Saturday, December 31, 2016

Super Lujo-Grande in Havana

The béret du jour is my Super Lujo-Grande in Sahara and on a drizzly day in Wellington, it feels right at home at the Havana Coffee Works!
The quest for a good coffee has taken Geoff Marsland and Tim Rose, the founders of Wellington’s Havana Coffee, around the world; mingling with Cuban spies, tagged as terrorists and welcomed by Havana’s Communist elite.
Geoff and Tim introduced New Zealand’s to its first (self-build) fluid-bed, hot-air roaster. The result is a roast that preserves both the integrity of the beans’ natural flavors and their high caffeine content. Though not for the faint of heart, Havana Coffee is good and strong.
They’ve come a long way since the 1980s, now the largest boutique roaster in NZ and supplying most cafes in Wellington, the world’s coffee capital, with their beans.
It’s the official supplier of South Pacific Berets and does awfully well in the Attitude Coffee Cups!
Timor Leste president Taur Matan Ruak with Havana Coffee Works managing director Geoff Marsland.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Fano Messan

Fano Messan (1902-1998) was an artist devoted to sculpture who is famously remembered as the hermaphrodite in Un Chien Andalou (1929) the first film of Luis Buñuel. Because her participation in this movie and by her habit of wearing men's clothes, she's often mistaken as a man. She was photographed by Man Ray and participated in the Parisian cultural scene of late 20's.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Madame Delait

This photograph is of the French bearded lady Madame Delait, (curiously spelt ‘Delay’ in the title), which declares her to be a member of the bicycling club Cycle Thaonnais. Was this an unusual pastime for a French lady of the time? I know not, but perhaps it was all the more unusual for a lady bicyclist to have a beard.
Even more interesting is the reverse of the card, which bears what appears at first glance to be a postal cancellation stamp. Closer inspection shows this stamp bears the lady’s own name, "Mme. DELAIT", and the date of 28 December 1906. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Gorgona Agricultural Penal Colony

The Gorgona Agricultural Penal Colony is an Italian prison farm located on the island of Gorgona in the Tuscan Archipelago. The island has a long history of being home to monastic communities with the Gorgona Abbey being a prominent establishment on the island for most of the Middle Ages. The abbey was abandoned in 1425 and in 1869 Gorgona became an agricultural penal colony for the Kingdom of Italy.
The penal colony is home to 50 inmates who have been convicted of murder and other violent crimes with a long waiting list for other inmates awaiting transfer to the island. Here the prisoners are able to move freely on the grounds, tending to agricultural work, with only an evening curfew and lockdown.
At the colony, prisoners tend to a vineyard owned by the Frescobaldi family, which has been producing wine in Tuscany for over 700 years. Here they produce 225 cases of a white wine blend of Ansonica and Vermentino, labeled as Gorgona, that will retail for $66 a bottle and be featured on high-end Italian restaurants wine lists, including a Michelin three-star restaurant in Florence. 
In addition to viticulture and winemaking, the penal colony is also home to a vegetable garden and olive tree grove where olive oil is produced, as well as livestock facilities which high quality cheese, chicken and pork is produced.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fernando González Ochoa

Fernando González Ochoa (1895 –1964), was a Colombian writer and existentialist philosopher known as "el filósofo de Otraparte" (The Philosopher from somewhere else).
He wrote about sociology, history, art, morality, economics, epistemology and theology in a magisterial and creative way, using different genres of literature. González is considered one of the most original writers of Colombia during the 20th century.
His ideas were controversial and had a great influence in the Colombian society at his time and today. The González work was the inspiration of Nadaism, a literary movement founded by one of his disciples, Gonzalo Arango.
The Otraparte Villa, his house in Envigado, is today a museum and the headquarters of the cultural foundation to preserve and promote his legacy. The place was declared a National Patrimony of Colombia in 2006.

Monday, December 26, 2016


Olentzero is a character in the Basque Christmas tradition. According to Basque traditions, Olentzero comes to town late at night on the 24th of December to drop off presents for children. In some places he arrives later, for example in Ochagavía – Otsagabia on the 27th and in Ermua on the 31st.
There are many variations to the Olentzero traditions and stories connected to him, sometimes varying from village to village. The first written account of Olentzero is from Lope de Isasti in the 17th century: A la noche de Navidad (llamamos) onenzaro, la sazón de los buenos ("To Christmas eve (we call) onenzaro, the season of the good ones".
One common version has Olentzero being one of the jentillak, a mythological race of Basque giants living in the Pyrenees. Legend has it that they observed a glowing cloud in the sky one day. None of them could look at this bright cloud except for a very old, nearly blind man. When asked to examine it, he confirmed their fears and told them that it was a sign that Jesus will be born soon. According to some stories, the old man asked the giants to throw him off a cliff to avoid having to live through Christianisation. Having obliged him, the giants tripped on the way down and died themselves except Olentzero.
Other versions of the Olentzeroren kondaira, or "history of Olentzero", tell that as a new born he was abandoned in the woods and was found by a fairy who gave him the name Olentzero, bestowed gifts of strength and kindness on him and handed him to an older childless couple living alone in the woods. He turned into a strong man and charcoal burner who was also good with his hands, carving wooden toys that he would carry in a big charcoal bag to give to the children of the village. It is said that he died one day saving children from a burning house and that when he died, the fairy who had found him granted him eternal life to continue to bring joy to children and people.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas Boineros!

I wish you all very happy holidays, my fellow boineros. Enjoy the good company of friends and family, while being cozy and safely protected under your Reality Shield (with or without antlers). 
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Chantiers de la jeunesse française (Youth Work Camps)

The Chantiers de la jeunesse française (Youth Work Camps), were created in 1940 as an alternative to the compulsory military service in occupied France. It encouraged physical activity, closeness to nature and helping the community. 
The chantiers’ values of hierarchy and old-fashioned morals suited Pétain’s new motto, ‘Travail, Famille, Patrie’ (Work, Family, Nation). In an attempt to help France recover from defeat, the government placed an emphasis on communal singing, which it saw as a unifying force and a healthy physical activity. 
When the Nazis became suspicious of the group,  16,000 members were sent to forced labour camps in Germany after the Nazis occupied the Free Zone. The group disbanded in 1944.
Needless to say, the Chantiers wore berets (in a variety of colours) and even had their own beret labels sewn in. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Viktor Kolář

Viktor Kolář (1941) is a Czech photographer. Kolář, along with Jindřich Štreit, is considered one of the most important exponents of Czech documentary photography. In his works, Kolář focuses mainly on depicting urban life in the Ostrava region.
His father, a self-taught filmmaker and photographer, was the owner of a photo studio and photo shop, an important factor in leading young Viktor to photography. In 1953, he began taking photographs, and soon familiarized himself with the works of renowned photographers, particularly Henri Cartier-Bresson.
From 1960 to 1964, he studied at the Photographic Institute in Ostrava. In October 1968, after the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, he emigrated to Canada, where he worked as an assistant in the molybdenum mines and as a worker in the nickel smelters in Manitoba. From 1971 to 1973, he participated in documenting shopping malls in Montreal, which resulted in an exhibition in Montreal. In Canada and the USA, Kolář met photographers Michael Semak, William Ewing and Cornell Capa. 
In 1973, however, he returned to Czechoslovakia through Paris and London. His return to the communist country was questioned by state authorities and Kolář and as a former emigrant (and therefore considered unreliable by the regime), he gradually lost the possibility to work as a photographer. At the time of deep "normalization", he worked as a laborer in Nová Huť Steelworks. However, he covertly continued his photographic documentation of the Ostrava region.
After the Velvet Revolution, he began to teach documentary photography at FAMU in Prague, where he was appointed Associate Professor (in 2000). He also travelled and lectured through the USA.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Jiří Sovák

Jiří Sovák (1920 –2000) was a Czech actor, best known for his comedy roles.
Jiří Sovák was born Jiří Schmitzer (he changed his –German- name to Sovák as a protest against Nazi Germany and its occupation of Czechoslovakia). In 1941 – during WW2 – he graduated from Prague State Conservatory where he had been studying drama. His father did not want him to be an actor, so he worked as a clerk and played in an amateur theatre group.
In 1947 he went to Prague where he played in the E.F. Burian Theatre (1947–1952), Vinohrady Theatre (1952–1966) and National Theatre (1966–1983). He retired on 31 March 1983. He died in a Prague hospital before his 80th birthday and is buried in Stříbrná Skalice, in a private grave closed to the public.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


A useless thing to say of course, but I wish my understanding of Hungarian was better than it is...
Even with the aid of Google Translate, the articles about Tóni Béke, a fanatic restorer of Hungarian built Ikarus busses, make little sense to me. But, Tóni Béke is definitely a true boinero, wearing his beret in practically every picture I can find of him!
Ikarus is a bus manufacturer based in Budapest, Hungary. It was established in 1895 as Uhri Imre Kovács- és Kocsigyártó Üzeme (roughly: "Imre Uhri's Blacksmith Workshop and Coach Factory").
The company name Ikarus was officially established when it merged with airplane manufacturer Ikarus Gép és Fémgyár Rt.
In 1955 and 1956 with the new front engine models (Ikarus 620, 630 and 31) the company's foreign sales were boosted and apart from Eastern-European countries, China, Burma and Egypt started using them in several of their cities.
By 1973, Ikarus became the world's fourth largest manufacturer, but lacking raw materials, orders were not delivered in time on several occasions. 
Until the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the German Democratic Republic was one of the most important trading partners of Ikarus, but when Germany was reunified sales fell to about 10%.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Randy Bowles (2)

After the May 17 post, folk singer/guitarist Randy Bowles contacted me with much more in-depth beret information. 
"My beret, along with my goatee, symbolizes a lot to me; mainly that its wearer is involved in the arts -- an independent guy who goes his own way, who has his own sense of style, who finds beauty in the world, and shares it with all who are interested".
Randy, of Celtic and Native American heritage, is once again a dedicated boinero; there has been a good 20 years going beret-less, due to his ex-wife's strong dislike for berets...
I asked Randy why he wears a beret: "In the 1950’s and 60’s, when I was under the age of twenty, I loved seeing photos of young people wearing berets. Especially if they accompanied the beret with a black or striped pullover top". 
"In 1981, when I had achieved thirty years of age, I moved to a rather beat/boho Seattle neighborhood:  Capitol Hill. One of our neighborhood focal points was an all-women collective, City People’s Mercantile. I received a mailer from them one fall day, which featured their latest sale. I saw a drawing of a black beret. It was only $7. I went right in and got one. And unless I was at my day job, I wore it all the time". 
"About a year ago, I bought a beautiful forest green beret, so that I’d have a back-up, and for the sake of variety. However, I don’t like the way they look when new. It just doesn’t have that “worn look” I prefer".
Thanks Randy, great stuff!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Benny Golson

Benny Golson (1929) is an American bebop/hard bop jazz tenor saxophonist, composer, and arranger.
While in high school in Philadelphia, Golson played with several other promising young musicians, including John Coltrane, Red Garland, Jimmy Heath, Percy Heath, Philly Joe Jones, and Red Rodney.
In November 2009, Benny was inducted into the International Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame during a performance at the University of Pittsburgh's annual jazz seminar and concert.
The Howard University Jazz Studies program created a prestigious award in his honor called the "Benny Golson Jazz Master Award" in 1996. Several distinguished jazz artists have received this award.