Thursday, November 15

Style Maven: Truman Capote.

One of the new, ongoing posts I want to include on sfgirlbybay is Style Maven - a sort of afternoon fix from the witty, bright and stylish folks from this century. We're surrounded by them, and they fascinate us both professionally and personally. We may like their films, books, interior or fashion designs, but we also like to glimpse a little bit of what's going on behind the public persona.

One of my favorite writers, and more colorful characters of the 1950's, 60's and '70's, is Truman Capote. Perhaps you might ask, what is this to do with design? But this, after all, is the man who brought us Breakfast at Tiffany's! Capote's first page of the first draft of Breakfast at Tiffany's begins: "I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods." Capote lived in many homes and neighborhoods, including New Orleans, Sag Harbor, Switzerland and his primary residence at the United Nations Plaza in New York City. Capote also brought us his amazing 'nonfiction novel' In Cold Blood, as well as the 'party of the century' - his infamous Black and White Ball, and is known to have said "All literature is gossip", and his novels represent that well. He hung out with the likes of the fashionable Babe Paley and longtime friend Slim Keith until the publication of Esquire magazine's La Cote Basque 1968, the 1975 tell-all, gossipy book excerpt that led to his alienation from these society women whose friendship, inspiration, influence and affection was his lifeblood.

To discover more about the eccentric Mr. Capote, one of the most amazing American writers of our time, and 1960's social icon, you might like to read George Plimpton's Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career. You can find a complete listing of Capote's novels here. A man who adored attention and loved talking about other people's private lives, Truman Capote would absolutely love that we are still talking about him today.


Anonymous said...

A Truman tip/treat for you all. As we enter the holiday season, search high and low for a videotape of "A Christmas Memory", the 60's version with Geraldine Page NOT the Patty Duke remake. I think it's only on VHS. Set yourself up on a quiet night, have a box of Kleenex handy and settle in for a story from Truman's childhood narrated by the man himself. Oh, you can also read the story in book form but, I'm telling you, this production is magical.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about the UN Plaza thing, but I'm pretty certain Capote was famous for living in BROOKLYN in New York.

Maggie Sumner said...

I loved his book "Other Rooms, Other Voices." I think the short story for "A Christmas Memory" comes from that.

Here's another little tidbit about him, one of his best friends was Johnny Carson's 2nd wife Joanna. When he died, he left her everything he had and apparently she was so taken with the man, that to this day, she's never been able to part with any of his possessions.

I love stories like that!

Thanks for the great post!

sfgirlbybay said...

I actually think I JUST heard she finally put some of it up for auction!

Anonymous said...

i have a strange obsession with the way truman capote decorated his home(s). where did those pictures you used come from?

Mary Elizabeth Liberty said...

Love this post, great idea!

HOBAC said...

This is just fabulous! I just love being able to hear him read.
BTW Ross Bleckner now (or did not long ago) owns his former house on Long Island. I think it was in Elle or HG earlier this year?

trudi said...

I recently listened to "A Christmas Memory" read by Truman Capote on This American Life (you'll find it if you search their archives)and it's as great as Sparkie says. I would totally recommend it.

Thanks for the great post. (: