PHOTOGRAPHY OF ROBERT ALTMAN | PAPA WAS A ROLLING STONE

-

After attending Hunter College in NYC, Robert Altman apprenticed under none other than Ansel Adams. He then went on to serve as Chief Staff Photographer for Rolling Stone magazine from 1969-1971. Many of Altman’s images became iconic for the brilliant and passionate way he captured those that shaped music history in particular, and the ’60s & ’70s culture at large.

The Sixties: Photographs by Robert Altman is a must own. Oh, and he’s not to be confused with Robert Altman the film director – both epic in their own right.

___________________________________________________________________________

-

Holy Man Jam festival, Boulder, Colorado, August 1970 — Image by © Robert Altman. “I love this photograph. You’ve got the perfection of a very pretty young lady, hands raised, holding a maraca. Right between her is this jubilant face… Another second or two, and her expression may have changed, an arm might have moved in front of an eye, and it’s a whole different photograph. Sometimes photography is alchemy, pure magic. Sometimes it just all comes together.” –Robert Altman

-

-

January, 1970 — Author Ken Kesey at home in Springfield, OR — Image by © Robert Altman. Kesey, author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and a master mind of The Sixties was an original and much loved figure, and the focus of Tom Wolfe’s best seller “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.” Sadly Rolling Stone ran this photo as a double page spread when Ken passed the acid test and also passed onto the next great adventure. via

-

-

The Gold Rush Festival, October 4, 1969 – Tina Turner, “The Fan” — Image by © Robert Altman

-

Continue reading

EAST MEETS WEST | THE INCREDIBLE ARTWORK OF SOLONGO MELLECKER

-

Incredible is the only word I can muster when looking at these amazing works by Solongo Mellecker that dreamily blend traditional Eastern techniques through a modern Westernized looking glass.

Un-effing-real.  Color this blogging fool blown away. Thank you Peteski for turning me on to these. What rock have I been living under… Prints start at just 40 bucks, people.  Go here now.

___________________________________________________________________________

-

The Fishing Hole – Solongo Mellecker

-

-

Baba Yaga the Goddess of Death — Solongo Mellecker

-

-

Blue Yama — Solongo Mellecker

-

Continue reading

20TH CENTURY AVANT-GARDE ICON | TSY STYLE HALL OF FAME JEAN COCTEAU

-

“An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.”

–Jean Cocteau

-

Jean Cocteau.  Quite possibly the most important art icon of the 20th century, who could seemingly do it all, and with great style– painter, poet, playwright, novelist, actor, film-maker, the list goes on and on. But he was first and foremost a poet at heart– and a truly incredible one at that.

__________________________________________________________________________

-

Stunning photo of Jean Cocteau by Irving Penn.  Damn, the man had style.  Borrowing a page out of The Duke of Windsor’s book– perfectly pairing classic menswear patterns with elegance and ease. “Penn made this portrait of Jean Cocteau during a 1948 trip to Paris for Vogue.  Each thread of Cocteau’s tie, vest, and suit is etched in light and shadow; the patterns and the texture pop out in vivid, tactile detail.  The drape of his coat over an extended arm adds drama and balance to the composition. Cocteau is dressed in the sartorial attire of a dandy, which, by all accounts, he was.  There is an air of flamboyance about him, until you look at his face.  His dead-serious expression registers the fierce intelligence of a keen observer, as if he is taking our measure while deigning to allow us to take his.” –Philip Gefter via

-

-

August 1955, France– Picasso with Jean Cocteau at a Bullfight –Image by © Vittoriano Rastelli/Corbis Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau knew one another for nearly fifty years. They met in 1915 following Picasso’s departure from martre, where Cocteau’s friend, the poet Max Jacob, had shared an atelier with the painter– one using the only bed by day, and other by night. Picasso made an immediate and lasting impression on Cocteau, who considered him as one of his three masters. via

-

-

Jean Cocteau sketching model Elizabeth Gibbons in a Chanel dress in his hotel bedroom (Castille in the Rue Cambon), surrounded by posters of his latest theatrical productions, photos of friends, medicine bottles, books, stage sets and pencils, 1937.  –photo by Roger Schall via

-

Continue reading

DAY 8 | THE WORLD THROUGH THE EXCELLENT EYES OF ALFRED DUNHILL

-

Renowned artist Chris Dent was commissioned to create a jaw-dropping Dunhill-centric cityscape.

-

In this world of endless blogs, online magazines, and internet noise, comes a refreshing and fascinating brand experience from an iconic English label whose heritage and importance goes largely unnoticed and under-appreciated here in the US– Alfred Dunhill.

DAY 8 is the deliciously Dunhill view of the world around us.  I appreciate their seamless blend of narrated films and curated pictorals with such varying subjects as artist Chris Dent’s Dunhill cityscape, the precision and passion behind their coveted Chassis leather collection, and a tribute to Chris Milk’s global collective art masterpiece, which no surprise I love– The Johnny Cash Project.

Just days old, DAY 8 already delivers the perfect blend of creativity, elegance, travel, culture & intelligence that makes the short list of daily reads.  More so, it reinforces that in the world of luxury, not all brands are created equal.  Those who honor their heritage and allure of the past, and tell it through relevant and innovative design and dialogue, like Dunhill, are rare.  Color me impressed.

-

The Johnny Cash Project is a global collective art project that you (yes, you)  can participate in.

-

Continue reading

GIVE THANKS TO THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE US AND GAVE UP MUCH

This Thanksgiving holiday, give thanks for all the blessings bestowed upon us one and all. And please also take time for a special remembrance of the true Americans. The Native Americans who were massacred in this very country, this sacred soil, that we call the home of the brave, and land of the free. Ironic, because there’s not a better description of these very people that we conquered, caged, and crippled. Labeled as Godless, savage, animals by a group that was oddly enough fleeing their own persecution, oppression, and judgement. These beautiful people, here before us, whose land was brutally stolen. Their beliefs, culture, and art were almost completely erased, not for a lack of trying, but by the grace of God. And in the name of, what? A shameful chapter in American history, any way you look at it. Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged. Now go and enjoy your turkey.

The Apache.  Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, taken c. 1907-1930. Edward S. Curtis, a professional photographer in Seattle, devoted his life to documenting what was perceived to be a vanishing race. His monumental publication “The North American Indian” presented to the public an extensive ethnographical study of numerous tribes, and his photographs remain memorable icons of the American Indian. The Smithsonian Libraries holds a complete set of this work, which includes photogravures on tissue, donated by Mrs. Edward H. Harriman, whose husband had conducted an expedition to Alaska with Curtis in 1899.  via

-

Kotsuis and Hohhuq – Nakoaktok.  Photograph by Edward S. Curtis, taken c. 1907-1930.

Continue reading

EPIC BIKER ART LEGEND | LONG LIVE EASYRIDERS’ HAROLD R. ROBINSON, JR.

-

-

Easyriders was a great biker mag– back in the day. In fact, it was the official reading resource of our household growing up.  Yeah, I read the articles, snuck peeks at pics of ol’ ladies (pre-silicone days, and looking like their upper half had been subjected to major G4-force wind, if you catch my drift…), but mostly I drooled over the mesmerizing artwork of legendary illustrators Dave Mann and Hal Robinson. Hal will always be remembered  for his “Red Rider” and the epic “Miraculous Mutha” cartoons.  What an amazing artist who influenced a generation of illustrators that followed.  Sadly he passed on to the other side back in ’84, but his art will live forever.

-

-

Continue reading

GOT A LUST FOR LIFE | KIRK DOUGLAS THE ROLE THAT ALMOST CRACKED HIM

*

Lust for Life was the film that should have finally won Kirk Douglas the coveted Best Actor Oscar– after having been nominated for the brilliant The Champion (1949), and The Bad and the Beautiful (1952).  He was definitely due for his gripping portrayal of the tortured, complicated Van Gogh, and losing to Yul Brenner in The King and I was an injustice. Douglas was personally devastated by the loss–  “I really thought I had a chance,” he said stoically after losing. It was a blow that gnawed at his soul for years. Lust for Life Director Vincente Minnelli himself stated, “Kirk Douglas achieved a moving and memorable portrait of the artist—a man of massive creative power, triggered by severe emotional stress, the fear and horror of madness. In my opinion, Kirk should have won the Academy Award.”

When you think of method actors, it’s usually Marlon Brando, Monty Clift and James Dean that come to mind– but Kirk Douglas, who’ll never share their misunderstood, hipster mystique, was also known to throw himself into every project.  He would not only dissect his own lines, but everyone else’s, and carefully go through the entire script front to back. It was often said that Kirk Douglas tried to direct every film he was in– he was headstrong and wouldn’t back down from any director. That intensity was also manifested at home, as told by his wife, “When he was doing Lust for Life, he came home in that red beard of Van Gogh’s, wearing those big boots, stomping around the house—it was frightening.”

Filmed largely on location in France, Lust for Life is often noted for its beautiful cinematic use of color to tell the story, which is true– but it is Douglas’ deeply personal acting and eerie likeness to Van Gogh (so much so that while filming on location where Van Gogh had lived, some older inhabitants of Van Gogh’s believed that he had actually returned) that power Lust for Life.  It was said that Douglas got so deep inside Van Gogh’s twisted pain and inner turmoil that it nearly drove him to the brink of madness, and it was very affecting and difficult for him to unwind from the role.

Looking at these still images from Lust for Life crystalize and convey Kirk Douglas’ intensity in a way that even the film can not.  They are absolutely stunning in their composition and emotion.  They slay me.

*

*

France, 1955 — Actor Kirk Douglas portraying the artist Vincent Van Gogh in the film “Lust For Life”. — image by Frank Scherschel

*

*

France, 1955 — Actor Kirk Douglas portraying the artist Vincent Van Gogh in the film “Lust For Life”. — image by Frank Scherschel

*

*

France, 1955 — Actor Kirk Douglas portraying the artist Vincent Van Gogh in the film “Lust For Life”. — image by Frank Scherschel

*

Continue reading

DENNIS HOPPER | SOMETIMES IN A CAREER, MOMENTS ARE ENOUGH

*

“There are moments that I’ve had some real brilliance, you know.

But I think they are moments.  And sometimes, in a career, moments are enough.

I never felt I played the great part.  I never felt that I directed the great movie.

And I can’t say that it’s anybody’s fault but my own.”

*

–Dennis Hopper

*

*

Dennis Hopper, Natalie Wood, and James Dean on the set of Rebel Without a Cause.

*

“In the 50s, when me and Natalie Wood and James Dean and Nick Adams and Tony Perkins (Anthony Perkins) suddenly arrived… God, it was a whole group of us that sort of felt like that earlier group – the John Barrymores, Errol Flynns, Sinatras, Clifts – were a little farther out than we were… So we tried to emulate that lifestyle. For instance, once Natalie and I decided we`d have an orgy. And Natalie says ‘O.K., but we have to have a champagne bath.’  So we filled the bathtub full of champagne.  Natalie takes off her clothes, sits down in the champagne, starts screaming. We take her to the emergency hospital.  That was our orgy, you understand?” –Dennis Hopper

*

*

Dennis Hopper (at 18 yrs old) on the set of Rebel Without a Cause

*

“I am just a middle-class farm boy from Dodge City and my grandparents were wheat farmers.  I thought painting, acting, directing and photography was all part of being an artist.  I have made my money that way.  And I have had some fun.  It’s not been a bad life.”  –Dennis Hopper

*

*

Young Dennis Hopper waiting for his lunch in a Hollywood bistro –Frank Worth, 1955.

*

“Like all artists I want to cheat death a little and contribute something to the next generation.”  –Dennis Hopper

*

Continue reading

PHOTOGRAPHY OF HENRY HORENSTEIN AN AMERICAN ARCHIVE — HONKY TONK

*

Jesus, take the wheel– Country music has done run itself off into a ditch.

The hollow Country/Pop crossover stars of today are more L.A. than Nashville.  They make Garth Brooks look like Hank Williams.  Video killed the AM radio star.  Henry Horenstein’s Portraits of Country Music 1972-1981 is a hugely inspiring photographic archive that perfectly captures the days when Country was C-O-U-N-T-R-Y.  The artists talked the talk, and walked the walk.  They had personality, talent, were characters, and yes– could be a bit corny as well.  But in retrospect, that too is part of the charm and allure. So take a spin.  Each brilliant Horenstein capture is better than the last, and makes me pine for simpler times– not to mention an icy cold can of Schlitz.

__________________________________________________________________

*

15 July 1972, Billerica, MA — Don Stover was a bluegrass banjo picker from White Oak, West Virginia. He came to Boston in 1952 with the Lilly Brothers from nearby Beckley and they played together for over eighteen years at Boston’s Hillbilly Ranch. Stover had great influence on a generation of important young banjo pickers. He influenced Bill Keith who introduced chromatic scales to bluegrass as a member of Bill Monroe’s band and Bela Fleck, a bluegrass and jazz-fusion star. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

1972, Boston, MA — Porter Wagoner Sitting on a Piano Playing Guitar (nice Nudie suit Porter) — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 July 1978, Boston, MA — Lilly Brothers reunion show at the Hillbilly Ranch. The term “Honky Tonk” strictly refers to the type of bar that became popular after prohibition ended in the mid 1930′s. These bars were a little seedy and usually located on the outskirts of town. Honky tonks were a haven where a band could learn and hone its skills. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

Continue reading

TRUMAN CAPOTE’S ICONIC & BITCHY BLACK AND WHITE BALL OF 1966

*

When Capote threw a party at the Plaza for the release of his epic “In Cold Blood”, the biggest stars came calling.  But little did they know that it would be Capote’s coup de grace, as he masked the world’s most important faces, in a calculated move that controlled the elites of politics, power and prestige.  It was the night Capote made 500 friends, and 15,000 enemies.

__________________________________________________________________

*

Arguably, one can say that “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” catapulted Truman Capote’s stardom to a level that very few writers ever reach.  It was a work so special, with a style of prose so signature, it would stir literary heavyweight Norman Mailer to openly praise Capote as “the most perfect writer of my generation.” Capote himself would later say that Breakfast at Tiffany’s was the turning point in his career. Still Capote knew he could go further, professing– “But I’m nowhere near reaching what I want to do, where I want to go. Presumably this new book is as close as I’m going to get, at least strategically.”

This “new book” Capote was referring to was “In Cold Blood”, and it would do more than enough to get him where he wanted to go.  Upon its release in 1965, “In Cold Blood” created a wave of acclaim and controversy that would carry Capote for years to come, and make him one of America’s most talked about writers ever.  And a work of art this important deserved a grand celebration that was equally epic.

So in 1966, Capote decided to host a party that would be his “great, big, all-time spectacular present” to himself.  Some might even say that the 1966 Masked Black and White Ball was truly one of his greatest works ever.

*

Truman Capote arrives at the Plaza Hotel holding hands with Mrs. Katherine Graham, the guest of honor.  Mrs. Graham was the president of the Washington Post and Newsweek Magazine.  – Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

*

No stranger to celebrity, Capote was already a fixture in New York City’s elite social circles, and knew very well how to play the game.  A masterful manipulator of self-promotion, he knew that this was much more than just a celebration—it had the potential to be a major publicity opportunity for “In Cold Blood”, and the ultimate act of self-aggrandizement.

The task before Capote now was no easy one.  How could he devise the perfect, titillating, gimmick for the party he planned to hold for himself?  One that would create a spectacle like none ever seen before, that would hold both the media and fans breathless?  Well, the answer was pure genius.

*

Candice Bergen holding her white bunny mask at Truman Capote’s epic 1966 Black and White Ball. — Image by © Elliott Erwitt

*

Continue reading