Archive for October, 2005

Facts, Fiction – The Filmmaker, the Mad Fascist Poet and the Prosecutor

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

The NYtimes celebrated Gael García Bernal‘s birthday one month ahead. Other sources confirmed this fact – Bernal is not a Scorpio – he is a Sagittarius (Nov 30).
What other facts have the NYtimes distorted these days? Come clean and correct all of your mistakes in the past.

Both Ezra Pound and Louis Malle were born today (Oct 30).

Louis MalleLouis Malle

The films by Louis Malle. We almost never see the many great films he made in his early career.

“He was attracted by certain dangerous or taboo subjects –
from Philip French on Louis Malle. (From BBC)

Setting aside of the difficult subject of how Ezra Pound embraced Fascism and got jailed.
We will start this painting by Wyndam Lewis.
PoundEzra Pound
“Wyndham Lewis, Ezra Pound, 1939, oil on canvas, 76.2 x 101.6 cm, Tate Gallery, London. Lewis produced this portrait many years after Vorticism had faded away. It was American poet Ezra Pound who coined the name “Vorticism.” In 1914, he and Wyndham Lewis began the promotion of Vorticism as an avant-garde art movement celebrating the machine age and the artist as a mystic, inventor, and organiser of forms.” (from here)

The Savage Messiah” directed by Ken Russell introduced me to the fascinating friendship between Pound and Henri-Gaudier Brezska.

Art is alive – enjoy it, laugh at it, love it or hate it, but don’t worship it!”. This says a lot about both the sculptor and the filmmaker in that it points to their feelings that art is there to touch, to embrace, and to be used. It is no accident that Gaudier behaves like this in a gallery as renowned as the Louvre. He wanted to stop the whispering and the church-like hush synonymous with art appreciation, and the reverence that has been afforded to art.

Going back to the topic of NYtimes and fact checking, here is someone who might help us with facts.
I like this man.Patrick Fitzgerald

From Ken Starr(a repressed pervert) to Patrick Fitzgerald, we may see a movement toward clarity, light, truth and justice – we hope.

Deptford X Ephemeral Cities – Net Art Open from London

Friday, October 28th, 2005

The Ephemeral Cities web art project is curated by Paul Malone and hosted by A2 Arts in collaboration with the Deptford X Festival.
Click on the small thumbnail image to the left of the page to see each artist’s project.


Contributors : Caspar Below, Elizabeth Coulter-Smith, Errol Francis, Valery Grancher, Fung Lin Hall, Susie Hinchliffe, Julian Konczak, Mac McKean, Paul Malone, Andy Parsons, Nicola Rae, Jurgen Trautwein

(To Paul, thanks for putting together Net Open and for inviting me. Fung-Lin Hall.)

Goodbye to Rosa Parks and Shirley Horn

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

Rosa Parks, Shirley Horn

The photo of Rosa Parks
Tribute to Rosa Parks from BBC here.

The story behind her sitting down by Diane McWhorter from Slate.

Shirley Horn, who died Thursday (Oct 23), was honored in 2004 by the National Endowment for the Arts as a jazz master. Listen to her singing and piano here

You won’t forget me, a tribute from a blogger.

Ephemeral Cities

Friday, October 21st, 2005

Lost in Words Lost in Words
Watercolor on the photos of Jungmannova in Prague.

” … the city which can not be expunged from the mind is like an armature, a honey-comb in whose cells each of us can place the things he wants to remember…” Italo Calvino.

Uffizi Ephemeral Cities
Uffizi, Florence Photo Fung Lin Hall –

“Perfection is a road that leads only to solitude: I no longer see in men anything but surmounted rungs. The Maestro, who has greater genius than I, is in my presence nothing more than a poor man no longer in possession of himself, and Michelangelo would gladly exchange his ardor for my serenity…..
That mad emperor wished that the world had only one head, so that he could cut it off. Would that it were only one body, that I might embrace it: one fruit, that I might pluck it: one enigma, which I might finally solve. Shall I seize an empire? Shall I construct a temple? Shall I write a poem, which will last longer?…
One has to have too many illusions to desire power, too much vanity to desire glory. Since I possess myself, what enrichment could the universe bring me – and happiness means nothing to me. ” (excerpt from “That Mighty Sculptor, Time” by Marguerite Yourcenar.)

