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.

The 100 best novels / No 84 / In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966)

The 100 best novels

writtein English

No 84

  In Cold Blood 

by Truman Capote (1966)

Truman Capote’s non-fiction novel, a true story of bloody murder in rural Kansas, opens a window on the dark underbelly of postwar America

Robert McCrum
Monday 27 April 2015 05.45 BST

ome of the greatest books on this list are built on narratives that could have been torn from the pages of a newspaper (The Great Gatsby is a good example). In Cold Blood, subtitled “A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences”, grandly described by Capote as “a non-fiction novel”, actually began as a New York Times murder story that became transformed into a tale of spine-tingling suspense and extraordinary intuition. It was Capote’s genius to understand that this midwest killing had a mythic quality, and that the sinister murderers opened up the dark underbelly of postwar America.
During the early hours of 15 November 1959, in the small prairie community of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of a prosperous farming family, the Clutters, were savagely murdered by shotgun blasts discharged at close quarters into their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and hardly any clues. The local FBI investigator, Alvin Dewey, had never seen a crime so meaningless or “so vicious”, and vowed to hunt down and convict the killers, whatever the cost. More darkly, the backstory to Capote’s book became a private tragedy, etched between the lines of a brilliant quasi-journalistic investigation, that would haunt Capote throughout his writing life.

Soon after the news of this shocking massacre had broken in the US press, the fashionable and acclaimed author of Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958), and some ground-breaking New Yorker reportage, arrived in Holcomb in the aftermath of the Clutters’ funeral. He was not alone. In one of many unacknowledged deceptions perpetrated on the reader, he was accompanied by his childhood buddy, Harper Lee. She had just finished writing the novel (To Kill a MockingbirdNo 78 in this series) that would make her famous. Her role in Capote’s bestseller now became crucial.
It was Harper Lee who would help to penetrate the cordon of silence protecting the privacy of a remote Kansas community reeling from the Clutter murders. As a result, Capote was able to conduct his own unforgettable investigation into the manhunt, arrest and trial of the killers, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, a weird quest that would end just after midnight, 14 April 1965, on the gallows of the Kansas state penitentiary.
“No one will ever know what In Cold Blood took out of me,” Capote once said. “It scraped me right down to the marrow of my bones. It nearly killed me. I think, in a way, it did kill me.”

A note on the text

Truman Capote, describing the composition of In Cold Blood, spoke of “maintaining a stylistic and emotional upper hand over your material”, asserting that “the greatest intensity in art in all its shapes and sizes is achieved with a deliberate, hard and cool head”. Finding the right form for your story, he insisted, was “simply to realise the most natural way of telling the story”. As a great literary self-promoter, he also claimed a special originality for In Cold Blood. Several critics, unmoved by this hype, preferred to place his “non-fiction novel” in a tradition that could be traced to The Storm by Daniel Defoe (1704), in which Defoe (No 2 in this series) used the voices of real people to tell his story. Indeed, this technique would be adopted by many subsequent writers before Capote, including Dickens, Twain and Steinbeck (Nos 1523 and 65 in this series).
Capote also maintained, at least initially, that he was not writing a crime story. In public, in the early days of the project, Capote stuck to this line. In 1962, he toldNewsweek: “My book isn’t a crime story. It’s the story of a town.” Well, maybe. But the more he recognised that Hickock and Smith were central to the story he wanted to tell, the more he abandoned this first intention (if that’s what it was). Focusing on the killers and their victims gave his narrative a texture and a shape – and some extraordinary pace. The experience of reading the book is still vertiginous. Actually, he composed In Cold Blood in brief, self-contained sections, linking them like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. In the process, Capote began to exploit classic literary crime techniques to heighten the suspense. Several critics have noted the quasi-cinematic style of the first two sections of the novel (The Last to See Them Alive and Persons Unknown), and the urgent inter-cutting between the Clutters and their killers.

When I worked at Faber & Faber in the 1980s, I was lucky enough to become friends with Capote’s editor at Random House, the legendary Joe Fox. He often spoke about working with “Truman” on this manuscript, and some of what follows is owed to my memories of Joe’s conversation.
Fox used to say that his author was for a long time rather lost in Kansas, wondering what on earth he had got himself into, and how he was going to fashion a narrative. For the first several weeks, with the police making no progress on the case, as Capote himself said later: “Nothing happened. I stayed there and kept researching it and researching it and got very friendly with the various authorities and the detectives on the case. But I never knew whether it was going to be interesting or not.”

Capote fretted to Fox that he was getting nowhere. What if they never caught the killers? Was the projected book just a wild goose chase? But then, by chance, Smith and Hickock were apprehended for a different crime, interrogated and charged. Once the story began to gather speed, Capote found a new set of worries. What if the killers would not co-operate? Or speak to him? To animate the middle and closing sections of the book (Answer and The Corner), he had to establish a dialogue with Hickock and Smith. Being Capote, this became both intimate and obsessive. As he put it: “I made very close contact with these two boys and saw them very often over the next four years until they were executed.”
This relationship, especially with Perry Smith, inspired the later charge that he had somehow coldly waited for the hanging, as a suitably moving climax. This accusation surfaced first in the Observer in a row between Capote and the critic Ken Tynan after his review of In Cold Blood implied that Capote wanted an execution. Capote always rebutted this. “I never knew,” he once said, even when halfway through the book, and after working on it for a year and a half, “whether I would go on with it or not, whether it would finally evolve itself into something that would be worth all that effort.”
Capote’s literary aesthetic also attracted the criticism of Tom Wolfe in his 1967Esquire essay Pornoviolence in which he argued that In Cold Blood manipulates the reader with the promise of disclosing gruesome details about a true crime, thereby reducing the work to a level of sadistic sensationalism, what Wolfe dubbed “pornoviolence”.
Eventually, Joe Fox (who actually travelled with Capote to the killers’ execution) persuaded his author that the book was done. Random House published In Cold Blood early in 1966, after a four-part serialisation the previous September in theNew Yorker, whose editor, William Shawn, had first commissioned Capote. In Cold Blood was a succès fou in the USA and, later, worldwide. But its success blighted Capote’s creativity, and his work dwindled to almost nothing in the 1970s. He died in 1984, aged 59, shortly before his 60th birthday.

Three more from Truman Capote

Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948); Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958); Music for Chameleons (1980).

007 Emma by Jane Austen (1816)
014 Fair by William Thackeray (1848)  
031 Dracula by Bram Stoker  (1897)
035 The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)
036 The Golden Bowl by Henry James (1904)
039 The History of Mr Polly by HG Wells (1910)
040 Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm (1915)
041 The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (1915)
042 The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (1915)
043 The Rainbow by DH Lawrence (1915)
044 Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Waugham (1915)
045 The Age of Innocence by Edith Warthon (1920)
046 Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)
047 Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (1922)
048 A Pasage to India by EM Forster (1922)
049 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loss ( 1925)
050 Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925)

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.