The Rose Note

Oct 30, 2014 | 4:33 PM

Film Noir Inspiration

Every year on the Saturday after Halloween, my dear friend Merton has a theme party. Last year the theme was '70s TV shows (I went as Mrs. Roper 'cause I love a fab caftan); the year before it was "Mod '60s" (good thing I own 20 pairs of go-go boots!), and before that it was Roaring Twenties (finally got to wear my Louise Brooks wig!).   This year it's (drumroll, please):   film-noir-black   Though film noir isn't a particularly musical genre; and though it's actually devoid of the color I so celebrate in the posts on this blog, it is, nevertheless, deeply theatrical and therefore entertaining, beautiful and, in some cases, funny since it's so over-the-top.   Therefore, I thought you, my faithful readers, might enjoy my Halloween "film noir" inspirational costume board!   Should I dress as Joan Bennett from Fritz Lang's 1945 Film Noir masterpiece Scarlet Street? Fritz Lang   Or as Gene Tierney in Otto Preminger's classic, Laura? laura-1944-still-of-gene-tierney-and-mark-mcpherson-in-laura Or should I just make life easy and go as Rita Hayworth in Gilda? I have the gown from my film Anything But Love, and my hair is already red... Annex - Hayworth, Rita (Gilda)_02   Nah. I don't want to smoke a cigarette… Maybe I should go as Carroll Baker in Elia Kazan's Baby Doll. Carroll-Baker-Feet-589423 Or as Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. I'm always ready for my close up! sunset-boulevard_01   Of course there's always Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca…. humphrey bogart & ingrid bergman - casablanca 1943   The real issue I"m having here is this: film noir is what it is because of the lighting. Think of Orson Welles' film, Touch of Evil. Have you ever seen it? touch of evil   Aside from the tawdry plot, all the extreme shadows make everyone look either super dangerous or super endangered at all times.   So what should I do? Walk around Saturday night holding a flashlight and shining it down on myself?   Way too much work...   Oh, Merton! Why have you made things so difficult this year?   The term "film noir" literally means (in translation from the french) "black film." Maybe the key will be to dress in black and white colors? I still have the Matthew Williamson mini dress I wore on TV last month...   2014-09-18 20.50.43     Merton, if you're reading this, next year can you do something more colorful? Like Rock Stars? Or Cartoon Characters? In the meantime, what do you think? How should I dress for a Film Noir party? What would you choose?   Happy Halloween!  

Isabel

 

Oct 26, 2014 | 11:15 AM

Happy Songs, Happy Mind

Bob-Marley-Quotes   If there's one thing we can all be certain of, it's that we live in uncertain and rather scary times. Extremist groups chop innocent people’s heads off and kidnap school girls; deadly viruses may be waiting for you on your airplane armrest; UV rays may cause skin cancer now that we’ve depleted the ozone layer with all our pollution; and hormones in our food supply may make three year olds get their periods.   What can we do to relieve the terror? Massages are expensive and take time; meditation can make your legs cramp from sitting in lotus position too long; yoga can lead to injury; and wine causes bloating and, potentially, a hangover.   There's really only one solution: listening to happy music!   Everyone's HAPPY playlist is different; everyones HAPPY playlist is eclectic. My cousin, Rodney, said his two go-to feel-good songs are The Well Tempered Clavier (Bach) and Walk This Way (Aerosmith).   If I gave you  my entire HAPPY play list, you'd go into REM state before getting through it. So here are a few of my feel-good favorites. Some of you may be disappointed; some of you will relate; none of your lists will be the the same and that's why the world is so interesting.   So…. in no particular order...

