Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, James Dean!

Today would be James Dean's 82nd birthday.

From the official James Dean fan site:

       James Dean was born February 8, 1931, in Marion, Indiana, to Winton and Mildred Dean. His father, a dental technician, moved the family to Los Angeles when Jimmy was five. He returned to the Midwest after his mother passed away and was raised by his aunt and uncle on their Indiana farm. After graduating from high school, he returned to California where he attended Santa Monica Junior College and UCLA. James Dean began acting with James Whitmore's acting workshop, appeared in occasional television commercials, and played several roles in films and on stage. In the winter of 1951, he took Whitmore's advice and moved to New York to pursue a serious acting career. He appeared in seven television shows, in addition to earning his living as a busboy in the theater district, before he won a small part in a Broadway play entitled See the Jaguar.

In a letter to his family in Fairmount in 1952, he wrote:

"I have made great strides in my craft. After months of auditioning, I am very proud to announce that I am a member of the Actors Studio. The greatest school of the theater. It houses great people like Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, Arthur Kennedy, Mildred Dunnock...Very few get into it, and it is absolutely free. It is the best thing that can happen to an actor. I am one of the youngest to belong. If I can keep this up and nothing interferes with my progress, one of these days I might be able to contribute something to the world." [He worked with Arthur Kennedy in "See the Jaguar"; he would later star with Julie Harris in "East of Eden" and Mildred Dunnock in "Padlocks," a 1954 episode of the CBS television program "Danger."]

       Dean continued his study at the Actors Studio, played short stints in television dramas, and returned to Broadway in "The Immoralist" (1954). This last appearance resulted in a screen test at Warner Brothers for the part of Cal Trask in the screen adaptation John Steinbeck's novel "East of Eden." He then returned to New York where he appeared in four more television dramas. After winning the role of Jim Stark in 1955's "Rebel Without A Cause," he moved to Hollywood.

       In February, he visited his family in Fairmount with photographer Dennis Stock before returning to Los Angeles. In March, Jimmy celebrated his Eden success by purchasing his first Porsche and entered the Palm Springs Road Races. He began shooting "Rebel Without A Cause" that same month and Eden opened nationwide in April. In May, he entered the Bakersfield Race and finished shooting Rebel. He entered one more race, in Santa Barbara, before he joined the cast and crew of "Giant" in Marfa, Texas.

     James Dean had one of the most spectacularly brief careers of any screen star. In just more than a year, and in only three films, Dean became a widely admired screen personality, a personification of the restless American youth of the mid-50's, and an embodiment of the title of one of his film "Rebel Without A Cause." En route to compete in a race in Salinas, James Dean was killed in a highway accident on September 30, 1955. James Dean was nominated for two Academy Awards, for his performances in "East of Eden" and "Giant." Although he only made three films, they were made in just over one year's time. Joe Hyams, in the James Dean biography "Little Boy Lost," sums up his career:

"..There is no simple explanation for why he has come to mean so much to so many people today. Perhaps it is because, in his acting, he had the intuitive talent for expressing the hopes and fears that are a part of all young people... In some movie magic way, he managed to dramatize brilliantly the questions every young person in every generation must resolve."

Happy birthday, Mr. Dean.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Greetings from Venice, Florida!

If you haven't been in lately, you may have missed our custom-designed line of "Greetings From Venice" gifts.  Venice was such a small town during the 1940s and 50s that it didn't have the ubiquitous "GREETINGS FROM..." postcard that all the states and larger cities had (even Sarasota had one). So we decided to design one of our own. Reflecting the designs of the period, this image is now placed proudly on matted prints, coffee mugs, postcards, keychains, shot glasses, dish towels, bookmarks, boxed notecards, refrigerator magnets -- even barbeque aprons! A unique gift for yourself this holiday season -- or for a Venice fan that can't be around year 'round! Prices range from $3.95 to $21.95, available ONLY at Nifty Nic Nacs!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Iron Chef 2012

This will be the fifth year for the Iron Chef and Bartender Competition. As an added twist, celebrity bartenders, Venice Mayor John Holic, Venice Chamber President John Ryan and local Seratoma Club member Don Hay, will compete to see who comes up with the most off the wall and tasty cocktail. 
Food is king during this competition, and we have some exciting newcomers added into the mix this year. The newcomers, Chef Alan from Blu' Island Bistro and Chef Anthony from Bridgetown Delicatessen and Market will face off against seasoned veterans; Peter Prokopiak and Anthony Petralia from Upper Crust Cafe and Bakery, and Marc Alton of Sharky's on the Pier.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cash Mob: History!

A quick "THANK YOU" to all of those who came out for Venice's first Cash Mob! We couldn't be happier to see so many locals supporting small businesses! A big thanks to Melinda Mudge and HarborChase for taking the lead in this movement! 
Join the fun on July 27th at the SECOND ever Cash Mob starting at 3:30pm at Simple Elegance Under $20 in the 100 block of West Venice Avenue, and then heading to Venice Wine and Coffee. Bring $20 to spend and you'll get a free t-shirt! It's a great way to support your local economy -- and you'll meet a lot of nice people, too!

It's "Christmas In July" at Nifty Nic Nacs!

Tomorrow and Saturday only, everything at Nifty Nic Nacs is 20% off regular prices!  This is the first-time we have ever held a store-wide sale and we are doing it as part of the downtown Venice savings celebration known as "Christmas In July"! All the shops and restaurants bring you huge savings and specials -- COOL, huh?! Nifty Nic Nacs will stay open until 8pm for all of our friends who may be working during the day. (We usually don't run "sales" -- other than regularly discounting items for clearance -- so that you know you can come in at any time and get our best price. We just thought we'd make it extra tempting for this one time in the middle of the summer, as a nod to our local customers.)
Stop in to Nifty Nic Nacs on Friday, July 20th and Saturday, July 21st, 2012, for 20% off all regularly-priced items in the store! (Clearance items and Kit Cat Clocks not included. No shipping, special orders or layaways.) We accept cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express.
While you're here, be sure and register for the giveaways of 4 HUGE gift baskets FULL of donations from local businesses.  Santa will be available for Florida-style photographs downtown, too! Santa! The Holly Trolley will also be running on Saturday for free rides around downtown.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Operation Cash Mob: Success!

We are happy to report that the very first Cash Mob on Venice Island was a HUGE success! Thanks to our friends at HarborChase for putting it together!

What is a Cash Mob? A Cash Mob is when a group of people organizes ahead of time to show up and spend at least a set amount of cash (in this case $20.00) per person, giving a local small business a quick infusion of cash, and also helping locals find out about new, fun locations.

Of course, we always encourage local shopping, but this was a particularly fantastic occassion!

Here are some photos from the event!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Famous Birthday: Audrey Hepburn

Today would have been Audrey Hepburns 83rd birthday.
Audrey Hepburn was born Audrey Kathleen Roston, in Brussels, Hepburn started as a dancer, and was discovered in Gigi, and went on to play some of the most famous roles in history; Sabrina (Sabrina), Eliza Doolittle (My Fair Lady), Princess Ann (Roman Holiday), and, probably most well-known, Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffanys).

Especially in her later years, Audrey Hepburn was a great activist for childrens causes, and worked for UNICEF.

Audrey Hepburn passed away in 1993, at age 63. She has one son, Sean.
For Audrey Hepburn memorabilia, especially Breakfast at Tiffanys, click here.