Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Classic Obsessions

It's 2011. Can we go back? Decades in time? Am I the only one who pines for a time machine? I sometimes feel like I'm an 85-year-old at heart trapped in a 35-year-old's body in terms of the popular culture. It's time to turn to the classics.

I think American television may be at its lowest level of creativity, intelligence and just plain decency - ever. Why would I want to "keep up" with talentless social climbers trying to exploit fame to get every marketing deal they can? My time is too valuable for that.

This year, I'm tuning out more tv and turning on classic DVDs. No need for an additional monthly bill of a Netflix account. Libraries offer an abundance of films at a price everyone can afford - free (or a nominal fee at most).

I spent New Year's Day in the company of a star: Gene Kelly in "An American in Paris."

Classic music. The Forrest Gump soundtrack, $2, filled with American classics which will make for good road trip music, and French pop icon Serge Gainsbourg's Comic Strip cd, $1, from New York City's Housing Works thrift shop. Shop Housing Works online. If you're willing to mine through the cd collections at thrift stores, you can find some treasures. Or, peruse your library's collection.

Classic jewelry - pearls. A pricey gift from my sweetheart? No way. These are hand-me-downs from my mother's jewelry box. I prefer second-hand jewelry any day.

Pictured with my thrifted mint green vintage apron, $1 from C.A.T.S. Resale Shop, and my Hollywood Cocktails book. A favorite classic cocktail: kir royale.

Classic bathrooms?

Photo courtesy of SaveThePinkBathrooms.com

"Pink has come back into vogue, with more people...embracing their vintage pink bathrooms rather than taking a sledgehammer to them, The New York Times reported. So much of our view is psychological, and how often I've heard people complain about their "dated" home interiors. Reshaping your thought process - consider a room to be vintage, classic, Americana - and celebrate what we have instead (and save a fortune in the process).

I, for one, have stood many a time in people's pricey remodeled kitchen, bathroom or other thinking, I liked the "before" better. Although as a renter I have little incentive to make major changes, I still embrace my robin's egg blue bathroom from the 1960s.

Classic education. When asked in a 60 Minutes interview if he was concerned the younger generation wouldn't know who Duke Ellington is, Wynton Marsalis said he's disappointed some in his own generation doesn't know, and rightfully lamented over "the failure of our educational system to deal with cultural education."

"It saddens me for us as a nation because we have such a rich cultural heritage and...we would make such better decisions if we could understand what brings us together.

The arts are our collective human heritage. You're a better person if you know what Shakespeare was talking about. If you know what Beethoven struggled with, if you know about Matisse. If you know what Louis Armstrong actually sang through his horn, you're better. It's like you get to speak with the wisest people who ever lived."


  1. I am a little jealous of your 1960s robin's egg blue bathroom...one of my favore things about Mad Men is seeing that gorgeous color on everyone's walls!

  2. Confession: I had pink bathroom envy of my neighbor in my complex. Everyone has robin’s egg blue, pink, or avocado green. He was quite skeptical when I told him about the article, and said it's because I'm a woman I'd love pink.

    I'm really eager to see Mad Men, as I’ve heard great things. Season 1 has been checked out at my library, and I've been waiting for it like a hawk.

  3. Hi Catherine,
    Thanks for reminding me of all the classic American beauty around us here, you know I don't even have a TV service at the moment and the library is still one of my favorite spots. It doesn't cost more than we make to appreciate these. For me, the American Dream is really free speach, fresh air, clean water, and of course the freedom to enjoy the classics here.


  4. Hi Jennifer. Thanks for the comment! The library is such a wonderful outlet to provide fuel (in the form of books, newspapers, films, CDs, etc.) to feed the mind and soul. My library card is one of my most valuable and treasured possessions.

    We so often take for granted the things you mentioned - I'm glad you recognize and appreciate how vital they are.

  5. Once upon a time, we bought a house in an older neighborhood in an uber small town in Kansas. The exterior bottom floor was brick and the top floor was pink. Every single room inside the house was pink. Wall paper, floors, tile, paint--everything--pink. Sadly, my parents didn't like it and changed it all to varying shades of brown. I did enjoy the wood floors though!

    One saving grace, though. They left the upstairs half bathroom pink for me. I loved it. Ah, the classics! And speaking of classics, I do love your travels and photos of things of old. I want to visit where "A Taste of History" is filmed!

  6. Now that sounds like a house with character! Doesn't it seem like modern architecture lacks that so often?

    My parents have blue and silver wallpaper with these oversize flower designs straight out of the 60s in their bathroom. I never thought much of, but now think it's quite campy and stylish!

    Thanks, and more photos of all those things to come in 2011!