A friend and fellow Francophile recently sent me a link to the Jacques Dutronc music video for “Les gens sont fous, les temps sont flous” (which translates roughly as “The people are crazy, the times are vague”). Thus began an immediate obsession with the songwriter turned singer turned actor, who, in the 60s wrote hits for his then girlfriend, later wife, Françoise Hardy while at Vogue Records. He went on to become a star in his own right with his first chart-topper,“Et moi et moi et moi.” Dressed to perfection in suit and tie at a time when most musicians were growing beards and donning bell-bottoms, Dutronc’s live performances were characterized by a wink and a nod to the audience, his sly, bemused expression transforming his particular brand of pop into a subtle parody of the genre itself.
It’s no surprise then, that Dutronc later went into acting, eventually starring in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1980 meta-film Every Man For Himself, in which the pop star plays an filmmaker, also named Godard, who is grappling with the dissolution of his marriage. A brand new 35mm print of the film has recently been pressed and will be shown in Chicago later this week and in Vancouver at the beginning of next month. See links for dates and times: Chicago & Vancouver.
Poppa Neutrino was one of those real life characters that, if you heard even one his stories, you’d simply believe was a protagonist in some Great American Novel. Poppa was the living embodiment of that anti-american spirit of material abandonment and freedom….a great wanderer and a true vagabond. He was the first person to sail from the Atlantic Coast to Europe on a raft made entirely of refuse – with his wife Betsy at the helm. Poppa’s journey and life was examined by the New Yorker in 2005. In March 2007 Random House released a biography of his life entitled The Happiest Man in the World. Inspired by a documentary he saw when he was a child, of Australian Aborigines who burn their homes and walk away naked, never looking back without a soupcon of regret, Poppa’s fate was sealed – he decided to spend his entire life with just that ethos in mind: to live life on the raft on your own free will, leaving all your stepping stones behind you, and never looking back. I was in Vermont recently, just after New Years, visiting a friend – one night we were sitting in a booth at a restaurant when an old man came through the door and sat next to us. We were strangely drawn to this old man’s presence. My friend took photographs of him in the darkened room, as a band played and a tango lesson was in progression on the dance floor, trying not to disrupt this old man with the flash of the camera. Turns out this man was none other than Poppa Neutrino. Real name: William David Pearlman – who had a life full of adventure, was a friend of the beat poets, and became an unsung legend through it all. Poppa passed away yesterday in New Orleans on January 23rd. He was 78. After the jump is a fascinating, beautiful, and touching memorial piece written after his death by someone very close to him named Kimberley Hannaman-Taylor of Burlington, Vermont……
At this years Art Rotterdam TORCH gallery will offer a stage for a special performance and presentation of the project Almost 18+ (for your pleasure) by TINKEBELL. These works display a wryly ironic commentary on the contrast between the worlds of pornography and public debate. Seated in a chair designed by renowned designer Marcel Wanders she will devote her time at the fair embroidering lovely flowers, butterflies and birds on images of humiliated teenage girls. More info here.
Voodoo originated in slavery and was declared the official religion of Haiti in 2003. The belief came into existence in the sixteenth century and is based upon a merging of the beliefs and practices belonging to the vodun cult from of West African Benin with the beliefs and practices associated with Roman Catholic Christianity. Voodoo was created by African slaves who were brought to Haiti in the 16th century and still followed their traditional African beliefs but were forced to convert to the religion of their slavers. From Haiti voodoo gradually spread to the United States and the Caribbean. Voodoo practitioners, who are commonly described as vodouisants, aim their prayers to a rather large number of spirits known as Loa, or Mistè. These spirits all have their own, distinct preferences and are honoured with specific rituals, symbols, dances and music. The Loa enable the vodouisants to contact the world of the dead, amongst whom deceased relatives and ancestors. This contact is highly important because respect for, and listening to what it is that these spirits and ancestors are conveying is absolutely quintessential if one wants to attain a better and more peaceful life on earth. Between 2005 and 2010 Turine took photographs of several ceremonies, pilgrimages and rituals connected with voodoo religion. These photographs are on display at the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam – in the Netherlands – until March 13th 2011. More info here.
Invoking the Jazz Age. “Limited edition freshwater pearl chain headpiece with raw crystal geode by little doe exclusively for [I Don't Like Mondays]….hand made in NYC.” Proceeds go to Designers Against Aids. Find it at www.idontlikemondays.com
“And with a soft kiss I bid my adieu to Casa Voyageurs and Casablanca, speeding galliantly towards the Atlas Forrest and the ancient Medina of Fes (Fez) with the Brass Tears of Ted Curson in my ear, seat 5f, compartment 1, express train 119. Enshallah.”
San Francisco’s cinema gem, the Castro Theater, is currently in the middle of it’s annual noir film festival: Noir City. I think I might just check out the last showing as it seems right up my alley. Showing tonight, Among The Living (1941): “Albert Dekker stars as identical twins, one a brain-damaged psychopath who stirs up a Gothic whirlwind of insanity, family skeletons, and murder in a small town paralyzed by fear. Stuart Heisler directs Lester Cole’s baroque script with fabulously lurid intensity. Costarring a lushly nubile Susan Hayward, venerable Harry Carey, and pre-tragedy Frances Farmer. This rarely screened horror-noir hybrid is one of the most requested films in Noir City history, finally presented in a glorious 35mm print!” This film is not on DVD. Tonight Frances Farmer will have her revenge. Full program here.