Monday, September 29, 2014

CHINA and CHINESE CULTURE in the NEWS (c) By Polly Guerin

Anna May Wong's Certificate of Identity, August 28, 1924 
CHINESE AMERICAN, Exclusion/Inclusion  a riveting exhibition at the New-York Historical Society tells the complex and fascinating story of Chinese in America, weaving together the stories of trade, education, migration and labor. Here you will find family history and within these stories meet some people of celebrity, like Anna May Wong. Even movie stars like Anna May Wong were subject to the 1909 law that required Chinese entering or residing in the United States to carry a government issued Certificate of Identity Image: Courtesy of National Archives at San Francisco (54099).
   Anna May Wong  was the first Chinese American movie star and the first Asian American to gain
international recognition. Her long and varied career spanned both silent and sound film, television, stage and radio. Her unforgettable performance in the film "Old San Francisco," during the height of the Art Deco era, 1927, attests to her beauty and sometimes sensuous talent.
   The exhibition does much more visually to enchant the viewer. It explores the dramatic change in the American immigration policy represented by the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act--the unprecedented immigration legislation, which barred most Chinese from entering the United States. Other venues include the establishment of Chinese-American communities, and the rise of educational programs in East Coast universities.
   The exhibition interprets the Chinese American saga as a key part of American History and illustrates little-known stories relating to Chinese immigrants through media and artifacts, such as the voyage of the Empress of China, which set sail from New York in 1784 just a few years after the  end of the American Revolution; how young Chinese boys were sent by their government to study at elite New England schools and later recalled back to China as they were deemed becoming too American. The exhibition concludes covering the repeal of Exclusion immigration reform, and the legacy of early Chinese American's experiences and achievement in the United States. At 170 Central Park West.  www.nyhistory.com
CHARLES JAMES: Beneath the Dress Many fashionistas already visited the Charles James exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art but the National Arts Club's exhibition does much to fill in the gaps of Charles James' life and work. On view for a brief time from today to October 5th at the NAC is a private collection of fashion and erotic drawings, vintage photographs by Anton Perich and a short film. No Tickets required, the presentation is open to the public 11am-5pm Monday through Sunday. At 15 Gramercy Park South.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF NEW YORK: Selections from a history of New York in 101 Objects Can one object define New York City? Can 101?  New York Times urban affairs correspondent Sam Roberts has assembled a kaleidoscopic array of possibilities in a new exhibition based on his new book , A History of New York in 101 Objects (Simon & Schuster, 2014). Featuring 30 objects drawn from the New York Historical Society's collection, this exhibition highlights some of Roberts's choices, winnowed from hundreds of possibilities, to constitute a unique history of New York.  The selections themselves constitute a democracy of objects that taken together capture the monumental drama as well as the everyday spirit of New York.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! Polly is off to visit Charles James again. Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com
Visit Polly's Blogs on www.pollytalk.com and in the left hand column click on the link to the Blog of your choice on fashion, visionary men and amazing art deco women or poetry.

