Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Now, ya carrot-chewin' coyote!! Git a goin'!!

Unfortunately I did not have a long lens at the moment that I saw what was more likely an actual rodent chewing coyote on a snow covered meadow. The real attraction of this last weekend, which I spent at a photographic field study in Yosemite Valley was the ice formations. Having had a particularly harsh cold snap, followed by warmer days and overnight freezes, the ice in the rives was quite special.

Here are a few images from those rivers and creeks.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Something that has always bugged me. Why doesn't Alanis Morrisette understand what irony is? Well has adapted her song to make it well... IRONIC. [Via: Escapegrace]

High Resolution photos of LA landmarks. Page through for a nice interior shot of the Bradbury, which you may recognize from Bladerunner and an exterior of one of my favorite LA buildings, the Farifax and Wilshire May Co., where my father worked back in the sixties. Great photos, many of them downloadable.

I'll be heading to Yosemite for a photography workshop later this week. So light (if any) posting until then and photo blogging upon my return.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

So you want to make a list?

Terry Teachout posts his list of the 15 best sound films previous to the American new wave of the 1970s. Not being one to be shy with my opinion, I join the fray with a list of my own. Some are duplicated on Terry's, some are not.
In no particular order...
  • The Maltese Falcon

  • Citizen Kane

  • The Searchers

  • Out of the Past

  • Singin' in the Rain

  • Double Indemnity

  • Vertigo

  • The Wizard of Oz

  • The Philadelphia Story

  • Sullivan's Travels

  • Duck Soup

  • Casablanca

  • The Adventures of Robin Hood

  • It Happened One Night

  • Touch of Evil
Perhaps Terry can also give us his best of post-1970.

My top 5 would be

  • The Godfather

  • The Godfather part 2

  • Taxi Driver

  • Annie Hall

  • Chinatown
I also think it is interesting that given the criteria Terry defines of pre 70's, he nor I have much to say about the 1960s, in which there were some good movies, but not quite good enough to make my list. And equally, I could have doubled or tripled my list of post-1970 films without ever leaving that decade.

So not to let a good meme go bad, I toss this to pal George. What are your 15 faves befor 1970 and 5 faves after 1970?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

mmmm... Brussels Sprouts

Some odd tidbits about literary giants.

James Joyce wore 5 wristwatches. Baudelaire had a pet bat. Hans Christian Anderson had a fear of being buried alive and my favorite...
Although Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie did not like the taste of brussels sprouts (as would befit a boy who never grew up), he often ordered them at restaurants. Why? "I cannot resist ordering them. The words are so lovely to say."
[Via: Neatorama]

Monday, January 08, 2007

I'm a Lazy B@stard

Yet another YouTube posting.

It was January 14th, 1978. A rainy night in San Francisco, which later precipitated the hoisting of umbrellas on to the foot of the stage. To wit Johnny Rotten shouted, "more presents". Traveling with compatriots George and Ian across the bay from Berkeley, this became one of the most memorable nights of my life. Nice to see some of it has been immortalized on youtube, as well as some moments in Julien Temple's The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle.

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Belle d'hier

Germaine Greer has a very interesting piece at the Guardian comparing the Howard Hawksian woman of the 1940's, as personified by Lauren Bacall, with the passive French sex kitten, as seen in the personage of Catherine Deneuve. I'm not sure I see the point of the article. To me it is comparing apples to oranges. A different time, a different continent and very different sensibilities. It is not merely the women who are contrasted here, but the directors and the cultures and eras in which they lived.

But for me the interesting part of the article is the section in which she describes Deneuve's two films with Luis Bunuel, Belle de Jour and Tristana. The point she makes, that Deneuve was a perfect empty vessel for Bunuel's fantasies is accurate and insightful.
Belle de Jour (1967) has a reputation for being one of the sexiest films ever made, simply because Deneuve behaves throughout like a pre-adolescent girl. Through the prism of the 21st century, the film seems oddly contrived; what is now a cliche - the child who, subjected to the sexual advances of an adult, then becomes a frigid woman who is only turned on by squalor - is coyly exploited as a series of fetishistic images that juxtapose her fantasy life with her actual life. As Severine Serizy, Deneuve moves through the imagery of what are meant to be her own fantasies like a sleepwalker. By her own account, director Lous Bunuel could not relate to her at all and never told her what he wanted. Unconsciously, she gave him what he wanted, which was as little as possible. The fantasies were his, after all.

The decision to have her dressed by Yves Saint-Laurent adds a bizarre dimension to the nonexistent plot; we seem to be living within the pages of a glossy magazine, with product placement everywhere. Everywhere Severine goes, she is conspicuous by her catwalk presence, from her shiny patent leather pumps to the helmet that holds in her mane of Barbie-doll hair. The sex scenes in the brothel consist of her stripping to the full armour of suspender-belt, knickers, stockings and padded brassiere, and allowing ugly men to kiss her. In one extraordinarily unsexy sequence, she is required to process through the rooms of a ducal chateau dressed in nothing but a cloak of black georgette and a crown of white roses. She trots ahead of the camera like a lamb to the slaughter. She should have used a body double; it is typical of her passive obedience that she didn't. Lauren Bacall would never have done that for anyone, would never have stripped and had them shoot her bare arse from the back as she trotted through take after take. The Hawksian woman would have decked any man who asked her.

Bunuel used Deneuve again in Tristana (1970), a far better film than Belle de Jour but much less successful. Again, his real subject was not Tristana but himself. What activates the film is Bunuel's deep hostility to the hypocrisy of Spanish provincial society. Deneuve acts as the surrogate for his child self, the innocent orphan who is seduced by her guardian, who tries to express her own sexuality with a younger man who uses her; mutilated and helpless, she is forced to regularise a union with the man who took her virginity. What remains in the memory is not the shocking last scene or Deneuve's performance, but Bunuel's evocation of 1930s Toledo, seen as through the lens of childhood, wonderfully shot by Jose F Aguayo. Again, Deneuve's impassivity is exactly what Bunuel needs. It is the still point in his turning world.

Read the whole thing here.

[Via Altercation]

And then there were three

A few very funny videos to start the year off right.
Not 100% work friendly.

Spinal Tap - Bitch School

Kodak - Winds of Change
This was an internal Kodak Video. Maybe they do get it.

SNL - Timberlake

And you can even get the T-Shirt.