UK boutique New Look are currently selling a multi-coloured, striped vest top for £7.99, not dissimilar to the one sported by Marilyn in Eve Arnold’s 1955 photo of her reading James Joyce’s Ulysses. So why not give yourself an early Bloomsday treat?
Almost sixty-one years after Marilyn’s trip to Bement, Illinois – in honour of Abraham Lincoln’s visit a century before – the town’s mayor is repaying the tribute, WCIA3 reports. Pat Tiernan also owns a hair salon, and lives in the house where Marilyn stopped for a rest. Photographer Eve Arnold, who accompanied Marilyn that day, captured the moment – with MM’s own hairdresser, Peter Leonardi, also in the frame.
“Pat Tieman started cutting hair more than 20 years ago. The iconic face that’s all over Salon 101 has been around a lot longer than that.
He’s got a collection of things connected to Marilyn Monroe. Ever since he moved into the Marilyn Monroe house in town, people started giving him stuff, like articles about when she visited, pictures and collectibles.
‘She came to the home, she took a nap there, she rested up and soaked her feet because she was sick the day she came,’ said Tieman. ‘She had a kidney infection so her ankles had swelled.’
Now he knows that piece of history forward and backward. People started giving him plates, statues and other pieces with her picture. His shop reflects his passion.
Marilyn got paid $500 to make that appearance. We’re told she was very interested in seeing the Bryant Cottage, where Abraham Lincoln had been, while she was there.”
Floral tributes were left by Marilyn’s crypt at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles on what would be her 90th birthday, while devoted fans like Monica Shahri visited in person.
Canadian fan Billy made a heart-shaped card for Marilyn…
And there was cake too, courtesy of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the team behind the Golden Globes.)
The L.A.-based fanclub, Marilyn Remembered, organised a donation to Hollygrove, the former children’s home where Marilyn once lived. Now known as EMQ Families First, the charity has launched a new fundraising drive, ‘Modern Marilyn‘.
Everlasting Star admin Sirkuu Aaltonen went on a book hunt…
And UK superfan Megan posted a touching tribute on her personal blog.
“Another year has gone by and Marilyn’s star keeps growing brighter and brighter, people are still fascinated and enthralled by this beautiful soul. Did Marilyn have her faults? Of course she did, it’s hard to believe, I know, but she was a human being just like us. I love Marilyn for Marilyn and that will never change. I’d like to think that there are more genuine fans who love and respect Marilyn than conspiracy lovers who just follow their ignorance.”
Magnum alumni Bruce Davidson, who photographed Marilyn behind the scenes during filming of Let’s Make Love and The Misfits in 1960, is the subject of a new book by Vicki Goldberg in the Magnum Legacy series, reports CNN. (It follows the first Magnum Legacy book about Eve Arnold, another photographer of Marilyn’s, which was published last year.)
“What makes Davidson’s photographs so compelling is that they stem from patience and an ability to empathize with his subjects.
‘I stay a long time,’ he said. ‘My eyes open to their lives. In my silence, they feel secure. My philosophy is to stay until it becomes a subject. I am an outsider on the inside.'”
A new article for the Bendigo Advertiser focuses on the importance of photography in Marilyn’s career, and her work with masters of the art such as Andre de Dienes, Eve Arnold, Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon, as featured in the Bendigo Art Gallery’s current exhibition, Twentieth Century Fox Presents Marilyn Monroe.
“THE photographic works included in the current exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery provide an intimate insight into Marilyn Monroe and complement the authentic artefacts, clothing and other objects on display that belonged to, or were worn by, Marilyn.
Photographs from her early life are displayed together with works by renowned photographers such as Eve Arnold and Richard Avedon. From deeply personal and important memories of her childhood to aspects of her various persona and professional incarnations, the medium of photography reveals much about this fascinating subject.
Photography was of great importance to Marilyn throughout her life, revealed by her treasuring of such images and later her manipulation of the medium as her career developed.
