An Evening of Wit, Wisdom and a Whisper of Gossip

Susan Claassen is remarkable as “Edith Head” in her one woman theatrical production “A Conversation with Edith Head” presented by Modernism Week, Palm Springs. The show was SOLD OUT and received a well deserved standing ovation.

Susan Claassen‘s uncanny resemblance to Edith Head, with friend Bob Mackie.

EDITH HEAD – Trailblazer

Edith Head was a legend.  Pardon the pun, but she was a Head of her time. One of the most prolific costume designers of the twentieth century, she received an unprecedented 35 Academy Award nominations and won a record-breaking eight Oscars at a time when the industry and world in general was dominated by men.  Her career spanned 58 years of movie making. She liked to call herself a “Magician.”  The word is suitable considering the magic she created with her design skills.  She raised rear ends, made waists look smaller, legs longer and hid imperfections like no other. 

There’s nothing like a row of Oscars for putting the fear of God into an actress who thinks she knows everything about dress designing.” – Edith Head

Edith Head became as famous as the stars she dressed.  With her signature glasses, straight bangs and tailored suits, her distinctive style made her a recognizable personality in her own right.

Looking exactly like Edith Head with trademark glasses and all, Susan Claassen brings us back to the time when Head dressed glamorous movie stars such as Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Lana Turner, Paul Newman, John Wayne, Bette Davis, Steve McQueen, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich and many more.  Some of the original costumes and photographs were on stage. However, preferring never to upstage whoever she was dressing, Head only liked to wear four colors herself: black, white, beige and brown.

Design for Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954).

With wit and intellect, Claassen relives and re tells stories when Head worked with actors like Mae West, Debbie Reynolds, Barbara Stanwyck and a young Elizabeth Taylor.  Not gonna lie; it was fun finding out who was naughty and who was nice! A few tidbits: Taylor was fascinated by a signature necklace worn by Head to the point where it was left for her in Head’s will.  Funnily enough there were no diamonds in the necklace but it was an eye-catching, original, vintage piece.  Head formed special relationships with the famous she dressed and recounted those stories.  For instance, when Grace Kelly became princess Grace and moved to Monaco, she would always visit Head when returning to Los Angeles.  Kelly always wore white gloves so on one visit Head made little white gloves for her young daughters, Princesses Caroline and Stephanie.

In 1961 Edith Head hired Bob Mackie to be her sketch artist at Paramount Studios. Mackie would later become another famous designer (he designed all of the costumes for the Carole Burnett Show, all of Cher’s costumes and many more including sketching the famous sequined dress worn my Marilyn Monroe when she sang “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to JFK).  As luck would have it, I met and spoke with him for several minutes before the show began.  He said that the actress (Susan Claassen) was a good friend of his and that he also knew Edith Head and that she helped start his career.  I had met him last year at the book store Just Fabulous when I bought his beautiful book “The Art of Bob Mackie” and told him how much I love the book and it brought back so many good memories.  Also, he looked just fabulous.

The real Edith Head with a young Bob Mackie. Photo: WWD

Edith Head died in 1981 of a progressive and rare blood disease, myeloid metaplasia, two weeks after completing work on her last film “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid.” She left her estate to the Motion Picture and Television Fund and to other charitable organizations aiding Native American children and her beloved animals.  Her funeral was attended by hundreds, including not only Hollywood’s stars but also the backlot people.  A Paramount security guard dressed in a uniform designed by Edith Head mused, “I remember her real well.  At Christmas she took care of every one on the lot.  She was the greatest designer in the world.  Edith Head was quite a girl.”  And that she was.

Head’s no nonsense straightforward personality inspired the character of Edna Mode in The Incredibles.

Outside the Annenberg Theatre before the show with Bob Mackie.

Oscars Won:

The Heiress, 1949

Samson and Delilah, 1950

All About Eve, 1950

A Place in the Sun, 1951

Roman Holiday, 1953

Sabrina, 1954

The Facts of Life, 1960

The Sting, 1973

wearing the necklace Elizabeth Taylor loved.

The show must go on:

Booking Now Through 2025:

MODERNISM week has ended as of February 26th, but please join us next year for another unbelievable lineup of fabulous events.

Header Photo of set – d. king


Modernism Week: Our Town

Modernism week in Palm Springs is considered the holy grail of modernist design celebrating mid-century architecture and culture from 1946 to 1973.

d. king

With a plethora of all kinds of events taking place all over town, people enjoy swanky home tours, themed parties, fashion, art, film and talks.  Something for everyone.

Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint

I happen to be a film/music/classics lover so took in a legendary screening of a once-upon-a-time live television show called “Our Town” which was filmed very much like a play. The presentation was shown at the intimate Annenberg Theatre, located inside the Palm Springs Art Museum.  I chose it after learning how extremely careful they had to be to re-master this 1955 musical about a small New Hampshire town in the early 20th century where change comes slowly.  Starring Frank Sinatra , Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint. Followed by a panel discussion about Sinatra’s greatest decade in music and film.  

For me, you guessed it – Sinatra was the main draw.  Just seeing him in his prime singing songs both familiar and forgotten was worth checking out.  But I never realized how great an actress Eva Marie Saint was. Now 98 years old, Saint played a very convincing17 year old, even though she was in her early 30’s at the time. No wonder she won an Academy Award in 1954 for best supporting actress for “On the Waterfront.” The very same year that Sinatra won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “From Here to Eternity.”  

So is everything old, new again?  Not necessarily.  Considered a lost treasure, this musical with a very poignant message, was telecast a few times in the past at the Museum of Broadcasting in Manhattan. 

This episode was a musical adaption of Thornton Wilder’s 1938 play “Our Town,” (later made into a movie) with songs by Jimmy van Heusen and Sammy Cahn. Based on the play, the story shares the idea that we live life without really appreciating what it has to offer. Once we die, and are able to see what we had, it is really too late. Major themes of the play include mortality, appreciating life, companionship and marriage, love, and the circle of life.  As the subject matter suggests: there is something eternal in all of us.

Perhaps I’m feeling nostalgic even though this was before my time – more my parents time. Maybe I’m trying to relive a bit of their past. A much simpler, old-fashioned more glamorous era that I’d prefer to have been a part of; except for the fact that I might not be around now.  A time when milk and newspapers got delivered every morning and nobody locked their front doors. Sadly, a bygone era.

Immediately following the screening there was an interesting panel discussion with filmmaker Jim Burns, Sinatra’s granddaughter Amanda Erlinger (Nancy’s daughter) and Executive Producer, Brook Babcock. Erlinger was kind enough to share archival photos from her fascinating personal collection along with stories about her famous grandfather.  We had an insider’s glimpse into his life.  One  thing for sure is that he appreciated his fellow musicians and went to great measures to make sure they got treated fairly.

Some fun facts about the show:

37 million viewers tuned in for the show which was filmed in one take and in 3 parts, very much like a play itself.  Speaking of theatre in general, we wonder why it is that Sinatra never ended up doing a Broadway play or musical during his long career.

“Our Town” is the only time Paul Newman and Sinatra headlined together in a narrative production. Newman and Eva Marie Saint would subsequently lead the cast of Exodus together in 1960.

All episodes of this Producers’ Showcase were broadcast in full color although only black and white *kinescopes remain for most of the shows, including “Our Town” as well as a 90-minute version of “The Petrified Forest” starring Humphrey Bogart, Henry Fonda and Lauren Bacall. 

A bit of cinematic history:

A few years ago at the Palm Springs Film Festival (PSIFF), I really loved the documentary “Sinatra in Palm Springs: the Place he Called Home.” 

*kinescopes were used to make records of live television programs before videotape recording was practical. They were in common use in the late 1940s, and were replaced in the 1950s by videotape. 

If you’re interested here is the original movie of “Our Town” starring another Palm Springs local – the late William Holden.

Tickets for other events (while they last):



Mindful Eating

Intermittent Fasting is gaining popularity among those who want to lose weight and burn fat. Anyone here want to burn fat?It’s a much healthier option than going full on starvation mode, and a lot easier than you think.

I’ve never been one to fast, however, without even realizing it, I’ve been intermittent fasting (IF for short) for the past several weeks and feel so much better for doing so.  All I’m doing is not eating breakfast first thing in the morning and eating dinner earlier than usual.  Except for maybe a weekend night, I try to finish my last meal no later than 7:00 pm and have breakfast mid morning. Makes for a much better sleep too having those extra hours before bedtime with no snacking after dinner.

As I love eating, I don’t do well with diets, however I’ve tried several diets in the past. Many diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is all about when you eat. Technically you’re fasting for 16 hours every day, and restricting meals to an 8-hour eating window. This is the most popular form of intermittent fasting, known as the 16/8 method. 

Here’s a good beginner’s guide to Intermittent Fasting:

Intermittent Fasting – A Beginner’s Guide

 by Brad King February 16, 2023

There is so much interest surrounding the topic of intermittent fasting or IF these days, however there is also a great deal of confusion surrounding IF. I hope to clear up much of this confusion and in the process, give you more clarity on the subject and a quick starter guide for those who wish to try it out for yourself.

 IF 101

 IF is a dietary strategy in which a person avoids the intake of food for many hours each day. The actual time varies depending on a person’s goals, individual needs and health profile, however research indicates that most health benefits occur during a fasting period of at least 14 hours each day, and optimally 16 hours or more. As an example, this would equate to a person ending their last meal at 7PM each night and starting their first meal of the day at 11AM the next morning. So, in effect, you would be eating for a time period of 8 hours each day.

Many people begin IF for weight loss, as there is often a calorie deficit experienced with this type of program, but the real benefits in terms of weight loss actually come from IF’s ability to control excess blood sugar levels. Every time we eat—especially high carbohydrate foods—we experience elevated blood glucose, which places our bodies into a fat storage mode for many hours afterwards.

When we fast, our bodies shift from using glucose as its primary energy source to releasing and burning stored fat. Fasting allows insulin levels to drop, and when the body is in a fasted state long enough, the body enters a state of ketosis, where stored fat breaks down into fatty acids, which are then transported to the liver and converted into ketone bodies (beta-hydroxybutyrateacetoacetate, and acetone), which can then be used as a healthy form of energy for the body and brain.

Obviously weight loss (coming primarily from our fat stores) is a great reason for many to start IF, but IF has the ability to increase our overall health in many more ways than trimming our waistlines. For instance, research suggests that IF can also improve our cellular health, and the promotion of biological longevity.

IF seems to attain better health by activating a process known as autophagy. Autophagy is the body’s natural cleansing process in which old, worn or damaged cells are broken down and removed from the body. Autophagy is necessary for optimal health, and has been shown to exert numerous health enhancing effects, help us look and feel better and even reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Aside from enhancing ones health profile through autophagy, IF has also been shown to increase the production of one of our most powerful pituitary hormones called human growth hormone (HGH), which has documented anti-aging properties and is responsible for better skin, bone, muscle mass, enhanced sleep cycles and also fat loss.

Finally, IF has also been shown to help lower the incidence of metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes and heart disease by improving overall insulin sensitivity, and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Brad’s 5-step plan for getting started with intermittent fasting

Begin slowly: It’s critical to ease into intermittent fasting. Begin with shorter fasting periods and gradually lengthen them as your body adjusts. Start by eliminating snacking between meals and not eating anything after 7PM.

Choose the appropriate fasting method: There are several types of intermittent fasting (IF), including time-restricted feeding, in which you fast for a set number of hours each day, and alternate day fasting, in which you fast every other day. Select the method that best fits your lifestyle and schedule.

Stay hydrated: It is critical to drink plenty of water during a fast in order to stay hydrated and flush out toxins. Sugary and artificially sweetened drinks should be avoided because they can disrupt the fasting process and negate any benefits by raising glucose and insulin.

Eat healthy: IF should not be used as an excuse to consume unhealthy foods. Focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats during non-fasting periods and stay away from excess carbs—especially processed ones—as much as possible.

Consult a medical professional: Before embarking on any new dietary regimen, it is critical to consult with a doctor or a nutritionist to determine whether IF is safe and appropriate for you. Fasting may be contraindicated in people with certain medical conditions, such as type 1 diabetes.

To summarize, IF is a dietary approach with numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved cellular health, and biological longevity. It is possible to reap the benefits and improve overall health and wellness by following a healthy and well-planned IF program.

Link to Full Article:–X5lSQnK3gf4cqq4wfbd8sAdE7nHPSCik%3D.TqVu9R

Disclaimer: Of course there are some who should stay away from IF – Children and teens under age 18. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. People with type 1 diabetes who take insulin.

Valentine’s Day – What’s Love got to do with it?

What do rock concerts and Valentine’s day have in common?

They both begin with a spontaneous emotion but over time the performance becomes ritualized and people anticipate the expected songs/gifts and they both must deliver.

Head’s up to men everywhere – women like to be spoiled every day of the year.
Romance is natural and not something forced, and gifts should be unexpected instead of expected. So don’t save it only for one commercially enforced day of the year. Holidays imposed upon us for the sole purpose of profit making are not expression of a loving sentiment. However, it’s a not so subtle reminder to show appreciation for those we love and sometimes for those we don’t.

Having once lived in Japan I remember a few customary rituals to do with their version of Valentine’s Day.

First off, there’s White Day – the male counterpart to Valentine’s Day in Japan, where the tradition is that women give expensive chocolates to men they’re romantically involved with, and cheaper chocolates to their coworkers, bosses and sometime older brothers.

Giri-choco (義理チョコ) is a custom where woman give chocolates to male colleagues.  It’s an unspoken obligation to give chocolates to your boss.

Whereas Honmei choco (本命チョコ, or “true love chocolate”) is inspired by romantic interest and given to husbands, boyfriends, or a potential love interest.

Here’s a sprinkling of some of my favourite Valentine quotes:

“It is not love that makes a relationship complicated; it’s the people in it who do.” — Unknown

“I wanted to make it really special on Valentine’s Day, so I tied my boyfriend up. And for three solid hours, I watched whatever I wanted on TV.” — Tracy Smith

 “Valentine’s Day: the holiday that reminds you that if you don’t have a special someone, you’re alone.” —Lewis Black

 “You can’t buy love, but you can pay heavily for it.” — Henny Youngman

 “Remember, your Valentine’s card shows you care enough to send the very best, even though you’re too lazy to put it in your own words.” — Melanie White

“One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.” — Oscar Wilde”

outside a restaurant in Palm Springs
“If Christmas is considered the most wonderful time of the year, then Valentine’s Day is most definitely the LOVEliest day of the year.” – d. king


Header Photo: d. king **(if you receive this via e-mail you can click on the title to get the full screen.)



Groundhog Day Grounding

This is a bit no; a lot off my usual topic path but let’s stop to think for a moment about what this day represents.

So cute. Photo: CNN

For me; whenever I think about Groundhog Day I think about the movie by the same name with Bill Murray and the déjà vu feeling of reliving the same day over and over.

While we don’t exactly repeat the same pattern every single day of our lives, our morning and evening rituals tend to be predictably the same.

Speaking of habitual habits, today I decided to break my morning routine..if only a little.  I still brushed my teeth, walked my dog and had a coffee first thing after waking but then I meditated and wrote in a journal some empowering words and what I intend to accomplish if only for today. I was instructed to do so when I started the Aligned Woman Workshop Series with a group of fabulous women. As women we tend to multi-task and many times take on more than we can chew; so this workshop is about setting boundaries, creating balance and bringing more abundance into our lives, among other topics. 

But getting back to today, February 2nd…

I never fully understood why people rely on a little furry creature to tell them how long winter will last instead of a regular weather person.  But I go along with it like so many others.  If you don’t already know (good for you if you do) and if you’re so inclined to read about it,  here’s a bit of interesting information on an annual tradition that’s about as strange as anything can get.

How did Groundhog Day go from a kooky local ritual to an annual celebration even those of us who don’t worry about winter can find the fun in?

There’s a wealth of information out there if you look for it but I’ll try to break it down (which is one of the things I do best).

A group of men wearing top hats and tuxedos gather around and wait for a groundhog named Phil (always named Phil) to come out of his hole (known as a burrow), and if Phil sees his shadow (let’s assume they know he sees or doesn’t see it), the town gets six more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t see his shadow the town gets an early Spring.

The town is called Punxsutawney (pronounced Punk – sue – tan-ee) located in Pennsylvania. It’s actually a borough in Jefferson County, PA.

On this day, thousands of people including international media visit the town for an annual weather prediction by Phil.

But did you know…

Before using groundhogs they relied on badgers for the winter/spring update . A regular badger,  not to be confused with the honey badger (the one who doesn’t give a damn about anything if you witnessed some of the videos about them on YouTube – also considered one of the most aggressive and dangerous animals in the world). 

Getting back to the groundhog:

Before he was a celebrity, he was lunch. Yes; him and his family! In a terrible twist, the earliest Groundhog Days of the 19th century involved devouring poor Phil after he made his prediction. The year 1887 was the year of the “Groundhog Picnic.” Pennsylvania historian Christopher Davis wrote that locals cooked up groundhog as a “special local dish,” served at the Punxsutawney Elk Lodge, whose members would go on to create the town’s Groundhog Club. Diners were “pleased at how tender” the poor groundhog’s meat was, Davis said.

I’m so happy they stopped doing this but I’m certain the groundhog is even happier. 

I have a feeling badger meat is not as tender although I haven’t tried it either.  I have read that people, especially in countries such as Russia, Croatia and China, have eaten badgers for centuries.

Oh well; according to Phil they’re getting another six weeks of winter.