Friday, March 24, 2017

The Béret Vrai Basque Chasseur Ardennais

Bad news for the fans of the béret Vrai Basque Chasseur ArdennaisLike other vintage labels that Laulhère had reinstated for South Pacific Berets (like the Bortia, Chirola, Etchea, l'Aiglon, etc), Laulhère has decided not to continue the manufacturing of these historical berets (believe me, I did try to persuade them, but to no avail...).
The béret Vrai Basque is a very old model that has been in continious production by, interestingly,two manufacturers (and big competitors): Blancq-Olibet and Laulhère. With the takeover of B.-O. in 2014, Laulhère got the sole ownership of the label and continues to offer this beret in their higher end quality range, but... only in black and navy.
The Vrai Basque has been used by the Belgian Mountain Infantry Regiment 'Chasseurs Ardennais' since early last century and I was able to offer these berets to the public till now. Obviously, Laulhère continues to supply the Belgian military, but that's it.
The good news however, is that I have a limited number of these berets still in stock in sizes 56-59 and 63 and better still, three pieces of the vintage model in loden-green (instead of the later 'vert nocturne') in sizes 57 and 58 only.
Pictured here is the uniform of a Captain in the Chasseur Ardennais as in May 1940 (3rd Regiment, 1st Company, who fought in Chabrehez "Les Tailles"). The weapon is the MP34 Schmeisser-Bergmann-Bayard.
Notice the dark colour of his beret, the same dark green shade as the collar badges and very different from later models. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Eliot Cowan

Eliot Cowan (1946) is an American-born healer, teacher, author, and founder of the alternative healing technique known as Plant Spirit Medicine.
He received a degree in Anthropology from Pomona College and pursued post-graduate study in documentary filmmaking at UCLA. In 1970, while living on a farm in Vermont, he became distraught because one of his goats was sick. Unwilling to accept a "hopeless" diagnosis from a veterinarian, he began to read about herbalism and treated the goat with a plant. The goat healed, and Cowan's work in Herbalism began.
After a number of years practicing acupuncture, he came across an article on the Huichol Indians of the Mexican Sierras. The article caused him to travel to Mexico and meet them. A series of dreams, encounters and experiences guided him to apprentice with Don Guadalupe Gonzalez Rios, an eminent Huichol shaman. In the year 2000, Cowan was ritually recognized by Don Guadalupe as a guide to shamanic apprentices in the Huichol tradition. As of 2011, twenty-five of Eliot Cowan's apprentices have gone on to become shamans in the Huichol tradition.
In addition to teaching, lecturing, healing and training of shamanic apprentices on the Huichol path, one of Cowan's most significant contributions is his synthesis of shamanism, traditional Chinese Medicine and Herbalism into the healing technique known as Plant Spirit Medicine. Cowan is Founder and Board Chair of the Blue Deer Center in the New York Catskills, and is Elder Emeritus of the Plant Spirit Medicine Seminary. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jürgen Schadeberg

Jürgen Schadeberg was born in Berlin in 1931. In 1950, he moved to South Africa to re-join his family and joined Drum magazine as official photographer and layout artist.
Schadeberg became a teacher and mentor to some of the most creative South African photographers of his time, like Bob Gosani, Ernest Cole and later Peter Magubane. As one of the few white photographers who photographed daily life among the black community, he became knowledgeable about black life and culture. As a result, he captured on film the beginnings of the freedom movement, the effects of apartheid and the vibrancy of township life.
Schadeberg photographed many historic and pivotal events in the 1950s among them the Defiance Campaign of 1952, the 1956 Treason Trial, the Sophiatown removals of 1955, the Sophiatown jazz and social scene, the Sharpeville funeral of 1960 and pictures of Robben Island inmates. Some of the famous people he photographed include Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo, Trevor Huddleston and Govan Mbeki. He also documented the Fifties jazz legends such as Dolly Rathebe, Kippie Moeketsi, Thandi Klaasen and Miriam Makeba.
He was forced to leave South Africa in 1964 and went to London. Here he taught and curated photographic exhibitions, notably for the Whitechapel Art Gallery.
He then moved to Spain where he concentrated on a career as an artist. In 1972, he returned to Africa where he accepted a position as photographer for Christian Aid in Botswana and Tanzania.

