January

A PAGE OF MADNESS

This is a must see movie for any cinema fan. I can only write in adjectives and superlatives at the moment; it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, amazing visuals, incredible acting (though there is no sound), completely inspiring, terrifyingly beautiful, mesmerizing!

From Wikipedia:

A Page of Madness (狂った一頁 Kurutta Ippēji or Kurutta Ichipeiji) is a silent film by Japanese film director Teinosuke Kinugasa, made in 1926. It was lost for forty-five years until being rediscovered by Kinugasa in his storehouse in 1971. The film is the product of an avant-garde group of artists in Japan known as the Shinkankakuha (or School of New Perceptions) who tried to overcome naturalistic representation.

Yasunari Kawabata, who would win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, was credited on the film with the original story. He is often cited as the film's screenwriter, and a version of the scenario is printed in his complete works, but the scenario is now considered a collaboration between Kawabata, Kinugasa, Banko Sawada, and Minoru Inuzuka.

As there is no sound I watched it while listening to the Lo-Fi India Abuse album by Muslimgauze on repeat and it really worked for me. You might want to try a different album to set the mood for you.

Whatever the case, watch this masterpiece!

FV

 

SLIMBONE

"Fuck Slimbone!"

"Shut up."

"Why should I? That motherfucker has a couple snakes and some kind of birds. Least that's what I heard."

"Maybe you heard wrong."

"Well shit, I ain't eaten for three days now. I'm goddamn going out of my mind. I say we go to Slimbone's and kick the shit out of him and take them animals he been hoarding."

"What if you're wrong?"

"About what?"

"About the goddamn snakes and birds. You think Slimbone just gonna let you kick his ass for nothing? Let alone steal his shit if he got anything." 

"Fuck him. (Long pause) Let's kill his ass then. I hate that smart ass anyway."

"You never even met him you dumb fuck."

"Well that's what I heard and anyway I gotta eat man. I'm about to die." 

Chill Phil wondered why he let this idiot tag along with him. He didn't even know his name and didn't want to. He just called him dumb fuck cause that's all he was. A simple, scared, stupid man who Chill Phil wondered had managed to live this long.

"C'mon man, let's get some sticks and some big rocks and go kill his ass when it gets dark."

"I ain't interested. You go ahead." 

"What're ya scared? You told me you ain't eaten nothing for a week now. I know you wanna eat. If he's got them critters we'll have food to eat for a week I bet. Besides, it'll be easier to kill him if it's the two of us."

"Fuck you dumb fuck. I ain't starting nothing with Slimbone. He never did nothing to me." 

"What about the snakes n birds? What if he's got em?"

"None of my business. If he got em they're his. He did something to get em, not me and certainly not you. You dumb fuck." 

Chill Phil puzzled over how he let himself agree to let this dumb fuck squat with him. He guessed it had been about a month since he'd last seen anyone alive when he stumbled upon him on his knees in front of the old church in town. Pathetic sight. Crying, praying, the whole routine. Like it would change anything. But Chill Phil knew it was a chance for company and maybe more. Three days was enough to know he was dead weight though.

(Later)

"C'mon man. It's getting dark, let's get going."

"You really wanna do this?"

"Fuck yea! I'm starving." 

"What about killing Slimbone?"

"I'm taking the son of a bitch out. He's as good as dead already" 

"Alright then. Seeing you're gonna go through with it I better come n make sure you don't get yourself killed. Slimbone ain't no chickenshit." 

"Whatever, let's go." 

Chill Phil let the dumb fuck lead the way. He wanted to keep a little distance in case of any surprises. Besides, he'd decided Slimbone wasn't gonna get killed, especially by this dumb fuck.

"Hey man. It's just a ways up from here."

"I know."

"Look, I'm thinking you go up first, seeing that you know Slimbone and all. You get him out in the clear and I'll come up and smash his head with a rock." 

"Yea, I guess. It's pretty dark and quiet though. Your fat ass gonna have to move real quick."

"Don't worry about what I gotta do. You make sure he's in the clear."

"Well, come here for a second. I wanna see what yer reflexes are like. Slimbone's a quick son of a bitch. He sees something funny happening, neither one of us is gonna see the sun again." 

"Jesus H Christ! Wasting more time" 

Chill Phil saw dumb fucks silhouette move toward him. Short, fat, lump of flesh. Thick as a brick thinking any of this would work. Opening his big fat trap, not knowing a goddamn thing about this place. Chill Phil pulled the blade from the back of his pants when the dumb fuck was a few steps away. Without a word he pounced and in one swift motion cut a new smile in dumb fucks throat. He watched him thrash on the ground, trying to talk and just waited till he bled out. Yup, there'd be food for a few days now he thought. That much mister dumb fuck had right.

Fred Vee

 

THE SEVENTIES

The 1970’s were a truly incredible decade. Set aside politics, art and music, and focus on the fashion alone. Narrow that down even further to people middle aged and above who embraced all the change going on around them and you get priceless anonymous photos like the one above. Very few mothers or grandmothers were dressing like this even through the sixties. Everyone jumped on board in the 70’s and thankfully it happened to be a time when home photography really took off to record it all.

FV

 

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR

Very few people in America and around the world for that matter, are not familiar with the great civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr’s epic speech, “I Have a Dream”. Delivered at the Lincoln Memorial in front of 10’s of thousands of people in August of 1963, it defines the aspect of his legacy for racial equality and the basic rights of all men, women and children to be treated with equality and respect. It is indeed one of the most important speeches of the 20th century.

Comedy duo, absolute masters of their craft, Key and Peele, remind us here of the unfortunate speaker who had to follow Dr. King’s epic words, the Reverend Robert Jones. As usual, the attention to detail and the absurdity of such a thing are amazing. I’m confident that Dr. King, were he alive, would find this every bit as funny as any K&P fan.

I hope you enjoy your day off in America and do take the time to reflect on Dr. King’s legacy. His words are as important now as they were over 50 years ago. Unfortunately, while much has changed in the time since this speech, quite a bit hasn’t and in fact what has changed is slowly moving backwards in many ways. What can you do to improve the experiment called America? Or what will be your role in a new America if things change very drastically, which is quite possible. In either case or a myriad of other possibilities, Dr. King’s words are always worth reflecting on and used for deep consideration.

And as always, no matter how bad things get, don’t lose your ability to laugh. Key and Peele and left a legacy of hundreds of hilarious skits to help us smile and remind us of the human condition in their own special way.

FV

 

SOLID

Back in the day this was a pretty common phrase. Let’s all work to together to bring it back in 2019. We need more positive things in the world, and this word exudes positivity. It’s not much but every little bit helps when it comes to making the world a more solid place to live in.

FV

 

EDWARD HONAKER

Edward Honaker is a Southern California based photographer who appears to be mainly a capable portrait/fashion/wedding specialist. However, tucked in his very minimal website in portfolio #2 is an incredible body of work.

In this portfolio Honaker creates a series of black and white photographs that illustrate his own issues with depression and anxiety. It’s a stunning body of work, both beautiful and tragic. Anyone who has suffered these conditions knows fully how isolated one can feel even among the people we love. The lack of understanding or indifference by others further exacerbates that isolation. Honaker has captured these intense feelings so accurately they left me both speechless and overjoyed that an artist articulated my own experiences in such a creative, stark and fully understandable manner.

It’s an important series that shouts to those of us afflicted with depression that someone gets it and to those who have never experienced the crippling effects an insight to the emotions one feels, yet more importantly, I think the work opens a door for discussion and questions for others to learn about the subject. While not a taboo anymore, I still have the impression that many don’t understand depression and anxiety very well. Or they’ve read enough articles in popular magazines to think they do.

Each case is unique, and with great art like this I think it gives people a chance to share their experiences and gives others a chance to ask deeper questions to those they may know. For many of us, it’s something that doesn’t go away. It’s just there. Always there. These photographs give voice to that.

I hope Honaker does more artistic work as he clearly has the sensibilities to create thought provoking art. If not, I’m grateful he took the time to share this one.

FV

 

IRREVERSIBLE ENTANGLEMENTS

A friend of mine turned me onto this just the other day. Kind of free / experimental jazz with some strong spoken word on top. Jazz isn’t really my strong suit and I don’t listen to much but I like this a lot. As my friend noted the rhythm section are top notch. The spoken word performances are powerful biting critiques of life in America towards the ruling white elite / military class. I have to give it a few more listens but I’m all ears with this one.

CAMAE AYEWA / VOICE

KEIR NEURINGER / SAXOPHONE

AQUILES NAVARRO / TRUMPET

LUKE STEWART / BASS

TCHESER HOLMES / DRUMS

Learn more about them here.

FV

 

EDWARD HOPPER

Room By The Sea, 1951

Big fan of Edward Hopper. There’s always a quiet, somewhat desperate quality in a lot of his work. This piece, while a bit surrealistic, definitely has that silent mystery aspect.

I’m just usually in love in with his compositions, color palettes and the like as well. Definitely a big influence on the way I see things.

FV

 

VIVIAN MAIER COLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

Vivian Maier, Chicago 1962

Anyone who follows photography somewhat seriously knows the legend of Vivian Maier. A nanny who led a seemingly mundane life was unknowingly out on the streets doing incredible photography. Her work discovered after her death she has been a sensation in the relatively short time since her work was found. I believe there is a film, though not sure if it’s a documentary or not.

Her body of work was largely known by many (myself included) to be black and white, square medium format. With a wonderful eye and sense of timing, it’s been amazing to most how this talent was kept secret by her. Now we find another mystery, that Maier shot a large body of work in color as well. Both medium format and 35mm. She had a good sense of color from what I’ve seen but it certainly is a different vibe, especially the 35mm work.

Here is a good article written by Elyssa Goodman that goes into further detail. If you’re a fan of Maier it’s worth a read and like me , will likely provoke more interest in the elusive talented woman we basically only know through her photography.

FV

 

ACRYLICS AND CHARCOAL

I’m really digging the acrylic and charcoal technique I picked up from that artist Dan Tirels on YouTube. It’s really a loose fun exercise that takes a couple of hours to complete.

I’ve done about 7 or 8 of them now and feel a little bit of understanding starting to develop. I would like to use them as bouncing points for some other ideas I have, like as a loose outline for some wood prints or incorporating them with image transfers. Of course, they are fine on their own as well.

Give it a try, I bet you’ll get into real fast.

FV

 

INSTAGRAM THE OLD WAY

Random retro photo found on the innertubes. Reminds me of the way people used to share photos. Prints from the drugstore or the Fotomat, passed around our put into photo albums. Sure people still do that these days but obviously photo sharing platforms or even your phone is the dominant way now.

I’m not saying one is better than other but I think I’m personally going to be making more photo books this year. They’re cheap to make, the quality is pretty good and it’s something tangible people can hold. I’ll admit printing out photos and putting them in a album has crossed my mind many times but like a lot of people I get too lazy.

So I think I’ll start with the the online books. Maybe one a month might be a good goal. Nothing fancy or artistic (though I may make a few of those as well) but just my favorite images, no matter the subject, collected in a book.

Sounds good. I’ll let ya know if I actually do it.

FV