Review: War Paint

I began my Labor Day Weekend with a performance of the musical War Paint on Friday evening. I had minimal expectations because, honestly, I hadn’t heard much buzz about it at all. I knew Patti (Lupone) and Christine (Ebersole) would be fabulous, so that’s really all the convincing I needed to go see it, and I knew it was about some rivalry between Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden but not much else. Douglas Sills was out that night and Chris Hoch stepped in for him. I wasn’t there to see Sills, so I couldn’t care less.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the story the most (Doug Wright did a great job with the book). Helena Rubenstein is my new hero, although she was portrayed a bit more punk rock in the script than in real life (for example: she had kids in real life which were never mentioned). We began in the 1930’s when Rubenstein moved back to New York City and Elizabeth Arden finds out from her associates and: drama. Arden’s salon is the ultimate destination for feminine pampering (and everything is “Arden pink”) and Rubenstein sells herself as beauty + science. It was because of the questionable ingredients they both used in the “age-defying” products that the FDA decided all ingredients must be printed on the bottle (thank you!).

Helena Rubenstein was, at one point, one of the richest women on earth and attempted to make an all-cash offer on a penthouse triplex on Park Avenue. When she was denied board approval because she was Jewish, she instead bought the entire building and lived in the triplex for 35 years until she died (per Wikipedia).

Elizabeth Arden’s first marriage falls apart in part because she won’t give her husband any credit for the sales work he’s doing. She says, “The moment I give you [her husband] credit is the moment I lose all of mine.” So true.

These two women detested each other and only met once.  They died within months of one another, too.

The music was fine – as in I don’t remember hating it. The dancing was also fine. But really, everyone was there to see LuPone and Ebersole and they were AMAZING. They are worth any price of admission (within reason, unless you’re Rubenstein-esque levels of rich then by all means, buy premium tickets). You should put “seeing two powerhouse women portray two powerhouse women onstage” on your bucket list right now because OH MAN.

War Paint is your standard length – two acts, two and a half hours long, but I never felt like it dragged. It was too much of a pleasure watching those two badasses onstage to check my watch.

And finally, I’ll leave you with a photo of Rubenstein’s childhood home in Krakow that I took last year while I was in Poland. (It’s the little green house.)

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Gimme Gimme (Eye Make-Up)

I love make-up. I always have. I wore lipstick from the time my grandmother first let me have hers and never looked back. Some choices were questionable – I wore silver lipstick more or less every day of 5th grade. Some were good – I look really good in purple eye shadow. 

Two years ago I got my hands on the Electric Palette from Urban Decay and used that like it was going out of style. I mixed colors and I was good at it, but I also liked just using the hot pink by itself, as well as the deep purple on it’s own. I can’t stress it enough: It’s an amazing palette.

Then I had to job hunt again that fall and I thought it was best to tone it down, to a light and shimmery gold. Then I grew bored of the gold and threw that out, too, opting for only eye liner and mascara. Then… yup, I threw out (not literally) the eye liner (I use some $3 POS from Walgreens which could be the problem) and only wore mascara for a while.

Now, since it’s spring, I’m bringing back the eye shadow. I’ve started wearing eye liner again with my mascara, and I’m thinking about starting to slowly introduce some pale pink color back into my routine, something with a tiny bit of shimmer in it. I have two colors to mess around with: one from Bare Escentuals and another one that’s a bit darker (but still light) from MAC

So, I’m going to start playing with those. And I’m going to see how the dark purple from the Urban Decay palette looks. Unfortunately, pale pink lipstick, as much as I love it, makes me look ill, so that’s a no-go, sadly.

I’ll probably never get back to wearing green and blue eye shadow again, but I’m all about the pinks and purples and I’m excited to get back into them as I get back into my spring wardrobe.