Wednesday, February 29, 2012


This is a personal and regional note but reflects the "radio biz"...if a station cannot turn a profit, then its survival is questionable. The arts do suffer. KXTR [Kansas City, Missouri] began broadcasting about 47 years ago. I used to listen to it on a palm-sized, battery run portable FM radio on my way to undergraduate life. Things have changed over the years: Records on turntables to computer files; a sweet signal on the FM band to a low power spot on the far end of the AM band. Death was expected. I understand that the entire music library will be donated to KANU [University of Kansas]. And the very best to old friend Patrick Neas...a champion of the arts.

Deceased--Davy Jones

Davy Jones
December 20th, 1945 to February 29th, 2012

"Davy Jones dies at 66; Monkees' romantic heartthrob"

The British-born performer sang the leads on several of the Monkees' hits, including 'Daydream Believer' and 'A Little Bit Me, a Little Bit You.' The band, created for a TV show, charted numerous hits between 1966 and 1970.


Randy Lewis

February 29th, 2012

Los Angeles Times

Davy Jones was a promising 18-year-old actor from England when he found himself among the guest performers on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on Feb. 9, 1964 — the same night about 75 million people tuned in to catch the American debut of the Beatles. Like so many others who watched the show from near and far, Jones considered it a life-changing experience.

Looking on from the wings as hundreds of teenagers, mostly girls, were screaming ecstatically while listening to the four musicians who came from a town only 20 miles away from his own hometown of Manchester, Jones knew then he wanted a career in pop music rather than theater.

A little more than a year later he auditioned for and was accepted as a member of the Monkees, a pop band created for a television show developed in the wake of the success of the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" film.

The new group's fame quickly came to rival that of the Fab Four after NBC-TV executives put Jones and bandmates Micky Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork into the living rooms of millions of viewers every Monday night. The show ran from 1966 to 1968.

Jones, who died Wednesday at 66 of a heart attack in Martin County, Fla., was the group's counterpart to Beatle Paul McCartney as the Monkees' romantic heartthrob, and his British accent lent the band a dash of international intrigue in songs on which he was the lead singer, including a couple of their biggest hits, "Daydream Believer" and "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You."

"That David has stepped beyond my view causes me the sadness that it does many of you," Nesmith wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday. "I will miss him, but I won't abandon him to mortality.… David's spirit and soul live well in my heart."

Although initially dismissed in music circles as a television fantasy more than a musical reality, the Monkees charted nearly two dozen singles during a heyday from 1966 to 1970 and became the first, and only, act to score four No. 1 albums on the Billboard chart in the same calendar year.

"It's a sad day for me," said filmmaker Bob Rafelson, co-creator of "The Monkees" with Bert Schneider who also produced their avant-garde 1968 film "Head." "Of all the films I've made that have received attention from the Academy Awards, or Cannes [Film Festival] or the New York Film Critics Awards, nothing ever pleased me more than hearing a [radio] announcer say 'Here's Davy Jones singing "Daydream Believer." ' "

Although never inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Monkees have long been lauded for the boost they gave many songwriters by recording their compositions, including Neil Diamond, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Harry Nilsson, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, and John Stewart.

It was Jones who strongly lobbied for the group to record "Cuddly Toy," a song written by Nilsson, who was then supporting himself as a computer programmer for a bank in the San Fernando Valley. Later known as the composer of the Three Dog Night hit "One" and the singer on hits of his own such as "Without You" and "Everybody's Talking," Nilsson's big break came from the Monkees.

"Back in 1967 it meant something for them to record one of your songs," said John Scheinfeld, writer and producer of the 2010 documentary "Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?"

"In our film, Micky told the story of how Harry and Davy and Harry's publisher Lester Sill were walking out of the studio after the recording session, and Lester turned to Harry and said, 'Well, you can quit your job at the bank now.' It drew a lot of attention to Harry."

David Thomas Jones was born Dec. 30, 1945, and gained success in his native country as a child actor with roles in different series shown on the BBC. At 11, he had an important role in the long-running soap opera "Coronation Street." After a successful run on London's West End as the Artful Dodger in a production of the musical "Oliver!" in his teens, Jones re-created the part on Broadway, landing a Tony Award nomination. It was that production that was highlighted by Sullivan in the same show on which the Beatles appeared for the first time.

He also trained to be a jockey — he stood 5 feet 3 — and his passion for horses stayed with him through his life.

Rafelson said he and Schneider auditioned 437 actors and musicians, including Stephen Stills, David Crosby, the Lovin' Spoonful and future members of Three Dog Night, before zeroing in on the four who became the Monkees.

Some of the band members' desire to be taken seriously musically led to notorious power struggles with TV and music publishing executives. But that wasn't a big concern for Jones.

"Eventually Peter and Mike, especially, wanted to write, play and record … or be behind the camera," Jones told a Springfield, Mass., newspaper earlier this year while on a solo tour. "But I just wanted to be in the show, fall in love twice in each episode and kiss the girls. I had no ambition to be Steven Spielberg or Cecil B. DeMille."

Still, Rafelson credited Jones for taking a vocal role in the group's efforts to take more control over their music and their careers.

Tork quit the band in 1968 and the Monkees continued briefly as a trio, then disbanded in 1970. Jones promptly resurfaced the following year with a guest appearance as himself in "Getting Davy Jones," one of the most celebrated episodes of "The Brady Bunch," in which Marcia Brady launched a campaign to persuade the teen idol to visit her school.

In the '80s the group had a resurgence sparked by a CD box set issued by the archival label Rhino Records, and that led to then-new MTV showing episodes of the original series that revived interest in the band. They have since done several reunion tours, usually without Nesmith, including a 45th anniversary round of shows last year that was cut short because of differences that cropped up among Jones, Dolenz and Tork.

Although he was comfortable with his highest-profile job, Jones sometimes worried that the Monkees' legacy would follow him for the rest of his life, which he spent acting in numerous TV shows, theatrical productions, and doing voiceover work for cartoons and animated features.

"My biggest fear, years ago, when I played Jesus in 'Godspell,' " he told a New Jersey newspaper last year, "was that I'd be dying on the cross one night and someone would yell out, 'Hey Davy! — Do 'Daydream Believer'!"

Jones also toured as a solo act, blending Monkees hits and his favorite musical theater songs, and he had performed most recently Feb. 19 in Oklahoma. He had a Southland date scheduled for March 31 at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.

"I try to be positive today in my life," Jones said earlier this year. "There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way."

He is survived by his third wife, Jessica Pacheco, four children from previous marriages and several grandchildren.

"Davy Jones, Monkees’ Heartthrob, Dies at 66"


James C. McKinley Jr.

February 29th, 2012

The New York Times

Davy Jones, the pint-size singer for the Monkees perhaps best known for singing “Daydream Believer,” died of a heart attack on Wednesday in at his home in Indiantown, Fla., according to the local medical examiner’s officer there and a spokeswoman for the singer. He was 66 years old.

Mr. Jones, a former jockey and stage actor, was a key member of the first and arguably the best of the pop groups created for television to capitalize on the success of the Beatles. Though they were not taken seriously at first, the Monkees made some exceptionally good pop records, thanks in large part to the songwriting of professional songwriters like Neil Diamond and Tommy Boyce.

Mr. Jones was born on Dec. 20, 1945, in Manchester, England, the son of a railway fitter and a homemaker. He dropped out of school after his mother’s death from emphysema in 1960 and began a career as a jockey, but later quit to pursue acting, appearing in television shows like “Coronation Street” and “June Evening.” He landed a contract with Colpix Records after he appeared in the musical “Oliver!” and performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” He was 20 when his first album, “David Jones,” came out.

In 1965, he auditioned for the TV comedy series dreamed up by Columbia Pictures executives who were inspired by the Beatles film “A Hard Day’s Night” and landed the part, along with Mickey Dolenz, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork. Though they didn’t play instruments at first, the group’s debut album the following year yielded three hit singles, among them “I’m a Believer,” “Last Train to Clarksville” and “Steppin’ Stone.” The show was broadcast until 1968.

After the Monkees disbanded in the late 1960s, Mr. Jones pursued a solo career as a singer, recording the hit “Rainy Jane.” He also made a series of appearances on American television shows, among them “Love American Style.” He played himself in a widely popular Brady Bunch episode, which was shown in late 1971. In the episode, Marcia Brady, president of her school’s Davy Jones fan club, promises she could get him to sing at a school dance.

By the mid-1980s, Mr. Jones teamed up with Mr. Tork, Mr. Dolenz and the promoter David Fishof for a reunion tour. Their popularity prompted MTV to rebroadcast The Monkees series, introducing the group to a new audience. In 1987, three of the Monkees (excluding Michael Nesmith) recorded a new album, “Pool It.” Two years later, the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the late 1990s, the group filmed a special called “Hey, Hey, It’s the Monkees.”

He is survived by his wife, Jessica.

The Monkees [Wikipedia]

The Monkees' "Head"

Last Train To Clarksville


Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart

The Monkees


Take the last train to Clarksville

And I'll meet you at the station,
You can be here by four-thirty,
'Cause I've made your reservation, don't be slow,
Oh, no, no, no,
Oh, no, no, no.
'Cause I'm leaving in the morning
And I must see you again,
We'll have one more night together
'Til the morning brings my train and I must go,
Oh, no, no, no,
Oh, no, no, no,
And I don't know if I'm ever coming home.
Take the last train to Clarksville,
I'll be waiting at the station,
We'll have time for coffee-flavored kisses,
And a bit of conversation, oh,
Oh, no, no, no,
Oh, no, no, no.
Da-da-da-da-da-da, etc...
Take the last train to Clarksville,
Now I must hang up the phone,
I can't hear you in this noisy railroad station,
All alone, I'm feeling low.
Oh, no, no, no,
Oh, no, no, no,
And I don't know if I'm ever coming home.
Take the last train to Clarksville,
And I'll meet you at the station,
You can be here by four-thirty,
'Cause I've made your reservation, don't be slow,
Oh, no, no, no,
Oh, no, no, no,
And I don't know if I'm ever coming home.
Take the last train to Clarksville,
Take the last train to Clarksville,
Take the last train to Clarksville,
Take the last train to Clarksville.
fade out...

Deceased--Bruce Surtees

Bruce Surtees, right, with Clint Eastwood, during the filming of High Plains Drifter.

Bruce Surtees
July 23rd, 1937 to February 23rd, 2012

"Bruce Surtees obituary"

Oscar-nominated cinematographer who worked on Lenny, Dirty Harry and The Beguiled


Chris Wiegand

February 27th, 2012

The Guardian

The American cinematographer Bruce Surtees, who has died aged 74, became known as "the prince of darkness" for his muted and often lugubrious style of lighting. However, while Surtees was well-suited to the nocturnal street scenes of Dirty Harry (1971), the Rembrandt-esque arrangements of The Beguiled (1971) and the claustrophobic interiors of Escape from Alcatraz (1979), all directed by Don Siegel, he was also at home with the wide open spaces of the western Joe Kidd (1972) and the surfing movie Big Wednesday (1978).

His deceptively simple black-and-white scheme for Lenny (1974), Bob Fosse's semi-documentary biopic of the comedian Lenny Bruce, earned Surtees an Oscar nomination. The film's compelling stand-up sequences owe almost as much to the expert lighting of the nightclub as they do to Dustin Hoffman's performance. As Hoffman paces the stage, chased by his own shadow, the light captures wisps of cigarette smoke and almost carries the smell of bourbon.

Cinematography was the Surtees family trade. Bruce was born in Los Angeles, where his father, Robert, was starting out as a camera assistant and operator. Robert had worked regularly with the acclaimed cinematographer Hal Mohr, and chose Mohr for one of Bruce's middle names. When Bruce was a teenager, Robert hit his stride as a director of photography, winning his first Oscar for King Solomon's Mines (1950).

Bruce attended the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena, gained experience as a technician for Disney and assisted his father on films including The Hallelujah Trail (1965). He had proved to be a reliable camera operator – memorably capturing a motorcycle chase in Coogan's Bluff (1968) – and Siegel gave him the chance to graduate to the role of cinematographer on his US civil war film The Beguiled. In his autobiography, A Siegel Film, the director remembered Surtees's response to this offer: "Bruce's face became flushed, his breathing heavy … Tears appeared in his eyes and he spoke with great difficulty." Surtees rose to the technical challenges of The Beguiled, which starred Clint Eastwood as an injured soldier recuperating in a house full of women whom he seduces.

While many mainstream cinematographers employ three or more principal sources of light in a set-up, Surtees experimented with fewer and used them at lower levels. He achieved increased depth and contrast in the process, as well as creating stronger shadows. For one sequence in The Beguiled, he relied on a solitary bulb to replicate candlelight. Siegel was thrilled: "We didn't care that it was black, that it wouldn't show up on a television screen when the studio sold the picture to some network in a couple of years. Screw them. We liked it. It was exciting."

Surtees's drab palette complemented The Beguiled's gothic tone, Louisiana locations and the montage of sepia war photographs used in its title sequence. The film was a box-office disappointment but ensured his lengthy collaboration with Siegel and Eastwood. In Dirty Harry, a deserted sports stadium was eerily lit and shrouded in mist for the scene in which Eastwood's cop confronts the serial killer Scorpio. Eastwood's directorial debut, Play Misty for Me (1971), was shot around Carmel, California, where the star later became mayor and Surtees's own family also settled. His breezy location photography – including scenes at the Monterey jazz festival – matched the star's freewheeling role as Dave, a late-night DJ, but he introduced heavier shadows as Dave is threatened by his jilted lover. The film was made for a modest cost with a small crew and Surtees's efficiency was valued by Eastwood, who has always prided himself on bringing in films on time and under budget.

For Eastwood's High Plains Drifter (1973), influenced by the star's spaghetti westerns, Surtees favoured a wide aperture to ensure as much light as possible was captured in the Eastern Sierra setting of California. In the opening and closing sequences, he achieved a spectral light as Eastwood's mysterious stranger appears and disappears amid the shimmering desert haze. Eastwood's later westerns The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) and Pale Rider (1985) were shot in autumn, with Surtees exploiting the softer light and low sun. On Escape from Alcatraz, his last film with Siegel, the minimal lighting matched the grey and blue prison uniforms. After Pale Rider, he was replaced as Eastwood's regular cinematographer by his former camera operator Jack Green.

Throughout the 70s and 80s, Surtees lit leading men such as Gene Hackman (in the noirish Night Moves), John Wayne (in his final role, in The Shootist) and Laurence Olivier (in the much-derided epic Inchon). Major actors were not always pleased with the prospect of languishing in Surtees's signature shadows, but the glossy, bright lighting he provided for Risky Business (co-photographed with Reynaldo Villalobos, 1983) and Beverly Hills Cop (1984) enhanced two of the decade's biggest box-office stars, Tom Cruise and Eddie Murphy. In his later years, Surtees could still be relied upon to give an extra polish to middling material such as The Crush (1993), Corrina, Corrina (1994) and the television film Dash and Lilly (1999), the last of which brought him an Emmy nomination.

Surtees is survived by his wife, Carol.

"Bruce Surtees, Oscar-Nominated Cinematographer, Dies at 74"


Margalit Fox

February 28th, 2012

The New York Times

Bruce Surtees, an Oscar-nominated cinematographer known as the Prince of Darkness for his skill at summoning sharply etched figures from the inky depths of prisons, nightclubs and other inhospitably lighted places, died on Thursday in Carmel, Calif. He was 74.

The cause was complications of diabetes, his wife, Carol, said.

Known in particular for his long association with Clint Eastwood, Mr. Surtees (pronounced sur-TEEZ) shot more than a dozen films in which Mr. Eastwood starred. Many of these were also directed by Mr. Eastwood, including “Play Misty for Me” (1971), his first feature as a director; “High Plains Drifter” (1973); “The Outlaw Josey Wales” (1976); and “Sudden Impact” (1983), the fourth Dirty Harry movie.

Mr. Surtees dealt in shadows. Through his nuanced, often minimal use of lighting on the set, he meticulously conjured the stark contrast of lights and darks on the screen that he and his directors often sought.

“He was fearless,” Mr. Eastwood said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “He wasn’t afraid to give you sketchy lighting if you asked for it. He didn’t believe in flat light or just bright, ‘Rexall drugstore’ lighting, which a lot of times you can get if you get somebody that isn’t very imaginative.”

Mr. Surtees’s earliest work as a cinematographer was for the director Don Siegel, for whom he shot “Dirty Harry” (1971) and “Escape From Alcatraz” (1979), both starring Mr. Eastwood, and “The Shootist” (1976), starring John Wayne.

He had previously been a camera operator whose work included Mr. Siegel’s pictures “Coogan’s Bluff” (1968) and “Two Mules for Sister Sara” (1970) before he was named the cinematographer on “The Beguiled” (1971), a Civil War drama directed by Mr. Siegel and starring Mr. Eastwood and Geraldine Page.

Mr. Surtees earned an Academy Award nomination for his work on “Lenny” (1974), a biopic about Lenny Bruce starring Dustin Hoffman that was shot in black and white at the request of its director, Bob Fosse. In Mr. Surtees’s hands, the finished film looked like a living photograph by Weegee. (The Oscar went to Fred Koenekamp and Joseph Biroc for “The Towering Inferno.”)

Cinematography was part of Mr. Surtees’s genetic endowment. His father, Robert Surtees, was a cinematographer who won Oscars for “King Solomon’s Mines” (1950), “The Bad and the Beautiful” (1952) and “Ben-Hur” (1959). The younger Mr. Surtees, born in Los Angeles on Aug. 3, 1937, was named Bruce Mohr Powell Surtees in honor of his father’s mentor Hal Mohr, also an esteemed cinematographer.

Bruce Surtees studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., and began working as a cameraman under his father.

Mr. Surtees’s first marriage, to Judy Rucker, as she is now known, ended in divorce. Besides his wife, the former Carol Buby, whom he married in 1979 in Seoul while on location for “Inchon” (1981), directed by Terence Young and starring Laurence Olivier, he is survived by a daughter from his first marriage, Suzanne Surtees; a brother, Tom; and a sister, Nancy.

His other films include “Blume in Love” (1973), directed by Paul Mazursky; “Night Moves” (1975), directed by Arthur Penn; “Leadbelly” (1976), directed by Gordon Parks; and “Beverly Hills Cop” (1984), directed by Martin Brest.

Mr. Surtees, who lived in Carmel, was also the cinematographer for “White Dog,” Samuel Fuller’s controversial film about a dog trained to attack black people. Made in 1982, it was not officially released — on DVD — until 2008 because of the studio’s fears that it was inflammatory. (The film, which stars Kristy McNichol, Paul Winfield and Burl Ives, is ardently anti-racist.)

In the 1990s and afterward Mr. Surtees shot several television movies, including “Dash and Lilly” (1999), starring Sam Shepard and Judy Davis as Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman, for which he received an Emmy nomination.

Mr. Surtees brought to his work not only an impeccable eye but also something directors found just as valuable: a gift for frugal improvisation.

“He was perfect for me, because we didn’t have very big budgets in those days,” Mr. Eastwood said on Tuesday, recalling his early directorial outings. “He’d make dollies by towing a blanket across the floor with the cameraman sitting on it.”

Mr. Surtees’s jury-rigged dollies worked spectacularly well, Mr. Eastwood said, provided the floor was smooth enough.

Bruce Surtees [Wikipedia]

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Deceased--Eleanor Callahan

Eleanor Callahan
June 13th, 1916 to February 28th, 2012

"Eleanor Callahan, Photographic Muse, Dies at 95"


Richard B. Woodward

February 28th, 2012

The New York Times

Eleanor Callahan, the muse for her husband, Harry Callahan, whose varied and sensual photographs of her taken over more than 50 years can be said to rank with Alfred Stieglitz’s of Georgia O’Keeffe, died on Tuesday in a hospice in Atlanta. She was 95.

The cause was cancer, said her daughter, Barbara Callahan Hollinger.

With her raven hair and ripe figure, Eleanor Callahan is one of the most recognizable models in the history of 20th-century photography, an inseparable part of both the life and work of one of its most renowned artists. Clothed and standing among trees in a public park, or nude and turned to the wall while clutching a radiator in an empty room, she served as a formal element within Mr. Callahan’s austere compositions as well as a symbol of warm, breathing womanhood. From 1941 to his death in 1999, she allowed herself to be photographed by him, without complaint, hundreds of times.

Eleanor Annetta Knapp was born on June 13, 1916, to an electrician and a homemaker in Royal Oak, Mich. The middle of three daughters and the only one not to go to college, she supported herself (and later her family) with her shorthand and typing.

She met Harry Callahan on a blind date in 1933 when both worked for Chrysler in Detroit. She was a 17-year-old secretary, and he was a 21-year-old clerk in the parts department. They married three years later after he dropped out of college, mainly because he had missed being with her. Although he began to photograph earnestly in 1938, he often credited a 1941 lecture he attended by Ansel Adams with having “freed” him to pursue a career as an artist.

With no money between them to speak of, it was economical for the frugal Mr. Callahan to feature his wife in his pictures.

“I never initiated any of the poses myself,” she said in a 2006 interview with the curator Julian Cox. “Everything, photographically, was purely from Harry.” She confessed to being “a little uncomfortable about frontal nudity,” but noted that “there was not too much of that.”

In 1950, Barbara, their only child, was born, and soon mother and child were appearing together in pictures that are themselves signal images of familial tenderness.

The Callahans were married for 63 years. “And they were, I’d say, all nice ones,” Mrs. Callahan said. “We never had any real fights.”

The trust and interdependence between them has been chronicled in several exhibitions, most recently in “Harry Callahan: Eleanor,” which opened in 2007 at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta; and also throughout “Harry Callahan at 100,” the retrospective now at the National Gallery in Washington.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Callahan is survived by two grandchildren.

As the family moved from Detroit to Chicago to Providence, R.I., Mrs. Callahan managed her husband’s business affairs, leaving him all the time he wanted to be an artist. For most of their early life she earned more money as an office assistant than he did as a teacher. But even after the 1970s, when he became a lionized figure and had offers from many other models, he seldom photographed anyone but her.

“He just liked to take the pictures of me,” she told an interviewer in 2008. “In every pose. Rain or shine. And whatever I was doing. If I was doing the dishes or if I was half asleep. And he knew that I never, never said no. I was always there for him. Because I knew that Harry would only do the right thing.”

Photography Now...

Callahan, Harry
American, 1912-99

Born in Detroit, Callahan studied at Michigan State University before going to work for the Chrysler Motor Parts Corporation. In 1936, he married Eleanor Knapp, who later became the subject of some of his most important images. Callahan bought his first camera in 1938, and credits Ansel Adams' visit to the Detroit Photo Guild in 1941 as pivotal in his decision to become a photographer. Although he had almost no formal artistic training he received encouragement early in his career from such luminaries as Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. At the invitation of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Callahan joined the staff of the Institute of Design in Chicago (later known as the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology) in 1946. In 1948 his work was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Self-taught in photography, Harry Callahan enjoys [Callahan died in 1999] a long and influential career which began in 1938. After studying engineering at Michigan State University he worked first for the Chrysler Corporation and then at the General Motors Photographic Laboratories in Detroit. Callahan's early photographic work was influenced by Ansel Adams, whom Callahan heard lecture, and by the life of Alfred Stieglitz. In 1946 he met Moholy-Nagy and joined the faculty of Chicago's Institute of Design, becoming chairman of the photography department in 1949. He left Chicago in 1961 to become chairman of the photography department at the Rhode Island School of Design, serving in that capacity until 1973 and continuing to teach there until 1977.

Harry Callahan's work is an exception, for it draws us ever more insistently inward toward the center of Callahan's private sensibility. This sensibility is expressed in his perception of subject matter that is remarkably personal and restricted in its range. For thirty years Callahan has photographed his wife and child, the streets of the cities in which he has lived, and details of the pastoral landscapes into which he has periodically escaped - materials so close at hand, so universally and obviously accessible, that one might have supposed that a dedicated photographer could exhaust their potential in a fraction of that time. Yet Callahan has repeatedly made these simple experiences new again by virtue of the precision of his feeling.

The point is not merely that Callahan has responded faithfully as a photographer to the quality of his own life, or merely, even, that photography has been his method of focusing the meaning of that life. The point is that for Harry Callahan photography has been a way of living - his way of meeting and making peace with the day.

Callahan's work is personally oriented; many of his pictures artistically interpret his family relationships, especially portraits of his wife, Eleanor, and daughter, Barbara. His early work experimented with representational abstraction; recent work in color includes additional subject matter, both city and landscapes as well as multiple exposures.

Harry Callahan [Wikipedia]

A question on a short film..."Girl and a Bicycle"

Girl on a Bicycle

Romero Britto


I post this film to ask a much does a music score affect the viewing of the film i.e., the viewers experience and interpretation. Could this film, for example, stand well without a music bed?

Girl and a Bicycle


Jon Behrens and Rasha Refaie


Jon Behrens wrote...

"This film was made in collaboration with fellow filmmaker and friend Rasha Refaie.The film was inspired by a dream that Rasha had about a girl, a bicycle and a silver colored egg. The viewer sees Rasha peddling all over Seattle through city streets, parks, all over and ultimately ending up a graveyard were she begins to experience the nosebleed of her life. This film was going to be the first in a series of films based on Rasha's dreams; however, shortly after this film was completed Rasha moved to New York City and this was the only film that was made. Rubato composed the films sound track."

Misunderstood Epicurus

“When we say that pleasure is the end and aim, we do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of sensuality, as we are understood to do by some through ignorance, prejudice or willful misrepresentation. By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul. It is not an unbroken succession of drinking bouts and of revelry, not sexual lust, not the enjoyment of the delicacies of a luxurious table, which produce a pleasant life…. We cannot live pleasantly without living wisely, honorably, and justly, nor live wisely, honorably, and justly without living pleasantly.”

"How Are We Getting Epicurious?"

The Meanings That Come From a Greek Philosopher



February 27th, 2012


Last week’s column ended with a question: Why, of all the philosophers of classical antiquity, was it Epicurus whose name, in the form of apikoros, became a rabbinic byword for a religious skeptic or heretic?

To this we might add a second question. Epicurus also lent his name to many European languages: English, for example, in which “epicure”” once commonly meant, according to my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, “a luxurious sensualist, especially in matters of food and drink,” and today has the sense of “one who displays fastidiousness in his tastes or enjoyments; a connoisseur.” Why did the same Greek thinker inspire two such different eponyms?

Epicurus himself, while dismissive of the claims of all religions, was no “luxurious sensualist.” Known for the simplicity of his life, he was born on the Greek island of Samos in 341 BCE, studied philosophy in Athens with a disciple of Plato’s and eventually founded a school of his own there, over which he presided until his death, in 270. Breaking with the Idealism of Plato, his thought, influenced by the Atomism of Democritus, was thoroughly materialistic in its description of the universe and — though its starting point was quite different — similar in many of its conclusions to that of the Stoics. The physical world, he held, was all there was and was composed of differently shaped atoms whose various combinations formed all matter; there were no divine laws or divine rewards or punishments for human actions, and hence no moral codes that human beings were obliged to obey. The only rational goal was to live life as pleasurably as possible.

And yet, Epicurus wrote: “When we say that pleasure is the end and aim, we do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of sensuality, as we are understood to do by some through ignorance, prejudice or willful misrepresentation. By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul. It is not an unbroken succession of drinking bouts and of revelry, not sexual lust, not the enjoyment of the delicacies of a luxurious table, which produce a pleasant life…. We cannot live pleasantly without living wisely, honorably, and justly, nor live wisely, honorably, and justly without living pleasantly.”

The more virtuous the life, in other words, the less vulnerable to physical suffering and mental agitation it is. The Stoics, who believed in a divine principle that informed the universe, would not have disagreed with this — nor would have the Neoplatonists, the third of the three major Greek philosophical schools in the early centuries of the Common Era, when rabbinic Judaism took form. The rabbis of the Mishnaic period, which ended about 250 C.E., were aware of the differences between the three, and while they had no particular interest in any of them, they were put off most by the atheism of the Epicureans. Hence, we find it written in the Mishnaic tractate of Sanhedrin, “All Israel has a share in the world to come… except for he who denies the scriptural basis of the resurrection, he who says the Torah is not God-given, and the Apikoros [the follower of Epicurus].”

Those disqualified, it should be noted, are barred purely for their beliefs. Although a Jew, according to Sanhedrin, could study Greek philosophy and still be eligible for Paradise, Epicureanism put him beyond the bounds, since its creed clashed head-on with Judaism in a way that Stoicism or Neoplatonism did not. The apikoros is he who, even if he observes all its ritual commandments, denies Judaism’s most basic articles of faith — and long after the memory of Epicurus disappeared from Jewish life, this is what an apikoros continued to be.

Early Christianity, on the other hand, focused more on the moral implications of Epicurus’s philosophy. “Although [Epicurus] does not say so in so many words,” the early fourth-century Christian theologian Lactantius wrote, “he teaches in fact [that] we should live in the indulgence of pleasures in every possible way, for in a short time we shall not exist at all. Therefore, let us suffer no day, no moment of time, to pass away from us without pleasure….”

This was precisely the “willful misrepresentation” of his thought that Epicurus had protested against, but it was the popular interpretation of it that, in Christian Europe, stuck to it. Thus, in Shakespeare’s early 17th-century “King Lear,” Goneril says to Lear, accusing him of running a debauched court: “Epicurism and lust / Make it more like a tavern or a brothel / Than a grac’d palace.” Yet “Epicurism” (the word also occurs as “Epicurinism” and “Epicury,” with the adjectives “Epicurean,” “Epicurical,” “Epicureous,” “Epicurish” and “Epicurist”) in the sense of “cultivated taste” followed close behind. Already in 1752 we find Samuel Johnson writing about an acquaintance, “He is venerated by the professors of epicurism as the only man who understands the niceties of cookery.”

Today — perhaps because overeating is out of fashion and gourmet cooking is in (hence the popular website epicurious) — it is the latter meaning that has prevailed. An epicure is no longer a glutton. He is not an apikoros, either. Epicurus might have taken some comfort in that.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Three Roman Polanski shorts

Shortly before Knife in the Water, Roman Polanski did three short films.

Rozbijemy Zabawe



...a short film written and directed by Roman Polanski in 1957. According to Roman Polanski's autobiography, the film was a stunt which nearly got him thrown out of Lodz film school; Polanski had organized a groups of "Thugs" to go to a school dance and begin disrupting it. As the band played "When the Saints Go Marching In," some students were actually beaten up. The ironic alternate title is "Break Up the Dance".

The Fat and the Lean

Le Gros et le Maigre



A small and thin barefoot slave (played by Polanski) plays a flute and beats a drum to entertain his large master who rocks in a rocking chair in front of his mansion. The slave jumps and leaps like a madman, wipes his master's brow, feeds him, washes his feet, shades him from the sun with an umbrella and holds a urinal for him.

IMDb reviewer, debblyst, wrote...

Influenced by Beckett, Kafka and Buster Keaton, this delightful absurdist short comedy already showcases Polanski's trademark black humor, acid sarcasm, great sense of rhythm (helped by Krzysztof Komeda's music) and very personal visual style. "Le Gros..." was obviously meant as a virulent attack on Stalinist regimes (including, of course, the Polish Communist Party) and their tactics of usurpation and exploitation for enduring in power. In this short made in France (his first work outside Poland), Polanski profits from his newfound freedom of expression to make sarcastic criticisms about the Stalinist modus operandi, and avows his fascination with Western capitalism (i.e. the sight of Paris). Coherently, after the international success of his first feature "Knife in Water" the following year, Polanski left Poland for good and conquered Europe and America, not returning to film in his native country until 40 years later with his Cannes+Oscar winner "The Pianist".

Two Men and a Wardrobe

Dwaj Ludzie z Szafa



The film features two men, played by Jakub Goldberg and Henryk Kluba, who emerge from the sea carrying a large wardrobe, which they proceed to carry into a town. Carrying the wardrobe, the two encounter a series of hostile events, including being attacked by a group of youths (one of whom is played by Polanski himself). Finally, they arrive back at a beach and then disappear in the sea.

joNNi, an IMDb reviewer, wrote...

One of his earliest films, at 25 years old, Polanski is still exploring the best way to shock the audience, engross the audience, AND serve them a feast of the unconventional. Perceptive, witty and occasionally downright nasty (see the theatrical 'murder' in the river as the two heroes blithely carry the wardrobe along the bank), Polanski's trademark weirdness is still embryonic but ultimately satisfies. An oddity, yes, and a must see for anyone who cherishes dreams of film school.

Polanski...the crime...the judicial system?

Deceased--Erland Josephson

Erland Josephson
June 15th, 1923 to February 25th, 2012

"Erland Josephson obituary"

Swedish actor known for his roles in Ingmar Bergman's films and television dramas


Ronald Bergan

February 26th, 2012

Although the actors who comprised Ingmar Bergman's repertory company all went on to make their own prestigious careers, they will for ever be associated with the great Swedish film and stage director. Erland Josephson, who has died aged 88 after suffering from Parkinson's disease, was artistically linked with Bergman even more than Max Von Sydow, Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Thulin. Josephson appeared in more than a dozen of Bergman's films, and played a Bergman surrogate in Ullmann's Faithless (2000).

In middle and old age, he was chosen by directors such as Andrei Tarkovsky and Theo Angelopoulos for the qualities he revealed in the Bergman films – a certain self-centred introspection and a deep melancholy, etched on his lined and grizzled features. Because he became a leading film actor in his 50s, he seems never to have been young.

His work with Bergman dated back to the 1940s, when they were at the Municipal theatre, Helsingborg. They then worked together at Gothenburg Municipal theatre and the Royal Dramatic theatre, Stockholm, where he took over from Bergman as artistic director in 1966.

Josephson was born in Stockholm into a cultured family (his father owned a bookshop). He studied at the university there before taking up acting. "I am of the international upper class, the Swedish petit bourgeoisie of Jewish extraction with poor language skills, a conveyor of a few expressions and faces, with some intonation that combines ancient human experience with timely coquetry," he once said.

He made his screen debut in Bergman's second film as director, It Rains on Our Love (1946). His first substantial role for Bergman was one of the three husbands waiting in a maternity ward in So Close to Life (1958). In The Magician (aka The Face, 1958), he looks surprisingly youthful as a weak-willed, cuckolded consul who humiliates and interrogates a troupe of performers.

It was 10 years before he returned to making films. He played a sinister baron in Hour of the Wolf (1968) and an unhappily married man in The Passion of Anna (1969), playing second male lead (to Von Sydow) in both. This would change in 1973 with Scenes from a Marriage, a six-part TV series edited down to 168 minutes for cinematic release. The film, an acting tour de force played largely in close-up, focuses on the trauma of a beleaguered marriage, as the wife (Ullmann) tries to cope with the infidelity of her husband (Josephson) with a younger woman (Bibi Andersson). He co-starred with Ullmann again in Face to Face (1976), as a sympathetic doctor who rescues her from a nervous breakdown.

Meanwhile, he began appearing, less happily, in films by other directors. He was a febrile Nietzsche in Liliana Cavani's preposterous Beyond Good and Evil (1977); an opera-loving gay man in To Forget Venice (1979); a chauvinist in Montenegro (1981); and a former ambassador hovering in bars in The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988).

There were better roles, especially in Tarkovsky's last films, Nostalgia (1983) and The Sacrifice (1986), proving that few actors could more convincingly express modern angst than Josephson. In the former, he believes that the end of the world is nigh (although the end of the film never seems near). In the latter, at the start of a nuclear war, he is a writer who makes a pact with God that he will renounce his family and possessions if the world is allowed to return to normal.

In contrast, he demonstrated great warmth in Fanny and Alexander (1982), one of Bergman's most optimistic films, and was lively and lovable in Angelopoulos's Ulysses' Gaze (1995). "In Bergman's world I represented a sort of intellectual, sceptical, ironic person, rather cold and frustrated," he said. "When I went abroad and made films in Italy and other places, I was used in different ways. I was often cast as crazy people … I think perhaps that changed how Ingmar saw me. Suddenly I was on the more magical side of his world, playing the people with fantasies, variety, the artists."

Josephson starred in Bergman's television dramas as the director's alter ego, Vogler. Bergman directed him on stage in A Doll's House (1989), The Bacchae (1996), The Ghost Sonata (2000) and Mary Stuart (2000). In 1988, he gave a vital, engaged performance in English as Gaev in Peter Brook's production of The Cherry Orchard in New York.

It was inevitable and fitting that Josephson should have appeared in Bergman's last work, Saraband (2003), which follows the couple from Scenes from a Marriage long after their divorce. In a prologue, 10 scenes and an epilogue, featuring four speaking characters, Bergman's rapport with Josephson is at its height.

As well as teaching drama and chairing many theatrical institutions (he was active in Swedish Equity), Josephson wrote novels, stories, plays, scripts and poems. He was married to the actors Kristina Adolphson and Barbro Larsson, and is survived by his five children and his wife, the dramaturge Ulla Åberg.

"Erland Josephson dies at 88; Swedish actor, Bergman collaborator"

Erland Josephson, the Swedish actor who collaborated with his friend Ingmar Bergman on such films as 'Scenes From a Marriage' and 'Cries and Whispers,' dies at 88.

February 27th, 2012

Los Angeles Times

Swedish actor Erland Josephson, one of fabled director Ingmar Bergman's closest friends and collaborators, known for his portrayals of aloof intellectuals and often Bergman's alter ego in such celebrated films as "Scenes From a Marriage" and "Cries and Whispers," died at a Stockholm hospital Saturday. He was 88.

His death from Parkinson's disease was announced by a spokeswoman for Sweden's Royal Dramatic Theater, which the actor headed from 1966 to 1975.

Josephson was one of Bergman's favorite actors and longest-running collaborator, appearing in more than a dozen Bergman movies, including the director's first film in 1946 ("It Rains on Our Love") and his last, in 2003 ("Saraband").

In "Faithless," a 2000 movie written by Bergman and directed by his former lover and leading lady Liv Ullmann, Josephson's character — an aging director visited by the spirit of an actress he once loved — is even named Bergman.

"To make movies with Ingmar has been one of life's great pleasures," the actor, who won several Swedish film prizes, told The Times in 1985.

Josephson was born in Stockholm on June 15, 1923, into a family of artists and intellectuals who were descended from Sweden's first Jewish settlers. His father owned a famous bookstore that was one of Stockholm's intellectual hubs.

Interested in acting as a youth, Josephson was just 16 when he participated in the play "The Merchant of Venice," directed by Bergman. He had no formal acting education but continued to appear in several Bergman stage plays in the 1940s and 50s, and received a minor part in "It Rains on Our Love."

For the first two decades of his career, he considered himself a stage actor even though he had appeared in a half a dozen Bergman films during that time. Among the films he made with the director during that time were "The Magician" (1958), "Hour of the Wolf" (1968) and "The Passion of Anna" (1969).

His passion for film acting began with "Cries and Whispers," the 1972 film that proved a commercial breakthrough for both Bergman and Josephson.

Made as a six-part television movie in Sweden, it starred Ullmann as a dying woman; Josephson was a doctor.

"I was not interested in film acting until 'Cries and Whispers,' when I suddenly got something from it I had not gotten before," Josephson told the New York Times in 1988. "And when Bergman saw Liv Ullmann and I work together in that, he saw that we gave something to each other, and he started to write 'Scenes from a Marriage' because of it."