In 1984, Schadeberg returned to South Africa. He continues to work as a photo-journalist as well as making documentaries about the black community.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Jonas Mosa Gwangwa

Dedicated boinero Jonas Mosa Gwangwa (born 1941 in Orlando East, Soweto) has been an important figure in South African jazz for over 40 years. He first gained significance playing trombone with The Jazz Epistles. After the group broke up he continued to be important to the South African music scene and then later abroad.
In the 1960s he began to gain notice in the United States and in 1965 he was featured in a "Sound Of Africa" concert at Carnegie Hall. Others at the concert included Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, and Letta Mbulu. Not liked by the apartheid government, he left his homeland in the early 1970s.
From 1980 to 1990 he was the leader of Amandla, the cultural ensemble of the African National Congress.
In later life he became important as a composer doing the scores of films like Cry Freedom and at the 60th Annual Academy Awards in 1988 he performed his nominated song Cry Freedom. Also in 1988 he performed at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute in Wembley Stadium. In 1991 he returned to South Africa and in 1997 he composed the theme for their Olympic bid.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Beret Tee's

My good friend and artist Adrian Castle (many of you will have seen his work here on The Beret Project or on fridge magnets) developed some really nice beret themed T-shirts.
Good quality, nicely fitted Tees with, for the time being, two great beret themed prints.
The Tee's come in a massive range of colour options and sell at $20.00 only. Have a look here: www.adriancastle.threadless.com/

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Miguel de la Quadra-Salcedo y Gayarre

Miguel de la Quadra-Salcedo y Gayarre (1932 - 2016) was a Spanish reporter and one of the greatest athletes of the country.
Although he was born in Madrid, he has always been recognized as Basque-Navarre (and often spotted with a good sized txapela.
He was one of the great reporters of RTVE during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. During the African wars in the 60’s, he was condemned to death for filming of 300 prisoners in Congo. He covered the coup d’état against Allende, the Vietnam war and lived with indigenous people in Amazonia. 
He was the director and founder of cultural program Aventura 92 (Adventures 92), nowadays named as Ruta Quetzal BBVA.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Gunnar Sønsteby

Gunnar Fridtjof Thurmann Sønsteby DSO was a member of the Norwegian resistance movement during the German occupation of Norway in World War II. He is also known for being the most highly decorated citizen in Norway, including being the only person to have been awarded the War Cross with three swords, Norway's highest military decoration.
Norway's regular armed forces surrendered on 10 June 1940, after two months of fighting, and the country was subsequently occupied by the Germans. Sønsteby then became involved in the underground resistance, both through Milorg and the illegal press. In 1942 he became "Agent 24" in the Special Operations Executive. After saboteur training in England in 1943, he became the contact for all SOE agents in eastern Norway and head of the Norwegian Independent Company 1 group in Oslo. This group performed several spectacular acts of sabotage; among them smuggling out plates for the printing of Norwegian kroner from the Norwegian Central Bank and blowing up the office for Norwegian forced labour, thereby stopping the Nazis' plan of sending young Norwegian men to the Eastern Front.
Operating in occupied territory, and being high on the Gestapo list of wanted men, Sønsteby became a master of disguise. 
In 2008 Sønsteby was the first non-American awarded the United States Special Operations Command Medal. Gunnar Sønsteby died May 10, 2012.

Friday, March 17, 2017

T. Lux Feininger

T. Lux Feininger (1910–2011) was an American painter, avant-garde photographer, author, and art teacher who was born in Berlin to Julia Berg and Lyonel Charles Feininger, an American living in Germany from the age of sixteen.
At sixteen, Lux Feininger became a student at the Bauhaus at Dessau, where he studied painting with Josef Albers, Paul Klee, and Wassily Kandinsky, played in a student jazz band, and participated in experimental theatre. It was here that he began taking photographs and assumed the role of an artistic photojournalist chronicling the daily life at Bauhaus. 
Although no photographic studio was part of the Bauhaus until 1929, his photography was influenced by the aesthetic of László Moholy-Nagy, who lived adjacent to the Feininger family. Soon Feininger was selling his photographs to periodicals and newspapers through an agency. By 1929 his work was featured in Film und Foto, a survey of modern photography.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Gerard Sekoto

Gerard Sekoto (1913 –1993), was a South African artist and musician. He is recognised as the pioneer of urban black art and social realism.
His art skills emerged in his teenage years, when he attended the Diocesan Teachers Training College in Pietersburg. 
In 1938 at the age of 25 he left for Johannesburg to pursue a career as an artist.
In 1947 he left South Africa to live in Paris under self-imposed exile. The first years in Paris were hard, and Sekoto was employed as a pianist purely by chance at l'Echelle de Jacob ("Jacob’s ladder"), a trendy nightclub that had reopened for business after World War II. Here he played jazz and sang "Negro spirituals", popular French songs of the period and some Harry Belafonte. Music became the way that he could pay his living and art school expenses.
Sekoto played piano and sang on several records. He composed 29 songs, mostly excessively poignant, recalling the loneliness of exile, yet displaying the inordinate courage of someone battling to survive in a foreign cultural environment.
In 1966 he visited Senegal for a year.
Sekoto's paintings became political in the 1970s due to apartheid in his home country. In 1989 the Johannesburg Art Gallery honoured him with a retrospective exhibition and the University of Witwatersrand with an honorary doctorate.
He died on 20 March 1993 at a retirement home outside Paris.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Boinero/Inventor Dario Zapico

Beret Project visitor Dario Zapico from Asturias (Spain) sent me these pictures of his great invention: an economic, easy to manufacture wardrobe hanger for berets!
If Dario Zapico was a New Zealander, he would be congratulated for his "Number 8 Wire" Kiwi ingenuity.
A very nifty contraption that should get a good following. I know one boinero who will certainly put a Saturday morning into manufacturing one of these...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Catalunya über alles!

The plot of “Catalunya über alles!” is made up of three stories with shared characters and a common location: an inner Catalonia village. The time is the present.
In the first story,
an ex-convict who has served a 19-year prison sentence for rape returns home to reintegrate into society. Through his eyes, we see the new reality in the village: the weekly market taken by immigrants, and a politician who rails against this new reality in his speeches. Soon, all the eyes and prejudices will be on him.
The second story is about a Sub-Saharan immigrant hit by the crisis. He needs a job, no matter which, so as to provide for his family. He finds his “opportunity” in a debt collection company, whose employees are dressed in the typical Catalan outfit, with barretina. His first assignment will be to chase a defaulting politician, the one who wants to kick immigrants out of the village.
In the third story, a wealthy family returns home earlier than planned, and catches an Albanian Kosovar burglar in it. The house owner and the criminal begin a fight that ends with the death of the burglar. The last shot is at point-blank range. From that moment, the businessman becomes the focus of a media circus: social avenger or murderer.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ted Joans

Theodore "Ted" Joans (1928 –2003) was an American jazz poet, surrealist, trumpeter, and painter. His work stands at the intersection of several avant-garde streams and some have seen in it a precursor to the orality of the spoken-word movement. 
However he criticized the competitive aspect of "slam" poetry. Joans is known for his motto: "Jazz is my religion, and Surrealism is my point of view".


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Marae Kai Masters

Marae Kai Masters is a Māori Television popular competitive cooking show where teams from various marae (Māori meeting houses) compete in preparing kai (food).
Master Chef and presenter Joe McLeod is a dedicated beret wearer, pictured here gathering Rongoa to add flavor into the Umu Marumaru Hangi for herbal infused steam cooking wild pork.
Joe certainly has an interesting manner of wearing his beret; it makes me think of that beautiful spot by EiTB (Basque Television):
video

Friday, March 10, 2017

François Bernat-Salles

François Bernat-Salles, born in 1855 in Gavarnie ( Hautes-Pyrénées  was one of the great mountain guides of the Pyrenees.
Like most inhabitants of the mountain village of Gavarnie, François Bernat-Salles was a modest farmer and shepherd. With the arrival of tourists wishing to explore the mountains, a demand for guides and porters created, which was for many farmers an opportunity to make some extra income. François Bernat-Salles began as a bearer of Célestin Passet . With his strength and his knowledge of the mountain, he became a first class guide.
He worked for prestigious clients: Henry Russell, Roger de Monts, Henri Brulle and Jean Bazillac.
In 1888, he accompanied Roger de Monts and Célestin Passet for the first ascent of the north face of Mont Perdu. This feat earned him a recommendation by Henri Brulle, and the following year he is part of the team Brulle, Bazillac, de Monts & Celestin Passet at the Vignemale . Three days later he did the north face of Mont Perdu.
He ended his life as he had begun as a modest shepherd. He is buried in the cemetery of Gavarnie, in the square of Pyrénéistes.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

La Fleur de l'âge

La Fleur de l'âge (1947) is an unfinished film by Marcel Carné, starring Leonie Bathiat (Arletty) and Anouk Aimée and some well sized Basque berets.
In pre-war France, children were jailed under horrific conditions. The film tells of the massive escape that took place on the island of Belle-Île-en-Mer in 1937, and of the child hunt that ensued.
The “hunt” to recover the fugitives was not only attended by the authorities, but also residents and tourists, who were offered a bounty.
Twenty minutes of La Fleur de l'âge have been mounted. In an interview with the magazine Cinematograph (issue 108, March 1985), Arletty says that nearly half of the film was shot, but realisation didn't happen as other things took over...