Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A NOTE FROM CAROL: NETFLIX Pick of the Week: Okja

Dear Gentle Readers,

One word. Okja. It's a South Korean film that's a cross between the dangers of GMOs and a boy and his dog film. Except it's a girl and her massive giant bio-engineered pig.

And it's wonderful. Tilda Swenson plays big business mogul twins. and Jake Gyllenhal is the mad scientist who is fun and funny and totally unrecognizable.

Please don't let the subtitles frighten you off. It is well worth the effort to read them. The music and cinematography are charming.


Friday, September 13, 2019

BOOK: July Fireworks Sky by Carol Ann Kauffman

July Fireworks Sky

The seventh in the serial story of Cat Collier, a small-town girl who opens her own investigation service in the sleepy little town of Heaton Valley in Northeast Ohio.

In July Fireworks Sky, the seventh book in the Cat Collier Mystery Short Story series, private investigator Mary Catherine Collier, known as Cat, finds herself in a disturbing, life-altering situation related to her brother’s trial. The outcome will have far reaching effects for not only herself, but Carter, Spencer, and others.

The location for this cozy mystery bounces back and forth from her quiet, sleepy hometown of Heaton Valley, Ohio to New York City, where Cat has another branch of her detective agency and a wonderful, new love. 

Will Cat finally find the honesty she’s looking for? 

Amazon Buy Link:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TCD63G5/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

But wait! Read an excerpt before you buy:

Chapter One 
Clearly No Carter

My cell phone rang. It was the delightful Spencer Paxton.
“Good morning,” he said warmly. I could hear him smile. I could see his sweet smile in my mind’s eye. “Welcome back to Cardinal Park. We all missed you. Was it a rough flight in this morning?”
“Yes, it was a bumpy ride through the storm. But we made it,” I answered.
“Yes, I brought Nola with me to work on the Tenants vs. Miller Apartment Complex case. We finally got a preliminary hearing date next week. I need to be ready. I need a fresh viewpoint on this one. Nola has an eye for detail.”
“I hope you guys never decide to gang up on me.”
“As long as I’m your only tenant, I think you’re safe.” 
“Would you like to come up and have lunch with me today? Say around 1:00? You can bring Nola. You can bring Skamp, too, if you want. I’ll send down the elevator.”
“Matteo has lunch with his grandmother every day. She looks forward to some private time with her grandson. Besides, he’s afraid of you. But Nola and I would love to come up for lunch. See you soon.”
“Soon,” said Spencer. Again, I heard the smile.
“That’s her little gentleman friend on the phone,” said Cat’s New York assistant Matteo Skampotti. “I can tell by her smile. Have you ever meet him yet?” 
Nola shook her head no. 
“I’ve seen him, but never actually spoke to him. Blond guy. Kind of short. A little skittish, but he seems very nice. 
“He’s good for her,” continued Matteo. “He sends her flowers, phones her during the day, and makes her smile. She’s forgetting about that stupid idiot who treated her so badly. What a damn shithead he must be. She’s laughing more. She’s making jokes. I think she’s happy, much happier now than when she first came to Cardinal Park.”

“Nola, I think I’ll call Jean Houston to see if she’ll come over and help us sew up this case. This isn’t her field, but she has a sharp, legal mind.”
“Will she tell Carter?”
“No. She can keep a confidence.”
“So can I, you know that, right?”
“I know.”
“I didn’t tell Carter where to find you.”
“I know you didn’t. I don’t know how he found me.”
“I do. He said he saw you get in a cab at the airport. He had his cab follow you here. They almost lost you twice speeding down the street. Classic car chase excitement. He told Detrick all about it while I acted like a disinterested third party.”
I changed the subject. Normally the tale of taxi cab chasing taxi cab frantically through the crowded streets of New York City in an attempt to reunite separated lovers would have sent my heart racing. But not today.
“By the way, we’ve been invited to Spencer’s apartment for lunch. Want to go?”
“Before we go upstairs, I have to tell you a little about Spencer Paxton?”
“Is he cute? Is he rich?”
“He’s complicated.”
“So he’s not cute. And he’s not rich.”
“Be serious. He has issues.”
“Is this like a ‘Don’t stare at his giant hump’ issue?”
“Visible third eye?”
“No.  He’s a hermit.”
“So a hermit in New York City invited us up to his apartment for lunch. Are we on the menu?”
“I said hermit, not cannibal. Will you cut it out? He’s very sweet. And I like him. I like him a whole lot. Let’s go.”
Nelson ushered us into the dining room. The table was set for four. 
“Please be seated, ladies. Mr. Paxton will be out momentarily. Coffee?”
“Yes, please,” Nola and I said in unison.
Nelson left the room.
“Are things always so formal around her?” asked Nola. “Look at those beautiful beveled glass windows.  This tray ceiling is gorgeous. Oh, my goodness, I love this china! It’s so beautiful. I feel like I’m having lunch at Downton Abbey, but with just us and the butler sneaking us into the dining room.”
“Well, there she is,” said Spencer as he crossed the room to give me a warm hug. “I missed you.” He gave me a soft squeeze. “And this must be Miss White. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about you. Welcome to my home,” Spencer extended a hand to Nola.
Nola shook his hand. “Thank you, Mr. Paxton.”
“Call me Spencer, please.”
“Nola,” Nola smiled.
Nelson carried in a tray of salads and bread sticks and sat it in the center of the table. Then he sat down across from Nola.
“Nola White, this is Paul Nelson.” 
Nelson nodded. 
“So tell me, Nola, is this your first visit to New York City?” asked Spencer as he passed the salads.
“Don’t judge the whole city by our little neighborhood,” said Nelson. “We’ve seen better days. Much better days. Are you originally from Ohio, too, Nola?” 
“No. I’m from Pennsylvania. An employment placement service sent me to Heaton Valley for a job interview as office manager for Steel Man Trucking. I got the job and ended up staying there.”
“How long are you in town?” asked Nelson.
“Only for the day. I came to help Cat with a local case.”
“We have some great museums in the area. Maybe the next time you come to town, you can stay a little longer. I’d be happy to show you around.”
“Why, thank you, Paul,” said Nola. “That’s very sweet of you.”
“Mary Catherine prefers a light lunch on days she’s busy. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Are you kidding? I’m not a picky eater. I eat cupcakes right out of the plastic container. Yes, a big lunch puts Cat to sleep. Lunch here, no matter what, is a treat. You have a lovely apartment, Spencer.”
“Thank you,” Spencer answered with a smile.
“So, Nola, what do you think of Spencer?” I asked.  
“He’s a sweet, little man. He’s obviously taken with you. He didn’t take his eyes off you once,” said Nola. “He gives you that ‘I’m obviously interested in you’ look. I don’t get any bad vibes from him or anything. He’s not a serial killer with dead bodies stuffed in plastic bags stashed behind that beautiful wood paneling. He seems safe enough.”
“However?” I added. I knew there was more she wanted to say.
“But he’s clearly no Carter Larsen. You can’t possibly be romantically interested in him after what you had with Carter. Child, what’s the matter with you?”
“I am romantically interested in him. I’m growing fonder of him every day. He doesn’t simply tell me what he thinks I want to hear. It’s not all sweet talk and hot hormones. He doesn’t have that magic touch that makes me forget what I’m thinking or how to think or what my name is. He’s willing and able to talk things out. He’s mature. He’s an adult. He’s honest with me.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s it. He’s honest. And he also doesn’t have the gorgeous underwear model ex-girlfriend Yvette who’s still hung up on him. In fact, for the last ten years, I’m guessing Mr. Butterfly Cups has had no girlfriend at all. So, he can’t cheat on you with his ex.”
“Well, I guess that’s a possibility.” I rubbed my head to shake away Nola’s logic. “But when I’m with Carter, I can’t think straight. I see him, I hear him talk, and I’m carried away on some hormonally dense love-lust cloud machine. All I want is to be with him. Nothing else matters.”
“What’s the matter with hormones? Our species would have died out by now if it weren’t for those hormones.”
“Don’t dislike Spencer, Nola.”
“Oh, I don’t dislike him, but I think you’re seeing qualities in little Mr. Spencer Paxton that aren’t really there. He’s a nice, older gentleman. He has very good manners. A gorgeous, old apartment. And beautiful china. That’s it. Oh, God, you aren’t sleeping with him, are you?”
“Well, that’s good.”
“Not yet.”

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A NOTE FROM CAROL: NETFLIX Pick of the Week - Better Than Us

 From Decider:
 This is a Russian family drama involving a disgraced surgeon, his wife who's left him and is moving out of the country, their children, and a very lovely robot. There is a big unscrupulous company and a number of bad guys. The robots, who will be taking the majority of jobs and sending the Russian population into "Early Retirement", follow the prime directive - robots do to kill humans. Supposedly.

I liked it. It reminded me of Humans on BBC, where the robots were sometimes more human than the humans. I especially like the household robot who... never mind. Watch it.

Friday, September 6, 2019

BOOK: June Green Leaves of Deceit by Carol Ann Kauffman

Join Cat Collier is this serial mystery short story series, described as a cross between Nancy Drew and Mike Hammer.

Carter disappoints Cat in the worst possible way. She begins to doubt her worth. Can a new location bolster Cat’s self-confidence? Is she strong enough to let a new love in?

June Green Leaves of Deceit continues and adventures and misadventures of Mary Catherine Collier, known as Cat, as she opens a second online investigation office, away from Heaton Valley and the love and support she’s known there. Can she make it on her own? 

Amazon Buy Link:

But, wait! Read an excerpt before you buy:

Chapter One
Gauze and Breeze

It was a perfect June morning in northeastern Ohio. The sun illuminated the periwinkle sky as a gentle breeze fluttered through the open window of my gorgeous office on the eighth floor of the beautiful Palazzo Castellano, a hotel situated in the center of downtown Heaton Valley. Perfect morning. Perfect office. Perfect little town.
So why was I so damn miserable? 
I have everything a girl could want. I’m living my dream. I have my own private online investigation business in a big, beautiful office that adjoins the office of a sweet, handsome lawyer who just happens to love me to pieces. I have a new car, gorgeous clothes, and a huge rock of an engagement ring so big I could use to put out an eye in a street fight. I have a wonderful circle of friends and family who love and support me in whatever I do. I am my own boss. Nobody tells me what to do. 
So then… why the misery?
I don’t know. Because I’m not the person I used to be, maybe. My motto has always been honesty is the best policy. But one lie led to two, then four, and they continued to grow at an alarming rate. I almost needed to carry around a notebook to write down my lies in order to keep them straight. But I was afraid I’d lose it, someone would find it, and discover my deceit.
I’m no longer the honest human being I thought I was. Lately, I lie to people on a daily basis. I lie to my mother. I told her I met Kayko in Los Angeles last year at the newspaper convention. I told her there was nothing serious going on between Kayko and my brother Dane. I told her Kayko would probably be going back to California soon. 
My wonderful fiancé whom I adore? Yes, I lie to him, too. Of course, you can come with me, Carter. And no, I’m not up to anything. And I nurture those lies and cuddle up to them and keep them warm. 
I am keeping the truth from my brother Dane about his new girlfriend, Kayko. He thinks she’s a little wounded bird. And he is dead-set on saving this orphaned waif. Little does he know, she not an orphan. She has family and a betrothed in China. She was part in a human trafficking ring. She lived as a homeless person on the streets of Detroit. And her name is made up, like every other part of her life.
I lied to my client Jack Harlan. I know who the father of his girlfriend’s daughter is, and it’s not some dead Italian Art professor. Lystra’s father is very much alive and is an extremely dangerous criminal. And as far as keeping his fiancée Simone out of the loop? Well, guess what, she knows everything.
And I lied to Kayko. Sure, I can get you papers so you can stay in the country legally. Sure, I can keep you safe. Sure, I can hide you from international sex trade criminals.
I took a deep breathe. Stop it, Cat. Everybody tells a few untruths every now and then, don’t they? Maybe I was blowing this whole honesty crisis out of proportion. Maybe a walk in the park across the street would clear my head and help me feel better. I pulled on my jacket and put my wallet and keys in my pocket. 

Just then I heard the sound of stiletto heels clicking on the tile floor, slowly, deliberately, almost seductively, into Carter’s adjoining office. He likes to keep the door between our two offices open in case I get into trouble. He believes private investigation tends to draw out the most unsavory of characters and he worries about my safety. I peeked around the corner.
The most gorgeous girl I ever saw in my life was standing in Carter’s office. A beautiful face framed with long, flowing, shiny brown curls gazed at Carter. Her hands on her hips, feet apart, her tiny gauzy dress blowing slightly in the breeze. Skin, hair, figure, nails, outfit - all perfect.
“Hello, Lover,” the beautiful creature purred.
“Yvette!” called Carter.
Yvette. Of course, my finance’s ex-girlfriend had to be the most beautiful girl in the world.
“What are you doing here?” Carter said in shock.
“I miss you, Rick,” she cooed as she walked runway-style around his desk. 
I hid around the corner, plastering myself to the wall, trying to calm myself. I peeked around slowly.
She pulled open his bottom desk drawer.
“What are you want?” Carter asked.
“Isn’t it obvious? I want… you. I want you back.”
Yvette put her foot up on the bottom drawer. The sun streaming through the window left nothing to the imagination. Little Miss Yvette, the beautiful underwear model, wasn’t wearing any.
“Yvette, I’m engaged to a …
She reached over and grasped his hand. She placed his hand gently on her uppermost inner thigh, then slid it up.
Carter moaned. 
I knew that particular moan. I knew it very well. I held my stomach. I thought I was going to puke. I needed to get out of the office. I couldn’t bear to stand here and listen to her… to them… I slipped off my shoes and quietly made for my office door.
Once in the hallway, I ran to the elevator at break-neck speed. I went up to our penthouse apartment. I just made it into the bathroom. Crying and puking. Heaving and sobbing.
I knew it! I just knew the someday he’d want his old life back. Big Manhattan lawyer with his underwear model Barbie Doll of a girlfriend. Why would he be satisfied with this boring, little hick-town existence? With me? Why was I surprised? I knew it was coming. More sobs, more heaves. 
I threw some clothes in a suitcase and found some shoes. I placed my big, beautiful, heart-shaped diamond engagement ring in the center of the dining room table. I ran. 
Where could I go? I let my friend Marcy Winegard stay at my old shoebox of an apartment while she looks for a place. She and boyfriend Carl Hayden called it quits and she needed a place. I could stay with my sister. I know she would take me, but she was at work and I need to get out of here right now. Where could I go?

“Mom?” I cried.
“What is it, Cat? What’s wrong?”
“Carter…” I blubbered. “And Yvette.”
My normally nasty, caustic, supercritical mother wrapped her arms around me and pulled me close to her. She stroked my hair.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, honey. He was really something special. You two were so happy. So, he packed up and went back to New York and the underwear model girlfriend, huh?”
“No. She came to his office. In this flimsy, little see-through dress. I was just leaving. I saw…” I cried some more. “I saw her seduce him. He didn’t try to stop her. He didn’t push her away. He didn’t say stop. He… he moaned.” More tears and sobs.
“Men! They’re horrible, disgusting creatures. Sex maniacs, all of them. They have no self-respect or self-control.”
“Not Daddy.”
    “No, not your father. And not your brother. But all the rest of them."

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

A NOTE FROM CAROL: NETFLIX Pick of the Week- Green Frontier

Dear Gentle Readers,

My NETFLIX Pick of the Week is a new limited series called Green Frontier

It has been released as a Limited Series. I streamed all seven episodes last night. 

It takes place somewhere in the Brazilian Amazon jungle. It is dark and timely.

An investigator is called in to try to make sense of the murder of four missionary girls in the middle of the jungle populated by a tribe who has had no contact with the outside world.

Think of it the X Files without the strong character leads of  Scully and Malder.  The main character is the female investigator named Helena Poveda. But the one who grasped my imagination was the native woman called Ushe (here with the red face). She made the series a total binge-watch for me.                                         

From the DECIDER:


Opening Shot: The episode starts with a fade-in from white as the camera pans through the jungle, the sounds of the Amazon ringing out, and eventually finds body after body strewn about the greenery. The method of murder is readily apparent: there are arrows in their backs.
The Gist: After a group of missionaries are found dead deep in the jungle, CTI agent Helena Poveda (Juana del Rio) is sent to a remote location to investigate. How remote? It takes a helicopter and a private boat to reach the crime scene. By her side is Reynaldo Bueno (Nelson Camayo), a member of the local law enforcement who gives her the rundown on the suspects: members of an un-contacted tribe.
Tracking down a member of said tribe is going to be easier said than done, too. All the local authorities (including one particularly snarky and dismissive cop) basically call them ghosts and are so uninterested in tracking them down that they disrupt the crime scene by moving the bodies and don’t even bring in a real camera to take photos. Agent Poveda and officer Bueno are on their own here.
But there’s one victim that wasn’t moved yet, and Poveda and Bueno discover her hanging by her hands in the midst of an indigenous cemetery. And even though she’s wearing the sky blue uniform of a missionary, she also has the tattoos and piercings that mark her as part of what might be the un-contacted tribe (the episode description names her as Ushe, so I’ll call her that). Oh, and another thing: there’s a hole in Ushe’s chest where her heart’s been removed and there is not a drop of blood to be seen. And unbeknownst to our leads, they’re being watched by another member of the un-contacted tribe–a man that, thanks to a flashback, we know is way older than he looks.
I don't know if there will be more episodes of Green Frontier. I hope so. If you like a dark, paranormal tale of a native culture protecting Mother Earth, if you don't mind a slow simmer start, may I suggest you add this murder mystery to your To Be Watched List?

Sunday, September 1, 2019

SCHEDULE: September

Dear Gentle Readers,

I am taking a few weeks off from Vision and Verse. My author website, carolannkauffman.weebly.com, needs a bit of work. I am behind in working on the release of the latest Time After Time novel, Wait for Me. I'm tired and truly need a little break. AND my new puppy Lily Rose, needs plenty of walks and playtime. 

I'll have my weebly posts sent here on blogspot for the month, so you can look forward to an entertainment pick of the week and, of course, my own book posts. Have a lovely September. See you all soon.


Friday, August 30, 2019

BOOK: Lavender Mist of May by Carol Ann Kauffman

Join the further adventures and misadventures of Cat Collier, a young woman who opens her own private investigation business in her small hometown as she makes her journey from being a small town obituary writer to big city detective. In this fifth installment of the short story mystery series, Cat works to find a missing Chinese girl who came to the United States on a work/study program and disappeared into thin air. An informant takes a big risk. Nola is put in danger. The child of a prominent country club women has her parentage questioned. Someone from Gus Black’s past shows up at the hotel.

Amazon buy link: 

But WAIT! Read an excerpt before you buy:

Chapter One
Jack Harlan

“You don’t get it all in life, Cat,” shrieked my mother. “Nobody does. You don’t get to have the dream job and the dream guy and all the love and brains and looks and personality. You have to pick. You have to choose. You have to sacrifice. You have to give up one in order to get the other. That’s life as an adult woman.”
“Mom, calm down. What are you yelling about?”
“I am simply attempting to shake you back to reality, daughter. Carter and Detrick have spoiled you rotten. You live in a damn fairy tale dream world. Penthouse apartment, luxury office, brand new car. Fancy designer clothes, cocktail dresses, and a diamond engagement ring so big it looks fake. Handbags that cost as much as a month’s rent. Somebody cooks for you. Somebody cleans for you. Somebody does your laundry. While you play detective on your own tiny, delusional planet. Wake the hell up!
“How long do you think it will take Carter Larsen to figure out he could have had any girl in the world? He’s tall, dark, and so handsome. He’s a brilliant lawyer with a wonderful personality,” she continued. “He’s charming, sweet, and very smart. He’s the only child of a millionaire. He’s a great cook. He’s organized and has a great eye for design and color. He knows how to do just about everything. He does everything in the apartment. He adored his mother. And he’s mannerly and respectful. Why on earth would he want to marry—”
“Me? Why would he want to marry a plain, boring, average, small town girl like…me? Not particularly beautiful? Or well educated? Or wealthy? Truthfully, I don’t know the answer to that one. I’ve asked myself that same question over and over. I didn’t propose to him, you know. He asked me. Numerous times. So, if you want the answer to that burning question, Mother, you’ll have to ask Carter himself.”
I pulled on my raincoat and stomped out to my car, not even attempting to dodge the giant raindrops. I tore down the street at breakneck speed, sliding all over the empty side streets. I turned into the grocery store parking lot, screeched to a stop, and sobbed.
My mother was caustic, but she was absolutely right. Erick Carter Larsen was way out of my league. I always harbored the fear he would go back to his beautiful, slim, underwear model ex-girlfriend. Yvette. All those things my mother said were true. The only thing I had going for me was I looked like his beloved, now deceased, mother. I don’t know how long I sat in the car and balled like a hormonal teenager on her period before my phone rang.
“Cat, Mr. Harlan is here for his two o’clock appointment,” said Nola White, my secretary, my friend, and my partner in crime and legal matters. I met Nola when she hired me to find out who was stalking her. We hit it off. She had no one and no place to go, so I brought her home. Home, to the Palazzo Castellano, the hotel where I live and work. 
I cleared my throat and said, “I’ll be right there. I’m on my way.”
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine. Just a little…wet. I’ll be right there.”
I pulled back out into traffic and proceeded at normal speed to the underground parking lot of the Palazzo Castellano. I parked in my reserved space and took the elevator up to my office on the eighth floor.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Harlan.” I eyed the nice-looking gentleman in khakis and a leather jacket, somewhere in his late thirties I’m guessing. Light brown hair with just a touch of grey at the temples. Soft, kind eyes, brown and slightly worried. I dug deep inside to find my most cheerful voice and a smile as I hung up my soaking wet raincoat.  I sat down at my beautiful chrome and glass desk and pulled the gorgeous white leather swivel chair up to the desk.
Nola closed the door.
“How can we at Red Cat Investigation help you today?”
“Hello, Miss Collier. It’s nice to meet you. I have a delicate situation on my hands and I wondered if you could look into a matter of great importance to me… privately.”
“That’s what we do, Mr. Harlan.”
 “Call me Jack…please.”
I reached my hand across the desk.
“Jack. Call me Cat.”
“Cat.” He stood for a moment and shook my hand. “I’m lucky enough to be engaged to a wonderful woman. Beautiful and fantastic. Simone Phillipson.”
“Well, congratulations, Jack.”
“Thank you,” he blushed. “Simone has a child. From a former relationship. A daughter, a lovely girl named Lystra.”
“That’s not uncommon these days, Jack.”
“I realize that. And Lystra is a terrific kid. Cute, sweet, smart, funny. I love her as if she were my own daughter.”
“That’s great.”
“And that’s where the problem lies. Simone won’t tell me who the child’s father is. She won’t tell anybody. She’s never told anyone. Her parents don’t even know. The father is listed on the birth certificate as unknown. I would like to adopt Lystra when we get married. But I want to know what I’m getting myself into. If the guy is alive, I don’t want him showing up at our door to challenge me as Lystra’s father and causing me custody battles down the line. I know if we lost custody of Lystra, I would lose Simone. She is devoted to her child.”
“I understand. You want to get all your ducks in a row. Does your fiancée object to DNA testing?”
“Yes. Strongly. She told me to leave it alone. In fact, she demanded it.”
“So, she doesn’t want you to adopt Lystra?”
“She has no problem with my pursuit of the adoption, but she refuses to have any discussion about Lystra’s father. But I travel for business, sometimes out of the country. Simone works for an online marketing company, so she can work anywhere with an internet connection. We could travel all over the world. That’s been my lifelong dream. We could see all the wonderful sights out there together. As a family unit.
“Presently Lystra is in private school with a very flexible schedule. But as she gets older, that’ll change. I want to legally adopt Lystra so we can be a real family. And when we take her out of the country, I won’t have to worry about challenges to Simone’s custody. I think Lystra wants that, too. It’ll make us feel like a family unit. That’s where the ‘privately’ part comes in, Cat. Simone can’t know what we’re doing. She can’t find out I’ve gone behind her back to find out about Lystra’s father.”
“No problem. I’ll need some information on Lystra and Simone. Let’s see what I can dig up without a DNA test first. Maybe, we’ll get lucky. You know, it’s easier to prove who the father isn’t with a DNA test rather than who is.”
“I have some dates and locations for you,” said Jack.
I took notes as Jack recited a litany of names, dates, and cities.
“I’ll get right on this, Jack.”
He laid a hundred-dollar bill on my desk. “Here’s a deposit. Call me on my cell phone.” He scribbled the number on the corner of my notepad. “Thank you, Cat.”
Mr. Jack Harlan left the office just as my cell phone rang.

