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CUT THE RIBBON, MARGHERITA OF SAVOY

Posted on May 6, 2013 by admin

We know this can sound pretty kinky for a niche CUT THE RIBBON but Queen Margherita of Savoy deserves one! The reason is that she ate the very first, modern pizza! Pizza used to be considered a peasant’s meal in the past. For centuries, food historians agree that pizza like dishes were eaten by many peoples in the Mediterranean including the Greeks and Egyptians. However, the modern pizza has been attributed to baker Raffaele Esposito of Naples. In 1889, Esposito who owned a restaurant called the Pizzeria di Pietro baked what he called “pizza” especially for the visit of Italian King Umberto I and Queen Margherita. Boasting the three colors of the Italian flag, red (tomatoes), white (mozzarella cheese) and green (basil), the pizza was thus invented. The pizza`s birthday was due to a celebration and a parade that local aristocrats had organized for Queen Margherita’s arrival. Escorted in a coach, she had started a tour at the San Carlo opera house and snaked through the narrow streets of the old Spanish Quarter, stopped briefly in Pizza Plebiscito, next to the royal palace, and then ended up in front of the pizzeria, where the `Margherita` was invented. The Queen’s pleasure over the peasant dish was so high that a national delightful italian flavour was born. Since then, billions of people eat pizza. Wasn’t it a pleasent cut the ribbon? Hurray for Queen Margherita!

 

CUT THE RIBBON, BETTY BOOP

Posted on April 29, 2013 by admin

A flapper, a cliché, a person with more heart than brain (is this a crime?). Many things have been said about Betty Boop but let us tell you, and this is a Cut The Ribbon, that she was “only” the first sex symbol ever existed. Yes, the very first woman to be desired by masses, and she was a cartoon created by the genius mind of Max Fleischer and Grim Natwick. Fleischer wanted to create a new character to insert in his “Talkartoons”, a starlette  supposed to dance that was designed on the image of the then famous singer Helen Kane. Natwick, in the beginning, designed a french poddle with the head of a woman but then floppy eared mutated in hoop earrings and the black poddle nose into a girl’s button like perfect nose. Betty was born and she appeared as a supporting character before making her way as a solo star. Her debut is dated 9 August 1930: she soon become “The Queen of the Animated Screen”, the symbol of the depression era and a reminder of the previous, hilarious, jazz era. She was a modern teenager, officially aged 16.  The first fully defined woman in a cartoon and the very first who wore a short black dress, high heels and a garter. Her head was designed like a baby head but her body, her body was a bomb. She was the sexy combination between girlishness and maturity. Ever thought the sweetheart Betty was a record holder? Well, like it or not, she was first in many things. Tolerant, happy and goodhearted, Betty is still one of the enduring brightest star of Hollywood.

Photo: Boop, Bimbo and a friend.

 

CUT THE RIBBON, GRAZIA NERI

Posted on April 15, 2013 by admin

How to be a baby during the World War, loose  your father  and take care of your mother. How to live in Milan during post war years and give up University studies because there is no money. Grazia Neri had no choice but a job that wasn’t too boring and started as a factotum in an Agency called News Blitz where she used to write pictures captions and translate from English and French. Young Neri was a literature devourer and never thought her life would end with a passion for photography. In 1966 Grazia and a friend , a former light bulb seller, opened her historical agency in Milan. Grazia Neri became in few year the most famous Italian Aagency all over the world. The agency was founded with the intent of favoring photographers leaving them ownership of images and a correct remuneration, pursuing photographic services of quality. Grazia Neri, during the years,  accumulated a patrimony of 15 million images in analogical and of six million in digital. Robert Doisneau, Douglas Kirkland, Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, James Nachtwey were few of  the photographer she represented and syndacation with other famous agencies like Afp, Polaris, Black Star, Contact Press Images, Rapho and VU. The advertising crisis started in the second semester of 2008  and of the general decrease of application for quality photojournalism replaced by images from internet or low quality ones lead to the clousure of the agency in 2009. But Grazia was still alive and kicking and maybe she was one of the most expert people on photography and photo journalism. Her memoir ” La Mia Fotografia”  published by Feltrinelli is a masterpiece for photo lovers. The history of a self made woman, the touching portrait of a girl that finds in photography the way to follow her passion for reading. Is it perhaps true that behind every great photo a great history hides behind? If you’re now Twitting or Face booking or Pinning some old vintage pictures, you are probably using a photo that once was edited, curated, wanted and loved by this “Signora” Milanese.

http://www.lafeltrinelli.it/products/9788807491375/La_mia_fotografia/Grazia_Neri.html

CUT THE RIBBON, THE MERCURY SEVEN

Posted on April 8, 2013 by admin

Mercury Seven was the group of seven astronauts selected by NASA in 1959. The agency viewed the project as an experiment to determine whether humans could survive space travel. The seven men immediately cut the ribbon, becoming national heroes compared by civilians to Columbus or Magellanus. The Mercury Seven in fact embodyied the new spirit of space exploration, determining the orbit around the Earth and investigating on man’s ability to function in space.The space flight was a totally new experience for pilots, scientists and doctors. No one knew if a person flying in the weightlessness of space could accurately read a dial, if they could push the right button or lever. Because of the small space inside the Mercury spacecraft, candidates could be no taller than 5 feet 11 inches (180 cm) and weigh no more than 180 pounds (82 kg). Other requirements included an age under 40, a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, 1,500 hours of flying time, and qualification to fly jets. NASA chose what were considered superb physical specimen with a genius-level IQ and the ability to function well both as part of a team and solo. The Mercury Seven, selected by the space administration also carried America’s hopes into space against the Soviet Union and what at the time was the beginning of Cold War…

 

“…Came Forth and Once More Saw the Stars”.

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CUT THE RIBBON, MARTIN COOPER

Posted on April 2, 2013 by admin

Wonder what, between all humanity’s changes from the 70’s on, really improved our lives? It’s easy. The Internet of course was a revolution, but the mobile phone too, really made us different. That little object, once big and heavy, that allow us to be everywhere in every minute. For people born after 1989, which is the date of the launch of the very first mobile phone called Microtac 9800x by Motorola, this post may be strange or meaningless, but to us, (older or agés), we remember very well when we were forced to stay home all day to wait for a phone call. And that was unpleasant. The history starts with a phone call made by Martin Cooper on the 3th of April 1973. He made it with a phone that weighted more than 1 kilos. A really simple machine with no display and a battery autonomy of 30 minutes only. From that day, humanity changed. Now 6.800 millions of people have a mobile phone, nobody depends on a phone box any longer and times are faster, problems can be solved in minutes. Have you ever been  saved from a mobile call? Please remember that it hasn’t been that easy in the past and say thank you a million of times to Mr. Martin Cooper. The way we are living is really changed thanks to him.

CUT THE RIBBON, PERCY LeBARON SPENCER

Posted on March 25, 2013 by admin

Many of you surely know how to cook and enjoy cooking. Many of us, like me by chance, hate cooking. It doesn’t mean having no taste or don’t like food. It means not liking spending time in the kitchen, preparing, cutting, mashing, boiling, etc. Technology has helped many of us with a product: the microwave oven and this Cut the Ribbon is dedicated to the man who invented it by chance. I know many readers will disagree on this invention but the microwave has been such a huge invention that we can’t help considering it positive. Mr. Percy LeBaron Spencer was an American engineer and inventor, who in 1939, he was one of the world’s leading experts in radar tube design. One day while building magnetrons, Spencer was standing in front of an active radar set when he noticed the candy bar he had in his pocket had melted. Spencer was not the first to notice this issue, but he was the first to investigate it. The experiment with food included popcorn kernels, which became the world’s first microwaved popcorn. Spencer then decided to get a kettle and cut a hole in the side, then put the whole egg in the kettle and positioned the magnetron to direct the microwaves into the hole. The result was the egg exploding in the face of one of his co-workers, who were looking in the kettle to observe. Spencer then created the first true microwave oven by attaching a high density electromagnetic field generator to an enclosed metal box. In 1947 the first commercially produced microwave oven was about 6 feet tall, weighed and cost too much. In 1967 the first relatively affordable and reasonably sized microwave oven was available for sale. Since there are hundreds of millions of microwaves in use today, it is a kitchen appliance that heats food by bombarding it with electromagnetic radiation. The Microwave oven has quickened our lives efficiently, and has helped many of us, cooking haters.

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CUT THE RIBBON, RHODA MORGENSTERN

Posted on March 18, 2013 by admin

We never did it before. Cut The Ribbon is a colum dedicated to real people but this time Rhoda Morgernstern is a fictional character. So welcome to the land where the real gets very close to the unreal. If you never heard about “The Mary Tayler Moore Show”, you fresh and young kids, this name would totally be non sense but let me just say that it’s time to make some researches and get to who she was. She was the funniest, cleverest and “constantly on diet” girl next door and the very first iconic wise-cracking Jewish New Yorker on TV. She was the beloved “Victorious Loser” and the weekly dose of good humor and wit for a lot of Americans (and European). The Mary Tyler Moore Show lasted a decade but there was a spinoff called “Rhoda” that got 52 millions viewers tuned in to watch “The Victorious Loser’s”  marriage in 1974.  I said 52 millions, do you agree with the Harlows now if we think this is a whole Cut The Ribbon? Valerie Harper, the lovely actress who interpreted Rhoda – and clearly managed the performance in the most natural way- won 4 Emmys, got 1 Golden Globe and has a 4 decades television memorabilia few actors can be proud of. Despite all these years, the young girl working for a window dressing company in Minneapolis and then New York, is still an example of love for life and friendship. A true gold medal that is still today one of the favorite characters ever existed on TV. Get to know Rhoda on YouTube where full seasons have been posted.

