NEW COLUMN: Ms. Blume launches MOMENT IN TIME, celebrating historical beauty in Hollywood

February 25, 2014

Today Violet Grey – a just-launched insider Hollywood digital publication – launched Ms. Blume’s new column, Moment in Time, which celebrates Hollywood’s most stylish historical moments as encapsulated in a single photographic image.

The inaugural subject: the great Anjelica Huston, muse and collaborator to some of the greatest auteurs of the modern film and fashion industries, from Halston to Wes Anderson to Richard Avedon.

Huston’s individualism, unconventional beauty, and intelligent glamour make her the perfect Moment in Time subject. While it was difficult to pick one picture among the countless glamorous images of Huston, Ms. Blume and the Violet Grey team loved this 1975 Oscars red carpet photograph of Huston with actor Jack Nicholson, her then-paramour.

In the interview, Huston tells Ms. Blume about that exceptional evening (from getting ready in a mere hour to the legendary Oscars after-parties at Swifty’s), falling in love with Jack Nicholson for the first time (while admitting that she’s still a little bit in love with him), and ponders what makes a woman truly glamorous.

Violet Grey is a new Hollywood-based editorial e-commerce site celebrating beauty at its most compelling.  The site includes The Violet Files, a digital magazine dedicated to documenting Hollywood beauty culture in collaboration with celebrated storytellers in fashion and film.   Click here to learn more.

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Ms. Blume wins prestigious award for her VANITY FAIR cover story about Jackson Pollock

May 17, 2013

Last night, Ms. Blume was awarded the prestigious 2013 Deadline Club Best Arts Reporting award for her September 2012 Vanity Fair cover story about the controversy surrounding what may have been the final painting of iconic artist Jackson Pollock.

The annual awards honor excellence in works of journalism published in the previous year; this year, more than 80 judges sifted through a record 500 entries from a broad swath of media, including newspapers, magazines, radio, television and digital media outlets.

Vanity Fair made a strong showing with six nominations in various categories, and also took home awards on behalf of the late Christopher Hitchens for opinion writing, and for the best magazine feature reporting (William Langewiesche).

Ms. Blume is a regular contributor to the magazine and  Her award-winning article, “The Canvas and the Triangle,” documents the fiery authentication battle waged by Pollock’s former mistress, Ruth Kligman, over a small work titled Red, Black & Silver – allegedly created for her just weeks before Pollock’s tragic death in 1956.

Click here for more information about the Deadline Club, which has been supporting high journalistic standards since 1925.

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April 1, 2013

In the past, expressions like horsefeathers (nonsense), blinkers (see also: barnacles, peepers, cheaters, and spectacles), and coxy-loxy (drunk – but in a good natured way) were all the go around town.  Yet they have since disappeared from the English lexicon in favor of far more pedestrian modern expressions.

Lunch instead of luncheonPlayer instead of rapscallion, varlet, or scapegrace?  Stockings instead of gamcases?  Zzzzzzz, to say the least.

It’s easy to forget that history is positively brimming with rich, colorful, often-naughty and wildly clever expressions deserving of rejuvenation. In her latest Let’s Bring Back volume, Let’s Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition — now available online and at bookstores everywhere — Lesley M. M. Blume gathers forgotten words, phrases, names, insults, and idioms, plus fascinating and amusing anecdotes, etymologies, and occasions for use.

Let’s Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition takes readers on a philological journey through words from ancient times through the 1990s. From all-overish to zounds, the vintage vernacular collected here will make any reader the cat’s meow among friends, relations, and acquaintances.

The book also features guest contributions from some of today’s most celebrated novelists, essayists, journalists, philosophers, and other literary types, including Christopher Buckley, Sloane Crosley, Cokie Roberts, Jim Shepard, and many more.

CLICK HERE TO BUY Let’s Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition.


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NEW BOOK DEAL: Ms. Blume to pen a biography documenting Hemingway’s early Paris years

March 8, 2013

Ms. Blume is delighted to announce a book deal for her first major biography, to be released by Eamon Dolan Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The book, provisionally titled All Things Truly Wicked, will document the real-life events that inspired Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 debut novel, The Sun Also Rises.  Although Hemingway wrote the book over a mere six weeks following a raucous 1925 trip to a Pamplona bullfighting festival, it was years in the making: All Things Truly Wicked will chronicle Hemingway’s early years in Paris, as he delved into the creative expat community there, and crafted the revolutionary writing style and masterpiece that would change the course of literature forever.

Countless Lost Generation icons played a role (either wittingly or not) in the creation of The Sun Also Rises, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Ford Madox Ford.  The book will detail the intersecting lives and ambitions of these greats – and how they all contributed to what would become the legendary Hemingway persona.   From Paris’s zinc bars to Pamplona’s dusty bullrings to the intrepid publishing houses of Jazz Age New York City, the literary scene of this era will be brought to life again in vivid detail.

The book is scheduled to be released in 2016, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the publication of The Sun Also Rises.

For press inquiries, please contact Lori Glazer, Vice President, Executive Director of Publicity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:

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LET’S BRING BACK: THE COCKTAIL EDITION is a top-25 bestseller on Amazon

December 28, 2012

Ms. Blume’s new book about forgotten vintage cocktails and cocktail history — Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition — became a top-25 bestseller on Amazon today.

The book was the subject of a lengthy feature on NPR’s Morning Edition, and was also chosen as a holiday pick by:

* The New York Times (“With this much festivity to pour over ice, who needs mistletoe?”)
* The Daily Beast (“A charming trip into the libations and drunken lore of yesteryear.”)
* The Wall Street Journal
* Vanity Fair (“Get tipsy together on bygone cocktails as you remember the year just past.”)

Click here to hear NPR’s full story, and here to see NPR’s book excerpts, including three pages of vintage cocktail recipes.

Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition was released this fall by Chronicle Books as part of the larger Let’s Bring Back series, which celebrates lost-but-delightful fashions, delectables, landmarks, and personalities from bygone eras.

The original Let’s Bring Back edition – a top-selling, much-beloved multi-topic encyclopedia of nostalgia – was released to acclaim in 2010.  In 2013, Chronicle will also release Let’s Bring Back: The Lost Language Edition, which extols the virtues of certain lost words, phrases, idioms, insults and praises from bygone eras.

The series has also inspired ancillary products, such as the Let’s Bring Back journal and a soon-to-be-released Let’s Bring Back by Lulu Frost jewelry line.

Click here to purchase or pre-order any of the Let’s Bring Back titles.

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NOW AVAILABLE: Ms. Blume’s new book about lost historical cocktails, LET’S BRING BACK: THE COCKTAIL EDITION

September 27, 2012

The great Humphrey Bogart once noted, “The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.”

At last, here’s your excuse to catch up. Introducing Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition, a compendium of long-forgotten libations due for a revival. Culled from ancient times through the 1960s, these delectable vintage cocktails are by turns fizzy and silken, sweet and tart, lethal and prim. Some of them are absurd, several are sentimental, while others are outright scandalous. They include:

* Angel’s Tit – Guaranteed to shock goody-goodies
* Du Barry - To get your mistress into the mood
* Green-Eyed Monster - To serve to frenemies
* Hanky Panky – A vintage aphrodisiac
* Kill Devil Punch – A helpful aid in home exorcisms
* Monkey Gland – An unlikely fountain of youth
* Runt’s Ambition – Serve to men with Napoleon Complex

Throughout this illustrated tome, Ms. Blume divulges colorful cocktail history and barroom wisdom alongside one hundred and forty-four recipes that will delight aperitif aficionados for years to come. Whether you’re toasting to an unexpected windfall, treating a malediction, or simply need an occasion to let your hair down, Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition has the concoction for you.

CLICK HERE TO BUY Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition, and visit the Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition Tumblr here.

Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition is such good reading—it’s a mix of cocktail lore, recipes, anecdotes, and quotations—that even a teetotaler would enjoy it.”
- The Paris Review

Prepare to get punch-drunk.
- Daily Candy


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Introducing LET’S BRING BACK BY LULU FROST, a jewelry collection inspired by Ms. Blume’s book

September 9, 2012

On September 7, during New York Fashion Week, Ms. Blume and Lulu Frost designer Lisa Salzer debuted Let’s Bring Back by Lulu Frost, a vast jewelry collection inspired by Ms. Blume’s top-selling and critically acclaimed book, Let’s Bring Back.

Five hundred guests and members of the press attended the presentation at the historic Carlyle Hotel.  The collection celebrates three historical Let’s Bring Back icons: beguiling, eccentric Belle Epoque heiress Luisa Casati (who famously claimed “I want to be a living work of art”), Jazz Age activist and publisher Nancy Cunard, and famously irreverent mid-century Surrealist designer Elsa Schiaparelli:

Ms. Salzer — a guest contributor to Let’s Bring Back, along with Nora Ephron, James L. Brooks, and Kate Spade, among many other luminaries — translated each muse’s style into a 30-piece collection.  Casati – ever-inspired by the celestial and other-wordly – was represented by stars and serpents.  For Cunard, famed for her “signature barbaric jewelry” that included heavy wrist-to-elbow bangles, Salzer created vivid resin bracelets and batik turbans.  Schiaparelli’s collection included gem-covered tassels, lips, eyes, and lobsters – all homages to Schiap’s Surrealist art-world creations with artists such as Salvador Dali.  See images of the jewelry and launch event here:

Hendrick’s Gin – a mutual appreciator of curiosities from times gone by and a longtime sponsor of Let’s Bring Back - created sublime signature cocktails for each of the icons. Click here to see the creative menu and re-create these concoctions at home.

Let’s Bring Back by Lulu Frost will become available in stores and via e-retailers around the world in early 2013.  Look for it in Bergdorf Goodman, Net-a-Porter, and, among countless other venues.

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LISTEN: Ms. Blume on NPR discussing her VANITY FAIR cover story about Jackson Pollock

August 14, 2012

Yesterday Ms. Blume appeared on NPR’s The Leonard Lopate Show to discuss her cover story in the September issue of Vanity Fair:

The article chronicles the explosive, decades-long controversy surrounding what may have been Jackson Pollock’s last painting.  Red, Black & Silver was long owned by Ruth Kligman, Pollock’s contentious mistress during the last year of Pollock’s life.  She claimed that the artist created the small, unsigned canvas as a love gift to her just weeks before the 1956 car crash that killed him.

On September 20, the painting is scheduled to go to auction in New York City at Phillips de Pury & Company auction house.  Yet not everyone is convinced that Red, Black & Silver is definitively the last Jackson Pollock – or even a Pollock at all.  To these detractors – who are powerful Jackson Pollock authorities and scholars – Red, Black & Silver is a work plagued by incongruity.

As Ms. Blume reported the fraught history of the painting and delved back into the vivid, often torrid world of New York’s mid-century art scene, Kligman’s trustees gave her exclusive access to Kligman’s document archive detailing the owner’s quarter-century quest to prove its legitimacy – and her own credibility.

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OUT TODAY: Ms. Blume’s new children’s book – THE WONDROUS JOURNALS OF DR. WIGGINS

August 3, 2012

Available today in stores and via online retailers everwhere: Ms. Blume’s new book, The Wondrous Journals of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins Publisher’s Weekly calls the book “a glorious unveiling of the long-hidden and very weird ‘history’ of life on Earth.”  Amazon has named it a “Best Book of the Month.”

In the pages of these thought-to-be-lost diaries, readers will meet Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins, the greatest paleozoologist of all time, who reveals the secrets of the ancient animal and plant world –- a world before human beings; a world before dinosaurs; a world that, until now, existed well beyond the outer reaches of our imaginations.

Oddities such as the deadly Amazonian Whispering Vine (Vitus Sussurus), the curious tribe of Brittle Bones (Futilis Ossis), a rather gaseous northern-lights creature (Animato Inflatio ab Aqulonius), and a mysterious and indispensable pet named Gibear (Chiropetra Vicugna Pacosis) live again in Dr. Wiggins’s vivid and captivating sketches.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that Dr. Wiggins’s journals have surfaced now, in a time predicted by scientists and religions all over the world to be the beginning of the next mass extinction. Can we learn from the mistakes of those who came before us and avoid such a fate?

BUY THE BOOK: Click here to order The Wondrous Journals of Dr. Wendell Wellington Wiggins.


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IN STORES SOON: The splendid paperback edition of Ms. Blume’s book MODERN FAIRIES

May 16, 2012

Available for pre-order now: the paperback edition of Ms. Blume’s book, Modern Fairies, Dwarves, Goblins, and Other Nasties.  First released to acclaim in 2010 and magnificently/eccentrically illustrated by artist David Foote, the new cover features images from the much-beloved first edition.

imageIn this guidebook to the modern urban fairy realm, readers will receive practical advice on matters such as:

* How to tell a good fairy from a bad one,
* How to spot a “fairy ring,”
* How to tell the difference between dwarves and trolls (one species is far deadlier than the other),
* How to defend against fairies who would do you harm,

… and much, much more.  Also included: eight true cautionary tales about children who have encountered fairies in ultramodern New York City.  Readers are advised to read the book very closely, lest they find themselves in their own fairy encounter. 

Says Barnes & Noble about this new edition: Modern Fairies is a complete departure for Lesley Blume, but one that has garnered both critical praise and commercial success in hardcover, and we expect to see great things from the paperback. It’s elegantly written and beautifully illustrated, which will help set it apart from other books about fairies. Half guidebook and half short story collection, Modern Fairies is for children who love the earnest advice included in the Dangerous Book for Boys/Girls titles and the wicked fun of Roald Dahl. The illustrations are incredibly original and yet also instantly classic. David Foote is a real find and an artist from whom we can expect to see much more. 

Click here to see the Modern Fairies movie trailer, and click here to hear NPR’s exciting segment on the book.

PRE-ORDER THE BOOK: Click here to buy Modern Fairies from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or Powell’s Books.

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