Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Spirit of Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe

Patti smith homage photo robert mapplethorpe

November 09, 2010

The Spirit of Patti Smith & Robert Mapplethorpe 

in VMAN as Channeled by Model-Photog Christian Brylle

The Philadelphia-born poet/rockstar and the shooter were A-list scenesters in the NYC of the late 60s, hanging with the artsy Chelsea Hotel crowd - including William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin & Johnny Winter.  Although he found his artistic calling first, Smith became famous before her lover-turned-friend Robert (he subsequently discovered he was gay...good thing she didn't take it personally). Mapplethorpe died of AIDS in 1989, and her memoir about their lifelong friendship, "Just Kids," is up for a National Book Award; Smith already received the prestigious title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture in 2005.

The multitalented Christian Brylle proves he's more than just a pretty modeling face with this spread he shot (and also stars in) for VMAN (issue #20; The Winter Issue - on newsstands November 11th). Posing as Mapplethorpe with Freja Beha Erichsen as Smith, "PATTI + ROBERT" showcases some of winter's coolest rock 'n roll looks while paying homage to the bond of youth and coolness shared by the famous friends. Be sure to check it out at
- Lesley Scott


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Julian Barnes / Books


by Julian Barnes
Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. I'm not surprised some people prefer books.

Sherwood Anderson / Truth

Sherwood Anderson
by Sherwood Anderson

That in the beginning when the world was young there were a great many thoughts but no such thing as truth. Man made the truths himself and each truth was a composite of a great many vague thoughts. All about in the world were truths and they were all beautiful.

Frank Herbert / The Mystery of Life

Sally Mann
From What Remains
Photo by Sally Mann
From What Remais
by Frank Herbert

"The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience."

— Frank Herbert, Dune

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ivette Ivens / Breastfeeding Goddesses

Something about Ivette Iven's photography resonated with my soul the first time I scrolled past one of her photos on Facebook. It was a photograph of a stunning, laughing woman with blue hair breastfeeding her daughter in the snow. The mother looked blissfully happy while her daughter, cradled in her breasts, looked innocent, safe, and secure. It perfectly captured everything I felt about breastfeeding. The empowering, natural, beautiful journey that creates an immeasurable bond was perfectly showcased in this one photograph.

After seeing that first photograph, I found her photography's Facebook page ( I was inspired by her photographs and wanted to share them with my blog followers, so I started posting several of her breastfeeding photos on my blog's Facebook page. Each photo tells an individual story of mother and child, but I believe that all of the photographs speak to breastfeeding mothers. The looks of adoration, strength, determination, and unconditional love on these mother's faces have all been our own faces looking at our children as we nurse them. These children's looks of happiness, contentment, and joy have all been the faces our own children. The beauty of breastfeeding is universal, and I believe that Ivette Iven's photography captures that beauty wonderfully.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Susan Sontag / I'm a foreigner in America

Susan Sontag
Photo by Jesse Fernández
"I'm a foreigner in America"

Susan Sontag
By Alain Elkann

“I am a foreigner in America. From the time I was a child, I dreamt of being somewhere else.”
Susan Sontag, in your latest book, you write that the United States is a country where one can always start over in life. Is that true?
“It’s definitely a myth, but because people believe in it, it ends up being possible. This is people’s fantasy when they come to America, a land of new horizons. It’s a more profound idea than finding one’s fortunes in America. Moreover, the characters in my book found success in Europe and come to America where they have a worse life, but with the hope of starting over. In America, you can be a grandmother and take parachuting lessons and everyone will tell you, “Good for you!” There’s no sense of being ridiculous.”

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Al Pacino / This much I know / ‘It’s never been about money. I was often unemployed’

Al Pacino
Poster by T.A.

This much I know

Al Pacino: ‘It’s never been about money. I was often unemployed’

The actor, 74, on fame, his tailspin at 22 – and the enigmatic Michael Corleone

Francine Cohen
Saturday 25 April 2015 14.00 BST

I’ve learned to live without anonymity. I haven’t been in a grocery store or subway for years. It’s hard for my children to go out publicly with me. Fame is different now than it was 20 years ago – I don’t know what the hell it is now! If I have a rare time of being somewhere and not being recognised, it’s a luxury.
It’s never been about money for me. There were times when I was young when I could have used money: after college I was often unemployed and at one time I slept in a storefront for a few days. But I’ve never been materialistic. Except that I am, of course, because my lifestyle makes me a spender!
My grandfather, James Gerardi, taught me about work. He was a plasterer and work – any kind of work – was the joy of his life. So I grew up wanting to – it’s what I’ve always chased. The joy of work is what keeps me going.

Al Pacino
Photo by Maarten De Boer

The conclusion of my teachers was that I needed a dad. I wasn’t an out-of-control teenager, but I was close. My parents divorced when I was two and my father wasn’t in my life from then. I wanted to be different with my children [Julie, 25, and twins Anton and Olivia, 14]. I wanted to be responsible to them, so I divide my time between two coasts.
Kids changed my perspective. Before I had my three, I’d walk around in my own head, not noticing anything. Acting used to be everything; now, because of them, it’s just a small part.

Al Pacino
Photo by Sante D'Onozio

I’m not lacking in friends. We can all get caught up in our lives, our careers, but I’ve always understood there’s a certain tenacity needed for friendship.
The lowest point of my life was losing my mother, Rose, and grandfather – they died within a year of each other. I was 22 and the two most influential people in my life had gone, so that sent me into a tailspin. I lost the 70s in a way, but then I gave up drinking in 1977 and decided to focus on the work.
I understand the value and power of social media, although I don’t really do it myself. I have a Facebook page that 5.4m people “like”. What does that mean? I don’t know, although I do appreciate that these platforms are good for getting your message out there.

Michael Corleone in The Godfather was and still is the most difficult role I’ve played. I didn’t see him as a gangster; I felt his power was his enigmatic quality. Unfortunately the studio couldn’t see that at first and were thinking of firing me. It was during my early career, a major movie with Marlon Brando, and no one other than Francis [Ford Coppola] wanted me for the part.
My grandparents came from a town in Sicily called Corleone. Fate? Yes, maybe – it’s very strange. But then life has so many twists and turns.
People think there is rivalry between me and Robert De Niro. I know Bobby pretty well. He’s a friend and he and I have gone through similar things. I love what he does with comedy; it’s pure genius.
I believe I have reached my stride, which is why I persist. As long as you have passion for the art, keep working, because age catches up with you.



Illness as Metaphor by Susan Sontag / Reviewed by Denis Denoghue

'Illness as Metaphor'

by Susan Sontag


The New York Times
Published: July 16, 1978

Illness as Metaphor" first appeared as three long essays in the New York Review of Books last January and February. The essays have been revised in a spirit of discretion. Wilhelm Reich's language is no longer described as having "its own inimitable looniness"; now it has "its own inimitable coherence." Laetrile is a "dangerous nostrum" rather than a "quack cure." John Dean is not reported as calling Watergate "the cancer on the Presidency." The revised version has him explaining Watergate to Nixon: "We have a cancer within -- close to the Presidency -- that's growing." Far-right groups no longer have "a paranoid view of the world"; now they have a "politics of paranoia." All the textual changes I have come across serve the cause of moderation.

But Susan Sontag is still angry. Her book is not about illness, but about the use of illness as a figure or metaphor. She is particularly concerned with the metaphorical sue of tuberculosis in the 19th century and cancer in the 20th. Most of these metaphors are lurid, and they turn each disease into a mythology. Until 1882, when tuberculosis was discovered to be a bacterial infection, the symptoms were regarded as constituting not merely a disease but a stage of being, a mystery of nature. Those who suffered from the disease were thought to embody a special type of humanity. The corresponding typology featured not bodily symptoms but spiritual and moral attributes: nobility of soul, creative fire, the melancholy of Romanticism, desire and its excess. Today, if Miss Sontag's account is accurate, there is a corresponding stereotype of the cancer victim: someone emotionally inert, a loser, slow, bourgeois, someone who has steadily repressed his natural feelings, especially of rage. Such a person is thought to be cancer-prone.

Susan Sontag / Illness as Metaphor / Review

Susan Sontag
By Susan Sontag

In 1978 Susan Sontag wrote Illness as Metaphor, a classic work described by Newsweek as "one of the most liberating books of its time." A cancer patient herself when she was writing the book, Sontag shows how the metaphors and myths surrounding certain illnesses, especially cancer, add greatly to the suffering of patients and often inhibit them from seeking proper treatment. By demystifying the fantasies surrounding cancer, Sontag shows cancer for what it is - just a disease. Cancer, she argues, is not a curse, not a punishment, certainly not an embarrassment and, it is highly curable, if good treatment is followed.
Almost a decade later, with the outbreak of a new, stigmatized disease replete with mystifications and punitive metaphors, Sontag wrote a sequel to Illness as Metaphor, extending the argument of the earlier book to the AIDS pandemic.
These two essays now published together, Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors, have been translated into many languages and continue to have an enormous influence on the thinking of medical professionals and, above all, on the lives of many thousands of patients and caregivers.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Game of Thrones season / Big Sky Atlantic return serves mainly as a catch-up

Game of Thrones season 5 episode 1 review: Big Sky Atlantic return serves mainly as a catch-up

If you were one of those panting with excitement at the thought of Game of Thrones’ return, last night’s series five opener might have been a let-down.

There were no truly gruesome death scenes, an uneventful funeral in place of the usual wedding-massacre and only a modest quota of bare boobies. Instead, the episode functioned mainly as a catch-up, reminding us of where all the characters have landed on the Seven Kingdoms map.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jack Nicholson / Interview

Jack Nicholson

INTERVIEW / Great film, Jack, now let's talk about you: Jack Nicholson


THERE'S always a bit of messing around when you do superstars - conditions laid down, complicated arrangements that you fear will go wrong should the superstar wake up grumpy on the day and say bugger it, I ain't doing nothing. Jack Nicholson was only in London for two days on a private visit, but to help along his new film, Hoffa, which opens on 19 March, he'd agreed to do just two interviews. I had to see the film first, at a private viewing in Soho, at 10.30. In the morning? No, evening. Oh, cripes. That's when I have my cocoa and go to bed.

I saw the film, and Mr Nicholson is brilliant. Unquote. His performance as the controversial American union boss Jimmy Hoffa is remarkable.

Women on the beach / Lauren Mellor

Women on the beach

Lauren Mellor

Lauren Mellor naked in bodypaint SI Swimsuit 2014

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In praise of... Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson
In praise of … Jack Nicholson

At his best, Nicholson treads the finest of lines between derangement and all too sane fury

Monday 9 September 2012

If Jack Nicholson is really retiring, the cinema will have lost one of its great presences. But defining it is no simple task. It has been a while since the most nominated male actor in Hollywood history has made a film that compares toEasy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, Chinatown, Terms of Endearment. Even uncontained or badly directed, Nicholson had the capacity to act everyone else off the screen, and Stephen King, who wrote the original novel, expressed doubts about casting Nicholson as the deranged caretaker in The Shining, because in King's view he simply could not play the ordinary man. There is nothing ordinary about him. At his best, Nicholson taunts. He treads the finest of lines between derangement and all too sane fury, between moral purpose and its exact opposite. Time out of number he has made Mephistopheles easily the most sympathetic character in the cast.

Jack Nicholson 'retires from acting due to memory loss'

Jack Nicholson 'retires from acting due to memory loss'

Actor apparently refusing scripts as sources say he 'can no longer remember the lines' – but he will remain a public figure 

Ben Child
The Guardian
Thursday 5 September 2013 11.44 BST

Reports claim that Jack Nicholson has retired from acting due to memory loss.Radar Online and Star Magazine say the 76-year-old, three-time Oscar-winner is no longer considering scripts, though he will continue to play an active role in public life.
"There is a simple reason behind his decision – it's memory loss," a source told Radar. "Quite frankly, at 76, Jack has memory issues and can no longer remember the lines being asked of him."

Actor Jack Nicholson poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, Calif.
on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007.
(AP Photo/Matt Sayles) Photograph: Matt Sayles/AP

Nicholson has not been seen on the big screen since 2010, when he played the father of a business executive facing jail over alleged corporate malfeasance in the Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd romantic comedy drama How Do You Know. His only other acting role since turning 70 has been 2007's The Bucket List, and he currently has no films on his slate.
As well as best actor Oscars for 1975's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1998's As Good As It Gets and the best supporting actor prize for 1984's Terms of Endearment, Nicholson holds the record for the highest number of Oscar nominations for a male actor: 12. According to US reports, he will continue to appear at the annual awards ceremony if invited as a guest presenter of prizes, as he did earlier this year when handing over the best picture gong with Michelle Obama, and will likely be courtside on a regular basis to watch his beloved LA Lakers basketball team.
"Jack has no intention of retiring from the limelight," Radar's source said. "He's not retiring from public life, at all. He just doesn't want a tribute. He's happy to tacitly join the retirees' club, like Sean Connery."
However NBC anchor Maria Shriver has contradicted suggestions that Nicholson is to retire, according to E! Online, asserting he is "not suffering from any memory-related illness or dementia".
Nicholson reportedly turned down the chance to play an alcoholic father travelling with his son to pick up a million-dollar lottery prize in Alexander Payne's Nebraska. The role won 77-year-old Bruce Dern the best actor prize at this year's Cannes film festival. Nicholson was also due to star alongside Clint Eastwood and Warren Beatty as retired superheroes in Matthew Vaughn's The Golden Age. However, the proposed film has yet to see the light of day.
Neither Nicholson nor his representatives have so far made any public comment on the reports of his retirement.

Jack Nicholson Retires From Acting

Jack Nicholson 
Actor Jack Nicholson 
Retires From Acting

Sep 4, 2013

Excerpted from Radar Online: He’ll still sit court side at Los Angeles Lakers’ games, but Hollywood legend Jack Nicholson has quietly retired from the movie business, has exclusively learned.The 76-year-old icon has no plans to appear in films again after a career spanning five decades.
“Jack has — without fanfare — retired,” a well-placed Hollywood film insider confirmed to Radar.
“There is a simple reason behind his decision — it’s memory loss. Quite frankly, at 76, Jack has memory issues and can no longer remember the lines being asked of him.“His memory isn’t what it used to be.”
The three-time Academy Award winner has not worked since How Do You Know in 2010 starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson.
Tellingly, producers for the forthcoming film Nebraska had wanted him to play the key role of an aging, booze-addled father who makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.
The role ultimately went to Bruce Dern, after Nicholson advised the filmmakers that he was not interested, the source said.Nicholson began his Hollywood career in the 1950s, first working as a gofer for animation legends William Hanna and Joseph Barbera at the MGM cartoon studio. He left soon after to pursue his dream to star on screen.
The New Jersey-native made his film debut in a low-budget teen drama The Cry Baby Killer, in 1958, playing the title role.
He’s best remembered for his Academy Award winning roles as Best Actor for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and for As Good as It Gets. He also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the 1983 film Terms of Endearment.
Nicholson has been nominated for a record-setting 12 Oscars, eight for Best Actor and four for Best Supporting Actor, making him the most nominated male actor in Academy Awards history.“Jack has no intention of retiring from the limelight,” said the source, who noted his regular appearances on the Hollywood party circuit, court side at his beloved Lakers and his co-presentation of the Academy Award for Best Picture with First Lady Michelle Obama, earlier this year.
“He’s not retiring from public life, at all. He just doesn’t want a tribute,” added the insider. “He’s happy to tacitly join the retirees club like Sean Connery.”


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Frida Kahlo / The other accident

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

by Frida Kahlo

I suffered two grave accidents in my life. The other accident is Diego.

She and the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera first met when she was 15, and a student at a college where Diego was commissioned to paint a mural. So badly behaved were Frida and her gang that the previous muralists had armed themselves with pistols to deal with the kids. After meeting again in 1928, they married the following year, and she yearned for a child with him. Although she became pregnant several times, she had two terminations for medical reasons and one miscarriage. Her pelvis, it seems, had been too badly damaged to support a baby. Her painting Henry Ford Hospital depicts the artist, naked and alone on blood-soaked sheets, surrounded by a barren landscape that echoes her own barrenness. “Never before,” said Diego, “has a woman put such agonized poetry on canvas.

Raymond Chandler / The trap

Raymond Chandler


There is no trap so deadly as the trap you set for yourself.

Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye

Oscar Wilde / A mask

By Oscar Wilde

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Günter Grass / The man who broke the silence

Günter Grass: 

the man who broke the silence

Truth-teller, controversialist, affectionate friend – above all, ingenious and inspirational novelist … Orhan Pamuk, John Irving and other writers salute Günter Grass, who died this week

Neal Ascherson, Rachel Seiffert, Ian Buruma, David Kynaston, Orhan Pamuk,Adam Thirlwell, Philip Hensher, Simon Winder, Lawrence Norfolk and Daniel Kehlman

Saturday 18 April 2015 09.36 BST

Günter Grass in 1989
Photo by Udo Hesse
Poster by T.A.

Neal Ascherson
Don’t mourn for Günter Grass! Eat and drink for him, pork belly and black lentils and golden Westphalian beer. And then remember somebody else who can never die, and who seems now to stand for so much of Grass’s lust for real, bad-smelling, defiant life.
I mean his character Tulla Pokriefke, first met in Cat and Mouse and last seen in Crabwalk, his final novel. She starts as a scabby, dirty-minded teenager in wartime Danzig, who gets conscripted as a tram conductor. She ends up as an insufferable old matriarch in East Germany, suspect to everyone for speaking her mind, for blubbing over Stalin’s death and yet loudly defending the Nazi “Strength Through Joy” cruises for working-class families. Somebody in Crabwalk says: “That’s always been Tulla’s way. She says things other people don’t wish to hear. Of course she sometimes exaggerates just a bit.”