August 13th, 2014

The first time I held a human brain in Anatomy Lab I was completely speechless. I looked at my classmates expecting a similar reaction and they looked back at me confused like…”dude let’s start identifying the structures.” I had to take a step back and let it process…in my hands was someone’s entire life. From start to finish, every memory, every emotion, every bodily control…was right there in my hands. 

A humbling experience, for sure.

Reblogged from not shaking the grass
August 12th, 2014
Well, maybe not ALWAYS…

Well, maybe not ALWAYS…

(Source: kurwa-pomocy)

August 11th, 2014


Written and directed by Claudio Masenza, who had previously documented the lives of Marlon Brando and James Dean, and featuring an impressive interview cast, this was an incredible find. As Masenza retraces Montgomery Clift’s life, from his toddler years, through to his Hollywood years beginning with The Search  (1947) and ending with The Defector  (1966), we get some very rare insights into the life of this enigmatic actor with previously unseen home footage shot by family, friends and Clift himself. What we also learn about him is that he was something of a daredevil, a kind soul and a sensitive man, one who couldn’t bear the thought of others suffering. We also hear from his friends how his personality would change at the blink of an eye, either when he drank or when the mood would hit him. Hollywood Rebels: Montgomery Clift  (1983) dwells heavily on this side of him, as most biographies on Clift do. It’s a great documentary for anyone who is a fan of this remarkable and talented actor. The films of Montgomery Clift

At his best, Montgomery Clift was a better actor than Marlon Brando. For such a small, slightly-built man Clift had an intensity and depth to his performance that could eclipse Brando—even with all that actor’s realistic improvisations, impressive physicality and “naturalistic body language.” Clift and Brando, along with James Dean, were the three “Method” actors who revolutionized an actor’s approach to performance. Their technique was about motivation and internal workings, which they used to make acting seem “real.” Clift was the first to bring this style of naturalism to the screen, appearing opposite John Wayne in Red River in 1946. His approach to acting irritated “The Duke,” who was of the “get up say your lines” school of performance, but the acrimony between the two added to the film. But it was his next film, The Search (1947), which alerted Hollywood to a new style of acting, leading one critic to ask the film’s director, Fred Zinnemann “Where did you find a soldier who can act so well?” While Clift brought a subtly and depth to his work, it was Brando, with his over-wrought performance in Streetcar Named Desire (1951) that won all the attention. The problem for Clift was that he despised Hollywood, and the kind of stupidity the film industry perpetuated. It led to him making several bad choices in movies (rejecting On the Waterfront and East of Eden, pulling out of Sunset Boulevard) that later caused him to be labeled “difficult” and “unreliable.” He was also gay and refused to have his private life manipulated for the benefit of Hollywood publicists, in the way Rock Hudson would acquiesce.

I worked on this documentary about Clift some twenty years ago, it was part of a series called Post Mortem made for Channel 4 television in the UK. The idea of the series was to look at an individual’s life through their medical history and how illness, disease and addiction affected or influenced their work. The others included in the series were Virginia Woolf (bipolar), Nijinsky (schizophrenia), Francis Bacon (asthma), Beethoven (deafness). With Clift, we examined his life through his various ailments, including childhood amoebic dysentery, chronic colitis, hypothyroidism (which caused him to age prematurely), alcoholism, drug addiction, and the tragic effects relating to his car crash. The documentary includes rarely seen home movie footage of Clift taken by his actor friend Kevin McCarthy and interviews with McCarthy, Kenneth Anger, and Clift biographers Patricia Bosworth and Barney Hoskyns. —Montgomery Clift: Better than Brando, more tragic than James Dean by Paul Gallagher

Below: John Huston directs Montgomery Clift on The Misfits  (1961), which was both Marilyn Monroe’s and Clark Gable’s last film. Monroe, who was also having emotional and substance abuse problems at the time, famously described Clift in a 1961 interview as “the only person I know who is in even worse shape than I am.” Photo courtesy of Taschen’s Los Angeles, Portrait of a City.

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A highly underrated actor

Reblogged from Cinephilia and Beyond
August 11th, 2014

Detail of Rochefort’s Escape, by Édouard Manet.

(Source: marieantoinete)

Reblogged from salutations
July 29th, 2014


Henryk Berlewi - Mechano-Faktura (ca. 1924)


Reblogged from not shaking the grass
July 29th, 2014


The “Bomb Ponds” of the Vietnam War

Between 1964 and 1975, 2,756,941 tons of explosives were dropped by the U.S. military across Cambodia. As historian Thomas J. Campanella notes in Design Observer, “in Quang Binh and Vinh Linh provinces (just north and south of the former demilitarized zone) the landscape resembles the face of the moon, with craters 30 to 50 feet in diameter and several yards deep.” The massive pock marks, today called “bomb ponds” in Cambodian, testify to the ambiguous heritage of these war scars. On the one hand, they have become a naturalized part of the landscape: villagers have transformed the bomb craters into ponds for growing fish, a staple of the Vietnamese diet, and in the south, bomb craters are favored sites for houses with a replenishable source of protein at the doorstep. Yet the water in these “ponds” are often still toxic, a reminder of their violent origins. In fact, a culture of silence has left this history largely unspoken. In America, there is little recognition of the bombing and in Cambodia, a reluctance to educate its youth about the history surrounding the Khmer Rouge regime. In order to bring attention back to this era and its looming effects, self-taught photographer Vandy Rattana documented these sites in 2009 as physical evidence of a history kept silent. The resulting series, “Bomb Ponds,” was exhibited at Documenta13.

We did bad things in Cambodia. Probably should not forget about that.

Reblogged from Experiments in Motion
July 12th, 2014


Mark Rothko - Red and Black (1968)

Quite hypnotic.

Reblogged from not shaking the grass
July 12th, 2014


Wassily Kandinsky - Black Circle (1924)

Very circular.

Reblogged from not shaking the grass
July 8th, 2014

"Proofs" for Runaway Empire

Over the last several months, Kevin Michael and I have been working diligently on fulfilling one of our Kickstarter promises, to make my latest novella Runaway Empire the first of my works to be available in print. Like so many things we’ve tackled over the last few years, it’s been a challenge to get exactly what we want.

After looking on several options (including Createspace and Lulu), we decided on Ingram Spark. They claimed to retain quality while also not allowing it to take every penny from our wallets. As with so many things in self-publishing, it’s a risk. But from what they pitched, this was a risk worth taking.

We ordered two proofs before allowing the book to be publicly available. Always check over your work. ALWAYS. You will always find a mistake. I can’t tell you the number of times I have had four or five people carefully look over work, only to look at the “final” copy and spot an error. Either way, the proofs arrived today.


I will admit, it was exhilarating to see something in print. I have enjoyed the luxuries and privileges of e-book publishing, but there is still a certain legitimacy in seeing words on paper. It’s probably the freshest book I’ve ever touched.

However, there are problems. The book cover is crooked, and they had a bit of an issue printing various shades of grey.

So we contacted Ingram Sparks with a revised design, and we will request that they are a bit more careful with the next round of books. Getting one book in a hundred that has a crooked book cover is expected and excusable. Getting one out of two? Come on, they can do better than that.

But overall, they did an excellent job. These are small problems. To anyone interested in self-publishing, I suggest you give them a look.

I can’t help but feel excited about the idea of getting this book out to people. I hope it succeeds, so that we can send more money to Sandy Hook Promise. It’s been one of the primary goals for this book from the outset. With a little more work and fortune, we should be in business.

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Self-diagnosed Tumblr addict.