1. Shake It Off (Taylor Swift)

2. I'm All About That Bass (Meghan Trainor)

3. Summer Breeze (Seals and Croft)

4. I Got a Feelin’ (The Black Eyed Peas)

5. Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows (Lesley Gore)

 6. Sir Duke (Stevie Wonder) 

7. Champagne Super Nova and Wonderwall (Oasis)

8. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)

9. Shiny Happy People (R.E.M.)

10. Happy (Pharrel)

11. Celebrate (MIKA with Pharrel)

12. Theme Song to Hawaii 5-0

13. Get Happy (Judy Garland)

14. Praise You (Fatboy Slim)

15. We’re All In This Together (High School Musical)

16. It’s All Right (Huey Lewis and the News)

17. Club Can’t Handle Me (David Guetta and Flo Rida)

 18. Theme from I Dream of Jeanie

 19. Ease On Down The Road (The Wiz)

 20. Don't Steal My Sunshine (Len)

 21. Firework (Katy Perry)

 22. Dec 1963 (What A Night) (Frankie Vallie & The 4 Seasons)

 23. Feelin’ Alright (Joe Cocker)

24. Douce France and la Mer (Charles Trenet)

25. Somebody To Love (Queen)

 26. Still The One (Orleans)

 27. Just Dance (Lady Gaga)

 28. Shake Your Body (The Jacksons)

 29. Stompin’ At the Savoy (Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong)

30. Lean On Me (Bill Withers)

31. Break Out (Swing Out Sister)

32. Come and Get Your Love (Redbone)

33. Sing, Sing, Sing (Anita O'Day)

34. Our House (Madness)

35. Lady Madonna (The Beatles)

36. This WIll Be (An Everlasting Love), (Natalie Cole)

37. Forget You (Cee Lo Green)

38. You Are The Woman That I Always Dreamed Of

39. And The Angels Sing, ANY VERSION

40. Mambo Inn (Tito Puente)

  Okay! Enough!!!!! Now share YOUR lists with the rest of us!!!!   Happiness and joy, my friends.   xo,  

Isabel

               

Oct 22, 2014 | 5:25 PM

Why Over-The-Top Glamour Is Good for Your Health

While I love to relax au natural -- not a stitch of makeup on my face, hair up in a ponytail, feet shoeless and preferably buried in sand--- I’m also a big fan of dressing up, and by “dressing up” I mean going for all out, old school, high octane glamour. high-octane-glamour-getting-ready-isabel-rose   You may feel overwhelmed by the mere thought of all that's required when you decide to "go for broke". If you’re a gal, it probably means investing an hour (or quite a bit more time) on hair, make up and outfit selection; and if you’re a guy, it might involve shaving and making sure you’re socks are clean (also potentially time consuming).   But the prep time involved in dressing up is a very big part of the cure! I believe it was Shakespeare who said "Clothes maketh the man," or something like that. And you know what? I think he had a good point!   Whenever I'm feeling blue, I call my friend Gretchen and make a plan to meet up with her somewhere, anywhere. Gretchen always dresses to the nines, even when she's grabbing something at Starbucks at 7 am. Gretchen is one of those gals who probably doesn't even own a pair of jeans.

gretchena typical "Casual" Gretchen outfit

Whenever I make plans with Gretchen, I'm purposely committing myself to looking better than however I look when I make the call. It works every time. You know why? The minute I hang up, I forget about whatever's bugging me and run into my closet to select an outfit worthy of Gretchen's company. By the time I'm putting on mascara (I wouldn't dream of meeting Gretchen without wearing mascara) I'm already half way to happiness, and by God, when I leave the house, I always have a smile on my face-- and all because I bothered to transform myself from the outside in. outside in   That's right, people; you read correctly: from the outside in. So what if your shrink says you need to help yourself from the inside out. I'm here to tell you that it works both ways! Getting all glam'd up is a super way to redirect your emotion! Almost as good as yoga, and certainly better than binging alone in your kitchen on chocolate cake!

EnteringOn my way to meet Gretchen for a latte

I’ve been asked by more than one person why I get “all done up” when I perform. “It’s seems rather over-the top,” said my Uncle Willie after catching one of my shows not long ago. “Why not an elegant black dress and some pearls? Class, Isabel. Understated class. That’s what works.”   Good old, Uncle Willie! How I adore him! And I don’t disagree that elegance can make you feel terrif. But here’s a thought for you, Uncle Willie: elegance is safe; elegance is cool; elegance is powerful. But it isn’t necessarily joyful.

FRANCE-PIAFEdith Piaf, in a classic black dress, making 'em weep

Now, over-the-top wild glam? I promise you, it gets a smile every time. liberaceonstagewearingglitteringcostume   Good taste may make those around you gasp in awe, but it won’t make them laugh, and laughter is what releases that thing in your brain that’s similar to Prozac. (Don’t quote me on that, but I’m sure I read somewhere that laughter is better than any antidepressant).

isabel-rose-vintage-starburstup, up and away!

 Going over the top means that the person who steps out swathed in that outrageous teal lambs-wool coat has made a decision to delight the world. And I promise that in-so-doing, that person is delighting themselves, too.

isabel-feather-headdress copyGoing straight over the top... because it makes me glad!

 So, next time you’re feeling blah, run out to the nearest Duane Reade and pick up some false lashes; or grab a boa from your local Ricky's; or throw on a cravat; or wear gold lame. Call your most fab friend and meet for an espresso. Do what you want, just do it BIG!!!! Then write to me and tell me if you're smiling. Chances are, you will be.   Happy days, my friends. Happy days!   xo as always,  

Isabel

           

Oct 16, 2014 | 6:08 PM

Falling in Love with Sabrina

Audrey-Hepburn-sabrina-1954-12036934-1585-2000

The radiant Audrey Hepburn

My love for the graceful and charming Audrey Hepburn is certainly no secret. Not only was she a style inspiration, but she was also a true talent, with an Oscar, five Golden Globes, an Emmy, a Tony, and even a Grammy!   Imagine my excitement when I discovered that Warner Bros. just released a special Blu-ray collection of three of my favorite Audrey gems:  Sabrina (1954); Funny Face (1957); Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961).   Poster-Art-sabrina-1954-14441637-2560-2526 Since Sabrina just happens to be one of my favorite love stories of all time, what better way to celebrate Ms. Hepburn's glorious heyday in the '50s and '60s than to look at some of the reasons I fell in love with it?   Can we talk about the fashion in this movie for a minute? It's pretty much to die for!   Sabrina was much heralded for its high fashion. Edith Head won an Oscar for Best Costumes, but rumor has it that many of Audrey's outfits were created by legendary designer Hubert de Givenchy and chosen by the leading lady herself. This was actually the film that kicked off the life-long partnership between Givenchy and Hepburn.  
GivenchyGownSabrina

Sabrina Fairchild's infamous Givenchy princess gown

  The Givenchy gown Sabrina wore to the Larrabee's big ball has inspired many  knockoffs. Its drama is increased in the film because it goes against the sleeker, darker style of the typical evening dresses worn at the time.   Mr. Givenchy also designed this simple black cocktail dress, which embodied what would become our Audrey's signature chic gamine look.   GivenchyBlackCocktail Now that we've hit on the fashion in Sabrina, how about those leading men?  

Annex - Hepburn, Audrey (Sabrina)_21

How about a Humphrey Bogart & William Holden sandwich?

Our girl Sabrina Fairchild certainly had a tough choice to make with these two hunky specimens vying for her attention. What woman wouldn't want to be a point on this love triangle?  
AudreyBogartHolden

Hepburn, and Holden, and Bogart, oh my!

  Both couples sizzled on screen ... and there were some major sparks off screen too! During production, Holden and Hepburn got tangled up in a quick, hot and very public love affair. Bogart was a little less enamored with his co-star, complaining about the number of takes she required as a relatively new actress. Thankfully, like his character Linus Larrabee, he came around at the end (and who couldn't love Audrey?).   While Sabrina was not a musical, I have to mention Audrey's lovely rendition of "La Vie en Rose," first made famous by Edith Piaff. French for "life is pink" (but of course!), it is the perfect way to describe how Sabrina's worldview changed once she spent some quality time in gay Paris. For me, her performance is the delicious icing on this lovely cinematic cake.  
Audrey rehearsing la vie en rose

Audrey on set rehearsing La Vie en Rose

  Audrey Hepburn, Sabrina (1954) starring Humphrey Bogart and William Holden Hepburn earned an Oscar nomination for this film, and it’s no wonder! She basically forces us all to fall in love with her. But, of course, isn't it all just in a day's work when you're Audrey?   If you haven't yet seen this film, you must! If you have seen it, you must share your favorite parts ... immediately, if not sooner!   xo,  

Isabel

Oct 12, 2014 | 5:42 PM

Ten Reasons I Love The Movie “Singin’ In The Rain”

Yesterday was one of those relaxing rainy Saturdays where you really have no choice but to throw yourself down on a sofa, snuggle up under a quilt and watch an old movie. 1958-Gigi I had wanted to watch "Gigi," which I haven't seen in ages, but I couldn't find my DVD (and actually wonder if my friend, Merton, stole it), and it also wasn't on apple TV (I want to know why!). Anyway, I had to chose a film from my own collection that was agreeable not only to myself but also to my weekend house guests and that film, after lengthy debate, was Singin' In The Rain. singin_in_the_rain_poster Let me start by saying that I've seen Singin' In The Rain about 3 dozen times. Maybe more. I thought I knew every single line but when I watched it yesterday I fell in love with it yet again and that's because I found even more to love about it than the other 36 times I've viewed this masterpiece of American cinema.   Here are just a few reasons I will never tire of watching it.   1. Gene Kelly Singin-in-the-Rain-DI 2. Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse gene and cyd 3. Gene Kelly and Donald O'Conner gene and donald, moses supposes 4. Gene Kelly and Jean Hagen (as Nina Lamont) dueling cavalier 5. Debbie Reynold debbie and the cake 6. Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Conner all together. good morning 7. Make 'Em Laugh makes you laugh. Every time. make 'em laugh 8. The colorful sets. set 9. Walter Plunkett's costumes. costumes 10. The hilarious one liners created by Comden and Green   comden and green   Now I'll give you some trivia that's too good not to pass along.   The film is about Debbie Reynold's character getting credit for dubbing Jean Hagen's character. Ironically, in reality, Jean Hagen dubbed Debbie Reynold's speaking voice in the scene's where Debbie Reynolds is supposed to be dubbing Jean Hagen. So try to follow this: you have Jean Hagen dubbing Debbie Reynolds dubbing Jean Hagen. And when Debbie is supposedly dubbing Jean's singing of "Would You", the voice you hear singing actually belongs to the completely uncredited Betty Noyes. How's that for a little irony!   A little more trivia: Donald O'Conner smoked 4 packs of cigarette's a day.   I could go on but I'd rather hear from you. Why do YOU love Singin' In The Rain??? If you've never seen it, why haven't you? What film do you wish I would write about? Please leave a comment. I truly love to hear from you.   xo,  

Isabel

   

Oct 08, 2014 | 4:15 PM

Viva Las Vegas!!!!

Fifty years ago, one of my favorite films ever hit the big screen. It's called Viva Las Vegas and if you've never seen it, you really should.   viva-las-vegas-poster-3   Besides starring the iconic '60s romantic combo, Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley, the film presents a vision of Las Vegas itself that has taken up permanent residency in the pantheon of mythologized meccas of pleasure.   title_viva_las_vegas_blu-ray   I went to Vegas recently with a high rolling gentleman friend of mine (I'll call him "Dr. Yes" for the purposes of anonymity), and was slightly shattered not to discover the Vegas presented in my favorite film. Yes, it was glitzy; yes, it was lively; yes, we stayed in a suite at a gorgeous hotel with a gondola running through its lobby. But when I lay out by the pool, there were no signs of dreamy, Elvis-like boys breaking into song. Instead, a DJ was spinning hits from the Disney station and a bartender was noisily grinding up the Smoothy of the Day instead of frothy cocktails in umbrella-spiked pineapples.
Ananas-Cocktail-sieht-nicht-nur-toll-aus-sonder-schmeckt-auch-hervorragend.-shutterstock_OlegD

