Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Sunday musings: cities, exhibitions, playlists ...

Reading the Sunday papers it looks like Brazil and South America generally is this year's hot destination. Not only the World Cup coming up but the next Olympics in 2016 in Rio ... soon those magical names like Leblon, Bahia, Belem, Recife, Salvador, will be as common to us as Rio, Ipanema, Sao Paulo and the others .... 

 
South America fascinated me as a schoolboy as I liked geography - 
I have a vivid memory of being in class and fascinated by those cities like Valparaiso and Montevideo, and countries like Uruguay where Punta Del Este is a hot destination now, then there is Lima with its catherdrals and colonial history. Valparaiso (below) looks marvellously colourful with those new apartment blocks in every shade, while the old colonial buildings of Salvador, above, look stunning too.  I think I will have to sit back and re-run Belmondo running around Brazil in THAT MAN FROM RIO (1964) or 1959's BLACK ORPHEUS with a caipirinha or three ... if I can't get to Brazil right now, as our rains and floods continue, I can at least get a bottle of cachaca and some limes and sugar ...
Meanwhile, back in cold, wet London at least some interesting exhibitions are opening:
I have had this French poster since 1974
The new David Hockney exhibition: HOCKNEY' PRINTMAKER at the Dulwich Gallery is attracting rave notices, covering as it does the artist's remarkable printmaking career. ~The cheeky chappy from Bradford who lit up the Sixties is now a grumpy old man, quite deaf and still smoking at 76 - as per report below, and that recent interview with him back in LA. (Hockney label). Covered in this latest exhibition of 150 works are his prints from those early Cavafy drawings, Picasso etchings, that Seventies Paris period (with that favourite of mine "Two Vases in the Lourve" above), and portraits of his friends like Celia Birtwell, posed in a vintage blouse. Examples of Hockney's more recent print experiments, with photocopiers and inkjet printers, also feature. One to see then. At the Dulwich Gallery until May.
Hockney, Printmaker features over 150 works, from etchings executed at the Royal College of Art in the 1960s, to experiments with printed computer drawings some fifty years later, via portraits, pools, poetry, Xeroxes and investigations into multi-point perspective. Written by Richard Lloyd, head of prints at Christies, with contributions from Hockney's friends and associates, it explores the many achievements of Britain's greatest living practitioner of the graphic arts. - See more at: http://www.accdistribution.com/uk/store/pv/9781857598933/hockney/richard-lloyd#sthash.bvwhG4R2.dpuf
Hockney, Printmaker features over 150 works, from etchings executed at the Royal College of Art in the 1960s, to experiments with printed computer drawings some fifty years later, via portraits, pools, poetry, Xeroxes and investigations into multi-point perspective. Written by Richard Lloyd, head of prints at Christies, with contributions from Hockney's friends and associates, it explores the many achievements of Britain's greatest living practitioner of the graphic arts. - See more at: http://www.accdistribution.com/uk/store/pv/9781857598933/hockney/richard-lloyd#sthash.bvwhG4R2.dpuf
Hockney, Printmaker features over 150 works, from etchings executed at the Royal College of Art in the 1960s, to experiments with printed computer drawings some fifty years later, via portraits, pools, poetry, Xeroxes and investigations into multi-point perspective. Written by Richard Lloyd, head of prints at Christies, with contributions from Hockney's friends and associates, it explores the many achievements of Britain's greatest living practitioner of the graphic arts. - See more at: http://www.accdistribution.com/uk/store/pv/9781857598933/hockney/richard-lloyd#sthash.bvwhG4R2.dpuf

Another Sixties Enfant Terrible is also being honoured at the National Portrait Gallery: David Bailey and the STARDUST exhibition of his photos. I remember Bailey's 1965 BOX OF PIN-UPS with those loose limited edition prints of his very individual portraits (all that black and white) of the biggest celebrities of the day, including Terence Stamp, The Kray Twins, Mick Jagger in that fur-lined anorak, Michael Caine, Jean Shripton, Julie Christie, Nureyev and all the others ... whatever happened to mine? it would fetch a fortune now.  
Bailey has continued throughout the decades, along with Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy who documented the Swinging Sixties. This new exhibition has some old favourites as well as new surprises as Bailey covers his many trips to remote places, like the Ethiopian famine in 1984, and Aboriginal Australia, as well as more recent forays to Hackney and Harlem shooting in clubs and theatres. At 75 David Bailey is still going strong too. As he says "It takes a lot of looking before you see the extraordindary". BAILEY'S STARDUST is at the National Portrait Gallery to June 1. I shall be going along before too long.

More photos: Photographer Cornel Lucas was a pioneer of film portraiture, shooting both British and American stars. He specialised in carefully composed and lit images, and in 1998 he became the first stills photographer to be awarded a Bafta. Photo Noir: The art Of Cornel Lucas is a new exhibition of his work at the National Theatre Lyttelton exhibition space which runs from 17 February to 29 March.
We have covered Lucas's output here before, see his RIP at label. He died  aged 92 in 2012, his first wife was that glamorous siren Belinda Lee, but they divorced in 1959, two years before she was killed in a car crash, aged 25 ... Like Bob Willoughby and Eve Arnold  and Jack Cardiff he is one of the great photographers - lots on those at labels.

Finally, playlists! It also seems the humble playlist is having a moment. Back in the '80s we made mixtapes on cassettees, for friends or those we fancied. Playlists - liked, shared, and tweeted, have now it seems become a prime promotional tool. It is a great way to discover new music, by checking the playlists of people whose taste you trust. Now of course, there are millions of songs to choose from, as music gets more and more accessible online. 
Back in the CD heyday I liked those BACK TO MINE two-disk compilations where artists like The Pet Shop Boys or Groove Armada isssued their favourite tracks. Where else could you hear Dusty Springfiend next to Etienne Daho or Italian disco ("Passion" by The Flirts). "The Sunday Times" ran a big feature featuring Playlists including by Rod Stewart (his favourite soul tracks - I have them all), and those of various journalists and celebs. 

Here's my today playlist - tomorrow's would be completely different  ...
David Bowie - Win
Massive Attack - Unfinished Sympathy
Marvin Gaye - Distant Lover
Joan Armading - Mameo Beach
Nina Simone - Seeline Woman
Donny Hathaway - A Song For You
Miles Davies - In A Silent Way
Neil Young - Old Man
Joni Mitchell - Car On A Hill
Aretha Franklin - Ain't No Way
A Man Called Adam - Barefoot In The Head
Madonna - Nothing Really Matters
Billie Holiday - Fine and Mellow
Etta James - I'd Rather Go Blind
Billie Ray Martin - Deadline For My Memories
Muddy Waters - Mannish Boy
Howling Wolf - Sitting On Top of the World
Cream - Spoonful
Nile Rogers/Daft Punk - Get Lucky.

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