Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Behind the Seen



پشت مُشت های رندان

Mikhail Glinka, June 1, 1804 - 1857, in many ways the father of Russian classical music…
Glinka, viola sonata in d-moll on electric guitar.


Ronnie Wood (b. June 1, 1947), young man about town…

Faces - Ooh La La


Today is the birthday of Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926 - 1962), perhaps the greatest glamour girl the world has ever known - but also a gentle, if troubled soul…


Thomas Hardy (June 2, 1840 – 1928) - English novelist, prone to harsh realism and tragic outcomes…

One of Thomas Hardy’s least depressed books is Tess of the d’Urbervilles about a young woman caught in the double standards surrounding sexual mores in Victorian England…

“A strong woman who recklessly throws away her strength, she is worse than a weak woman who has never had any strength to throw away.” — Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D’Urbervilles)


One Danish Nobel Laureate you most likely have never heard of or read:

Karl Gjellerup (June 2, 1857 – 1919) was a Danish poet and novelist who together with his compatriot Henrik Pontoppidan won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1917. Of the two, Pontoppidan has aged considerably better.

I don’t know of anyone who reads Gjellerup these days - unless you’re a spiritual seeker who has come across his weird Buddhist epos, The Pilgrim Kamanita


Marquis de Sade (2 June 1740 – 1814) was a French aristocrat, revolutionary and novelist. His novels were philosophical and sadomasochistic, exploring such controversial subjects as rape, bestiality and necrophilia. He was a proponent of extreme freedom (or at least licentiousness), unrestrained by morality, religion or law, with the pursuit of personal pleasure being the highest principle. (Wiki)

Cover of de Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom…


Carol Shields (June 2, 1935 – 2003) was an American-born Canadian author. She is best known for her 1993 novel The Stone Diaries, which won the U.S. Pulitzer Prize for Fiction as well as the Governor General’s Award in Canada…

Above - Lovely Canadian cover of The Stone Diaries


Richard Long (b. June 2, 1945) is an English sculptor, photographer and painter, one of the best known British land artists…

Above: A Line in Scotland, 1981


Tarzan in trouble!

Johnny Weissmuller (June 2, 1904 - 1984), Olympic swimmer (5 gold medals) and a successful career in Hollywood as (the sixth and by far the greatest )Tarzan and later Jungle Jim…

Weissmuller was of German descent, but born in present day Timișoara in Romania, but came with his family to the US before the age of one…

Still from Tarzan and the Mermaids, 1948


Lasse Hallström (b. June 2, 1946) is a fine Swedish film director, who has been quite successful in the US.

After his 1985 Swedish language hit My Life as a Dog, he went to Hollywood and had a pretty good streak throughout the 90s:

1993 - What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

1995 - Something to Talk About

1999 - The Cider House Rules

2000 - Chocolat

2001 - The Shipping News


Cornel West, eminent African-American public intellectual: 58 today…

“Aesthetics have substantial political consequences. How one views oneself as beautiful or not beautiful or desirable or not desirable has deep consequences in terms of one’s feelings of self-worth and one’s capacity to be a political agent.” — Cornel West (Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life)


Andrés Segovia, Spanish guitar maestro - died of a heart attack on this day in 1987, aged 94…

Andrés Segovia - Granados Spanish Dance No.5 Andaluza


Charlie Watts, 70 today!

The Rolling Stones: Can’t You Hear Me Knocking - from Sticky Fingers, 1971


Bo Diddley, pioneer of guitar sounds and rhyhtms - died this day in 2008, aged 78, from heart failure…

Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley (1955)


English composer Edward Elgar (June 2, 1857 – 1934)…

Elgar Salut d'Amour - Anatoli Krastev


Jim Goldberg (b. June 3, 1953): Untitled —This is affluent America. This picture is about having everything I want. I don’t have to struggle—but I want to struggle. I wish I could say I was interested in changing the human condition, but everything I see tells me nothing will work especially if it gets in the way of my happiness — Michael Mindel, from the series Rich and Poor, 1981 (printed 1983) - selenium toned gelatin silver print on paper (Smithsonian)

Jim Goldberg (b. June 3, 1953): Untitled—I am a 29 year old female who loves plants and aniamals who came to San Francisco from a quiet town in Oregon 3 1/2 years ago. I don’t like it here! The city has made me dislike myself now I get depressed easily, which makes me sleep alot, 1977-82 - selenium toned gelatin silver print on paper (Smithsonian)

Charles Seliger (b. June 3, 1926): “Dr. Clach and Signor Falalasole”, from Illustrations to the songs from William Blake’s “Island in the Moon”, 1945 - white ink on black ink on paper (Smithsonian)

Raoul Dufy (June 3, 1877 – 1953) - French Fauvist painter…

Le Tour Eiffel, 1935 - watercolor


Grande dame of the Burlesque: Lili St Cyr (June 3, 1918 - 1999) - photographed by Bruno Bernard

Curtis Mayfield, radical soul-man: June 3, 1942 - 1999….

The Impressions: It’s Alright, 1963


Tony Curtis (June 3, 1925 - 2010) as a young hot shot in Operation Petticoat, 1959

Allen Ginsberg (born 3 June, 1926; died 5 April, 1997), pictured above in San Francisco in 1955

A Supermarket in California

What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked
down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking
at the full moon.
In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon
fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at
night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!
—and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking
among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.
I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops?
What price bananas? Are you my Angel?
I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you,
and followed in my imagination by the store detective.
We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy
tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the

Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in a hour.
Which way does your beard point tonight?
(I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and
feel absurd.)
Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade
to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely.
Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automo-
biles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?
Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America
did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a
smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of


Allen Ginsberg w. Howl, Washington, DC

© Stephen Crowley


Celebrating the great Josephine Baker (June 3, 1906 - 1975) - the first African American to star in a major motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer…

Josephine Baker- J'Ai Deux Amours


An excerpt from Toute la mémoire du monde, a 1956 film about the Bibliothèque nationale by Alain Resnais (born 3 June, 1922)


Fernand Leduc (b. June 4, 1916) is a Canadian abstract expressionist painter who was a major figure in the Quebec contemporary art scene in the 1940s and 1950s.

Above: Olive Trees, 1952 - Oil on canvas (The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts)


Freddy Fender, Tejano music great: June 4, 1937 – 2006
Freddy Fender - Before The Next Teardrop Falls


Bruce Dern, (b. June 4, 1936), was an important figure in edgy, indie film in the US in the late 60s and through the 70s…

Still from Psych Out, 1968


Michelle Phillips (b. June 4, 1944) - now the only surviving member of The Mamas and the Papas - rose to fame as the quintessential thin hippie chick of the 60s, through the group’s hits such as California Dreamin’ (which she co-wrote)…

MAMAS & PAPAS - Monday Monday


William P. Woolston (b. June 4, 1945): Discing the Peaground, n.d. - gelatin silver print (Smithsonian)


Natalia Goncharova (June 4, 1881 - 1962) was a Russian avant-garde artist (Cubo-Futurism), painter, costume designer, writer, illustrator, and set designer.

Above: Aeroplane above the City, 1913 - oil on canvas

Natalia Goncharova: Curtain, designed for Stravinsky’s The Firebird

Mikhail Larionov: Jewish Venus, 1912 - Oil on canvas (Ekaterinburg Art Gallery)

Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov…

“Goncharova and Larionov were prominent figures in the pre-Revolutionary Moscow avant-garde, a circle in which women commanded an unusual degree of freedom and respect. Goncharova was a radical both in art and life. She and Larionov lived together for decades as an unmarried couple. (They finally married in 1955 to ensure that whoever survived the other could inherit his or her paintings.) Larionov was very interested in tattooing. He and Goncharova would paint on their own and their friends’ bodies — images, or offensive words or phrases — and then parade through the wealthiest parts of the city, or sit in cafés. They were very interested in Russia’s connection to Byzantine and Asian culture and were active collectors of Japanese and Chinese prints.” (Source)


Mezzo of mezzos: Cecilia Bartoli hits 45…

Handel: Ombra Mai Fù - from Serse, Act 1

Performed by Cecilia Bartoli - Mezzo (from Sospiri, 2010)


Robert Jacobsen (June 4, 1912 – 1993) was a Danish sculptor and painter born in Copenhagen. Jacobsen was one of the most important Danish artists of the twentieth century. His steel sculptures fall in two types: one figurative, mainly made in his “spare time”; the other abstract, geometrical, painted black…

Photo: Inga Aistrup, 1946

Robert Jacobsen: Untitled, n.d. - graphics print

Margaret Drabble (b. June 5, 1939), British feminist novelist (17 novels to date), biographer and critic (and formerly an actress, too).

“Perhaps the rare and simple pleasure of being seen for what one is compensates for the misery of being it.” — Margaret Drabble

Photo by Dmitri Kasterine, 2009 (1976) - modern bromide print from an original negative (NPG, London)


Spanish poet, Federico Garcia Lorca: June 5, 1898 - 1936…


Federico Garcia Lorca: Gacela of the Dark Death

I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
I want to get far away from the busyness of the cemeteries.
I want to sleep the sleep of that child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

I don’t want them to tell me again how the corpse keeps all its blood,
how the decaying mouth goes on begging for water.
I’d rather not hear about the torture sessions the grass arranges for
nor about how the moon does all its work before dawn
with its snakelike nose.

I want to sleep for half a second,
a second, a minute, a century,
but I want everyone to know that I am still alive,
that I have a golden manger inside my lips,
that I am the little friend of the west wind,
that I am the elephantine shadow of my own tears.

When it’s dawn just throw some sort of cloth over me
because I know dawn will toss fistfuls of ants at me,
and pour a little hard water over my shoes
so that the scorpion claws of the dawn will slip off.

Because I want to sleep the sleep of the apples,
and learn a mournful song that will clean all earth away from me,
because I want to live with that shadowy child
who longed to cut his heart open far out at sea.

Federico Garcia Lorca: Casida of the Clusters

The leaden dogs have come
through the groves of the Tamarit
waiting for the branches to fall,
waiting for them to break themselves apart.

The Tamarit has an apple-tree
with an apple of weeping.
A nightingale gathers sighs
a pheasant chases them through the dust.

But the branches are happy,
the branches are like us.
They are not thinking about rain.
Suddenly, as if they were trees, they are sleeping.

Sitting in water up to their knees,
two valleys wait for the Fall.
With an elephant’s tread, darkness comes
pushing aside the branches and the trunks.

There are many children with hidden faces
in the groves of the Tamarit
waiting for my branches to fall,
waiting for them to break themselves apart.

—- Carlos Amantea, Translator

Photo: Lorca in the bosom of his family…

In June 1929, García Lorca travelled to America with Fernando de los Rios on the SS Olympic. They stayed mostly in New York City, where Rios started a lecture tour and García Lorca studied at Columbia University School of General Studies, funded by his parents. He studied English but as before, was more absorbed by writing than study. He also spent time in Vermont and later Havana, Cuba. His collection Poeta en Nueva York (A poet in New York, published posthumously in 1942) explores alienation and isolation through some graphically experimental poetic techniques and was influenced by the Wall Street crash which he personally witnessed. This condemnation of urban capitalist society and materialistic modernity was a sharp departure from his earlier work and label as a folklorist… (Wiki)

Then I realized I had been murdered.
They looked for me in cafes, cemeteries and churches
…. but they did not find me.
They never found me?
No. They never found me.

—From “The Fable And Round Of The Three Friends”, Poet in New York (1939)


New York based performance artist Laurie Anderson is 64 today…

Her many collaborators through her performance career from the ’70s onward include John Giorno, William Burroughs, Brian Eno, Spalding Gray, Andy Kaufman, Arto Lindsay, Bill Laswell, Ian Ritchie, Peter Gabriel, Perry Hoberman, David Sylvian, Jean Michel Jarre, Phillip Glass, Nona Hendryx, Bobby McFerrin, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Dave Stewart, Peter Laurence Gordon, Hector Zazou, and of course her husband (since 2008), Lou Reed…

Laurie Anderson: Language Is A Virus, 1986


Hélène Cixous, French writer, poet and philosopher - b. June 5, 1937…

“We should write as we dream; we should even try and write, we should all do it for ourselves, it’s very healthy, because it’s the only place where we never lie. At night we don’t lie. Now if we think that our whole lives are built on lying-they are strange buildings-we should try and write as our dreams teach us; shamelessly, fearlessly, and by facing what is inside very human being-sheer violence, disgust, terror, shit, invention, poetry. In our dreams we are criminals; we kill, and we kill with a lot of enjoyment. But we are also the happiest people on earth; we make love as we never make love in life.” — Hélène Cixous

“Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself. Your body must be heard.” — Hélène Cixous

“You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her. And she’s not deadly. She’s beautiful and she’s laughing.” — Hélène Cixous

Martha Argerich (b. June 5, 1941) is an Argentine concert pianist. Her aversion to the press and publicity has resulted in her remaining out of the limelight for most of her career. Nevertheless, she is widely recognized as one of the greatest modern-day pianists…

Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich play Beethoven


Leonid (Berman) (Jun. 6, 1896 - 1976): Zanzibar, 1970 - oil on canvas (Smithsonian)

Lawrence Babis (b. Jun. 6, 1949): Australia, Christmas, 1981 - type “c” print on paper (Smithsonian)

Joseph Rodríguez (b. Jun. 6,1951): Untitled, 1987 - chromogenic photograph on paper (Smithsonian)

John Divola: Untitled (Window), n.d. - gelatin silver print (Smithsonian)

A master of masters:

Diego Velázquez - b. June 6, 1599; d. 1660…

La fábula de Aracné (Las Hilanderas), 1657 - oil on linen (Museo del Prado)


Friedrich Hölderlin, German Romantic poet - died this day in 1843, aged 73, after many years of obscurity, madness and silence…

“Dichterlich wohnt der Mensch.” (Like a poet man lives…)

The Hölderlin Tower in Tübingen where the mad poet spent the last 36 years of his life…

Photo: Sven Kalbhenn

Friedrich Hölderlin…

Alexander Pushkin (June 6, 1799 – 1837) - considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature…

I have outlasted all desire,
My dreams and I have grown apart;
My grief alone is left entire,
The gleamings of an empty heart.


Great German novelist Thomas Mann, Nobel Laureate in 1929, was born June 6, 1875 (d. 1955)…

Among his works the epic Buddenbrooks (1901), The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg 1924), and Death in Venice (1912) stand out.

“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —T.M.

Photo: Carl Mydans, 1939 - LIFE


On June 6, 1968 Robert Kennedy died from the gunshot wounds inflicted on him the night before…

Idee Fixe, a composition for violin, oboe, clarinet, ‘cello and tape by Wolfgang Mitterer (born 6 June, 1958); performed here by the Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble, at the International Festival for Contemporary Music in Skopje
Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble Wien ® plays Wolfgang Mitterer (I Part)


Gwendolyn Brooks (June 7, 1917 - 2000) was an important American poet, affiliated with the Black Arts movement in Chicago. She was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985…


when you have forgotten Sunday: the love story - by Gwendolyn Brooks

—And when you have forgotten the bright bedclothes on a Wednesday and a Saturday,
And most especially when you have forgotten Sunday—
When you have forgotten Sunday halves in bed,
Or me sitting on the front-room radiator in the limping afternoon
Looking off down the long street
To nowhere,
Hugged by my plain old wrapper of no-expectation
And nothing-I-have-to-do and I’m-happy-why?
And if-Monday-never-had-to-come—
When you have forgotten that, I say,
And how you swore, if somebody beeped the bell,
And how my heart played hopscotch if the telephone rang;
And how we finally went in to Sunday dinner,
That is to say, went across the front room floor to the ink-spotted table in the southwest corner
To Sunday dinner, which was always chicken and noodles
Or chicken and rice
And salad and rye bread and tea
And chocolate chip cookies—
I say, when you have forgotten that,
When you have forgotten my little presentiment
That the war would be over before they got to you;
And how we finally undressed and whipped out the light and flowed into bed,
And lay loose-limbed for a moment in the week-end
Bright bedclothes,
Then gently folded into each other—
When you have, I say, forgotten all that,
Then you may tell,
Then I may believe
You have forgotten me well.


Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, who won the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born June 7, 1952. Pamuk teaches at Columbia University in the City of New York…

The Nobel Committee gave Pamuk the Prize, for being a writer “who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures…”


Louise Erdrich, (b. June 7, 1954) is a Native American author of novels, poetry, and children’s books. She is an enrolled member of the Anishinaabe nation (also known as Ojibwa and Chippewa) and also has German, French and American ancestry…


Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic-decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.

— from Original Fire: Selected and New Poems

Photo: Jill Peters


French artist Paul Gauguin (June 7, 1848 – 1903) was a leading Post-Impressionist painter. Gauguin had interesting ties to Denmark. In 1873, he married a Danish woman, Mette Sophie Gad. Over the next ten years, they would have five children. By 1884 Gauguin had moved with his family to Copenhagen, where he pursued a business career as a stockbroker. Driven to paint full-time, he returned to Paris in 1885, leaving his family in Denmark. Without adequate subsistence, his wife (Mette Sophie Gadd) and their five children returned to her family. Gauguin outlived two of his children… (Wiki)

Photo: A pants-less Paul Gauguin playing the harmonium in Alfons Mucha’s studio at rue de la Grande-Chaumière, Paris, 1895…

Paul Gauguin: Parau Api, 1892 - oil on canvas



June 7, 1917 - 1995…

That's Amore by Dean Martin


Henry Miller, American author of controversial, sexually explicit novels such as Tropic of Cancer, Sexus, Nexus and Plexus - died this day in 1980, aged 88…

“What holds the world together, as I have learned from bitter experience, is sexual intercourse.” — Henry Miller

Still from the Henry Miller film adaptation Quiet Days in Clichy (Stille Dage i Clichy), a Danish 1970 film by Jens Jørgen Thorsen.._

Another great poet shares this birthday: Nikki Giovanni is 68 today!

The civil rights and black power movements inspired her early poetry that was collected in Black Feeling, Black Talk (1967), Black Judgement (1968), and Re: Creation (1970). She has since written more than two dozen books including volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books, and three collections of essays…

Photo: Vince Lupo


Marguerite Yourcenar (June 8, 1903 – 1987) was a French novelist. She was the first woman elected to the Académie française in 1980…

“The true birthplace is that wherein for the first time one looks intelligently upon oneself; my first homelands have been books, and to a lesser degree schools.” — Marguerite Yourcenar (Memoirs of Hadrian)


Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 projects, which resulted in more than 500 completed works…

Photo of FLW by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1937

Exterior of modern research tower built by Frank Lloyd Wright for Johnson Wax Co., Racine, WI

Photo: Eliot Elisofon, 1950 - LIFE

Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix, Arizona, built for his son David Wright, made of concrete blocks.

Photo: J. R. Eyerman, 1953 - LIFE

Synagogue designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Elkins Park, PA, US

Photo: Al Fenn, 1959 - LIFE


LeRoy Neiman (b. June 8, 1927): Piazzo San Marco, 2001 - 20-color serigraph on paper (Smithsonian)

One of the truly great composers of the Romantic Age, Robert Schumann (June 8, 1810 – 1856) was a child prodigy, both in the fields of literature and in music.

Schumann desired to become the greatest piano virtuoso ever, but his troubled mental life impeded him, and an injury to his hand once and for all prevented this career. Instead he began composing in earnest (and to pursue his piano teacher’s daughter, Clara Wieck, later Schumann)…

His mental problems which had resulted in a multitude of symptoms finally led him to a suicide attempt in 1854. He had himself committed to an asylum where he died two years later, possibly of syphilis (or of mercury poisoning as a result of the doctors trying to cure his syphilis)…

Daguerreotype of Schumi, 1850

" Romance Violin " - Robert Schumann (Träumerei / Dreaming)


Richard Pousette-Dart (June 8, 1916 - 1992): Cavernous Earth with 27 Folds of Opaqueness, 1961-1964 - Oil on canvas (Hirshhorn)

Jan Frans De Boever (June 8, 1872 - 1949) was a Belgian symbolist painter. Suddenly in about 1909 he modified his style radically, painting licentious women and prostitutes in morbid and bizarre settings. Skeletons, death and eroticism began to dominate his paintings…

Above: Nereides, 1928 - oil on panel

Jan Frans De Boever: Vampyre, 1920 - mixed media on panel_

Sydney Smith (1771–1845), pictured above in a posthumous engraving of 1858

From a letter dated 8 June, 1835, from Sydney Smith to his doctor, Dr. Holland:

‘I am suffering from my old complaint, the hay fever (as it is called). My fear is, perishing by deliquescence: I melt away in nasal and lachrymal profluvia. My remedies are warm pediluvium, cathartics, topical application of watery solution of opium to eyes, ears, and the interior of the nostrils. The membrane is so irritable, that light, dust, contradiction, an absurd remark, the sight of a dissenter, - anything, sets me sneezing: and if I begin sneezing at twelve, I don’t leave off till two o’clock, and am heard distinctly in Tauton, when the winds sets that way - a distance of six miles. Turn your mind to this little curse. If consumption is too powerful for physicians, at least they should not suffer themselves to be outwitted by such little upstart disorders as the hay fever.’_


Boz Scaggs, American singer, songwriter and guitarist w. The Steve Miller Band and solo: 67 today…

Photo: Michael Jang

Duane Allman solo - Loan Me A Dime
Recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Recorders in August 1969


Brilliant classical pianist Emanuel Ax turns 62 today!

Ax was born in Lvov, Ukraine (then a constituent republic of the Soviet Union) to Joachim and Hellen Ax, both Nazi concentration camp survivors. He is now an American citizen and teaches at the Julliard School of music in New York City.

Emanuel Ax Plays Chopin Scherzo 2 Opus 31


60s cool if ever there was any: Nancy Sinatra (b. June 8, 1940), daughter of you-know-who, singer of one of the greatest hits of 1966 (These Boots Are Made for Walking), here captured with The King…
Nancy Sinatra - Bang Bang - My Baby Shot Me Down - 1966


June 9 is a good day for Danish cultural life:

Michael Ancher, (June 9, 1849 – September 19, 1927), was a Danish painter. In 1874 he joined the growing society of artists in Skagen, the Skagen Painters, and in 1880 he married fellow painter and Skagen native Anna Brøndum and settled permanently in the town…

Ancher’s realist approach lends itself well to idealising rugged men of nature (fishermen in particular) and dainty female beauties…

Michael Ancher: Pigen med solsikkerne, 1889 - Oil on canvas (Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen)

Charles Dickens, English author of multiple colourful novels (usually written on the instalment plan, as it were) - died from a stroke on this day in 1870, aged 58 - leaving The Mystery of Edwin Drood unfinished…

Johnny Depp, 48 today!

Ralph Rosenborg (June 9, 1913 - 1992): The Wind and the Sea, 1939 - watercolor, ink and graphite on paper (Smithsonian)

Gustave Courbet (June 10, 1819 – 1877) led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting…

Photo: Nadar, c. 1861-5

Gustave Courbet: Woman with White Stockings, c. 1861 - Oil on canvas (Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA, USA)

Félix Nadar (1820-1910): Courbet, 1861 - Wet collodion glass negative (Musée d’Orasy, Paris)

Gustave Courbet: La Femme dans les vagues, 1868 - Oil on canvas (Metropolitan, N.Y.)


Saul Bellow (June 10, 1915 – 2005) was a Canadian-born American writer of Russian-Jewish origin. For his literary contributions, Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature (1976), and the National Medal of Arts. He is the only writer to have won the National Book Award three times…

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” — Saul Bellow


Fairfield Porter (June 10, 1907 - 1975) was an American painter and art critic. Though educated at Harvard, he was largely self-taught, and produced representational work in the midst of the Abstract Expressionist movement.

Above: Calm Morning, 1961 - private collection

Fairfield Porter’s subjects were primarily landscapes, domestic interiors and portraits of family, friends and fellow artists, many of them affiliated with the New York School of writers, including John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, and James Schuyler…

Above: Portrait of Frank O’Hara, 1957

Frank O’Hara poem to Anne and Fairfield Porter, n.d. - Smithsonian Archives of American Art…_

André Derain: Charing Cross Bridge, also known as Westminster Bridge, 1906 - oil on canvas

Henri Matisse: André Derain, 1905 - Oil on canvas (Tate)

André Derain (June 10, 1880 – 1954) was a French painter and co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse…

Above: Derain’s 1905 portrait of Matisse - Oil on canvas (Tate)


Risë Nagin (b. June 11, 1950): Illustrated Passage, 1988 - silk, glitter chiffon, acetate, and paint (Smithsonian)

John Constable (June 11, 1776 – 1837) was an English Romantic painter. Born in Suffolk, he is known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home—now known as “Constable Country”—which he invested with an intensity of affection.

Above: Hampstead Heath, Looking towards Harrow at Sunset - August 9, 1823


Alfred L. Kroeber (June 11, 1876 – 1960) was one of the most influential figures in American anthropology in the first half of the twentieth century.

His work of classifying the Californian Native tribes in Handbook of Indians of California (1925) is still influential today. As a cultural anthropologist he is credited with developing the concepts of Culture Area and Culture Configuration (Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North America, 1939).

Kroeber was the father of eco-critic Karl Kroeber (Professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University) and of Ursula K. LeGuin, the best contemporary writer of fantasy and science-fiction…

Alfred Kroeber is particularly noted for working with Ishi, who was claimed (though not uncontroversially) to be the last California Yahi Indian. His second wife, Theodora Kroeber, wrote a well-known biography of Ishi, Ishi in Two Worlds. Kroeber’s relationship with Ishi was made into a film The Last of His Tribe (1992), starring Jon Voigt as Kroeber.

