I was to meet up with a friend at Canters Deli on Fairfax last Saturday, and since they were a running tad late I headed over to the thrift shop a few doors down to kill some time. While there, I strolled the aisles and gleefully snatched up a luscious Betsey Johnson boa piece - and for just mere clams too!! Anyway, at check out by the register lo and behold! Lounging casually forgotten amid the shoes, belt buckles, clutches and other designer tschotskes in the glass display counter-case was this old familiar gem above. (And anyone who thinks I mean the Anna Nicole cover issue should probably just stop reading this entry right now.)
Here's a picture worth a thousand words. Funniest thing about the entire occurrence was my nonchalance towards it visually at first glance. I was simply like "Hey, there's a Gucci belt, a pair of 80's Bandolino shoes, and Dad's old playboy..cool." And then, I got so giddy I asked the nice young Jewish sales
In all honesty, while that MARCH 1968 issue was my first, it was not my #1 pick of the pile back then. The adult me now knows it was a good one though. Great cover, lovely centerfold, a Peter Max jewelry ad, and it not only has a Truman Capote interview, but it had a feature spread on the Barbarella film. That my first images of that film were viewed in stills is a fond thing to recollect today. Although I later found that Dad had much older ones, PLUS the coveted Vargas postcard collection, it stands to say that overall, Dad had/has damned good taste.
This issue serves as the first copy for me visually speaking, to connect that moment of discovery in my childhood. I'd also 'discovered' several Photoplay and similar mens' magazines, a few with Dad's favourite pin-up Bettie Page. While these facts and names are all realized now, as was the categorization of each being different publications, all that was noted quite later in my life. At 5 or 6, heck, I just had fun with the 'girlie mags'. Sitting in a sunny room and scanning pages full of cheesecake, sweetly photographed bikini gals and models in various poses and states of dress. (..erm..undress?) It all seemed normal to me. Like watching my Mom get ready in the powder room.
I love having this memory to call my own. While I was probably most taken with the illustrations in Dad's collection (Vargas) I recall some of the idyllic and feminine pin-ups made an impression too. While a little goofy, (think Elvgren) even the arranged photo shoots of the era (like let's say..oh..fishing in lingerie or being on afternoon picnic, and your top gets mustard on it.. etc. ) the message was still friendly. Sexy but 'clean' which always = classy to me. I'm pretty fortunate considering some of what I could have been subjected to if I'd been born like a decade or so later in the coke-haZed hustler or oui era. I still feel that early visual influence, possibly a few album covers, and some early leading ladies in the Hammer House of Horror flicks probably helped to define my style and fashion sense as woman later on in life. Perhaps as much as it served to define my decision to be an Artist. Appreciation of form..colour..beauty.
Anyway, to wrap things up I have not seen that issue in some time. Dad got wise to it (or was it Mom?) and they moved them on me. A bunch of times actually. But that it was all understood by my parents to be a very innocently-sweet curiosity and nothing more (which was true) says a lot about my folks. For me, it was the small beginning into my appreciation for pin up art and illustration in printed format. The rest, as they say is history. I'm still forging away - though some days it can be trying. But I wouldn't trade some of the odd experiences like that for anything. These truly serve to define an Artist's path.
More pics from LA and Hollywood to follow soon..that said, I still have to resize them as the downloading itself just didn't happen until today. I'd like to say it was due to 100% fun but it was mainly due to the fact that just a day after getting back from LA I had to trek up North to San Francisco to take care of some paperwork. Which, in my world means it was a perfect excuse to head to the Winchester House in San Jose. That however, is an entire entry in itself....with you guessed it..more pics.