Audrey Hepburn caused a car wreck? Who knew?

>> 03 August 2013

audrey hepburn
The image above is from the Los Angeles Herald Examiner collection that features Audrey Hepburn in 1960.  The caption dated October 25, 1960 partially reads, "Defendant in $50,000 Suit, Tells How Accident Occurred as She Tried to Avoid Another Car - English star Audrey Hepburn, wearing a dark blue jersey suit from Switzerland, and a "French twist" hairdo, today testified in court as defendant in the $50,000 suit brought against her by Actress Joan Lora, who is of Italian descent but played the part of a Spanish dancer in a TV film shown to the jury. This international potpourri was part of a proceedings [sic] which had its origin on July 14, 1958, when Miss Hepburn admittedly rammed her car into one driven by Miss Lora at Santa Monica blvd. and Beverly dr., in Beverly Hils."

In the Audrey Hepburn biography entitled "Enchantment" author Donald Spoto made mention on page 192 that Audrey Hepburn was involved in a car accident right before principle photography began on Green Mansions.

He wrote: "Audrey drove as usual from [her] rented house to the studio. As she approached the corner of Beverly Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard, a car raced toward her from the left. To avoid collision, Audrey had to speed across the intersection where she crashed into the rear of a car driven by a woman named Joan Paladini, a young actress known as Joan Lora. Neither woman was obviously injured but a few days later, Mrs. Paladini's lawyer brought suit against Audrey, contending that his client had suffered neck and back injuries. The matter came to trial over two years later, but on October 25, Audrey appeared in court to give her account; the case was soon dismissed."

Mr. Spoto's recounting is not entirely accurate. Joan Paladini was in fact awarded a settlement on October 27, 1960, in the amount $6,250, which is about 88.5% less than what she was suing for.

It's worth noting that after the case was settled, Audrey Hepburn never again sat behind the wheel of a car except on screen.

Still, I wonder who designed Audrey's outfit that she wore to court?

audrey hepburn joan lora
This image, also from the Herald Examiner, is dated October 26, 1960 and the caption reads: "Audrey Hepburn Uses Diagram To Show Auto Accident - Actress, Defendant in $50,000 Auto Injury Suit, Tells of Crash Which Occurred as She Tried to Avoid Another Car."

My Custom Hello Kitty Beach Cruiser Bike

>> 12 June 2013

When I saw that Nirve manufacturers a licensed "Hello Kitty" bike, I thought I just had to have it.  The thing is, I just love my vintage Huffy "Good Vibrations" beach cruiser that I've had since the 90s and I didn't want to give it up.  What to do? I don't need two bikes. So instead, I modded my old Huffy into my very own custom Hello Kitty bike!

DaBomb's Burning Man bike circa 2003
And then I realized: it wasn't the first time.  Ten years ago I needed a bike for Burning Man.  It was OK if it was a beater because playa conditions can be pretty brutal on a bike, so my neglected old Huffy that was sitting in the garage would be perfect.  A dear friend who was moving way to get married (lucky girl!) offered to teach me how to restore the bike and after we replaced the grease and tires, tweaked the rims, gave it a paint job, the bike morphed from an sad old rusted bike to a sweet little pink and purple glittered ride with a Hello Kitty horn, basket, spoke bling and even a Hello Kitty custom license plate that said "DaBomb".

That bike made it to the Black Rock Desert every year afterwards but after a decade, my Hello Kitty bike needed an update.  So inspired by the Nirve bike, I went down to Valley Bikery, a not-for-profit bicycle co-op near where I live to rebuild the bike once again.  They had all the tools I needed so I didn't have buy any tools for single use. I mean, I rebuild my bike every decade, not every week so I didn't want to invest in tools. After a repainting it, truing the wheels, repacking the bracket and retooling things here and there, I now have a sweet ride with a black and white palette, a reversible basket liner that converts into a shopping tote (made it myself, thank you!) and even an umbrella bracket so I can protect my fair skin when I ride this baby on the beach.

But wait, I wasn't done yet. With some left over Hello Kitty fabric, I decoupaged a bike helmet and the bicycle seat using Outdoor Modpodge!  But even then, I couldn't stop! Since I had stripped the paint off the bike, along with it went the original "Huffy" badge so I picked a repro on eBay.  Oh, and an HK dust mask to protect my precious lungs from smog when commuting in Los Angeles traffic.  All the branded accessories that you see here -- the bell, the valve caps, the chrome HK badge -- I got on eBay except for the tires (oh the tires, aren't they sweet?) which were sourced locally. Oh, and those red rim reflectors?  Those are from Fiks. They're great because they dramatically increase light visibility at night.

On my wish list are a HK cup holder (so I can cruise on back from my coffee klatsch with a cuppa joe), Hello Kitty bicycle pedals, and a HK rear light. And of course, coordinating HK active wear! Hee! >^,_,^<

This bike gets squeals of delight from little girls and smiles from grown women everywhere I go. I mean, it's a total friend-maker. While it's unique, I think the attention getter is that umbrella. Whatever it is, I just say to them as I sail on by "Hello Kitty loves you!"

And she does.

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