Photo of Ishi, by Alfred Kroeber


William Baziotes (June 11, 1912 - 1963): Primeval wall (“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell wherehis influence stops.”), from the series Great Ideas of Western Man, 1959 - oil on canvas (Smithsonian)


Jerry N. Uelsmann (b. June 11, 1934): Simultaneous Implications, 1973 - gelatin silver print (Smithsonian)

“An educator since the early 1960s, Jerry Uelsmann began assembling his photographs from multiple negatives decades before digital tools like Photoshop were available. Using as many as seven enlargers to expose a single print, his darkroom skills allowed him to create evocative images that combined the realism of photography and the fluidity of our dreams.” (Source)


Julia Margaret Cameron (June 11, 1815 – 1879) was a British photographer. She became known for her portraits of celebrities of the time, and for photographs with Arthurian and other legendary themes…

Above: Sadness, 1864 - Carbon print (This photo shows the actress Ellen Terry at the age of 16) (Royal Photographic Society)

Julia Margaret Cameron: Portrait of Julia Prinsep Jackson, later Julia Stephen (Cameron’s niece, favourite subject, and mother of the author Virginia Woolf…), 1867 - Albumen silver print from wet collodion negative


Richard Hamwi (b. June 11, 1947): On Stream, ca. 1977 - colored ink on paper (Smithsonian)

A photograph of houses outside Richmond, Virginia, in 1951; in the collection of the Valentine Richmond History Center, in Richmond, Virginia

From Lie Down in Darkness, by William Styron (born 11 June, 1925; died 1 November, 2006):

‘Riding down to Port Warwick from Richmond, the train begins to pick up speed on the outskirts of the city, past the tobacco factories with their ever-present haze of acrid, sweetish dust and past the rows of uniformly brown clapboard houses which stretch down the hilly streets for miles, it seems, the hundreds of rooftops all reflecting the pale light of dawn; past the suburban roads still sluggish and sleepy with early morning traffic, and rattling swiftly now over the bridge which separates the last two hills where in the valley below you can see the James River winding beneath its acid-green crust of scum out beside the chemical plants and more rows of clapboard houses and into the woods beyond.

Suddenly the train is burrowing through the pinewoods, and the conductor, who looks middle-aged and respectable like someone’s favorite uncle, lurches through the car asking for tickets. If you are particularly alert at that unconscionable hour you notice his voice, which is somewhat guttural and negroid—oddly fatuous-sounding after the accents of Columbus or Detroit or wherever you came from—and when you ask him how far it is to Port Warwick and he says, “Aboot eighty miles,” you know for sure that you’re in the Tidewater. Then you settle back in your seat, your face feeling unwashed and swollen from the intermittent sleep you got sitting up the night before and your gums sore from too many cigarettes, and you try to doze off, but the nap of the blue felt seat prickles your neck and so you sit up once more and cross your legs, gazing drowsily at the novelty salesman from Allentown P-a, next to you, who told you last night about his hobby, model trains, and the joke about the two college girls at the Hotel Astor, and whose sleek face, sprouting a faint gray crop of stubble, one day old, is now peacefully relaxed, immobile in sleep, his breath issuing from slightly parted lips in delicate sighs. Or, turning away, you look out at the pinewoods sweeping past at sixty miles an hour, the trees standing close together green and somnolent, and the brown-needled carpet of the forest floor dappled brightly in the early morning light, until the white fog of smoke from the engine ahead swirls and dips against the window like tattered scarf and obscures the view…’

—from the opening of Lie Down in Darkness (1951

Olivia Parker (b. June 11, 1941): Mind and Matter, 1989

Olivia Parker: Dream Machine, n.d.

Olivia Parker : Site I from Lost Objects

Djuna Barnes (June 12, 1892 – 1982) was an American writer who played an important part in the development of 20th century English language modernist writing and was one of the key figures in 1920s and 30s bohemian Paris after filling a similar role in the Greenwich Village of the teens. Her novel Nightwood became a cult work of modern fiction, helped by an introduction by T. S. Eliot. It stands out today for its portrayal of lesbian themes and its distinctive writing style. (Wiki)

“The unendurable is the beginning of the curve of joy.” — Djuna Barnes (Nightwood)


Weegee, or Arthur Fellig (June 12, 1899 – 1968) was an American photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography, his experimental ‘distortions’ and odd-ball nudes…

Here Weegee does Marilyn Monroe…

Weegee: Bowery Savings Bank, 1944

Weegee: Nude in Outdoor Shower, Distortion, n.d. - gelatin silver print (Indianapolis Museum of Art)

Anne Frank would have been 82 today, if the Nazis had not obliterated her and almost her entire family in Auschwitz…

Today also marks the beginning of her famous Diary, as she was given the diary as a present on her thirteenth birthday - June 12, 1942. Less than a month later the whole family went into hiding in a secret compartment in her father’s office building. The family lived there in secret for over two years before they were betrayed by an informant and arrested by the Gestapo…

Go here to read a portion of Anne’s diary that has been expurgated from most editions…


Egon Schiele (June 12, 1890 – 1918, Spanish Flu) - Austrian painter. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. Like Klimt, his portraits of women are intensely erotic…

Photo: Anton Josef Trčka, 1914

Egon Schiele: Woman in Black Stockings

Egon Schiele: Sitzendes Paar

Egon Schiele: Reclining Woman with Green Stockings, 1917 - Gouache and black crayon on paper (Private collection)

Egon Schiele: Madonna, 1911 - oil on canvas

Anton Josef Trčka (Antios): Self-portrait, 1912

Fernando Pessoa, the great Portuguese Modernist, who invented multiple poetic personae, was born June 13, 1888 (d. 1935)…

“Pessoa created autonomous poets, with complete biographies, literary styles and identities wholly separable, and separate, from his own. The occurrence was instinctive, born from earlier smaller attempts, and was ultimately as psychologically necessary as it was artfully constructed. He felt the birth within him, as he put it, of a school of poets: all wholly individual, corresponding with each other, arguing over their differing styles and literary approaches.

Pessoa was the shy metaphysical; Alberto Caeiro (1889-1915) the Whitmanesque master of facts (’even stone is too metaphorical’) who died young of TB; Alvaro de Campos (1890-1935?) the vortical modernist trained in Glasgow as a ship engineer; Ricardo Reis (1888-1919) the Epicurean classicist, full of strict measure and looser living.” (Simon Jenner - source)

Fernando Pessoa as Ricardo Reis:

Countless lives inhabit us.
I don’t know, when I think or feel,
Who it is that thinks or feels.
I am merely the place
Where things are thought or felt.

I have more than just one soul.
There are more I’s than I myself.
I exist, nevertheless,
Indifferent to them all.
I silence them: I speak.

The crossing urges of what
I feel or do not feel
Struggle in who I am, but I
Ignore them. They dictate nothing
To the I I know: I write.

© Translation: 1998, Richard Zenith
From: Fernando Pessoa & Co. – Selected Poems

Photo: One of the many Pessoas, Lisbon…


Once again we celebrate the birthday of the great Irish nationalist and Modernist poet, William Butler Yeats (June 13, 1865 - 1939)…

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Photo by Edward Steichen for Vanity Fair

W.B. Yeats: Easter 1916

I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club;
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman’s days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our wingéd horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream,
Changed minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone’s in the midst of it all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse —-
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.


Snapshot of Yeats - Lady Ottoline Morell, 1920 (NPG, London)

W. B. Yeats: Crazy Jane on God

That lover of a night
Came when he would,
Went in the dawning light
Whether I would or no;
Men come, men go;
All things remain in God.

Banners choke the sky;
Men-at-arms tread;
Armoured horses neigh
Where the great battle was
In the narrow pass:
All things remain in God.

Before their eyes a house
That from childhood stood
Uninhabited, ruinous,
Suddenly lit up
From door to top:
All things remain in God.

I had wild Jack for a lover;
Though like a road
That men pass over
My body makes no moan
But sings on:
All things remain in God.


Snapshot by Lady Ottolne Morell, 1935 (NPG, London)_


Ill. from Aurora Consurgens, 15th century manuscript, in the past sometimes attributed to Thomas Aquinas, now to a writer called the “Pseudo-Aquinas”…

Above: The Monkey and the Plywood Violin…


Jacques Henri Lartigue (June 13, 1894 - 1986) was a French photographer and painter. Born in Courbevoie (a city outside of Paris) to a wealthy family, he is most famous for his stunning photos of automobile races, planes and fashionable Parisian women from the turn of the century.

Lartigue started young, very young - and documented the rather wild games and entertainments his family and friends indulged in…

Jacques Henri Lartigue: Coco, Hendaya, 1934

Jacques Henri Lartigue: The Eiffel Tower for Louis Vuitton, 1978…

Christo (born as Christo Vladimirov Javacheff) and Jeanne-Claude (born as Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon) were a married couple who created environmental works of art. Their works include the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont-Neuf bridge in Paris, the 24-mile-long artwork called Running Fence in Sonoma and Marin counties in California, and The Gates in New York City’s Central Park. Coincidentally Christo and Jeanne-Claude were born on the same date — June 13, 1935; Jeanne-Claude passed away in November 2009…

Photo: Morrie Camhi - Christo and his Running Fence, 1976 - silver gelatin print

Morrie Camhi: Christo and his Running Fence, September 1976 - silver gelatin print

June 14, 1904 was the birthday of the great photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White (d. 1971). She was a forerunner in the newly emerging field of photojournalism, and was the first female to be hired as such. She was the first photographer for Fortune magazine, in 1929. In 1930, she was the first Western photographer allowed into the Soviet Union. Henry Luce hired her as the first female photojournalist for Life magazine, soon after its creation in 1935, and one of her photographs adorned its first cover (November 23, 1936). Margaret Bourke-White was also the first female war correspondent and the first to be allowed to work in combat zones during World War II…

Photo of Margaret Bourke-White at work aloft on the Chrystler Building, 1934 - Oscar Graubner

Margaret Bourke-White: Flag Making, 1940

Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian fabulator and magister ludi of the postmodern narrative - died this day in 1986 from liver cancer, aged 86…

“I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books.” — Jorge Luis Borges

Photo: Ronald Shakespear


Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 - 1896) is remembered chiefly for her antislavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1851-1852)…

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is melodramatic and sentimental, but it is more than a melodrama. It re-creates characters, scenes, and incidents with humor and realism. It analyzes the issue of slavery in the Midwest, New England, and the South during the days of the Fugitive Slave Law. The book intensified the disagreement between the North and the South which led to the Civil War. Stowe’s name became hated in the South. (Source)


Polish-American author Jerzy Kosinski was born June 14, 1933 (unless that is a fiction, as so much else about his early life turned out to be) - and committed suicide on May 3, 1991.

Kosinski quickly rose to literary fame in the US on the back of his book The Painted Bird (1965) which was marketed as a true story of his wanderings as a child in war ravaged Poland. In reality the book was a fiction, possibly a composite of Polish books and stories, not really written by Kosinski (whose English was still a bit rudimentary in 1965). In retrospect Kosinski’s great book, the novel Being There, seems to be a thinly disguised allegory about exactly this situation - being taken for something one is not (in the book, and subsequent film, Mr. Chance, a simpleton gardener, is mistaken for a wise political councellor)…

“There’s a place beyond words where experience first occurs to which I always want to return. I suspect that whenever I articulate my thoughts or translate my impulses into words, I am betraying the real thoughts and impulses which remain hidden.” — Jerzy Kosinski (The Painted Bird)


There is always room for one more holy conman here…

Ernesto “Che” Guevara - June 14, 1928 - 1967 - the most famous and romanticized revolutionary to ever motorcycle across the surface of the planet…_


Danish aviation pioneer Jacob Ellehammer was born June 14, 1871 (d. 1946). Originally trained as a watchmaker, Ellehammer quickly got ambitious and started inventing motorbikes, aeroplanes and helicopters. On September 12, 1906 he made a tethered flight, becoming the second European to succeed in making a powered flight. His helicopter performed a hover as early as 1914!

Photo: Ellehammer testing his helicopter…

René Char (born 14 June, 1907; died 19 February, 1988), pictured above in a photograph by Pierre-André Benoit

Toute Vie …

Toute vie qui doit poindre

achève un blessé.

Voici l’arme,


vous, moi, réversiblement

ce livre,

et l’énigme

qu’à votre tour vous deviendrez
dans le caprice amer des sables.

Every Life …

Every life, as it dawns,

kills one of the injured.

This is the weapon:


you, me, interchangeably

with this book,

and the riddle

that you, too, will become
in the bitter caprice of the sands

(translated from the French by James Wright)Le poète Renaît Char éveille l’homme, a punning 1950 portrait of René Char (1907-1988) by Victor Brauner (born 15 June, 1903; died 12 March, 1966)

Michael P. Smith (June 15, 1937 - 2008): Untitled, n.d. - gelatin silver print (Smithsonian)

Victor Brauner (June 15, 1903–1966): Le ver luisant, 1933

Victor Brauner grew up in a small town in Romania. His father, a passionate devotee of Spiritualism, regularly organized séances and corresponded with the famous mediums of the day. As an observer and participant, young Victor acquired a taste for the fantastic, which his art distinctly reflects. In 1930, Brauner settled in Paris, where he joined the Surrealist group in 1933. The subjects of his paintings of that period seem either to derive from the occult or to be rooted in private myths. They include bizarre creatures with huge totemic heads attached to plants or to the bodies of animals or human beings, and sprouting snakes, wings, and other forms.

“Each painting that I make is projected from the deepest sources of my anxiety…” — V.B.


Saul Steinberg was born in Romania on June 15, 1914 (d. 1999, New York)…

Saul Steinberg: Untitled, 1967 - oil wash and pencil on paper (Smithsonian)

We celebrate a great favorite of OF

It’s photographer Irving Penn’s birthday (June 16, 1907 - 2009) - here marked with a few of his studies of the great ones aging…

Above: Ingmar Bergman, 1964

Irving Penn: Louise Bourgeois, 1992

Irving Penn: Colette, 1951

Why is Stan so upset on his birthday?

Stan Laurel (June 16, 1890 – 1965) was a British comic actor, writer and director, famous as the first half of the comedy double-act Laurel and Hardy, whose career stretched from the silent films of the early 20th century until post-World War II…


Pop art!

Jim Dine (b. June 16, 1935): Untitled (Red Clippers), 1974 - Charcoal and pastel on paper (Hirshhorn)

Joyce Carol Oates (b. June 16, 1938) is an incredibly prolific American novelist (she has more than 50 titles to her name) who has one National Book Award to her name - plus a Pulitzer nomination for Marilyn bio-fiction Blonde from 2000…

Photo of JCO in the 1960s…

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” — Joyce Carol Oates

Photo: Mary Cross


Bloomsday is nearly over...

From part six (the so-called ‘Hades’ section) of James Joyce’s Ulysses, which takes place on Thursday, 16 June 1904:

‘Mr Bloom walked unheeded along his grove by saddened angels, crosses, broken pillars, family vaults, stone hopes praying with upcast eyes, old Ireland’s hearts and hands. More sensible to spend the money on some charity for the living. Pray for the repose of the soul of. Does anybody really? Plant him and have done with him. Like down a coalshoot. Then lump them together to save time. All souls’ day. Twentyseventh I’ll be at his grave. Ten shillings for the gardener. He keeps it free of weeds. Old man himself. Bent down double with his shears clipping. Near death’s door. Who passed away. Who departed this life. As if they did it of their own accord. Got the shove, all of them. Who kicked the bucket. More interesting if they told you what they were. So and So, wheelwright. I travelled for cork lino. I paid five shillings in the pound. Or a woman’s with her saucepan. I cooked good Irish stew. Eulogy in a country churchyard it ought to be that poem of whose is it Wordsworth or Thomas Campbell. Entered into rest the protestants put it. Old Dr Murren’s. The great physician called him home. Well it’s God’s acre for them. Nice country residence. Newly plastered and painted. Ideal spot to have a quiet smoke and read the Church Times. Marriage ads they never try to beautify. Rusty wreaths hung on knobs, garlands of bronzefoil. Better value that for the money. Still, the flowers are more poetical. The other gets rather tiresome, never withering. Expresses nothing. Immortelles.

A bird sat tamely perched on a poplar branch. Like stuffed. Like the wedding present alderman Hooper gave us. Hu! Not a budge out of him. Knows there are no catapults to let fly at him. Dead animal even sadder. Silly-Milly burying the little dead bird in the kitchen matchbox, a daisychain and bits of broken chainies on the grave.

The Sacred Heart that is: showing it. Heart on his sleeve. Ought to be sideways and red it should be painted like a real heart. Ireland was dedicated to it or whatever that. Seems anything but pleased. Why this infliction? Would birds come then and peck like the boy with the basket of fruit but he said no because they ought to have been afraid of the boy. Apollo that was.

How many! All these here once walked round Dublin. Faithful departed. As you are now so once were we.’

—from Ulysses (published originally from 1918 to 1920)

“Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.” — James Joyce (Ulysses)

Goyathlay (June 16, 1829 – February 17, 1909), known to whites as Geronimo - American hero….

M.C. Escher (June 17, 1898 – 1972) was a Dutch-Frisian graphic artist. He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints. These feature impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations.

