Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Oddball a New one.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

january 2018 mixed on paper

January 2018. Mixed on paper

Friday, January 26, 2018

January 2018. Mixed on Paper

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin 1929-2018

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

An Actress at The Post Office

          A few years ago, well maybe more than a few years ago, I was waiting in a long line at a post office in Greenwich Village that I would sometimes use if I was in that part of town. On this day I noticed that standing in front of me was one of my favorite actresses, a chance meeting of the highest order. I usually don’t bother celebrities after all I am a native New Yorker who takes fame and sightings of the famous in my stride. 
                   Never mind that once on an early Sunday morning my door bell rang and when I groggily opened the door there stood Meryl Streep who profusely apologized for ringing the wrong bell, she wanted my neighbor, the fashion designer downstairs. I stood for a while with my mouth wide open, then I closed the door and went back to bed, convinced that it was a dream, it wasn’t.
                  But on this day at the Greenwich Village post office there in front of me stood a terrific actress a tony and oscar nominee and an emmy winner and there was no way that I wasn’t going to say something. “Well how great is this, one of my favorite actresses is standing in line with me” I said loud enough to make sure she heard me. She turned, and gave me the look of someone who didn’t want to be bothered crossed with the look of is “this guy crazy or what.” “I loved you in so and so and this and that film and that tv series, which seemed to convince her that I wasn’t a crazy and was serious and interested in her as an actress.
                 To be blunt I was the only one who recognized her in the first place, and as I gushed she slowly relaxed and we started to chat. “This line is unending” she said. “I have to get this package out to my father in New Orleans its his birthday tomorrow and this line is unreal.” “Send it express overnight” I volunteered .
                 Yes the line was long, and it was going very slowly because many of the folks were making errors with their mailings  and had to leave their place, fix their mistakes and then jump back to where they were. I had actually met this actress once before a while  back at of all places a cheapo gym on 14th street that was still crumby around its gentrifying edges. I noticed her with her trainer and couldn’t understand what she was doing at this shithole, when no doubt she could afford a better gym. She was working out next to me, so I ventured forth with “I love your work” and she stopped, the trainer gave me an annoyed gay look, and she thanked me, and actually asked me my name and what I did. She was sweet and told me to call her by the name that only her friends called her.            
                 Finally I let her get back to her routine, and I thought of mentioning this to her at this second meeting but figured she wouldn’t remember it so why bother. I started to pepper her with questions about her work and this really warmed her up I thought I could actually hear her purring.  Soon we were giggling like the best of friends, but every so often she would realize that the line hadn’t moved and we were still at point nowhere, exactly where we were 10 minutes ago. “I’m going to scream” she said. Oh please don’t I said and she giggled. She began her career as a pretty ingénue, playing the girlfriends and young wives of big male superstars in big movies. She was a pretty little thing as my mother would have said about her. She did a lot of tv work and then it seemed she stopped making movies, as if she just left the scene or the party. She left as Sandra Dee and a few years later she came back as Jill Clayburg and suddenly it seemed like she was in every independent movie that played at those small art houses that use to flourish in the city. She played everything from moms with cancer, moms grieving over a dead child, wives whose husbands were cheating, and wives who were cheating on their husbands, murderers and drug addicted lesbians.  She did comedy and drama with equal ease and finesse and the awards and nominations started to flow in. 
                Finally we were getting closer and closer to a clerk when we hit a brick wall that looked like a flustered young Asian woman who was short on the amount that was due for her postage.  “Here we go” the actress said and offered to give the woman the money she needed. “How much is it” she asked?” Oh no I couldn’t take money from you. Of course she didn’t know who was offering the payment. “Oh yes you can” the actress replied. This back and forth went on for a bit and now the people behind us got into the act. “Take the money” one said, yeah take it already piped up another.” Please take the money, take my wallet, take my fucking life only please let’s get the show on the road” the actress said in a loud enough voice to reach the upper balconies of a theatre without the help of  a wireless microphone, and she literally brought the house down. I exploded in laughter and so did everyone else who heard her retort. Well the young Asian woman took the money, and finally the actress reached her clerk of no return, took care of her postage needs, and on her way out gave me a nice smile and said it was fun, we must do this again sometime and was gone no doubt back to her million dollar brownstone on some beautiful leafy street in the village. 

Hugh Masekela 1939-2018

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Jack Whitten 1939-2018

The Manchurian Candidate 2004

Spoiler alert

                        No not the 1962 version, I already reviewed it a month or so ago and you can view it at this link if you like.  http://wwwirajoelcinemagebooks.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-manchurian-candidate-1962.html.  I’m  talking here about the surprisingly good 2004 remake directed by the late Jonathan Demme. Upgraded in time to the first Gulf war, this Manchurian is not involved with the Korean War, but with a dirty international corporation attempting to take over our country with imbedded well placed  big time help. Some things never change but Demme and his screenwriters Daniel Pyne and Dean Georgaris have some surprises up their sleeves and in their pockets that kept me entertained and spooked through most of its running time. Some things are the same but Demme has added a glossy high tech concept that still  includes the familiar brain washing and assassination, but there are no decks of playing cards or games of solitaire for this candidate. The cast is very good with powerful performances from Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep as the mother from Washington and hell who this time is a senator and not married to one.  There are also plot twists that play to some of the paranoid queries that still come up with regards to the original version on blogs and the IMDB. The film also looks good thanks to the beautiful cinematography by Demme regular the great Tak Fujimoto who gives the film a dizzying kinetic look. Also notable is the good art direction that takes a lot of time with details and the music score by Rachel Portman. And check out the great supporting cast including many Demme regulars along with such suprise casting including Jon Voight as a liberal senator and famous writers and directors in cameos including Walter Mosley, Edwidge Danticat, Roger Corman and Sidney Lumet. Not a great movie, and I’m not going to compare it to the great 1962 version, and nothing compares to Angela Lansbury, not even Meryl, but for a fast thrill ride this is a pretty good pick.     

Postcard from the edge

This postcard was just sold at the Visual Aids yearly benefit Postcards From The Edge. I went to see the show today, hoping to snap a photo of my card but it wasn't there. Glad it was sold of course. There were still some nice cards still hanging, but a lot were sold.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Dorothy Malone 1925-2018

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ed Moses 1926-2018

Bradford Dillman 1930-2018

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dr. Mathilde Krim 1926-2018

This hurts a lot. I adored her. Her presence gave me and many others comfort during those early horror days of AIDS. She made a huge difference. 

January collage 2018

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Jean Porter 1922-2018

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Oddball Magazine Today

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Robin Holland 1957-2017

Photographer. Met her a couple of times on our journeys. Can good creative people please stop dying.


The Manchurian Candidate 1962

Set down among the large scale epics, the down home family movies and the silly comedies of 1962 was a small black and white extraordinary cold war paranoia noir thriller that came in on the heels of the Cuban Missile Crisis and a few months before the assassination of a young president, this was a movie that made some of us sit up and scream.
This movie had the look of reality because of the way it was filmed in fast some times jerky movements and scenes, and had the feel of live television. Images that would become reality in a short time, when we watched death on our small black and white TV’s in real time. This way of making a movie was new at the time for Hollywood and was directed by a young guy from New York City John Frankenheimer who began his career directing dramas that were “Live from New York”.
All those great Studio One’s and Playhouse 90’s that I grew up with and waited for with baited breath each and every week were special for us and this young Turk Frankeheimer finally tried his hand at movie making in 1957 with “The Young Stranger” but didn’t like doing movies and went back to live TV, fuck this shit is what I hope he said.
Then in the early 60’s he was tempted back to Hollywood by a novel written by Richard Condon and when he got Frank Sinatra on board it was go go go. This was back when Sinatra was a big Kennedy democrat before he became right wing and conservative and so with him on board the film was in production with George Axelrod doing the best screenplay ever.
Ok maybe I’m exaggerating but not by much, because this is a goosy up yours script full of fright, paranoia and sadness, and go ahead and watch it now, and I dare you as I write this review not to think of what sits in the oval office and how he got there.
Anyway getting back to 1962 it was a really good year for movies including the first James Bond movie “Dr. No” which was evil and paranoia also but it was light and fun, sexy and colorful where this Manchurian nut job was like a nightmare with our eyes wide open. It was a prequel to our soon to arrive national disaster of death, assassinations and conspiracies that is still with us.
So I watched it again after many years on the sharp beautiful Criterion transfer and even though I remember it with vivid remorse and fondness it was still fresh and nasty as the first time I saw it in a Brooklyn movie theatre lost and never found at the age of 15. The film swirls around us, not inviting us in but dragging us in by our hair, teeth and neck, pushing our faces into this American craziness. Can this really be real; could a take over of our country by a trio of foreign countries actually happen? Can someone be brainwashed to commit insane murders? CAN THIS BE MY FUCKING AMERICA?
The film itself has the look of an on the fly hastily put together TV drama, day for night shots somewhere out in La La Land sitting in for a paint by numbers Korea (the film is set during and soon after the disastrous Korean War) cheap sets that look like they will fall in on the actors, and process shots that were old even by 1962 standards along with some nice on location New York City shots. But the beauty of the film is in the writing, the superb score by David Amram, the cinematography by Lionel Lindon who also worked in early TV. And the Oscar nominated film editing by Ferris Webster and of course the great performances.
A very good Sinatra plays Major Bennett Marco, nicely intellectual (and sort of a reprise for him of the character he played in “Some Came Running), a former prisoner of war who is not feeling so well and is raging, sweating and depressed over his reoccurring nightmares that involve Laurence Harvey as Sergeant Raymond Shaw. Shaw was a prisoner with Sinatra and in Marco’s memory and dreams Harvey does terrible things that have been erased from Harvey’s mind, and thanks to the intervention of his mother, his mommy dearest who he hates with all his heart and what’s left of his soul is about to be awarded the medal of honor for his fake heroic war efforts against the enemy.
His nightmare of a mother is played to perfection by Angela Lansbury in what is surely one of the great performances in the history of cinema. Yes she’s that good. Lansbury is married to an idiotic right wing nut job senator in the mold of a Joe McCarthy played by James Gregory who she totally manipulates and controls. Lansbury is planning some terrible actions through brain games and insidious interventions that include a deck of cards and games of solitaire that finally explode into a riveting climax that will leave you shocked and disturbed. Also very very good is Janet Leigh back from her shower who plays Sinatra’s smart and sassy love interest and their introduction on a fast train is memorable, odd and touching. I liked Leigh a lot in this film. There is a lot of gossip and rumors connected with the film including charges of plagiarism against Condon, false stories about the film being withdrawn after the Kennedy assignation and ludicrous readings and interpretations, my favorites being that Janet Leigh was a spy for the Russians or the Chinese and that Angela Lansbury’s character was based on Roy Cohn. I leave it up to you to search the internet, my job is done here, except to say that this is the best film of 1962.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Betty Woodman 1930-2018

Lousy news. another artist gone, but donald trump still walks this earth. Unfair.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Botanical 2017-2018 Mixed

Peggy Cummins 1925-2017

Site Meter