Friday 30 September 2016

Dead Poets Society #11 Ernest Hemingway: Oklahoma

Ernest Hemingway - Oklahoma

All of the Indians are dead
(A good Indian is a dead Indian)
Or riding in motor cars—
(the oil lands, you know, they're all rich)
Smoke smarts my eyes,
Cottonwood twigs and buffalo dung
Smoke grey in the teepee—
(Or is it myopic trachoma)

The prairies are long,
The moon rises,
Drag at their pickets.
The grass has gone brown in the summer—
(or is the hay crop failing)

Pull an arrow out:
If you break it
The wound closes.
Salt is good too
And wood ashes.
Pounding it throbs in the night—
(or is it the gonorrhea)

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Out and about with Prefab Sprout #16 - Paddy McAloon hits London with Spike Lee...



From Kitchenware/Keith Armstrong's Twitter account.

Intriguing, at least...

Meanwhile, rumours of a re-release of Paddy's I Trawl the Megahertz seem sadly to be fading...

Friday 23 September 2016

Dead Poets Society #10 William Carlos Williams: The Hunter in the Snow

Image result for william carlos williams

William Carlos Williams - The Hunter in the Snow

The over-all picture is winter
icy mountains
in the background the return
from the hunt it is toward evening
from the left
sturdy hunters lead in
their pack the inn-sign
hanging from a
broken hinge is a stag a crucifix
between his antlers the cold
inn yard is
deserted but for a huge bonfire
that flares wind-driven tended by
women who cluster
about it to the right beyond
the hill is a pattern of skaters
Brueghel the painter
concerned with it all has chosen
a winter-struck bush for his
foreground to
complete the picture

Thursday 22 September 2016

Last night's set lists

At The Habit, York: -

Ron Elderly: -
Dead Flowers
Dedicated Follower Of Fashion

Da Elderly: -
You've Got A Friend
There Stands The Glass

The Elderly Brothers: -
No Reply
All My Loving
Things We Said Today
I'll Get You
We Can Work It Out
I Saw Her Standing There

The place was rammed, to use a currently popular phrase, from the start. The university students are back! Regulars and new players were listened to intently, despite all sorts of student reverie going on in the street outside. The Elderlys swapped Phil and Don for John and Paul in a first Beatles-only set, debuting the excellent No Reply.

P.S. there will be no Elderly Brothers set next week as The Toon have a home match.

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Edward Albee RIP

Edward Albee, Trenchant Playwright for a Desperate Era, Dies at 88

Bruce Weber
New York Times
16 September 2016

Edward Albee, widely considered the foremost American playwright of his generation, whose psychologically astute and piercing dramas explored the contentiousness of intimacy, the gap between self-delusion and truth and the roiling desperation beneath the facade of contemporary life, died on Friday at his home in Montauk, N.Y. He was 88.

His personal assistant, Jakob Holder, confirmed the death. Mr. Holder said he had died after a short illness.

Mr. Albee’s career began after the death of Eugene O’Neill and after Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams had produced most of their best-known plays. From them he inherited the torch of American drama, carrying it through the era of Tony Kushner and “Angels in America;” August Wilson and his Pittsburgh cycle; and into the 21st century.

He introduced himself suddenly and with a bang, in 1959, when his first produced play, “The Zoo Story,” opened in Berlin on a double bill with Samuel Beckett’s “Krapp’s Last Tape.” A two-handed one-act that unfolds in real time, “The Zoo Story” zeroed in on the existential terror at the heart of Eisenhower-era complacency, presenting the increasingly menacing intrusion of a probing, querying stranger on a man reading on a Central Park bench.

When the play came to the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village the next year, it helped propel the blossoming theater movement that became known as Off Broadway.

Mr. Albee’s Broadway debut, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” the famously scabrous portrait of a withered marriage, won a Tony Award in 1963 for best play, ran for more than a year and half and enthralled and shocked theatergoers with its depiction of stifling academia and of a couple whose relationship has been corroded by dashed hopes, wounding recriminations and drink.

The 1966 film adaptation, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, turned the play into Mr. Albee’s most famous work; it had, he wrote three decades later, “hung about my neck like a shining medal of some sort — really nice but a trifle onerous.”

