Amoeblog

Blow some my way -- Exploring Chesterfield Square

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 14, 2013 12:12pm | Post a Comment
Chesterfield Square signs
Chesterfield Square signs

INTRODUCTION
 TO CHESTERFIELD SQUARE

Chesterfield Square is without a doubt, one of Los Angeles’s most obscure neighborhoods. The obscurity is somewhat surprising given the neighborhood’s longstanding and dubious distinction of having the city’s and county’s highest violent crime rate. As a matter of fact, most of the Los Angeles’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods are rather obscure – communities like Compton, South Central, and Watts aren’t even in the top ten.

Divine protection
Divine protection

Although I don’t in any way wish to minimize the seriousness of crime, both visitors and residents of the neighborhood are more likely to be felled by heart disease, cancer, an accident or suicide than by violent criminals -- especially those who are not or don't appear to be affiliated with a gang. Furthermore, citywide violent crime rates for Los Angeles are the lowest they’ve been since 1966. It may be rough by Los Angeles standards but it's hardly San Pedro Sula. In other words, nothing bad is going to happen to you.

Continue reading...

In praise of the papoose - Happy Native American Heritage Month!

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 6, 2013 11:58pm | Post a Comment
The term "papoose" in English refers to both young Native American children and their cradle board carriers. The word come to English from the Narragansett term papoòs. As evinced by the following historical photographs, cradle board carriers were once popular not just within the Alqonquin nation but throughout much of indigenous North America and maybe beyond. I don't recall ever seeing one in use in modern times except for in instances where Native Women wear traditional clothing such as special observances, historical reenactments (e.g. documentaries), and in Westerns. I think that they're cute.

Native American woman and child Native American woman and child Native American woman and child Native American woman and child
Native American woman and child Native American woman and child Native American woman and child
Native American child Native American woman and child Native American woman and child
Native American woman and child Native American woman and child Native American child
 Native American woman and child Native American lamb and child
Native American child Native American children Native American woman and child
Native American woman and child Native American woman and child Native American woman and child

Continue reading...

A look at French writer and thinker Paul Valery on the anniversary of his birth

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 30, 2013 02:04pm | Post a Comment
Paul Valery

Paul Valéry
was an essayist, intellectual, journalist, philosopher, Symbolist poet, fiction writer and polymath who was born 142 years ago today.

Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry was born 30 October, 1871 to a Corsican father and Genoese-Istrian mother in Sète (or Cette) -- a small town in Occitania. There he attended school at Collège de Sète before the family moved to nearby Montpellier, where in 1889 he began studying law. At the same time he began writing Symbolist poetry, some of which was published in La Revue maritime de Marseille. Symbolism was in many ways a response to Realism -- particularly inspired by the writings of Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire. It particularly flourished in Belgium, France, and Russia.

In 1890, after completing his law studies, Valéry met Belgium-born poet Pierre Louÿs. Louÿs introduced him to the writer André Gide, who in turn introduced him to France’s preeminent Symbolist poet – Stéphane Mallarmé, whose “L'Après-midi d'un faune” inspired Claude Debussy’s wonderful symphonic poem of the same name (composed in 1894).

Continue reading...

Visiting LACMA's Bing Theater for a Tuesday Matinee

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 23, 2013 05:17pm | Post a Comment
A recent viewing of The Shining reminded me of just what a good idea it is for people who work at home (and perhaps have a bit of a tough time pulling themselves away from work) to forgo all work for occasional play. I also regularly suffer from a sort of paralysis that occurs when I try to figure out which of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of daily cultural events and then stay home. A good place for cineastes to check out is Film Radar, a website which lists most of the special film events taking place around town. After checking the site and seeing the names Samuel Fuller and Douglas Sirk, I decided before paralysis could take hold to take the Metro to LACMA’s Bing Theater (incidentally one of the few local movie theaters that doesn’t go for the pretentious, supposedly (because it’s nearly ubiquitous) “chiefly British” spelling of “theatre”) to see Shockproof (1949).


Shockproof Halfsheet


I’ve been to the Bing Theater a few times before. On the most memorable occasion I saw Mother (마더, 2009) there, a film directed by masterful genre-blender Bong Joon-ho (who, it also transpired, was sitting next to me. On the other side, by the way, was Charles Reece). That film screened back when the Bing Theater still had regular weekend screenings of films by the likes of Andrei Tarkovsky, Hong Sang-soo, and William Wellman. Sadly, the current CEO and director of the museum decided to pull the plug on the screenings -- faced as he was with declining attendance and the inability to find sufficient funding to continue what his predecessors had successfully done for more than four decades. (Here’s a thought: concession stands provide 85% of the profits for most successful cinemas and it’s frankly perverse watching a movie without popcorn or Jujyfruits).

Continue reading...

Show-Me Hollywood -- Missourians in Hollywood on Missouri Day

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 16, 2013 12:00pm | Post a Comment
Happy Missouri Day! I was not born in Missouri but I count myself fortunate to have grown up there, moving to the Show-Me State from Kentucky when I was four and staying until I was sixteen. Of course, I ended up moving west (St. Louis is the Gateway to the West after all) to the great state of California, following in the footsteps of many before me. For this blog entry, I'd like to honor Missouri natives who worked in Hollywood film.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of Missouri
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's Map of Missouri

Also, there's some sporting event involving a cricket-derivative going on right now between Los Angeles and St. Louis -- arguably the greatest cities in their respective states (well, arguable in St. Louis's case). So forgo your animal-style friesCool Ranch tacosFrench Dipskogi tacos, and Mission burritos for one day and prepare a feast of BBQCherry Mashesgooey butter cakeOzark PuddingSt. Louis-style pizzaSt. Paul sandwiches, and toasted ravioli as we honor the Missouri-Hollywood connection.

BACK  <<  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  >>  NEXT