Sunday, February 28, 2010


Broadsided Press has just posted my latest collaboration for them. The poem is by Dan Rosenberg. This is my 5th collaboration with this wonderful press. You can view the art and poem at the link below, and you can view all the past collaborations that I've done with them also in the archive section.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Sculptures

I've been working on this series of 10 small wall pieces each one measures only 7" x 7" and will be hung on a wall pushed together to make one piece. I scanned 6 of them, the others are too 3-D to take to scanning, and no doubt when photographed they will look different. I've been working on them since 2009.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Birthday Collage February 24th 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Movie Movies

I finally saw my first film by the master Japanese director Shohei Imamura that is called “Pigs and Battleships.” Not a very appetizing title, but then again neither is the film and I don‘t mean that in a bad way. Imamura when young worked with the great director Ozu and became part of the Japanese new wave, at the same time as the French New Wave was happening. “Pigs” released in 1961 takes place in 1960 during the 15th year of the Allied occupation of Japan in and around Yokohama and the large United States Naval base at Yokosuka. The plot centers on the denizens of the area; the pimps, whores, hoods, and gangsters all trying to get what they can get, no matter what they have do to get it. Also along for the getting is an influx of American sailors who also want what they want namely to get drunk and laid and maybe pick up some cheap souvenirs to send to the folks back home. There is one vivid and imaginatively done scene of a sexual assault between three sailors and a young girl that is both restrained yet disturbing, and is a testament to Imamura‘s narrative and visual talents. The film is beautifully shot in wide screen and black and white, (the fine Criterion transfer does it justice), and Imamura’s camera rolls and flows all over the neon lit streets and into the tight cramped filthy rooms and bars. Its summertime and the living ain’t so easy. It’s so steamy and hot that you can almost smell the stink and feel the heat. Imamura puts most of his attention on a young couple in lust. Kinta a foolish petty hoodlum and Haruko a dim but gentle barmaid, and believe me this is a match not made anywhere near heaven. Surrounding them are the pigs (real ones) and the human kind of swine, that leads to a climax that is not all that unexpected except for an unbelievable but cinematically exciting shootout between gang members and well yes pigs and to say more would spoil your enjoyment of the film.

I can say with a straight face that "The Giant Claw" is one big 1957 cheapo sci-fi laugh fest. This cold war gem about a giant chicken from outer space who attacks the earth for some obscure reason stars macho Jeff Morrow who plays Mitch' MacAfee (how's that for a butch name). Mitch who is a pilot is the first one to spot the big ole chicken speeding past his plane and of course no one believes him. B queen Mara Corday plays Sally Caldwell a brilliant mathematician who when not busy looking busy playing with compasses and slide rules is busy bringing the guys coffee and sandwiches, which seems to be a prerequisite for any strong woman character to do in B monster-sci-fi schlock films. As the world is being destroyed they’re off in some kitchen getting the guys cups of java and tuna sandwiches. Ok this is a few steps up from Ed Wood, mainly because they had the resources of Columbia Pictures, but the film is made up of many clips from other sci-fi films and very cheap but sweet little miniature buildings and trains that the big chicken picks up in his mouth. and spits out. There’s lots of scientific mumbo jumbo and that chicken puppet flying around the skies nearly made me choke with laughter. This is outsider movie making at its best or worst if you prefer. Part of the Sam Katzman set of dvds. Watch them if you dare.

I thought they stopped making movies like Deception in 1987. This is a paint by numbers so called erotic thriller with a miscast cast from Hugh Jackman as the deceptive friend to Ewan McGregor as the deceived friend and a totally out of place Michelle Williams who walks around with a “What the fuck Am I doing in This piece of shit” look on her face. I mean any movie with Hugh (I’m not gay) Jackman (oily and greasy as usual) in it and who by the way I wouldn’t trust from here to there in a movie or in real life gives the movie’s plot away in the first five minutes that he’s on screen. I kept expecting him to jump on a piano shake his little ass and sing something from “The Boy From Oz“ but no such luck. Instead we are forced to watch him act, which is much worse than listening to him sing. Also note that you do not have to be even remotely intelligent to guess this plot and its sorry ass devices, just think of the most obvious and stupid plot twists and they happen as if by magic or by bad direction and writing. Poor Ewan plays the schnook accountant who’s only had sex with 4 women in his life (yes very believable) and gets hooked by Jackman into a big time money scam that also involves getting Ewen hooked on a private sex club of which Ms. Williams is a member and who really falls hard for nerdy McGregor while having Chinese food in Chinatown. Get the cute movie reference here. For 5 minutes the film has a jolt of life when the great Charlotte Rampling appears as the sexy cougar belle of Wall Street so cherish those 5 minutes. The film does look great with shinny cinematography by Dante Spinotti, but so what.

Aparajito (The Unvanquished) is the 2nd film in Satyajit Ray’s Apu Trilogy and can easily be seen and cherished without seeing the 1st or 3rd films of the series. This is a universal story about family and the strong bonds that tie a mother to her child. The film follows the young Apu in his day to day life and the hard circumstances that he, his mother and father endure in their simple and sparse environment. There is loss when his father suddenly dies but also moments of joy as the little boy Apu, who is smart and ambitious for an education grows up and leaves his home and his mother to go to school in Calcutta. This is a sparse film with a subtle score by Ravi Shaker, and lovely performances by the two actors who play Apu at 10 and later as a young man, and especially Karuna Bannerjee who plays the mother. The dvd print is not bad, but it’s not great either with print scratches here and there. I can understand that this film might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s slowly paced and the exoticism might be off putting for some.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cafe Press

I have just joined Cafe Press and you can now buy all sorts of products with my designs on them. Clothes, journals, coffee mugs, prints, magnets and much more. The prices are very affordable and it gives anyone who would like to own a piece of my work the chance to do so. The quality of the products is very good from what I have seen, and several friends who have bought stuff seem to be pleased with the merchandise. They have a very good refund policy, so anything you order and don't like you have a good amount of time to return the items. I'm constantly adding new products so do check out the site often.

Ira Joel Haber Cafepress

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Untitled Collage February 2010

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Going To The Movies

Unfunny. I wish I could understand the appeal of Adam Sandler and why this guy is a movie star. He's not a very good actor, all one note, and God knows he's not attractive and I for one just don't find him funny. I got the movie "Funny People" from the library (I would never pay good money for this crap) because I kind of enjoyed Knocked Up which was also directed by Judd Apatow, and I do like Seth Rogen with his silly putty face and charming laugh. That said this film is a failure. The plot concerns a big time comedian played by a big time comedian who gets bad medical news that he's about to die. Funny ha ha. Along the way Sandler hires Rogen who is a struggling stand up comic who shares an apartment with Jonah Hill & Jason Schwartzman who are also comic actors, (both by the way are very good in the film) to write jokes for him. Their relationship grows with Rogen more or less acting as a paid patsy and gofor for Sandler who is generally abusive and nasty to him. Apatow it seems never tires of off color jokes about sexual organs, but I do, and this stale fluff is nearly 2 1/2 hours long with storylines within storylines, and cutesy little cameos by real life comedians. This movie just doesn't know when to quit. Easily one of the worst films of 2009.

The House of the Devil gives away too much in the title, but for most of its short running time is a creepy little horror movie and I don't know if I’ll ever eat a pizza again. Set in some small college town in the early 80’s the plot is the one about the attractive college student who needs money and takes a job babysitting for a creepy couple who live far out in the countryside in a creepy house. And oh yes there is going to be a total eclipse of the moon that night, so you know its not going to be a quiet night for our little babysitter. As is usual with this genre, it falls apart at the end, and left me with a big? It was fun to see Mary Woronov, who was one of Andy Warhol’s superstars back in the early 60’s and a great beauty in her youth doing a nasty turn.

I'm still scratching my head over this film. Revenge of a Kabuki Actor or as it is known in this country An Actor's Revenge. Made in 1963 by the great Japanese director Kon Ichikawa the movie set in the 1830's is about a kabuki actor who seeks deep dish revenge on the three people who caused his parents to take their own lives. The actor in the Kabuki company is a female impersonator who is played by the renowned Japanese actor Kazuo Hasegawa, who also plays a thief in the film. Filmed in beautiful color with some really nice set pieces that Ichikawa mixes up with stylized and realistic sets, and wait till you hear the contemporary jazz score that Ichikawa uses.

I was very pleased with the sci-fi film District 9, especially since I wasn't expecting much. The reviews for it last summer were very good, and please if you are at all squeamish do not put this on your Netflix queue. It's a quirky and very original take on the aliens from outer space coming to earth thing. They wind up in South Africa of all places where they are cruelly treated. Nothing new about immigrants (which the aliens turn out to be) being mistreated but this take on the genre is indeed new and different and the lead actor Sharlto Copley gives one of the best performances I've seen this year. Surprisingly the film is nominated for a Best Picture and best original screenplay Oscar.

A few weeks ago I went to the Film Forum to see The White Ribbon directed with his usual complexity by Michael Haneke. Although nearly 2 1/2 hours I was totally engrossed by it story that is set in a village in Germany just before World War I where terrible things keep happening to the people of the town. The village doctor who has lots of dark secrets is thrown from his horse because of a trip wire that is stretched between two trees and is badly hurt, the wife of a farm worker is killed when she falls through a rotted barn floor, a young boy is beaten and tied upside down, the son of the Doctor's housekeeper and mistress, who has Down syndrome, is blinded in a horrible attack and a Baron's barn is set on fire. At times the film feels like an episode of The Twilight Zone or a remake of Village Of The Damned what with all those strange children lurking around. Haneke sprinkles the film with a political crust, but does not supply us with any easy answers or pat solutions instead he leaves it up to the viewer to connect the dots. Beautifully photographed in black and white, this is not a film for the Avatar crowd.

I can easily recommend a nice unclean little B noir movie from 1958, Murder By Contract. Directed by Irving Lerner who was mainly known as a television director, and starring the strangely handsome Vince Edwards as a hapless hit man who hates women. I mention this fact this because it figures prominently in the plot that is also laced with some 1950’s Noir homoeroticism. This take on homo lust can be seen in several noir thrillers of the 1950‘s including The Big Combo & The Line-Up. Ironically in one scene Edwards gets disguised as a doctor and of course 3 years later he would gain world wide fame by playing the doctor Ben Casey on the tube. Also Lerner directed 13 episodes of the show. With cinematography by the great Lucien Ballard and an unusual (and sometimes annoying) score by Perry Botkin played entirely on guitar.

february Collage 2010

Friday, February 05, 2010

Sacramento Poetry Art & Music has just posted this collage that I did when I was a teen. Check out the website hosted by Eskimo Pie.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


There was an article today in the New York Times about the restoration of the huge old movie palace The Loew's Kings, that sits majestically on a block on Flatbush avenue in Brooklyn an area of Brooklyn that has seen much better days. When I was growing up in Boro Park Brooklyn I would sometimes go to see a movie there, but not so often as we had our own local Loew's although it was not as grand as the King's. The most memorable thing for me about the Kings was that my graduation from New Utrecht High School was held there on a hot day in June 1964. There were several other theatres on Flatbush Ave that I would go to with my friends when I was a teenager, and my favorite was The Astor Theatre a run down little box that was right next door to Erasmus Hall Campus High School and showed art films as foreign films were called back in the 50's and 60's. At 15 and 16 me and my friends would see films that were adult and sophisticated and seeing them made us also feel adult and sophisticated. I can remember seeing Tom Jones, Dear John, This Sporting Life, Phaedra with Melina Mercouri who reminded me of my friend Sid's mother, even though she was Italian and Melina was Greek, both of whom I had big teenage crushes on. We would usually go to the Astor on Sunday afternoons the most Melancholy day of the week for me. It was at the Astor that I first saw a woman's bare breast (Dear John) in a movie, and was depressed for days after seeing Sundays and Cybele, which still fills me with sadness whenever I see it. It was also at the Astor that I saw the Episodic French film Les sept péchés capitaux that had segments directed by Godard, Chabrol & Demy and who I never heard of and was my first taste of these great filmmakers. Someone in today's article said that if the King's was in Manhattan it would have been restored long ago. Wrong. If the King's was in Manhattan it would have been torn down a long time ago. So I wish this movie palace of my youth the best, and hope that it does indeed become the glorious theatre that it once was. The Astor Theatre is long gone, but I still have all those memories of those Sunday afterdays with Melina, Cybele and all the rest.

you can view the entire article at this link.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Moma Muddle

The Tim Burton show at the Moma is a real crowd Pleaser, which is exactly what's wrong with it. After about 2 minutes in this funhouse that wasn't much fun, I fled. Exactly what was the point of this show, I mean Burton can sometimes make fun movies, although he slaughtered Sweeney Todd for all time. But why give him a show highlighting his crappy doodles, sketches and very bad paintings that look like the kind of stuff that high school kids draw in their notebooks while listening to boring teachers drone on an on about subjects that they could care less about. The exhibit is crowded and housed in a small dimly lit space, and I kept tripping over tiny tots. The installation is crowded with props, models and other stuff that I guess we are suppose to be interested in, because they allow us into the mind of the filmmaker and show us how he did what he did. Put it in a book where it belongs, and not on the walls of one of the leading art museums in the world. Maybe Burton paid out of his own deep pockets for this offense. If The Museum Of Modern Art wants to honor a filmmaker and his vision why not a show of Fellini's or Kurosawa's drawings. The other big show now on at this shopping mall of modern art is a retrospective of the Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco who I have to admit I never heard of. It seems that he’s one of the darlings of the international art scene, so after only 10 or so years of making art, he gets this big retrospective which is uneven to say the least. At least there is lots of room to roam and take in his delicate dull small collages, and vapid paintings, since everyone is downstairs at the Burton show. It’s full of the usual smart-ass stuff that is all the rage in many of the galleries and museums. Oh look an empty show box. It sits on the floor at the entrance of the show; a bored looking guard watching over it like it was some priceless gem. It’s a fucking empty shoebox for Christ’s sake. Then there are his ordinary “conceptual” color photographs of a yellow motorcycle that he bought and placed in various locations, wasn’t stuff like this done in the early 70’s? Also on view is a large sculpture of bicycle wheels that I just walked by, and a car sawed in half and welded back together. Far out. To be fair I did like his table of small clay sculptures and models for larger works that he calls working tables but these were not really worthy of a full-scale retrospective. When I heard that the Moma was going to have a retrospective for Orozco I of course immediately thought of the great Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco, now that would have been some show.
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