“Cat,” said Jean Houston, “I just walked into Carter’s apartment in Manhattan and…”
I froze. Was she going to tell me she walked in on Carter and his beautiful underwear model ex-girlfriend in the throes of passion and love-making. I held my breath.
“And I’m in the living room,” continued Jean, “and it’s the creepiest thing..."

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

ART: Vogue, The Art of Helen Dryden

Vogue: The Art of Helen Dryden 


All Information and photos from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Helen Dryden
Born November 5, 1887
Baltimore, Maryland
Died July 1981 (aged 93)

Helen Dryden (1887 – 1981) was an American artist and successful industrial designer in the 

1920s and 1930s. She was reportedly described by the New York Times as being the highest
paid woman artist in the United States, though she lived in comparative poverty in later years.

Dryden was born in Baltimore and moved to Philadelphia when she was seven years old to
attend Eden Hall. During her early childhood years Dryden showed unusual artistic ability, 
designing and selling clothes for paper dolls. Eventually she sold a set of her paper dolls and 
dresses to a newspaper for use in its fashion section. This in turn led to a position as illustrator 
for Anne Rittenhouse's fashion articles in the Philadelphia Public Ledger and The Philadelphia 

Dryden was largely self-trained, describing her works as "a combination of things I like, in 
the way I want to do them." Her artistic education consisted of four years of training in 
landscape painting under Hugh Breckinridge and one summer school session at the 
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Deciding that she had no real interest in landscape 
painting, Dryden focused her complete attention on fashion design and illustration.

Fashion illustration
After moving to New York in 1909, Dryden spent a year trying to interest fashion magazines 

in her drawings. None, however, showed any interest in her work and many were harsh with 
criticism. Dryden was particularly disappointed in her rejection by Vogue. Less than a year 
later, however, Condé Nast Publications assumed management of Vogue and set out to make 
changes. Upon seeing Dryden's drawings, they directed the fashion editor to contact her 
immediately. The result was a Vogue contract that led to a 13-year collaboration (1909–1922) 
during which she produced many fashion illustrations and magazine covers. Her "essentially 
romantic style produced some of the most appealing, yet fantastical images on Vogue covers, 
frequently depicting imagined rather than realistic representations of dress." She also 
illustrated other Condé Nast titles, including Vanity Fair and House and Garden.

Costume design
In addition to her prolific career as an illustrator, in 1914 Dryden launched a successful career 
as a costume designer. She designed the scenery and some of the costumes for the musical 
comedy Watch Your Step, followed by designs for several other stage plays including Clair 
de Lune, the fanciful drama based loosely on a Victor Hugo romance. Although the play 
starred Lionel and Ethel Barrymore, Helen Dryden's costume designs were generally given 
equal credit for the play's success.                                       

Industrial design
Following the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels 

Modernes, Dryden turned her attention to industrial design, producing a number of designs 
for tableware, lamps, and other housewares, for the Revere Corporation. She had a highly 
paid job with the Dura Company until the stock market crash of 1929, at which point she 
was replaced by George W. Walker.[6] It seems Dryden never fully recovered from this blow. 
According to Christopher Gray, "The 1925 census recorded her living at 9 East 10th Street 
with her 25-year-old Philippine-born cook and butler, Ricardo Lampitok.

Dryden worked for Studebaker from 1934 to 1937, reportedly earning $100,000 per year. 
Automotive designer Raymond Loewy contracted with her to help him design Studebaker 
interiors.[8] Her work on the interior of the 1936 Studebaker Dictator and President that 
established Helen Dryden as an important twentieth-century industrial designer. The 
advertisements by the automaker proclaimed, "It's styled by Helen Dryden." Dryden designed
the Studebaker President throughout, and the press marveled that a woman had attained this 
eminence in mechanical engineering. She was considered "one of the top industrial designers 
and one of the few women in the automotive field." Dryden worked with Loewy through 1940.[8]

By 1956 Dryden was again living in a $10-a-week hotel room paid for by the city's Welfare 

Department. At the time, she referred nostalgically to "her '$200-a-month' 10th Street