Your Week In Pin Up, Issue 58: The You Know We’re Hot Edition

10 July 2017

We’re Not Talking About the Weather

The I-Doc is Getting Closer

The initial release will have a series of features on global pin ups plus some never-bef0re-seen footage from our film.

Slips Sales are Slipping

It’s a sign of the times… Via USA Today.

So We’re Taking a Poll: To Slip or Not to Slip?

C’mon ladies –  do you wear slips? And gents, what do you think of slips?

Turning On, Tuning In, and Dropping Out


Or, the real life version of The Beach. Ah, kids these days.

This. GIF.

Well, we ARE slip-obsessed this week.


Summery Paintings Inspired By Old Photographs — Flavorwire

Some of our fondest childhood memories aren’t elaborate stories we can recall with precise detail. Sometimes it’s just the smell of the family BBQ smoking away in the backyard, or the way the sun spread over the pool while you were splashing around with your cousins. Artist Jessica Brilli captures the mood of those everyday…

via Summery Paintings Inspired By Old Photographs — Flavorwire

Dancers of the Casino de Paris

These are quite lovely.



Hi friends, sorry, I had so much work to do during the past few days that it was impossible to find some time for my blog. These dancers of The Casino de Paris were supposed to be my carnival post…Don’t they look magnificent? I’m obsessed with these lavish stage outfits! Please excuse the image quality, […]



Free Vintage Sewing Patterns

1950s McCalls pattern, designed by Givenchy.

This is a gold mine.

The Vintage Patterns Wikia has out-of print patterns from the 1900s-1970s available online.

1920s McCalls pattern

Let me repeat that. Sewing patterns from the 1900s-1970s. Out of print. Online. For sale from vendors.

1940s Wedding Gown pattern from ABC Schnitt

Here’s what the site says about what they’re doing:

We are working to create one location online where people can go to browse through vintage patterns starting from the year 1992 and older and share information about them.

Vintage Vogue pattern from the 1930s.

The vendors include names we know, including Butterick, McCalls, Vogue, and Simplicity. But it also includes vendors long out of print before I began sewing, like Advance, Hollywood, and DuBarry.

Simplicity 1950s evening gown.

This is an absolute treasure trove for anyone interested in making vintage wear. Not all of the patterns are available… but one can dream.

DuBerry 1944 dress pattern.



July 4th, Pin Ups and Beer

KPC News did a story the other day called “Red, White, and Beer” where Matt Thomas, the craft beer specialist at Gay’s Hops-N-Schnapps, talked about the link between pin up iconography and American craft beer.


Old Milwaukee’s patriotic pin up can.


Guys, you totally missed an opportunity.


Bombshell Blonde Ale from Southern Star Brewery.

So, I decided to remedy that situation. You know from following us that we’re big fans of beer pin up art.

Acme Pale Ale from North Coast Brewing

Because what says patriotism more that a pin up beer….


Dominion Brewing’s Morning Glory Espresso Stout and Double D Double IPA.

… or cider?

McKenzie’s Crossfit Cider.


You’re welcome.

Stumptown Tart from Bridgeport Brewing.

So if you’re having a beer this Independence Day, make sure it’s a patriotic pin up one. For the troops. Or something.

Centennial’s All American Red Ale.



Production Notes

On July 3rd, I sent copies of the first 10 video profiles to the women featured new in the i-doc. They were given no instructions other than to look at the video and to make sure that I hadn’t missed any photographers for credits, or that I hadn’t used a photograph or video from their feed that they preferred not to be seen in the online film.

I am always worried about doing things like this. There’s the whole artist creation and editorial control portion of my work, which would me that I’m making the project with me as the “auteur.” I have final say, and the subject needs to trust that they fit into a larger part of “my” creation.

However, oral history demands something different. That I share the authority with my narrators to tell their own stories. I tend to error on this side of things, putting my journalistic hat away (as best as I can). To be accepted within the subculture, I need to recognize that the subculture’s members should have agency in telling their own stories.

That balancing act can be difficult.

Granted, these aren’t “official” oral histories. The interviews were 15-30 minutes long each using the platform Skype or Facetime. If I were doing an oral history, I would have spent longer in interrogations, with interviews lasting 2-3 hours. We would have explored the family history of the individual women, followed diversions, gone more in depth.

Done the interviews in person.

But the advantage to this process is that I’m better able to represent the global scope of this subculture, without having to travel to far-flung locations for interviews. I’ve talked to women from South African, Sweden, Norway, the UK, and Canada, plus across the United States. I would have had this geographic access without arranging the interviews this way. It’s a weird process, but the comfort of the women in their own homes may make up for the lack of in-person interview. The conversations use video cameras, so I can see the women and they can see my encouragement and reactions.

This the worth more analysis, but I can say initially that doing an interview virtually doesn’t necessarily erase the emotional and mental toll on the interviewer. I was sure to record only 2-3 interviews per day to limit my own exhaustion and to make sure that I had the ability to pay attention to the individual women. There were unexpected challenges. The interviews were all conducted in what would be considered “first” world countries in (mostly) major cities. But the internet connections weren’t always as strong as might be desired (South Africa posed a particular problem, but so did some interviews in Los Angeles).

Back to the feedback.

When you create video stories, you’re aware of specific problems within the story, probably more so than the audience members. Sometimes stories “fight” with the editor/director. By this I mean they just don’t want to go together in the way I initially think will work. The stories have internal conflicts and don’t run smoothly from quote to quote.

In this case, two of the stories in particular caused problem. One was from a woman who works with children; English isn’t her native language (all interviews were conducted in English) and she struggled to find the right work to describe the conditions of the children in her classrooms. She ended up describing how they behaved toward her as an explanation for why she didn’t wear her pin up-style clothing and make up during class time.

To me this description felt wrong, but because I didn’t have the diagnosis, I didn’t have the ability to explain the children’s conditions with a shorthand that viewers could understand. The shorthand (xyz medical condition) would allow audiences to understand the situation without graphic descriptions of behavior. But without the shorthand, I was left with only using the graphic descriptions. The story itself was interesting – because she talked about how the kids loved it when she was wearing pin up clothing and how engaged it made them with her, and helped illustrate the balancing act that these women often are forced to do. But the story as presented also just felt “wrong.” It felt intrusive and othering to the children. It didn’t fit the tone of the rest of the interview, not because it was a difficult subject, but because the language glitch made her seem insensitive.

The second story was from one of the South Africa pin ups, who was talking about the racial demographics of the subculture in her country. The problem was the language used; specifically, terms that are “fine” in her culture but not fine in the US culture. Again, the story was important, but the way that it was told could create a misunderstanding in the audience.

The women, after viewing their stories, found the same “fight.”

I understand that they’re close to the story and have a more vested interest in presenting themselves the best possible light. But this wasn’t their problem, as least as it seemed in our online conversations. They were genuinely worried that they hadn’t said something in the “right” way, in a way that represented their actual personality or facet of the subculture (sub-subculture?). I’m seeing the tension in the stories as well. My reasons may be different, but the women’s reactions tells me that as an editor/writer/director, I’m not presenting their stories in a way that makes sense.

People mispeak sometimes, or say something when interviewed off the cuff that can sound wrong when placed within a larger story. I can either go for the jugular (the “gotcha” interview) or I can try to act as an effective translator.

I don’t want to dodge difficult situations, though I know as a director I am drawn more toward stories that don’t create artificial conflict or that accentuate conflict over the relationships that people in my stories have. Real life isn’t reality television. It’s often boring and dull. But I don’t want to create a conflict just to make my documentary projects “interesting.” I want to help my narrators maintain their own sense of self, and allow them to explore difficult situations in ways that won’t cause undue emotional harm.

In this case, the fact that my own discomfort and the women’s intersected, tells me that I need to think about how the story is told. I also need to negotiate with the women to push them where I can, and to back off where the discomfort becomes too hard. In this case, I wrote to both women and explained why I thought the aspect of the story was important, and then offered potential solutions for them.

This is a really strange space to be in. I still to a large degree as a journalist. My job as such is to interpret stories and see the big picture. But the reality is that contemporary journalism has a pretty shitty reputation. Part of this is the “gotcha” interview, where people (and audiences) feel wronged by the experience. By opening up my process to the women, and by allowing a process of negotiation, I’m hoping that they can see that I similarly struggle with ways to tell stories about people.

