HELGA PARIS: FOTOGRAFIE

NOTES FOR THE EXHIBITION OF HELGA PARIS’ PHOTOGRAPHIC WORKS, STREET LEVEL PHOTOWORKS, GLASGOW, 2014

Fotografie is a retrospective look at the work of German photographer, Helga Paris. Exhibiting a collection of photos taken in East Germany in the postwar period, Paris’s work is considered to be one of the most revealing and compassionate bodies of work reflecting life in Germany at that time. Going beyond a simple ‘social study’, Paris’s technique was simply to engage with her subjects, rather than take on the role of the distant street photographer. In making this connection, the result has been a collection of photos that give the viewer an insight into a moment of the everyday lives of an East German resident.

Starting in the 60s, Helga Paris took an interest in photography and began teaching herself the basics. Paris came from a fashion and art background, but it was her interest in the everyday lives of the East Berlin people, during the postwar period that made her want to capture that on film.

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JONAS MEKAS: HARE KRISHNA, video, 5min.,3sec.

Jonas Mekas: Hare Krishna
5 min. 3 sec.

This was filmed on November 5, 1966 in New York City. It is with Srila Prabhupada, Barbara Rubin, Phil Corner, and many others. Sound: Chanting by the participants and Allen Ginsberg

Jonas Mekas‘ 1966 four-minute short documentary film featuring a kaleidoscope of images, anchored, to some degree, by Allen and Peter chanting Hare Krishna, is the next (seventh) in our series of Annotated Streaming Videos. Here’s Mekas’ note from the catalog of the Film-Makers’ Cooperative: “A “documentary” – one Sunday afternoon in New York – beautiful new generation – dancing in the streets of New York – singing “Hare Hare” – filling the streets and the air with love – in the very beginning of the New Age – Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky (on soundtrack) singing “Hare Hare”. Mekas incorporated this footage into his diary film, Walden, three years later – “Filmed 1964-68. Edited in 1968-69. Since 1950, I have been keeping a film diary. I have been walking around with my Bolex and reacting to the immediate reality: situations, friends, New York, seasons of the year…Walden contains materials from the years 1965-69 strung together in chronological order.

– The Allen Ginsberg Project, http://allenginsberg.org/2011/06/jonas-mekas-hare-krishna-asv-7/#!/archive/document

The End Of An Old Song, Appalachian Mountain Music Documentary by John Cohen, 25min., 1970

“The End of an Old Song” by John Cohen, is a movie about Dillard Chandler an American Appalachian Folk singer and the mountain people in North Carolina. Cohen himself is know for being a founding member of the New Modal Rounders and maker of the documentary “The High Lonesome Sound”.  Cohen’s recordings of Dillard Chandler were released by Folkway records and later reissued by Tompkins Square. –dying for bad music Continue reading The End Of An Old Song, Appalachian Mountain Music Documentary by John Cohen, 25min., 1970

George Landers : The Scotland Man, from The End Of An Old Song, documentary by John Cohen, 1970

Appalachian rural musician George Landers, was featured on musicologist John Cohen’s acclaimed 1965 album High Atmosphere, a compilation of appalachian music from North Carolina and Virginia. In 1970, Cohen followed up with the 27 minute film The End of an Old Song”, filmed in the mountains of North Carolina and revisiting the region where folklorist Cecil Sharp had collected British ballads in the early 1900s and focusing on the ballad singer Dillard Chandler. Within the film, Landers is featured, singing The Scotland Man while playing in his unique two-finger clawhammer banjo style. Continue reading George Landers : The Scotland Man, from The End Of An Old Song, documentary by John Cohen, 1970

Henri Cartier-Bresson: Gestapo Informer Identified, Dessau, Germany, April, 1945

 

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Cartier-Bresson was 36 years old at the time the photo was taken and had been taking photographs since 1931. He had also worked in filmmaking and had assisted the celebrated French director Jean Renoir on two of his films.

At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Cartier-Bresson joined the French Army’s film and photo unit. His work involved filming and photographing artillery fire, road bombardments and troop movements. However, in June 1940, he was taken prisoner by the German army and was held for more than three years, most of which were spent doing hard manual labour.

He tried to escape three times and succeeded at the third attempt, returning to France with forged papers. Before being captured, Cartier-Bresson had buried his beloved Leica in farmland in France. One of the first things he did after escaping was to return to the farm and dig it up. He later photographed the liberation of Paris in the summer of 1944 while working as a war correspondent. Continue reading Henri Cartier-Bresson: Gestapo Informer Identified, Dessau, Germany, April, 1945

Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson & Sunday Morning Coming Down: The Story Behind The Song

 “Actually,” Kristofferson told NPR last year, “it was the song that allowed me to quit working for a living.”

-40 Saddest Country Songs of All Time, Rolling Stone Magazine, Sept. 26, 2014

Kris Kristofferson wrote this song while living in a run-down tenement in Nashville when he was working as a janitor for Columbia Records – a strange occupation considering he had a master’s degree from Oxford University and risen to the rank of captain in the US Army. But Kristofferson wanted to be a songwriter, so he turned down a professor position at the US Military Academy at West Point and swept floors at Columbia waiting for his break.

In the military Kristofferson learned to fly planes and he worked as a commercial helicopter pilot in Nashville, and the story of how he got his demo tape of this song to Cash has become legend: He flew his National Guard helicopter to Cash’s front yard, where he landed and delivered the tape. The story is often skewed to imply that Cash had never met Kristofferson, but they had known each other since 1965. In a 2008 interview with the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Kristofferson explained: “I knew John before then. I’d been his janitor at the recording studio, and I’d pitched him every song I ever wrote, so he knew who I was. But it was still kind of an invasion of privacy that I wouldn’t recommend.

To be honest, I don’t think he was there. He had a whole story about me getting out of the helicopter with a tape in one hand and a beer in the other.

John had a pretty creative memory but I would never have disputed his version of what happened because he was so responsible for any success I had as a songwriter and performer. He put me on the stage the first time I ever was, during a performance at the Newport Folk Festival.”

This song is about a hangover, with Cash singing about “coming down” on a Sunday morning after being “stoned” on Saturday night. Many of Kris Kristofferson’s songs deal with what happens after the fun, and it’s usually not pretty. In this song, our hero puts on his cleanest dirty shirt, drinks a few beers, and heads out to face a lonely day.

This song was #1 on the Country charts for two weeks in September 1970. It was Kristofferson’s first Country #1 as a writer.

In a 2009 Rolling Stone article about Kris Kristofferson that was written by Ethan Hawke, it explains that Kris made Johnny Cash listen to the song before removing the helicopter. After hearing it Cash said he “liked his songs so much that I would take them off and not let anybody else hear them.”

Cash recorded the song live on The Johnny Cash Show, and before the show, ABC censors asked him to change the lyrics, “Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned” to “Wishing, Lord, that I was home.” Cash sang it the way Kristofferson wrote it, and even stressed the word “stoned.”
The original version of this song was recorded by Ray Stevens in 1969. At the 2009 BMI Country Awards, where Kristofferson was honored as an icon, he recalled how Stevens took a chance on his tune, when he was still an unknown songwriter. “Nobody had ever put that much money and effort into recording one of my songs,” Kristofferson said. “I remember the first time I heard it – he’s a wonderful singer – I had to leave the publishing house and I just sat on the steps and wept because it was such a beautiful thing.”

Stevens added that he was drawn to the song because he felt Kristofferson had a “spark.”
“He was very talented, very smart and right on time with his style,” Stevens recalled. “A lot of people since then have copied those songs that he put out so at this point in time it doesn’t seem all that different. It still is of course. There are very few writers who get that spark at the right time.”
-from songfacts.com   http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=3904

Bob Dylan: San Francisco Press Conference, 1965, video, 51 min

Bob Dylan’s 1965 San Francisco televised press conference in full. Recorded on 3 December 1965.

This is the only full length press conference by Dylan ever televised in its entirety. The transcript was made from an audio tape of the conference, and the only editing has been to take out statements concerning ticket availability and times of the local concerts – Ralph J. Gleason, Rolling Stone Magazine, December 14, 1967.

When Bob Dylan‘s five concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area were scheduled in December 1965, the idea was proposed that he hold a press conference in the studios of KQED, the educational television station.

Dylan accepted and flew out a day early to make it.

Continue reading Bob Dylan: San Francisco Press Conference, 1965, video, 51 min

Jonathan Franzen Interview: Books Made Me Survive, Louisiana Channel, 2016, video, 33:24

Notes from The Louisiana Channel:

We visited Jonathan Franzen at his California home, where he shared his approach to writing character-driven novels and his thoughts on being a writer in America: “I play for ‘Team Literature’ and so I’m on the lookout for things that threaten the team.”

Franzen had a miserable time at junior high school and felt a need to dissociate, which reading books for hours on end made possible: “… that was how I survived.” Reading gave him a sense of a social life, which he didn’t have much of back then: “You have a community of real people and then you have a community that you form as a reader…”

“Pages are more interesting if you’re blowing something open.” Franzen considers himself to be a character-driven author, and compares creating fictional persons whom the reader will experience as real persons to a sort of drug: “There’s something deeply wonderful about setting out to create a character from scratch.” Moreover, he has come to realise that a writer’s abilities are “not a whole lot bigger than the sum of what you’ve lived, or what you’ve encountered, the people you’ve encountered, the situations you’ve been in, the emotions you’ve experienced.”

Technologically mediated relations are becoming a growing part of our lives, which essentially means that we have “increasing interactions with robots,” which Franzen finds problematic for literature: “I do worry that the power of technology is so strong that we will see fewer people able to find the private space in which to develop a relationship with books.”

Jonathan Franzen (b. 1959) is an American novelist and essayist. His novel ‘The Corrections’ (2001) received widespread critical acclaim and earned him a National Book Award, a James Tait Black Memorial Prize and placed in in the final for a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Franzen is also the author of the novels ‘The Twenty-Seventh City’ (1988), ‘Strong Motion’ (1992), ‘Freedom’ (2010) and Purity (2015).

Jonathan Franzen was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at his home in Santa Cruz, California in January 2016.

Camera: Jakob Solbakken Edited by: Klaus Elmer Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016