Monday, July 31, 2017

Sam Shepard 1943-2017

Fuck shit piss

Maybe 15 years ago I was waiting for a friend on the upper west side to go see a movie, and he walked by. I looked at him of course but didn't say anything, Good morning he said to me and walked on. Another great loss today. And donald trump still walks this earth. Unfair.

Jeanne Moreau 1928-2017

My heart and soul are broken, and probably will never completely heal over this tremendous loss. My close friends know how much I adored this great actress. I am very sad.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Heli 2013

A vivid and brutal depiction of the Mexican drug problem with all that goes with it. Set in a rural part of the country the film is directed by the young filmmaker Amat Escalante who won the best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Amat is certainly talented with a sure hand and a vivid eye for telling a story no matter how unpleasant that story might be.
The film is simple. A family comprised of a young man Heli of the title his wife, young child, young sister and father live together in poverty in a dry, barren and raw part of Mexico. Both Heli and his father work in a bright, shinny and noisy auto factory that is a long way from their house which is barely a shack and Escalante fills it with details and reality.
Heli is trying to hold things together, his marriage is falling apart and his sister Estela who is all of 12 has taken up with a 17 year old wise guy who is training with the federal police and is pressuring her to go all the way with him. The father is passive so all of the problems of their world is on Heli’s young shoulders and things take a terrible turn when Beto the boyfriend steals some cocaine, that is the property of a drug cartel who has members in the army and also probably in the corrupt police force.
Beto hides the drugs on the roof of Heli’s house in a water canister where Heli finds it when he goes up to the roof to try to restore the water that has stopped running in the shower and destroys the coke. Not smart on either one of their parts and the 2nd half of the film is rough and tense and unbearable.
This film bleeds and it chewed me up and spit me out all over my apartment. It disturbed me and I will warn you that it is not for everyone, hell I don’t even know if it’s for anyone. There is a scene of torture that takes place in a home where young boys watch video games and a mother cooks in the kitchen that is probably one of the most brutal scenes I have ever witnessed in a film, and this sequence alone is enough to make anyone thinking of seeing it to think twice.
That said it is also a touching and moving film of hope and faith under the most dire of situations that made me say thank you for the modest, creative and mostly peaceful life that I lead. I know this might sound crazy to say but it is also a beautiful film to look at, with rich colors and textures. Also the young cast is superb especially Armando Espitia who plays Heli and Andrea Vergara who plays his young sister. See at your own risk and don’t blame me for your nightmares.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Summer No. 7. The last one of July 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

Japanese Bamboo Art & Irving. The Met Museum

Saw this stunning show today at the Met, which thrilled me in spite of the muggy weather. Beautifully installed in the roomy Asian wing where you can get away from the crowds and just relish the beauty of these works of art. Here we have objects that are magical and amazing and made from bamboo that is twisted and gently turned. Most of the pieces were made to be useful to hold things, to display flowers, to carry and set on tables in sublime rooms. As a sculptor these really interested me in their colors and intricate designs and forms. I loved this show so think about going. I wish I had better thoughts on the Irving Penn show that is coming to an end in a day or so. Installed in a cramped way in small galleries, some one kinder might say intimately installed but I was uncomfortable surrounded by all the admiring crowds hemming and hawing and snap snap snapping those goddamn smart phone photos of the photos. These images were originally done for magazines and that's how they should be seen not on walls entombed in a museum that more and more is actually turning into a fashion magazine. They're pretty yes, and all those photos of famous people, isn't that so and so, why yes it is Mary. And was it even possible to take a bad photo of Picasso or Duchamp? I doubt it. Sorry Irving but I'm just not into pretty photos of pretty women wearing nice clothes that were expensive even back in the 50's, these are not my kind of photos, I was bored by them, they all looked the same, they didn't make me want to rush back home and make art, or even take photos. Pretty pretty. You have a day left to see this show.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Oddball Magazine

Monday, July 24, 2017

Shanghai Literary Review

Just got my copy in the mail of The Shanghai Literary Review with several of my notebook drawings published in full color. Nice job. Thank you Shanghai

Saturday, July 22, 2017

John Heard 1945-2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer No. 6. July 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

oddball July 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

George Romero 1940-2017

Martin Landau 1928-2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Nana Mary

