Robin Hood Of Nottingham
Saturday, April 08, 2006
For as long as I can remember I have had Robin Hood and His Life in the Merry Greenwood
by Rose Yeatman Woolf and illustrated by Howard Davie. There is an edititing credit to a mysterious Capt. Vrendenburg. There is no publishing date but there is a blue stamp on the opening page that says Mitchell's Book Store - Buenos Aires. I don't know if my father or my mother bought it. But I remember that when I was 7 or 8, my father read me the story. I was touched when Robin says, "It is my last shot,"he sighed. "Lay me where the arrow fell and put my bow beside me." In this version he is with Little John in the end. But I have a particular fondness for the Robin and Marian movie version with Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. In it Marian poisons Robin and then herself. But Robin still manages to unleash his last arrow. When I visited Nottingham I was fascinated by all thing Robin including this marvellous statue. Now that Rebecca and I have watched both the Errol Flynn and the Sean Connery, Robin Hood, I will read her the book.BookMovie
Quill & Quire - Desire And Murder At The Marble Arch
Friday, April 07, 2006
I had not noticed that Books In Canada
had ceased publishing. While it did, the best I could say about Quill & Quire
was that it was the second driest Canadian magazine. In July, 1994 I was called by Quill & Quire to photograph Vancouver poet, Michael Turner. I took him to my favourite location for sexy, sleezy photographs. This was room 615 of the Marble Arch Hotel on Richards Street. My friend Tony Ricci always made this room available when I needed it. When the picture appeared in the August 1994 issue on the cover (the writer of the piece was a not yet known Zsuzsi Gartner), the publication was showered with instant hate mail. Most readers objected to Salem, in black underwear, lying on the bed behind Turner. The editor called me up to tell me how happy he was. I returned to room 615 in November, 1997 for the Georgia Straight
that was one of the few fashion shoots I ever did. This one featured two male Ballet BC dancers who are lured by three female Ballet BC dancers and are quickly dispatched to the other world with a snub nosed .38 revolver. In one of the pictures I decided to place Michael Turner's picture in a frame. Here you see Andrea Hodge and my favourite male Ballet BC dancer ever, Miroslav Zydowicz. I may be tempted to change my mind when I see Donald Sales in Ballet BC's A Streetcar Named Desire
this week end.
Alexander Scriabin's Grand Niece Nicole
Thursday, April 06, 2006
At precisely 11am, every Saturday, Juan Castelao, Rebecca's piano teacher, knocks on the door. At 11:45 we have lunch. The language at the table is Spanish. It is a mixture of Rosemary's Mexican with a Canadian accent, my Argentine and Juan's crisp Oviedan Spanish. After lunch Rebecca and Lauren are read to by Rosemary while Juan and I retire to the living room to listen to music. This last Saturday we listened to Vladimir Horowitz play two Alexander Scriabin Etudes (Etude in C sharp minor, op. 2 no.1 and Etude in D sharp minor, op 8 no. 12). We then compared the performance to Glen Gould playing Scriabin's Piano Sonata no. 3 in F sharp minor, op 23. According to Juan he thought that Gould was the better pianist, particularly in the loud passages where the piano was banged percussively. I think I agreed with Juan, but I was initially swayed by the Russians' enthusiastic clapping in Horowitz's live Moscow version. Juan appreciates Gould's penchant for the perfection of a studio recording. I feel lucky to have a friend with whom I can listen to someone like Scriabin and have a discussion. The topic of Scriabin also gives me the marvelous opportunity to place here a photograph of his grand niece, Nicole Scriabin. She is posing by the very piano that Juan teaches Rebecca. It's a Chickering baby grand. Our piano tuner told us that Gould had a Chickering in his living room, too.
Alex MacGillivray And The Belly Dancer
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Before restaurant reviewers in Vancouver started trying to imitate A.J. Liebling we had the Vancouver Sun's
Alex MacGillivray. He was a meat and potatoes man who was big enough that I don't think he could have ever entered a restaurant incognito. I liked his short, to the point reviews. He sounded very personal because he would start his reviews with, "Your agent sat down and.....I always had the impression the review was just for me. As far as I can tell MacGillivray always wrote about the food and the wines except once. He went to the Kilimanjaro Restaurant, that used to be on Water Street in Gastown, and never mentioned the food. He wrote enthusiastically about Sarita the belly dancer. I suspect that A. J. Liebling might have skipped dinner, too.
