What Time Was Orson Welles Born?

I’ve long been fascinated by actor/director Orson Welles. Right now, I’m reading a wonderful biography of him published in 1995, Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu, by Simon Callow.

Like many epicurians, Welles was born under the sign of Taurus, the same sign as William Randolph Hearst, the media mogul who was the inspiration for Welles’ epic film Citizen Kane.

Here’s what’s interesting. Many astrology Web sites, including Astrotheme of France, show Welles being born at 7 a.m. on May 6, 1915 in Kenosha, Wis.

That’s not the time that Callow reports. According to the Welles biographer, journalists were constantly asking to see Welles’ birth certificate because they wanted to prove that he was 5 to 10 years older than the wunderkind said he was.

Says Callow: “His mother later told him that because it was six o’clock in the morning — the time Kenosha’s many factories started work — whistles and bells had all started blowing at once, as if to herald him; a perfectly appropriate beginning, since most of the rest of his life was accompanied by fanfares of one sort or another.”

This reminds me of inventor Nikola Tesla, who was reportedly born at midnight as lightning struck outside.

My goal in writing this post is to point out that the time of birth floating around the blogosphere for Welles is most likely wrong. I intend to write more about the prodigy, who had a creative Venus/Mars conjunction in pioneering Aries, after I finish the book and complete my research into Welles’ Depression-era production of The Cradle Will Rock.

Like another O.W. (Oscar Wilde), Welles was born with a conjunction between revolutionary Uranus and the public-oriented North Node.

Wilde had Moon square his Uranus/Node conjunction; Welles had the Moon in the middle of his Uranus/Node combo. According to Reinhold Ebertin’s The Combination of Stellar Influences, this picture results in “an excitable disposition in the presence of other persons.”

Here’s a natal chart for Welles with a 6 a.m. time of birth, courtesy of Astrodienst.

Of course, reading a biography is not as foolproof as seeing a birth certificate for Welles. But back in those days birth times were often not recorded. As I like to point out, biographies are a treasure trove of data for the astrological student.

I’ve got one word for you: Rosebud.

Paul Newman, 1925-2008: Nobody’s Fool

I’m reposting an updated version of something I wrote back in June, when it was first reported that Paul Newman was suffering from cancer. Newman passed away Friday.

Even at the age of 83, Paul Newman was still my favorite bad boy. Unlike James Dean, he stayed alive, and unlike Marlon Brando, he managed to live his life off-screen in an inspiring manner.

He married a class act, Joanne Woodward, and stayed married for 50 years. He started Newman’s Own, the food company that has donated $200 million of its profits to charity, and he funded the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for terminally ill kids. And the race car driving! Talk about living the life you want.

A cool Aquarius born Jan. 26, 1925, Newman had a Capricorn stellium of Jupiter, Mercury, and Venus on his Ascendant. The combo showed up in his childhood — his father owned a successful sporting (Jupiter) goods store (Cap) and in his movies — ones about the legal system (Jupiter) like The Verdict and ones about racing (Mercury) like Winning, which prompted Newman to take up the sport in real life.

The Jupiterian sports theme was also evident in the aptly named Somebody Up There Likes Me (a boxing film that was supposed to star James Dean until he died), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (ex-football player), The Hustler (pool), and Slap Shot (hockey).

Because the Jupiter/Mercury/Venus lineup was in Capricorn, Newman continued to work well after he acquired wrinkles and gray hair, a rarity in youth-dominated Hollywood. And, as commenter GianPaul points out, it’s square Mars in Aries, injecting an element of sexy danger.

The Cap lineup opposed Pluto in Cancer in the seventh house of relationships. Here was a very intense guy who forged lasting alliances with both business and romantic partners.

Given that Cancerian (food) emphasis in the seventh house of partnerships, I get a chuckle when I remember Newman’s response when an interviewer asked why he remained married in spite of the temptations that beckon a superstar actor: “I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?” is what Newman told Playboy magazine.

Underneath the bravado, Newman was sensitive, with a Pisces Moon, which was conjunct Woodward’s Sun. Meanwhile, her Aquarius Moon was on his Sun. They had the classic marriage indicator — Sun/Moon conjunction — going in both directions. In a world where the word “soulmates” gets overused, Newman and Woodward were the real thing.

When I was reading an article about Newman in the September Vanity Fair, I was struck by his description of his relationship with Woodward. “Joanne has a habit of rationalizing [Aquarius], and when she starts that, that’s when I turn ugly! But when she tells me what she instinctively feels [Pisces], I pay very close attention.”

Interesting that the Aquarian gets annoyed when his Aquarius Moon wife starts “rationalizing,” but responds when she expresses her feelings, mirroring his Pisces Moon.

The amazing synastry between Newman and Woodward prompted many astrologers to write journal articles and give conference presentations on Newman and Woodward. (Synastry is astrologese for compatibility.)

Rather than live in the limelight of Tinseltown, Newman and Woodward escaped to small-town America to raise three daughters — Claire, Elinor (Nell), and Melissa. Newman had two daughters — Susan and Stephanie — from a previous marriage, as well as a son, Scott, who died of an accidental drug overdose in 1978. The residents of Westport, Conn., respected the privacy of their town’s biggest celebrities, according to this poignant story from the Associated Press.

Looking at recent transits to Newman’s chart, his natal Neptune in Leo, which squared Saturn in Scorpio, was being opposed by transiting Neptune, North Node, and Chiron in Aquarius during his fight with cancer.

Jupiter in Capricorn was on Newman’s Ascendant when he died. As we students of astrology know, people leaving the earth often have “happy” transits. Saturn and Pluto show up in the charts of the survivors, usually making aspects to the personal planets or the angles.

My French astropal, Claire Courts at AstroRevolution, has a good analysis of the transits to Newman’s chart when he passed away.

Here’s the chart from AstroDataBank.

I’d be hard-pressed to say which Paul Newman film is my favorite. Certainly, not the classic Seventies buddy flicks he did with Robert Redford, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, though I loved them at the time. Not edgy enough for me. I’ve narrowed it down to Hud, Cool Hand Luke, and The Hustler.

In his later years, I loved the reprise of The Hustler that he did with Tom Cruise, The Color of Money, which won him his sole best actor Oscar.

A special place is reserved for Newman’s collaboration with Woodward in Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, produced by the art film champions Ishmael Merchant and James Ivory. The two play a bourgeois WASP couple from Kansas City who try to keep their marriage on even keel.

I had the pleasure of meeting Newman once at an Indian restaurant that Merchant owned next to the Paris Theatre in New York in the mid-Nineties. Those blue eyes were truly incredible. I’ll never forget them. Ditto for the sly grin when you first spot him across the room, the one that says, “Yeah, it’s me.”

As an old college buddy pointed out when I first posted this riff, Newman was the perfect curmudgeon in the film adaptation of the Richard Russo novel Nobody’s Fool. Filmed in the town where I live, Beacon, N.Y., Fool helped kick-start the revitalization of Main Street after the film studio paid for some refurbishing. Interesting that with this connection between Newman and my hometown, his stellium of Cap planets falls on the cusp of the fourth house, while rules the home.

Millions of children who may not know Newman for his charismatic screen presence probably can recognize his voice. He vivified a Hudson Hornet in Pixar’s Cars. In that animated film, Newman was the voice of Doc Hudson, the mayor in the town of Radiator Springs. Ole Doc has a thing or two to teach whippersnapper Lightning McQueen, whose voice was provided by Owen Wilson.

The slogan for Cool Hand Luke, which was uttered by a prison warden in the film and has since become part of the American lexicon, was: “What we’ve got here is a failure (pronounced “fail-yuh”) to communicate.”

There was never a failure to communicate between Newman and his audiences. Fans got the testosterone-injected message loud and clear. Men wanted to be cool, tough, and later, worldly-wise like him. And women? We all know what women wanted.

Kim Novak, Astrology, and Search Engines

This is really weird. On Tuesday night, my husband and I watched Kim Novak and Fred MacMurray in a great film noir called Pushover on Turner Classic Movies. Yesterday, I was looking at Novak’s chart and noticing that the August 16 eclipse falls quite close to her 24-degree Aquarian Sun.

Now, I see that at this moment (1:12 p.m. EDT, Aug. 14) Kim Novak is the second most popular search on Yahoo, but I can’t figure out why. When I search Kim Novak, no news stories come up, just her film credits on IMDB. What’s going on with Kim Novak? Does anybody know?

Novak, most famous for co-starring in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo opposite Jimmy Stewart, was born on Feb. 13, 1933 at 6:13 a.m., according to AstroTheme. You can see the chart here.

In one of my favorite Novak films, Bell, Book, and Candle, the actress is again paired with Stewart. She plays a witch named Gillian who lives in Greenwich Village and has a black cat named Pyewacket. I was fascinated by Bell’s beat influences, African art, and a young Jack Lemmon playing the bongo drums.

The Wiki speculates Gillian was the inspiration for Elizabeth Montgomery’s character Samantha in Bewitched, but I know she was also the model for budding astrologers who dreamed of living in Manhattan and hanging out at nightclubs.

There is a blogger named Kim Novak with a Web cam. Perhaps this is the Kim Novak that everyone is searching for on Yahoo. She and her friends have been staging an Office Olympics, to coincide with the Summer Games in Beijing. One contest is a ring toss that features sombreros, among other competitions.

As someone who spends a lot of time getting schooled in search-engine optimization, the art of generating Internet traffic, I’d say that blogger Kim Novak’s Office Olympics is a great way to get people to her site, especially since so many people are reading about the Beijing Olympics right now. I bet blogger Novak doesn’t even know that the name asteroid Olympia is squaring the North Node right now.

Dark Days and Knights for Christian Bale

There are so many things that I want to write about today, I don’t know where to begin. Being the Capricorn snob that I am, I like to get my celebrity gossip from upmarket sources like The Guardian of London.

Anyway, yesterday’s Guardian reported that The Dark Knight star Christian Bale was arrested by London police for allegedly assaulting his mother and sister the night of the film’s premiere. My first question: Where’s Dad?

Yahoo! (not as posh as the Guardian, I’ll admit) has a followup today, with the Welsh star of the latest Batman installment asking reporters in Spain, where the record-breaking film is making its local premiere, to respect his family’s privacy. Here’s the link: http://movies.yahoo.com/mv/news/ap/20080724/121691112000.html

Here’s the quick and dirty on Bale. With his natal Jupiter at 21 degrees of Aquarius, I’m not surprised that Dark Knight is a blockbuster. Neptune, which rules film, and the North Node, which governs contacts with the public, are transiting that natal Jupiter.

However, Pluto in Sagittarius is back on Bale’s South Node, and is not far from where it was when Dark Night co-star Heath Ledger died on Jan. 22, 2008). Pluto, the god of the underworld, is bringing up all kinds of stuff from Bales’ unconscious mind, no doubt with the aid of drugs and alcohol, because of the transit from Neptune to his natal Jupiter.

Bale, an Aquarius born Jan. 30, 1974 at an unknown time, had better be careful or he’ll end up in the slammer. Rehab may also be a distinct possibility. Here’s the chart, courtesy of Astro*Zoom, which uses Java, which not everyone has loaded on her computer: http://www.astrozoom.com/celebrity/Christian_Bale.html

Passages of outer planets like Pluto and Neptune can be quite disorienting and difficult to process without guidance. To quote Shakespeare, “Get thee to a nunnery” or some other safe venue to explore your demons, Christian!

All reader comments welcome on this one, folks. I’m just scratching the surface.

Don’t Pass Up Passing Strange

Readers of this blog know that I like to go out on a limb and make predictions. Some come true (Jayhawks to beat Tarheels in the NCAA Final Four, Kansas to win the Final Four), others don’t (Tiger Woods to win a Grand Slam in the same year, David Archuleta to win American Idol).

Tonight, I’ll have my fingers crossed for a Leo named Stew, the star of Passing Strange, the Broadway show that has been nominated for seven Tony Awards. Back in April, I predicted that Stew and Company would take home at least one Tony. (See “Stew, Meet Tony,” April 17, 2008, https://astrologymundo.wordpress.com/2008/04/17/stew-meet-tony/)

Even though I have been talking up Stew in previous posts based on his favorable transits of tonight, II hadn’t actually seen his show, a musical meditation on what it means to be black in America, until yesterday. And boy, it knocked me out!

To discover his blackness, Stew travels to Amsterdam and Berlin and poses as a refugee from the ghetto, when in fact he has grown up in a comfortable African-American neighborhood in Los Angeles.

It’s a wild, rollicking ride with first-rate performers. This show hasn’t caught fire, but I still think it will (if not here, then overseas), given Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s meteoric rise on the U.S. political scene. (The use of the word “hopeful” is intentional. Although Obama has surpassed the number of electoral votes needed to clinch the nomination, he will not actually be the Democratic Party’s nominee until after the August convention.)

Stew is a light-skinned black who goes to live among Northern Europeans, while Obama’s mother was white. Both have asked themselves the question: What does it mean to be black?

Black entertainers, from blues singers to Motown’s greats to today’s rappers, have helped define American values and style. But the de facto segregation of whites and blacks in this country has allowed powerful media figures to define black identity, whether it be through blaxploitation films like Superfly and Shaft in the Seventies to the black sitcoms like Martin and Living Single that were hits on Fox TV before it went white (http://fun.familyeducation.com/television/african-americans/35259.html).

A case in point: While everyone was celebrating Michelle and Barack Obama’s playful victory bump of fists, I found myself asking: Is this their secret handshake or is this a black thing that I wouldn’t understand? The truth is, I don’t know the answer. Maybe if I were a regular watcher of Oprah, I would.

The fact is even though I work at the same company and live on the same street as African-Americans, our worlds rarely intersect. In my life, I’ve had a couple of good black girlfriends (especially back in the days of the Jackson Five), but not since college.

Until I moved to New York, I could have made the same statement about gay people. But through media and astrology, I’ve made some close gay friends. That’s what I love about astrology. It brings together people of different persuasions, all searching for the truth. Maybe my cosmic pursuits will bring me some black friends too.

Stew’s musical journey in Passing Strange raises some deep issues. I left the show, which essentially is a tribute to his mother, wondering: Who is Stew’s father and why is he never mentioned, not even in passing? As is the case for Obama and many other black men, it appears that Stew was raised by his mother, who devoted all her love and attention to her son.

Though it appears Stew’s Mom helped form his character (clearly this is a self-made man in many ways), astrologers and psychologists know that even when a parent is dead or no longer participating in the family, he or she still exerts a powerful influence.

Interesting that on Father’s Day, my ode to Stew turns into an essay on fatherhood.

I visited my Dad last month in Santa Fe. He makes his home in the veterans’ national cemetery there, though my medium Gretchen Clark in Lily Dale, N.Y., informs me that he’s happily eating popcorn and watching movies in the afterworld, a fitting pastime for a Pisces. We miss you, Dad!

Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Child Stars

Today’s news that Tatum O’Neal has been arrested for trying to buy drugs is just the latest evidence that it’s tough to grow up normal if you were a child star, not that we needed anymore proof.

Here’s the link to a brief Reuters story: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080602/ts_nm/oneal_arrest_dc_5

Quick, name one child star who didn’t grow up to be a problem adult, fighting drug and alcohol addiction, racking up multiple marriages, having frequent run-ins with the law.

I actually can name one: Ron Howard, who managed to make the transition from playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show to portraying Richie Cunningham on Happy Days to becoming an Oscar-winning director of such films as Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind.

Howard married his high school sweetheart, Cheryl Alley, in 1975 and they’re still together. He wisely chose to raise his family in Connecticut rather than subjecting them to the harsh glare and temptations of Tinseltown.

Such is the power of watching TV as a child that I was thinking to myself as I was writing this post, “Well, of course, Ron is such a nice guy, he grew up in Mayberry.” Well, Howard probably did come of age on the make-believe set of Mayberry. Being a malleable Pisces, he may have absorbed all those good American small-town values as he memorized the lines for the TV show.

O.K. Enough about my infatuation with Opie. Back to Tatum O’Neal, another icon of my childhood. She has written about her heroin addiction in the past, so it’s not news that she’s struggled with drugs. Her arrest is just another entry in the Child Star Hall of Shame that runs the gamut from Mickey Rooney marrying seven times (I’ve been married twice, for the record) to Michael Jackson’s creepy search for his lost childhood with kiddie sleepovers at Neverland to Britney’s nervous breakdowns and the loss of custody of her own children.

O’Neal became youngest actor ever to win an Oscar in 1974, for her performance in Paper Moon, a book that I adored when I first read it as a teenager.

Here’s O’Neal’s chart, from a Web site that features scantily clad babes in a come-hither stance. Here’s your chance to find your soul mate from Ukraine: http://www.astrolreport.com/famous-o/oneal.tatum.php

Ah, the Internet ads we have to put up with to get a free natal chart.

O’Neal is a Scorpio, born Nov. 5, 1963. A cursory glance at her natal chart doesn’t show any exact transits to indicate a run-in with the law. This is where progressions and midpoints come in handy. Somebody out there is probably going to e-mail me that transiting Pluto is sesquiquadrate O’Neal’s Saturn/Mars midpoint, or somesuch.

Please look at the chart and let me know what you think is happening to her right now.

What Would Sharon Stone Say About Iceland?

Pisces Sharon Stone wasn’t thinking too clearly when she publicly remarked that the recent earthquake in China might be the result of “bad karma” because of China’s brutal treatment of Tibet. I wonder what she would say about Iceland, which was shaken on May 29 by a 6.1 earthquake.

I’m no fan of China’s violent suppression of Tibet’s sovereignty, but it’s always dangerous when Hollywood stars start making pronouncements about religion and science. It’s also hazardous to their bank accounts, at least in the short term. Christian Dior has pulled an advertising campaign in China featuring Stone.

Like Rachael Ray (see “Saturn Teaches Rachael Ray a Lesson”), Stone is getting a visit from Saturn. Unlike Ray, who is having Saturn on her Virgo Sun, Stone has Saturn the taskmaster sitting on her Virgo Ascendant. She’s also got transiting Uranus in Pisces lighting up her natal square between Mercury at 26 Pisces and Saturn at 25 Sagittarius.

Here’s Stone’s chart, courtesy of Astrotheme.

With Mercury in the sky now moving retrograde, Stone has backtracked and apologized, according to Reuters.

As an astrologer, I think weather has more to do with planetary transits than it does with karma. And as Ray Merriman points out in his commentary this week, it’s earthquake season here on planet Earth. With Saturn in the earth sign of Virgo heading toward a series of oppositions with volatile Uranus in Pisces, the time of temblors is just getting started.

Here’s a nifty post about California’s birth chart and why the Golden State is so prone to earthquakes, floods, and mud slides.

I can just imagine what pious Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Christians around the world are going to say when the Big One hits LA: God is punishing Hollywood for all those violent, sex-filled movies. You know, the ones like Basic Instinct, starring…Sharon Stone.

Stars Rise on Indiana

I don’t know if you remember how I was arguing that Memorial Day weekend was not the best release date for the new Indiana Jones film (“Indiana Jones and the Search for the Best Release Date,” Apr. 11, 2008).

My thinking was that May 9, when Jupiter in Capricorn stationed and turned retrograde opposing Indy star Harrison Ford’s Cancer Sun, would be a great time for him to return to the screen as the swashbuckling hero.

Incidentally, this is also the post where based on the aspects of May 9, I predicted Speed Racer would do “boffo business,” a forecast that backfired.

So far, the buzz on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has been mixed, but I’ve decided that maybe this weekend isn’t such a bad release date for the film after all. Why? Because it’s the weekend of the Indy 500 car race.

I’m rooting for Danica Patrick, who made history last month when she became the first female to win an Indy race by taking the checkered flag in the Indy Japan 300. On a less happy note, she was also in the news after her car struck another team’s crew member on May 9 during practice for the Indianapolis 500. Clearly, the stars weren’t in the right place for that guy, who wasn’t where he was supposed to be and got badly hurt.

Why am I backing Danica when I grew up in Albuquerque, where the Unser racing family is royalty? Because girls rule, as my 11-year-old niece would tell you. Seriously though, I like to see records being broken and new firsts being made. So far, no woman has won an Indy race stateside. It would be exciting if Danica could do it. 

The feminist in me wants Danica to win, but I’d also be happy with a victory from the multitalented Helio Castroneves, the hunky Brazilian  who was last year’s champ on Dancing With the Stars. Helio won back-to-back Indy 500s in 2001 and 2002. Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times reports that he’s contemplating a move to NASCAR. Here’s the link to that story: http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-motors21-2008may21,0,1495689.story?track=rss

Maybe there’s an asteroid named Indiana that is conjunct the Sun or the North Node, which rules the public, this weekend. Clearly, all eyes will be on Indy this weekend. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.

What Will You Be Doing on Aug. 8, 2008 at 8:08 p.m.?

I’m not very knowledgeable about numerology, but evidently the number 8 is considered to be quite fortunate, especially by Asians. There’s even a New York Times reporter whose legal name is Jennifer 8. Lee and she uses this as her byline. Belief in the power of 8 has led the Chinese to schedule opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics on Aug. 8, 2008 at 8:08 p.m. local time. I’m going to run this chart and deal with it in a separate post.

Last night, at a cocktail party hosted by the Tempe (Ariz.)-based American Federation of Astrologers at the United Astrology Conference in Denver, I met Patricia Bell, a clairvoyant who lives in the spiritual community of Lily Dale, N.Y. (www.lilydaleassembly.com). Bell will be hosting a seminar on the symbolism of 8-8-8 on — you guessed it! — Aug. 8, 2008 at 8 p.m.

The same weekend, Barbara Hand Clow and Gerry Clow will be doing a workshop on Journeys Through Nine Dimensions. (It doesn’t conflict with Bell’s session.)

I love the energy in Lily Dale, which is just outside Jamestown, N.Y., the hometown of Lucille Ball. For the past three years, I’ve made a pilgrimage to Lily Dale for a psychic reading with Gretchen Clark.

I even dragged my husband to see Gretchen. He was skeptical until she told him that his father really appreciated the fact that my husband had dropped his Dad’s favorite watch in the coffin right before the burial. He came out of Gretchen’s charming Victorian house a believer before backsliding into cynicism. To wit: His first call to me at UAC started with the question: “How are things in Salem?” (No, dear, we’re not witches; we’re astrologers.)

I’ve sent friends to Lily Dale with mixed results. Some don’t like the church revival feel of the place, which is down the road from the biggest revival camp of them all, Chautauqua Institution. Today, Chautauqua is synonymous (look it up in the dictionary!) with lifelong learning and has moved far away from the Ole Time Religion for which it was once famous. 

Other friends don’t like Lily Dale because it’s a bit ramshackle, but I like shabby chic Victorian gingerbread architecture.

I got interested in Lily Dale after reading Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker, which traces the history of the spiritual community from its days of table rappers in the Victorian age to its modern-day hippy-dippy incarnation.

During the summer, the narrow lanes of Lily Dale are filled mostly with middle-aged women wearing tie-dyed T-shirts who are trying to communicate with loved ones on the other side. Since this basically describes me, I fit right in.  

No trip to Lily Dale is complete without a visit to the Lucy and Desi museums and landmarks in Jamestown, whose refurbished downtown was a recent finalist in the Main Street competition held by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (http://www.mainstreet.org/).

Last year, I passed through Lily Dale and Jamestown during Lucy-Desi Days, which are held every Memorial Day weekend. This event brings out the faithful in busloads to celebrate Lucy’s contribution to show business. It’s a weekend of high camp, that’s for sure.

Another big day in Jamestown is Lucy’s birthday, Aug. 6. Given that most tourists like weekend events, you can be sure that Aug. 8 will be a big day in Jamestown and Lily Dale, as well as in Beijing. Are you surprised that Lucy was a Leo? I’m not.

It’s never too early to start planning what you’re going to do to capture the power of 8 on Aug. 8, 2008. Maybe I’ll finally get out from behind the 8 ball.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s Cheap Chic

My friends know that I can’t resist flogging a dead horse, which is why I’m still humming my same Saturn in Virgo tune. (Mixed metaphor alert!) Must be my Venus, Jupiter, Mars lineup in Sagittarius, which rules horses.

Back in my Mar. 27 post, “It’s a Muji, Muji, Muji, Muji World,” I noted the glory days of expensive designer clothes are gone, with Saturn’s September, 2007, arrival in Virgo for roughly two and a half years. You can find that post by clicking on the Saturn in Virgo category.

Here’s the latest evidence that cheap is chic. Today’s New York Times has a story on the success of Steve & Barry’s super-low-priced “Bitten” line designed by Sarah Jessica Parker:

I love the manifesto that SJP wrote for Bitten: “It’s every woman’s inalienable right to have a pulled together, stylish, confident wardrobe with money left over to live.” Sounds like a plan.

Michael WolfStar over at StarIQ has a great post on SJP, an Aries who will be on the big screen in the U.S. on May 12 with the film based on her successful TV series, Sex & the City. It’s the third item in his Apr. 29 NewsScope column: http://www.stariq.com/NewsScope.HTM

WolfStar does a super job of analyzing SJP’s chart, but I’ll make a couple of my own observations. SJP’s Venus is on the world axis at 0 Aries, which makes her an ideal person to promote fashion and beauty. The planet of love and beauty is conjunct her Sun, which makes her beautiful. If her Sun weren’t also in Aries, she might have ended up merely designing clothes (which she’s doing now), not modeling them for the world.

Even though we don’t know her time of birth, we know that SJP’s a Moon in Capricorn. This may be the reason why she’s concerned about saving money or at least not being taken to the cleaners when she goes shopping. With a Moon in Cap, even if the wolf isn’t at the door, you’re always sure that he’s on the next block.

The Times says that SJP wore one of her creations, a tropical-inspired blue sundress that sells for $8.98, to afilm premiere. The artlcle asks how Steve & Barry can keep prices on SJP’s Bitten line so low. My question is: How can designers keep them so high?

My eyes were opened to the price-gouging that occurs on Madison Avenue, Rodeo Drive, and on other boulevards of fashion when I visited the Far East for the first time in the early part of this decade, which I believe is called the “Oughts.”

That’s when I learned that designer and discount clothes are often made in the same factory and that much of the price of a garment is determined by where it’s sold, not by where it’s made or what it’s made of. Of course, there are gradations in quality but they are not quite as large as we have been led to believe. And it goes without saying that I’m not talking about haute couture here and other custom-fitted clothing.

My hat’s off to Sarah Jessica for wearing a $9 dress to a glitzy occasion like a movie premiere. Now, I wonder what those Manolo Blahniks cost. And to borrow from the MasterCard riff: The confidence to go your own way? Priceless!