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PoMo Kabuki

March 31st, 2006

Kabuki Player Hiroshi Watanabe Susumu Takagi as Matsuomaru

The above photo by Hiroshi Watanabe
More for Hiroshi here.

While Hiroshi Watanabe is traditional and respectful of old custums and traditions, now we shift our attention to a Choreographer who is contemporary and daring in her approach to tradition and craft.
Yasuko Yokoshi mixes a Kabuki-and-Carver cocktail

Shuffle <> <> Yasuko Yokoshi Yasuko Yokoshi

Born in Hiroshima Yasuko Yokoshi is fearlessly idiosyncratic.

She is a huge fan of Raymond Carver.
In this in depth interview she revealed how she ripped off Yasujiro Ozu “Tokyo Story’ for one of her dance sequences.

Travel Theory – Baka (baka; meaning idiot, stupid or fool in Japanese) Yoko’s old work.

“Inspired lunatics who work together and leave few of today’s icons unassaulted.” (Yasuko Yokoshi and Gonnie Heggen: Royal Madness at the Kitchen).

Javier Marias

March 24th, 2006

Javier Javier Marias Detail of R. Kipling’s hand on the cover of book “Written Lives”

“The Man Who Would be King” was the favorite book of both Faulkner and Proust, so we learned from Javier Marias.

28 snippets of writer’s lives are told according to this author with a mixture of affection and humor, except for three; Joyce, Mann and Mishima, who took themselves too seriously.

“The idea, then, was to treat these well-known literary figures as if they were fictional characters.”

Words and Meaning:

“Spanish writer Javier Marias’s parallel career as a translator taught him how to be a novelist, he tells Aida Edemariam.”

Marias has said that “in the intellectually mediocre country I grew up in, in which everyone thought Franco was eternal, people like me took shelter in the movies. The American pictures of the ’40s and ’50s were our stimulation”.

The summer he was 17, Marias saw 85 films in six weeks.

J. Marias described Laurence Sterne whose novel he has translated thus “He was a kindly, easy-going man, who once tried to “inherit” two children left behind by a poor widow on her death” ” He included a few pages speaking against slavery in the later volumes of Tristram Shandy.”

(Note: Tristram Shandy is now adapted into a film recently).

“As of Nobakov, he is a joker who prefers not to aknowledge this openly, which is why his expression is one of passion and discovery. ”

Djuna Barnes in Silence – “in her youth when she worked as a journalist, it was the activity to which she devoted most of her time – well, that and maintaining prolonged silences. Her silences were both written and verbal.

The rest of edited excerpts are found here.

“This habit of choosing is central to the kind of writer Marías has become, and explains much of what is unique about his work: he has made indecision—the space between two alternatives—the center of his stories. And this indecision is conveyed in the equivocations and qualifications of the narrative voice.” (A MAN WHO WASN’T THERE The clandestine greatness of Javier Marías. by WYATT MASON – from the New Yorker)

Two entire essays are online.
William Faulkner on Horseback

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampadusa in Class
Visconti adapted Lampadusa’s novel “The Leopard” starring Burt Lancaster as the Sicilian nobleman with Alain Delon and Claudio Cardinale.

  • Paris Review interview..

    Chipmunk’s Midnight Snack

    March 20th, 2006

    The skinny thing likes to eat the pansies in my yard. Other flowers do not seem to interest this creature who likes to spread his body and stretch like an athlete after his snack. He has also been known to tease the neighbor’s Siamese cat.

    Pansy EaterPansy and Chimpmunk Life is sweet.

    Breakfast on Pluto, Not I

    March 17th, 2006

    Is this green enough for St Patrick’s Day?

    <> <> <> St Patrick's Day

    Breakfast on Pluto (trailer with great soundtrack)

    Neil Jordan has a website.

    “After working with Neil Jordan in The End of the Affair, the director saw in her the perfect protagonist for Not I, and decided that the world could do with a more intimate look at Ms. Moore’s lovely mouth.” (From Modernword)
    Who has seen this 14 min. film based on Samuel Beckett? Not I.

    Happy St Patrick’s Day google St Patrick's Day

    NJ: Yeah, Butcher Boy said things about an Irish childhood that I’d never seen in fiction. It was one of those books that actually shows minute details and it was just so familiar to me. Breakfast on Pluto is quite different. This is more like a wild fantasy, really. When I read Breakfast on Pluto it seemed almost like a series of opportunities, you know? An opportunity to go on a journey that I hadn’t gone on before. (from Popmatters Interview)

    Here is a trailer for The Butcher Boy. (Sinead O’Connor as the Virgin Mary)

    An old article from the guardian on Patrick MaCabe who wrote both novels, The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto.

    Go back to this image for any other day.
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    Maurizio Cattelan

    March 13th, 2006

    MBA- Shrinking US Business?

