Art Bergmann & No Hawaii - 29 September 2023
Saturday, September 30, 2023
|Rickshaw Theatre September 29 2023|
Last night I was witness at the Rickshaw Theatre to the launching of Art
Bergmann’s new record Shadow Walk and his biography by Jason
Schneider – The Longest Suicide. He played with a terrific band which featured
Dave Genn on keyboards, Steven Drake, guitar, Adam Drake drums, singers Aidan
Farrell, and Leo DE Johnson, bongos Murphy Farrell and bassist and voice
What I heard was, yes, the Art Bergmann I first saw at the
Smilin’ Buddha in 1979 but also a new Art Bergmann.
The explanation might be a long and convoluted one, as I see
myself in having lived a life parallel to Bergmann’s.
My knowledge of rock music was always limited. In a 1972
high school class that I was teaching in Mexico City my students asked me, “Mr.
Hayward, what do you think of Alice Cooper?” My answer, a purely innocent one, was met by a roar of
laughter, “Who is she?”
It was in Vancouver around 1978/79 when as a free-lance
photographer for Vancouver Magazine I was attached to stellar rock critic and
writer Les Wiseman (In One Ear). It was through him that I first heard of Lou Reed,
Motorhead and appreciaited the talent of Alice Cooper. It was for one of his articles that I found myself assigned into what I thought was the scary Buddha. But it wasn’t. I watched Bergmann
sing and play his guitar. I put my camera bag in a corner and pogoed with the
rest of the crowd. It was all wonderfully new. I discovered then Bergmann’s passion, and that Bach was not
the only kind of music around.
I took some photographs in complete ignorance. They were
microphone shots that are slightly blurry because I was using a slow shutter
since my film was not fast enough.
|Smilin' Buddha - 1979|
Since those two photographs I have evolved through the years
and I have not done the same stuff over and over. The same I can say of Bergmann
who does not rest on past laurels and keeps writing new songs. He has been
steady in one aspect. I don’t want to call his music folk rock. I would call it
protest rock as the lyrics are almost always (The Hospital Song could be a
lovely exception) about the inequalities and tragedies of the 20th and 21st
century. They are similar to lyrics by D.O.A. Joe Keithley. I wrote about
Bergmann and Keithley here (below).
(2) - Men for All Ages
What you see here (below) are photographs that were inspired by my
taking slow shutter speed ones with my digital camera a Fuji X-E3. While
Bergmann may have been self-inspired to push himself I was lucky to have in
Vancouver two pushy magazine art directors, Rick Staehling and Chris Dahl. They
forced me to do stuff I did not want to do and in the end I knew that they were
Of the band that played last night I can assert that I have
known Dave Genn, and the Drake Brothers for years. My first ever rock photograph,
a fave of mine even though I did not know what I was doing featured Gary Cramer
and the Works with both of the Drakes. Steven Drake besides being an exquisite
guitar player (and bassist) can record music in the worst of places and get
|Gary Cramer & the Works 1978/79 - Left & behind Adam Drake -centre back Steven Drake|
I believe that Lou Reed, Gary Cramer and Art Bergmann sing in what I call sing/talk.
Because of Les Wiseman I may have the experience to have
the opinion that the band I heard last
night was astounding and at my age of 81 I now live in the hope of being alive
to hear them over and over. And of course when I told Bergmann in a phone call tonight that I write my blogs to find out what I am thinking (inspired by Joan Didion) he said, " That is why I write songs."
Thank you Art Bergmann for not playing Hawaii last night.
Let's go to Fucki...Hawaii
|First shot yesterday and then I changes my mind on how I was going to do the others.|
Tertulia at the Sylvia Hotel
Thursday, September 28, 2023
|Photograph by our pleasant server Trevor - 27 September 2023|
There is a fine Spanish word – tertulia. Originally it was
defined as a meeting among men at a café or bar in Spain where they would discuss
politics, football or to argue that it was Juan Sebastián Elcano who was the
first man to circumnavigate the world on a ship, as his captain, Ferdinand
Magellan, had been killed in Mactán in the Philippines.
In the 80s we had an every-Thursday-at-noon tertulia at the
Railway Club. We had writers, poets, photographers, illustrators, strippers,
thugs, editors, etc as guests. When the Railway Club began to fade so did our
|Photograph - Robert Kwong|
This year we have had a tertulia at 1:30 on the last
Wednesday of the month at the Sylvia Hotel. We like the location, the food and
the very friendly servers of which many speak my Spanish. The group is made up
mostly of photographers. We try to find themes for each tertulia.
Unlike other hotel bar/restaurants the Sylvia has no large (or small) sports TV screens. We like that.
The tertulia this past Wednesday had the theme of Surrealism and
we listened to a memorable lecture by our Surrealist artist friend Martin
Guderna. He even brought a latest work which is a portrait (based on a shadow
of her profile on a wall) of his wife Yolanda who died last September.
|Yours truly with Martin Guderna - Photograph Robert Kwong|
Martin Guderna I
Martin Guderna II
Martin Guderna III
Guderna’s portrait of Yolanda seen in the photos here is
a tad complicated as he drew her profile on a wall when she was alive using a
light. The painting is a derivation of it. What I find unusual is that when I
first saw it at his studio I thought I was not wearing my glasses as it was
blurred. It is all part of Guderna’s concepts of Surrealism.
Having something to plan for once a month where friends
meet for lunch is something that I find pleasant and necessary to keep living.
In an amazing Bunny Watson connection, Guderna told us that he was friends with with André Breton's third wife Elisa. He would visit her in Paris in the 90s accompanied by beat poet Ted Joans. Originally she was friends with Ted Joans and it was Joans who introduced Guderna to Madame Breton. The connection is that I photographed Joans in Vancouver in 2001.
|Ted Joans - 2001|
Asymptotes, Kitchen Garbage Bags & My Rosemary
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
|Rosemary & Alex - Mocambo, Veracruz, Christmas 1967|
Calculus is the mathematical study of continuous change,
in the same way that geometry is the study of shape, and algebra is the study
of generalizations of arithmetic operations.
It has two major branches, differential calculus and
integral calculus; the former concerns instantaneous rates of change, and the
slopes of curves, while the latter concerns accumulation of quantities, and
areas under or between curves. These two branches are related to each other by
the fundamental theorem of calculus, and they make use of the fundamental
notions of convergence of infinite sequences and infinite series to a
Infinitesimal calculus was developed independently in the
late 17th century by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Later work,
including codifying the idea of limits, put these developments on a more solid
conceptual footing. Today, calculus has widespread uses in science,
engineering, and social science.
In 1962 the world in my brain was fundamentally changed
and definitely improved by two professors at the University of Americas in
Noted philosopher and scholar Ramón Xirau Rubias taught
me philosophy for two years and we went from the Pre-Socratics to Martin
Heidegger and Jean-Paul Sartre. At the time I did not understand Plato’s
Platonism. It has only been in the last 10 years that I have come to understand
how important it is. I have written several blogs on my personal concept of
what I call catness.
Urrusti. Retrato de Ramón Xirau, 1994. Óleo sobre tela.|
Roseness & Catness
The Platonic Essence of a Rose
Platonic Perfection Beyond Plato's Cave
Chicurel (my memory fails me in not knowing his first
name) taught me physics and mathematics. He was early in teaching us about
Quantum Theory. But it was his explanation of The Calculus that has left me
thinking, particularly when I combine it with my light knowledge of philosophy.
I can state fundamentally, and perhaps not accurately, that
the expression “well defined limit” in the little essay from Wikipedia is what
makes me think in the way I do about not being able to forget or diminish my
grief over the death of my Rosemary. Picture this:
In analytic geometry, an asymptote (/ˈæsɪmptoʊt/) of a curve is a line such
that the distance between the curve and the line approaches zero as one or both
of the x or y coordinates tends to infinity. In projective geometry and related
contexts, an asymptote of a curve is a line which is tangent to the curve at a
point at infinity. Wikipedia
What the above means is that these curves touch either
the x or y axis only at infinity (wherever that is).
Infinity (∞), An Insipid Equivalent Of The Unfinished
|These curves touch the x and y axis at infinity|
Using that mathematical example, even though I do not
believe in ghosts, I can feel some remnant (not yet at infinity) when I walk
Niño in the same route she did. When I look at her side of the bed there has to
be some of her indented on the bedspread even though I have washed it many
times and made the bed. The same applies in using her pillows. Some of her is
there. I call this her absent presence, diluted but always there.
Every evening before the next day’s garbage pickup I
empty the garbage and put the cat tins in the blue boxes. I then place a new
plastic kitchen bag in my under the sink garbage container. Today as I got one
out of the guest bathroom I noticed that there were a few left. These are from
a box Rosemary bought. Underneath is another unopened box of 100 she also
It would seem that my Rosemary’s presence is an example of
a calculus limit at infinity. I will run out of her bags, perhaps in my
Donde la Espalda Pierde su Nombre
Sunday, September 24, 2023
My grandmother having been born in Victorian Times used euphemisms
in my presence. One of them
was “donde la espalda pierde su nombre”. It does not translate well into English as espalda in Spanish is a person’s back from bottom of neck to waist –
where the back loses its name.
I remember being in the Buenos Aires Subte (the subway)
during the pre-lenten carnival in Buenos Aires. I was 8 and I spotted the bare
back of a person leaning against the window of the car in front of me. I was
confused as the person was dressed as a woman but the back was that of a man.
In my years as a photographer I had an interest in taking
photographs of woman with little on. My idea was to figure out what Eros was all
about. As I progressed I began to realize that there was a fine line between
pornography and an erotic photograph that was not pornographic. At that point I
defined pornography as Eros in bad taste. Somehow I could not find in me the required bad
taste, so my photographs (my opinion in the atmosphere of the 20th
century) were not pornographic.
It is only in last few weeks that I spotted this photograph
that I took of Vancouver Symphony
violinist Karen Gerbrecht.
In my recent past I have taken at least a hundred
photographs of women with violin f-holes on their back inspired by Man Ray’s
original. But this one with that brilliant violin bow is for me spectacularly
elegant and erotic.
Years before I took photographs of that supreme dancer Cori
Caulfield. I now appreciate it even more.
I am sure that my grandmother would have smiled.