I have always hated my name. Ever since I can remember I had alias’. My first was at 4 – I expected everyone to refer to me as Miss Diamond Pearl (such a little drag queen!), then later Blaine Arden Doubleday (I always loved my cousins last name), then Lacey Doubleday (very stripper), then when I started performing I had a myriad of alais’ – Chesty Chesterfield, Vera Vortex Gateway to The Galaxies, Chantilly, Chantilly Peach, Crazy Girl and now Grande Dame. I have never used my real name, never felt like a “Tiffany”. Of course then the 80′s came and the name was highjacked by a tacky tween singer and it will always be synonymous with malls and strippers, so I hated it even more! And never could stand Tiffany Rene Darwish and her crappy pop muzak. My friend Wendy gave me this t shirt for my birthday. I used to wear it as a joke. A few days ago I watched an incredible documentary about 2 superfans that take obsession to a whole new level. And they LOVE Tiffany! Jeff Turner, a 50 year old man from Santa Cruz, CA, who suffers from Asbergers Syndrome. People with this disorder are obsessive about one thing, and his is Tiffany. She has even had to get restraining orders against him. He is a devout christian, and one of the most cringe worthy moments is when he turns up to church with the playboy issue she had bared all in. The other superfan is an intersexed pre op transvestite from Denver named Kelly McCormick. Kelly had some sort of accident which resulted in head trauma. At first I thought it was an actor playing a character, because they are soo strange. But no, they are real and Kelly is madly in love with Tiffany. It’s riveting car crash viewing. And unbelievable to me that 2 people would be into her music at all! The universe is an amazing place. Here is the doc in full below. Or click the pic to watch on vimeo. Enjoy!! oxo gd
To all my New York familia!! Lazerian’s Gerald Project officially opens to the public today!! Over 100 artists collaborated with the Manchester based collective on their paper dog sculpture… I did 3… Kushi above… Anyhoo, if you are in the soho area, go to 60 Reade Gallery and check it out! On until Sun… Click pic for more info.. oxo gd
So Mamma made it to Pearl Fryar’s Topiary in Bishopville, South Carolina last week. I havent spoken to her directly yet, but I gather that it was the highlight of her trip and something like a magical pilgrimage. Mamma has quite a green thumb and is always doing things in her garden, adding new planters, paths and walls; places for the birds etc… So I’m sure being in this luscious green wonderland must have been a truly heavenly experience. She told him about me (aww!) and gave me this direct message from him “If you have a passion for what you do, keep doing it, even if others think you’re crazy. Eventually people will start noticing and then those folks will know they were wrong!” How Sweet! Love him! And esp love my mamma! Happy belated Mothers day! oxo gd
My mom turned me on to this wonderful documentary – A Man Named Pearl – about a self taught topiary artist in Bishopville, South Carolina. She is taking a trip up there and his garden is one of her stops. I’m so glad she reccomended this film, as it was the perfect watch to my Sunday morn. Pearl Fryar was the son of share croppers who grew up to work in a tin can manufacturing plant for 35 years. It wasn’t until mid life that he became interested in plants. The local gardening center allowed him to pick scraps and cuttings from their cast off pile, he took them home and created THIS! Looking at his work I am reminded of so many things – Henry Moore’s sculptures, Frank Gehry buildings, and Doctor Suess’ landscapes all covered in a rich, leafy green layer. So beautiful! Pearl had no formal training, he just got stuck in and learned as he went. Never sketching or using wire molds, he builds and sculpts as he goes. He also doesnt use any pesticides! So not only is his garden filled with magical green shapes, but lots of birds and butterflies too! But he not only transformed his garden to something special, he inspired his neighbors to transform theirs, he inspires children to be interested in nature, he inspires art students and others to think outside the box, he attracts thousands of visitors to his near bankrupt town, helping the economy to flourish. But most importantly, he transcends racial stereotypes and helps bridge the divide in an area long plagued by segregation. And his passion is awe inspiring! If you wanna see a great feel good doc – Watch it!! On itunes & netflix! oxo gd
Day 3 of my silk screen class and I am LOVING IT!! I can’t believe how much I have gotten done!! I have probably done about 40 prints, but to be fair only half of them are totally perfect. I had to stand on a chair to get all of the prints in the picture. Of course I have to make things more difficult for myself. Normally one would start with a small picture when you’re just starting out. But not me! this is the smallest of all my images & it’s 24″ by 20″!! Even an experienced screen printer will struggle with such big blocks of color. Also unlike normal people I have to use neon and super bright colors, they don’t have them at the school, so I brought my own. The results have been great! But the consistency is very globby, which also makes things twice as hard! But hey ho, that’s how I roll! The class I’m taking is at Sussex Coast College and the instructor Myles Calvert is brilliant! He is so nice & laid back, and it’s very easy to follow him. I had a real panic before class, as I worried I would have some kind of conflict with the instructor, in the past I have bought like 10 yoga classes and then gotten there & hated the teacher, then would never go and wasted my money. But this has been the exact opposite. I am so happy to go! 6 more classes left – I’ll have a mountain of prints when I’m done! If you live in the East Sussex area and have wanted to learn silk screening, def take this class! More soon! oxo gd
Another depressing and inept move from this current govt, as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) drop “Craft” from it’s list of creative industries. This is completely idiotic. UK Craft is a vital part of UK Culture. One can not ignore the importance of William Morris & the Arts & Crafts Movement, which undoubtedly creates a nice annual tourism revenue. Also all of the artisans that work in traditional methods carried down from medieval times – historic printers, blacksmiths, carpenters & wood carvers, weavers, potters, and more – these traditions can not be lost and need funding to survive, with out them we are just a generic throw away culture. I am not the least bit surprised by this decision. Why just last week Culture Secretary Maria Miller made a speech focusing on funding towards art sectors that create revenue verses the arts as a whole. When we put the emphasis on financial gain, rather than creative impact, that is when society dies. Dropping Craft from UK creative industries is cultural suicide. So many sectors will lose funding and tradition will die off. It is inevitable. If only this govt and others around the world would close down off shore tax havens and make the rich and big multi national companies pay their fair share of taxes, then the poor and needy could get help, libraries could stay open, and all arts could flourish. In a perfect world…oxo gd
A few months back a video was making the rounds about a performance piece of dancing horses at NYC’s Grand Central Station. I watched and like many was completely transfixed by the haunting beauty. It must have really been a treat for the commuters! Then yesterday a friend posted a link to Flux Boston Blog and their wonderful piece on Cave’s show at The Peabody Museum. And I just DIED when I saw his work!! His creations are like every thing great about childhood! Grandma’s quilts, plus muppets, dancing costume remnants, and tribal fantasy explosions! Just breath taking and wonderful!! Cave grew up in central Missouri. With many siblings and a single mother, times were tough so he began to make things from found objects. He studied Art in College and taught himself to sew. He later trained as a dancer under Alvin Ailey and then brought his 2 passions together. I would die to have 2 of his fab costumes!! One to wear everyday until it just fell to bits. And one to hang on the wall to just admire! He actually has a shop wear you can by his hair scarves and leggings, and more! His work reminds me of my childhood, and my uncle designing Mardi Gras costumes for me; but on acid and times a million! I am going to save my pennies so I can buy 2 of everything!! Please come to London!! I would love to see this in person!! Anyhoo, enjoy this fab vid of his mastery!! GENIUS!! oxo GD
I’m turning into a movie review blog lately! Seems like that is all I’m writing about… But I saw another corker of a doc and thought I would share. Paul Williams – Still Alive is a sweet almost love story of one mans obsession with the 70′s legend. Being a child of the 70′s I remember him well, guest starring on the Hollywood Squares, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Love American Style, The Partridge Family, Brady Bunch, Sonny & Cher, Carson, Merv, Mike Douglas – he was everywhere! A bit of an odd sex symbol, and certainly wouldnt happen now. But not only was he all over the tv screen, he wrote some of the biggest hits in music – We’ve Only Just Begun, A Star is Born, Rainy Day & Mondays, Out in The Country, and one of my all time faves – Rainbow Connection!! He was a massive influence on me and I didn’t even know it until 15 years ago. I was at a club in NYC watching a blue grass band and I asked them if they knew any songs from Emmet Otter’s Jug band Xmas. They looked at me with disgust and replied “That’s not bluegrass! That was written by Paul Williams!” Well excuse me! As you may recall – I mentioned previously how River Bottom Nightmare band’s theme song – inspired me to teach myself the riff on the piano when I was 8. It spoke to me! Still does… As the 80′s gave way Williams lost his path to drug and alcohol addiction and disappeared from tv. But super fan Stephen Kessler never forgot him, and this sweet film is one man’s journey to find his idol. Rent it from itunes for only $3.99! Enjoy!!
