“Vamp” – Theda Bara

rolfThere was no actress who steamed up the screens
of early motion picture
theatres more than
Theda Bara– – –

She has been called
the original ‘vamp’:

and she really was
the American silent
screen’s first sex symbol.

Theda appeared in more than 40 films,

and although many a1
of them are now lost….

those films that remain
extant show an actress
who totally understood
how to project a personal
sense of smoldering, exotic
sensuality and desirability
through the camera lens.

The ‘vamp’ archetype
is an old one —

Men have almost
an inborn taste
for the idea
of a provocative,
dominant, wanton,
and assertive female,

who uses the power
of her femininity
and sexuality to ‘seduce’
them away from their
sense of ethics and judgement –

mystery—- capable of ‘taking control’
of their resources and their passions,

Even to the point of personal ruin.

Theda played that role
on screen like no one ever had,
and no one ever will—

….even modern literature
has rarely seen such
1aan intense characterization
of this concept —

And in this respect,
her performances have
more affinity for the
psychologist than the
cinema student.

The scripts could be
vastly different,

….. but she always brought
this allegorical aspect
into her characters.

In movies like:
“A Fool There Was”,
“The Devil’s Daughter”,
“Gold and the Woman”,
“The Unchastened Woman”,
and “When a Woman Sins”,

….. she played the head-strongthedabara ambitious female
that would stop at nothing
to get what she wanted-

whether the motive
was a mercenary one,
namely,
$$$$$…..

….. or whether her character
was driven by desire
for the fulfillment
of deeper needs and passions.1916

In the classic films:
“Sin”,
“Vixen”,
and the “Eternal Sappho”,

…. her rendering of the vamp
reflected the idea that sex itself
was subject to the darker forces a2
of the anima and animus
over which a person could
have very little control.

She also played more
classical divas like “Cleopatra”,

and Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet”,

thedabara……but always with that very unique Theda Bara edge.

The costumes used in a
Theda Bara picture were
often very alluring and transparent–

Her beautiful buxom figure,
deep set eyes, and almost
mesmerizing body language
combined to complete the package —

The effect that she had
on audiences can be
partly experienced by simply
looking at posters and publications
from the era featuring her image.sins

Male audience members
couldn’t take their eyes off her,

…… and women would
often faint or scream
during a performance.

Her impact on screen was magnified by the fact that movies were still in their infancy,

….and most audience members
had some degree of difficulty
remembering that what
they were seeing in the theatre
wasn’t reality, despite the
lack of sound or color.

She was quite aware of this effect,
and although she sometimes
tired of the ‘vamp’ role,

she was quoted in the 1920’s as saying:

“I will continue doing
vampires as long as people sin”.

1aWhile some film critics
like to speak of actresses
like the beautiful Clara Bow
as the earliest example
of a silent screen sex symbol,

Theda Bara’s work predates the
“It Girl” by almost 10 years,

….and while Clara’s persona
was one very in tune
with the twenties —
fun loving, perky,
and somewhat even innocent,

Bara’s work was Gothic,bara
darkly Jungian, and cerebral —

— as if nudging the
unconscious mind
where unresolved
fears and lusts,
the by-products of an
unenlightened
industrial age, still lurked.

(and still lurk)

Bara was born in 1885,
in Cincinnati, Ohio,
as Theodosia Burr Goodman,

…..and first appeared on stage
at the age of 23 in a play
called “The Devil” (1908).

Her first film was made in 1914,
in New York, called “The Stain”,

(she made 4 more in
the following year )

…. but within three years,
she, along with most of rest
of the fledgling motion
picture industry, had
moved to Hollywood, California.

aShe retired in 1926, and consequently, never made a ‘talking picture’.

She worked mainly for Fox Studios,

and when the Fox nitrate-film archive in New Jersey burned down in 1937,

—– most of her films
burned with it.

What we have left of her work
are some short previews,
fragments of clips, and
complete copies of only 6 films.

And, of course,
—- these wonderful posters and pictures.

One added point —

henry cliveThere are several very
important pin up art pieces,
that were inspired by Miss Bara —

The top picture on this post
was painted by Rolf Armstrong.

Another, this one on the right,
featuring Miss Bara as Cleopatra,
was painted by Henry Clive.

And, of course,
there was a set of
pictures taken of Marilyn Monroe,
doing homage to Theda Bara
as Cleopatra, as well.

A picture from that series is below.

marilynthedabara

.

So, here’s to beautiful,
sensual women of every age and era !!!!!

Hoy!

.

vamp

 

 

 

Advertisements

Gabbing About Gestalt

legsOne minute you see it,

One minute you don’t.

Poof.

Presto.

It’s hoodoo —
or voodoo —
magic,
or witchcraft,
or something…..animals

 

Nope–
It’s way more
spooky than that.

It’s about human psychology–
and how we perceive things.

Gestalt is a funny thing.

Observing how your mind
takes a single line,
shape, color, or contrast–
—  or a group of them,

and turns it into a
whole concept
is not only interesting,

…… but can produce
some really startling
effects.

For example…..gestalt

Do you see a pretty girl,
or a guy playing the saxophone,
in this picture?

Look again, man.

Anybody who’s ever gone to a psychologist….

( and as a child, I went to many —
— surprise, surprise, huh?
)

…… knows what a
Rorschach ink blot test is.

You’re supposed to look
at a blob of nothing —

….. and tell them the
first thing that comes
to mind.

Of course,
a reasonable
person would think —
INK BLOT “.

But no, that’s nota
how it’s supposed to work.

And with me,
it seemed
to go rather badly.

The guy would hand me
one of those
ink blot things,

and I’d say it looked like a naked lady.

He’d hand me another one,

….and I’d say that one
looked like a naked lady, too.love

After a couple rounds of this,
he finally remarked :

It seems like you might have
an obsession with sex, young man.

I was shocked,
mortified, stunned …

( ok… not all that much, really )

Hey,”, I said ..

You’re the one that keeps showing me dirty pictures, man.

It’s all a matter of perception, ya see.

.

Look at this picture.

badeyes

Maybe it just looks like
a bunch of blocks to you.

And really, that’s all it is.

But your mind wants to put
it all together into a unified package.

So, back up a bit from the screen,
and presto — you’ll get the message.

I’m not sure it’s all that accurate, mind you …

I’ve been wearing glasses
all my life and …. wait .

Ummmm……

Next slide, please.

.

I’m gonna give you a little task to perform.

No— not that.

Later, perhaps.

Quickly– I want you to tell
me the color each of these words.

colors

No….

Not what the word says
but what color the word is.

Hmmmm…..
not all that easy, is it ?

You look at the word ORANGE,
and it’s hard to say BLUE,
…. even though you see it IS blue.

That’s because the brain
stores color information,
and language information,
in two different parts of the brain.

And the information from
one part is overriding the
information from the other part.

Confused?

Welcome to my world, baby.

.
cola
Often, an image or representation won’t give you a lot of information.

And your brain will try to
fill in the blanks, as it were.

Observe the simple cues in the picture —
color, shape, and a few letters.

Yet, very few people
would fail to come
to a quick conclusion
of what this image is.

Corporations use this concept
a good deal to their advantage,

………….. in everything from logos to advertising.

After all, why tell you stuff
about their product that
might be true, or might not….

…. when they can lead you
to draw your own assumptions/conclusions.

And since all the parts necessary
to make an accurate decision aren’t provided,
well, it’s not hard to see the
potential errors that can be made.

Harmless or not, these kinds of ads
are very persuasive, and appeal
to the deepest reaches of the mind.

But it’s not the only technique they use on you.

Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Take this example —
the new Wendy’s logo. mom

See the word under the girl ?

Why is it there?

To give you a
subliminal impression —
home, apple pie —
and, of course, MOM.

Again —
‘they’ don’t want you
to notice it consciously.

They’re playing upon a
necessary function of your brain —
— the ability to make
sense of the world around us –

but, of course,
using it for their own purposes.

Me, I prefer more recreational uses.

enoch1

Tell ’em, Frank.

THE HOO DOO YOU DO

Hoy!

Early Learning And The Mozart Effect

effectsSeveral years ago,
my daughter was asked to
write a paper on a phenomenon
referred to as “The Mozart Effect” —

the assignment was to explain what it was,
and how it supposedly worked.

She dutifully complied,
writing a glowing report on the potential benefits
to society of this newly discovered innovation.

a2She described how these three researchers
at University of California Irvine had
experimented playing Mozart sonatas
to a small group of college students
and observed the effects.

She explained, that in their October 1993
report published in Nature, they seemed
to be suggesting a cause and effect
relationship between the sonatas and
higher scores on participating student’s
scholastic performance tests.

The results were so exciting at the time
that Georgia Governor Zell Miller had
even started a State program to distribute
classical music CD’s to parents of newborn Georgians.

My daughter’s enthusiasm for the
‘Effect’ seems to have the won the day, a1
because she received an award for her paper,
as an evidence that she was not the
only amateur psychologist in the house.

When she had initially asked me about the subject,
I had expressed some hopeful interest .

