Category: Photography


Round the Clock, New York, 1987. © Condé Nast/Horst Estate

 

À Villequier:

Hélas ! vers le passé tournant un oeil d’envie,
Sans que rien ici-bas puisse m’en consoler,
Je regarde toujours ce moment de ma vie
Où je l’ai vue ouvrir son aile et s’envoler!
Je verrai cet instant jusqu’à ce que je meure,
L’instant, pleurs superflus !
Où je criai : L’enfant que j’avais tout à l’heure,
Quoi donc ! je ne l’ai plus !
Alas! turning an envious eye towards the past,
inconsolable by anything on earth,
I keep looking at that moment of my life
when I saw her open her wings and fly away!
I will see that instant until I die,
that instant—too much for tears!
when I cried out: “The child that I had just now–
what! I don’t have her any more!”

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Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann (August 14, 1906 – November 18, 1999) who chose to be known as Horst P. Horst was a German-American fashion photographer.

The younger of two sons, Horst was born in Weißenfels-an-der-Saale, Germany, to Klara (Schönbrodt) and Max Bohrmann. His father was a successful merchant.

In his teens, he met dancer Evan Weidemann at the home of his aunt, and this aroused his interest in avant-garde art. In the late 1920s, Horst studied at Hamburg Kunstgewerbeschule, leaving there to go to Paris to study under the architect Le Corbusier.

While in Paris, he befriended many people in the art community and attended many galleries. In 1930 he met Vogue photographer Baron George Hoyningen-Huene, a half-Baltic, half-American nobleman, and became his photographic assistant, occasional model and lover. He traveled to England with him that winter. While there, they visited photographer Cecil Beaton, who was working for the British edition of Vogue. In 1931, Horst began his association with Vogue, publishing his first photograph in the French edition of Vogue in November of that year. It was a full page advertisement showing a model in black velvet holding a Klytia scent bottle.

His first exhibition was hung in La Plume d’Or in Paris in 1932. It was reviewed by Janet Flanner in The New Yorker, and this review, which appeared after his exhibit was over, made Horst instantly famous. Horst made a portrait of Bette Davis the same year, the first in a series of celebrities he would photograph during his life. Within two years, he had photographed Noël Coward, Yvonne Printemps, Lisa Fonssagrives, Count Luchino Visconti di Madrone, Duke Fulco di Verdura, Baron Nicolas de Gunzburg, Princess Natalia Pavlovna Paley, Daisy Fellowes, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, Cole Porter, Elsa Schiaparelli, and others.

Horst rented an apartment in New York in 1937, and while residing there met Coco Chanel, whom Horst called “the queen of the whole thing”. He would photograph her fashions for three decades.

He met Valentine Lawford, British diplomat in 1938 and they would live together as a couple until Lawford’s death in 1991. They adopted and raised a son, Richard J. Horst, together.

In 1941, Horst applied for United States citizenship. In 1942 he passed an Army physical, and joined the Army on July 2, 1943. On October 21 he received his United States citizenship as Horst P. Horst. He became an Army photographer, with much of his work printed in the forces’ magazine Belvoir Castle. In 1945 he photographed United States President Harry S. Truman, with whom he became friends, and he photographed every First Lady in the post-war period at the invitation of the White House. In 1947, Horst moved into his house in Oyster Bay, New York. He designed the white stucco-clad building himself, the design inspired by the houses that he had seen in Tunisia during his relationship with Hoyningen-Huene.

Horst is best known for his photographs of women and fashion, but is also recognized for his photographs of interior architecture, still lifes, especially ones including plants, and environmental portraits. One of the great iconic photos of the Twentieth-Century is “The Mainbocher Corset” with its erotically charged mystery, captured by Horst in Vogue’s Paris studio in 1939. Designers like Donna Karan continue to use the timeless beauty of “The Mainbocher Corset” as an inspiration for their outerwear collections today. His work frequently reflects his interest in surrealism and his regard of the ancient Greek ideal of physical beauty.

His method of work typically entailed careful preparation for the shoot, with the lighting and studio props (of which he used many) arranged in advance. His instructions to models are remembered as being brief and to the point. His published work uses lighting to pick out the subject; he frequently used four spotlights, often one of them pointing down from the ceiling. Only rarely do his photos include shadows falling on the background of the set. Horst rarely, if ever, used filters. While most of his work is in black & white, much of his color photography includes largely monochromatic settings to set off a colorful fashion. Horst’s color photography did include documentation of society interior design, well noted in the volume Horst Interiors. He photographed a number of interiors designed by Robert Denning and Vincent Fourcade of Denning & Fourcade and often visited their homes on Manhattan and Long Island. After making the photograph, Horst generally left it up to others to develop, print, crop, and edit his work.

One of his most famous portraits is of Marlene Dietrich, taken in 1942. She protested the lighting that he had selected and arranged, but he used it anyway. Dietrich liked the results and subsequently used a photo from the session in her own publicity.

 

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Giselle, or The Wilis (French: Giselle, ou Les Wilis) is a romantic ballet in two acts. Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Théophile Gautier wrote the libretto. They took their inspiration from a prose passage about the Wilis in Elementargeister by Heinrich Heine, and from a poem about a girl who dies after an all-night ball called “Fantômes” in Les Orientales by Victor Hugo. Adolphe Adam composed the music; Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot composed the choreography. Carlotta Grisi was the first to dance the role of Giselle.

The ballet is about a peasant girl named Giselle who dies of a broken heart after discovering her lover is betrothed to another. The Wilis, a group of supernatural women who dance men to death, summon Giselle from her grave. They target her lover for death, but Giselle’s love frees him from their grasp.

Giselle was first performed by the Ballet du Théâtre de l’Académie Royale de Musique at the Salle Le Peletier in Paris, France, on Sunday 28 June 1841. The opening night was a triumph with both critics and the public. The ballet became hugely popular. It was staged across Europe, Russia, and the United States.

The traditional choreography that has been passed down to the present day derives primarily from the revivals staged by Marius Petipa during the late 19th and early 20th centuries for the Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Petipa’s choreography from the Imperial Ballet’s production was notated in the Stepanov method of choreographic notation in 1903 as Petipa himself took the great Anna Pavlova through rehearsals. Many years later, the Imperial Ballet’s régisseur Nicholas Sergeyev would use this notation to stage Giselle throughout Europe, most notably for the Ballets Russes in 1910, the Paris Opéra Ballet in 1924 and, perhaps most importantly, for the Vic-Wells Ballet (precursor of the Royal Ballet in London) in 1934. It is from this 1934 staging that nearly all subsequent productions of Giselle are now based. Today the Imperial Ballet’s choreographic notation of Giselle, along with notations for many ballets of the traditional classical repertory, are part of the Sergeyev Collection and preserved in the Harvard University Library theatre collection.

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French ballet critic Théophile Gautier was inspired by Victor Hugo‘s poem “Fantômes” in Les Orientales to create a ballet scenario. This poem told of a young girl who dies in the cool morning air after dancing all night in a ballroom.

He also took inspiration from a prose passage in Heinrich Heine‘s “Elementargeister”(“Elemental Spirits”, essay on folklore, 1937) describing supernatural young women called the Wilis. These women dance men to death.

Gautier was not satisfied with his scenario and took it to professional librettist Jules-Henri Verney de Saint-Georges for advice. Verney de Saint-Georges liked the concept. In three days, he had completed a libretto.

This libretto was sent to M. Pillet, the director of the Paris Opéra. Pillet needed a good story to introduce Italian ballerina Carlotta Grisi to the Paris public. Pillet and Grisi both liked the libretto, and the ballet was put into production at once. The score was an anomaly amongst the majority of ballet scorings up to this point in that it was an almost entirely original composition, instead of a potpourri of classical melodies, as was a practice at that time when mounting dance productions. The composer, Adolphe Adam, also successfully integrated leitmotivs, most evident in Giselle’s famous “mad-scene”. These thematic elements were musical devices used to strategically recall happier times, against the unfolding drama of Giselle’s breaking heart and subsequent death of a broken heart.

The ballet opens on an autumnal day in the Rhineland during the Middle Ages. The grape harvest is underway. Duke Albrecht of Silesia, a young nobleman disguised as a peasant, is sowing his last wild oats before marriage to the princess Bathilde. He has fallen in love with the shy and beautiful village girl, Giselle. She knows nothing of his real life.

Hilarion, a gamekeeper, is also in love with Giselle. He tries to convince her that Albrecht cannot be trusted. Giselle ignores his warnings. Giselle’s mother Berthe is very protective of her daughter, as Giselle has a weak heart that leaves her in delicate health. She discourages a relationship between Giselle and Albrecht.

A party of noblemen seeking refreshment following the rigors of the hunt arrives in the village. Albrecht quickly hurries away, knowing he will be recognized by Bathilde, who is in attendance. The villagers welcome the party, offer them refreshments, and perform several dances. Bathilde is charmed with Giselle’s sweet and demure nature, not knowing of her fiance’s relationship with her. Giselle is honored when the beautiful stranger offers her a necklace as a gift.

Hilarion interrupts the festivities. He has discovered Albrecht’s sword, and presents it as proof that the peasant lad is not who he pretends to be. All are shocked by the revelation, but none more than Giselle, who becomes inconsolable when faced with her lover’s deception. Knowing that they can never be together, Giselle flies into a mad fit of grief, causing her weak heart to give out at last. She dies in Albrecht’s arms.

A moonlit glade near Giselle’s grave. Hilarion mourns at Giselle’s headstone, but is frightened away by the arrival of the Wilis, the spirits of women jilted by their lovers at the altar. The Wilis, led by their merciless queen, Myrtha, haunt the forest at night to seek revenge on any man they encounter, forcing their victims to dance until they die of exhaustion.

Myrtha and the Wilis rouse Giselle’s spirit from her grave and induct her into their clan, before disappearing into the forest. Albrecht arrives to lay flowers on Giselle’s grave, and he weeps with guilt over her death. Giselle’s spirit appears, and Albrecht begs her forgiveness. Giselle, her love undiminished, gently forgives him. She disappears to join the rest of the Wilis, and Albrecht desperately follows her.

Meanwhile, the Wilis have cornered Hilarion. They use their magic to force him to dance until he is nearly dead, and then drown him in a nearby lake. They then turn on Albrecht, sentencing him to death as well. He pleads to Myrtha for his life, but she coldly refuses. Giselle’s pleas are also dismissed, and Albrecht is forced to dance until sunrise. However, the power of Giselle’s love counters the Wilis’ magic and spares his life. The other spirits return to their graves at daybreak, but Giselle has broken through the feelings of hatred and vengeance that control the Wilis, and is thus released from their powers. After bidding a tender farewell to Albrecht, Giselle returns to her grave to rest in peace.

A Palestinian girl sits on a school desk at a UN school in Jabalia

An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth

A former AP correspondent explains how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters

Tablet Magazine – By Matti Friedman

Is there anything left to say about Israel and Gaza? Newspapers this summer have been full of little else. Television viewers see heaps of rubble and plumes of smoke in their sleep. A representative article from a recent issue of The New Yorker described the summer’s events by dedicating one sentence each to the horrors in Nigeria and Ukraine, four sentences to the crazed génocidaires of ISIS, and the rest of the article—30 sentences—to Israel and Gaza.

When the hysteria abates, I believe the events in Gaza will not be remembered by the world as particularly important. People were killed, most of them Palestinians, including many unarmed innocents. I wish I could say the tragedy of their deaths, or the deaths of Israel’s soldiers, will change something, that they mark a turning point. But they don’t. This round was not the first in the Arab wars with Israel and will not be the last. The Israeli campaign was little different in its execution from any other waged by a Western army against a similar enemy in recent years, except for the more immediate nature of the threat to a country’s own population, and the greater exertions, however futile, to avoid civilian deaths.

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews…

Two men in the only room of their home not totally destroyed in Gaza

A knowledgeable observer of the Middle East cannot avoid the impression that the region is a volcano and that the lava is radical Islam, an ideology whose various incarnations are now shaping this part of the world. Israel is a tiny village on the slopes of the volcano. Hamas is the local representative of radical Islam and is openly dedicated to the eradication of the Jewish minority enclave in Israel, just as Hezbollah is the dominant representative of radical Islam in Lebanon, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and so forth.

Hamas is not, as it freely admits, party to the effort to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It has different goals about which it is quite open and that are similar to those of the groups listed above. Since the mid 1990s, more than any other player, Hamas has destroyed the Israeli left, swayed moderate Israelis against territorial withdrawals, and buried the chances of a two-state compromise. That’s one accurate way to frame the story.

An observer might also legitimately frame the story through the lens of minorities in the Middle East, all of which are under intense pressure from Islam: When minorities are helpless, their fate is that of the Yazidis or Christians of northern Iraq, as we have just seen, and when they are armed and organized they can fight back and survive, as in the case of the Jews and (we must hope) the Kurds.

There are, in other words, many different ways to see what is happening here. Jerusalem is less than a day’s drive from Aleppo or Baghdad, and it should be clear to everyone that peace is pretty elusive in the Middle East even in places where Jews are absent. But reporters generally cannot see the Israel story in relation to anything else. Instead of describing Israel as one of the villages abutting the volcano, they describe Israel as the volcano…

Iberian Peninsula at night

“Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which do not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. … I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what had happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines.’ ” That was George Orwell, writing in 1942.

Orwell did not step off an airplane in Catalonia, stand next to a Republican cannon, and have himself filmed while confidently repeating what everyone else was saying or describing what any fool could see: weaponry, rubble, bodies. He looked beyond the ideological fantasies of his peers and knew that what was important was not necessarily visible. Spain, he understood, was not really about Spain at all—it was about a clash of totalitarian systems, German and Russian. He knew he was witnessing a threat to European civilization, and he wrote that, and he was right.

Understanding what happened in Gaza this summer means understanding Hezbollah in Lebanon, the rise of the Sunni jihadis in Syria and Iraq, and the long tentacles of Iran. It requires figuring out why countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia now see themselves as closer to Israel than to Hamas. Above all, it requires us to understand what is clear to nearly everyone in the Middle East: The ascendant force in our part of the world is not democracy or modernity. It is rather an empowered strain of Islam that assumes different and sometimes conflicting forms, and that is willing to employ extreme violence in a quest to unite the region under its control and confront the West. Those who grasp this fact will be able to look around and connect the dots…

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O.J. Simpson plans to convert to Islam

O.J. Simpson is set to convert to Islam.

The former American footballer and movie star has been imprisoned in Nevada since 2008 on charges of kidnapping and armed robbery in relation to an armed robbery that took place at the Palace Station hotel-and-casino in Las Vegas in which sports memorabilia was taken.

After seeing his appeal for a re-trial quashed last and being informed in July 2013 he will serve at least another four years, Simpson has embraced the religion in a bid to change his life.

A source told National Enquirer magazine: ”O.J. really thought that he was going to be successful in a bid for a new trial and eventually be released from prison.

”But now he’s not eligible for parole until late 2017, which has angered him.”

The disgraced 67-year-old star has become interested in the religion through his friendship with former world heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, who was imprisoned in the early 1990s and is a devout Muslim.

Simpson has been studying the Koran but failed to successfully fast during the holy month of Ramadan.

An inside said: ”O.J. didn’t quite make it through the entire fasting process.

”He cheated during the day, and bought snacks from the prison canteen. But he’s really serious about converting to Islam. O.J. even made himself a prayer rug for his prison cell. He really likes the idea that upon converting to Islam, all of his previous sins are forgiven. O.J. has a lot to be forgiven for.”

Soul singer James Brown performs at KCOP Studios on the Lloyd Thaxton Show in 1962 in Los Angeles, California. Photographer: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

More and more Swedish boys are born with deformed penises, and researchers are uncertain exactly what’s behind the increase.
Hypospadias, a birth defect where the urethral opening is abnormally placed, is becoming a more common case among Sweden’s new-born boys.
Researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinksa Institute have published results from a 40-year study in which they collected data from all males born between 1973 and 2009.
They found that before 1990, cases of hypospadias were recorded in 4.5 boys out of every thousand. After 1990, the figure increased to 8 per 1,000 boys.
The study looked into factors that are known to cause the defect, such as low-birth weight, being born a twin, or parents who used in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive, but researchers stated that the increase did not correlate with these factors.
Researchers concluded that the increase could not be put down to previously known factors, but rather that an unknown factor was behind the deformations.
Speaking with the Dagens Medicin newspaper, Anna Skarin Nordenvall from the institute refused to rule out the possibility that environmental agents known as endocrine disruptors could be interfering with human hormonal systems, and therefore behind the increase in statistics.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can disrupt the hormone system, and have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and brain development problems. They can be found in food, plastics, and various household products.

Related links:

 

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They’re standing on the corner and they can’t speak English.
I can’t even talk the way these people talk:
Why you ain’t,
Where you is,
What he drive,
Where he stay,
Where he work,
Who you be…
And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk.
And then I heard the father talk.
Everybody knows it’s important to speak English except these knuckleheads. You can’t be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth.
In fact you will never get any kind of job making a decent living.

People marched and were hit in the face with rocks to get an Education, and now we’ve got these knuckleheads walking around.
The lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal.
These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids.
$500 sneakers for what?
And they won’t spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics.

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I am talking about these people who cry when their son is standing there in an orange suit.
Where were you when he was 2?
Where were you when he was 12?
Where were you when he was 18 and how come you didn’t know that he had a pistol?
And where is the father? Or who is his father?
People putting their clothes on backward:
Isn’t that a sign of something gone wrong?
People with their hats on backward, pants down around the crack, isn’t that a sign of something?

Isn’t it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up and got all type of needles [piercing] going through her body?
What part of Africa did this come from??
We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a thing about Africa …..

I say this all of the time. It would be like white people saying they are European-American. That is totally stupid.
I was born here, and so were my parents and grand parents and, very likely my great grandparents. I don’t have any connection to Africa, no more than white Americans have to Germany, Scotland, England, Ireland, or the Netherlands . The same applies to 99 percent of all the black Americans as regards to Africa . So stop, already! ! !
With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap ……… And all of them are in jail.

Brown or black versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person’s problem.
We have got to take the neighborhood back.
People used to be ashamed. Today a woman has eight children with eight different ‘husbands’ — or men or whatever you call them now.
We have millionaire football players who cannot read.
We have million-dollar basketball players who can’t write two paragraphs. We, as black folks have to do a better job.
Someone working at Wal-Mart with seven kids, you are hurting us.
We have to start holding each other to a higher standard..
We cannot blame the white people any longer.’

~Dr.. William Henry ‘Bill’ Cosby, Jr., Ed..D.

 

Human tower in Catalonia

Chuck Berry

 Chuck Berry boycotted by the royal family of Sweden

Queen Silvia has refused to travel to Stockholm to attend the presentation of the Polar Prize, the equivalent of the Nobel music, rewarding outstanding contributions of the famous pioneer of rock, 88 years old.

It would seem that the Swedish royal family will not wipe the slate clean and keeps grudge against Chuck Berry. Queen Silvia of Sweden announced to the newspaper Expressen that she and her daughter Madeleine had refused to attend the ceremony that rewarded the career of rock superstar due to the past.

In 1961, the American singer and guitarist had been convicted and sentenced to jail time for having brought with him a minor of 14 years with whom he had sex.

Under a 1910 law, fighting against prostitution, the Mann Act, Chuck Berry was likened to a human trafficker designed to fight against prostitution. ‘It was a family decision and I hope that everyone respects and understands,’ said the queen. The conviction of Chuck Berry and the law on which it is based remain controversial in the United States. The musician had said for his part that he the girl when told him to not be a minor.

Presented annually in Sweden, the Polar Prize, dubbed the ‘Nobel of Music’ awarded at Stockholm to outstanding contributors to the world of music.

 

Flanders Fields 100 Years Since The Great War

Stonehenge mystery could finally clear

Fifteen new underground monuments were discovered on the English site by the team of scientists from Vince Gaffney. By delivering their secrets, these findings could help better understand the origins of this historic site.

The discovery is significant. A team of scientists from Austria and England will expose fifteen new underground monuments of Stonehenge. And without altering the site. Armed with magnetometers and ground penetrating radar, these men’s mission was to spend four years in a research project: the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project. This discovery will allow them to make an exact map of the geography of the area in the Neolithic era.

The team noted the presence of a strange well, many stones aligned with the sun at the summer solstice, and a very special way. The latter: the ‘Curcus’ is a north-south diagonal indicating the path of ritual processions Stonehenge, through the site, then south.

The researcher Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham says: ‘I think what we’re proving is the presence of a complex liturgical movement.

The 10 square kilometers of land scanned and scrutinized by researchers reveal the presence of human activity for much longer than imagined. The main site was carbon dated to 1848 BC. Now, these new findings bring forward that man would have lived in the area 8820 BC. This invalidates the assumptions of an isolated and little used, in addition to adding historical value to this unique location site.

The use of Stonehenge remains a mystery to this day: cemetery, temple or parliament, the wonders of the world never ceases to ignite the imagination.

At London zoo, a mossy frog is measured at the annual weigh-in

😉

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Since the Iranian revolution, Iranian female solo vocalists are only permitted to perform for all-female audiences. Some women have also been allowed to conduct classes for female students in private homes. Female vocalists may perform for male audiences only as a part of a chorus, never individually.

The prominent classical singer Fatemeh Vaezi, has given concerts accompanied by a female orchestra. She has also performed widely in Europe and the United States. Parisa (Ms. Vaezi’s stage name) has also assembled a five-piece female orchestra.

After 1986 Maryam Akhondy, the classical trained singer from Teheran, started working with other Iranian musicians in exile. With Nawa and Tschakawak she performed in Germany and Scandinavia.

At the same time she founded Ensemble Barbad, another group of traditional Iranian art music, which has been touring all over Europe for the past years. In 2000 Maryam Akhondy created the all-female a cappella group named Banu as a kind of musical expedition to the different regions and cultures of Iran.

For this project Maryam Akhondy over years collected old folk songs, which were sung only in private sphere, where women are alone or among themselves: at the cradle, doing housework, working in the fields, and women’s celebrations.

Maryam Akhondy made it her business to bring traditional women’s songs back to life again. The well-known classical and folk singer. Sima Bina, who is also a visual artist, has taught many female students to sing. She has also been permitted to give concerts for women in Iran, and has performed widely abroad.

Qamar ol-Molouk Vaziri is believed to have been the first female master of Persian music to introduce a new style of music and receive a positive reputation among masters of Persian music during her own lifetime.

Several years later, Mahmoud Karimi trained several female students who later became masters of Persian traditional music.

Him [1927]
Him is a play in three acts that combines elements of vaudeville, the circus, and expressionism. The play was first produced at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York in 1928.
The idea of a dream play may have been suggested to Cummings by the Provincetown Playhouse’s production of Strindberg’s The Dream Play, which EEC characterized as having a “luminous existence” (Miscellany 144).
Strindberg’s play is more dream-like than Cummings’ Him and contains no circus or vaudeville scenes, but it does feature two minor characters named “He” and “She,” a character named “The Poet,” and a central female character (Indra’s daughter) who observes all the scenes and participates in many of them.
The Dream Play premiered January 20th, 1926 and was directed by the same James Light who directed Him (see Deutsch and Hanau 141-42, 158-62, and 285-287).
Him may also have benefited from the examples of John Dos Passos’ play The Garbage Man (1924) and John Howard Lawson’s Processional (1925). The drawing [above] appeared on the cover of the first edition and illustrates the passage in Act I, scene two when Him explains that being an artist is like performing a high-wire act in the clouds.

Jesus was born years earlier than thought, claims Pope

Telegraph (UK) – By Nick Squires

The ‘mistake’ was made by a sixth century monk known as Dionysius Exiguus or in English Dennis the Small, the 85-year-old pontiff claims in the book ‘Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives’, published on Wednesday.

“The calculation of the beginning of our calendar – based on the birth of Jesus – was made by Dionysius Exiguus, who made a mistake in his calculations by several years,” the Pope writes in the book, which went on sale around the world with an initial print run of a million copies.

“The actual date of Jesus’s birth was several years before.”

The assertion that the Christian calendar is based on a false premise is not new – many historians believe that Christ was born sometime between 7BC and 2BC.

But the fact that doubts over one of the keystones of Christian tradition have been raised by the leader of the world’s one billion Catholics is striking.

Dennis the Small, who was born in Eastern Europe, is credited with being the “inventor” of the modern calendar and the concept of the Anno Domini era.

He drew up the new system in part to distance it from the calendar in use at the time, which was based on the years since the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian.

The emperor had persecuted Christians, so there was good reason to expunge him from the new dating system in favour of one inspired by the birth of Christ.

The monk’s calendar became widely accepted in Europe after it was adopted by the Venerable Bede, the historian-monk, to date the events that he recounted in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which he completed in AD 731.

But exactly how Dennis calculated the year of Christ’s birth is not clear and the Pope’s claim that he made a mistake is a view shared by many scholars.

The Bible does not specify a date for the birth of Christ. The monk instead appears to have based his calculations on vague references to Jesus’s age at the start of his ministry and the fact that he was baptised in the reign of the emperor Tiberius.

Christ’s birth date is not the only controversy raised by the Pope in his new book – he also said that contrary to the traditional Nativity scene, there were no oxen, donkeys or other animals at Jesus’s birth.

He also weighs in on the debate over Christ’s birthplace, rejecting arguments by some scholars that he was born in Nazareth rather than Bethlehem.

John Barton, Professor of the Interpretation of the Holy Scripture at Oriel College, Oxford University, said most academics agreed with the Pope that the Christian calendar was wrong and that Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly thought, probably between 6BC and 4BC.

“There is no reference to when he was born in the Bible – all we know is that he was born in the reign of Herod the Great, who died before 1AD,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “It’s been surmised for a very long time that Jesus was born before 1AD – no one knows for sure.”

The idea that Christ was born on Dec 25 also has no basis in historical fact. “We don’t even know which season he was born in. The whole idea of celebrating his birth during the darkest part of the year is probably linked to pagan traditions and the winter solstice.”

Victoria and Albert Museum

Light From The Middle East

13 November 2012 – 7 April 2013. The first major exhibition of contemporary photography from and about the Middle East, Light from the Middle East: New Photography features over 90 works by some of the most exciting artists from across the region.

Photography is a powerful and persuasive means of expression. Its immediacy and accessibility make it an ideal choice for artists confronting the social challenges and political upheavals of the Middle East today.

Light from the Middle East: New Photography presents work by artists from across the Middle East (spanning North Africa to Central Asia), living in the region and in diaspora.

The exhibition explores the ways in which these artists investigate the language and techniques of photography. Some use the camera to record or bear witness, while others subvert that process to reveal how surprisingly unreliable a photograph can be.

The works range from documentary photographs and highly staged tableaux to images manipulated beyond recognition. The variety of approaches is appropriate to the complexities of a vast and diverse region.

Light from the Middle East is divided into three sections, Recording, Reframing and Resisting, each of which focuses on a different approach to the medium of photography.

New Rolling Stones video released featuring Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace

The Rolling Stones have released a new video for their single Doom and Gloom which features a topless Noomi Rapace.

The controversial video for new single Doom and Gloom comes complete with actress Noomi Rapace topless, vomiting and with her head exploding.

The film – to promote the band’s single Doom And Gloom, which came out last month – also shows her shooting the heads off zombies, flashing at motorists and with her teeth smeared with blood.

Swedish star Rapace found worldwide acclaim when she starred in the screen adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and its follow-ups.

 The video has been directed by fellow Swede Jonas Akerlund who made Madonna’s Ray Of Light video, as well as a controversial video for Prodigy hit Smack My Bitch Up.

Rapace is seen taking over vocal duties for the Rolling Stones from Sir Mick Jagger, as well as filling the drum stool alongside Charlie Watts.

The band filmed their section in a warehouse in Paris, where they had been staying during rehearsals for their handful of live shows which begin at London’s O2 Arena on Sunday.

The actress, who played abused Lisbeth Salander in the Dragon Tattoo films, based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, is seen playing a range of wild characters. In one scene in the Stones video she is topless on a bed of US bank notes.

The band released the single last month and their latest greatest hits album Grrr! is out this week. When the Rolling Stones take the stage at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday to celebrate their 50th anniversary, they will be joined by their longtime bassist, Bill Wyman, and the guitarist Mick Taylor, who played with them in the early 1970s, the band announced on its Web site today.

Jane Fonda Finally Apologizes

Front Page Magazine – By Ben Shapiro

It only took 40 years. But finally, actress-turned-workout-specialist Jane Fonda has apologized for sitting on a Viet Cong anti-aircraft gun during her 1972 visit to North Vietnam.

Fonda, who used her fame to push her radical leftism during her heyday, traveled to Hanoi in 1972 in solidarity with the Viet Cong. While there, she proceeded to blame the US for supposedly bombing a dike system, and did a series of radio broadcasts stating that US leaders were “war criminals.”

Those broadcasts were replayed for American POWs being tortured by the Viet Cong. Later, when POWs spoke about their experiences of torture, Fonda would call them “hypocrites and liars,” stating, “These were not men who had been tortured.

These were not men who had been starved. These were not men who had been brainwashed.” She explained that these POWs were “careerists and professional killers.”

Now, four decades removed, sitting in the lap of luxury, Fonda has decided that the pictures on the anti-aircraft gun were a mistake. Not the actual visit – she stands by that.

“I did not, have not, and will not say that going to North Vietnam was a mistake,” she said. “I have apologized only for some of the things that I did  there, but I am proud that I went.”

But when it comes to those gun photos, then she wishes she’d done something different: “Sitting on that gun in North Vietnam. I’ll go to my grave with that one.”

… Jane Fonda should rightly have been written off by America’s most powerful institutions four decades ago. Instead, she still kicking – and next, she’s playing Nancy Reagan, whom she brags she’ll prevent from looking “too mean.”

“I had to feel history in my bones”

Veteran Spanish journalist Enrique Meneses left his “sordid” country in the 1950s to rove the world, covering major events such as the Cuban revolution

EL PAÍS – By Víctor Núñez Jaime

Fast-forward to the present. Meneses is 83. His face sports insolent wrinkles etched by personal experiences, a thin-lipped mouth that keeps producing one story after another, blue eyes gazing out alertly from behind delicate glasses, a wide forehead, hair that refuses to turn white, and a nose permanently connected to an oxygen bottle. This proud face, now worn out from disease, belongs to one of the leading figures in contemporary Spanish journalism…

It was the afternoon of August 28, 1947 and a collective shiver ran down Spain’s spine when a bull named Islero gored the famous matador Manolete at Linares, in Jaén province. Meneses was in Madrid when he heard the news on the radio and he felt here was his big chance for his first journalistic adventure.

He went out, hailed a cab, and paid 450 pesetas (under three euros) for the 300-kilometer ride. It was night when he got there. He managed to see the doctor who treated Manolete, talked to a few people on the street. The bullfighter died in the early hours of the morning.

He was born on October 21, 1929, just when the New York Stock Exchange was crashing. The Spanish Civil War caught him in Biarritz in southern France, where he was vacationing with his family.

Because of their republican past, the Meneses went straight to Paris, where they would later experience the German occupation during World War II. Later still they moved to Portugal, and when Enrique was a teenager they returned to Spain.

“It was a sordid country, with a very plain, provincial kind of journalism that only discussed three things: soccer, bullfighting and soap operas. Maybe that is why I went for the Manolete story.”

Maybe that is also why he decided to leave. In 1954, after two years at the Spanish edition of Reader’s Digest, Meneses went to Marseille and bought a one-way ticket to Alexandria.

He explored Egypt and made a living teaching French and Spanish, and dubbing tourist documentaries. Then, one day, he thought he would see Africa “from Cairo to Cape Town.”

He covered 27,000 kilometers in four months, returning to Cairo just in time for the Suez Crisis. This was the beginning of his freelance work for the prestigious magazine Paris-Match.

Back in Madrid in 1957, he decided to go to Costa Rica to stop an arranged marriage between his cousin and a “very important man.”

Before that, he thought he would stop in Cuba to check out rumors about a “little revolution” being prepared in the Sierra Maestra mountains by a “bunch of bearded fellows.” Paris-Match thought it was a good idea.

Sending his photo equipment inside a crate of whisky and then flying down to Santiago, he managed to penetrate the sierra, succeeding where many had failed and becoming the first journalist to meet the revolutionaries.

He met Fidel Castro, his brother Raúl, Ernesto Che Guevara and 100 other members of the Cuban revolution. For one month, his exclusive reports made headlines across the globe and have since become prized historical material…

“Wherever history was being made, I wanted to be there to feel it in my bones. There are thousands and thousands of faces that I have committed to memory, like shadows of a life full of joy and sorrow, of silliness and suffering, of pettiness and heroism,” he wrote in his 2006 memoir, Hasta aquí hemos llegado (or, This is as far as we’ve got).

“I regret nothing that I did, but I do regret what I could have done but did not.”

Plenty of Gods, but Just One Fellow Passenger

NYT – By A. O. SCOTT

It is spoiling nothing to disclose that Pi Patel, the younger son of an Indian zoo owner, survives a terrible shipwreck during a storm in the Pacific Ocean.

That much you know from the very first scenes of “Life of Pi,”Ang Lee’s 3-D film adaptation of the wildly popular, arguably readable novel by Yann Martel.

A middle-aged Pi (the reliably engaging Irrfan Khan) tells the tale of his earlier life to a wide-eyed Canadian novelist (Rafe Spall), so we know that he made it through whatever ordeal we are about to witness…

Until the Bengal tiger shows up, and thank the divinity of your choice for that. Or, rather, thank Mr. Lee and the gods of digital imagery, who conjure up a beast — named Richard Parker, for mildly amusing reasons — of almost miraculous vividness.

His eyes, his fur, the rippling of his muscles and the skeleton beneath his skin, all of it is so perfectly rendered that you will swear that Richard Parker is real.

What is and isn’t real — what stories can be believed and why — turns out to be an important theme of “Life of Pi,” albeit one that is explored with the same glibness that characterizes the film’s pursuit of spiritual questions. But Mr. Lee and his screenwriter, David Magee, have the good sense to put all of that aside for a while and focus on the young man, the tiger and the deep blue sea…

 The movie invites you to believe in all kinds of marvelous things, but it also may cause you to doubt what you see with your own eyes — or even to wonder if, in the end, you have seen anything at all.

Piedmont officer is fired over public urination ticket

NewsOK – By Robert Medley

A police officer who wrote a $2,500 ticket to a mother on a public urination complaint against her 3-year-old son has been fired, City Manager Jim Crosby said Tuesday.

Crosby said he fired officer Ken Qualls on Friday, following a hearing Nov. 14.

Prosecutors at the Canadian County district attorney’s office declined to pursue the case against the mother, Crosby said.

Police Chief Alex Oblein said the ticket was written to the mother for public urination, and the complaint was amended to contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Crosby said Piedmont City Council members received emails about the ticket from as far away as Canada, England and Australia.

“Of course we did receive a lot of notoriety over that,” he said.

Qualls plans to appeal the decision, Crosby said. A hearing will be scheduled before a Piedmont personnel board.

Ken Qualls is 45 years old. Qualls has been in Piedmont over a year and has about 18 years experience in law enforcement, said Police Chief Alex Oblein.

Qualls’ attorney Jarrod Leaman said Qualls is a member of the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System and is looking at options to appeal his termination in Piedmont. A hearing has not been set.

Qualls issued the ticket Nov. 4 to Ashley Warden after he saw her son, Dillan, drop his pants in the front yard of the family home at 4505 Ryan Drive.

Crosby said Qualls didn’t see the boy urinate in the yard, but reported seeing a teenager in the Warden family lead the boy to a spot in the yard.

Oblein said the ticket given to the mother did not fit the situation. It could have resulted in a fine of up to $2,500, he said.

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The Broken Men – Rudyard Kipling

For things we never mention,
For Art misunderstood —
For excellent intention
That did not turn to good;
From ancient tales’ renewing,
From clouds we would not clear —
Beyond the Law’s pursuing
We fled, and settled here.

We took no tearful leaving,
We bade no long good-byes.
Men talked of crime and thieving,
Men wrote of fraud and lies.
To save our injured feelings
‘Twas time and time to go —
Behind was dock and Dartmoor,
Ahead lay Callao!

Note: Dartmoor is the name of a notorious prison on the moor of that name, in Devon in the west of England.  Callao a port in Peru at that time one of the overseas havens for persons wanted by the law in Britain.

‘Anna Karenina,’ Rushing Headlong Toward Her Train

NPR – Ella Taylor

… Tolstoy gave good ballroom, too, and for all his reputation as the ultimate realist writer, he deployed an array of literary strategies in Anna Karenina— including a section written from the point of view of a dog. But his prose wasn’t forever blaring, “Look, Ma, no hands!”

And given that Anna’s adventures in extramarital romance famously end in tears, there are (or should be) limits to how long you can sustain the jaunty tone; Wright keeps at it, alas, until it’s too late for tragedy, even considering the endlessly foreshadowing grind of giant train wheels presumably meant to remind us that this is not a caper.

The best that can be said of Knightley is that she’s puppy-eyed eye candy, in vibrant reds and blacks with fur trims to die for. But that’s window dressing, and under her glossy surface, Anna Karenina is a woman of many passionately conflicting parts — reluctant temptress, ardent lover, loving mother, an urban sophisticate who’s also deeply insecure and hungry for approval. She’s a modern woman way before her time…

Valerie Eliot, keeper of the TS Eliot flame

Valerie Eliot, who died this week, devoted her life to guarding her husband’s legacy. Did she do more harm than good?

Guardian – By Aida Edemariam

In her subtle and authoritative 1998 book The Imperfect Life of TS Eliot, Lyndall Gordon argues that the poet’s second marriage, entered into when he was 67 years old, was a symbolically as well as personally satisfying final chapter: “For him, paradise followed purgatory with the same logic that purgatory had followed the hell of his first marriage.”

Valerie Eliot, who died this week, put it more earthily – if, on closer reading, slightly disturbingly: “He obviously needed to have a happy marriage. He wouldn’t die until he’d had it. There was a little boy in him that had never been released.”

Ever since the age of 14, when she heard John Gielgud’s recording of “Journey of the Magi”, her life was geared towards meeting Eliot; she was 38 when he died, eight years after they married, and she spent nearly 50 years guarding, burnishing and managing his memory…

Cats took £1.4bn in world-wide box office, £130m in London alone, a good proportion of which went to Valerie and the Eliot estate and then to various prizes and charities. It also made Faber’s financial position much more secure. Initially, Eliot wanted no correspondence published at all, but she “appreciated its importance and fascination” and teased him into compliance of a sort: letters could only be published if she did the selecting and the editing.

She spent years editing the first volume, tracking down letter after letter, citation after citation; the second volume took 11 years to appear; alongside a revised first volume, which by this time had acquired a co-editor, Hugh Haughton.

The third volume appeared this July, and covers one year, 1926-27. Eliot died in 1965; many of the intervening 38 years of letters – the boxes and boxes that were in her private possession, for instance – will probably not be properly accessible for years.

When Valerie Fletcher finally achieved her dream – announced to her headmistress when she left public school – of becoming Eliot’s secretary, she hid her love so successfully that Eliot wasn’t even sure she liked him…

They quickly settled into happy domesticity. “We used to stay at home and drink Drambuie and eat cheese and play Scrabble,” Valerie once said. “He loved to win at cards, and I always made a point of losing by the time we went to bed.” Every Sunday night he left a love letter by her bed; “I have kept every one and would want them to be published after I die.”

Evans, who arrived at Faber the year before Eliot died, and left in 2002, says that she was “incredibly supportive and kind, a very loyal and good shareholder”. Stephen Page is the current publisher and chief executive (both men stress that her death changes nothing at Faber, financially).

He remembers meetings at her flat where, an Epstein bust of Eliot peering over her shoulder, she served tea and “nice biscuits”, and they discussed a trolley-full of new books set carefully between them. Little had been changed in the flat since Eliot’s death. “It was extraordinary working on the correspondence,” Haughton says. “One could be sitting at Eliot’s desk, with his crucifix on the wall, his books around you, his editions of Aristotle or of Indian texts…

“I think that the dedication to the collecting and publication of the letters will be the most important and greatly positive thing she did,” Haughton says. He believes that even after Eliot died, Valerie did what she had always done; at some profound level, she “continued, as it were, to take dictation”.

“But as keeper of the flame and shielding Eliot from the attention of biographers – that will be the question mark over her legacy. Her refusal to countenance biography has I think been very unhelpful.”

“Inevitably, there was some harm done to his reputation in the absence of access and permission, but it won’t be lasting harm,” Schuchard believes. “On balance I think she took the right, hard course over the long haul.

Eliot’s work will stand for itself; he needs no apologists.” Having said that, “The new editions of his letters, poetry, prose and drama will dramatically change the way we see him.”

And she brought something to the books she edited that very few others could. “She loved poetry, and she loved Eliot’s work,” Gordon says. “She saw that there was a simplicity to Eliot in spite of the apparent difficulty.

She saw him in the best light, and he probably was at his best with her. I think she honestly saw the very good side of him and that was her good fortune.”

The White Shadow (1924) (Video)

Film stills are no substitute for moving pictures, but even static images from The White Shadow convey a sense of Alfred Hitchcock’s early gift for creating drama by purely visual means. Betty Compson’s impish smile and half-open eyes framed by a jauntily angled hat and a wreath of artfully positioned smoke; the motley crew of men at the poker table she effortlessly controls; Clive Brook’s steely gaze set off by a slash of light across an otherwise dark background; the graceful shading of an ivy-draped window framing a wistful face. These and many other images confirm Hitchcock’s precocious talent for silent storytelling.

They also indicate why Hitchcock advanced so rapidly in the British film industry. Although he broke into the business as a designer of title-cards conveying plot information and dialogue, he knew that one eloquent picture is worth a dozen printed texts. Learning to conceptualize and create such pictures was the project he successfully completed during his two-year tenure as assistant director for Graham Cutts, with whom he worked on five movies, starting with Woman to Woman in 1923. All were made on economical six-week schedules. The first three were vehicles for Compson, an important star at Paramount who came to England when Balcon-Saville-Freedman, the enterprising production company that employed Cutts and Hitchcock, offered her a dazzling salary of a thousand pounds a week.

Hitchcock said later that Woman to Woman was “the first film that I had really got my hands onto,” and it proved to be a major hit. Reviews were good too; it was deemed the “best American picture made in England” by the Daily Express critic, who shared the British consensus that Hollywood movies were livelier and more entertaining than English ones. Woman to Woman was among the very few British films to do excellent business in the United States, and it also fared well in Germany, where previous British exports had sunk under the weight of lingering resentments from the world war.

Dazzled by their own success, producers Michael Balcon and Victor Saville rushed a second Compson picture into production — The White Shadow — and whisked it to theaters with a conspicuously clunky advertising tag: “The same Star, Producer, Author, Hero, Cameraman, Scenic Artist, Staff, Studio, Renting Company as Woman to Woman.” It also had the same Paris setting, and again Hitchcock’s scenario was based on a work by Michael Morton, this time his unpublished novel Children of Chance. The box-office results were definitely not the same, however: “It was as big a flop,” Balcon wrote in his memoir, “as Woman to Woman had been a success.” This notwithstanding, plans proceeded for three more Cutts-Hitchcock pictures, commencing with The Passionate Adventure in 1924.

The financial failure of The White Shadow was regrettable, but it paradoxically helped advance Hitchcock’s career. The film’s British distributor was C.M. Woolf, who owned the “rental company” referred to in the promotional tag. Woolf was famous for despising “artistic” moviemaking, and thanks to Cutts and Hitchcock, The White Shadow was far too artistic for his taste. Seeing its poor financial performance as proof of his wisdom, he used the occasion to withdraw his investment in Balcon-Saville-Freedman, which subsequently went out of business. Balcon then set up Gainsborough Productions, which went on to become one of England’s most respected, successful — and, yes, artistic — production companies.

Among its first ventures were two Cutts-Hitchcock films: The Blackguard, also known as Die Prininzessin und der Geiger, shot at Germany’s great UFA studio for release in 1925, and The Prude’s Fall, also known as Dangerous Virtue, released in 1924. Soon thereafter, Gainsborough and two German companies would coproduce Hitchcock’s first film as director, the 1925 romance The Pleasure Garden. Two years later, again with Gainsborough’s backing, Hitch made the thriller he regarded as “the first true Hitchcock film” — The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog — and Woolf, still at war with artistic moviemaking, did his best to keep it out of distribution. Fortunately for Hitchcock and for us, he failed.

Cutts was fourteen years older than Hitchcock, and he had a complicated love life that distracted him considerably during the younger man’s apprenticeship, leading to rivalry and envy on Cutts’s part. He belittled Hitchcock behind his back, according to Hitchcock biographer Patrick McGilligan, and matters didn’t improve when The Prude’s Fall turned out so badly that moviegoers “practically hooted it from the screen,” as a Variety critic wrote. Hitchcock had limited amounts of sympathy for Cutts — he later said he was “running even the director” when they worked together — but in the 1930s, when Hitchcock was a rising star and Cutts was looking for any work he could get, Hitchcock quietly helped him out.

These things said, it would be a mistake to think of Hitchcock as a self-assured young genius butting heads with a directorial hack whose time had come and gone. Hitchcock surely profited from his close observation of Cutts, who had entered cinema in 1909 as an exhibitor — dubbed “the master showman of the North” by producer-director Herbert Wilcox — and had made his own directorial debut as recently as 1922, when his melodrama The Wonderful Story was praised by Kinematograph Weekly for its “truth, realism and perfect acting.” His films of the 1920s, including many that he made after Balcon put him and Hitchcock onto separate paths, were known for “spectacular production values, experimental virtuosity of camerawork and lighting and the intense performances… of his actors,” in film historian Christine Gledhill’s words. There can be no doubt that Hitchcock would have mastered cinema technique and discovered his own inimitable voice under almost any circumstances — as critic Andrew Sarris has remarked, he and filmmaking were born for each other, and at almost the same moment — but Cutts was far from the worst senior partner he might have had.

Hitchcock also got to practice and refine a considerable number of skills while making The White Shadow: he was assistant director, film editor, set designer, and scenario writer, and this alone made the production a valuable asset to his budding career. Indeed, his experiences as a “general factotum” on this and other silent films never stopped paying artistic dividends. His goal as a mature filmmaker was to create “pure cinema,” meaning cinema that blends story, style, and technique into an expressive, suspenseful whole. As film scholar Sidney Gottlieb has definitively shown, the lessons Hitch learned from silent film never faded in importance for him. Even decades later and a continent away, he energized his greatest Hollywood pictures with lengthy stretches of unadulterated visual storytelling — think of the crop-dusting scene in North by Northwest (1959) and Scottie shadowing Madeleine in Vertigo (1958) and Jefferies spying on the killer in Rear Window (1954) and the extended sequence showing Marion’s fatal shower and Norman’s obsessive clean-up in Psycho (1960). These are only a few examples from a career that produced as many heart-pounding, soul-stirring visual sequences as any in the history of film.

Reviewers found the story of The White Shadow far-fetched, and they had a point. The plot synopsis filed for copyright purposes is amusingly hard to untangle, and shamelessly melodramatic to boot. But this didn’t stop critics from applauding the acting, the style, and the look of the production — precisely the elements that meant most to Hitchcock even at this early period. The outdoor scenes at Nancy’s home are spaciously composed and gracefully staged; the jazzy atmosphere of The Cat Who Laughs café is introduced with a striking — and startling — close-up of the eponymous statuette, then fleshed out with elaborately detailed long shots of the bohemian dive in full swing; the scene of misrecognition between father and daughter unfolds in close-ups that evince strong emotion with marvelous restraint. These and other sequences are exemplary of their kind.

Watching the surviving reels of The White Shadow with an audience vividly illustrates the natural gifts of the young Hitchcock as well as the enduring power of silent cinema. When the film comes to a halt in the middle of a bravura staircase shot, you’re likely to hear an audible sigh of disappointment from those around you, and from yourself as well. I began by evoking the richness of the film’s individual images, and I’ll close by praising the rhythmic vitality and superbly choreographed movement of these moving pictures when the projector brings them alive. “Just as the sun casts a dark shadow,” the opening intertitle tells us, “so does the soul throw its shadow of white, reflecting a purity that influences the lives of those upon whom the white shadow falls.” The spirited whites, somber darks, and intriguing shades of grey created and orchestrated by Cutts, Hitchcock, and their talented crew will be enjoyed by cinephiles for years to come. The return of The White Shadow is a triumph of film preservation, a bonanza for scholars, and a thrill for movie buffs, showing both Hitchcock and his chosen medium on the threshold of their fullest powers. We are in a better position than ever to study and assess his monumental creativity when it was first crystallizing in his imagination.

—Contributed by David Sterritt
Chairman, National Society of Film Critics

Voyage into the Far-Out Mind of Tomi Ungerer, Renegade Children’s Book Author and Illustrator

Media Bistro – By Stephanie Murg

With a career that began with acclaimed children’s books, surged into iconic 1960s protest posters, blossomed into lavish books of erotica, and included dalliances with architectural design, advertising, and sculpture, Tomi Ungerer evades easy description. (Reader, he has published almost as many books as Steven Heller!) The Alsatian-born illustrator gets his close-up in Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story, a documentary that makes its U.S. premiere tomorrow at the DOC NYC film festival.

Jean-Thomas “Tomi” Ungerer (born 28 November 1931) is an award-winning illustrator and a trilingual author. He has published over 140 books ranging from his much loved children’s books to his controversial adult work. He is famous for his sharp social satire and his witty aphorisms and he ranges from the fantastic to the autobiographical.

Tomi Ungerer was born in Strasbourg, France, the youngest of four children of Alice (Essler) and Theo Ungerer. The family moved to Logelbach, near Colmar, after the death of Tomi’s father, Theodore — an artist, engineer, and astronomical clock manufacturer — in 1936. Ungerer also lived through the German occupation of Alsace and the requisitioning of the family home by the Wehrmacht.

As a young man, Ungerer was inspired by the illustrations appearing in The New Yorker magazine, particularly the work of Saul Steinberg. Ungerer moved to the United States in 1956. The following year, he published his first children’s book for Harper & Row, The Mellops Go Flying. He also did illustration work for such publications as The New York Times, Esquire, Life, Harper’s Bazaar, The Village Voice, and for television during this time, and began to create posters denouncing the Vietnam War.

Upon the publication of Ungerer’s children’s book Moon Man in 1966, Maurice Sendak called it “easily one of the best picture books in recent years.”

After Allumette; A Fable, with Due Respect to Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm Brothers, and the Honorable Ambrose Bierce in 1974, he ceased writing children’s books, focusing instead on adult-level books, many of which focused on sexuality. He eventually returned to children’s literature with Flix 1998. Ungerer donated many of the manuscripts and artwork for his early children’s books to the Children’s Literature Research Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

In 1998, Ungerer was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Award for illustration.

One consistent theme in Ungerer’s illustrations has been his support for European construction, beginning with Franco-German reconciliation in his home region of Alsace, and in particular European values of tolerance and diversity. In 2003, he was named Ambassador for Childhood and Education by the 47-nation Council of Europe.

In 2007, his home town dedicated a museum to him, the Musée Tomi Ungerer/Centre international de l’illustration.

Ungerer currently divides his time between Ireland (where he and his wife moved in 1976), and Strasbourg. In addition to his work as a graphic artist and ‘drawer’, he is also a designer, toy collector and “archivist of human absurdity.”

Tomi Ungerer describes himself first and foremost as a story teller and satirist. Prevalent themes in his work include political satire such as drawings and posters against the Vietnam War and against animal cruelty, eroticism, and imaginative subjects for children’s books.

Erotic novel removed from iTunes store due to cover, says publisher

The Proof of the Honey, by Syrian author Salwa Al Neimi, pulled by Apple due to ‘inappropriate’ cover featuring naked bottom

Guardian – By Alison Flood

A publisher has claimed that Apple has removed Salwa Al Neimi’s erotic novel The Proof of the Honey from the iTunes store because its cover – which features part of a woman’s naked back and bottom – is “inappropriate”.

Europa Editions said in a statement on its Facebook page that The Proof of the Honey was pulled from the Apple shop. Apple, said the publisher, cited the “inappropriateness of the cover”. The novel is not currently available in the Apple store in its English edition, although a French edition, La preuve par le miel – featuring the same cover – is still in the shop.

Banned in many Arab countries, The Proof of the Honey tells of the erotic adventures of a Syrian scholar in Paris. The narrator has, she says at one point, “a physical need for water, semen, and words. The three things I need in life. I cannot exist without them.” Europa Editions describes it as “a stirring novel about the place afforded sex in modern Arabic society and its relationship to the long, rich tradition of Arabic erotica”; Reuters says that the Syrian-born Al Neimi, who moved to Paris in the mid-1970s, “announces the end of a taboo in the Arab world: that of sex!”

“The author is Syrian-born. Is it too much to think that this might have something to do with their decision?” wrote Europa Editions on Facebook. The publisher also highlighted the lack of consistency in Apple’s move. “One would assume, then, they would also consider classical nudes by Ingres, Renoir and Botticelli, not to mention photography by Man Ray inappropriate,” it wrote. “What about New York Book Review editions of Dud Avocado, Tyrant Banderas, or our very own The Days of Abandonment? NOPE! All are available in the iTunes bookstore.”

Earlier this autumn, Apple censored the title of Naomi Wolf’s new book Vagina, starring out part of the title. After readers protested – “Are Apple worried that people are going to discover that ‘lady parts’ have a name?” wrote one on the online store – the novel’s title is now visible in all its glory in the Apple store.

Apple had not responded to a request for comment by press time.

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Vivian Maier (February 1, 1926 – April 21, 2009) was an American amateur street photographer who was born in New York but grew up in France, and after returning to the U.S., worked for about forty years as a nanny in Chicago. During those years she took about 100,000 photographs, primarily of people and cityscapes most often in Chicago, although she traveled worldwide, taking pictures in each location.

Her photographs remained unknown and mostly undeveloped until they were discovered by a local historian in 2007. Following Maier’s death her work began to receive critical acclaim. Her photographs have appeared in newspapers in Italy, Argentina, and England, and have been exhibited alongside other artists’ work in Denmark and Norway; her first solo exhibition is running at the Chicago Cultural Center from January to April 2011.

Many of the details of Maier’s life are still being uncovered. Initial impressions about her life indicated that she was born in France, but further searching revealed that she was born in New York, the daughter of Maria Jaussaud, who was French, and Charles Maier, who was Austrian. Vivian moved between the U.S. and France several times during her childhood, although where in France she lived is unknown. Her father seems to have left the family for unknown reasons by 1930. During the census that year, the head of the household was listed as award-winning portrait photographer Jeanne Bertrand, who knew the founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

In 1951, at 25 years old, Vivian Maier moved from France to New York, where she worked for some time in a sweatshop. She made her way to the Chicago area‘s North Shore in 1956 and became a nanny on and off for about 40 years, staying with one family for 14 of them. She was, in the accounts of the families for whom she worked, very private, spending her days off walking the streets of Chicago and taking photographs, most often with a Rolleiflex camera.

John Maloof, curator of Maier’s collection of photographs, summarizes the way the children she nannied would later describe her:

She was a Socialist, a Feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She learned English by going to theaters, which she loved. She wore a men’s jacket, men’s shoes and a large hat most of the time. She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn’t show anyone.

Between 1959 and 1960, Maier traveled to Los Angeles, Manila, Bangkok, Beijing, Egypt, Italy, and the American Southwest, taking pictures in each location. The trip was probably financed by the sale of a family farm in Alsace. For a brief period in the 1970s, Maier worked as a nanny for Phil Donahue‘s children. As she got older, she collected more boxes of belongings, bringing them with her to each new post. At one employer’s house she stored 200 boxes of materials. Most were photographs or negatives, but Maier collected other objects, such as newspapers, and sometimes recorded audiotapes of conversations she had with the people she photographed.

Towards the end of her life, Maier may have been homeless for some time. She lived on Social Security checks and may have had another source of income, but the children she had taken care of in the early 1950s bought her an apartment and paid her bills. In 2008, she slipped on ice and hit her head. She did not fully recover and died in 2009 at the age of 83.

Maier’s images depict street scenes in Chicago and New York in the 1950s and 1960s. An article in The Independent characterizes her photographs thus:

The well-to-do shoppers of Chicago stroll and gossip in all their department-store finery before Maier, but the most arresting subjects are those people on the margins of successful, rich America in the 1950s and 1960s: the kids, the black maids, the bums flaked out on shop stoops.

Maier’s photographic legacy, in the form of some 100,000 negatives — a large portion in the form of undeveloped rolls — was discovered by 26-year-old real estate agent John Maloof, also president of the Jefferson Park Historical Society in Chicago. While working on a book about the Chicago neighborhood of Portage Park, Maloof bought 30,000 prints and negatives from an auction house that had acquired the photographs from a storage locker that had been sold off when Maier was no longer able to pay her fees. After purchasing the first collection of Maier photographs in 2007, Maloof acquired the rest from another buyer at the same auction.

Maloof discovered Maier’s name at an early stage of his discovery, but was unable to find out more about her until just after her death, when he found an obituary notice in the Chicago Tribune. Her work was first published on the internet in July of 2008 by Ron Slattery who had also purchased a good deal of her work at auction. In 2009, Maloof started to post some of Maier’s photographs on a blog, and later he announced his intention to publish a photo book of Maier’s photography. The book is scheduled to be released in fall 2011, and a feature-length documentary film about Maier and Maloof’s discovery of her work, titled Finding Vivian Maier, is scheduled for release in 2012.

Maier’s photographs, and the way they were discovered, received international attention in mainstream media.

Vivian Maier – Her Discovered Work

Photographer’s Talent Went Unknown Until Death

A painting by Bruegel animated 3D

Lech Majewski worked with art historian to interpret Christ Carrying the Cross painted in 1564.

Le Figaro FR (English Translation)

The auditorium of the Louvre will broadcast premiere on Feb. 2 as part of the fourth edition of the International Days of Films on Art, The Mill and the Cross of Lech Majewski.

This is not the first filmmaker flirting with the visual arts. In 1996 he produced and wrote the biopic Basquiat on the meteor New York. Besides the astonishing plastic beauty of the images and the presence of Rutger Hauer, Charlotte Rampling and Michael York, the interest of this work lies in a completely original design. Everything is indeed based on a single table in which the viewer will be immersed.

Become a text script

This is the port cross Pieter Bruegel the Elder executed in 1564 during the brutal occupation of Flanders by the Spanish. The oil of 1.70 m by 1.24 m is now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The art historian Michael F. Gibson extensively analyzed and its text became scenario. “Why the painter he concealed the central figure of Christ among a crowd of peasants? he asked.

Why, in a Renaissance landscape, he gave considerable importance to an improbable mill perched on an enigmatic rock? Why are policemen who flank the procession are they red uniform? What does the archaic style of the holy women? Past and future, life and death, destiny and freedom shape this teeming fresco, which has at least five hundred characters heading toward Golgotha. In Vienna we can not enjoy the thousand sketches and anecdotes with a magnifying glass and a stool. All are significant. “

His essay published by Noesis in 1996 is bright. It explains why the particular artist imagines the Passion in the sixteenth century: “Brueghel’s approach is to use the immediate political situation to understand the history of the messiah in not taking the story of Christ to condemn the atrocities in Spain.

But the movie that flows from his reading, combining analog and synthetic imagery to 3D, producing a manner equivalent to the visual interpretation, book an extra sense. For example, it is only during the shooting, Michael F. Gibson was able to discern the different perspectives structuring the composition. There are seven A magic number.

In A Small Corner Of YouTube, A Web Star Is Born

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