Saturday, December 13, 2008

Quicksand (2003)

The workaholic head of the compliance section of a New York bank flies to Monaco to investigate unusual deposits from an offshore bank and meets a down-on-his-luck international film star who has become embroiled in criminal activities.

To be honest, don't let the credentials fool you: directed by John MacKenzie and starring Michael Keaton and Michael Caine this is nevertheless just an average (and very predictable) late night thriller.

Natalia Vodianova

Species (1995)

A group of four specialists are given the task of tracking down Sil. "She" is part human, part alien, beautiful, strong, very dangerous and desperate to mate with a human.

I'd suggest to avoid this one unless you're desperate and have nothing better to do...

Maria Full of Grace (2004)

In a small village in Colombia, the pregnant seventeen years old Maria (Catalina Sandino Moreno) supports her family with her salary working in a floriculture. She is fired and with a total lack of perspective of finding a new job, she decides to accept the offer to work as a drug mule, flying to USA with sixty-two pellets of cocaine in her stomach. Once in New York, things do not happen as planned.

If you haven't seen it yet: I can recommend this movie! Don't let the synopsis scare you away, the movie is much less harrowing than the average CSI episode. Moreover, it is made with a simple realism, and in the end it is the story of a woman's emancipation.

Bettie Page in memoriam

Kate Moss irrégulière

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude

Dylan Ebdus is a white kid on a black-and-brown street. As he struggles through public school in 1970s Brooklyn, he is "yoked"--put in a headlock--and frisked for change on a daily basis. Testing into a good Manhattan school, he steps into a long-lasting role: vulnerable among street kids, he's street-smart compared to his new, privileged pals, and loathes himself as a poseur with both crowds. When he finds a ring that grants the power of flight, he's afraid to use it, but his black friend, Mingus, is not. They try their hand at crime fighting, but like many teenage endeavors, the project fizzles out. Lethem is a tremendous writer, and in the first half he uses magnificent language to capture the complexity of a child's worldview. When he jump-cuts to Dylan's adulthood, however, his switch to a more conventional narrative style is disappointing. The story regains momentum when Dylan rediscovers the ring and a new power it offers, then returns to his old street and ponders a sacrifice: whether to give the ring to the boy who yoked him the most. Lethem explores many avenues: the origins of gentrification, the development of soul music, the genealogy of graffiti, the seeds of the crack epidemic. The different concepts converge in the closing pages, but this often-excellent novel labors under the weight of its ambition. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

There are certain authors I enjoy reading and try to read every book they have published, Jonathan Lethem is one of them. In this case I must agree that while I enjoyed the book very much, the author did have a few ambitions too many.

Lungomare, Cefalù, Sicily

Taken on my visit in May 2008

Regensburg by night

Taken winter 2007/2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

West Side Story (1961)

The song I got stuck in my head today

Kate Bush - Under the Ivy

As an old fan of Kate Bush many of her songs are favourites, and many pop back up in my head from time to time. This song was long time only available as the B-side to the Hounds of Love single.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sasha Pivovarova, 42nd Street

Taken on my New York visit in October 2008
The poster photo itself was shot by Greg Kadel

Dorothea Lange: Migrant Mother

Iconic Image Brought Shame to Family

MODESTO, California (Dec. 3) -- The photograph became an icon of the Great Depression: a migrant mother with her children burying their faces in her shoulder. Katherine McIntosh was 4 years old when the photo was snapped. She said it brought shame -- and determination -- to her family.

"I wanted to make sure I never lived like that again," says McIntosh, who turns 77 on Saturday. "We all worked hard and we all had good jobs and we all stayed with it. When we got a home, we stayed with it."

McIntosh is the girl to the left of her mother when you look at the photograph. The picture is best known as "Migrant Mother," a black-and-white photo taken in February or March 1936 by Dorothea Lange of Florence Owens Thompson, then 32, and her children.

Lange was traveling through Nipomo, California, taking photographs of migrant farm workers for the Resettlement Administration. At the time, Thompson had seven children who worked with her in the fields.

"She asked my mother if she could take her picture -- that ... her name would never be published, but it was to help the people in the plight that we were all in, the hard times," McIntosh says.

"So mother let her take the picture, because she thought it would help."

The next morning, the photo was printed in a local paper, but by then the family had already moved on to another farm, McIntosh says.

"The picture came out in the paper to show the people what hard times was. People was starving in that camp. There was no food," she says. "We were ashamed of it. We didn't want no one to know who we were."

The photograph helped define the Great Depression, yet McIntosh says her mom didn't let it define her, although the picture "was always talked about in our family."

"It always stayed with her. She always wanted a better life, you know."

Her mother, she says, was a "very strong lady" who liked to have a good time and listen to music, especially the yodeler named Montana Slim. She laughs when she recalls her brothers bringing home a skinny greyhound pooch. "Mom, Montana Slim is outside," they said.

Thompson rushed outside. The boys chuckled. They had named the dog after her favorite musician.

"She was the backbone of our family," McIntosh says of her mom. "We never had a lot, but she always made sure we had something. She didn't eat sometimes, but she made sure us children ate. That's one thing she did do."

Her memories of her youth are filled with about 50 percent good times, 50 percent hard times.

It was nearly impossible to get an education. Children worked the fields with their parents. As soon as they'd get settled at a school, it was time to pick up and move again.

Her mom would put newborns in cotton sacks and pull them along as she picked cotton. The older kids would stay in front, so mom could keep a close eye on them. "We would pick the cotton and pile it up in front of her, and she'd come along and pick it up and put it in her sack," McIntosh says.

They lived in tents or in a car. Local kids would tease them, telling them to clean up and bathe. "They'd tell you, 'Go home and take a bath.' You couldn't very well take a bath when you're out in a car [with] nowhere to go."

She adds, "We'd go home and cry."

McIntosh now cleans homes in the Modesto, California, area. She's proud of the living she's been able to make -- that she has a roof over her head and has been able to maintain a job all these years. She says her obsession to keep things clean started in her youth when her chore was to keep the family tent clean. There were two white sheets that she cleaned each day.

"Even today, when it comes to cleaning, I make sure things are clean. I can't stand dirty things," she says with a laugh.

With the nation sinking into tough economic times and analysts saying the current economic crisis is the worst since the Great Depression, McIntosh says if there's a lesson to be learned from her experience it is to save your money and don't overextend yourself. iReport: Are you worried about losing your job?

"People live from paycheck to paycheck, even people making good money," she says. "Do your best to make sure it doesn't happen again. Elect the people you think is going to do you good."

Her message for President-elect Barack Obama is simple: "Think of the middle-class people."

She says she'll never forget the lessons of her hard-working mother, who died at the age of 80 in 1983. Her gravestone says: "Migrant Mother: A Legend of the strength of American motherhood."
"She was very strict, but very loving and caring. She cared for us all," McIntosh says.

CNN's Traci Tamura and Gregg Canes contributed to this report.
© 2008 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bettie Page 'Critically Ill' After Heart Attack

Bettie Page 'Critically Ill' After Heart Attack

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 6) - Bettie Page, a 1950s pinup known for her raven-haired bangs and saucy come-hither looks, was hospitalized in intensive care after suffering a heart attack, her agent said Friday.
"She's critically ill," Mark Roesler of CMG Worldwide told The Associated Press.

He said the 85-year-old had been hospitalized for the last three weeks with pneumonia and was about to be released when she had the heart attack Tuesday. Page was transferred to another hospital in Los Angeles and remained in intensive care Friday.

A family friend, Todd Mueller, said Page was in a coma. When asked to confirm, Roesler said, "I would not deny that," but he would not comment further on her condition.

Page, a secretary turned model, is credited with helping set the stage for the sexual revolution of the rebellious 1960s. She attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure that were tacked up on walls across the country.

Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.
Page later spent decades away from the public eye, and during that time battled mental illness and became a born-again Christian.

After resurfacing in the 1990s, she occasionally granted interviews but refused to allow her picture to be taken.

Mueller credits his business dealings with Page for bringing her out of seclusion. He said he first met her in 1989 when he offered her "a bunch of money" to show up at autograph signings.

"I probably sold 3,000 of her autographs, usually for $200 to $300," he said. "Eleanor Roosevelt, we got $40-$50. ... Bettie Page outsells them all."
Please also visit:

The Infectious Bettie Page

Hannah Starkey

Article provided by Grove Art Online
British photographer. She studied in Edinburgh at Napier University (1992–5) and at the Royal College of Art, London (1996–7). Starkey's earliest work, produced in the mid-1990s, suggested a conventional documentary approach and was often characterised by a preoccupation with the resonance of ordinary objects. In her later work she began to capture more portentous scenes, recording activities with an almost theatrical character. Untitled – March 1999 (1999; see Frieze, Sept/Oct 2000, p. 89), part of the Untitled series begun in 1997, is typical of her mature work, both in its ostensible subject of two women and in the enigmatic mood of the piece, which is set in a public lavatory with a series of mirrors multiplying perspectives. Untitled – January 2000 (2000; see 2000 exh. cat., pl. VII) also takes as its subject two women in an urban setting, this time a video store, while again a dramatic perspective is established through the architecture of the interior. Often, the young women in Starkey's photographs seem bored and melancholic and appear to be waiting for time to pass; she has described her work as ‘explorations of everyday experiences and observations of inner city life from a female perspective'. A number of her photographs have been set out of doors, sometimes seeming to carry with them a quasi-religious symbolism or a sense of the artificiality of nature, as in Butterfly Catchers (2000; see Frieze, Sept/Oct 2000, p. 89), which depicts two girls stumbling precariously over rubble under a darkened sky.