Saturday, January 31, 2015

Midway Journal

Midway Journal has just published five of my Coney Island photographs. You can view them all at this link. 

  
http://midwayjournal.com/volume-9-issue-1-2/

Friday, January 30, 2015

Last Notebook Drawing of January 2015


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

postcard January 2015. collage, paint, wax on blank postcard


Monday, January 26, 2015

film reviews

you can view all of my film reviews, over 200 at this link.
http://letterboxd.com/irajoel/films/reviews/



Mommy 2014










Made by that wunderkind Xavier Dolan when he was 25 this film is a forceful, violent and intense look at the troubled (that’s putting it mildly) relationship between a mother and her psychotic son. The film opens with a car accident, in fact watching this movie was for me like watching an accident, I couldn’t stop looking but I also wanted to flee the theatre that’s how difficult I found this film.
             Anyway besides the car accident the mommy of the title is off to get her very troubled teenage son Steve (a terrific performance by Antoine-Olivier Pilon) from a state care home where he is being thrown out for a cafeteria fire he caused including the terrible burning of a fellow teen. All of this is not shown, and we soon get to met Steve who as I said is violent and scary, sure he’s cute as a button with his pouty lips, and blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes, but he’s a ticking time bomb set to go off at the slightest provocation.
              Mommy played by Dolan regular the superb Anne Dorval is also trouble, troubled and difficult. Hostile and brash (she just got fired from her job) she is trying to hold things together as best she can while living in a small cluttered house somewhere in suburban Canada. Listen these are not bad people, and part of the clutter is made up of their messy lives that are constantly heartbreaking to each other and to the audience.     
                      There are several violent outbursts from Steve mostly directed to his hapless mommy that are embarrassing to watch and made me gasp thats how intimate and intense they are.  Into this duo of damage come their sweet and caring across the street neighbor who also comes with lots of luggage including a stutter and the loss of her high school teaching job along with a teetering on the edge marriage. The neighbor Kyla played to perfection by Suzanne Clement is taken in my Steve’s charm and good looks and agrees to help with his home schooling, which is no easy task and is also filled with bursts of violence and anger.
              This is the film that won Dolan the Cannes jury prize last year that he shared with Godard, and I’ve been impressed and moved by his previous films all of which tackle themes and stories that are sometimes autobiographical usually long and always intense. In this film Dolan has used a square 1:1 aspect ratio which creates a vivid claustrophobic feeling and a loud sense of dread, but he sometimes opens the film up to a standard aspect ratio usually when the trio is experiencing something close to happiness which is not very often. Dysfunctional, grim   and sad with very little hope, this is also a spectacular tactile small work of art made by one of the most gifted  filmmakers working today, and that he is only 25 is truly remarkable.          

Friday, January 23, 2015

Postcard January 2015. collage, paint and wax on blank postcard


The Whitney






So I have now been officially entombed in the Whitney Museum's Permanent Collection. This piece was originally done for the floor, so of course the museum displays it off the floor. Originally this was owned for many years by Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt.



http://collection.whitney.org/object/29638

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

At the Moma in the freezing cold





Spent the day at the Moma looking at this well done photography show, Modern "Photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection" that is beautifully installed and full of memorable images by many of the great photographers (and some artists) of the 20th Century. As usual I would prefer looking at photographs in books and this show is no exception. Also saw "Making Music Modern Design for Ear and Eye" which is done with the usual Moma flair when it comes to their design exhibitions, jam packed and colorful with almost too much stuff and information to take in. Walls of posters and other memorabilia along with the history of how we listen to music and how we use to listen to museum. Finally I sat through a dim witted minor little fleck of a movie from 1940 called "The House Across The Bay" that starred the wonderful and underrated Joan Bennett as a nightclub entertainer (her big musical number is a take off on Carmen Miranda in which a dubbed Joan sings about her Chihuahua dog, cute) and takes up with the gangster owner of the club played with greasy charm by George Raft. They marry but when George is threatened by a rival gangster over the takeover of an enterprise, Joan comes up with a scheme with the help of their crooked lawyer played by Lloyd Nolan to turn him into the I.R.S. for tax fraud so he go to jail and be safe from the guns of the rival. Joan is told he will get only a year in jail but instead he's sentenced to 10 years at Alcatraz because of the dirty doings and bad defense of Nolan who is in love with Bennett (who by the way looks great in 40's gowns designed by the great Irene) So Joan moves to San Francisco to be near her jailbird and thrown into this hash is Walter Pidgeon who is an aircraft designer who also falls for Joan. Also on hand is the wonderful Gladys George who really gives this duller the zip and zig that it needed. Directed by the so so Archie Mayo. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

new postcard January 2015


Monday, January 19, 2015

Oddball Magazine

Saturday, January 17, 2015

First two postcards of 2015. Blank Postcards with paint, collage and wax.



Friday, January 16, 2015

New notebook drawing January 2015


OPEN (C)ALL at BRIC downtown Brooklyn






 
I took a look at this show today which I have a piece in. Here are some photos of the general installation and my piece "bright red house" installed. The space is nice, located downtown Brooklyn which is seeing better days of late.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Text Magazine

Has posted one of my notebook drawings in their latest issue. Unfortunately its in black and white and I've posted the drawing here in color. You can view the issue at this link.

issuu.com/textlitmag/docs/merged


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Oh No! Anita Ekberg 1931-2015



Friday, January 09, 2015

January 2015. Notebook drawing


Rod Taylor 1930-2015



Boyhood 2014










Easily the film of the year, and a remarkable  feat of narrative movie making. This is a long and leisurely look at a young boy and his sometimes disjointed family in Texas as he grows into a young man with all the usual local stops along the way and what could be simpler than this. We all know by now that the film which was written and directed by Richard Linklater takes place over a 12 year span of real and movie time, so we are actually seeing the little boy grow and change before our eyes. This is done smoothly and without the seams showing. We also see his family change including the sometimes out of sorts and put upon mom played to perfection by the wonderful Patricia Arquette, her missing in action ex husband and father to the children Ethan Hawke and the young sister actually played by Linklater’s daughter. So we get to see the parties, the bantering and fighting, the camp outs, the graduations and much more since the film runs nearly 3 hours but feels like two. One of my favorite scenes is a midnight Harry Potter book party with the kids dressed up as their favorite characters picking up the books with expressions of pure joy and expectation for what waits for them within the pages of the book and is one of the most evocative scenes of childhood happiness I think I’ve ever seen in a movie. What really makes the film work (at least for me) is that the boy Linklater found is a terrific child, we like him and want the best for him so it’s a real pleasure for us to see him grow up to be a lovely 18 year old young man, ripe and willing to take on the future and hopefully do good things, this is a remarkable performance by Ellar Coltrane who plays Mason. Arquette is a good mother and Hawke for all his faults is a good father, loved dearly by his kids and his scenes with Coltrane are believable and touching and will be familiar and nostalgic to those who grew up with a loving dad, and sad for those who didn’t.  Arquette does her best in raising her children on her own but is always making the wrong choices when it comes to the men in her life, and most of the tension in the film comes from her conflicts with her abusive 2nd & 3rd marriages, which are hair raising and disturbing.  Unique and richly rewarding and the best film of 2014.  

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Notebook drawing. Plaster, paint and crayon on notebook paper 2015


Monday, January 05, 2015

An Englishman Abroad. 1983


A 60 minute small gem of a drama that was based on a real incident when the great actress Coral Browne was in Moscow in 1958 performing Hamlet and met the notorious British spy Guy Burgess beautifully acted by Alan Bates. They spent a melancholy meager afternoon in his dreary apartment lunching on tomatoes and grapefruit listening over and over to a Jack Buchanan recording and measuring Burgess for a suit that he wanted Browne to have made for him back in London. Directed by John Schlesinger from the play by Alan Bennett. Perfection.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

One Trick Pony

One Trick Pony just posted their winter issue with my drawing on the cover.

https://onetrickponyreview.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/issue2.pdf

Friday, January 02, 2015

The Stardust Gazette has just posted one of my recent collages as the background image on their opening page.

http://www.thestardustgazette.com/#!services/c1h6a

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The first 3 notebook drawings of 2015




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