OK, lets deal with these in turn, and allow people to catch up on everything.
- Yesterday, a certain, very cute silent movie actress celebrated her birthday in heaven. Yes, hopefully at least some might work out, yes, Gertrude Ormstead was born on November 13th, 1897. No, I’m not really into dead 122 year old’s, but if she was young, and actually fancied me, well… Today in 1906, another famous silent movie actress was born, one who found more fame thanks to OMD, Louise Brooks, but besides that…
- Progress for me. Well, tomorrow marks the halfway point in my treks to Leeds for treatments. Yes, after tomorrow morning, it will be 15 down, and 15 to go, ooh! As I was told this morning, things seem to be going well so far, but we still have plenty more to do, thats for sure. But tomorrow, when I pick up my new supply of steroids I need to take each morning, I’m reducing the daily dose from 2 mg, to 1.5 mg, and if all is fine, might well be down to 1 mg by this time next week. Equally, if I’m not happy with the new dose health wise, I’m to go straight back up, but for now…Just think, I was on 16 mg daily at the time of the surgery!
- The wild boys? While getting your radiotherapy treatments, you get a musical soundtrack played in the room. They’ve got me worked out well, as most mornings up to now, I’ve had the delights of the sort of music I love from the 1960’s. This morning I moved on a decade, to a couple of punk songs from the end of the 70’s. I cant remember the first one now, in truth, believe me, thats what radiotherapy can do to your memory at times. But anyway, as the video will show, it was the second song that had me smiling more anyway. Never thought I’d be laid on a bed, being treated for cancer, and hearing Jimmy Pursey blasting out that song.
- A fact that some will get the comment, others wont, but anyway… I was asked at the end of the session today if I was planning to take my face mask home with me when all this was over. Answer is yes, I thoroughly plan to do so, but… I joked it will need a silver paint job, which I got round by mentioning I’d written science fiction, but lets face it, thats not the whole reason! But yes, I might need someone to do a decent paint job for me, but fine, that would be fun!
Yes, Gertrude nearly lost her soul, with the help of Lon Chaney in ‘The Monster’, could I lose my humanity to a silver face mask, even if only plastic, lol? Then, if I could get matching body suit, giggle.
OK, the video comes from item 3, but I suspect you’d worked it out. Been brave, gone with a live version, but if you want the studio version, not hard to find. Will warn, there are a couple of uses of the f… word in this live version, so if you are of delicate nature?
In truth, my hair currently is too long for my preferences. No, that doesnt mean its halfway down my back, or more, but its well below the bottom of my neck, which in my ‘vintage’ eyes, is way too long! What happened, you ask? Simple, I tried to grow it out for last September, and the wedding, because I thought I needed it a bit longer than the back of the top of the neck, or just below, which is my norm. It did get trimmed in November, in truth, but my hairdresser took off about the normal amount, so it was about my normal ‘just before cut’ length, rather than its normal level.
Lets just say I’m the low maintenance type, so keeping my hair in a respectable mane, at this length, not so good. Anyway, looking at the March calendar, it now seems that I have 2 20’s related events coming up in quick succession. And yes, what does that mean, in a hair sense? Yes, the bob!
No, I’m not thinking anything too drastic, a la Louise Brooks version, far too boyish in style, and lets face it, the last thing I want to look is boyish, lol! But a slightly less dramatic bob, why not? Sadly, with my hairline, I have no chance of getting anything even vaguely resembling the Brooks bangs, or the helmet fringe, only wish I could! But a longer bob, without the dramatic bangs, at least I’ll look the part, if not the age. Lets face it, those flappers were young, in their twenties at most, and one of those events is on my 60th Birthday! So fine, unless someone can make me look a whole lot younger, lol…? And yes, the dress will be the one in the last blog, not one that will be above my knees!
So yes, big question, just how short do I dare go, without the boyish looks issues, both length, and volume? And yes, I am staying blonde! Perfectly natural, oh I wish!
But yes, if I’m going to do this 20’s thing seriously, for 2 lovely events, I need a bob cut… just how much of a cut?
Fine, video time. Lets just say its someone asking the opposite question, and leave it there!
Now, normally when you do a review of the year, and you’re splitting it in two, you’d do two spells of 6 months, right? But when I looked back on my year, it took me about 30 seconds (if that long) to work out that apart from one event in May, not much happened for the first 8 months, then a hell of a lot happened in the last 4! So to avoid a 500 word blog tonight, and a 3000 word one tomorrow, I’m doing this on an 8/4 basis this year.
In truth, the highlights of the first 2 months were getting the news I’d passed probation period at work, and getting my first passport in my new name, and gender. I know, I’d lived about 7 years as a woman before then, but all the same, that was a special moment when it was made official. Oh, and around the same time, my first moments of DWP fame, in a transgender sense, with an interview from work, about life as a Transgender woman in the Department. Which of course led to something that will be mentioned in Part 2, but for now…
No, diplomacy means I’m not mentioning a certain event that happened in the US, in January, but you all know what I think of him, and his actions, so lets leave it there.
Of course, my first flight as a woman, was in May, going back to Hollywood, or more strictly, Los Angeles. Lets just say the whole apartment thing this time around wasnt the success of the previous trip, both in the sense of initially booking an apartment, and then the landlord deciding he wanted to decline the booking, because he hadnt put in his price rise for the New Year. Fine, I thought, until he told me it was done, and suddenly the price had risen by over 20%, nearly 25% in fact! So I started again, thought I’d found somewhere decent as a replacement, but it didnt live up to all its claims. Dont get me wrong, it was nice enough, just didnt have all the facilities it claimed it had.
The funniest moment was a delightful Thai takeaway I had found 18 months earlier, and the lady still remembered me the moment I walked in, despite that. Its sad to think that by the next time I visit, she will almost certainly be gone, as it will be a few years before I get there again (unless I get a role offer), and I doubt she was that young this year, so…but she was amazing!
The other big highlights that will stick with me, would be 2 Louise Brooks silent films, viewed at the historic Egyptian Theater, a guided Hollywood walk given by a wonderful lady that I like to see as a friend, a ‘better than I would buy’ seat at a Dodgers game, thanks to another friend, with the added bonus of it being a game that Kershaw pitched at! Lastly, there was a wonderful Harlow display at the Hollywood Museum, which was a delight to see. Oh, and thanks to the Metro, getting to Santa Monica far easier than ever before!
In truth, I have no idea when I’ll be back, unless I get an offer, which I would have to say is pretty unlikely. But never say never… Certainly, due to something that will be mentioned shortly, walking up the hill to where Harlow rests at Forest Lawn would probably be beyond me now, but anyway…
In July, 2 things happened, one good, one bad. The good one was, that knowing that Clara Johnson’s middle initial was E, and finding a few images of a chorus line dancer/Goldwyn Girl, and putting two and two together, when you find a dancing match, named Elaine Johnson, who has a career that seems to tie in to Clara’s, well I jumped on the issue, and joy, actually found 3 pictures of her from a credited movie promotion shoot. Of course I cant be 100% sure its one and the same, but enough coincidences for me to say it is. In fact, as you’ll find out tomorrow, this isnt the end of that story! Yes, a few new pictures, wow! I’d still love to find her married name, so I’d have a chance of paying my respects if, and when I get back to LA.
The bad thing, my back, after giving me support for about 59 years, decided it had had enough, and snapped. Quite literally, though not in too severe a way, fingers crossed. Yes, osteoporosis had taken its toll on me! Painkillers, and other meds (been tweaked a couple of times) keep it bearable, but yes, its fair to say old age is beginning to catch up with me. It eventually led to me cutting back to 4 days a week at work, with which I can just about get by financially, but holidays will need to be cut back on now, for sure.
August marked 1 year in the new job, and in truth, apart from a dream acting offer, I cant see me leaving before I get to retire in just over 6 years time. Yes, I really am that old lol! The rest of the year, and a few landmarks, tomorrow!
Right, the video. One of the few modern groups I have much time for, are The Killers. I now love them even more now I know that each Christmas, they record a song, and give all royalties to charity! This is the 2013 song, which is apt given where I was in May, and even more so when you see something I post tomorrow!
Though I must admit Harlow, Johnson and Brooks could very easily sound like one!
In truth, there are very few places left in Hollywood that you could trace back to their days in town, but yesterday I managed to visit two of them, though one is no longer used for the purpose that they knew it for. Oh, and I passed a couple of others too, the Chinese theater, and Musso and Frank’s being the famous ones.
I always planned to visit the Hollywood Museum on this trip, seeing they’ve got a special Jean Harlow display this summer, and yes, its really good, if you get the chance, which I suspect a lot of my readers wont! Back then of course, this was the Max Factor building, the man behind the movie make up of many famous actresses, and judging by the pictures there, a few chorus line dancers too! Its a well known fact that Harlow would have gone there, and ‘supposedly’ thats where the platinum blonde look was created. That I’ll question, but anyway…? Kept going, quite possibly. Created, hmm?
In truth, I always assumed that Factor only did the make up for the stars, but yesterday I saw a few pictures of chorus line dancers, waiting their turn to be made up by him, and thoughts turned to Clara. Was she one of them, who knows? Did she at some point have her make up done by Factor, seemingly almost certainly. One thing is for sure, they wouldnt recognize the building today. Not just because of the change of nature of the building, it lost its front seemingly when Highland Avenue was widened.
There is one seriously wonderful helmet type thing, that was seemingly used to measure imperfections in faces, which I would love to have used on me, but it would find plenty of imperfections lol.
Oh, one fun moment, signing the visitors book in my name, especially given who the main display was about, though I doubt they even look!
The evening was spent in the company of the last of our trio, Louise Brooks, at the Egyptian Theater, which is 5 years short of its centenary! I wonder if you’d told Grauman that, back in 1922, whether he would have believed you that it would happen? Looks very different in places now, to then of course, but so much remains, though mainly restored, but all the same…
I found out shortly before coming here, that there were 2 of her films on last night there, neither of which I’d seen before, beyond glimpses of one. Beggars Of Life is probably one of the better known Paramount ones that survives, with ironically Louise playing a girl pretending to be a boy. Some of the shots were amazing, especially when you think there was no CGI back then!
The other was the second film she made in Germany, Diary Of A Lost Girl. I’d seen brief scenes from this, but that was it. Personally, for all the fuss made about Pandoras Box, I found this the far superior movie. The cast seems stronger, in deeper roles, and benefits from that. In modern eyes, its amazing how much censorship was used on this film originally in US (Yes, I saw a restored version), as some of it is daring, but not extreme. But its not hard to imagine that in 1929, things were seen very differently to that. Oh, and the ending is delightful.
So yes, yesterday was a look back to Old Hollywood for me, this afternoon I’m off to see some new, at a female playwright festival. Just watching, nothing more, unless…? No, I doubt it somehow! More on that in next blog, I suspect.
The video. Well, I couldnt think of anything more apt on a California Sunday Morning. Cant believe there will be many who know this already.
So yes, its official now, I’m on an extended break, that just happens to include 10 days in an apartment in Hollywood. So yes, planning, and plotting is very much under way. I now at least have 1 definite booking, a walking tour of Hollywood, on my last full day in town. Yes, I know, not the best timing, but its only happening once a month, and yes, its got to be done, as I know the lady acting as the guide, not only through Twitter, which is where I first met her, but also in real life, given we toured the Hollywood Museum together, on my first trip across, just over 2 years ago. Since then she’s got married, become a mother, and yes, I’m proud of her for that.
The Brooks movies mentioned earlier in the week are almost settled, but technically not definite, due to my regular issue with US websites, of that unless you, and more importantly, your credit card have a zip code, they’re impossible to use on their site. So now I cant do anything until after I’ve got there, so just having to hope its not a sell out, as I will be annoyed if it is. Fingers crossed, it is the Egyptian Theater, it is quite large, but… Of course I have no idea if UK websites are equally bad for users outside of the UK, so forgive my grumbles if they are.
I’ve also been trying to work out when Clayton Kershaw will be pitching for the Dodgers while there, based on the 5 pitcher rota teams use. Having pitched last night (a win), and counting forward, it looks like I’m going on the 23rd. But yes, I’ll wait nearer the time, and will probably be an ‘on the day’ purchase at the stadium, though at what I can afford to pay, I’ll be so far from Kershaw that I would see him better on TV lol! Oh, and if anyone could arrange a meet with Vin Scully, I would be thrilled, schoolgirl like!
Talking of which… On my 2 previous trips to LA, I’ve tried both times to get tickets to see Jimmy Kimmel recording his show, with no success. It might be that the people controlling the tickets see a UK address, and dont let me have them accordingly, or I might just have been unlucky? Well, this time, I’ve changed my profile to fit the zip code of my apartment, and applied several times over for both him, and James Corden, so fingers crossed I get to see one of them at least.
Of course, in an ideal world, I’d be the one being interviewed about transgender diversity issues, and trying to get an acting break, but fine, I’ll settle for being part of the audience, I guess? Yes, you never know, but I suspect pigs flying are more likely!
Oh, and finally, I’ve got a lot of the packing done. Probably more dresses than I will possibly need unless something amazing happens, but better safe than sorry. Still got room in the case for more, but mustnt go too mad, as I really shouldnt need more, for 10 days, and I’m sure I will bring more stuff back with me anyway. Green Card, or working visa would be handy lol, but cant see it!
Right, video. This time of year, its pretty fair to say the sun shines most days in LA. Thankfully, the winter was very wet, solved a lot of drought issues, if not all of them. Oh, and I might shine in a TV audience at least. Oh, and how does this guy still look so good?
In the last week or so, I’ve actually got around to starting to look for options, beyond the ones I already knew about, for my trip to LA. Sadly the only thing that the Rooftop Cinema was playing, that was old enough for me to be interested (in other words, early 50’s at the most modern) was already a sell out, so no go. I would say the one modern film I’d love to see, and havent yet, is La La Land, for obvious reasons, and ironically, thats playing there the weekend that I come back to the UK. But fine, it was sold out already, anyway!
So, play Plan B, which I probably would have looked at anyway, which is the Egyptian Theater. Bit further away from where I’m staying, but still only about a 20 minute walk, and…oh joy! My only Saturday evening in town, not only is there 1 movie there that I would love to see, but 2! And all for 1 price!
These wont be the first Brooks films I’ve seen on a big screen, Pandoras Box, in Leeds, was the first. And now I get the chance to see 2 of the 3 next most famous Brooks movies (Prix De Beaute would be the other for me) in Hollywood, in a historical setting! Fine, I’ll advertise it too much, and it will be a sell out, and …No, sadly I’ve failed to find any Harlow movie being shown on a big screen in town, while there. If anyone knows differently, second half of May?
I did think about taking a flapper style dress with me, and trying to find a black bob wig, but in truth, these 2 movies are pretty removed from Brooks, and the flapper look. One is a pretty dark movie, the other has Brooks trying to look like a boy, so…Besides, I’m not sure my knees should be seen in public!
But yes, I have now got 1 definite date on my holiday calendar lol! There are numerous things I will do at some point, but no planned date yet, including Dodgers baseball!
No, I havent gone for the obvious OMD, Louise Brooks video here, which might surprise some. And in truth, this is more 30’s, than 20’s, but fine, its catchy, and when I might get to use it, if not now…?
Right, just before we get to the main part of the blog, just one thing I want to mention. It was 30 years ago today, that Louise Brooks died, in Rochester. One thing is for sure, Louise wouldnt have wanted a lot of fuss made, so I’m not making any.
So, without wishing to sound too feminist, and all that, tonights piece is about equality for women. Thats right, equality, its all women actually ask for, not more as some seem to think the whole feminist society would suggest. And more, tonights piece is about one specific place of misogyny close to my heart, Hollywood.
I’ll be honest, before April I had no idea how skewed movie making in Hollywood was, pretty much because one thing of no major interest to me, is modern films, and the making of them. But at that time, and since, I’ve got to discover just how biased all the roles are towards men. No, not the acting roles, but everything else! Though of course most of these action movies seem to focus on men in the roles anyway. Just compare the gender split in super hero movies, for starters!
No, I’m not looking for work myself, though if offered the right form of work, I wouldnt say no, especially at present. But I met in April, a lot of marvellous women who just arent getting the fair break, because the ‘old boys club’ just gives all (or pretty much all) the work to men. Doesnt matter about quality of work, its jobs for the boys! No, I’m not saying get rid of them all, just give us girls a fair break! I know, they arent likely to read this, but at least I can get it off my chest, and the next time you go to the movies, take a look at the behind the scenes roles, and see how many are female. Believe me, it wont be many!
OK, rant over, and not a single bra burnt lol!
Other news, not much. Given that the job I was interviewed for on Thursday wanted me to start on Monday, and I havent heard anything, I guess I havent got it? I know, not hearing anything, what a surprise nowadays! At present all I have as possibles for next week is one role in the travel industry, who rang Thursday, while I was out, who asked when I was available, so I told them, but got no reply. I rang them Friday, got an answer machine, but she could have been off? Other than that at present, I’ve got 1 agency registration on Thursday, and a possible open evening at another the same evening. Beyond that, next weekend, all things permitting (miracle happening, or air fare going crazy), I’ll be doing more than just considering the options for 4 weeks away, I’ll be booking it. Yes, almost certainly Hollywood, no shock there. Who knows, I might even be the woman who gets that deserved break lol?
Right, the video. What women probably feel they are doing when trying to get important roles in Hollywood
Yes, I think its fair to say that so much has happened in my life this year, that I can stretch this out to 2 parts quite easily. The UK edition will follow on Wednesday, by the way. A look forward to what I know 2015 holds in store, on New Years Day.
So, lets start with the first trip, the one to Kansas City, and the whole state of Kansas. Initially, the plan had been for this to happen in May, but things never work out quite as planned. Kate’s work got in the way, so it got put back to September. Thankfully, her main concern about doing that, extreme heat, and me, never cropped up. It was very pleasant, 70’s, and 80’s and all that, but no more, so all was fine.
Before we get to the main emotional stuff, I could never have got to Cherryvale without her, and I dont think she will ever realise just how much I appreciated her help in getting me there. But its what happened when I got to Cherryvale that really struck home to me, just how wonderful some people can be to a virtual stranger, that she may well never meet again. One amazing woman, named Tina. Not only did she really welcome us to Cherryvale, home town of Louise Brooks (and Vivian Vance, as she would appreciate me mentioning), she really welcomed us to town. A guided tour, photos of both Brooks homes, and a trip out to see the Big Lake nearby too. But on top of all this, she arranged for me to get into the museum, in town, on a day when it would normally be shut to the public. Someone I’m really glad to have met, and to give me the chance to get close to standing in Louise Brooks’s footprints.
Its fair to say that I’ll probably never get back to Cherryvale, but I will always remember that place, unless dementia gets me first!
On the same trip, after Kate had gone back home (she has a normal life, for heavens sake), I headed off into Kansas City, home town of Jean Harlow, of course. Funnily enough, for quite a while, I got no further than Union Station, on the edge of town. Nowadays the station has one through train (Chicago – Los Angeles), and 2 other services to St Louis, and thats it! Of course, back in the 1920’s, there were a lot more trains, and there is photographic evidence of Jean Harlow travelling by train, so its fair to assume that I very much stood in her foot steps there.
Luckily, I got to take a modern trolley car trip around the city, so did see a lot more, maybe I’ll get back one day, but I’m not getting any younger…
Bur despite all that, its fair to say, that in the end, that wasnt my most emotional trip to the US this year. In November, I went out to Albany (as was always planned), given an invitation by my wonderful friend, James, to join his family for Thanksgiving, a first for me. Really, really glad I did it, despite the snow dump on the Wednesday, about 9 inches. Thing is, the bus service didnt even blink, let alone stop. Over here, an inch, and…rolls eyes.
Thanksgiving Day, and everything surrounding it was amazing, so glad I got to find out what that was like. And no, I didnt go shopping on Black Friday!
