Friday, March 27, 2015

Batman & Robin in Hollywood

My cousin, Bruno and I loved to watch the TV show, “Batman” when we were kids. We would tuck a pillowcase into the back collar of our t-shirts for capes and run around the block pretending to be Batman and Robin. I usually got to play Batman because I was older (and taller). My mom knew how much I loved the show so she bought the Ideal Batman cowl for my birthday.

My mom and I lived on the top floor of a three-story apartment building at the corner of Hollywood and Garfield Place while Bruno and his family lived across the parking lot in the first house in a row of five bungalows. One day, Bruno and I were playing “Batman” all over the parking lot when we wandered inside the lobby of my apartment building.  My mom, my aunts, uncles and the rest of our family were at Bruno’s place.
We ran around the lobby, up and down the stairs, slid down the banister and tumbled down the carpeted stairs. We ran all the way up the stairs to the third floor when I noticed the roof access door. I thought would be ‘fun’ idea to go on the roof so we could get a ‘bats’ eye’ view of the city. We pushed the door and set a brick in the door jam to hold it open.  We walked around on the roof for a few minutes enjoying the spectacular view. We sat on the edge of the roof. I suddenly got the idea that it would be neat to swing over from the edge of the roof into the open third floor window.  We’d seen Batman and Robin performing this stunt regularly on the show so I thought we could do it, too. I explained the directions very well to Bruno, handed him the Batman cowl and suggested that he be the first one to try.

Bruno was brave so he put on the helmet and he draped his little leg over the side.  I started to give him a boost up the wall when we heard the familiar voice of our Uncle Calvo screaming from across the parking lot.
“Hey! Don't you two dare move! I’m coming up there right now!“ Uncle Calvo was 6 feet tall and very intimidating!  He was the disciplinarian at the family functions. Bruno almost fell off the roof at this point from terror.
Our uncle ran up the stairs and found us on the roof. He grabbed us by the ears then shouting all the way, dragged us back to Bruno’s house for a spanking. I remember the thud of the plastic Batman cowl hitting the tar paper roof.
Personally, I still think the stunt would have worked. After all, we saw it on TV!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Happy Birthday Barbie!

A friend took me to a party at the soon to be my good friend, Kari’s house for a “Barbie Birthday Party” many years ago.  Kari’s house was incredible! She had tons of various toys and dolls on display, glittery pink floors and the entire house were all decorated in Barbie art. Tacky pink Barbie banners stretched across the ceiling, pink lights and gold spray painted dolls hung on the branches of the ficus tree that grew from outside through the crack in the living room window! 

So many colorful people in wild costumes and hats from every decade of the Barbie doll! Spiked pink punch with fruit slices, bowls of pink gumdrops and plates of pink cookies with sprinkles. Kari was dressed as the Twiggy doll in a human-sized version of the Mattel Twiggy doll’s original outfit. She had various performance artists doing erotic performances featuring Barbie as their perverse theme. Plus, the best part was that Kari had set up assorted Barbie craft projects to do in every room. In one room there was piles of doll clothes, shoes, heads, bodies, arms, scraps of fabric, X-acto knives, hot glue, colored foil, glitter, paint, scissors and markers on a circular table so guest could create their own expression featuring the iconic doll. I sat down beside a guy named Bichon who looked like a kooky beatnik. We started to chat, hit it off and became collaborators on a Barbie project. I stripped off the paint from a doll’s face with acetone. I taped off her head, exposing her hair then spray-painted her hair black. Bichon started to make a wedding dress from a few paper doilies.  When the paint on the hair dried, I pulled the tape off and repainted the make-up on her face. I found a tiny bridal bouquet, added a black veil, a ribbon and colored the flowers to look weathered.  Bichon had finished the elaborate wedding dress and it was spectacular! The dress had a long train in the back, scraps of old lace with plastic spiders on the peplum, bows and puffed sleeves with tiny Tic Tac breath mints glued to them. Kari gave prizes for the favorite art creation so after the voting by the crowd; Bichon and I won the contest!


The Bride of Frankenstein Barbie was our lovely creation that night.

Bichon and I became great friends after that. Hope you making some fantastic Barbie art in heaven, Bichon.