Music Halls of London
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Music Halls of London
Dame Darcy is a contemporary illustrator who, like Edward Gorey, has a signature Victorianesque style. She is the author of Meatcake, a grim graphic novel that follows an eccentric cast of characters through a Victorian-inspired world. Recently, she has also beautifully illustrated an edition of Charlotte Bronte's novel Jane Eyre, from which the image on the left is taken. Her inspirations are Sir John Tenniel, the Brothers Grimm, and underground Victorian
The creativity that went into using unlikely materials for these products is astounding and breathes new life into these otherwise fairly traditional pieces. The bright white "snowflake" jewelry pedestal is made out of sheet metal and cast iron, with the pink stacked food or jewelry holder being made out of delicate hand-crafted glass and the teal picture frame made out of glass and resin. These modern materials applied to traditional Victorian forms create an interesting and creative piece that mixes the old with the new.
The Moulin Rouge was originally designed as a cabaret to be viewed by men and women of the upper-middle class. It was created by Jospeh Oller in 1889, just as the Victorian empire was coming to an end. Moulin Rouge incorporated elements of circus, music, dance-hall, and theatre. The building where the cabaret was first performed is located in Paris, France, and is recognized by the large red windmill on the roof. The cabaret originally starred French celebrities such as Maurice Chevalier, Edith Piaf, Yves Montand and Jean Gabin. To the Victorians, the Moulin Rouge was seen as a symbol of French culture, with substantial Bohemian influence.
The cabaret has been a continued success since the end of the nineteenth century, starring modern celebrities such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli and Elton John. In 1950, Pierre La Mure wrote a novel based on the life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the main character in the original Moulin Rouge cabaret. His novel was such a great success that in 1952, it was recreated into a film, which was written and directed by John Huston. The film starred Jose Ferrer as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Zsa Zsa Gabor as Jane Avril, and Suzanne Flon as Myriamme Hayam. Huston tried to make the movie as much like the original French cabaret as possible by using vibrant colour, costume, and music to recreate the dance hall theme set in the late nineteenth century. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and won Best Colour Art Direction and Set Decoration and Best Colour Costume Design. It also had many other international nominations and won two more international awards.
In 2001, Moulin Rouge was again recreated into a more modern, musical film. It was written by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, and directed by Baz Luhrmann. It starred Nicole Kidman as Satine, Edwin McGregor as Christian and John Leguizamo as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The new film-musical was seen as a popular and fresh version of the original Moulin Rouge cabaret, with many of the same elements that were integrated into the previous theatrical productions. It had a slightly different story line, focusing more on a love story, rather than the life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, like Huston’s 1952 film. Luhrmann, however, wanted to ensure that the unique cabaret style was preserved, thus making the movie into a musical with emphasis on original French theatre characteristics such as the use of colourful costumes and the incorporation of a modern dance-hall theme. This version of Moulin Rouge was a great Hollywood success, attaining eight Academy Award nominations, while bringing home two wins: Best Art Direction and Set Decoration and Best Costume Design. All versions of Moulin Rouge have succeeded in encompassing the original French cabaret style, and each have done so well by contributing new twists of modern talent each time it is remade.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
The Victorian Era established a unique and ornate building style that is still popular to this day, being constantly recreated around the world in different shapes and forms. Characterized by its bright colors, "gingerbread" woodwork, and unique floor plans and facades, Victorian architecture has a very distinct style that has been popular and heavily used since its conception. A great example of this is seen in the photo provided.
Monday, March 31, 2008
These illustrations are from Edward Gorey's miniature book The Gashlycrumb Tinies. First published in 1963, the book has since been through several editions. Both the macabre subject matter and the illustration style are distinctly Victorian. Punch, a weekly satirical magazine of the period, often featured pen and ink drawings (like the example at bottom of Jack the Ripper by John Tennier), which were inspirations for Gorey. The book is an alphabetical catalogue of children & how they meet their demise, with a dark and gritty illustration style. Gorey classifies his writing as "literary nonsense", close to the sensibilities of Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear.