Vickie Lester’s It’s In His Kiss: Get It. Read It.

Its In His KissJust started Vickie Lester’s It’s In His Kiss yesterday. Some 40 pages in, ‘the crime’ that would become the centerpiece of the plot was discovered. But oddly enough, if it hadn’t occurred, and never did, I wouldn’t have minded at all. Why? Because I was perfectly content and enjoying Lester’s novel so much already, ‘mystery-less’ as it was thus far.

Vickie Lester (lets assume that’s a pen name, but hopefully acquired in a less brusque manner than Janet Gaynor’s Esther Blodgett did in the classic 1937 A Star Is Born) has a way with words. That much is clear from page one. She’s created a lead character for her novel that you want to like and want to know more about, even if the character isn’t particularly heroic, quirky or unique.

It’s In His Kiss’ Anne Brown is the non-Hollywood daughter of an aging but still influential Hollywood mogul and his alcoholic ex-model/ex-wife. Anne travels from her NYC home to LA to discuss a possible film adaptation (or at least an option renewal) on an older novel of hers that she herself considers non-film material. But, a check’s a check.

Virtually on arrival, she’s swept up in a very unexpected whirlwind romance with a handsome, charming agent who shouldn’t necessarily be looking out for her interests (which involve all sorts of shenanigans with her novel, the film rights and more). But no sooner than the romance commences, the Mr. easy-on-the-eyes and good-in-the-sack is discovered dead, with a potent drug cocktail in his system. The dead amour is the son of a wacky Phil Spector-style retired music mogul, had thus far not been particularly into the ladies, but was unquestionably in love with our Anne (puzzling, since she’s no bewitching seductress). So, why the sudden switch from boy-toys to gals? Why would a clean living fellow be dabbling with killer drugs? Why all the mystery about the rights to Anne’s old novel? Why-why-why?

Well, I’m just shy of page 100, so I can’t tell you.

And I wouldn’t anyway. Read it yourself. A glance at It’s In His Kiss’ cover art wouldn’t necessarily alert you that this novel is a yummy kind of So-Cal/Hollywood/Dishy Neo-Noir, but it is, and in a good way…yet, skillfully crafted by a capable word-smith, not just some name-droppy beach read. I don’t know who ‘Vickie Lester’ really is, but then ‘Kyle Marffin’ is one of several pen names that I use, so I don’t need to know. I’m just glad that I happened to stumble across her blog at WordPress and started following her, that she’s written a damn fine novel here, and that I hope there’ll be more to come.

Go look for this book and get it.

http://vickielester.com

Romantic Coworkers: ‘Michael Garmash’

1Mikhail & Inessa Garmash are a unique pair of artists, working together as a painting duo. Mikhail was born in the Ukraine in 1969 and already winning art awards throughout the then-Soviet Union and its satellite states in his early teens, soon teaching art at the Lubansk State Fine Art College. There, he met his wife-to-be, Inessa Kitaichik, who hailed from Lipetsk in Russia. Already a successful ballerina, and musician, Inessa switched to visual arts, and the two met, married, and ultimately became collaborators under the name ‘Michael Garmash’. Now, who does what, I can’t tell you. Their work is sometimes called Romantic Impressionism, which seems like an appropriate label.

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Cinzia Pellen” ‘Women Of The Third Millennium’.

1Italian artist Cinzia Pellin grew up in Rome, where she attended the Academy Belle Arti, studying scenography, as well as drawing, under master draftsman Vendittelli. Then only 25, Pellin launched her fine arts career in earnest in 1998 with her first gallery exhibitions and solo shows.

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Lorella Pagnucco Salvermini, writing for London’s Moorhouse Art gallery, explains about Cinzia Pellin’s work: “There are not faces, but face details…the only colour shades are watery green and see blue, just mentioned, almost transparent, used to define the eyes…(and) an absolute, provoking and eclectic red colour that exasperates and fascinates us, like the beauty of these women that is almost abstract for its perfection. But, who are these enigmatic creatures that look at us, playing and inviting us in Cinzia Pellin’s canvases? Few of them are recognizable. It seems that we have seen them already in some fashion magazines, or during a fashion show, maybe in Milan or at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence…(These are) the women of the third millennium, with feelings, contradictions, secrets of today that are the same ones of the past. So, while the artist paints portraits, we catch the deeper meaning of all of this, her subject’s soul.”

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The Creature’s Scream Queen: Leigh Snowden

Leigh SnowdenWhat’s a monster movie without a suitable scream queen, and for Universal-International’s 1956 The Creature Walks Among Us, they chose contract player Leigh Snowden. A Tennessee native, she struggled through endless acting and voice classes to rid herself of a strong southern accent. Snowden had a fairly brief Hollywood career, lasting only 7 years from 1954 through 1961, with some half-hearted attempts to return to the stage and screen (large or small) near the end of her life. She passed away quite young, only 52, from cancer in 1982. Usually billed as a blonde bad-girl (reportedly, studio execs wanted to push her as a low-cost Marilyn Monroe clone), she actually wasn’t entirely comfortable with sexy roles, and already had two small children from a youthful marriage at the time she did The Creature Walks Among Us, and would have three more later. Many 50’s kitsch fans remember her for her role in Hot Rod Girl as much as The Creature Walks Among Us.

hot rod girl