You see, when both my son and my daughter were babies, we had music going in the nursery at a very low level 24 hours a day, because we felt intuitively that it would have a positive impact on their development — and I believe it certainly did —

But I was skeptical that this could be clearly shown as the result of a scientific study, and certainly could not be narrowed down so specifically to Mozart’s music.

moz

If indeed, such a method could be proven to help people learn and do better on tests, it would be both a validation of our parenting method, and more importantly, a boon for society at large.

Mozart’s music is readily accessible everywhere in the world, on all types of media, which means that disadvantaged learners of all ages, races, and social strata could immediately benefit —

— the ‘Effect’ could indeed, bring about a whole new way of looking at human cognitive processes, learning, and development. It would be no overstatement to say that it could change the world.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t long after the U.C. Irvine study was released, that sales pitches making exaggerated claims for ‘Effect’ based products appeared — all claiming “scientifically proven results”.

bartIt all began to sound more akin to a marketing gimmick than it did to psychology or science, and so I decided to help her research her project, and perhaps learn for myself just how much of it was ‘steak’ and how much was ‘sizzle’.

The original study that got Mozart’s ball rolling wasn’t really a scientific report at all —

but a brief, three paragraph letter written by Frances Rauscher, Gordon Shaw, and Katherine Ky —

restand it was published,
not as an article,
but under ‘scientific coorespondence’ in the British journal “Nature”.

In it, the authors described a very fleeting increase in IQ test scores for a test group after being exposed to the music of Mozart for ten minutes, when compared to a control group, which heard either silence or a relaxation tape.

This ‘effect’ was quite temporary, and lasted only as long as the experiment itself. The letter made no assertions about causality, nor did it imply any.

waveNevertheless, the letter generated a great deal of interest among scientists, and many efforts were made to repeat the experiment on a larger scale in order to verify, clarify, or expand upon the purported results.

Frances Rauscher, one of the Psychologists who participated in the original study, had followed it up with additional studies, one showing a dramatic sixty percent improvement in IQ scores, among a group of 36 college students, after listening to Mozart’s ‘Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major’.

At the University of Illinois, researcher John Hughes used a similar set up on epileptic patients, and found that 29 out of 36 showed a significant decrease in symptomology and spiking during the time they were exposed.

terMost attempts at replicating the results, however, have proven unsuccessful. A much larger and more comprehensive study, done at Appalachian State University, exposed 206 students to identical conditions of the original experiment and found that:
… the results were consistent with prior failures in other laboratories to produce a Mozart Effect “. Kenneth Steele, one of the researchers on the ASU study summed it up this way: “The bottom line is that there is no ‘ Mozart Effect ‘.”

Another similarly unsuccessful attempt at Midwestern State University concluded:
“The findings suggest caution in measuring differences in various cognitive tasks as indicating increases in intelligence scores”.

And, the most persuasive study on the subject to date, a joint work by William Forde Thompson, E. Glenn Schellenburg, and Gabriela Husain found that when the elements of musical preference, mood, and arousal factors were held statistically constant, the effect vanished.

mozartAt this point, you may be asking, ” Then, why all the attention? Haven’t several states actually recommended Mozart music to parents as a learning aid?

Enter merchandising and the mass media. The press certainly primed the pump by running articles with titles like: ” Mozart’s Notes Make Good Brain Food ” and ” Classical Music Good For Babies “.

And despite the fact that the original report drew no conclusion about the ‘Effect’, (or what a psychologist might call an ‘artifact’),

— and that many further attempts at replicating it have been unsuccessful, entrepreneurs have jumped into the fray with both feet.a1a

“Mozart Makes You Smarter” themed products suddenly appeared :

— with names like
“Get Smart With Mozart”,
“Baby Needs Mozart”,
and “Expanding Your Mind With Mozart”.

Smelling profit — the author of one such work “The Mozart Effect (TM): Tapping The Power Of Music To Heal The Body”, Don Campbell (probably TM’d as well) even trademarked the name “Mozart Effect”, and touts the medicinal musical miracle like a patent cure-all.coltrane

So, does Mozart’s music make you smarter?

The research continues,
but the short answer is no,
probably not.

There is good news, however.
According to Dr. Stanley Greenspan, author of several books on brain development in children:

The issue isn’t whether listening to Mozart is specifically helpful for spatial reasoning. That’s far too specific a question. The issue is whether music in general enhances critical development in young children, and there’s a lot of evidence that music is very helpful.”

quote

It’s In Your Eyes

1

“The eyes are the amulets of the mind.”
(William Alger)

If you’ve been around my site for a while……..

(something very special..
that’s what you are..)

you might recognize some of what I’m talking about here…

……………….. it’s one of my favorite subjects.

“A beautiful eye makes silence eloquent.. “
(Joseph Addison)

a1I done said it once,
I done said it a thousand times.

