Archive for November, 2011

Ken Russell – the Mad Music Lover

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Ken Russell – Formidable film director with an impish sense of humour and a talent to entertain and provoke died at 84 years old on Nov 27.
Many Ken Russell film clips are assembled here including an interview of Martin Scorsesee and Ben Kingsley talking about Ken and their favorite films. How many Ken Russell films have you seen?

Nuyerev as Valantino dances Tango here from a film Valentino directed by Ken Russell. (direct link)


Savage Messiah (More on Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Ezra Pound, Helen Mirren from previous post)

The fascination with genius, ambition and the creative process — and the project of making high culture accessible to a popular audience — continued in Mr. Russell’s later fictional features. Many of them take considerable liberties in exploring the lives and works of composers and artists: the Tchaikovsky biopic “The Music Lovers” (1970);“Savage Messiah” (1972), about the French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska; “Mahler” (1974); “Lisztomania” (1975), which imagined Franz Liszt as the original pop superstar. (NYTimes via)

Ken Russell title= as a young Photographer.
Like the much-better-regarded Stanley Kubrick, Russell’s creative career progressed from still photographer to short filmmaker. (See a slideshow of his photographs)

Ken Russell July 3rd, 1927 to November 27th, 2011

He has made three films based on D.H. Lawrence, the most critically aclaimed “Women in Love’ for which Glenda Jackson won her first Oscar, “The Rainbow” came next and more recent “The Lady Chatterlay’s Lover”. “The Devils” was his most controversial. Derek Jarman did the art/set design for the “Devils” and launched his career in films.

Bio pics of composers, artists, dancers and architect links

Song of Summer – Delius (previous post) – (Considered to be one of his finest bio-pics).

Elgar ( youtube)

Sunday Painter Henri Rousseau
A non-actor played Henri Rousseau.. both Rousseau and Alfred Jarry were so authentic a truly marvelous joyful portraiture rarely seen in films these days. (Alfred Jarry was played by Annette Robertson in the role of the surrealist playwright.)

  • Isadora Duncan (youtube)

    Gaudi (youtube)

  • One of his early films ( via)

    Part Two <> <> Part Three <> <> Part Four <> <> Part Five

    Foujita and Inokuma Genichiro

    Saturday, November 26th, 2011

    Foujita by Berenice Abbott

    Foujita was born on November 27, 1886

    See photos and paintings of Foujita here. (Courtesy of Mario A who has a great Foujita album on FB ).

    Taking a studio in Montparnasse, he met artists such as Modigliani and is said to have studied dance with Isadora Duncan. His paintings, which initially sold well, drew comment for the milk white color of the skin of the women he portrayed.
    After a stint working and traveling in South America, Foujita returned to Japan in the 1930s, where he produced propaganda art for the military. He eventually returned to France, where he converted to Catholicism and died in 1968. (via)

    Foujita by Andre Kertesz

    (one more by Andre K..Foujita on the phone)

    Foujita’s complicated life – Dressing Up for Success (Ian Buruma)

    His most famous war painting here.

    Inokuma Genichiro

    Guen I.
    Guen (this is how he signed his art) came to live in Honolulu in the mid 70’s after he suffered a stroke in NYC. He lived in Japan in the Summer and the Winter in Honolulu. Guen became a mentor to my sister Fung-Ching Kelling during his stays in Honolulu.

    In My Resume (youtube only in Japanese)

    .. Inokuma and Foujita shared a house when they escaped wartime Paris. He talked about how Foujita bought the train tickets at the train station (today Musee d`Orsay) and that he only took a Matisse painting and left everything else in Paris. They stayed in the countryside more than month living in the same house.
    He showed us a special spot that Isamu Noguchi loved on the island of Oahu and showed us the beauty of natural rocks.
    In NY Guen Inokuma (sensei) and his wife Fumiko took my sister and I to Mark Rothko’s apartment and told us what he knew of Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns. Yoko Ono and Isamu Noguchi were his good friends.

    His museum

    Painting (via artnet)
    Title : City Composition (3)
    Medium : Oil on Canvas
    Size : 30 x 40 in. / 76.2 x 101.6 cm.
    Year : 1966 –
    Contemporary Japanese Art from the Collection of B.H. Rockefeller

    The museum catalog listed a painting called “Wall Street” by Genichiro Inokuma exhibited at San Francisco Museum of Art.

    Hoagy Carmichael on Our Mind

    Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011
  • Hoagy Carmichael November 22, 1899 (H.C homepage bio)

    Stardust (youtube)

    Memphis in June (youtube)

    Choose your Georgia On My Mind (youtube)

    Both John Lennon and George Harrison loved and admired Hoagy’s songs, George singing Hong Kong Blues here.

    His attempt to compose movie scores failed when his score for Hatari! was replaced by that of Henry Mancini, although his song “Just for Tonight” (a re-working of “A Perfect Paris Night”) is used in the film. (wiki)

    Robert Hass

    Sunday, November 20th, 2011

    Beat Poet

    Who is Robert Hass?

    Robert Hass is one of contemporary poetry’s most celebrated and widely-read voices. In addition to his success as a poet, Hass is also recognized as a leading critic and translator, notably of the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz and Japanese haiku masters Basho, Buson and Issa.

    From Robert Hass interview.. we learned..

  • That he chauffeured Jean Renoir
  • The first book that really knocked me out was the “Brothers Karamazov.”

    “I Am Your Waiter Tonight, and My Name Is Dimitri”

    (Robert Hass reading a poem at the 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival)

    Edward Hopper Hotel Room..(Instant Librarian)

    O what sadness unaware that it’s sadness! What despair that doesn’t know it’s despair.

    A business woman, her unpacked suitcase on the floor, sits on a bed half undressed, in red underwear, her hair impeccable; she has a piece of paper in her hand, probably with numbers.

    Who are you? Nobody will ask. She doesn’t know either.

    Copyright 2007 by Robert Hass/ Czeslaw Milosz

    At Queens College in New York, an audience member asked Hass what it was like spending decades translating Milosz. He answered: “Like being alive twice”.

  • One more poem
    Heroic Smiles

  • “On Thursday afternoon

    when I returned toward sundown to the steps to see how the students had responded, the air was full of balloons, helium balloons to which tents had been attached, and attached to the tents was kite string. And they hovered over the plaza, large and awkward, almost lyrical, occupying the air. ” Poet Robert Hass wrote on Nov 20 NY times

    Friday OWS Photos + Links

    Friday, November 18th, 2011

    Occupy lunch
    Poster for Free Lunch Served on the High Line (Union Square NY) – Photo via Herman Costa

    Bart is a mass transit in San Francisco. (Photo by Jurgen Trautwein)

    Filmmaker Jonas Mekas


    Makana means ‘gift’ in Hawaiian.

    Occupy Hilo Eat What You Grow

    Over 40 persons showed up in Downtown Hilo to plant taro and other edible plants in the median strips on Kamehameha Avenue. What had been weeds and roundup became wonderful edible landscapes in just two hours. The vibe was so positive and the intention will reverberate and hopefully spread across the globe. (Eat What You Grow )

    Dorli Rainy from Austria

    Beat Poet has new meaning Robert Hass

    New Progressive Movement by Jeffrey Sachs

    Occupy Anarchism Gift of Democracy

    Death of a street poet

    Occupy Poetry here

    Rebecca Sonlit Building a better house

    Pat Passlof R.I.P

    Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

    Pat Passlof dies at 83. (NYtimes)

    Passlof studied with de Kooning at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and later moved to New York in the 1940s to continue individual instruction with him. Her work is included in collections like that the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, and she was a faculty member of the College of Staten Island. (via artforum)



    An obit from Jeffery Collins (see a video of Milton Resnick and Pat)

    See a photo of young Pat Passlof here.

    Tribute by David Cohen Integrity and Finesse: Pat Passlof, 1928-2011

    Milton and Pat from flickr

    Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof’s Synagogue Art Studios- NYtimes slideshow

    A photograph of Mr. Resnick and Ms. Passlof during the 1950s. They were “two of the least domestic people in the world,” Ms. Passlof said.

    A beautiful tribute to Pat from a student who loves her.