 

CUT THE RIBBON, CHARLES B. DARROW

Posted on March 12, 2013 by admin

It was 1934, the period of Great Depression, when Charles B. Darrow of Germantown, Pennsylvania, showed what he called the MONOPOLY game to the executives at Parker Brothers but didn’t get any chance from this encounter. Darrow was at that time a domestic salesman, and one of many people who, during that time, had been playing a game of buying and trading property. The game’s direct ancestor was The Landlord’s Game, created by Elizabeth Magie. Charles Darrow didn’t find peace and with the help from a friend who was a printer, started making an homemade Monopoly version. In a few he sold 5,000 handmade sets of the MONOPOLY game to a Philadelphia department store.  People loved the game, and as the demand grew, he couldn’t keep up with all the orders and came back to talk to Parker Brothers. The rest is history. Nowadays, Monopoly is still the best-selling board game in the world, sold in more than 100 countries and produced in 37 languages.

CUT THE RIBBON,DAVID WOJNAROWICZ

Posted on March 4, 2013 by admin

An artist is always remembered for his works, but also for his life. As many of them had huge personalities, often lived over the top or over the low,  it’s the whole package that makes an artist’s life interesting. Life and works, faraway so close. This week’s Cut The Ribbon is dedicated to David Wojnarowicz, an artist that had lived the full decadence of New York in the 70s. Born in 1954 in Red Bank New Jersey, he was a photographer, a painter, a filmmaker and a performer. Before being a name in the emerging art scene and connected to other artists of that period, Peter Hujar, Nan Goldin, Kiki Smith to name few, Wojnarowicz spent some years in the streets of New York selling his sexual services and in Canada where he worked as a farmer. After his death in 1992, Wojnarowicz has served as an inspiration to many artists; from his scandalous performances, to his paintings, to his films, David was a one of kind spirit, a rebel, a true original.

Above, “Arthur Rimbaud in New York 1978-1979” Continue Reading →

CUT THE RIBBON, GEORGES REMI – HERGé

Posted on February 25, 2013 by admin

In 1929, cartoonist Georges Remi, who used the pen name Hergé, cut the ribbon by creating The Adventures of Tintin. The successful series of cartoon strips, was at the very beginning supplement to the Belgian newspaper LE XX SIECLE. The hero is Tintin a young Belgian reporter aided by his faithful Milou, a fox terrier god. Later, the cast included Captain Haddock, Professor Calculus, and Dupont and Dupont. Admired all over the world for its clean, expressive drawings, the strips had a variety of genres: adventurous, fantasy, humor, mystery, political satire, thriller and science fiction. After World War II, Hergé left his newspaper and accepted an invitation to continue The adventures of Tintin reaching the height of success in 1950, by creating Hergé Studios. Hergé died in 1983 leaving us his magnificent work and happiness, when asked who was to him Tintin he would answer: “Tintin is myself. He reflects the best and brightest in me; he is my successful double. I am not a hero. But like all 15-year-old boys, I dreamt of being one…and I have never stopped dreaming. Tintin has accomplished many things on my behalf.”

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CUT THE RIBBON, ALEXANDER DORNER

Posted on February 18, 2013 by admin

If a lot of people is going to museums and find it easier, it’s because of this man called Alexander Dorner who, at one point, introduced his vision and his curatorial theory and really changed the way exhibitions were conceived. Born in Konisberg Germany in 1893, Dorner joined the State Museum (Landesmuseum) in Hannover as a curator in 1923, rising to director in 1925.  He was responsible for many smaller museums in the Hanover area during the years of Walter Gropius’ foundation of the Bauhaus in Weimar.  Leader of the avant-garde art collecting in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s focusing on Piet Mondrian, Naum Gabo, Kazimir Malevich, and El Lissitzky, Dorner was famous for being anything but an elitist in years where the world “art” was meant to be pronounced only by the “well-read” people. Strongly populist, he worked on installations to appeal a great variety of people, driving attendance levels up. He grouped Museum collection objects in rooms by theme rather than period and removed cases in order to free works of art and make their esthetic appeal enhanced. After the declaration of second World War Dorner moved to United States and got a position of director at the Art Museum of the Rhode Island School Of Design where he reorganized the traditionally displayed works of art into dramatic installations that instantly encountered the flavor of a vast public. The evidence of his marvelous job ? A very rare 1958  book called “The Living Museum. Experiences of an Art Historian and Museum Director ” by  Samuel Cauman is still the “arty crowds” most wanted and read book all over the world.

 

CUT THE RIBBON, LAURE ALBIN GUILLOT

Posted on February 11, 2013 by admin

“This would be a resounding name that should become famous”. This was what she heard of herself, just after World War II. Indeed, the French photographic scene was particularly marked by the signature and aura of this artist, who not only for her talent and virtuosity but also for her professional engagement was a ribbon cutter. Her art of portraiture and her nudes, her active role in the advertising world, her printed work and, her significant gathering of her stupefying photographs sparkled in a period where Man Ray, Brassai, Kertesz were blooming with female nude. Laure Albin Guillot, cut the ribbon of male nude, inverting the myth and being counter-current. Her modernity, avant-garde will always attract our attention. Her appealing pictures are so modern an paradoxically classic in ‘French Style’. As an independent photographer, she practised several genres, including portraiture, landscape, still life and documentary photography. Laure Albin Guillot offfered new creative perspectives in the combination of art and science becoming a member of the Société des artistes décorateurs, the Société Française de Photographie, director of photographic archives for the Direction générale des Beaux-Arts and first curator of the Cinémathèque nationale. Not to even count the President of the Union Féminine des Carrières Libérales. She emerged as one of the most active personalities and most aware of the photographic and cultural stakes of the time. 

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CUT THE RIBBON, NEY MATOGROSSO

Posted on February 5, 2013 by admin

Ney Matogrosso born August  1, 1941, in Bela Vista, Mato Grosso do Sul, is a Brazilian singer, performer, gay icon. Despite  enlisting himself in the Brazilian Air Force at the age of 17, he never lost his passion for singing and drag performances and joined a quartet that went touring festivals through Brazil immediately after. In 1966, Matogrosso  moved to Rio De Janeiro where he lived as a hippie by selling art and crafts but it’s in Sao Paulo that his life changed. Entering the glam rock group “Secos y Molhados” made him a phenomenon that sold  1 million records and introduced in Brazil a never seen before sexuality freedom. During the dark years of the military dictatorship and despite a strong dose of derision, this marvelous artist imposed  himself as an exotic performer that served also as an example of liberation and a model of sexual freedom for an entire generation.  If people is now going to Brazil on holiday for its flamboyant tolerance towards sexual differences, it’s maybe also because of this man called Ney Matogrosso. As  Rolling Stone  ranked him as the third-largest Brazilian singer of all time, we would like also to position him in our list of pioneers and people that influenced the present called “Cut The Ribbon”.

ney matogrosso

CUT THE RIBBON, YAYOI KUSAMA

Posted on January 28, 2013 by admin

From rural Japan to technological NYC. She can paint, creates collage, makes sculpures, performances, environmental installations, book illustrations. She is the queen of dots, pois, or better she has cut the ribbon as first Japanese female psychedelic performer. Even though forgotten after leaving the early NYC’s pop scene in the 70’s, Yayoi Kusama is now widely acknowledged. Maybe one of Japan’s most important living artist and avant garde voice.Yayoi Kusama started creating art at an early age and became interested in the European and American avant garde.It was 1957 when she moved to the US, settling in NYC where she produced a series of paintings influenced by the abstract expressionist movement. Kusama became a fixture of the New York avant-garde, having her works exhibited with the likes of Andy Warhol and embracing the rise of the early hippie movement of the late 60s.She, for instance, organised a series of Body Festivals in which naked participants were painted with brightly colored polka dots. In 1973, Kusama moved back to her native Japan, where she found the art scene far more conservative than New York. There she became an art dealer and continued to produce artworks in a variety of mediums, as well as launching a literary career by publishing several novels, a poetry collection and an autobiography. I personally admire and adore her Alice in Wonderland’s illustrations. Kusama’s conceptual art shows feminism, minimalism, surrealism and is infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content.Her obsessiveness in repeating dot patterns seem to assert the desire to escape and the viewer of her obsessive vision of endless dots gets inprisoned in a maniac net, where the only thing to do is to be submerged. Nowadays Yayoi Kusama lives and works in Tokyo.