Monday, September 22, 2014

HEAVEN IS A GARDEN and Chinese/American Culture (c) By Polly Guerin

Nothing could be finer than to be in New York City this autumn. There's so much in the offering you have to prioritize your list of  things to do, places to be and things to see. Here's the Scoop!!!!
HEAVEN IS A GARDEN Just in time to soothe our frazzled nerves and city jitters comes Jan Johnsen, landscape designer and author's most recent book, Heaven is a Garden: Designing Serene Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection. This book is not just for gardeners, it is a lovely picture perfect escape just because sometimes we need to linger in a garden. Ms. Johnsen's lively Powerpoint talk takes place at the historic Bartow Pell Mansion Museum on Tuesday, September 23 at 7:30 pm, located at 845 Shore Road, Bronx, N.Y. 10464.         Jim Peterson, publisher of Garden Design Magazine said, "Jan Johnsen touches the soul with her insights on gardens, as well as on living life. You'll be touched too as she teaches you how to create a divine, unhurried landscape with simplicity, sanctuary and delight." Ms. Johnsen ought to know...she is a professional landscape designer and winner of the 2014 Merit Award of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD). Jan also teaches at the New York Botanical Garden and is an adjunct professor at Columbia University.  Registration is requested. Cost $10 adults; $8 seniors and students: members of Bartow Pell free. Be there as Jan Johnsen guides us all into the magnificent colors, heavenly textures and treasures in the heart of garden. www.bartowpellmansionmuseum.org. 718.885.1461.
CHINESE AMERICAN, Exclusion/Inclusion opening September 26 at the New York Historical Society, tells the complex and fascinating story of Chinese in America, weaving together stories of trade, education, migration and labor. It explores the dramatic change in American immigration policy represented in the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the establishment of Chinese-American communities, and the rise of educational programs in East Coast universities  The exhibition concludes covering the repeal of the Exclusion Immigration reform, and the legacy of early Chinese American's experience. Then on Oct. 2 from 7 to 8:30 pm NYHS invites you to attend the U.S. Premiere Screening of what is "Chineseness"? and to make Oct. 2 extra-special you can savor a noodle entree and a Chinese-inspired cocktail from restaurateur Stephen Starr (reservations 212 485-9268).  On Saturday, Oct. 4 at 2 pm the Chinese Cultural Center presents the art and athleticism of ribbon dancing. rsvp to familyprograms@nyhistory.org. Location: 170 Central Park West, between West 76 and 77 Streets.  www.nyhistory.org.
COSTUME INSTITUTE SETS CHINA FOCUS The Global fascination with all things China is extending to the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Spring of 2015. Just remember that you heard it first from PollyTalk. The exhibition will explore the influence of China on Creativity, from and fashion and costume to paintings, porcelain, art and movies. May 7-August 16, 2015. More to come in PollyTalk later this year about Chinese Whispers: Tales of the East in Art, Film and Fashion.
NICKY HILTON'S NEW BOOK "365 Style," takes on the whole year in her first style-advice-book to coordinate with the unveiling of her capsule collection with Canada's eLuxe.  Hilton says that she put something for every girl in this small capsule collection and so there's this Upper East Side preppy-chic stuff and some California bohemian beach-girl stuff." She is fully self-aware when it comes to her family's notoriety and admits "I would be lying if my last name didn't open doors, but in the end the product always speaks for itself, Product is King."
Ta Ta Darlings!!! I'm marking my calender to see the NYHS's "Chineseness," and you should too. Fan mail welcome pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Polly's Blogs on www.pollytalk.com can be easily accessed just click on the link in the left hand column to Blogs on fashion, women, visionary men, poetry and hidden treasures in New York City.

Monday, September 15, 2014

THIS & THAT...CELEBRITIES IN THE SPOTLIGHT (c) By Polly Guerin

The David H. Koch Plaza at the Metropolitan Museum  
New York seems to be forever reinventing itself and nothing matches the new completely redesigned David H. Koch Plaza at the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently opened to the fanfare of a water show worthy of Las Vegas. Then there's Karl Lagerfeld talking media and his cat Choupette who is writing a book. Only in New York, my pets, the best of New York. Here's the scoop!!!
   A place to sit, a place to dream, a place to find respite in the cacophony of the city. The David H. Koch Plaza, a massive outdoor space, a two-year renovation project runs along Fifth Avenue for four city blocks, the entire length of the Museum's landmark facade. Taking a cue from the grand entrances on museums in Paris the plaza is a welcome mat to New Yorkers and tourists with new paving, lighting, allees and bosques of trees leading to the Museum's entrances from north and south, and generous seating areas.
   "This project is a great demonstration of philanthropic spirit and we are tremendously grateful to David Koch, for what we have been able to accomplish as the result of his generosity," said Emily K. Rafferty, President of the Museum.
   "Although the met is best known for its magnificent art collection, inspiring architecture, the Olin-designed plaza will also make the exterior of the met a masterpiece," said David H. Koch.
KARL LAGERFELD'S Newspaper: "If publishing companies don't want paper to disappear, they have to make an effort to be good...and well written." says the Parisian designer. Lagerfeld. An unabashed fan of print, the Parisian fashion designer now adds newspaper publishing to his list of media accomplishments with "The Karl Daily," which debuts in Paris.with a distribution of 150,000 copies. Lagerfeld is unstoppable, a sketchbook always under his arm and a desk stacked with magazines and books all over the floor, the mogul of style is now a publisher. The latest satorical broadsheet showcases the designer's multi-faceted talents for sketching, photography with old-fashioned humor along with the latest product news from his signature brand. So my dears, if you want a copy of The Karl Daily hop over the pond to Paris or get your copy from the fashion police.
COUPETTE The Kitty Who Won Over Lagerfeld's Heart. It isn't every day that a kitty takes a meteoric ride right into stardom, but Coupette was one of the lucky ones. One day she was left with Lagerfeld when the desginer accepted to cat-sit for model Baptiste Giabiconi's young kitten over the Christmas holidays in 2011. Well you know what happened, Lagerfeld fell in love and when Giabiconi returned to Paris weeks later, the iconic designer could not bear to part with his new companion....who, incidentally has become the designer's favorite accessory and muse. The 7-pound, 11 ounce Birman feline is subject of a forthcoming book: "Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat," and has been the inspiration for clothing lines, perfume, makeup and even dolls. I often think of the dear cat who used to patrol the Algonquin hotel. Her fate at this writing is undetermined, but one thing I know for sure, the new owners of the hotel banned her forever into exile.Alas, some cats like Choupette have all the luck.
CHRISTIAN LOUBUTIN has his day in a documentary film. His long-time friend and model Farida Khelfa made the 52-minute film, after followiing in theParisian shoe designer's footsteps for two years. Don't fret if you miss the movie, if you want to see some of the designer's shoes in person just go to the Brooklyn Museum and check out the Killer Heels exhibit which I reported about last week.  In the film Louboutin talks about his family background and how it influenced his work. Really!!!! David Lynch, Blake Lively and Alicia Keys are among others featured in the film.
Ta Ta darlings!!! The new plaza at the Metropolitan is a visual delight with a welcome mat of open vistas to tempt any visitor to take a respite and enjoy the dancing waters and views. Fan mail welcome as usual at pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click on the Blog of interest located in the left hand column. .

