WHEN CAMERAS GO CRAZY

When Cameras Go Crazy: Culture ClubWhen Cameras Go Crazy: Culture Club by Kasper De Graaf
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WHEN CAMERAS GO CRAZY CULTURE CLUB – When Cameras Go Crazy by Kasper De Graaf chronicles the meteoric rise of Boy George, up to 1983. Who could’ve imagined it? That a gender-bending, Grammy-winning band would catapult to pop superstardom, in the conservative climate of the Regan era? The book is chock full of George’s iconic and enduring contemporaries in 1980’s London: Steve Strange (Blitz), Malcolm McClaren (Sex Pistols, Bow Wow Wow), Sue Clowes (The Foundry), Leigh Bowery (performance artist) and Vivienne Westwood (fashion designer). The book captures the group’s early naïve charm and couldn’t have predicted their decline; in the midst of scandals and pitfalls of fame. Much later, the group was featured in a sad reunion tour and VH1 documentary: depicting them as bitter, portly, hardened, middle aged men; vying to rekindle the brilliance of their youth. George in particular has been vilified in the press for drug addiction and court involvement. Last year’s television movie (Worried About the Boy, 2010) by the BBC – was able to recreate some early magic moments. The lead actor is destined for more work, he was great. The same hand is apparent in all of the BBC’s productions: constrained budgets, imperfect production and at times it has a “homemade” feel. If you’re interested in things post punk/ new romantic – check out the early music, book and video clips.

http://bit.ly/ZeHKXk

http://on.vh1.com/ZGMbLj

http://youtu.be/zkYrMRWcj8Q

http://www.amazon.com/Colour-Numbers-…

http://www.amazon.com/Kissing-Be-Clev…

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CHABOT SPACE & SCIENCE CTR

CHABOT SPACE & SCIENCE CTR. – The Chabot Space and Science Center is located in Oakland CA. Three large telescopes (Rachel, Alvin, Leah) are located within observatories on the upper deck. Public viewings takes place on Friday and Saturday, but watch the weather closely. The Pacific’s marine layer often pushes through the Golden Gate in the summer months, up the Oakland Hills. The planetarium show is inferior in quality, compared to its neighbor across the bay, at the CA Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park. Its exhibits are mostly geared towards children, but the telescopes should not to be missed! Chabot is the largest public facility of its kind in the USA. The telescope observatories offer the public’s best view from earth, onto the vast distances of the Milky Way.

http://www.chabotspace.org/weather-station.htm


ART OF THE AMERICAS

ART OF THE AMERICAS – The artifacts depicted in this blog post come from an exhibit titled Art of the Americas; at a fine art museum in San Francisco, the de Young. As I understand it, all these pieces pre-date the brutal invasions by Spanish conquistadores. The exhibit has a focus on religious and funerary aspects. The Maize God is one of my favorites, at the top of the row of images. Since it’s under glass at the museum, that pic is the hardest one to make out, on the blog page. Composed of limestone and pigment, dated to approximately AD 800. The deity is associated with creation myths, fertility, birth and abundance. The other pieces are figurines, pottery and obsidian ceremonial knives.


THE PORTRAIT OF MR WH

The Portrait of Mr. W.H. by Oscar Wilde is a great compact little book. It’s not really a book, but more like a novelette. Longer than a short story, shorter than a novella. There are two pieces contained within. FIRST – The Portrait of Mr. WH. It advances the idea that Shakespeare’s Sonnets are dedicated to Willie Hughes (Mr. WH). The intrigue centers on a purported portrait of an effeminate male actor depicted in female roles. Not unusual in Shakespeare’s days, since only males were allowed to perform on stage of the Globe Theatre in Elizabethan England. SECOND – The Ballad of Reading Gaol. It’s very dark, apparently the last work completed prior to his death. The poem is organized in six sections with images of trials, prisons, wardens, guards and the hangman’s gallows. There is conflicting information as to whether the poem’s genesis was his imprisonment for A. moral reasons or B. loss of a libel case. Nonetheless, the mood is severe, reinforced by the poem’s melodic structure. Wilde’s quotations are brilliant short witticisms, his plays are societal intrigues constructed of effervescent dialogue and his involvement in the aesthetic movement promoted gilding the lily, in other words, art for art’s sake.

STEINBECK CENTER

The Steinbeck Center is located in Salinas, CA. The exhibits are thematic, arranged about his major works. For example: The Grapes of Wrath, The Red Pony, Cannery Row and East of Eden. What did I like? I really enjoyed some of the objects like notebook pages (in his tiny cramped handwriting) as well as Pulitzer/ Nobel awards. Also, the exhibit reinforced the ways that Steinbeck adhered to the adage ‘write what you know’. Salinas and Monterrey are the foundations for his greatest works. What didn’t I like? The exhibit designer had good intentions. But, the visuals are all over the place, sort of like attention deficit disorder. Each sentence or fragment goes along with an artifact, icon or picture. Instead of covering a work at a level of complexity, the choppy execution doesn’t allow the eye to focus on any area in particular. It would have been good to see more depth and less breadth across the space that’s available to the center.



My rating: 5 of 5 stars

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is one of my favorite books. It’s a work of true genius, about a sadistic murderer who is self-obsessed. The thing that’s great about this author is his strong voice – several of his other novels convey similar themes. The reader is transported into the protagonist’s shallow, depraved and violent thoughts and actions.

CIVIC CENTER

CIVIC CENTER – The buildings at the San Francisco Civic Center are pictured in this blog post. This includes SF City Hall, Asian Art Museum, SF Public Library, Supreme Court of CA and Bill Graham Auditorium. Additionally, there is an image taken from a post card of City Hall; prior to 1906. This plot of land was originally part of the Yerba Buena Cemetery. Eventually all of the SF cemeteries (except Mission Dolores and Presidio) were exhumed and most of them were moved to Colma. The original City Hall was destroyed by the famous 1906 earthquake. The building was again compromised in the 1989 earthquake. SF City Hall was renovated again and reopened in 1999.