Over the course of just a few years de Dienes captured the transformation from Norma Jeane Dougherty to Marilyn Monroe … Arnold’s photographs show a different side of Marilyn, in that they are unposed and more documentary in style, catching unguarded moments.
Beaton composed a number of distinct sets to create different sittings, all within a suite in New York’s Ambassador Hotel. On display is the image of Monroe widely believed to be her favourite … Avedon created a series showing Marilyn dressed as some of the most celebrated female actors of the twentieth century …”
In her review ofReading Women, a new exhibit by multi-media artist Carrie Schneider at the Haggerty Museum in Marquette University, the Milwaukee Record‘s Marielle Allschwangreferences Eve Arnold’s endlessly analysed portrait of Marilyn reading Ulysses. (Incidentally, Stefan Bollman’s 2009 book, Women Who Read Are Dangerous – which explores the same subject in art history – will be reissued in April.)
“Last week, I was shown a photograph of Marilyn Monroe reading James Joyce’s Ulysses. She is near the end, seemingly lost in Molly Bloom’s punctuation-less, sensual reverie, immersed in the flows and throes of memory and pleasure that finally submit to sleep. This is the famous soliloquy that transforms ‘no’ into ‘yes.’ It is the chapter of the ‘mountain flower,’ the ‘sea crimson,’ of ‘breasts all perfume yes and his heart going like mad.’ Those familiar with the passage may imagine it as a sort of mirror to Marilyn and the inscrutable world within her mythologized body. Others may find a mesmerizing dissonance. But there are more—many more—photographs of Marilyn Monroe reading. A Google search yields 1,490,000 results. She reads American classics, scripts, plays, magazines, newspapers, and a self-help book called How To Improve Your Thinking Ability.
There is a general thirst to know what and whether Marilyn Monroe read. Articles include, ‘The 430 Books in Marilyn Monroe’s Library: How Many Have You Read?’; ‘Marilyn Monroe’s Books: 13 Titles That Were On Her Shelf’; ‘What Was On Marilyn Monroe’s Reading List?’ They are littered with doubt and objectification: ‘Did she read them all? I don’t know. Have you read every single title on your shelves?’ ‘Nerds everywhere have drooled over photos of her thumbing through books…’
Does Schneider give us the opportunity to witness women creating, like [Susan] Sontag, the texts before them? Are we creating the women as we witness them? And if so, are we not left where we began, projecting what Marilyn is thinking?”
Why does Eve Arnold’s photo of Marilyn reading Ulysses hold such perennial fascination? In an article for literary journal Kill Your Darlings, Siobhan Lyons explores this image’s iconic power. (There is one minor error in this insightful piece: Lyons claims that Marilyn was married to Arthur Miller at the time, but she wasn’t. Their romance actually began a few weeks after this photo was taken…)
“These images fascinate us because they are so out of alignment with the pervasive understanding of celebrity culture as a vapid, visually-oriented industry, working against the ‘highbrow’ terrain of capital-L Literature. But if the iconic image of Monroe reading Ulysses tells us anything, it is more about challenging our own assumptions regarding literature, and who we believe to be the ‘right’ kind of reader.
The famous Monroe photograph was featured on the cover of a 2008 issue of Poets and Writers magazine, as well as the front cover of Declan Kiberd’s 2009 Ulysses And Us: The Art of Everyday Living. In his 2008 book Women Who Read are Dangerous, Stefan Bollman notes: ‘The question, Did she or didn’t she? is almost unavoidable. Did Marilyn Monroe, the blonde sex symbol of the twentieth century, read James Joyce’s Ulysses, a twentieth-century icon of highbrow culture and the book many consider to be the greatest modern novel – or was she only pretending?’
Monroe’s love of reading is well-known – the 1999 Christie’s auction of her personal belongings included almost 400 books, and she was regularly photographed reading. Despite this, Monroe is evidently not the first person one would consider the typical ‘Ulysses reader’. And this, perhaps, is part of the problem.
The photograph, then, allows us to re-imagine the Ulysses reader – author Julie Sloan Brannon argues that the image subverts the ‘dumb-blonde’ stereotype with which Monroe is almost always associated. The image therefore works on two fronts: it forces us to abandon elitist assumptions about what kind of people read ‘difficult’ literature, while bringing Monroe to the attention of a more literary crowd.
‘Her image remains,’ [Anthony] Burgess concludes, ‘and no amount of analysis can properly explain [its] continued potency’. The continued analysis of the image, however, shows how keenly these assumptions, about who should read what kind of book, are held. While the image helps to challenge overtly sexualised readings of Monroe, it more importantly debunks myths about literature that have been based on difficulty, exclusion, and elitism.”
On August 6, 1955 – almost 61 years ago – Marilyn visited Bryant Cottage in Bement, Illinois, where her idol, Abraham Lincoln, had stayed while debating slavery with Senator Stephen Douglas in 1858. The anniversary of her visit will soon be commemorated, according to Illinois.gov:
“Bement will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Monroe’s visit with a photo exhibit and a display of Marilyn memorabilia.
The free photo exhibit at Bryant Cottage State Historic Site runs Aug. 6-9.
On Aug. 8, the owners of the home where Monroe stayed during her visit will open the house for tours and display their extensive memorabilia from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The home is at 101 E. Wing Street, and the memorabilia display will be at Salon 101, located at 101 N. Macon Street.
Monroe, a Lincoln fan, visited Bement on Aug. 7, 1955, for the town’s centennial. Thousands of people turned out to watch as she shook hands, visited a nursing home and judged a beard contest. She also visited Bryant Cottage and gave a short speech about Lincoln.”
Meanwhile, the Peoria Journal-Star shares some details of how Marilyn’s visit was received in Bement:
“It’s the movie that hasn’t been made yet and Peorian Jack Mertes has the story for the screenplay.
It was 60 years ago when Marilyn Monroe visited Bement, a small town located between Champaign and Decatur.
It was a media moment — Marilyn, fresh from The Seven Year Itch, was at the height of her powers and the classic set-up: when big-time celebrity visits small-town America.
Mertes wrote about the visit in 1985 at the time of the 30th anniversary. He visited the town and interviewed some of the people who helped organize the star’s visit. He spoke with townspeople who remembered that day.
‘There were people everywhere…I don’t think Bement has ever had so many people in it,’ said Jessie Morgan of Monticello. ‘The Lord sure gave her looks,’ said Selby Clark.
Mertes also captures some of the press coverage of the visit. The Monroe appearance in Bement which made the cover of Life magazine, drew plenty of comments. [Actually, it didn’t make the cover of Life, though an article was published with photos by Eve Arnold, who accompanied Marilyn on the trip. She devoted a whole chapter to Bement in her 1987 book, Marilyn Monroe: An Appreciation.]
The Decatur paper referred to her as an ‘atomic blonde’ while William Groninger of the Champaign-Urbana Courier noted, ‘It’s pretty difficult to assess the exact welcome the luscious blonde was given, but even without a decibel meter we will agree to hysterical.’
Let’s not forget the Bement Register that described Monroe as ‘the movie actress who made walking more than a means of locomotion.'”
Alongside fellow Magnum alumni Elliott Erwitt, the late Eve Arnold is one of Marilyn’s most frequently anthologised photographers. Eve Arnold: Magnum Legacy, a new photo-biography documenting her long career, is just the latest tribute. (Marilyn is featured, though the photos are not rare.)
Interestingly, while Arnold claimed to have first met Marilyn in 1952 (in her own book, Marilyn Monroe: An Appreciation), Magnum Legacy author Janine di Giovanni states that they were introduced later, at a party for John Huston. (Unfortunately, the main text suggests the party occurred in 1954, while an appendix places it in 1955.)
Eve Arnold’s earliest photos of Marilyn – the famous Ulysses session – appear to date from Labour Day weekend in New York, 1955. Seasoned MM fans agree that her hairstyle and striped top date from this period, and not 1952 as Arnold originally stated.