Many apologies for being the lamest blogger on the planet! I am still slaving away with this damn animation! I better win loads of awards or else I have wasted my life for the last year & a half! Ha Ha! I also started a silk screening class, which I am LOVING!! But man, it physically wrecked me and for 3 days last week I wasn’t able to move!! But the pain will be worth it, as the results so far have been phenomenal!! Yay!!
In the mean time, I wanted to share this really sweet, clever and funny short film! Made by WOW’s Reports Michael Lucid as a student film. It is absolutely brilliant! It’s a charming short starring puppets! “About a gay boy who sneaks off to seek adventure and love in the big city. On his way he meets a wise woman in the forest who offers him the healing waters of a magical lake. Later he encounters a dreamboat rock singer in a gay dive bar, and gets more than he bargained for.” It’s 7 minutes of joy! And a perf way to begin your day! More here. Enjoy! Back soon! oxo gd
Yesterday I was in a foggy mood… Was a bit achey in my joints from having 2 pints of beer the previous day. Note to self – do not drink beer! I needed a mood elevator, so I scanned the documentary section on itunes, and was pleased to find that the Diana Vreeland Doc – The Eye Has To Travel – was available to view for only $3.99 (£2.50). So I nestled in for a treat and was not disappointed. Built around interviews she had with author George Plimpton for her autobiography, the doc illustrated her need for constant, over the top fantasy. She lived, breathed, and existed on fantasy like normal people need oxygen and water. She revolutionised fashion & in particular fashion editorials, from clinical boring conventional spreads, to dramatic over the top beyond your wildest dreams looks! Not being a conventional beauty herself, she sought out women with strange looks and told the photographers to take their oddest features and exaggerate them. Barbara Streisand’s nose, Lauren Hutton’s teeth, Marisa Berenson’s long neck, Penelope Tree’s weird face… She made being weird cool! And also started the careers of many stars dating all the way back to Lauren Hutton! Diana made fashion art. She was art! Diana spoke in poetry. She was a woman of infinite one liners! She told her sons growing up “Always aim to be the very top of the class or the very bottom, but never in the middle”, or “I would rather be dead than boring”. She was a known story teller & exaggerator! But one would have had to be to create the wonderful stories she did with clothing. After her ousting as editor from Vogue in 1971. She was asked by The Metropolitan Museum of Art to curate their costume dept. But in true Diana style, not only did she curate fabulous, fantasy filled shows, she created magic and made the museum come alive! There were lines around the block for all of her shows and The Mets Costume Institute was born! One of the most poignant pieces of the film for me was when speaking on a costume show she said “It’s more important to me that the 8 year old girl from Harlem comes in and gets it, if she doesn’t get it, I’m doing something wrong.” I could go on & on… It was a pleasure to see, hear, & learn. A very inspiring view indeed! Click pic or here to watch!! oxo gd