It’s in San Francisco and we’d go, except for that old chemo fatigue. Though it’s already begun, there’s plenty left on the program, which is just getting underway as we post.
Click on the poster [by Hugh D’Andrade] to enlarge:
It’s in San Francisco and we’d go, except for that old chemo fatigue. Though it’s already begun, there’s plenty left on the program, which is just getting underway as we post.
Click on the poster [by Hugh D’Andrade] to enlarge:
Perhaps the most brilliant guitarist ever, Django Reinhardt [previously] has proven an exemplar to many of today’s masters of the six-string. And he did it with a
right left hand [see comments] with only three functional fingers [the ring and pinkie fingers were rendered immobile in his youth by a fire in his gypsy caravan].
His Quintette du Hot Club de France created some of the most memorable jazz and swing recordings of of the 1930s and 1940s, continuing even under the Nazi occupation of Paris, when “gypsies” [members of the Roma and Sinti peoples] along with Jews were marked for death.
The group consisted of Reinhardt as lead guitar, Eugène Vées as second guitar, Hubert Rostaing on clarinet, Emmanuel Soudieux on bass, and Pierre Fouad on drums. But a key player on many recordings was violinist Stéphane Grappelli, a man whose skills were almost as great as Reinhardt’s.
Struggling with the ongoing nausea of chemotherapy, we find solace in Reinhardt’s music, and we suspect his tunes will get your toes a-tappin’ as well.
So on with the show. . .
It’s been a while since we offered an episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin’s RT show. Martin launched her career in video journalism on Berkeley community cable before landing her own show on RT. In this episode she talks art [including her own].
The program notes:
On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin Talks to Bob English, Financial Contributor, about the recent jobs report and US financial policy. Abby then showcases some of her political artwork and explains art’s importance in reflecting the times. BTS airs a short interview with artist Andrei Molodkin and his exhibit ‘Crude,’ a critique on the global oil industry. BTS wraps up the show with an interview with muralist, Mear One, about his art and inspiration.
Passing on an announcement from the local neighborhood netwrk about a meeting to save Berkeley’s downtown post office:
Community Meeting 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, January 29, 2013 re: Post Office
You are invited to a Community Meeting at 6:45 pm on Tuesday, January 29th at the Berkeley Arts Festival Space, 2133 University Avenue between Shattuck & Oxford, in downtown Berkeley.
Citizens to Save the Berkeley Post Office is hosting an informational and working meeting. We will share information on the status of Berkeley’s Downtown Post Office, discuss outreach and education strategies, sign up to help save the Berkeley post office and a publicly-owned postal service.
The cause is good, though it could cost Sen. Diane Feinstein’s spouse a nifty commission, since his company is handling the sales of post office real estate, including downtown Berkeley’s post office including some impressive public artwork.
We dispatched an image plucked from the Web [sadly, a lost link] to our elder daughter, the foremost feline fancier among our progeny:
In response, one of her own felines composed a poignant response which we pass on to you:
Why are they asleep?
I jump across their bodies.
I bite their fingers.
I cry my pain into their tiny ears.
IT IS 5:30 WHY ARE YOU TORTURING ME?
At last, the man wakes.
He opens the door and I run to my bowl.
Only to hear him close the door behind me.
Only I know true pain.
Delivered at the Bowery Poetry Club in Manhattan, Jones delivers what us simply the most searingly eloquent and concise evisceration of the pretense and sham of the corporatized realm of social media. H/T to Adbusters.
Barack Obama seems intent on reversing the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, refusing to take the stands that endeared FDR to the American people [can you imagine Barry O saying to the forces of what he called organized money “I welcome their hatred”?].
One of FDR’s legacies, the great public art explosion of the New Deal, is coming under intense fire as the government — pushed by California Senator Diane Feinstein and to the profit of her developer spouse Richard Blum — sells off many of America’s post offices, including the Berkeley central post office in the city center.
Just by coincidence [snicker] the listing agent for the post office properties is Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis [CBRE] — owned by none other than Richard Blum.
And they say Greece is corrupt!
But, heck, that’s the way the game is played in Washington.
It’s not the first time Blum has benefitted from federal legislation to sell off properties.
On 21 April 2009, Washington Times reporter Chuck Neubauer wrote this:
On the day the new Congress convened this year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to route $25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that had just awarded her husband’s real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.
Mrs. Feinstein’s intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn’t a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments – not direct federal dollars.
Documents reviewed by The Washington Times show Mrs. Feinstein first offered Oct. 30 to help the FDIC secure money for its effort to stem the rise of home foreclosures. Her letter was sent just days before the agency determined that CB Richard Ellis Group (CBRE) – the commercial real estate firm that her husband Richard Blum heads as board chairman – had won the competitive bidding for a contract to sell foreclosed properties that FDIC had inherited from failed banks.
Blum is, in other words, the embodiment of FDR’s “organized money.”
Somehow, it reminds us of this.
Blum’s axe and a Berkeley legacy
The main Berkeley facility is both a notable piece of architecture [listed on the National Register of Historic Places (PDF)] and the repository of two notable New Deal artworks created under the Treasury Department’s Treasury Relief Art Project [TRAP], a remarkable historical mural by Suzanne Scheuer surrounding the door to the postmaster’s office and a bas relief plaque on the eastern side of the building’s loggia by David Slivka, the subject of today’s post.
It’s on the list of Blum’s plums, ripe for the plucking, along with that wonderful art, paid for by the public.
First the sculpture:
And here is a closeup of the upper package:
And the lower package, the artist’s signature:
Here’s some background on Slivka from the website of New York gallery Vincent Vallarino Fine Art:
A passion for art came at a young age for the Chicago-born David Slivka, son of Russian immigrants. At the age of thirteen he was awarded a scholarship to attend classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. Slivka’s family moved around the country for the next three years until finally settling in San Francisco where he won a scholarship to The California School of Fine Arts and spent the next one and a half years studying under the guidance of Ralph Stackpole.
Stackpole recommended Slivka for a commission on the Public Works of Art Project (a precursor to the Works Progress Administration). In 1937, Slivka completed a bas-relief of postal workers on the Berkeley Post Office, commissioned by the Treasury Department. Like many artists during the time, Slivka’s career was placed on hold as the US entered World War II. In 1941, Slivka became a Ship Fitter on Naval vessels before joining the Merchant Marine in 1942.
After the War, Slivka moved to Manhattan where he studied painting under Stanley William Hayter. It was through Hayter that Slivka was introduced to other contemporary artists like Joan Miro, Jacques Lipchitz, and Romar Bearden. An early member of The Artists’ Club, Slivka also began to exhibit with many artists from the New York School like Jackson Pollack, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell, and Franz Kline.
During this time Slivka also changed his artistic style from the figural, evident from his earlier PWA commissions, to the abstract. The artist began to work in carved marble but eventually turned to lost-wax bronze casting. In 1951, after the death of his friend, the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, Slivka was asked to make a death mask Continue reading
Via Nothing To Do With Arbroath, here’s an uncensored version of John Cooper Clarke reading the wickedly satirical poem about Bono and the politics of poverty sadly bleeped in yesterday’s Keiser Report posting:
And for another reading with an extended and delightfully profane introduction by Clarke, see here.
For no particular reason, here’s a few samples from our eccentric and eclectic collection of pictures, assembled al fresco over the course of the years.
We’ll begin with scenics.
And click on the images to enlarge,
Our dad’s mother was an artistic polymath, skilled at paintings, photography, and pastels, as in this landscape, circa 1895. [As with all the following shots, the shot was captured in less than optimal conditions.] Apologies for the reflection onthe left.
Our mother’s best friend from college spent the summer of 1923 in Europe, and brought back several pictures, including this delightful and unsigned oil on canvas cityscape. The use of color is haunting.
Oil on Masonite, a three dollar purchase from a Beverly Hills thrift shop in 1977.
Oil on Masonite, purchased for $35 from a sidewalk sale in Hollywood, 1981.
Egg tempera on gesso, Anthony Willoughby. An old friend and brilliant artist reinvented the tempera techniques used by Renaissance masters, in particular their method of producing gesso sotile, Note also the gilding, giving the work a true three dimensional character. Though it’s hard to see here, every hair on the saint’s head is visible.
Another tempera on gesso, this one a portrait of a friend of the artist who has devoted his life to living off the land in the manner of 19th Century mountain men, hunting his game with a black powder rifle.
Every thread in the homespun shirt is rendered, as is every hair in the fur cap.
First, a headline at The Independent on the results of a six year study by the UK Drug Policy Commission — which recommends drug decriminalization:
Cannabis ‘no worse than junk food’, says report
And then there’s this, from the BBC, which offers a sample of the music, too:
Artist makes music with bird droppings in Liverpool
Kinda lends a whole knew spin to the notion of “stool pigeon” who “sings like a canary.”
A 1999 documentary from Dutch director Jan Bosdriesz focusing on the life of graphic artist M.C. [Maurits Cornelis] Escher:
Anyone who lived through the 1960s and remembers them can recall countless apartments and crash pads with walls adorned by the works of a remarkable Dutch artist.
Our own humble Southern California abode sported three such prints, in the form of posters from San Francisco’s Vorpal Gallery. Here are two of them:
Enjoy the film, and do pop it up to full screen. You’ll be glad you did.
H/T to Open Culture.
From Abby Martin, a native of nearby Pleasanton, the debut of Breaking the Set, her news show for RT America that debuted this week:
A brand new show on the RT Network hosted by Abby Martin, ‘Breaking the Set’ seeks to smash through the Left/Right Paradigm set in the media and political establishment to find the middle ground: the truth. On the debut show of “Breaking the Set,” Abby Martin calls out the Mainstream Media for not talking about Military Spending, interviews Retired Colonel Douglas MacGregor about the ‘inevitability’ of US intervention in Syria, highlights Desmund Tutu as today’s Hero, and Kathy Fairbanks as today’s Villain, speaks to Producer Manuel Rapalo about the DNC coverage in the corporate press and explores ugly side of surveillance with the Automated License Plate Reader program.
Martin, who moved to Oakland from San Diego, founded Media Roots, a program that launched on Berkeley’s Community Access television.
She’s also an artist, and you can see some of her graphic works and photography here.
Here’s an interview with Martin about Media Roots conducted by KPFA’s Oriana Saportas on 4 August 2010:
Call it Berlin’s first Occupy movement. Kunsthaus [Art House] Tacheles [Yiddish for straight-talking] was once a Jewish-owned Berlin department store and later a Nazi Party headquarters, was taken over by artists in 1990 after the building was slated for demolition. Kunsthaus Tacheles, became a major tourist draw, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.
Here’s a video from vlogger Fliegenpilzhamburg showing the Kunsthaus as visitors found it in March, 2011:
But it all came to end today, as police swooped in to evict the artists, paving the way for developers of a half-billion-dollar apartment complex.
From the BBC:
HSH Nordbank, currently in charge of the Tacheles, requested the clearance as part of plans to sell the centre.
Situated in what used to be East Berlin, when the city was divided by the wall, the building stretches over 1250sq m (13,455sq ft) and houses a theatre, cinema, restaurant, as well as a maze of galleries and workshop areas.
Before police arrived, two black-clad artists played a funeral march but bailiffs were able to clear the building without resistance, the AFP news agency reported.
“This is the theft of a work of art, supported by the police,” Tacheles spokesman Martin Reiter told a small gathering of supporters and journalists outside the building.
More from Spiegel:
“Berlin has suffered a great loss today,” said one of the artists. She called on Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit and the city’s culture minister, André Schmitz, to resign. “They alone are responsible for this clearance.”
Tacheles is the last remaining part of a department store complex built at the beginning of the 20th century. It was heavily damaged by aerial bombs in World War II and the East Berlin authority had much of it torn down in the 1980s.
After the Berlin Wall fell, artists moved in. Plans to turn it into commercial and residential buildings in the 1990s where shelved for years after the real estate company that bought it ran into financial trouble.
HSH-Nordbank as the main creditor now plans to sell it. The city has said part of the complex will continue to be used for the arts and culture. But the trashy center, a colorful blot on the face of an increasingly commercially oriented and streamlined Berlin, is gone forever.
Here’s a 44 minute video of today’s events from the KiekeMaFilmBerlin vlog [it’s in German, but the images and the feelings tell the story for those who don’t Sprechen Sie]:
A parallel in Berkeley
Here in Berkeley, the battle over Kunsthaus Tacheles reminds us of the long, sad battle over the Drayage Building, a former warehouse converted into a remarkable assembly of artists in self-built live/work spaces.
Berkeley city officials have been slowly chopping away at the few remaining spaces in the city affordable to artists, and the Drayage Building, located alongside the heavily traveled Santa Fe Railroad tracks, was the last major live/work space available in a town once famously friendly to painters, sculptors, printers, and print-makers.
But a developer’s plans and numerous violations of building codes carried more weight with officialdom than did a thriving artist’s community, and after a lengthy struggle that lasted through most of 2005, the artists finally surrendered in December, leaving the community with one remaining refuge, albeit with living spaces, in the landmark Sawtooth Building.
The Geek government doesn’t want you to see this, created by the Greek Archaeologists Association against the IMF/E.U. cuts in culture funding.
From Areti Kotseli of Greek Reporter:
The Association of Greek Archaeologists (SEA) launched a campaign in March this year, an international appeal for the protection of Greece’s cultural heritage and historical memory, titled Monuments Have no Voice, They Must Have Yours.
Now, one of the campaign’s videos has been banned by the Central Archaeological Council. It had circulated for several months via the Internet and social media, but it failed to receive an official approval on Aug. 28 after they pointed out security lapses in guarding monuments, embarrassing authorities.
The Council rejected the video because it was inspired by the grand thefts which took place at the Olympia Museum of the History of the Olympic Games in Antiquity earlier this year, when dozens of ancient artifacts were stolen, after another art theft at the Athens National Gallery, when two oil paintings by 20th-Century masters Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian were stolen.
The Association of Greek Archaeologists put together the campaign to draw attention to funding cuts that are threatening the Greek cultural heritage and, as it said, the “austerity packages and authoritarian measures, that are currently tearing apart Greece and its monuments”.
The organization has a petition on Facebook. Sadly, you have to belong to Facebook to sign, and since we refuse to succumb to the Facebook agenda, we can’t add our name.
In childhood, we had intended to become a member of the archaeologist’s trade, and the very first word we insisted or third grade teacher to show us how to write in cursive was archaeology [we still have the exemplar].
Since the American imperial adventure has already destroyed much of Iraq’s archaeological heritage, we find it unconscionable that the U.S.-based International Monetary Fund and it’s Troika allies are demanding that Greece cut funding for its own heritage — a form of “war by other means.”
Given that so much of our financial coverage of late has been on the somber side, it’s time for a bit of fiscal entertainment.
The Crimson Permanent Assurance, a wonderful 1983 never-screened out-take, via the ever-entertaining and often enlightening Open Culture.
Colin Marshall of Open Culture writes:
In art, certain themes are evergreen. They never go out of date. Among them are love, death, and the intrinsically dehumanizing nature of corporations.
In 1983 Monty Python tapped into one of the Great Themes with their short film The Crimson Permanent Assurance. It tells the story of a group of elderly accountants, “strained under the oppressive yoke of their new corporate management,” who rise up against The Very Big Corporation of America and set sail on the high seas of international finance as a marauding band of pirates.
The film was originally conceived by director Terry Gilliam as an animated sequence for inclusion in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, but as the idea grew he talked the group into letting him develop it into a live-action film. The Crimson Permanent Assurance was eventually shown both on its own and as a prologue to The Meaning of Life. The title was inspired by the 1952 Burt Lancaster adventure film The Crimson Pirate. The cast is made up mostly of unknown actors, but if you watch closely you’ll catch a glimpse of most of the Python members. Gilliam and Michael Palin have cameo roles as window washers, and Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Graham Chapman appear very briefly at the beginning of the boardroom scene.
The Crimson Permanent Assurance is a delightful little film–and just as relevant now as ever, a reminder of the utter absurdity of the claim that “corporations are people too.”
First, the video from El Sensacional:
And the story, from Katie Upton of England’s Blackpool Gazette:
CRAZY golf just got even crazier.
A new exhibition at Blackpool’s Grundy Art Gallery invites art lovers for a round with a difference.
A miniature course – the Doug Fishbone and Friends Adventureland Golf – has been installed in the gallery with each hole designed by a different artist.
And forget your standard windmill or round-the-bend, these holes offer political commentary and even the sight of two of history’s most infamous dictators.
Jake and Dinos Chapman, known for creating challenging works, have made a Heil Hitler hole.
Doug Fishbone’s hole recreates the toppling of Saddam Hussein – the image which came to define the end of the Iraq war.
When the ball goes into the hole the statue of the Iraqi tyrant falls.
Maybe some American artists could do something similar here.
Get a hole-on-one and Mitt hides his tax returns? Or a young Obama fires up a doobie? Or a bankster picks your pocket? Or maybe a UC campus cop hits you with a dose of pepper spray? Or a baton?
H/T to Nothing To Do With Abroath.
From French filmmakers Ramon and Pedro [Antoine Tinguely and Laurent Fauchère, a 70-year history of one man’s encounters with the merciless bathroom mirror. The film’s website is here.
It’s an uncanny creation, precisely and sympathetically capturing the experience any male of a certain vintage [such as, say, esnl].
H/T to Metafilter.
From David Lance, a remarkable and pointedly disturbing short film incorporating the latest in digital animation and the kinetic sculpture of Theo Jansen.
As Lance writes on his Vimeo posting, “If we work really hard on our dreams sooner or later we will reach our goals. But what if one day our dreams go too far?”
Who is Jansen? Here’s the first paragraph of his Wikipedia entry:
Theo Jansen was born in 1948, in Scheveningen in the Netherlands. He grew up with a knack for both physics and art, and studied physics at the University of Delft. While at Delft, Jansen was involved in many projects that involved both art and technology, including a paint machine and a UFO. In 1990, he began what he is known for today: building large animals out of PVC that are able to live on their own. His animated works are a fusion of art and engineering; in a car company (BMW) television commercial Jansen says: “The walls between art and engineering exist only in our minds.” He strives to equip his creations with their own artificial intelligence so they can avoid obstacles by changing course when one is detected, such as the sea itself.
Here’s Jansen in his own words, and videos of some of his other works, in a TEDTalks presentation he made in 2007: Note: Everything after 8:35 is a BMW commercial.
H/T to The Presurfer.
A reader commented yesterday that’s we’ve been neglected life’s lighter side, so here are some of videos to brighten your day.
First — with a H/T to Moussequetaire — some remarkable musical artistry with Usman Riaz and Preston Reed.
The TED Fellow plays onstage at TEDGlobal 2012 — followed by a jawdropping solo from the master of percussive guitar, Preston Reed. And watch these two guitarists take on a very spur-of-the-moment improv.
According to Open Culture, Riaz, a native of Karachi, “began playing classical piano at 6, then took up the guitar at 16.” TED reports that Riaz, 21, “learned to play by watching his heroes on YouTube.” Here, via Open Culture, is another video of Riaz performing “Fire Fly,” a 2010 composition available for download here.
And here’s Riaz performing “The Waves,” a work in progress for his other instrument:
How to Cuddle with an Elephant Seal
A remarkable scene of an unbidden encounter between two species:
This one’s rather enigmatic, since we’ve been unable to find the original post. From the titles we learn it was captured in Cold Harbor on South Georgia, a British possession 800 miles southeast of the Falkland Islands and chillingly close to Anarctica.
And, yes, we know that it’s best for the critters to keep them apart from people, but the animal’s sheer curiosity and delight in discovering the alien visitor is a reminder of a phenomenon often reported by early European visits to what would become the United States, when many critters had not yet learned to fear the pale and largely hairless bipeds who would later do them so much harm.
Here are a couple of his recent offerings, followed by a stunning bit of news about BBC news and it’s just-mandated surrender to the dictates of corporate profits.
A call for mass exodus from Labour Party to form Peoples Coalition
The News; telling you what to think about!!!
Listen carefully to what he says about the role of corporate influence in the media.
If he’s a bit hyperbolic, well, that’s what he does.
But consider the massive downsizing in the ranks of journalism these days, as we’ve been documenting in our Blood on the Newsroom Floor series.
The decisions of where and who to cut are made by folks of the managerial class, owing their allegiance foremost to the corporate bean-counters and their bosses, who are, in turn, answerable to investors — whose primary interest, with very, very rare exceptions, are in maximizing profits, not serving the role of creating a forum for an informed democracy, which is the reason for the First Amendment in the first place.
But McGowan’s British, and when it comes to television, most folks think immediately of the state-owned British Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, the Beeb.
For all its very many weaknesses, Beeb journalism has been much more thoughtful than American media, where commercial networks dominate. BBC journalists could actually feel like they were tribunes of the people, using positions of privilege to inform and illuminate, rather than reap private profit.
Again, we recognize that the BBC was never perfect. But what American medium would’ve given Adam Curtis airtime, for example?
The BBC surrenders to the corporate imperative.
In what amounts to the final fatal blow to the once-venerable broadcaster, the BBC is telling reporters that their job evaluations will now be based in part on how well they are able to turn their stories into revenue-generators for the Beeb.
It’s a stunning move.
Uian Burrell reports for The Independent:
There are fears for the future editorial independence of the BBC after news journalists were ordered to come up with money-generating ideas for the corporation, a leaked email reveals.
BBC bosses have told reporters to think of money-making schemes and present them to their line managers at forthcoming job appraisals – raising concerns that the organisation’s prized editorial standards will be compromised by commercial imperatives.
The 2,400 staff working in the BBC’s Global News department, including the BBC World Service, have been told that they must now “exploit new commercial opportunities [and] maximise the value we create with our journalism”.
The BBC is currently the subject of a major investigation by the media watchdog Ofcom into how it allowed news documentaries and other editorial programmes for BBC World News to be commercially influenced. The BBC has broadcast a global apology for serious editorial errors.
But financial limitations resulting from the last licence-fee settlement, which has led to 20 per cent budget cuts over five years and the loss of 2,000 jobs, have caused the corporation to look for other ways to raise funds.
Peter Horrocks, the director of BBC Global News, has told journalists that their career appraisals will be based in part on their ability to generate money. “I would like each of you to contribute to the delivery of these objectives,” he writes. “With the income objective, let us know if you have any ideas on how we can strengthen our commercial focus and grow income” – making it clear that this will form a key part of their job appraisal.
Ex-porn star Jenna Jameson charged with DUI in O.C. pole crash
And no, it wasn’t this kind of pole.