Art Bergmann and Los Rádicos Popularos
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
It was inevitable that I would publish a photograph of Vancouver guitar legend/virtuoso Art Bergmann in this blog. Thanks to a scanner I can show the story behind it. I started taking pictures of Art in the late 70s and stopped in the mid 90s. When I took this picture in April 1981 many Vancouver punk bands formed ancillary bands in which the guitar player of one band would play as a drummer in another and so on. They played for "the fuck of it" so they were known as fuck bands
. Los Popularos ( began its days in 1980 as Los Rádicos Popularos) was a fuck band that became a super group. Bill Shirt was the lead singer but many of us went to Pops
concerts not only to hear Art Bergmann's brilliant lead guitar (Buck Cherry's rhythm guitar was dynamite, too), but also in the hope of hearing a bit of that inimitable Bergmann voice/rasp. In one of the songs Art would scream (to our delight), "It was the sex, it was the sex!" In February 81, I bought a copy of my favourite camera magazine of the day, Camera 35
. In April I had to photograph Los Popularos for Les Wiseman's In One Ear
column in Vancouver Magazine
. There was no doubt in my mind what I was going to do. From gun collector Tom Bongalis, I obtained three antique rifles and the bandoleers. I needed a fourth rifle, so writer Ben Metcalfe lent me his Winchester repeater. The white pants and shirts were courtesy of BJ's, a 70s and 80s underground drag queen club on West Pender, very near the Niagara Hotel. The bandido hats I rented at Watts Costumes on West 6th Avenue. I asked the band to come to my Burnaby home studio. Tony Bardach and Art Bergmann called me from the Boundary Loop so I picked them up in my two-seater Fiat. When Tony sat on Art's lap, Art slammed the door on Tony's hand. I did not notice that Tony's hand was bleeding until I began to take my photos. We bandaged it up.
Tony Bardach (centre), base, Zippy Pinhead (middle, left),drums, Art Bergmann (middle right), lead guitar, John Armstrong, aka Buck Cherry (top, left), rhythm guitar, Bill Shirt (top right), lead singer.
Morris Panych And Bert Stern's Gary Cooper
Monday, April 03, 2006
In the early 50s, US photographer Bert Stern convinced the folks at Smirnoff Vodka that the driest vodka martini would have to evoke the dryness of a real desert. So Bert Stern went to Egypt and took the famous photo of the martini with the Great Pyramid of Giza as a background. Stern initiated the trend of photographers going around the world with big budgets all in the name of authenticity.
That era and the budgets are long gone but I always have in mind Stern's ability to distill any portrait into an essence. When he was assigned to photograph Gary Cooper in the role of Western hero in the heels of his staring part in High Noon
, Stern chose to photograph him in a coat and tie and used the gun as the essence to convey the idea of the Western. In this portrait Stern shows what so few photographers are able to do well and this is the perfect white background. Whenever I take portraits I invariably put myself in Stern's shoes. Here is my take on Morris Panych the director of the Arts Club Theater production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot.
Gunga Din, The Sailor Dress & The Sailor
Sunday, April 02, 2006
I do believe that all children, be they little boys or little girls, should have and wear a sailor dress or suit at least once in their life. I was delighted when on a trip to Can Cun in 2002, I found a sailor dress at a Sanborns drug store. In May 2003, when Rebecca was 5, she wore it in our garden and posed for me with Rosa
'Mrs. Oakley Fisher'. In 1966 I wore a real sailor uniform and here it was in my winter blues by the sea lion on the rambla at Mar del Plata in Argentina. I originally left Buenos Aires in 1954 when I was 11 and I have fond memories of going to the movies with my father and mother and particularly with my grandmother, Lolita. She had a liking for "peliculas de con-boy" and she would take me to Lavalle Street which had blocks and blocks of movie houses, one after the other. It was not unusual to see three westerns in a row. I specially remember Colt 45
with Randolph Scott in glorious Technicolor. She had good taste for war movies as she took me to see Battleground
with John Hodiak. But my mother and father were the ones that took me to the movies that have lingered in my memory. Beau Geste
with Gary Cooper, Robin Hood
with Errol Flynn, The Corsican Brothers
with Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Scaramouche
with Stewart Granger, The Man in the Iron Mask
with Louis Hayward and The Scarlet Pimpernel
with my mother's favourite actor (after Joseph Cotton) Leslie Howard. I saw them again with my daughters, particularly with Rebecca's mother, Hilary. Hilary and I saw Gunga Din
when Hilary was 8. Today Rebecca (8) and I saw Gunga Din
. I told Rebecca, after the movie ended, that as a boy all I wanted to see were peliculas de guerra
(war), de conboys
, de piratas
and de espadachines
(swordfighting movies). I further told her that I could not speak for the tastes of a little girl since I had never been one. Her reply was, "Papi, as a little girl my tastes aren't that different." Imagine that!