In "Scenes," Bergman's 1973 masterpiece chronicling the dissolution of a marriage, Josephson plays the unfaithful scientist-husband of Ullmann, a lawyer. It turned Josephson into an international star. His portrayal of Johan won high praise from critics, including The Times' Charles Champlin, who said Josephson offered "a rending study of a man in painful change."

After that, he received offers to appear in many international film productions. He played Friedrich Nietzsche in Italian director Liliana Cavani's 1977 "Beyond Good and Evil." He appeared in Philip Kaufman's "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (1988) and made memorable performances in Andrey Tarkovskiy's "Nostalghia" (1983) and "The Sacrifice" (1986).

Among his later films for Bergman was "Fanny and Alexander" (1982), a family saga in which Josephson, in a departure from his previous roles as philanderers and other unpleasant types, rescues two children from an abusive bishop. In "Saraband," a sequel to "Scenes from a Marriage," he and Ullmann reprise their roles as the feuding couple years after divorcing.

He made his American stage debut in 1988 in director Peter Brooks' New York production of "The Cherry Orchard," for which he received the Off-Broadway Theater Award for best performance for his role as Gaev.

Also known in Sweden as a prolific writer, Josephson wrote novels, poetry and more than 30 scripts for stage, radio and television. He succeeded Bergman as artistic director the Royal Dramatic Theatre in 1966 and was director of the Swedish Film Institute in the 1990s.

Married and divorced several times, Josephson is survived by his wife, Ulla Aberg, and five children.

"Erland Josephson, Actor With Bergman, Dies at 88"


Dennis Lim

February 27th, 2012

The New York Times

Erland Josephson, a Swedish actor who worked frequently with Ingmar Bergman on stage and screen, most notably as the star of the acclaimed 1973 film “Scenes From a Marriage,” died on Saturday in Stockholm. He was 88.

His death was announced by a spokeswoman for Sweden’s Royal Dramatic Theater, where Mr. Josephson had been director from 1966 to 1975. The spokeswoman said he had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Josephson combined physical stature and emotional depth in his best-known roles. Among the most prominent members of Bergman’s repertory company, alongside Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann — his co-star in “Scenes From a Marriage” and many other films — he was also the director’s longest-running collaborator. He succeeded Mr. von Sydow as Bergman’s male lead of choice in the 1970s, but the two men’s partnership and friendship had begun long before that, in the 1930s, when they were both theater-besotted young men, and continued until Bergman’s final film, “Saraband,” in 2003.

Mr. Josephson was born on June 15, 1923, in Stockholm, into a family with a strong cultural tradition. His ancestors and relatives included a composer, a painter and a theater director who had worked with August Strindberg, and his father owned a bookstore, where the teenage Ingmar Bergman got his first break when a sales clerk invited him to direct an amateur theater troupe.

Mr. Josephson is survived by his wife, Ulla Aberg, and five children.

His stage and screen career is inextricably entwined with Bergman’s. In the 1940s Bergman directed Mr. Josephson in municipal stage productions in Helsingborg and Gothenburg; his first screen appearance was in Bergman’s second film, “It Rains on Our Love” (1946). He was a co-writer of two screenplays with Bergman in the 1960s, and succeeded Bergman as the director of the Royal Dramatic Theater in 1966.

After secondary roles in films like “The Magician” (1958) and “Hour of the Wolf” (1968), Mr. Josephson, already about 50, graduated to leading man in “Scenes From a Marriage,” Bergman’s harrowing study of a marital battleground. With his capacity for conveying both inner turmoil and a searching intelligence, he often played frustrated intellectuals and men of reason in Bergman films: a prickly scientist in “Scenes”; a psychiatrist coping with his wife’s mental illness in “Face to Face” (1976, again with Ms. Ullmann); and a controlling theater director in “After the Rehearsal” (1984).

Unlike Mr. von Sydow, Mr. Josephson never attempted a Hollywood career. But he became a familiar face in art films with a European twist, which often called for him to serve as a bearded, grizzled emblem of Bergmanesque gravitas. He played Friedrich Nietzsche in Liliana Cavani’s “Beyond Good and Evil” (1977) and also appeared in Dusan Makavejev’s “Montenegro” (1981), Philip Kaufman’s “Unbearable Lightness of Being” (1988), Peter Greenaway’s “Prospero’s Books” (1991) and Theo Angelopoulos’s “Ulysses’ Gaze” (1996).

Apart from Bergman, the director with whom Mr. Josephson had the most fruitful collaboration was the Soviet filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. Mr. Josephson starred in Mr. Tarkovsky’s last two films, “Nostalgia” (1983) and “The Sacrifice” (1986). In “The Sacrifice,” he delivered a performance distinguished by several stark, anguished monologues as an atheist professor who strikes a panicked deal with God to ensure the survival of the human race as a nuclear war breaks out.

Mr. Josephson also wrote several plays, novels and memoirs and directed the film “Marmalade Revolution” (1980). As a fellow writer and director, and a lifelong friend, he often spoke perceptively about Bergman’s work. “A man obsessed with failure has succeeded better than others in portraying it,” Mr. Josephson once wrote. “This could be referred to as the Bergman vaccination method.”Link
If anything, his association with Bergman grew closer over time. He appeared in Bergman’s final theatrical productions, including “The Ghost Sonata” and “Mary Stuart,” and in old age seemed to embrace the role of alter ego even more fully. In “Saraband,” Mr. Josephson and Ms. Ullmann reprised their roles from “Scenes From a Marriage.” And in “Faithless” (2000), directed by Ms. Ullmann from a Bergman script, Mr. Josephson played a writer named Bergman.

Erland Josephson [Wikipedia]

Deceased--Gunnar Fischer

Ingmar Bergman and the "three o'clock" movie

Film maker on film maker...Martin Scorsese on Ingmar Bergman

A Bergman satirical short..."De Düva"

The end comes for all, but there are questions

"Det sjunde inseglet"--"Spirit In The Sky"