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Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Reagan

Agree?…

 

Lorraine Bracco Medicine Man (1992)

Written by LW

January 4, 2014 at 1:01 am

The man who made the clothes that make the man…

 Nudie Cohn, perched on one of his 18 custom cars (source)

Nuta Kotlyarenko immigrated to America from Kiev at age 11, and bought into the American Dream big time.  After kicking around the country as a shoeshine boy and a boxer (and indeed, he claimed, as a companion of Pretty Boy Floyd), Kotlyarenko– by then, “Cohn”– and his wife opened a New York lingerie store, Nudies for the Ladies, specializing in custom-made undergarments for showgirls.

In 1947, after relocating to Los Angeles– and taking “Nudie” as his given name– Cohn persuaded a young, struggling country singer named Tex Williams to buy him a sewing machine with the proceeds of an auctioned horse; in exchange, Cohn made clothing for Williams.  The creations were so popular that Nudie opened a North Hollywood store to feature his chain-stitched and rhinestone-studded creations.

Over the years, Nudie gave dozens of performers their signature looks, from Elvis’ $10,000 gold lame suit to the costumes of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.  But his specialty was country (and country rock) singers: e.g., Porter Wagoner (a peach-colored suit featuring rhinestones, a covered wagon on the back, and wagon wheels on the legs), Hank Williams (a white cowboy suit with musical notations on the sleeves), and Gram Parsons (the suit he wears on the cover of the Flying Burrito Brothers album The Gilded Palace of Sin, featuring pills, poppies, marijuana leaves, naked women, and a huge cross).  John Lennon was a customer, as were John Wayne, Gene Autry, George Jones, Cher, Ronald Reagan, Elton John, Robert Mitchum, Pat Buttram, Tony Curtis, Michael Landon, Glenn Campbell, Hank Snow, and numerous musical groups including “that little band from Texas,” ZZ Top.

Nudie with The King in “the Suit” (source)

Nudie died in 1984; the store (which remained open under the management of his daughter) closed in 1994.  But his work remained prized–  Porter Waggoner reckoned, just before he died in 2007, that he had 52 Nudie Suits, costing between $11,000 and $18,000 each (and worth by then much, much more).

And Nudie’s legacy remains strong.  His glittering garments were a bright stab at the conformity of their times… and set the precedent (if they didn’t in fact lay the foundation) for the Culture of Bling that has erupted out of Rap and Hip Hop into life-at-large.

For more wonderful photos of Nudie, his creations, and his cars visit Nudie (“the official site”) and check out the wonderful pictorial essay at The Selvedge Yard.

As we smile at the irony of a clothier named “Nudie,” we might wish a tuneful Happy Birthday to James Henry Neel Reed, better known simply as Henry Reed; he was born on this date 1884, in the Appalachian Mountains of Monroe County, West Virginia.  Reed was a master fiddler, banjoist, and harmonica player whose repertoire consisted of hundreds of tunes, performed in several different styles.  But beyond his importance as a performer, he became, in effect, the Ur Source for academic research into the history of U.S. fiddle music.  (Learn more about Reed, and hear him play, at the Library of Congress’ Henry Reed Collection.)

Henry Reed (in street clothes), 1967 (source)

I don’t know about Atlas, but *I* shrugged…

source

Few authors have inspired such passion in their readers as the Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum– better known by her pen name, Ayn Rand.

Rand’s philosophy, “Objectivism” (rational self-interest) has guided followers as various as Alan Greenspan, Ronald Reagan, Brad Pitt, and Oliver Stone.  While she distanced herself from Libertarianism (“too soft”), she’s been embraced by Libertarians and by the Right at large.  Glenn Beck , Rush Limbaugh, Ron Paul, and Clarence Thomas have all affirmed their admiration.  South Carolina Governor (and noted hiker) Mark Sanford wrote a 2009 review for Newsweek in which he recalled being “blown away” after first reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.  And “going Galt” (emulating John Galt, the protagonist of Atlas Shrugged, commandeering the airwaves to preach the evils of collectivism and of the Christian notion of collective guilt and sin… thus by extension seemingly, of collective responsibility and care) has become a catch phrase of the Tea Party movement.

So perhaps one shouldn’t be surprised by the length to which Rand devotee Nick Newcomen went to promote his idol’s works– over 12,000 miles.  As The Guardian reports, Newcomen spent…

… a month driving more than 12,000 miles to inscribe his message – “Read Ayn Rand” – on a vast swath of US land.

Using a GPS tracking device as a “pen”, Newcomen took about 10 days to complete each word, turning on his GPS logger when he wanted to write and turning it off between letters, videoing himself at landmarks along the route for documentation. He drove 12,328 miles in total, across 30 American states, inputting the data once he was finished into Google Earth to create the world’s largest book advertisement.

Read the full story here.

As we toss a couple of pennies into The Fountainhead, we might raise a contemplative glass to St. Caesarius of Arles, whose Feast Day today is.  The leading ecclesiastic in early Sixth Century Gaul, Caesarius had a somewhat different perspective than did Ms. Rand…

Do the proud and wicked souls who commit serious sins seem happy to you because they do not suffer evil in this world?… They are not scourged at all in this world, because they are reserved for eternal punishment due to the excessive number of their sins. They cannot be punished in this short time, for they require endless torture.
- Sermon 5.3

St. Caesarius of Arles

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