Favorite Photos, 2013

The Street Corner:  There's a karaoke bar nearby.  The night is never silent.

Bacolod:  Scene on a Street Corner.  There’s a karaoke bar nearby. The night is never silent.

On the Vaporetto to Murano, April 2013

On the Vaporetto to Murano, April 2013

Saw this while riding on the vaporetto, on the way from San Marco Square to Murano (Don't know who the artist is, but it was a stunning sight)

On the Venetian Lagoon:  Saw this while riding on the vaporetto, on the way from San Marco Square to Murano (Don’t know who the artist is, but it was a stunning sight)

Stafford Park, Some Wednesday Evening during the Summer

Stafford Park, Some Wednesday Evening during the Summer

Oh how self loves these Wednesday evenings in the park!

Oh how self loves these Wednesday evenings in the park!

It was so foggy,, Sunday, 23 June 2013:  That day, self and The Man had taken son and Jennie to the Legion of Honor.

It was so foggy,, Sunday, 23 June 2013: That day, self and The Man had taken son and Jennie to the Legion of Honor.

Yannie, a coed in De La Salle.  She's the daughter of my Manong Monching.

Yannie, a coed in De La Salle. She’s the daughter of my Manong Monching.

Art By Diane Varner (who self has known since 1986)

Art By Diane Varner (who self has known since 1986)

Cal Shakes' "Romeo and Juliet," Sunday July 14, 2013 (Self is returning this Sunday, to see "Lady Windermere's Fan")

Cal Shakes’ “Romeo and Juliet,” Sunday July 14, 2013 (Self’s birthday)

“Creaking Chairs,” a story by Igal Mossinsohn (from 50 STORIES FROM ISRAEL: AN ANTHOLOGY, Edited by Zisel Stavi)

Self bought the anthology when she was in Tel Aviv.  She found it in a bookstore only a few minutes’ walk from the apartment on Rupin Street.  It was 2008.  Beloved Sister-in-law Ying was being treated in Ichilov Hospital; she would live a few more months.

The story self began reading this morning is by Igal Mossinsohn (1917-1994), translated from the Yiddish by Sara Friedman.  The main character is Gabriel Malin, an aging actor who, one day, is unexpectedly approached by a young girl from the kibbutz.  The girl dreams of joining the theater and has come to Malin for guidance.

The scene has the girl telling Malin:

“I didn’t think it would be as smooth as olive oil all the way.  Difficulties?  Obviously.  But the question is, can one study, improve?  Will they give me a chance to try my hand at it?”

Gabriel Malin walked over to her, laid his hands on her narrow shoulders, felt her hair lightly brushing them.  She saw faded eyes, lashless lids.  The smell of cognac drifted from his mouth mixed with that of tobacco and shaving soap.

“You have a life to live,” he said.  “Listen, my girl, it’s no life at all, don’t you understand?”

She understood nothing.  For a moment she thought he was reciting a part.  Theatricals, she thought, should more properly be confined to the stage, while in life it was preferable to speak simply and not dig unfamiliar fingers into her shoulders, not to fix lashless eyes into her own.

“Old people shuffle around onstage,” he added.  “Old!  If they had trained a younger generation to learn from their experience, had encouraged them, well then . . .  But . . .  A man onstage must be credible, convincing!  The stage offers an illusion — but when a fifty-year-old actor plays a youth — and plays him badly, what would you call that?  Still, the audience keeps coming.  Thanks to whom, may I ask?  Thanks to a few sublime actors.  There you are.  For it is art!  It is sacred! No one has the power to drag Gabriel Malin off the stage, because Gabriel Malin loves the artificial lights, the costumes, the dusty floorboards, the audience, even if, possibly, he is inept.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Diane Arbus at the Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary St.

Self has never been here before.  Even though, she understands after talking to Stella K, it’s a landmark building for photographers and visual artists.

Each floor is divided up into gallery spaces.  Self headed straight to the 4th floor, because that’s where the Diane Arbus photographs were.

Here’s what the exhibit consisted of:  Stark black-and-white portraits.

No, portraits is too kind a word.  All right, stark black-and-white dissections of personality, assembled by theme:

The Mysteries That Bring People Together

The most striking photograph in this group was of an elderly couple, both naked, seated in a living room, staring frankly at the viewer.  The bodies were unspeakably not attractive.  The caption read:  Retired man and his wife at home in a nudist camp one morning, New Jersey 1963.

There was also:  Woman and a dwarf backstage at the circus, New York City, 1959.  The woman (of normal height) and the dwarf were locked in a passionate embrace.  What self remembers best were the looks of absolute disdain being cast in their direction by three men standing at the edge of the frame.

Winners and Losers

There was a large close-up of a baby’s face, a loser at a Diaper Derby.

There was a portrait of a muscle man at a body building competition.  Self doesn’t know why this particular photo was the lowest-priced of all the photographs in the exhibit:  Only $8,500.

People Being Somebody

Self was most struck by the portrait of students at a Santa Claus School in Albion, New York.

Interiors:  the Meaning of Rooms

There were shots of movie theaters and derelict hotels and . . .

Self didn’t get everything.

Many pictures were set in lounges and pool halls.  There were more than a few photographs of transvestites, midgets, and female impersonators.

There was not one iota of sentimentality in any of the pictures.  Self was particularly struck by how wrecked the faces of the old people looked.  They looked like shells draped in clothing.  (In contrast to the many elderly women portrayed in utter isolation, reclining on beds while draped in stoles or mink coats, the nudist couple looked quite cheerful)

Afterwards, self wandered over to the books section.  Many beautiful books of Arbus’s work, some costing a hefty $100 (Oh, did self forget to mention that one of the photographs in the exhibit was listed at $90,000?).  Self bought the cheapest book, an oddity entitled Diane Arbus:  A Chronology.  A book about or written by Arbus, without one single photograph.  Instead, when she browsed through it, the book seemed like a diary of some sort.  Years mark off the sections, and within each section are passages like (for the year 1971):

She places an ad in the newspaper for the class she has decided to teach, posts a notice about it on the bulletin board of The Museum of Modern Art, and mentions the prospect to friends and acquaintances.

Do you know, the tone reminds self of — one of her own short stories.  Self likes to write in just such a blank, detached way.  In fact, if self were to pick out a story at random from one of her oeuvre, dear blog readers would detect the resemblance immediately.  Fascinating, simply fascinating.  Self wants to find out if there is a Santa Claus school somewhere in the Bay Area.

Stay tuned.

‘One’ : WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is ONE.

“This week, we want to see photos that focus one one thing.”

Dear Departed Dad at 46.  This picture is in the small room she calls her "Office," the one with French doors that open to her backyard.

Dear Departed Dad at 46. This picture is in the small room self calls her “Office,” the one with French doors that open to her backyard.

He was a kind and gentle father.  Most of all, he gave self roots in the soil of Negros Occidental.

In addition to self's fascination with:  a) windows, b) flowers, self is also fascinated by dogs.  This one was in Monsignor "Gigi" Gaston's house in Manapla.

In addition to self’s fascination with: a) windows and b) flowers, self is also fascinated by dogs. This one was in Monsignor “Gigi” Gaston’s house in Manapla, Negros Occidental.

And here's a picture of the Nora Aunor of her time:  Dearest Mum.  Have you read the story "Lizard"?  You should read "Lizard" (in self's first collection, GINSENG AND OTHER TALES FROM MANILA)

And here’s a picture of Dearest Mum. Have you read the story “Lizard”? You should read “Lizard” (in self’s first collection, GINSENG AND OTHER TALES FROM MANILA).  A student at Curtis, she was only 14 when she played at Carnegie Hall.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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