As executive producer and founder of Spy Pond Productions, Eric Stange has produced, directed and written a dizzying array of work, mostly telling unique, often lost stories of American history. His work, which also covers science, has been broadcast on PBS, The Discovery Channel, and the BBC. Before becoming a filmmaker he wrote about art and culture for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic Monthly, and other publications. Eric has been the recipient of a Harvard University Charles Warren Fellowship in American History. He’s on the board of Common-Place, a website devoted to early American history, and writes a column about media and history for American Heritage magazine. “Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive” stars Denis O’Hare as Poe, and was shot on location in Boston. A screening will be held on Saturday, April 29, 1:30 p.m., at the Brattle Theater in Harvard Square as part of the Independent Film Festival of Boston (http://iffboston.org), and will be broadcast nationally next fall on the PBS series American Masters.
What was it like working with Denis O’Hare?
Denis is one of the most talented actors in the business. Virtually everyone has seen him in his many TV or movie roles (“American Horror Story,” “The Good Wife,” “True Blood, Dallas Buyer’s Club”), but like a lot of great character actors he isn’t a household name. He should be.
What sold us on casting Denis was that he spent a whole season of “American Horror Story” playing a leading character who’s mute. Our film doesn’t have a lot of dialogue—Poe is often alone and silent, though very expressive. When we saw that Denis did an entire season of episodic TV without saying a word —we knew he could be our Poe.
In addition, it turns out Denis had studied a lot of poetry in college, so he did a wonderful job reciting Poe’s poems. And we didn’t even realize until we started with hair and make-up how much he actually looks like Poe!
Edgar Allan Poe is already a well-known figure, is there new information about Poe revealed in the film?
One of the reasons I made the film is because I came to realize Poe is a hugely misunderstood figure. Most people think of him in a one-dimensional way —as a brooding, mad, perhaps opium-addled denizen of the dark. Until I started researching this project I didn’t know that Poe was an important literary critic, and an influential magazine editor. He was a powerful player in the literary scene of the 1830s and ’40s—a tastemaker—one of the glitterati of his time. He helped define what American literature would be in the early decades of our nation.
I knew Poe had written detective stories. What I didn’t realize is that Poe invented the detective story as we know it today, with all the conventions we’re used to. Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, said he had modeled his stories on Poe. And virtually every detective writer since has followed suit.
Poe is one of those iconic figures who appears in popular culture decade after decade. Even people who haven’t read his works know his face. Why?
Yes it’s amazing how often Poe pops up. He’s in “The Simpsons,” on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and on and on.
Poe himself is partly responsible for his enduring image in pop culture. He knew that to sell his stories in a competitive marketplace he needed more than just good writing—he needed a public persona that would give him an edge. He was a fan of the English bad-boy poet Lord Byron, and he saw how a reputation—even a dark one —could help sell literature.
So he had daguerreotypes made that portrayed him a certain way, and he wrote falsified biographical materials that made him seem a more adventurous and romantic figure than he really was.
But what really cemented his reputation—and in a bad way—was the first obituary after Poe’s untimely death at age 40 in 1849. His literary enemy, Rufus Griswold, wrote the obit, and he described Poe in all the negative ways people still think of him today. So Griswold’s negative portrayal, along with Poe’s own self-mythologizing, have played a big role in keeping Poe famous —or rather infamous.
What’s the real story? Was Poe just a regular guy who was terribly misunderstood or is there some truth to the dark, Halloween-figure side of Poe?
Well, like any complicated person, it’s a bit of both. If Poe were my buddy, I’d think twice when I saw him come up on caller ID. He could be a terrible friend, and a worse enemy. He was dead broke and in debt most of his life. He had a terrible time with alcohol, though he could be sober for long periods. At the same time, he was brilliant, witty, had lots of friends and was a loving husband, most of the time. Though he married his 13-year-old cousin when he was 26!
One thing I discovered is that practically anything you say about Poe, the opposite is also true. That’s part of what made the film challenging, and fun!
Why the title: “Buried Alive”?
Poe was fascinated —maybe even obsessed—with stories of people who were buried alive by mistake, which happened fairly frequently in the early 19th century. Medicine hadn’t figured out how to determine death with certainty, and particularly during epidemics there was a lot of pressure to get corpses underground quickly. One of his most famous stories is “The Premature Burial.”
I also love the metaphorical meanings. Poe lived his life under a constant cloud of grief —virtually all the women he loved died young. He struggled with a mountain of debt, and even before he died his bad reputation had begun to overshadow the reality of his life. And then, of course, there’s the never-ending mystery of his death. For all those reasons, it feels like an appropriate title.
Mystery of his death?
You have to see the movie.
Have you heard of Jennifer Aniston’s line of beauty products called Living Proof? I just learned that this uber cool brand is headquartered right here in our own backyard. Scientists from MIT got together with beauty experts and developed this brand with one simple ambition: “To challenge conventional wisdom to solve your toughest beauty problems.”
Now this may sound like something rather simple to do, however, this lab has taken hair care and hair products to a new level, measuring out what works and what doesn’t on specific hair types, colors and textures. Living Proof has done for hair what Mario Testino has done for fashion photography. There are a core group of testees who come in periodically to test out new products, see what works, what doesn’t. We got to play a little, and discover the inner workings of this lab the other night at the opening and debut of their Style Lab. My favorite part of the tour was seeing a row of mannequin heads, hair of all different colors and textures, all lined up, ready for testing—the first phase of product development, apparently. Though their office, which consists of 60% female employees, is located in tech den Kendall Square, their outreach spans all the way to the west coast where Jennifer serves as brand ambassador.
I was so excited to get my hands on the Perfect Hair Day Night Cap Overnight Protector, an overnight hair mask that you simply apply and let the magic happen while you sleep. A genius idea for busy moms like myself! Another notable that I can’t wait to try: Blowout, and Restore Instant Protection—it protects your hair from UV rays for 24 hours and is perfect for those summer beach days. Stop by to have your hair tested and find out what product will suit you best. I assure you, every woman I saw that was working for the company had gorgeous locks. I asked Grace Ray if great hair was a pre-requisite for being hired. She said, “ Definitely not!” and chuckled a bit. I suggested they make a “before-after” facebook! I’ll be on the lookout for that.
photocredit: Michael Blanchard
On Wednesday June 11th, I was honored to attend the second annual “Swing into Summer,” fashion show benefitting Crossroads for Kids, a non-profit that inspires youth to develop their innate potential by breaking the cycle of poverty and under-achievement by yielding systemic change in the communities where they live.
The event was designed by the ever chic Holly Safford of The Catered Affair and took place at the historic Winsor House Inn in Duxbury where models strut down the runway in stunning fashions by Sara Campbell Designs and accessories by JoJo Loves You.
While the fashion industry often has a reputation for being frivolous, I’ve always believed that fashion has the ability to design a better world. Often starting with the spark of a single idea, entrepreneurs and designers like Holly and Sara are changing how the world views fashion’s potential and ability to leave a lasting and powerful influence on society by hosting events that are filled with both style and heart. Truth be told, no matter what happens in retail or on the runways, there’s one thing that never goes out of style: giving back.
Want to lose weight without dieting and exercising? I will let you in on my little secret…perfectly bronzed skin. With Custom Airbrush Tanning, I was treated to a session with Jen Barry at Bliss Spa W Boston Hotel. I had no expectations but was thrilled when I went home feeling 10 lbs lighter. My husband recently came home from a business trip and said, “Wow, you look great! Very skinny. What have you been doing?” I smiled and said nothing.
How does it work?
- Take a relaxing steam shower, (they don’t recommend exfoliating beforehand, because it will leave you with a streaky tan.)
- Remove all face makeup.
- Sit in the lounge and snack on my favorites- the signature brownie bites and cheese cubes with a hot tea.
