Category Archives: Media

Documenting the Untamed West: The Genius of Edward Curtis

selfportrait

It’s rare when one can regard a photograph and instantly know its creator. It’s even rarer to regard a photograph that sends chills up your spine as it transports you to the scene and time in which it was taken.

The work of Edward Curtis falls into both categories.

The son of a Civil War vet, Curtis was born February 16, 1868 near Whitewater, Wisconsin. He began shooting with a homemade camera, before his family moved to Seattle in 1887 where Curtis started his career. While in Seattle, he photographed the daughter of Chief Sealth, Princess Angeline, and various scenes of the developing Western landscape. In 1906, J.P Morgan commissioned Curtis to shoot what would become the highwater mark of his career, a series on the North American Indian.

I won’t belabor the points of his life much more, as you can just check out his wikipedia entry here, (and I highly recommend doing so, as he led a fascinating life), but the photos below are a few of my favorites from his archive at the Library of Congress, which consists of of more than 2,400 silver-gelatin, first generation photographic prints made from Curtis’s original glass negatives.

Teddy Roosevelt said of Curtis, “In Mr. Curtis we have both an artist and a trained observer, whose work has far more than mere accuracy, because it is truthful. …because of his extraordinary success in making and using his opportunities, has been able to do what no other man ever has done; what, as far as we can see, no other man could do.”

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Plate 21

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Plate 251

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Plate 38

Plate 143

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Filed under Apparel, Art, Media, Photography, Seattle

BeBop Meets Hollywood: The Connection (1962)

This is a striking scene from some of the strangest movies I’ve ever seen. It’s gratuitous as hell, but keenly gratuitous, as opposed to some moralistic portrayal of the junkie jazz scene in the 50’s.

Jackie McLean (on sax) Freddie Redd (keys) were cast, and apparently Dexter Gordon played piano in the stage version of The Connection. Here’s the original review from the NYT.

Bonus Dex footage:

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Filed under Media, Music

T-Minus Two Days

EDIT: Live Blogging has been canceled due to technical limitations. Sincere Apologies. Expect measures to be taken to fix this in the future…

August 16th looms like the flickering, unattainable green light on the bay of West Egg.

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Season 3, Episode 1:

Created and written by Matthew Weiner; directed by Phil Abraham; Mr. Weiner and Scott Hornbacher, executive producers; Lisa Albert, supervising producer; Dahvi Waller, co-producer; Dwayne Shattuck and Blake McCormick, producers. Produced by Lionsgate.

WITH: Jon Hamm (Donald Draper), January Jones (Betty Draper), Vincent Kartheiser (Peter Campbell), Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson), Christina Hendricks (Joan Holloway), John Slattery (Roger Sterling), Jared Harris (Lane Pryce), Ryan Cartwright (John Hooker), Bryan Batt (Salvatore Romano), Michael Gladis (Paul Kinsey), Ryan Cutrona (Gene Driscoll), Aaron Staton (Ken Cosgrove), Rich Sommer (Harry Crane) and Robert Morse (Bertram Cooper).

Remember, LIVE BLOGGING of the premiere will happen right here, August 16th, starting 10 pm PST.

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Filed under Advertising, Literature, Media, Quotes

The Mugshot: Cruel and Unusual Style

The mugshot (and especially the celebrity mugshot) has become such a canonized aspect of the American consciousness that, at least to me, it transcends both originality and cliche. What I mean by that is: Mugshots are instantly recognizable and in a sense, unoriginal – however, they remain stylized in such a way that the viewer’s instant recognition classicizes the mugshot aesthetic. (Really, the same goes for anything “classic,” and I use that term tightly, as it seems to have been applied pretty loosely to things in the past). Anyway, I feel like featuring my favorite mugshots is an easy road to take, but a necessary one nonetheless.

So, once one acknowledges these preconceptions, I think mugshots can be a fascinating window into an individual’s naked personality. They reveal people at their most vulnerable – and it’s interesting to interpret how composed/distraught/stylish/smug/embarrassed/empowered/coy a person truly is at a given moment, (that is, if you subscribe to the theory of mugshots as a vehicle of personality deconstruction). To that end, here is a sampling of my favorite mugshots (celebrity, stylish and unknown, hat-adorned, and full body – none of which are mutually exclusive) that I’ve culled from the internet over the past few weeks.

Celebrity:

emmagoldmanmugshotEmma Goldman

PD*29499642Jerry Rosenberg

BE047388Malcolm X

McQueenSteveSteve McQueen

Unknowns:

Picture 1

Picture 12

Picture 13

Picture 4

Picture 7

Picture 2

Hats:

Picture 8

Picture 14

Picture 5

Picture 9

Picture 6

Full Body:

Picture 2

Picture 1

Also, check out some of the new campaign photos for Levi’s, which feature some penetentary-themed shots (though not shot very well, in my opinion). Via DR&DR.

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Filed under Advertising, Apparel, Literature, Media, Photography

Mingus: Stickin’ It To The Man

With Lion's Head Scroll on French Bass

With lion's head scroll french bass

This is some great footage from Thomas Reichman’s 1961 documentary Mingus: Charlie Mingus 1968. Watch as the NYC Department of Sanitation trucks away his possessions, including one of his upright basses, and as the NYPD subsequently arrests him for possession of hypodermic needles. It’s a sad state of affairs, but worth watching, especially given the current debate raging over law enforcement and racial profiling. FTP.

A few choice quotes from Charlie:

“Blood is not my bag. Broads is my bag.”

“I think America is beautiful.”

“I hope the Communists blow you people up.”

Dig.

Bonus footage: Punk Rock Mingus.

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Filed under Media, Music, Quotes

Book Covers by ‘Jason’

The enigmatic Norwegian graphic novelist ‘Jason’ creates some amazing jacket art, my favorite of which is his design for the latest edition of The Dharma Bums, out as a Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition (below). I haven’t read any of his graphic novels, but I just ordered The Left Bank Gang, which centers on F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce in the bohemia of 1920’s Paris.

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Jason’s Bio.

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Filed under Expatriates, Literature, Media

The Great Debate: Tart Arnels vs. Moscot Lemtoshes

In honor of my recent eBay purchase, I have to write a few words on the debate (though, there isn’t really a debate) between Tart Arnels and Moscot Lemtoshes – the oft confused styles.

First, here is a view of each:

Tart Arnel.

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Moscot Lemtosh.

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At a glance, they appear almost identical. But there are a few key differences that need to be pointed out. Moscot frames have mock trims on the front and sides that are simply glued on, and serve no actual purpose. Tart Arnels use rivets that appear on the front and sides that secure the hinge plates. Modern heat sunken hinges, like those employed by Moscot, have been around since mid sixties and are now used on almost all mass produced frames. However, there are still a few frame makers who carry on using rivet hinges and original trims, such as Opera Opera. Still, nothing compares to an original pair of vintage Tart Arnels. The Amber frames (below) go for about 500 bills on eBay.

Verdict: Tart Arnel.

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