Season after season, as soon as even a baby's breath of bohemia or the oft-dreaded words, "rich hippie," leave the mouths of stylists and editors, the name Talitha Getty inevitably enters the conversation. The second wife of John Paul Getty II, she died of an overdose in 1971 and although her now-legendary style is a mainstay in the fashion lexicon, it's difficult to find anything in her own words, or even an objective account of her life, in the public sphere.
She's the kind of person made famous by photographs and gossip columns in life, and in death, by enduring style and the conceptual fantasy of carefree pleasure in exotic places her name invokes. NARS has named a lipgloss after her, a "deep rose" called "Talitha." She appears in the same publications over and over, sometimes years apart, sometimes more frequently (see: W, Dec 01; W, April 05; Village Voice, May 03, Village Voice, Sep 05)... usually to describe a particular kind of dress or the slightly louche sort of background sketch that lets you know, It was the Sixties! Things were ever so slightly magical/fabulous/berserk, e.g. the casual mention of her Marrakesh scene in a profile of YSL that appeared in The New Yorker.
And then, of course, lest you think that a hard-partying life of endless street drugs in a city with a low cost of living is rather pedestrian as things go, there is her yacht and namesake, the Talitha G ("Running costs: Pounds 252,000 a week to charter. Value Pounds 128 million.")
Romanticized nearly beyond compare, Getty's role as an eternal muse in the world of fashion seems as ephemeral as the caftans and glamorous mien that shadowed her decadent lifestyle. A recent issue of Tatler profiled her son, Tara Galaxy Gramophone Getty (b. 1968), who lives, with his family in Africa, the relatively normal life of an heir to an unimaginable fortune.
The snapshots of young Tara and his mother were the first I'd ever seen of her that didn't appear make her appear to be the shallow shorthand for the end of a lawless era, or one of the few whose seemingly ubiquitous status in the public eye only makes them more mysterious.
(Scanned from Tatler, February 2006):
Teenage Unicorn attends a Sanrio "Breakfast with Hello Kitty":
"Apparently Lisa Loeb is Hello Kitty's spokesperson. She "could not be
with us this morning," so they had a video of her greeting us and telling us how rad Hello Kitty is.
She also told us that we only hear what what we want to, and that she's only hearing negative, no, no, no.
And then she, she turned the radio up! She turned the radio on! And this woman was singing her song,
lover's in love and--. (ok, I'll stop now.)"
Currently in the mix:
Mon, 3.6 (NYC): The Reader's Room: Where Writers Take Center Stage (Please do join us -- I'm guest-hosting!)
Mon, 3.20 (DC): "The Untelling" Paperback Launch Party, w/ Tayari Jones (@ Busboys and Poets)
Wed, 3.29 (NYC): "A Manuscript and a Magic Eight Ball: Secrets to Success in Publishing"
Tue, 4.11 in (NYC): "Literary Debuts" @ The National Arts Club
Please note: The RSS feed for the calendar (displayed in the righthand column at LuxLotus.com) is here, and you can also sign up to receive occasional info about events I've organized, or those featuring my clients, by email (your free subscription to Luxletters is one click away).
*Listing, variously, events featuring my clients and/or events I've had a hand in curating, producing or promoting in some way; and, always, the events that I'll be attending in person.
Kalup Linzy (who is a true performance artist) has a stellar new site! I was a little bummed that an intriguing-sounding show featuring his work -- called Do You Think I'm Disco -- is all the way in Houston, but then I noticed that Kalup is featured in The Studio Museum of Harlem's Frequency. I used to visit SMH all the time when I lived on the Upper East Side, but since I moved downtown, I've been lax and missing one of the most exciting exhibition spaces in New York. Good thing I'm still on the express line, then, because I've got to get there before March 12!
I like things that seem like they're from another time and place (or hearken to a memory of something quite otherworldly and wonderful), like these outrageous "antler" candlesticks, which, but for a slight dearth of magical realism, could up and run away.
Windowlicker - from the French for window shopping: faire du lèche-vitrine - appears on Tuesday and Thursdays at 10am EST.
This evening, Bryan was asked to speak on a panel at the New York Press Club, so I happily went along even though I have been to about a million "state of the media" discussions.
When we arrived, the person at the registration desk gave me a copy of Bylines, the organization's annual glossy publication. Edited by Thomas P. Farley, an editor at Town & Country, which I quite like, Bylines has the slightly quaint feel of a yearbook when I would expect it to be forward-looking, but the emphasis on human interest held my attention. I poured myself a very full glass of merlot and sat down with Bylines for an hour of media analysis, which mostly bored me so I won't dwell on it except to say that Bryan is a genius!
One of the stories, have chance of job in new york..., is a personal essay by Edith Evans Asbury, and it instantly captured my imagination:
Growing up in Cincinnati, I cherished the dream of someday living and writing in New York. I read everything I could about the city and soaked up the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, a celebrated writer who for a while lived the life of a struggling artist in Greenwich Village. I think it was then I decided that I, too, would write poetry and that I would live in a garret. Yet, for a woman coming of age during the Great Depression, it was not as simple as that...
It was a wonderful story of how, starting at age 26 (c. 1936), she decided she had amassed enough local and regional experience and would have to find a way to work in New York. Every year, she visited the city for two weeks, one in the spring and one in the fall, knocking on doors at newspapers all over town in the hopes of getting hired by one. The title comes from a fibbed telegram she sends to the Knoxville New Sentinel to let her editor know she's resigned.
She eventually gets a job in New York (and goes onto a storied career*), but it makes for a marvelous story, and best of all, about halfway through the talk, I realized that the elderly woman with the topknot and incredible cats' eye glasses a few chairs away from me was the author of the article herself! After the talk, I went over to say hello and that I found her story very inspiring. Her perfect response, "Well, it wasn't easy!"
Photo (scanned) from Bylines:
Caption: Edith Evans prepares to take on the world, stepping out in a dress she knitted herself.
*From a random google sampling: