Thursday, December 31, 2009

downtown winter twilight

I love the industrial look on our side of downtown. Took these pics with my phone, walking the doggies last night. this cityscape is right out of our building, for a block or two.
Nice and gritty, lots of rust and abandoned spaces, plus not as many folks around for the end of the work day since it's the week between Christmas and New Years. Also the blurry grain and intensity of light works for me - is what i get with the phone. Especially being pulled by 2 dogs.

Happy 2010 - from Alex

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

winter now

After the storm, just before Christmas - home sweet home, up the block, across the street, the red brick 5 story warehouse with large windows.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

before the rains + wind

the last color before all the rains and wind.

my phone moved and what a surprize.

Too intense indeed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


keir dullea for miles klee at hate the future - i love this photo and use it all the time. it is the cover of my portfolio at our coop gallery. i imagine i'll get busted some day but it's just for personal use and probably not really a copyright violation. in 1968 kubrick's masterpiece film was astounding to us all - of course the drugs helped. and now we are way past 2001 aren't we, all sober and everything, and it's still a masterpiece. We watched it the other weekend on the 50 inch plasma and it felt like i was 19 again.

autumn dog walking

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

around the hood

from a few days ago.

My favorite stand of maples, and walking the dogs round downtown.

Monday, October 12, 2009


unlike the common perception of total blackout, being blind or lacking vision means one sees only snow white before them - not blackness.

This notion is the only thing taken, really, from movie called Blindness. That and some interesting dystopian art direction and beautiful overexposed footage.

So for opla plaza, a black background is giving way to the new white one. So consider again that the opla plaza lounge is a dreamy place where things converge - chaos and silence coexist.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Florence lives in Richmond repost for Patricia

Black and white photos never looked so good as when i used that Yashica D view camera in college in Richmond Virginia, 1967 to 1971. I sold it to Linsday Parks when i graduated - too much baggage i thought at the time. Years later, in 1985 or so - i saw Linsday at the bookstore where i was working. He said he kept, and continued to use the Yashica.

Hollywood Cemetery, in Richmond, [see Walking Tour, Virtual Tour, and History ala link] was a favorite stomping ground for most art students for making photos, drawings or rubbings. It's many hills and wooded acres look out upon the James River. The tombs and gates and even a massive stone pyramid are discovered by hiking from one area to another - along twisted little roads and pathways - all over hung by ancient trees. There is one statue in the cemetery i photographed in 1968.

This lady - sitting against a cross, sleeping or thinking or maybe dead - is so very peaceful. She is close to smiling but it's hard to say. She is life size so she can be mistaken for real.

I found her again, in 1998, and took her picture with my Pentax 35mm. She was really hard to find given to relandscaping - both real and in my mind. A "relandscaped memory" that is. Over the 30 years between these 2 photos, they had removed old hemlocks and given her a bath. I think her name was Florence, or that was who was buried there. Or maybe there are no names and i just made it up when i exhibited the photo long ago.

Now i have to find her again.

Monday, September 28, 2009

autumn rust

Rusty colors ala phone photos.

Some real rust on black painted metal railing that has oxidized to a matte finish that is almost blue.

A drop of mist and rain sits in the center of tri-formed leaves of the lovely nandina.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

it's my life again

Per some talk w/ blogging friends... getting comments to our posts shouldn't determine success. Followers come and go, comments can happen whether is a great story or not. What to blog about, or not, should be totally to the whim of the writer. I try to weave and tie topics and themes together. i like the results most times. Other times it feels muddled or lame. i might fix or fiddle, or i might not.

So it's about stuff i'm interested in; film art culture, music, black & white, phone photos, architecture, dreamy, sexy, meditation, etc. Or my dogs. Or Eric Burdon - seen above with the band War. he is known as Eric Burdon & the Animals, or the New Animals, and Eric Burdon and War from the 1960s into the 1970s. I thought of this photo after i used the Talk Talk photo the other day. Very Similar black & white photos. More cute boys for sure. again one fellow is shirtless, and everyone looks venerable, quizzical, innocent and full of sexual energy. Their song, It's My Life, connects us to my last It's My Life post with music, 20 years apart. Notice also in this video, George Maharis hosting Hullabaloo and the very weird /disturbing set for the performance.

look again at the Burdon photo and see their long narrow scarves - a big hippie thing. And so here is your's truly in this color photo, from 2007, in Golden Gate Park after outing all along the Haight. I found the narrow gold paisley silk scarf with black fringe that i'm wearing - right out of the used clothing store and into the park. i was there silently remembering the 40 year anniversary of the Summer of Love, so i found me one of those scarves. I think i mostly wore it on that day only, but need to get it out again.

Friday, September 18, 2009

its my life & life is what you make it

Enough about my big windows, opla dreams and random photos. A Talk Talk video, which i put on facebook this week, to general approval, has been on my mind all week. it's an old song that i know and love, Its My Life, 1984. I was 35. And Mel, a girl friend from Austria, was 15. She likes this song a lot too.

There are 2 versions of the video, the original UK version is just the animals. the US version, that i linked to above, has the band superimposed over the animals - i like it either way.

Another old song by this group i discovered, for the first time this week, is Life is What You Make It, 1986. Again, lots of animals running around in thie video which i don't really understand. But it's sure fun to watch. this band seems so optimistic, life-affirming and full of positive inspiration. it's doing me some good.

And then to change the subject a bit - well a lot... this young maple tree is down our block very suddenly added it's red coloring - i was shocked that it happened over night. Negotiating two dogs on leashes in the rain, and under a giant umbrella, i didn't see the new coloring until we were right beside it and i looked up. i love the fall so we start the slide down to the end of the year and the depths of winter - with it's promise of spring.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

doing opla in my sleep

There is some decay + elegance, simultaneously, in these 2 remaining photos from my stream of conscientiousness images post the other day.

as I said at the end of opla-ing around, "the opla plaza lounge is a dreamy place where things converge - chaos and silence coexist."

and i am a huge fan of paradox.

I think contrasts like elegance and decay go together just fine, as indicated in this rather personal phone photo of my bedroom. yes there are the great windows and exposed, semi-painted brick. Shininess of reflections - like the top of the table and all the window light - make for some elegance. Then there are silver candle sticks (note they are tarnished) and antique ceramic lions on top of the mantle bed. I like the room i sleep in and i like this picture of it.

Then there is Grey Gardens, little Edie and her mother, big Edie. The recent film with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange i have not seen yet. it's in our queue, and coming up. but here is this actual shot of Edie in front of her house. Spooky, confidant, elegant and crazy as a bedbug - as Maureen reminded us. Also, Maureen and I have a friend who used this photo as his id picture in facebook. Captivating, fascinating.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

more opla-ing

Like Andy Warhol said, I too, just like to look at the pictures. so i try not to write too much in my blog explaining the pictures i post. but on the other hand, I think it's fun to enlighten the viewer, at least to some degree.

Carl Bean is another myspace find.

On Myspace, i first i heard his song I Was Born This Way. "i'm gay, hurrah, god made me that way" or something along those lines. i thought it was great. And from Motown in the 1970s, that was pretty great. He went on to become a minister - as noted by this picture of him in some clerical garb. Here he is with a younger sly smile that pre-dates his religious commitments.

This handsome young redhead is my partner - i snapped the photo of him at the fair 8 or 9 years ago. We like this picture and i have the abstract black and white sort of negative version.

In an email last week, I was "reminding" him to join the Y and start swimming.

The delightful little hot dog, wearing a crown, was his reply - he really can be a really funny guy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

upon finding my opla

Maybe i go to London and Penzance, Great Britain and maybe i visit an island called St. Michael Mount.

So i start planing a trip.

And during my planning i realize that not only is St Michael Mount near Penzance but i'm looking at all these stunning images of the castle monastery i want to visit. And i get goose bumps cause it is the same place i first saw years ago in a very random picture of a guy at St. Micheal Mount who was cute and was wearing a tee shirt with image. I have a good friend named Heidi so i gave her the picture. It was she who identified the amazing castle looming over his shoulder.

Then there is the wonderful, but little known singer Georgia Gibbs. i fell in love with her and this one recording i discovered 3 years ago wandering in MySpace. I did Myspace for a lot of years before letting it, and my multiple profiles, go in 2009. She was from the big band era into recording of albums. She died in 2006.

Grace Jones is more familiar -but not in this yearbook shot of her at 16 years old. it is another old myspace treasure of mine.

I am a big fan of this wild woman, love all her music, old and new, spoken or sung. Please indulge a recent release, Corporate Cannibal. this music and video are just so cool.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

busted foot and studio window

this is a late August, Sunday morning view out my studio window - latest of the phone photos. i am constantly amazed that i'm so lucky to live in this old warehouse loft with really big windows. how big are they? 7 feet tall and 21 feet across. After i snapped the window shot, i took the trite and/ or tried and true photo of my feet. I liked this first one because my left foot only shows some and makes it look like one messy foot. The right foot is sitting on top of the left but it looks like one foot, albeit a bit deformed.Then there's the scar on the top of the right foot, following the big toe down 5 or 6 inches. This was from out-patient surgery 10 years back to remove bone spurs and arthritis that had gotten painful. it took a few years but is fine now. i actually was back to running fairly soon, it just takes bone a long time to heal once it is cut. And i could "feel it healing" for years.

Some favorite things sit in this room past my feet. 1930s era Chinese chest that my grandparents got in Shanghai. Dad was born there in 1924. they returned from China to the states in 1937 when Dad was 13. This after the attacking Japanese drove them, other missionaries and refuges into the mountains for 5 months. The big sea grass box, on top of the chest, holds drop cloths, towels, apron and various tools for my painting. the 1950's modern arm chair was $7 at an estate sale. We got the legs and arms professionally spray painted black when we were doing some of the other furniture for the loft. We thought we'd re-upholster the back and seat so we told them to just paint away. But it's such a cool knobby red tweed fabric with metallic green and gold threads running through - i hated to see it go. And we got lazy / over-extended after we moved in, so we just left it as is.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

far away films

On another film weekend, i loved every minute of these 2 movies. Both are 2 hours, right at my limit, but oh so worth it. Being There in 1979 and The Misfits 1961. And both are strong, bold, acclaimed and successful on lots of levels.Being There with Peter Sellers and Shirley McClain is so thoughtful, sweet and inspiring - and funny. It was Sellers last film released before he died. Here is the wonderful sequence of scenes (with a wonderful version of very familiar movie music.) It's Sellers leaving the only home he's ever known. He has never seen the front yard, been to school or a doctor, or ridden in a car.

It was filmed in color even thought this picture of Sellers in the wing back chair is black and white. I like this of him just resting. is it Sellers or Chance?I think it's Chance, or Chauncy reflecting on the fate of the world or just being dumb and simple. Was he Jesus Christ, a pre-Forrest Gump, or a figment of our collective imagination? Maybe he was just in the right place at the right time. This is fun to watch also because the mansion they filmed in is Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC, made to seem like is located near Washington DC. I've been to Biltmore and a tour is worth the time and moola.

Clark Gable and Marylin Monroe's last film, before their deaths was The Misfits, written by Arthur Miller. He was married to Monroe at the time but the marriage was ending. I like this film but i was struck by just how truly misfitted the gang of characters were - more so than other times i have watched it. i mean everyone was just pathetic, and yet very sincere and trying really hard. At one point i decided it was Miller that was trying too hard. But then what he had Gay (Gable) tell Roslyn (Monroe), as he tucked her into a sleeping bag on the back of the truck, was just perfect...down right Buddhist.

I have to use this photo of Marilyn because she looks so natural and sort of happy. I think she is just Marilyn here, and not Roslyn. The world didn't see this side of her much.