Friday, March 28, 2008
Though, nowhere NEAR as creepy as these ( best not listened to while alone in the evening)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The film is titled "Don't Bother to Knock". According to the IMDB.com, it was " This was Anne Bancroft's first film. It was also Marilyn Monroe's 18th film and an attempt to prove to critics that she could act." It's actually not a bad noir piece.
In any event, Widmark had made several films by the time "Don't Bother to Knock" was released. In fact, his first film "Kiss Of Death" earned him an Oscar nomination and his performance of psychopathic killer Tommy Udo is to this day after 61 years is still highly disturbing and an amazing piece of acting.
December 26, 1917 - March 24, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I've been a little overwhelmed the last few days trying to get my ducks in a row so to speak. So, this morning while sipping my coffee and watching the sunrise, I created the above little digital work in Photoshop. They are like doodles for me and they help to calm my mind.
I've entitled it "Star Ladies" for various reasons. I wouldn't stare at it for too long, however, if I were you, as doing so may cause your soul to flee from your psychical being, soar without your control through space and time and land in a freakish little jar that I keep on my kitchen shelf.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
It seems to me that a valid and prescient fact to keep in mind is that the majority of this country's population is not composed of the more liberal/progressive and race acclimatized folks ( like myself ) found in and around the metropolitan centers of the coastal areas, such as where I now reside and have so for close to 20 years. I hope that Democrats are not so busy praising the emperor and his new clothes with misted and glowing eyed chants of "change,change" that they overlook the importance of picking someone who can actually win! I'm not saying that an Obama/Richardson ticket absolutely isn't winnable, and God knows if they are chosen I will support them all the way, but I have lingering doubts.
I'll have to go to some obscure analogy which always works best for me; I could have worn one of my sparkling, hyper-colored ties to a recent funeral service that I attended. I love those ties and I feel that they more accurately represent who I am. They're filled with pizazz and vibrancy ( symbolic of Obama ). And while a few of the attendees ( symbolic of liberal/progressives like myself ) may have agreed with my tie selection had I chosen such , the majority of them probably would have thought it too over-the-top, disrespectful and in poor taste ( unfortunately, symbolic of a very large section of the country). The important thing is that they would have said nothing to me, though they most certainly would have thought unkind things and undoubtedly vocalized their feelings to each other on the long drive home ( i.e. the voting booth) . Being that all the attendees were all there for the common good of supporting our friend through loss and hardship ( symbolic of all Democrats) , I opted for the more conservative, yet equally effective, darker tie ( symbolic of - gulp- McCain ) which is what most everyone else would have done in the same situation ( symbolic of the voting booth).
If we ended up with an Obama/Richardson ticket against McCain - a choice between two brightly colored, cocktail hour ties and one conservative, business meeting, power tie - in these sobering times, which do you think middle America will choose to wear to the inauguration? I must admit that I'm not sure. And that uncertainty frightens me. Yes. Frightens. We simply can not afford, on countless levels mind you, another Republican in the White House!
Now - speaking of ties, I'm going to save my pennies and get a few of these beauties!
Of course, my birthday is only a couple of months away....
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Welcome glorious spring! That’s right folks – today is the first day of spring. I am a spring fanatic. And even though it’s relatively bleak and chilly this morning, I know that the weather will slowly begin getting warmer from this point on and stay that way at until at least mid to late October (I’m an autumn fan as well).
Hyper-hued flowers have begun blooming in my yard and the melodic chirping of seasonal birds has begun to break the silent, steely, cold sunrise of winter. I say bring it on! This is a time for rebirth and renewal and I happen to be very ready for it on several levels.
Now that I’ve made my obligatory statements about the glory that is spring, I must mention something that has haunted me a bit since yesterday morning. As I have mentioned in earlier posts from the last few days, the mother of a close friend of mine died last Sunday. The funeral service was yesterday morning which I attended with other mutual friends. It was a solemn (yet touching) service. It was especially highlighted by three short speeches given by close friends of the departed. One of the speeches was particularly compelling. Not necessarily because of the words which she spoke, that being the usual verbiage which accompanies such forlorn occasions, but because of a particular event that she had mentioned.
According to the speaker, the deceased woman told her about a dream that she had had a little over two weeks ago. In the dream, she said that her mother and father-in-law, both of whom are long dead, appeared to her. They offered her a key, which she accepted. According to the friend of the woman whose funeral I was now attending, the deceased told her that she “had a bad feeling about the dream.” And that “someone was going to die soon”. Synchronistically, it was she herself who would be dead two weeks later, and indeed, buried on the very last day of winter.
When I heard this little tale of foreboding, I felt a slight chill run up my spine. I’m sure many of the others in attendance did so as well judging from the palatable silence that permeated the huge chapel that can only be formed from the vacuum created when 100 people take a slight gasp of air into their lungs as the implications of such a dream momentarily flood every nook of even the darkest corners of their mind with a bright and inescapable white light.
It’s important to remember however that death, in one way or another, does indeed bring renewal. In fact, the traditional meaning of the death card in the tarot deck is “rebirth and renewal” contrary to hokey, low budget horror films and vapid sitcoms. So, perhaps in some odd way, the untimely death of this woman was possibly, at least, seasonally, timely in its own unique manner.
Well, with that being said, stand up; shake off the old detritus of yesterday and picture yourself being revitalized. And by the way, if you happen to have any nocturnal visitations any time soon from deceased loved ones offering you the key to their condo, you may want to make a polite refusal, slowly back away, and force yourself awake.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I also woke with the realization that I must attend the funeral of a close friend's mother this morning who died last Saturday while having surgery. I'm not looking forward to that. I never knew the woman, and frankly, have heard from her on children and others that she wasn't the nicest person that one could want to meet. But, nevertheless, her daughter is a dear friend of mine and I will attend for her sake and the sake.
She is Jewish and I have never been to a Jewish funeral service before. I must admit, as new experiences go, that aspect of it intrigues me. After the service, we will visit the house where her family home (where her father still lives) to "sit Shiva". Something else I've never experienced before. I'm concerned that there may be some protocol that I am unaware of. For example, on wikipedia.com, I found this line "Often, visitors will recite the traditional words of consolation, Ha-Makom y'nachem et'khem b'tokh sh'ar avelei Tziyon viyrushalayim, which translates as "May the Omnipresent comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem." Hmm. No offense, but I don't know if I can actually get my mouth to pronounce that properly. I like the English translation, but it sounds a wee bit intense.
I'll just go with the flow and try not to stick out to much though I'm certain to be the only 6 foot 5 man blonde man there.
My friend tells me that it will be like a party.
But I have my doubts about that for some reason.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I discovered the visually rich and mesmerizing link above off of a link from the fabulous blog eternallycool.net. The link I came across is http://eternallycool.net/?p=1004. It seems that eternallycool.net is all about the scene of my favorite places in the world - Rome! They describe themselves as a hip hub where "you can keep up with all that’s happening in the world’s oldest and coolest city. From art to food, from fashion to furniture, from advertising to literature, and from street life to art exhibits, we’ll keep you up on everything that makes Rome eternally cool." I feel in love with Rome during a visit there last Autumn and I will be back. Eternallycool just helps me to realize why my love affair with the "eternal city" continues.
Now - back to Ms. Venus. It seems that Konica Minolta was able to take over 300 scans of her by means of a non-contact 3D digitizer which projects a red laser light on the statue and captures the reflected light with a CCD camera ( you can see a demo at the Museum of Beauty). They have created an online presentation of the work that you can scroll through and see some truly amazing imagery.
The only caveat that they seem to focus on which has never held much fascination for me is the old "what would she look like if she had arms" question. They spend a good amount of time on that issue on the site and still, of course, it is all conjecture. I personally don't care what she would look like with arms as it won't change the fact that she doesn't have arms in reality! One of the visual aspects of the statue that I find so intriguing is that fact. There is symmetry and beauty in her as is. It's one of the facets that I find so amazing. Imaging a work of art so compelling that even flawed, it still entrances. We live in a society that is so quick to change, disguise and conceal what is really there - like a high-tech "emperor's new clothes". When I found that this was one of the main aspects of this site, I began to wonder if the giant proverbial snowball hadn't been pushed over the edge already. What was next? Perhaps we should digitally remove the wrinkles from Rembrandt's aged self-portraits or digitally re-attach Van Gough's ear. You get my point. The photos on the site are lovely nevertheless.
I remember when I saw Venus for the first time at the Louvre. It was an amazing visit that day.
It was my first time in Paris and George and I had visited with a friend about one month after 9/11. Of course, we had planned the trip months prior to that, but that's how it worked out. Initially we were insecure about making the trip, but then we figured that security was so tight that the chances of anything else occurring at that time were slim to none. Fortunately, we were right and the trip was phenomenal. What was so amazing however, was how few tourists there were in Paris that autumn and it meant two things. First, the Parisians (of whom we had been warned continuously about due to their supposed rudeness towards Americans at that time) were absolutely welcoming and charming. Secondly, we were practically the only three people visiting the sites everywhere we went. Now, to be fair, it was cold and rainy the day we went to the Louvre ( perfect weather actually). But I'll never forget standing in front of the Venus De Milo with perhaps only 10 other people, two of which were my traveling companions! I thought it was odd, but I just soaked in the experience. When you read this quote about the VDM from eternallycool.net you'll understand why that was such a rarity: "She so fascinates the public that the gallery in which she stands in the Louvre is usually mobbed with visitors snapping photos as quickly as possible - making a real and reverential visit impossible".
As if that wasn't wonderful enough during my visit to the Louvre, we later found ourselves standing in front of the Mona Lisa. Again, just the three of us and two security guards. I turned to the one companion who had been to Paris before and I asked her if that was normal. She seemed as stunned as I and said "absolutely not". I swear it's a true story, but I can tell that anyone that I mention that to that has visited the Louvre and has tried to see the Mona Lisa or the Venus De Milo doesn't believe me. That's fine however, because my wonderful experience there is one reality that is not going to change.
Hey - check this out, while I was typing this entry I received an email from TalentDataBase.com informing me that I have just been chosen to be "spotlighted" on their Talent Portal. How cool is that?
Here's the link: http://www.talentdatabase.com/profiles?pf%5Btype%5D=TalentProfile
Monday, March 17, 2008
Inevitably perhaps, it led me to think of the death of my own mother, close to 20 years ago, particularly with it being St. Patrick’s day. As a child, my mother was keenly aware and very proud of her Irish heritage. It’s something that she took very seriously and she was insistent that we had to wear something visibly green on St. Patrick’s day in school. This usually worked out to our advantage as there was always some passive/aggressive little freak child who felt the need to severely pinch anyone who wasn’t wearing green. If my memory serves me properly, the child in my class that was responsible for the pinch patrol was named Suzanne R. I recall her as a bitter, quick to anger, little girl with overtly pale skin and bright red hair. She was the quintessential “mean girl”. I’m also pretty sure that she stole my father’s pocket calculator from my desk in 1976 though I couldn’t prove it. I can still see her jejune slack jawed denial of my accusation as if it were yesterday.
But I swerve off track. Only two f my mother’s grandparents actually came from Ireland. Both of whom happened to be her maternal and paternal grandmothers. One was named Julia Shea and the other was named Katherine Downey. Julia married a man named Cyrus Lewis. Little is known of his genealogy with the exception that documents show that his mother was a Native-American - more likely than not, a Mohawk. She was given the name “Jessica Savage” by Cyrus’s father who purchased her somehow. At least that’s how the story goes. She was my maternal great-great grandmother.
My mother’s paternal grandmother married a man named Edward O’Brien who happened to of have been born in the Azores to Antonio and Maria O’Brien. Though the thought of anyone having the name O’Brien in the Azores seems odd, I’ve been told that many Irish immigrated there in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He was a Irish/Portuguese mix.
Based on all of that information, my mother could have chosen any number of heritages to be proud of. She went with the Irish. That would explain why I had to search for the perfect green shirt to wear before heading off to the grocery store this morning. All the while I was there, I had this silly fear that I would find the thieving and pinching Suzanne R. working behind the deli counter or check out line.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
So, when the evening news finally covers a story about Fine Art, it's served like a tepid glass of watered-down instant Pink Lemonande that's been sitting out in the hot summer sun all afternoon with dead gnats floating on the top. Everything about the following news clip - from the subject matter itself, to the examples of the subject matter in the clip, to the brain-dead fembot "newscasters" who discuss the subject matter - everything in it, serves as the perfect example of why our country has become a cultural wasteland.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
That's the link to my special place on imagekind. There, you can find prints of all sizes and prices of some of my more popular works as well as some digital-collage works that many of you have never seen before. I just signed up yesterday, but so far, I'm quite thrilled. I've read by several other artists that the quality is top-notch and the customer service extremely professional. So, for all of you out there - and you know who you are - who have been asking me over the years for access to prints of my work, here's your opportunity. Now, please, go make an artist happy, and, if you and I are ever to be in the same room with your print at some point in the future, I will personally autograph it for you, of course, making it worth even more than the small amount that you will have spent on it. Isn't that fun?
Monday, March 10, 2008
This is one of the reasons that I love this woman. Most people when they meet me make the assumption that I am straight. They do this, more than likely, because I am a big and tall man with a resonant deep voice. I am not what "they expect" a gay man to be like. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard someone make an wildly tasteless joke about gay or lesbians - or even worse - HIV/AIDS in front of me because they thought that I was straight and that I would find it humorous, I could stop working. How many times have I heard phrases like "you sure don't act gay" or "are you're sure your gay?". Every afternoon I hear kids as they walk by my house on their way home from school in an attempt to tease or insult each other calling each other "faggot". It's not a pleasant experience at all.
Most of my straight friends, even family members, would be shocked to learn of the crap that I have had to endure over my entire life because of ignorance and intolerance. I have chosen not to discuss these things with them as it would only upset them. These things include being physically attacked, harassed, and certainly discriminated against in such public venues as restaurants, bars, retail establishments and more. I have actually known more than one gay/lesbian acquaintance of mine who were murdered not unlike the young man that Ellen so eloquently discusses in her video. I have purposefully chosen not to discuss these things with my straight friends and family members in the past as I felt that it would only upset them. All of them are very special to me and each one has been very supportive of myself and certainly of my partner of the last 15 years.
But after watching and listen to the words of Ellen in the video above, and balancing them out against the words of this small minded, hate-filled, ugly cow in the video below (she is actually an Oklahoma State Representative at a gathering in her district. A LAW maker! All thanks to The Victory Fund for posting her vile words and creating the video which they have titled "I'm Listening") I feel that I may have to be a little more vocal about my experiences and a little less tolerant myself of the hate and fear offered by these brain-dead freaks.
I had a rather busy weekend and wasn't able to drop into my blog as I wanted. It involved a rather tedious and white knuckle 3 hour drive from where I am now through horrendous rain and high wind to visit a close friend. Then, an afternoon at the Hirshhorn Museum where I saw this amazing exhibit (http://hirshhorn.si.edu/exhibitions/description.asp?Type=&ID=50). After this exhibit, I'll never see Fay Wray being introduced to King Kong in the same way ever again.
My friend and I were literally about to enter his studio to paint just as the high winds caused a massive power outage across the region. It left us along with his wife and lovely baby sitting in total darkness. Thank goodness for candles and my trusty Tarot deck which made the evening fly by.
The above image is one that I posted yesterday afternoon and is from my wonderful box of vintage photos. I love the smirked expression on her face as if she is about to burst into laughter. I can tell by the slightly parted lips of the robust fellow next to her that he must of just uttered something under his breath like "take the flippin' photo already" just as the flash went off.
Plus, you just have to love the butterfly hair comb on her head, now probably an antique piece of jewelry somewhere.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
What a compelling discovery that must of been. And here is another intriguing story about Robert Capa who I blogged about not too long ago. It seems that thousands of negatives of his from his time when he was photo-documenting the Spanish Civil War have turned up in Mexico.
Found: Lost Robert Capa Negatives
And just for the hell out it, here's a hip illustration from a flickr.com user group that I belong go entitled "Eye Candy- trippy hippy kid's books from the 60's and 70's"
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Wow! What a time capture this is. Another image from my vintage photo box. Summer 1946 and it’s the 25th Anniversary Dinner of the Sterling Council #92 of the Daughters of America, at least that is what is written on the back of this photo. Initially, when I first looked at this photo, I appreciated it for the photographic elements of it all - the very telling and often comical expressions on many of the woman’s faces, the great prints on the dresses (which were so popular in the mid-1940s).
But then when I discovered what the Daughters Of America is (or perhaps was as I can’t find any reference to them after 1978) http://www.rootsweb.com/~srgp/flaghold/flag018.htm, I felt very different about this photo.
Now I see them as uptight, ultra-conservative, racist prigs whose main concern seemed to be getting bibles in the classroom and the elimination of secular politics. Some of these ladies look as if they could lead a lynching party themselves, especially Big Beulah there front and center and her army of 4 crones directly behind her. And, of course, you know that these ladies know every speck of dirt on everyone in the township, especially on the young upstarts who have been delegated to the back rows.
These women were the mothers and grandmothers of the religious right movement as we know it today no doubt. Of course, this photo is 62 years old. Chances are that even the younger women in this image (who appear to be at least 30) are now dust, or close to it. Things were very different then. Fortunately, quite a bit, but still not all, of their foolish ideas have vanished with them.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
OK, I’m still on my vintage photo kick, so bear with me until I move onto other things. Did I mention that I threw my back out getting out of the car last Friday? It happens once in a while, the price paid when tall waisted. While I am 6 feet 5, it’s all from the waist up. I wear a 33 inch inseam on my pants and often can get away with a 32, which, I don’t think is that abnormal. In any event, people with that build throw their backs out more frequently than those who do not have such a build. Today is the first day that I have felt normal and not been walking about like a pretzel in mind-numbing pain. So, I’m very pleased about that!
Now, this is an odd image that was found in my magic box of abandoned photographs. The original is very small ( about the size of a matchbook) and is not mounted on cardboard. It's very sepia toned and because of it's small size and color it's very difficult to make out any detail. I scanned it at 350 DPI then adjusted levels in Photoshop to get this. It's a photo of an older girl with pigtails and a hat, a younger curl caught with a rather unfortunate expression, and a dog.
Initially, I was dating this image to date from between 1895 and 1910. But after further research, I came to the conclusion that this is more likely than not a very early Kodak Brownie Camera snapshot which would date it more so circa 1900 - 1910.
Kodak Brownie Ad from 1900
You can read more about the Brownie here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownie_camera, and every time you snap an image today with your cell phone or digital camera, you can thank the Brownie for introducing the populace to the idea of taking their own photographs quickly and easily.
Speaking of cameras and spinal pain, did you know that George Eastman, founder of the Kodak company suffered from Spinal Stenosis? An excerpt from wikipedia.com -
"In his final two years, Eastman was in intense pain, caused by a degenerative disorder affecting his spine. He had trouble standing and his walking became a slow shuffle. Today it might be diagnosed as spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal caused by calcification in the vertebrae. Eastman grew depressed, as he had seen his mother spend the last two years of her life in a wheelchair from the same condition. On March 14, 1932, Eastman committed suicide. He left a suicide note that read, "To my Friends, My work is done. Why wait?" His funeral was held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Rochester. Eastman, who never married, was buried on the grounds of the company he founded at Kodak Park in Rochester, New York."
Gulp. Well, I'll have none of that. You can read more about his fascinating life here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Eastman
Monday, March 03, 2008
This is one of the weirdest photos from my vintage photo collection. It’s undated and has been developed on somewhat flimsy paper which has faded greatly and become rather brittle over the years. The original photograph is much darker than this image which I have adjusted in Photoshop. While on some levels, this is a photo of a humorous looking man who appears to be having fun or entertaining, he also give me a bit of the creeps in that psycho-killer clown kind of way.
There is no information on this image at all and I don’t know if this fellow is performing in costume or if this is his everyday look and was photographed in the middle of a story. I love his top hat and his very slight, barley discernible twinkle in his eyes.
Perhaps this fellow is practicing, or is actually performing, some type of vaudevillian act. There is definitely some sort of canvas backing behind him and he seems to be up lit from a light source at his feet like early stage lighting. I guess there's simply no way of knowing, unless someone out there recognizes him. But considering that this image is at least 100 years old, I find that event highly unlikely.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
I came across this image many years ago. I found it in one of the many little antique shops that I used to frequent in the Virginia countryside, but I can’t be sure which one. On the back written in pencil are the words “Harland Bryant Tibbetts.’99 - ΛΣ I.H.S.”
Sometimes when you come across the name of a person written on a card, you can still find some very interesting things if you search a bit. I typed the name in a google.com search engine and made several discoveries.
The first link showed me that Harland had a great granddaughter named Lainey who was married on October 18, 1986 and whose wedding was important enough to have been written about in the Style section of the New York Times
In the same article, it states that Harland was “a chief assistant counsel to Judge Samuel Seabury in the 1931 investigation of New York City municipal affairs.” I found that of interest as well, especially when you read about how very important these trials were for the average working class New Yorker at that time. They were known as the Seabury Commission: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seabury_Commission
Then I found on this page www.rootsweb.com/~nytompki/school/yeard.htm this line of information, “TIBBETTS, Harland Bryant Entered from I. G. S., Sept., 1895; graduated Cl., '99; Congress; class vice-president; commencement speaker. Will enter Cornell, 1900. 232 S. Geneva St., Ithaca”. Now I knew that I.H.S. stood for Ithaca High School and that this was more likely than not a senior portrait taken in 1899. I also know knew that Harland lived on S. Geneva Street.
My next stop was this fascinating link : ecommons.library.cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/3168/11/006_1...
Thats where I first saw this : farm3.static.flickr.com/2286/2305707485_508e30786d_o.jpg
That’s from the December 16, 1903 edition of the Cornell Alumni News. According to the article, Harland will be a key debater in “The most important debate event of the year will be the annual Intercollegiate contest between Pennsylvania and Cornell, to be held in Witherspoon Hall, Walnut street, Philadelphia, Friday evening, December 18th.” There’s even a photo of Harland! He does look a bit more mature and polished after 3 years at Cornell.
Here is what is mentioned about him in the article “Harland Bryant Tibbetts, 1904 Arts, of Ithaca, prepared for college at the Ithaca high school and won a state scholarship and also a university scholarship in competitive examinations. In his freshman and sophomore years he represented his class debate club, in the interclass series was a speaker on the '86 Prize Declamation stage in his sophomore year and in his junior year spoke on the '94 Memorial Prize Debate stage. In his junior year he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Mr. Tibbetts is also an associate editor of the CORNELL ALUMNI NEWS.”
So, as you can see, a little research can tell quite a bit about a name, especially Harland Bryant Tibbett’s name. What it can’t tell me is how his senior photo ended up in the middle of some dusty and forgotten antique store in the mountains of Virginia.