The Car That Melted

La voiture fondue (The Car That Melted), Robert Doisneau, 1944

 
 

“…le soleil est un citron vert
Et la Misère
dans sa voiture vide
traînée par trois enfants trop blonds
traverse les décombres
et s’en va vers la mer…”

Jacques Prévert

Cheveux Noirs (fragment)

 
 

___________________________

 
 

The sun is a green lemon
And the misery
in its empty car
trailed by three overly blonde children
crossing the ruins
and marching to the sea…”

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Stanley and Boodgie

“From September 1993, I painted and drew my dogs. This took a certain amount of planning, since dogs are generally not interested in Art (I say generally only because I have now come across a singing dog). Food and love dominate their lives.”

“I make no apologies for the apparent subject matter. These two dear little creatures are my friends. They are intelligent, loving, comical, and often bored. They watch me work; I notice the warm shapes they make together, their sadness and their delights. And, being Hollywood dogs, they somehow seem to know that a picture is being made.”

David Hockney

 
 

David Hockney’s Dog Days, published by Thames & Hudson (2006)

 
 

David Hockney and his pet dachshunds Stanley and Boodgie photographed in front of some of the artist’s many artworks based on the dogs, c. 1994

 
 

Hockney and his muses at BMW Car Art, 1995

 
 

Sketches made in 1993

 
 

His subjects, Stanley and Boodgie, accompanied for over 10 years. They’re all getting on a bit. The dogs are about 70 in human years. Hockney is 60. He bought them both when they were puppies. ‘My neighbour has got a little dachshund and I fell in love with it. He said, “You’re very good with dogs, why don’t you have one?” But I used to travel so much. Then I thought, “I don’t really want to travel any more so if I get a dog it will stop me.” ‘

Stanley cost $300. Boodgie, who arrived a year or so later, was slightly pricier. ‘When the stock market crashed,’ Hockney recalls, ‘people said, “Did you ever make any investments?” I said, “Yes. I made an investment in the dogs. Now they’re worth a million dollars.” ‘

As a young man Hockney much admired Stanley Spencer, to the extent of imitating him by wearing a bowler hat and pushing a pram containing paints, but in fact, the dog is named after Stan Laurel. Boodgie is Boodgie because he looked like one. ‘When I got little Boodge he was very small,’ says Hockney. ‘I put a bell round him so I knew where he was.’

Swarmed by Yellow Butterflies

Gabriel García Márquez photographed by Juan Ruy Castaño

 
 

“I came to see the new models,” Meme said. “That’s a fine excuse,” he said.

Meme realized that he was burning in the heat of his pride, and she desperately looked for a way to humiliate him. But he would not give her any time. “Don’t get upset,” he said to her in a low voice. “It’s not the first time that a woman has gone crazy over a man.” She felt so defeated that she left the garage without seeing the new models and she spent the night turning over in bed and weeping with indignation. The American redhead, who was really beginning to interest her, looked like a baby in diapers. It was then that she realized that the yellow butterflies preceded the appearances of Mauricio Babilonia. She had seen them before, especially over the garage, and she had thought that they were drawn by the smell of paint. Once she had seen them fluttering about her head before she went into the movies. But when Mauricio Babilonia began to pursue her like a ghost that only she could identify in the crowd, she understood that the butterflies had something to do with him. Mauricio Babilonia was always in the audience at the concerts, at the movies, at high mass, and she did not have to see him to know that he was there, because the butterflies were always there. Once Aureliano Segundo became so impatient with the suffocating fluttering that she felt the impulse to confide her secret to him as she had promised, but instinct told her that he would laugh as usual and say: “What would your mother say if she found out?” One morning, while she was pruning the roses, Fernanda let out a cry of fright and had Meme taken away from the spot where she was, which was the same place in the garden where Remedios the Beauty had gone up to heaven. She had thought for an instant that the miracle was going to be repeated with her daughter, because she had been bothered by a sudden flapping of wings. It was the butterflies. Meme saw them as if they had suddenly been born out of the light and her heart gave a turn. At that moment Mauricio Babilonia came in with a package that according to what he said, was a present from Patricia Brown. Meme swallowed her blush, absorbed her tribulation, and even managed a natural smile as she asked him the favor of leaving it on the railing because her hands were dirty from the garden. The only thing that Fernanda noted in the man whom a few months later she was to expel from the house without remembering where she had seen him was the bilious texture of his skin.

“He’s a very strange man,” Fernanda said. “You can see in his face that he’s going to die.”

Meme thought that her mother had been impressed by the butterflies. When they finished pruning the row bushes she washed her hands and took the package to her bedroom to open it. It was a kind of Chinese toy, made up of five concentric boxes, and in the last one there was a card laboriously inscribed by someone who could barely write: We’ll get together Saturday at the movies. Meme felt with an aftershock that the box had been on the railing for a long time within reach of Fernanda’s curiosity, and although she was flattered by the audacity and ingenuity of Mauricio Babilonia, she was moved by his Innocence in expecting that she would keep the date. Meme knew at that time that Aureliano Segundo had an appointment on Saturday night. Nevertheless, the fire of anxiety burned her so much during the course of the week that on Saturday she convinced her father to leave her alone in the theater and come back for her after the show. A nocturnal butterfly fluttered about her head while the lights were on. And then it happened. When the lights went out, Mauricio Babilonia sat down beside her. Meme felt herself splashing in a bog of hesitation from which she could only be rescued, as had occurred in her dreams, by that man smelling of grease whom she could barely see in the shadows.

“If you hadn’t come,” he said, “You never would have seen me again.”

Meme felt the weight of his hand on her knee and she knew that they were both arriving at the other side of abandonment at that instant.
“What shocks me about you,” she said, smiling, “is that you always say exactly what you shouldn’t be saying.”
She lost her mind over him. She could not sleep and she lost her appetite and sank so deeply into solitude that even her father became an annoyance. She worked out an intricate web of false dates to throw Fernanda off the track, lost sight of her girl friends, leaped over conventions to be with Mauricio Babilonia at any time and at any place. At first his crudeness bothered her. The first time that they were alone on the deserted fields behind the garage he pulled her mercilessly into an animal state that left her exhausted. It took her time to realize that it was also a form of tenderness and it was then that she lost her calm and lived only for him, upset by the desire to sink into his stupefying odor of grease washed off by lye. A short time before the death of Amaranta she suddenly stumbled into in open space of lucidity within the madness and she trembled before the uncertainty of the future. Then she heard about a woman who made predictions from cards and went to see her in secret. It was Pilar Ternera. As soon as Pilar saw her come in she was aware of Meme’s hidden motives. “Sit down,” she told her. “I don’t need cards to tell the future of a Buendía,” Meme did not know and never would that the centenarian witch was her great–grandmother. Nor would she have believed it after the aggressive realism with which she revealed to her that the anxiety of falling in love could not find repose except in bed. It was the same point of view as Mauricio Babilonia’s, but Meme resisted believing it because underneath it all she imagined that it had been inspired by the poor judgment of a mechanic. She thought then that love on one side was defeating love on the other, because it was characteristic of men to deny hunger once their appetites were satisfied. Pilar Ternera not only cleared up that mistake, she also offered the old canopied bed where she had conceived Arcadio, Meme’s grandfather, and where afterward she conceived Aureli-ano José. She also taught her how to avoid an unwanted conception by means of the evaporation of mustard plasters and gave her recipes for potions that in cases of trouble could expel “even the remorse of conscience.” That interview instilled In Meme the same feeling of bravery that she had felt on the drunken evening. Amaranta’s death, however, obliged her to postpone the decision. While the nine nights lasted she did not once leave the side of Mauricio Babilonia, who mingled with the crowd that invaded the house. Then came the long period of mourning and the obligatory withdrawal and they separated for a time. Those were days of such inner agitation, such irrepressible anxiety, and so many repressed urges that on the first evening that Meme was able to get out she went straight to Pilar Ternera’s. She surrendered to Mauricio Babilonia, without resistance, without shyness, without formalities, and with a vocation that was so fluid and an intuition that was so wise that a more suspicious man than hers would have confused them with obvious experience. They made love twice a week for more than three months, protected by the innocent complicity of Aureliano Segundo, who believed without suspicion in his daughter’s alibis simply in order to set her free from her mother’s rigidity.

On the night that Fernanda surprised them in the movies Aureliano Segundo felt weighted down by the burden of his conscience and he visited Meme in the bedroom where Fernanda kept her locked up, trusting that she would reveal to him the confidences that she owed him. But Meme denied everything. She was so sure of herself, so anchored in her solitude that Aureliano Segundo had the impression that no link existed between them anymore, that the comradeship and the complicity were nothing but an illusion of the past. He thought of speaking to Mauricio Babilonia, thinking that his authority as his former boss would make him desist from his plans, but Petra Cotes convinced him that it was a woman’s business, so he was left floating in a limbo of indecision, barely sustained by the hope that the confinement would put an end to his daughter’s troubles.

Meme showed no signs of affliction. On the contrary, from the next room Úrsula perceived the peaceful rhythm of her sleep, the serenity of her tasks, the order of her meals, and the good health of her digestion. The only thing that intrigued Úrsula after almost two months of punishment was that Meme did not take a bath in the morning like everyone else, but at seven in the evening. Once she thought of warning her about the scorpions, but Meme was so distant, convinced that she had given her away, that she preferred not to disturb her with the impertinences, of a great-great-grandmother. The yellow butterflies would invade the house at dusk. Every night on her way back from her bath Meme would find a desperate Fernanda killing butterflies with an insecticide bomb. “This is terrible,” she would say, “All my life they told me that butterflies at night bring bad luck.” One night while Meme was in the bathroom, Fernanda went into her bedroom by chance and there were so many butterflies that she could scarcely breathe. She grabbed for the nearest piece of cloth to shoo them away and her heart froze with terror as she connected her daughter’s evening baths with the mustard plasters that rolled onto the floor. She did not wait for an opportune moment as she had the first time. On the following day she invited the new mayor to lunch. Like her, he had come down from the highlands, and she asked him to station a guard in the backyard because she had the impression that hens were being stolen. That night the guard brought down Mauricio Babilonia as he was lifting up the tiles to get into the bathroom where Meme was waiting for him, naked and trembling with love among the scorpions and butterflies as she had done almost every night for the past few months. A bullet lodged in his spinal column reduced him to his bed for the rest of his life. He died of old age in solitude, without a moan, without a protest, without a single moment of betrayal, tormented by memories and by the yellow butterflies, who did not give him a moment’s peace, and ostracized as a chicken thief.

Gabriel García Márquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude

Leopard-skin Pillbox Hat

“Well, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
Yes, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
Well, you must tell me, baby
How your head feels under somethin’ like that
Under your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat…”

Bob Dylan

 
 

Photo: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Washington, 1961

 
 

The always stunning Audrey Hepburn. Promotional picture and still from Charade (Stanley Donen, 1963)

 
 

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” is a song by Bob Dylan, from his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde. The song melodically and lyrically resembles Lightnin’ Hopkins “Automobile Blues” (1962)

Dylan’s lyrics affectionately ridicule a female “fashion victim” who wears a leopard skin pillbox hat. The pillbox hat was a popular, highly fashionable ladies’ hat in the United States in the early to mid-1960s, and was most famously worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Dylan satirically crosses this accessory’s high-fashion image with leopard-skin material, perceived as considerably more “downmarket” and “vulgar”. The song was also written and released long after pillbox hats had been at the height of fashion, something that was very apparent to listeners at the time.

 
 

 
 

The song has been widely speculated to be inspired by Edie Sedgwick, an actress/model known for her association with Andy Warhol. Sedgwick is also often suspected as being an inspiration for other Dylan songs of the time, particularly some from Blonde on Blonde. Beck, Bibbe Hansen Warhol superstar’s son , released a cover on the 2009 charity album War Child Presents Heroes, and also performed the song during the closing credits of the 81st Academy Awards.

The Aerosmith Chick

 
 

After seeing her in The Crush (Alan Shapiro, 1993), Marty Callner decided Alicia Silverstone would be perfect for a role in a music video he was directing for the band Aerosmith, called Cryin’; she was subsequently cast in two more videos, Amazing and Crazy. These were hugely successful for both the band and Silverstone, making her a household name (and also gaining her the nickname, “the Aerosmith chick”). After seeing Silverstone in the three videos, filmmaker Amy Heckerling decided to cast her inClueless

 
 

 
 

 
 

This music video features the first appearance of Alicia Silverstone in the band’s videos, as well as the band performing in the Central Congregational Church in Fall River, Massachusetts. The song flashes back and forth between the band and Alicia Silverstone, who plays a teen who has a falling out with her boyfriend (played by Stephen Dorff) after catching him cheating. She feigns an attempt to kiss him, but instead leans away annoying him. She then punches him and shoves him out of the car leaving him in the dust. She begins a phase of rebellion and individuality and gets a navel piercing, which has largely been credited as introducing navel piercing to mainstream culture. After having her purse stolen by another young man (played by then-unknown Josh Holloway of Lost), she chases him down and knocks him to the ground. The video then cuts to her standing on the edge of an overpass bridge, contemplating jumping…

 
 

 
 

 
 

This was the second appearance of Alicia Silverstone in the band’s videos. Paired with her was Jason London, star of Dazed and Confused(Richard Linklater, 1993), a film which was released in the same year as Get a Grip and which memorably made numerous references to Aerosmith. The characters are featured in the music video as two cyberspace kids who escape to a world of virtual reality together, both not realizing the other is also doing virtual reality. The head-mounted display in the video worn by Jason London was manufactured by Liquid Image Corporation. The founders of Liquid Image Corporation, David Collette and Tony Havelka, were contacted by the video production crew and asked to provide a head-mounted display system for the VR sequence.

 
 

 
 

 
 

It featured the third appearance of Alicia Silverstone in the band’s videos, as well as the career debut of Steven’s then-teenaged daughter Liv Tyler. The decision to cast Liv in the video for Crazy was based on the video’s creators having seen her in a Pantene commercial, with absolutely no knowledge her father was in the band. The video was very film-like and depicted the two as schoolgirls who skip class and run away, driving off in a blue Ford Mustang convertible. The two use their good looks to take advantage of a service station clerk, and needing money, enter an amateur pole-dancing competition. The video is noteworthy for its very risque and suggestive sexual scenes, some of which seem to suggest lesbianism in the characters.

Sting in The Desert

هدي مدة طويلة
Hadaee mada tawila (It’s been a long time)
وانا نحوس انا وعلا غزالتي
Wa ana nahos ana wahala ghzalti (that I wanted to be with my beauty)
وانا نحوس انا وعلا غزالتي
Wa ana nahos ana wahala ghzalti
وانا نحوس انا وعلا غزالتي
Wa ana nahos ana wahala ghzalti

عمري فيك انتيا
Omry feek antia (you are my life)
ما غيرانتيا
Ma ghair antia (no one else)
ما غيرانتيا
Ma ghair antia

 
 

 
 

Riding a wave of pre-9-11 interest in Latin and Arabic cultures, Sting released Desert Rose, a single from Brand New Day (1999), his sixth solo album. The song peaked at #3 in Switzerland, #4 Italy, #15 in the UK Singles Chart and #17 in the US Billboard Hot 100.

The lyrics of the song are inspired by the Frank Herbert‘s novel, Dune, of which Sting is a fan. Sting also played the villainous Feyd Rautha in the 1984 film adaptation directed by David Lynch. Both the book and the song feature the Arabic language, as well as imagery involving moisture and desert plant life.

The song is noted for Sting’s duet performance with Algerian raï singer Cheb Mami, creating a distinct world music feel to the song. It also has a popular music video featuring Sting taking a trip through the Mojave Desert in a Jaguar S-Type and then going to a nightclub in Las Vegas to perform the song with Cheb Mami. After shooting the video, Sting’s manager Miles Copeland III approached a music licensing maven, Lloyd Simon, to work with Jaguar on a collaboration, and the auto company featured the video in their prominent television advertisements during the year 2000.

 
 

 
 

Tea in the Sahara“, included in Synchronicity (1983) The fifth and final album by The Police, is a quiet, eerie song about three women who meet their death in the desert; the song is based on a story from Paul Bowles‘ novel The Sheltering Sky (1949). That novel of post-colonial alienation and existential despair was adapted by Bernardo Bertolucci into a 1990 film with the same title starring Debra Winger and John Malkovich.

The Man Who Would Be Gatsby

F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

 
 

While a teenager, Francis Scott Fitzgerald was collecting ideas about the goings on in West Egg and not just those of the community but those of a specific man: W. Gould Brokaw, a now-forgotten Long Island socialite, playboy and gentleman automobile racer. He literally could not escape his shadow.

 
 

W. Gould Brokaw

 
 

Brokaw was the son of hugely successful New York clothier Vail Brokaw of Brokaw Brothers, and grandson of a railroad tycoon; he inherited a fortune of around $4.5 million and never needed to do anything in particular for work. His circle of friends was the cream of New York society: Astors, Whitneys, Guggenheims, Vanderbilts, Goulds, Morgans, all of them interested in speed, whether horses, greyhounds, yachts or cars. Brokaw was an elder statesman for that set of young millionaires, having been born a decade or more before most, in 1863. In later legal proceedings–of which there were oh so many, he was described as “a rich and fashionable clubman.”
 

According to Some Sort of Grandeur, Matthew Bruccoli’s biography of Francis Scott Fitzgerald, the character Jay Gatsby is based on the bootlegger and earlier World War I officer Max Gerlach. In the 1920s, when Gerlach knew the Fitzgeralds, he operated as a bootlegger and allegedly kept Fitzgerald topped off with booze. Born in Yonkers as Max A. Stark (or possibly Max A. Stork), he claimed direct German ancestry and went by the names of Max Stark Gerlach and Max von Gerlach later in life (his gravestone reads Max Stork Gerlach). Nevertheless, Gatsby is a composite, as are all Fitzgerald’s characters, and there’s a certain amount of Scottie himself in Jay.

 
 

Robert Evans and Ali MacGraw

 
 

About the filming adaption of The Great Gatsby directed by Jack Clayton in 1974, it was originally conceived and developed as a wedding present vehicle for Ali MacGraw (formerly Diana Vreeland’s assistant at Harper’s Bazaar magazine) from her then-husband Robert Evans. The project was derailed from its initial purpose when MacGraw fell in love with her The Getaway (Sam Peckinpah, 1972) co-star Steve McQueen and divorced Evans.

 
 

Evans in his home Woodland, built by architect John Woolf

 
 

The producer with Tatjiana Shoan. Harper’s Bazaar, 2004

 
 

Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw

 
 

Stills from The Great Gatsby (Jack Clayton, 1974)

 
 

Automobiles are almost treated as a character in the plot of Fitzgerald’s book. Myrtle Wilson was knocked down by a car and this sad event unchains the climax of the story. Plus, Fitzgerald to his editor Maxwell Perkins that the name of Jordan Baker (a character based on the golfer Edith Cumming) is a combination between the two then-popular automobile brands, the Jordan Motor Car Company and the Baker Motor Vehicle, as an allusion to Jordan’s “fast” reputation and the freedom now presented to Americans, especially women of 1920s.

 
 

Ralph Lauren

 
 

Ralph Lauren who (as we know) made the costumes for Jack Clayton’s The Great Gastby, has a penchant for cars. His collection of classic automobiles is another dimension of his own persona. An amazing lineup of 50-plus dream machines that have all been restored to glory, the convoy is a portal to the past, when men like Brokaw drove their race cars home from the track at the end of the day and manufacters were the manifestations of their designers: Jean Bugatti, Enzo Ferrari, Ferdinand Porsche… RL’s gateway drug was a white ’61 Morgan convertible with red leather seats, which he bought in 1963- back when he was a travelling salesman for the Boston-based tie company A. Rivetz & Co.- and was later forced to sell when he couldn’t afford a garage in Manhattan.

 
 

Steve McQueen

 
 

And it’s a little bit curious and probably not coincidental that one of Ralph Lauren’s cottages is adorned with black-and-white photos of Greta Garbo, Johnny Depp and Steve McQueen, a man who also loved engines and made himself just like Jay Gatsby and Lauren did.