- Have a moment of peace without your phone, because it’s that blissful.
- Within minutes Jen comes by to bring you to the tanning room. She has a sweet demeanor, very warm and bubbly and makes you feel instantly comfortable, (you will come to realize this is something very important as you are going to be standing there buck naked in a few minutes.)
- Remove all jewelry and put your hair up in a bun. You can optionally strip down to nothing at all, or use the disposable undies they have available.( I opted for the latter because it’s kinda nice to see the “tanline” so you know how much of a tan you actually got!)
A whirring sound then a smell of flowers, and the process begins…I held my arms out to the side and Jen began spraying the cool mist on my body from the gun that looks like a blow dryer. We had pre-selected medium, since I already had a nice base tan. I had booked my appointment on a Monday since I had a Wednesday event. Two days seems to be the optimal resting time. After being airbrushed and then dried with the same device, Jen gave me a disposable blue robe to put on and we walked back, barefoot, to the lounge where she had me wait another 10-15 minutes to further dry.
Wear loose fitting black clothing! My dress was lighter colored and ended up getting some of the tanning product on it, (which washed out easily). I went home feeling sexy but a bit sticky and followed instructions not to take a shower or wash my face until the next day. The shower water turned a bit brown, washing off the external tanning solution, but the skin remained a beautiful golden glow. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate is the key to keeping this tan. Lotion on your skin after showering and later in the day as well will keep the tan going for up to 2 weeks. The cost of the service is $60, (not including gratuity), which isn’t too bad to look like you’ve spent the summer in St. Tropez…
They say the camera adds 10 lbs, but all I can say is that the airbrush tanning takes off 10lbs. Try it, you’ll like it.
For his latest (soon-to-be) bestseller, “Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs and the Greatest Wealth in History,” Ben Mezrich turns his laser-like gaze to the high-stakes story of two Russian oligarchs. The rise and fall of Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich may seem more like a Robert Ludlum novel than a Ben Mezrich-crafted true-crime account, but Ben, who lives and writes in Boston, covers this new turf like a seasoned foreign correspondent. The author of a dozen books, including “The Accidental Billionaires” (which became the Oscar-winning film “The Social Network”), Ben sat down with our own Carol Beggy just a couple of days after the book’s release to talk about his “first grown up book,” what he learned while researching some of the world’s wealthiest (and most corjrupt) people, and what his next project is going to be. And, yes, he talks about his next Hollywood deal.
(Ed. Note: Ben’s wife, Tonya, is styleboston’s chief fashion correspondent.)
Video produced by V-Neck Media
For more info go to Amazon Books.
The talented Matt Nathanson is an American singer-songwriter, whose work is a blend of folk and a bit of rock. Originally from Lexington, MA but now a resident of San Franscisco, he has an amazing voice and plays acoustic (sometimes a 12-string) electric guitar, both solo and with a full band. You might recognize him with his platinum selling song, “Come On Get Higher.”
The 43 year-old singer-songwriter released his 8th album, Last of the Great Pretenders, on July 16th, 2013 and was his 3rd album with Vanguard Records. His first single, “Mission Bells” was released on March 11th on San Fran radio station KFOG. This album debuted at #16 on the Billboard Top 200.
His songs have been featured on TV shows such as: “NCIS”, “One Tree Hill”, “Private Practice”, “Women’s Murder Club”, “Big Shots”, “Scrubs”, “The Vampire Diaries”, “Life Unexpected”, “The Bachelor” and more.
Matt is currently touring with his band, which features Aaron Tap (acoustic & electric guitar), Victor Indrizzo (drums), Chris Reynolds (drums, engineer and synthesizer), Jake Sinclair (bass, drums, guitar, mixing, producer, programming, background vocals), and Mike Viola (bass, guitar, keyboards, producer, background vocals).