Monday, September 8, 2014

FASHION WEEK'S FASHIONISTA'S HOLIDAY (c) By Polly Guerin

Christian Louboutin, "Printz" S/S 2013-2014. 
New York Fashion Week, (NYFW), Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, is a fashionista's holiday holding forth through Sept11th with a stunning roundup of fashion shows, parties and  socializing on a grand scale that is so exhilaration that it affects the humblest of fashion followers. Even if you're not invited there are ways to get in on the NYFW"s fun and fashioand take a front seat.  mbfashionweek.com/live.. Here's the Scoop!!!
KILLER HEELS An entire museum exhibit, Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe, opens at the Brooklyn Museum on Wednesday to pay homage to the world's amazing heels, dating back 500 years. Not just any shoes, but stilettos, and all sorts of sky high footwear to give even the smallest fashionista a sense of heightened glamour. Image: Christian Louboutin, "Printz," Spring/Summer 2013-2014 collection. Courtresy of Christian Louboutin, Photo (c) by Jay Zukerkorn.
   The exhibit which runs through February 15, 2015 features 160 pairs of shoes, both historic and contemporary. Although many of the designer's names are familiar---Ferragamo, Fendi, Dior, Blahnik, Chanel and Celine---architects take their share of the spotlight, like the 12-inch-high leather booties rem. D. Koolhaas made for Lady Gaga. Although many women of a certain age remember that Carmen Miranda was the enchantress of the platform shoe, take a look at Ferragamo's Platform of 1938, the Over the Rainbow which was inspired by American Musicals. 
   The shoes are displayed alongside correlating art: a Prada sandal from spring 2012 is displayed alongside a Saelitte jumping shoe toy from 1955. The exhibit is divided into six thematic sections: Revival and Reinterpretation, Rising in the East,Glamour and Fetish, Architecture, Metamorphosis, and Space Walk. Need I remind you, dear readers, that my feature on the negative effects of Killer Heels on the female human body is nothing short of devastating.The price that women pay for sky-high glamour has been with us for centuries Check it out on Polly's Blog: thefashionhistorianpollyguerin.blogspot.com.
This Just in from WWD: FLY ME TO THE MOON Frank Sinatra is one of Ralph Lauren's idols---and the famed singer's lyrics could have served as inspiration for the opening of the designer's Polo women's show. This is no ordinary show, Laruen will present tonight 9/8 a four-dimensional movie that will have models "walking' on the park's Cherry Hill Lake.  It will cap off a big moment for the designer, who today will unveil a 38,000 square-foot Polo flagship on Fifth Avenue, that will offer the brand's entire new lifestyle concept. For more spring coverage, see WWD.com/runway.
DANCE AND FASHION Leave it to Valerie Steele to create another award-winning exhibition at the Museum at FIT. Dance and Fashion, September 13 to January 3, 2015 explores the rich relationship between dance and couture, from the 1830's through 2014. The treasures on display take your breath away including Katherine Dunham's Afro-Caribbean apparel and a fanciful bulbous uniform from Merce Cunningham's Scenario, designed by Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons and Stella McCarty's costume for the Oceans Kingdom ballet.
   A symposium, Oct 23-24 takes the subject into categories of diverse interest.. Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, 212 217-4558, fitnyc.edu.
THE WRAP DRESS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY The wrap is 40 and Diane von Furstenberg marks four decades celebrating the dress, power and style. She made the wrap dress a fashion icon just like Coco Chanel did with the Little Black Dress. It all began in 1970 when Princess Diane, married to Prince Egon von Furstenberg of Austria, arrives in the United States with jersey dresses she had made in Italy, and the seeds of a fashion business is ignited.. In 1974 the wrap dress is born, .putting Diane in business. He motto: "Feel like a woman, wear a dress."  By 1976 she sold more than one million wrap dresses and landed on the cover of Newsweek. Whew!!! Well, how many wrap dresses do you have in your wardrobe? As for Pollytalk, she has six.
Ta Ta Darlings!!! Pollytalk was impressed with the model turn for military servicewomen, especially retired Arm Capt. Leslie Nicole Smith, who walked down the runway in a short black dress, designed by Joshua McKinley with her seeing eye dog and revealing her prosthetic leg.  Fan mail is always welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com, Check out Polly's other Blogs on www.pollytalk.com, click on a  Blog link in the left-hand column.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

REBUILDING THE WORLD TRADE CENTER, NY PREMIERE By Polly Guerin

This Just In: The New York Premiere of the film "Rebuilding the World Trade Center" takes place on Tuesday, September 9th at 6 PM at the Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street.

   Tickets for this event are free for museum members, $12 for students/seniors and $16 for the general public. You can buy online: mcny.org/event/rebuilding-world-trade-center.

   THE STORY; For the past eight years, artist and filmmaker Marcus Robinson has been at The World Trade Center area in lower Manhattan, filming, photographing and painting the transformation of the historic World Trade Center site. His film, "Rebuilding the World Trade Center," is an epic story about the transformation of the site and the construction of the towering buildings.  With 13 time-lapse cameras running, Marcus condenses years into a few seconds, capturing vast buildings rising over the city in a single shot.
   Rebuilding tells the story of architecture and engineering but the film focuses on the construction workers who are rebuilding the site.  The workers, from the site managers to the legendary ironworkers who assemble steel frames on girders high in the air, share their stories.
   In Mr. Robinson's words, "They are healing the scar in the bedrock of New York City and in Manhattan's skyline and in many ways that they are doing is part of a much greater, universal act of rebuilding and healing.
   "Rebuilding the World Trade Center" received a BAFTA award in 2014. A discussion with the director and workers in the film, led by James Glanz, follows the screening.
   The event is co-sponsored by the AIANY, Center for Architecture.

Monday, August 25, 2014

THE FUTURE IS NOW, WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY(c) By Polly Guerin

Amazing developments in wearable technology are edging their way into our clothing and out lifestyles. The question I ask is how much do we want to be plugged into the future? Alas, some major brands are producing wearable technology that's good-looking and comfortable, too. Here's the scoop!!!
   The nylon T-shirt by Ralph Lauren includes technology that can monitor the wearer's heart and stress levels.What spectators will see this week at the Unite States Open is a slick, form-fitting black athletic shirt, the Ralph Lauren polo pony emblazoned on the front.  However, what you won't see is the conductive silver-coated thread that is woven discreetly into the fiber. No it will not answer your smartphone but what it will do is monitor your heart rate, breathing and stress levels with racy good looks. How about the Navigate jacket? It taps out directions on the wearer's back 
   Kovert's modular jewelry features technology encapsulated in precious or semi-precious stones that clip into rings, bracelets and necklaces.  The jewelry vibrates when a important message is received. Now that's living in the moment but do we really wanted to be connected every single moment of the day or night? Doesn't anyone want some peaceful quality time to meditate or even write poetry.
   According to scientists there will be 50 billion, intelligent things in the world by 2020.  In addition to what you wear all things in your home or office could be turned into intelligent products that talk to you.Yet, do we really want technology to become our mentor? Will these high tech developments make humanity less human?
   Net-a-sporter, the new sport-oriented sister of Net-a-porter, will launch Jawbone's new Up 24 wireless smart band which helps users understand how they move, eat and sleeps so that they can make better choices. During Jimmy Choo's fall collection in February in Milan, Jawbone delivered smart bands to the stage crew and created a leader board to see who was getting the most sleep.
   David Rose, MIT Media lab scientist is all for making the computer personal. Now this is something I could use---the umbrella that forecasts the weather at a cost of $125. Armed with your zip code, a wireless receiver in the handle connects to AccuWeather and then glows and pulsates a gentle blue light if the weather outside is frightful.
   Why bother to make grocery lists when all you will need to do is to have an Amazon trash can that has a tiny camera and bar code scanner that records everything you throw away and sends the information to Amazon.com where it is immediately reordered and shipped to you.
   Too tired to pedal your bike. The Copenhagan Wheel, contains a motor that transforms a normal bike into a hybrid electric vehicle. As you bike, the wheel captures excess energy when going downhill or braking to help propel you up steeper includes or harder terrains.
   This coffee table eavesdrops on your conversations. Billed as an "instant photo album," the Facebook Coffee Table uses real time speech analysis to pick up keywords from your conversation to pull up relevant Facebook feed photos. Hotels will soon be using the coffee table to feature nearby events, restaurant suggestions and displays about weather and traffic .
  Whew!!! The future is now, my friends..  Emails welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.  Visit Polly's Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and in the left hand column click on the link to Blogs about women, men, treasures or poetry.
   

