Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Whenever you think of elegant and sophisticated French crystal lighting, you automatically think of Bagues. But you never say it out loud because you're worried you'll humiliate yourself by mispronouncing it. And that's good because you probably would. I know I did. :)


Anyhow, Maison Bagues was founded in 1840 and quickly became renowned for their art lighting, hand made and utilizing bronze, clear or rock crystal, and gold or silver leaf. By 1860, the manufactory had moved to Paris and today Maison Bagues can be found nestled under the Viaduct des Arts, Paris, and continues to create recreations of its oldest models, examples of which are currently hung in hotels like George V Four Seasons Paris, The Ritz, The Savoy in London and the Royal Mansour in Marrakech.

Most people mispronounce "Bagues" as "BAG'D GAYS," which is completely wrong. A "bagged-gay" is just a homosexual gentlemen who's partied all night, gotten zero sleep, is coming off God knows what pill (or spent the evening "powdering" his nose in the mensroom) and is, well, totally in the bag. It also refers to the unavoidable dark "hound dog" bags under his eyes which scream for chilled cucumbers to take the swelling down. Elvis sung it best:

But Bagues is completely unrelated to bags of any kind and it's correctly pronounced just "BAG" or "BAG-(guh)"- either is fine. 

But  now you ask, "Ok, Buzz, but how am I supposed to remember this this year's Opera Gala? The thought terrifies me and my doctor won't refill my Xanax prescription." You poor thing. I understand... you're a hot mess. Luckily, I specialize in messes. But I'm afraid you may need more than my blog to screw your head on straight. In the meantime, here's what you should do when that Bagues Panic Attack strikes:

  • First, throw 3 or 4 martinis down your throat, (Grey Goose up, very dry with olives please). 
  • Second, remember that you can master the pronunciation of Bagues simply by associating it with JAMES BROWN, the 1960's King of Soul.  Can you believe how easy that was!?
  • Ok, fine-I know what you're thinking: "Buzz, that makes NO SENSE!" Correct, but what else is new on this blog? Besides, illiterate writing and reasoning are my signature styles of teaching and I consider it a gift as well as the reason I was in Special Ed classes for far to long. Anyhow,  let me explain: here's James Brown:

According to himself,  James was "The hardest working man in show business." And he may have been right because NOBODY perspired more on stage than James did. Ok, Judy did at Carnegie Hall but she was hopped up on 20 diet pills so she doesn't count. But what about James Brown? Well, I suspect the "poor fool" (as James would say) had hyperhidrosis (look it up and be thankful your pits aren't soaked at this very moment). Ick.

I also think James overly-wet himself because he went on stage (est. temperature 95 degrees) wearing a heavy wool cape over a polyester jumpsuit (OMG who doesn't know that polyester doesn't breathe for God's sake!). On top of all that, he insisted on wearing a huge wig-hat on his head (see above). Plus he'd shimmy, gyrate, do the splits (I'm not kidding-he was practically a chorine!), scream like a banshee (HEP ME! HEP ME!) and then collapse in a sopping heap on the floor. His back-up dancers would then rush to his aid, dragging his lifeless but miraculously still singing body offstage to thunderous applause. What a showman! Liberace had nothing on him. Ok, he did but that's another post completely.
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Anyhow, the point is (yes, there is a point somewhere here) that when you think of James Brown, you remember Bagues crystal because you automatically think of his chart busting hit "Poppa's got a Brand New Bag Part I." 

NPR defines "bag" as "soul slang for a new female love interest." Ridiculous. What does NPR know? Music insiders like myself (and Clive Davis) know that this was the '60's dude! Get with it. Back then "bag" was one of the many "secret hidden street slang words" that only the coolest artists and listening cognoscenti of that era could decipher. Cognoscenti is pronounced "KANYE shentee."  I know you expect me to make a smarmy Kim Kardashian crack here…ok, that was funny…and I just did.

A perfect example of these "street slang lyrics" of the 60's  is "Puff the Magic Dragon" by Peter Paul and Mary.

That dragon is so cute, right? But that song wasn't about a dragon at all! It's hard to say but I think it was about marijuana or maybe just smoking in the boy's room. Or maybe a drag queen. I have no idea but all were verboten back then! True factoid: I've never even tried a cigarette in my entire life. Nor have I done drag. But I have verbotened a coupla times after too many vodka sodas at the Fall Antique Show.

Anyhow, in the 1960's, it just wasn't cool to be a big "Mo" and I think James might have been, sigh, a friend of Dorothy's. But don't believe me - just check out the name Brown cleverly chose for his back- up singers: "The Famous Flames." Uh huh.

Desperate to bust outta the closet (but politically impossible back then), James was trying to share with us with his sexual, uh, bent. He was never interested in women! We know this because:
1. He hated sharing his wig hats, and
2. His ONLY passion was collecting foofy/girly and delicate Bagues crystal sconces like this one:

And 3, it's a little known factoid that James follow up single to "Papa's Gotta a Brand New Bag Part 1" was "Papa's Gotta a Brand New Bag Part 2" which was a disco remix of "I Enjoy Being a Girl." So that's even more evidence to support my point. Sadly, Papa's got blah blah Part 2 was never released for obvious reasons.

Now I forgot what this blog was about. Oh yeah, Bagues crystal. Here's a whopper chandelier in the Chinoiserie style:

And my favorite is this pair of rock crystal girandoles (pronounced "JEER on doles") in the Bagues taste:

No. 3566

This pair is at C. Mariani so if you want them, drop by, we'll crank up some James Brown music (HAVE MOYSEY!) and get bagged on a bottle of Cristal, which ties me right back into the crystal treasures of Bagues. The end. :)