CUT THE RIBBON, POP MUSIC

Posted on January 21, 2013 by admin

So, who invented pop music? The very first pop song? None really. Pop stands for popular music and was maybe played for the first time by Adam before and after his wife gave a bite to that exotic fruit. We can tell you about the word Pop instead. It was The Billboard Magazine (later only Billboard) introducing this word in 1950. Since then, the meaning of pop music didn’t changed that much. A large amount of persons find a song or a music enjoyable, as consequence, they make it popular. Generally speaking it’s never a difficult melody, it’s something done for the everyday people by the everyday people. The very first number one pop music song of Billboard was therefore a “Semper Fidelis” by The Marine Corp. Band, as already stated , it was 1950. Ever changing chameleon who accompanied lives all over the world,  pop music cannot really be avoided and it’s part of every single person’s day. Let’s take a shower and sing.

CUT THE RIBBON, JORIS-KARL HUYSMANS

Posted on January 14, 2013 by admin

French of Duch origins, writer Joris-Karl Huysmans was born in 1848. First considered part of Naturalism, he became associated with the decadent movement with his publication of À rebours. Despite the  variety of his work, Huysmans is the example of a person who changed many time during in life.  For thirty-two years he worked as a civil servant for the French Ministry of the Interior, a job he found tedious but he also entered the “Zola Club” and started to write because that was what he liked more. His oeuvre is complex, his writing is exquisite and refined but it’s for the novel À rebours (Against The Grain) that he definitely cut the ribbon. Jean Des Esseintes is the last member of a powerful and once proud noble family. He has lived an extremely decadent life in Paris, which has left him disgusted with human society. Without telling anyone, he retreats to a house in the countryside. He fills the house with his eclectic art collection and decides to spend the rest of his life in intellectual and aesthetic contemplation.    Continue Reading →

CUT THE RIBBON: GILDA RADNER

Posted on January 7, 2013 by admin

“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
Gilda Susan Radner, was an American comedienne and actress, best known as one of the original ribbon cutter of NBC’s Saturday Night Live show, for which she won an Emmy Award in 1978. Radner started her broadcasting career as the weather girl for college radio station and later featured on the National Lampoon Radio Hour, a comedy program. During that time, fellow cast members included John Belushi, Richard Belzer, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Rhonda Coullet. Radner was a part of the freshman group on the first season of Saturday Night Live. She was the first performer between 1975 and 1980 and created characters like Roseanne Roseannadanna, Baba Wawa, a parody of Barbara Walters, and Emily Litella. Continue Reading →

GIVE US A ROPE FO’ SKIPPIN’ AND JUMPIN’ !

Posted on December 18, 2012 by admin

This is not a typical cut the ribbon as there’s not a real subject or inventor for this creation. But it’s always been charming, extremely earthy and totally youthful. Those wood handles with the alluring, strong leather amber-colored rope. The reddish cinnamon, those many skips those endless jumps. Whoever has been a kid has been skipping a rope, with friends, alone, at night, during the day. A lovely game, now a décor piece to most. No one knows who has invented the jump roping. Surely the Egyptians or the Chinese, somewhere around 1600b.c. . Egyptians would jump over vines, as a game. Rope skipping was taken to America by Dutch settlers during the 17th century and mainly performed by boys as the culture of the time did not encourage girls to be physically active. In the 19th century both boys and girls would play it as a game. Girls later invented different rhymes and rhythms and singing games for their popular activity. In the 40s and 50s, jump rope became tremendously popular, and many children in inner cities used it as a form of play as it only required a rope, and anyone could play. Basic jump with both feet and combination jumps and styles were practiced. Nowadays it’s a real sport and competition but we rather remember it as the rhymes would do: Raspberry, strawberry, apple jam tart! Tell me the name of your sweet sweet heart!

CUT THE RIBBON, COLUMBIA RECORDS

Posted on December 13, 2012 by admin

The really first successful vinyl LP in history? It was released by Columbia Records, its code was ML4001, its title was the “Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor with soloist Nathan Milstein and Bruno Walter conducting the Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra of New York”. The very first microgroove plastic record was invented by a Columbia engineer called Peter Carl Goldmark that in 1939 started a study to evolve the 78-rpm record forward to 33 in order to extend the playback time to more than 20 minutes per side. Goldmark wanted something that last longer but it wasn’t that easy. The Great Depression and World War II slowed everything down, including Goldmark’s team and its microgroove innovations. But once the war ended, the record business boomed and researches marched on. The LP invention was finally presented at  the New York Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 1948 introducing the commercially available long-playing record era. Whit millions of pieces sold , and music finally entering into every home, the LP caused a society transformation never happened before. The music business also changed due to this invention: LPS were into stores for almost 40 years untill CDS took over. And everything changed again.

 

CUT THE RIBBON: TōRU IWATANI

Posted on December 10, 2012 by admin

Toru Iwatani can be considered God among men in the gaming industry. Do you know that we also have to thank a pizza pie for it? In 1977, a young Toru Iwatani was the first to program for Namco, a computer software company. During 1978-79 he had designed arcade releases like Gee Bee, Bomb Bee, and Cutie-Q. After working on these three titles, Iwatani wished to create a game that would target women and couples. His eureka moment came when he removed a slice of pizza from a pie, creating the visual inspiration for his next big thing. It was in this moment that, according to Iwatani, Pac-Man was officially born. Iwatani determined that food and eating would be the way to get the fairer sex interested. Iwatani was born in Tokyo, Japan. He joined the computer software company Namco in 1977, where he started his career in pinball machines. There, he came up with the idea for a game called “Puck-Man” and in 1980, and assembled a team to release the game within the same year. Continue Reading →

CUT THE RIBBON, MAURICE CHEVALIER

Posted on December 3, 2012 by admin

Maurice Chevalier was born in Paris in 1888. Despite his very poor origins, he knew hunger and pain, he was maybe the very first male actor-singer-entrataner to be recognized as a symbol of style. Always wearing marvelous suits and a straw hat, Chevalier was the epitome of French charme and sophistication.  He was the poor guy coming from the street who made it, he was the guy that was playing the role of a frivolous dandy speaking with a made up posh accent. Chevalier started in show business in 1901 singing in a cafe’ for free. In 1909 he became the partner of the biggest female star in France, Frehel. But it didn’t last long, and Maurice, who was good looking and charming, skipped to another powerful woman who launched him at the Folies Berger. She was called  Mistinguette, also nicknamed “the legs”. Continue Reading →

CUT THE RIBBON, THE WOELFEL BROTHERS

Posted on November 26, 2012 by admin

Boom box, ghetto blaster, jam box, portable radio cassette player.  In 1975 the first boom box was invented by the Woelfel Brothers. It was a wooden box with speakers and an eight track car stereo system that could also play the local radio station. Thought out the years, the  idea caught on, and boom boxes started to be commercially available. In the 1980s, it became a staple among hip-hop culture. It was a craze for teenagers and thereafter it was modified several times to make it more powerful, attractive and handy. The original rectangular shape, the sharp edges and chrome appearance, the powerful speakers, amplifiers, radio tuner and cassette player were among its features. The boom box invention has added a lot to the music world. In the 1990s it even started evolving to play CDs as well. Nowadays, boom boxes are replaced by the smaller MP3 players but the reminiscence of LL cool J images with the rectangular-shaped-box are an evergreen. Continue Reading →

CUT THE RIBBON, HAROLD ROSS

Posted on November 19, 2012 by admin

The first man who imagined  “A new journal of metropolitan sensibilities and sophisticate tone” was Harold Ross. Born in Aspen in 1892 from a modest family, Ross had journalism in his blood. He never had a proper high school education but by the time he was 25 he had worked for at least seven newspaper and was famous for his terrible spelling and for being a rebellious. After some years in Paris where he directed “Stars and Stripes” ,from 1918 till 1919, and where he met his first wife Jane Grant, he returned to America with the intent of finding those metropolitan sensibilities and establish his creature, The New Yorker. The very first issue of the magazine is dated 21 February 1925 and Ross edited 1399 issues of it until  his death in 1951. In the quarter-century that he ran the New Yorker, he wrote more than one article for his publication always maintaining the good taste to never be named on its pages. His concept of the magazine ever-changing, never static  made it into the astonishing work that it became. Ross was a workalcoholic, he ruined three marriages,  and a master grammarian with an immense sense of style. He was also a member of the Algonquin Round Table and a genius in public relations. His charisma was legendary, especially  in attracting new talents to his publication. He was a perfectionist that overused commas, he was a master in establishing a concept and then letting contributors stretching his idea. He was the first, for sure, to cut the New Yorker’s Ribbon.

CUT THE RIBBON: MORRIS YOCK OR JOHN COWIE?

Posted on November 12, 2012 by admin

In New Zeland, two families have been locked in a dispute that started in the 50’s. Depending from where you come from, these casual footwear are called differently; flip-flops are a common type of footwear. They are a thin rubber sole with two straps running in a Y shape from the sides of the foot to the gap between the big toe and all the other toes. They are usually used at the beach or outdoor. In India and Pakistan are immensely popular and called Hawaii chappal. In Australia they are commonly known as Thongs, in New Zeland are Jandals, whilst in UK and the USA as Flip-flops. Whether you call them flip flops, thongs, slippers or slides, they are simple flat footwear of summer. But who invented them? The modern flip flop was perfected as New Zealand beachwear by Morris Yock, who filed for the patent in 1957. The footwear became instantly popular when flip flops were worn by the Australian Olympic swim team in 1956.  Continue Reading →

CUT THE RIBBON: TAZIO SECCHIAROLI

Posted on November 5, 2012 by admin

He was the very first Paparazzo, he was the one that invented “Assault Photography”. Tazio Secchiaroli was born in Rome in 1925. He did several modest jobs before devoting his life to photography. He was 14 when he started, an aunt gave him a camera as a present, and since then never stopped shooting. Rome was his main inspiration:  inhabitants, friends, places. In the immediate postwar period he became a constant presence in Via Veneto where he was shooting all the VIPs and making connections that lead him to know Federico Fellini. His own agency  was opened in 1950 and called “Roma Press Photo” . After “La Dolce Vita” Secchiarioli got famous and from being a celebrities enemy he became a friend of them. He soon left streets,  started to work with Sofia Loren and became her personal photographer. For almost 20 years he produced  the best images of the Italian Goddess and documented her life with a sharp and clear eye. The body of work of Tazio Secchiaroli is unique, vast and span from his assaults photos to more artistic poses. A great genius, an important plug for contemporary photography, a real pigheaded fellow that wanted nothing but telling the truth.

 

CUT THE RIBBON: VIRGINIA OLDOINI, LA CASTIGLIONE

Posted on October 30, 2012 by admin

La Divine Comtesse! Long, wavy blonde hair, pale skin, delicate oval face, green and violet eyes. The Countess was known for her beauty and her flamboyant entrances with elaborate dresses at the French imperial court. Virginia Oldoini, (Queen of Hearts), Countess of Castiglione, better known as La Castiglione, was an Italian aristocrat who was sent by cousin Count of Cavour  on the very first mission to the French court of Napoleon III to plead with the emperor the Franco-Piedmontese alliance. La Castiglione’s skills and charm, prevailed over politics and surely made her a first ribbon cutter in many ways; maybe  embarrassing but useful for to Italian politics. The large presence of her seductive institutional cause, gave the expected results:in her luxuriously house in Paris, she was a ‘mondanissima’ and  official mistress of the Emperor Napoleon III, arousing envy, great scandal and the fury of the catholic Empress Eugenie. It was even said that the rivalry came to the point that, having been the emperor target of an attack in the house of the Countess in Rue Montaigne, everything had been orchestrated by the Empress itself to damage the opponent. The Countess significant  power, being aware of her beauty, ambition and intelligence made her a sharp shooter and rigorous instructions follower, considering her plead to the cause of Italian unity with Napoleon III of France. Her achieved notoriety and scandal led her Italian husband to demand a marital separation. The Countess returned to Italy in 1857 when her affair with Napoleon III was over. Four years later, the Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed, conceivably in part due to the influence that the Countess had exerted on France.  In her declining years, La Castiglione would spend her days in her Parisian apartment in Place Vendôme, where she had the rooms decorated in funereal black, the blinds kept drawn, and mirrors banished.  

She is buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. .

CUT THE RIBBON, ELEANOR LAMBERT

Posted on October 26, 2012 by admin

The very first fashion week  was held in New York in 1943. Fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert organized this event that was designed to attract attention away from the disaster of World War II. French fashion Houses were suffering during those years  and industry insiders were unable to travel to Paris. That was, despite the tragedy, the time to do something in New York. Lambert, from Crawfordsville Indiana, was the first Press Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art and helped with the founding of the Museum of Modern Art. She also represented important artists like Jackson Pollock, Jacob Epstein and Isamu Noguchi. The very first fashion week was called “Press Week”  and turned out to be a success. Fashion magazines like Vogue, which were normally filled with French designs, increasingly featured American fashion moving the attention from global, to local again. After this experience Eleanor was involved in the promotion of American fashion all over the world and and in 1962 organized the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Labert attended her last fashion show in 2001 and died at the age of 100 in 2003.

Photo Mrs. Lambert by Cecil Beaton

CUT THE RIBBON, SALLY KRISTEN RIDE

Posted on October 17, 2012 by admin

Adventurous, Sally Kristen Ride, born in Los Angeles in 1951, studied physics and English at Stanford University. In 1978, on an impulse, she applied to NASA’s training program for astronauts and became one of six women of thirty five trainees chosen. She was a capsule communicator at mission control and later was chosen as a member of the space shuttle’s mission in 1982, becoming the first American woman astronaut. She was in the crew of 1983′ space shuttle ‘Challenger’. Sally’s life showed how gender barriers could be broken and how courage and daring could be part of women’s heart. Ride still remains the youngest American astronaut to be launched into space and the very first officially known declared LGBT person that was sent over the atmosphere. Two ribbons cut and a legacy that will endure for years to come. Go Sally, go.

CUT THE RIBBON: TUPOLEV TU-144

Posted on October 9, 2012 by admin

The first commercial flight to break the wall of Match 2 was made by a Russian aircraft called Tupolev Tu-144. It was July 1968. Despite what mosts think about supersonic  flights , the Concorde, made from  a collaboration between Ari France and British Airways, was not the first to break this record. The Tupolev, nicknamed Concordiski to recall his competitor, was constructed by Vaso in the URSS under the direction of Andrej Nikolaevic Tupolev.  Europe and URSS were trying everything to discover a faster way of travelling: a continuous battle to arrive first.  The romantic side of these  hazardous airplanes was that they were made to generate the dream of a modern life, a better future, just breaking in half distances between places. The first attach to the reputation of Tupolev Tu-144 emerged during an International Fair in Paris Le Bourget on 3rd June  1973. A maneuver  forced the pilot to make a quick dive that caused the destruction of the aircraft . Fifteen homes were devastated, six people of the crew and eight people on the ground were killed. From  1973 on there were  more accidents, more sad stories that lead to the revocation of Tupolev Tu-144 in 1978.  While this very expansive project was dying, the Concorde was continuing, in style, to cross the Atlantic.  Twice a day from London and from Paris all the superstars and the rich continued to fly New York, dance at 54 and go back without booking any hotel. The supermodels were flew rapidily, the business man were transatlanted to meetings in few hours. Then September Eleven, the crisis, a major accident and even Concorde was out of the game in 2003.  The supersonic era, its romantic allure, was over.

CUT THE RIBBON: ROSA PARKS

Posted on October 3, 2012 by admin

” No Sir, I won’t give up my seat ” maybe said Rosa that morning. Rosa Parks has been the first woman who refused to obey the order of bus driver James F. Blake. The man would tell this unknown seamstress, to move in the colored section and leave the space she was occupying to a white passenger. It was December th 1st 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. Parks, arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance, later became the first woman and symbol of the Civil Rights Movement. This lonely act of defiance and disobedience began a movement for racial equalty that ended legal segregation in America, and made her an inspiration to freedom-loving people everywhere.

CUT THE RIBBON: EDWARD CAVE

Posted on September 26, 2012 by admin

The first man who founded a “magazine” for publication was Edward Cave. Cave born on 27 February 1691 was an English printer, editor and publisher. It was 1731 when The Gentleman’s Magazine came out  despite several London printers and booksellers said no the the project. Cave took on the task by himself: The Gentleman’s Magazine  was launched  and soon became the most influential and most imitated periodical of its time. It also made Cave wealthy. The very first general-interest magazine of history was born.  The word magazine derives from the Arabic makhazin (“storehouses”) by way of the French language. Varied and full of themes that could be read for a long time and could attract different people, the Magazine was an important revolution, a new form of making culture and an important step into a more democratic knowledge.

 

 

CUT THE RIBBON: RAYMOND STEGEMAN

Posted on September 20, 2012 by admin

The first man who invented wayfarer sunglasses was the optical designer Raymon Stegeman who broke from the past metal framed shades creating plastic glasses. It was 1952. The iconic trapezoid frame quickly became popular among Americans bringing to life the Wayfarer phenomenon through the 50’s and 60’s then gradually fading with the limelight of the 70’s. After a lucrative product placement, Wayfarer came back, again to popularity, in the 80’s, losing it again in the 90’s. The mid-2000s saw another come back and a redesign with smaller and lighter injected plastic frames. Since 1952, Wayfarer are considered an evergreen revival, an enduring fashion icon and a bestselling item all over the world.

Photo: Madonna Ciccone posing for “The First Album” cover.

 

CUT THE RIBBON: ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL

Posted on September 17, 2012 by admin

The first man who did a phone call was Alexander Grahm Bell on March 10, 1876. The call was to his assistant  Thomas Watson: “Mr. Watson–come here–I want to see you.” That’s what was said. Looks like incredible but that was just the beginning. If you happen to send a “what’sup” to a friend today, think about Mr. Bell.

Photo: Gilbert H. Grosvenor Collection, portrait of Alexander Graham Bell.

CUT THE RIBBON

Posted on September 14, 2012 by admin

Cut The Ribbon is a new column by The Harlow that focuses on people premiering on something. Those who got an idea and put it in practice changing lives, maybe visions for the very first time. We tend to think that our contemporaries have invented it all, but it’s not always true, sometimes we are just using and re-inventing what the past has left us in heritage. You are welcome to discover who made it first, who invented what, who, in few words, Cut The Ribbon!