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frock-flicking at Costume-Con

As we hinted at in our last episode, yes indeed, we're recording at Costume-Con 26 in San Jose, California!

We are hard at work on a Frock Flicks edition suitable for a live, studio audience -- which means you!

Instead of reviewing a movie, we'll quiz you about costume movie trivia, historical costumes, & related topics -- but in a light-hearted fashion. If you listen to NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me news quiz, you have an idea of what we're going for. Very silly, very fun, we hope :-)

If you're going to CC26, join us! We're recording on Friday, April 25, from 12:30-2pm in the Gateway Foyer. That's on the second floor of the Doubletree Hotel, right above Convention Registration & the Coffee Garden restaurant.

Advance registration for the convention closes tomorrow, April 15. After that, higher at-the-door prices will apply. More info about the con is at http://www.cc26.info/

Hope to see you there!


For those who want to look at images of the costumes we discuss in the latest episode of the Frock Flicks podcast, on the Other Boleyn Girl, here are links to the discussed costumes in the other we discussed them.

Major shout-out to the fabulous Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes for being such a great resource for movie costume images! Here's the main page for Other Boleyn Girl images.

The Circle dresses - Anne's and Mary's

The headdresses - early (see the Circle dress images), court (Anne's green dress), Marian (see Mary's orange dress), Gable (see Anne's trial gown and Catherine of Aragon and her ladies)

Sari fabrics - the badly applied trim was on Anne's peacock dress

Henry's copper and blue brocade fabric

Henry's chenille robe (maybe?)

Morning after marriage - crazy printed couch robes

Billaments on court gowns - see, for example, Anne's green gown and Mary's orange/red gown

Bodice fitting - Catherine of Aragon

Chemises - see for example Mary's orange robe

Jewelry, partlets, and hair - you can see these throughout most costumes

Execution scene - sadly no stills showing the coif, but here's the dress

Kendra's: Anne's green gown
Sarah: Mary's orange robe
Trystan: Anne's trial dress, gowns with overpartlet like Anne's brocaded gown

Least favorites:
Kendra's: the Circle dresses - Anne's and Mary's
Sarah: Anne's Cranach (riding) dress
Trystan: Mary's black patterned gown

Men's hair: Dad's dorky hair, Henry's crop

Anne's Calla Lily dress

we're back! with those Boleyn girls!

Sorry it's been ages since an episode, but we've made this one extra special. We went to an actual movie theater & saw a film currently in the theaters -- yep, it's The Other Boleyn Girl.

Go here:

Click the link or, to subscribe, open up iTunes & go to the Advanced menu & select "Subscribe to Podcast." Paste or type the url into the dialog box, & then you'll get all our updates whenever you open iTunes & refresh your podstreams.

This movie has caused great uproar both before it came out & since because *gasp* *horror* the story is historical fiction, not strictly history. But as we've noted in past podcasts, movies are meant to be entertainment, not history, so keep an open mind :-)

Listen & discuss!

We'll post links to the costumes we mention soon.

Golden Age travel

I was reading a travel magazine & came across this url for film locations of Elizabeth: The Golden Age -- http://www.visitbritain.com/thegoldenage

The site has a nifty PDF map listing historic locations used in the movie, plus general QEI historic sites to visit around Britain.

*adds stuff to travel wishlist*

My favorite Elizabeth...

Right, so Trystan reminded me that I haven't posted my favorite QEI... Glenda Jackson is probably at the top of the pile, but I'm really attached to Helen Mirren's portrayal in Elizabeth I. I gave Trystan a copy to watch, thinking she'd dig it, but she dissed it (I still love you, Trystan, and I forgive you. Tee hee!), because it does play up Elizabeth's more emo side, with her long, drawn out, probably-unconsumated-sexually-frustrating romance with Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester (played by the delicious Jeremy Irons, who was born to play that role, IMHO), and later, with Leicester's step-son Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, a wildly age-inappropriate relationship based entirely on ambition which fails spectacularly and culminates in Essex's execution for treason. In between the two men, the movie inserts Elizabeth's farcical betrothed to the 26 year old François, Duc d'Anjou, offering probably the best screen version of the "romance" that dragged on for the better part of 1579, other than the BBC interpretation (of course. Who can compete with that?).

Why I give this mini-series such high marks? Well, for one it has Helen Mirren in it. Second, the costumes are gorgeous, and I think the designer's choices in where to cut historical accuracy and insert a little fantasy here and there were well done. Third, I happen to really be intrigued by the concept of the human Elizabeth, the one who wasn't perfect all the time, who was deeply conflicted and who, when it came to matters of the heart, lurched and limped along as she grappled with feelings, duties, and frustrations. I love her for her "heart and stomach of a king" but I also think (and maybe I'm just projecting here) that she was also a romantic, sensual woman who had Needs and just couldn't let herself give into them. I really think this series was trying to deal with the greatest conflict of interest in her life (love vs duty), and call me a sappy, weepy female if you want to, I think it did justice the history of her life, but stripped away a little of her warrior goddess armor to show that there was a "weak and feeble woman" underneath. For me, that's ok. I don't need my Elizabeth to be striding up the hill at Tilbury to kick some Spaniard arse all the time.

Oh, and I love Helen Mirren. :)

my favourite Bess

Realized that, tho' I hinted at this in the podcast, I never came right out & said who my favourite on-screen Queen Elizabeth I is. She is, without a doubt, Glenda Jackson in Elizabeth R from the '70s BBC production that aired on Masterpiece Theater in the U.S. This was actually what sucked me into history & costume as a kid in the very first place, so I owe my whole obsession (& heck, my marriage, since my hubbi & I met working renfaire!) to this miniseries.

Admittedly, I haven't watched the series since my VHS tapes died over a decade ago, but the nuance & language & intrigue of it all, plus the dark rich costumes forever fill my head. The series was heavy into the politics of the Elizabethan era, not so much on the romance angle, which the more recent adaptions have gone for. This Elizabeth was definitely trying to show she had the heart & stomach of a king. When she wibbled, it was over matters of state, not matters of love.

The only way that series could have been improved would be if, say, you could go back in time & have young Cate Blanchett play Princess Elizabeth thru Coronation & the first few years, then young to old Glenda Jackson play the rest of Queen Elizabeth's reign. In a 20-hour marathon series that doesn't leave anything out! Whee!

Man, now I reallyreally want to get that DVD set that's been sitting on my amazon.com wishlist. DVDs or fabric or groceries? Tough choices!

Kendra's resources - late, but here!

For those interested in Renaissance Italian costuming, check out Moda a Firenze, 1540-1580 : lo stile di Eleonora di Toledo e la sua influenza -- ISBN 8883048679. Fabulous, fabulous book (in Italian and English) that goes into incredible detail into the wardrobe of Eleanor of Toledo and a great resource for Florentine fashions.

Also, two of my favorite image databases are:

BildIndex -- huge art database, all in German. Use Babelfish to help you translate. To search for portraits from a particular era: click on Expertensuche (top nav bar), type in your start and end dates in the top right boxes (von=from, bis=to) and then type "portraet" in the top left Gesamtindex box.

Joconde -- Art from French museums. Use Babelfish to help you translate. To search for portraits from a particular era: click on Recherche avancée, then input the following: In Sujet représenté, type in "Portrait"; in Périod/Datation, input a century as ##E SIECLE (17E SIECLE=17th century); check off Avec Image.

And my favorite Elizabeth IS Cate Blanchett! Altho I am a heathen and have never seen Elizabeth R.

best portraits evah!

Tudor & Elizabethan Portraits is now at



Thanks to Lara of the Tudorcast podcast (which I highly recommend too, btw) for pointing this out. She listened to the latest Frock Flicks podcast & heard us bemoaning the loss of that great web resource for high-rez scans of Tudor & Elizabethan portraits.

The Portraits webmaster had to get a new url bec. his old one was sniped, & he hasn't spread the word around everywhere yet. So tell everyone! Update old links! Share & enjoy!

Sarah's resources!

Hi everyone, it's my long overdue resources posting! I hope you all enjoyed the latest Frock Flick, by the way... And upon listening to it myself, I have concluded that pink drinkery + podcasting = interesting, yet not completely terrible results. ;)

So, on to the resources!

First up is Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd by Janet Arnold, # ISBN-10: 0901286206; # ISBN-13: 978-0901286208

Nearly 400 pages of discourse on women's clothing during the reign of QEI, drawing from wardrobe accounts, public and private correspondence, political policies, and other primary resources, this book is absolutely indispensable for serious students of 16th century English clothing. It is also extremely expensive. Get it on interlibrary loan, bribe your loved ones for your anniversary/birthday/holiday/wedding, or do what trystbat did and have your absent-minded friend forget it at your house. ;)

Next, we have Tudor Tailor by Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcom-Davies, # ISBN-10: 0896762556; # ISBN-13: 978-0896762558

This book is a great how-to for men and women's clothing during the 16th century. Concise, affordable, and well-illustrated (by Ninya's extremely talented husband, Michael Perry) Tudor Tailor offers scalable patterns for everything a Tudor reenactor or enthusiast could ever need, from breeches, to smocks, to stays, to gowns, and everything in between. Trystan and I have both used the book to scale up patterns for a farthingale, with excellent results. I cannot recommend it highly enough if you're new to 16th century clothing, or if you're an old pro looking for solidly researched pattern diagrams.


resources! long! late!

Thot I'd finally post the books I recommended in the "Elizabeth" podcast, & I'm sure sarahbellem & demode will soon too.

First is a good, approachable biography of QEI: The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir. This book gives a comprehensive look at Elizabeth's reign & is supported by tons of period quotes & references. I esp. found the details of what is actually known about Elizabeth & Dudley's relationship to be very enlightening. We'll still never know if they did the deed, but you can find out how close they had their bedrooms ;-). The only drawback to this book is that it starts with Elizabeth's ascension to the throne, so you won't learn much about her childhood & youth or the formative experiences during her elder sister Mary's reign.

For an interesting look at Elizabeth's youth, I've been reading Elizabeth and Mary: Cousins, Rivals, Queens by Jane Dunn. This book is about Queen Elizabeth I & Mary Queen of Scots. The later is a subject of personal fascination, particularly bec. she gets short-shrift in comparison to QEI.

What's great about this book is that it has a lot of details about Elizabeth's youth & young womanhood, esp. her tutors & studies, down to specifics of what she read & what that meant in the era. Gives some excellent background for her later speeches as queen. And the contrast between Elizabeth & Mary's early education is pretty dramatic -- one was raised to be the equivalent of a male ruler, the other was raised to be a traditional wife & consort. Why do you think they turned out the way they did?

Now for some links! The Southern California renfaire's Queen's Court has a picture gallery chock full of English, Spanish, Italian, & other portraits of the Renaissance era in decent-quality scans. Only problem is that not all of them have names & dates attached. However, this fills the void until the beloved Tudor-Portraits.com comes back (if it ever does!).

And a bonus resource found recently on LJ -- a short article on Glamour UK about how the makeup artist did the "period" makeup for Elizabeth: the Golden Age. And the article mentions specific modern makeups used, such as Mac & Shu Uemura, to create the look. While some of those are certainly pro-level & harder to find, Sephora does carry some of Mac's pro colors & reasonable facsimiles. Since I'm a makeup whore, I think it would be fun to print out the article & take it Sephora & the Mac store (both are near me) & see what damage I could do :-)

A Podcast About Costume Movies

Ever watch an adaption of Pride and Prejudice and think "Austen totally wouldn't recognize what Lizzie is wearing"? Have you cringed at zippers in the backs of medieval gowns on film? Do you laugh at the latest costume drama's idea of hoop skirts being appropriate for the 1880s?

Then you're a Frock Flicker! Tune in to our podcasts where we rip into Hollywood's attempt at historical costuming and talk about exactly why they're not accurate to the eras. But we're not just dissers -- we'll also look at costume movies we love, and tell you why they're fabulous, beautiful, fascinating films.

The Frock Flickers


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