Boboli Boboli Fung Lin Hall
Boboli Garden, Florence photo by Fung Lin Hall – Sculpture by Sculpture by Igor Mitoraj

The archive of Cities from this blog will be presented at the Deptford Festival in London. The following index was created to offer an alternative viewing experience for the audience. The individual pages will be presented without the sidebar menu.

-c- New Orleans

-i- San Francisco

-t- Walking in the Clouds – New York City

-i- Cities + Cinematheque

-e- Venice to Florence

-s- Besieged

  • Capturing the Ephemeral – Boris Kaufman & Dziga Vertov

    Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

    Dziga Vertov was the man behind the camera. (To see previous post on quiz here.)

    Dziga Vertov Dziga Vertov-

    Kinok checklist of essentials for a Kino-Eye filmmaker:

    1. rapid means of transport
    2. highly sensitive film stock
    3. light handheld film cameras
    4. equally light lighting equipment
    5. a crew of super-swift cinema reporters (etc) (From Senses of Cinema on Vertov.)

    This man with the strange Russian name became familiar with most of us through Jean Luc Godard’s films or reading about Jean Luc Godard.
    (Jean Luc Godard formed a group called “Dziga-Vertov Group” with Gorin in 1968 after the success of his film “Weekend” was released. This was the beginning of a period when Godard films became more didactic and unbearable”.)

    Vertov, whose pseudonym translates as “whizzing top,” started his film career in news reels… more from here.
    From propaganda to high art – Jonathan Jones on the Russian director who invented modern film called him Alien and Enigmatic.

    I yam what I yam by Bryan Konefsky
    “I am kino-eye, I am mechanical eye. I, a machine, show you the world as only I can see it.” Excerpt from Kino Eye manifesto, 10 April 1923 – Dziga Vertov

    Boris Kaufman was responsible for this image.

    On the Waterfront On the Waterfront

    His brother Boris Kaufman was the cinematographer for L’atalante by Vigo, which answers the second question posed by the film quiz.
    Films of Boris Kaufman include masterpieces such as Zero for Conduct, On the Waterfront, 12 Angry men, and Baby Doll.

    “The poetic power of the film, however, had a lot to do with the cinematography of the Russian-born Boris Kaufman, who worked on each of Vigo’s films and was said to be the youngest brother of Dziga Vertov, and a collaborator with him on the famous Kino-Pravda films. Kaufman later went to Hollywood, where he helped make On The Waterfront, but he always recalled the days of working so closely with Vigo as “cinematic paradise”. The images he and Vigo created with l’Atalante were dreamlike but intense and entirely without sentiment. And the final shot of the barge, taken from on high, is an abiding triumph. Maurice Jaubert’s superb score was a perfect match (from here.)

    Brother in documentary is a film about the two brothers most of us have not seen.

    Boris Kaufman may not have the historical cachet that his brother has but more people have seen films captured by his camera.

    The Misfits + Portrait of a Poet-Linda Gregg

    Monday, October 17th, 2005

    Today is Oct 17 and both Monty Clift and Arthur Miller were born on this day.

    Arthur writing on the bed and Monty and Marilyn in the film set.
    Monty and Marilyn
    The masters of Photography all descended on the movie set of the Misfits in Nevada when John Huston was filming with Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and Monty Clift. You can see photographs by Cartier Bresson, Bruce Davidson, Inge Morath (Arthur Miller’s last wife, mother of Rebecca Miller and a mother in law to Daniel Day Lewis).
    Monty Clift was great in so many films, “The Search”, “A Place in the Sun” or “The Heiress” to name a few.
    Did you know that Monty Clift played Freud directed by John Huston? Jean Paul Sartre was involved in the screenplay of this film earlier on, did not seem to receive the credit judging from this yahoo database.
    Seeing Huston’s Freud
    “Huston’s decision to have Sartre write the script provides me with the most fun. “Sartre was a little barrel of a man,” Huston wrote in his autobiography, and said in his Playboy interview: “He was without egotism and was probably the ugliest man I have ever laid eyes on–one eye going in one direction, and the eye itself wasn’t very beautiful, like an omelet. And this pitted face.” Huston took Sartre to his castle at St. Clerans in Galway. There, during their story conferences, Huston tried to hypnotize Sartre. He claimed to have learned to hypnotize people while working on Let There Be Light (1943), his documentary for the U. S. Army on the treatment of shell-shocked soldiers. Predictably, “It turned out to be quite impossible.”

    The Portrait of a Poet
    Linda GreggLinda Gregg photo by Hal Lum.

    WINNING (via)

    There is having by having
    and having by remembering.
    All of it a glory, but what is past
    is the treasure. What remains.
    What is worn is what has lived.
    Death is too familiar, even though
    it adds weight. Passion adds size
    but allows too much harm.
    There is a poetry that asks for
    this life of silence in midday.
    A branch of geranium in a glass
    that might root. Poems of time
    now and time then, each
    containing the other carefully.

    (When I featured Hal Lum’s paintings last time Arthur Miller just passed on and I posted Hal and Arthur together. Here is a note to Hal, you seem to be attached to Arthur in my blog.)

    Harold Pinter – A Master and a Caretaker

    Friday, October 14th, 2005

    Just a few days after his birthday Harold Pinter received a Nobel Prize, unlike last year’s controversial win by Elfriede Jelinek (the Piano Teacher), Harold Pinter has been well established in the world of both theater and cinema.
    Born on October 10, 1930, Pinter is a libra/horse – the measured commander, his Sun in Libra/Moon in Taurus – (same as Steve Reich, F. Scott Fitzgerald and M. Antonioni, charming, cultured, determined, good judgment, and patient.)

    Harold Pinter
    Left – Harold Pinter with Frances O’Conner in Mansfield Park
    Right – an image from a play “The Caretaker” – about the painful power struggles between two brothers and the tramp who comes to stay with them.

    “And you thought his plays were great…
    In his screenplays Pinter constantly returns to fascism’s pyschological and historical origins . It is that that makes his movies as significant as his plays and elevates him from the ranks of a master-stylist into an auteur. (More here)

    The Servant was Pinter’s first collaboration with Joseph Losey. The film changed the course of Dirk Bogarde‘s career, established him as a magnetic and serious actor. (Salon in this link to Bogarde describes him as a gentlman pervert).
    Pinter – Losey teamed up for more memorable films with “The Accident” and “The Go Between”.

    “He uses language to convey miscommunication and lack of understanding rather than shared comprehension. ” (from NYTimes)

    What is pinteresque?
    * The plot must portray the disruption of normal domestic life
    * There must be the feeling that we, the audience, are missing something vital to the complete understanding of the text
    * Dialogue should be written as people often speak it – it doesn’t need to directly further the plot, make sense or be witty all the time, it can instead contribute to the atmosphere
    * There must be seemingly random acts of verbal and physical violence
    Outside of literary circles the word can be used to describe anything tame or ordinary that’s said in a particularly violent or threatening way.

    Here is one of his poems.

    After Lunch

    And after noon the well-dressed creatures come
    To sniff among the dead
    And have their lunch

    And all the many well-dressed creatures pluck
    The swollen avocados from the dust
    And stir the minestrone with stray bones

    And after lunch
    They loll and lounge about
    Decanting claret in convenient skulls

    (Harold Pinter September 2002)

    On Pinter’s Poem About War in Iraq from Talkleft.

    Speaking of poetry, today (Oct 14)was Cummings’s birthday.
    Read his great anti-war poems here, he was a pacifist.
    e. e. cummings
    10/14/1894 – 9/3/1962
    American poet

    Film Quiz + Nobody Knows + Cities & Neglected Children

    Monday, October 10th, 2005

    The film quiz of this month – do these images seem familiar?

    Name this man. –Dziga Vertov-
    Clip of L’atalantaParis, Paris (Paris, Paris)

    What is the relationship of this man and the film directed by Jean Vigo?
    Go here for Answers.

    Theme: Abandoned children growing up by themselves in the cities, name three.
    Well the answers are here for this quiz. Two are acclaimed films from last year and one is almost 17 years old.

    TokyoNobody Knows – Kore-eda

    BombaySalaam Bombay Mira Nair (Her first film is her best film – a near masterpiece).

    Rio de JanairoCity of God – Fernando Meirelles.

    Nobody KnowsNobody Knows (via).

    Back to Ephemeral Cities

    Recycle Diaries

    Thursday, October 6th, 2005

    Here is what to do with images collected from last year’s popular film.

    Happy Che, Serious Che and the Actor – Recycle Diaries
    BW Che

    1) Film version

  • 2) Motorcycle Diaries – De Usuahia a la Quiaca – G. Santaolalla (Remixed – shorter version on youtube)

  • Happy Che, Serious Che and the Actor in Color – Recycle Diaries
    Che Guevara
    Update: Oct 9, 2005
    On Oct. 9, 1967, Latin American guerrilla leader Che Guevara was executed in Bolivia while attempting to incite a revolution. (Go to article.) Pleasantly surprised to find this piece of information from NYTimes this morning. This was a case of strange precognition from somewhere else, I did wonder what prompted me to work on Che’s photo-collage piece.

    RIP August Wilson

    Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

    August Wilson

    Photo albums from his plays are here.

    “I asked him what he had read there, expecting to hear a familiar litany of African American writers. To my astonishment—the 92nd Street Y’s archive videotape must show me nearly falling off mychair—he answered, “Ruth Benedict,” and after I had caught my breath, we found ourselves discussing the whole panoply of his plays in the context of cultural anthropology. The scientific and systematic aspects of August’s approach became abruptly visible to me: Look at the use of social-science parameters in the opening scene of Fences, or the constant playing on superstition and stereotype in The Piano Lesson. There are many such surprises still to be discovered in August’s plays.” (From August Wilson 1945-2005, an article from villagevoice by M. Feingold.)

    Ruth Benedict made a great impression on Yukio Mishima as well.
    Like Mishima August Wilson was erudite and a warrior.

    At fifteen August Wilson quit school when he was unjustly treated by a teacher.
    “Over the next four years, by his own estimation, he read three hundred books, spending as many as five hours a day in the library. He read everything—sociology, anthropology, theology, fiction. “The world opened up,” he says. “I could wander through the stacks. I didn’t need anyone to teach me. All you had to do was have an interest and a willingness to extract the information from the book.” It was about this time that Wilson began to see himself as a kind of warrior, surviving unapologetically on his own terms.”
    Being Here and Gone, from New Yorker on Wilson by John Lahr.

    “He made me the writer I am today”, Kwame Kwei-Armah pays a tribute to August Wilson.

    Last saw him on Charlie Rose show, he stood firm and corrected Charlie’s lack of grasp on the current situation. (the interview here)

    Ruth Thorne Thomsen – Songs of the Sea

    Sunday, October 2nd, 2005

    Proverbs 4 by Ruth Thorne Thomsen
    Ruth Thorne Thomsen

    “For Ruth Thorne Thomsen photography is theatre: the alleged credibility of the photographic image signifies to her a myth by which to “palm off fantasy as reality” while leading us to the kingdom where the human psyche dwells.
    Using a pinhole camera she constructed to achieve infinite depth of field, Ruth Thorne Thomsen a third generation woman photographer-creates images of the spirits quest for integration. In compositions at once mysterious, witty, and erudite, Thorne-Thomsen deftly employs archetyping, appropriation, and manipulation to invent landscapes where the individual and collective unconscious merge in an alluring and spirited dance. (from here)

    “Blimp” “The World Turns as a Ball” and more here.

  • Head with Ladders 1ThorneThomsen
    Thomsen and Thomasson
    1) Ruth ThorneThomsen

    2) Thomasson or The Illusiveness of the Entirely Useless

    More images here.