One of the bi-products of the wine-making biz that keeps us busy on weekends in our vineyard in El Penedés, the wine region of Catalunya, is the proliferation of fresh grape leaves on our vines. (Duh!) In May or June, grape growers undertake the labor-intensive process of “leafing” and “suckering” the vines, which means that you remove all of the stems that have no fruit, and you also snap off big leaves that are casting shadows on the baby grape clusters. The leafing also gives the fruit more air and minimizes the possibility of icky mold growth. (“Sin miedo!” our local helper tells us: Snap off the excess growth WITHOUT FEAR!)
Last year, during our first season with the white grapes that are now slowly fermenting into “cava” (Spanish champagne), we were pretty thoroughly focused on getting all of the steps right. This year, I had the wherewithal, with the help of daughter Stassa, to collect a few of the largest grape leaves and tuck them away in a plastic bag for later use, after we recovered from the very hot and sweaty leafing process!
My motive? DOLMADES! I had read up last year on the quickest and easiest way to stuff your own grape leaves, guided by Martha Stewart and a dozen other on-line cooking websites, many of them Greek-oriented. And then I promptly forgot it. So while the leaves were still mostly green and supple, I consulted the Internet once again, and I went for what seemed like a fool-proof and remarkably rapid method of preparing the grape leaves for stuffing: blanch them for a few seconds in boiling water.
It worked pretty well, and the results were tasty if a bit chewy. The stuffing process itself was less laborious than I’d anticipated, and it helps if you can make it into a fun assembly-line process in the kitchen.
“Designers offer the message on what’s new, what’s trending. MassArt fashion designers present a vision into the future with imagination and wisdom.″
Sondra Grace, Chair of Fashion Department, MassArt.
I was honored to attend the annual MassArt Senior Fashion Show a few weeks ago, a tradition at the college that dates back to 1907. This year’s show in three words? It was sensational! I have attended the last few years and have seen the show metamorphose into the professional, dynamic runway show that it was. The title was “Vision” and it was created by one of the largest classes of graduating seniors. Thirty-five aspiring designers displayed their work on the runway, and 15 of them were selected to show their entire collections.
While all the designers were inspirational, a few of the stand outs for me were Erin Robertson, Christian Restrepo,whose spiked platforms were to die for and Joseph Carl, who had some of my favorite looks of the night. His gowns were constructed pristinely, with color blocking and piping flowing down the runway as though they were made to walk the Carousel in Paris. The gowns had structure and high turtleneck collars, which were reminiscent of Hawthorne’s Hester Prynne—but with a modern twist.
Erin Robertson is a woman to watch. She was the recipient of the 2013 Council of Fashion Designers of America’s CFDA/Teen Vogue Target Scholarship (a $25,000 prize) when she was just a sophomore. That night she was wearing an outfit she designed-an elegant, banana yellow pantsuit with a matching stole and purse. Loved her look, her collection and was instantly intrigued by her.
Christian Restrepo finaled the show, closing with a strong multi-media textured collection. During my interview with him, he impressed me with his view on designing. It struck me that he was more interested in the design process itself and creating textures and movement, than being a “designer”. I liked the rawness of his attitude and the fact that it incorporated the same tenets that lead to the success of the fantastic duo Proenza Schouler. In a past interview with them, they spoke passionately of always being focused on the creation process, developing their custom fabrics and playing with the notion of ‘refined ease’ rather than being designers.
The entire show was tight and produced perfectly down to the lighting, the music and the large screen video footage of the catwalk that graced the back walls. The attendees were as beautiful and stylish as the runway show, and none of this would have been possible without the amazing help of the donors who provide scholarships to students in need. For the second year in a row, a gala was organized by those who volunteer their time and funds and believe in the continuation of the opportunity for an affordable education in the arts. As a guest of one of the co-chairs, Ashley Karger, I was grateful to be in attendance on this night, which was truly fashion perfection.
Michael Blanchard photographer
For more MassArt coverage, watch styleboston’s season 2 Fashion Forward runway show.
Ed’s been in the news lately, and not for his intimate friendship with Taylor Swift but for his intimate relationship with pot. His latest release, “Sweet Mary Jane” gives a few clues as to how much he enjoys this particular pastime, and it’s been suggested that he wrote the love song to be “cool”. Well, we’ve always thought Ed was cool enough, so here’s a flashback to season 4 with Ed and Kennedy, weeks before the Grammy’s and a duet with Sir Elton John.
There’s been a lot of negative coverage lately around Tom Brady but no matter what anyone thinks about Deflategate, he’s a stand up guy when it comes to Best Buddies. He’s been involved with this charity for years and just hosted another successful event in Hyannisport this past weekend. He’s generously given his time and money to support the organization, so he’s a touchdown as far as we’re concerned. We were lucky enough to talk to Tom after a previous race, check out Linda’s Off The Field.
Boston was represented at BookExpo America—right from the start. The line to have B.A. Shapiro sign advanced copies of “The Muralist” snaked around the corner of the Algonquin Books booth on the first day of BookExpo America but the novelist still took the time to chat with her fans. As those with Massachusetts’ ties reached the Boston-based novelist’s signing area, the topic quickly changed to the 1990 heist of the 13 precious works of art, including an important Rembrandt seascape. “I hope that they are found one day. I hope they aren’t lost,” she told one fan from Western Massachusetts. It’s not just a passing interest for Shapiro, who has also taught creative writing at Northeastern and sociology at Tufts. Shapiro’s bestselling novel of a couple of years ago, “The Art Forger,” explored the underworld of art theft and forgery. “The Muralist” is set in 1940 and centers on an American painter who disappears and neither her family living in German-occupied France nor her patron, Eleanor Roosevelt, knows what happened to her. The 352-page book is scheduled to be released on Nov. 3.
Other novels from Algonquin that are already getting notice—and it’s only Day 1 of BEA, the country’s largest book industry convention—are Jonathan Evison’s “This is Your Life, Harriet Chance!” due out on Sept. 8; Ron Childess’ “And West is West,” due out Nov. 13; and “The Fall of Princes” by Robert Goolrick due out Aug. 25.
HarperCollins offered a tease (just a booklet sample) of T.J. English’s “Where the Bodies Were Buried: Whitey Bulger and the World That Made Him,” about the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger, which will be released on Sept. 15. The booklet, copies of which English signed, is the book’s introduction and promises to be a review of Bulger’s “reign of terror.”
From the BEA Editors’ Buzz Panel: Grand Central Publishing’s release of Julie Checkoway’s non-fiction tale “The Three-Year Swim Club,” due out on Oct. 27, 2015; Dr. Damon Tweedy’s highly anticipated “Black Man in a White Coat,” from Picador, which will be released on Sept. 8; Dan Marshall’s memoir “Home is Burning” will be released by Flatiron Books on Oct. 20; Simon & Schuster’s imprint Scout Press makes its debut with Ruth Ware’s haunting novel, “In a Dark, Dark Wood,” which is due out this summer; “City on Fire,” is Garth Risk Hallberg’s sweeping debut novel set against the backdrop of the 1977 blackout that nearly crippled New York City, which Knopf will release on Oct. 13; and, finally, Boston-based fiction writer Ottesa Moshfegh’s “Eileen,” which Penguin Press will release on Aug. 18.
When the convention floor opens on the first day there is a rush—not a run, but at a clip that could quickly turn to a stampede—by attendees to grab the copies of the advanced reader copies (ARCs) of the hottest titles. We didn’t want to miss out so we risked our safety and road the wave of librarians heading toward the Hachette area. For those of you who aren’t “label queens” when it comes to your reading, Hachette is the parent company of Little, Brown and Company, which will publish Sunil Yapa’s anticipated novel “The Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist” on Jan. 12, 2016. The bright yellow cover of this debut novel set against the conflict of Seattle’s 1999 WTO protests was an easy way to spot the literary trophy hunters. And Hachette’s Grand Central Publishing has Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos’ “Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise,” slated to be released on Nov. 3, 2015. In this novel, Hijuelos looks at the real-life relationship of Mark Twain and Sir Henry Morton Stanley. For those who love historical fiction, this will be on their “wish lists.”
One of the fastest growing segment’s of the publishing industry is the young adult category (called “YA” in the biz) and while it would be impossible to say which title was the hottest, it can be said without fear of argument that Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s “Illuminae: The Illuminae Files__01” is a book, from Alfred A. Knopf for Young Readers that will make some waves when it is released on Oct. 20. With an elaborate layout and design, the book is that rare find: it offers enough to get both male and female younger readers to pick up a nearly 600-page book.
Another first day stop is the booth for Soho Press, which is known for finding the brightest new voices in crime fiction, where they were promoting Matt Bell’s “Scrapper,” a novel about a Detroit that never rebounds from its economic depths. Think that might not be enough to base your fall reading list on? How’s this for an opening sentence: “See the body of the plant, one hundred years of patriots’ history, fifty years an American wreck.” Soho also has Peter Lovesey’s “Down Among the Dead Men,” a Chief Superintendent Peter Diamond investigation story, out this July and “One Man’s Flag,” by David Downing, which is a follow-up to his “Jack of Spies.” Set in 1914, “One Man’s Flag” covers a lot of history and territory and works, we were told, without having read the first installment. The book is due out in November.
We’ll be back with Day 2’s roundup.
Ever heard of a Tom Plumbs Blues? Our friends at Church share their recipe for this gin cocktail, which is perfect for the summer. Watch here to see what pairs best with this stirred but never shaken craft cocktail.
Tove Lo might have caught your ear this time last year with her slow building hit, “Habits (Stay High)”, an ode to marijuana self-medicating. I’m all for some green but the track just didn’t tickle my fancy. So I took no interest in this artist with the odd name, who reminded me of another emo, indie pop Lorde – no thank you. Well, I’m owning my bad judgement because I was wrong and if you were at this year’s Boston Calling you might have caught Tove Lo tearing up the stage. What changed my opinion on Tove Lo? Her second single, “Talking Body”. Released in January of this year, the track has gained popularity on top 40 radio over the last few months and I guarantee it will have your feet moving this summer. The lyrical content and musical composition seamlessly flow together to create a mid-tempo bass, heavy groove with the sexiest, catchiest hook you’ve ever heard. After hearing “Talking Body” I listened to the rest of her album and was not disappointed. Check the track below and get your summer groove on.
On Thursday May 14, 2015, at the Seaport World Trade Center, BCRF hosted The Boston Hot Pink Party, which raised $1.2 million dollars for breast cancer research.
The event honored actress Elizabeth Hurley, a longstanding advocate and The Estée Lauder Companies’ Global Ambassador for Breast Cancer Awareness, as well as ABC News Anchor and breast cancer survivor Amy Robach and her husband, Andrew Shue. Also in attendance were designers Tommy and Dee Hilfiger and Fidelity’s Peter Lynch. The 10th Anniversary of the annual gala featured a special performance by Broadway star Megan Hilty as guests celebrated their local commitment to the global health issue of breast cancer, upheld by the night’s theme: “Pink Locally, Act Globally.” styleboston’s Zoey Gulmi was there and has all the interviews you want to hear…
video produced by V-Neck Media
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
ABOUT THE SB BLOG
styleboston is now an online community of curators covering a variety of subjects.
styleboston online provides up-to-the-minute editorial content with a lineup of vibrant contributors covering the latest trends in fashion, art, entertainment, food, travel, and design. This newly revved up platform, an edgy online version of the television show, is quickly becoming the definitive online lifestyle guide for savvy Bostonians. styleboston online is your go-to digital lifestyle connection.
To view styleboston the television show – visit styleboston.tv.
JOIN USInterested in writing for styleboston? Send your resume and writing samples to email@example.com.