The Young Romantics
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Last night's Pacific Baroque Orchestra's performance of The Young Romantics at St James Anglican on Cordova (the acoustics are phenomenal) was the kind of concert that even my poker-faced Argentine friend Juan Manuel Sanchez gave me an indication that somehow he was pleased. For him nothing will ever top what could happen at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. His amazement became vocal when he heard Victoria's Alexander Dunn play Giulio Regondi's Reverie-Nocturne Op 19 on a pocket guitar called a terz guitar. There was something about Dunn's passionate coolness that reminded me of of Austin's punk/country Alejandro Escovedo. The concert began with Gioacchino Rossini's Sonata for Strings in C Major. As good as it was, alas, there were no violas! But the Kool Kat (above, a.k.a. Glenys Webster) and the Happy Bear, a.k.a. Steve Creswell were back for Mauro Giuliani's Concerto N0. 3 in F major Op 70 for guitar and strings. The beauty of this concert is that anybody who may read this can attend two more performances, one today and one tomorrow. An added bonus is listening to bassist David Brown, who has several little solos during the performance.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Some years ago I photographed a young woman who went by the name of Isis. She was very beautiful. I printed one of the negs and placed the print in the developer. The phone rang and I turned on the light. I quickly remembered I had a print in the developer tray. I turned it off, but not before the lovely damage had happened. This is called a variation of the Sabattier Effect. The bright light on the developing paper somehow reverses the image partially. I don't think I could ever replicate this image if I tried.
A print that is reversed is called a solarized print. When it happens to a negative it's the Sabattier Effect.
Unremontant Charles de Mills
Thursday, May 04, 2006
It only ocurred to me the other day that I have recently gone bonkers for gallica roses. I have ten varieties. The original species, Rosa gallica
was native to southern Europe and eastward to the Caucasus. This wild rose is generally accepted to be the ancestor of the Damasks, Centifolias, Mosses and Albas. Unquestionably, Rosa gallica
is in the lineage of practically all modern garden roses. Most modern garden roses are remontant. This means that after the initial flush of blooms in May/June the bushes repeat. Gallicas (sports and crosses of Rosa gallica
with other roses) are not remontant. They make up for it by blooming in very large quantities. Why would I want to have these ancient plants in my garden? For one, the colours almost have no equal plus these roses, particularly the crimson ones "fade" into beautiful purples, greys and some get to an almost metallic silver tone. And their fragrance is superb. One such rose is Rosa 'Charles de Mills'
. When the dense and quartered blossoms (they look like textured velvet) open they appear as if someone cleanly snipped a section off with a razor. I can't wait.
Ruth Rendell, A Scary Woman
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
In my previous post I relate how Paco Ignacio Taibo II played a trick on me and never told me about it. He left it up to me to one day to find out. Fortunately I did. Being flummoxed by writers did not stop there. In 1996 I walked into Mystery Merchant (it used to be on 4th Avenue and it specialized in mystery and crime books). I asked for the lastest P.D. James book. A very serious and scary woman came up to me and said, "Here it is." From another corner the owner of the store noticed me and said, "You are here just in time this is Ruth Rendell. Do you have your cameras with you?" I did so I retrieved them and photographed Ruth Rendell. I broke my cardenal rule for author photos which is to never photograph one without at least reading one of their books. I asked her about her friendship with P.D. James and that was the only time she cast a smile in my direction. I asked her, "Are you always this serious and scary?" She answered that with a, "Yes." I have never known if that was true.
Beethoven's Eroica & Paco Ignacio Taibo II
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Magic realism as a concept applied to literature was introduced by Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier as "lo real maravilloso
" is his prologue to his novel El Reino de Este Mundo
, 1949 (The Kingdom of this World). In 1956 he wrote a novella El Acoso
, The Chase in which all the bloody actions occur precisely during a 46 minute long performance of Beethoven's Third Symphony (Eroica
In 1997 I travelled to Mexico City to interview and photograph Spanish-born writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II. His house was a block away from Tamaulipas Avenue where I had lived in the mid 50s. Taibo's house was mere yards from a roof on Veracruz Avenue where Edward Weston had photographed a nude Tina Modotti in the 1920s. In his study, early in the morning, Taibo sat me on the opposite side of his desk and then pressed his remote. Beethoven's Third Symphony began. "Let's start," he said. About 50 minutes later when the symphony ended, Taibo got up and said, "That's it." We met in the afternoon in the two block long Calle Dolores which is the city's minute China Town. It was there that I took my photo of Taibo II (above).
I did not get it until 1998 when my interest in Latin American Literature (perhaps precipitated by all those Taibo II novels that I had read) led me to discover the works of Alejo Carpentier. In the short story Viaje a la Semilla
(Journey Back to the Source) everything happens backwards (the candles get longer during a wake). In Los Pasos Perdidos
(The Lost Steps) the narrator loses his hope in mankind while listening to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. But the bells did not ring in my head until I associated it all with Carpentier's novella "El Acoso".
It was only then that I appreciated Taibo's trick at my expense!
TaiboII & Mario Vargas Llosa
Monday, May 01, 2006
Hilary, my daughter, and Rebecca's mother called last night to tell me that she didn't think that Rebecca should keep at home the roses I bought for her at the VanDusen Plan Sale yesterday. "We would not know how to take care of them." But I insisted that Rosa
'Mrs. Oakley Fisher' (left), 'Tuscany Superb', 'Ballerina' and the miniature 'Green Ice' would probably take care of themselves just fine with a miniumum of help. Rebecca should learn not only the responsibility of having a pet (she has an orange cat called Raúl) but she should deal with botanical extinction as most adults gardeners do. Plants die, but more often than not, they thrive in spite of human care. Rebecca has successfully grown the English Rose, Rosa
'Mary Magdalene' for two years so these will not challenge her. The miniature rose 'Green Ice'so called because as the white flowers age, they turn a lime green, seems to be her favourite of the moment. It could be because it was already in bloom. Rebecca immediately re-named it Genevieve. At the the plant sale, rosarian Christine Allen told me, "We kept this very odd rose for you since you like odd things. It is hardly listed anywhere and it has a very strange mottling. It's called Rosa
'Soleil Brillant'. She was right. It is not listed in any books and I was only able to find it on the net when I typed in Gallica rose, 'Soleil Brilliant'. Rebecca will be the first to know exactly how odd that mottling is going to be.
Roses & Apricot Jam
Sunday, April 30, 2006
The naming of a rose can be the key to its success. I don't particularly like the ones that are named after contemporary and famous women. I would rather have the ones that are the namesakes of now obscure women. Who would Mme Pierre Oger
be? I don't know, and I have a fondness for this sport of the more famous Bourbon rose, Reine Victoria. The only famous woman rose I own is Rosa
'Jaqueline du Pré'
. It is as popular in my garden as 'Dainty Bess'
Some rose names don't inspire. In the beginning I never cared much for a modern shrub rose, Rosa '
Westerland', which is a German rose hybridized by Kordes. I couldn't have it in my garden as it is orange in colour and my wife Rosemary does not like orange in the garden. But consider that this rose is extremely fragrant and its scent resembles (for me) that of apricot jam. So I bought it and planted it on our lane garden (not technically the garden). Rosemary has been won over and she, too, would not part with our Rosa