Update: A time for greatness indeed. Cuban cigars will become legal for the first time since the Kennedy administration.
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The last in our troika of JFK-themed posts is the announcement of a new book by Taschen. The $150 tome reproduces the article “Superman Comes To The Supermarket,” which Norman Mailer penned for Esquire in 1960. Also included are some 300 photos for the hardcore Camelot fan. Below is Taschen’s description of the book. — CC
With his Hollywood good looks, boundless enthusiasm, and mesmeric media presence, John F. Kennedy was destined to capture the imaginations of the more than 70 million Americans who watched the nation’s first televised presidential debate. Just days after beating out Richard Nixon by the narrowest margin in history, Kennedy himself said, “It was the TV more than anything else that turned the tide.”
But one man begged to differ: writer Norman Mailer, who bragged that his pro-Kennedy treatise, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket,” had “won the election for Kennedy.” The article, published in Esquire magazine just weeks before polls opened, redefined political reporting with Mailer’s frank, first-person voice identifying Kennedy as the “existential hero” who could awaken the nation from its postwar slumber and conformist Eisenhower years. Both Kennedy and New Journalism had arrived.
This morning comment-leaver “SE” pointed out on our last post that Norman Mailer was a pretty trad dresser. Even more so than JFK, the subject of his 1960 Esquire article. Behold the embodiment of “manly trad.” — CC (Continue)
Renowned photographer Phil Stern, who documented World War II and stars of Hollywood and the jazz scene, has died at the age of 95.
Stern did much work for LIFE Magazine and many of his images are instantly recognizable, such as this iconic shot of James Dean.
The above photo, in keeping with our JFK administration theme (the last post, and one more to follow), was taken at the president’s inaugural ball. — CC
Tonight the SyFy channel debuts a new series called “Ascension,” inspired by the JFK administration’s Project Orion. The premise is that in 1963 a group of men, women and children were launched into space as part of a secret government program. Now it’s 50 years later, and they’re suddenly questioning the truth behind their mission. Meanwhile, the changes that has taken place back on earth have completely eluded them.
It’s a fun idea to play with.
So let’s say you’d been gone since the Ivy heyday — in space, on a desert island, in a coma — and came crashing back to present reality:
Today in Japan sees the publication of a new collection of illustrations by artist Kazuo Hozumi, who created the smiling little caucasian characters used by clothing brand Van, and co-opted by myself for my Twitter avatars.
We’ve got the book on order and will share the findings when it arrives. — CC
In our last post we announced the annexing of a new Manhattan restaurant into the Ralph Lauren empire. Here are a few more happenings from other corners of the RL world. (Continue)
Ralph Lauren recently launched a mobile coffee truck in Manhattan, and today the New York Times broke the news on his new restaurant, The Polo Bar.
Scheduled to open later this month, it’s located just around the corner from the new Polo flagship on 5th Avenue. Quotes the article:
Simon Doonan, an author and the creative ambassador at large for Barneys New York, said Mr. Lauren’s retro approach to gastronomy may speak to those who have grown weary of lectures about the provenance of each roll in a breadbasket. “I think a lot of food today is unnecessarily creative,” he said. “Every time you go out to eat, it’s like a Jacques Tati movie or a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch.” Mr. Lauren, in contrast, offers “a meal you might get if you walked into an episode of ‘Mad Men.’ ”
OK, “Mad Men” cuisine, but what about the dress code? The article concludes:
Mr. Lauren stressed that the Polo Bar would not be “a formal restaurant,” but what will he make of those customers who are sure to show up at the front door outfitted for a theme-park flume ride in Orlando instead of a fox hunt in the Scottish highlands? “We just had a conversation about it,” he said. “Would you turn them away if someone comes in in a T-shirt?”
He admitted that he’s no stranger to the maître d’ brushoff. “I’ve been one of those guys,” Mr. Lauren said. He recalled dropping by a fancy establishment, years back, when he had already become a force in global fashion. “I had shorts on, and they turned me away,” he said. He accepted that fate with equanimity.
As for the Polo Bar, sartorial regulations could wind up being flexible. Mr. Lauren broke into a subtle grin and said, “I guess if I don’t do any business, I’ll take anyone.”
Brooks Brothers is supposed to be planning a restaurant next to its own flagship, suggesting the comparisons between Polo and Brooks will extend to more than just cut and cloth. — CC