Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Dutch Alpino

Older Dutchman watches the people at the Waterlooplein flea market in Amsterdam, 1971. The Dutch word for 'beret' is 'alpino'; taken -wrongly- from the Italian mountain troops who wore nothing like a beret. 
But then, the description 'Basque beret' is all based on a stupidity by Napoleon who thought the Basques were the inventors of the beret. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Beret Burning in Thionville

The burning happens in the summer of 1940, in the centre of Thionville. During WWII, the French region of Lorraine was placed under a German civilian administration and was thus unofficially part of the German Reich. Names were Germanized; on the Market Square, a sign indicates "Marktplatz". Visible are the (French) Hitler Youth recognizable by its banners bearing the SS runes. On either side, are the members of the German Volksgemeinschaft (DVG), the German People's Union, which hold swastika flags. Books by the Alsatian illustrator Hansi (author of anti-German cartoons) are burned, and berets, the symbol of French patriotism.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Gerhard Thieme

Gerhard Thieme (1928) is a German sculptor, whose sculptures take a prominent place in the Berlin cityscape.

As a youth, Thieme learned woodcarving and later studied pattern (textile) design.
"Waffenbrüder" ("Brothers in Arms")
From 1948 through 1952 he studied Fine and Applied Arts, first in Dresden, later in Berlin. He travelled on study tours to (then) Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and the USSR. For the party and state leaders of the GDR Gerhard Thieme produced numerous awards and also gifts for guests, such as small reliefs of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and Ernst Thalmann.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Trifón Cañamares

Centenarian and life-long (beret wearing) activist Trifón Cañamares has been an active member of the PCE (Spanish Communist party) since 1936.
During the Civil War he was a political commissar with the 12th Division of the Army's IV Corps.
Cañamares served 7 years in prison, after Franco's crush of the Republic, but never gave up the struggle. After his time in prison, he helped re-organize the (illegal) PCE and continued the anti-Franco fight.
Trifón Cañamares is still a familiar sight at demonstrations for justice and equality. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bernardino Graña

Beret wearing poet and writer Bernardino Graña (Cangas do Morrazo, 1932) worked as a secondary education teacher of Galician Language and Literature until his retirement in 1991. 
He was a member of the Editorial Board of the poetic magazine Alba since his early youth and contributed to the literary magazines La Noche and Faro de Vigo, besides writing essays for a number of publications. 
In 1958 he was one of the founders of the group Brais Pinto, in Madrid, and he was one of the creators and the first president of the Asociación de Escritores en Língua Galega (AELG).
All his work is written in Galician.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Patricio Falconi Almeida, con Boina

Patricio Falconi Almeida is an Ecuadorian poet. Falconi's book La Costilla de Don Quijote (2000; Don Quixote's Rib) is a single long poem (or, depending on how you choose to read it, a sequence of very short poems) of love, directed to an unnamed woman.
In the opening lines, the poet invokes his beloved and states that she comes, not from Adam's rib, but from that of D.Q.
There is only a single additional reference to D.Q. in the poem, but given the title metaphor and the prominent placement of the concept in the text, the suggestion is, perhaps, that the woman is the poet's ideal, an ideal inspired in D.Q.'s love for Dulcinea. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Le Jeu de Quilles de 9 / 9 Pin Skittle

The origin of the nine pin skittle game is still unknown. It used to be played in the county of Béarn in the 15th and 16th centuries and it became popular in the whole South West of France in the 19th century.
It was brought to America by French emigrants.
The first important nine pin skittle competition took place in Dax in 1898 and other competitions followed in the South West of France.
The French nine pin skittle federation was created in Orthez (Atlantic Pyrenees) in 1948.
It is now part of the F.F.S.Q. (the French Skittle Federation), now called the F.F.B.S.Q. (the French Skittle and Bowling Federation).

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

109 Year Old Beret Wearer

Arévalo Garijo Innocent died on March 31, 2011 at the age of 109. Arévalo Garijo was named the 'grandfather of La Rioja'.
He was the oldest person of La Rioja and one of the oldest men in Spain (there are only three other people aged 109 in Spain).
Often asked about his secret to living so many years, he always answered the same " through God, there is no secret" and added that "every day, every morning, the first thing I do when I wake up is have a drink of water".

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dick Ket with Beret

Dick Ket (1902 – 1940) was a Dutch magic realist painter noted for his still-life paintings and self-portraits.
 Born with a serious heart defect (believed to be tetralogy of Fallot with dextrocardia), he was prevented from traveling by debilitating weakness as well as by phobias, and lived secluded in his parents' house in Bennekom (NL) after 1930. Exposed to modern art mainly through reproductions, he concentrated on painting still lifes and self-portraits. His health worsened in his last decade, leading to his early death in 1940.
While Ket's earliest paintings are impressionistic in style, he was influenced decisively by the art of the Neue Sachlichkeit in 1929, and thereafter painted in a magic realist style.
His meticulously composed and rendered still lifes feature favorite objects such as bottles, an empty bowl, eggs, and musical instruments. Ket juxtaposed these objects in angular arrangements, seen from a high vantage point, their cast shadows creating emphatic diagonals. 
These compositions reveal the influence of cubism as filtered through the posters of Cassandre, which are frequently depicted in Ket’s paintings. Another source of inspiration came from early Netherlandish painting, which Ket admired for its atmosphere of austere reverence that he called its quality of "intrusiveness".

Sunday, April 21, 2013


'Barraban' is one of the old labels that still show up every now and then; in a vintage beret at an auction or on posters or postcards - Barraban had some great artwork made for their beret promotions.
Jean-Pierre Barraban was the founder of the Barraban Berets Factory in 1792 (so well before Blancq-Olibet, the oldest beret manufacturer still in operation since 1819) . He was born in Abos on March 25, 1770 and died October 30, 1840 in Oloron Sainte Marie, the "beret capital" of the world. 
His successors continued the business until it's closer in the 2nd half of last century.

The shelter of the pedestrian link was made ​​with the frame of the old factory Barraban
On the place where once the factory stood, you'll find a semi-covered car park; the frame and roof parts of the original factory building

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Legazpi Cheese Making Competition

In Legazpi, in the (Spanish) Basque Country, on September 4, Shepherd Day was celebrated with cheese tastings and markets, a sheepdog championship and sheep shearing competition, exhibitions, demonstrations of traditional methods in cheese production and music.
The 27th edition of the Guipuzkoa Cheese Contest was won by Mikel Etxezarreta and Eli Arrillaga, who were there to present their 'Aizpea' cheese, produced in February at their dairy farm in Olaberria.
The winners of the cheese contest all receive a txapela.

Friday, April 19, 2013

More Spanish Comics: Agamemnon

Agamemnon is a headstrong young fellow, a simple and strong country lad - always wearing a black beret, designed by Alejandro Santamaría Estivill.
Comics were generally written in the city, by city dwellers and consumed in the city. Yet, Spain was, until the nineteen seventies, a predominantly rural country. But, agriculture and rural Spain had very little presence in the comics at the time - that changed with Estivill's Agamemnon.
No translations in English available, to the best of my knowledge.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Come Fly with Me Nude

Performance artists Dom Casual & Bella Hagen are caught in an existential schism between keeping it real in San Francisco or selling out in Hollywood in this story about art, berets, and finding your muse.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tetsugen Bernard Glassman

Bernie Glassman, aka Tetsugen Bernard Glassman, is an American Zen Buddhist roshi and co-founder of the Zen Peacemakers, an organization established in 1996 with his late wife Sandra Jishu Holmes.
Bernard Glassman was born to Jewish immigrants in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York in 1939.
In the early 1960s, Glassman began meditating and soon after sought a local Zen teacher. He found Taizan Maezumi in Los Angeles, California and Glassman became one of the original founding members of the Zen Center of Los Angeles.
In 1982 Glassman opened Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, New York, an effort to help alleviate the widespread homelessness in the area. The bakery provided jobs for inner city residents who lacked education and skills. The proceeds helped to fund what he called the Zen Community of New York.
Glassman has become known for his many "street retreats." Author James Ishmael Ford writes, "...'street retreats,' for instance, moves 'sesshin' into the streets: participants eat in soup kitchens, and, if they know they're not displacing homeless people, sleep in homeless shelters or, otherwise, sleep in public places. Zazen takes place in parks and dokusan in alleys."

Monday, April 15, 2013

War Resisters

Handmade Peace beret, available here.
As closely related berets & the military may be, so are berets and pacifists/conscientious objectors/war resisters. Somehow, people with a desire for non-violence and peace tend to gravitate toward the beret. That was true for the interbellum and still is these days, as the pictures below show. 
"Out of Iraq", White House, Washington DC
Students at UC Santa Cruz successfully rallied to force military recruiters off of the campus. March 5, 2005.
Tomas of the Brown Berets spoke to the crowd and got them fired up.
Tomas speaks to the crowd.
Tetsugen Bernard Glassman, American Zen Buddhist roshi and co-founder of the Zen Peacemakers

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Festival of the Bear

Built on the banks of the river Tech, surrounded by mountains, Prats de Mollo was one of the most important border towns on the French-Spanish border, and today still boasts much evidence of its rich past; architectural and traditional.
One such tradition is the Fete de l'ours, or the Festival of the Bear. The events, according to the legend, took place near the Col d’Ares, about 13 km from Prats de Mollo, at the foot of mont Falgas, Long ago, a young shepherdess fainted from shock when she stumbled upon a bear whilst tending her flock. The bear, actually the devil in disguise, took advantage of her swoon and spirited her away to the caves intending to seduce her and steal her virginity. The young damsel however, prayed to Notre Dame du Coral, nearby chapel overlooking the valley, to preserve her virtue, and the bear was unable to approach her.
Nowadays, sheep skins are worn by the ’bears’ and their faces and hands are blackened with a mixture of suie (soot) and huile (oil). The bears are also provided with a very solid stick.
The hunters are provided with shot guns filled with blanks and a gourd of ’good wine’.
Whether the 'hunters' wear Berruetas, I don't know, but there are many berets to be seen during the festival. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Smurfs and Berets

The Smurfs (French: Les Schtroumpfs) is a Belgian comic and television franchise centered on a group of small blue fictional creatures called Smurfs, created and first introduced as a series of comic characters by the Belgian comics artist Peyo (pen name of Pierre Culliford) in 1958. There are more than one hundred Smurfs, whose names are based on adjectives that emphasize their characteristics, e.g. 'Jokey Smurf', 'Clumsy Smurf', and 'Smurfette' -- the first female Smurf to be introduced in the series.
In 1998, writer Marc Schmidt wrote a parody article citing the Smurfs as an example of the impact of socialism in continental European culture. French sociologist Antoine Buéno described them in a 2011 book as a totalitarian and racist utopia. Studio Peyo head Thierry Culliford, the son of Peyo, dismissed Buéno's accusations as "grotesque and frivolous." In 2011 Marc Schmidt's essay was scrutinized in a response essay by Kate Krake who examined the nature of cultural theory built on textual observation and warned against creating false allegories out of texts like The Smurfs.
Still, the red-capped Papa Smurf does have a strong resemblance to Karl Marx, the mean wizard Gargamel looks identical to the portrayal of 'the Wandering Jew' by the Nazi's and, the aggressive mean Smurfs are obviously black...
Despite the Smurfs liking for a barettina like hat, I did find a few pictures of berets on the little blue beasts too.