But there’s also a huge tension. I am doing something that many journalists would look down upon and would critique. It’s a slippery slope. You offer a source the ability to “pre-vet” stories and the next time they could demand prior approval for a story process about a more difficult subject. How can you say no? You’ve opened the door by this sort of activity. You lose journalistic control.

But I’m working as a journalist within an oral history perspective. I’m not doing an investigative piece about government corruption – I’m acting as a conduit for a subculture to tell its stories. It’s a different perspective and position. I think what I’m trying to do here is to help people tell their stories and push them to tell things that may be difficult. I’m not letting them off the hook – but I’m helping them to better articulate their own life experiences. To do otherwise would be unethical. I don’t want people to dodge a difficult situation; I want to make sure that I’m not misrepresenting them while telling an emotionally true story.

It’s not something that comes easy to me. 20+ years of professional experience (and not showing interviewees stories) can’t be eliminated overnight. But I’m trying to make it clear to them that they don’t have editorial approval – but rather that I’m trying to accurately represent their experiences.

Your Week In Pin Up Issue 57: The Holiday Weekend Edition

3 June 2017

We’re All About the Fireworks

Editing, Editing, Editing

We’re using this “Coming Soon” card for pages that are under construction.

We’ve got about 20 of the video stories for the i-doc completed and expect to have the initial site launch in the next week or so.

Fingers crossed.

Now Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Update

Via PopSugar

Or, magnetic eye lashes. Yes, this is a thing.

Age is Only a Number, Part 1.

Dance like no one is looking.

Age is Only a Number, Part 2.

Pin up looks good at any age… even in these “what if” images.

Age is Only a Number, Part 3.

I’m hoping I look as good at 100 as the Pignaton twins.

This. GIF.







Queer British Art, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1 | reviewdonkey — First Night Design

Would love to see this exhibition.

Queer British Art at the Tate is a fascinating exhibition, it is more of a history of homosexuality in Britain told through artistic pieces. Some of the exhibits aren’t very queer, until you … Source: Queer British Art, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1 | reviewdonkey

via Queer British Art, Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1 | reviewdonkey — First Night Design


The Bata Shoe Museum

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.

I was in Toronto doing archival research and presenting at a conference and came across the gem of the Bata Shoe Museum. It’s the in the northwest-ish section of the city, near the University of Toronto.

It’s amazing.

I posted some of the images from the museum on Instagram, but one exhibit really caught my attention. It’s called Fashion Victims: The Pleasures and Perils of Dress in the 19th Century. It looked at the role the industrial revolution had in the process of making shoes, and the fashion connected with footwear.

From the wall text at the exhibit:

In stark contrast to the somber business suits and sensible shoes worn by men, 18th- century-inspired fashion reinforced negative notions about women as slaves to fashion. It also helped to frame womens’ role as consumers rather than producers.

Gold bespoke boots at the Bata Shoe Museum.

This pair of boots is a great example of that. They have high heels, highly impractical, but hearkening back to court styling of the 1700s. They’re bespoke, and the handmade detail was necessary to differentiate upper class women from those from lower classes, who were wearing fashionable machine crafted shoes such as the lovely blue boots below. Upper boots feature custom gold details and were made for the individual, the lower, novel elasticized gussets for greater flexibility (in other words, they were mass produced and could fit a greater variety of foot shapes).

Mass produced boots, at the Bata Shoe Museum.

I had no idea that the color “mauve” was discovered as British chemist William Henry Perkins was trying to discover a cure for malaria. He came up with a new dye that made the formerly-royal color of purple accessible to the masses. According to the wall text at the museum, it also made Perkins a very wealthy man. The color was a huge success.

Mauve shoes at the Bata Shoe Museum.


I love this pair of red boudoir slippers, which, like the gold-plated bespoke boots above, have high heels reminiscent of 18th century styles. They’re so completely impractical, but completely lovely, with the severe point at the toe and the ribbons to anchor the shoe to the foot. Of course, something like this would never be worn outside. But that’s part of their pleasure.

Boudoir slippers at the Bata Shoe Museum.