    Maurizio Cattelan
    Untitled 2001 Maurizio Cattelan (Via)

    More Maurizio Cattelan here.

    More Maurizio Cattelan at Marian Goodman Gallery

    Hitler and Pope

    Mid March Mars Madness

    March 13th, 2006

    Percival Lowell at google Mars is celebrating Percival Lowell who was born on March 13.

    Percival was a businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death.

    Click to see large
    Percival observing Venus from the Lowell Observatory in 1914.

  • Percival Lowell and his book on Korea
    Percival Lowell
    (Right image source)

    Mars and Its Canals his sketch of canals, more interesting image of his drawing.

    “Shifting his interests to astronomy, he established the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona in 1894 and in 1895 wrote the first of his three books about the planet Mars. Although Lowell mistakenly concluded that Mars displayed evidence of intelligent beings, he awakened wide popular interest in the planet, including fantasy literature, War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells in 1898, as well as a riot inducing 1938 radio broadcast declaring Invasion from Mars by Orson Wells” (Via)

    “Many Flee Homes to Escape ‘Gas Raid From Mars’–Phone Calls Swamp Police at Broadcast of Wells Fantasy
    This article appeared in the New York Times on Oct. 31, 1938.” (Radio’s War of the Worlds Broadcast – from here)
    “Eventually Lowell’s theory was discredited. We have not, however, given up on our search for signs of life on Mars. Recent missions to Mars have discovered features on the surface that bare an extraordinary resemblance to dry river beds on Earth. It is possible that there may have been liquid water on the surface of Mars, and therefore, there may have been life.”Misunderstanding Mars.

    Lowell’s birth chart, here
    (Planets all in one corner – inclined to tunnel vision or canal vision).

    Two hustlers from the right share a birthday on March 11, Antonin Scalia and Rupert Murdoch. Scalia no longer goes duck hunting with Cheney but he is alive and serving the bench.
    March 11 is the birthday of Terrence Howard of “Hustle and Flow”. He plays a pimp in the movie.
    Our planet has a way of balancing good and evil, Jack Kerouac and Edward Albee were born on March 12 to give us literature and truthiness.

    Let us watch our planets in motion.
    Draw a flower with Moon’s motion.

    Mars retrograde.

    Robert Capa – War and Ingrid Bergman

    March 10th, 2006

    Photo of Matisse Matisse by Robert Capa
    by Robert Capa

    Famous photo of Picasso with Francoise Gilot here.

    Photo of Ingrid bathtub-capa-picture(Capa botched the original and this one by someone who took similar photo that Capa lost).

    It has turned out that there was more to Ingrid Bergman and her good taste in Photography in choosing Gordon Parks to capture her life at Stromboli. (See my previous post).

    Remembering that Ingrid had an affair with Robert Capa, I googled their names and came across this information.
    “Her famous love affair with the war photographer, Robert Capa was the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.”

    How did I miss this? Wow.

    “Alfred Hitchcock noticed the attraction and the tensions when Capa visited Bergman on the set of Notorious, and he used some of that mood in Rear Window.

    Isabelle Rossellini is delighted and gives us the story of her mom’s affair with Capa, from here.

    ” In 1936, believing he needed a more striking name, he decided on the byline Robert Capa, and, with his girlfriend Gerda Taro, he made editors believe he was a famous American photographer and they paid him inflated prices.
    Many myths surround the name, but the most popular is that he wanted to be confused with American film director Frank Capra. ”
    Here is an outline of his life – Terror through the eys of a pacifist.

    “He was also a man whose charm burned like a cigarette; a steady womanizer, beloved by men of action, soldiers, writers, hotel porters, and riffraff, too.” (from here)

    <> <> <> Robert Capa
    (Holding a baby fathered by Nazi soldier, a french women dishonored by her countrymen)

    “Looking at the pictures, one can see he was invariably at the hottest actions, taking extraordinary risks: in Mexico, Spain, France, China or Cambodia.
    His pictures display remarkable compassion for the subjects. Although he shows bodies, his shots convey the dignity, determination and fearlessness of the victims.
    Perhaps this was his greatest contribution: elevating photojournalism to the highest levels of integrity, while his daredevil gambles, moving pictures and charisma made the profession glamorous. ” (via east pix.com)

    D-Day Photos by Capa or Private Ryan not found

    He started Magnum – his page here.

    RIP Gordon Parks

    March 8th, 2006

    Goodbye Gordon “Gordon Roger Alexander Buchannan Parks (November 30, 1912 – March 7, 2006) was a groundbreaking African American photographer, musician, poet, novelist, journalist, activist, and film director. He is best remembered for his photo essays for Life magazine, and as the director of the film, Shaft.”
    1gordon-parks-quote

  • Drugstore Cowboys

  • Langston 1 parks_hughes
    Photo by Gordon Parks via

    His last birthday celebration with the dead (Jean Eustache) and alive (Terrence Malick) last year Nov. 30 and see his photo of Flavio.
    Flavio Gordon Parks Photo by Gordon Parks

    Tributes from Newsgrist and a film blog Greencine daily.

    Gordon Gordon Parks & Ingrid Bergman and Ingrid

    “Ingrid and Roberto felt like the whole world was against them,” Parks explains, “but Ingrid was sane enough to realize that they had to have a professional down there to take photos of them making the picture. She had seen a story of mine in LIFE, so she asked me to come to the island. Perhaps she thought I would do the story with more discretion.” (via)

    Cafe Lumiere

    March 7th, 2006

    Cafe Lumiere Cafe Lumiere
    Homage to Yasujiro Ozu, Hou Hsiao Hsien project

    Finally got to see Cafe Lumiere last night thanks to my local library.
    Great timing, this film was a perfect antidote to Oscar’s nonsensical and embarrassing selection of “Crash” as the best film of the year 2005. (More on this from filmbrain ,Pigs & Battleship and Joseph.)

    Future shock from Spike magazine – Chris Hall finds out why J.G. Ballard thinks Crash is the first film of the 21st century.

    Have we forgotten the original ‘Crash” by Cronnenberg which is not about racial tension? Here the automobile serves as the central focus for fetishes and sex and where auto crashes which killed our favorite film icons are reenacted as rituals of worship. Or how about Godard’s “Weekend” where cars are burning everywhere against a wartime background in the peaceful bourgeois French countryside. Andy Warhol had Car crashes too in his silkscreens. Godard may have been inspired by Warhol’s prints.

    Instead of a Los Angeles filled with burning cars, phony cliche racial stereotypes and unbelievable dialog, Cafe Lumiere takes us to a Tokyo filled with trains and trams where a girl falls asleep on the train and her close friend (played by Tadanobu Asano) is a train buff collecting recorded subway sounds when he spots her; or a scene where a family sit and eat in silence, the drama of the daughter’s pregnancy played out without a word.

    “If Café Lumière celebrates Ozu, it does so in a curious fashion. The film is a reversal, in nearly every way, of the trajectories and sympathies described in Ozu’s masterwork Tokyo Story” (From here Reverseshot)

    Cafe Lumiere is showcasing at San Francisco Int’l Asian American Film festival. (March 16 to 26).
    See still photos from this film captured by a blogger.

    How nice it must be to live with a transit system that works. Many poor folks in this country (disUnited States under W) do not have cars. Imagine trying to commute to work by bus.

    Rally for the recall (Rally Meredith Monk airwave) of your automotive lemon or the recall of a bad film honored by the Oscars. There are many worthier films this year. (You can sign the petition here.)

    Ryunosuke Akutagawa

    March 1st, 2006

    KappaRyunosuke Akutagawa
    drawing at the bottom by an author.

    Ryunosuke Akutagawa was born on March 1, 1892.

    The word “Rashomon” was made world famous by Akira Kurosawa. (there are many Rashomon blogs – like this one).
    In”Rashomon” Kurosawa combined two short stories by Akutagawa, Rashomon and In the Grove.

    “In the Grove” – The rape, robbery and murder also from the Seven stories.

    “In the case of “The Spider’s Thread” three separate sources served as Akutagawa’s inspiration12 : 1) a fable found in The Brothers Karamazov, 2) a captioned illustration found in The History of the Devil and the Idea of Evil from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, and 3) a story titled “The Spider’s Web” in Karma: A Story of Early Buddhism.”

    Read “The Spider’s Thread” and commentary from here.

    In 1935, his lifelong friend Kikuchi Kan established Japan’s most prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, in his honor.

    Last Words (He was Pisces.)

    Haunted by his mother’s madness, insomnia and self-loathing, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, one of Japan’s leading literary figures, killed himself at 35. But not before a final creative outpouring, says David Peace

    Synchronicity – Mozart, Shiki Masaoka, Modigliani and Akutagawa all died at age of 35 years. (from here in Japanese)

    Review of Kappa
    See Kappa maki sushi here.

    Two of Akutagawa sons became famous, Yasushi Akutagawa was a composer and Hiroshi Akutagawa was a Shakespearian actor who has appeared in Japanese film classics such as “The Mistress” , Kurosawa’s “Dodeska den” and other famous Mifune’s samurai films.

    Fredrick Chopin and Lytton Strachey were born on March 1. All three of them had long faces. Lytton was by far the funniest, less melancholy than Chopin or Ryunosuke Akutagawa. He lived a little bit longer, died at 52 years.