But yes, the side trip to New Hampshire. I had discussed the possibility of doing a past life regression with S earlier in the year. There was only about 200 miles between him, and Albany, but getting there by public transport… We compromised, I got the coach to Worcester, MA, and he took me to and from New Hampshire from there.
Lets be frank, much though it would have been wonderful to have discovered I was Jean Harlow in a previous life, it wasnt really likely to be true. It wasnt, though I would love to have seen his face (I was deep in trance remember) when I said I was in Hollywood in 1928! I remember being asked the colour of my hair, giggling, and saying brunette, though of course I had no idea why he was asking me that. Yes, I was, in a past life, a small part actress named Clara Johnson, oh wow!
Sadly, finding anything out about Clara, even with the internet, has pretty much come up blank, apart from one credited part. Small parts never got credited before the mid 30’s, we know she made a decent living, but no more… Sometime, I really must get back to New Hampshire, let him put me under for much longer, and find out so much more about her. But until then, I know who I was, and just maybe, she worked, or played with Jean, when both were just small part actresses.
So yes, those 2 trips have tugged at my emotions no end, but I’m really, really glad I done both, and now know what I do.
Louise got married (at least) twice, Jean three times, Clara, just the once. For each of them, there must have been something of this. And of course, in the title of the group, Hollywood
Yes, tomorrow night, in Kansas City, the culmination of the baseball season begins. Given that the game will actually start at 1.00 am in the UK, on Wednesday morning, I wont be watching. But in spirit, albeit a sleeping spirit, I will be there.
Its a rare treat, in that I have actually been to both stadiums where the games will take place, and actually enjoyed visiting both of them. The last time there was a World Series when that happened, 1993 when Toronto took on Philadelphia. The Toronto stadium at that time, was the once I visited, but the Philadelphia one wasnt, having being demolished in 2004, and replaced by a very modern stadium that well, I didnt fall in love with!
The last Series between 2 teams I have seen play is far more recent, just 2 years ago, when San Francisco played Detroit. I saw Detroit play, in the now demolished Metrodome in Minneapolis.
But these two…
So lets start with where people leave their heart, San Francisco. AT&T Park is probably one of my all time favourites, probably helped by the fact that the first time I went there (have been twice), I went to an evening game, and not only did I get to watch the baseball, in a wonderful setting, I got to see the sunset over San Francisco Bay, and that was worth the money in itself.
But all in all, its a wonderful setting to see baseball played, though sadly, no one hit a home run into the water while I was there. Have seen it on TV a couple of times, but…
So yes, ironically, under any other circumstances, I would happily support them against most teams, but not this time around.
Because they are playing Kansas City!
So far, I’ve only had the one visit to Kaufman Stadium, about a month ago, when they lost to Boston. As was mentioned in the blog at the time, the service that Kate and I got from the staff, was truly amazing. And seeing those famous fountains, at the other end of the stadium…really good!
I must admit, there are 2 ladies who are the reason I follow Kansas City, Brooks and Harlow. One came from the city, one came from the state of Kansas, so all in all…a big soft spot for me. Neither of course saw the Royals play, they only started playing in 1969. Lets face it, pre war, travel made it impossible for teams to play that far west. And when teams started moving west, California became the big target, so…
And before you ask, I have absolutely no evidence that either lady ever saw a baseball match anywhere!
Given that San Francisco have won it all twice in the last 4 years, Kansas hadnt even made the play offs since 1985, when they actually won the World Series themselves, I might have supported KC anyway. But now, probably the first time I’ve really rooted against SF in all honesty.
Hopefully KC will win, as that would be perfect for me. But at the same time, if a National League team has to win it, well, San Francisco might be my call. But even so, I have to say it, go Royals!
The video, well its about KC, and produced in Cherryvale, surely the perfect combination? I have to thank my friend, Tina for posting it on Facebook in the first place.
Oh, and if any manip/photoshop experts out there want to send me a picture of Jean Harlow, in either a Royals top, or cap, I would so love it, and would post it up. I know, wherever she is watching it from, she’ll be rooting for her home town team