THE BRUCE LEE HOLLYWOOD POSSE | TINSELTOWN’S ELITE UNDERSTUDIES

 Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, circa 1972.

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There are certain moments in life that you never forget.  Oddly, I still remember the evening when as a kid I got a glimpse of Bruce Lee on the tube in Game of Death. It was the immortal scene where Lee, at all of  5′ 7″, squares-off against 7′ 2″ basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his unending Plastic Man-like reach. My heart was pounding out of my chest, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the sinewy, screaming, leaping Bruce Lee– I’d never seen anything so crazy and exciting in all my short life. He seemed more full of life, energy and determination than anyone I’d ever seen– yet, I was watching a man onscreen who had already passed away. It seemed almost unbelievable that he was gone– I think that pretty much sums up the effect he had on a lot of people.  He was so skilled, entertaining and charismatic that you couldn’t take your eyes off him, because if you did– you might quickly miss out on something that’s never been seen before. You were sure there was no one person in the world that could take Bruce Lee out. He seemed to be invincible onscreen– which makes his mysterious passing all the more ironic.

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Bruce Lee Kato Green Hornet

Original caption from 1966– Bruce Lee, who plays Kato in ABC-TV’s Fridays, (7:30-8 P.M., EST) springs into three of the basic positions of Kung Fu, the ancient Oriental art of self-defense of which Bruce is a master.

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There’s an interesting bit about Bruce Lee’s relationship with another Hollywood icon he hung out with– Steve McQueen. Among the many stars that Bruce Lee counted as his pupils and friends (James Coburn, James Garner, etc.) none were bigger than McQueen. Obviously both were highly competitive guys, so when Bruce Lee’s star began to rise it caused notable tension between the two that almost destroyed their friendship.

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VINTAGE ROLLER DERBY BAD GIRLS | SASS ON WHEELS!

Vintage Roller Derby Girls

As a kid I recall catching glimpses  of old Roller Derby matches on t.v. and being absolutely fascinated by what I saw. Tough as nails gals, some pretty and some just pretty rough– speeding around the track pulling hair, throwing elbows, and sending each other flying around, and even off the track. All I know is I wanted more. The sport is still alive and well today, but these vintage skaters possess a magical naivete and quality that just can’t be replicated. Count me as a fan.

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Vintage Roller Derby Girl

Midge Brasuhn of the Brooklynites.

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PROVING THAT SIZE DOES MATTER | WRESTLING LEGEND ANDRE THE GIANT

Andre the Giant

Andre the Giant had an enormous appetite for love, life– and apparently, alcohol.  Lots of it. The stories of his consumption are legendary and honestly– almost unbelievable. They’re also well-circulated too, so I’m sure I’m not telling you anything that you didn’t already know. Andre, I raise my glass– Here’s to you, my friend.  You big lovable French wrestling legend drinker guy, you.

I think I’d be inclined to drink too, if I knew I’d never live anything that even remotely resembled a normal life. What if you’re a guy like Andre and just want to have a nice little family with 2.5 kids and some rabbits, and lead a quiet, simple existence?  Yeah, well you’re totally screwed buddy– that’s what.  It ain’t gonna happen. The world wants its freak show.

They say that Andre had a lot of emotional and physical pain that he was masking with his drinking. Now that you explain it like that, I totally understand the whole “119 beers in six hours” thingy. Comfortably numb. Seriously, all us guys know exactly why Andre would pull a stunt like that– because he could.

French wrestler Andre Rene Roussimoff, best known as "Andre the Giant" during a Paris fashion exhibition. At 19, Andre reportedly stands 7 feet and 4 inches tall  --1966.

French wrestler Andre Rene Roussimoff, best known as “Andre the Giant” during a Paris fashion exhibition. At 19, Andre reportedly stands 7 feet and 4 inches tall –1966.

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Grey Gardens | The Beautiful Decay

When I saw these images in the New York Times my mind immediately drew parallels to Dickens’s Great Expectations— from the once-grand mansion in decay to the fascinating & eccentric characters Miss Havisham and Estella– it’s all so eerie in a beautiful, maddening sort of way–

A 1975 documentary captured the eccentric lives of Edith Bouvier Beale, known as Big Edie, and her daughter, Little Edie, in Grey Gardens, the filthy, dilapidated mansion they occupied in East Hampton. 

After Big Edie died in 1979, Little Edie sold the house to Sally Quinn and Benjamin C. Bradlee, who undertook a massive renovation. These photographs, which have never been seen by the public before, were taken by a photographer hired by Ms. Quinn at the time she and her husband purchased the house, in order to capture the extent of the decay.

Thirty-four years after a documentary film introduced the world to Grey Gardens and its eccentric occupants, a new movie on HBO is again casting light on the legend of this East Hampton property. In 1979, when this photo was taken, Sally Quinn, the writer and Washington hostess, and her husband Benjamin Bradlee, former editor of The Washington Post, purchased the property, which had fallen into complete disarray, and set out to restore it to its earlier splendor.

Thirty-four years after a documentary film introduced the world to Grey Gardens and its eccentric occupants, a new movie on HBO is again casting light on the legend of this East Hampton property. In 1979, when this photo was taken, Sally Quinn, the writer and Washington hostess, and her husband Benjamin Bradlee, former editor of The Washington Post, purchased the property, which had fallen into complete disarray, and set out to restore it to its earlier splendor.

 

Ms. Quinn says that when she pressed a key on this piano in the living room, the whole thing collapsed and fell through the floor.

Ms. Quinn says that when she pressed a key on this piano in the living room, the whole thing collapsed and fell through the floor.

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Red Carpet Rhetoric from the Peanut Gallery

I can’t believe I missed the Oscars this year. I pride myself on not watching a lot of television (like spending a ton of time on the internet is any better), but this I completely spaced. I thought Slumdog Millionaire was incredible, but I wasn’t expecting it to clean-up like it did.  Good for them– it was a pretty original flick, and rightly deserves all the awards and accolades.  

It’s always interesting to see what people are wearing, and in some cases–what’s wearing them.  All that money and every fashion designer at their fingertips– there is no excuse for not looking good.  Even still–

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BILLY SAID JACK YOU UP | VINTAGE 1970’s KUNG FU AWESOMENESS

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“I’m gonna take this right foot, and I’m gonna whop you on that side of your face.  And you wanna know something?  There’s not a damn thing you’re gonna be able to do about it.”    –Billy Jack

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billyjack

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Billy Jack was a martial arts sensation– from the same soft-spoken school of wisdom, justice & chill as Kwai Chang Caine of Kung Fu.  He could lay a smack-down on bullies, bikers and bosses faster than you can say–  “cool hat.”

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Maddict in waiting.

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I love Mad Men for all the obvious reasons- so I’m waiting (not-so-patiently) and wondering what’s in store for season III.  Visually, it’s eye candy, right?  The wardrobe, styling, scenery, furniture, props- even the much-blogged-about fonts used in the show are all a feast for the eyes.  Mad Men also wonderfully reflects the attitudes and flavor of an era that I just missed out on, but saw my parents and family in– through old photographs, slides and stories.  It’s personal too– in the way that we all probably know someone who’s just like each of the characters- even see a little of ourselves in them.  I know I do, especially with Don.  No, I don’t look like him unfortunately.  It’s more about his outlook.  And that’s not something to brag about– that’s something to work on.

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