Jane Austen’s Emma is almost 200!

Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma (1996 Miramax adaptation).

It’s hard to believe that December will mark the 200th anniversary of Emma‘s publication. The recent lead up’s been pretty interesting, including a modern retelling of the novel by Alexander McCall Smith and Pemberley Digital’s multimedia Emma Approved adaptation, which wrapped last year. Various organizations, including the Bay Area English Regency Society in the San Francisco Bay Area, are organizing celebrations commemorating the event. Even though it’s not popular on the same level as, say, Pride & Prejudice, people love Emma because it has a little something for everyone.

Before writing Emma, Jane Austen once expressed, “I am going to take a heroine whom no-one but myself will much like” (James Edward Austen-Leigh’s Memoir of Jane Austen, p. 158). Most believe that the author was at least half-joking when she said this, as Emma Woodhouse is often a great favorite among readers. The character aside, however, the story itself is simply brilliant. Part romance, part comedy, part drama, and part “detective novel,” adapters for stage and screen have lots of choice when it comes to direction and focus. If the depth and texture of the novel has a limitation, it’s in the fact that most adaptations can’t do justice to everything it offers (not even the long miniseries versions).

Jane Austen wrote Emma over the period encompassing January 21, 1814 – March 29, 1815. At his request, she dedicated Emma to her most high-profile fan, the Prince Regent. This is a bit strange, considering that she didn’t care much for him, his conduct towards his wife, or his personality in general. He received a special first edition of the novel (one of twelve “presentation” copies issued by the publisher), in three volumes, which is kept at the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. For more on the presentation edition, see this description of Anne Sharp’s copy (Bonhams auction site). Novelist Maria Edgeworth – a favorite of Austen’s – also apparently received a presentation copy of the novel.

First published in December, 1815 (though the frontispiece is dated 1816) by John Murray, Emma was the last work Austen lived to see released. The first edition consisted of 2000 copies. Oddly, the book did not sell well, so the second printing/edition didn’t happen until 1833. For more information on the initial publication of the novel, look here. You will also find opinions on the novel from Austen’s friends and family right here.

For more on Jane Austen’s Emma and its various media adaptations, visit the Emma Adaptations Pages.

Fox California Fashion: Classic movies and nifty vintage dresses

One of my favorite things to do in my hometown is wear vintage and reproduction outfits to see classic movies at the historic Fox California Theater, also known as the Bob Hope Theater.

Vintage Emma Domb at Fox Theater.

After a massive restoration conducted in the late 1990s and early 2000s, this gorgeous 1930 theater is a clean, bright, luminous connection to an earlier time. While you might see anyone from George Lopez to Tony Bennett headlining at the Fox, the best attractions are the ones that offer the visitor a connection to the theater’s roots as a mid 20th century movie palace – the monthly Friends of the Fox classic movie events featuring concerts on the 1928 Robert Morton theater organ!

Click for more Fox Theater and more outfit pictures!

Continue reading “Fox California Fashion: Classic movies and nifty vintage dresses”

New Year’s Eve: Vintage Frank Starr gown

Happy new year! I always overdress for the holidays, and last night was no exception. I wore a beautiful lipstick-red vintage silk gown from the 1950s. It’s got a Frank Starr label and was apparently made to measure in a Washington, DC, dress shop.

Frank Starr vintage gown.

I accessorized the dress with vintage paste jewelry, my silver Remix Ritz heels, a Deadly Dames satin bolero, and a vintage beaded clutch from Saks Fifth Avenue that matched the red of my gown PERFECTLY. This is my favorite outfit in a long time, if not ever! Continue reading “New Year’s Eve: Vintage Frank Starr gown”

Happy Halloween, pin up kitty style!

It’s here! Halloween!

Pin up style black cat – good grooming is important!

You’ve already seen my Nagel girl/Rio Halloween getup, so here’s my retro-pinup-black-cat look, photographed by Miss Missy Photography. Missy also did my fabulous hair and makeup. Meow! Continue reading “Happy Halloween, pin up kitty style!”

Beatnik Fashion: Not every member of the Beat Generation wore a beret!

Kim Novak in Bell Book and Candle: a beatnik stereotype

Recently, my friend Gailynne asked me to write an article for our costumers’ guild newsletter. She knows I love mid-century fashion, and she needed someone to write a piece on “beatnik” fashion for our “On the Road” event coming up in November. I thought it would be fun, so I jumped on it! I figured it would be a good way to learn more about the “Beat Generation” and the (old school) hipster culture that inspired – and was inspired by – it.

When most people hear the word “beatnik,” they probably imagine bored-looking bohemian gals in berets and guys in turtlenecks and weird little goatees. These stereotypes are rooted in truth, but like the term “beatnik” itself, they’re not really very representative of the movement defined by the “Beat Generation” nor the people inspired by its counterculture philosophy. The reality is that the intellectuals, artists, and anti-bourgeois iconoclasts of mid-twentieth century America dressed a lot like everyone else.

Legendary San Francisco columnist Herb Caen created the term “beatnik” in 1958, a portmanteau of “beat” and “Sputnik” (as in the Soviet satellite) that – in conjunction with a short report about freeloading hep cats helping themselves to booze at a magazine party – was meant to poke fun at common perceptions of the counterculture. Namely, that the group was full of lazy opportunists with far left political leanings. According to Caen, however, Beat Generation mainstay Jack Kerouac didn’t find it very amusing. “You’re putting us down and making us sound like jerks,” Kerouac apparently told him. “I hate it. Stop using it.”

I’ve linked the newsletter .pdf below if you’d like to read the whole article!

http://www.gbacg.org/newsletter-links/finery-issues/2014_SeptOct.pdf

Instagram and Black Friday!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. There’s the food, the family, the official start of the Christmas season…and Black Friday sales. I celebrated with some fun vintage-inspired items from Pinup Girl Clothing and Kate Spade, several of which I was able to share on my brand new Instagram account.

Black Friday Haul: Odds ‘n’ ends.

Yes, I caved, and you can follow me as Instagram user “magicskyway.” Among the odds and ends I’ve deposited there are some collages of my Black Friday haul, which included 1940s-style Rita pumps by Remix, Kate Spade bow flats, a Pinup Couture Jenny skirt featuring a vintage Venetian scene, the Laura Byrnes Madeline dress in green plaid with matching bolero (finally!), and more.

Black Friday Haul: Madeline dress and matching bolero.

That’s my Black Friday story for this year. What’s yours?

Like us on Facebook!

Unisphere by Kali.

Strangegirl.com, AKA StrangeBlog, now has its own Facebook page! Please come Like us, and come hang out on the page anytime!

http://www.facebook.com/strangegirlcom

You are also welcome to follow me (Kali) and all Strange goings-on @magicskyway on Twitter and by signing up for blog updates in the upper left-hand corner of the navigation column or in the footer below!

Love and thanks!

Paul Gordon’s Emma is back onstage – in Arizona!

Anneliese Van der Pol as Emma Woodhouse.

Paul Gordon’s stage version of Jane Austen’s Emma is back, continuing its 2012-2013 run at the Arizona Theatre Company through January 20. It looks like a very lavish production, starring television and Broadway actress Anneliese Van der Pol as Emma Woodhouse.

The show ran in Tucson from December 1-22, resuming this week in Phoenix. If you live in Arizona, why not ring in the new year with some Emma?

More information on Emma in Arizona: