- THE BOY WITH THE MOHAWK / Creative Non Fiction
- THE AMERICAN ICON : ARTHUR MILLER / Profile
- ROBERT SHETTERLY: PAINTER / Art Essay
- WHY THE ROLLING STONES MAKE LITERATURE / Article
- KRIS KUKSI : SCULPTOR / Profile
- JACK KEROUAC AND THE WAITING GAME : THE LETTERS / Article
- T. C. BOYLE / Writer Profile
- DO THE RIGHT THING 25 Year Anniversary / Article
- GARY LANG / Art Article
- OSCAR HIJUELOS An Appreciation / Article
- OJO PERFORMS LIVE & The definition of Art / Article
- ARTIST PAUL MC CARTHY ON PAUL THEK / Article
- THE HOUSE THAT TRANE BUILT / Book Review
- MORRISON HOTEL GALLERY / Gallery Review
- PARIS, TEXAS at 30 YEARS / Film Review
- ELMER BERNSTEIN To Kill a Mockingbird / Music Review
- MARLON BRANDO: The WILD One / Actor Profile
- TOM GREGG : The PAINTER / Artist Profile
- THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING / Film review
- DAVID BOWIE: IS The Other Man / Musician Profile
- LUIS VALDEZ : WRITER / Writer Profile
- ORSON WELLES : A REAL Voice / Actor Profile
- ERIC ZENER : The PAINTER / Artsist Profile
- QUIZ SHOW at TWENTY / Film Review
- ORSON WELLES & TODAY'S EMASCULATION / Article
- THE HATE CRIMES / Essays
- JAMES DEAN : The ACTOR / Profile
- F. SCOTT HESS: PAINTER / Profile
- AKIRA KUROSAWA / Profile
- THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY / Film Review
- HO RYON LEE / Artists Profile
- KATSUSHIKA HOKUSAI / Artist Profile
- ROBERT FRANK / Artist Profile
- GEORGIA O'KEEFFE / Icon Article
- THEY CALL IT THE CITY OF ANGELS / Excerpted Chapter: Stroke
- ON THE SET: RAGING BULL / Non Fiction
- MILES DAVIS at 88 : JAZZ is Like An ATTITUDE / Music Article
- BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE Magazine San Francisco [ Tap here for Most Recent FREE MAGAZINE EDITIONS]
- SPECIAL MUSIC EDITION 2017
- LITERARY 2016 EDITION
- SPRING 2016
- SUMMER 2015 EDITION
- ASIAN EDITION 2015
- LITERARY SPRING EDITION 2015
- FALL EDITION 2014
- WINTER EDITION 2014
- BUREAU EDITORIAL
- BUREAU ICON ESSAYS
- NEW FICTION
- BUREAU NEWS
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- WRITER J. A. TRILIEGI
WRITER J. A. TRILIEGI
JOSHUA A. TRILIEGI : The WRITER
NOVEL : THEY CALL IT THE CITY OF ANGELS / 55 Chapter Novel
Selected Short Stories Series:
MAYOR of Tortilla FLATS, ELMER'S Will, SURFERS and LOW RIDERS,
Selected Film and Screenplay Related Projects :
DEVIL AND ROSE : Original Screenplay with M. J. Dornbach / Finalist for The SUNDANCE Film Festival and Institute Writers Workshop
ARIA'S ARIA : Original Screenplay
THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY MILWAUKEE : Original Screenplay
Non Profit Related Film Projects:
Feature Film Creator and Series Producer :
LETTERS of The Underground Volume One 2002 Multi - Director Feature Film with appearances by Melanie Lynsky in Kafka Letter + The Voice of Joe Frank, SilverLake Film Festival Opening Gala Premiere Celebrating Letters of Warhol, Dali, Kerouac, Patti Smith, Gertrude Stein, Jim Carrol.
LETTERS of The Underground Volume Two : 2007 Multi-Director Feature Film Produced with Grant from Ben Stiller and Red Hour Films Introduced by Paramount Pictures Robert EVANS Company at Silverlake Film Festival Centerpiece Gala Premiere The Frank Lloyd Wright Theatre.
Film Festival : Project Producer
Directed and Coordinated Camera Crews at Various Locations of Festival Developed 35 MM Print Sponsorship from FotoKem for Festival Trailers
Film Festival : Programmer
Expanded Programming into neighboring communities with “Fringe Fest” Organized Digital Technology Panel at AFI and Developed Sponsorship Curated Tribute Screening of “Chinatown” for John Alonso’s Memorial AFI
Film Festival : Archive Department
Established and Developed Film Archive Department with sponsorships Interviewed Filmmakers and Catalogued Clips, Produced official PSA’s, Produced Film Trailers and Bumpers with Archive Footage.
FILM Related Education :
American Film Institute
Extension Directors on Directing / Producers on Producing
El Camino College for Performing Arts
Associate in Arts Degree : Theatre Arts / Visual Arts / Journalism
BUREAU ARTS and CULTURE Magazine Editor 2010 - 2017
The Founder, Writer and Editor of Glossy Paper Edition and On-Line Arts Publication with Seasonal 300+ Page Electronic Editions and 12 Web Sites
Selected Feature Articles :
Painter GEORGIA O'KEEFFE : A Revisionist Look at O'Keeffe's Career Article in conjunction with US Museums in Colorado, Texas, Washington and the direct cooperation of The Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe.
Photographer ROBERT FRANK Visual POET : A Biographical Overview of the esteemed career of Swiss born photographer Robert Frank in direct conjunction with Exhibition at The Cantor Arts Center Stanford University.
Film Director HAL ASHBY : A Biographical Appreciation of the Original and often quirky career of one of Hollywoods often forgotten, trailblazing filmmakers with a re-look at his film, "Being There," for Election 2016.
Writer JIM HARRISON : An Appreciation Piece honoring one of America's most important and rebellious Novelist's of the past one hundred years. Including The Author's biographical anecdotes, quotes, favorite books.
ACADEMY AWARDS and People of COLOR : An In-Depth Look at the Controversial 2016 Academy Awards ceremony under the scrutiny and criticism surrounding the lack of diversity of Films in Hollywood.
Songwriter HANK WILLIAMS : A Biographical Spin on Country Western's most prolific and controversial Singer/Songwriter, including Hanks early traumatic years, his son Hank Junior and his grandson's Hank III Music.
Selected Icon Essay Columns :
Actor James DEAN, Writer John STEINBECK, Musician Bob DYLAN, Singer-Songwriter Bruce SPRINGSTEEN, US Playwright Arthur MILLER, Novelist T.C. BOYLE, Latin Playwright Luis VALDEZ, Marlon BRANDO.
Selected Exclusive Interviews :
Scottish Novelist Irvine Welsh, USA Painter F. Scott Hess, Hiroshi Ariyama, Painter Andy Moses, US Doc Filmmaker Doug Pray, The UK Photographers: Laura Stevens, Walter Rothwell and Craig Reilly. Photographers: Melissa Ann Pinney, Alex Harris, Lynne Saville, Ryan Scheirling, Irby Pace, Guggenheim Fellow Andrew Moore, San Francisco Painter David Burke, Photo Curator David Fahey, USA Portrait Painters: Robert Shetterly, Jon Swihart, Max Ginsberg. Canadian Painter Erik Olson
Film Reviews and Cinema Related Articles :
Spike LEE and Do The Right Thing at 25, Philip Kaufman's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, On The SET of Martin SCORSESE's Raging BULL, Wim WENDERS and Paris TEXAS at 30, Robert REDFORD's Quiz SHOW at 20, Orson WELLES and The Real Voice of America, Tom HAYES Interview, Japan's Iconic Filmmaker : Akira KUROSAWA, Film Review of The Beautiful Country Directed by Hans Petter Molland, The French Classic Betty BLUE, TRUMBO The Blacklist, David LYNCH and Blue VELVET at 30, Bert Stern Film Review, Triumph of The WALL Documentary, HESHER Film by Spencer SUSSER, Martin SCORSESE : One of AMERICA's Most Important Film Makers
Music Reviews and Concert Related Articles :
Elmer BERNSTEIN and "To Kill a Mockingbird", Why The Rolling STONES are BARDS, David BOWIE is The Other Man, OJO Performs Live, Jim SJVEDA and The Classical Music Scene, Interview with Oakland Rapper JAHI, Book Review of So Many Roads: The Life And Times Of The Grateful Dead, Miles DAVIS at 88, The Mallet Brothers Interview, Deathgrips : Why Punk ROCK will Never DIE!, Singer John DOE and X, Jazz Singer Judy CARMICHAEL, Herbie Hancock at LA Philharmonic, How The Lonely WILD Made Me Not so Lonely, Michael Tilson Thomas and The San Francisco Symphony, The Morrison Hotel Gallery, Gary CALAMAR The LA Disc Jockey, PRINCE: An Appreciation, Songwriter Patrick Rieger, Oscar HIJUELOS : An Appreciation
Art Reviews and Art Exhibit Related Articles :
Sculptor Kris KUKSI, Gary LANG's Sacred CIRCLES, Paul McCarthy on Paul Thek, Tom GREGG : Super Saturation, Katsushika HOKUSAI and The Ever Changing WAVE, Russel NACHMAN Interview, Michelle HANDLEMAN, Tristan EATON + The Post Modern Paintings, Shia LE BEOUF's Going Up Or Going Down ?, The COMPTON Sculpture Charles DICKSON, Michael KAGAN is Spaced-OUT, Alex TOMLINSON Typographer Interview, Margie LIVINGSTON, The Erik OLSEN Interview, The Christopher STOTT Interview, Patrick LEE Drawings, Emilie CLARK: God is a SHE, Painter David PALUMBO
Book and Literary Related Articles :
SPARRING With Joyce Carol OATES, Jack KEROUAC And The Waiting Game, Book Reviews: The Healing Power of Trees Sharlyn Hidalgo, Gainsbourg's Biography Gilles Verlant, Book Review: The HOUSE That TRANE Built
Cultural Editorials and Diversity Related Articles :
Chef Pedro INOSCENCIO at The PALMS, Native America : What is Sacred ? Hate CRIMES Essays I+II, DIS-organization[s]: What happened ? Essay: "Your Los Angeles, My Los Angeles, Our Los Angeles", CULTURE Wars: The Group vs The Individual, The BORDERS of Mexico Part One
HIRE The Writer / Direct Office line 1 . 323. 734 . 2877 / E-Mail JohnnyMilwaukee@earthlink.net
SELECTED WORKS for BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE MAGAZINE
THE BOY WITH THE MOHAWK
JOSHUA A. TRILIEGI / Advanced Chapter from The Creative Non Fiction Project
Out of nowhere, the boy with the mohawk lay broken. His ears were ringing, his muscles constricted, his bones ached, he pissed himself and was now about to die. Surrounded by friends and his only brother, he looked up into the cold Texas night and wondered how it had come to this ? The ground was cold and wet, he could feel the darkest regions of a chill engulfing his body, small spasms and convulsions rippled through his veins, like shards of glass crystalizing in his blood stream. His head pounded so loud that he could not hear what was being said. He looked into his brothers eyes and thought about their parents. He was really going to get a lecture this time. Then he felt his veins spilling into the atmosphere. The boy had some choices to make, either survive, hold onto the body, no matter how broken, no matter how battered, wether it functioned or not. Or let it go and roam the sky, high above this world, above the hatred, above the abuse, above the stupidity, above the judgement, above the concert of earth, where he had just began playing a solo.
"The ground was cold and wet, he could feel the darkest regions of a chill engulfing his body, small spasms and convulsions rippled through his veins, like shards of glass crystalizing in his blood stream. His head pounded so loud that he could not hear what was being said. He looked into his brothers eyes and thought about their parents. He was really going to get a lecture this time."
He could hear the screaming, through a muffled ringing in his ears, he looked up into the eyes of his closest friends and had suddenly thought of a dozen things he wanted to tell them. Ideas for a new song, a joke he heard on the radio, how much he really loved them, that life was basically good, that they were just getting started and not to worry about him, that he really loved his mom and dad, that life would go on and this would pass, that he just found a bootleg copy of a great documentary, that he was sorry, that maybe he had spoken to soon on occasion, that tragedy was apparently an unavoidable part of life and this is what it looks like, then he fell back into his head, scrambling the remaining few thoughts with a dyslexic like quality. The decision to stay or go was now eminent. The boy had always liked his independence, liked to walk, liked to talk, enjoyed his basic faculties. There was no way he was going to be pushed around in a wheel chair, it just wasn't for him. Nor did he care to be comatose for a long period of time. He had no interest in relearning the entire english language. And so, the boy simply let it go. He separated himself from his body and suddenly his clarity returned and a panorama from above came into view. There was his body, there were his friends, there was the night and the parking lot, people sprawling out from the pancake house, the boy felt a euphoria and although he had left his body down below, he had no intention of leaving town anytime soon. Before he was to bother with entering heaven, there was going to be hell to pay. The boy thrashed across the sky like a tornado on the horizon, he suddenly felt the presence of a familiar circle of entities, he finally hit the big-time, by tomorrow this time, everybody was going to know who he once was.
The town that had seemed so large suddenly became small. What normally took him an hour to walk, now took him seconds. He was not angry about being run over by the quarterback, but he did wish that they simply had the chance to fight one on one. He actually felt sorry for the other boy and watched from high above as the sedan pulled up to the house of his passenger and dropped her off, then headed home. The girl ran towards the front door and cried late into the night. She eventually told her parents what had happened and he knew then that the girl would be somewhat helpful in all of this. That his tragedy, his accident, his loss of an identity, a body, his life, his death, had a witness from both within and without. The vehicle that came out of nowhere had more than a reaper of death, but an angel of life, how fitting for him. He had always elicited little bits of sympathy, here and there, from girls and women, and often times, the very opposite from boys and men.
"The girl ran towards the front door and cried late into the night. She eventually told her parents what had happened and he knew then that the girl would be somewhat helpful in all of this. That his tragedy, his accident, his loss of an identity, a body, his life, his death, had a witness from both within and without. The vehicle that came out of nowhere had more than a reaper of death, but an angel of life, how fitting for him."
How delicate it all was, he thought to himself, as if speaking aloud. That the difference between life and death was just a few hours, a few minutes, a few seconds. He had no idea. Nineteen years on earth had not taught him to fathom the depths of the universe which were becoming very clear to him. The levels of existence, the mysteries of life and of death suddenly made obvious. The freedom and exhilaration of being involuntarily torn from his own remains was indescribable. Even though he could feel it, could see it and certainly could still taste and smell the blood and gasoline, he was beginning to understand that something had indeed ended and yet, there he was, not ready to leave. Like after a concert, he and his friends would linger, eventually, there would be an after party. This was the after party, he thought, the after party of my life. That would make a great song, he thought to himself, damn. When he looked down toward his parents house, he could see his brother and his friends explaining how the whole thing started and had the feeling that life on earth was full of petty grievances that he had always somehow rebelled against. He now felt just the slightest bit justified in some of his convictions and ideas and he could see that his absence had already created an emotional turmoil which showed itself to him as something similar to a grey cloud. When he looked upward, he saw layers of varying degrees of lightness. From the pitch black of the Texas night below him, to a pure circle of light at the very top. He knew that his place was up above, just intuitively understood that he would eventually have to rise to the surface, but for now, he stayed submerged, somewhere between the earth and a final destination. His emotions would not let him move on so quickly. There were too many plans in place, unmet goals and dreams to realize for him to travel on now. Anyway, he still wanted to see how this after party played out .
THE AMERICAN ICON
By Joshua A. TRILIEGI for BUREAU of Arts and Culture / LITERARY Edition SPRING 2015
Arthur Miller is turning 100 years of age this year and as it turns out: his works are more important than ever. Miller went toe to toe with mainstream ideology, with the dilemma's of war, with group thinking and paranoia, with religion, with celebrity machinery and even with the government of the United States of America during one of the worst chapters in our history: The McCarthy years. For those of you too young to remember or too old to want to remember. Senator Joe McCarthy led a witch hunt that was focused on left leaning individuals of all sorts, but specifically, those in the field of entertainment. Directors, writers, actors and producers were demanded to testify against their friends and associates publicly, privately, overtly or with discretion. Arthur Miller did no such thing, he refused to name names. He was found in contempt of court and later exonerated of all charges. Miller is a soul searching playwright who introduces ideas in the great American sagas such as, "Death of a Salesman," "All My Sons," "The Crucible," and spreads them out like a deck of cards for all to see and eventually to play with. Theater, unlike film, has a forever and ongoing growing relationship with interpretation, with the populist, with the times and with the future. Millers plays are produced all over the world, "Death of a Japanese Salesman," was extremely popular overseas. The Arthur Miller literary works are and have been interpreted and produced in dozens of languages and remain extremely relevant. Ever since the attacks of 9/11, here in America, a very similar situation surfaced, creatively and culturally speaking, we have not quite recovered. The freedom to speak out against abuses of power, against political policy or those in power is almost entirely absent.
Major news organizations have fallen to the wayside, when it comes to investigative journalism and most others march in step with the current politically correct aspects of today's society. Entertainers are afraid to speak out for fear of losing a role or a job or alienating either their audience or the advertisers. Miller's plays delve into these subject matters deeply, dramatically and with a great deal of consequence to relationships. "Salesman," deals with family deceit, the changing of American values and memory. "All my Sons," is a scorching and scathing look at the war machine, that has direct ties to rather recent political family histories here in America. "The Crucible," is a direct metaphor for the McCarthy era as well as an intensively researched project that brings to life the disturbing, but entirely factual witch hunts that happened in America and abroad : 100s of women were murdered for hysteria and paranoia. Millers plays are not overtly political, they are much more about relationship, family and community at every level. Ultimately, they are about mankind. The popularity of his catalogue has only grown through the years and deservedly so. On a personal level, Mr Miller's life had some extreme ups and downs and through it all he remained calm, elusive, focused and intelligent. Miller has always been very forthright about his works, his views and his ideas of life. To my mind, he is a true patriot, unafraid to ask the difficult questions that arise when involved in an experiment as beautiful as America. He served as the president of the PEN Organization in the mid 1960s. Miller also has the special quality that says to anyone at anytime: "Fuck You," as you can see he expresses in the image related to this article during a press conference. In the back pages of this edition you will find an extensive list with links to over fifty up and coming Miller plays around the world. And so, today we salute the man, the mind, the icon, the artist, the writer and the great and beautiful defiance of this Original American of Letters: Mr. Arthur Miller.
ROBERT SHETTERLY: PAINTER
Guest Artist for Spring 2015 Literary Edition of BUREAU of Arts and Culture Magazine is Painter and Social Historian Robert Shetterly. He is the Creator of an On - Going Series of Portraits entitled, "Americans Who Tell The Truth." Yeah, the title alone is loaded with a multiplicity of meanings & interpretations. We were initially attracted to the Artwork itself, and have since been drawn in by the large cast of characters that make up this original and interesting series. Today, we honor the Art of Robert Shetterly & Americans Who Tell The Truth.
At first glance, one notices the vibrant colors, the bold backgrounds and the striking faces staring directly at the viewer. Closer inspection reveals inscriptions and quotes scratched directly into the canvases. Looking closer yet, one begins to actually behold the energy, the spirit, the 'vibe', if you will, of the subject. Somewhere between the WORDS they have spoken and the faces they were given and often times, mingled with the historical aspects of American history: Robert Shetterly's subjects come to life. The portraits are awake, they speak to us, they educate us, they demand respect in one way or another. There is bravery, beauty and brevity in this body of work. For sure, it is indeed, politically charged and at the same time, on either side of the aisle, politically speaking, many of these, "Truths," being espoused could ultimately be embraced by any person who cares deeply about America and beyond that, the rights of human beings everywhere. On the American front, the subjects vary from respect for the environment, to the right to be a pacifist, to the concerns of racial equality, to the rights of women, to the original values of the native Americans and on into the original purpose of creating a country like America to begin with. This is a series of paintings that many of the founding fathers and mothers of America would appreciate. With over 200 portraits and no shortage of subjects to honor, Mr. Shetterly has found a way to take his inspirations and hand them directly back to the people of the world in an absorbing and educational manner. The subjects vary from extremely famous personalities to little known local activists who have brought to light the simplest universal truth to an issue that concerns themselves and the broader world. In a time of increasingly draconian rule with multiple abuses of power at the highest levels by some of the most powerful overbearing decision makers in America: The Series is a Beacon of Light. The power of an Individual, You, or Mr. Shetterly, or Me, or any of the American Subjects lovingly painted here, is very much alive. One may not even realize this fact, without perusing the Series itself. It is a very liberating and honest sequence of images, ideas and complete revelations. America is a beautiful idea, it promises so much freedom, so much opportunity, so much success and yet, the flip side of that promise is the very fact that if we as a people do not stand up for those original values, we stand to lose them and quite possibly, we already have. "Americans Who Tell The Truth," is an important, relevant and absorbing series of works that, in my estimation, is one of the most forthright, timely & intriguing series of paintings to have ever been created about America. Why? Because the truth is very hard to come by these days. The truth is a commodity, like money or property. Those who have it know how good it feels. Those who want it will do anything to get it. Those who try to take it away will lie to do so and in that act itself, become the antithesis of TRUTH. Such is the paradigm of the equation. Telling The Truth in America can lead to many sorrows and yet, it could also lead you to the presidency. Retaining that truth, once you get there, may be all but impossible. Mr. Shetterly's art retains an integrity and a value that will last well beyond the terms of any president, senator or congressperson, so too his subjects. How then do we proceed ? For starters: Simply Tell It like It Is.
BUREAU LITERARY : MUSIC
By Joshua A. TRILIEGI / Literary Edition of BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE MAGAZINE
What is Art ? What is a Classic ? What is Literature ? When is something all of the above ? Why is Rock & Roll Music so damn powerful to us ? It could be that great music tells a narrative just as convincingly as a short story, poem or novel. Sometimes it can even tell that story better. Case in point, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards Classic 1968 song entitled, "Sympathy for the Devil." Today, we look at the song, asking the question: Can Music Be Literature ? And If so, Why ?
The title of the song is, "Sympathy for The Devil." It sounds like a Novel from World War One by Somerset Maugham or a historical piece explaining the rise of fascism in Europe during the 1930s or even a poem by T. S. Elliot. The narrator of the story is a Faustian Mephisto or as he is known in Christo-Judeo belief: The Devil. Our story opens, following a fabulous drum solo, with a grand and eloquent self-introduction, "Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste." He continues, "I've been around for a long, long year, stole many a man's soul to waste," explaining further, "I was around when Jesus Christ had his moment of doubt and pain." It is a devastating first meeting. The very prince of darkness himself is addressing the reader or in this case the listener. Lets put this into context. In 1968, the year this song was released, the world was in turmoil: Political Assassinations, Vietnam, Uprisings in France, Czechoslovakia, The Anti War Movement in America and a rising youth culture had recognized that evil could be anywhere and clearly, these were definitely historical times.
"Jagger and Richards tapped into the moment with a
diabolical diatribe that does not turn away from the
clear and present evils, but instead, reminds the listener
that it was here before, it is here now, it will be here after."
Jagger and Richards tapped into the moment with a diabolical diatribe that does not turn away from the clear and present evils, but instead, reminds the listener that it was here before, it is here now, it will be here after. The story continues with a historical look backward, "Stuck around St. Petersburg when I saw it was a time for a change," referring to the Russian Revolution, "I killed the Czar and his ministers, Anastasia screamed in vain." The narration swiftly moves through time to World War II, "I rode a tank, held a general's rank, when the blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank." Then after a chorus or two, entirely demolishes a hundred years of monarchy with the single line, "I watched with glee, while your kings and queens, fought for ten decades, for the gods they made." And then it peaks with the most devastating idea of the entire work, "I shouted out, "Who killed the Kennedy's ?" When after all, it was you and me." A shattering description that accuses the listener of committing murder: Astonishing. The devise of having a narrator speaking directly to his or her audience goes back as far as The Greek Tragedies and Shakespeare.
The same literary device was used a few years earlier in John Burgess', "A Clockwork Orange" which was later turned into the classic piece of cinema by director Stanley Kubrik. But here, Jagger and Richards put us face to face with the devil himself, presenting him as a man of power, a man of manners, a man of the world and simply a man who is very proud of his many accomplishments, however destructive they may be. The song lyrics take a slightly poetic turn, even in their maniacal aspects with the following phrase,"Just as every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints. As heads is tails, just call me Lucifer, 'cause I'm in need of some restraint." Then after several chorus' including the echoing line, "Please to meet you, hope you guessed my name," a foreboding warning statement is pressed onto the listener with the final phrase, "So if you meet me, have some courtesy, have some sympathy, and some taste. Use all your well-learned politics or I'll lay your soul to waste." The listener is literally warned to not only respect the narrator, but to have some sympathy. Demanding respect for the dark side of our very nature. The song is a time capsule , a declaration of madness and a warning of future conflicts. It is a fine example of the use of language in creating effective storytelling. It's also simply a great song. But is it Literature with a capital "L" ? If so why ?
"The song is a time capsule , a declaration of
madness and a warning of future conflicts. It is
a fine example of the use of language in creating
effective storytelling. It's also simply : a great song."
For one, it speaks to more than one generation, the story has lasted, at least so far, as an important tragedy of not only it's time, but the song is still currently played on radios stations around the world. In other words, the book is still in print. The play is still on broadway. The public is still interested. Two, the song literally helped to define the actual times with which it was written: The 1960s. It is one of the actual anthems of the period. It may be the most important of the brave literary works to be a part of The Rock & Roll song book ever. Three, it actually speaks to a larger historical context with it's many references to world events and it's ongoing and foreboding demands of a future disaster. The song and narrator lives on in it's very description of itself. Why does this make it Literature ? Well, it doesn't. What does make it Literature ? In my estimation, it is the employment of ideas, the minimum use of narrative, the poetic turns of lyricism, the audacious accusations of the storyteller and the ability to open the imagination to world events that existed prior to the songs invention. Good literature, good fiction, good poetry, good writing, do this for the reader. Good literature will utilize history, experience, tragedy. Good literature will challenge power, normalcy, self-righteousness. Good literature will demand, entertain and sometimes even accuse the reader of the very experiences that mankind has allowed to happen. The Holocaust, Slavery, Genocide, War, Murder and Acts of Cruelty: Who would think to offer these subjects in a Song ? Sympathy For The Devil is very heavy material. Jagger and Richards use their platform to discuss important issues of modernity and history in a way that indeed transports, elevates and activates the same devices used by great writers around the world and that is why this song is ultimately a great piece of fine Literature.
KRIS KUKSI: SCULPTOR
By BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE MAGAZINE Editor Joshua TRILIEGI
Picture if you will, The Titanic, after submission. The bodies and their souls: passengers, crew and stow ways. What would it feel like ? What might it it look like ? Imagine a world in all it's minute detail that could illustrate such a scene & you will begin to fathom the world of Mr. Kris Kuksi's sculpture. An accomplished painter who happened upon sculpture by hobbling together preexisting objects into new and original arrangements which set the bar a notch or two above any previous ideas of sculpture since, say, French Rococo or Italian Baroque architecture of olden day. Mr Kuksi subverts the ideas of religiousity, empiric nobleness and the wreckage of a post modern society into a sort of anarchy of the mind. One of the very few artists in our known history to tap into an ephemeral world with all it's detail, all it's nightmarish qualities, all it's passion, lust, violence and posture, in a tone and style that is wholly original. Mr Kuksi is steeped in mythology, astrology, greek gods and a modern history that includes Napolean, Beethoven and Oedipus. Comparisons are few, though, I would suggest Dore', Heronymous Bosch and the films of Terry Gilliam. Kuksi manufactures an overall visual schematic that provides a battlefeild of ideas which suggest the afterlife of a major event, such as, The Civil War, The French Revolution or the end of the world.
" One of the very few artists in our known history to tap into an ephemeral world with all it's detail, all it's nightmarish qualities, all it's passion, lust, violence and posture, in a tone and style that is wholly original."
He creates a fantasy world come true in mono and duo chromatic form, that is entirley haunting, fantastic and when he is really on his game: darkly humorous.The artwork utilizes themes that freely criticize war, religious crusades and ideas of empiric ideology, while at the same time, employing the very devices, symbols and gestures that originally propagandized and sold those ideas to a hungry public. Kuksi is like a fiction writer who has established identifiable characters who will then willfully act out scenarios of a horrendous and beautifully haunting plotline that leaves us aghast, enthralled and sometimes in awe. When Jack Nicholson was aksed to describe the filmmaker Stanley Kubrik after working on The Shining, he famously replied, "Brings new meaning to the word: Meticulous." To echo those sentiments and ride Jack's wave a bit, Kuksi, it might be said, brings new meaning to the word: Obsessive. Like Kubrik, he is creating a world that hints at a larger literary and historical idea wherein each character plays a part. So far, Mr Kuksi has spent a large amount of energy and time tackling European history. When he has focused on American history, there are modern takes on issues of politics and religion, though the canon is scant of our own story, such as the Native American experience or African American slavery, which is indeed a landscape worth considering. Mr Kuksi, who was born in 1973 has discovered and mined a mature style and body of work that has captured the attention of both collectors of fine art and the general populist, it will be interesting to see where he takes us next, whether it be Heaven or Hell is simply a matter of opinion.
JACK KEROUAC & The Waiting Game
By Joshua A. TRILIEGI / BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE MAGAZINE LITERARY EDITION
In The Spring of 1951, Jack Kerouac began the final scroll version of On The Road with the now famous opener, "I first met Neal not long after my father died …" It would be another six years before the public would even read that line & while waiting for his big break, he almost went insane. When it finally did happen in 1957, the book transformed writing style forever and for twelve years straight : Jack never stopped.
Jack's frustrations started early on and strained many of his relationships with his life long pals and gals. On many occasions, the angst was actually justified. Kerouac knew he had pierced the veil with the new style used in On The Road. He saw it happening all around him, the Arts in America were changing and a whole new WAY of seeing and expressing was happening everywhere. Marlon Brando was screaming from the stages of New York City and Jackson Pollock was on the cover of LIFE. But it would still be too early for the likes of the public to catch up with trailblazers that included both mid - century and mid - decade breakthroughs such as James Dean, Elvis Presley and Jack Kerouac, who would all have major public notoriety by the mid to late 1950s. James Dean with three films back to back: Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden and Giant. Elvis Presley with a groundbreaking performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, that did indeed eventually lead to an entire sexual revolution. And of course, Mr. Jack Kerouac with the eventual publishing of On The Road and a lifelong respect and notoriety to originality and love of life.
The writer describes in a letter, dated Oct 8, 1952, scribed to his life long friend, contemporary and sometimes foe, Allen Ginsberg, " This is to notify you and the rest of the whole lot what I think of you. Can you tell me even for an instance … with all this talk about pocket book styles and the new trend in writing about drugs and sex, why my On The Road written in 1951 wasn't ever published ?" He goes on to describe his basic frustrations at more inferior books that were published and admonishes many of his friends and associates for being jealous: Which was most likely true. In fact, even Ginsberg himself was learning from the new Kerouac style. On the one hand, Ginsberg had helped to liberate Kerouac's formalities with his free form poetry. Later Kerouac was also informed by the letters of his inspiration for On The Road : Neal Cassady. On the other hand, each were dearly close to Neal and an unofficial contest began between the two writers. It was not only about who could lay down the best descriptions and who could out do the other in words, Ginsberg stepped up the competition with physical acts that Kerouac could never compete with, nor did he care to. But when Jack sat down to write the scrolled version of On The Road in the Spring of 1951, all the lessons were over and he became the leader of the so called Beat Writers and Movement. Kerouac had yet to be crowned publicly, but everyone in his circle knew he had ascended gracefully. Versions of the novel were being read all over the publishing world, it became a sensation and a point of derogatory conversation among the academics. One such comment, by a writer nobody even remembers anymore was, "That's not writing, that's typing." Kerouac had outdone them all and none could admit it. He was & still is the king of the beat writers. If he were alive today, he might simply ask, had you read his work ? What did you think ? Kerouac believed that Writing was Everything .
Not long after scribing one of his darkest letters to Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac visited William Burroughs at his Rooftop Studio in Mexico City. Burroughs was going through a particularly rough patch himself. The thing to remember and indeed to learn from the Letters of Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs, all of which are now available to the public, is that life as an artist is messy, troublesome, challenged. We often like to picture our celebrities, our icons, our hero's in some state of forever coolness. Well, the fact of the matter is that everybody has the ups & the downs. Life On The Road had its excitement, its entertainment and it's education, but there was always the other side of that coin. The letters provide a very real glimpse into the challenging aspects, the in-fighting, the quarell's and the very difficulty of actually writing, living, publishing and retaining and or losing friends in the battle. In a letter dated Jan 10 1953, Kerouac writes to Neal Cassady and his wife Caroline from William Burrough's flat. "Bill just finally left Mexico, last night, how sad. They were asking for more bond money… I feel like … I will never see him again … And I'm completely alone on the roof. Now or never with a great new novel long anticipated from me in N.Y. - day & night lonesome toil. "
In another letter, written the same week, addressed to John Clellon Holmes, author of the first novel to be published by the beat writers entitled, "GO", Jack describes further Burrough's dilemma. " Burroughs is gone at last - 3 years in Mexico - lost everything, his wife, his children, his patrimony - I saw him pack in his moldy room … Sad moldy leather cases … medicines, drugs - the last of Joan's spices … all lost, dust, & thin tragic Bill hurries off into the night solitaire - Ah Soul - throwing in his bag, at last, picture of Lucien [ Carr ] & Allen [ Ginsberg ] - Smiled, & left. " Burroughs who had shot his wife, in a game of 'William Tell ' had been dealing with legal issues and a court case that went sour when his own lawyer actually shot someone and had to flee the scene. All of this is represented best in David Cronenberg's film entitled, "Naked Lunch." Possibly the best film to capture the nightmarish qualities that dogged William Burroughs and his life.
By this time, Kerouac had already patched up friendship with Ginsberg after the recent afore mentioned letter and was now moving ahead with another project. He sometimes worked on several works at any one time. In the same letter to Neal Cassady, Jack mentions a piece he wrote over a 5 day period, in french, that describes a fictional meeting in 1935 between him, Neal and Burroughs in Chinatown: "… And some sexy blondes in a bedroom with a French Canadian rake and an old Model T. You'll read it in print someday and laugh. It's the solution to the "On The Road" plots, all of 'em and I will hand it in soon as I finish the translating and typing." This story written in French over a 5 day period in January of 1953 is most likely the work that is currently in the news. Apparently a canadian publishing house has bought the rights to publish, so the world will finally get a chance to posthumously read yet another 'new' work by Mr. Jack Kerouac.
Jack Kerouac did make several breakthroughs prior to publishing On The Road , and then he knew it was just a matter of time. Finally the cultural malaise that had clogged mainstream America with conservative values of the early Fifties were dissipating. By 1956, in a letter to his agent, Sterling Lord, dated Sept. 17, 1956, Jack describes being photographed by a high profile magazine with Poets Gregory Corso and Allen Ginsberg. " The other night Mademoiselle magazine took our pictures … for a spread … title : Flaming Cool Youth of San Francisco Poetry. Life magazine also wants to take my picture in a few weeks at Corso's reading … Two of my pieces are to be published in Black Mountain Review … I think I'll finally make some money for you finally, so that makes me feel better, all the time and faith you put into me. As the years go by I realize how nice you've been Sterling, and I welcome it with a feeling of warmth, coming as it does from the 'brrr' world of New York Publishing."
A year earlier Kerouac had stayed in the Berkeley Cottage of Allen Ginsberg after hitchhiking from Santa Barbara to San Francisco, living on California red wine and commiserating with the poets who would eventually open the floodgates at the now famous, SIX Gallery Poetry Readings in the Bay Area. The poets included : Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, Gary Snyder, Philip Lamentia & Kenneth Rexroth. Jack would have varying degrees of friendship with this group of poets and plenty of personal opinions and misunderstandings as well. His friendship with both Lawrence Ferlnghetti and Gary Snyder would lead to the writing of The Dharma Bums and Big Sur. The latter also the subject of a recent film of the same name produced by Bureau of Arts and Culture friend and associate, Mr. Orion Williams. In a letter written to Philip Whalen dated Nov 22, 1955 Kerouac describes his stay in Berkeley, " Dear Phil, Thank You for the needed hospitality - Now I know that the hidden reason for my coming to California again when I really didn't want to, was to meet you & Gary - The two best men I ever met - I'll drop you a card from where I'll be next week - Yours forever in the Dharma, Jack "
Kerouac writes to Gary Snyder in a letter dated Jan 15 1956, thanking him for suggesting to apply as a look out in The Washington State Cascade Mountains. "Just finished [writing] a long novel … Visions of Gerard, my best. most serious, sad & true book yet … If I should ever make big money with my books, count on seeing me in Japan for sure… Me, my letters are like this, long and confused, because that's my mind, long and confused, I'm writing a dozen things and typing all the time and all fucked up & enthusiastic and shooting baskets in the yard and running in the woods with kids & dogs and so this letter has distraught look." A year away from publishing On The Road and at an all time low, Kerouac writes to Malcolm Cowley in May of 1956, " I'm in a real straits now, my jeans are all torn, I'm living in a shack with a woodstove, rent free, have no money whatever, don't care (much), and am waiting day after day for word from you concerning … On The Road … it breaks my heart to be neglected so." But within weeks Kerouac headed up to Washington State and renewed his work & attitude.
Although, the relationship between Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac was a contentious one, it was also a very true friendship. In the spring of 1957, Allen loaned Jack enough money to travel abroad to visit Bill Burroughs in Tangier. Burroughs had recently taken the cure in England and was bent on gathering his various writings and creating a novel with the help of his friends. Kerouac writes to Edie Parker on Jan 28, 1957 from New York, just before the trip abroad, describing Burroughs, "He is a great gentlemen and as you may know has become a great writer, in fact all the big wigs are afraid of him (W.H. Auden. etc…) Allen never loses track of me even when I try to hide. He does me many favors publicizing my name. Well, we're old friends anyway. But I can't keep up with the hectic fame life he wants and so, I won't stay with them long in Tangier."
While in Tangiers Kerouac received edited versions of recent works and was aghast at the hack job. Rather than have his work butchered by the publishers, Kerouac holds firm to his belief in his work and writes to Sterling Lord on March 4, 1957, " I'd rather die than betray my faith in my work which is inseparable from my life, without this faith any kind of money is mockery…" Still in Tangier with Burroughs, he follows this up on March 25 1957 with another letter to Mr. Lord, " I feel like I definitely did the right thing… that it will definitely bear fruit in the end. Hemingway went through the same trouble in early 1920s and had he succumbed to the ideas of the editors, there would have been no 'Hemingway Style' at all and nothing great about The Lost Generation. Ditto Faulkner in 30s."
Meanwhile, Jack made a living typing up Burroughs' manuscripts in trade for meals and took long hikes around Tangiers, absorbing the culture & the scenery.
Two things happened in early April of 1957 that changed the face of literature. The first was notification from Kerouac's agent that On The Road had been sold & the second was that Allen Ginsberg's epic poem entitled, "Howl," had been banned and deemed unfit for children to read. Finally, exactly what the two authors had been working on all their lives, for Jack, it was acceptance, for Allen, it was a defiant chance to challenge the establishment. Both had succeeded in their goals. To this day, both works are taught, studied and read just about everywhere with fine film adaptions of each. In a letter to his agent, dated April 3, 1957, Kerouac describes his appreciation and plans for the future. " It's wonderful, Sterling, the way you have been making things hum. I am going to take advantage of this apparently prosperous year and come right home and set up my abode proper. I have an idea for a wonderful follow up for On The Road … Meanwhile I have been digging Morocco… last night Ramadan, the annual Mohammedan fast, started here, with a blast of cannon shot in the bay and then, like smoke over rooftops at 2AM came the lonely sweet flutes … the saddest sound in the world." Within a month Kerouac had returned to America, had gathered all his belongings and moved to Berkeley California. Within a week, Lawrence Ferlinghetti of City Lights Books was arrested for selling HOWL. One of the most celebrated court cases in history followed. Is it Art or Is it Obscene ? Eventually Allen Ginsberg triumphed and it became a victory for intellectuals, artists & writers who push the envelope.
Jack Keruoac had finally gone public. Neal Cassady, Jacks inspiration for the novel, On The Road, had become a character in another man's work of art. He had been a drifter for years, a wayward and wandering soul. Neal would go on to be an influential part of the American subculture with writers such as Ken Kesey, who penned, "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest'. One of the few novels that Jack Kerouac, not only appreciated, but deservedly so, wrote an introductory blurb. Neal himself would be dogged by bad luck from the law, eventually doing time in prison for an entrapment drug deal with a substance that is now used by doctors throughout the world: marijuana. Neal Cassday's letters of this period are available in the book untitled, "Grace Beats Karma: Letters from Prison.' Even to this day, he is the target of lesser than human beings, who have no idea what living is even about. In the final lines of the newly published Original Scroll version of On The Road, Jack Kerouac writes, "I know by now the evening - star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks in the west and folds the last and final shore in, and nobody, just nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Neal Cassady, I even think of the Old Neal Cassady the father we never found, I think of Neal Cassady, I think of Neal Cassady. " The End
T. C. BOYLE: A Piece of FICTION
by BUREAU Editor Joshua TRILIEGI for BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE Magazine
There are fewer more solitary career paths than that of the painter, the musical composer or the fictional writer. Seldom do we see a collaborative experience in these particular practices and even rarer, a career of such bold variation and experimentation. The journey is singular, the pitfalls are many, the rewards are difficult to list or fathom and suddenly decades pass and the world suddenly knows your work, discusses your choices, often misunderstands your creativity or the entire goal of such a career path and yet, you go on, steadily, marching toward the next project, with bravado, with discipline and with a steadfast curiosity for what will happen on the next page, canvas or sonata. In the case of T. C. Boyle, the rewards have been numerous, a professor emeritus position at The University of Southern California, film adaptions, awards that include the Pen/Faulkner & Henry David Thoreau and an international readership that have included invitational festivals such as, One City One Book wherein an entire city such as Vienna is publicly given 100,000 copies of, in this case, his novel, The Tortilla Curtain, distributed freely citywide. T. C. Boyle's work is broadly fearless in its choices of subject matter, though, at the same time, it is racked with details of the psychological variety that take us directly into the experience of his characters. His stream of consciousness includes the type of minutiae that assumes for the reader and emulates in direct communication a mind at work attempting to deal with those very bold choices he has conjured for our entertainment. T. C. Boyle is of the school of artists that understand clearly that ART is entertainment and if indeed we are entertained, scared, troubled, thrilled, embarrassed, shamed, turned on, turned off, nervous, and some where in all of that — educated, by what we read, see, hear: than it is good art and it will last forever, or at least, a very long time.
Because Mr. Boyle was once a musician, there is a rock and roll aspect to his show, one can easily picture him getting out of the shower singing the lyrics to a Rolling Stones song and making it his own with, " I know, its only Fiction Writing, but I like IT… " There is something very pugnacious about the man that immediately strikes me as likable. He has, what I call, the big f*ck you, built into much of his work and definitely in his readings and performances which he professes to enjoy entirely and I believe him. Thats another thing I enjoy about T. C. Boyle, he knows his job is to write, present, tour and then repeat entirely. I must confess, he has written countless novels that I have yet to read and I indeed look forward to doing so, as I suggest for my readers to do the same. Discovering a novelist is a once in a lifetime experience, reading that writer is an ongoing engagement of a very special variety. Once a reader has gone on a journey and enjoyed it, there is always a chance that there will be a new book or an earlier work to read.
Mr. Boyle has a method and practice that goes like this, write a novel, promote it, write short stories, promote them, teach, get an award, make a speech, drive home, read the paper, write a novel, promote it: repeat. One can imagine that there is some sex and food and booze and reflection as well. He is unabashedly honest about the process of writing and his philosophy is entirely in tune with ours at the magazine, which is to lift the veil of creativity. He is a teacher and yet professes that, "No one can teach you how to be an artist." When it comes to rules, he throws them out, "There are no rules, whatsoever. Any textbook, you throw it right out. The way you learn how to do it is reading stories and finding a mentor." T. C. Boyle's own influences include Vonnegut, Cheever, Flannery O’Connor, F. Scott Fitzgerald and especially John Updike. He is currently on tour with is 25th book: The Harder They Come.
DO THE RIGHT THING
Twenty - Five Year Anniversary
by Joshua Triliegi April 2014 Edition of Bureau of Arts and Culture Magazine
Motion pictures that are created at the end of a decade tend to encapsulate, envelope and regurgitate that time and place. Sometimes, they throw the entire experience back at us, either in celebration of it, or, as is often the case, rebelling entirely against the values of that time and of that place. These films, for some reason or another are important, they are the ' punctuation mark ' at the end of a stylistic sentence. Sometimes a simple period, other times a question mark & rather effectively, every now and then, the ever defiant: exclamation point. Looking at the decades in a linear fashion allows the viewer to put in perspective the decisions being made by the film maker.In 1939, films like Gone with The Wind, The Wizard of OZ and The Hunchback of Notre Dame expressed a certain something of the decade that was. In 1949, it was, All The Kings Men, The Third Man & Twelve O'Clock High. In 1959, North by Northwest, Imitation of Life and Some Like It Hot. In 1969, Midnight Cowboy, Easy Rider, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid. 1979 gave us: Apocalypse Now, Being There and Norma Rae. In 1989, we were given films such as Sex, Lies and Videotape, Batman and My Left Foot.
The film we are discussing is Spike Lee's, opus feature, Do The Right Thing. An exclamation point film that entirely coughs up the indulgent artifice that we now know as The Nineteen Eighties. A completely retro progressive time and place, a decade for the so-called white man. Conservative values, commercial qualities and a return to the 1950's America, which, deep down inside, was a bigstep backwards from the cultural and ethnic advances made in the 1960' s and 1970' s, especially for a young African American such as Mr. Spike Lee. An out-spoken Brooklynite through and through. The son of a Jazz purist, raised in the 1960's and 1970 's in New York City. The center of defiant cultural celebration and often upheaval. "I was raised in a household where we were all encouraged by my parents to speak your mind.", the film maker admits and indeed in Do The Right Thing that is exactly what most, if not every, character does. A 'speaking of the minds' often leads to some form of friction, and with the melting pot experience, the mix of origins, ethnicities, values and the long hot summer in the city, friction leads to fire and fire leads to ashes, with ashes, there is closure and then a rebirth.
Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing is indeed an American Landmark Film. I recall viewing the film on opening weekend with a rather light skinned audience on Wilshire boulevard in West LA, by the end, there was confusion. By the time the ever famous trashcan scene ensued, even I was a bit embroiled in a recognization [ new word ] of values. Did Mookie, the pizza delivering protagonist quote unquote : Do The Right Thing ? We had to ask ourselves, what happened here ? A man was killed, there was an injustice, no one in authority seemed to care, there was a 'cover up' of the facts. There was a history of this type of act and someone, somewhere, somehow needed to make a statement, Mookie, [ played here by Spike Lee] made the statement. Even to this day, it can be debated, wether Sal' s Pizzeria should have bit the dust. Which is exactly what makes this film important, All too often, films answer the questions that we as humans need to ponder. Original, author style films don't answer questions, they ask questions, leaving the viewer to delve, wonder and eventually ask and maybe, even answer, for themselves, what the right thing to do actually is. For a film to stand the test of time, there are several criterion. Does the film hold up to audiences today? Does the film still speak to any social truth or endearing value ? Does the film encapsulate a time and a place as a historical document which is worth preserving ? Yes. Yes. Yes. Do The Right Thing is not a 'perfect ' film, in terms of balance or so-called structure, or narration, but it is a very original, truthful and heartfelt film with a certain 'energy' that is difficult to describe here.
The film has a visual style not unlike, West Side Story, with rich colors, costumes, ensemble cast choruses & of course the clashing of cultures on the streets of New York City. African, Italian, Puerto Rican, Asian and indeed White or Anglo Americans vying for their own space to live, to walk, to inhabit in equal parts. Add to that rules, mob mindset and one long hot summer and you have a great drama with many touches of humor, slice of life moments and heroic situations: Such as Da Mayor saving the life of a young boy recklessly crossing the street. Spike Lee has Woody Allen on his left: humor, love of women, family story telling & a 'do it your own way' style. On his right, he has Martin Scorsese : bold visual style, muscular camera movements, music appreciation & a 'this is the way it really is' style. But no one can say he is overly influenced by any director, writer or film maker. Nor is he the 'first African American director' to have success. Spike often sites Charles Burnett and Gordon Parks, but like any great director or artist, Spike Lee has an appreciation for film history . In that way, he is like Mr. Scorsese, a sort of encyclopedic like mind for his craft, it's rich history and why we love, make and celebrate the art of film making. The question rises here as to wether Spike Lee would have received the kind of accolades that he did not receive [ at Canne Fim Festival ] for instance, had he not played the character of Mookie, the person who is ultimately responsible for the demise of Sal' s Pizzeria ? The connection audience members make on a visceral level can often effect the general judgement on a larger level. Mr. Lee is a writer and a director playing a fictional character in a movie that he has written and directed.
Something that Spike has in common with Woody Allen, another influence on Lee, specifically his first film, She's Gotta Have It. Film makers take what they know, film history, life experience, social concerns, story telling and when they step up to the hoop, walk into the ring, take the bat, the utilize the skills from previous players / directors and give it their all. So what if Spike Lee is outspoken ? Since when has that become such a big deal, to speak your mind ? Is that not what we are all about here in America ? Did we not, originally enter onto this beautiful continent, to have a few more freedoms? And did we recently forget that, also brought on ships involuntarily, were a group of people who had no say in many of the goings on here ? That after a few hundred years we finally have an African American President ? And at this years Oscar ceremony Best Picture went to Twelve years a Slave directed by Steve McQueen, an African-English director. Sometimes it takes
an outsider to tell the inside truth. So Spike Lee is outspoken, good for him, what's your problem ? Cat got your tongue ? People often tell me that I am too outspoken. Well, I guess I am in good company then. My people went through a form of slavery, years of oppression, even an attempt at extinction. Spike Lee's films are inspiring, energetic, funny, outrageous, risky, engaging, sexy, socially relevant, even dangerous: that's the stuff of good story telling.
If Spike Lee had been Latin, Asian, or Swedish & still made the films he had made, this appreciation of Do The Right Thing would still remain the same, with the exception of the previous paragraph. I did not graduate from film school, though I am a film maker, screenplay writer & film critic or historian, if you will. One of my teachers, informally speaking, is Spike Lee. His books & diaries published after making, She's Gotta Have It, his first feature, were instrumental in helping me to overcome any obstacles that ever stood in my way. For many of us, his career is our career, someone from the so-called neighborhood made it happen, one of us got to tell our stories. Do The Right Thing is turning Twenty-Five this year and it is time for a new generation to discover this film and ask themselves those important questions. The film also has a cast of actors that will go on to have careers that include: Samuel L. Jackson, Rosie Perez, John Turturro, Martin Lawrence, Roger Guenveur Smith and Giancarlo Esposito. Many already had stalwart creds such as Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, John Savage and Danny Aiello . Another way to test a film for longevity factor is: Do the characters still exist in your minds eye ? Where are they today, when you think of them ? Mookie, Da Mayor, Senior Love Daddy, Buggin Out, Smiley, Tina, Sal, Vito, Mother Sister, Jade, Ahmad, Ella, Sonny and much more importantly, Radio Raheem, where would Radio Raheem be today ? That is the real question. Do The Right Thing doesn't claim to answer that question. You have to answer it. Like Da Mayor tells Mookie early in the film, "… Always Do The Right Thing.", Mookie answers back, "Thats It, I got it, I'm Gone."
ACE GALLERY in Beverly Hills The CIRCLES / WORDS Exhibit
by Joshua Triliegi April 2014 Edition of Bureau of Arts and Culture Magazine
So, we got all excited about this exhibit, planned an interview with the Artist and no matter how serious we were, it, uhmm, just didn't happen, due to scheduling.In It' s place, is one of those ART ESSAY that we are known for, you know the kind, rambling, searching, reaching for some form of truth telling through Art, etc ... Gary Lang's Press kit tells us that he was born in Los Angeles in 1950, Lang attended California Institute of the Arts. He received an MFA from Yale University in 1975, and a Fulbright / Hayes Travel and Research Grant to live in Barcelona for two years prior to settling in New York City. Lang has had more than seventy solo exhibitions in the US, Austria, France, Japan, Netherlands & Spain. He lives and works in Southern California.
Matt Gleason, One of L.A.'s Independent Art critics sites that, " Painter Gary Lang has enjoyed a celebrated career worthy of his keen talent. Free of the burden of conceptual angst that plagues most artists of our era, he penetrates optical space in his large circular paintings that defy the nihilism of both Duchamp's mechanical spinning wheels and Jasper Johns' targets. Far from [being] mechanized, these are exercises in concentration and close inspection sees an ever - present hand in the almost precise brushstrokes."
Ah yes, very well put my compadre. In other words, Cool art! I like IT! Bravo!
" The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, to be surprised out of our propriety, to lose our sempiternal memory and to do something without knowing how or why; in short to draw a new circle. "
- Ralph Waldo Emerson. (1803–1882).
Yes, even Waldo agrees, that is, if you can find Waldo. We were looking to interview Mr. Lang, but like Waldo, he was, unavailable for comment.
" A circle is a simple shape of Euclidean geometry that is the set of all points in
a plane that are at a given distance from a given point, the centre. " - Wikipedia
I see, I see, o. k . Were getting somewhere.
circle ˈsərkəl| (abbr.: cir. or circ. ) noun 1. a round plane figure whose boundary (the circumference) consists of points equidistant from a fixed point (the center).
- Webster's Dictionary
Yes, Yes, that's all true, but, What About T h e A R T ?
"You have noticed that everything an Indian does in a circle and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles and everything tries to be round. " - Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux 1863-1950
We have gathered that Gary Lang was born in 1950, the year that Black Elk moved past this world & yet, there is a small connection here, let's continue. Don't lets get lost just yet, stay with me here. "When you are excited about something," Lang says, "I think you should take that very seriously." Mr. Lang stated to Art Ltd Magazine in an interview from his Ojai Studio last year. Now, I want you to remember that statement, for it will be used again in various ways very soon.And indeed, I agree wholeheartedly, that is why you will find his work & show at ACE Gallery in Beverly Hills on The Cover of last months BUREAU of ARTS + CULTURE Magazine on line.
If you want to belong to the Art Mafia on the West Coast, You go to Cal Arts & indeed Gary Lang is a made man, so to speak. He has been in the game a very long time, working with lateral lines, triangles & circles for some amount of time. Visit the ACE Gallery and their site for visual examples or simply view the credit pages in this edition of BUREAU of Arts and Culture magazine to see that The Circle works are indeed powerful, inspiring, sometimes very exacting & other times loose, allowing for us to see the actual brushstrokes. As, Janet Koplos, my senior art critic from Art in America mentioned in 2010, "… each line is composed of pulses of color that reveal the depletion and reloading of his brush." Yes, that too, is very true.
Please Joshua, you say to yourself, tells us about the art, explain as you so often do what it means, think for us, please, pretty please. Tell us what to think. Tell us what you think. Ruminate on how and why it is important. Give us something we can smile about. Help us sell this stuff. Contribute to the canon of great Art critics who all agree that Gary Lang is brilliant. We did that already, he's on the cover. And yes, of course he is brilliant, but so are you, so am I. We are brilliant and life is good. So, then why did Gary Lang get the cover for March Edition of The magazine? And here is the part where I give in & describe his, my own and yours too: Brilliance. Because Gary Lang is focused, because he is disciplined, because he has been doing this thing we call ART for decades and mostly, to be honest, because I like the ART. This current work does have a relationship with those I have quoted & many I have not. Circles are what we live on, well, spheres anyway. Some believe that within each being, each human, you will find an area of, lets say, 'energy' commonly called a CHAKRA. A sort of zone or area that often correlates with an ephemeral energy within the person. I believe, without speaking in depth with Mr Lang, that he has tapped into a fine representation of what we might call a chakra with his ongoing CIRCLE Series. View the books by Leadbeater of the 1930s, to see what I mean. Standing alone in the gallery, in front of a Gary Lang Circle can seem dizzying. The works are alive, they throb, they orb, they breath in and out. Not like a silly optical art experiment, but organically, they move. The retina of ones eye [ not a reference to ONE the group, just 'one's' as in a person ] actually has to do some serious work to deal with the amount of color information that the viewer is dealing with. Mr. Lang has done this with lateral stripes and again with triangles, but the circles, take the cake, as it were.
Years ago, I recall standing in front of a medium sized painting [8 foot] as compared to say his eleven foot paintings currently on view. The effect was nothing less than mesmerizing. His current works are iconic to the degree that, like the work of Artist Ron Riehel, they are so lovingly crafted, they could substitute for 'religious icons from another planet', to steal a line from my own description of Mr. Riehel's show from 1996. Artists today, must find something they are very serious about and be excited about it, to flip Lang's advice. He has done just that with this Art.Which brings us back to circles. Native Americans, Mathematicians, Scientists, and if there is a god, which there might very well be & I don't want to turn off any readers that don't believe there is a god, whoever and whatever contributed to the great creation of this planet & indeed the universe, somehow, wether out of design or out of convenience or out of necessity, utilized the sphere/circle to make it happen. So did Gary Lang, Jasper Johns, Richard Long, Newell Harry and me and you and just about every one that we know has drawn a circle and enjoyed doing it. Kepler obsessed over circles in his search to define the orbits of the planets, which led to Newton, which led to Einstein, its endless, the work we do, based on the work somebody else has done.
So then, what is this thing called ART ? Why do we do it ? I cant answer for Gary Lang, he was unavailable for comment prior to my deadline. I will say this, Art: painting, sculpture printmaking, the application and craft of expressing ones self is something we humans need to do, it feels good to do it, and if we did it correctly, it makes others either feel good, or at least understand what it was we were feeling, and in some cases, the effect is sorrow, pain, sadness,because that is the life's experience, that is the human experience, that is the gamut of emotions we go through on this planet, this very round planet that from a distance, looks like a circle. This particular example of creating Circles is much more than cool, it is partially undefinable in text. In other words, I can't actually tell you how damn cool this stuff is, you have to visit the Art Gallery yourself, see it for yourself, feel it for yourself, have your own experience. For that is what ART is really all about, your own personal experience with another persons work. The great New York Painter & World Class Filmmaker Julian Schnabel describes often, the need to 'see the work in person', so true, so true, in this case especially true. Art is kinda weird like that, so are those that make the stuff, that's why we do it, because, we are never quite sure how it is going to end up upon completion. Not unlike this extremely weird & unorthodox art essay. Which is clearly not as pretty as a Gary Lang painting. Not as focused as a Richard Long Sculpture, Totally missed the bulls eye that Jasper Johns painted so vividly. Clearly, not nearly as funny as a Newell Harry work of art. Possibly, just as confusing as an Einstein Theory. Though, through it all, I took Mr. Gary Lang's advice, " When you are excited about something, I think, you should take that very seriously." End of Discussion. End of Essay. As Shakespeare's King Lear might say, " The Wheel has turned full circle." See The Art Exhibit at ACE GALLERY by Mr. Gary Lang.
BUREAU BOOKS OSCAR HIJUELOS
An Appreciation : Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of Mambo Kings Sings Songs of Love has completed his last Conga Solo
by Joshua Triliegi April 2014 Edition of Bureau of Arts and Culture Magazine
The day that I first came across a copy of Oscar Hijuelos' s Novel "Mambo Kings Sing Song's of Love" was the day I had decided that I wanted to be a novelist. I had published poems, written songs, created short stories and had a screenplay considered as a finalist at the Sundance Writers workshop. I had never written a novel, but upon reading Mambo Kings, there was a passion, an honesty, a very real & raw intensity that described a world, an experience, a view into a private and personal history that, to me, is absolutely perfect. It was as if his story about latin jazz musicians from Cuba, spoke directly to me. It said, this is a world of men and women, music and silence, love and hate, loss and gain, pain and pleasure, rejection and acceptance, power and peasants, talent and ownership, life and death. I changed the direction of my entire life because of Oscar Hijuelos. While working comfortably as an artist, furniture designer, interior designer and sometime art department assistant for film, I left it all behind and moved to Milwaukee Wisconsin to research my own novel based on real life events in my own family heritage. I had been conducting interviews with family members for over a decade, but until I had found Mambo Kings, I had no idea ' how ' to go about compiling, expressing and telling the stories I was being told. Mr Hijuelos' broad, colorful, expansive and passionate storytelling style became a road map for me. I must have read and re read his novel several times a year for several years. Whenever, I got stuck, lost inspiration or needed that extra boost, it always pushed me ahead. In Nineteen Ninety-Nine, while living in and researching the history of Milwaukee and the Italian immigrant experience, Mr Hijuelos was being interviewed on national public radio. I called into the show and we spoke about his book and how it had inspired me. I was elated to speak publicly to one of my mentors. The show moderator asked me what it was that I liked about Mr Hijuelos' work and I tried my best to describe it. Mr Hijuelos, upon hearing that I too had a new story in development, wanted to know what it was that made my own story so special and we talked at length about our families. It was a pinnacle moment for me and I recorded it for future posterity. Now, sadly, we have lost Oscar Hijuelos to the other world. The world where people go when they leave this one. In the Mambo Kings novel, the loss and death of a brother stings the life of another, leaving a giant absence, where there once was partnership, friendship, collaboration, union. For an entire page and a half, Oscar describes a drum solo that precedes the death of his character's heart beat ending. It is a fabulous description of a crucial moment in a man's life that is indulgent, detailed, imaginative & glorious. Mr Hijuelos's prose style is so in tune with his culture, that of the immigrant experience: the food, the music, the fashion, the passion, the way of talking, walking, thinking. His sentences are way beyond what writing school teachers would describe as ' run - ons '. Hijuelos breaks all the rules and it works. Like a drum solo that goes on and on and on, he had a way of keeping us on the dance floor late into the night. I often stayed up late into the early hours reading the Mambo Kings.
I am still working on my novel about the early italian immigrants of the mid west and am still in debt to Mr Hijuelos. He would have been the perfect author to provide a proverbial book cover commentary. Am I sad that he is gone from this world ? No. Why not ? Well, when a man reaches his goals, when he stretches beyond his wildest imagination and achieves a certain level of professionalism, we can only know that through that expression, that work, that craft, that art, that all is well, in this world and the next. Mr, Hijuelos went on to write about other situations, but for me, and for many, his masterpiece, with which he received a Pulitzer prize in the early Nineteen Eighties, was absolute. It describes the life of Cubans, the life of musicians, the inner lives of men, passion and growing old in such a way that it is a living document of a time and a place. That is what a writer needs to do: tell it to us in a way that we can see, hear, feel, taste, smell, touch. Take us there, bring us back, help us understand where you are and get us to join you there. Mr Hijuelos' The Mambo Kings Sing Songs of Love is indeed a classic novel that achieve's all of this and more. His style is detailed, abundant and even indulgent, as if he is sitting at the table and can't help but heap upon his plate more of the great cuban food and rum, or play the album one more time or tell the story of a long lost love just one more time. It is a painful story of leaving those you love behind you, to, ' Make it ' in America. The price we pay for love, success, expression. An aching world of yearning for possibilities in the big city and finding that the politics of success are just as important as the talent it takes to get you there. There is a major motion picture that hints at the characters & may help to familiarize the situations, but it should lead you directly to the prose.I recently interviewed Miles Perlich, a radio host aficionado of latin jazz & couldn't help but mention Oscar Hijuelos and Mambo Kings during the interview, as it is a great reference to the period, the art, the world of latin jazz. If you have not read Mambo Kings, put it on your list. Mr Hijuelos's use or employment of the asterisk is used so often and so indulgently, that it probably surprised publishers and readers. Not unlike the way that Cubans, in a heated conversation, will often digress into an explanation of a term, an idea or a phrase. The asterisk does just that, with a side story peppered here and there throughout. I found the device to be clever, funny and spot-on regarding the immigrant experience, where, just about every cultural detail needs a bit of explaining to whoever is listening. I have learned directly from my contemporary mentors in literature: Raymond Carver for honesty, Richard Russo for overall structure, Joyce Carol Oates for descriptive detail, Jack Kerouac for spiritual inspiration, George Sand for a sort of defiance, Hunter S. Thompson for insanity, Sherman Alexie for heritage, William Kennedy for cultural truth, Charles Bukowski for simplicity, Alice Walker for patient plotting, but no one artist has taught me more about passion on the page, than Mr. Hijuelos & Mambo Kings Sing Songs of Love. As a writer, as a reader, I can honestly say that I love the afore mentioned writers. There is a long list of performers, writers, directors, artists, architects, photographers and philosophers that I could compose, but these are the writers that come to mind. While recently creating a new novel, by simply writing a chapter a day for three weeks straight and publishing each chapter, each day, these were the writers that came to mind. The project is entitled, " They Call it The City of Angels ". I owe a simple thank you to them all. As for my longterm project, inspired by Mr Hijuelos, that is an altogether different type of work and there will be a thank you within the pages of its publication. Until then, Gracias*, Oscar Hijuelos.
* Gracias means Thank You in Spanish a Derivation of Gracious / gracious |ˈgrāSHəs| adjective 1. courteous, kind, and pleasant: 2. showing divine grace: 3. a polite epithet used of royalty or their acts: the accession of Her gracious Majesty.
OJO Performs and The Definition of What ART IS
by Joshua Triliegi April 2014 Edition of Bureau of Arts and Culture Magazine
How do we define what art is ? Do we look to Webster's dictionary to do so ? Or do we define Art by what moves us ? ART is an ever changing element of the world we live in . Every now and then a certain artist or medium or group will come along and change the definition of what it is. French Cave Painters knew they were artists , they had no website, they had no canvas' , they had no cameras , they had none of the tools that later artists like Da Vinci, would employ to further what it is that artists do for society.And yet their work still stands the test of time. Through the years artists like Man Ray would come along and shrug off what Da Vinci and his scope contributed , and at the same time , make his own mark. Female artists like the late Diane Arbus, Eva Hesse, Camille Claudel and Frida Kahlo would blow the doors open on their lovers, and other male contemporaries whom thought that it was exclusively a boys club. I look around my world to ask myself the definition of art. I see it in the birds song , I see it when the light hits the face of an 88 year old woman, I see it when the sun rises, I hear it when the train sounds its horn , when the harbor boats wail their fog horn & when James Brown sings, " This is a man's world, but it wouldn't be nothing , nothiiiiiiiinnnnnnng, without a woman or a girl ." I was elated to attend and experience a performance by OJO .
I was told by their fans that an article in my favorite magazine ANP Quarterly by Ed Templeton & Aaron Rose had described the groups work properly, but I wanted to write this article without the influence of my contemporaries. Some in the audience had seen OJO over five times, that was encouraging . Their own descriptions of the group included the words : Incredible , Important , Inventive . The audience was mostly people in their twenties with the occasional thirty or forty something , maybe a few teens , even a child of about one year old had attended. The gallery was also exploring it's first year in our community and everyone was pretty happy to wish them well and light the candles on this one year party. We enter the basement and are immediately transported to a beatnik , basement tapes, black historical secret meeting vibe. There is a sense of high wire act, pre - Barnum and Bailey, sword swallower style heeby - jeeby's in the air . Live art performance is a bit like making love, were their to pleasure others as well as uh, you know, get off on the experience ourselves and maybe to have a great memory of the sensual variety that will last a lifetime in our memory, in our psyche , in our body and one that will set the standard for the next time we will meet our lover, and or create a ceiling which can be raised for the next interlude or session. In the center of the room sits a table with more wires & computer electronic equipment than one would expect from an airport security team or the sound and lighting crew of a major motion picture, our mattress if you will, if you wont , too bad for you. It's an impressive rectangle of technology, several participants have their work station, they are busy creating a wall of sound, there is an unspoken conductor at the helm, he sends messages like a coach will send a message to the pitcher and catcher in a baseball game. He knows his team, he knows how to get a home run out of them, they are playing on someone else's field , this aint no home team stadium, they're not goofing at a training game , this is big league night and he is not F*#%ing around, uhm, what I mean is, he's taking this as a very serious game and we can all sense it. Someone's got to keep it real here.
A man steps up to the mic, he reads us a piece of literature of the historical variety, a cuban history lesson and description of the suicide of a cuban radio man whose death goes unnoticed due to a commercial break in the radio stations schedule. The man at the table pushes a button, turns a few knobs pulls a level or two and the cuban speech is repeated in strange and manipulated pronunciations, some times repeated slower than the original delivery and other times speeded up to create a new way of hearing the speech. the players add a touch of techno stimulation, someone strums an electric guitar , were onto to something here . The foreplay has begun , I am already realizing that this could be something to remember , the room heats up , I take a sip from my Tecate, their slogan is : con character ! Damn straight. I am told that one of the founding members spent some time in Mexico City : Orale! A young woman reads some text about Mork from Ork, spaceships and some directions on how to deal with some personal dilemma. Again the coach touches the appropriate buttons and her statement comes out faster and repeated like the mantra of a wicked little virgin , submitting to the process voluntarily, but also somehow mad that this will never happen again for once experienced , all is lost.A man steps up and reads from a book about sex and mexican literature through the eyes of a twisted blasphemous tempest beast .
"The reading is dangerous , bolstering , insulting , provocative to say the least , uh , now they really have our attention , no one leaves the room. Except the lady with the child."
The reading is dangerous , bolstering , insulting , provocative to say the least , uh , now they really have our attention , no one leaves the room. Except the lady with the child. A woman steps up with an inspiring text on how to start over : living , eating and believing again. Again it is transformed via the electronic mattress in the center of the room . A sound orgy begins to permeate the basement, another man on guitar chimes in, the pace is quickening , so is our pulse. " Something is happening here but you don't know what it is do you Mr Jones? " Another reader steps up , at this point the actual text matters less than the way its beginning to meld together , we are in the middle of a happening , Andy Kaufman' s ghost is standing in the corner, same with Mary Shelley and even William Burroughs hovers close at hand . " This aint no party . This aint no disco . This aint no fooling around. ", to quote Mi Amigo Senior Burn. The sound rises , the performers meld, the audience is lost in the Rhythm. ( Check out the spelling of the word : rhythm , isn't that strange ? ) Now we are all lost in a cacophony of maddening & enjoining vibrations that only art can provide, this is indeed happening and everyone either knows it or is going to know it the next time they try to repeat this type of thing. Don't try this at home . I am not an artist or art critic, but I play one on TV, yeah right, whatever. The guitar player begins to pass out little boxes of children's toy poppers that when thrown on the ground make a small explosion of sorts : Pop ! Pop ! Pop !
Warhol' s ghost is now clearly visible behind the microphone, he's surprisingly emotional and in a post coital vibe. The audience goes wild with the poppers, the men with guitars all strap on and a trio of strings begin to grind at our ears we are elated. Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and the spirit of San Fran Beat Poets have now entered the arena via the psychic transportation device at the center of the room. Joshua the synth rider reads a letter written to him in 1998 through a kind of Vox Box, no one understands a word he's saying, no one cares because it feels so f@#*ing good by this time that he might as well be howling joyful, ejaculative like enjoyments from the starship enterprise as Scotty beams me up & Spock tries to explain to the Captain that this experience was highly illogical. Jack Nicholson speaking Robert Townsend's words come to mind as I walk down Broadway toward the bus stop, " Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown." But I won't forget it . I think of a book I saw a man reading the other day. I think it was called, ' Making Love to The Chupacabra '. Yeah, that's what just happened. Someone just made love to the Chupacabra & this world will never be the same again. That's what art is .
LECTURES ON ART
Performance Artist Paul Mc Carthy on PAUL THEK
Paul McCarthy is a pretty strange dude, or so it would seem to the casual viewer of his art, his performances, his sculptures and the photographs that document his body of work. Though his appearance at Hammer Lectures just goes to show how normal some of the 'strange artists' are: David Lynch for instance. Just try and fathom what they are up to, I dare you.
Paul McCarthy gave a lecture regarding the work of Paul Thek, a deceased artist whom had a retrospect at the Hammer. Instead of focusing solely on Thek as some academics might do, Mr McCarthy gave us an all around conversation of his view on Mr.Thek, his contemporaries and his own canon of work. All of it is pretty ' out there ' to the average art viewer and even to the average artist. Let alone those on the edges of the envelope, and believe me, McCarthy sits where the envelope has already ripped. In fact, he is out of the envelope by several miles. We were all distracted by Mr.McCarthy' s presence, thought process and general focus as an accepted mad man of the art world. In the same way that a lecture by Salvador Dali on say Miro or Klee would be extremely distracting, regardless of how focused McCarthy / Dali is, was and need be when describing another artist' s work.
It is pretty hard to talk about art, artists or the art world without adding your own experiences as an active individual in that world. To do less would be a lie. Or, at best a truth untold. In the same way that the element of say, water, cannot describe what dirt is without explaing how the two elements effect one another. Add to that an able audience or Air ( third element ) for instance and you have yourself an ecosystem. We learned quite a bit about Mr. Thek & his body of work through the years, his transformations, and were still left with enough room to discover for ourselves what to feel about his contributions to art. We were not told what to think about, how to think about, when to think about Paul Thek. We were shown images, given comparisons and left to our own senses to muddle through the facts. In other words, no one solved the mysteries, in fact the mystery was created and we were all left to figure it out for ourselves. Like a good David Lynch Film. Add to that the strange interludes that Mr. Paul McCarthy provided us into his own journey as an artist, which was equally befuddling, bewildering and bewitching. All I can say is this lecture made me curious about Thek, McCarthy and how, why and where is modern art headed ? The audience was equally estranged by the original experience.
Not a single person left the lecture before it ended and very few seats were available when it started. More often than not, a cavalcade of questions and a basic back & forth between audience and lecturer will take place upon the completion of these events. Most in the audience have major degrees in art, architecture, criticism, and in general are quite an opinionated crowd of intellectuals in their own right. Surely, many have something clever to say about art , artists and the ever elusive art world. Never have I seen or heard, in this case, the kind of silent pause that occurred when Mr McCarthy abruptly completed his lecture and vaguely invited the audience to comment or ask a Question. Everyone & I mean, everyone sat completely quiet. Satisfied ? Amazingly so. A room full of silence. What could anyone say ? To completely silence the Entire Auditorium was incredible. A question ? Just F#+&ing try to ask a question after viewing that.
"Never have I seen or heard, in this case, the kind of silent pause that occurred when Mr McCarthy abruptly completed his lecture and vaguely invited the audience to comment or ask a Question. Everyone & I mean, everyone sat completely quiet. Satisfied ? Amazingly so. A room full of silence. What could anyone say ?"
There was nothing to say. McCarthy speaks in a language that we have yet to figure out, like graffiti from the planet Saturn. It was completely revealing in the same style of his performances. We were left in total awe and confusion. What the hell is art ? How does society deal with it ? Support it ? Absorb it ? Mr. Paul McCarthy is way, way, way out of the envelope. He's found a way to deal with this world and I dare this world to even try to deal with him. Fat chance babe. Just try it. Or as it states on the late great L.A. writer Charles Bukowski' s gravestone , ' Don't even try ' . That might be better advice for those whom seek to know the mysteries of art & the art world. Don't even try. Do check out the works of Paul Thek, Paul McCarthy and while your at it, David Lynch, Charles Bukowski and the rest of us on the edge(s). Just don't try to figure us out, or if indeed you do, soon thereafter, prepare for silence.
THE HOUSE THAT TRANE BUILT:
STORY of IMPULSE RECORDS
By ASHLEY KAHN on W. W. NORTON PUBLICATIONS
Review By Joshua A. TRILIEGI / BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE
Most music fans know who John Coltrane is, and what he did for jazz music, for saxophone players and new music spirituality. What you may not be aware of is that John Coltrane & his version of ' My Favorite Things ' in Nineteen - Sixty - Five, helped to create an entire label that went on to reinvent and support a bevy of new jazz artists. The impulse label, which was originally fueled by funds from ABC & hits by Ray Charles, such as, One Mint Julep, went on to become a leading label with an original look, style and feel. Album covers that opened up & told a story with extended liner notes, helping to create a dialogue and intellectual take on a lot of great new music that helped to fuel new jazz movements.
" Kahn is like a Cool Daddy professor who simply loves the Music, the Vibe, the History of Jazz … "
The story of Impulse records is an interesting one. Ashley Kahn' s research, phrasing style and flashback / flash forward writing, suits the subject well. Plenty of photographs, samples of albums and an incredibly thorough discography with just about every album, release date & important phase the label went through. Mr. Kahn has written extensively on Jazz with his books on Miles Davis as well as John Coltrane's infamous Love Supreme. Sonny Rollins, Chico Hamilton, Yusuf Lateef, Elvin Jones, Tom Scott, Charlie Mingus, Coleman Hawkins & Pharaoh Sanders are just a few of the artists that followed Coltrane on Impulse and also honored him with nods to his influence, musically, technically and sometimes simply naming their songs after some type of Coltrane influence.
Kahn is like a cool daddy professor who simply loves the music, the vibe, the history of jazz so much, that the reader, his students, soon find themselves steeped in fun facts that make up what we call jazz. From the inception of tunes, recording, players, dates and places, all bases are covered in this comprehensive jazz companion. From the time John Coltrane came to the label and into his leaving the planet. The story reveals itself as important and informative. Alice Coltrane proudly picked up the mantle and carried it throughout her lifetime.
" The Jazz Solo is Never the Same after John Coltrane, Neither are We. This is a good companion to that legacy and to a very important Jazz Music Label."
As the book reveals in Chapter six, " Died " was not in Alice Coltrane' s vocabulary. You got that right. John Coltrane may have left the planet. But with Impulse, his legacy, his fans, his family and books such as this one, as well as Kahn' s other works: the Coltrane legend is indeed alive and well. Highly suggested for those who wish to learn more about a great contributor to jazz music and the vocabulary of the great American Arts.
With titles such as A Love Supreme, Ascension, Om and Cosmic Music, Coltrane completely transformed jazz into a totally spiritual idea. From 1962, until his untimely passing, Coltrane recorded albums and songs that have yet to be resolved, understood or entirely digested by any particular critic, audience or movement. He was exorcising his demons, inviting in his angels & taking what we considered as a pastime into a full on religious experience. The jazz solo is never the same after John Coltrane, neither are we. This is a good companion to that legacy and to a very important Jazz Music Label.
MORRISON HOTEL GALLERY
A world-class gallery with Classic Rock & Roll Images that tell the history of Music, here in the States and abroad. Jagger, Miles, Janis, Dylan, and of course Morrison & The Doors, to name a few. Although the catalog is centered in the Rock genre, there is also a strong representation of sports related images and photographers. Rep-ing over a hundred world class photographers. Were pretty lucky to have this imagery here in Hollywood and what better place than the lovely atmosphere of The Sunset Marquis ? Full of natural light, poolside glamour and a full service staff for luxury and leisure, it's a perfect fit. These days, art collectors, galleries and fans are finding new and creative ways to celebrate, sell and collect classic imagery. This gallery attracts a full turnout of interested & interesting talents, including: Julian Lennon, Gary Oldman, Billy Bob Thornton. With many of the stars in attendance being represented on the walls such as the great portrait of Billy Bob or actual photos of historical characters they have played on the screen, such as Gary Oldman' s star turn as Sid Vicious. Julian Lennon is actually curating shows from this galleries catalogue.
"Within music is a great meeting of the minds, hearts and ideas. Hollywood, the music scene, technology and the great all mighty dollar' s influence can never truly change what makes music great and that is simply: The Musicians. People just like you and I who happened to write a great phrase, a tune, a some thing or other that others felt was worth preserving."
It is refreshing to see how important these images of those we cherish & love have become. As the Music scene becomes more and more watered down, tame and politically correct, these images are a reminder that people make music. Real people, who write about life, love, loss, change, history, struggle and sometimes war and peace. Within music is a great meeting of the minds, hearts and ideas. Hollywood, the music scene, technology and the great all mighty dollar' s influence can never truly change what makes music great and that is simply: The Musicians. People just like you and I who happened to write a great phrase, a tune, a some thing or other that others felt was worth preserving. These images remind us that some of our favorite stars in Jazz and Rock & Roll were thrust into the lime light, some times unsuspecting, other times fully aware. Music is a time and a place, an ephemeral and transitory experience. The great art of the photograph reveals itself to be an extremely important component to what we now realize is a relatively impermanent and individual thing.
We may not have been in the room, on the road or at the studio with Bobby, Mick, Bowie or Sid, but we forever have a glimpse, a symbol, a record of a time that once was. On the one hand, all of this is history, on the other, here we all are, talking about projects, reflecting on people, yearning to make that connection between image, sound, the people and places that we deem important. Many of the performers in these photos are no longer with us. But when I see Miles Davis blowing on a trumpet, I can only feel that he never actually left us at all. I hear the music. I sense the cool. The wail / The pain / The joy / The suffering / The madness that it takes to dedicate your life to art. To go on tour, to leave one's family and friends behind, because you love some thing so damn much that ya got no choice but to play for the people. Life on the road is tough. Sure, there is the fun side, the parties, the fans and audience applause. But the sacrifice that goes into being a musician is most likely un-photographable. Many of the images represented here show the playful, passionate and professional side of life. Music has that special, undefinable ability to transport us to a time and a place that has long ago passed. The decades seem to disappear and suddenly there we are, once again, in the prime of our lives. One can' t help but think about, and study these photos a little deeper to realize that life is very precious and that every body, every where, whistles a tune they love or has a memory related to a favorite song. Through the magic of music we float above the mundane, the maudlin, the morose moments in life. Images and music will always have a relationship that retain a bit of mystery. In this instance, a bit of that mystery is revealed. The curtain is lifted, the stars shine and through it all, time and time again, the song remains the same.
PARIS,TEXAS at 30 YEARS
Directed by Wim Wenders Based on The Motel Chronicles Written by Sam Shepard
Starring: Natassja Kinski, Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell, Hunter Carson , Aurore Clement, John Lurie & Bernhard Wicki
Paris Texas: what a film! One of those translation projects that are the perfect blend of producing, writing and directing. So seldom does a European director truly understand the work of an American writer that he or she can take the original source material and arrive at something as epic, important and truly American as Wim Wenders did with this film. Paris, Texas is loosely based on the Motel Chronicles by Sam Shepard: writer, actor & all around influential poet, playwright, essayist. Author of The Rolling Thunder Logbook, an 'on tour' diary with Bob Dylan. Friend to Patti Smith, author of Fool for Love, True West and countless other original & important plays. Most of our readers will remember Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff, the space film that opened up an entire genre. Sam Shepard is sort of the last of the real cowboys, he is a pure root connection to the West. Mr. Shepard understands the myths, the values, The Old West and The New West. Wim Wenders understands Shepard wholeheartedly, creating a fabulous combination that works from start to finish.
"In the 1980's, if you were studying writing, acting or directing, there were three major influences & original styles in which you had to overcome: Sam Shepard, David Mamet and Charles Bukowski. If forced to add a fourth, it would have been, for me: Luis Valdez."
In the 1980's, if you were studying writing, acting or directing, there were three major influences & original styles in which you had to overcome: Sam Shepard, David Mamet and Charles Bukowski.
If forced to add a fourth, it would have been, for me: Luis Valdez. On the one hand, you could not ignore their presence, on the other hand, you had to learn what they had to offer and forge ahead to create a style and a body of work that was all your own. Not everyone in my peer group was able to overcome and or accept those lessons, very few would ever forge ahead and fewer less are even still trying to this day. This film, much like many of Shepard's plays, tracks the lives of two brothers. Not exactly Cane and Abel, though, there is a touch of that, without the harsh judgements. The film stars Harry Dean Stanton in one of his rare, serious & thoroughly leading roles as Travis, a down and way out figure of a man who crumbled, then quickly disappeared after the tragic break up of his marriage. Leaving behind a young son, who is now being raised by his brother and the brother's wife. This is a family mystery without any obvious genre's or influences to compare it. A wholly original film that was an influence on many of the film makers working in the nineteen eighties. Paris, Texas put Wenders on the map.
Natassjia Kinski plays the long lost wife to Travis and the missing mother to Hunter, their son. A completely fresh & flawless child performance, by the actor of the same name Hunter Carson, not seen on the screen since the likes of Gem & Scout in the classic film, "To Kill a Mockingbird". The film takes us from Mexico into Los Angeles & eventually into Huston, Texas, in a search for the meaning of life, relationships, love and resolution. A pitch perfect soundtrack & score by Ry Cooder [ The Havana Social Club] . Fine Art Cinematography by the master film maker Robby Mueller. Adapted to the screen by L. M. Kit Carson, who has taken the source material and transformed it, by also lifting all the textural hooks, symbols and basic symbology from the Shepard canon of works to create this masterpiece of a film. From the first frame, to the last, we are given a faded piece of Americana that one finds in Hank Williams' songs, old scrap books, sun faded photographs, classic cars, antique stores & long lost love letters. Travis slowly comes back to life, piecing together his troubled past, meeting his son after many years and finding himself in an identity crisis. As a father, a brother and a human being living in the modern world.
Dean Stockwell [ Blue Velvet ] plays the brother, Walt, who runs a billboard company. Upon their awkward & unexpected reunion, Travis excitedly exclaims, " So you're the guy who makes those… " unaware of worldly issues. Travis is a tragically poetic human, trapped in the past, a total innocent. A throwback to another time and another place, obsessed with his parents lives, myths & the legends and little known facts that some times make up our lives. Where it was that our parents first met, what daddy often said while introducing mother at parties. The past looms large in Sam Shepard's plays and here, in Paris Texas, that past is everything. "Daddy would say that momma was from Paris and he'd wait to get their reaction before saying, from Paris, ... Texas." The film picks up a certain pace, charm and bravado once Travis and his son Hunter take to the road. A beautiful and funny, heartfelt search for the woman neither has seen in several years.
The search for the love of ones life. The search for mom. The search for a broken past. The search for some kind of a resolution. Hunter and Travis bond on the road, when it comes time to call home, Travis tells Hunter, "You have to do it." And indeed he does, in a phone booth, at sunset, the call completely startles the would-be foster parents, thoroughly delighting the audience to see father and son take to the road in the great American journey in search for the future, the past, and in this case, the present. Armed with toy walkie - talkies, a vintage car and nothing more than a few memories enlivened by old super 8 movies, the duo get to know one another, father and son changing roles along the way. Hunter leads the search, while Travis drifts into a mental absentia. Eventually, the bond is forged. Father & son eventually find mom. This is pure cinematic poetry. A one time effort that could never be repeated. A French/German production filmed in America with an international cast. One of the best films made in the Nineteen Eighties Canon and possibly one of the best films about America ever made by a European Director.
BUREAU MUSIC: To Kill a Mockingbird
Elmer Bernstein's score for To Kill a Mockingbird may just be the most perfect understanding of Literature, Cinema and Musical Orchestration ever created. Mr.Bernstein, who was blacklisted, some years later, made a fabulous comeback with, of all things, his score for John Landis's Animal House. By pulling great musical stunts as a straight man to Landis' pranks. Remember the score to that film ? Heroic like anthems, every time Belushi and his cohorts take on the conservative views of The University. It worked wonderfully and Mr Bernstein was back in business again. I recall meeting Elmer Bernstein at The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, where he presented and discussed To Kill a Mockingbird in - depth. It was quite an evening. A wonderful man. Not just his music, not just his understanding of the human drama, nor his ability to forgive an industry that turned it's back on him, but the man himself. He was a winner and after all these years that score still rings true to me and to millions of cinema lovers around the world. Most folks agree that the book written by Harper Lee and the film by Robert Mulligan and Alan Pakula are incredible. But why ? The acting, yes, quite amazing with performances by two incredible children actors. And of course the apex of Gregory Peck's craft as actor, humanist, artist. But it is indeed the music. The opening theme, a sweeping and steady mid west warmth reminiscent of Mr Bernstein's early influences and one of his mentors: Aaron Copland. Copland encouraged the young musician based on his improvisations and suggested teachers, courses and a direction that led to more creativity.
Elmer Bernstein's was a part of a world where, if you were interested in the arts, that meant every facet: he studied acting, dance and performed on Broadway as a child. He was recognized as a painter early on & even approached Clifford Odets on lessons in writing fiction. For over a decade he was a concert pianist and some years later taught at USC's Thornton School of Music. He composed over 200 themes for Television and film and also created some great music for the experimental films of Charles and Ray Eames. He also worked with Martin Scorsese more than a few times. And after his score of Animal house, became a regular for scoring comedies such as Ghostbusters, Airplane! , Stripes and The Blues Brothers. Elmer talked about his inspiration for the score to To Kill A Mockingbird and how he wanted to pierce the imagination of the child mind. What would a child play ? Listening for a simple melody to draw upon. Especially his theme for the foreboding character of Boo Radley, played simplistically by a young Robert Duvall. Keeping the score simple was Mr Bernstein's entire approach to creating the impetus for the melodies and later building them into orchestrations that simply lift us above the earth and or break our hearts. The gentleness, the drama, the curiosity, the fun & the maddening injustices that the world provides, so well presented musically.
" With Mockingbird, I'd read the book. Robert Mulligan and I were old friends, before we even shot a frame. " He goes on to explain, "Aaron Copland was my biggest single musical influence. Apart from my teacher, he was the first person to hear anything I wrote. Copland was good friends with my teacher who took me to meet him in his apartment. I was 12. Copland was 30, but not yet famous. My teacher made me play for him, asking if he thought I had any talent. Let's give him some lessons and find out! ", he replied. That's really how my composition career started. "
Imagine that you are given a Pulitzer Prize winning novel and told that it is your job to conjure what it sounds like ? Imagine what these words sound like. To pull, out of thin air, sounds, melodies, orchestrations, themes that represent what a classic book might sound like, that's quite a task. Film composers do it daily. Bernstein employs the flute, violin, harp, clarinet, oboe and strings. For a full review in complete detail, check out the work of Craig Lysy whose done a wonderful job of explaining the score in detail and had this to say about the music, "The main lyrical theme is a masterpiece cue that gains Bernstein immortality. It is timeless and in my opinion takes it place in film score lore as one of the most beautiful and memorable themes ever composed." I couldn't agree more. Heres a link : http://moviemusicuk.us/2010/11/06/to-kill-a-mockingbird-elmer-bernstein/
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD Soundtrack Track Listing:
Main Title (3:19) / Remember Mama (1:07)/ Atticus Accepts the Case/Roll in the Tire (2:05)
Creepy Caper/Peek-a-Boo (4:09) / Ewell’s Hatred (3:30) / Jem’s Discovery (3:46)
Tree Treasure (4:22) / Lynch Mob (3:03) / Guilty Verdict (3:09) / Ewell Regret It (2:10)
Footsteps in the Dark (2:07) / Assault in the Shadows (2:25) / Boo Who? (2:59)
End Title (3:25) / Running Time: 41 minutes 57 seconds
Music composed and conducted by Elmer Bernstein. Performed by The Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Featured musical soloists; Penny Haydock, John Grant, Edward Paling, Pauline Dowse, John Clark, John Cushing, Stephane Rancourt and Christophe Sauniere. Recorded and mixed by Jonathan Allen. Album produced by Elmer Bernstein and Robert Townson.
Other film Scores by Bernstein recognized by The American Film Institute:
The Age of Innocence (1993) / Far from Heaven (2002) / The Great Escape (1963) / Hawaii (1966) / The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) / Summer and Smoke (1961) / Sweet Smell of Success (1957) / The Ten Commandments (1956) / Walk on the Wild Side (1962)
MARLON BRANDO: The WILD One
Marlon Brando is the quintessential original wild one. He broke down the barriers for acting styles. He conquered Shakespeare, Hollywood and Racism. He is The Godfather. He owned an island. And like all the great ones, he had his demons and had to walk back down the flight of steps that he walked up to begin with and meet all the same people on the way down. Many of them never got to the top. It's cold up there and you are all alone, thats the way it is when you are number one. When you are the highest paid, the most revered, the greatest, the best, the most talented, the one. The top of your game can only last a lifetime for some, decades for others, a few seasons for most, and for many, just a few days, but for most: never. That explains why we honor, respect, revere and enjoy those that have it going on. It also explains why many do the exact opposite and try to strip that all away, they never had it, never will and wouldn't know what the hell to do with it, even if they had.
Marlon Brando told the world to fuck off. He stood up against white property owners in the 1960's, thankfully accepted his first Oscar from Hollywood and years later, sent a Native American to say, basically: No Thanks. He knew when film makers and studios were going to make millions off of him and so, he flipped the script. He's more than a legend: he's real, a man, flesh and blood. Actors will tell you that he was their original inspiration. Everybody sights Brando as an inspiration. He is alive, exciting, scary, unpredictable, sexy, funny and underneath it all, he's vulnerable. Simply and quite honestly: he's a big baby. But what a beautiful baby he is. He is intuitive, curious, mischievous, sly, brooding, delving, stubborn: all this and so much more. Fill in the adjective(s) .
Marlon Brando seemed to personify a time and place in America, a glimpse into the psyche of men in transition. Post War American men came back from the war, toughened, suspicious, some damaged, others with a certain confidence and reinstated rebelliousness. Brando's career follows the trajectory of post war America and parallels that line straight through to Apocalypse Now. From The Nineteen Forties straight through to the Nineteen - Seventies he's in the game. The comebacks are phenomenal and the mistakes and fumbles are equally outstanding. Brando's dancing in Guys & Dolls is simply amazing. To see a man that large, with a boxers physique, move so cat - like with a cool daddy - o style that seems to precede a sort of beatnik smoothness is a joy to behold. A man who admitted few regrets publicly, though whole heartedly exclaims that he wished he had treated James Dean with more respect and attention during his short lifetime. There is no James Dean without Brando. Its safe to say there is no: Paul Newman, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, the list goes on and on. We are talking about explosiveness, sex appeal and raw magnetism, mixed with a perfect sense of craft, curiosity and hard work that makes up what we call great and unparalleled acting. And thats just the American list. Some times, we in America thinks its always about us, hate to burst your bubble here, but people around the world are influenced by our greatness and that effects their work too. Brando often made films in Europe and his influence can be seen in actors like the great Toshiro Mifune of Japan. Brando's roles are often an explanation for the very thing that is wrong with human kind and some times he is there to fight against that very thing. The photograph by Phil Stern is a Hollywood Classic and a perfect example of a man at work, like any other man. Well, that's stretching it a bit. Maybe it's more honest to say: A Man at Work, Like No Other Man.
TOM GREGG : The PAINTER
THE BUREAU MAGAZINE GUEST ARTIST JUNE 2014
by Joshua TRILIEGI
Tom Gregg's paintings have a vibrancy, a super saturated presence that are difficult not to look at. Although based in realism, Gregg has taken the realist school of painting and cranked it up a bit. Sort of power popped it. Size is not really the issue here: style, color, shadow and light are. He's a very conscious painter with a clear understanding of whats happening on the canvas. As articulate on the page as off the page. Here at the Bureau of Arts and Culture, we talk a lot about craft. Tom Gregg is a master craftsman. Extremely dedicated to the personification of the object. Be it the American flag, a bottle full of candy, a crumpled piece of fabric, a disney curio toy or his famous on - going hand grenade series.
American Realist painters through the years have often been attracted to the Americana of yesteryear and the new America of tomorrow, check out the works of Richard Estes and Ralph Goings. They took signage, chrome, cars, everyday commonplace objects and locales and hyper fascinated them into extremely lush and rich tapestries. Mr Gregg is doing just that, but within a kind of candy coated lens, he's taken the rose colored glasses and used them accordingly to look at objects that sometimes by their very nature carry a much more loaded symbology and made us simply look at how the color, light and vibrato relate to one another. The single object in a Tom Gregg painting becomes a sort of icon due to the amount of time, positioning, scale and fascination with tonal studies. More than one object becomes a strange interlude, an odd marriage, a pairing of the Sesame Street variety where the question was asked to the viewer, ' Which one of these objects doesn't belong ? ' But here, Mr Gregg does not differentiate that view. On the contrary, he makes them belong together and indeed, somehow they do. Through style, tone, association and placement his choices simply make us see the union and with his saturated palette, his uber craftsmanship, his outright exuberance that radiates from the actual object, we are mystified in some way.
Where Estes and Going awed us with the fact that we could hardly believe it was a painting, Gregg takes us into a whole other ephemeral and wacked out hyper color experience that we need to see. Once focused on it, we may find it difficult to turn away, a kind of seduction of the visceral variety. An optical dessert of sorts, one bite leads to another and suddenly, we have gobbled it up. Not exactly eye candy, due to the sense of style and commitment to a serious painting, but possibly a rare delicacy. Once you have spent time with a Tom Gregg painting, the world itself may seem a bit heightened in reality, the way the light hits a color, the very sense of how colors will relate to one another, he is transferring a special experience that stays with the observer long after the viewing. It is Art
FILM : THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING
" In The Kingdom of Kitsch "
In 1988 director Phillip Kaufman brought to the screen a novel by Milan Kundera. Mr Kaufman has always been at least, a decade ahead of the times. His films have constantly created genres, influenced directors and bravely translated literature & historical events to the screen. His adherence and loyalty to source material is unmatched. The Wanderers, The Right Stuff, Henry and June, to name a few, have inspired and set the stage for other films within the genre, consistently raising the bar on truth, quality, reverence to the originator and entertainment well beyond the current trends. Mr. Kaufman brings to life words with a keen sense of detail and a wide world view which brings the viewer into a realm of reality or fantasy that seems to punctuate humanity and specifically the boundaries with which life presents.The Unbearable Lightness of Being might be considered his masterpiece, although, due to his prolific and influential output in other genres, it is safe to say that Kaufman will not be remembered for any one film. He is under rated, in terms of being what they call a house hold name. But to directors in the industry, film students and international film festivals, associations and aficionados: Mr. Kaufman is heroic.
"The Right Stuff opened the door for a slew of astronaut films including Apollo 13. Kaufman practically created the genre. By setting an absolute tone, fabulous casting, flawless research and collaboration with top costumers, photographers and producers, his influence is felt far beyond the time and the place with which his films are released."
The Right Stuff opened the door for a slew of astronaut films including Apollo 13. Kaufman practically created the genre. By setting an absolute tone, fabulous casting, flawless research and collaboration with top costumers, photographers and producers his influence is felt far beyond the time and the place with which his films are released. In The Unbearable Lightness of Being a stellar cast of actors bring to life historical events. Politics, passion, literature and history meld into a contemporary take on a situation which relates to and possibly rivals director David Lean's, Doctor Zhivago. Film history relies on itself to continue certain traditions. Film makers grow up watching films which inspire works of art that later influence the next generation and so on. As Zhivago was based on a great novel about love that just so happens to be placed in a time of political upheaval, so to does the source material for Milan Kundera's novel.
Daniel Day - Lewis spreads his wings in this production which for the first time truly employs his talents to an international audience in a story that juxtaposes his love for life, women and country and the complications that arise between politics, change, revolution and expressing one's self as a writer while making a living at another trade, in this case : brain surgery. One can imagine Mr. Kaufman's desk covered with book options through the years and muttering to his producers cliches' such as, 'It's not rocket science.' or 'It doesn't take a brain Surgeon.' But for Kaufman it definitely is rocket science & as far as this writer is concerned, it is brain surgery, for Kaufman is a genius. I never use the word and yet there it is on the page. There is something about his films that generate a certain amount of passion, interest and bon vivant. His take on life is liberated, his characters are on the edge of history, pushing the envelope into a new time & place. Sam Shepard' s characterization of astronaut Chuck Yeager in the Right Stuff is a perfect example. Characters who break boundaries and later seem to go uncredited or under the radar. Or bringing to life the triangular love relationship between Henry Miller and his lovers. Source material that few directors would know how to approach, let alone, how to raise the funds for and bring to life on the screen.
Unbearable Lightness of Being also visits this type of triangular passion and complicated relationship that make for great drama. Kaufman's take on life, love & history are dramatic, but laced with a pathos, irony and humor that keeps one interested through out. He has a rare viewpoint that illustrates life's issues and relationships in an original & complicated way. With stellar performances by Lena Olin and a fresh faced newcomer on the scene, Juliet Binoche. Supporting cast includes Stellan Skarsgard. This erotic, yet human feature film takes us inside Czechloslvakia during a particularly tumultuous time in their history with an oppressive an invasive Russian takeover during the nineteen sixties. Politics, passion and provocation abound. Kaufman's films almost never come in at the usual commercial time of ninety minutes. He is an artist, most of his features are two hours or more. Unbearable Lightness of Being comes in at an epic 172 minutes, just under three hours. Every scene, every line, every moment is fresh, alive, undeniably truthful, unabashedly human & heartbreakingly real. Originally a part of the Orion Pictures catalogue. Produced by The Saul Zaentz Company. A brave and bold historical film well worth celebrating.
This has been an appreciation of UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING. An ongoing Series of articles marking the Films, Books & Artworks that are worth remembering, re-watching, re-reading and re-celebrating time & time again.
DAVID BOWIE: IS The Other Man
David Bowie Is the most important contributor to Modern Rock and Roll. Many people forget that Bowie is actually the Godfather of Punk Rock and New Wave Music. That includes: The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Souxie, Gary Glitter & The Entire English New Wave invasion of the 80's. The big difference being that, he outlasted all of those who he had inspired. And to this day, he still puts out interesting, experimental Music. David Bowie is also the most influential contributor to Modern Rock & Roll, hands down. He is the original Chameleon.BOWIE is The Space man, The Thin White Duke, The Spider from Mars, The Cracked Actor, The Joker, The Glam-A-Rama, The Trusty Narrator of our Story, The Social Critic, The Sexual Seeker, The Man who Fell to Earth and so much more. Possibly the most daring and experimental performer in Rock and Roll ever, make that the most daring, most respected and the most successful performer in Rock and Roll Music History.
Todays new music scene is entirely dependent on David Bowie's influence. Bowie alone brought back the return of : The Story, The Character, The Opera, The Entertainer, The Show, to Rock and Roll Music. He became his characters and then killed them off accordingly, like Mary Shelly and Doctor Frankenstein did with The Monster. Bowie's musical alignments with fellow performers like Iggy Pop, John Lennon and Mick Jagger are legendary. Bowie is really the Elvis of a new time and place. He speaks to more than one generation in our homes. The albums are still very much classics. They take us on a journey. They are mini novels. They are sensitive, brash, gentle and oddly scathing. The music is not dated because it was decades ahead to begin with and so we return to David Bowie year after year, decade after decade, again and again. Bowie personified life in London, Berlin, Japan, New York, Hollywood and then, finally, the entire World. In "Young Americans", Bowie told Americans more about ourselves than we would ever know before. Speaking directly to sexuality, politics, housewives, young men, young women and to all of us kids. He spoke and we listened, even Bing Crosby couldn't deny Bowie's influence.
There is so much yearning in Bowie's music, in his voice, in his lyrics, in his trembling statements about life, about love, about loss. He is connected with, on the one hand, Opera and on the other hand, Literature. And in the middle, is this very gentle and fierce performer who, when he grabs the microphone, and warms into the song, flinches his head, smiles, echoes & reinvents the performances as he goes along. When David Bowie gets into the performance, something quite magic happens, to us, to him, to the audience. David Bowie is elliptically responsible for the careers of film makers like David Lynch. Had Bowie not played The Elephant Man on Broadway, for recording breaking performances, in the 1970's, the play would not have been optioned and turned into a film, which launched the career of David Lynch. David Bowies foray into androgynous characters is also partly responsible for the rights of alternative lifestyles that are currently in the limelight at this time all around the world. His music invaded the toughest neighborhoods and even the toughest hoods in those 'hoods. Ziggy Stradust alone is possibly the most legendary music character to celebrate the beauty of Performance, Insanity and Displaced Heroism ever created by anyone ever. Its starts with " Ziggy played Guitar … " and then it ends with, "… Ziggy played Guitar." The bookends of Rock and Roll for The Modern Man: End of The Story. Well, at least until the Next David Bowie album.
LUIS VALDEZ : WRITER
By Joshua TRILIEGI
Luis VALDEZ changed The Entire Literature Landscape with his Fierce Hit Play, "ZOOT SUIT". Here in Southern California, The Play is much more than words. It is a personal and positive Idea that gave many people the inspiration to do something with the things they saw, not only in their homes and neighborhoods , but to reclaim what was happening in the media, to own the stories that they were being told and to simply reclaim what was rightfully theirs to begin with: Their Own Family Stories. In This Interview Bureau Editor Joshua TRILIEGI and Luis VALDEZ discuss his career, his working process and the development of a powerful force that continues to inspire millions of Indigenous People around the World and teaches everybody else.Mr Valdez went on to create The Film "LA BAMBA", which told the very important story of Latin Musician & Songwriter, Ritchie Valens. Fueled by the proliferation of 1950's Retro Nostalgic Films such as American Graffiti and its follow up Happy Days, as well as The Musical Biographical genre's popularity of projects like The Buddy Holly Story, Elvis and the like: LA BAMBA was the perfect project that entirely launched the energy and force of ZOOT SUIT into the stratosphere of popular media and culture, finally a story that rightfully claimed, explained and honored The Latino Experience, or as Luis Valdez might put it, "The Chicano Experience" in popular music history. The film itself touches on the family paradigm in both mythical and real circumstances. A beautiful & entertaining film that holds up today just as it originally did upon its creation. In the same way that Zoot Suit gave us the career of Edward James Olmos, 'The Chicano Bogart', La Bamba gave us a multitude of talent in front of and behind the scenes: Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales, Los Lobos & Others. Since then, Mr Valdez has continued his influence as The Worlds Leading Latino and Chicano Playwright traveling everywhere, all the time, sharing his great wealth of knowledge and experience with a world thirsty for truth, experience & entertainment. We are proud to bring you Luis VALDEZ, unexpurgated, uninhibited and unbeaten.
ORSON WELLES : A REAL Voice
Orson Welles is the real voice of America. He scared the living hell out of us on October 31st 1939 with The Historical radio narration of "WAR of The WORLDS". A somewhat naive public had tuned in to hear the usual musical concert brought to you live by so and so from such and such a location and instead was told that, "The Martians were landing in New Jersey," and a full on invasion of America was taking place. The 'Boy Wonder' as he was called by some, had looks, guts, a voracious appetite for fame and a deep male voice that held passion, wisdom, roots, defiance and bravado. Orson gathered a group of actors and called them The Mercury Players, including a young Agnes Moorehead, Vincent Price, Joseph Cotton, Everett Sloane, Ray Collins, Martin Gabel, Anne Baxter, Judy Holliday, Geraldine Fitzgerald and other future stars of sound and screen. Orson Welles wrote, acted, directed, narrated and produced. He took classic literature and related it to current issues including Shakespeare's Julius Caesar with a twist toward the growing fascism in Europe of the late 1930s. He went on to create radio adaptions of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Huckleberry Finn, Our Town, The Heart of Darkness, Five Kings, and Native Son. The Legend of Welles has created many a great film and literary adaption in its own right. "RKO 281" starring Liev Schreiber as Welles is a good adaption of events leading up to his entry into Hollywood and filmmaking. "The Cradle will Rock" by Tim Robbins is another fine and thorough film which brings to life The Theater chapter of Welles experience in New York City with the WPA and censorship in America. Orson Welles' All Black MacBeth commonly known as VooDoo Macbeth, set in Haiti, was an out and out success, every line in Shakespeare's play was kept intact. The production, "Exceeded its original play dates in New York and had a popular tour of The country". It also began an animosity surrounding Orson Welles that continued to follow his career leading up to his masterpiece which chronicled the life and times of a once powerful media mogul and newspaper magnate, in all its highs and lows: Citizen Kane. Both Peter Bogdanovich and Henry Jaglom spent a good amount of time with Orson late in his life and each have interesting stories to tell, in both book and film. "The Cats Meow" a film by Bogdanovich tells a dark chapter related to media mogul William Randolph Hearst of Citizen Kane fame and Jaglom's book, "My lunches with Orson" transcribe taped conversations with the late great master filmmaker and magician. Some twenty years after Citizen Kane created a revolution in film, censorship and battles between the artists and the media in Hollywood, Bogdanovich had organized a retrospect of works at The Museum of Modern Art in New York and years later posthumously published, "This is Orson Welles" in 1985. Controversy courted Welles at all levels, especially with his collaborators and creating partners, including The Bogdanovich book which, was lost in storage, later found, put on hold by Welles himself, having been offered funds for his own life story and later published with full approval. Some called it a failed career, others know damn well that Welles was out and out blackballed from the industry and ten years later, hundreds of left leaning artists, writers and filmmakers were witch hunted by not just, The Industry, but by their own government. Orson Welles was a real voice for American Radio and being a real man in America can be a dangerous game. Citizen Kane is commonly called One of, if not, THE, Greatest Modern American Film of all time. Welles took the newspaper techniques utilized by Media Moguls of the time and flipped them right back in their faces, taking tawdry facts and innuendo and skewering the all powerful modern day millionaires of the day. It was a beautiful and defiant move that scared the pants off of the powerful and at the same time, empowered the individual artist. Unfortunately, the price Orson paid to make that statement ended his own career, created a legend, set the tone for decades to come and even taught a weary government what tools could be used to dupe the public into submission, fear and war. To this day, film, radio & literature as well as newspapers are all fooling society daily.
ERIC ZENER : The PAINTER
Guest Artist for October 2014 Edition of BUREAU of Arts and Culture Magazine is Eric Zener. Mr. Zener is currently working with figural subjects in relation to the element of water. The very act of diving in, the splash, the plunge, the immersion, the submission of giving yourself to a body of liquid. Normally, this subject might be considered a perfect summer series, but with record heat waves on the West Coast, we decided to celebrate these refreshing images. Although the work is influenced by photography and lush saturated realist tones, because of the expressionist nature of the reflections and the water's reaction to the figures, there is a large amount of experimentation and abstraction within the work. Each painting is worked over with an extreme amount of detail. Many of the subjects are proportionately larger than life, in terms of scale, which takes us into the picture in the same way that a camera might magnify a subject, bringing us as the viewer into closer focus with the subject & the scene. The poolside in the contemporary arts has become a symbol and almost a genre of sorts. Think of films such as The Graduate and its isolationist emotional meaning or David Hockney's pool paintings and drawings, which have a new relationship's reflective quality, or on a darker side, Billy Wilder's opening and closing scene in The classic film, Sunset Boulevard. Water equals emotions, pool side water is a slightly more controlled emotion, it is not the all powerful ocean, but a man made version. Mr. Zener's most recent work gives us pause to reflect on the stages before, during and after the experience of diving into our uncertain future. Many of the works allow for the individual to feel that surge, while others within the on going series represent a relationship of two. Zener has an evolving craft that is currently at a pinnacle, Over the past decades, he has developed a style that is in a territory which might be called realism or even symbolism. What you call it is not as important as what you experience, feel and imagine while viewing it. All to often, the Art Critic, the Presenter, the Gallery and the Historian's interpretation of any given work eclipses the actual experience of simply enjoying, owning and living with a work of art. We suggest, in the case of Eric Zener's paintings, that you simply allow yourself to dive in and feel the work, immerse yourself and reflect on the refreshing qualities of relating to the element of water. This Series of paintings brings new meaning to the term, "West Coast Cool." Also included throughout the entire edition are earlier works by Mr. Zener that relate to the elements of Wood, Earth & Air, making him a sort of alchemist of images. Man's Relationship to Nature: The great on going story that never ceases to effect, edify and entertain. Humankind's relationship to the elements are once again asking us, even demanding for a reevaluation of what it actually means to have an ecosystem, to relate directly to the elements and to reciprocate by preserving it's offering. Zener's newest work is exhilarating, impassioned and fresh. We are proud to have him as Guest Artist for the October 2014 Edition of BUREAU of Arts and Culture Magazine & Our On Line Sites.
QUIZ SHOW at TWENTY
Robert Redford is a Master Film Director of The American Landscape. His style is so deeply rooted in Realism that even when the story hinges on magical realism, such as, "The Legend of Bagger Vance," we as the audience are taken in, wholeheartedly. "A River Runs Through It" took Brad Pitt and insured that his career would not be one of how a handsome man can become successful, Redford pushed the actor to find a personality that would surpass looks and it worked. "Quiz Show" takes on the almighty Power of Television and puts it on Trial. Today, we take a look at "QUIZ SHOW" on The 20th Anniversary.
This is a large film, with a brilliant cast, a flawless tone and leading actors that include John Turturro as the whistle-blowing contestant Herb Stempel and Ralph Fiennes as Charlie Van Doren, a wealthy second generation Columbia University teacher who gets sucked into cheating himself, the public and his families reputation simply by allowing the network's television producers of The Quiz Show entitled, "21" to, "… give him the answers." Which are said to be, "… sealed in a bank vault." Enter investigating lawyer and Harvard graduate at the top of his class, Richard Goodwin, played here brilliantly by Rob Morrow. A former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter, who is on the legislative subcommittee for oversight. The film begins with undertones of the times, "Mack The Knife" by Bobby Daren is the films musical opener and on the radio, we are told that, "The Russians have launched Sputnik and all is not well in America." Redford knows the American historical backdrop well and informs his dramas opener with tones suggesting preceding events between 1950 and 1959, the year this film takes place. Alluding to the dreaded blacklist, which somehow connected the Russian communist fear of an invasion with Jewish writers and leftist entertainers who were demonized by Joe McCarthy. More than once, Goodwin tells his fellow associates and his wife, "This is not McCarthy-ism here." Goodwin is a careful prosecutor, by some standards, too careful.
He is ordered to give the wrong answer to a question that everyone in America knows and is given the number of a psychiatrist free of charge, welcome to the network.
Attempting to explain that he is simply going after the fact that the answers were being given to contestants and the public was duped into tuning in night after night while the sponsors of these shows reaped in millions. The film marches in step between four worlds, Herb Stempel's blue collar neighborhood in Queens, Charlie Van Doren's upper crust family in upstate New York, Richard Goodwin's moderate post graduate career life and the big and awe inspiring world of major network television with all its new bells, whistles and "APPLAUSE" signs. Early on, an ad executive, played by Martin Scorsese, warns the television producers that Herb Stempel, who has been the winning contestant for several weeks is, 'not working'. The producers say that Stempel has that, "Everyman quality…" and that he represents the idea that anyone from New York can make it in America, The Ad Exec exclaims, "Queens is not New York …" and soon Herb Stempel is told he must take a dive. Dan Enright, the shows producer, delivers the bad news over steak and wine. When Stempel begs to stay on the show, he is reminded that, "It's an arrangement, It's always been an arrangement." He is ordered to give the wrong answer to a question that everyone in America knows and is given the number of a psychiatrist free of charge, welcome to the network. The Stempel character breaks and eventually demands some restitution from the television producers who quickly move into cover up mode by launching Charlie Van Doren into the stratosphere of T.V. fame and fortune, he eventually makes upwards of 120,000 thousand dollars, surpassing even his famous father and uncles riches awarded by simply great writing, Pulitzer prizes and the like. By the time Charlie Van Doren graces the cover of Time magazine, Herb Stempel, who is schlumping around like a schmuck without a life, goes to the district attorney and an investigation ensues. The judge on the case, who regularly plays golf with the president of the network, conceals Stempel's statement to "protect reputations from an unstable whistleblower." The concealment is the first of any such case in New York in the past hundred years, attracting the likes of Richard Goodwin & things begin to heat up from this point on. In motion picture history, there have been other television expose' style films preceding and since "Quiz Show." Paddy Chayefsky famously wrote "NETWORK," which was a dark and comedic opera like parody of television with brilliant performances by William Holden as a burnt out television executive and Fay Dunaway as an upwardly mobile television producer who will do anything for ratings. "Network" brought us the now famous line, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" with a bust out performance by Peter Finch as the broadcaster gone made who is deified into a modern day mad man, hero & eventually martyred on the air, all in the name of good ratings.
There are no tricky camera angles,
nothing brings attention to the story
accept simply great performances …
Since the making of QUIZ SHOW, George Clooney directed the somber, yet honest, story of Edward R. Murrow's fight with the networks to tell certain truths that were better left untold. This is also a brilliant film told in black and white with performances by a cast of incredible actors all working in unison to bring this chapter of network television to the fore. Clooney, who was a child of TV knows very well how to explain the tone of advertiser vs truth and he delivers well. Quiz Show sits somewhere between these two versions, both cinematically and sequentially. Redford's realist style and tone are not colored in any expressionistic way whatsoever, this is not a parody like NETWORK, nor is it a black and white report, like Clooney's, "Good Night, And Good Luck". Redford plays it straight and allows us to simply experience the events in real time, from all angles of a four cornered world. The film rolls out like a giant 1959 American made automobile, sexy, classy, bold, he's working with an ample budget, an outstanding cast and crew and top of the line costume, camera and production team. The film is timeless, its arc is perfect, its idiom unique.There are no tricky camera angles, nothing brings attention to the story accept simply great performances, a brilliant and balanced screenplay, as usual, Redford always works with the most perfect script that encompasses the act one - two and three - format that then goes one step further and adds both a preamble and a post event wrap up that often leaves the audience informed, entertained and enthralled. With Quiz Show, he hits the trifecta: This is pure Cinema. As Richard Goodwin begins to investigate The 21 Show, he is given personal contact information about Van Doren and the two strike up an unlikely friendship.
Goodwin, who is Jewish, a Harvard Grad at the top of his class, a brilliant lawyer and a keen mind himself, is slow to suspect Charles Van Doren of any wrong doing. The two lunch at high brow restaurants and run into Charlie's father, who is a famous literary figure among a circle of writers such as James Thurber and Edmund Wilson. It is not until Goodwin's wife pushes him to dig deeper that the drama really cranks up and Goodwin does indeed uncover the scandal. All along the way, previous contestants deny any commiseration, they all know too well the power of the networks and just when it seems hopeless, a Greenwich Village artist and former contestant submits an unopened, self - addressed - stamped - envelope with the questions of the show mailed to himself, several days prior to the actual live television airing. Goodwin now has evidence and gets his teeth into the television producers pant leg. "Your a very disruptive young man," he is told by Dan Enright, the show's hapless producer and network stooly who eventually flees to Mexico when the shit really hits the fan. Portrayed here by David Paymer. Meanwhile, Richard Goodwin and Charlie Van Doren play poker, go sailing and celebrate Van Doren's father's birthday with background commentary from family members exclaiming that, "Charlie's famous, like Elvis Presley." The senior Van Doren has never seen his son Charlie's appearance on television and so, for his birthday, he receives a TV set from Charlie.
At one point, Goodwin tells Charlie,
"I know your lying." Charlie retorts
with a simple response, "Bluffing ...
The word is, 'Bluffing'."
By the time that Richard Goodwin gets to actually speak to television executives, he is given a list of Herb Stempel's psychiatric bill and a recording made while Stempel was heatedly unravelling. When Goodwin speaks to Stempel again, he admits that he was given the answers and goads Goodwin on to go after Van Doren, exclaiming, "Just 'cause you went to Harvard, you think you have a stake in the system ?" The TV Exec's convince Charlie Van Doren that the investigation will not reach him and that Stempel is just a crackpot. But with Goodwin on the case, the other contestants self addressed letter and an impending investigation by the subcommittee, Charlie begins to buckle. During a poker game with a bunch of wealthy pals of Charlie, Goodwin begins to 'QUIZ' Charlie, who happens to be working on a book about, of all people, 'Honest Abe Lincoln'. At one point, Goodwin tells Charlie, "I know your lying." Charlie retorts with a simple response, "Bluffing, the word is, 'Bluffing'." This particular exchange is what makes Redford's world so damn compelling, he is a master of the slow but steady storytelling that unravels on the screen as a great book unravels on the page. Bob Redford is probably one of the most well respected and truthful directors when adapting books of the popular or well written variety in the past several decades. He simply works with great writers and those able to adapt a screenplay into something incredibly special from very thick & exhaustive source material. Meanwhile, the television executives offer Charles Van Doren fifty-thousand dollars and a morning show to teach children about, 'literature and the importance of reading'. He accepts the offer and is sucked even further into the networks spider web like prizes.
By the time Goodwin nails the television producers to the floor, they actually offer him his own show, he declines and instead suggests that they implicate the network. The producer admits that if he said a single word that, "They would never let me through the door again." Goodwin pauses, looks at the man and simply states, with a Bogart - like - cool: "I have a feeling you're not walking through that door anyway." By this time, the film and it's impending investigation roll forward with a non stop pace that is both rewarding and gratifying. Not surprisingly, the networks are untouched and the producers, we are told in the final scene, returned with popular quiz shows some years later. In a final tit for tat dialogue exchange between Goodwin and the head advertising executive played here by Martin Scorsese, the ad exec exclaims, "It isn't about what I know, it's about what you know… The Public has a very short memory, but corporations, they never forget… Look young man, you have a very promising future, watch yourself out there." About the time that the elder Van Doren, Charlie's father exclaims that, "All this talk about cheating on a quiz show is like plagiarizing a comic book," Charlie comes clean, "Dad, they gave me the answers." His father's reaction is total surprise, "They gave you the answers ? Oh my god Charlie, How are you going to tell the committee ?" Then Charlie asks dad to back him up.
In a final scene, in front of the subcommittee and a host of swarming reporters, Charlie Van Doren finally admits to wrong doing in a speech that starts, "Everything came too easy…" which is an echoing line from one of Robert Redford's earliest successes as an actor, his portrayal of Hubbel in, "The Way We Were." Redford's character writes a story which begins with the opening line, "Everything had come too easy…" and so we come full circle. The entire committee begins to congratulate Charles Van Doren for coming clean in an overly acceptable and non critical manner, until finally, a working class representative steps up and exclaims, "Although, I think it is commendable … I am from another part of New York … and I don't think by simply telling the truth you should be so easily forgiven." The audience begins to applaud, the camera view is now from high above the proceedings and a gavel pounds for order. We hear Richard Goodwin's voiceover, "I thought we were going to get television, the truth is, television is going to get us." Which is true in more ways than one as even Robert Redford's Sundance Channel now has just as many commercials between independent films, as the big three network broadcasters. One thing for sure, nobody would ever have expected Robert Redford the actor to ever even dream about, let alone realize his ability to direct films at the level with which he has delivered time and time again. Robert Redford is one of America's best and brightest, we love his work, respect his artistic output and honor his contribution to the art of fine filmmaking.
The Orson Welles Legacy & Emasculation of The American Male Today
What has happened to today's Male Voices in Radio ? This does not include your local pop station, or favorite AM/FM Talk reporter. We're talking about National Radio, which includes shows with hosts such as This American Life's Ira Glass, Adam Felber and television reviewer David Bianculli. Vocally speaking, these guys are eunuch's. Now you ask, "What's a eunuch ?" According to Webster's dictionary : eunuch / ˈyo͞onək / noun / a man who has been castrated, esp. (in the past) one employed to guard the women's living areas at an oriental court. / an ineffectual person: a nation of political eunuchs. ORIGIN Old English, via Latin from Greek eunoukhos, literally ‘bedroom guard,’ from eunē ‘bed’ + a second element related to ekhein ‘to hold.’ and there you have it. So, why did I have to explain to you, my dear reader, what a eunuch is, and not to Glass, Felber or Bianculli ? For one, all these guys were forced to go to college, they all know very well the meaning of words. But can they walk home, in the dark, from one city to another, without calling a cab, finding a bus or hitching a ride in the back of a truck, train or eighteen wheeler ? Robert Mitchum, the late great actor, whose voice was indeed in touch with what writer Robert Bly might call his, 'Inner - Man,' certainly knew how. He struggled from the time he was just a boy, went hungry, was arrested for vagrancy and eventually landed in Los Angeles and became the man we now know, love and respect. Just because your voice is deep doesn't mean you have a pair. Take a look at Prairie Home Companion, which is cute and harmless, like a good husband should be. It's a midwest celebration of life in simpler times hosted and created by Garrison Keilor. Nothing bad ever happens in Lake Wobegon, where the show takes place, "Where, the women are strong and the men are handsome …" something to that effect. Keilor's private detective routine deflates the Humphrey Bogart model and myth into one in which even Keilor could seem tough. One would be hard pressed to imagine him holding his own with the likes of John Huston, Lauren Bacall or even Sydney Greenstreet for that matter. Let alone marching on Washington for the rights of fellow writers being blacklisted. Even if Bogie recanted his testimony, he had the guts to at least attempt to 'do something' for fellow writers during a time of struggle in America. Today's radio personalities are funded by the very powers that they should be able to criticize constructively and accurately or some semblance thereof. Ira Glass's, This American Life is a brilliant show, but if anybody in America actually believes that the FBI would ever allow a story on this show to 'reveal' anything pertinent to the American public, you are dreaming. The Federal Government actually regulates, at almost every level, what is being said on national radio. Not only that, but the public may be unaware that everything that is stated on radio is a matter of public record, the same as a statement made in a court of law. Recently, Ira Glass sent me, as well as millions of Americans a request to send in their most interesting, 'DRUG' stories. Now here is a real entrapment opportunity. Some people, no doubt, sent in stories about taking drugs that would indeed be alerted by the authorities, every transmission of communication in this country is indeed suspect from one department to another. Ever since the attack of September 11th, a new system of tracking & documenting individuals was put into place. If the government and sometimes anyone else, wants to know what you ate, what you watched, what you said, where you went and certainly what you wrote to an individual connected with being overseen by the federal communications commission, its a no brainer. Cameras now cover America, almost every store, every street, every eatery, every highway, taxi, bus, has the eye in the sky. Many of these cameras are live and being transmitted to other locations for the sake of publicity or in the name of promoting your business via companies such as google. On the one hand, its for security, on the other its simply 'Un- American'.
Answer: Quite a bit. The war on drugs, which was a total failed approach has creeped into new and creative ways of finding out what Americans are doing for recreation, clearly Ira Glass has a pretty big file on folks who once, inhaled, dropped, snorted and puffed. Everyday for decades, people of color, who are often portrayed on radio as uneducated, overly accented and foolish, were arrested daily for having miniscule amounts of substances, while college students and executives were simply slapped on the back of the hand for posessing major amounts of similar substances. People of color have been abused by the press, the authorities, the media and the general white populist so much that even when a white writer, reporter, magazine editor such as myself attempts to explain, write about or befriend a community other than my own, I am held suspect. As a novelist, my job is to portray life with an authenticity and a, 'No holds Barred' attitude. As an essayist, in this case, the idea is to ponder a question and see where it leads. So then, what happened to the American male Voice in America ? The answer is, I don't know. What happened to America itself ? Well, we became scared of our own government after September 11th, then we became scared for our jobs, our future and in the mix, we were willing to give up our freedoms, our privacy and for some, willing to give up manhood. Of course were also talking about a generation of men whom many were raised by a single parent, often times a mother. Orson Welles was raised by his mother and he was no eunuch, lets look at what they did to him. When he made what is commonly called one of the best films ever made in America, CITIZEN KANE, he was blackballed from the industry, demonized by the right wing press, made a personal enemy of one of the most powerful media moguls in America. Before that, he took the great white hope, Shakespeare, and had the audacity to reset the play Macbeth in Haiti with an all black cast. The show was an out & out hit and it travelled throughout the country to great fanfare & review. Of course his biggest mistake was being so convincing on the page as well as on the air that during his famous War of The WORLDS presentation, naive Americans having been hyped by an already sensationalized news wave of information, regarding a possible war, were fooled into thinking that martians from another planet were actually invading America, first in New Jersey and later throughout the country. Some people, it was reported, jumped out of windows. Someone in the government was surely paying attention to that fiasco and asking, "How could we repeat that ?" A scared America, is an easily controlled America. So then, the question is not really about the over proliferation of emasculated male radio voices as much as the out - wind - ing of everyday Americans. Have we all been turned into eunuchs ? There is actually a word in the dictionary that is spelled, 'Eunochoid', it means, resembling or 'having been reduced to indeterminate sexual characteristics.' Which I should qualify, my argument has nothing whatsoever to do with sexual orientation. I have known many a tough gay person in my time and indeed witnessed physical feats of bravery on both sides of the great divide, male and female. What we are talking about here is empowering a nation of sheep to beware the wolf, by becoming the wolf again, in one way or another, lest ye be eaten by one. The term, "They've got us by the cross hairs," has always opened my imagination in this regard, it implies a certain back alley fist fight, no holds barred attitude in which we as a society must grapple with. If men are allowed to be men, Orson Welles, Robert Mitchum, Humphrey Bogart, for instance and women are allowed to be women, Agnes Moorhead, Roselyn Russel, Lauren Bacall for example, and Americans are allowed to be free to do what they will, at their will, without having to write an early will, than all will be well in America. But until that time, I listen, very dubiously, to the voices on the radio and pay much more attention to those very sane and original voices circulating and commiserating inside my very own beautiful mind.
The HATE CRIMES Essays
The First in a Series By Joshua A. TRILIEGI Originally Published between 2012 and 2013
How they happen, where they happen, how often they happen. Motivation. Locations. Statistics. Why hate crimes happen is a more educating question to delve into. How does hate start ?
Usually there is a form of history involved. A person or a group of people have a history. Everybody has a history. An event or a series of events is interpreted by a person or a group of people and a reaction is created or a response is activated either without thinking about it or by planning that reaction accordingly. Being true to a certain code, to a certain religion or to a certain value is every single persons choice. We do have a variety of belief systems on this planet, in this country, this state, this city, this neighborhood, this house, this room, this wall, this etc ...
"Forgiveness Is An Island We Rarely Visit In Todays Society. Even The Most Religious Of People Have Yet To Learn How To Truly Forgive. How To Forgive When So Much Pain, Loss, Suffering And Injustice Inflames Our Daily World ? "
The world has gotten so small that forgiving one another for our histories as a people may be the first step in moving towards a resolution beyond these limitations. Hate is understandable when we look closer at those whom hate and those whom are hated. Any group of people or any individual who has endured oppression, slavery, ridicule is going to have some serious and justified feelings about the things that have happened either to them or their ancestors. There is a cliche' which goes something to the effect that, 'The oppressed become the oppressors.' There is some truth in this human condition & yet breaking through a cliche' such as this one is the answer to healing. Forgiveness is an island we rarely visit in todays society.
Even the most religious of people have yet to learn how to truly forgive. How to forgive when so much pain, loss, suffering and injustice inflames our daily world ? And what of the forgiveness' s of the past ? Forgive a holocaust ? Forgive years of slavery ? Forgive genocide ? Once a person or a people have experienced tragedy, how indeed do they move forward ? The events of the past tend to shape our current beliefs. Our experience, our parents and grandparents as well as our various countries and continents all carry a history that educates us all. The individual person has to begin to step up for what is correct in today's new society. To do that, to see things with a new eye, will mean that first we must digest our history and re look at what has happened to us through this experience. How did it change our way of seeing the world and each other and how will we transform this experience into a better world for ourselves as well as our oppressors or those whom have enslaved or ridiculed either us or our ancestors.
" The States All Have Different Values. Different Ways Of Living. We Have Different Challenges. Different Everything And Yet, We Are All United. "
In some case both. It starts with knowing our history as group of human beings with a multitude of colors, faiths & origins. Clearly we have a diversity of individuals & groups whom share some of the most basic concerns. In America, there is the most basic right as a human to life liberty & the pursuit of happiness. We have a special arrangement which is built into the Bill of Rights, The Constitution and a whole variety of laws which were set in place by a group of very oppressed individuals whom got on ships to create a colony that they decided needed independence. The Declaration of Independence is an awesome document to behold. Many of the founders of the United States of America were being told which religion to believe in by their former country. Many of the early settlers and colonizers were from other countries. France, Russia, Spain & England all had a hand in creating this country.One of the secrets of our founding is the contribution made by Native Americans. Many of the most interesting and American structures of our government were taken from the belief systems of the Tribes, Chiefs and people whom had governed and lived on this continent for thousand of years prior to the forming of this incredible, young and interesting experiment we call The United States of America. United is a key word. We have got to stay united.
The States all have different values. Different ways of living. We have different challenges. Different everything and yet we are all United. Hate has no place in our society. Hate crimes are happening because some individuals and groups would want others to live by their rules, by their religion, by their belief system. Its downright wrong to carry hate. Any person could find a reason to do so. That same person could also choose to live life in whatever way they see fit to do so. Americans have often been the leaders in progressive ways of thinking, living & working. Los Angeles is a special city. It represents the entire world in many ways. So too is New York City and more and more, the world.
" In the real world, we all lose when hate crimes take over where common sense and respect for one another take a back seat to regions, ideas or differences among us. It may be time to rethink how our political statements, our religious beliefs and our perceptions of one another as human beings effect us. "
We have a responsibility to show the world how to work together without divisive ideas such as how different we all are. In the sports world, there are winners and losers, there are teams and players. In the real world, we all lose when hate crimes take over where common sense and respect for one another take a back seat to regions, ideas or differences among us. It may be time to rethink how our political statements, our religious beliefs and our perceptions of one another as human beings effect us. How do they effect others ? Are you hurting someone else ? Are you creating an atmosphere where only you or your group are correct in your actions ? If so, it may be time to open your mind, your heart and maybe even your pocketbook. At least ponder the questions which are raised here.
The HATE CRIMES Essays
The Second in a Series By Joshua A. TRILIEGI Originally Published between 2012 - 2013
HATE CRIMES PART TWO : When Symbols of Good are used for Bad and the Militarization of Race and Belief
by Joshua A. TRILIEGI
To understand how hate starts, is perpetuated and fueled for purposes of control and an attempt to influence, let's think about Immigrant Issues. America in its entirety is an immigrant Country. We were originally created by a mass exodus of people, some working class, some noblemen, some royalty, others simply looking for gold or a safe place to believe in their own idea of a god, others for a place to raise their families or to create a business which might flourish. Some were bent on creating a new country where a person could have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Native Americans inhabited this continent for thousands of years prior to the founding of this great land. Early on, settlers were taught how to grow food, where to place one's home, safe places to hunt, etc...
" Many significant contributions were made by Native Americans in the forming of our government structure. A mix of parliamentary and tribal structures make up the systems that we hold dear to this day. "
Many significant contributions were made by Native Americans in the forming of our government structure. A mix of parliamentary and tribal structures make up the systems that we hold dear to this day. Ben Franklin, one of the founders who was born in this country, was indeed a secretary early on, taking notes at original meetings between the tribal Chiefs and those forming the U S of A. Together, a fusion of systems was adopted to create what is still one of the most interesting government structures that exists on the planet today. Its a gift, a special and on going idea of freedom for all involved. Freedom to believe what one wishes, to express freely, to allow for differences within the community, to live. Immigrant issues have always been controversial, transformative, generational and indeed affected property values, job opportunities and the general landscape of America, it's people and their beliefs. For instance, in the midwest, German immigrants settled early on, they set up shop, brought new traditions of food, technology and craftsmanship and they flourished. Later, the Irish followed suit, after that Italians were given an opportunity. Each group was given a chance to contribute to this new land of opportunity. Enhancing our idea of what it is to be an American. They brought their economic ideas, their recipes, their medicine, their craft, their workmanship and yes, they brought their belief systems. Italian, Chinese and African Americans worked hard in building the railroads, earning places along the way, and settling foundations where and when those Railways ended.
" Every person has the right to believe what they wish to believe, that is the American way. The real problems occur when a group of people begin to enforce their beliefs onto any individual or onto another group or onto our society as a whole. "
Chinatown in both Los Angeles and San Francisco are a symbol of those periods of hard work. Of course the issue of slavery is something that still effects the changes and progress that are a part of our daily life in America. We fought that battle long ago, but on some levels, we still have yet to overcome the scars, the ideas, the troublesome patterns of color divisions which some would wish to perpetuate to this day. Flashing forward several hundred years, the xenophobia, the struggle to accept others, the fear of what is different is a two fold situation. A persons belief system is a persons belief system. Every person has the right to believe what they wish to believe, that is the American way. The real problems occur when a group of people begin to enforce their beliefs onto any individual or onto another group or onto our society as a whole. The use of symbols, be it a cross ( burning or otherwise ) , be it a color, be it a fetus, be it a flag ( burning or otherwise ) , be it a word, be it a letter or color ( Scarlet for instance ), be it a T-Shirt, be it a Poster, or in the case of current events in Egypt, be it a Film. Re-watch Birth of a Nation to understand how far back this goes. Any image which is used to hurt, coerce, exploit another human being only ends in sorrow, sadness and tragedy for both parties.
Those whom use a symbol for hate are often treated with a natural backlash that often sets their entire group back. Impeding progress. In understanding hate, delving into these delicate societal issues that are indeed being employed in todays modern world is one way to reveal ways in which we may overcome such hatred. Young African Americans have taken a word that was meant to hurt their ancestors and flipped the script. Using it as a form of friendship, a form of greeting and even of affection. Thats one way to deal. There are other ways that have yet to be invented. The word WOP was meant as a slur to those With - Out - Papers . Even though my grandfather was born in this country, he was called ' Johnny the Wop ' and because of his charm , hard work and veracity, gained the respect of many people within his community and beyond. .
"Young African Americans and public personalities such as Richard Pryor have taken a word that was meant to hurt their ancestors and flipped the script. Using it as a form of friendship, a form of greeting and even of affection. Thats one way to deal . "
Every single immigrant group through the centuries has been blasphamized [ that is a new word ] There are negative names for every one and everything you can think of. Usually, hate it is taught by a rather small minded, inexperienced or uneducated person or group of people. What we don't need is a negative stereotyping of folks whom come from a place that American as a government may be at war with. During World War II , both Japanese and German Americans and immigrants were often unjustly treated. At the same time, the last thing America needs is a group of people importing aspects of a belief system which hinders the progress, growth and freedoms which America holds near and dear at its very core: The basic human right to believe what you want to believe, to love whom you want to love , how you want to love, when and where you want to love. A real family value is not one enforced on a neighbor, or cat called by harassment, or spray painted on a sidewalk. A real family value is for you and your family alone. Anything else is a platform, a platitude or just a performance that generally is meant to hurt someone else, but ultimately only hurts the person or group employing such a ploy. The militarization of religions, politics, ideas and other aspects of economy as well as opportunity are tearing apart the fabric of our society. Technology is a gift which is being misused to hurt, surveil and coerce. Enforcing a belief system onto another human being who is happy, contented and independent or different than ones own is a wrong headed approach. Celebrating ones religion, ones political ideas, ones freedoms does not mean that a person or group needs to bully, prove wrong or simply denigrate others.
"In the new America, there is no room, no time, no place for the kind of small and large messages which are being sent through commentary, through dialogue, through coercion or simply through hateful ideas of color, race, religion, sex or any other way of living."
In the new America, there is no room, no time, no place for the kind of small and large messages which are being sent through commentary, through dialogue, through coercion or simply through hateful ideas of color, race, religion, sex or any other way of living. America is a land which offers safety, opportunity and a place to believe whatever one wishes to believe. Believers, non - believers, married, single, catholic, jewish, buddhist, scientist, muslim, christian, gay, straight, carnivore, vegetarian, and any country of origin one can imagine. No one group, religion, people or place owns America. The individual person in America owns America. Those who wish to abuse their power because of their population, their goals, their ideas, their religion, their political causes are only going to set us back again. It is time for everyone to prove to their fellow Americans that , " We The people ... " is not just a phrase, but a living document.
JAMES DEAN : The ACTOR
James Dean. He was not simply an actor in search of a project, he was a human in search of a world, a son in search of a father, an orphan in search of a mother, a new kid in search of a friend, a worker in search of wealth, a comedian in search of a tragedy, he was an outsider in search of the inside and when he got inside, he did what anybody with integrity and curiosity does, he searched for the exit and found it. But before that and most of all, James Byron Dean was an American in search of America. Maybe that is why we empathize with him so deeply and even then, cinema fans from around the world loved, admired and even worshipped him. James Dean was more than an American. He was a symbol of truth in the eye of fakery, anger in the face of complacency, passion in the face of blandness. James Dean was ahead of his times and when the world caught up, he was already gone. He was beautiful, angry, funny, reflective, moody, original, sexy, expressive, quiet: he was small and he was large, figure that one out. He had studied the best and took from the rest, adding his own style of acting. Dean had the bravado of Marlon Brando on his right and the quietude and gentleness of Montgomery Clift on his left and he knew it. He had the urgency of a person fully aware of the ticking timepiece on the wall of life. A voracious appetite for learning everything that was worthy of learning: Acting, Dance, Photography, Music, Racing, Basketball, Philosophy and Filmmaking to name a few. Who knows what he would have done with his power had he stuck around longer than the twenty - four years that he walked the earth ?
"James Dean was more than an American. He was a symbol of truth in the eye of fakery, anger in the face of complacency, passion in the face of blandness. James Dean was ahead of his times and when the world caught up, he was already gone."
Because Dean was a method actor and delved deep into his roles, it is safe to say he may have become an outstanding businessman, in the same way that actors such as Mark Wahlberg has become or possibly an award winning producer in the way that Brad Pitt has or possibly an activist in the same way that Martin Sheen and Sean Penn have done. James Dean was extremely progressive in his own life, but also served the characters he played first and foremost to the utmost degree. His friends were from all walks of life. That may sound easy in these modern times, but in the nineteen fifties, that was rare. James Dean was, as they say, born cool. But actually, the truth is, he acquired his coolness from a compendium of individuals: poets, writers, actors, beatniks, hipsters, underdogs and over achievers, he was all of the above. Those he worked with found him to be mesmerizing, defiant, romantic and honest. Younger actors such as Dennis Hopper wanted to know his secrets. Older actors such as Rock Hudson found him to be more focused than any actor ever. Sal Mineo stated that Dean, "Never took any nonsense from anyone in a higher position, he would stand up to them no matter what the situation. It is no wonder we love him so, wouldn't we all want to do such a thing ? Demand that our parents be honest with themselves, as he does in Rebel without a Cause ? Exclaim to our wealthy employer that we are going to be, "Richer than all the rest of you …" as he does in Giant or to seek out the family secrets and recover our fathers lost investment as he does in East of Eden ? Dean is confused and he is searching for clarity, he is angry, but he is looking for peace, his is young, yet he yearns for experience, he is hurt, though he blames no one. James Dean personified characters written by John Steinbeck, Edna Thurber and Stewart Stern, top of the line writers each with a streak, a sparkle, a deep understanding of the human condition and a flare for drama and reality. Dean dabbled in television and theater, but discovered that film was the big medium and he found his way to the screen with a steadfast and meteoric rise that was not unlike a freshman climbing to the graduates position by avoiding half the steps to the top and eventually jumping entirely into the abyss when he got there. The list of musicians, actors, writers & performers that owe a debt to James Dean is so vast that it would be meaningless to even begin to categorize. Every single scene in every single film is authentic. To this day, he is undeniable real, undated, fresh, as if the scene was shot yesterday. Dean's performances are so authentic and urgent that even the periods with which the films are set, have no real consequences to the viewer, the fact is, he was the perfect actor for the medium and for that, we are eternally inspired, enthralled and entertained to a degree that is almost impossible to describe. The James Dean legacy is beyond compare. After all is said and done, it is not about Dean's death, but his life, and so on the eve of the sixtieth anniversary of his passing, we celebrate the life of James Dean through the very real, beautiful and heartfelt images created by Magnum Photographer Dennis Stock. These images are soon to be celebrated in the new Anton Corbin Film entitled, LIFE.
F. SCOTT HESS: PAINTER
By BUREAU of Arts and Culture Editor Joshua A. Triliegi
F. Scott Hess is an American artist with an education and techniques informed by European Masters. Mr. Hess was born in Baltimore in 1955 and raised in Wisconsin. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, picking up ancient skills that were employed by the likes of Vermeer and Boticelli. Six years later, with a buying audience in Europe, he took a chance on obscurity in America, but soon found an audience at home as well. Mr. Hess's work could be described as narrative - figural with a heavy hand on the psychological symbolic field, though, I beleive, there is something much deeper going on in this man's body of work. There is an obvious shock value that we could affiliate with other great new artists born in and around the same time as Mr. Hess, such as Angus Young of AC/DC or even Johnny Lydon of the first punk rock band, The Sex Pistols. Some people in the audience may find trouble getting past the first few songs and for them, we are very sorry, if you stick around for the entire concert, you are bound to be changed. Utilizing history, poetry, dreams and a very keen discerning eye for light, situation and relationships of a social nature, with a healthy dose of very dark humor: Mr Hess is a social critic, willing to put himself on the front lines of the art world and bare his soul in the process. He is also a teacher and in turn many of his paintings work on so many levels that the casual passer by, the educated and the intellectual, will all see something entirely different while standing in front of the same painting. Mr Hess's references are steeped in art history at all levels, from Hopper to Velasquez, from Lucien Freud to Rembrandt, he is immersed in the core knowledge of previous painters and it informs the narrative, the style and the symbology in a way that a Jazz great like Coltrane or Thelonious Monk might apply a classical riff by Mozart or any number of composers of note, while still retaining an originality and strange interlude that we as the audience applaud.
Mr. Hess, who went through a family separation at an early age and is fully aware of it's effect on his emotional make up, shares that anguish, that pain, that angst, rather than hides it. Hess is sort of the David Lynch of figural painters, taking on material, subjects and narratives that create a sense of mystery or allow us to peak into the darker side of America: Blue Velvet on canvas. Hess understands the process and indeed has stated that, although it is not entirely the most comfortable aspect of working, "The process is the most important." He has undergone various transformations and even sites being hired by a film director to teach an actor how to paint like DaVinci as an influential experience, one that brought in more earth tones to his palette. Mr Hess's work of the 1980s has everything in common with the New Wave of music at the time: The anger of Elvis Costello, the color of The B52s, the social commentary of any number of punk bands such as Black Flag or The Circle Jerks. Many of these bands focused on everyday life and what a drag it really is. Suicidal Tendencies had a song called, "Institutionalized" wherein a story is told by a boy who is sitting in his room, he asks his mother for a Pepsi, "All I wanted was a Pepsi …" the next thing he knows, they're threatening to take him to a psycho ward: this is Mr. Hess's world in the 1980s. The art transforms as new information comes in, each personal discovery effects the work visually, from having a dream, to reading a poem, to disagreeing with a critic, to learning about his personal geneology. He is a jester without a king and some might say, he is dangerous, he is blasphemous, he is obsessed with sexuality [ who isn't ? ] but if you look closer, at the craft, at the guts, at the naked truth as someone like Leonard Cohen might say, you will see a poet, you will see a narrator, you will see a social critic, you will see a boy, in his room and all he wanted was a Pepsi.
F. Scott Hess's work of the 1990s and currently is decidely less electric, the colors are slightly subdued, not entirley, and this is not an artist one can generalize about, but due to the extreme vibrato created in his early work, there is a transition. Fatherhood, family relations and the discovery of a Southern American relative in the armed forces of ancient day produces entirely new works emblazoned with a fiery gusto and an understanding as well as a criticism that could easily bother sensibilities. Hess has no problem at all making waves, rocking the boat, screaming into the drunken night like a wounded howling animal, the big difference being, he does it in tune and it actually sounds incredible. He is much like the late great Los Angeles writer Charles Bukowski in that regard, intensely gutteral, poetically honest, sexually expressive and brutally critical of society, all the while laughung and crying for all that he has seen, felt, won and lost. If F. Scott Hess were not a painter, one gets the sense that he would somehow find a way to share his knowledge of humanity, history, archeology, poetry and or prose. When you have this type of technique, you can do what you will, when you will and roll the dice accordingly: Hess does not play it safe. There is experimentation in color, in relationship, in technique and in style. Just as soon as we think we know a Hess painting, he changes it up. Specifically, when he decides to allow a single figure to exist on the canvas such as the painting entitled, "Learning the Language of Water." A beautiful Boticelli like figure with fiery red hair sinks to the bottom of the rich deep blues of a reflection pool, staring upward toward the surface.
" Mr. Hess's references are steeped in art history at all levels, from Hopper to Velasquez, from Lucien Freud to Rembrandt, he is immersed in the core knowledge of previous painters and it informs the narrative, the style and the symbology … "
Rather than a 'relationship painting', as he is known for, the journey is now into self and in doing so, Mr. Hess takes all that energy and detail and applies it to the figures reflection, which appears to be data or language or text, as if she is reading her own story. It is a haunting and beautiful work that is both primal and contemporary. Hess is washing humanity of all the numbers, the stocks, the internet data that we so readily feel is important and immersing us into the naked realities of what would really be important, if all of it were suddenly taken away ? Certainly to have a body, to inhabit that form, to walk, to talk, to exist and on top of all of that, to actually be beautiful, what a gift, to be lovely, to be sensual, to be vulnerable. Hess captures all of this and more. The sinking figure reaches to the surface, she is not exactly drowning, but clearly, she did not expect to fall in. Because Hess tells stories through symbology, this indeed invites speculation. If water is emotions, then this woman is surely overcome, if reality is the surface, than she is drifting far from it, if numbers and letters and data are at the very surface, there is a good chance she will not return, better to see what lies beneath, rather than stay at the shallow end.
Going with this train of thought, it is safe to say that Hess is a deep painter with a magical and mischevious bent, a seductive style that conjures as it cojoles, he is a tempest willing to terrify as well as to terrorize our senses and all the while, he does it with such penache, grace and out and out visual poetry, that we find it hard to turn away. Hess is a master painter who has stayed in touch with his vulnerability and has no problem sharing those fears, desires, ideas with the viewer, and for those of us still in the audience, after each and every encore, we will never forget it. This body of artwork is as dangerous as an Egon Schielle drawing or as insane as a Salvador Dali print or as beautiful as any number of works, you name it. Hess has passed through the looking glass, he dove deep into the dark waters an ugly duckling and came back to the surface as a swan on a dare. No one can win everytime they go to the track, step up to the roulette wheel or roll the dice, but some gamblers choose wisely, they take educated guesses, they study the horses and when they win, they win big. F. Scott Hess is indeed a winner and for my money, I will always take a willing tip from this artist rather than any simple cashier sitting at the ticket counter any day.
THE BUREAU ICON ESSAY: AKIRA KUROSAWA
Akira Kurosawa is a great contribution to The Asian World and indeed he is a National Treasure to Japan. To Us in The West, he is a teacher, a scholar, a storyteller, a raconteur, a moralist with a much wider view point than the average. Ultimately Kurosawa is a Film maker of the rarest variety, lastly, he is an Artist. Today, we honor Mr Akira Kurosawa.
Akira Kurosawa is the youngest child of a large family, third generation from the Edokko. He is exposed to film early on by an older brother and eventually finds his way to filmmaking by assisting and script writing. His meticulous nature and perfectionist qualities concerning accuracy are exemplary. Eventually his adaptions of early literature and his knowledge of Art expand the ideas of a what a film actually is. Kurosawa garners attention with innovative techniques, pushes the limits on former traditional ideas of right and wrong. After ten films that were mostly seen in his own country, Kurosawa has a creative breakthrough, which leads to International acclaim and a resounding success.
Kurosawa's Adaption of several short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa in 1950 for the film entitled, "Rashomon," received The Grand Prix at The Venice Film Festival and led to American distribution through RKO. The film went on to win both the National Board of Review prize and Academy recognition for the Best Foreign Film in Hollywood. At the time, Art Films were usually recognized more from countries such as France, Sweden or England. The fact that a Japanese film had make an international sensation and actually made money in large metropolitan cites such as New York was historical. Film reviews in the New York Times, the Saturday Review and the Christian Science Monitor were complimentary. Reviews in The New Yorker and the Times London were perplexing, as we look back at those negative reviews, some sixty-five years later, they seem tainted by a prejudice that has haunted the Asian culture since time immemorial. You may notice that this publication has no time, need or desire to TELL the reader what is good or bad. If it is in the publication, you may assume it is good, if it is not in the publication, you may assume whatever you like. Rashomon went on to great heights of conjecture and recognition and to this day is compared to great films that have transcended both time and trends. It could be compared to Orson Welles' great Classic, "Citizen Kane," in that regard. The success of international recognition brings scrutiny and even envy within the inner circles of a great artist and without a doubt, the surprising popularity of Rashomon, did just that.
Kurosawa follows it up with an early literature favorite from Dostoevsky. He eventually creates the masterpiece, "Seven Samurai," which inspires another popular filmmaker to adapt it into, "The Magnificent Seven." Later, more such adaptations of Kurosawa films, both loose and exacting will create films like George Lucas' extremely popular film series, "Star Wars." Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg and Paul Schrader are just a few of the internationally known American filmmakers who owe a great debt to the legacy of the man they call, Akira Kurosawa. One of the important aspects of Kurosawa and his influence on cinema is both his pre-war and post — war activity in filmmaking. He is assisting and in training throughout the period before World War Two. Kurosawa becomes a director in 1943, though his responsibilities as an assistant in previous productions had prepared him entirely. All throughout the War, Akira Kurosawa makes films that are influenced by what he sees and feels, but also by many of his Western influences such as writers like Georges Simenon. Kurosawa is blatantly honest about his many influences which include: D. W. Griffith, Ed McBain, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare and the frailty of mankind itself. Years after the war, Kurosawa openly discusses his acknowledgment of, "War Time filmmaking and National Code policies that both hindered and influenced his ability to make the films he had intended to create. A must read book for any persons wishing to understand the films of Akira Kurosawa is the comprehensive manual, "The Films of Akira Kurosawa," by author Donald Ritchie, "Something of An Auto Biography," by Kurosawa himself and of course the many books written about each film, the scripts and stories they are based on, and to view the films themselves. I also believe that comparative film viewings are a great way to understand the relationships that we as artists, filmmakers and storytellers have with one another. If you watch, "The Hidden Fortress," as a double feature with, "Star Wars," or "The Seven Samurai," with "The Magnificent Seven," you may learn something of the interrelated quality which the arts provide this world. The unification of the human experience itself, on an international level, depends highly on the arts.
The films of Akira Kurosawa play a key role in the international discussion and dissertation on our relations as people of the world. Another keen and important aspect to Akira Kurosawa's contribution to film itself is his deep knowledge and curiosity regarding philosophy, literature and the visual arts.
As Kurosawa's popularity rises, he is more and more, able to make the type of film that he originally intended to create. In "High and Low," a detective story based on a book by Ed McBane, Kurosawa's positioning of characters in relation to their body language is so artistically defined and designed that it raises filmmaking to the level of high art. The single frame pictures in this production, especially the interior shots with four or more characters are simply masterpiece art paintings, fine art prints or highly developed photographs by a complete and utter artist of the highest order. Further, the images relate directly to story, emotion, narrative interpretation and culminate into what a film must be to succeed: Entertainment as well as Education. Kurosawa goes onto create a series of films that have created a legacy of outstanding cinema that have aligned themselves with his own country, with Asian history and traditions as well as the concerns of humanity as a whole. An artist will create works that reflect their personal interests, views and concerns as well as experience. At the same time, there are collective experiences that relate to one's nation, one's place in the world and one's very existence. The Akira Kurosawa catalogue is steeped in each afore mentioned example. His later works, such as, "Ran," and "Dreams," are a testament to humanity, history and proof that, Akira Kurosawa, from the first film to the last, set a great example and raised the bar of excellence as well as imagination. I do not pretend to be a specialist in Asian studies. I do not assume I know anything more than you do about Oriental culture. I do not profess to have the answers to the deeper questions that great art provides. I do know that the work of Akira Kurosawa has educated my knowledge, his films have informed my curiosity, his ideas have answered many of the deeper philosophical questions. And so, today, we honor the great Asian Artist Akira Kurosawa.
- Joshua A. TRILIEGI
BUREAU FILM : THE BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY
Directed by Hans Petter Molland Starring Damien Nguyen Written by Sabina Murray
Reviewed by Joshua A. TRILIEGI / Reprinted From The BUREAU Of ARTS AND CULTURE Archives
The Beautiful Country is a heartbreaking journey which helps any American born stateside to understand fully the difficulty in being born elsewhere, but having ones heart set on America and the dream it holds for so many. Half American, half Vietnamese, our lead character leaves his native country to find his American born father by birth. Hated by the locals, un-accepted by his mother' s family and friends. He takes a leap into the abyss of the unknown world. From small town to boat, from concentration camp to ship and on into a story of struggle, pain, not belonging, outsider status and the search for the father ultimately becomes the search for self. With little brother in tow and a fist full of foreign bills, he leads us into a luckless trip full of sweet & sour sorrow. Befriending other American dreamers along the way: a dissident, an attractive young lady, a sick old man, fellow refugees who have sold themselves to get on over. None of these friendships make the trip any easier. Prostitution, resistance, political oppression & the search for that ever elusive American dream embroil into a game of dangerous proportions with death at every turn. Humans trapped on a chess board of heroic sacrifice and humble beginnings. A beautiful and touching film with excellent writing and directing, very well produced and career making performances by newcomers as well as stalwart pros. Tim Roth is the captain of the ship and the incomparable Nick Nolte is the father, an ex GI living on a farm in Texas. Survival, death and opportunity all mix into a volatile cocktail of moral values versus the market place of human trafficking. With allusions to death camps of both post and pre war eras, and the promise that, "You' ll all get rich in America," our characters are trapped in a carrot dangling process of hunger for both food and a better life elsewhere: A life in America.
"A heartbreaking journey which helps any American born stateside
to understand fully the difficulty in being born elsewhere, but having
ones heart set on America and the dream it holds for so many."
Another brave production by Ed Pressman, Terence Malick and San Nazarian, who put up the funds. A return to the kind of films that Americans were known to produce in the heyday of classic 1970s and again in the 1990s period of real film making. All too often, cartoons, machines and digital effects have taken center stage over story, acting and simply great film making. The Beautiful Country is a return to the kind of film making that made the entire world look to Hollywood with love, respect & honor. A sorrowful film with heartbreaking proportions. A sort of love letter to the after effects of war, peace, exodus and the price paid to not only make it in America, but the price paid to actually get here. Fellow inmates play a game of who can mention the most American icons in a tandem roulette — like fashion : Clint Eastwood, Mickey Mouse, NFL, etc ... The basic subjects that we as Americans take for granted, others do not. America is indeed ' The Beautiful Country ,' but a whole lotta ugly can sure be dished out by those wishing to dangle carrots, abuse their power & use immigrants as tools, objects and or devices for their own personal gain. With nothing more than a photograph, an address and a name, our hero, heart in hand, finds a way to survive the journey, help others along the way and somehow retain integrity & self respect in a world full of deceit, dishonesty and destitute situations . He loses family, gains friends and ultimately finds his father. In a particularly heroic effort he challenges the ships bullying drug dealer who leads the games which pit passenger against passenger. Putting a stop to the games by ultimately out quoting him with a list of American icons that include : The Miami Dolphins, George Washington, Huntington Beach, Minnesota and the 10 Freeway, A touching scene which employs humor, pathos and sadness with a punch to the gut for anyone with a heart. Finally after several deaths, detours and degradations, our hero does indeed make it over. Only to find out that any Vietnamese with an American father is allowed to fly into America free of charge. All in all our hero retains that sweet human trait we know as 'Grace'. The final chapter between he and his father, is elliptical, touching and open.
HO RYON LEE
THE BUREAU MAGAZINE PROFILE
The Paintings are well crafted. The Subject matter is Seductive, Flirtatious, Sexy. The Artist is young, Korean and on his way to becoming a a very Fine Artist with a following. He is represented in Germany, continuing his education in England and is walking the line between photography and painting in an innovative style. Motion plays a key role, filtered often, though not exclusively, through a soft focus lens. The progression of Mr Lee's style and trajectory is consistent with slight and mature developments in technique that have indeed grabbed the attention of a collectors eye and a curiosity for what the next series will look like.At times, The Painter is simply taking a peak at the wonderful world of women and at other times, he is twinkling a gleam in the viewers eye and dangling an idea of sexuality that is infused with light, fabric, flesh and movement. Mr Lee is treading into an interesting psychological area with these paintings. Because Lee has an understanding of photography and a solid eye for how light actually lands on a subject, these paintings and the series currently on his site are really only the beginning of what looks to be a curiously & sexually infused journey into art. These are mind scape snap shots of a budding sexuality that has its roots in the early psychological writings of Carl Jung or Sigmund Freud. At first glance, it would appear that his fan base would be mostly men, but upon closer study, we noticed how many women had re posted his images, which tells us at the magazine that Ho Ryon LEE is grabbing attention not just from the fellas, but from his subjects themselves. Not often the case when bordering this type of feminine territory. Mr Lee's youth plays a big factor here and with the art world needing a younger audience, he may just be one of the new attractions to ensure that New Art is appreciated by younger audiences from all walks of life. One particularly effective aspect of the paintings is the double and triple snapshot style that creates the motion, the other is the framing of the subject, the third is what he leaves out. Wether he knows it or not, this creates a little piece of mystery adding a whole other level of innocence and freshness that is exhilarating to the viewer. Reminiscences of bygone days for the elders and possibly a peak at the future for those still learning about love, life and longing. We eagerly await his next series & look forward to the development of his form. Meanwhile, Here is a sneak peak at the original paintings by Mr. Ho Ryon Lee.
The Legendary Maker of Images
Joshua TRILIEGI for BUREAU of ARTS & CULTURE Magazine Worldwide
Art, Music, Literature, Theatre, Film, Design, Architecture, Photography and the other Arts discussed in this publication are regularly viewed through the subjectivity of the reader. Such is the nature of the world. Religion, Politics and Nationalism are ideologies that often shape or attempt to influence our subjective outlook. Here at The BUREAU of Arts and Culture, we ask that you reconsider those viewpoints and allow for a new frame of mind, based on a larger, broader and more liberated idea of living. Today, we look at the Art of Katsushika Hokusai as an example of subjective vs. objective views and how those ideas evolve through the years.
Katsushika Hokusai was born in 1760 in Edo, Japan, today's modern day Tokyo. For the sake of expanding the panorama of this article, lets imagine that, if Hokusai had been born in the United States or France or Russia or China or Spain or Africa or Indonesia or the Middle East, he would still be an Artist who had created a body of artwork that, after his death, remains a great legacy. To this day Hokusai's work is incredible, influential and independent of any idea of a place of birth, a national viewpoint, a religious or moral or political stance. Unfortunately, in today's world, each artist, each image, each idea is filtered through a viewpoint of segregation, national affiliation, religious attachment, moral judgment and often a skewed and or hypocritical interpretation, based steeply in the realm of mind control. But great art escapes this trap. Literature, Art, Film, Music, Photography and even the design world of Architecture, can indeed rise so far above the mundane world of everyday values that it transcends into a world far beyond. Many of the works of The Artist known as Katsushika Hokusai do exactly that: Influence and Inspire everyone. Hokusai was a true Artist, a Seeker, a Traveller, a man dedicated to the interpretation of life in images. As is the ancient tradition of artists of and before his time, attachment to any one name is a hinderance to creation, Hokusai was only one of the man's identities, he held over thirty names and lived in over ninety locations before his death. They called him, "The Painter of Water," and no doubt, because of his erotic images, they most likely called him much more than that, some critically, others in praise.
"The Hokusai View on the Power of Nature, The Power of Sexuality, The Power of Survival is Immense, even Staggering."
Hokusai was born at a very important time on the planet and his connections to world events and schools of thought in not only art, but also music and fashion have become legendary. Most likely, he was adopted, either abandoned at birth, a bastard child or born into a family that could not afford a child. To be born in 1760, anywhere in the world, meant that ones life would be the participant of a wild and transformative nature. The founding of America, the opening of Japan's relationship with The West, the revolutions in Europe, the scientific discoveries and new developments of technology, art and philosophy are unbounded. Hokusai was also, simply, a man of the people. Many of his most famous artworks were created for the everyday, working class citizen to enjoy and to own. Although this is indeed an Arts publication, it is not my job to tell you, the reader, what you like, what you dislike, what is good, what is bad, what is mundane, what is fabulous, you already know all that: or so you assume. The work of Hokusai and any great artwork, is meant to transform your assumptions. The Hokusai view on the power of nature, the power of sexuality, the power of survival is immense, even staggering. The Hokusai catalogue of art may assault your ideas of morality and at the same time, challenge your views on the permanence of your very existence. Either way, his respect for nature, his ability to express a larger idea through a simple image and his lasting impression on the arts is immeasurable. The Hokusai art prints that eventually travelled to Europe influenced Vincent Van Gogh, Edward Manet and even inspired a major work of classical music by Claude Debussy.
At seventy years of age, due to circumstances beyond his control, Katsushika Hokusai reenters the World of Art. Hokusai creates a new body of work unlike his former works and yet somehow connected to the previous style. Arguably, his most famous work, that we know of, "Thirty - Six Views from Mount Fuji," and specifically, the singular image from this series, which measured ten inches by fifteen inches, entitled, "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa," is his most impressive and influential. It has become the subject of documentary films, lectures, cultural praise and even multiple interpretations through the decades. Originally, he created the work for everyday Japanese citizens to own and enjoy. During it's original introduction into society, the cost of a print compared to that of a simple meal. What started as a relatively obscure & nominal series of artworks has since elevated to the highest level possible, ever. The image, which represents the awesome power of planet earth and mother nature itself, in the form of a giant wave exerting its domination over its temporary inhabitance, says something about existence. Hokusai's Great Wave image through the decades has been, among other things, obscure, popular, celebrated, banned, feared and exploited. How could that be ? The image never changed, it remained the same and yet, through the years, the ideas surrounding the image did change. Society changed, and so, the ideas relating to this image, through the years were reinterpreted based on the values being espoused. This brings us back to the introductory idea regarding subjectivity vs. objectivity and the false ideas that group thinking can provide for, regarding individuals, originality & some might argue, lifestyle choices and freedoms or lack thereof, not only in todays world, but yesterday's and tomorrow's.
That a simple image could not only withstand scrutiny, exploitation and celebration and remain popular through the ages is a testament to the spirit of the artist and art itself as possibly the last bastion of freedom in a world which increasingly rewards conformity. The dangers of a society or group of people that seek to control the activities of its fellow citizens are clearly displayed in previous times and places through history. Extreme examples such as fascism and religious crusades continue to haunt humanity with obvious desecrations and destructive periods in history that led to the holocaust, slavery, wars and rivalries that, to this day, have yet to be amended. All because of an idea being projected onto an object or a lifestyle or even onto you, the reader, the human being. The Floating World period in Japan was a very sensual and pleasure seeking period in Japan's history. After decades of inner struggle and informal civil wars over territory and in fighting between various factions of samurai, each with a different leader, a unification period ensued. These changes effected the lifestyle of everyday citizens, of samurai class and of life itself. Travel, culture and codes shifted and so to the basic ideas of art and fashion and economy. Katsushika Hokusai's artworks varied in style & subject. Because Hokusai worked under various identities and worked primarily in the woodblock form of art, many of his life works no longer exist and others, to this day, are rediscovered.
Several years after Hokusai's death in 1849, Japan reluctantly opened its borders to trade with The West. This entire period is open to interpretation as history often is. In any event, Japan and America became trading partners and many Americans and Europeans with a cultural curiosity visited, honored, collected and respected the culture of Japan, which included: Buddhist practice, Cultural ideas, Music, Art and those indescribable aspects of a society which retains so much beauty, discipline and originality. 140 years after the original printing of Hokusai's master works were created, a bevy of original art woodblocks were discovered in the Bigelow Collection of The Boston Museum. Through a mutual cultural respect and exchange, the wood blocks were returned to Japan for a reprinting process that was arduous. The Adachi Institute in Tokyo painstakingly recreated the original works and so: The story continues between The West and The East. But lets back up a few decades, to another time. During World War II, the image of, "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa," was completely reinterpreted again. It was now seen through the eyes of the great propaganda machine on both sides. The Japanese leadership, at the time, brought the image back into popularity as a power position against any foe. And in turn, The West began to use the image as a case against a powerful nation who had temporarily aligned itself with enemies of our own. All the while, the little ten inch by fifteen inch work of art, created with newly found prussian blue ink, had simply been minding it's own business, while its creator, long after death, watched from wherever we roam after existence.
This is how images are interpreted through the ages and this is indeed the danger of a short term view of Art and of life itself. Katsushika Hokusai and his Artworks are often discussed divisively and otherwise. Seldom is Hokusai's most outrageous and erotic work included in any theoretical conversations for fear of who knows what ? In our own interviews with artists and conversations through analyzation of art and art history at The BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE Magazine, we have attempted to be inclusive of artists works, their ideas, in a non censored fashion and no doubt, we pay the price, whatever that price may be. At times, that price includes exclusion from more conservative affiliations, false moral judgements against the publication, less opportunity for advancement and exposure and ultimately it includes a lack of commercial and or financial support. The BUREAU of ARTS and CULTURE, by it's very name has a responsibility to provide an open and honest viewpoint on any culture with which we are able to share views on the World of Art and Culture. We have reached out to 100's of Art Institutes inviting inclusion and opportunity of a wide variety, specifically for this particular Asian Edition and are always surprised at how closed and controlled each may or may not be towards an open relation. It appears that, like any group as far and wide and as varied as ASIA and its affiliated countries and cultures, unification is indeed still a lacking aspect of our relations. Writing from The West and specifically from Los Angeles, I take the chance of sounding naive. Maybe we actually need more naiveté in our relations with one another.
Has history jaded our future relations ? Is nationalism once again creeping into our subjective viewpoints as they have so many times in the past ? Is politics and decision making by our leaders and so-called representatives creating a system of exclusion when one of mutual trust and respect is sorely needed ? In other words, are YOU part of the problem ? Are you projecting your subjective view onto another human being based on your own ideas ? The Final Question : Are you The Wave in the painting by Hokusai or are you The Passenger in the boat ? The Final Answer : You are both The Wave and The Passenger. This publication, nor its readers, nor the world at large, nor any one way of living, nor any nationality is without a wave or a passenger. We are all equal. We are all human beings. We will all be taken by the wave eventually. That is the ultimate message stated here. So then, what do we do with our time before that wave crashes ? The people of every populist, well beyond leadership, government and the rewards of conformity have much work to do in reaching out to one another. The Individual person, the Individual Act of beauty, the Individual work of Art will always outshine, outlast and ultimately outlive all the giant waves to come. Subjective viewpoints aside, Art is still the great bridge of humanity.
We speak different languages, but when we look at a work of art, we simply see the ART. Think about what you see, when you see it and how you see it. If you see a specific race, color, language, nationality, moral idea or religious code every time you see something, there is a good chance that you may need to rethink the way you are seeing. After all, Artworks of the highest order eclipse nationality, they transcend time, they suspend ideas of space, they leap over boundaries of religion, morality and politics, they enter into the realm of another world that go on to inspire artists through the ages of any race, any color, any age or place. There will always be a group of people at the lowest level of vibration, who will attempt to censor, attempt to interpret, attempt to 'own' and control ideas on this planet, such is life. Katsushika Hokusai and his artworks will always outshine the dullards, outclass the fools and overshadow the mundane. Hokusai is a man of the world, he belongs to everyone, everywhere and yet he remains, independent. As it now states on his gravestone, "Even after Death, The Soul Walks in a Summer Field," just exactly where that Summer field exists, no man can say, nor should they even try, but they can wonder.
- Joshua A. TRILIEGI / BUREAU of ARTS + CULTURE Magazine
ROBERT FRANK: VISUAL POET
Photographers around the world revere Robert Frank's contributions to the image pool. Museums of the National and International variety create anthologies, catalogues and booklets attempting to put into perspective the precise importance of Mr. Frank's work. Art galleries and private dealers invest tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in reproducing and reselling the Robert Frank catalogue to new collectors at higher and higher prices each year. Robert Frank's photographs have become iconic, the images are American to the core and yet, he was an outsider, a beatnik, an immigrant, a visual poet. It is almost impossible to define why and what and how the impetus, the formula, the motivation surfaces within an individual artist, but within the example of Mister Robert Frank, it is safe to say that this honest man, with a most basic and unadorned tool in hand, was indeed on a quest for that rare and delectable entity known quite simply, plainly & rather straightforwardly as: The TRUTH.
Robert Frank travelled the United States in search of America and Americans: he found both. Seeking the truth, leads to knowledge, with knowledge comes responsibility, with responsibility comes wisdom and somewhere within the wisdom, sits some version of truth. What if the truth you find has something in it that is just the slightest bit askew ? What if your parents fled a dictator for a place that was safe and secure and then you were to gamble all that away for a place that spoke of a much larger idea and when you went out to find that idea, it didn't actually exist ? Like many immigrants, like my ancestors and many of your ancestors, we as a people came to discover America and quickly, we realized that America didn't really exist in the way we thought it did. Within that realization also comes a comprehension that although America is not everything we were told, it is now ours and as Americans, we can collectively & individually make a contribution, and in that offering, in that very active step forward into our lives, we make America what it is: You and me. Frank turned his eye on America and took its picture. He did not flinch, he did not turn away, he did not judge, he did not separate, he did not categorize, he did not modify, he did nothing but document, and in that study and within his vignettes, his so-called snap shots, something quite real surfaced, it expounded well beyond the veneer and eventually he found what many of us can only hope to fathom: Mister Robert Frank had simply discovered America & made it his own. He was not the first to, 'discover,' America. Columbus had discovered America in 1492. Washington and his boys followed suit and decided they liked the place more than they did their own homes. Who could blame them ? This place is awesome. The big difference with Robert Frank's discovery is that he did not conquer, nor did he enslave, he just simply captured the image and after all: image is everything. When America actually viewed it's own portrait shortly after World War II and in the decade to follow, it was somewhat shocked at the signs of poverty, the segregation, the somewhat disheveled look. The melting pot of life had seen it's own reflection and turned away, blaming the mirror. The Portrait of America and Americans by Mr. Robert Frank has gone onto have a lasting effect on the populist, the politics, the entire cultural landscape, which in the mid fifties was about to undergo a major shift in values. These images of America immediately influenced an entire generation of writers, artists and activists that had both preceded and coincided with this very new and emerging America. A recent exhibition presented by The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University unveiled many works from Mr. Frank's famous AMERICANS Series that had never been publicly displayed.
At seventeen years of age, Frank learns to develop and print photographs with a neighbor who also introduces him to modern art, the apprenticeship lasted a year. At about this same time, fascism and the rise of Hitler's influence in Germany, where his family emigrated from, his father is German, his mother Swiss, effected the young man's perspectives. Frank, who was of Jewish descent, surely knew, growing up in Sweden, that he was different. His parents were both culturally astute, his father could quote Goethe in two languages, his mother created drawings. When a cousin of Frank's came to visit, her parents, who had stayed behind were eventually victims of the holocaust. The memories of Frank's parents recoiling from the sound of Hitler's hatred remained with him forever. In 1942, Robert Frank studied at Wolgensinger studio in Zurich, where he became influenced by the New Photography and an ethic that, in his teacher's own words, "Photography is the representation of reality - its mission is to convey essence, form and atmosphere." Frank learns to light, print and organize his works as well as contact sheet his 2 1/4 negatives. Two years later, he lands a job developing works for the largest photo studio in Switzerland, by day, he prints their work, by night, he prints his own. By 1946 Frank produces an impressive portfolio entitled, simply 40 Fotos. With the end of World War II, he travels to Paris, Milan and Brussels and by 1947, with a rebellious streak of independence and stories of American culture engrained in his psyche by literature and world events, Mr. Frank boards a ship to America. He recalls sitting between a wild, gangster-hatted American who eats with his hands and a Bishop with rosary and red sash: a scene straight out of a movie. Frank briefly worked for Harper's and a year later, he travelled to Peru and Bolivia. By 1949, he was back in Europe traveling to Spain, France, Italy and later that year is published in Camera magazine, with a prophetic declaration, "We believe Robert Frank can teach us how to see …"
Robert Frank travelled between Europe and America several times in the early nineteen fifties. He married, had a child, applied for and received a Guggenheim grant & drove across the United States documenting a very real America. He had already captured iconic images in England, Scotland, Peru and Spain, including top hatted Londoners, coal miners in Whales, workers in LaPaz, bullfighters in Barcelona. He was now in search of the American image, outside of the big cities, rural America. It is fitting that the author of, "On The Road," Jack Kerouac and Robert Frank would eventually collaborate on a film. Kerouac also wrote the preface to Frank's seminal mid fifties survey work that was eventually published in 1958, entitled simply, "The Americans." Mr. Franks entry into America in 1947 and his many travels coincided exactly with author Kerouac's own pursuit and invention of a New Prose language in America. It was the perfect alignment. Frank's search for the truth in images, his abhorrence of commercial situations, where he quickly realized that, "There was no spirit there … the only thing that mattered was to make money," was in total unison with the emerging beatnik movement. Which eventually led to the cultural revolution and a new generation of values that included women's rights, civil rights and alternative lifestyles. Frank was also very much in line with the new school of painting that had taken hold by the likes of New York action painter Jackson Pollock, who had graced the cover of time in 1947, the year Frank first arrived in America. He states, regarding the new found style, after a conscious exodus from his New York commercial assignments, "I was very free with the camera. I didn't think of what would be the correct thing to do. I did what I felt like doing. I was like an action painter… I was making a kind of diary."
The tools Frank selects become even simpler when he begins using a point and shoot 35mm Leica, suggested by his boss and mentor at Harper's Bazaar, Alexey Brodovitch, rather than his 2 1/4 inch box camera. It is very possible that Robert Frank was one of the few modern photographers to be fully conscious of his intuition, utilizing a philosophy of following one's heart as opposed to one's mind. The 35mm camera made this very particular and personal transition that much easier. Frank was also very aware of the myths that had surrounded photography since World War II, with the adventurous roving journalist tradition of photographers such as Robert Capa, who later co-founded Magnum Photo Agency, the first agency to be run by and for photographers. There were times in Frank's early career when lack of sales and rejection from the large magazine publications only fueled his motivation. He strived to break free of the style, story concept and basic mainstream presentation of imagery that pervaded the publishing industry: the beginning, middle & end formulas that LIFE magazine so heartily represented. Frank began to present his layouts and book design works without many words or narration and juxtaposing images such as Christ on the cross with a Ballon at a parade, titled : Men of Wood & Men of Air. Though, even more effective and minimalist are images presented with no text at all and no image juxtaposed, simply an image on one page and a blank page next to it. In this way, Robert Frank elevated the conversation by allowing the viewer to do some thinking, to read the symbols, to project themselves into the image and decide for themselves what was going on. By doing so, he also added a much needed element that had been missing from the photography of the nineteen fifties, Mr. Frank brought back a sense of curiosity to photography and in doing so, he created a new visual poetry with various meanings to each viewer.
No Less than ten minutes into the documentary entitled, "Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank," Mr. Frank rejects the films process, unveiling a glimpse into his very true character as a kind of idiosyncratic jazz purist. Up to this point in the film, the filmmaker's have decided to do a, 'connect the dots' biographical take, asking Mr. Frank to discuss and recall all the known biographical facts that have been so well explored before in books and catalogues, such as the very detailed essays by Sarah Greenough of The National Gallery of Art in Washington D. C. where much of Frank's photographic work resides for future study. These biographical essays can also be found in the very extensive book entitled, "ROBERT FRANK Moving Out" on Scalo Press. In the middle of a question and answer session, Mr. Frank is asked to repeat an earlier observation, because the film crew had actually run out of film. He responds with a fiery exchange: "Well, look, forget it. Look, I'm not an actor, you know. I can't go through this shit, you know. I mean… theres no spontaneity in this, it's completely against my nature what's happening here. So, if the crew can't get it together with the film, let's go out to Coney Island, lets play a Beckett play there and lets look at the landscape with my photographs and see that this man is looking for something he did fifty years ago." In the next shot of the film, Mr Frank is seen on the street in Coney Island asking a cop on a horse, "Sir, do you know where this is ? I took this picture almost fifty years ago," The cop answers, "No, I don't know." Mr Frank turns to the camera in response, "Let's find a real old guy, he would know." Suddenly we get some authenticity and a peek into what it Is that Robert Frank does so well: He connects with real people. Eventually, a young african american man points out the location, "It was right there," he points across the way, "So then, you knew it as a kid ?" Frank asks and the young man answers, "Yeah." There is a very heart felt parting glance, Franks says, "Thanks a lot." Then, suddenly, the young man reaches out his hand and Mr. Frank grabs the young man's wrist, their eyes meet and they relate.
The Gesture is a small, yet beautiful moment where two strangers have connected. We get the sense that Mr. Frank's pictures, his early and entire catalogue were also indeed created with this special human need, for a man, alone with his art and his ideas, to connect with his people, with his immediate surroundings and with the world at large. At another point in the documentary, Mr Frank is riding a bus, looking out the window, recalling an earlier series of works taken from the windows of moving buses. He looks out the window quietly reminiscing in a solitary manner. As an admirer of Mr. Frank and his work, to watch him with no camera in his hands, was literally, for me, quite painful. When a human being you love turns ninety years of age, as Mr. Frank currently has, it is high time to celebrate his life, his work, his experiences. It is also time to ensure that this human being has everything he needs, that he knows how very well loved, well respected and well deserving he is of life's gifts. When both of my Grandfather's had turned ninety, I dropped everything I was doing and focused on them, we made documentary films together, we created images, we conducted interviews, we ate together, we discussed their lives, we set the story straight. Now, both of those men no longer walk the earth, they have moved on to another world. As I look at Robert Frank's world of images, as I look at Robert Frank's life, as I look at Robert Frank's experience at my own 'middle age', I get invigorated, I get inspired, I get turned on to life again and a new phase of creating begins. The power of the Individual is awe inspiring. Very few singular Artists, Writers or Filmmakers have set the bar to a new standard in the way in which Mr. Robert Frank has done. He is stubbornly passionate, defiantly individualistic, decidedly authentic, unabashedly truthful, culturally curious and it is very safe to say that Mr. Robert Frank did not sell out. He influenced and continues to influence The Arts, Advertising, Musicians, Writers, Filmmakers and of course photography, every single decade since his first appearing on theses shores. He is a living legend and most likely, he would shun that appraisal. Which is neither here nor there, the fact is, he did his job, the images remain, end of story.
ROBERT FRANK VISUAL POET : In His Words
ON PHOTOGRAPHS: "I like images and so to make images became kind of natural."
ON PARIS: "I never really had a concept for something. It was really the intuition before I really saw it. So, Paris was very good for me.
ON LONDON: "It was wonderful, because, they didn't pay any attention to you. Which, today, they would tell you to fuck off or turn away, you know."
ON NEW YORK CITY: "New York is a very good city, wherever you look around, it has a character. and you know, It isn't a pretty life, it isn't a sweet life, it's, it's the real life, that I looked for, and that I got.
ON AMERICA: "In America I wanted to do it differently. There was no more romanticism really, a look at a country that I didn't really know, I had only been here a couple of years. The Americans was the first time I made a trip across the country… I really felt something very strong from the people. I looked at poor people, how they tried to survive, what a lonely time it can be in America, what at a tough country it is."
ON EARLY INFLUENCES: "You grow up in a place and the culture of that place or your parents or your situation, it influences you. There was a war going on, Switzerland was a place that was closed off from everywhere, you couldn't get out and you were afraid that the nazi's would invade … so of course, it had an influence on a jew."
ON RACE RELATIONS: "Also, I saw for the first time the way blacks were treated, it was surprising to me, but it didn't make me hate America, it made me understand how people can be. You know, you learn a lot traveling and you learn a lot when you are a photographer and thats what probably what makes the difference, if you have some brain and some feeling for people, you are going to be a good photographer."
ON PERCEPTION OF HIS IMAGES: "The reaction surprised me, because people thought it was an anti-American story, so then, it took ten years till that changed, but I do like America, so I became an American and thats what I know best."
ON CREATING PICTURES : "The Pictures have to talk, not me, and so be it."
The PAINTER: GEORGIA O'KEEFFE
Georgia O'Keeffe, as a person, was precocious, defiant, intelligent, unwavering and spirited. Throughout her education and early years as a painter, she produced an original abstractionist style that had preceded a group of New York painters of the male variety that has, to this day, remained wholly original, breathtakingly expansive and sexually charged in a way that empowers feminine energy and iconography. O'Keeffe rejected analysis of her works from start to finish, from her early years in New York, to her later years in The West, everyone seemed to get it wrong. So then, let us look again at the paintings and life of Ms. Georgia O'Keeffe and see if we can put this incredible body of work into a new and contemporary context with a fresh eye and revisionist look at this phenomenally bold American.
Georgia O'Keeffe is born in Wisconsin in 1887 to Irish - Hungarian parents. By the time her years equal her fingers, she discovers art. Early study of watercolors leads to college, art school in Chicago and the Arts Student League in New York City. She recalled, later in life, "I only remember two things that I painted in those years - a large bunch of purple lilacs and some red and yellow corn." Subjects and colors she would return to throughout her life. By her twentieth year, she is awarded prizes and still seems to reject the praise, due mostly to the fact that her art education seems to reward technique over originality. Adding, in those later reflections, "… I never did like school." While in New York, she and a group of fellow students visit the progressive Art Gallery, 291, eight years later, her own drawings will land in the hands of 291's founder, Alfred Stieglitz, who will become one of her greatest friends, confidants and legally, her husband. In the interim, Georgia O'Keeffe quits painting for four years straight, then, at the University of Virginia and later while studying for a teachers credentials at Columbia College, she falls under the tutelage of Arthur Dow and is set free to pursue something new and wholly original. "I decided to start anew - to strip away what I had been taught, to accept as true, my own thinking. This was one of the best times in my life. There was no one around to look at what I was doing - no one interested - no one to say anything about it one way or another. I was alone and singularly free, working into my own, unknown - no one to satisfy, but myself." This particular statement is extremely important to the core of her character, as it displays O'Keeffe's disdain for any particular reactions to the work, either casually, by fellow artists or formally, by the art critics. As a woman who was decades ahead of her contemporaries, in terms of abstraction in both form and color as well as feminine energy personified freely and independently in an iconic manner: O'Keeffe took a beating by the critics. Some of the blame often falls on Alfred Stieglitz and his in depth photographic series of Ms. O'Keeffe in all her natural beauty as a young woman. Unfortunately, the public discovered Georgia O'Keeffe as the muse of an older male rebel on the front lines of intellectual battles which included, photography as art, the importance of european abstraction and American art as a whole, before they had gotten to discover the original paintings and watercolors of O'Keeffe as Artist. The timing was off and Ms. O'Keeffe, although celebrated on a national level in art circles, was also widely dismissed through the lens of new psychological trends that included the great Freudian fraud which attempted to minimize the feminine energy that Georgia O'Keeffe's work so boldly personified. Once again, from the beginning of time and written history, the female is minimized by rhetoric & ideology through the powers that be, when all along, Georgia O'Keeffe is actually winning the game. From the modern perspective of 2015, it is time to liberate O'Keeffe's eroticism.
O'Keeffe's journey into public notoriety had all started through a mutual friend in 1916 when Stieglitz famously receives a series of charcoal drawings by a young Miss O'Keeffe and immediately is smitten by the originality, the boldness and no doubt by the fact that the drawings are created by an American who is both young and female. He has seen nothing like it before and in a letter that is formally typed and mailed to O'Keeffe, he expresses his admiration. "What am I to say ? It is impossible for me to put into words what I saw and felt in your drawings. As a matter of fact I would not make any attempt to do so. I might give you what I received from them if you and I were to meet and talk about life. Possibly then, through such a conversation I might make you feel what your drawings gave me. I do want to tell you that they gave me great joy… If at all possible, I would like to show them." O'Keeffe would later describe the 291 gallery, "The things you saw at Stieglitz's place sent you off into the world, just like his conversations did… It was a place that helped you find your own road: It was the only place." Alfred Stieglitz and his artistic efforts had been on the verge of the vanguard since the early 1890s. In the beginning, through his own photography in New York City and later in Austria, Italy and Germany. His trips to Paris and his friendship with Edward Steichen had exposed him to the works of Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and Rodin, all of whom would later be exhibited at 291 Gallery. Culturally speaking, there was a fight for the new and Stieglitz had taken the side of The Moderns, "The search for the truth is my obsession." he describes, "The camera fascinated me and photography became my life." While many people enjoyed the new found art of the photograph, there were purists, such as Baudelaire, who hated photography. Although, at the same time, a new group of painters, also in search of truth on American soil, began to create a new type of painting, which became known as the Ashcan School, painters such as Bellows, Shin, Luks and Sloan, who did not shy away from everyday people, subjects and locations of the populist working class lifestyle.
Alfred Stieglitz walked the streets of New York from 1893 to 1895 capturing photographic images of everyday life. He came from a wealthy family, married into another wealthy family & soon found incompatibility, he took refuge into photography. In 1902 Stieglitz started a magazine, opened a gallery and founded a new group of photographers with Edward Steichen called The Photo Secessionists, by it's very name and definition, it was a rebel act of separation from the norm and it began a steep and unsteady incline towards a peak of cultural defiance that would slowly lead upward to the very top. At the start, Alfred Stieglitz's fight was for photography as art and he indeed found supporters and subscribers. Eventually, he began to fight for modernism at all levels, which included much of the art from the newest and most outrageous European painters. In 1907, while on a ship headed for Europe, Stieglitz has an epiphany through a photographic image that, as he describes was, "A Step in my own Evolution." While in Paris, Alfred Stieglitz photographs Rodin, he views Cezanne's new cubist watercolors and Picasso's paintings, including, "Madame's De Avegnons." A year later, in 1908, his exhibition of the sculptor Rodin's drawings causes a stir by their very nature and erotic simplicity, again, he is ahead of the pack and slowly loses the photographic subscribers who originally supported 291 Gallery and the magazine. In 1911, Stieglitz's Gallery is the first American gallery to exhibit the drawings of Pablo Picasso. The public reaction to Picasso's new modernist and primitive approach is abhorrent and with only a single sale, Stieglitz felt obliged to purchase a work himself. His magazine, "Camera Work," was the very first to publish the writings of Gertrude Stein, who would go onto become a modernist wonder of literature and a champion of Picasso's work around the world. Then in 1913, The New York City Armory Show pierces the veil of modernism and justifies many of Alfred Stieglitz's prior decisions. Soon he realizes that the struggle for American Art is lagging behind the europeans and his next cultural battle is for the validity of an American modernist art form by American artists.
Why all this history, you wonder ? I thought this was an article about Georgia O'Keeffe, you ask ? Yes, dear reader, it is, but to comprehend the importance of the beauty, the freedom and the defiant nature of Ms. O'Keeffe's work, you must first understand the fight that preceded her grand entry and the very importance of the simple fact that Georgia O'Keeffe was a very solid American woman with ideas and images stirring inside her imagination that would come into existence and be related directly with a man that had been searching for just such an ideal for over a decade. When he found Georgia O'Keeffe, he had found: "The Great American Thing." As Georgia O'Keeffe herself had described time and time again, looking back at those heady times, "Everyone began talking about the search for the next Great American Novel, the next Great American Poem, the next Great American Painting, The next Great American Thing." Well, my dear readers, I am very happy to inform you that Georgia O'Keeffe not only filled that void, she had been working on the equation, without actually defining it as such, from the time she was ten years old. Now she was twenty-nine years old, had been discovered by Stieglitz and was about to take center stage.The world of the 1920s and it could be argued, that the world of today, is a male dominated world, where woman are subjugated to second class citizenship. Georgia O'Keeffe along Steiglitz's other contemporary painters including John Marin, Marsden Hartley and Arthur Dove helped to define a new and original abstract form in painting that had never, ever, been expressed before. Ms. O'Keeffe did not copy, she did not follow, she did not supplicate, she Invented a whole new 'Thing' and it had all been based on her inner life, her female power, her very sexual and erotic nature. It was new, it was beautiful, it was bold, it was sensual, it was exciting, it was tempestuous, it was authentic, it was avant-garde, it was unblemished, it was purely Georgia O'Keeffe and above all: It was a New American Art Form.
The Interesting thing about O'Keeffe is her ability to learn from the Stieglitz gang and the opposing faction of artists commonly called the precisionists group, which culled inspiration from factories, architecture & machinery, leading the way into modern pop such as Andy Warhol's work. O'Keeffe's work includes both a very personal inner emotional and naturally inspired oeuvre and a very precise and overall interest in architecture & modernism. She won by simply using techniques, ideas and methods that did not devote themselves to any school or group. But not so fast, there is still so much to say, so much more to explain, this is really just the beginning and yet, due to O'Keeffe's consistency, in both style and technique, the works she will produce, from 1918, when she moves to New York, up to her big abstract art exhibition in 1923, compare, very much in power, in expression and in composition with the works she will produce for the rest of her life: Amazingly so. Georgia O'Keeffe the artist, was seldom in search of a style, if anything she had abandoned her own original approach briefly, only to return to it and then held steadfast to what has now become the O'Keeffe method, with a clearly recognizable iconic brand in todays contemporary world of art. Her move from teaching in Texas to living with Stieglitz in New York happened relatively easily and her adjustment to the big city, where she had briefly studied was seamless. Having been promised by Alfred Stieglitz that she could work for a year straight, without interruption, the original vow had turned into the pledge of an entire lifetime. Though, there were times when his photographic objectification not only was a hinderance to her personal space, it did ultimately damage her perception in the public's eye and personally, she was hurt by the mainstream reaction, especially by the critics. Two years prior to her one person abstract exhibit, Stieglitz displayed 145 new photo works, many of them were of his new muse and lover, Georgia O'Keeffe.
The images of O'Keeffe are comparable, in modern times, to that of, say, a celebrity power couple such as Jay-Z and Beyonce'. The sexualization of Georgia O'Keeffe had begun. Lets remember, this is by no means the 1930s with Clara Bow or the 1940s with Greta Garbo or the 1950s with Marilyn Monroe or the 1960s with Bridgette Bardot or the 1970s with Raquel Welch or the 1980s with Madonna or the 1990s with Sharon Stone or the 2000s with What's - her - name: This is 1921. On top of that, we are talking about a very serious artist, not a broadway showgirl, not a singer, not an actress, an intellectual visual artist who, in the words of Arthur Dove, one of the male painters in the Stieglitz art gallery stable, "…Is Actually Doing What All The Guys are Trying to Do." O'Keeffe's Abstract Art show is more than impressive, but due to the harsh criticisms, she gives up abstraction for the next few years and switches to representational objects. Though, her choice of subjects such as fruit and flowers is a rather subtle change. If we look closely at the psychology behind this maneuver, we can see that it was entirely calculated and was actually a bold move toward flipping the script on the subjective mind-scape that had pervaded the times via Freudian theories that were trendily in vogue. By creating representational works that still contained a fierce and even blatantly sexually charged nature, Georgia O'Keeffe was tempting critics to fall on their own swords. The critics had originally tried to intimate that she was a sensual animal, expressing her hidden desires through her paintings. Two years later, when O'Keeffe showed up with pears, apples, flowers and the like, all incredibly and beautifully rendered, with the definite possibility of being interpreted as orifice - like shapes and feminine curves that one might taste or touch, she had set a trap for the critics and still marched on into the next sixty years doing exactly as she had from the very start.
On the one hand, O'Keeffe had won the battle, on the other hand, we still must wonder what might have been, had the critics not been so foul. It seems that in Georgia O'Keeffe's very nature, there was a sly, humorous, independent human being with a philosophical bent that took each challenge, like a boxer might take a rap on the chin, she simply shook her head and got right back in the ring. A year later, Stieglitz handed her a different type of ring and the two began a journey that would last up until his death in 1949, he was twenty-three years her senior. Many years after his death, O'Keefe described their relationship in the simplest of terms, "I was interested in what he did and he was interested in what I did: Very Interested." Decades later, Georgia O'Keeffe had also taken a much younger lover and partner, shocking those around her and creating the same type of stir that had originally started her career in the first place. Her life had come full circle. Georgia O'Keeffe's first visit to New Mexico in 1929, five years after their marriage, started a new love affair with the landscape, which included annual summer stays and eventually a permanent home that would provide an entirely new style, technique and viewpoint which harkened back to her earliest works, before the critics had tried to sexualize, demonize and project a nasty glaze over her very robust, sensually charged paintings that, to this day, will get just about anyone thinking about the beauty of love. If I find myself looking at an O'Keeffe for very long, well, there is no other way to put it, I get turned on. Anyone who says different is either sexless, afraid or most likely, simply too young or a virgin. O'Keeffe's images simply approve of passion, desire and the art of lovemaking. It is also safe to say that, were she alive today, O'Keeffe would most likely dismiss this entire analysis. The fact of the matter is, for a painter so, 'In Love with Color,' language, words and any verbal communication seemed almost rudimentary compared to the purity of visual expressions by a genius.
The BUREAU ICON : Georgia O'Keeffe / Summer 2015 / Written By Joshua A. Triliegi
THEY CALL IT THE CITY OF ANGELS
New Fiction By Joshua TRILIEGI : SEASON TWO . EPISODE FIVE . CHAPTER 27
Each Chapter was Written in a Twenty - Four Hour Period without Notes and Published Consecutively on BUREAU Magazine Sites
Stan got a call that surprised him. From what he knew of protocol regarding this type of thing, there were three ways it could go, one: You were told that a call was coming in at such and such a time, two: You were told, who was on the line and then you spoke or three: You simply answered the telephone and someone said, "Hello, Stan, this is the President of the United States, Ya got a minute ?" If it had been one, he could prepare, if it had been two, he at least had an idea, but since it had been three, he simply said, "Yes, Mister President, what can I do for you?" "Well Stan, it's not what you can do for me, It's what you can do for your country. Wait a minute, that sounds like I'm paraphrasing Kennedy." Stan laughed, he figured, if the President of the United States could tell a joke under theses conditions than Stan could laugh at it. "Listen, Stan, this whole decision has blown up in our faces. I've been on the phone with the Governor and we're about to send in the troops and the national guard. Would you do me a favor and just tell me what the hell happened out there ?" Stan paused, he didn't know where to start. "Sir, Mr President, as the presiding judge, I was just as surprised as the public at this decision." The phone was quiet, then the President continued, "Well listen, were going to have to do this all over again and I just want your opinion, just your personal opinion: what are the chances of getting a conviction in a second trial, if the facts are presented with a jury that reflects the populist of the city and state you serve ?" Stan thought a second and responded, "Well, Sir, Mister President, I think several of the officers could be found to have abused their power and I believe convictions could be had." "Fine, now, off the record, I want you to have a casual meeting with a group of guys including the governor next week, just a simple golf game, nothing official. These men are going to be discussing plans and I want you to add any information that you can in a totally unofficial capacity, do you understand ?" Stan answered in the affirmative, "Yes, I do Mister President." "OK. Fine, I know were not on the same side of the aisle, and looking at the Presidential log, it appears that you have not been to The White House since you were a young boy during Kennedy's Presidency, is that correct ?" "Why, yes it is, Mister President.", "Well listen, the next time you are in town, you drop by and see us." Stan was surprised, "Thank You Mister President." Then the president added one last detail, "You are going to have to drive up to Sacramento or thereabouts for this golf course. How is your game ?" Stan replied, "Terrible Sir, to be honest.", then the President replied, "Well good, that'll work out fine for those boys perfectly. Stay in touch now." The line clicked just before Stan said, "Thank you Mister President" and then he hung up the phone.
When Dora got home Stan said, "Your never going to believe who called today." When he told her who, she said, "Did you ask him about raising the minimum wage or the imbalanced levels of unemployment among people of color or how could he send people into war without proper protection ?" Stan just looked at Dora and walked out of the room, at times like this, there was no use talking about it. "Wheres Cliff ?", he shouted from the hall. "He's out back.", she shouted back. Then he replied, "Listen, I have to drive up to Sacramento next week to meet the Governor about this second trial," That peeked her interest, "What second trial ?" He walked back toward Dora in the kitchen, "There is going to be, and all of this is unofficial, there is going to be another trial, the President wants this cleared up for the public's sake." "Oh what a load of crap." Dora exclaimed, "The entire inner city is burned to the f*cking ground, race relations have been set back decades and now there's going to be another trial ? Amazing." Stan then asked her matter of fact, "Look, I'm taking Cliff with me next week, is that o.k.? Dora stopped what she was doing and turned to him, "What do you mean, I thought you had to work ?" Stan looked down avoiding Dora's eye sight, "No. It's a casual golf game and they want me to fill in facts." Now she was visibly upset, "You mean to say that you are going to golf with the Governor and his cronies to fill in the facts so that a bunch of wankers can find out how to do a job that was yours to begin with ?"
Dora exclaimed, "The entire inner city is burned to the f*cking ground, race relations have been set back decades and now there's going to be another trial ? Amazing."
Stan replied, "That's not really fair of you to put it that way, but yes, thats exactly what I will be doing." She slammed the cupboard, " Good, and while you have that bastards attention, you tell him that the farmers in this state need support from his establishment or their not going to survive the year. Also, you tell him that if teachers don't get a raise, education in this state is going to be a joke and public schools will close." Stan had to laugh, "I don't think it's going to be that kind of meeting." She peeked from out of the fridge, "Oh yeah? Well, you make it, that kind of meeting.", and she punched him in the chest with her little fist. Stan grabbed her and gave her a hug, "Get away from me," she half joked and went back to preparing the meal, "You know Stan, when you're not on the bench, you are allowed to speak your mind. You vote, you're an American, tell them how you feel." Stan replied, "I feel like the system we work in is broken, that's how I feel." Then she set the table and said rather sternly, "Than it's our job to fix it. Now sit down and lets have some dinner." Stan sat down and Dora tousled his hair. "Thats what I get for getting involved with a girl like you." They both turned and saw Cliff smiling at them, he had a blissful look on his face. It was seldom that he saw his parents playing and to him, it was a beautiful thing. He walked up to Dora and pantomimed that he wanted his hair tousled too. Dora gladly obliged the boy and the family sat down to Dinner.
After dinner, Stan walked into Cliffs room and studied the big painting on the wall. He couldn't make sense of the fact that Cliff drew things that seemed to occur in life in a way that was exacting. The painting of the city on fire was crudely executed in terms of style or technique, but the exact details were rather amazing. That night, Stan brought it up to Dora, "How do you think he does it ?" he continued, "How does Cliff create images that seem to correlate with a future reality ?" Dora was quiet, then she said smartly, "Oh does he ? How interesting, I guess every parent likes to think that their kid has something special to offer the world." Stan carried on, "Oh come on, you're the one that wanted to send him to some shaman interview." Dora sat straight up, "That's not true, I simply suggested …", Stan interrupted her, "You said that if he had a special talent than maybe we should share it with the world." Dora sat quiet and Stan just looked at her. "So where are you going with this ?", she finally asked and after a minute of silence, he retorted, "I am just wondering why or how something like that occurs ?" Now Dora was frustrated and she raised her voice, "I don't have any idea and half of the people we know or work with would think we were both insane for even pondering the issue. Why don't you ask the President ?" Stan laughed and asked, "What about the other half ?", Dora replied, "What other half ?" He continued, "You said half the people we know would think we were both insane, what about the other half ?" That night, Stan brought it up to Dora, "How do you think he does it ?" he continued, "How does Cliff create images that seem to correlate with a future reality ?"
That night, Stan brought it up to Dora, "How do you think he does it ?" he continued, "How does Cliff create images that seem to correlate with a future reality ?"
She thought about it, "Well, if presented with the facts including images, dates and correlating events, it is possible that a jury would find that the boy was not only funny, sensitive and gentle, like his father, but he was also cute, attractive, daring and adventurous like his mother. And if pressed further, they may even decide that the boy was not just one of the best fancy dancers in the indian nations, as we recently discovered, but that the boy could actually draw the future." She looked at Stan and gave him a kiss, he kissed her back. After a moment, Dora asked, "So, what exactly do you propose we do about this ?" Stan thought about it, "Well, we could get all the artwork together and put the dates that he created them, with titles that suggested the locations or subjects and show them publicly, let people see for themselves if anything is there, meanwhile, maybe it would be nice for Cliff to share his work with a larger audience." Dora thought about it and asked,"You mean at like an arts center or a school ?" And Stan said, "No, at a real professional art gallery. We could find one that deals with the spiritual or other worldly aspects of art. I know it sounds weird, but, what if he ended up working to solve cases someday ? What if he could help someone ?" They looked at one another and a tear ran down Dora's face. Cliff walked into the room, saw his mothers face and tilted his head, his brow furrowed, Dora held her arms open and Cliff flew into them."We love you so much little man." Then Cliff replied in his raspy little tone,"I love you, too".
Stan and Cliff drove up to the private members only Country Club and gave their names at the gate. Forty years earlier and they would have been excluded because of giving that name. They entered into the lot and Cliff pointed up to a small helicopter that was landing on a private pad across the hillside, 'That's the man we are going to be playing against.", Stan said. Cliff's eye's widened a bit. "Ok, So here the deal", Stan explained, "This is a game where you take a bunch of clubs, sort of like big sticks and you hit a small ball with the stick in an attempt to sink the ball into the hole. Everyone gets a turn and then we go onto the next hole, understand ?" Cliff nodded yes. "Good, now this is your first time, so you are going to be my partner on this understand ?" Cliff nodded in the affirmative. You are going to push my sticks in a little basket with wheels on it right behind me. Whenever I need a stick, I am going to hold out a certain number of fingers and you are going to count how many, then grab the stick with that number in the basket. Understand ?" Cliff looked worried, but was able to spit out a "Yes". Then Stan added, "I know your going to do fine, we're going to do fine.", and they walked up into the clubhouse. Stan picked out a basket of clubs and walked into the foyer. Cliff watched Stan shake hands with a group of men who smelled like a forest in a cartoon and after the men drank their glasses empty, the game began. While walking up to the first hole, Stan took Cliff aside and said, "Think about your drawings, maybe something interesting will come to you.", Cliff peered up at Stan with a puzzled look, the boy was already concerned with having to count fingers and find the right stick and now Stan was asking him to think about his drawings too. Then Stan clarified, "What I mean to say is that, if you get any ideas for drawings about these guys, remind me later," now Cliff was really confused.
They entered into the lot and Cliff pointed up to a small helicopter that was landing on a private pad across the hillside, 'That's the man we are going to be playing against," Stan said. Cliff's eye's widened a bit.
On the first hole Stan held out his fingers, Cliff counted them and looked for the stick with that number, Stan pointed to the number and after that Cliff was fine. This went on for quite some time. The men discussed the case, the riots, the cops, the public, the jury, the president and the election coming up in the fall. Stan added a few comments here and there. Cliff was so busy counting fingers and finding the proper stick that the afternoon passed quickly. It was hot and several of the men smoked cigars and drank from shiny little metal containers. On the last hole, Stan swung too far and his ball ended up in a pile of trees to the left of the green. He and Cliff climbed up over a sand trap and down into a flat area that sat between a bunch of trees, Cliff looked at Stan whose face was all red and became worried. Stan found the ball, when he reached down to put the T in the ground, he fell to the floor. Cliff ran out on the green, but the other men were talking and didn't look over, he tried to scream, but nothing came out, he ran back over and turned Stan on his back, he slapped his face lightly, but Stan did not move. The boy was beginning to panic, he got frustrated with himself and didn't know what to do. Just then, a piercing beam of light shot down from between the trees and landed on his dad's left hand, Cliff stared at the hand that now sat in a circle of light. When he followed the beam of light upward, a giant bird sat on a branch and it screeched so loudly that Cliff had to cover his ears. He then reached down, grabbed his fathers left hand and bit the tip of his pinky so hard that the man sat up straight and said, "What happened ?" Cliff had tears running down his face, he couldn't express himself. Stan stood up and brushed off his pants, he saw the boy and assured him that everything was o.k., "Take it easy son, I must have fainted." He placed the T, hit the ball and landed it directly on the green. "See that, I told you everything was going to be all right." Cliff looked up and the bird was gone.
They walked up to the green and everyone was talking about Stan's save. After the game ended, they thanked Stan and congratulated each other on a great afternoon. The Governor held out his hand to Stan and he suddenly decided to speak his mind. "Governor…", he said, all the other men were now listening, "I came here today because the President asked me to and I hope my presence has been useful. But goddamn it, don't the kids in this state deserve to have teachers that can afford proper housing? And what about the farmers in the central valley, don't they deserve subsidies while the economy flattens as it has ? This case I presided over is not just about justice, it's not just about an abuse of power, it's not just about a bunch of cops who almost beat a man to death. The people reacted to a much larger problem and that problem is poverty, that problem is hunger, that problem is education, that problem is institutionalized racism, that problem is property taxes, that problem is inner city schools, that problem is the cost of living, that problem is public transportation, that problem is unemployment and the minimum wage. Now, I apologize for speaking out of turn here, especially in front of your advisors, but my wife and I have been through hell and high water because of this case and I couldn't sleep at night if I just sat by and said nothing about it. I know we are on the other side of the aisle, but we must get some progress done to create peace in this state and a conviction is only going to be the beginning." The Governor and his men just looked at Stan, everyone was completely quiet, "My god son, we should run you for office," he joked, and all the men began to laugh out loud. "I think we can use some of that in your speech next week Governor," one of the men said. Stan continued, "You use whatever you like, I am just a simple Judge, but my wife walks among the people and those are her sentiments exactly." The Governor then remarked, "Oh, yes, you married Dora Wendell didn't you ? Quite a spitfire that girl…" he continued "Well, you tell her that the message was delivered and received." Then the Governor added, "That was quite a stroke." Stan heard the word 'stroke' echo in his head, he peered right through the man and realized what had occurred. Stan looked back toward the trees one more time, grabbed his son's hand and walked away. He had survived a stroke.
FILM: ON THE SET of RAGING BULL
By Joshua TRILIEGI
A man in a hooded, leopard skin robe walks down a long hallway while a group of men push aside those standing in his path. We hear a crowd of thousands cheer the man on, "Jake Jake Jake …" they begin to chant. He is wearing boxing gloves, this is a championship fight, the crowd is dressed in their finest, the men are wearing suits and hats, the women are wearing jewelry, the place is filled with cigar and cigarette smoke, sailors, businessmen, middle aged characters scream the man's name over and over, the women smile as he passes by, his trainers walk in front of and behind the man as he walks down the pathway toward the ring, the volume of the crowd amplifies as the man gets closer and closer to the large roped off square canvas at the center of the arena. The man in the leopard skin robe enters through the ropes, a nondescript fellow with a microphone introduces the man in the robe, the crowd goes wild with frenzy, people are shouting, clapping, everyone is yelling something and then, suddenly, a quiet gent behind a camera yells, "cut" and the place goes silent, the action ceases, everyone settles and a pensive discussion between the crew behind the camera ensues. A few changes are discussed, several people make notations and we do it all over again. I am barely a teenager. It is a first time experience and I am collaborating with the finest in the business. My father and I are working together on the film set of a classic piece of cinema with the Actor Robert DeNiro and Director Martin Scorsese. This is On the Set Raging Bull, thirty-five years later & this is all true.
I get home from school and, once again, my parents are having a debate and it is about me. This has happened a few times, once, when my brother wanted to take me to an important surf contest on a week day and another time, when we got stuck at the border of Mexico and America late one Sunday night and didn't get home until early Monday morning. Today's negotiation is all about what is more important ? For me to attend school or for me to participate in making a film? The prior debates were also surrounding weather a day in real life would mean more to my education than a day at school. My dad had always felt that real life events had a gravity that would inform much more than the controlled environs of a formal education. In the past, his debating skills would convince mom that this was true and after some heated discussion, he wins her over. Now, we have to figure out how a thirteen year old kid with shoulder length hair is going to fit into a film that takes place in the late 1940s and early Fifties. First, he offers to cut it and I say no. Then, my hair is tied into a pony tail and stuffed up into a woolen cap that my old man had worn since he was a barber down on Prospect Avenue in Milwaukee. Back then, my mother had found herself single, with three kids, she was italian, she was beautiful, she was liberated and although the barber had barely begun his own life as a bachelor and hadn't entered college, when my mom walked in to get my older brother's hair cut, he fell for her and at six months old, he and I become pals. Through the years, we seldom had to deal with any of the father & son bullshit that can ruin a great relationship, we were often, simply friends or roommates or just happened to be living together. We both had to answer to the same lady, for him, it was the love of his life, for me, it was my mom, who made me clean my room, do chores, wash my own clothes and do my homework before running out for the day and get back by nightfall.
We have been through some tough times together as a family and come out unscathed. But things are about to get really rough. In about six months, mom is going to move back to Milwaukee for a stretch, my brother and I will stay in California and my sister will go with mom. We did fifteen years without a separation, but my mom is coming into her own and my dad is freaking out. We get up at five in the morning and drive downtown to the Olympic Auditorium, where my old man is moonlighting nights as a security guard. The Olympic was the place, back in the day, where boxing matches happened every weekend. The great American boxing tradition was much bigger and wider spread than most people realize today. A few kids from just about any working class neighborhood, would start fighting in the ring, very early on, certainly kids my age did. There was the Golden Gloves, usually sponsored by a local newspaper and there was the Diamond Belt, often played live on local radio stations. My grandfather fought for these competitions in the late 1920s & early Thirties. He and his friends even started a boxing club, the Battling Bombers. They'd get up in the morning, run along the lakefront, work out at the gym and then go to work all day. He was a great fighter, he naturally had the correct build, could take a punch, had a mean right hook, but one thing he didn't have, was the reach. And if you can't reach your opponent, nothing much matters. In any event, my dad was very aware of my grandfather's history as well as the talent that lay in director Martin Scorsese. My parents had seen Scorsese's early films, but when, "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," was released, both my parents had noticed that my precocious behavior compared that of Alice's son.The big screen rapport between the boy and Alice had undertones of my own relationship with mom.
We get to the set and already thousands of people are filling the auditorium. I am dressed in jeans and suspenders, a cap and tennis shoes. He is wearing a suit and tie. Because my dad is actually an employee, we have all access. The scene we are shooting today is a famous 'single take' that Martin Scorsese will later make into one of his trademark style techniques. A favorite example of which would be the incredible scene in, 'GoodFellas' when Henry and Karen walk into a nightclub through the kitchen, to avoid the lines out front. They stroll through the door, down a hallway, into the kitchen, where Henry greets the chef, past a couple, who Henry chastises for always meeting here and on into the club, where a table is placed directly in front of the entertainer, who then sends Henry and his date a bottle of champagne. It is an amazing and exhilarating piece of cinema. The scene we are about to shoot uses similar elements. The first time we shoot the scene, the camera is behind Jake and he walks from dressing room to hallway to entryway of the arena and down the long path to the ring, where he makes a sharp left, past the judges and a right into the ring. My father and I are seated just above left of camera, the crew is situated below us, to our right. In between takes, and I can only assume that because my dad worked at the auditorium, or because it was meant to teach me something, or because he thought I would 'be discovered,' he began to call over production techies and assistants, asking questions about this or that adjustment. All these years later, having worked on films, directed and produced, I still can't believe what guts my dad had for the way he participated in the actual filming of the day. I mean, we were just extras, actually, we weren't even that, we were bum rushing the entire experience and here he is actually, 'participating' in the filmmaking process.
The first, 'adjustment,' we notice, is when Martin Scorsese moves an extra on the right hand side of the scene from visibility. The man is dressed to the nines, in suit and hat. This is a crowd scene with thousands of people. At any one time, the camera is taking in from twelve to twelve hundred people. This is Mr Scorsese as a master oil painter, creating a giant fresco, placing each individual exactly where he wants them, every now and then, within the single take, an individual character may express an action that will end up on the screen for maybe a second or two. An older, portly man in the hallway, reaches out to Jake outside his dressing room, a middle aged man in a mustache, turns to his left while Jake passes by, clapping, a young woman cheers Jake on as he turns to the left towards the ring. When my father calls over one of the crew members and inquires about the particular change of position, the man simply looks at my dad, then looks at me, then gets on the talkie and finds out. A few minutes later, he comes over to inform us that the well dressed man is in an outfit that resembles one of the main characters and could be confusing to the overall film. This is the first of several inquiries that alerts the crew that either one of Marty's close pals is in the audience or a renegade security guard with kid in tow is taking notes. For now, we are still flying under the radar. We do the scene again, this time, the camera is in front of Jake, the sound of the arena is deafening. This is the moment, in the story & script, where Jake LaMotta finally gets the title fight he deserves. After several editing techniques of a wide variety, mostly, extremely fast and short clips, his shot at the title is pronounced, with this extended, single take and in the final film, it works out beautifully.
We break for lunch. The entire auditorium is practically full with thousands of extras and somehow, my dad is able to situate me right next to Robert DeNiro. To this day, I still don't know how he did that, but I have a few ideas why. All these years later, looking back on that very important day in my life, I can see clearly that he wanted me to have the opportunities that existed here in Hollywood. As it turns out, he was a natural born bum rusher, who, on several occasions had done this type of thing before. One example, that stands out, is the time he got backstage at a concert and handed Waylon Jennings a tape with a bunch of songs he had written with his cousin. I should also say here that my old man was definitely a gambler, but he also had talent, he wrote poetry, painted, he knew music very well, was a master craftsman, he had charisma and the gift of gab, he was handsome and had a great heart, but to me, back then, he was simply the guy I had lived with, that my mom had loved, since I was six months old. That said, here I am, eating lunch with a silent Robert DeNiro, who is donned in hood and robe, no one else dared to sit at that table. While I am chowing down with Bobby, my old man is chatting up the crew, he's, no doubt, getting that high that can easily be had when on the set of a great film, probably doesn't even realize it. I look up and he is now talking to the real life Jake LaMotta, getting his autograph, introducing me to people, we are no longer, under the radar. After lunch, a crew member stops by and explains that because I am not an adult, and there are no tutors on the set, the law requires that half day rules apply to actors under eighteen and so, we will not be able to stay for the full day. My old man tries for a second or two to appease and convince, then realizes, ultimately, that we have already succeeded, it has been a great day at the roulette wheel of life. We walk back to our car and drive home. Ten years later, I buy my first film camera, write my first screenplay & produce my first short film. The screenplay is a finalist for the Sundance Film Festival's writers workshop and the short film wins nominations elsewhere.
Raging Bull, as a film, is ahead of it's time. The critics, who had, just a few years earlier, lauded Sylvestor Stallone's, 'Rocky' as a winning, feel good boxing film, did not know what to do with a film as brutally honest and unapologetic as Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull. The film was actually, a project that Robert DeNiro had been working on, for quite some time. After the success of The Deerhunter and Godfather II, he was able to put projects together which suited his goals and challenged the audience. For the first time in film history, an actor had gained a record amount of pounds, to play a character in a 'later in life' sequence, setting the bar several notches higher for techniques utilizing one's physique. Even the best film critics are not quite ready for the honesty of Martin Scorsese. America wanted another feel good film about boxing, and what it got, was a stark, reality based film that exposed the brutality, realism and masochism that surrounded Jake LaMotta's life. Not to mention the art house aspect of filming the entire project, with the exception of a few color home movies, in classic black and white. A bold, artistic decision that has, since then, garnered "Raging Bull" the reverence and deep respect of film lovers and cinema creators around the world. All one needs to do is study the film stills and camera work of Michael Chapman to realize why this film is a work of Art on almost every level. Even the sound design is especially mesmerizing, specifically how each crucial punch, in every single fight scene, is given a special mix of audio effect. It is a mesmerizing work of art and a testament to great cinema, without a doubt. At that years Academy Awards © Ceremony, Robert DeNiro walks up the isle, people are cheering, they reach out to him, applaud his performance and he gladly accepts the Oscar Award for Best Actor. Although my dad is unable to read this, I would like to thank him, Marty, Bobby and the Academy: We Made IT.
MILES DAVIS : "Jazz Is Like An Attitude"
Can you give ? Can you give yourself ? Do you have the ability to Give ? Miles Davis will be 88 years old this month. I am more than sure that if Miles were on the planet, that somehow, some way, some where, he would be doing what he did best: Giving. That is what we do as Artists, as Writers, as Performers, we give, and you, the audience, take, and if it's really good, you actually get to partake. Miles Davis, probably, one of America's most outspoken, controversial, single-minded and guided musicians in recorded history will be Eighty - Eight this year. Eighty - Eight : The Number of Keys on a Piano. The full spectrum. Before there were 88 keys on a piano, they had called it a harpsichord. Music before Miles Davis is all harpsichord and every thing after, is something totally new. When people called him Be-Bop, he transformed. When people called him a JAZZ MAN, he transformed again. One thing Miles Davis never did, was Conform. MIles' influences were varied. He loved Dizzy Gillespie more than a man might love his own father. It was Dizzy who got Miles Davis back in the ring after several years of inertia. But Miles also had a deep respect for Classical composers, "I always loved Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Ravel, Rachmaninoff, Chopin." he remarked, upon receiving one of several awards throughout life. He seemed to take the recognition in stride, appreciative, but, a bit aloof. Miles is incomparable, but when forced to parallel, I would say, he is Dylan. Both men battled the system, themselves, sometimes fans and always original. Never the same performance twice. Prodigious outputs . Popular success as well as solid credibility with purists, and then later, angering the purists in search of something else, something new, something truly Pure, something never heard before or something heard before, but never like that. When Dylan or Davis do a ' Cover Version ' of someone else's tune, It is safe to say, it will never sound like anything but Dylan or Davis. Listen to Dylan's Grateful Dead renditions. Or Miles', Time after Time. The later example, possibly an equivalent to Miles' long time friend and collaborator John Coltrane's, ' My Favorite Things '. Read The book review in this Edition for more on John Coltrane's influence on The Jazz World. When people called Miles a sell out, he had this to say, "People say, You sold out, and shit like that, I don't know what they're talking about. That's what musicians say when they're lazy, Don't want to learn more things." Miles Davis is one of the most GIVING performers, that I know of, In Any Medium. You simply watch & listen to Miles Davis and it is an abject lesson in focus, concentration, offering in absolute terms, a truth, your truth, no one else'e truth. Give your absolute truth. And give it All, NOW. There is nothing else. There is no one else. There is just a performer, an instrument and yes, there is an audience. Though, no audience will return, time & time again, as they did for Miles, if the first two ingredients are insufficient. And No performer can get two ingredients without the first: Giving. " If it's Blues, I play it Blues. If it's a Ballad, I play the Ballad. If it's Funky, I play it Funky. If it's Fast, I play that. Not one style: Jazz is like an Attitude." There are plenty of books on Miles Davis, no need to add to the bibliography, so I will spare the tired facts, numbers, opinions or misinformation. The best way to understand Miles Davis is to simply give yourself to the music. Can You give ? Can You Give Yourself ? Do You have the Ability to GIVE Yourself to MUSIC ? If you are able, then listen to what Miles Davis has to say. It's deep. It's joyful. It's painful. It's authentic. It's passionate. It's enlightened. It's raw. It's refined. It's Africa. It's Asia. It's Europa. It's America. Its unexpurgated, undefinably, unmistakably, undeniably, pure sound. It's the Sound of Miles Davis and this year It's 88. Infinity twice. A double Helix. Good Luck in Chinese. Simply: A man's age.
Contact the Author : JOSHUA TRILIEGI : WRITER
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