Above: Convex and Concave, 1955 - lithograph


Carl Van Vechten (June 16, 1880 - 1964), the great photographer, critic, author and man-about-town was a force in American cultural life for decades, and literally knew everybody: Carlo wore an assortment of masks and traveled freely in the highest stratum of society, lunching with grouchy Theodore Dreiser, having George Gershwin as his nightly piano player, and being one of the best friends to Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Besides which, he was James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, and Ethel Waters’ closest white friend.

Above, one of Van Vechten’s bright color studies of the ladies (and lady-men) of Harlem:

Carmen de Lavallade, 1955 - Kodachrome (The Beinecke)

Carl Van Vechten: Archie Savage, 1942 - Kodachrome (The Beinecke)

Carl Van Vechten: Pearl Bailey, 1946 - Kodachrome (The Beinecke)

Carl Van Vechten: Janet Collins in The Spirituals, 1949 - Kodachrome (The Beinecke)

Carl Van Vechten: Billie Holiday and Mister, 1949 - Kodachrome (The Beinecke)


Charles Eames (June 17, 1907 - 1978) was an American designer, who worked and made major contributions in many fields of design including industrial design, furniture design, art, graphic design, film and architecture together with his wife Ray Eames whom he married in 1941…

Above: Eames does chairs

The Eames lounge chair, 1956

Kazuya Morita Architecture Studio: Shelf-pod House, Osaka

Isabella Rossellini, the Italian actress and model, daughter of Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman and the Italian director Roberto Rossellini, is 59 today…

She was superb in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet!


Roald Amundsen, Norwegian Polar explorer and first to reach the South Pole - died, aged 55, on or about this day in 1928 when a rescue plane he was on-board (searching for Italian explorer Nobile’s missing airship crew) crashed at an unknown location in the Barents Sea. Amundsen is thought to have been killed on impact, but his body has never been found…

Btw, Amundsen e Nobile is still a pretty good pasta restaurant in Oslo…

Above: Portrait of Amundsen at the wheel during his North Pole expedition, c. 1920


Everybody knows James Montgomery Flagg’s (June 18, 1877 - 1960) I Want You for U.S. Army - so here is his The Fencer, because there just aren’t enough women Musketeers around…

The writing of the Shining Ones is often hard to fathom.

But we know that their favoured method was by arranging objects in space rather than inscribing them on wood, paper, metal or stone.

[F]or them it was absence - the space between the above and below - which defined the place of present meaning: the above being fairly constant; the below opening out into a range of nuances.

— Anthony of Canterbury - from Aurora Resurgens, 2011

(Photo: Olli Ilmanen & Jani Suvanto)


This year on the 18th of June, when the Moon, a slim crescent, first became visible, a marvelous phenomenon was seen by several men who were watching it. Suddenly, the upper horn of the crescent was split in two. From the mid point of the division, a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out over a considerable distance fire, hot coals and sparks. The body of the Moon which was below, writhed like a wounded snake. This happened a dozen times or more, and when the Moon returned to normal, the whole crescent took on a blackish appearance.

— Gervase of Canterbury, 1178

(possibly describing the formation of the lunar crater now known as Giordano Bruno)


Geoffrey Hill (b. June 18, 1932) is an English poet, professor emeritus of English literature and religion, and former co-director of the Editorial Institute, at Boston University.

Geoffrey Hill & Alice Goodman by Judith Aronson, 1984 - bromide print (NPG, London)

Geoffrey Hill: Masques (Poetry, May 2006)


José Saramago, Portuguese Nobel Laureate author of fine novels such as Blindness and All the Names - died this day in 2010, aged 87…

“Words are like that, they deceive, they pile up, it seems they do not know where to go, and, suddenly, because of two or three or four that suddenly come out, simple in themselves, a personal pronoun, an adverb, an adjective, we have the excitement of seeing them coming irresistibly to the surface through the skin and the eyes and upsetting the composure of our feelings, sometimes the nerves that can not bear it any longer, they put up with a great deal, they put up with everything, it was as if they were wearing armor, we might say.” — José Saramago (Blindness)


Lee Krasner, American Abstract Expressionist painter - died this day in 1984, aged 75…

“I happen to be Mrs. Jackson Pollock and that’s a mouthful. The only thing I haven’t had against me was being black. I was a woman, Jewish, a widow, a damn good painter, thank you, and a little too independent.” — L.K.

Photo: Harry Bowden, c. 1949 - Smithsonian Archives of American Art

Lee Krasner: Night Creatures, 1965 - acrylic on paper (The Metropolitan Museum)

Krasner always maintained that her life and work were inseparable. She spoke of the necessity for art to communicate on a profound level: “I am preoccupied with trying to know myself in order to communicate with others. Painting is not separate from life. It is one.” Later, she made the connection more explicit: “My painting is so autobiographical, if anyone can take the trouble to read it.” Krasner had married fellow artist Jackson Pollock in 1945. Paintings made in the period after his death in 1956 are explosive bursts of feeling, outpourings of loss and grief. This work may be allied with a series she made between 1959 and 1963—Night Journeys—painted at night in the Pollock/Krasner barn studio on their rural property in The Springs, Long Island. At the time, she was going through a period of insomnia and began painting in the middle of the night. She went from working in a palette of saturated, intense color to primarily black and white with some earth tones. She rationalized the chromatic change as a reflection of an exigency: “…I realized that if I was going to work at night, I would have to knock out color altogether, because I wouldn’t deal with color except in daylight.” But she acknowledged the emotional motivation, too, of a “depressed state.” The title Night Creatures was suggested by Detroit art dealer Franklin Siden, who exhibited the work shortly after its completion.

Lee and Jackson

Photo: Larry Larkin, 1950 - Smithsonian Archives of American Art


Chauncey Hare (b. June 19, 1934): Interior, 1978 - from American Interiors

John Heartfield (June 19, 1891 – 1968): Fathers and Sons, 1924 - photo-montage (Kunstsammlung, Berlin)

As a contributer to the DaDa movement, John Heartfield (Helmut Herzfeld) communicated his artistic vision through photomontage among the Berlin scene…

John Heartfield used his art to protest the violent, greedy governmental control of the Nazi party and Hitler’s Third Reich. He took a satirical approach, condemning the anti-semite and the wealthy industrialist who supported the German army. He witnessed a country of hungry, desolate people in the midst of chaos during the second World War, and through his art, protested their suffering.


Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes (June 19, 1884 - 1975), French Dadaist: Silence (detail), 1915 - MoMA


Before going down among you to pull out your decaying teeth, your running ears, your tounges full of sores,
Before breaking your putrid bones,
Before opeing your cholera-infested belly and taking out for use as fertilizer
your too fatted liver, your ignoble spleen and your diabetic kidneys,
Before tearing out your ugly sexual organ, incontinent and slimy,
Before extinguishing your appetite for beauty, ecstasy, sugar, philosophy,
mathematical and poetic metaphysical pepper and cucumbers,
Before disinfecting you with vitriol, cleansing you and shellacking
you with passion,
Before all that,
We shall take a big antiseptic bath,
And we warn you
We are murderers.

(Manifesto signed by Ribemont-Dessaignes and read by seven people at the demonstration at the Grand Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris, 5 February 1920.)

Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes: Silence, 1915 - Oil on canvas (MoMA)

In Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes’s machine pictures, painted gears, shafts, and wires create obscure contraptions suggesting that the forces of production have run amok. The words included compound the enigma: the phrases “liquid love” and “surface of soluble hopes” appear on Oceanic Spirit. The name of a Hungarian city, “Szegedin” appears on Silence. Ribemont-Dessaignes’s sensational performances at a number of Paris Dada events revealed his combative side: he hurled insults at the audience, promising to “rip out your spoiled teeth, your pummeled ears, your tongue full of sores.”


Sir (Ahmed) Salman Rushdie - 64 today…

“I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’m gone which would not have happened if I had not come.” — Salman Rushdie (Midnight’s Children)

Photo: Salman Rushdie by Mark Gerson, October 1981 - bromide print (NPG, London)


Kurt Schwitters (June 20, 1887 - 1948) was a German painter who worked in several genres and media, including Dada, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography and what came to be known as installation art. He is most famous for his collages, called Merz Pictures….

Kurt Schwitters: Bild mit Heller Mitte, 1919 - painted collage (The Museum of Modern Art, New York)
Kurt Schwitters: Hitler Gang, 1944 - Collage (Private collection)

Kurt Schwitters: Merzbild with Rainbow, c. 1939 - Assemblage (Private collection)

Paul Diamond (b. June 20, 1942): Boiling Sugar, 1976 - gelatin silver print (Smithsonian)

Paul Diamond: Hitchhiker, Iowa, 1976 - gelatin silver print (Smithsonian)

Paul Muldoon (b. June 20, 1951) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet from County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Muldoon has lived in the United States since 1987; he teaches at Princeton University and is an Honorary Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews…

I had the pleasure of meeting the man last December - very charming and erudite…


Hedgehog - Paul Muldoon

The snail moves like a
Hovercraft, held up by a
Rubber cushion of itself,
Sharing its secret

With the hedgehog. The hedgehog
Shares its secret with no one.
We say, Hedgehog, come out
Of yourself and we will love you.

We mean no harm. We want
Only to listen to what
You have to say. We want
Your answers to our questions.

The hedgehog gives nothing
Away, keeping itself to itself.
We wonder what a hedgehog
Has to hide, why it so distrusts.

We forget the god
under this crown of thorns.
We forget that never again
will a god trust in the world.

A song lyric by Paul Muldoon, performed by his band Rackett

Lillian Hellman (June 20, 1905 – 1984) was an Jewish-American playwright, linked throughout her life with many left-wing causes. She was romantically involved for 30 years with mystery and crime writer Dashiell Hammett (and was the inspiration for his character Nora Charles), and was also a long-time friend and literary executor of author Dorothy Parker. Hellman was one of the great radicals in American letters…

“I like people who refuse to speak until they are ready to speak.”

“If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don’t listen to writers talking about writing or themselves.”


Françoise Sagan (June 21, 1935 – 2004) was a French playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. Sagan was best known for strong romantic themes involving wealthy and disillusioned bourgeois characters.

“Writing is a question of finding a certain rhythm. I compare it to the rhythms of jazz. Much of the time life is a sort of rhythmic progression of three characters. If one tells oneself that life is like that, one feels it less arbitrary.” — Françoise Sagan


Jean-Paul Sartre (June 21, 1905 – 1980) was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic.

Sartre’s thinking has had an impact on all work done in the humanities in the western world, far beyond the philosophy departments…

“Being is. Being is in-itself. Being is what it is.”


The brilliant Canadian poet Anne Carson is 61 today.

Anne Carson: Tag


Insatiable April, trees in place,
in their scraped-out place,
their standing.
Standing way.
Their red branch areas,
green shoot areas (shock),
river, that one.
I surprised a goose and she hissed.
I walk and walk with cold hands.
Back at the house it is filled with longing,
nothing to carry longing away.
I look back over my life.
I try to find analogies.
There are none.
I have longed for people before, I have loved people before.
Not like this.
It was not this.

Give me a world, you have taken the world I was.


Actually not. Feigned leap into—
river glimpsed through bare
[some noun] for how thought breaks up around you not here
your clothes not wet in this deep mirror—
what Hölderlin calls die Tageszeichen, signs
scored into the soul by the god of each day
your answer scars, I still don’t know—
years from now, these
notations in the address book, this frantic hand.


Billy Wilder (June 22, 1906 – 2002) was an Austrian-American journalist, filmmaker, screenwriter and producer, whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood’s golden age.

Wilder did both melodramas, film noir crime stories and wonderful screwball comedies, culminating with Some Like It Hot in 1959…

Photo: Billy and Marilyn


Erich Maria Remarque (b. Erich Paul Kramer; June 22, 1898 – 1970) was a German author, most famous today for his anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front.

“A hospital alone shows what war is.”


H. Rider Haggard (June 22, 1856 – 1925), was a prolific writer of adventure novels set in exotic locations, predominantly Africa. He was also involved in agricultural reform around the British Empire. His stories, situated at the lighter end of Victorian literature, continue to be popular and influential.

Who as a young boy hasn’t thrilled to the adventure of King Solomon’s Mines, perhaps not even noticing the patronizing tone of the prose with its smug depicting of civilized whites and savages falling into two categories: the noble ones, and the evil…

“As I grow older, I regret to say that a detestable habit of thinking seems to be getting a hold of me.” — H. Rider Haggard

Anna Akhmatova, major Russian poet: June 23, 1889 – 1966…


Anna Akhmatova: In Memory of M. B.

Here is my gift, not roses on your grave, not sticks of burning incense. You lived aloof, maintaining to the end your magnificent disdain. You drank wine, and told the wittiest jokes, and suffocated inside stifling walls. Alone you let the terrible stranger in, and stayed with her alone. Now you’re gone, and nobody says a word about your troubled and exalted life. Only my voice, like a flute, will mourn at your dumb funeral feast. Oh, who would have dared believe that half-crazed I, I, sick with grief for the buried past, I, smoldering on a slow fire, having lost everything and forgotten all, would be fated to commemorate a man so full of strength and will and bright inventions, who only yesterday it seems, chatted with me, hiding the tremor of his mortal pain.


Claude Chabrol (June 24, 1930 - 2010) was a French film director and one of the core members of the French New Wave group of filmmakers who first came to prominence in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Like his fellow New Wave directors Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Éric Rohmer and Jacques Rivette, Chabrol worked as a critic for the influential film magazine Cahiers du Cinema before pursuing a career in filmmaking.

Chabrol stills:

Les Cousins (1959)

Chabrol stills:

Les Bonnes Femmes (1960)

Chabrol stills:

La Rupture (1970)


Ambrose Bierce, American author, best known for his short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and his satirical lexicon, The Devil’s Dictionary. The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work – along with his vehemence as a critic, with his motto “nothing matters” – earned him the nickname “Bitter Bierce”…

“Imagination, n. A warehouse of facts, with poet and liar in joint ownership.”

—Ambrose Bierce, from The Devil’s Dictionary, 1911


Julia Kristeva (b. 24 June 1941) is a Bulgarian-French philosopher, literary critic, psychoanalyst, feminist, and, most recently, novelist, who has lived in France since the mid-1960s (but also holds a professorship in New York). Kristeva became influential in international critical analysis, cultural theory and feminism after publishing her first book Semeiotikè in 1969. Her immense body of work includes books and essays which address intertextuality, the semiotic, and abjection, in the fields of linguistics, literary theory and criticism, psychoanalysis, biography and autobiography, political and cultural analysis, art and art history.

“When the starry sky, a vista of open seas, or a stained-glass window shedding purple beams fascinate me, there is a cluster of meaning, of colors, of words, of caresses, there are light touches, scents, sighs, cadences that arise, shroud me, carry me away, and sweep me beyond the things I see, hear, or think, The “sublime” object dissolves in the raptures of a bottomless memory. It is such a memory, which, from stopping point to stopping point, remembrance to remembrance, love to love, transfers that object to the refulgent point of the dazzlement in which I stray in order to be.” — Julia Kristeva (Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection)

Photo: Richard Dumas


Jimmy Ernst (June 24, 1920 - 1984): Paysage, 1942 - oil on canvas

Ingeborg Bachmann (June 25, 1926 – 1973) was an Austrian poet and author. While living in Austria she was a member of the legendary literary circle known as Gruppe 47, whose members also included Ilse Aichinger, Paul Celan, Heinrich Böll, Marcel Reich-Ranicki and Günter Grass…

— —


Each and every thing cuts wounds,
and neither of us has forgiven the other.
Hurting like you and hurtful,
I lived towards you.

Every touch augments
the pure, the spiritual touch;
we experience it as we age,
turned into coldest silence.

— translated by Johannes Beilharz


Antoni Gaudi (June 25, 1852 - 1926) was a Spanish Catalan architect who belonged to the Modernist style (Art Nouveau) movement and was famous for his unique and highly individualistic designs. Major works include the (unfinished) Sagrada Familia in Barcalona and the wonderful roofs of Casa Milà, better known as La Pedrera - also in the Catalan metropolis…

Photo of Casa Milà


Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 1950 (TB)), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author. His work is marked by a profound consciousness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism…

His most famous books are the satirical novel Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)…

While I enjoy both his allegorical and anti-totalitarian novels, I think one should also read Homage to Catalonia which explains Orwell’s hatred of Soviet style Communism, as well as his anti-fascism; and Down and Out in Paris and London, which makes it clear why one must sympathize with the down-trodden working class…

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” — George Orwell


Aimé Césaire (June 26, 1913 – 2008) was an Afro-Martinican francophone poet, author and politician. In Paris, Césaire, who in 1935 passed an entrance exam for the École normale supérieure, created, with Léopold Sédar Senghor and Léon Damas, the literary review L’Étudiant Noir (The Black Student) which was a forerunner of the Négritude movement

The Woman and the Flame by Aimé Césaire

A bit of light that descends the springhead of a gaze
twin shadow of the eyelash and the rainbow on a face
and round about
who goes there angelically
Woman the current weather
the current weather matters little to me
my life is always ahead of a hurricane
you are the morning that swoops down on the lamp a night stone between its teeth
you are the passage of seabirds as well
you who are the wind through the salty ipomeas of consciousness
insinuating yourself from another world
you are a dragon whose lovely color is dispersed and darkens so as to constitute the
inevitable tenor of things
I am used to brush fires
I am used to ashen bush rats and the bronze ibis of the flame
Woman binder of the foresail gorgeous ghost
helmet of algae of eucalyptus
dawn isn’t it
and in the abandon of the ribbands
very savory swimmer

Pearl S. Buck (June 26, 1892 - 1973) became the first American woman to receive the Nobel for Literature in 1938 - given for “her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces.” She could with equal justification be considered the first Chinese Literature Laureate…

No actor ever scared me more than the great Peter Lorre (June 26, 1904 - 1964), Jewish-Hungarian, later American, specialist in portraying the foreign villain capable of projecting infinite evil…

Still from The Man Who Knew Too Much


Gaston Bachelard (June 27, 1884 - 1962) was a French philosopher and poet, best known for his unique work The Poetics of Space (1958)

“If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”


Lefcadio Hearn (June 27, 1850 - 1904) was a Greek-born Irish writer, who lived variously in Ireland, The US and Japan (ultimately gaining Japanese citizenship…)


Lefcadio Hearn - from In Ghostly Japan

And it was at the hour of sunset that they came to the foot of the mountain. There was in that place no sign of life,—neither token of water, nor trace of plant, nor shadow of flying bird,— nothing but desolation rising to desolation. And the summit was lost in heaven.

Then the Bodhisattva said to his young companion:—”What you have asked to see will be shown to you. But the place of the Vision is far; and the way is rude. Follow after me, and do not fear: strength will be given you.”

Twilight gloomed about them as they climbed. There was no beaten path, nor any mark of former human visitation; and the way was over an endless heaping of tumbled fragments that rolled or turned beneath the foot. Sometimes a mass dislodged would clatter down with hollow echoings;—sometimes the substance trodden would burst like an empty shell….Stars pointed and thrilled; and the darkness deepened.

“Do not fear, my son,” said the Bodhisattva, guiding: “danger there is none, though the way be grim.”

Under the stars they climbed,—fast, fast,—mounting by help of power superhuman. High zones of mist they passed; and they saw below them, ever widening as they climbed, a soundless flood of cloud, like the tide of a milky sea.

Hour after hour they climbed;—and forms invisible yielded to their tread with dull soft crashings;—and faint cold fires lighted and died at every breaking.

And once the pilgrim-youth laid hand on a something smooth that was not stone,—and lifted it,—and dimly saw the cheekless gibe of death.

“Linger not thus, my son!” urged the voice of the teacher;—”the summit that we must gain is very far away!”

On through the dark they climbed,—and felt continually beneath them the soft strange breakings,—and saw the icy fires worm and die,—till the rim of the night turned grey, and the stars began to fail, and the east began to bloom.

Yet still they climbed,—fast, fast,—mounting by help of power superhuman. About them now was frigidness of death,—and silence tremendous….A gold flame kindled in the east.

Then first to the pilgrim’s gaze the steeps revealed their nakedness;—and a trembling seized him,—and a ghastly fear. For there was not any ground,—neither beneath him nor about him nor above him,—but a heaping only, monstrous and measureless, of skulls and fragments of skulls and dust of bone,—with a shimmer of shed teeth strown through the drift of it, like the shimmer of scrags of shell in the wrack of a tide.

“Do not fear, my son!” cried the voice of the Bodhisattva;—”only the strong of heart can win to the place of the Vision!”

Behind them the world had vanished. Nothing remained but the clouds beneath, and the sky above, and the heaping of skulls between,—up-slanting out of sight.

Then the sun climbed with the climbers; and there was no warmth in the light of him, but coldness sharp as a sword. And the horror of stupendous height, and the nightmare of stupendous depth, and the terror of silence, ever grew and grew, and weighed upon the pilgrim, and held his feet,—so that suddenly all power departed from him, and he moaned like a sleeper in dreams.

“Hasten, hasten, my son!” cried the Bodhisattva: “the day is brief, and the summit is very far away.”

But the pilgrim shrieked,—”I fear! I fear unspeakably!—and the power has departed from me!”

“The power will return, my son,” made answer the Bodhisattva…. “Look now below you and above you and about you, and tell me what you see.”

“I cannot,” cried the pilgrim, trembling and clinging; “I dare not look beneath! Before me and about me there is nothing but skulls of men.”

“And yet, my son,” said the Bodhisattva, laughing softly,—”and yet you do not know of what this mountain is made.”

The other, shuddering, repeated:—”I fear!—unutterably I
fear!…there is nothing but skulls of men!”

“A mountain of skulls it is,” responded the Bodhisattva. “But know, my son, that all of them ARE YOUR OWN! Each has at some time been the nest of your dreams and delusions and desires. Not even one of them is the skull of any other being. All,—all without exception,—have been yours, in the billions of your former lives.”


Krzysztof Kieślowski (June 27, 1941 – 1996, heart attack) was an influential Oscar-nominated Polish film director and screenwriter, known internationally for his film cycles The Decalogue and Three Colors.

Still from Kieślowski’s Bleu, feat. Juliette Binoche…

Kieślowski seeing (almost) no evil…

The Double Life of Véronique (La double vie de Véronique, 1990), starring Irène Jacob, is also a sensational Kieślowski film…

Emma Goldman, Jewish anarchist, born June 27, 1869 (d. 1940) in Lithuania, later an emigrant to the US, where she lectured and agitated tirelessly for the anarchist cause. Growing tired of talk, she planned to assassinate the industrialist Frick to raise consciousness about oppression, but she and her co-conspirator Berman were arrested and sent to jail. After their release in 1919 they were both deported to the Soviet Union. Goldman, however, came back to the US in the early 30s to promote her autobiography, Living My Life

“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” — Emma Goldman


Luigi Pirandello (June 28, 1867 – 1936) was an Italian dramatist, novelist, and short story writer, awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1934 for his “bold and brilliant renovation of the drama and the stage.”

“Inevitably we construct ourselves. Let me explain. I enter this house and immediately I become what I have to become, what I can become: I construct myself. That is, I present myself to you in a form suitable to the relationship I wish to achieve with you. And, of course, you do the same with me.” — Luigi Pirandello


Peter Paul Rubens (June 28, 1577 – 1640) was a prolific seventeenth-century Flemish Baroque painter, and a proponent of an exuberant Baroque style that emphasized movement, color, and sensuality.

Above: The Judgment of Paris, c. 1632-5 - Oil on oak (National Gallery, London)


Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael was born June 29, 1941 (d. 1998).

Carmichael rose to prominence first as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced “Snick”) and later as the “Honorary Prime Minister” of the Black Panther Party. Initially an integrationist, Carmichael later became affiliated with black nationalist and Pan-Africanist movements.

“No man can given anybody his freedom.” — Stokely Carmichael


Madoka Takagi (b. June 29, 1956): Vista Del Mar (LA 9), 1995 - platinum print on paper (Smithsonian)

French aviator and author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, was born June 29, 1900. He was shot down by the Germans in 1944 and killed. His fine novella The Little Prince is still widely read, as are some of his lyrical non-fiction books about flying…

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”


James VanDerZee (June 29, 1886 - 1983): Future Expectations (Wedding Day), 1926 - gelatin silver print (Museum of the City of New York)

“Beginning in 1916, James Van Der Zee (1886-1983) photographed the people of Harlem for more than six decades, depicting the life of one of the most celebrated black communities in the world. By providing elaborate costumes, props, and backdrops, in combination with creative double exposures, expert retouching, and airbrushing, Van Der Zee became renowned for the quality of his portraits. Althrough he gained fame for his portrayal of African-American celebrities who passed through Harlem, Van Der Zee made his daily living by taking thousands of photographs of Harlem’s residents, including family groups, weddings, athletic teams, and social clubs. Today, this portrait studio work, made by a remarkable photographer, provides an exceptional document of an emerging black middle class in New York City.” — Museum of the City of New York

James Van Der Zee: Nude, Harlem, 1933


Sean Scully (b. June 30, 1945): Burnt Norton #2, 1984 - etching and aquatint on paper (Smithsonian)

Garlic and sapphires in the mud
Clot the bedded axle-tree.
The trilling wire in the blood
Sings below inveterate scars
Appeasing long forgotten wars.
The dance along the artery
The circulation of the lymph
Are figured in the drift of stars
Ascend to summer in the tree
We move above the moving tree
In light upon the figured leaf
And hear upon the sodden floor
Below, the boarhound and the boar
Pursue their pattern as before
But reconciled among the stars.

— T.S. Eliot


Fred Stonehouse (b. June 30, 1960): Los Indios from the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Portfolio, 2001 - hard-ground, aquatint and dry-point on paper (Smithsonian)

Polish poet Czesław Miłosz (June 30, 1911 - 2004) received the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature as a writer “who with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts…”


Czesław Miłosz: A Song on the End of the World

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.


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