Thursday, August 31, 2017

Summer 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017

Midnight Lace 1960

                  Poor rich Mrs. Kit Preston. Walking home one night through a pea soup fog in London town, she finds herself all alone in Grosvenor Square near the statue of Franklin Roosevelt when a voice calls out to her. The voice is not attached to anyone; instead it floats in and out of the fog telling her she will be murdered.
                  The voice is creepy for sure, high pitched and sing song, and Mrs. Preston is of course distressed by this and starts to run home. Thus begins the “femme Jep” thriller Midnight Lace starring Doris Day as the femme in jeopardy.
                Released in 1960 but really it’s still a 50’s movie. The film was first seen by me, an avid Doris Day fan at the age of 13 at a first showing on a crisp fall morning at Radio City Music Hall. Me and a few friends had taken the subway from Brooklyn and bought our fifty cent tickets at the subterranean ticket booth located in the Rockefeller Center subway station, a Convenient and considerate long ago and far away nicety of a long lost city.
                The film didn’t bowl us 13 year olds over, most likely because it was so simple and obvious even to us kids, and upon seeing it again the other week in its newly released dvd after 57 years I still pretty much feel the same about it that I did that fall morning in 1960.
                   Oh its still fun, if for nothing else than the high end clothes designed by Irene that Doris wears, it seems like she dons a new one every 20 seconds. There are some gems scattered among the cast. Most welcomed are Myrna Loy still charming and lovely, a breath of fresh 1930’s air as Day’s wise cracking rich aunt come to visit and winds up giving her support and comfort in her terrible ordeal of being threatened by this maniacal detached voice that comes and goes like the London fog.
              Who is he and why is he after her? Her new husband played by Rex Harrison is a ceo of some kind of a company, and he takes up his wife’s peril with Scotland Yard and Inspector Byrnes who is played with comfort and regularity by the terrific John Williams who made a career of playing this type of role.
                         Doubts about her sanity are tossed about and there are enough red herrings thrown around to cause one to slip and fall. Also around is John Gavin who might be the most beautiful actor ever to appear in films as a construction site foreman who is always at the right place when Doris needs rescuing.  John doesn’t bother with a British accent and is as wooden as ever but who needs acting when you look like him and besides 1960 was a good year for him with him also showing up in  “Psycho” and “Spartacus” to show off his gorgeousness.
                   Directed by David Miller who made the much better femme Jep thriller “Sudden Fear” and the cult modern day western “Lonely Are The Brave.”  We of course stayed on to see the elaborate stage show “Brazil” which had the smell of coffee coming through the Music Hall’s vents as the Rockettes kicked. Afterwards we went to the Horn and Hardart on the corner with our nickels for a lunch of baked beans and macaroni and cheese.

The Light Ekphrastic

Check out the collaborations between me and the poet Jill Talbot at the link below. Jill wrote a poem using one of my notebook drawings as an inspiration, and I did a piece inspired by her poem "Kansas"

Tobe Hooper 1943-2017

Friday, August 25, 2017

Summer no. 9. My final summer collage

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Oddball Magazine

New Post from Oddball using an old collage of mine. Check out the art and the poem at the link below.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Botanical August 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017

Kes 1969

An extraordinary early film from Ken Loach that might just break your heart, it did mine.  The film is placed in a poor industrial town in Great Britain and placed in the center of it all is a poor frail and fragile 15 year old who lives with his neglectful Mom and his loutish mine working brother in a hovel.  The situations that Billy Casper must put up with are like something out of a Dickens novel in scale and treatment. He is bullied at school and at home, and treated with scorn and contempt by almost everyone he comes into contact with. The performance given by David Bradley a non-professional is superb, simply superb and I might add heartbreaking. It stays with you. There is some kindness shown to him by some, not many but some and he sometimes steals,  a bottle of milk and a book on hawks from a bookstore hardly high crimes. One day he takes a Kestrel from its nest (another crime) which is a hawk and brings him home to train, and names him Kes. This is Billy’s saving. It gives him hope and allows him to show his strength and kindness to another living creature. Kindness is pretty much denied him, except by a good teacher who is fascinated by Billy after he gives a talk on his hawk to his class. The teacher is played by Colin Welland who would win an Oscar down the road for  writing the screenplay of “Chariots of Fire.” There are many wonderful scenes, and even though the dialogue is hard to understand at times because of the thick accents enough comes through.  The beautiful cinematography is by Oscar winner Chris Menges. In the same league as “The 400 Blows.”

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jerry Lewis 1926-2017

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Ettore Sottsass at the Met Breuer

Saw this colorful and boisterous exhibition yesterday at the Met Breuer and can easily tell you to go and see it. I've know Sottsass designs and objects since the early 70's and this show is a great opportunity for those who are not familiar with his stuff which I think is a large group to get to know it.
Probably he is best known for his connection to the Memphis design group and its wild ideas on design both functional and far out. The show is colorful and fun because his work make great use of color, form, design and outrageous notions about what is design and who gives a fuck. The work is loony and loopy cartoony and animated.
His most famous object is probably the Olivetti manual typewritter from 1968, all bright red and glowing, and its here on display, but I was always more intrigued by his furniture and ceramics and glass works many of which are also on display.
They are beautiful, fanciful and tactile I really had a hard time not touching them, rubbing my hands across their beautiful surfaces. Also on display and this is where my problems with not only this show but with this current "in" curatorial idea of presenting objects and such that the artist did not do, but which they (the curators) think deserve and need to be seen along aside the artist's work and serve for them (the curators) as a teachable moment.
These moments are starting to drive me nuts, so in this show there are many many examples of other artist's work, some known and some anonymous going back to nearly prehistoric times, this is after all the Met, and they have the stuff to pull out of their storage bins. So we get some great work by Joseph Hoffmann (how about the Met just give him a show of his own) some marvelous Hopi kachinas (who doesn't like kachinas) and wonderful pieces of antiquity from Egypt and India all placed along side Sottsass's pieces, that just confuse and for some like me simply annoy. .
I mean do we really need some minor Lichtenstein works on paper? or oh no not another tired old Frank Stella painting. And really what does the Donald Judd piece teach me about Italian design? This is not only a practice at the Met, Its all over the place you can see it at the Moma, The Whitney and at practically every museum in the city. Leave me alone, I don't need you curators telling me why this artist relates to that artist, and also why is it necessary to call every show and artist seminal.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Oddball Magazine

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