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Hi there! Welcome to my journal, where I share the latest about my writing and wanderings. Stay a while and say hello!

Hi, I'm jasmin.

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He arrived in San Francisco wearing a white sombrero, black velvet coat and velvet waistcoat, and a pair of pointy shoes. It was the spring of 1882. Oscar Wilde was twenty-seven years old, not yet a well-known writer but already a style icon and terrific wit. By the time he arrived at the ferry crossing […]

Wilde About San Francisco

March 1, 2021

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And on the Thousand and Second Night, Paris became Persia. One evening in June of 1911, Paul Poiret, the “King of Fashion,” appeared before 300 members of the city’s creme de la creme. He was dressed in full-on sultan’s garb. On his head, he’d placed a bejeweled and beplumed turban. The evening’s “Persian” amusements culminated […]

When Paris Was Persian

February 24, 2021

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It’s the sound of “the jungles in the dead of night.” It “lures white women” into sex and sin. It’s the sound of “civilization” dying—and a new country becoming. It’s 1920. The first war’s just ended. Black jazz musicians are migrating from New Orleans to major northern cities such as Chicago and New York. Nearly […]

Who Put the “Jazz” in “The Jazz Age”?

February 13, 2021

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Did you know Sophia Loren once played me in a movie? Okay, she actually played a Middle Eastern temptress named Yasmin Azir in a 1966 film called Arabesque, but hear me out. Over the weekend I watched the wonderful new short documentary “What Would Sophia Loren Do?” on Netflix and it got me thinking about […]

Sophia Loren C’est Moi

February 9, 2021

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Imagine it’s 1954 and you’re walking around San Francisco and suddenly there she is: Miss Marilyn Monroe. When you (somehow! finally!) manage to tear your eyes away, you see that the man walking beside her is the City’s own golden-boy/son-of-a-Sicilian-fisherman-turned-all-American legend, Joe DiMaggio. And then it comes to you, that front-page story in the Chronicle, […]

Marilyn’s San Francisco

January 27, 2021

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Once upon a time, San Francisco had its own Harlem, and this Harlem had a queen. A “fast-talking,” “show-me-what-you-can-do” woman, one-part glamour and a million parts grit. Her name was Leola King and she got her start running a barbeque pit at 1601 Geary Street. An homage to King’s native Oklahoma, it was built out […]

The Queen of San Francisco’s Once-Upon-A-Time Harlem

January 23, 2021

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Shahs, dervishes, harem women, society ladies, clerics, villagers, and tribesmen—Antoin Sevruguin’s photographs make up a rare and stunning catalog of Iranian life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Tehran to Armenian parents sometime in the 1830s-1840s, Sevruguin spoke a half dozen languages and fell in easily with all sorts of people. […]

The Beautiful Lost Worlds of Antoin Sevruguin

January 19, 2021

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Theda Bara and the Lasting Legacy of the Deep Red Lip Vamp. Anyone remember the super dark lipstick trend from the 90s? Well, did you know the look traces its origins to a Jewish girl from Ohio who was turned into a sexy vampire? When Theodosia Burr Goodman turned up at Fox Studios for a […]

The Lady Was a Vamp

January 11, 2021

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The Decidedly Delightful History of 1920s Boudoir Dolls Quick—what’s your image of a flapper? A young woman with bobbed hair slinking into a speakeasy, throwing back a cocktail and dancing the Charleston? You’d be right, but did you know she’d likely also be carrying a doll? It’s true. Along with all the other shenanigans for […]

Girls & Dolls

January 1, 2021