In Bed with Robert Evans – Part III

Violet Grey

Evans EisenstadtIf Robert Evans minds the fact that I’ve been climbing into bed with him recently, he has been very polite about it. Then again, I’m certainly not the only one to regale him there: That famous bed has long been known as Evan’s de facto office. Over the past few weeks, the legendary Hollywood producer and I have been talking about, well, everything under the sun, and I have recorded those chats in a three-part series for Violet Grey. In the first story (see below), I relayed his reflections on actresses, Oscars, and his favorite red carpet moment. In the second, we discussed beauty, allure, and what makes someone truly glamorous.  For this final installment, we had a more serious talk, during which Mr. Evans schooled me in his own brand of terribly important life lessons. As someone who has lived life more fully, recklessly, and hungrily than most, he has proved a most instructive mentor. The final story in a three-part series.

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Profile in Style: Madeline Weinrib on Art, Color and What Makes Her Happy

T: The New York Times Style Magazine

Madline Weinrib photoIt would seem the textile designer Madeline Weinrib was predestined for her line of work. After all, her grandfather founded the Manhattan design mecca ABC Carpet & Home, which he passed down to her father, and her grandmother was a skilled tailor. But Weinrib never saw it that way — not at first, anyway. “I didn’t even like carpets,” she recalls — perhaps a youthful inclination to go against the genetic grain. Instead, Weinrib became a painter. In her 30s, the family trade began to draw her in. Twenty years later, the New York native is considered one of the earliest pioneers of the now-ubiquitous bohemian, East-meets-West design boom.

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In Bed with Robert Evans – Part II

Violet Grey

Evans part IIOver the past few weeks, I have been visiting with legendary film producer Robert Evans at his famous (or infamous, depending on your P.O.V.) Beverly Hills home to talk about his life.  Last week, in the first of a three-part series for Violet Grey with the ever-quotable Mr. Evans, he put forth his reflections on actresses, Oscars, and his favorite red carpet moment (see below). Today, his thoughts turned to allure and glamour—qualities easy to spot but nearly impossible to define, though Evans came close. So, what is glamour, according to the producer? Read on for Evans’ requirements.  They have nothing to do with perfection, which bores him to tears.  The second installment of a three-part series of Mr. Evans.
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In Bed with Robert Evans – Part I

Violet Grey

In Los Angeles, everyone gets called a “legend” (the New York City equivalent is “genius”), but producer Robert Evans (The Godfather, Love Story, Chinatown, and Marathon Man) is among the few who have actually earned that title. A few days ago, Ms. Blume was summoned to Evans’ famous Beverly Hills estate – to his boudoir, specifically – for a chat.   From the comfort of his inner sanctum, the ever-quotable Evans shared his musings on life, love, and show business, and—in honor of Oscars week—his ultimate awards date. Spoiler alert: It’s not ex-wife Ali MacGraw. The first of a three-part series on Mr. Evans.
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Paris Forever: The Untold Story Behind the Latest Hemingway Best-Seller

Town & Country

EH & VHIn 1959, as Ernest Hemingway’s personal assistant, Valerie Danby-Smith traveled to Paris with the writer to revisit scenes from his youth—the Paris of Joyce and Fitzgerald; the Paris of Jake Barnes, Lady Brett Ashley, and the Lost Generation; the Paris where “you could live very well on almost nothing,” as he later wrote. Valerie is a rare firsthand witness to the city through his eyes, for she shadowed him as he fact-checked the manuscript of what would later become ‘A Moveable Feast’ – his beloved Paris memoir which recently surged again to the top of best-seller lists.  “I’ve gone back [to the city] many times, but I’ve not revisited it in that way,” Valerie told Ms. Blume. “It’s too personal and precious.”  Yet she recently retraced that journey with Ms. Blume and gave us a rare glimpse not only into Hemingway’s early years as a writer, but also into the artist’s life and mindset just two years before his tragic death.

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Muse and Master

Town & Country

Francoise G PicassoPablo Picasso had a reputation for captivating and then subsuming his paramours—with one glaring exception: French artist Françoise Gilot. Just 21 years old when she met him, Gilot was a strong, definite presence. Her independence rankled Picasso, but it appears to have also worked on him like catnip. Throughout their nearly 10-year relationship, he liberally documented her image in paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Gilot did gradually become part of the Picasso machine, acting as assistant and archivist and bearing two of his children, but she never wholly succumbed to him. In her new book About Women and in this interview with Lesley Blume, Gilot reminds us that she was never in Picasso’s shadow.

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Shakespeare and Company’s New Café Was 50 Years in the Making

Vanity Fair

Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 1.04.43 PMIt’s hard to improve upon perfection, but in the early 1960s George Whitman felt that something was missing. Yes, his Left Bank bookstore, Shakespeare and Company—an homage to the original bookshop owned by Lost Generation doyenne Sylvia Beach—had become a celebrated haunt for his generation’s literati, but that wasn’t quite enough. Soon Whitman identified the missing ingredients: coffee and lemon pie. Shakespeare and Company needed a literary café in the little medieval building next door. The only hitch: the building’s owner wouldn’t let him have it. Whitman passed away in 2011, but now, thanks to his daughter Sylvia, his dream is about to come true fifty years later.

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Ralph Fiennes Was a Teenage Bond Nerd

Vanity Fair

Ralph Fiennes VFRalph Fiennes must infuriate fellow actors who lack his range, which almost defies believability. Over the past 25 years, the English actor has readily conquered Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Shaw, and collaborated with Spielberg, Minghella, and Anderson. He has played sinister villains, idiosyncratic Lotharios, and earnest romantic leads.  Considering his sprawling résumé, it’s hard to believe that he once doubted that he had the stuff to act in the first place. In this profile, Fiennes, eternally boyish at 52, talks about his affection for anachronistic turns of phrase, why he roots for the bad guy, and his teenage infatuation with Ian Fleming novels.

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David Muir: ABC’s Gen-X Cronkite

Vanity Fair

David Muir jpegDavid Muir, anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight, knew he wanted to be a journalist by the time he hit double digits. Around fifth grade, he began broadcasting from inside a cardboard box in his family’s living room in Syracuse, New York. Soon he used his allowance to buy a cassette recorder at RadioShack and began to interview his sister’s teenage friends. Fast-forward three decades and his interview subjects have a tad more gravitas—Barack Obama, Tim Cook, and Bill Gates, to name a few. Now that he’s been at the helm for one year, Muir talks about life as a new breed of evening anchor, his embarrassing dearth of real vices, and tweeting during commercial breaks.

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Ms. Halbreich will see you now.

The Wall Street Journal

Betty Halbreich has been privately famous for a long time. As Bergdorf Goodman’s grande dame personal shopper, she has dressed the rich and powerful for 40 years. Recently, however, this crowd has had to share Halbreich, 86, with the masses. In the 2013 documentary “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s,” Halbreich delighted audiences as a surprisingly salty mensch amidst a fantasy world of feathers, sequins and American Express Black Cards. Lena Dunham, creator of HBO’s “Girls,” is now developing a television series inspired by Halbreich’s life, also detailed in Halbreich’s new memoir, “I’ll Drink to That.” Read Blume’s Wall Street Journal review of the just-released book.

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Mary Tyler Moore on the small screen’s biggest night.

Violet Grey

It would be hard to overstate the influence of Mary Tyler Moore when she emerged as a superstar in the mid-1960s. Back in the days of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, who could resist her? As an on-screen career woman, Moore mastered pitch-perfection. On the eve of the Emmys, and in the second installment of her ‘Moment in Time’ series, Blume talks with the TV icon about her career, style, and what makes a woman feel beautiful.

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Do NOT call Danny Meyer an emperor.

Vanity Fair

Do not use the word “empire” to Danny Meyer: it makes the hair on his arms stand up, he says. He’s happy to be called a humble restaurateur, thank you very much—despite being the C.E.O. of Union Square Hospitality Group and founder of an almost indecent number of James Beard Award–winning and Michelin Star–earning New York City restaurants. Below: the famed maestro of high-low dining gives Lesley Blume a glimpse into his frantically busy and delectable life.

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Making the “Perfect Comedy”: How ‘Ghostbusters’ Defied the Odds and Changed Hollywood

Vanity Fair

From a potential leading actor who died of a drug overdose to a marshmallow man suit that went up in flames, the original Ghostbusters looked like anything but a slam-dunk when Columbia Pictures made it in 1984. On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the movie’s premiere, its cast, director, producers, and other industry greats share their recollections with Blume about the genesis of the Ghostbusters phenomenon, talk about how it helped rewrite the film industry, and discuss the franchise’s future.

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A Writer’s Life: The World and Ways of Gay Talese

Vanity Fair

This iconic author’s distinctive persona appears to have been more or less bestowed at birth; even his bespoke hats have their own “byline”: MADE ESPECIALLY FOR GAY TALESE. Fellini attended his wedding after-party; he grew up alongside Grace Kelly at the Jersey Shore; Lorena Bobbit sends him Christmas cards. Read Blume’s June issue profile on Talese for more tidbits about his fascinating life.

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Farewell, Grande Dame: The Sad End of Rizzoli Bookstore.

Vogue

If you love ideas and beauty and elegance, then you would likely love the famous Rizzoli Bookstore, housed in a glorious six-story townhouse on Manhattan’s 57th Street. But it’s closing its doors tomorrow and the building is slated for demolition. Read Blume’s story on her own longstanding love affair with this legendary literary haunt, and why its loss is a loss for all New Yorkers.

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The Life Idiosyncratic with Wes Anderson

Vanity Fair

Wes Anderson jpeg If anyone understands the importance of detail, it’s Wes Anderson. From The Royal Tenenbaums to Moonrise Kingdom to his new release, The Grand Budapest Hotel, each of his films showcases instantly recognizable, intricate diorama worlds, often stocked with preciously arranged camping tents, Crayola-colored portable record players, and pleasingly worn copies of National Geographic. Everything about his work signifies a man who likes things just so. All of which practically obliges one to wonder whether Anderson’s own life resembles a painstakingly curated vintage store. In this profile, one of America’s great modern film auteurs gives us a glimpse into his world.

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“It’s about spirit” – Anjelica Huston on glamor, love, and beauty.

Violet Grey

Few women inspire near-universal adoration, but one person certainly falls into this rarefied category: Anjelica Huston, muse to some of the greatest auteurs of the modern film and fashion industries. Read this spirited interview with Ms. Huston here in Blume’s inaugural ‘Moment in Time’ column for newcomer Hollywood insider publication Violet Grey.

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Lost and Found: The Fabled Photographs of Montgomery Clift.

Vanity Fair

The elegant Montgomery Clift once reigned as one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading men – but now it appears that he could have added “photographer” to his list of career credits as well. A long-forgotten collection of the actor’s personal photos has recently surfaced in the archives of the NYPL; Clift’s scrapbooks and portraits of fellow stars reveal his gift with a lens. Read Ms. Blume’s exclusive feature on the rediscovered Old Hollywood treasure trove.

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Don’t Call It a Comeback.

Departures

What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, the Starrett-Lehigh Building was considered Manhattan’s equivalent of real-estate Siberia -— admired by architects but shunned by commercial tenants because of its location in windswept, far-west Chelsea. These days, however, it’s commanding top rents and everyone from Ralph Lauren to Martha Stewart to Marchesa (not to mention the FBI) are making it home. Read Ms. Blume’s profile of a cultural icon that is basking in the spotlight once again.

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The Capote Effect, Fifty Years Later

Departures

“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there.’” With this memorable opening line, writer Truman Capote set the melancholy tenor of In Cold Blood, the mega-bestseller that would make him world-famous – and ultimately ruin him.  On the eve of the book’s 50th anniversary, Lesley Blume traveled to Holcomb, still one of literary history’s most notorious locales. Read her profile of the town, and the lingering Capote legend that wreathes the community – for better or worse.

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