celebrity interview http://www.culturecatch.com/taxonomy/term/500 en Cinema’s Thoreau Is Begging You Not to Make a Movie or Write a Book http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3868 <span>Cinema’s Thoreau Is Begging You Not to Make a Movie or Write a Book</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>August 23, 2019 - 22:54</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/film" hreflang="en">Film Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-08/aquarela_2_photo.jpg?itok=NJVHUw1K" width="1200" height="800" alt="Thumbnail" title="aquarela_2_photo.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Victor Kossakovsky has no time for fools, especially when it comes to directors and cinema. He's even came up with ten rules for would-be helmers, the main one being: "Don't film if you can live without filming."</p> <p>He nods. It's 10:30 AM, and the no-frills Russian filmmaker, with his graying beard, disheveled silver locks, and bohemian charm joins me in a Mondrian Park Avenue Hotel suite. A publicist monitors the door as the director/screenwriter/editor/cinematographer and winner of 100 worldwide awards for his past work, chars up his critically acclaimed paean to tumultuous water, <i>Aquarela</i>. <i>Variety </i>describes this current effort as a "grandiose, sense-pummeling documentary ride." The <i>British Film Institute </i>settles for "poetic and multi-sensorial . . .  a thundering technical achievement."</p> <p>Back to his rule: "I guess I steal it from Tolstoy," Kossakovsky laughs, which he does a lot. </p> <blockquote> <p>"I believe Tolstoy wrote something somewhere in his diaries or somewhere. . . . This my way. I believe we live in a time when there are too many products, too many films, too many books, too many music . . . and it's actually pollution, intellectual pollution. . . . Every piece of crap has someone who likes it. With every piece of shitty music or crap film, someone will go, 'Ohhh! What a good film!' … So I say to everyone, you should not make good films, only incredible films, only unique. . . .  That's why [filmmaking] must be necessity. Must be like you cannot live without it. You wake up with necessity to grab up camera and show something to people. Otherwise, why? Otherwise, why?"</p> </blockquote> <p>Why, indeed!</p> <p>"You know people always say good films contain story, good characters, and an original way of doing it. This is cinema language. Character, story, and language, right? I would say it's always missing something else. Magic! Magic! For me, it's not enough to have these three components. I need magic."</p> <p><i>Aquarela</i> -- which boasts few words and no framing devices to inform you whether the frozen lakes, pounding seas, death-defying floods and hurricane winds are in Greenland, Russia, or Mexico — wants to showcase a nature untamed. With its numerous international crews and its unexpected scenarios, Kossakovsky woke up each morning thankful that no one had died the day before. Well, almost no one.</p> <p>An exception is in the opening segment on Lake Baikal. The footage was not supposed to record a death. First there is the beauty of white upon white upon white. Then we see two men scraping away at the ice on the frozen water. A car has sunk. There is a body under that ice. How did this shot come about?</p> <p>In his earlier film, the never-less-than-stunning <i>¡Vivan las antípodas!</i>, a young 11-year-old girl exclaims if she could be reborn, she would come back as water.</p> <p>"And I put camera in exactly the same spot where she said it," recalls Kossakovsky. "The first shot in <i>Aquarela </i>after the credits was exactly there. The same place. So actually I came to Baikal to see beautiful ice, the cracks on the ice, and all this, but suddenly on the first shooting date appears this car, and then a person dies just accidentally in my frame, and I realize I cannot continue the film in the same way as I was planning so I just forgot the script and I start [anew]."</p> <p>However, before the viewer can realize what's happening, before the camera comes upon the tragedy caused by the folly of men driving an auto over ice, there is some comic music on the soundtrack.</p> <p>"You know why? Because it's actually . . . in  the patterns of our lives," he explains. The men who live there are so confident that when I said, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t go there, they say, 'Come on. You don’t teach me. I was born in Baikal. I know ice like the lines on my palm. I can see on ice. I can see the cracks, and I know if I should go or if I shouldn’t. You don't teach me, boy.'"</p> <p>"This is overconfidence. This is what we are doing in the world, right? We are all overconfident. We know everything," Kossakovsky chuckles. "We think we can do whatever we want. That's what happened to us but unfortunately. That’s why after this moment, of course, I was not able to continue with my plans."</p> <p>"My original idea was this one," he notes, "to show at least one thousand powers of water. . . .  It's a kind of film that changes you, right? I became a different person because of this film. I realized that we are not the most important creatures. So what do we say say? We say we can live without water for five days. That’s abstract. But when you make film like this and being in an extreme situation, you really measure yourself [against water’s] power, and you really understand that we are really tiny."</p> <p>As for Kossakovsky’s next film, <i>Krogufant</i>, with which he is currently in final edit, "it's about pig, chicken, and cow."</p> <p>Pig, chicken, and cow?</p> <p>"No people," he insists. "No slaughtery. No concentration camps. Nothing like this. Only chicken, pig, and cow. How they are. How they really are. No voice over. Nothing."</p> <p>This animal epic was shot around the globe. "Pig I film in Norway, I film chicken in Whales, and cows I film in Spain."</p> <p>Why no imagery of animals being slaughtered?</p> <p>"I understand that people are filming such stuff, and it doesn’t help," Kossakovsky insists. "It doesn't help anything. It's like people still don't think. They just ignore and they don’t want to know. That's why I decided to do it this way. People like to worship the dolphin or the elephant or chimpanzee, and I say, "No! No! No! I will show who is cow. Who is the other kind. You think chickens cannot teach you. Chickens can teach you how to survive, and cows can teach you to survive, and pigs can teach you to survive." And Kossakovsky can teach you if you will only watch.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3868&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="j42MeOX3nB47-9bRzMPM12vVK-H9C-JzmkCWEtY3xmQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 24 Aug 2019 02:54:41 +0000 Brandon Judell 3868 at http://www.culturecatch.com Rick Briggs + Bradley Rubenstein http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3803 <span>Rick Briggs + Bradley Rubenstein</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/529" lang="" about="/user/529" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bradley Rubenstein</a></span> <span>December 16, 2018 - 19:55</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <p>Rick Briggs is among the earliest artists to make Brooklyn his home, having lived and worked in Williamsburg since 1981. He's independent and quixotic, developing distinct bodies of work that reflect his philosophy of resisting signature style. His 2017 show at Ortega y Gasset Projects was occasion for initiating this conversation.</p> <p><b>Bradley Rubenstein:</b> This is a great place to start, with this painting (above)… (<i>Shotgun Wedding</i>, 2012). It is kind of like an index of the imagery and ideas that you are working with now. It reminds me of a kind of work, like Jonathan Lasker or Peter Halley, in a way. You have organized your gestures and process.</p> <p><b>Rick Briggs:</b> I began this painting with the vague idea of indexing different roller pan patterns. This happens when a relatively dry roller picks up the impression of the roller pan, which is then "printed" on the canvas. But I can never quite settle on a simple approach to painting, like cataloging a gesture or texture. It seemed too detached -- scientific even. I like to make rules and then break them. Besides, I'm more invested in the idea of transformation. And that's when the round canvases, and cutting into the surface, and making niches showed up, something I started doing in the mid-'80s.