Monday, August 18, 2014

CULTURE CITY'S CURIOSITIES IN AND BEYOND NYC (c) By Polly Guerin

What's culture got to do with it? Well for one thing there is so much going on in New York City a person's calendar can get filled in with nearly two or three or more things to consider doing in one day, but particularly the evening events are the best. Here's the scoop!!!
MASTERPIECES & CURIOSITIES: A Russian American Quilt explores works from the Jewish Museum's world renowned collection. On view from August 22 to February 1, 2015, this exhibition continues a series of rare quilt (c.1899), a fascinating expression of the acculturation process undergone by newly arrived immigrants. Actually, the quilt in question was owned by a Russian Jewish family that likely arrived in America during the 19th Century and incorporates imagery from both cultures. Why should we care about this quilt, you may ask?" Okay my dear, but this is pure history from the past. Four panels in the quilt picture embroidered figures dress in Russian costumes: a woman raising the side of her skirt, a common gesture in folk dancing; a dancing man; and a seated musician playing the balalaika. Skip ahead--motifs in the quilt's border relate to sports that became popular in American (c.1900), including a baseball or football referee or umpire, hot-air ballooning, and tennis. Several other works look back on Jewish life but the curiosities attract like Alfred Stieglitz photography to a Moroccan wedding costume. Location: Fifth Ave. at 92nd street. www.thejm.org.
Polly's Theater Pick of the Week, PIANIST of WILLESDEN LANE. What a performance, what a story!!!! This is truly the best theater in a long time. Pianist extraordinaire, Mona Golabek keeps you riveted to your seat as she recalls the life of her mother and first piano teacher, Lisa Jura,  and recalls her remarkable survival and achievements in the concert halls during the terrible days of WWII.  Lisa's stories are bursting with bits and pieces of wonderful characters and in between all the storytelling Golabek plays excerpts from Grieg, Beethoven, Debussy, Chopin, Bach and even Gershwin with remarkable dexterity and style. This unforgettable performance is not to be missed and you will come away, as I did, truly inspired and felling cultural saturated.  At the 59 E. 59 Theater. Closes August 24.
DOLL HOUSE: Karl Lagerfeld. The Paris-based designer is unstoppable. His latest collaboration involves what must be the world's smallest pair of fingerless gloves to fit the dainty hands of Barbie Lagerfeld, a limited-edition doll being launches this fall by American toy giant Mattel Inc. as part of the Barbie Collector series. The doll is quite soigne and is dressed to the Germain couturier's custom: in a tailored black jacket, white shirts with a high neck collar and the iconic skinny black jeans. Accessories complete the look with dark sunglasses, a large flat necktie and black ankle boots. By the way, Mattel is making Barbie's 55th birthday this year, yet she never seems to age.  I wonder what is her secret?
RENE LALIQUE: Enchanted by Glass. There is still time to take a trip to Corning, New York to see the designer's career from his beginnings working for such prestigious joallliers as Cartier and Boucheron. After winning top honors for his Art Nouveau jewelry at the 1900 Paris Exposition, Lalique began focusing on luxury glassware and pioneered Art Deco in his creations. Through January 4, 2015 at the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York; cmog.org.
Ta Ta darlings, I went to hear Mona Golabek and have become a fast fan, what a talent, what a story, not to be missed!!! Fan mail welcome at pollytalk@verizon.net.  Check out Polly's Blogs go to www.pollytalk.com and in the left-hand column click on the link to the Blogs on fashion, amazing women, visionary men and even poetry.