“The first thing I look at when I look at a woman is her eyes.”

And,
every time I say that,
I get somebody kidding me,
and telling me what a liar I am about it …
— but they’re wrong.

( I only lie about my age. )

2Ok……
— to clarify —
the eyes are where I START.

……. and then, if I see somebody HOME IN THERE,

well, then I’ll be checking out a lot of other stuff pretty quick….

—– but the eyes always come first.

Irresistible.

” The soul that can speak through the eyes can also kiss with a gaze. “
( Gustavo Adolfo Becquer )

Big, deep, wide, reactive eyes…

oh, man….

those are the kinda eyes that’ll run shudders down my spine and draw3 me in…..

put those on a pretty, smiling face,

….. and the rest of her body really doesn’t even get looked at for quite a while.

Anybody who’s seen Japanese Manga knows the kind of eyes I mean….

………………… the Manga artists know just how erotic the eyes can be.

And of course, the ancient Egyptians were wild about eyes…

their art demonstrates their belief that the EYES are the windows to the SOUL.

I couldn’t agree more.

4” My eyes are an ocean in which my dreams are reflected.”
(Anna Uhlrich)

The Chinese have an art –
part mysticism, part anatomy, part who knows what…

It’s called Chinese Face Reading….

and a large part of it has to do with trying to predict personality (and the future) by the type of eyes a person has..

there’s also an Irish/Celtic mythology built around eye color… so….

……… here’s a somewhat spurious but fun set of pseudo-factoids about the shape and color of eyes.

Lemme know how you come out…….

……………. you know, I’m NOSY that way.

5.

EYE COLOR:

Brown:
Good mechanical or practical abilities.
Sexually conservative.
Strong maternal or paternal instincts.
Dependable, capable and proficient.
Multi-taskers.

.

Hazel:
Good mathematical or spatial abilities.
Sexually adaptive.
Works well in a team environment.
Good workers, middle managers.
Fun, people people.

.pele

Amber:
Good with general knowledge, technicals.
Sexually passive.
Works well in a small group.
Organized, and well structured thinking.
Accuracy counts.

.

languageGreen:
Good creative or artistic abilities.
Sexually aggressive.
Make interesting party guests or speakers.
Always looking for new challenges.
Looks are important.

.

Blue:
Good intellectual or physical abilities.
Sexually explorative.
Make loyal friends, work well individually.
Addictive personality type.
One-track minded.

.eyes

Hmmm….
I dunno how
accurate those huge generalizations are…

……… but lets try some more.

.

” I don’t know what it is about you that closes and opens, only something in me understands the voice in your eyes is deeper than all roses.” (e.e. cummings )

.

EYE FEATURES AND SHAPES:6

Each eye a different color was considered by the Irish to indicate a specially gifted individual, while the Chinese looked at it as a sign of potential success in business or politics.

Small eyes are thought to be indicative of detail orientation and thoughtfulness. They are also considered to be even tempered and careful, and are good companions for more rash tempered or less careful mates.

Protruding eyes are thought to indicate judgmental people, or those extremely selective of other people’s company. These folks are aggressive in business, and sometimes reckless.

behaveInset Eyes: is a sign the person may be secretive and careful how they express themselves. They rarely crave any attention – shying away from the spotlight when possible. They like to run things behind the scenes anonymously.

Large Bright Eyes: a sign that the person is open and giving, honest and forthcoming. The Chinese consider these eyes the luckiest and most beautiful to have, and the Irish have a tradition about these kinds of eyes being possessed by earthbound goddesses

Sleepy Eyes: Considered to be indicative of a technically oriented person, one who works with his hands well, and is attentive to detail. Also, a miserly way with money.

scoutTriangular Eyes: Folks with these eyes are thought to be rather two-faced, and devious. They can be resourceful, and very vengeful.

Oval Set Eyes: Thought to be a sign of an “Old Soul”; a person who is generous with good advice, and is wise beyond his years.

Reddish Eyes: These are considered to be excitable, dangerous people with bad tempers… ‘a criminal type’.

Plump Eye Lids: Caring, nurturing, make good parents. Good common sense.

Large Lashes: Thought to be a sign of easy virtue, voluptuousness, perpetual youthfulness.

High Eye Brows: Snobbish, rather vain and superficial. Lucky with money and investments, and careful about appearance.

.stork

Well, there you have it…

…. my contribution to the plethora of urban myths and ole wives tales already choking the internet airwaves….

No need to thank me….

…………………………………………………..

my posts are their own reward.

mmmm,
hmmmm…..

Yeah…. SURE.

” Look into my eyes and hear what I’m not saying…….
…..for my eyes speak louder than my voice ever will. ”


7