Saturday, December 07, 2013
Saturday, August 03, 2013
This The 7th Year You Are No Longer Here
So You Are So Shall I Be
© Tia Shaunece Royal Rhem
The breath of you is the breath of me.
The eyes you have I use to see.
The beat of your heart is the beat of mine.
Our thoughts that we think at the same time.
The tears we cry are the ones we share.
Your comfort and love is my trust and care
Your tender kisses strong embrace,
as we stand together, face to face.
side by side here we lay,
wishing for another day.
hearts are stopped neither one of them beat,
motionless bodies from our head to our feet
All around our tears are shared.
we never knew how much they cared.
The tops are closed no one can see
in the ground are you and me.
together we lay dead and cold,
as the pastor preaches, "GOD REST THEIR SOULS"
Friday, August 02, 2013
Thursday, August 01, 2013
Tonight July 23 2013 I've just viewed BRAVOS Property Envy with Jeff Lewis and several others originally aired July 17th about THE CEDARS (original name) in Los Feliz later in the 60's Arthur Lee and LOVE lived there and called it THE CASTLE.
It appraises today for 18 million, Johnny Echols told me. "All the members of Love lived there for over a year and a half, we were offered the house for fifty thousand dollars back in the day, but the inspectors said it would need massive repairs and should be condemned. The Castle is like Woodstock, if all the people who claimed to have been there actually were... the place would have collapsed from the sheer numbers..."
Allegedly haunted: THE CEDARS located at 4320 Cedarhurst Circle, Los Angeles 90027.
"A neglected house gets an unhappy look; this one had it in spades." Joe Gillis, the doomed screenwriter protagonist of Sunset Boulevard, could have been talking about The Cedars in an earlier incarnation, when he said those words. Indeed, some interior scenes from the classic film noir were shot in the house, which was built in 1926 for film director Marcel Tourneur. The hilltop villa in Los Feliz, which looks over Los Angeles, has been, variously, a home, rock stars' play pen, movie location, and a book repository before being rescued by its present owner, fashion designer Sue Wong.
The Cedars comeback was initially orchestrated by Xorin Balbes, a real estate developer and designer who specializes in restoring historic or architecturally significant houses. He bought the house in 2003, and began the restoration process, reinforcing the structure of the property and updating its plumbing and the electricity; turning back the tide of decay, and reviving its livability. Sue Wong has artfully completed the process by restoring the original aesthetic beauty of the house and preserving its intricate frescoed and bas-relief ceilings, gilded columns, and massive fireplaces.
***The mantel displays the first of many emblematic lions seen throughout the residence. "They're supposed to represent the MGM lion," explains Sue. "There are over 140 of them in the house." The room is lit by natural light as well as by wrought-iron chandeliers; the torchieres were used to dress the set of the movie Titanic. ***
The elegance of the living room is complemented by an exquisite rococo throne; one of a suite of three in the room. Originally from Europe, the chairs were deaccessioned from a museum in Canada. Sue purchased the chairs from a French antiques dealer and brought in Artisan Restoration to restore the frames and gold leaf. Sue designed the gold metallic hand-embroidered fabric.
An affinity for Hollywood's golden age and the creativity that characterized the early twentieth century drew Sue to The Cedars, and inspired her to restore its faded grandeur.
"The 1920s and 1930s are my favorite decades. I do a lot of period adaptations in my work, I'm a romantic at heart," explains the diminutive China-born designer whose gowns are known for their alluring, timeless style that mix fantasy and feminine beauty. The evocative mood of The Cedars is the perfect complement to Sue's design sense, and, since her line speaks to the Hollywood glamour of yesteryear, she frequently uses the house as a backdrop for her fashion shoots.
Locals call the sprawling Venetian-inspired house "The Talmadge Estate" in honor of actress Norma Talmadge who reputedly lived there. Talmadge was a top box office draw in the early days of cinema, acting in the first silent version of "Camille" among other films. She and husband, Joseph Schrenk, formed the Talmadge Film Corporation, becoming one of the nascent industry's first power couples, with Schenck ultimately becoming the president of United Artists. Talmadge also spent time in New York because there she had easier access to the best clothing designers on Seventh Avenue. She helped to create the enduring nexus between Hollywood and fashion, and became one of the first celebrity style icons.
[MY NOTE: Just to reiterate, there are no records of Talmadge living there. If she had, it was brief. Very brief. And she probably would have rented.]
The arched colonnade between the living room and solarium is echoed in the windows looking out over the hills of Los Angeles.
This history appealed to Sue Wong. "I'm in the business of glamour: of creating it, of selling it; I'm immersed it in," she says. Even in desuetude, the residence spoke to that sensibility; so she purchased the house in 2004 and committed herself to restoring the house to its full glamour.
In late 2004, Sue embarked on a two year creative odyssey and commissioned Zoltan Papp, whose Los Angeles-based company, Artisan Restoration, specializes in repairing, restoring, and re-creating fine antiques, art, and historic buildings and interiors.2 A skilled artisan, Zoltan's meticulous approach appealed to Sue, known herself for the technical excellence and ornate detailing present in her gowns. The results of this close collaboration are breathtaking, with the rebirth of six ceilings, the creation of a new ceiling, and all of the intricate aesthetic beauty reinstated.
***The entrance to the living room features an elaborate vaulted and painted ceiling, from which hangs a baccarat chandelier original to the house.***
Zoltan Papp is more than a restorer, he's a wizard. Trained at the Hungarian Fine Arts School in Budapest and later apprenticed to Friedrich Ott Smith in Vienna, Zoltan has restored chateaus and churches in Europe, and furniture, porcelain, paintings, and statuary for clients around the world. Recalling his first visit to The Cedars, Zoltan says, "It needed lots of attention, structural restoration had been done, but nobody had cleaned the ceilings in decades. This is fortunate because the layers of dirt had preserved the painting beneath." Zoltan and his team removed layers of grime from the ceilings, uncovering elaborate frescoes and peeling gold leaf, repainting and regilding where necessary. He added a mantelpiece to the library fireplace to match its counterpart in the living room, and worked closely with Sue to custom build furniture, including an ormolu-mounted Second Empire-style console table for the living room.
***Doors of wrought iron and frosted glass, original to the house, lead into the dining room…As one climbs the stairs from the foyer to the second floor, the stained glass window, original to the house, leads the eyes to an elaborate twenty-eight-foot tower, decoupaged with Old Master paintings and ornamented with thousands of gold cherubs. A Baccarat crystal chandelier, original to the house, is suspended from the tower ceiling. ***
The interior and furnishings of The Cedars provide the perfect backdrop for Sue's elegant fashion designs.
The house is very much a theatrical construct. "The 1920's and the silent era were the hey-day of art direction and set design," says Sue, an avid student of history and art. "Movies weren't shot on location as much as they are today, so studios had artists and craftspeople on staff who could design and build anything: whatever was necessary to fabricate any reality the directors wanted to put on screen." The art directors and designers who were the creative forces behind The Cedars -- reputedly inspired by a Venetian palazzo owned by the Duke of Alba -- were responsible for many of the fanciful houses that still dot the surrounding hillsides and canyons. Integrating elements of Venetian architecture and Byzantine flourishes in a playful pastiche, the house was a Hollywood fantasy for its original owner, Marcel Tourneur. As a director, Tourneur was an influential theorist, instrumental in defining film as an art form separate from theatre, with its own techniques and aesthetics. With a background in fine art and art direction, and access to the industry's top studio artists, it is no surprise that Tourneur's home was a visual masterpiece.
The fact that its original architect and designers are unknown lends a touch of mystery to the house, an atmosphere in which Sue clearly revels. From the twin stone figures of Kuan Yin, the Buddhist goddess of compassion, flanking the front door, to African fertility figures, the house is filled with slyly invoked spiritual and mythological references that cross epochs and cultures. There is a strong Jungian subtext to her design of the house, with its recurring themes of goddesses, Deco Green Men, guardians, and heroes.
Sue created the furnishing plan herself, working on it, she says, "In small increments of stolen time" when she was not busy designing the intricately embroidered and beaded cocktail dresses and ball gowns that bear her name. There is a direct connection between the aesthetic of her clothing and the interior of the house: it is the natural habitat of flappers and philosophers, sirens and vamps.
Sue's extensive knowledge of fabrics and design served her well during the restoration. She designed the opulent draperies in the living room and library: hand beaded velvet panels embroidered in Borghese gold thread, custom-made by the same artisans in China who create the textiles for her gowns. She also designed the elaborately scrolled gold embroidered velvet fabric used to reupholster a suite of three rococo thrones once owned by European royalty, now in her living room. A round, tufted banquette, upholstered in cerise velvet, and a black velvet "ziggurat" sofa, trimmed in burgundy bullion and swags, were designed by Sue for the living room. Other pieces were acquired at auction or on shopping trips to Paris. "I couldn't find the Art Deco pieces I wanted in Los Angeles," she explains."I did a lot of research and found that examples are still available in France, so I went on some wonderful shopping sprees there. Paris is my favorite city on the planet; it has great architecture, beauty, and a wonderful sense of romance."
One of several guest rooms] was very difficult to restore," Sue recalls. "A fire back in the 1930s left a thick layer of smoke and soot that had never been properly cleaned. You couldn't see all the small painted details before Zoltan restored it. He brought all the colors back to life and made it glow." ***
Sue delights in the rich lore that surrounds The Cedars. "Errol Flynn practiced his 'wicked, wicked ways' here," she says. "Marilyn Monroe was a frequent party guest; Howard Hughes played the grand piano in the solarium. Johnny Depp lived here to do research for his role in Ed Wood because Bela Lugosi had lived here. The wrap party for Easy Rider was held here; Dennis Hopper shot some of the scenes for the movie here. It was also a big rock 'n' roll party pad. Arthur Lee of the band Love lived here for a while, and he told me he couldn't find his way from his bedroom to the kitchen because the place was so full of groupies and assorted hangers-on! Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground also stayed here for a while, as did Jimi Hendrix."
The wild times came to an end when the house was purchased by a UCLA psychology professor, who used it mostly as a library and repository for his books. Sitting in the ballroom of The Cedars, listening to Sue Wong recount stories of the rock stars and reprobates who have passed through its gates, the history of the house is palpable. The patchouli oil, incense, and marijuana scent are gone, yet the house is still a piece of pure Hollywood Babylon.
*** A Moroccan-themed room with a vaulted ceiling painted a faded shade of desert rose serves as another guest bedroom. It adjoins an authentic 1920s bathroom with original tile, the only period example remaining in the house. Once painted a vivid purple, the room remains a playful memorial to the late rock star Jimi Hendrix, who allegedly composed his drug-addled classic, "Purple Haze," while locked inside.***
"When you buy a house of this nature, you have the feeling that you have a responsibility to preserve it for the next generation. I am merely its temporal caretaker," she says. "I am very honored to be chosen for that role."
Sorry about that little yellow glitch, I've worn myself out trying to figure out how to remove it, to no avail. Mea culpa