Archives for posts with tag: Life Magazine

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In 2011, journalist Hari Kunzru interviewed Joan Didion for a British magazine and covered many topics, including  her 1969 Corvette Stingray, made famous in photographs Julian Wasser shot for Life Magazine in 1972. Here are some excerpts. (Find more at this link.)

HK: I read an old interview with you this morning…which said that the 1969 Yellow Corvette Sting Ray Maria drives in Play It As It Lays was actually your car.

JD: It was my car.

HK: …So the Corvette was the car you were driving down the foggy road and trying to work out where the turn for your drive was, and where was just a steep cliff.

JD: Yes.

Photo: “Joan Didion and her 1969 yellow Corvette Stingray” Julian Wasser (1972), ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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In 2011, journalist Hari Kunzru interviewed Joan Didion for a British magazine and covered many topics, including  her 1969 Corvette Stingray, made famous in photographs Julian Wasser shot for Life Magazine in 1972. Here are some excerpts. (Find more at this link.)

HK: I read an old interview with you this morning, from when you were living in California [‘Joan Didion: Staking out California’ –  Michiko Kakutani, Joan Didion, Essays and Conversations] which said that the 1969 Yellow Corvette Sting Ray Maria drives in Play It As It Lays was actually your car.

JD: It was my car.

HK: Do you still feel connected to that woman? The woman who drove along the coast road to Malibu in a Yellow Corvette Sting Ray?

JD: No. At some point in the past year I think I twigged to the fact that I was no longer the woman in the Yellow Corvette. Very recently. It wasn’t five years ago.

HK: When you said you ‘twigged to that’, was that a moving on, a sense of loss –

JD: Actually, when John died, for the first time I thought – for the first time I realized how old I was, because I’d always thought of myself – when John was alive I saw myself through his eyes and he saw me as how old I was when we got married – and so when he died I kind of looked at myself in a different way. And this has kept on since then. The yellow corvette. When I gave up the yellow corvette, I literally gave up on it, I turned it in on a Volvo station wagon [laughs]

HK: [laughing] That’s quite an extreme maneuver.

JD: The dealer was baffled.

HK: The Corvette driver would mutate into the Volvo driver. Was that because you were leaving California?

JD: No, we had just moved in from Malibu in to Brentwood. I needed a new car because with the Corvette something was always wrong, but I didn’t need a Volvo station wagon. Maybe it was the idea of moving into Brentwood.

HK: You were really trying to embody that suburban role. So the Corvette was the car you were driving down the foggy road and trying to work out where the turn for your drive was, and where was just a steep cliff.

JD: Yes.

Photo: “Joan Didion and her 1969 yellow Corvette Stingray” Julian Wasser (1972), ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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LOS ANGELES NOTEBOOK (Excerpt)

Essay by Joan Didion

It is three o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and 105 degrees and the air so thick with smog that the dusty palm trees loom up with a sudden and rather attractive mystery. I have been playing in the sprinklers with the baby and I get in the car and go to Ralphs Market on the corner of Sunset and Fuller wearing an old bikini bathing suit. This is not a very good thing to wear to the market but neither is it, at Ralphs on the corner of Sunset and Fuller, an unusual costume. Nonetheless a large woman in a cotton muumuu jams her cart into mine at the butcher counter. “What a thing to wear to the market,” she says in a loud but strangled voice. Everyone looks the other way and I study a plastic package of rib lamb chops and she repeats it. She follows me all over the store, to the Junior Foods, to the Dairy Products, to the Mexican Delicacies, jamming my cart whenever she can. Her husband plucks at her sleeve. As I leave the checkout counter, she raises her voice one last time: “What a thing to wear to Ralphs,” she says.

“Los Angeles Notebook” by Joan Didion is found in her collection of essays Slouching Toward Bethlehem, available at Amazon.com.

Photo: Joan Didion and her daughter Quintana Roo Dunne photographed for Life Magazine in 1972 by Julian Wasser.