</p> <p>A funny story related to this painting is that about a year after I made it, I saw a Sarah Cain show at Lelong. She had done this installation, and one of her paintings had a roller stuck to the surface and holes cut through the canvas. I was with a friend, the painter Harriet Korman, who had already seen my painting in the studio and we just looked at each other in amazement and burst out laughing. Here I thought I'd done something original, something I could call my own, and there was someone else on the other side of the country making a similar painting (in a way), and neither of us knew of the other's work. Collective unconscious? Zeitgeist? I don't know, but I do know painting is very humbling.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> These new pieces feel really right for the moment. After a period of "zombie formalism" and whatnot, it's interesting seeing paintings that are imbued with a kind of vitality to their gesture -- an "internal architecture" is how I think I first described them when I saw them.</p> <p><b>RB:</b> Thanks, Bradley. Vitality is important to me. I always think of Matisse saying, if you're not ready to go into the studio, go ride a horse. In other words, bring some energy, some verve. After all, we're trying to breathe life into these inanimate objects, and that's not easy. I also like the word "internal" because I'm not referring to any external architecture, but rather interested in finding a structure that comes from within. <i>Rolled Structure</i> was the first roller painting and was a breakthrough in the sense that the painting had previously been made up of all these cute little areas that essentially added up to nothing. It was failing miserably and I needed to paint the whole thing out quickly. I resorted to my house painting supplies, alkyd primer, and rollers. I knew from experience that these moments of failure and destruction are also ripe with potential for creation, and since the surface was still wet, I just kept working on it. A basic image appeared, but without the rhythm of the line, it's nothing. I've always had an affinity for the simplicity of the line paintings of Agnes Martin, early David Reed, or even Robert Ryman paintings composed of stacked, thickly brushed horizontal lines. In the early to mid-'90s, I did a series of work that essentially tried to wed the existential angst of Guston's late reductive abstract work of the early '60s with the horizontal line paintings of Agnes Martin, who seemed to have a Zen-like approach -- a collision of approaches, to be sure. With this new linear work I felt like I had circled back to those earlier concerns. <i>Big Yellow</i> (2011) reminded me of a painter's scaffold -- I think has something of Held's monumentality. And <i>44</i> (2014) was one of those where all the pieces just fell into place very organically, where it felt like the painting made itself. I like it when a big painting feels like a tossed-off sketch. I suppose the one that has the most kinship to external architecture would be <i>Space Waffle</i> (2011), which was perhaps an unconscious response to the anonymous corporate high-rises beginning to go up in Williamsburg. I like the idea of referring to high Modernism but by utilitarian means.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> Jumping back a bit, because I think it relates here, are the Painter Man groups that you did…</p> <p><b>RB:</b> The two Painter Man series came about after a long hiatus from the studio. I'd become disgruntled with the art world and my lack of visibility within it. So the two series were kind of a humorous embrace of the identity I was left with -- my day job as a house painter. My work has always had an autobiographical aspect, but with the abstract work it had never been so explicit. I wanted to tell a story, and it was interesting to think in terms of film, as much as art history, to draw on as models for imagery. For example, the paintings are flooded with blood imagery, but the inspiration is as much from Kubrik's <i>The Shining </i>as any painted depiction of a martyred saint. Also, since my background had been entirely in abstraction, the challenge of suddenly having to figure out how to represent stuff was interesting. But once I'd told my story and completed those two series, I didn't feel the need to keep retelling it. I'm not interested in repeating myself, which is why I keep moving. What became more interesting to me was the idea of transforming my everyday job materials into art. I liked the ready-made authenticity and spattered surfaces of my used drop covers and the physical, material nature of painting on them. This became the through line between that work and what I'm doing now, with my inclusion of stir sticks, drop covers, paint skins, t-shirts, which, in turn, connected me back to the work I was doing in the '80, attaching small canvases on object-like painting. It's very flattering when people tell me now how that '80s work looks so current.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> Your work reflects a kind of '70s aesthetic in a way. I'm reminded of someone like Blinky Palermo, who really broke down the barriers of what were proletariat materials, and gestures. He did a wall piece I saw in Germany where one wall was rolled, one was brushed. He was basically just painting the gallery white, but the gesture, the artistic gesture, of brushing the wall compared to rolling it was an aesthetic question…</p> <p><b>RB:</b> I don't know that Palermo piece, but the conceptual simplicity of it seems quite poetic to me. I went to school in the '70s, so of course that time had a huge influence on my thinking. I'm thinking now of movements like Process Art, Lyrical Abstraction, and Arte Povera, for example. Speaking of proletariat materials, I think people forget how radical Judd's plywood boxes were at the time, or Burri's use of burlap for that matter. I really like that attitude of making art with whatever's at hand. In art school in the '70s, there were people making squeegeed abstraction a à la Jack Whitten. I was scattering acrylic paint on raw canvas on the floor à la Larry Poons. I loved the freedom of mixing some paint in a bucket and reaching my hand in and grabbing the paint to toss. I guess the use of the paint roller is, in a way, an attempt to maintain that freedom.</p> <p>The Abstract Expressionists were probably my biggest influence. I love that de Kooning and Kline worked as house painters and that, along with Pollock, they used house paint in their work. De Kooning's comment about, all he really needed was a gallon of black and a gallon of white and he was in business, really resonates. I switched to alkyd house paint from oil because I wanted to work large, and the cost is peanuts compared to tubed oil paint. Can you imagine squeezing out paint tubes to make enough paint to make one long roller mark? It's absurd. Plus, I like it's ready-to-go consistency.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> In this one (<i>Black Sticks</i>, 2014) you touch on Pollock's <em>Blue Poles</em>, and Miró, with the paint can skin. Your use of those reminds me of Frank Stella saying that he wanted the paint to look as good on the canvas as it did in the can.</p> <p><b>RB:</b> It's funny to think of my little painting in the context of the monumentality of Pollock's <i>Blue Poles</i> (1952). My "poles" are simply stir sticks, which function as line, but there is a connection there. The paint skins form inside the can, and I hated peeling them off and throwing them away. They become ready-made colored circles.</p> <p>I once had a teacher who claimed Pollock wasn't that important because he didn't have any followers but Larry Poons is someone who certainly comes out of Pollock and Dona Nelson has been pouring paint for years.  You can't avoid your influences, right? The only way past is through.  Miro did a lot of weird things -- he may have been one of the earliest to pour paint -- I'm remembering seeing some pancake-like pools he poured on paintings.  I love his playfulness and the buoyancy of his work.  </p> <p>Regarding that famous Stella quote, I love going to Janovic and buying a gallon of any color I want.  When I open a can of green paint, I wonder why anyone would want to represent say, grass, with it -- it's so beautiful just as it is.</p> </div> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-add"><a href="/node/3803#comment-form" title="Share your thoughts and opinions." hreflang="en">Add new comment</a></li></ul><section> <a id="comment-481"></a> <article data-comment-user-id="0" class="js-comment"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1546441091"></mark> <div> <h3><a href="/comment/481#comment-481" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Thank you Rick. I am by no…</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Thank you, Rick. I am by no stretch an artist or critic of works of art. I am always happy to learn more about a subject and this interview has lent me some more insight into a space I am simply visiting.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=481&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="sDpUTmdqCrIQdATq61OFb6RUV_EaPjvmZqHWQJGzl2s"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/user/0"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/extra_small/public/default_images/avatar.png?itok=RF-fAyOX" width="50" height="50" alt="Generic Profile Avatar Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> <p>Submitted by <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Joe Murphy</span> on January 1, 2019 - 18:48</p> </footer> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3803&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="zxIDdpHCKs2kiDn9ZEtpBSMEjWPijyoJzvevjRe2TSQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 17 Dec 2018 00:55:30 +0000 Bradley Rubenstein 3803 at http://www.culturecatch.com Fran Healy - The Dusty Wright Show http://www.culturecatch.com/node/3745 <span>Fran Healy - The Dusty Wright Show</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>August 2, 2018 - 18:34</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/vidcast" hreflang="en">Vidcast</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/543" hreflang="en">Fran Healy</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/441" hreflang="en">music</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/whwdq_Odk68?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Scottish singer-songwriter Fran Healy of Travis shares his personal life and loves with host Dusty Wright. This interview got lost in our archives and is finally available for consumption. It was recorded at Gibson Guitar Studios/NYC in 2010.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3745&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="dLNVSJ7T4YzJ_deN4Ny9AqT8zSiGzUR1XcmasMGFc1c"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 02 Aug 2018 22:34:57 +0000 Dusty Wright 3745 at http://www.culturecatch.com A Woman's Wisdom... http://www.culturecatch.com/music/lyla-june-interview <span>A Woman&#039;s Wisdom... </span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/david-ashdown" lang="" about="/users/david-ashdown" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dave Ashdown</a></span> <span>January 24, 2018 - 07:23</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nr2VLI8jKww?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Lyla June is Taos, New Mexico-based singer/songwriter who lives her life according to "the path of service." Besides being a musician, she's also a poet, anthropologist, educator, community organizer and public speaker. She is of Diné (Navajo) and Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne) Native American lineages. CultureCatch sat with her recently. Here's that interview:</p> <!--break--> <p><strong>David Ashdown:</strong> What role did music play in your upbringing in the Diné tradition?</p> <p><strong>Lyla June:</strong> In the Diné language (Diné Bizaad) Hataałii means both "singer" and "doctor." Also, in our language Sodizin means both "song" and "prayer." So in my upbringing, music was all about deep intention to make the world a better place. Music was seen as a healer and singers were viewed as doctors. I was born into a world of struggle, as Native Americans continue to live in post-war conditions after the Native American holocaust. There's a lot of work to do to improve our communities. I was raised by strong people to live my life deliberately and to view every one of my creations as an opportunity to heal my people, all people.</p> <p><strong>DA:</strong> Were you discouraged at all from getting into American pop music and its culture as kid?</p> <p><strong>LJ:</strong> I was never discouraged from this. In fact, society encouraged me to listen to this because it was "cool" and it was the only thing on local radio stations. I drank the Kool-aid for a lot of years and went along with the programming of American children. There was a time though, around age 10, when I actually stopped drinking soda and I stopped listening to mainstream music. I started to see that mainstream music often times was part of the problem of keeping the public ignorant and distracted.</p> <p><strong>DA: </strong>What artists / songs got through to you early on and how did their music, vibe and lyrics influence you and your outlook on your place in the world?</p> <p><strong>LJ</strong>: The Beatles were a heavy influence growing up. My father was born in 1954 so he brought a lot of his music from the '60s and '70s into my life. When I picked up the guitar, the first songs I started to learn were Beatles songs and I think that continues to influence my song structures today. Other influences from all different genres included System of a Down, Lauryn Hill, Shania Twain (I know... funny right?), Blackalicious, Rage Against the Machine, India.Arie, The Glitch Mob, Led Zeppelin, Ulali and others. These artists showed me that music is a powerful launchpad for bringing joy, inspiration, hope, education and unification to the oppressed. None of these artists were Native American because it seemed at the time there weren't a lot of Native American role models in the music world for me. There was Buffy Saint Marie but I never really got into her music. Myself and a number of others are trying very hard to generate a new genre of indigenous music that inspires the youth.</p> <p><strong>DA:</strong> You have a track record for winning poetry jams at a statewide, and nationwide level, when did music become an extension of your drive to share your message?</p> <p><strong>LJ</strong>: I was always a writer. I remember reading poetry in public places as early as 4th grade. I remember winning writing competitions that early as well, for whatever that's worth. When I stumbled upon spoken word at age 14, I was an instant fanatic. I travelled all of the world in my teens performing spoken word. I also started picking up the guitar in earnest at that point. So my poetry and my music development started around the same age, but I was slower to become a decent musician, whereas writing and speaking came more naturally. I didn't feel confident in my music enough until very recently, perhaps five years ago, to really include it in my public performances. But since then, it has come to be appreciated as much as my poetry is.</p> <p><strong>DA:</strong> What was your musical life like while at Stanford?</p> <p><strong>LJ</strong>: I think that a lot of the drug addiction and sexual abuse I was experiencing in high school and at Stanford muted my musical confidence. I didn't feel worthy as a woman to do much of anything because I felt like a bad person. I didn't realize that just because bad things were happening to me, didn't mean I myself was bad. But because of that, I was very creatively stunted for a long time. It wasn't until my junior year of Stanford that I started to heal from the rape, get sober and pick up my guitar again. At that point the songs started flowing through me all the time. I didn't feel comfortable releasing them at that point, but now I do!</p> <p><strong>DA:</strong> How does the song writing process work for you and what does it take for you to feel a song is finished and ready to be performed or recorded?</p> <p><strong>LJ</strong>: Everything is in prayer. Like my ancestors, I treat life like a ceremony. So first thing I do, unless I'm being rushed and careless, is I pray. Maybe go outside and offer some corn pollen to the earth and ask her to give me some good words. One of my mentors has a prayer that he says every morning: "May you help me help at least one person today." That is a very beautiful prayer to me. So I pray that with each song it can help at least one person. I don't have a real unreachable standard for when a song is finished. I try to be laid back and allow a song to go out even if it's not perfect. I used to do that and I would never publish anything because it wasn't flawless. Now I kind of rest in my imperfection and do my best and be happy with that. I'm often pleasantly surprised with what "my best" ends up being.</p> <p><strong>DA:</strong> In a way what you're doing harkens back to the late 60's folk rock peace movement... do you feel any affinity with those artists and their music today?</p> <p><strong>LJ</strong>: I feel very connected to this movement, even though there aren't a lot of highly visible Native American's in that movement. I feel like even though it was mainly a White movement, it still had some very good messages and was trying hard to generate a new way of seeing things. I pray to further that movement by grounding it in Indigenous rights. I feel that before this country can have peace it must contend with its "original sin": the fact that this country is founded on the genocide of Indigenous Peoples. Until we give lands back to what little Native people are left, and until we make serious efforts to uplift these communities on their terms, then we will always be a farce of justice.</p> <p><strong>DA:</strong> What do you do to get in the right head space before playing (or speaking) to an audience? Do you have a day-of-show ritual?</p> <p><strong>LJ</strong>: Again, prayer is the first thing I do. One of our old songs says, "Great Mystery, first I pray to you. Because of this, I will live well with my people." This song reminds me that prayer is the first step to any process. I used to say a little mantra I'd say to myself before stepping in front of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. I would say, "I am always confident, calm, humble and strong before I speak to the people because I know I carry a message of truth, love, healing and peace." I would say that all the time. But now I think it's woven into my being so it is understood without being spoken.</p> <p><strong>DA:</strong> How was your experience last year at the Newport Folk Festival?</p> <p><strong>LJ</strong>: I loved being in Newport and not just for the seafood! I remember my set was sandwiched between a lot of amazing musicians on one of the side stages. I was the only woman in that section, the only person of color and definitely the only person who identified as Native American. So in many ways I was an anomaly. A lot of people in the audience were not expecting to hear an Indigenous activist/musician. They were overwhelmingly grateful for the set I brought and bought a lot of albums, the proceeds of which I donated to Lakota youth projects. These audiences often don't know what to make of me, but they are always pretty moved by it and describe my set as a cathartic process.</p> <p><strong>DA:</strong> You are asked to perform a song on The Grammys to further 'First Nation's' causes / pride. You are to be allowed a brief introductory sentence or two and then to play a cover song of your choosing --- what do you say to and play for America?</p> <p><strong>LJ</strong>: First of all, I should say, I try to refer to this land as "Turtle Island" and not as "America." Because that is the original name given to this continent by its original peoples. But, I hope this day comes, not for the sake of my fame but to bring my people's message to those who might not hear it otherwise. If I were in that position, I would say, "My people are busy working to revive languages and land stewardship techniques that were brutally destroyed by the processes of Manifest Destiny. We can no longer destroy what we do not understand. The systems of my people are not savage, but incredibly sophisticated and have the ability to bring solutions now, to a world in crisis." And then I would sing an old song of my people, a song of overcoming called, "Shi Nishaa." This song is the song that the elders sang when they saw their southern sacred mountain for the first time in four years. They didn't see it for so long because they were being held in a concentration camp by the US military from 1864-1868. It is a song of joy and resilience. Not even the US military can stamp out this medicine. We are here to bring it to everyone, even those who tried to wipe us from the face of the earth. This is the unconditional love that my elders told me was the deepest medicine.</p> <p>Visit Lyla June on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/lylajune/" target="_blank">Facebook</a> or her official website at <a href="http://www.Sodizin.net" target="_blank">www.Sodizin.net</a></p> </div> <section> </section> Wed, 24 Jan 2018 12:23:55 +0000 Dave Ashdown 3664 at http://www.culturecatch.com A Gentle Giant in Captivity - An Interview with Derek Shulman http://www.culturecatch.com/music/gentle-giant-derek-shulman-interview <span>A Gentle Giant in Captivity - An Interview with Derek Shulman</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/ian-alterman" lang="" about="/users/ian-alterman" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ian Alterman</a></span> <span>October 4, 2017 - 11:52</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/mI8dBOIuG9I?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Recently, Dusty provided me a golden opportunity: in connection with the release of <em>Three-Piece Suite</em> -- a remastering of some compositions from Gentle Giant's first three albums -- their media team offered an interview with Derek Shulman, lead singer for the group, and now a high-level record company executive. Knowing my love of Gentle Giant, Dusty offered the interview to me. There was no constraint on content, only on the number of questions (an even dozen). So, with thanks to Anne Leighton (of Anne Leighton Media), who coordinated, here is my interview with one of progressive rock's most iconic figures, both as an artist and as a rep.</p> <p>1. <em>There has been a sort of minor resurgence of things Gentle Giant, including the induction of the band into the Portsmouth Hall of Fame, and the imminent release of </em>Three-Piece Suite<em>, a collection of compositions from the first three Gentle Giant albums, remixed by uber-engineer Steven Wilson. Can you tell me how these two things came about, and how all of you are feeling about them? </em></p> <p>Portsmouth was the city in which myself and my brothers grew up. Our first band, Simon Dupree and the Big Sound, and then Gentle Giant, rehearsed, developed and resided in the city for the majority our careers. The city decided it wanted to celebrate both groups' success as "sons of the city" earlier this year. We were very humbled to accept the honor on August 23rd of this year.  </p> <p>As to working with Steven Wilson... well, Steven had already worked with the band in remixing both <em>Octopus</em> and <em>The Power &amp; The Glory</em>. We have mutual respect and in fact are good friends. Working with Steven is always a pleasure.  </p> <p>2. <em>Given the remixes of </em>Octopus<em> and </em>The Power and the Glory<em>, as well as the new compilation, and that members of GG have spoken highly of his work, are there any future collaborations with him coming up? If so, what are they? If not, would you like to see such collaborations?  </em></p> <p>We certainly hope we will continue to see what we can work on together, assuming it makes sense creatively for us all. The one album we would love to rework is In a Glass House. Unfortunately, no one is able to locate the multi-tracks.  </p> <p>3. <em>You made the leap from recording artist to record executive, something which is actually quite rare historically. And you have had remarkable success in your new role (not least signing one of my favorite bands, Dream Theater). What brought about your decision to go into "the biz," how did you feel when you first made that decision, and how do you feel now? And if I might be allowed a "part b" here (and it is not a "trade secret"…LOL), how did/do you make your signing and other decisions?  </em></p> <p>In simple -- and probably the most truthful -- terms, I had to put bread on the table to feed myself and my family. I knew I didn't want to form another band: I'd been doing that since I was in high school. I was offered the opportunity to produce artists, but life behind a console was not for me. I was offered a job at Polygram Records in early 1982 and decided to give it a shot.  </p> <p>My first day in a "real job" in an office was a real eye-opener, honestly. I went from office to office, and as the day progressed and then ended I realized that I was not and never had been in the "music business"...it was in reality the "business of music." At the end of the first day, with the growing awareness of what I had gotten into, I was determined to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.  </p> <p>So...35 years later, I'm still determined. But I guess I learned to survive the trench warfare of "the biz" in the meantime.  </p> <p>My decisions on signing artists were and always are based on many and various factors. The biggest and most important artists are always leaders who are authentic and unique: leaders and not followers. Bands like Pantera, Dream Theater, Slipknot and Yes -- even Bon Jovi -- were "leaders." That being said, "the song" and the music are also extremely important in whatever style of music. There is also a fine balance of "unique" versus "commercial" in signing an artist. In any circumstance, any artist I would sign would need to have a determination, drive and complete focus to "make it." It is hard work for all concerned and the artist always must be able to deliver and play live, and garner their own fan following, if they are to have a real career. I tried in my own way to help the artists realize their ambitions by my experiences as a musician on the road.  </p> <p>4. <em>As you are undoubtedly aware, the Rock &amp; Roll Hall of Fame has been "unfriendly" toward bands that are usually classified as "progressive rock" -- even some of those with successful commercial careers -- only a handful have been admitted, some only after many years of lobbying. The co-owner of one of the two sites for which I write (and on which this interview will appear) would like to ask, quite seriously, what you make of this.  </em></p> <p>I honestly believe that the Rock &amp; Roll Hall of Fame is fairly irrelevant. It is not just "progressive" artists who have been "snubbed." Deep Purple have just been inducted (with Yes) in 2016. With respect to "cool artists" like Joan Jett, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Sex Pistols et al, these artists are all inducted, whereas bands like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard -- who have been incredibly successful -- seem not to be "cool enough" for the HOF. I think the legacy of the artists will live on with or without the R&amp;R HOF induction. Perhaps "prog" is considered not cool enough for the HOF? But the legacy of their music will live with on or without any induction.  </p> <p>5. <em>Now let's talk a little about Gentle Giant itself, and go right to the beginning. Can you put us "in the room" when the band began writing the material for its debut album? What influences were brought in? The booklet for Three-Piece Suite mentions Frank Zappa and King Crimson (mostly for the "freedom" with which they were allowed to write and record), but what about other influences, including rock, classical, jazz or other genre composers?</em></p> <p>The influences for Gentle Giant came from the musicians in the band. The Shulman brothers came from a very musical background. Our father was a professional trumpet player and band leader. He loved jazz and classical music. There were always musicians and music in our house as far back as I remember.  </p> <p>My brother Ray had classical violin training and was destined to join the national youth orchestra of U.K. Phil loved modern jazz, and played trumpet and tenor sax. I took in all the influences of classical, jazz and then early soul and R&amp;B in my musical influences. I played alto sax, and my father bought my first guitar when I was 13 years old. This was it!!  </p> <p>As a band we looked for musicians who wanted to push the brothers to be better musicians for ourselves first and then hopefully for the fans. We were incredibly fortunate to have recruited Kerry Minnear, who had just graduated from the Royal Academy of Music with a degree in composition. Gary Green was also a gem, in that he brought his brilliant knowledge and playing of the blues and R&amp;B to the band. The ultimate find was John Weathers on drums who had impeccable timing and personality. He was the rock behind the intricacies of the band on stage especially.   </p> <p>6. <em>Did/does GG consider itself "progressive," as that word came to be used to describe bands like Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, ELP and others? If not, how would the band have described itself? And do you even believe that "progressive rock" is a legitimate descriptive?  </em></p> <p>When we started as a band, I don’t think the term "progressive rock" was even invented. As I had said, we were a bunch of musicians whose backgrounds and influences were multifaceted and diverse. What in fact GG was about was a stew of all the musical sensibilities and abilities of the various members, dripping into a funnel and served with a garnish of the term "prog."  </p> <p>7. <em>Can you put us "in the room" for the creation of a particularly complex composition like "So Sincere" or "On Reflection," with respect to initial ideas, writing, arrangement, harmonies and production?</em></p> <p>The songs you have indicated are good examples of Kerry Minnear’s compositional and scoring skills. Obviously, these pieces weren't just jams in the studio. We wrote in various ways, but Kerry and Ray and occasionally myself would come up with a well-constructed piece, and embellishments would be made together in each other's front room. On songs like "So Sincere" and "On Reflection," Kerry really put to task the rest of the band's ability to read the score and present the music on record and on stage - which we loved doing.</p> <p>8. <em>How did the group decide how and when to use classical instruments and/or motifs within various compositions, particularly with regard to segues into and out of more traditional "rock" segments?</em></p> <p>As musicians we loved to experiment. Whether with time signatures, orchestration or instrumentation. I think our restlessness to be as creative as possible made us think: why <em>wouldn’t</em> we introduce instruments that are not organically rock instruments? If they fitted the feel of the music then we just did it. Thankfully, we were all conversant with being comparatively decent multi-instrumental players, so we would put that to use as Gentle Giant. I also think that a certain amount of "ADD" was intrinsic in the band, so boredom was the enemy we kept at bay by utilizing our abilities instrumentally and vocally. We always loved to surprise ourselves and our audience into never becoming too complacent with the band.</p> <p>For my final three questions, I promised my two brothers -- both fans of Gentle Giant -- that I would allow them each one question, followed by one of my own.  </p> <p>9. <em>My older brother (who has a B.S. in Composition, as well as being both a guitarist and violinist) wanted to ask the following: There was recently an article on progressive rock in which the writer claimed that none of the members of Gentle Giant could really "sing." Given not only the complexity of the harmonies, but that each of you had wonderful and distinctive voices, how would you respond to such a suggestion?</em></p> <p>Well... the music -- and especially the vocal lines -- were generally part of the composition. So in fact there weren’t too many regular chordal patterned songs with a real pop vocal lines (verse/B section/chorus) on top. The vocal lines would generally weave in as an orchestral part would. I would say that at least we sang in tune, if not like Pavarotti.  </p> <p>10. <em>My younger brother (who plays guitar, writes, and sings, and has a kick-ass alt-rock band) wanted to ask: have you ever regretted your decision to switch from artist to executive?  </em></p> <p>I loved my time being a stage and recording musician. The feeling of creating and performing is something that is indescribable. However, that being said, I also love the creativity of working with a young band who may appear to be "a piece of coal," and then ultimately helping the artist become the "lustrous diamond." I'm very fortunate to have experienced both magical and musical highs.</p> <p>11. <em>Finally, for myself, I am essentially duty-bound (LOL) to ask the obvious three-part question, not least for the members of Progarchives, the #1 progressive rock website in the world, and the other site on which this interview will appear: Do you have a favorite GG album; a favorite GG song; and is there even the remotest chance for some sort of actual reunion?</em></p> <p>OK… this is not really fair as you know…But the memories of recording <em>The Power &amp; The Glory</em> are still very vivid. We had come into our own by this time, and the writing and recording was one the easiest and most complete experiences for the band. We were a fairly (VERY!) intense band, so in that respect <em>TP&amp;TG </em>for me.</p> <p>My favorite song!!!??? "Knots" from <em>Octopus</em>. Say no more.</p> <p>As to reunion: Why would anyone want to see 60++ old farts playing not quite as well as we used to? I/we would hate being a parody of ourselves, honestly. All we can hope is the legacy of the music we made together is still as relevant in the years to come.</p> <p><em>Mr. Shulman, on behalf of all of the Gentle Giant fans -- both current and future -- who will read this interview, I want to thank you (so sincere-ly!) for taking the time to do this. We all wish all of you continued success in your current endeavors, and also want to give an extra shout-out (and love and warm thoughts) to John.</em></p> </div> <section> </section> Wed, 04 Oct 2017 15:52:54 +0000 Ian Alterman 3635 at http://www.culturecatch.com Theater of Painting http://www.culturecatch.com/art/susan-bee-interview <span>Theater of Painting</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/529" lang="" about="/user/529" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bradley Rubenstein</a></span> <span>March 16, 2013 - 10:25</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <p>Susan Bee is a painter, editor, and book artist who lives in New York. Bee is represented by <span data-scayt_word="Accola" data-scaytid="1">Accola</span> <span data-scayt_word="Griefen" data-scaytid="2">Griefen</span> Gallery, New York, where she will have a solo show of new paintings from May 23 to June 29, 2013.</p> <p><em><span data-scayt_word="Criss" data-scaytid="3">Criss</span> Cross: New Paintings </em>will be accompanied by a catalog with an essay by art critic and poet Raphael <span data-scayt_word="Rubinstein" data-scaytid="4">Rubinstein</span>.</p> <p><strong>Bradley <span data-scayt_word="Rubenstein" data-scaytid="5">Rubenstein</span>: </strong>Susan, I just saw this piece by Roger <span data-scayt_word="Denson" data-scaytid="6">Denson</span> in the <em>Huffington Post</em>: "Mira <span data-scayt_word="Schor" data-scaytid="7">Schor</span> and Susan Bee, the Thelma and Louise of the Feminist Painting and <span data-scayt_word="Crit" data-scaytid="8">Crit</span> set, pose the biggest threat to male domination of the medium and criticism of painting in that they are critics as <span data-scayt_word="wellas" data-scaytid="9">wellas</span> painters, and editors to boot, whose joint imprimatur has been pulsing out the feminist-left political art journal <em>M/E/A/N/I/N/G</em> since the mid-1980s." (<em>Huffington Post</em>, May 1, 2012)</p> <!--break--> <p>I thought that was really great. It ties together your importance as a painter and the relevance that your work with <em>M/E/A/N/I/N/G</em> still has today as intellectual currency. In some ways it seems that it might be a little daunting to be seen as such an historical figure. I wanted to bring it up as we start, since we are going to be talking a little about your past work as well as the things you are currently working on for your upcoming show.</p> <p><strong>Susan Bee: </strong>I was pleased that Roger included us in his "Left Political Art Timeline, 2001-2012" and also that he cited my painting with the caption "It was a decade of ANGRY painting, and nearly all of it was by women painters." I am feeling more like an historical figure lately, especially with the 25-year anniversary of <em>M/E/A/N/I/N/G </em>in 2011, and my own work as an artist going back over 40 years. I guess that feeling is a product of growing old and continuing to make art -- against all odds. I have seen many other artists quit, as they became discouraged and just couldn't keep up the fight to make their art. It has been a struggle for me to continue. I sometimes talk to my students about the Sixties and Seventies and the beginnings of the feminist movement and Woodstock, about politics and living in the rainforest in British Columbia, and so on. They seem fascinated with this period of experimentation and often want to know more about my artistic and political beginnings and why and how Mira and I started <em>M/E/A/N/I/N/G. </em>The other aspect of my life that has become daunting to me is just the fact that I have had so many shows, worked on many collaborative book projects with poets, edited and designed numerous publications, and produced so many art objects.At some point, I realized that I was having trouble just keeping track of it all.</p> <p><strong>BR: </strong>Let's go back a little bit, get a little of your history in general. I know it is a lot of ground to cover, but can you pinpoint something of a real beginning of when you knew you were going to be a painter? Was it a slow discovery, or was there a real "aha!" moment?</p> <p><strong>SB: </strong>I seem to have been literally born into this profession of painting. Both of my parents, Miriam Laufer and Sigmund Laufer, were artists. They had emigrated to New York City from Berlin and Palestine in 1947, five years before I was born. I was brought up in the hub of the bohemian New York City art world of the 1950s. We spent our summers mostly in Provincetown, or we traveled to Mexico or Europe. I had the chance to meet many artists and see many artworks as a child. I grew up in Yorkville, at 85th Street and Lexington Avenue, very close to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My public elementary school was just a block away from the main entrance. The museum, the streets around it, and Central Park were my turf. I would hang out in the museum on weekends and after school and regarded it as a home away from home. This was before the museum was spiffed up and gentrified. In those days, it was dusty and unpopular. I remember it as a quiet place for art lovers and eccentrics, as well as the perfect meeting place for moody, arty teenagers like me and my friends. I also took painting lessons at the Museum of Modern Art as a child. When I was quite little, I would accompany my mother to her studio and sit in the corner, making my own oil paintings. Later I went with my father on weekends to the Pratt Graphics Center and worked on small etchings. I went to the High School of Music and Art in Harlem (now LaGuardia High School), which was a wonderful experience, because I could spend half the day painting and had great teachers like Sherman Drexler.</p> <p>My parents were opposed to my going to art school and following in their footsteps. They wanted me to be a professional of some sort -- perhaps an architect -- but art turned out to be my calling; I couldn't escape its grip. By the time I was 13, I realized I was committed to art. But I was also good at academic subjects, so I ended up going to Barnard College, where I had gotten a scholarship, rather than an art school. I also got involved with Charles Bernstein in high school. We met when I was 16 and he was 17. That relationship continues. At Barnard, which is an all-women's college, I got an education from major feminist thinkers like Catherine Stimpson and Kate Millett, who were teaching there. It was a time of turbulence with many protests, and the campus was often shut down. I also studied art and art history with Brian O'Doherty, Adja Yunkers, and others and continued to paint there.</p> <p>After college, Charles and I went up to Vancouver in Canada, where he had a fellowship for a year. We lived in the woods in the rainforest. I drew and painted, and he started to write poetry. This work was recently published in <em>The Capilano Review</em>. We then lived in Santa Barbara for a year before we returned to New York City in 1975. I got married to Charles in 1977 after living together for many years. I had my daughter, Emma Bee Bernstein, in 1985. She died in 2008. My son, Felix, was born in 1992; he just turned 20.</p> <p>In 1975, I went to Hunter College to get an MA in Art. I worked with prominent minimalists, such as Robert Morris and Ralph Humphrey, and I studied art history with Rosalind Krauss, who was my thesis advisor. At that time, I was doing altered photographs and paintings, and I published my first artist's book, <em>Photogram,</em> in 1978<strong>. </strong>My MA thesis was about Man Ray, Moholy Nagy, and photograms.</p> <p>I designed Charles's and Bruce Andrews's poetics magazine <em>L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E</em> from 1978 to 1981, which I also wrote for. I became very involved with a large group of young poets, filmmakers, and artists in New York at that time.</p> <p>Around the same time, I became reacquainted with Mira. I first met Mira as a child in Provincetown. Her parents and my parents were friends and colleagues and were in the same milieu of Jewish American artists. At one point, my father told me that he and Mira's father, Ilya Schor, collaborated on a book before we were born. My father designed it, and Ilya illustrated it. Mira and I met again as young adults on the beach in Provincetown in the late 1970s and found we had a great rapport. This led to us working together on <em>M/E/A/N/I/N/G, </em>which we started in 1986.</p> <p><strong>BR: </strong>I think it's so interesting that there were these connections between your family and Mira's. Almost like you two were predestined to work together. Both <em>L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E</em> and <em>M/E/A/N/I/N/G</em> were very influential to me starting out as an artist in the Midwest in the Eighties. It may seem kind of strange, but journals like that, as well as Chicago's <em>New Art Examiner</em>, were much more important in terms of keeping up with art than, say, <em>Artforum</em>. When I moved to Detroit, especially, <em>M/E/A/N/I/N/G </em>was the journal of record. George and Chris Tysh were always talking about this or that article. I think the design of it, too, had something to do with how seriously it was taken. In Detroit there was a longer history of painters and writers putting together magazines, like <em>Meat City</em> or <em>Destroy All Monsters</em>, but you two were combining art theory and politics in a way that was also very straightforward.</p> <p><strong>SB: </strong>We knew and admired the <em>New Art Examiner</em> and felt very involved with the poets, artists, and theorists that ran most of the small-press publications. We set out to be an alternative to the glossy art journals, but we also were well aware of the other political and feminist journals that directly preceded us, such as <em>October </em>and <em>Heresies.</em> Our decision to exclude pictures was financial -- it cost too much money to have images -- and it made our journal different from the glossies. I was interested in creating a design that emphasized readability and legibility. You had to read <em>M/E/A/N/I/N/G</em>, not just look at the pictures!</p> <p>In the meantime, I worked as an editor and designer for many other publications. For a year from 1979 to '80, I was the editor of <em>Women Artists News</em>, which I also pasted up and designed. I also designed and edited many small-press poetry publications, including many Roof books from 1980 to 1992. But mostly, I worked for commercial publications such as medical and legal journals. I also worked at Lincoln Center designing the programs, including the playbill for the original <em>Einstein on the Beach.</em> I continued doing my artwork and tried to get it shown, with little success. I brought my photograms and altered photographs to galleries, but most dealers weren't interested in this type of experimental approach to photography. I also had difficulty getting my paintings seen at that time. I did have a solo show of the altered photos in 1979 at a small local gallery and participated in many group shows. It wasn't until 1992, at age 40, that I had my first solo show of paintings at a commercial gallery, the Virginia Lust Gallery in Soho.</p> <p><strong>BR: </strong>I remember that show. She was also showing June Leaf's paintings around the same time. I don't think I had seen any of your work before that. I saw Mira's work in Provincetown, where I was spending the summers, but I remember being excited to finally see your work in that show. Can you talk a little about what you were doing then, about the work, how it fit in to what was happening at the time?</p> <p><strong>SB: </strong>I am amazed that you saw my first solo show. At that time, I was making collaged paintings with paper dolls and plastic animals and fake jewels embedded in the surface. These were dense compositions with a fractured narrative. Some of the painting also included dripped enamel paint layered over the entire surface as an homage to Jackson Pollock. I was interested in exploring the gender relationships as played out by the male and female paper dolls and also, at the same time, was using a lot of imagery derived from children's books and toys. No doubt, I was influenced by having young children around. In fact, I used to borrow their toys to use in the paintings. So this show had a lot of children's imagery. I was also interested in kitsch and in addressing high and low imagery, so I was combining oil painting with collaged Victoriana, postcards, vintage ads, and other sources. The results were layered and weathered and somewhat comic and surrealistic, yet faintly nostalgic for my own remembered childhood. I played with paper dolls and small plastic toys as a child and would create imagined worlds and fantasy situations, so this reimagined play was reflected in these paintings.</p> <p>However, shortly after my show there, the gallery closed, so I was left to look for another gallery again. A few years later in 1996, I decided to join A.I.R. Gallery, the first women's cooperative gallery in the United States, now 40 years old, which presents a real alternative to the commercial system. I am still a member and have had six solo shows there.</p> <p><strong>BR: </strong>Yeah, I remember that there was a quality that hovered between a kind of high and low art, a combination of "abjection" and kitsch, which was something I found compelling when it was combined with high-art painterliness. Can you talk a little, in brief, about those six shows -- how the work developed? Looking at the work in retrospect, do you see an arc, or storyline, in the development of your style?</p> <p><strong>SB: </strong>My first solo show in 1998 at A.I.R. was <em>Post-Americana: New Paintings</em>. It had images of American icons and kitsch elements, such as the Liberty Bell, Molly Pitcher, Big Ben, the Pilgrims, turkeys, as well as various small objects, such as plastic snakes, butterflies, shells, insects, and fake flowers. The figures were embedded in encrusted, paint-saturated surfaces. These paintings were a comic and surrealistic exploration of American history.</p> <p>My second show at A.I.R. in 2000 was <em>Beware the Lady</em>. The paintings revolved around appropriated figures from movie posters and pulp fiction covers of the 1940s and 50s, as well as paper dolls, postcards, and advertisements. These paintings and the subsequent ones in my next show, <em>Miss Dynamite</em> in 2003, dealt with the themes of love, imprisonment, female rebellion, and punishment, alongside childhood innocence and the passage from girlhood into adulthood.</p> <p>Color is a major element in these paintings -- bold, splashy, and expressive. I am attracted to images of the strong, sexy, and somewhat dangerous dames that are endemic to film noirs, pulp novels, mysteries, and B movies. These bad girls seem to represent the underside of the innocence of childhood. In these paintings the women are strong figures emerging out of the morass of the paint to assert themselves and their sexuality.</p> <p>In 2006, I had a show at A.I.R. titled <em>Seeing Double: Paintings by Susan Bee and Miriam Laufer</em>. This was a two-person show of paintings by my mother, Miriam Laufer (1918-80), from the Sixties and Seventies, and my <em>Philosophical Trees</em> paintings. This series of collaged oil paintings use the motif of the tree of life as a structure for cultural references to everything from Blake, film noir, and pin-ups to mystical traditions, such as the Kabbalah.</p> <p>In 2009, my fifth solo show at A.I.R., <em>Eye of the Storm</em>, opened just two months after my daughter died in Venice and a year and a half after my father died in October 2007. The paintings explore an expressionistic, apocalyptic vision in the form of imaginary seascapes, floods, and storms at sea. The themes are reflections on the aftermath of disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, September 11th, and the Asian tsunami, as well as more personal losses.</p> <p>My sixth solo show, <em>Recalculating</em>, opened at A.I.R. in 2011. I showed mostly small oil paintings, which dramatize the relationships between male and female characters through the lens of the dark, violent films of the 1940s and 1950s, engaging psychic dislocation, trauma, and incongruous mystical and religious iconography. In contrast, natural elements formed the basis of some of the other paintings I showed, which were inspired by Caspar David Friedrich and Charles Burchfield.</p> <p>Looking back on the trajectory of these solo shows, I can see that my approach to the subject matter and painting changed over time. In my last show, I was creating smaller paintings without collage and with a simpler palette and a flatter style. The paintings were tighter and more focused on the interactions between the characters. Meanwhile, my landscapes have become more romantic and expressionistic, more oriented to fantasy and religious and dream-like visions. I am now less interested in a decorative surface and find myself creating narratives with an emphasis on the inherent painterly composition. In my first solo show at Virginia Lust's Gallery, I was using paper dolls in a similar way. But the paper dolls were static icons and did not have the emotional force that the more expressive figures I am using now have.</p> <p><strong>BR: </strong>You spent part of last fall at the MacDowell Colony. Did the change from being in the city have any effect on your new work?</p> <p><strong>SB: </strong>I appreciated the time to develop some challenging new paintings. I was at MacDowell for three weeks and started four paintings, which I finished in New York. Two were related to compositions by Caspar David Friedrich, but they were influenced by the colorful autumn foliage, which I could see from my studio window in the barn where I was painting. Another work was a based on a film still of two girls in a car, but the fourth one, "Ahava, Berlin<em>,</em>" was the most complex and different.