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Famous boozers and their favorite liquid vices

Humphrey Bogart on the set of The African Queen with his buddy, Gordon
Humphrey Bogart on the set of 1951 film, The African Queen with his buddy, Gordon

As I’m sure many of you are right now preparing for tomorrow, a day when you will be attempting to brush away vodka-coated cobwebs from your eyes, I thought it would be fun to share some stories and images of some of the best-known boozers and professional drunks in history. One is amazingly still with us, and the others have sadly long since gone on to the great barroom in the sky. I’m going to start this post off with one of my favorite mythical drinkers, Academy Award-winning actor, Humphrey Bogart.

Here’s Bogie (pictured above) on the set of the 1951 film that won him that Academy Award, The African Queen. While Bogart played the part of a gin-guzzling riverboat captain, Charlie Allnut, in real life he didn’t show a particular affinity for any one kind of liquor, but seemed to love them all, especially Scotch. While most of the cast and crew of the The African Queen fell ill during the filming (which was shot on site in Uganda and the Congo in Africa), Bogart was claimed that he didn’t get sick, and whenever a fly bit him “it dropped dead” thanks to his steady diet of beans, canned asparagus and Scotch whisky. Bogart’s fascinating life and love affair with booze is beautifully detailed in the 2011 book, Tough Without a Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart (which I highly recommend you read if you are at all a fan of Bogart).
 
Hunter S. Thompson on the job
Hunter S. Thompson
 
Easily known as one of history’s most irresponsible consumers of booze and drugs is much loved and often hated gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson. As well known for his contributions to the literary world as he is for his rabid intake of alcohol, Hunter enjoyed his all of his vices in excess - whether it be booze, amyl nitrate, cigarettes, guns or women. If it was bad for you, Hunter always had a lot of it around. A drunk after my own heart, Thompson was known for ordering several drinks at a time so he didn’t have to wait for a refill.

If you’ve ever read any of Thompson’s work and are also acquainted with documents concerning his actual life , it quickly becomes clear that his “fictional” exploits were much more close to the actuality of his day-to-day life on the edge. What more could you expect from a man who lived for sleeping late, having fun, getting wild, drinking whisky, and driving fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested? That’s right. Nothing.
 
Keith Richards and his ever present bottle of brown liquor
Keith Richards and his ever present bottle of brown liquor
 
As I mentioned, many of the subjects in this post are unsurprisingly no longer among the living. There are a few notable, now (mostly) reformed booze-hounds still celebrating birthdays and among them is Keith Richards. Keef turned 72 on December 18th and like Ozzy, many refer to Keith as a “medical miracle” of sorts. After reading Richard’s 2010 memoir Life, I felt like I needed to check into rehab after digesting his tales regarding his daily, decades long diet of Jack Daniels and cocaine.

Like many vice-loving individuals, Keith periodically dried out here and there through the years. But 2006 wasn’t one of those times. While filming Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Keith was so loaded on set that it became director Gore Verbinski’s “job” to get Richards’ to “sit up properly.” To anyone who suspected Keith was playing “method” in that film, congratulations! Take two drinks.
 
Pablo Picasso in his studio and bottles of Green Fairy
Pablo Picasso in his studio with a few bottles of the “Green Fairy”
 
Painter Pablo Picasso’s weapon of choice was absinthe and he drank it in alarmingly large quantities. For a time absinthe was a drink only available to the wealthy. But once it was available for mass consumption, even poor starving artists such as Picasso could afford to ride the “green fairy.” Although absinthe became prohibited in many countries in the early 20th century, it remained legal in Picasso’s home base of operations, Spain. In 2010, Picasso’s painting “The Absinthe Drinker” (which if you look at it long enough might make you feel drunk) sold for over 50 million dollars. And as we were just speaking of medical miracles, the hard-drinking Picasso lived to the ripe-old age of 92. Ceremoniously, on his deathbed, Picasso’s parting words were, “Drink to me, drink to my health. You know I can’t drink anymore.”
 
Richard Burton and Elizzabeth Taylor boozing together
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor knocking a few drinks back
 
Probably one of the most famous drunks in Hollywood, it was rumored that actor Richard Burton could throw back four bottles of vodka a day. In 1972 while filming Under Milk Wood, Burton “cut back” to one bottle a day telling director Andrew Sinclair that he “wasn’t drinking” on his film, which to Burton translated to a deviation away from his normal “three or more” bottles a day.
 
Elizabeth Taylor having a drink on the set of the 1963 film, Cleopatra
Elizabeth Taylor having a drink on the set of the 1963 film, Cleopatra
 
Together with Burton’s on-again/off-again drinking partner, Elizabeth Taylor, the pair brought new meaning to the phrase “life imitating art” in the 1966 film, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Taylor wasn’t as much as a heavy drinker as Burton, and he tried to hide his penchant for drinking vodka for breakfast from her during their two marriages. Burton’s tragic relationship with alcohol is excruciatingly detailed in the 2012 book, The Richard Burton Diaries. If you’d like to get the bed spins without having to drink like Burton, you can just read some of the excerpts here.
 
Charles Bukowski in his happy place, in bed drinking with a pretty doll
Charles Bukowski in his happy place, in bed drinking with a pretty doll
 
As there is no shortage of our alcohol-fueled war stories out there that concern all too many of our heros, I’m going to cap off this post with a man who is as synonymous to drinking as anyone else in the history of booze—poet and raconteur, Charles Bukowski. There’s a bar in Prague named for Bukowski who entices its patrons with not only the best cocktails in Zizkov, but also having the “cleanest toilets.” There’s also the Bukowski Tavern in my old hometown of Boston whose website will tell you about “Today’s Fucking Specials” which include “White Trash Cheese Dip” and the “Bukowski Mad Dog,” which is just a hotdog made cooler by attaching Bukowski’s name to it. Neither of which, with all due respect, would have been frequented by Charles Bukowski.
 
Charles Bukowski drinking in a real bar
 
But as food is not a topic drunks much care for anyway, let’s talk about Buk’s liver-drowning drinking habits. When times were good financially, like any drinker, his apartment would be stocked with expensive wine and whiskey. When he was broke, he’d turn to cheap beer for comfort. Like most people, Bukowski started experimenting with booze when he was a teenager and it is strongly rumoured that while he was writing his first novel, 1971’s Post Office, that he would down two six-packs of beer and follow that up with a pint of Cutty Sark. Bukowski once wrote that all he really wanted to do was stay in bed and drink saying that “when you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.” And on that note, I bid you dear Dangerous Mind reader, a Happy New Year. Res ipsa loquitur - Let the good times roll.

h/t: Modern Drunkard

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Palettes of Picasso, Matisse, Degas and Van Gogh are works of art unto themselves


Vincent Van Gogh
 
Some years ago the inventive German photographer Matthias Schaller who specializes in what he calls the “indirect portrait” was in the studio of Cy Twombly and happened to glance at the painter’s palette, smeared with pigments of various hues, but mainly a shade of red fairly close to the color of blood. It occurred to Schaller that the palette is arguably as identifiable to an artist as the artist’s work itself, even if created purely by accident. As he puts it, “The palette is an abstract landscape of the painter’s artistic production.”

Schaller has created a series of marvelous photographs of the palettes of famous artists, each of which measures at roughly 190 x 150 cm. The collection, called “Das Meisterstück” (The Masterpiece), has appeared as an exhibition and is available in book form as well—for more information write an email to thepalettebook@gmail.com.

These are all utterly fascinating to gaze at; my favorites are those of Bacon and Kokoschka. They’re all pretty wonderful.
 

Pablo Picasso
 

Claude Monet
 

Salvador Dalí
 
See the palettes of Matisse, Manet, Kandinsky, Kahlo, Bacon and many more after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The doodly Picasso faces of Norman Mailer
07.17.2014
11:07 am

Topics:
Art
Literature

Tags:
Norman Mailer
Pablo Picasso

Norman Mailer
 
Norman Mailer’s admiration for Pablo Picasso is well known; in 1995 he published a book, Portrait of Picasso as a Young Man: An Interpretive Biography about the modernist master.

According to Amy Weiss-Meyer at The New Republic, Mailer would frequently take his two daughters to what he called “the Church of MOMA,” where they often would find themselves admiring this or that Picasso masterpiece. He also loved to draw, and he commonly sent friends cute little doodles, many of them of the human face. According to Mailer’s daughter Danielle, drawing was a respite from writing, which was a laborious and taxing undertaking. Drawing, on the other hand, was simply fun for him, an escape into pure delight. A new online platform called POBA is hosting a good many of Mailer’s doodles, many of which are reproduced below.

This passage from J. Michael Lennon’s Norman Mailer: A Double Life mentions the doodles: “Most of his correspondents got Xerox copies of one of his drawings, doodles, and cartoons, and faces made of numbers, an idea he says he got from Picasso, who as a boy thought the number seven was an upside-down nose.”

As you can see, there’s a numerological facial portrait in the set, but Mailer opted to use a 1 for the nose, rather than a 7.
 
Norman Mailer
Parted Hair, 1985
 
Norman Mailer
Open Face, 1985
 
Norman Mailer
Ink on paper, 1974
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
WHAT does Pablo Picasso think he’s doing in this 1955 photograph?
11.29.2012
04:48 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Pablo Picasso
Andre Villers


 
An interesting image of French photographer André Villers and a topless Pablo Picasso—he would have been around 74 years old here—wearing what looks like a knitted children’s hat.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Excellent pop art inspired Halloween make-up


 
Three lovely ladies getting their early Halloween on dressed as Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol artworks.

Click here to see larger image.

Via Super Punch

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Dissecting Dali (and Picasso)
04.30.2012
07:11 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Salvador Dali
Pablo Picasso
MASP Art School


 
New campaign for MASP Art School with the tagline “MASP Art School. Open enrollment.” features recognizable dead artists pinned-down like dissected frogs. Their inner-workings reflect the artists’ signature styles and brush strokes.

DDB, Brazil is the advertising agency responsible for this, er (effective?) campaign.
 

 
Via My Modern Met

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Photo of Pablo Picasso holding Gary Cooper’s gun
03.26.2012
03:00 pm

Topics:
Art
History
Pop Culture

Tags:
Pablo Picasso
Guns
Gary Cooper


 
Here’s a photo taken back in 1958 by André Villers of Pablo Picasso handling Gary Cooper’s gun. Apparently these two unlikely lads were pals.

Below, another gun toting photo:

 
Via 50s Westerns

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Notes towards a portrait of Francis Bacon

image
 
In the final moments of a documentary on Francis Bacon, made by a French TV channel, the great artist turned to camera and jovially announced, in his best Franglais, that he had lost all his teeth to his lovers. That is what he was like –dramatically revealing intimate scenes from his life at the most unexpected of moments. His paintings did the same, as they were images, which unnervingly presented the “brutality of fact,” within the most intimate and commonplace of locations – a bedroom, a living room, a toilet.

I once played Francis Bacon on his deathbed, tended by nuns. It was for a drama-documentary, which examined the Bacon’s work through his asthma. The idea was to find out how much this medical condition shaped the artist’s life. For as Bacon once said to critic John Russell

“If I hadn’t been an asthmatic, I might never have gone on painting at all.”

If this was true, then arguably, it was his asthma that made him a painter, and his asthma, which induced the heart attack that killed him.

Of course, there have been other suggestions as to why Bacon became an artist: the childhood trauma of being locked in a cupboard by the family nanny, or more luridly, as writer John Richardson has claimed, it was Bacon’s masochism that inspired his work. Yet, neither of these fully explain his drive or resilience, or the influence of his strange relationship with his father had on his work.

Bacon was 82-years-old when he died in Madrid, on the 28th April 1992. In many respects, it is a surprise he lived so long.  Bacon was a prodigious drinker, had a damaged and diseased heart, lost a kidney to cancer, and once, nearly lost an eye, after being “pissed as a fart” and falling down the stairs of his favored drinking den. But Bacon had resilience, rather than seek immediate medical attention he merely pushed the offending orb back into its socket, and continued with his afternoon debauch.

Bacon was a gambler. He saw himself as open to the opportunities of chance in both life and art. He made and lost small fortunes on the spin of the roulette wheel. He was an atheist who saw no hope of an afterlife, and gave credence to “the individual’s perceived reality.” He claimed he had been “made aware of what is called the possibility of danger at a very young age,” which led him to treat life as if it were always within the shadow of death:

“If you really love life, you’re walking in the shadow of death all the time…Death is the shadow of life, and the more one is obsessed with life the more one is obsessed with death.  I’m greedy for life and I’m greedy as an artist.”

In the late 1940s, Bacon was told by his doctor he had an enlarged heart. One of his friends, Lady Caroline Blackwood, then wife to artist Lucian Freud, later recounted a tale of a dinner when Francis had joined her and Lucian, at Wheeler’s Restaurant :

“His (Francis) doctor had told him that his heart was in such a bad state that not a ventricle was functioning; he had rarely seen such a diseased organ, and he warned Francis that if he had one more drink or even became excited it could kill him.

“Having told us the bad news he waved to the waiter and ordered a bottle of champagne, and once it was finished ordered several more.  He was ebullient throughout the evening but, Lucian and I went home feeling very depressed.  He seemed doomed.  We were convinced he was going to die, aged forty.”

 

 
More on Francis Bacon and part two of his interview with David Sylvester, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
John Cale performs ‘Pablo Picasso’ at the Melbourne Festival Of The Arts

image
 
John Cale performing a scorching version of ‘Pablo Picasso” at The Melbourne Festival Of The Arts in October of last year.

The Melbourne Festival Of The Arts asked some of the world’s finest singers to reflect on our theme of spirituality and mortality with the question: ‘Which seven songs would you leave behind?’

The festival criteria was that the musicians had to include “the first song they wrote, one that switched them on to music, one they covet, one to share, two of their own, and one from the songbook of legendary Leonard Cohen.”

Cale’s list included “Pablo Picasso,” which he wrote with Jonathan Richman, “Letter From Abroad,” “Dirty Ass Rock and Roll,” “Magritte,” “Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend,” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and “Heartbreak Hotel.”

This is so fucking hot it turned Cale’s hair pink!
 


“Letter From Abroad” and “Heartbreak Hotel” after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Happy Birthday Pablo Picasso
10.25.2010
04:53 pm

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Pablo Picasso
Lena Gieseke
Guernica
3-D Guernica

image
 
Happy Birthday Pablo Picasso, born today in 1881, the artist whose talent and vision revolutionized art in the 20th century, and who once famously said, “Give me a museum and I’ll fill it.” Throughout his long and prolific life he did this and more. Out of all his incredible and brilliant work, perhaps his most famous picture, along with Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, is his giant black and white painting Guernica.

Picasso painted Guernica in response to the German Luftwaffe’s and the Italian Fascist Aviazione Legionaria’s aerial bombing of the Basque town, Guernica, during the Spanish Civil War in April 1937.  Between 200 and 400 innocent civillians were slaughtered in the attack, which led the Fascists, under Genral Franco, to defeat the Republicans, and seize control of Spain.

Originally commissioned by the Spanish Republican government for the ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques la Vie Moderne‘ in Paris, Guernica became a symbol of the harrowing tragedies and suffering the Civil War inflicted on the innocent.  As he worked on the mural, Picasso said:

“The Spanish struggle is the fight of reaction against the people, against freedom. My whole life as an artist has been nothing more than a continuous struggle against reaction and the death of art. How could anybody think for a moment that I could be in agreement with reaction and death? … In the panel on which I am working, which I shall callGuernica, and in all my recent works of art, I clearly express my abhorrence of the military caste which has sunk Spain in an ocean of pain and death.”

After the ‘Exposition’, Picasso refused to allow the painting to return to Spain, until the country was a Republic once again.  Between 1939 and the late 1950s Guernica toured the world as a symbol against war.  At Picasso’s request the painting was then exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, where it remained until Franco’s death in 1975, and negotiations began to have Guernica returned to its rightful home, which eventually happened in 1981.

There is a story that while Picasso was in Nazi-occupied Paris, during World War II, he was asked by a member of the Gestapo, upon seeing a postcard of Guernica in the artist’s studio, ‘”Did you do that?” To which Picasso responded, “No, you did.”

As a statement against war, Guernica continues to resonate. In 2003, the painting was covered up with a blue curtain, when the then US Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the press over the American case for war in Iraq - the horrific irony of this would not have been lost on the great artist.

This 3-D animation by Lena Gieseke examines the details of Pablo Picasso’s powerful painting.
 

 
Via Planet Paul
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The Mystery of Picasso
08.26.2009
11:02 am

Topics:
Movies

Tags:
Pablo Picasso
Henri-Georges Clouzot

image

 

The Mystery of Picasso is one of the most mind-blowing art documentaries I’ve ever seen. You actually get to witness Picasso paint twenty pieces before your eyes. It’s really astonishing:

Like a matador confronting a bull, the artist approaches his easel, his eyes blazing. As he wields his brush, we see through the canvas as the artwork unfolds, erupts, dances into being before our eyes. Pablo Picasso, the most influential artist of the twentieth century, is making a painting, and Henri-Georges Clouzot, the famous French director (Wages of Fear, Diabolique), is making a movie. In 1955, Clouzot joined forces with his friend Picasso to make an entirely new kind of art film “a film that could capture the moment and the mystery of creativity. Together, they devised an innovative technique” the filmmaker placed his camera behind a semi-transparent surface on which the artist drew with special inks that bled through.

Clouzot thus captured a perfect reverse image of Picasso’s brushstrokes and the motion picture screen itself becomes the artist’s canvas. Here, the master creates, and sometimes obliterates, 20 works (most of them, in fact, destroyed after the shoot), ranging from playful black-and-white sketches to Cinemascope color murals “artworks which evolve in minutes through the magic of stop-motion animation. Unavailable for more than a decade, The Mystery of Picasso is exhilarating, mesmerizing, enchanting and unforgettable. It is simply one of the greatest documentaries on art ever made. The French government agreed, in 1984 it declared the film a national treasure.

“When we are all dead, you and me and everyone,” said Clouzot to Picasso, “the film will still continue to be projected.”

This is probably my favorite section from the film. I especially like watching the painting of the nude reading come to life. When I first saw it I kept thinking he was finished and then he’d make it even better:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment