Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fiction Fix

Fiction Fix has just posted 4 of my notebook drawings from the 80's.

 You can view the entire issue at the link below.

American Athenaeum. The Things They Carried

American Athenaeum has just published my notebook drawing in their latest issue.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Eileen Brennan. 1932-2013

One of my favorites.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Johnny Guitar 1954.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

final array of 2013 notebook drawings

Friday, July 26, 2013

Another array of my notebook drawings from 2013

Walter De Maria. 1935-2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A wall of notebook drawings from 2013

Bernadette LaFont. 1938-2013. Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Her

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

New notebook drawing. July 2013. Paint, ink, wax and collage on notebook paper

Forty Guns 1957

I’m not a big fan of westerns, but occasionally one will come along that will knock me for a loop, and send me out into the night howling at the moon. Forty Guns directed by Sam Fuller is one of those westerns (it’s actually more than just a “western”, it transcends the genre) that makes me holler and scream. Fuller starts this film quietly with an open rig holding three dusty men moving slowing across the cinemascope black and white western panorama, the horses suddenly react to hearing something in the distance, and then a woman all in black on a beautiful white horse comes stampeding down the road followed by 40 men on horses. They ride loud and visually around the open rig, and then they are gone, it gets quiet again, the title forty guns flashes across the screen like a newspaper headline, and this great film begins. The woman on the white horse is Barbara Stanwyck (who by the way did her own dangerous stunts) and plays Jessica  Drummond “a high riding woman with a whip” who pretty much runs and owns everything in and around the small dusty town including the men in power, and she is one tough lady. The men in the open rig covered with dust are the three Bonnell brothers played well by Barry Sullivan, Gene Barry and Robert Dix as the youngest brother. Sullivan and Barry are lawmen and occasional hired gunfighters who are on their way to the town to arrest one of Barbara’s 40 guns for a crime which doesn’t sit too well with her. This film is memorable and startling, full of erotic innuendos, double entendres and phallic metaphors and imagery some of which are very much in our faces, and is full of rich visual sentences helped by the wonderful cinematography by Joseph Biroc whose palette is made up of noirish blacks and greys. The film is basically a battle of wills between Stanwyck and Sullivan who are constantly at each other’s throats until one afternoon  when riding in the noonday sun an unexpected tornado literally brings them together as they crawl to a small cabin and well the next thing you know they’ve made love the 1957 way, with all their clothes on. Besides the imaginative and beautifully done tornado the film has many memorable scenes including a dinner scene with Stanwyck  at a huge table surrounded by all her 40 men, a wedding that becomes a funeral in a matter of minutes (Truffaut pays homage to this scene in The Bride Wore Black), a sudden suicide by hanging and one of the most poetic death scenes in the history of cinema, “I’m Killed” the villain of the movie cries as he is taken out by one of the brothers in a heated state of revenge. This is of course not a film for everyone, feminists will no doubt take take offense at the melt down of Stanwyck’s strong willed persona which she happily gives up for the love of a man, and lovers of the severe, romantic and traditional westerns of John Ford and company will probably throw up their hands in disgust and walk away from this very personal and twisted take on how the west was won. Also in the cast is the handsome John Ericson and  Dean Jagger. One of the ten best films of 1957.   

Sunday, July 21, 2013

two new notebook drawings. July 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Phantom Lady 1944

The film opens on a steamy 1944 July New York City night (its seems all film noirs are set on steamy summer New York City nights) the film covers all the usual Noir territory, innocent man accused of a crime he didn’t commit, loyal attractive young woman out to prove his innocence, tough but likeable detectives, psychotic behavior unexplained and deep sexual undertones. Based on a William Irish (Cornell Woolrich) novel and directed with strong German expressionist style by Robert Siodmak with a big helping hand from the great cinematographer Woody Bredell, master of B movies, and made by Universal on the cheap but looking hard, sharp and beautiful with great economic touches including murders and deaths unseen. The film has some flaws mainly plot holes and sad unresolved performances but even with the flaws this is still one of the masterworks of the genre. Especially good (when was he ever not good?) is Elisha Cook Jr. as the horny “pussy hound” drummer who plays in the orchestra of a tacky musical revue that plays a pivotal part in the film along with a silly hat, and a temperamental South American Bargain basement Carmen Miranda type bombshell of a performer. Some of the great set pieces of the film includes a scene set on a deserted 3rd ave el platform, where we only know that a train is arriving by the wind blowing a woman’s dress and a late night jam session with Cook on drums working himself into an orgasmic frenzy as his pickup for the night does a great sexual come on that leaves little to the imagination, (how this bit got by the censors is beyond me). Also memorable is a man being hit by a car again unseen by us, as his hat flies in the air and winds in a puddle by the curb, and a trial that is seen through the eyes of the spectators with all of the testimony heard off screen. This is good stuff. There are wet patent leather streets, the  ubiquitous  Yiddishe Mama candy store owner, shadows that have shadows and wonderful sleazy bars and high toned apartments full of late deco furnishings and sculptures along with small details such as Van Gogh’s self portrait after he cut off his ear that is clearly hanging in the murderer’s abode. With the gorgeous but limited Ella Raines, the gorgeous but very limited Alan Curtis, Franchot Tone & Thomas Gomez. The film is available in a pristine print  for viewing on YouTube. One of the ten best films of 1944.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes. 1948

I discovered all these b movies and Noirs on youtube last night and its a goldmine an absolute goldmine. The first one I watched was this little rhinestone "I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes" based on a novel by the great Cornell Woolrich with a screenplay by the well known pulp writer Steve Fisher who is probably best known for his novel "I Wake Up Screaming" (and don't we all). The film stars Don Castle, an attractive lump of a guy who when the film opens is sitting on death row for a crime he says he didn't commit. Flashback to a hot steamy B movie back lot July New York City where Don who is an out of work dancer lives in a tiny room with his very pretty wife who is also a dancer and is working as an instructor at a sleazy dance school. She is played by Else Knox who in real life married football star Tom Harmon and had a son named Mark Harmon. Anyway back to the steamy night.  Don is irritable over not having a job, a wife who is working around guys who hit on her all the time,  the heat (tell me about it Don) and the two cats outside his window going at it hot and heavy. So what does Don do? Why he throws his only good pair of shoes out the window at them, and this sets up the plot involving the murder and robbery of a reclusive man who lives in a basement apartment next door. The Movie is cramped and crowded with lots of good cheap details as any good B Noir should be, and has lots of familiar character actors playing cops, lawyers and a woman candy store owner with  a vivid Yiddish accent and her heart on her smudgy sleeve. Directed with verve and imagination by someone named William Nigh who began making movies in 1914 and some of his other films listed here sound fabu. "Beauty and The Bandit", "The Gay Cavalier", "Allotment Wives", "Are These Our Parents?" "Lady From Chunking", "Zis Boom Bah" and "Dizzy Dames". I don't know about you but I would love to see them all. 

Postcard July 2013. Paint and collage on blank postcard

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cory Monteith. 1982-2013


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Elohi Gadugi Journal

Elohi Gadugi Journal has just posted 6 of my notebook collages that I did in 1994. You can view them at this link.

New Notebook drawing July 2013. Paint, ink and collage on notebook paper

Some Recent Photographs taken around New York City and Brooklyn

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