             During the very hot summer of 1953, My mother was worried about the treatment I was getting from my father and my sister. I was 6 years old and they both were abusive and mean to me. My mother was worried about me and she did all that she could do to protect me from them, and finally she took drastic action. She decided on a hot summer morning during that summer of 1953 to send me to Connecticut to Nana Mary’s. Now Nana Mary was not my nana. When I was really young even younger than my precious 6 years that I was that hot summer of 1953, I could not pronounce Nana’s name which was Anna Mary. It came out as Nana Mary and that’s what I called her.
             She was beautiful. Italian with dark hair like my mom’s and with a sad smile that was sexy to all the men who were attracted to her and came to adore her. I adored her and my mother also adored her best friend. Nana had 3 sons Tony the oldest, Richard the middle boy and Joey who was her youngest and was severely mentally retarded as it was known back in those days.
              So on a hot Saturday of 93 degrees we took the subway from Brooklyn to The Grand Central Station and took a train to Moodus Conneticut where Nana Mary lived on a small farm with her 3 sons and no husband. Nana had been married three times and had her sons with each husband before they either died or left. I vaguely remember the third husband a stapling red headed Irish man who was a fireman and worked out of our local firehouse not far from our small apartment.
                  I can still smell the oil and grease of the place, and always stick my head in any firehouse that I might pass on my walks in the city, where I’m hit with the coolness and smells of the place, and the memories of my childhood. There was no air conditioning on the subways back then, so everyone tried to sit under or close to the old slow moving fans that hung from the low ceilings of the cars, and we barely moved much.
                I had my little suitcase that was packed with my summer clothes along with a big pad and a big box of Crayola Crayons but no swim suit even though there was a small lake near the farm. My mother made a point of telling Nana that I was not to go near the lake or to go swimming. I didn’t know how to swim and never would learn. My mother had a fear of water because an uncle had drowned in the ocean when she was young, and this caused her to be loud, vocal and fearful about my water activities  which didn’t exist.  I had never been to Grand Central Station and I was in awe of it, what 6 year old wouldn’t be. The size of it was overwhelming for this child and all those people rushing about made me dizzy and excited.  I held my mother’s hand and didn’t stop looking up and around me ,and ah the coolness of the space. I wanted to move there, but instead we got on a sleek early 50’s train and were gone from the city. My mother left my father a note “Gone for a while.” And that was it, and that was that.

To be continued.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Liu Xiaobo 1955-2017

And donald trump still walks this earth. unfair

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summer #5. July 2017

Claudius Speaks

This was a long time coming. It kept getting pushed back. They are suppose to give me a 15.00 fee also, I won't hold my breath.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Get Out 2017

A big unexpected money maker and critical hit (it got a 99% rating on rotten tomatoes) from last Winter is this small scale labor of love horror film that wears it’s bleeding heart (metaphorically) and influences on its tattered sleeve.
Written and directed by Jordan Peele who is a partner in the successful comedy team of Peele and Key this movie is not at all what you would expect from an African American comedian and is not for everyone but I can without any reservations say see it especially if you are into horror movies.
It’s influences are wide and varied from the history of horror films, it’s like a bulletin board with tacked up sources such as Rosemary’s Baby, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Eyes Without a Face, Night of the living dead, Carnival of Souls, The Stepford Wives and even Frankenstein (it’s alive) along with a large bowl of comedy sources especially Abbott and Costello who hover around like a drone with regards to the second banana supporting appearance of a hilarious LilRel Howery as a TSA employee and the best friend of the male lead who is not only funny but wise.
The plot is lean and I have to be careful here not to give any of the secrets, twists and turns away because it is tempting but that would make me one of the bad ones. A nice mixed racial couple Rose and Chris played by Allison Williams of “Girls” fame and a newcomer to me, the British actor Daniel Kaluuya (both of whom are terrific) go on a weekend trip to visit Rose’s parents somewhere deep in some out of the way place.
Chris has some misgivings about this visit since Rose has not told her parents that Chris is black, but so what “it doesn’t matter” she tells him because mom and pop are intellectuals and liberal. Dad is a neurosurgeon and Mom is a psychiatrist with strong belief and leanings in hypnosis.
The first ominous warning we get is as the couple moon and spoon and chit chat while driving and they hit a deer oh dear. Not good especially when they have to deal with a local cop who is suspicious because she is white and he is black and of course he asks him for ID even though Rose was driving.
We are in racial territory now and just where is this movie going I asked as I nervously spilled my cranberry juice all over myself. Note do not drink or eat while watching this movie for a variety of reasons. Mom played by the great Catherine Keener is welcoming but somewhat cold and dad played by Bradley Whitford is over welcoming and condescending and tells Chris he would have voted for Obama a third time if he could. Also around the dinner table is the nasty race baiting brother of Rose along with the black housekeeper and black gardener who are acting strange and take part in a jaw dropping nighttime outdoor scene that is guaranteed to shake you up. I’ll stop here with the plot but I will say that you will never look at a cup of tea the same way after you see this film. One of the best films of the year so far and don’t be surprised to see the film next year at the Oscars.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Summer 4. July 2017

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