As you may or may not know, Kim Jong Il, the North Korean dictator in residence, is a big film buff and has personally directed many North Korean block busters. He has even gone as far as kidnapping South Korean stars so that they might perfect their craft in North Korea. This one wasn’t directed by the man himself……..
A workers’ Paradise but soon to be repurposed as a Geico insurance commercial….
but this one was directed by “Dear Leader” himself…….
One of my all time favorite source of entertainment, when I travel to foreign lands, is watching their version of TV. Not only does it give me a opportunity to get a foot hold into, said alien minds, and therefore allow me to better do my job but it also satisfies a very important and integral part of my personality, a kind of intense sardonic curiosity. To my credit I do not judge others beyond my first reactions and internal or public commentaries. Invariably these kinds of cultural diversions, leave me awe struck by humanity’s extraordinary diversity and creativity. I love human culture in all its bewildering forms and one of my life’s most important and dogged pursuit has been to experience as much of it as could be crammed in.
I have gather a large collection of YouTube nuggets by key wording in some of my own personal collections or notes from the field. I will post these findings from time to time and if I ever get to it I will grace this site with MP4s harvested from my own video collection. I probably won’t get to it since editing, copying and downloading video is incredibly labor intensive, but you never know. In the meantime, you still can check out the video I made in Afghanistan 4 years ago. It’s long and strangely uneventful but it has its own beauty. Just copy it to your ipod and watch it on your favorite from of public transport.
Begin festivies here:
This one is from Estonia. I’ll be posting more from Estonia so yall come back. On a personal note, the most disturbing part of this one is that it sounds like polyphonic Corsican folk music. Fucking bumpkins, they always sounds eerily familiar and similar.
I have been a great fan of Bollywood since my first of many trips to the continent in 1987. I have a large personal collection of both Bollywood flicks and their musical scores as well as the other more “serious” Calcuttan school of film making. This one plays like a bizzare tourist advertorial, loose limbed Mumbai extravaganza. Watch for the peculiar disrobing and the transparent bus among others. I have to admit that I have been know to frequent such buses in the great state of Bihar. And oh yes, it’s also a good way to sneak into Afghanistan.
A classic and it features a commercial photographer to boot. I have watched endless hours of this kind of stuff while living and working in Asia. This one is Korean. Those Korean girls are so damn fine it’s sometimes hard to concentrate on the story line and wonder what a Korean South Park might look like. Of course as everything Korean, it never ends well. The syrupy fatalism is to die for….
Much more to come, I have a feeling that this will become a permanent feature on this site.
Since I only came to this country when I was fourteen, it stands to reason that I spent the better part of my formative years in the country of my nativity; France namely. The country which gave you the “freedom frie”*, a healthy love of ridicule and what some might contemptuously taunt as, a shallow infatuation with the sumptuous.
The later, but a reverence for craftsmanship, and a refined sense of a life well achieved, and by that I do not mean, the incessant pursuit of the feckless riches which we seem to so abundantly revere in this country, but an almost obsessive love of perfection. Because a living, is better appreciated when your hands produce an object of beauty, rather than the blood they once shed over the forced labor, king and country so cruelly expropriated in salt, and tears.
It made for a land greened and rooted in craftsmanship, only to reflect the brilliance of a nation and the humanity contained within; a trait, deeply ingrained into the french psyche. In France, the artisan and the thinker are esteemed and worshiped like no other, save for Japan, may be!
As I was saying, having spent half of these first fourteen years in a Parisian suburb(the rest in a Corsican village), I never, as much as batted an eye when the French Communist party would take to the streets and chant up and down Parisian streets, or strike the country into a stand still. I saw the communists as just another stitch in the fabric of my own birth country, another voice within our politically french cacophony. Consequently, when I first came to New York’s Duchess county, the visceral McCarthyism of these here Yankees, save for a few contrarians, neither here nor there nor yonder, made for some pleasantly stupefying head scratching to this teenage creed.
What was the meaning of these North American dogmatists, these ante-bellish certainties? Communism? How could this mirrored Narcissus, to their own puritanical absolutes, could possibly have been confused for anything else but another one of man’s own self absorbed tyrannies? What was it about the American psyche which demanded a murderous end to the constraints of someone else’s philosophy?
Was it the fear of those nuclear tipped flying machines, or the intellectual fear to compete with another, less fortunate citizenry, trying to brake loose from the tyrants, real and imagined, they had been made to worship; in duchesses and counties, where land wasn’t a plenty and the natives ever so pliably sickened by a battery of ship born diseases?
A continent twice the size of the known universe, ripe for the Christian taking, and so it goes, no one to argue with, except the remorse and the guilt, but nothing the confessional couldn’t fix, but not until those well meaning, god fearing Christianialists, came to realize that tilling and claiming such fertility, took more than a plow and crucifixes; it also took a people whose skin came better and more readily accustomed to working, in these sub-tropics.
Did we really, need afore mentioned intestinal rhapsody to introduce the poetic politics of Communism’s favorite opiated lyrics. Probably not, but nevertheless, this chant’s call to equality seems but a sad recall to the principles of our two mutually wounded and competing philosophies. I guess it never hurts to look back at the twentieth century, or the 16th, and remember that human dissonance makes for the inexorable furtherance and pursuit, of life, death, and the murderously brutal persuasions, of the living. Nevertheless, The International “is” a beautiful song, especially when harmonized acoustically.
Here is a link to the lyrics, so that you may sing along, in English or in French, given that, afterall, the tune itself was originally written in the French I first spoke, not the English I seconded, in Duchess county.
* It is claimed that a belgium born man, by the name of Parmentier, is to be blamed for that culinary epiphany, but who’s counting?
I have not yet posted an image of Raphaël so here he is. Since this is Thanksgiving, and eventhough, I have never been a big fan of this manufactured holiday, I have to say that I am thankful for the endless amusement and merriment my boys bring to my life. Quite the little “Terrance and Philip”, those two are. This image of Raphaël was taken last spring during a rare moment of introspection. I must have threatened him with grave consequences for him to sit still and not goof off for less than a micro-second.
I am eternally thankful that my boys are healthy, handsome, funny and intelligent. If you are reading this blog and have children of your own, I wish you all the same and many happy returns; but as Calamity Jane used to say: The adults can “go fuck their’selves”.
Yesterday afternoon, a friend of mine, casually mentioned, “olivier, I have been reading your blog, and you sound kinda angry, eventhough you are not “. OKAY, I’ve heard that one before, but usually without the “eventhough you’re not “; so for the FUCKING record, “I am NOT fucking ANGRY”, JESUS fucking CRIKEY !!! , do I really have to reach across the multimedia and bitch slap senses into the modern english, plural nominative equivalent of “YE”? For the FUCKING life of ME, do I really have to fUCKing SPELL it…????
Long lines, unavoidably try, yours and mine. As a result, I have always tried to anticipate such times to reduce the strain on this psyche of mine and have always made sure that there is a book, a New Yorker or an iphone somewhere in my gunnysack. As soon as it starts to form behind some imaginary line, I pull it out and wile away the time (sounds dirty too, how fine!).
Thereupon, I came to realize that the unavoidable conclusion was that I relied too much on the iphone for such interneted diversions. On that account, I’ve decided to both read and absorb Deadwood and the New Yorker at the same time. I was skeptical at first that this here multi-task might better be left to womens, but to my great surprise, I was able to focus on both tasks, at, and for once. One draw back, to these exercises, is that I seem more prone to ignoring some of the finer lines gracing the King of Thai’s lovely, larb dispensing gals.
By Deadwood, I mean the HBO series of the same mind, not the lack of erectile. I had begun watching Deadwood a year or two ago but never made it passed the first couple times; despite the fact that I relished the screen writing, acting and cinematography, but more on that.
Anyway, as I was watching season one’s eight episode while reading the New Yorker review of “Michael Clayton’; I was struck by David Denby’s first pronouncements: ” It’s forever being drummed into us that movies are a visual medium. Screenwriters are chastised with this half-truth all the time”.
And as I read this, here I was, relishing Deadwood’s language and wondering wether it was cut because it seems to rely so heavily on the characters’ great lines. May be it was the screenwriter’s aptitude at language which doomed it this time. Deadwood seems to rely almost entirely on the power of the written lines. No doubt the acting and the sets are finely tuned pieces of professional knack but it seems obvious that the whole series revolves around a writer’s finely tuned craft. Rising tides lift all crafts, taking the rest of the crew on this ride.
I think I became aware of this once I realized that most of the action takes place behind closed doors, whereas the landscape, universal staple of the American Western is relegated to the background, as if the entire series was shot with just one short focal eye. Hardly ever, does the camera wonder outside, giving us an acutely un-western sense of drama. The anguish and trauma of the camp, the single mindedness of these prospecting hands does not stop to take in the panorama. The whole series, at least what I’ve seen of it now, concentrates on its human characters’ enforced drama. Removing the sublime from their daily lives it reinforces the sub-prime and enforces claustrophobia. Not a bad way to eat pork larb, multi-task or wait in line.
In other news: You can now buy mangosteens in America. For some reason the Agriculture department had prevented their importation for a very long time. Fortunately, they are now gracing Chinatown’s fruit salad.
(read previous entry), I pop a couple Vicodins to shave that snake; but fear not, the rest of him keeps on kicking throughout the day, to remind me its not quite done with me. Afterall, who wants to run around like a fucking caged monkey, thinking about nothing else but how much freaking nerve pain a primate can endure in a day. Thank you opiates, and yes I have a prescription, and no, you can’t have it, and no, I am not fiended; I have actually reduced and never increased the dosage. As previously explained, I am very slowly getting better, lots of steroids and Botox injected, twice weekly physical therapies; and oh yes, once again, thank you opiates; without you I would have been freaking desperate . Surviving the last year without these beauties would have been far too manly for my taste.
Anyway, around 8:40, I slowly walk back to the XC seventies and pop in some African CDs, I am a big fan here, let’s say 30 years; turn on the ignition and peel off like the French born that I is.
On the way home I curse California drivin’; by far the worst goddamn cretins on Gore’s not so green earth; ain’t it?
Worthless bunch of inattentive, self righteous, passive-digressive, incompetent clueless douches. Give me New York City or Paris any day, that’s my kind of tootin’ anyway; where men drive like clown monkeys and women bray like camel riding donkeys . If ever I have guests, I try to tone it down but “es-startlement happens” ! (new word here, means: Spanglish to describe the startling processes).
Not to spare you the tedium, I take Belvedere or Cole to 17th and Market and then down the hill to the Castro, that’s where I live with my girl, and the progenated. Up Douglass and up up and away.
You see, I am a divorcé, so off I go to live communally. Clicker in hand I open the brand new garage door and ram the cardboard flotsam to the back of these here garages. Step out of the car, disrecollected, close the roll ups and walk up, up and away. Back down to get recollected and back up again’.
Open the door leading into the deck, trip over the Bar-B-Qued remains and drop the keys that opens the kitchen gates. Wheel the dishwasher back in place and to the home offices; it’s more feminine that way. Tap the keyboard and wake up the CPAs, “Good day”! To show cheer and show my good graces by animating objects, is an important part of my day to day.
I check email one more time and snurf the dailies: the Jackanory, aphotoeditor, Heading East, 2point8; these are all people I either know, or we communicate; sometimes every day. I like them, and their energy and efforts are always greatly appreciated. When I feel less pressed, like today, I roam the interneted, and less well known tottering blog-aided…. I comment, but shouldn’t, too much time away from these bitches! Thankfully I can finger type with great rapidity.
If I am feeling friskay, I’ll write my own entry, usually consisting of what this blog generally disseminates with great identity, which it’s supposed to portray, or a least try to communicate, what a slightly older, effeminate esthete, British and patrician academic might think. Well crafted, defined, opinionated, ideated; ideas, tidbits, wisdoms and recollections collected while traveling with the Queen and her majesty’s secret services; all the while, throwing in, a few contemporary rabbits and expletives, to appear younger than I might actually turn out to bees. I have tried to have that come across with greater clarity and voice-hover all my entreaties, but that was way too time consuming, I had to put that one to sleep. Enough for right now, I have actual work to do, but fear not, more’s a coming your way…..
I just wanted to introduce the work of Jean de la Fontaine. Please excuse my lack of mastery but you should appreciate his: Jean de la Fontaine was a 17th century French fabulist, who wrote, in part, to satirize Louis the fourteenth’s absolute authority. He is still, to this day, one of my favorite authors.
Ironically I was once forced, at the end of a stick, to commit his works to memory, all the while wondering why they so blatantly gave me the very stick, I would some day use to return my favorite kind of justice: “Satire”.So without further ado, a belated thank you to all those so called educated pricks my childhood was so generously peppered with. For the rest of you, especially if you speak French, I link to you the works of JDLF, as he is sometimes acronym-ly known. Sweet music to cauliflowered ears.
Found this busty lady while surfing the “Dictionary dot com”. Sometimes the pursuit of knowledge leads right back to these ICBMs. Nonetheless, I have to admit, I like the idea that somewheres, out there in the Bible belt, that this is as close as some student will ever get to ogling breasts, print this page, and run to pleasure thyself…!
The Photo Editor continues his daily postings and it seems I can’t just ignore him, dammit:
He writes: “I’ve never met anyone as loyal as Martin Schoeller (here). To the subject, his team of people, the client, his agent, his style, his goals, the print… everything. It’s more than just being a nice guy and delivering consistently good work there’s honesty and integrity, and a devotion to the craft, and an incredible work ethic that adds up to, well, loyalty.
There was a point in his career where he was thinking oh shit, this big head style is not going to define me but over the last couple years he’s decided the market forces are too great and produced a book and several gallery exhibits of big heads”.
Commentum, humanum est:
Loyalty: I am going to go out on a limb here and throw the baby out with the bath water but I am of the opinion that Yankee psychology leaves little room for such august affectations. I might even venture to proclaim that in this country, as someone who has lived on three continents, Europe and Asia being the other two outside this one; that personal and economic loyalty are oft ridiculed personal and corporate qualities and attributes.
Martin Schoeller, besides being an extremely talented photographer probably owes much of his success to his temperament and character but also to the simple fact that Europeans are taught, at an early age, to stick by those who raise you up, and that to not return the favor is an abominably rude and crassly North American attribute.
Americans tend to take their entrepreneurial zeal a little too seriously and often dismiss budding friendships and partnerships for short term profits. Friends of mine who work in Europe, China and India dislike working with North Americans most of all for lacking these most natural virtues; knowing full well that if they do not give way to our commercial brutishness, that they, the ” Yankees”, will take our business elsewhere to save less than a few cents.
Business is based on personal character and on nurturing relationships, but these values are often ignored in response to brutishly attained profits; victims of our quarterly reported and greedish creed. The unflinching coarseness of the market has created increasingly newfangled, unemotional and unavailable beasts.
Nothing wrong with profits but profits without relationships will eventually diminish returns on those very real and coveted profits. Without lasting relationships the proverbial economic air slowly gets sucked out of the market and replaced with increasingly short termed and noxious speculative fumes (dot coms, sub prime shenanigans, dollar stockananigans, just to name a quick few…..)
Nonetheless, it’s nice to see that sometimes, humanity and simple loyalty can be appreciated, at least on a personal level. As for institutions, they are in the business of stripping those very human qualities to replace them with malignantly optioned algorithms and purposeful speculative economic rape and pillage.
As far as I am concerned business without values such as loyalty only leads to blindingly irrational exuberance, quickly followed by the digestion of increasingly depressing, manic, and loathsomely bitter pills. This seems to have become, not only the modus operandi of the North American economy, but more recently, the engine of its continued, rapid and possibly irreversible enfeebling.
Anyway, Americans are a versatile and flit footed people; let’s hope we can learn from our mistakes and regain some of our legendary humanity, which as of late has been sorely missing from the North American psyche. Nevertheless, I also wonder how quickly Martin might be forgotten should he falter to produce or fall pray to illness, age, cynicism or simple disgust?
Sorry, was that self-righteous enough for you? I swear I stopped reading Paul Krugman way back in two 0 two !
Sorry for the rant, I know it isn’t appreciated as constructive in this here “God’s country”.
I have always loved chuck close’s work and I think he is one of the least recognized and influential of all the very best contemporary artists. Nevertheless, here is another reason to appreciate his work further still, I could not agree more with the quote below:
“Photography is the easiest medium in which to be competent, but it’s the hardest medium in which to have personal vision that is readily identifiable”.
More website peregrinations. I continue redesigning the redesign. Need to go to Ikea to pick up a full length mirror and work facing my reflection. I think I’ll like that. The artist at work, peeking round the monitor to make sure he still loves him. Sweet…..
Here is an example of an abusive mind thinking aloud, itself the result of an overactive mind unable to stop itself from marveling at other minds cluster fucking themselves into their own personally abusive and mindfully cluttered and redundantly descriptive bits.
While brushing my teeth last night I read:
Take the feeling of clean to the extreme:
* Showers your whole mouth – teeth, gums and breath.
* Dynamic foaming action seeks out hard to reach places – even the back of your tongue – fighting the sources of bad breath.
* Teeth feel clean & smooth. Your whole mouth is energized with an icy cool, sparkling feeling that lasts long.
* “…..product name….” Extreme Clean Whitening Mint Experience (all capitalized) also whitens your teeth.
and then I think:
I don’t know why but reading this makes me want to overeat, stop brushing my fucking teeth, move to New Mexico and feast on the rotting carcasses of fat, bearded, behind the counter Calumet photographic sales associates. Makes every contrariant hair, bristle on the back of my horse’s hair. I think the mind works in wondrously mysterious and hypnotic ways.
I had never enjoyed texting until I got the iphone. Here is an excerpt from a recent conversation with a special someone. Yeah, yeah, I know I am supposed to be blogging about photography but I am a multi faceted human being, what can I say, I have other interests !
O(that’s me): “Brunch with captain hairy”
Z: “Jealous, Have fun”!
O:”Look how she writes back when she wants to….!!!!”
Z:”It’s the weekend”
O:”Whatever, I’ll give you the weekend. What if I just wanted to chat it up with you, wench?”
O:” …., not so interesting!”
Z:”oh, and I’d chat anytime wit jew…Reading kathy ryan’s rag right now.”
O:”you mean NYtimes?”
O:”Whata fuck? Where you at?”
Z:”gone, u need something?”
O:”Some skanky pussy!”
O:”Happy saknkping, get some dickie o! We tally monday.”
Z:”24″definetely! Thank you muchly..-xo”
O:”you all set up with the lap dog. At a special price. address and credit card.”
Z:”OMG!Ok, headed to my next mtg and will email in a fewhrs, that ok, or do you need info texted for asap?”
O:”later iz okay”
O:”Arnut basat kilo !”
Z:”Quoi? Limited intelligence, remember?”
A year or so ago, I turned my boys on , Raphael, 12 and Gabriel 9, to South Park. That’s right, call social services. Of course they ran with it, quite the little YouTube ogling freaks they are now proving to be.
Anyway, this morning, while looking out the window, a more than usual stream of obsenities came wafting out of the computer’s sound system. Being the concerned father that I is, I quickly rushed over, to participate in the festivities.
Anyway, from my boys to yours. Enjoy, the Fred Asstair bit in particcular. The English version with nordic Swedish looking language subtitles, and of course the all importantFrench Canadian clip.