‘Lights, Camera, Marilyn’ at the Academy Museum

Marilyn may never have won, or even been nominated for an Oscar, but the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (set to open in 2019) will pay tribute to her star power, as Gregg Kilday reports for the Hollywood Reporter.

“There will be the expected crowd-pleasers: a gallery devoted to the making of The Wizard of Oz, complete with Dorothy’s ruby slippers; a backdrop from Singin’ in the Rain; and spotlights on screen icons from Humphrey Bogart to Marilyn Monroe … ‘It’s really important that it’s a full history and that we give the visitor the opportunity to learn about that history in all its aspects,’ says Kerry Brougher, the museum’s director, who on Dec. 4 offered the first look at what visitors can expect to encounter inside the $388 million museum that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is building on the site of the old May Company building at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.

Now scheduled to open in late 2019 (a specific date has not yet been set), the museum will devote two floors in the Saban Building — as the May Company building has been rechristened in recognition of a $50 million gift from Cheryl and Haim Saban — to a 30,000-square-foot permanent exhibition tentatively titled Where Dreams Are Made: A Journey Inside the Movies. And, in contrast to the brightly lit galleries found in a traditional museum, Brougher says, ‘We kind of exist in the dark. It’s rather beautiful to have a transition from the reality of daylight to twilight into the darkness of the exhibition, just as the lights come down in a movie theater.'”

From Marilyn to the ‘Material Girl’

Madonna’s 1985 video for ‘Material Girl’ – in which she recreated Marilyn’s ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ video from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – tops a chronological list of videos referencing Hollywood classics, compiled by Kyle Munzenrieder for W magazine.

“Like so many other pages in the modern pop star playbook, this one was polished and perfected by Madonna. The second single off her star-cementing second album Like a Virgin, ‘Material Girl’ is among a handful of the star’s hits she didn’t co-write herself. At the time she seemed pretty eager to point out that she herself was not actually that materialistic when it came to finding a man (she had been dating broke musicians, DJs and artists on the Lower East Side just a few years before), and wanted to frame the song as something cheeky and ironic. So she adapted the guise of Marilyn Monroe’s unabashed gold digger character Lorelei Lee from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and recreated the ‘Diamonds are a Girls Best Friends’ scene, and the balanced it with scenes of her off the set.

This wouldn’t be the last time Madonna paid homage to specific movies in her music videos, but it may be her poppiest. Later in her career she’d stick to recreating film school syllabus canon like Metropolis and Maya Deren’s At Land.”

56 Years Ago: Marilyn Remembered at Westwood

Yesterday, the Marilyn Remembered fan club hosted their annual service at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Among this year’s speakers were actresses Kathleen Hughes and Terry Moore; author Lois Banner; Juliet Hyde-White (daughter of Marilyn’s Let’s Make Love co-star, Wilfrid Hyde-White); Susan Bernard (author, and daughter of photographer Bruno Bernard); and the advice columnist Jeanne Phillips (known to millions as ‘Dear Abby’.)

You can re-watch the live stream here.

56 Years Ago: Goodbye, Marilyn

On August 4th, 1962 – a balmy Saturday evening not unlike this one – Marilyn Monroe bid her housekeeper goodnight and retired to the bedroom of her modest Los Angeles home. She would never wake again, and on Sunday morning, the world learned of her death. On this sad anniversary, here’s an ode to America’s dream girl from an indigenous poet.

“Marilyn Monroe

drives herself to the reservation. Tired and cold,
she asks the Indian women for help.
Marilyn cannot explain what she needs
but the Indian women notice the needle tracks
on her arms and lead her to the sweat lodge
where every woman, young and old, disrobes
and leaves her clothes behind
when she enters the dark of the lodge.
Marilyn’s prayers may or may not be answered here
but they are kept sacred by Indian women.
Cold water is splashed on hot rocks
and steam fills the lodge. There is no place like this.
At first, Marilyn is self-conscious, aware
of her body and face, the tremendous heat, her thirst,
and the brown bodies circled around her.
But the Indian women do not stare. It is dark
inside the lodge. The hot rocks glow red
and the songs begin. Marilyn has never heard
these songs before, but she soon sings along.
Marilyn is not an Indian, Marilyn will never be an Indian
but the Indian women sing about her courage.
The Indian women sing for her health.
The Indian women sing for Marilyn.
Finally, she is no more naked than anyone else.

–from Tourists, Part 3″

Celebrating Marilyn: Queen of Burlesque

Photo by John Florea, 1953

As Marilyn’s birthday month draws to a close, here’s a look back at ‘The Burlesque of Marilyn Monroe‘, an insightful tribute from author and vaudeville historian Trav S.D.

“Monroe’s persona was an invention, an act of self-creation. From a poverty stricken, neglected background, she went on to transform herself into the ultimate symbol of luxury (‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’).

Monroe was never in burlesque but as she began to develop her screen persona and gradually got more attention, burlesque comedy was the natural touchstone for her talents … Later comedies and musical comedies all riff on the idea of her either as the comically ‘dumb blonde’ and/or some degree of burlesque style glamour.

While she is usually cast as a wide-eyed innocent who was vulnerable and easily taken advantage of, on occasion, she went against type as a psycho or femme fatale … Most of her work as a print model gives off this quality as well, and I frankly find her far more beguiling and alluring in photographs than her film work … but even that could revert to burlesque.

And yet we all know, the story of Marilyn Monroe is ultimately a tragedy rather than a burlesque sketch. She spent all this time creating an artificial self, and then became trapped in a reality where people could only see that creation …”

Marilyn Statue Proposed in Van Nuys

Norma Jeane Dougherty photographed by David Conover, who discovered her in Van Nuys, 1945

The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council has proposed that a statue of hometown girl Marilyn be installed at Van Nuys City Hall, as Olga Grigoryants reports for Los Angeles’ Daily News. If these plans come to pass, it would be a fitting tribute to create a likeness of the young Marilyn, perhaps from her early modelling days.

“The news comes four years after Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Panorama City, proposed a bill to name the Van Nuys Post Office after the Hollywood icon, who attended Van Nuys High School — as Norma Jeane Baker — for a short time in the early 1940s.

The plan was first proposed by the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council in 2012. Its president, George Thomas, said the actress had personal ties to the community … She attended Van Nuys High, which was near her house. She lived there with her aunt [Ana Lower] after years in foster homes.

The future movie icon was discovered at the Van Nuys Airport, where she worked on the assembly line at Radioplane Co., which manufactured drones for the U.S. Army during World War II.”

‘A Night With Marilyn’ in Plano, Texas

Texans aged 18+ with a love of art (and Marilyn) should head into downtown Plano at 6 pm today for ‘A Night With Marilyn Monroe‘, an evening of creativity tutored by Twylla Bell, at Pipe & Palette Home Outfitters and Mixed Media Art Classes. The $35 ticket price includes all materials and a take-home canvas – and if you feel like toasting Marilyn’s birthday in style, feel free to bring food and wine!

‘The Marilyn’ Blocked From Two Bridges

Permission to open ‘The Marilyn’, a new speakeasy-style cocktail on Monroe Street, NYC, has been denied, Bowery Boogie reports. Monroe Street is in the Two Bridges district of Manhattan. While in theory it sounds like perfect branding, it seems the developers failed to address residents’ concerns.

Two Bridges is located near the footings of the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge, the subject of a touching 1955 poem by Marilyn…