Boo-hoo! No fun drinks. Only smoothies  

Where was the Vegas from Viva Las Vegas that I had gushed about so passionately to Dr. Yes on our second date that he took me there for our third! See that orange sweater and black tights on zippy Ann-Margret? Guess who did an entire photo shoot dressed just like that? Yep! That's me, all right -- channeling my inner Ann-Margret! isabel-rose-ann-margret-ornage-sweater   Please don't watch the film for its plot; it's so thin and contrived it makes High School Musical  look like Gandhi. In fact, you should see Viva Las Vegas precisely because the plot is so inane. Check out the original trailer:   See it because of Ann-Margret's bathing suits. See it because of Elvis's girating hips. See it because of the race car scene, and the motorcycle scene, and the water skiing scene, and the diving board scene, and the helicopter scene (all against green screen)! See it because I said so. Why don't they make films like Viva Las Vegas anymore? Why can't a film be kitschy and earnest at the same time anymore? High School musical did, in fact, come close but it was set at a high school in New Mexico and the stars were kids dressed like, well, like regular kids -- not gods and goddesses dressed like sunshine and lollipops!   viva-las-vegas-costumes   Maybe the most disappointing part of my sojourn to Vegas with Dr. Yes was the show we saw. It involved fountains moving in synch to Lionel Ritchies song, All Night Long. Now let me reassure you: I adore Lionel Ritchie and fountains as well as the next person. But where were the marabou feathers? Where was the Rat Pack? Is Vegas still Vegas? Oh, how I want it to be!!! As I raise my martini glass (which I always keep handy when composing these missives) I propose a toast to the Vegas of yesteryear, even if it it was only a Technicolor mirage shot in Cinemascope. I don't know that I"ll be back again soon, unless of course I'm booked to headline, in which case I expect you ALL to be there in your candy-colred sequins, your pointiest pumps, and your pastel dinner jackets -- and swinging it hard with some '60s sass!!!   xo,

Isabel

Oct 05, 2014 | 11:13 AM

These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ (or are they?)

Last night, after a glorious day spent fasting in temple (my cheekbones were positively popping by sundown!), I went to my girlfriend, Tabitha's home on Park Avenue, to break the fast. Tabitha does everything in style so I was not the least bit surprised to find her gorgeous duplex festooned with seasonal dahliahs, pumpkins, ears of corn and a table laden with enough smoked fish to satiate a 30-ton seal. But what really made me take extra notice was Tabitha's footwear.
pucci:tabitha

Tabitha's Yom Kippur Puccis

  God bless that Tabitha! As she herself put it, "If you're going to atone, may as well atone in style!"   First of all, let me identify those boots: they're Pucci from last season (2013), not to be confused with the pair Tabitha just bought this season (2014) pictured below:
Emilio pucci, suede and ostrich 4,730

Tabitha's latest Puccis

  I asked Tabitha if she put her Puccis on just to walk into temple (like I usually do with  my high heels) and then put them back on just to host her party (like I usually do) but she swears she wore them all day! She said she feels like a warrior in them and that she needed that extra strength to get her through the arduous task of atoning (God only knows what she needs to atone for since all that woman eats is kale and all she does all day long is yoga, raise her kids, and donate money to good causes. She's practically a saint barefoot!). But anyway, there you have it: Tabitha's mind set.   "Don't your feet get tired?" I asked, eager to know her secret.   "Never," she said. "These boots were made for walkin'!" And with that, she sashayed down her entry hallway to greet more of her guests.   The funny thing is that if you actually look at the boots that launched that phrase, you'll notice that the heel is a sensible height and a sensible make.
frank-and-nancy-sinatra

Frank and Nancy (wearing the boots that really were made for walking)

  When Nancy wasn't actually performing, I noticed the heel got a little higher:  
nancy

Photo-shoot Nancy boots (maybe NOT meant for walkin')

  In general, if you look at go-go boots from the era they came from, they truly ARE meant for walking:  
yoko 4x in white boots

Yoko Ono, actually walking in her go-go boots!

  Boots have been around for a really long time. Historically worn by goddesses and knights (who needed all the support and protection they could get while they ran after foes), boots have long been valued for the extra "kaboom" they give their wearer. Look at Robin Hood's boots on the book cover of the edition I grew up with: Robin Hood   Robin Hood is kicking some serious butt in those boots! But is Kim Kardashian moving with the same power and agility in her version of them?   kim-kardashian-thigh-high-brown-boots1 This recent sketch of the Greek Goddess Athena, goddess of wisdom and war, shows her in flat sandals.  
grecian_goddess__athena___sketch_by_claryjace-d5scow3

Athena in flats

  So when, and why, did the fashion powers that be add on the heel height? Rita Ora, performing during Paris fashion week, has to look like a goddess and pretend to move like one, but in 4 inch stilettos! YOU try it! It ain't easy!   Rita-Ora-at-Paris-Fashion-Week-Autumn-Winter-2013-Etam-Live-Lingerie-show   When did women have to start looking both fierce and simultaneously barely be able to move quickly without jeopardizing more than one body part?   Miley Cyrus slips us the tongue!   I liked Kinky Boots as much as anyone, and applauded with all my heart when Cyndi and Billy Porter won their well-deserved Tony Awards. But I'm wondering what Billy Porter and the rest of the cast does to protect their bodies from the difficulties presented by those wonderful and truly kinky boots. kinky-boots     The truth is, high-heeled boots unleash a tangle of fabulous fantasies for everyone --- for the wearer, for the viewer, even for children, for God's sakes. As a performer myself, I know I look better in heels even though I don't have as good balance and am often forced to lay on ice the day after a show.   It's a conundrum.   I've posted about boots before and I've shared this anxiety before. I don't often ask for your input these days. I don't want to burden anyone, or ask you to write to me on some false social media pretext of "calling you to action." But I truly would like to know what you think about women in high-heeled boots.   In the meantime, I'm going to take lessons from Tabitha on how to rise above the discomfort of high-rise footwear! And if you can pass along the name of a great reflexologist, I'd also be most grateful.   xo,  

Isabel

   

Sep 28, 2014 | 12:11 PM

10 Reasons to Love Brigitte Bardot

BB_1   Forgive the late hour of this publication, dear friends. Last night was simply one of those nights, and this morning, as you might imagine, was one of those mornings (ouch).   What, prey tell, was I up to last night, that caused me to drink 3 liters of water this morning in hopes of restoring balance to my body? I was at a Brigitte Bardot Birthday Party, hosted by none other than my dear friend, Merton (who was born in Brooklyn but his mother is french and you pronounce his name the french way, without saying the "n" at the end).   (Before I write another word, if you are reading this in the letter that came to your email directly, please press on the link and go to my website page. It looks better on my website and if I've made any changes to the post, they won't show up unless you go to my page.)   Okay. Back to my .post   Merton's mother, Florelle, is 81 years old and was in attendance last night, talking about what it was like in Paris in the '50s and '60s when Brigitte was the world's obsession.
Florelle

Florelle back in her hey day (which explains why Merton is who he is)

"There was simply no one as sexual and sensual and individualistic," Florelle told me last night (before I forgot everything). "She was really the first true feminist."   Merton swears the only person he could ever be straight for would be Brigitte Bardot back in the day.   And what a day it was! BB_7 I feel a little heartbroken that my friend Tabitha's bitchy, teenage daughters ( who were at the party last night) have no clue who Brigitte Bardot is, and what she once was. Tabitha's daughters think Kim Kardashian invented the bee hive! They think Taylor Swift invented the cool look with the hat.   Kim     taylor-swift-cover_110417507722   Think again, girls!     Brigitte Bardot   bb-hat   So, listen up, children. I'm here to offer ten reasons to look up Brigitte Bardot on wikipedia as soon as you finish reading this post.  

1. She could look naughty and innocent at the same time which isn't that easy with all that eyeliner (That bow helps)!BB_4

 

2. She inspired a million imitators, including MOI!

BEEHIVE-PONY

random model

gwyneth as brigitte

Gwyneth

IMG_4823

me

 
Image 3

me again!

 

3. She virtually invented the bikini.

BB_bikini   brigitte-bardot-mgm-a-very-private-affair     TOURNAGE DU FILM "VIVA MARIA" DE LOUIS MALLE AU MEXIQUE : RENDEZ-VOUS AVEC BRIGITTE BARDOT  

4. She played the guitar

  brigitte-bardot-guitar-2  

 5. She knew just what to do with a hair clip.

SONY DSC
 

6. She was "the woman" in the film And God Created Woman.

Poster - And God Created Woman_01

I mean…

 

7. She loves animals.

Brigitte Bardot Holding Dog  

8. She gave the belt a reason to feel proud.

48466-BRIGITTE BARDOT - Bild13 - Onlinegalerie - Verwendung nur im Rahmen einer Buchvorstellung  

9. She created messy hair and I am personally truly grateful.

  BB_8  

10. She looked great even with the frizzes and in a maternity top.

  Brigitte-Bardot-1960   So there you have it. A few reasons I love Brigitte Bardot and a few photos to inspire your own perusal of her on the internet. There are no shortage of amazing posts about her. Indulge yourself: give your eyes and souls a treat!   Who else is a fan? I'm not alone am I? Does anyone else want to help educate Haley and Madison, Tabitha's otherwise-decently-educated daughters? I need to take some Tylenol.   xo as always,

Isabel

 

Sep 24, 2014 | 10:21 AM

Eyeliner and Attitude: A tribute to the bad-ass ladies of the 80s

My friend, Merton (pronounced Mare-tah(n) --- with a silent "n" because it's French), called me in near hysterics last night. "You forgot to post Joan Jett's birthday Monday on your Facebook Page!" he shrieked. "And you also didn't mention Toni Basil. What's wrong with you? Those girls are goddesses."
Toni Basil

Belated Happy Birthday!!!

   
joan jett

Belated Happy Birthday!!!

  Ashamed, I explained that it was also Ray Charles' birthday on Monday, and he himself had told me not to post more than once a day, and twice only in case of an emergency.   "Ray Charles is dead," Merton said. "Joan Jett and Toni Basil are alive and well, and you learned all about wearing eye liner from them so you should have recognized them."   It's true-ish. I certainly learned a lot about eye liner from them. But I was also a little bit scared of Joan Jett and Toni Basil. I was a little bit afraid of all those bad-ass ladies of the 80s.
joan-jett_7-1980s-girl-rockers-i-love

Who wouldn't feel intimidated by all this fierceness?!

  At least Toni Basil was a little bit approachable:  She had those perky pigtails and was a cheerleader.   Much as I loved Joan Jett, her hair frightened me. I didn't understand it. I was also afraid of Tina Turner's hair. Tina Turner 1   And Annie Lenox's hair.  
Annie Lenox

"Sweet Dreams," Hot Hair!

  And Grace Jones' hair.   Grace Jones   I didn't understand anyone who purposely made themselves what I considered "ugly."   Of course, as an adult, I realize my definitions of pretty and ugly were based exclusively on Disney's imagery, but back then that's what I thought, and I'm admitting it here because ... we're all friends, right?   Lying on my bedroom floor as a young girl, I studied the album covers of all those iconic rockers and wondered about their mothers. Did Debbie Harry's mother feel sad that her daughter never smiled?   Blondie-auto-308875   I liked Pat Benatar so much I covered "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" on my album Swingin' from the Hip (which you can listen to here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klmA_RiSIJI ) - but why was she so angry? Were these women allergic to smiling, or did they just have bad teeth?
pat_benetar_bw

Life's too short to hold a grudge, Pat!

  Even Madonna, whom I worshipped (and still do!), made her gorgeous hair all ratty. I didn't get it!   Madonna   And why did Cyndi Lauper shave half her head and not the other? Was this essential for girls to do if they wanted to have fun? If I didn't do it, was I missing out, I wondered?  
Cyndi

Asymmetrical Cyndi!

 
Though I loved the music of the angry girls with eyeliner and attitude, I related more to Chaka Kahn, Irene Cara, Whitney Houston, and Gloria Estefan:  girls who smiled and didn't frighten me. How I loved those girl from the B52s! They looked like they were having a blast!  
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Aren't those B52 gals adorable?

 
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Whitney just wants to dance with somebody!

  And Sade--- wasn't she elegant?
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Smooth operating Sade!

   
CHaka

Happy Chaka!!!

  I liked the Go Go's, rocking the face masks. They wanted to look pretty and they had the beat!    
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Who has the bad-ass beat? These ladies!