</p> <p><img alt="" height="267" src="/sites/default/files/images/ahava-berlin.jpg" style="width:226px; height:151px; float:right" width="400" />"Ahava" was inspired by a trip Charles and I made in the fall of 2012 to Berlin. We stayed near the former Ahava Kinderheim, located in the Mitte, which was the Jewish ghetto, and is now an arts district. It was a politically progressive Jewish children's home. My mother lived there from 1927 to 1934. This is painfully personal material for me, since both my parents grew up in Berlin and were exiled in their teens to Palestine. I based this painting on a melancholy snapshot of me standing in front of the war-scarred, graffitied building, which remains standing as a testament to the suffering of the Jewish population in Germany. Lucky for my mother and for me, the orphanage and most of the children were transferred to Israel, where Ahava (Hebrew for love) continues to this day.</p> <p>Raphael Rubinstein wrote the following, which is part of an essay to be published in the catalog for my upcoming show at Accola Griefen, about "Ahava, Berlin":</p> <p>"Following the Nazi rise to power, the Ahava Kinderheim and its inhabitants, including Bee's mother, providentially relocated to Palestine. Situated in the former East Berlin, and also in the Mitte, Berlin's old Jewish quarter, the Ahava building was war-scarred, dilapidated and heavily grafittied when Bee came upon it. In her painting she translates those features into automatist paint drips, mostly red and blue. Exuding a violence that is rare in Bee's other abstract motifs (even when they accompany a violent scene), these skeins and drips of paint suggest that the building itself is wounded. Standing stiffly under a plaque that reads 'Ahava,' the artist is a diminutive figure who looks overwhelmed by the ravaged façade, by the tortured history it represents. </p> <p>"Yet, at the center of the painting something else is happening. Reflected in the mirrored entryway of the ex-Ahava Kinderheim are details of buildings on the other side of the street. Or maybe some details are of the interior courtyard -- the painter plays with subtle spatial ambiguity. In contrast to the paint-spattered Ahava façade, these buildings are clean and cared-for; Bee paints them with soft geometric forms and muted yellows and whites. A green-leafed tree is partly visible. Unexpectedly, Bee transforms a snapshot situation (tourist daughter standing in front of orphanage where mother lived as child) into a powerful image of hope and renewal, albeit one that acknowledges the heavy price of history. The ultimate message of this painting is legible on the sign placed just above Bee's head: 'Ahava,' the Hebrew word for love."</p> <p><strong>BR: </strong>I really enjoyed stopping by your studio, seeing your new work in progress. I particularly liked the new pieces where you were developing a real sense of theatricality. By using your figures, which formerly had been more of a collaged element, as characters, the painting's background became more of a stage, or set. These new paintings really work as an extension of the series of "noir" paintings. Is this an evolution in your work, or are you just examining different issues in paint?</p> <p><strong>SB: </strong>I have become very taken by the idea of theatricality and artifice. I am creating these paintings as spaces for a drama to take place. The figures are actors and actresses in a stage that I am setting up for them to play out their roles. The film stills I'm referencing are very dramatic. There is a subtle undertone that is pulling you in and pushing you out. I remain intrigued by the dangerous women and the desolate men in the film noirs. These paintings have brought into focus the power of the individual faces and bodies and their relationship to the painted ground -- and also their relation to each other. I'm now emphasizing the dynamic between the figures, whether they're pressing against a windowpane or pressing up against each other. In fact, the paintings' focus is on these relationships and the psychological space and emotions that are carved out among the persons that I'm portraying.</p> </div> <section> </section> Sat, 16 Mar 2013 14:25:11 +0000 Bradley Rubenstein 2714 at http://www.culturecatch.com Michael Zansky - The Dusty Wright Show http://www.culturecatch.com/vidcast/michael-zansky <span>Michael Zansky - The Dusty Wright Show</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>June 22, 2011 - 15:12</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/vidcast" hreflang="en">Vidcast</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/359" hreflang="en">artist</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/203" hreflang="en">painter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/n4rpxF1tIJE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Brilliant NYC-based abstract/surrealist painter <a href="http://michaelzanskypaintings.com/‎" target="_blank">Michael <span data-scayt_word="Zansky" data-scaytid="1">Zansky</span></a> shares his art tales with host Dusty Wright.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_GYUTqxEjNxtD8pKeNp4Gg">Subscribe via <span data-scayt_word="Youtube" data-scaytid="2">Youtube</span></a> or <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/culturecatch-vidcast">Subscribe</a><a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/culturecatch-vidcast"> via <span data-scayt_word="Feedburner" data-scaytid="3">Feedburner</span></a></p> <!--break--></div> <section> </section> Wed, 22 Jun 2011 19:12:20 +0000 Dusty Wright 2072 at http://www.culturecatch.com Bert Jansch - The Dusty Wright Show http://www.culturecatch.com/vidcast/bert-jansch <span>Bert Jansch - The Dusty Wright Show</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>May 18, 2011 - 09:54</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/vidcast" hreflang="en">Vidcast</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/519" hreflang="en">Bert Jansch</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Cs-WlU2CwnI?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Scottish folk legend Bert <span data-scayt_word="Jansch" data-scaytid="1">Jansch</span>, and founding member of Pentangle, shares some stories about his life in the music business with host Dusty Wright.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_GYUTqxEjNxtD8pKeNp4Gg" target="_blank">Subscribe via Youtube</a> or <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/culturecatch-vidcast">Subscribe via <span data-scayt_word="Feedburner" data-scaytid="2">Feedburner</span></a></p> <!--break--></div> <section> </section> Wed, 18 May 2011 13:54:19 +0000 Dusty Wright 1962 at http://www.culturecatch.com Peter Bagge - The Dusty Wright Show http://www.culturecatch.com/vidcast/peter-bagge <span>Peter Bagge - The Dusty Wright Show</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>April 28, 2011 - 17:08</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/vidcast" hreflang="en">Vidcast</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/359" hreflang="en">artist</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GSziaCkyL2E?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>American comic book artist guru Peter <span data-scayt_word="Bagge" data-scaytid="1">Bagge</span> (<em>Hate, Other Lives</em>) lets it all hang out with host Dusty Wright.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_GYUTqxEjNxtD8pKeNp4Gg">Subscribe via <span data-scayt_word="Youtube" data-scaytid="2">Youtube</span></a> or <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/culturecatch-vidcast">Subscribe</a><a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/culturecatch-vidcast"> via <span data-scayt_word="Feedburner" data-scaytid="3">Feedburner</span></a></p> <!--break--></div> <section> </section> Thu, 28 Apr 2011 21:08:30 +0000 Dusty Wright 1941 at http://www.culturecatch.com Kevin Bacon - The Dusty Wright Show http://www.culturecatch.com/vidcast/kevin-bacon <span>Kevin Bacon - The Dusty Wright Show</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>April 15, 2011 - 09:25</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/vidcast" hreflang="en">Vidcast</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/500" hreflang="en">celebrity interview</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z58k8e4042c?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Actor/musician Kevin Bacon discusses he addiction to mobile games and his pursuit of the perfect note with <a href="http://www.baconbros.com/" target="_blank">The Bacon Brothers</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_GYUTqxEjNxtD8pKeNp4Gg">Subscribe via <span data-scayt_word="Youtube" data-scaytid="1">Youtube</span></a> or <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/culturecatch-vidcast">Subscribe</a><a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/culturecatch-vidcast"> via <span data-scayt_word="Feedburner" data-scaytid="2">Feedburner</span></a></p> <!--break--></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1907&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="S6y7JLM7G0sDwCYNXD_eHPd_MW5wNNYwayb0pio_BTQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 15 Apr 2011 13:25:42 +0000 Dusty Wright 1907 at http://www.culturecatch.com