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Put the blame on Mamie for 'Blonde Bombshell'

January 12, 2006|Alex Chun

Even in her 70s, Mamie Van Doren can still put the va-va in va-va-voom. So on Saturday, the woman who in her heyday was known as one of the "Three Ms," along with Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, will relive her glory years when she plays hostess and pinup model at the opening of "Blonde Bombshell" at Palm Springs' M Modern Gallery.

In addition to photos of Van Doren, the show will feature more than 100 works celebrating the platinum icons of yesteryear. Among the 70 artists included at the gallery, which specializes in midcentury Modernist works, are David LaChapelle, George Hurrell, Bernard of Hollywood, Glenn Barr, Josh "Shag" Agle and Amanda Erlinger. (Erlinger is contributing a portrait of her mother, Nancy Sinatra, who is also slated to attend the opening night.)

"The blond bombshell is an archetype in film that has died out over the years, so I wanted to pay homage to her in a gallery setting," says curator David Wills, who mounted a smaller, all-photographic version of the show last year in New York City.

"Theme shows seem to really inspire people," Wills said. "Shag, for example, has created two new originals just for the show."

According to Agle, Van Doren was the primary reason he agreed to do the show, and in fact, one of his paintings is based on a 1959 Bernard of Hollywood photograph of Van Doren at her Palm Springs home.

For her part, Van Doren says she's "flattered as all hell by all the attention -- I still can't believe that people still remember me."

*

-- Alex Chun

"Blonde Bombshell," M Modern Gallery, 448 N. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. Opening, 7 p.m. Saturday. Regular hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Ends Feb. 5. (760) 416-3611, www.mmodern.com

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