  But who didn't imitate Madonna? Or Cyndi? Or Janet? I had rubber bracelets. I wore shoulder pads. (My friend Tabitha proofread this post and told me not to admit that).   I think what can be learned from all these ladies of the '80s is that fierceness comes in all shapes and sizes! Even tough-looking Madonna, Joan, Cyndi, Pat, and Annie had a soft, vulnerable side.  
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soft (ish) Madonna

  And I didn't understand that their toughness was a direct response to all the years women were told to look soft and vulnerable. Those '80s bad asses were revolutionaries!!!   Here's to all of them: the fierce girls and the pretty ones, the edgy ones, and the soft ones. I salute them all, and for god's sake, if I forget someones birthday just write to me on Facebook at Isabel Rose Music and let me know!   xoxo,  

Isabel

Sep 21, 2014 | 12:20 PM

Lights, Camera, Action!

Okay. I'll admit it: performing live on morning TV this past friday was a thrill, even though it did entail getting up at 4 am.
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All smiles on the set of Fox 5 Good Day New York!

It's one thing to get up at 4 am because you have the spins, or because you're being assailed by the early morning "what ifs" and the "whys" and the "what nows." It's quite another thing if you're getting up at 4am to prepare to promote your album on Fox 5!   Of course I wasn't alone at that ungodly hour (that's what Merton called it, not me). Naturally I was joined by my trusty stylist, Lisa von Weisse Shaw.  Out came the dress choices: the purple vintage Cacharel dress I wore in my Aquarius video (and which I wore for my album release concert), or a black and white sequined Matthew Williamson sunburst mini-dress.   isabel-rose-Matthew-Williamson-dress We decided the black and white would work better for morning TV because it would wake people up. Just as we were lining up the right boots and accessories for the chosen dress (I went for the Gucci boots!), the doorbell rang and in walked Tracy, my make up artist. Honestly, this girl could make a leper look like a fashion model so I was mighty glad to see her!
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That's some very fabulous make up!!!

The clock was ticking away and somehow 4:30 became 6:30 without anyone realizing. The car was coming to pick us up at 7. It was time for my hairstylist, Heather, (who arrived somewhere during that two hour period like a Ninja), to work her magic.
Good Day TV

You could hide your phone and a wad of cash in all that hair!

Dressed and ready, off we all went to Fox 5 studios which look, well, exactly like a real TV studio!!!!
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um hmm

My band had been there since (deep breath) 4 am, setting up their instruments and sound checking. I joined them on set for my own sound check around 8am and then retreated to the green room until it was my turn to rock it.
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sound check

The green room is always a fun place to be because you meet the other TV guests. Mia Wasikowska was there being interviewed for her new film, Tracks, and Orlando Jones was on set to talk about his TV series Sleepy Hollow.   I was yacking away with Orlando and doing snap chat with him when my publicist suddenly rushed in and said, "You're wanted on set!"
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my new BFF, Orlando!

  I got into place by the microphone and without any warning, Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly, the hosts of Fox 5's Good Day New York were suddenly beside me asking me questions.
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dishing with Rosanna and Greg

Good thing I had been awake since dawn, and my two cups of coffee had kicked in: I was able to answer all their questions without vomiting on myself or stuttering and was even a little bit sassy if I do say so myself (actually, I didn't say, but Merton was watching from home and he texted me that exact word: "Sassy!").   I hit all my important points so my publicists were happy:
  • I'm like Diana Ross backed by Cold Play--- retro and glamorous with a modern edge;
  • my album Trouble In Paradise, is out now and available on iTunes and Amazon.
  • I'll be performing at 54 Below in NYC on Wednesday, October 1st at 9:30pm, so people should hire their sitters or book their plane tickets now.
  • I have a video on YouTube for the title track, "Trouble In Paradise," that I made with 3 famous drag queens: Hedda Lettuce, Ivy Winters, and Paige Turner.
  Then it was time to sing!!!! Hurray!!!! I know how to do that!!!!! To see how it went, check it out yourselves by clicking the photo below! Good Day Today Now spread the love, everyone! Grab a copy of my album, watch my video for "Trouble In Paradise," and be part of the excitement! And if you need any advice on how to prep for TV, you know who to turn to!   xoxoxo,  

Isabel