Monday, November 8, 2010

'Mack the Knife' - The Original

Bertolt Brecht - 'It is easier to rob by setting up a bank than by holding up a bank clerk'

Guess we all probably know 'Mack the Knife' from Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald or Frank Sinatra.

Or from Lotte Lenya if we're a bit aware of the leftist anti-fascist theatre of Bretolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.

Well, in my peripatetic travels about cyberspace today, I came across the original - in the sense that Bertolt Brecht is singing ...

He gives it that hard edge the meaning of the song dictates - partly it's all those harshly flapped [r]s!

I've thrown in Lotte Lenya Singing 'Seeräuber Jenny' ('Pirate Jenny') also from 'The Three-Penny Opera' ...

... for those whose tastes run this way.

A Serious Exercise in Nostalgia -
Bette in Full Flight @ The Continental Baths (1971)

This is going to be a serious exercise in nostalgia - Bette Midler in full flight at the Continental Baths in 1971 singing 'I Shall Be Released'. Barry Manilow is on piano and Joey Mitchell on drums.

Hope you can be patient with the quality of Jimmy Vito's amateur footage - the frames jump around a bit at the beginning but the issue is straightened out by about half way through.

Cos if you can accept the technical inadequacies the performance it's the kind of classic high-voltage compelling performance you'd expect from The Divine Miss M at that period.

Finding Desktop Background Images

'Wuthering Heights' (1992)

I don't know about you guys but I tend to change my desktop background image every few days. Otherwise I just stop 'seeing' them.

And I'm often scratching my head about where to find new kinds of images, having run the gamut of works of art, travel snaps, old family photographs - the usual stuff.

I used to use porn images but occasional unexpected visits associated with urgent needs to check email lead to some decent surprises for all concerned.

Now the point of this post is that I've just found a whole new venue for harvesting images - snags of films I'm watching on my puter. And I'm stunned how often I reach for the icon of my SnagIt software to capture yet another indispensable image.

Today's collection came from the 1992 'Wuthering Heights' (above), 'The City of Your Final Destination' (2009) ...

'The City of Your Final Destination' (2009)

... and 'Assault Girls' ...

'Assault Girls'

... and 'True Blood' - for something completely different ...

One of Lafayette's V-Visions from 'True Blood'
(Season 3, Episode 10)

Which as much as anything says something about what movies I watch ... and how many a day!

Any confessions on your part here?
Strange How Things Travel About

I was thinking this morning how strange it is the way things unexpectedly move about the globe.

A few years back, we were rough travelling through the rice terraces of Northern Luzon.

It's an area so rugged it was quite isolated during the Spanish occupation and only visited by non-Filipinos in the 1950s - by American missionaries.

We'd hiked into Sagada, one of the larger towns of the region, and were walking down the main street when we wandered into a shop ...

... and happened to notice a highly patinated old hat worked from very finely woven reeds and topped by a carved wooden anito or animist figure.

I'm not sure what the shop-keepers imagined we might buy as we wandered around but they were highly amused when we said were interested in the hat - it was the everyday head gear of the owner's grandfather.

We struck a deal to everyone's satisfaction ... and this beautiful hand-crafted object duly took its place in our ever-expanding collection of travel bring-backs.

Strange how things move about the globe.

So are you guys rabid collectors and hoarders like us?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Holy Grail

Just when I thought I'd seen all the film footage associated with the Ballets Russes and it's Prima Ballerina Absoluta ...

... I Amazon-ed up this extraordinary 1970s interview ...

Hope you enjoy this rarity!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hard Hard Work in Bucharest at the Turn of the C20

Young Street Busker

With the social reform movements in Europe in the C19, photographers felt encouraged to record the plight of working men and women of the time - here in Bucharest round the turn of the twentieth century and up to the 1920s.

Though the names of some of these professions which have pretty mush disappeared may have a strange romantic resonance in popular culture today, everyone knows the reality would have been very different.

The obvious pathos in the image of the street musician encouraged me to place it first.

The second shows women gathering each day at some predetermined spot in the hope of being offered temporary work as maids.

Maids for Rent

Counter to expectation, the Library of Congress informs that chimney sweeping ...

... has been a steady profession right up to today.

A post on working class professions in the street in Romania would hardly be complete without an image of a fortune teller.

Fortune Teller

Physically demanding itinerant jobs included tinkering ...


... wood cutting ...

Wood Cutters

... and iron working ...

Iron Worker

Though life would hardly have been much easier for organ grinders ...

Organ Grinders

An Organ Grinder

To finish, an image ...

... of 'the oldest profession in the world'.

A post dedicated to those who usually slip through the cracks in the system.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One Of The Seriously Less Serious Moments of Dance

These days when people speak of the Ballets Russes, it's often in hushed and reverential tones.

So it's great to see film of dancers from this legendary company(ies) away from the hallowed halls of 'The Theatre' (said in the manner of Bette Davis in 'All about Eve', 1950).

Particularly when they were having fun in the surk and the sun, as in this slow motion, silent but colour amateur footage taken during the 1938-9 tour of Australia by the 'Covent Garden Russian Ballet'.

The first film is straight-forward enough - larking round with ballet movements and positions and starring Paul Petroff and, I suspect, Hélène Kirsova ...

But the second film seems to have a much 'darker' tone.

A Lothario (above) and a friend observe a dramatic sea rescue ...

... which dissolves into a 'From Here to Eternity' moment ...

... followed, curiously, by more than a hint of the final act of 'Romeo and Juliet' ...

But then unexpectedly things seem to go wrong ...

... or right?

So what's your story board on this one?
The Joys of Impulse Purchasing

Nagaland Glass Beads mid C20

I suspect the best purchases are often on impulse and so, recently and again, browsing turned to buying ... Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment: Australia, Oceania, Asia, Africa (Adelaide and Melbourne, 2009), a very large format and weighty semi coffee table tome of nearly 400 pages.

Aboriginal Bark Armband Tiwi People C19-20

In an attempt perhaps to lessen my guilt, I'm posting a few of the astounding images I found inside - I'm determined to flip through the book just the once as there are so many arresting things I'll get bogged deep down in choice if I do otherwise.

Bedouin Bridal Veil, Palestine, Gaza, mid C20

Bedouin forehead ornament (kaffa) Saudi Arabia Early C20

Triangular Necklace, Oman, Early C20

Ear Ornament Tamil Nadu, C19-20

Man's Ceremonial Head Dress, Motu people, PNG, C19

Chief Lama's Ceremonial Hat, Ladakh, India Early-mid C20

Buddhist Woman's Ceremonial Crown C18-19

Qing Hairpin, China C20

Embroidered Baby's Bonnet, Yunan, China Early C20

Man's Cuirass to deflect arrows, Indonesia, Papua Province, Early C20

Qing Hairpins, China C19-20

Chief's Dancing Apron c1930, PNG

Bridegroom's Head Decoration, Sumatra, Indonesia, Early C20

Man's Bandolier, of Ant-Eater Claws, Myanmar, Early-mid C20

Necklace of Woven Human Hair and Whale Ivory, Hawaii, mid C19

Man's Head Ornament, Katji people, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory - collected in 1930

A feast for the eyes and the senses, don't you think!