Saturday, December 15, 2007

Local trees

nice long interview with trombone colossus Rico Rodriguez....

via sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy this evocative set of images made at Thamesmead, Riverside School, 76-78--

"In my early days I was employed, at my second school, as a science teacher at Riverside School, Thamesmead. Situtated on the Bexley/London border, it was a relatively new school in a "London" housing estate. Riverside School is now Bexley Business Academy.

I went into teaching full of belief and idealism, knowing that our children had limitless potential. After 5 years I realised that there was no place for idealism in teaching. I left in 1978 not knowing what I would do.

Some of the photorgraphs in this set were shown in a "Half Moon Photogaphy Workshop" exhibition in 1979. I titled the exhibition "Lost at School". Of course I was referring to my own situation, not that of the children in the photographs.

My negatives and photographs sat mouldering in the back of my garage for 30 years before the wonders of the digital age allowed me to rescue them..."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Otto Preminger's masterful adaptation of Francoise Sagan's Bonjour Tristesse, long a mosses favorite, on TCM at 700--

"In spite or perhaps precisely because of her flaws, if you love Jean Seberg, then you must love the film. Her performance, like Preminger's direction, is by turns problematic and sublime. In a strange way Jean's fragility as an actress - her constricted movements, her masked expression, her untrained yet distinctive voice, shivery and enchanting - mirrors Preminger's own inconsistency, his sometimes imperfect mastery of his own gifts...Ultimately her performance as a remote beauty with a capacity for casual destructiveness is bewitching."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

in my thoughts i have seen rings of smoke through the trees...

Why the Schreiber Scandal Matters

"What mattered when Karlheinz, everyone’s favourite Christmas uncle, helped replace Joe Clark with Brian Mulroney, is that the door was opened to the globalization deals in Canada in the 1980s that helped shove this country down the global ladder to the position we occupy today as suppliers of oil sands oil to the Americans and greenhouse gas emissions to the planet.

What I can’t fathom are the media pundits whose line of analysis is that what went on in the 1980s was the bad old days of influence peddling and that all this has happily been put behind us. Are they kidding?

When Brian Mulroney came to power and made his deals, Canadian democracy was fundamentally weakened. We live today in the nether world of plutocracy, in which those with big money ensure that they get the arrangements that favour them. They twist arms, fight wars, educate economists to peddle their line, and yes, they bribe whenever and wherever it is necessary..."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Purchase Price

"The Purchase Price opens with Stanwyck singing a torch song (in her own husky voice) begging someone to take her away. She's wearing a dramatic gown with narrow beaded panels that Orry Kelly appears to have recut from a Baby Face dress she had worn only a few months before. In a goofy plot twist, she takes it on the lam to Elk's Crossing ND to get away from her genial but pushy racketeer boyfriend, played by Lyle Talbot with his usual lack of sex appeal. Swapping places with a girl about to ship out as a mail order bride, she finds herself in short order married to a sniffle-wracked George Brent, who's been waiting for a wife for so long, he expects to go to bed with her RIGHT AWAY. Taken aback (but clearly no better than she should be) Barbara wallops him, which makes him pretty darn mad. It will take the rest of the movie for them to see eye to eye..."

a nice septuple feature of pre-code films by two-fisted director William Wellman (above in his Lafayette Escadrille outfit) TCM starting at 500, including a Stanwyck I haven't seen--

"5:00 PM Night Nurse (1931)
A nurse discovers that the children she's caring for are murder targets. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Clark Gable. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-72 mins, TV-G
6:15 PM Purchase Price, The (1932)
A night-club singer on the lam becomes a farmer's mail-order bride. Cast: Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, Lyle Talbot. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-68 mins, TV-PG
7:30 PM Safe In Hell (1931)
A ruthless woman wreaks havoc on a tropical haven for outlaws. Cast: Dorothy Mackaill, Donald Cook, John Wray. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-73 mins, TV-PG
9:00 PM Lilly Turner (1933)
After unwittingly marrying a bigamist, a pregnant woman faces many trials on the road to romance. Cast: Ruth Chatterton, George Brent, Frank McHugh. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-65 mins, TV-PG
10:15 PM Midnight Mary (1933)
An abused orphan sinks into a life of crime. Cast: Loretta Young, Ricardo Cortez, Franchot Tone. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-74 mins, TV-PG
11:30 PM Frisco Jenny (1932)
A district attorney prosecutes his own mother for murder. Cast: Ruth Chatterton, Donald Cook, Louis Calhern. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-71 mins, TV-PG
12:45 AM Other Men's Women (1931)
A railroad engineer falls for a co-worker's wife. Cast: James Cagney, Mary Astor, Joan Blondell. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-70 mins, TV-PG, CC
2:00 AM Love Is A Racket (1932)
A beautiful girl convinces a reporter to cover up her involvement in a murder. Cast: Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Frances Dee, Ann Dvorak. Dir: William A. Wellman. BW-71 mins, TV-G"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

new album from the Great Robert Wyatt

"A French journalist asked if my music was spiritual, and I said, 'Only in the original sense of spirit meaning breath.' I am a breathing animal. If anything, I get lower, not higher, in art to work things out, relying on animal instincts to guide me through what sounds right. Beyond that, it's unknowable, verbally inaccessible." He adds, with characteristic self-effacement: "That's why I work with musicians."

some Canadian scenes from this vast archive of Cigarette Cards...

Thomas A Swift's Electric Rifle

"Pain compliance is an unfortunate fact of life," he said. "You can't expect people who really don't want to be arrested to do what you need them to do just because you ask them."

Monday, December 10, 2007

poring through this treasure trove of a reggae blog for trombone instrumentals (don't ask!) came across the story of record store owner/producer Joe Mansano whose "Brixton Cat" album (featuring the trombone of the great--and clearly still hale) Rico Rodriguez was one of the first to take advantage of the burgeoning skinhead market--I remember a couple of years after I got back to Canada in '72 being really shocked to read that the skins were getting all mixed up with racist politics--when loving reggae had been more important to them than their Doc Martens & Ben Shermans. If you liked reggae at Ayr Academy you were considered a skinhead even if you wore your hair down to the ground...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Glenn Greenwald

"Whether it's the war in Iraq or illegal surveillance or the abolition of habeas corpus and now the systematic use of torture, it's the Bush administration that conceived of the policies, implemented them and presided over their corrupt application. But it's Congressional Democrats at the leadership level who were the key allies and enablers, never getting their hands dirty with implementation -- and thus feigning theatrical, impotent outrage once each abuse was publicly exposed -- but nonetheless working feverishly the entire time to enable all of it every step of the way..."

some of the more sedate Drawings by The Lions who include Tasha Brotherton, Matthew Brown, and James Whitman...

Ex-U.S. spy a fan of CBC series

"To be blunt, wake up, Canada! You're now a first-tier player on the global stage and you better bring your game. Aside from being immensely entertaining, Intelligence is also informative and educational, words I could never use to describe a U.S. show without it being the kiss of death. Not that you're going to be subjected to the tedium that most intelligence is. No, Intelligence has a point of view, courtesy of the aforementioned Haddock: he wants to show you the snake pit that is the world of intelligence..."

Don't forget the 2 hour season finale starts at 800 tomorrow...
Spencer Ackerman

"After the 2002 capture of Abu Zubaydah, a bin Laden deputy, failed to yield much information due to his drowsiness from medical treatment, Bush allegedly told Tenet, 'Who authorized putting him on pain medication?'"