But it stands as representative, too, an early example of the heightened naturalism he often ventured into, an expression of the viewpoint that self-interest is a universal, urgent, irresistible and poisonous agent in modern life — “There’s nobody doesn’t want something,” as one of his characters said — that Mr. Albee would illustrate again and again with characteristically pointed eloquence.

A half-century later, Mr. Albee’s audacious drama about a love affair between man and beast, “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?” won another Tony, ran for nearly a year and staved off the critical despair, however briefly, that the commercial theater could no longer support serious drama.

In between, Mr. Albee (his name is pronounced AWL-bee,) turned out a parade of works, 30 or so in all, generally focused on exposing the darkest secrets of relatively well-to-do people, with lacerating portrayals of familial relations, social intercourse and individual soul-searching.

As Ben Brantley of The New York Times once wrote, “Mr. Albee has unsparingly considered subjects outside the average theatergoer’s comfort zone: the capacity for sadism and violence within American society; the fluidness of human identity; the dangerous irrationality of sexual attraction and, always, the irrefutable presence of death.”

His work could be difficult to absorb, not only tough-minded but elliptical or opaque, and his relationships with ticket-buyers, who only intermittently made his plays into hits, and critics, who were disdainful as often as they were laudatory, ran hot and cold.

In 1965, after “Tiny Alice,” his drama about Christian faith, money and the ethics of worship opened on Broadway, causing much consternation and even outrage among critics who had failed to discern meaning in its murky symbols and suggestions of mysticism, Mr. Albee attended anews conference ostensibly to discuss the play but ended up lecturing on the subject of criticism.

“It is not enough for a critic to tell his audience how well a play succeeds in its intention,” he said; “he must also judge that intention by the absolute standards of the theater as an art form.” He added that when critics perform only the first function, they leave the impression that less ambitious plays are better ones because they come closer to achieving their ambitions.

“Well, perhaps they are better plays to their audience,” he said, “but they are not better plays for their audience. And since the critic fashions the audience taste, whether he intends to or not, he succeeds each season in merely lowering it.”

Several of his plays opened abroad before they did in the United States, and his work was often more enthusiastically welcomed in Europe than it was at home; even some of his most critically admired plays never found the wider audiences that only a Broadway imprimatur can attract.

“Maybe I’m a European playwright and I don’t know it,” he said in an interview with The Times in 1991, adding: “Just look at the playwrights who are not performed on Broadway now: Sophocles, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Molière, Ibsen, Chekhov, Pirandello, Beckett, Genet. Not a one of them.”

Never a Critic’s Darling

A clever speaker in interviews with a vivid sense of mischief and the high-minded presumption of an artist, Mr. Albee was wont to confront slights rather than dismiss them, wielding his smooth, sardonic wit as a verbal fly-swatter. “If Attila the Hun were alive today, he’d be a drama critic,” he said in 1988.

Referring to the “hysterical, skirt-hiking appal-dom” of critics after his 1983 play “The Man Who Had Three Arms” opened (and quickly closed) on Broadway, he said: “You’d have thought it was women seeing mice climb up their legs.”

And yet he was among the most honored of American dramatists. Beyond his Tonys — including one for lifetime achievement — he won three Pulitzer Prizes.

His major works included “A Delicate Balance,” a Pulitzer-winning, darkly unsettling comedy about an affluent family whose members reveal their deep unhappiness in shrewd and stinging verbal combat; “All Over” (1971), directed on Broadway by John Gielgud and starring Colleen Dewhurst, about a family (and a mistress) awaiting the deathbed expiration of an unseen, wealthy man; “Seascape” (1975), another Pulitzer winner, a creepily comic, slightly ominous meditation on monogamy, evolution and mortality that develops from an oceanside discussion involving an elderly human couple and a pair of anthropomorphic lizards; and “Three Tall Women,” a strikingly personal work drawn from memories of his adoptive mother, scrutinizing, in its various stages, the life of a dying woman. The play had its 1991 premiere in Vienna but earned Mr. Albee a third Pulitzer after it appeared Off Broadway in 1994.

A subsequent work, “The Play About the Baby,” opened in London in 1998 and in Houston in 2000 before finding its way the next year to Off Broadway in New York. In it Mr. Albee revisited, in a more abstract form of harrowing comedy, notable rudiments of “Virginia Woolf,” namely an older couple initiating a younger couple into the grim realities of later life and a child whose existence becomes a matter of ardent and anguish-inspiring discourse.

“Albee is not a fan of mankind,” the critic John Lahr wrote in The New Yorker in 2012. “The friendships he stages are loose affiliations that serve mostly as a bulwark against meaninglessness.”

‘Plays Are Correctives’

Mr. Albee explained himself as a kind of herald, perhaps a modern Cassandra warning the theatergoer of inevitable personal calamity.

“All of my plays are about people missing the boat, closing down too young, coming to the end of their lives with regret at things not done, as opposed to things done,” he said in the 1991 Times interview. “I find most people spend too much time living as if they’re never going to die.”

He wrote, he said, with a sense of responsibility; “All plays, if they’re any good, are constructed as correctives,” he told The Guardian in 2004. “That’s the job of the writer. Holding that mirror up to people. We’re not merely decorative, pleasant and safe.”

Mr. Albee was born somewhere in Virginia on March 12, 1928. Little is known about his father. His mother’s name was Louise Harvey; she called him Edward. In the 1999 biography, “Edward Albee: A Singular Journey,”the author, Mel Gussow, a former reporter and critic for The Times, cited adoption papers — filed in Washington within days of his birth — that said the father “had deserted and abandoned both the mother and the child and had in no way contributed to the support of the child.”

Sent to an adoption nursery in Manhattan before he was three weeks old, baby Edward was placed with Reed Albee, an heir to the Keith-Albee chain of vaudeville theaters, and his wife, Frances, who lived in Larchmont, N.Y. The couple had no children and formally adopted Edward 10 months later, naming him Edward Franklin Albee III after two of his adoptive father’s ancestors.

Patrician and distant, the Albees were unsuited to dealing with a child of artistic temperament, and in later years Mr. Albee would often recall an un-nourishing childhood in which he felt like an interloper in their home. In a 2011 interview at the Arena Stage in Washington with the director Molly Smith, he said that his mother had thrown out his first play — he described it as “a three-act sex farce” — which he wrote at age 14.

“I think they wanted somebody who would be a corporate thug of some sort, or perhaps a doctor or lawyer or something respectable,” he told the television interviewer Charlie Rose. “They didn’t want a writer on their hands. Good God, no.”

In interviews he said he knew he was gay by the time he was 8, that he began writing poetry at 9, that he had his first homosexual experience at 12 and that he wrote a pair of novels in his teens — “the worst novels that could ever be written by an American teenager.”

His education was a hopscotch tour of the middle Atlantic: He attended Rye Country Day School in Westchester County, N.Y., the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, the Valley Forge Military Academy in Pennsylvania and finally the Choate School (now Choate Rosemary Hall) in Connecticut, from which he graduated.

He attended Trinity College in Hartford but never finished, reportedly because he refused to go to chapel and was expelled. Then, in 1949, he moved to Greenwich Village, where his artistic life began in earnest. His circle, made up of painters, writers and musicians, included the playwright William Inge and the composers David Diamond, Aaron Copland and William Flanagan, who became his lover.

The Off Broadway theater was nascent, and he began attending plays in the Village — “You could go to the theater for a dollar!” he recalled — seeing the works of Beckett, Ionesco, Pirandello and Brecht and supporting himself with menial jobs.

Poetry as a Dead End

His own writing was less than successful — he tried short stories and gave them up — and though he published a handful of poems, he gave that up, too, when he was 26, because, as he put it to Ms. Smith, “I remember thinking, ‘Edward, you’re getting better as a poet, but the problem is you don’t really feel like a poet, do you? You feel like someone who is writing poetry.”

He added: “I knew I was a writer and had failed basically at all other branches of writing, but I was still a writer. So I did the only thing I had not done. I wrote a play. It was called ‘The Zoo Story.’ ”

It was a month before his 30th birthday, Mr. Gussow wrote in his biography, that Mr. Albee sat down at a typewriter borrowed from the Western Union office where he worked as a messenger, and completed “The Zoo Story” in two and a half weeks.

“I’ve been to the zoo,” the character Jerry says, in the opening line, approaching Peter, who is sitting on a bench reading. “I said I’ve been to the zoo. Mister, I’ve been to the zoo!”

Mr. Diamond helped arrange the Berlin production — in German translation (“Die Zoo-Geschichte”) — and it was well-received. But in New York the play was rejected several times before the Actors Studio agreed to stage a single performance; afterward, Norman Mailer, who was in the audience, declared it “the best one-act play I’ve ever seen.”

When “The Zoo Story” opened for a commercial run at the Provincetown Playhouse in January 1960, reviews were mixed. (The Times’s Brooks Atkinson called it “consistently interesting and illuminating — odd and pithy,” though he concluded that “nothing of enduring value is said.”)

Even so, the play made enough of a splash that Mr. Albee became known as an exemplar of a new, convention-defying strain of playwriting. In an article in The Times with the headline “Dramatists Deny Nihilistic Trend,” Mr. Albee espoused the view that would become his credo: that theatergoers should be challenged to confront situations and ideas that lie outside their comfort zones.

“I want the audience to run out of the theater — but to come back and see the play again,” he said.

‘A Sick Play’

His next three plays, also one-acts, were also successes Off Broadway: “The Sandbox” and “The American Dream” were portraits of family dynamics etched in acid, and “The Death of Bessie Smith,” which bordered on uncharacteristic agitprop, was about an incident (later revealed to be untrue) in which the great blues singer of the title, who died after an auto accident, had been turned away from a whites-only hospital.

Then came “Virginia Woolf.” Focusing on George and Martha, an embittered academic couple — he’s a history professor, she’s the college president’s daughter — it presents a boozy late-night encounter between them and two campus newcomers, Nick and Honey, a young biology teacher and his wife, which devolves into a series of horrifying, macabre psychological games, cruel challenges and spilled secrets.

The reactions were virulent and disparate. Some critics were appalled:

“A sick play for sick people,” The Daily Mirror declared.

“Three and a half hours long, four characters wide and a cesspool deep,” said The Daily News.

But others were mesmerized and dazzled. A jury awarded it the Pulitzer Prize, but the Pulitzer advisory board rejected the recommendation, choosing not to give an award for drama that year; the jurors resigned in protest.

In the years since, as the play has grown to become a classic of modern drama and been revived on Broadway three times, most recently in 2012 with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton as George and Martha, it has continued to incite controversy. Some critics and directors interpreted the play as being about four homosexual men, a suggestion that distressed Mr. Albee enough to seek legal remedies to shut down productions of the play with all-male casts.

As for the title, another item of speculation, Mr. Albee explained its origin in an interview in The Paris Review in 1966:

“There was a saloon — it’s changed its name now — on Tenth Street, between Greenwich Avenue and Waverly Place, that was called something at one time, now called something else, and they had a big mirror on the downstairs bar in this saloon where people used to scrawl graffiti. At one point back in about 1953 … 1954, I think it was — long before any of us started doing much of anything — I was in there having a beer one night, and I saw ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ scrawled in soap, I suppose, on this mirror. When I started to write the play it cropped up in my mind again. And of course, who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf means who’s afraid of the big bad wolf, who’s … afraid of living life without false illusions. And it did strike me as being a rather typical university, intellectual joke.”

Mr. Albee’s other plays include adaptations of the Carson McCullers novella “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe”; of “Malcolm,” a novel by James Purdy, and of Vladimir Nabokov’s great novel of sexual obsession, “Lolita.”

He was also involved in one of the great flops in Broadway history, becoming a script doctor for the producer David Merrick’s 1966 staging of the musical adaptation of Truman Capote’s novel “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which starred Mary Tyler Moore and Richard Chamberlain and closed on Broadway before it opened, after its fourth preview.

Mr. Albee was especially productive through the 1960s and early ’70s, when he was working as a team with the producers Richard Barr and Clinton Wilder. But following his early successes, ending with “Seascape” in 1975, he went into a decline, partly owing to struggles with alcohol, and for nearly 20 years he did not write a commercially successful play.

Success Before Sunset

“The Lady from Dubuque” (1980), a drama concerned with the nature of identity and shadowed by the specter of death — it opens with a game of 20 questions, one of whose participants is terminally ill — was savaged by the critics and closed after 12 performances on Broadway. A similar fate befell “The Man Who Had Three Arms” (1983), a bilious discourse on the wages of evanescent celebrity.

Mr. Albee lived for several decades in a TriBeCa loft filled with African sculptures and contemporary paintings by the likes of Vuillard, Milton Avery and Kandinsky. His partner of 35 years, Jonathan Thomas, a sculptor, died in 2005. Mr. Albee leaves no immediate survivors.

It was “Three Tall Women” in the early 1990s that returned Mr. Albee to prominence, and for the next 20 years he continued to be productive, turning out provocative work, including “The Goat” and “The Play About the Baby,” and witnessing (or directing himself) revivals of earlier plays on Broadway and in regional theaters.

He was riding this sunset success — and continuing to write — when he spoke to Ms. Smith in front of an audience at the Arena Stage in Washington, which was then presenting a festival of his work that included readings and performances of more than 20 plays. He recalled the feeling he had at the very beginning of his career, after he had finished writing “The Zoo Story.”

“For the first time in my life when I wrote that play, I realized I had written something that wasn’t bad,” he said. “‘You know, Edward, this is pretty good. This is talented. Maybe you’re a playwright.’ So I thought, ‘Let’s find out what happens.’ ”

Monday 19 September 2016

W. P. Kinsella RIP

Shoeless Joe author W.P. Kinsella has died

John Mackie and Tracy Sherlock
Vancouver Sun
16 September 2016

Writer W.P. Kinsella did things his way. In failing health, he chose to end his life early Friday afternoon.

“W.P. (Bill) Kinsella invoked the assisted dying provisions of Bill C-14, at Hope, B.C., and passed away at 12:05 p.m. … Friday, Sept. 16, 2016,” said a statement from his agent, Carolyn Swayze.

The statement provided no detail of how he died, but a post on his Facebook page said he died “surrounded by loved ones.”

Kinsella suffered a head injury when he was hit by a car in 1997, and didn’t release a new novel until 2011. His biographer Willie Steele said Kinsella had also been diagnosed with diabetes in the 1980s, and his health had deteriorated to the point where he’d spent the past couple of weeks in the Hope hospital.

“The last time I saw him was last May at his 80th birthday,” said Steele.

“He was complaining about feeling fatigued, not feeling right. We stayed in touch … he had been complaining about the diabetes and the blood sugar, everything, and that he was going to have to start dialysis. He was going to have a procedure done related to that, and had some complications.”

Kinsella was 81. He was the author of 27 novels, short story collections and books of poetry, including “Shoeless Joe,” a “magic realist” tale of an Iowa farmer who builds a baseball diamond in his cornfield where disgraced baseball great Shoeless Joe Jackson appears to play.

Released in 1982, it was made into the hit movie “Field of Dreams” in 1989.

William Patrick Kinsella was born in Edmonton on May 25, 1935. He moved to B.C. in 1967, and earned a B.A. from the University of Victoria.

After getting his master’s at the University of Iowa, he returned to Alberta to teach at the University of Calgary from 1978 to 1983. He moved back to B.C. in the mid-80s, living in White Rock, Chilliwack and finally Yale.

He released his first book of short stories, “Dance Me Outside”, in 1977. The stories were set in an Alberta First Nations reserve and narrated by a character named Silas Ermineskin.

The imagination and wit of his stories set in the reserve made them popular, and he won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour in 1987. But there were detractors who chafed at him writing funny stories about reserve life.

His bigger fame came from his books about baseball, which led to him receiving the Jack Graney award in 2011 from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game in Canada.

“He told me in Canada he’ll be known for being a storyteller, in the United States he’ll be known for being a baseball writer,” said Steele, who is an American.

“In Canada, he’ll be known as a humorist, is what it was. His Indian stories, the Silas Ermineskin stories are wildly popular up there, but he’s more known for baseball here.

“The thing I think he’ll be remembered for is it’s just such a relaxed style. You feel as if he’s sitting there telling you the story; I think that’s a really hard thing for a writer to do.”

Shoeless Joe started off as a short story, “Shoeless Joe Comes to Iowa.”

“It was a short story and it was published in an anthology,” Kinsella told Kevin Gillies of The Vancouver Sun in 2014.

“The anthology was reviewed in Publishers Weekly and an editor in Boston saw the review. (He) wrote to me and said if it was a novel he wanted to see it, and if it wasn’t it should be.”

Kinsella had a wry take on fame, and the way novels were turned into films.

“Bill was notorious for saying you make your money off the movie rights,” said Steele. “He was actually happy for awhile if the movie never got made, because every time the rights expire, he had to get another contract for the movie rights.”

Kinsella quit writing for five years after his 1997 accident.

“After the accident he just lost the creative impulse,” said Steele. “The things that were published after the accident were (largely) things that had already been completed.”

The prime example was “Butterfly Winter,” a novel he published in 2011. Kinsella told Tracy Sherlock of the Sun he’d worked on the book for 27 years before it was finally published.

His final work of fiction, “Russian Dolls,” is due to be published next year.

Kinsella was awarded the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia and in 2009 received the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award.

He was married four times. His last wife, Barbara, passed away on Christmas Eve, 2012.

“He emotionally was kind of down after that,” said Steele.

His daughter Erin moved in with Kinsella after his wife’s death to take care of him. He leaves another daughter, Shannon, and stepchildren Scarlet and Aaron Gaffney, and Lyn Calendar.

At his request there will be no memorial service.

Saturday 17 September 2016

Friday 16 September 2016

Dead Poets Society #9 Seamus Heaney: Follower

Image result for seamus heaney

Follower by Seamus Heaney

My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horse strained at his clicking tongue.

An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.

I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.

Thursday 15 September 2016

Last night's set lists

At The Habit, York: -

Da Elderly: -
Out On The Weekend
Heart Of Gold

Ron Elderly: -
You Better Move On
Streets Of London

The Elderly Brothers: -
Bus Stop
It Doesn't Matter Any More
Somebody Help Me
Bye Bye Love

Just when you think that The Habit open mic has nothing new to offer, it throws up an extraordinary night of music. Although never quite full all evening, those who stayed, if only for a while, were entertained with a wonderful range of music and musical styles. We had two acappella tenors, one being the return, after a long absence, of our nonagenarian crooner, who brought the house down with a spirited rendition of Mona Lisa. The young lass with the bluesy voice, also absent for a while, returned to deliver a knockout set - Little Walter's My Babe and Jimmy Hendrix' Red House. A young lad played an excellent set with a delivery like Phil Lynott but somehow more bluesy; if Moby had been around he would surely have sampled his voice. A guy from Leeds sang Beatles songs including a great version of Eleanor Rigby and a picker with an eye-patch surprised us with Randy Newman's God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind). What a show!

The Elderlys debuted two 'new' songs: The Hollies' Bus Stop and Buddy Holly's It Doesn't Matter Any More, and finished off with Bye Bye Love which we haven't played in quite a while.

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Burt Bacharach - Hasbrook Heights

For some reason, my Bacharach song of the moment - and in this case, it has to be Burt on vocals; sorry, Dionne...

Tuesday 13 September 2016

The International Print Biennale 2016

The print that set a Guinness World Record

Tiny Bewick woodcuts and the world's longest print will feature in the region's festival of print

The fourth International Print Biennale will feature the work of artists from across the world and a packed events programme

David Whetstone
The Evening Chronicle
04 September 2016

Every two years the focus for everybody interested in the art of print falls on the North East, home of the International Print Biennale.

It is the only major UK event celebrating contemporary printmaking and this year more than 130,000 visitors are expected to attend dozens of different exhibitions and events at 25 venues across the region.

For printmakers the Biennale offers competitions to enter and awards to be won.

There are many reasons why the North East should host such an event.

Looking to history, there’s Thomas Bewick, late 18th and early 19th master of the woodblock print and astute observer of the natural world.

Often cited as the region’s greatest artist – although this could be the subject of a great debate – his intricate tail-piece engravings will form the backdrop to readings of new poems by Joanne Clement who has been inspired by them.
From the Marsh by Annette Kierulf (woodcut)

This event, one among many, is on October 15 at Great North Museum: Hancock which is also hosting a Bewick-inspired workshop on October 21 and 22.

But in the here and now, the prime mover behind the Biennale is Newcastle-based Northern Print and its director, Anna Wilkinson.

“It’s clear to us already that this year’s Biennale will be a striking showcase of the wealth of printmaking currently being created across the world,” she says.

“For centuries artists have been drawn to print and its allure is not lost on today’s contemporary artists.
Anna Wilkinson, Director of Northern Print in Newcastle

“The work that will be on display from the artists shortlisted for the awards alone shows the diversity of approaches of an enduring artform.

“We have received more entries this year than ever before which tells me that the medium remains relevant internationally.

“In particular I’m looking forward to seeing the work from Birgit Skiöld who established the first UK open print studio in 1956.

“Birgit was instrumental in the creation of the British International Print Biennale in Bradford in 1962, the original inspiration for founding the International Print Biennale.”

The 2016 Print Awards are an integral part of the Biennale and this year 31 artists have been shortlisted by a specialist panel from among 785 entries from 16 countries.

On this year’s panel were Sune Nordgren, founding director of Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, artist Christiane Baumgartner and David Cleaton-Roberts, director of the Alan Cristea Gallery.
Crystal by Adam Saks, (photogravure and drypoint)

Each of these was asked to invite an additional artist to be represented in the exhibition. They chose Marina Bindella, from Italy, distinguished Royal Academician Cornelia Parker, from Britain, and Dane Adam Saks, all of whose work will add lustre to an already impressive event.

As well as these established artists the Biennale will feature emerging talent.

A highlight of this year’s Biennale will be the first public showing – at Newcastle City Library – of the world’s longest lino cut print which was initiated by Northern Print. Measuring 33.5 metres in length, it was made last year to mark the Rugby World Cup.

Also at the library you will be able to see a body of new work by Ellen Heck, who has twice won Biennale Print Awards, celebrating Alice in Wonderland.

Meanwhile Rachel Ramirez, a member of the international Nature Print Society, will demonstrate Gyotaku, a Japanese method of printing from fish, in a programme of workshops, demonstrations and participatory activities to mark the annual migration of salmon along the Tyne.
Silver Bullet Teapot, from Thirty Pieces of Silver (Exposed) by Cornelia Parker
Northern Print itself will be the focus of an exhibition in the gallery at Gateshead Library celebrating its 21st anniversary and two decades of printmaking in the region.

This really is just scratching the surface of a massive visual arts extravaganza taking place from September 16 to October 30. For full details, go

Printmakers colonise church

A reminder that printmaking is alive and well in the North East comes with twin exhibitions featuring the work of people who pay to use the well-equipped studios at Northern Print, based in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley.

They include Margaret Adams, Allan Barnfather and Barbara Kennard.

As part of the International Print Biennale, the studio users are holding an exhibition at St Dominic’s Church, Shields Road, Byker.

You can see it on September 30 (6 to 8pm), October 1 (10am to 4pm, when there will be have-a-go activities) and October 2 (12.30 to 4pm).

A second exhibition, Engaging with Print, will take place at Gallery 45, Felton, Northumberland, from October 8-23.

It will be open Tuesday to Saturday (10am to 5pm) and Sunday (11am to 4pm).

There will also be printmaking workshops on October 16 and 22 (1 to 4pm).

Ring the gallery on 01670 783424 to book.

Monday 12 September 2016

Greta Zimmer Friedman RIP

Greta Zimmer Friedman, Nurse From WWII 'Kiss' Photo, Dies At 92

The Associated Press
The Huffington Post
09 September 2016

The woman who was kissed by an ecstatic sailor in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II has died at the age of 92.

Greta Zimmer Friedman's son says his mother died Thursday at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia. She died from complications of old age, he said.

Friedman was a 21-year-old dental assistant in a nurse's uniform on Aug. 14, 1945, known as V-J Day, the day the Japanese surrendered. People spilled out into the streets from restaurants, bars and movie theatres in New York City when they heard the news. That's when George Mendonsa spotted Friedman, spun her around and planted a kiss on her. The two had never met.

In fact, Mendonsa was on a date with an actual nurse, Rita Petry, who would later become his wife.

The photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt is called "V-J Day in Times Square'' but is known to most the world over as simply, "The Kiss.'' Mendonsa says that in some photos of the scene, Petry could be seen smiling in the background.

The photo was first published in Life, buried deep within the magazine's pages. Over the years, the photo gained recognition, and several people claimed to be the kissing couple. In an August 1980 issue of Life, 11 men and three women said they were the subjects. It was years until Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Joshua Friedman says his mother recalled it all happening in an instant.

"It wasn't that much of a kiss,'' Friedman said in an interview with the Veterans History Project in 2005. "It was just somebody celebrating. It wasn't a romantic event.''

The photograph has become one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century.

Both of Friedman's parents died in the Holocaust, according to Lawrence Verria, co-author of "The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II.'' Friedman, who had escaped Austria, got to the U.S. when she was 15.

Friedman will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, next to her late husband, Dr. Misha Friedman.