’tthe vain and vicious Gaston.

“[Tangled producer Roy] Conli credits John Lasseter, producer, director and chief creative officer at Disney/Pixar, for an insistence that central characters have to be the emotional and the comic core of a film. So, Rapunzel, the girl with 20 metres of blonde hairwho has been shut up in a tower her whole life, or, “like, grounded, like, forever”isn’t simply set free, end of story. In Tangled, she has a male counterpart, a foil, he says, a worldly, dashing thief called Flynn Rider whose adventure of discovery takes place alongside hers.

“… Whatever we make of these new fairytale dynamics, whether we regard them as retrograde or progressive, misguided or inventive… fairytales are often more appealing to adults than children.”

Perhaps that’s why I still can’t get enough of Belle… and it’s nice to see a modern-day Rapunzel adopting, like, a modern-day vernacular.

Related: Women in Fiction: Are Our Favourite Fictional Females Actually Strong, or Stereotypes?

Elsewhere: [Bendigo Art Gallery] Looking for Faeries: The Victorian Tradition.

[Australian Centre for the Moving Image] Dreams Come True: The Art of Disney’s Classic Fairy Tales.