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WORRYING BEAUTY…


ok, kids — for some reason the picture will not post on my blog, but just click on that little box/question mark above and it will take you to the picture. …blog-challenged.

The above photo was taken by one of my favorite photographers, Mitch Epstein. I’ve noticed that it is getting a great deal of attention these last several months with the release of his most recent volume of work. This new volume focuses on some of his work from the 1970’s thru the mid-80’s. I’ve always loved this picture. Obviously, it is loaded with metaphor, symbology and a rather distrurbing statement regarding the American values of the 1970’s. The sexual revolution boomed and the ideologies of Flower Power were forever tainted by the Manson Family. But, in the end, as far as I’ve ever known — Epstein came across these women at a commune. They were studying a large snake and he snapped the picture. The mother of the baby is one of the women holding the snake and she had set the baby away from “harm’s way” — but am not sure that the “facts” of the photo can take away from what Epstein managed to capture with a simple click. Oddly, I always found this picture rather beautiful and sexy. I think I first saw it when I was around 10 or so — it was still the 70’s. …unless I’ve managed to confuse my timing which is quite possible. However, I remember relating to that little baby who had been sat in the background as the women fondled the snake.

Sad and more than a bit worrying. This image forever stuck in my head. I had not thought of it in quite a while until I saw it reprinted in one of those glossy/over-priced art rags several months back. Then I saw it resurface in the pages of INDEX Magazine. If you find this photograph interesting and are not familiar with Mitch Epstein — check out his

  • website. I believe he keeps a journal — and his new book, RECREATION, is out now. If I were employed and had the money — I would already have it! Soon, maybe!!! I’ve never really explored his site or his writing — need to do so. I also believe he has done some film work as well. Would love to see what he has done! If my brother is reading this — he might have some insight — tho, I tend to think of Epstein as a west coast artist and I think Roy is more familiar with the east coast folks. ???? Roy, are ya out there?

    Speaking of art — If any of you have read more than 5 entries of my blog you’re bound to have discoverd that I am a total Barbra Streisand Junkie. Yes, I hit that stereotype right on the nose, so to speak. Anyway, there are a number of other musical artists and types of music I LOVE. Am not really a “Show Tune Queen”

    I do tend to enjoy female artists more than male. Always have. There are exceptions — I love Kenny Rogers (shut up!), Barry Manilow (yes, I can feel your laughter/disdain), Leonard Cohen and Bright Eyes — but by and by I prefer female voices. As an example, I much prefer Melissa Manchester covering Stevie Wonder’s “Bad Weather” than Stevie himself. And, Jennifer Warnes easily tops Lenny Cohen when she covers “Famous Blue Raincoat”

    Of course, like everyone else I love Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Ella. Oh, and where would I be without the original High Priestess of rock-n-roll, Rock’s Sister of the Moon and the Wild-Hearted-Cliff-Dweller, Stevie Nicks.

    Anyway, I digress — I adore Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Tori Amos and Bjork. As performers, singers, composers, poets and producers they seem to stand alone as unique and visionary — never bending with what is “in style” or what “the mainstream” is looking for. They go their own way. Now, their work is experimental and sometimes fairly “out there” but they have managed to retain record contracts — even, Ms. Mitchell retains one — tho, she no longer opts to participate in the recording industry. And, of course, I do suspect that Bjork might be insane — but still — what an artiste!

    There are two female singer/songwriters I LOVE who I’ve always thought of as “The Poor Man’s Joni Mitchells” — Rickie Lee Jones and Carly Simon. Now, I do not mean to upset anyone with that comment. I LOVE both — but both of these talents seem to be largely hit/miss and I can’t help but suspect that Mitchell inspired both. Just as I think Kate Bush served as inspiration for Tori Amos. …Let’s not contemplate who might have inspired Bjork. We probably want not to go there. My sweeping generalization is kind of funny when you think about the fact that Rickie Lee Jones was getting her groove on with the likes of Tom Waits and too much booze for years and just associating the word “poor” with Carly Simon is ironic as she comes form one of the wealthiest of American families. However, neither seems to have ever been able to quite reach the artistic depth of Ms. Mitchell. …few do. Just ask her. LOL!

    Anyway, a friend whom I’ve never met sent me the new Carly Simon CD (Chazz — thank you!!!!) and it is quite good. Am loving it. However, I would have rather seen her create her own music vs. covering old standards. While not at all bad — Carly does not possess the vocal power that one normally associates with these songs and her phrasing is so modern — and, why, when she is such an accomplished songwriter does she opt to record the works of others? I admit that I do LOVE her 1981 album of covers, TORCH — but I think that this collection of songs and her performances are particularly filled with power because I believe many of those songs touched on her personal feelings about the failure/break up of her marriage to James Taylor — so she took these old standards and made them her own. That passion is not here on the new collection — nor on her other two standards collections. Still, it is always cool to hear her sing. Does anyone other than me remember all those years of songs written/recorded back and fourth between Carly and James T? Always thought that was both interesting and somehow painful to see two married artists venting about each other publically. Mr. T must have been a bit upset when Carly wrote, recorded and released “We’re So Close” —- OUCH!

    Well, pretty songs, big snakes, side-lined babies and cloying musical generalizations aside — my weekend got off to a great start. Spent some more time with “A” which I enjoyed. However, I greeted Sunday feeling a bit “odd” but ignored it and pressed on. “A” and I headed to the Castro to meet up with Milford to spend the day at the infamous Dore Alley (UP YOUR ALLEY) Fair — but I got sooooooooooo sick as soon as I ate brunch at the Cove. It was so embarassing and frustrating — but I felt like shit. So, Milford, ever understanding, gave me a hug and headed on to meet his friends where he had a great time! Check it out — and the kilt he purchased!!!

  • Milford!!!

    “A” and I headed back to my room — but I had to send him home because I am no so good with others when I feel bad. Yesterday was spent gettting sick and I think I feel asleep around 6pm and didn’t really wake up till about 10:30am this morning. Tho, I remember hearing Alan’s car pull in — must have been about 11pm. — so, I guess he had a great time at the fair as well! Won’t know till he gets home this evening. “A” also stopped by and checked out the festivities, but he found it too croweded/hot. …”hot” meaning temp wise, tho from what I can see on Milford’s blog — there were some hot sites to see on display!!!

    Oh well, maybe next year. Am feeling “better” today, but still not quite very good. LOL! Must have been (be) a stomache bug of some sort. Do stomache bugs exist or is that just a lame saying?

    No word yet from either job prospect — however, I am not really expecting to hear until Wednesday/Thursday. As always, my fingers are crossed and my St. Anthony medal is in my pocket!!!

    “a dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream we dream together is reality”
    — Yoko Ono (a poem in motion, if you ask me)

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    August 1, 2005. Uncategorized.

  • 5 Comments

    1. Anonymous replied:

      that photo of you is hot. i want to make out with you.

    2. g8s replied:

      Agh, the suspense on your blog is killing me! The job prospects — have they called yet? Which job will he take? A mysterious illness fells our hero, but only momentarily, as he arises to face a new week, with new challenges, and an anonymous commenter who wishes to pin him down and…

      Produced by, written by, and starring Matt.

      Soundtrack by Joni & Bjork.

      Shot on location somewhere near Polk Street, but of this we remain unsure…

      Seriously, though, I’m sorry to hear about your illness; hope you’re feeling better. I do always look forward to reading your blog.

    3. snarl71 replied:

      Ah, the Dore Alley Fair. Remember when we went to that back in the 1990’s? Wow – I’d never have thought you’d even consider going to that again.

    4. Karyn replied:

      Stomach bugs definitely exist! There are viruses and bacteria etc. which really do target the G.I. tract, and wreak havoc in there. An unpleasant reality, I’m afraid (made worse when the more trusting and, dare i say it, gastronomically adventurous?,among us eat things like daisies and purple salads). *ducking*

      The job thing is driving me nuts, I cannot imagine how you feel! Here’s hoping.

      However Carly may have let you down recently, she was busy round these here parts raising upwards of $70k for charity so she stays ok in my book. Also she sings the soundtrack to a couple of the children’s favorite Pooh movies, so I am wildly grateful for children’s music I can sing along to and listen to without wanting to rip the ears from my head.

      Feel better!!!

      xoxo

    5. matt replied:

      Anonymous — I am blushing, but know not who you are…

      g8s – The suspense is killing me, too! Feeling better! I fear I am not the producer or writer of this project. I actually feel a bit like a puppet hanging by threads — however, I shall soon cut those threads and run loose! LOL!

      Karl – Yeah, I was looking forward to it. It has changed a bit since we were here — more music intensive and bigger.

      Karyn – Thank you! And, please don’t misunderstand — I love Carly! And I like the new CD, but I would rather her write her own stuff as she did a few years back with The Bedroom Tapes. But, yeah, she is a cool lady! I met her! Seemed very “normal” and nice, but she really needs to get the hell out of the sun! LOL!–>

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