    J. G. Ballard – Updates

    Monday, November 14th, 2011

    Part II <> <> <> Part III <> <> <> Part IV <> <> <> Part V

    JG Ballard: A Radical Of The Imagination, remembered

    The basics: James Graham Ballard – ‘Jim’ to his friends, ‘JG’ to the reading public – was born in Shanghai in 1930. When he was 13, he and his parents were interned by the invading Japanese forces, an experience he transformed into literature in his 1984 semi-autobiographical novel Empire Of The Sun (interestingly enough, the ‘Jim’ in the novel is separated from his parents – which the real-life Jim wasn’t – because the author felt that this represented a greater psychological truth). Finally arriving in a strangely alien England in the aftermath of World War II, he studied medicine at Cambridge.

    The Last Hurrah Millenium People

    J.G Ballard jgballard 15 November 1930

    Christian Bale who played Ballard in “Empire of the Sun” is currently in Zhang Yimou’s “Flowers of War’
    (And happy birthday Zhang Yimou)
    Christian Bale may start filming Ballard’s mysterious novel “Concrete Island”

    Previous post J.G Ballard

    Brick Eleven

    Friday, November 11th, 2011

    Veteran’s day is also !!/!!/!! day or Brick Eleven day! (three sets of two bricks)

    The turtle in the middle was created by a 5 years old Lego artist.

    Richard III & the Brick Dude Impostor were replaced.

    Robert Ryan Nov 11 birthday.. (perfect for Veteran’s day)

    Robert Ryan’s Quiet Furies

    A longtime civil rights campaigner, Robert Ryan served in the United States Marines as a drill sergeant (winning a boxing championship) and went on to become a key figure in post WWII American film noir and western productions.

    Happy birthday to Stanley Tucchi!
    Stanley on Charlie Rose talking about his role as Eichmann.

    Happy birthay to Neil Young! Nov 12 (Ohio here)

    Kurt Vonnegut Nov 11, 1922

    Ways of Seeing – John Berger

    Saturday, November 5th, 2011

    Conversation with Michael Ondaatje ( Coming Through Slaughter 2005 previous post on M.O.)

    Ways of Seeing (youtube) 4 programs

    Interview may 2011

    John Berger collaborated with Swiss filmmaker Alain Tanner who made inspiring films in the 70’s – (Tanner’s Messidor was remade as Thelma and Louise in Hollywood).

    Revisionsing Europe the films of John Berger and Alain Tanner

    is among the few existing English-language discussions of the films made by British novelist John Berger and Swiss film director Alain Tanner. It brings to light a political cinema that was unsentimental about the possibilities of revolutionary struggle and unsparing in its critique of the European left, and at the same time optimistic about the ability of radicalism and radical art to transform the world


    Happy birthday John Berger!

    John Berger reads Palestinian writer Letter from Gaza – Ghassan Panafani

    When did Palestine become central to your writing?
    I’ve only been actively concerned with Palestine as a writer for about seven years. But the crisis, the injustice, the suffering of the Palestinians, have coexisted alongside my whole life as a writer. The length of this injustice, the lack of recognition of it by the rest of the world, while Israel pursues its own logic, totally regardless of the views of the external world – all this I was not conscious of then, but I am now. I look back on the young man I was in Paris in 1948, with Jewish friends who were thinking of going to Israel. They all wore strident blue shirts, and they gave me one, and I wore it with pride. We had an idea of what a kibbutz was to be – an ideal of a co-operative, with a healthy link to the land, a collectivity, a questioning of individuality, all of which appealed to me.

    Interview Newstatesman.

    Across the planet we are living in a prison.” John Berger

    Bento’s Sketchbook.

  • Happy birthday Tilda Swinton! (Her new film.. We Need to Talk about Kevin?)

    Vivien Leigh dances Charleston she too was born on Nov 5.
    Three birthday celebrations from UK.

    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

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    See more from Define + Conquer

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    Ian Hamilton Finlay

    Jacket interview The Death of Piety

    Obit 2006

    Ian Hamilton Finlay
    Individualistic Scottish artist and poet who ran his garden at Little Sparta as a separate city state

    Stuart Collection at UCSD: Ian Hamilton Finlay