Sunday, December 21, 2014

Joshua Yospyn's Red Beret Project

Joshua Yospyn was born in suburban Cleveland, raised outside Detroit and went to college at the University of Dayton, where he majored in business.  In 1999 he moved to Washington, D.C. and bounced around several jobs doing website design while learning photography, and started freelancing part-time for the Washington Post and MSNBC.  
He still freelances for the Post and various non-profits; is a member of the STRATA street photography collective; and in May of 2014  was hired to teach photography on behalf of the U.S. Embassy in Jordan, where he spent time in Palestinian and Syrian refugee camps.  This summer he also created a multimedia piece on Iraqi refugees in Maine during a workshop at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.  
On Bastille Day in 2009 Yospyn was in search of French maids.  Instead, he found a little 11-year-old girl wearing a red beret, who was out for a stroll with her mother.  After a brief introduction on a street corner near a Belgian restaurant, Anka allowed Yospyn to photograph her child.  He took a few frames, said thank you, and bid them farewell.
They do it again every year.  And always on Bastille Day.  The original close-up portrait, which was taken on medium format Kodak film, was displayed at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

George Crumb

George Crumb (1929) is an American composer of avant-garde music.
He is noted as an explorer of unusual timbres, alternative forms of notation, and extended instrumental and vocal techniques. Examples include seagull effect for the cello (e.g. Vox Balaenae), metallic vibrato for the piano (e.g. Five Pieces for Piano), and using a mallet to play the strings of a contrabass (e.g. Madrigals, Book I), among numerous others.
He is not an electronic music composer; however, many works call for amplification of instruments, such as Black Angels (string quartet) or Ancient Voices of Children (mixed ensemble). Crumb's music contains an intense humanism, which is reflected in his personal definition of music: "a system of proportions in the service of spiritual impulse."

Friday, December 19, 2014

Egon Schwarz, aka Schnitzer Benni

The wood artist Egon Schwarz, better known as Schnitzer Benni (Carver Benni) has made hundreds of masks.
His day begins when he fires  up the stove in his workshop. It is located in the old part of the building. He likes to take visitors to his kingdom, which throughout his life gave him and his family daily bread. 
The art of carving is what he has learned from his father, grandfather and great-grandfather. It is his life. His father made ​​ wooden movable limbs for the renowned Professor Sauerbruch during the First World War.
His workshop is like a museum of local history. Egon Schwarz has made ​​hundreds of masks made ​​of linden wood. The wood he got mostly from the Rhine Valley and from northern France.

His creativity and reliability made ​​him an artist of high standing. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Wau Wau Sisters

Wearing high heels and clutching cocktails, The Wau Wau Sisters, NYC’s bravest and bawdiest burlesque duo and the act The NY Times calls “irreverent, sacrilegious, foul-mouthed and uninhibited” straddle the hilarious gap between performance art and burlesque. With beret, naturally...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jan de Meyere

Jan (Johannes Cornelis Jacob ) de Meyere, born in the Dutch town of IJsselmonde in 1897 was a Dutch -Swedish photographer and actor.
He set up his photographic studio in Amsterdam and over time he developed his own style in portrait photography; the so-called "high-key technology" became his signature (where photographs are dominated by bright tones (highlights) and contain almost no shadows).

Jan de Meyere passed Stockholm on a trip to Russia and stayed. He established a studio in 1925 and soon became known for his artistic portraits. Jan de Meyere held frequent discussions about goals and ways in photography, and through exhibitions around the world, he represented Swedish photography.
These photographs (from 1925-1941) come from the archives of the City ofStockholm. Interestingly, many of his beret wearers are women. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

DEER Basques - The End

Kongo Shokai, the manufacturer of the DEER Basque berets stops to exist from May 2015.
The historic hat manufacturer (since 1928) simply can't compete in today's economic climate. Much of the manufacturing of the DEER Basques is specialized hand work; in combination with the ever decreasing Japanese Yen, the high running costs of the factory and the very slim profit margins, survival is not possible.
Personally, I feel really sad. The DEER Basque is an exceptional quality artisan beret that, in both craftsmanship and comfort, can compete with the very best French and Spanish berets. For years now, the wool DEER Basque has been my beret of choice during the NZ summer, changed occasionally for the linen version of this beret. 
Worse even, my stock of DEER Basques is running very low. I have put in  last order and I keep my fingers crossed that these will be made still... (if so, it will be March before these arrive).
The present stock is available here.

Pastor Alape

Felix Antonio Muñoz Lascarro also known as "Jose Lisandro Lascarro" or "Pastor Alape" (1959) is a Colombian guerrilla leader, member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and part of their high command known as the Estado Mayor Central which has some 30 to 60 members. In March, 2008 Torres-Victoria was appointed as possible substitute to one of the seven member secretariat of the FARC.
According to the United States government Muñoz-Lascarro oversaw production of the Magdalena Medio Bloc’s cocaine supply, participated in setting and implementing the FARC’s cocaine policies directing and controlling the production, manufacture, and distribution of hundreds of tons of cocaine; the "taxation" of the drug trade in Colombia to raise funds for the FARC; and the murder of hundreds of people who violated or interfered with the FARC’s cocaine policies.
The U.S. Department of State is offering a reward of up to US$2.5 million for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction.
One thing I have to grand the Pastor, he wears a real Basque beret – not a small military piece like so many of his fellow  ”revolutionaries”.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reiner Frommer

Reiner Frommer was born in Berlin in 1938. After the severe bombing of the city in 1943, he spent his childhood in a village in Swabia before moving to Hesse, where his father owned a photographt business.
Reiner Frommer -  Fisherman, taxi driver, village clerk.. Central Finland 1961
After college and studies at the School of Photography (under Martha Hoepffner), Frommer started work in his father's company and as a freelance photographer.
In 1962 he met his Finnish wife Ann-Marie and in 1978 moved with her and the two children to Finland. 
Today they have three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and live on a farm in Helsinki with dogs, cats, alpacas and Icelandic horses.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Los Potreros

Estancia Los Potreros is an exclusive 6,500-acre working cattle farm, at the top of the Sierras Chicas in the heart of the beautiful region of Córdoba, Argentina.
Estancia Los Potreros dates from 1574 when breeding mules for the silver mines in Peru was the main activity on the hills.
Cattle replaced mules during the last century and today the estancia provides an idyllic retreat for horse riding and nature lovers.
Thank you, Jolyon

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Love of a Good Woman

The Love of a Good Woman is a collection of short stories by Canadian writer Alice Munro, published by McClelland and Stewart in 1998.
The eight stories of this collection (one of which was originally published in Saturday Night; five others were originally published in The New Yorker) deal with Munro's typical themes: secrets, love, betrayal, and the stuff of ordinary lives. Nice cover!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Combatants for Peace

Combatants for Peace is a movement started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis, who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence; Israelis as soldiers in the Israeli army (IDF) and Palestinians as part of the violent struggle for Palestinian freedom.
After brandishing weapons for so many years, and having seen one another only through weapon sights, they decided to put down their guns, and to fight for peace.

I was particularly moved by the stories about the village of Lifta. Great work; there is still reason to hope.
Ilan Shtayer - a former Israeli soldier who is now a member of "Combatants for Peace", is part of an association called "Save Lifta", which is fighting for the preservation of the village.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Horse Whisperer Martin Tata

Martin Tata has been showcasing his unique bond with horses through performances to tourists from around the world. Born and raised on a ranch in the traditional gaucho-town of San Antonio de Areco, around 110 kilometres outside of capital Buenos Aires, Tata has lived and worked amongst horses his entire life.
There is no whip in sight, no shouting or loud jabs. Not even a firm hand on the reins. And yet Martin Tatta somehow persuades his beloved Milonga to join him in acrobatic feats, from handstands to other poses that even the most understanding horses rarely display.
Through soft touches, gentle coaxing and a few tender nuzzles, it seems Tatta can sway his steeds to do just about anything. In San Antonio de Areco, a bastion of Argentine gaucho culture outside the capital of Buenos Aires, the 33-year-old Tatta is known as “the horse whisperer.”
Eleven years ago, the horse trainer’s way of “breaking” horses without aggression caught the attention of a local rancher, who encouraged Tatta to perform for tourists. Since then, he’s travelled the world displaying the special skill he has with horses.
Tatta insists anyone could do this, if they were to be patient and gentle enough. But veteran horseman Alberto Nally, who at 70 is one of the most experienced gauchos in the community, says no other gaucho has such a gentle touch.  “It hardly looks like he’s even trying or doing anything — that’s why it’s special,” Nally said. “I’ve seen other trainers using their reins and pulling the horse’s head back and forth, but Martin, no. He is steady and soft when he works with them. He has a gift. He was born with it.”
Muchas gracias, Ariel

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Luis Buñuel's Viridiana

Viridiana is a 1961 Spanish-Mexican motion picture, directed by Luis Buñuel and produced by Mexican Gustavo Alatriste. It is loosely based on Halma, a novel by Benito Pérez Galdós.
I can't think of a more mischievous filmmaker than Luis Buñuel. After you get to know him, you can catch him winking in the first few shots. Under the opening title shot of "Viridiana," we hear Handel's "Messiah," but knowing Buñuel we doubt this will be a religious picture. In the second and third shots, we see a Mother Superior advising a novice at a cloistered convent to visit her old uncle before he dies. No good can come of this in a Buñuel film. The fourth shot shows a girl skipping rope. Well, not the whole girl, just her feet, observed for a little too long. "That was a wonderful afternoon little Luis spent on the floor of his mother's closet," Pauline Kael once observed, "and he has never allowed us to forget it."
So: Buñuel the satirist, Buñuel the anti-clerical, Buñuel the fetishist. That's the usual litany, but we should not exclude Buñuel the grandmaster of black comedy. None of his films is lacking a cheerfully sardonic view of human nature. His object is always dry humor. Even when he was working for Hollywood studios, recycling the sets and costumes of English-language pictures into Spanish versions of the same screenplays, or later simply dubbing them into Spanish, he slyly slipped in a few touches that were lacking in the sources. He is one of the great originals, creator of satirical delight, sometimes hilarious funny, and if you love great movies you sooner or later get to him.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Uuno Klami

Uuno (Kalervo) Klami (20 September 1900 – 29 May 1961) was a Finnish composer. He was born in Virolahti. Many of his works are related to the Kalevala. He was influenced by French and Spanish music, and especially by Maurice Ravel, for whom he had a particular esteem.
He participated in five armed conflicts, including two wars in Karelia, the Finnish Civil War, the Winter War of 1939-40 and the Continuation War of 1941-44.
The energetic Karelian Rhapsody was the first Finnish orchestral work to be published in Finland, and a long-time favourite in radio concert programs.
Klami died of a heart attack in Virolahti at age 60 while sailing his favorite boat "Miina".

Monday, December 8, 2014

Adishatz (2), with Mawa Jane

Following yesterday's post on Adishatz (goodby and hello in the Gascony language and a funky fashion brand too), let me introduce you to Mawa Jane.
With a strong interest in partying and rugby, Mawa Jane came up with this attire. 
French national colours, high heels and rugby socks with the Adishatz trademark Frenchman largely imprinted on it.
Just wonder what happened to her beret... 

Sunday, December 7, 2014


"Adishatz" means "hello" and "goodbye" in the Béarnaise dialect, but is also the name of a brand of quirky T-shirts, inspired by Béarnaise traditions (like the beret, of course, and rugby).
Adishatz typically uses stereotypes of the French (or as perceived by non-French) as designs for their T-shirts.
Better even, they offer their own beret, made by Laulhere, with Adishatz label. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Arvid Lorentz Fougstedt

Arvid Lorentz Fougstedt was a Swedish painter and cartoonist. He worked for a time as a draughtsman at the Swedish satirical magazine ‘Puck’ before moving to Paris to continue his studies. 
There he studied at the Académie Colarossi under Christian Krohg and at the Henri Matisse school. In 1916 he journeyed to Madrid where he was commissioned to copy Memling’s altar piece triptych in the Prado Museum. On his return to Sweden in 1917, his style reached a synthesis of French Empire, French Cubism, German Renaissance and Dutch early Renaissance. 
In 1918 he produced "Ingredients in David's studio" a painting statement that aligned himself with the New Objectivity movement.

He established himself as a major portrait artist. He became in 1934 a member of the Academy of Arts and in 1937 professor of drawing there.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Basque Swastika

A World War II documentary that premiered at the recent San Sebastian Film Festival explores the interest of top Nazi officials in the unique Basque culture and its mysterious origins. 
“The Basque Swastika”relies on rare archival footage, historic documents and eyewitness accounts to feature an interesting look at Basque resistance and cooperation with the Nazi occupiers.
After Adolph Hitler’s military defeated France in 1940, German scouting troops arrived at the Bidasoa River near Hendaye. This paved the way for the arrival of Nazi forces that occupied parts of the Basque Country until 1944, according to the film.  Among those who visited the Basque Country was Heinrich Himmler, head of the Gestapo and one of the most powerful figures in Germany. Among the footage used by Andrés and Barajas is a short Nazi propaganda film titled “Im lande der Basken,” or “In the Land of the Basques.”  It was produced by noted German director Herbert Brieger, whose son is featured in “The Basque Swastika.” Other compelling footage shows German planes crashing at the beach at Donostia, or San Sebastian, and Nazi soldiers enjoying rest and relaxation on the sand at Biarritz. Even though the Basques opposed Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who was supported by Hitler, several commentators in the documentary say that the Nazis viewed the Basques as one of Europe’s  “purer” races.  
The Basques were neither French nor Spanish, which in the view of some Nazis meant that they were not tainted by  impurities of other cultures, according to the film.