Thursday, October 31, 2019

Apres Zohrabyan

Apres Zohrabyan is the director of Art of Living – Armenia, a yoga teacher and an independent hiking guide.
Apres’ voice as an environmentalist is frequently heard in the Armenian media; be it as an advocate for waterways or Armenian wildlife.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Martiros Saryan

Martiros Saryan (1880 –1972) was an Armenian painter, the founder of a modern Armenian national school of painting.
From 1910 to 1913 he traveled extensively in Turkey, Egypt and Iran. In 1915 he went to Echmiadzin to help refugees who had fled from the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. In 1916 he traveled to Tiflis (now Tbilisi) where he married Lusik Agayan. It was there that he helped organise the Society of Armenian Artists.
In the difficult years of the 1930s, he mainly devoted himself again to landscape painting and portraits.
He was chosen as a deputy to the USSR Supreme Soviet and was awarded the Order of Lenin three times and other awards and medals. He was a member of the USSR Art Academy (1974) and Armenian Academy of Sciences (1956).
Saryan died in Yerevan on 5 May 1972. His former home in Yerevan is now a museum dedicated to his work with hundreds of items on display.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Frunzik Mkrtchyan

Mher Mkrtchyan), better known by the name Frunzik (1930 –1993), was an Armenian stage and film actor. Mkrtchyan is widely considered as one of the greatest actors of the Soviet period among Armenians and the USSR, as evidenced by his victory of the prestigious People's Artist of the USSR award in 1984.
Mher "Frunzik" Mkrtchyan was born in Leninakan (present day Gyumri), both his parents orphan survivors of the Armenian Genocide.
From the late 1960s and on, Frunzik Mkrtchyan starred in films that would later on become classics of Armenian and Soviet cinema, such as Triangle (1967), Father (1973), Patriarch (1977) and The Tango of Our Childhood (1985). There are noticeable parallels between Frunzik's life and the roles he played in films, most notably with The Tango of Our Childhood. The film, written and directed by his brother Albert, takes place in Leninakan, his city of birth. Beyond that, the plot of the movie involves a father-son conflict over the soon choosing to be an actor, which closely resembles Mkrtchyan's own personal conflict with his family. At the end of the film, the father is arrested and sent to labor camp, similar to the fate of Mkrktchyan's own father.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Baltic Way

This year, the three Baltic countries marked the 30th anniversary of the 1989 "Baltic Way", a historic anti-Soviet protest that involved nearly 2 million people forming a human chain more than 600 kilometers (370 miles) long.
On Aug. 23, 1989, as the Soviet Union was weakening, the gesture was a powerful expression on the part of Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians that they were not giving up on their independence even after decades of Soviet occupation.
"People holding hands can be stronger than people holding guns," Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas said in a reflection made Friday on Twitter.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Ruben Adalyan

Ruben Adalyan is one of the prominent figures of late modern Armenian art. In 1956 he graduated from the Yerevan Institute of Fine Arts and Theater, and then began a prolific practice, working in the field of painting, graphic art and sculpture. 
Adalyan became fully beholden to the ideas of modernist art since his student years, and was particularly influenced by the trajectories of Pablo Picasso's and Yervand Kochar's artistic evolution. During the Khrushchevian 'Thaw’ period in the 1960s, Adalyan announced himself to the Armenian and Soviet viewers with a series of bravely experimental works that rejected the ideological framework of socialist-realist art, through a unique synthesis of surrealism, cubism, and expressionism. 

His works are kept in the Armenia National Gallery (Yerevan), Modern Art Museum (Yerevan), other museums of Armenia, as well as in many private collections in Armenia and abroad.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

New Stock From Japan!

When I introduced the new Shigematsu and Flamingo berets just under 2 weeks ago, I expected these to be instantly popular, but couldn't foresee that the whole stock would sell within a couple of days...
Happy to write now that new stock has come in (and more is still coming across the Pacific).
New from Flamingo are the small diameter Basque beret in black and the 10p model in navy.
The Shigematsu models are now available in navy and khaki (and you can pre-order black, wine and green models that will come in in 2 weeks’ time).

Herri Kirolak

Basque rural sports, known as Deportes Rurales in Spanish or Herri Kirolak in Basque, is the term used for a number of sports competitions rooted in the traditional lifestyles of the Basque people. 
These photos of the 2019 games in Saint Pierre et Miquelon, French territory of the Canadian coast, were sent to me by my friend Christophe Henri, featuring himself in action and his son.
Christophe Henri is of mixed Basque, Spanish, Breton and Portuguese ancestry!
Winners receive a Basque beret (boina or txapela) as a trophy, hence the Basque word for "champion" - txapeldun, literally "one who has a beret".
Thanks Christophe Henri

Friday, October 25, 2019

Gramps Is in the Resistance

Gramps Is in the Resistance or Papy fait de la résistance is a cult French film directed by Jean-Marie Poiré in 1983.
Héléna Bourdelle, a.k.a. "La Bourdelle," is a great singer and wife of maestro André Bourdelle. Joining the Resistance, he is killed by the accidental explosion of a grenade. Following the defeat, the family's mansion is taken over by German forces, leaving the family occupying a few back rooms and complaining to the Kommandantur about his excesses and those of his men. 
Madame Bourdelle, her daughters and their tenant help by chance the escape of an English airman and are then forced to hide him in their cellar. The family, whose former caretaker Ramirez has become a Gestapo agent, is favoured by General Spontz who has a soft spot for Bernadette Bourdelle. He is willing to ignore the fact that Guy-Hubert, son of the family, a seemingly cowardly and effeminate hairdresser, is actually the elusive vigilante known as "Super-Resistant".
Michel Taupin, who is a tenant in the family house, woos without success Bernadette Bourdelle, after initially having views on Colette. His insistent desire to join the Resistance leads to many adventures. Imprisoned after an episode at the Kommandantur, he meets a resistant, Felix / Frémontel, who confides in him, thinking he is about to be shot by the Germans. 
When they are freed by Super-Resistant, Felix finds himself unable to get rid of Michel. Although she had vowed not to sing while there were Germans in France, Madame Bourdelle is forced by General Spontz to attend a reception in honour of Hitler's half-brother, Marshal Ludwig von Apfelstrudel, held in a castle near Paris. With the help of Michel Taupin, the Resistance detonate a bomb in the dining room.
The story seems to end but proves to be a "film within the film," and gives way to a contemporary television debate, designed to address the period of occupation, and to report on the reality of the depicted events in the film. 
The show brings together Bernadette Bourdelle and General Spontz (now happily married), Guy Hubert, Adolfo Ramirez Jr. (son of Ramirez, who came from Bolivia to defend his father's memory), and Michel Taupin (now Cabinet Minister of Veterans Affairs). 
Soon, the discussion turns to disaster: Ramirez Jr. insults and defames the other protagonists of the story, who start to beat him up on the TV set, forcing the host to cut the transmission.

Thursday, October 24, 2019


Resistance is a French television period drama series in six 52-minute episodes, first broadcast (as Résistance) on TF1 in France in May 2014 and on More4 in the United Kingdom in August 2015.
The drama is set in German-occupied Paris in 1940 and depicts the lives of students and teachers within the French Resistance in World War II and is loosely based on the activities of the Groupe du musée de l'Homme.
The series, written by Dan Franck, was commissioned to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris.
The Guardian noted that the series has a "great sense of the sludge and the trudge, and depression and rain, the heartache, and the general constant filthy low-level stress of a long sneaking war in which the most precious – the only – currency was trust, given as grudgingly as you would proffer your soul."

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (1931) is an Argentine activist, community organizer, art painter, writer and sculptor.
Pérez Esquivel was born in Buenos Aires to a Spanish fisherman from Poio, Galicia, who emigrated to Argentina. His mother died when he was three, and despite his poverty, he attended the Manuel Belgrano School of Fine Arts and the National University of La Plata, where he was trained as a painter and sculptor.
He was appointed professor of architecture and worked with a variety of sculptural media, and for 25 years taught in all levels from primary to university. Pérez Esquivel began working with popularly based Latin American Christian pacifist groups during the 1960s. He relinquished his teaching post in 1974, when he was chosen as coordinator general for a network of Latin America-based communities promoting liberation of the poor through non-violence.
When systematic repression followed the March 1976 coup, which brought the dictatorship of General Jorge Videla to power, Pérez Esquivel contributed to the formation and financing of the linkages between popularly based organizations to defend human rights in Argentina and support the families of the victims of the Dirty War.
He was the recipient of the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize for his opposition to Argentina's last civil-military dictatorship (1976-1983), during which he was detained, tortured, and held without trial for 14 months; during that period he also received, among other distinctions, the Pope John XXIII Peace Memorial.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Dedadarko (2)

 A few days ago, I published a post on my friend Darko/Dedadarko; a Serbian artist/cartoonist/boinero.
 From the archives, here some more samples of his great work. Thanks, Darko!

 This drawing was made specifically for The Beret Project: Beret and Boina.
Darko's take on a Chasseur Alpin (above)

Prince Far album cover, showing a self portrait on the cover

Monday, October 21, 2019

La Ligne de démarcation

La Ligne de démarcation (“Line of Demarcation”) is a 1966 film written and directed by Claude Chabrol.
It is based on upon the memoir Mémoires d'un agent secret de la France libre et La Ligne de démarcation by Gilbert Renault under his pseudonym Colonel Rémy.
A small village in the Jura is split by the river Loue which creates the line of demarcation between Nazi occupied France and freedom. A French officer, Pierre, is released by the Nazi soldiers to find his chateau converted into a German command centre. Whilst he is obliged to co-operate with the enemy, his wife Mary supports the resistance movement and is willing to risk her life for it.
The Nazis step up their activity against the resistance, insisting that any who attempt to cross the line of demarcation will be shot. When his wife is arrested, Pierre decides to switch his allegiance.
The movement is hindered by an informer and another man who pretends to help the resistance fighters but leads them to the Nazis and steals all their possessions.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Chasseurs à Pied and Alpins from Passy

Passy is a commune in the Upper Savoy department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France.
During the Great War of 1914-18, many Passerands served in the Chasseurs à Pied and Alpins.
They were particularly numerous in the 11th Btn of Annecy, the 22nd Btn of Albertville and the 51st Btn of Annecy.
The Chasseurs à Pied (“Hunters on Foot”) were created in 1837, 51 years before the sub-regiments of Chasseurs Alpins. These battalions constitute the oldest subdivision of the infantry after the line regiments. After the Franco-Prussian conflict, the number of battalions of foot-hunters was fixed at 30.
The heyday of the Chasseurs à Pied and Alpins goes back to the year 1915, with the fighting for the summit ridge of the Vosges; fights of extreme violence. The Alpine were present there as two blue divisions, the 47th and 66th, which formed the so named "Army of the Vosges".
Impressed by their value, the Germans named them the “Blue Devils".
The beret was adopted in 1891 by the Ministry of War. The Tarte"pie", as all hunters call it, quickly became the emblem of the Chasseurs. The large beret protects from the sun, the rain and snow and, as stipulated in the guidelines: "It must be able to slip on both feet when it is cold quartering."
According to some authors, the" pie "could also be filled with rags and thus protect Chasseurs from falling rocks.
During the First World War, hunters will even abandon the regulatory helmet to wear their emblem, the Tarte, during the fighting.