Coitus Interruptus - Rex Morgan M.D.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Lloyd Dykk the Vancouver Sun’s
music critic died on February 8, 2012. I knew him well enough to know we shared a fondness for Rex Morgan M.D. I wrote about it here
On March 22 I was startled most pleasantly because June Gale (now June Morgan) appeared quite sexy as she was removing her exterior clothing while Rex Morgan (not wearing a top) waited in bed. The pair were back from investigating a strange condo in Florida in which the occupants, all strippers, were giving parties to finance one of their own’s bout with cancer.
On March 23, the strip got racier, particularly in the Sunday colour one.
I wonder what Dykk might have commented on this. I would have called him up and I could have imagined his smile of glee as we compared notes. As far as I know this is the first example of coitus interruptus in Rex Morgan M.D.
What is the news they are going to reveal to their daughter Sarah? That her mother is going to have a baby and it just might be a boy.
Cones, Hats & The Unhirsute
Friday, March 22, 2013
With Leibnitz and Newton’s concept of the infinitesimal which ushered in the calculus the problem of Achilles never being able to overtake the hare became moot. Zeno knew all along and posed his paradox to flummox us.
At what point does the continuous slicing of a cone change from a small circle disc with an area to become a geometric point? The answer would be the same as when does a man become bald?
Author Jonathan Raban told me that the quickest cure for a bald man was a hat. He always wore a hat to prove the point. While having now lived in Seattle for some years, Raban has not lost his English sense of manners. He would not have approved as I likewise did not in spotting at Wednesday’s opening performance of 2 Pianos 4 Hands at the Stanley at least two men who wore hats. One young man wore a cap. An older man wore an Indiana Jones hat, a large Indiana Jones hat. He wore glasses and I made a bet with my daughter that he would not take it off once the show started. I lost my bet. I thought that by wearing a hat he stood out in the crowd and I was thinking that he was bald and I was wondering if he would be completely bald or a small circle almost at the top of that cone.
|Nick Muni - opera director|
Photo Illustration Juan Mauel Sánchez
Here are four photographs of four bald men. One of them, Kim Mitchell was not when he faced my camera. I told my daughter Hilary at the theatre, “If I were bald I would never wear a hat to hide the fact.” I wonder. But then I have never been able to wear a hat as I have that terrible vestigial feeling that it is still there and an itch when I take it off.
|Tim Bray - Googleoid|
2 Pianos 4 Hands & A Bouncing Ping-Pong Ball
Thursday, March 21, 2013
For me there is an unfathomable gulf between musicians and me. I appreciate music, I love music, I can even read music in a basic way taught by a teacher in high school who strongly urged me (forced) to learn to play the alto saxophone.
The language of music, the communication between musicians, the discourse of serious music critics, are all hocus-pocus handshakes of a Masonic order.
At the same time as a high school teacher I have been privy to conversations in teachers’ rooms that might make some parents avoid sending their children to school. Or what can we say about being a fly on the wall in a ballet (female or male) dressing room?
My daughter Hilary and I were shown into that world of music (flies on the wall it seemed sometimes during the evening) so alien to us by Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt last night in the opening performance of 2 Pianos 4 Hands
at the Arts Club Theatre Company’s Stanley Industrial Stage. The performance was presented by Marquis Entertainment and Talking Fingers Inc. and directed by pianists/actors/humorists Dykstra and Greenblatt.
For years since 1957 when I first heard an LP recording of Victor Borge in my English class in Austin, Texas I have been a fan ( I went to many of his shows) of humor at the keyboard. I can still remember, “What do you call two or more portugoose? Portuguese!”
The Great Dane was slapstick with good taste and my only criticism is that he never ever finished any of the music that he ever started. It was great music interruptus.
2 Pianos 4 Hands opened with a lovely but fractured rendition of J.S. Bach's Concerto in D Minor 1st movement and ended with the same movement complete. There was a heartfelt encore from Bach’s BWV 208 Cantata, Was mir behagt, ist nur der Munter Jagd
in that pastoral segment called “where sheep may safely graze”, transcribed for two pianos by Mary Howe who we learned is not Gordie Howe’s mother. How was I to know that the delicate plinking on the piano keys were sheep's bells?
During this show we found out that Vlad (Vladimir Horowitz) had mastered (or perhaps not) ping pong in order to play Franz Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No 1.
The show was full of humor and virtuoso playing including a very nice single piano performance of Richard Rogers/ Lorenz Hart’s My Funny Valentine
. There was a fine balance between the classy slapstick (these two men can do wonders with their faces in absolute silence) and the music which played in Borgian spurts or at length was always spot on.
Unlike my wife I never read the program until after the show. I was pleased and surprised to discern in the arguments between parent and son, teacher (Dykstra plays an Italian piano teacher, Scarlatti, who has a Bach problem) and young man, young teacher and housewife (Richard Greenblatt can be a woman without having to dress in drag one minute and the next he is Glenn Gould slouching at the piano) that much of the material is autobiographical.
Much of the material reflects the many years that my wife and I nagged our two daughters and then our two granddaughters. One daughter is thankful that we forced her to continue with her guitar while our little granddaughter happily practices her violin every day.
2 Pianos 4 Hands is theatre, a concert, standup (and sit down) comedy, musical school (which keys are sad and which are happy? - it is the kind of show that is perfect for a whole family. Victor Borge is, sadly, gone, but we have this pair of Canadians to be justly proud of. And they sometimes finish what they start!
Ray Waines - My Years With The CBC
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
My Years with the CBC- Going Back in Time
Guest Blog by Ray Waines
I was always proud to be a CBC television cameraman. Great memories keep coming back about a time when good television was shared by Canadians coast to coast. While I was missing the first 6 years at CBUT Vancouver, I was busy working on a microwave system called the Electronic Skyway, that would finally send live television pictures from Vancouver to Halifax, for the first time back in 1958.
Two years later, I was sending live pictures from my television camera at a Vancouver Grey Cup game, to the rest of Canada! The year was 1960 which began my long and incredible career with the CBC. Having just started with CBUT in May, to work with the CFL Football crew in November’s Grey Cup game was indeed a remarkable fast start for me behind the camera.
As I enjoyed playing football at high school, it wasn’t long before I had the chance to work the play camera. This was fun, it was me against the quarterback, or didn’t you ever notice that he is also trying to deek out the Cameraman? But that didn’t happen until half way through my career and that was on a college game! I would go on to enjoy covering the BC Lions and the CFL for over 40 years
But it was really the television productions that started at our Vancouver studios, that helped shape the kind of programming Canadians would enjoy over the next 25 years. I was glad to be a part of that, beginning in 1960, I remember the first Cariboo Country
series that started in Studio 41, (1960), with Chief Dan George, Ted Stidder and other actors who took on the low key roles that Canadian viewers learned to love. The Cariboo was a unique place and in 1964, the producers got the budget to shoot it on location up in the Chilcotin.
Then it was Reach for the Top
with Terry Garner, (1961), and I remember the very first show and how it got off to a great start. The next year the CBC network had other cities join in with this very popular show for viewers at home. We even heard that parents had fun competing against their kids and now over 50 years later, it’s still a very popular show.
The first musical series that I got to work on was Some of Those Days
and talk about pressure! With a live orchestra in Studio 41, the boom mikes on the singers were always crowding my headroom and behind them was a very short syc, so it was all too easy to shoot lights, a big no no! This network show was well produced and directed by Neil Sutherland. It was a hit across the country.
You can see why I enjoyed working at CBC. The challenges were always there to perform, as we had some creative producers to work with. They expected perfection with camerawork on their dramas or musicals, which was fine with me. There are just 2 or 3 more shows that I would like to mention briefly.
started in Studio 41 and later the Network called it Music Hop
, as 4 other centres joined in across Canada. Finally we had a musical series that the teenagers could enjoy and some of the talented performers went on to be big names in the industry, as their songs became popular hits. Seasons in the Sun
by Terry Jacks, American Woman
by Burton Cummings and many more.
! This show was full of adventure right from the start! With great stories and two leading actors in Bruno and Relic, who seemed to have a never ending feud. This series is still seen and enjoyed in many countries. CBC had another winner from the west coast.
One last show to go and this one was my favorite, the Irish Rovers
which was produced and directed by Ken Gibson. Everyone loved to get their feet stomping to Irish music and making the small Leprechauns come to life, was a challenge as we were pioneers with the use of chroma key. I had fun learning how to make them fly or perform magic tricks. The kids loved to see them every Sunday night. Our three trips to the UK were incredible, with the last one in the beautiful scenery of Northern Ireland.
Thinking back now, I feel that CBC Vancouver turned out better shows than did CBC Toronto. I was always glad that I never went back east to work in Toronto. There were so many great shows I would have missed working on.
|Ray Waines & a vintage Marconi Mark II TV camera|
Then there were all the Grey Cups and the Olympics, Montreal, Los Angeles, Calgary. Then New Zealand for the Commonwealth games. CBC Vancouver was just the right size for a cameramen as I could work the studios and the sporting events. I worked the play camera for Hockey Night in Canada on the Vancouver Canucks games and that was a challenge, right from the Canucks's first NHL game in 1970. And for a contrast I even covered darts across Canada, traveling 50,000 miles in 5 years to cover the best dart players in the world!
Around 1980, I started working closely with the architects who were building the BC Stadium.
This gave me a chance to make sure that the television cameras had good locations. And I continued consulting in new arenas across Canada, after I left CBC in 1991.
As a freelance cameraman, I was fortunate to get enough work to keep me busy. I was only 53 years old. So I worked for other networks for 19 years, but after that I said to myself why am I still working behind the camera? I was having the best of both worlds though, enjoying retirement and saying yes to those who still called me not knowing that I was in my 70s, or maybe they just didn’t care!
Throughout those 50 years, the best ones were with CBC and I hope that in my life time, I will see important changes in the present CBC. It may take another government, one that really cares about what CBC’s mandate should be. And it will take good leadership with fresh ideas to gain again the respect from Canadians that was always there, when I look back to those good years at CBC!
And another CBC cameraman Michael Varga
Crew pictures at the CBC
Emma Middleton - Actor
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
My Mother's Red Shawl - El Rebozo Colorado
Emma Middleton - Actor
Alex and I met when he came to see the United Players production of A Room with a View, and spoiled us all by writing lovely things about the show here on his blog. One moment in particular caught his attention: when my character, Lucy, entered at the end of Act I and "let down her hair to reveal a Baroque curl that left [him] breathless". Daniel Doerksen's score with Darren W. Hales' soft lighting and of course Sarah Rodgers' brilliant direction had created a romantic atmosphere and beautiful picture onstage. Backstage was another story. Moments before, I was in the wings having my braid ripped out and my clothes torn off - all in about twenty seconds. This is what's called a quick change, and to me it’s one of the most magical parts of working in the theatre.
A quick change is when an actor completely changes their costume in a very short amount of time. This often happens between scenes, sometimes to suggest a different character. Quick changes can involve wigs and make-up to the point where the audience (hopefully) can't tell he or she is the same actor they saw moments before. In one show at UBC I rotated between a high-powered business woman, a troubled schoolgirl and a dumpy landlady. My own mother didn't realize one of those characters was me! In A Room with a View I had a personal record of ten quick changes. Catherine E. Carr, our costume designer was brilliant and designed my costumes so that I could get in and out of them quickly. I was also incredibly lucky that Danielle, a fellow UBC theatre grad and friend, offered to be my dresser for the show. I could not have done it without her. She had my absolute trust - after all, her job was to make sure I never bolted onstage half-naked, as actors are wont to do when hit with a rush of performance adrenaline. Thankfully, I made it onstage fully clothed every single night.
Author/Lawyer/Assistant DA Travis County TX
Brother Edwin Charles Reggio, CSC
Mentor & Teacher
Raúl Guerrero Montemayor
Yeva & Thoenn Glover
André De Mondo
Johnna Wright & Sascha
Director/Mother - Son/Dreamer
Decker & Nick Hunt
Cat & 19th century amateur
Vancouver Sun Columnist
Statesman, Flag Designer
Vancouver Sun Columnist
Lauren Elizabeth Stewart
Isadora Duncan's Feet
Monday, March 18, 2013
|Isadora Duncan - Edward Steichen|
In this day and age it is almost impossible to go to an antique store and find something really good that the owner of the store does not know about. The only time I pulled a fast one of these was with bookseller Don Stewart at Macleod’s Books. He had a pristine edition of Reverend Joseph H. Pemberton's Roses - Their History, Development and Cultivation.
It was a 1908 first edition. I asked Stewart for his price and he gave me a discount since we were friends and I went home with the book under my arm for a mere $45.
|Isadora Duncan, Photo by Edward Steichen|
Chance then, in these days does not often bring discoveries. But there is another form of chance that does that I call random chance.
Consider the story of Pablo Casals and how he found Bach’s Suites for Cello.
When Casals was 13 his father bought him a full-sized cell and would regularly go with him to help in searching for more music for his weekly concerts at a café (Casals worked with a trio at a local café in Vendrell, Catolonia, where he played three hours nightly, seven days a week for three pesetas.) One memorable day rummaging in a second-hand store near the harbor, Casals came across the Beethoven sonatas and then, to his astonishment, on a dusty shelf Six Suites for cello solo by Bach. “I did not know of their existence, and no-one had ever mentioned them to me. It was the great revelation of my life…I was nearly 25 before I had the courage to play one of them in public.”
Lionel Salter 1988
Great Recordings of the Century
J.S. Bach Suites for Cello
EMI CDH – 61028
Norwegian writer Jostein Gaarder, in 1995 was browsing in an antiquarian bookshop in Buenos Aires, and there he claims, he came upon a copy of a letter to St. Augustine from his mistress, Floria Aemilia. Aemilia was the mother of St. Augustine’s only son. These findings became Gaarder’s beautiful little book That Same Flower
published in 1996.
In December 2012 I went for a few days to Mexico City to visit an ailing friend, Raúl Guerrero Montemayor. One afternoon I visited the city’s central square called the Zócalo. We visited an old bookstore called Librería Porrúa. It was there that I discovered an old Italian photo/art magazine called La Foto D’Arte
edited by one Gianni Rizzoni. Inside there was a spread on photographs of Isadora Duncan taken by Edward Steichen at the Parthenon. Most are familiar with the famous semi-nude photo but I had never seen the others he had taken at a nearby brook on Xantippe Street, not far from the Parthenon. Here they are. I have been unable to find these images on the web and as I said here, if they are not on the web they don’t exist nor did they ever exist. I know better
I have not read anywhere if Steichen had a foot fetish.
A Photographic Peacemaker
Sunday, March 17, 2013
In the film Colt .45
(Edward L. Marin 1950) gun salesman Steve Farrell, played by Randolph Scott gets two of his new Colt .45 pistols stolen from him by ruthless killer Jason Brett but vows to recover them.
I saw that film with my abuelita (grandmother) sometime around 1951 when I was 9 at a movie house on movie row in Buenos Aires on Avenida Lavalle. What I remember the most was the incredibly clear sound (in comparison to the others) of Randolph Scott’s guns.
We know that in the end this Colt Peacemaker, when anybody could buy one, evened out the playing field of gun fighters. Skill became less important and the ability to shoot in repetition became the threshold of killing and it prefigured the horrors of the machine gun in WWI.
|Arthur H. Fellig by Bill Jay|
I arrived in Vancouver in 1975 with the idea of becoming a photographer. By circumstances that I now understand I became a magazine photographer. In the late 70s I competed for still photography jobs at the CBC with three other photographers. They were David Cooper, Jo Lederer and Raeff Miles.
At that time only one of us had a blimp which was a device the shielded the cameras noisy clicks during silent tapings of TV shows. David Cooper was the owner of the expensive blimp and from the CBC he went to become Vancouver’s premier theatrical and dance photographer. Jo Lederer (known as Photo Jo) went for the lucrative film industry stills photographer gigs. Miles decided to branch out into table-top photography at a time when there were many advertising agencies in town. Of the four of us I chose the least lucrative of professions, I became an editorial photographer. There were many in this playing field but the best, in my opinion was James La Bounty. We competed in magazines, annual reports (he did much better than I in this sector) and art photography.
Rosemary would be witness to my constant complaining to her, “What do magazines see in this guy? I think my portraits are better.”
But for a long while I took most of the editorial photographs in town because I was one of the few who owned the photographic Peacemaker of the time. This was the softbox or light box. I had purchased my Chimera at Olden Camera Supply in New York City sometime around 1978. I remember going to Olden and asking for the softbox. My attendant did not know what I was talking about so I had to point it out in their catalogue. As soon as my secret was out I had to move on to spotlights, grids, Fresnels and whatever other tricks
I could conjure to compete.
When my two daughters were approaching or were in their teens I knew that if I were to photograph them they would appear much younger in my attempts to photograph them. A man, not their father, would see them with an objectivity that would have been impossible for me, their father. I came up with the idea of hiring LaBounty to take their pictures. Rosemary could not understand and did point out that LaBounty was not cheap.
The two large framed pictures of Ale and Hilary graced our living room for many years until one day, not too long ago, my Rosemary said, “I think you can retire these and replace them with some of your own.”
I cannot recall who hired me to photograph James LaBounty nor do I remember what year I took the photographs. In the file there are 9 6x7 cm Ilford FP-4 b+w negs and four Polaroid instant b+w 7x7 cm negatives. The picture you see here is one of those Polaroids which I scanned with a sheet of white paper over the negative to get more rough texture, just because.
The reason for today’s blog on LaBounty is that I am attempting to clear the bottom bookcase in our den so as to accommodate my DVD film collection. That bottom shelf has old photo magazines that I have kept for inspiration or research. Among them I found two books. One is Photographers Photographed
by Bill Jay, and published by Gibbs M. Smith Inc. / Peregrine Smith Books / Salt Lake City / 1983. The other is Underlying Vibrations – The Photography and Life of John Vanderpant
by Sheryl Salloum – Horsdal & Schubart Publishers Ltd., Victoria, BC, 1995.
Of the former I remember that I purchased the book because of that assignment to photograph LaBounty. The second book was sent to me by the Vancouver Sun
as I wrote a review of a John Vanderpant show at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
At first I though I would get rid of the Vanderpant book. It is full of very cold (to me) city landscapes. They depress me. I am easily depressed these days particularly when I look out and look at the cyan/blue winter sky over the North Shore Mountains. There are a few portraits in the book and they are good. I will keep it. As for the magazines most will stay and I will have to put them in boxes to make way for a culture that seems to be replacing books. And this is the culture of film.
Among the magazines the one here, it has an answer to the question, “What is erotic?
” by writer Dianne Ackerman and an interview with Camile Paglia on that subject. I cannot throw it away.
A horse, Day Helesic and Randolph Scott
Back to the softbox