Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘At the Movies’ Category

I recently came across the blog entry below from back in 2008 when I had just started writing this thing. It’s about the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, and how the darker elements in it– George’s angry frustration for example– could make it a much different film than the one we perceive it to be. I’ve watched this film umpteen times but it has been absent from my playlist for awhile now. Seeing this old entry, especially with the short video at the bottom, makes me want to watch it again soon.

From December of 2008:

It’s that time of the year when you hunker down on a cold, snowy night and watch a holiday classic. One of the most beloved is It’s a Wonderful Life from director Frank Capra. It has long been one of my favorites and it would be easy to go on and on about its message and how the final scene with the redemption of George Bailey makes me tear up just thinking about it.

But yesterday a friend wrote in his great blog about how he secretly preferred Potterville, George Bailey’s bizarro world version of his hometown, to the original Bedford Falls. Potterville was a rockin’ town. Strip clubs. Hot music. Bedford Falls was, by contrast, a real snore.

George Bailey Close-upHe cited an article by Wendell  Jamieson in the NY Times that made his case for the same thought. Jamieson even goes so far as to state that George Bailey would be facing prison time for the loss of the 8000 dollars, regardless of restitution.

Just before I had read these two articles I had come across a video entitled Bad Bailey. It’s put together as a movie trailer and using eerie music and a drastic realignment of the movie’s actual scenes make for pretty disturbing viewing, especially for lovers of the movie. It made me realize how much darkness there was in the film which I think may have made it even more powerful. Just shows what a little editing and music can achieve…

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

First thing on this Sunday morning, I would like to send out many thanks to Kathy and Joe at the Kada Gallery for hosting my current show as well as to everyone who took the time on a busy Friday evening to come out to attend the opening on Friday evening.

It was good to see and talk with many wonderful folks again and meet many new ones, as well. The response to the work was strong which is gratifying because even though I might feel the show was good that means little unless people react positively to the work.

So, thank you to everyone involved.

This Sunday morning music is a song you most likely haven’t heard from an artist whom you also are probably not aware. It’s titled Pawky and is from the late Dorothy Ashby who was a jazz harpist who is considered one of the most unjustly under loved jazz greats of the 1950’s. I came across her and this track in particular the other day by chance. And it pleased me greatly.

This song has a kind of 50’s jazzy, witchy feeling, like it should have been in the soundtrack of the movie Bell, Book and Candle, the 1958 film about modern day witches in Greenwich Village, starring Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak and Jack Lemmon. But it was not in the film though I think the title theme poaches elements from this song a bit.

Now, pawky is a British word that means shrewd, tricky or slyly humorous.  I chose the painting here, Pax Domum, that is part of the Kada show not because of the word’s definition but because there is something witchily atmospheric in the sky that reminds me of the sound of this song. Take a look and a listen and see if you agree.

Oh, have a good Sunday.

Read Full Post »

My father suffers from Alzheimer’s dementia and is a resident at local nursing facility. One of the highlights of my frequent visits there is when he is flipping through the channels on his TV and comes upon a shot of the president(*) of this country.

It stirs him, producing a most visceral response in him and he almost always snarls out, ” I hate that f!@*&ing guy.

My dad might not know what day it is, how old he is or where he is, but he knows a creep when he sees one. It always makes me laugh and I generally tell him that I feel the same way.

And my agreement with him might never be stronger than it is this morning as I watch this creep attempt to dismantle the healthcare system in a reckless way that most likely will hurt many people in healthcare facilities like my dad. That will hurt scores of working class families who depend on the subsidies to buy health insurance. That will put more and more Americans at risk.

This spoiled man-baby’s lack of empathy is breathtaking. You see it everyday in his actions and his inaction.

For instance, his response to Puerto Rico is beyond reprehensible and immoral. It is a shameful black mark on this country.

Another example is his silence on the tragic fires in California, not to mention the same for earlier fires that terrorized much of the west.

Or take the fact that he has yet to say or tweet a single word about the four US troops killed in an ambush by an ISIS affiliate in Niger. This blob of ego uses his support for the troops as a political tool of division yet instead of meeting one of the troops when their flag draped casket came home to Dover, he played golf at his club with a Senator on that day.

Not a single solitary word to honor those troops. Yeah, he’s got your backs.

There are so many other examples of his lack of empathy, his narcissism, his greedy self-serving actions, his barely covered scorn for people of color, his need for retribution and revenge, his lack of personal responsibility, his total lack of actual ideas,his ignorance of policy and our constitution and his stupidity in general.

Yes, he is a f@!*#ing moron, as his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson so eloquently stated. And that f@!*#ing moron is the face of our nation now.

People said they wanted change. Well, they got it, in the same way you get change when you drive your car into a tree.

Yeah, I know that 9 billion dollars for health subsidies for the working class is a lot of money. As are the billions of dollars required to help folks rebuild their lives in the wake of the horrific storms and fires the past few months. But a tax cut that overwhelmingly favors the top 1% and explodes our deficit by a trillion and a half dollars is somehow equitable.

I know, I know. Shut up and paint.  And I will do that in minute.

I just need to vent periodically. Some vitriol sparks creativity and some destroys it. I find that holding it in is not conducive to my work. Nor is ignoring the things taking place around us. I preach transparency and honesty now so I would be wrong to avoid the subject, to parse my words to not insult those people out there who somehow can accept the actions of administration and can’t see the damage being done to our nation or the future that it portends.

In short, when I see my dad today and he says his piece on this person, I am going to tell him that he’s being too easy on him.

Okay, thanks for making it this far. Here’s the payoff: a 1901 film, Fat and Lean Wrestling Match, from French film pioneer George Melies. I love his early effects and the sense of fun and wonder he creates. A good way to clear the palette.

I am going to shut up and paint now.

Read Full Post »

I was going to write about the amount of idiocy we have to bear every day. There are so many examples from which to choose. I could write about the fact that there is a humanitarian crisis taking place among our citizens on hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico but it took a silent and respectful protest in the form of kneeling NFL players that triggered a strong response in the form of all sorts of kneejerk, moronic responses from the American public at large.

Or I could write about the fact that the majority of these same fools who are so insulted by a silent protest against racial injustice don’t even know that Puerto Rico is a U. S. Territory and that its people are U.S. citizens who are in a dire situation.

There have been stupid times throughout history, that is a certainty. But to be so enmeshed in a time filled with day after day of idiocy, disinterest, distraction, disinformation, misinformation and pure unadulterated self interest is a little hard to take.

So, when I saw the new trailer for the upcoming Wes Anderson film, Isle of Dogs, I let out a great sigh of relief.  I loved his other stop-motion film, Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name. This film seems to have many of the same characteristics as that film– quirky humor, whimsy, pathos, clever dialogue, great stop-motion animation and a lot of joy. It might not seem like joy but it’s there.

So, I have something that will hold my hopes until March of next year when the film comes out. Until then I can bear a little more idiocy. I hope you can as well. Maybe while you’re waiting, you can take a minute and check out how you can donate or somehow assist the efforts to help our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.

Do something positive for someone else.

Here’s that trailer:

Read Full Post »

I wrote about Lotte Reiniger on this blog several years ago.  In this world that is filled now with fantastic computer generated  animations, her work still has the power to amaze me. The idea that this person armed with little more than a pair of sharp scissors and some paper could create these worlds of wonder is thrilling to me, an incredible manifestation of the creative vision. I thought I’d rerun the post from back in 2010 and add another of her films, Daumelinchen, from a bit later in her life. Made in 1955, it tells the story of Thumbelina. Take a look and try to remember that these are just papercut silhouettes.

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926)

I first saw a film, The Adventures of Prince Achmed,  from Lotte Reiniger several years ago in a series about early silent films.  It was made in 1926 Germany and was one of the first animated films made.  It’s a form of animation that Reiniger pioneered and mastered, based on Eastern shadow theatre.   Using silhouette figures, each is painstakingly cut and hinged then  filmed in small movements with time lapse photography to produce motion in the film.  This film took three years to complete.

Lotte Reiniger At Work

In this telling of the Arabian Nights stories, I was immediately struck by the beauty and movement of the colors in the film.  Each cell was tinted by hand to produce intense bursts of color that gave the film a gorgeous surreal quality.  The movements of the figures in the film are smooth and natural,  very subtle.  I found myself so taken with watching the movements and changes that I found myself not following the story.  But I didn’t care.  It was beautiful to see and sparked the imagination.

Lotte Reiniger (1899-1981), born in Germany and living most of her post-WW II life in Britain,  left quite a body of work from a career that spanned over 50 years, including one of the first film versions of Hugh Lofting’s Doctor Dolittle. She’s pretty much unknown in popular culture which is a great shame.  Her work is marvelous and deserves to be seen.

Here’s a small clip of Prince Achmed:

And here is Daumelinchen or Thumbelina.

Read Full Post »

Took a break from the outside world yesterday and finally got to see the film Maudie which is about the late Canadian folk artist and national treasure, Maud Lewis.  Sally Hawkins lovingly portrays the artist and Ethan Hawke  serves as her rough and surly husband. It is an absolutely charming and moving film, one that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in the creative drive.

Or in the human spirit.

It captures that compulsive drive that so many self taught artists, particularly folk artists, possess. It is an inherent need and desire to have a means of expression using whatever is at their disposal. Looking around my studio now, I feel spoiled beyond belief by the materials I have on hand. Or by the fact that I am relatively healthy and can hold a brush easily in my hands. Thinking about Maud makes me feel a little guilty for not using all my advantages and painting even more.

It is, simply put, a lovely film. In these dark days filled with stupidity and hatred, it is a breath of fresh air — cool Nova Scotian air!— to focus on that image of a arthritis-wracked little woman sitting in front of her humble window in her tiny remote cabin, happily painting the world as she saw it and as she wanted it to be.

Here’s a little video that gives a brief history of Maud Lewis.

Read Full Post »

GC MYers- The Untold Want smThis is another new painting headed to the Principle Gallery this weekend for my show there, Part of the Pattern, which opens next Friday, June 3.  This piece is 14″ by 34″ on paper and is titled , The Untold Want.  The title was taken from the title of a very short poem from Walt Whitman that contained the phrase that spawned and became the title of  the  Bette Davis movie,  Now, Voyager.

It’s a great film with a great cast, the kind of movie that could not be made today without becoming something other than what it was intended to be.  It’s the story of a young lady from a wealthy family who is hindered and defined by an overbearing mother.  She suffers until she meets a therapist (played by the great Claude Rains) who finds a way to let her break free and find her own definition of self.  To discover her own untold want.  He quotes the Whitman poem as she leaves his care.  He has given her the tools and she, the Voyager, must discover the world on her own.

There is a lot more to it than that, of course.  But I think that little synopsis captures what I see in this painting.  I see it as being about moving out into the wide world on one’s own terms, unafraid to show oneself as they truly are.  Visible for all to see, flaws and all, and ready to uncover all the mysteries that the world has to offer.

At least, that’s how I see this piece.  I like it, like the feel of it, like the color and tone of it.  It has a sturdiness and simplicity that I find appealing, like a piece of Craftsman furniture.

Here’s the poem:              

 The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted,  

Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.

-Walt Whitman, The Untold Want

 **************************************

REMINDER: Engage Nepal

The clock is running on the event for the Soarway Foundation.  Every donation of $25 and above gets a signed poster like the one shown below as well as a chance to win a painting of mine valued at $5000.  This event ends June 6, 2016 so click on the Crowdrise link below or click here  to see how you can help and possibly win!

Soarway Poster -Engage Nepal

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: