FOLLOW US ON:
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
Pornographer Royal: The erotic caricatures of Thomas Rowlandson (NSFW)
02.04.2019
09:43 am
Topics:
Tags:

024rowlandson.jpg
 
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827) was an artist and caricaturist whose work poked fun at the mores, politics, and attitudes of Georgian England. Highly feted in his day, Rowlandson’s work, in particular his erotic etchings tickled the fancy of the Prince Regent—the heir to the throne or as he was later known King George IV. What kind of erotica Rowlandson supplied to dear old Georgie, we will never quite know as (sadly) the bulk of his porny prints were later destroyed by the prim Queen Victoria. Any saucy pix that do remain are (unfortunately) kept under lock and key at the present monarch’s (QEII) private collection at Windsor—though 962 of Rowlandson’s etchings and paintings held in the Royal Collection can be viewed online.

What little is known of Rowlandson comes mainly from his obituary as published at the time of his death and a few anecdotes about his early life recalled in memoirs by fellow artists and those who bought/liked/documented his work. Born in Old Jewry, in the City of London, Rowlandson was the son of a weaver. His father became a trader in the City, but he was soon bankrupted and took his family out of London to Yorkshire in the north of England. Rowlandson’s mother died when he was very young—not more than an infant—and his childhood may have been ruinous had not one relative (an uncle) died leaving funds for his education. The pattern of poverty and good fortune recurred in Rowlandson’s life and was more than apparent on the city streets where the working class and a world of crime and vice, drunkenness and licentiousness rubbed along with lords and ladies, soldiers and priests.

Rowlandson returned to London where he attended a school in Soho Square. He apparently showed considerable aptitude for drawing—his schoolbooks were filled with sketches and caricatures of school friends and teachers. Around 1772, or thereabouts, he attended the Royal Academy studying painting and drawing. He traveled to Paris where he lived for three years before returning to London where he exhibited his paintings. On the death of his aunt, he inherited a small fortune (£7,000 apparently) which was quickly squandered on women, drink, and gambling.

Once more in poverty, Rowlandson was encouraged by friends to seek a career as a caricaturist producing work for books (Tobias Smollett and Laurence Sterne), magazines, and private collectors. He worked in pen, ink, and watercolor. These pictures were then engraved to make etchings and hand-colored. During his lifetime, he produced over 10,000 etchings and illustrated some 70 books. He also wrote and illustrated his own books starting with Tour of Dr Syntax in Search of the Picturesque in 1812. His work proved highly successful and Rowlandson has been rightly described as “one of the most talented British draftsmen, unsurpassed in his expressive flowing sinuous lines, and tactical use of watercolor.”

The magnificence in his pen and ink work is easily seen in his drawings across the genres of his career. His contemporaries were William Blake, known for his poetry and mysticism, and William Hogarth, for his extensively detailed satirical drawings. Among them, Rowlandson is incomparable in his relaxed, playful creation of renderings and his genius graphic placement of color.

He met life head-on considering it an adventure to be gained:

He was deeply involved: an infamous gambler, a big drinker, ribald, loud, laughing—a big man in many ways. He came right up close against the world, and chose to stay there—all the better to feel it live and grow and change, and ultimately to die. That is what his art is all about: the world of England, especially the boisterous London of George III and the Regency from the late eighteenth century up until his death just ten years before Queen Victoria ascended the throne.

His work is filled with an “abounding and insatiable gusto of enjoyment”:

His gift was a “kind of running fountain, purveyor of laughter to the average man,” with a piquant taste for variety and an almost unboundable sense of energy for provoking both mockery and mirth. As W.H. Pyne wrote shortly after Rowlandson’s death in 1827, “He has covered with his never-flagging pencil enough of charta pura to placard the whole walls of China, and etched as much copper as would sheath the British Navy.”

Rowlandson produced a considerable amount of erotica for private collectors including royalty, most of which “is now hidden away in Windsor Castle, among what is known as the George IV collection.”

It is no secret that Thomas produced for the same royal patron a series of drawings “notoriously of free tendency as regards subject.” ...Rowly spent much of his play-time in the famous pleasure palaces of London, particularly the Vauxhall, and the unrestrained life in those centers gave him inspiration for many curious and effective erotic pictures.

Some (like fellow caricaturist George Cruikshank) felt Rowlandson squandered his talent and “had suffered himself to be led away from the exercise of his legitimate subjects, to produce works of a reprehensible tendency.” Whether true or not (too much of his work has been lost or is held in private collections to know for sure), Rowlandson’s erotic caricatures are some of the finest ever produced with their mix of a shared world of unspoken experience and a scathing sense of humor. Rowlandson understood human desire and its attendant frailties. But we can only guess as to what King George IV found so pleasurable about his work.
 
03rowlandson.jpg
 
09rowlandson.jpg
 
View a selection of Rowlandson’s erotic caricatures, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
02.04.2019
09:43 am
|
Growing Up in Wallace Berman’s World: An interview with Tosh Berman


 
This is a guest post from Matthew O’Shannessy

Tosh Berman’s memoir Tosh: Growing Up in Wallace Berman’s World documents a childhood immersed in West Coast bohemia, from the Beat era of the 1950s through to the crumbling ruins of hippie idealism in the 1970s. Through his father, the cult artist Wallace Berman (who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1976), Tosh gained first-hand experience with an eclectic cross section of post-war culture growing up amongst many now-iconic poets, artists, actors, musicians, and counter-cultural figures.

Despite Wallace Berman’s celebrated connections (his face appears on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper’s LP), the artist has remained an enigmatic figure, little known outside the art world where he is venerated for his Verifax collages and assemblages that combine popular culture, Jewish mysticism, and pornography. His handmade journal, Semina, featured writing by Alexander Trocchi, Michael McClure, Allen Ginsberg, and Jean Cocteau, and was purposely circulated mostly amongst friends.

Tosh presents an intimate view of the hermetic artist-father told as a non-linear coming-of-age story that stretches from the relative isolation of Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles to the bustling Beat scene of San Francisco’s North Beach. Everyday brushes with fame—drop ins by Brian Jones, a chance encounter with William Burroughs in the back of a London cab, getting caught up with notorious occultist Marjorie Cameron—are juxtaposed with the more mundane financial and logistical dramas of growing up with a father who rejected the straight world and all its trappings.

I spoke with Tosh at his home in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.
 

 
Matthew O’Shannessy: In the book, you mention that the TV Western “The Rifleman” was a reference point for your relationship with Wallace. Can you talk a little about that?

Tosh Berman: I always loved “The Rifleman” and during the repeats I would watch it over and over again. The story’s about a ranch widower and it’s just him and his son on the ranch. His son would have to help him out and they would go into town together. Like with me… you know, they can’t just go around the corner. He had to get on the horse and go into town and get everything. You know, eat dinner, have lunch, because it was too far to the ranch and back. Which is kind of like Topanga, away from civilization. So I started to identify with it, not only because of the relationship with my father but also the geography and the physical hardship of [living in a more] rural area.

I was with my dad consistently for my first 20 or 21 years. Except when I went to school or I visited friends, I never traveled alone. So I was always with my father. He was home all the time. I would hang out in the studio and help him make work. My mom was the one who did the actual work in the fifties and sixties. She’s the one who went out and made a salary. She’s the one who worked. My dad supported us when he sold art, which wasn’t that often, but he also made money by playing cards. He played with his friends and I remember once he played a game with Robert Blake who was a known actor that time. My mother hated him. She made him leave the house. She made my father take him somewhere else.

Topanga was very secluded at that time. It’s a canyon area of course, and people went to canyon areas at that time to get away from society, so not only did you get creative people and rich rock ‘n’ roll people, you also got the losers of all sorts, people who just can’t deal with the outside world or they’re paranoid. In the sixties, there was a lot of paranoia. Topanga became like a fort or fortress in this corruption of the sixties. It was totally a utopian thing. But I didn’t see as a utopian thing. It’s always been, to me, a depressing area. Very beautiful, but living there can be so difficult.
 

A portrait of Tosh Berman taken by his father. The woman in the photograph is Berman’s wife, Shirley.
 
One of the stories in the book that’s interesting to me is when Wallace takes you to the T.A.M.I. show. It’s the dress rehearsal and he has a film camera but he doesn’t film anything. Then later he watches the documentary of the concert and films the images of the bands off the screen. Do you think that says something about his artistic sensibility? 

He never talked about his artwork or his techniques or why he did stuff. Never, to anyone. Around 64, 63, 65, he would carry an eight millimeter camera with him all the time—one that you had to wind up. At the time you could take it anywhere, there were no copyright issues or security issues.

My dad had it with him at the dress rehearsal and there were people like the Beach Boys sound checking, rehearsing. And I remember them well. They were totally in uniform. They had striped shirts, white pants, and then the Supremes came on afterwards and they all were in hair curlers and bathrobes. The only people in the audience that were our friends were like Toni Basil and the members of the Rolling Stones. That’s where we first met Brian Jones and I met Mick Jagger that night. My dad did not shoot anything. It wasn’t until the movie came out, because this was a film concept that played in theatres, that he actually shot footage of James Brown and shot footage of Mick Jagger.

I think my father’s aesthetic is that he needed to be distant, he needed another process between him and subject… rather than be directly in front of that person. He liked that idea of shooting off a movie or shooting off another photograph.
 

Tosh Berman with Allen Ginsberg.
 
You talk about how meeting Brian Jones had a big impact on you because you were a fan. 

I met him when I was 10 or 11 years old and the last time I saw him was probably when I was 15 or 16, a teenager. I was a Rolling Stones fan. My father brought in rock ‘n’ roll records himself, but with allowance money I bought records as well. As he bought Rolling Stones records, I bought Rolling Stones singles. So, anyway, I was very aware of who Brian Jones was and his presence. When he came to our house in Beverly Glen, it was like he walked right off the Aftermath album cover, especially the back cover, always wearing a black turtleneck, white jeans, desert boots, like the classic Brian Jones look.

You say in the book that the first time you were really aware of fame is when you met Marcel Duchamp.

[Marcel Duchamp] was the first person I met where I went into to a room and I knew there was somebody important in that room. And everybody was focused on the importance of this one person, like a legendary iconic figure. And I knew he was an iconic figure and I knew this artwork actually because my dad always had a picture of his artwork on the wall in the studio. And I think mostly what I remember is the bicycle wheel. That appealed to me because the bicycle wheel, for a child, represents a bicycle. It’s very simple and very direct.

A lot of the chapters are named after significant people in your life, and a lot of them are now iconic. Was it strange writing about your own life that’s filled with encounters with people who have gone on to be mythologized?

That wasn’t strange to me. I realized that they were mythologized and iconic and when I was writing the book I didn’t feel that way because when I knew them, I knew them as a child. If I knew them when I was a grown up, I think it would be more like, “this is Dennis Hopper, the iconic actor”, but I was introduced to Dennis at a very young age, of course, and at the time it was before Easy Rider, so it was before “the iconic Dennis Hopper”. It was sort of “the local arts scene Dennis Hopper”. So while writing the book I didn’t really pick out iconic people. I didn’t try to think of people who would sell the book later or to make a blurb about it. I really sat down and wrote everything I can remember and it was just one long rambling manuscript. And then it was the suggestion of people who had read the manuscript to make it into smaller chapters. I started doing a chapter on Toni Basil or Dean Stockwell… Dennis Hopper.

As I wrote it I really wanted it to be multifaceted. I wanted the book to appeal to people who were interested in the arts aspect, the Beat Generation, Beat Era, as well as the coming-of-age / teenager-to-adult story as well. So from the beginning, I was aware that it was important to have these multi-levels coming through the book and hopefully one interest will expose the reader to another, maybe new interest.
 
Much more after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
01.29.2019
11:26 am
|
Eric Stanton & The Bizarre Underground (plus the fetish culture origins of Spider-Man!)

kvhghduc
 
In Eric Stanton & the History of the Bizarre Underground the sordid tale of the fetish world, this so-called “bizarre underground,” is revealed to be less steeped in the creepy/sleazy milieu it is normally portrayed as coming from. Author Richard Perez Seves details how the fetish subculture had many allies and partners in the supposedly more innocent OVERground world of the happy Fifties and Sixties. This long awaited book tells this story as it should be told, with LOADS of black and white and color art reproductions, histories, collectors’ checklists with detailed descriptions and more. It’s a very “modern” book in the sense that it’s perfect for the short attention span world and can be read in, or out, of order as info is needed.

But I’m not saying there’s not much to read, because there is! And it’s written in an appropriate timeline, with copious notes and a great index. It doesn’t come off like an encyclopedia, nor does it speak down to its audience, and best of all it’s a big hardcover book that is really affordable. It’s actually way cheaper than it should be! Eric Stanton & the History of the Bizarre Underground can be found on sale as you read this for around twenty dollars on Amazon! Which is insane! Even the queen of burlesque Dita Von Teese has put her stamp of approval on the book.
 
gsfcsa
 
Everything I love and collect culturally seems to lead to the same time period, that fuzzy period around 1954 when things started bubbling into what we now know as rock n’ roll, teenage and monster cinema, the Beats, MAD Magazine, and the “bizarre fetish underground.” All of these things were initially seen as a threat to society the minute they became a “thing” that had an identity. This identity represented rebellion and freedom. All of these things had been brewing for varying periods of time, some for very long periods of time, by single-minded freethinkers experimenting with obsession, be it art, literature, music, or sex. But there’s a moment when a rebellious idea becomes a thing, meaning something that other people realize is happening and so they join in and start doing it as well. Then it becomes… a threat! And when kids get involved it makes it easier for the “critics” and politicians with agendas to start the finger pointing, blaming, set-ups and knock downs, political committees and so on.

These “things” were such a threat to the powers that be that they were portrayed as causing Communism, crime, drugs, pregnancies and worse. The premiere form of presentation in print of the fetish underground was, in fact, comics. Of course there were “dirty” photos as well—notably the classic Bettie Page shoots that informed male libidos of several generations—but it’s worth noting that—at the very least—50% of all published fetish materials were comics, which is quite odd and interesting. These were comics that were not read by children. It doesn’t seem like many women read them either, of course.
 
khd
 
ligm;kopi
The price is from 1958, which is pretty remarkable!
 
Unlike most artists, who simply drew what guys like Irving Klaw paid them (very little) to draw, Eric Stanton was very interested in the sexy subject matter he was working with, which is what injected his art with that extra shiny, whip-cracking “something.” He was also instrumental in bringing Gene Bilbrew (aka “Eneg” and other pseudonyms) into that world. Bilbrew was the yang to Stanton’s ying in a sense in that Stanton was a healthy, very fit, white suburban (at that time) family man, and Bilbrew was, as they say, living the life. Gene was an African-American heroin-addicted jazz musician living in, and at the end, dying in (of an overdose) in a porno bookshop on “The Deuce” (42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenue). Their styles were very similar at first (Bilbrew worked for Will Eisner and Jules Feiffer early on and he and Stanton met at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, where they also met Steve Ditko and struck up a fast friendship). Bilbrew’s art got consistently weirder and weirder as time and his drug addiction went on, becoming so weird that it seemed to be intentional. And maybe it was, but I’m talking weird on two levels, one in subject matter with everyone, including the “pretty girls” used to sell the books he was illustrating becoming monstrous and bizarre (in the traditional sense) and downright ugly! On the other hand he seemed to lose his sense of perspective with arms and legs getting rendered too short, people looking like midgets, really big, almost square, wall-eyed heads, etc. (If all this was , er… on purpose, then Bilbrew has become my all-time favorite artist! Taking a concept as simple as using sexy women to sell hard up guys horny reading material and taking this idea and turning it on its head into a truly bizarre version of itself.)
 
kfutes
 
xvbdfcdt
 
vbnskjcru
Three paperback covers, all with Gene Bilbrew art.
 
The big revelation in Eric Stanton & the History of the Bizarre Underground is the direct connection between the world of the adults-only sex underground publications and the burgeoning creation of Marvel Comics. In this book all the guessing, rumors and wondering that has been whispered about for decades is spelled out in words and in pictures!

Eric Stanton was married to a religious extremist who was massively opposed to what he started to do for a living. Stanton realized more and more how much he was turned on by this world he happened to step into and things went very wrong at home. In classic style Odd Couple-style, Stanton moved his studio into his art school buddy’s space. This friend happened to be one Steve Ditko, who would later go on to co-create Spider-Man with Stan Lee.

Keep reading after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Howie Pyro
|
12.24.2018
02:26 pm
|
Recording console used for Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ is for sale
11.27.2018
02:23 pm
Topics:
Tags:


Via Bonhams
 
A legendary recording console will be auctioned off by Bonham’s next month. The Helios mixing desk, originally installed in Island Records’ studio on Basing Street, London in 1969, was used to lay down several rock classics, most notably Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” It was also used by the likes of Free, the Rolling Stones, Bob Marley (for “I Shot the Sheriff”), David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, Eric Clapton, Sly Stone, Jimmy Cliff, Harry Nilsson, Jeff Beck, Mott The Hoople, and Steve Winwood and is expected to go for a six-figure sum at the December 11 auction.

Bonhams Specialist Claire Tole-Moir told Just Collecting News that it’s “hard to overestimate how crucial a role this console has played in the British rock and pop scene.”

“Songs and albums recorded on this bespoke console and its original parts rank among some of the most recognisable and best-loved pieces of music in existence, and have resulted in Grammys, Brit Awards and multiple number one spots. This console is a piece of Britain’s modern cultural history.”

The console is actually a hybrid of two separate studio desks built by Helios Electronics. The second was installed in the studio owned by guitarist Alvin Lee of Ten Years After in 1973. Both were purchased by Elvis Costello and Chris Difford of Squeeze and then melded together at their HelioCentric recording studio which was opened in 1996. This revered piece of analog gear is now seeking a new home.
 

Via Bonhams
 
Thank you Nimrod Erez/TB!

Posted by Richard Metzger
|
11.27.2018
02:23 pm
|
Neil Hamburger reads Nixon’s resignation speech (and other greatest hits)
08.09.2018
08:36 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
Richard Nixon resigned from office 44 years ago today. Many of your pundits, eggheads, critics, and other nosebreathers have never tired of kicking Nixon around. But on Independence Day 2002, one citizen had the guts to meet Dick on his own terms, in the arena: America’s $1 Funnyman, Neil Hamburger.

In the Neil Hamburger catalog, perhaps only his tribute to Princess Diana so touches the heart, and I’m not just talking about the stirring, patriotic strings in the background of “Hamburger Remembers Nixon.” No, as few others could, Neil captures the warmth of Nixon’s straight-talking 1952 speech about the joys of dog ownership; the magnanimity of his gracious concession of the ‘62 California gubernatorial race to Jerry Brown’s father; the bold vision of his remarks at the ‘68 victory party on the relative friendliness of handheld signs. Hamburger also pays tribute to the April ‘70 “pitiful helpless giant” TV address, the November ‘73 “I’m not a crook” press conference, and the August ‘74 “we don’t have a good word for it in English” farewell speech.
 

 
Listen after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
08.09.2018
08:36 am
|
London Underground: Early counterculture doc with Paul McCartney, Allen Ginsberg, Pink Floyd


 
Granada Television produced this fascinating TV time capsule “It’s So Far Out It’s Straight Down” as a special part of their Scene at 6:30 series. The program focused on the young counterculture / hippie scene in London and features Miles, the Indica Gallery and the editorial board of The International Times underground newspaper. Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and Lawrence Ferlinghetti are seen at the International Poetry Incarnation and we are taken to The UFO Club where Syd Barrett and the Pink Floyd are playing a live version of “Interstellar Overdrive” (Also heard on the soundtrack is an early version of their “Matilda Mother,” then called “Percy The Ratcatcher” and “It Can’t Happen Here” by The Mothers of Invention).

Paul McCartney is a talking head interviewee in the studio, intelligently discussing the nascent underground scene. Macca was an active part of the London underground, financially supporting the Indica Gallery and bookstore—he even built the bookshelves himself—and IT. McCartney, the Beatle who soaked up cutting-edge culture and avant garde influences long before the rest of them did, is seen in four segments during the show, and as a wealthy, intelligent and well-respected person representing the counterculture to people who might fear it, as you’ll see, he knocks the ball straight out of the park:

If you don’t know anything about it [the counterculture], you can sort of trust that it’s probably gonna be alright and it’s probably not that bad because it’s human beings doing it, and you know vaguely what human beings do. And they’re probably going to think of it nearly the same way you would in that situation.

The straights should welcome the underground because it stands for freedom… It’s not strange it’s just new, it’s not weird, it’s just what’s going on around.

“It’s So Far Out It’s Straight Down” was broadcast in March of 1967, so it’s pre-Summer of Love. The time seems so pregnant with promise. This is the exact moment, historically speaking, when pop culture went from B&W and shades of gray to vivid color. If you put yourself in the mind of a kid from, say the north of England watching something like this on television during that era, it’s easy to see how this film would have brought tens of thousands of young people into London seeking to find these forward-thinking cultural movers and shakers to become part of “the happening” themselves.
 
Watch it after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
08.08.2018
01:15 pm
|
Red Devils, Black Bats & Angry Cats: The wacky art of vintage fireworks packaging
07.03.2018
10:48 am
Topics:
Tags:


The arresting artwork from a vintage package of Black Bat flashlight crackers made in Macau, China.
 
Aside from an annual 4th of July family event I am quite fond of attending (let’s drink together next year, Atlanta), I’m not huge into celebrating Independence Day. One of the reasons is as a pet owner and animal lover, I hate to see how dogs, cats, and other animals in the wild react to the sound of fireworks. Alternatively, I have zero sympathy for the parade of idiots who end up parting with their fingers or even an entire hand lighting off fireworks. Every year someone blows off bodyparts on the 4th of July—it’s a stone-cold fact. They also start fires and one set off by fireworks in September of 2017 burned 48,000 acres I have traversed through extensively in the majestic Columbia River Gorge. Sure, I’ll kick back and watch firework shows on the television because guess what? The other thing I hate is crowds—especially if the said crowd is A: drunk, and B: armed with matches and packages of firecrackers and cherry bombs. My holiday crankiness aside, as a lover of art, I can’t help but appreciate the vintage artwork used to adorn packages of fireworks. Whoever came up with the idea of using a werewolf to help sell fireworks is a damn genius as I’d buy a pack for this reason alone.

So in honor of Independence Day, let’s take a look at some old-school firecracker and firework packaging. Many are from Macau, a region of China located on the country’s south coast. During its heyday, the Taipa area of Macau was the largest producer of fireworks, employing more than one-third of Macau’s residents. In a single day, the factory was capable of turning out three million firecrackers. The Iec Long Firecracker Factory (established in 1926) still stands after closing its doors in 1984 in an effort to help to preserve the long history of firework manufacturing in Macau. In the latter part of the 80s, Macau looked once again to its history with fireworks and threw the first Macau International Fireworks Display Contest. The contest has since expanded to several days of firework displays in September and the first week of October. Anyway, enjoy the kooky photos below, get your pet some earplugs, and try not to shoot your fingers off this week!
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
07.03.2018
10:48 am
|
Star-struck: Fabulous pages from a scrapbook of Hollywood’s Golden Age
06.25.2018
08:07 am
Topics:
Tags:

01ifgrantscrap.jpg
 
Progress doesn’t always end in the best results. Take Hollywood. Once, this great movie industry was driven by women screenwriters like Anita Loos, Frances Marion, and Dorothy Arzner who together wrote dozens of screenplays. There were also more women directors making movies in Hollywood’s early years than the tiny 6% produced between 2013-14. Moreover, these women writers and directors produced original work with strong female leads rather than today’s tokenistic and unwanted reboots like Ghostbusters and Ocean’s 8. Where it all went wrong is a moot point—perhaps the Hays Code had something to do with it or the easy common denominator of crash commercialism.

I prefer ye old Golden Age movies than the majority of dire, sloppy, flicks churned out today, which, in large part, is why I dig this vintage scrapbook featuring newspaper and magazines clippings of some of Hollywood’s greatest stars. This scrapbook was compiled by I. F. Grant—who s/he was is a mystery but they were certainly assiduous in their dedication to collecting some choice pix and stories of Hollywood’s stars. Another reason this volume appeals is a liking for collage, with many of the following pages reminiscent of work by Grete Stern, Matthieu Bourel, Deborah Stevenson, and John Stezaker.

And finally, like I. F. Grant, I spent way too much time compiling my own scrapbooks on likes and loves over the years, but these are far more special.
 
02ifgrantscrap.jpg
 
03ifgrantscrap.jpg
 
04ifgrantscrap.jpg
 
More vintage pages from Hollywood’s Golden Age, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
06.25.2018
08:07 am
|
The strange allure of decayed daguerreotypes
06.18.2018
07:01 am
Topics:
Tags:

05dagemmagilligham185160.jpg
Emma Gillingham, circa 1851-60.
 
Nick Cave has often said he likes Elvis Presley during his late, fat, drug-addled period because those “final concerts were absolutely riveting and incredibly moving just because of his psychological and physical pain.” Presley’s whole life experience as a performer was condensed into those two-hour shows, where he often forgot his words, but never lacked passion.

There is something similar going on with these decayed daguerrotypes taken by Mathew Brady sometime between 1840-60. Daguerrotypes were the first commercially successful photographic process invented by French theater-designer Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre in 1839. Each picture was made by exposing a small sheet of polished light-sensitive silver-plated copper to capture an image. Taking a portrait took time, which meant sitters had to be clamped into position so no movement would blur the image. This image was then made visible by allowing fumes of mercury vapor to the coat the copper plate. The resulting picture was fixed with chemicals then rinsed and sealed in glass. Daguerrotypes were easily marked and as the fixing process was unstable it meant the pictures decayed and changed thru time and handling.

I grew up in Edinburgh, a city rich with history and filled with old buildings whose original functions have changed but their structures maintained until, for some, they become too worn or dilapidated and were demolished. Old buildings like fat Elvis or decayed daguerreotypes become, and are changed by, use or experience. The faces on daguerreotypes become lost, like features reflected in a misted bathroom mirror. The body shapes and small fragments of skin are recognizable but their function or meaning has been usurped by organic patterns of decay which alter the image into strangely beautiful and alluring works of art open to imagination.
 
016dagwillcbouk4459.jpg
William C. Bouk, ca. 1844-59.
 
03dagunk4460.jpg
Unidentified woman, ca. 1844-60.
 
06dagunkwom30ya4460.jpg
Unidentified woman, ca. 1844-60.
 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
06.18.2018
07:01 am
|
Who was the real ‘Girl from Ipanema’?
05.23.2018
10:21 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
“The Girl from Ipanema” is one of the most covered songs of all time—second only to “Yesterday”—and an “elevator music” cliché the world over. The story behind the bossa nova standard is so well-known to most Brazilians that our readers there might find this a really obvious thing to write about, it’s not so well-known anywhere else, I don’t think.

Ipanema is trendy, beach district in south Rio de Janeiro. Near Ipanema Beach was Antonio Carlos “Tom” Jobim’s favorite hang-out, the Bar Veloso. Every day, the married musician would await the arrival of a “tall, and tan, and young and lovely” young girl who would pass by the bar on her way to the beach, never making eye contact with the bar’s patrons, even when she came in to buy cigarettes for her mother.

Jobim invited his friend, a writer and poet named Vinicius de Moraes to come by the Veloso to see this girl.  Eventually, after several days had passed, she walked by. Jobim said to his friend, ““Nao a coisa mais linda?” (Isn’t she the prettiest thing?) and de Moraes replied, “E a coisa cheia de gracia” (She’s full of grace).  Moraes wrote their banter on a napkin and this exchange became the seed from which the original Portuguese lyrics of “A Garota de Ipanema” (“The Girl from Ipanema”) grew.
 

 
A few years later, “The Girl from Ipanema” as performed by Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto and Stan Getz, from album Getz/Gilberto became one of the top-selling records of 1964. Only the Beatles outsold the song and it was nominated for, and won, several Grammy awards.
 

 
But who was this beautiful girl from Ipanema?

From Stan Shepkowski’s “The Girl from Ipanema”:

Heloísa Eneida de Menezes Paes Pinto was a born and raised Rio de Janeiro girl – a true carioca.  The daughter of an army general from whom her mother divorced when Helô was 4, she grew up on the Rua Montenegro, some blocks up from the Bar Veloso.  At age 17 she was shy and quite self-conscious: she had crooked teeth, she felt she was too skinny, she suffered from frequent asthma attacks, and she had an allergy that reddened her face.  And on her way to and from school and on her treks to the beach, she had to walk by the Bar Veloso.

Although the song had been around since 1962, it wasn’t until 1964 that Helô learned the truth.  Friends introduced her to Tom Jobim, who still hadn’t worked up the courage to talk with her.  But with the ice finally broken, he set out to win her heart.  On their second date, he stated his love for her and asked her to marry him.  But she turned him down.  Two things got in the way.  Helô knew Tom was married and that he was “experienced,” whereas she was inexperienced and would not make him a good wife.  The other was that she had been dating a handsome young lad named Fernando Pinheiro from a prosperous family in Leblon since she was 15.  Undaunted by her refusal, Tom told her that she was the inspiration for the song.  This confirmed the rumors she had heard from others and, of course, thrilled her beyond imagination, but she still turned him down.

The world would not learn the truth until 1965.  Tired of all the gossip and particularly concerned that a contest was going to be held to select “the girl from Ipanema” Vinicius de Moraes held a press conference.  In a detoxification clinic in Rio where he was undergoing treatment (you’ve got to love poets), and with Helô at his side, de Moraes told the world.  And he offered her one more testament:

“She is a golden girl, a mixture of flowers and mermaids, full of light and full of grace, but whose character is also sad with the feeling that youth passes and that beauty isn’t ours to keep.  She is the gift of life with its beautiful and melancholic constant ebb and flow.”

 

 
Although Helô became an overnight sensation, Brazil was a very conservative country at the time and she did not take advantage of the modeling contracts and movie roles she was offered, opting instead to become a mother and housewife, marrying Fernando Pinheiro the following year.

That might have been the last the world would have heard of Helô Pinheiro, but in the late 1970s Pinhero’s companies fell on hard times and Helô gave birth to a handicapped son. Although reluctant to do so her entire life, faced with the situation she was in, Helô decided to capitalize on her identity as “the girl from Ipanema” and became a successful model, gossip columnist and television host. She endorsed over 100 products.“You move mountains, when it comes to providing for your children” she said.

In 2003, at the age of 58 and still quite lovely, Helô Pinheiro appeared with her own daughter, supermodel, actress and reality TV star, Ticiane Pinheiro in the pages of Playboy magazine, making her their oldest model, ever…

Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Richard Metzger
|
05.23.2018
10:21 am
|
Page 1 of 196  1 2 3 >  Last ›