If I do say so myself, I’m terrifically talented at wasting time. And so I recently whiled away an hour or three on a half-moon manicure, a ’40s look that has become popular again. The “half-moon” at the base of the nail is left plain or painted in a color that contrasts with the rest of the nail. I decided to give it a whirl after admiring it on Dita Von Teese and reading a how-to by Beth Shapouri at Glamour.
Beth came up with the nifty idea of using reinforcement labels as stencils for the half-moons. (The labels are little round white stickers used to keep papers in those ancient devices called three-ring binders. You can buy them at office-supply stores.)
I started with two coats of clear base, let it dry well, then placed the labels and painted on Revlon’s Frankly Scarlet (745), $5 at drug stores. This technique is a good start, but it does take some experimentation and practice to perfect the size of the half-moons. (My nails are a tad stubby now so I wanted small-ish moons, proportionate to shorter nails.)
The lower you place the label, the smaller and more elongated the half-moon. A snag I had is that the sides of the label don’t stick especially well and they really need to lay flat so I added a bit of tape to secure them. After the red dried and I removed the labels, I still had to “tweak” (ie, a Q-tip dipped in remover and a little freehand filling in with the red polish). This would be especially problematic had I gone two-tone (a metallic or neutral instead of a clear base) as I had hoped to do with my MAC 5 Naughty Little Vices Nail Lacquer. But I decided to keep it simple until I got the hang of it.
Still, after some trial and error, and a clear top coat, my nails looked pretty good. The bottom line is if you like fussing with beauty projects, creating this retro look is a fun challenge, especially if you’re bundled up inside on a snowy or rainy day. But, if you’re an impatient painter, it’s best left to a pro. Either way, it’s definitely a nice noir twist on a manicure and Frankly Scarlet is ideal for New Year’s Eve. Now if I can just figure out, a la the WW2-era, how to paint “silk stockings” on my gams and draw fake seams on the backs of my knees. 😉
Just as smoky eyes and comfortable stilettos are great staples for noir girls, so is a glimpse into the future. I’m talking about tarot-card readings and if you live in LA I’ve got a wonderful source.
For the holidays, occult treasure Madame Pamita is offering the chance to buy readings as gifts. Prices range from $10-$90, the certificates never expire and Madame Pamita will drop a note in the mail letting your recipients know they have a thoughtful, unique present from you.
During my reading at a Cinebar benefit over Labor Day weekend, she was sweet and soulful, perceptive and perspicacious. Her reading was oddly motivating as well – she knew I was up to something* and encouraged me to stick with it – a considerable feat, given my prodigious talent for lounging around, or as the Italians say: il dolce far niente – the sweetness of doing nothing.
What’s especially nice is that after your reading Madame Pamita records a brief summary so you can preserve the feeling of good tidings and growth that comes from her look at the cards. A reading is a fun surprise for just about anyone on your gift list. For more info, visit: www.madamepamita.com.
*Not to be confused with up to no good
Image courtesy of Madame Pamita
Something splendid is going on next month: The Film Noir Foundation’s Noir City 9, San Francisco’s annual film festival celebrating classic dark-side flicks.
The schedule of films and the new poster will be revealed Wednesday at the first Noir City Xmas double feature. The films are: “Remember the Night” 1940 and “Mr. Soft Touch” 1949.
“Remember the Night” stars Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray (they reunited for the ultra-famous noir classic “Double Indemnity” 1944) as well as Beulah Bondi. Preston Sturges wrote the original screenplay and Mitchell Leisen directed.
“Mr. Soft Touch,” a comedy-drama set in San Francisco, stars Glenn Ford and Evelyn Keyes. It was directed by Gordon Douglas and Henry Levin.
Film Noir Foundation founder and president Eddie Muller always does an amazing job with the festival and I can’t wait to hear the details for next year.
Noir City Xmas is Wednesday Dec. 15 and Noir City 9 runs Jan. 21-30, 2011, both at the Castro Theatre. For full details, visit www.noircity.com.
Last year’s highlights included:
Marilyn Noir: “Niagara” 1953 and “The Asphalt Jungle” 1950.
Bad Girls of Film Noir: “One Girl’s Confession” 1953 and “Women’s Prison” 1955.
The Magnificent Gloria Grahame: “Human Desire” 1954 and “Odds Against Tomorrow” 1959.
Image from pixdaus.com
Most of the men in 1945’s “Mildred Pierce,” starring Joan Crawford, are “heels” as Mildred’s friend Ida (Eve Arden) puts it. But they could all learn a few things from Mildred’s venal and grasping daughter Veda (Ann Blyth), who enjoys taunting her mother in French and taking what she thinks should be hers – pretty much anything that’s not nailed down.
Maybe Veda was misunderstood in the stoic, stiff-upper-lip era of post-World War II America. If she’d come of age in the ’80s or later, she’d be a classic material girl, albeit with a few little boo-boos that warrant a criminal record. And it’s entirely possible that as child she was terrorized by Mildred’s ubiquitous and intimidating shoulder pads. Couldn’t we cut Veda a little slack?
I chose Veda as a nickname for my impossibly demanding and sometimes vicious cat whom I rescued from a shelter. Try as I might to shower her with attention, cater to her every need and lavish her with the finest cat food, treats and toys, she’s quite likely to lash out and give me a scratch for no reason at all. She’s just a natural-born bitch.
So, à la director Jim Jarmusch who founded the Sons of Lee Marvin Club for tall, deep-voiced dudes who like to watch Westerns, my kitty and I launched the Daughters of Veda Pierce Club, for women and pets who keep their claws sharp and aren’t afraid to use them. We’re designing a line of T-shirts, clothes, jewelry, toys and accessories for our members, except we don’t want to do any of the actual work or put up any of our own money.
Ce serait terrible, no?