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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Symphony for Willys

This Willys drove me crazy. I saw it firstly yesterday. I took some shots, only I was not able to find a position to shot the whole car. Eventually I found such a position, only my batteries were depleted. I came later with new batteries at the camera, the shop was closed. I passed today by there, the car was in full splendor - I was not having my camera with me. I came back with my camera, the car was already inside the shop and was up. I recorded then this video and I will try tomorrow to catch a moment when I can take a picture of the whole car to add it to this post.

Here you go!

(Around Fairfax Circle)


The Pilots

The Pilots

(Diarios de Motocicleta)

Diarios de Motocicleta

Diarios de Motocicleta
They meet always on weekends, at the Starbucks in Alexandria, on the King Street near the Waterfront.


Study in White

The study was done on two different motorcycles, in two different days, on two different streets. Actually the two places are close: King Street and Union Street.

The first two photos were shot on King Street in front of Starbucks.

The other two photos were shot on Union Street in front of the same Starbucks.

The building is on the corner of King and Union streets.

If you click on the last photo you will see me mirrored on one of the bike's parts.

(Diarios de Motocicleta)

Dash About

Dash About
If you come to Alexandria by metro, you will get off at King Street Station. Now it's your choice: to take the Dash About, that gives you free rides, or to walk along King Street, towards the Waterfront. It takes more or less the same time, as Dash About does not appreciate the rush. But it's cool, and you can enjoy the street scenery on the same pace as you were walking. And there is plenty to see. Anyway, click on the photo to have the bus in full splendor.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Maiorul Mura

Eu sunt Maiorul Mura, Mura, Mura...
Priviţi-mi cum natura, -ura, -ura...
Mi-a înzestrat făptura, -tura, -tura...
Din cap până-n picioare, -cioare, -cioare...
În veşnica-mi splendoare, -doare, -doare...
Eu cresc tot ca o floare, -oare, -oare...

The Old Scale from the Candy Store

The Old Scale from Alexandria
The Old Scale from Alexandria

This candy store is on Fairfax Street, just across the final stop of Dash About, the free ride bus operating on weekends between King Street Metro station and the City Hall.

Candy Shelves

It used to be there a nice shop with Christmas toys of all kind: small Christmas trees, small music boxes, small railroads, even small town models imagining fairy houses and streets. The shop was open not only for Christmas and there was always a large audience - only the toys were too cool to be bought, so eventually they closed the business. Now the candy store tries to keep the same spirit. Anyway, the Candy Barrels look cool.

Candy Barrels

The next house to the candy store is the Visitor Center, with entries from both Fairfax and King streets. The waterfront is three blocks down King Street.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Principle Gallery

Principle Gallery
Alexandria, Virginia: the Principle Gallery is on the King Street, two blocks away from the waterfront. It is a real piece of jewelery! It is one of the reasons I enjoy so much coming to the Old Town of Alexandria.


The Blind Painter from Alexandria

Hans-Peter Szameit Portrait of a Blind Painter

Hans-Peter Szameit Portrait of a Blind Painter

It is a forceful painting! It communicates an essential truth - and thousand words would not be able to render it to us again.

The author, Hans-Peter Szameit, was born in 1967 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is of Norwegian descent.

The painting is on view at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia.

(Principle Gallery)


Symphony in White

James Abbott McNeill Whistler: White Girl (Symphony in White No 1), 1862

James Abbott McNeill Whistler: White Girl (Symphony in White No 1), 1862

The White Girl is Joanna Heffernan. Whistler met her in London and felt in love: her beauty was great, her gold-red hair a marvel (The Whistler Journal).

The painting is now at the Washington National Gallery. It seems a bit strange, with this elongated form. You feel here the daybreak of modern approaches in painting. There is something abstract in the design of this work. Yet it communicates you a feeling of the voluptuous.

(Washington DC National Gallery of Art)


The Skater

Gilbert Stuart - The Skater (Portrait of William Grand), 1782

Gilbert Stuart - The Skater (Portrait of William Grant), 1782

I saw the portrait from the first time I was visiting the Washington National Gallery of Art. For an unknown reason it reminded me the main character of a British TV series that I had watched long time ago: so for me this William Grant was no other one than Captain Poldark. Click here to watch a short video about this guy, and enjoy!

(Washington DC National Gallery of Art)

George Romney at the Washington National Gallery

George Romney - Miss Juliana Willoughby, 1781  - 1783
George Romney - Miss Juliana Willoughby, 1781 - 1783

It always enchants me, the view of this painting: its simplicity, its perfect balance. The author was a British - he lived in the XVIII-th century. Here is a biographical note, offered by the site of the Washington National Gallery of Art.

I passed yesterday in front of Miss Juliana again; I took a photo this time.

(Washington DC National Gallery of Art)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Un film esential - Intolerance

Lilian Gish in IntoleranceO tanara mama, alaturi de pruncul aflat in leagan. Imaginea revine de nenumarate ori in Intolerance, filmul lui Griffith, facut in 1916. Scena leaga intre ele episoadele filmului, desfasurate fiecare in spatii geografice extrem de diferite si in perioade istorice extrem de diferite. Sa observam ca imaginea tinerei mame aflata langa pruncul din leagan nu are o localizare in timp sau spatiu: imaginea aceasta este liantul filmului tocmai pentru ca poate fi oriunde si oricand. Este imaginea esentiala a rostului vietii, ne spune Griffith. Viata inseamna dragoste care creaza.
Tanara mama este interpretata de o actrita celebra a acelor ani, Lilian Gish. In maini tine o carte. Este greu, desigur, sa vedem titlul cartii. Diversi comentatori ne asigura ca este un volum de versuri: Leaves of Grass, al lui Walt Whitman. Iar cartea este deschisa la un poem intitulat Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking:
Out of the cradle endlessly rocking,
Out of the mocking-bird’s throat, the musical shuttle,
Out of the Ninth-month midnight,
Over the sterile sands, and the fields beyond, where the child, leaving his bed, wander’d alone, bare-headed, barefoot,
Down from the shower’d halo
Asocierea imaginii din film cu versurile avantate ale lui Whitman creaza un contrapunct superb. Pruncul va parasi leaganul ca sa isi traiasca din plin viata, dar aici este inceputul vietii, este esenta din care se va dezvolta totul:
Out from the patches of briers and blackberries,
From the memories of the bird that chanted to me,
From your memories, sad brother—from the fitful risings and fallings I heard,
From under that yellow half-moon, late-risen, and swollen as if with tears,
From those beginning notes of sickness and love, there in the transparent mist
Iar filmul este despre opozitia dintotdeauna intre aceasta imagine esentiala a vietii si raspunsul pe care il da societatea. Intoleranta, oarba la esenta vietii, distrugand viata. Societatea care distruge Evanghelia Iubirii in numele Legii si care distruge Iubirea in numele Evangheliei. Razboaiele dintre cei care cred in Isus si cei care cred in Iisus. Societatea care distruge zeii tai pentru a pune in loc zeii mei. Terorizarea saracilor in numele operelor de binefacere.
Iar imaginea tinerei mame, langa pruncul din leagan, revine, mereu si mereu:

From the thousand responses of my heart, never to cease,
From the myriad thence-arous’d words,
From the word stronger and more delicious than any,
From such, as now they start, the scene revisiting,
As a flock, twittering, rising, or overhead passing,
Borne hither—ere all eludes me, hurriedly,
A man—yet by these tears a little boy again,
Throwing myself on the sand, confronting the waves,
I, chanter of pains and joys, uniter of here and hereafter,
Taking all hints to use them—but swiftly leaping beyond them,
A reminiscence sing.
Daca e sa incerc o ierarhizare, Intoleranta mi se pare mai important decat Potemkin sau Octombrie, pentru ca le premerge.
Sigur, Eisenstein, la zece ani dupa Griffith, e matur, putem vedea filmele lui fara sa zambim ingaduitori - filmele lui nu dau nici un semn de batranete. Si este apoi o alta deosebire: sentimentalismul filmului lui Griffith si patosul filmelor lui Eisenstein.
Intoleranta este plin de naivitatile inceputului, de melodrama - este pe de alta parte extrem de ambitios - ceea ce poate ca il aduce periculos de aproape de ratare (dar ii da si marca geniului) - insa tot mestesugul cu care ma delecteaza filmele lui Eisenstein - ei bine, totul, se afla acolo, in Intoleranta.
Ritmul fantastic - filmul dureaza trei ore, mergand in paralel pe patru naratiuni - in America inceputului de secol, in Iudeea Evangheliilor, in Parisul Noptii Sfantului Bartolomeu, in Babilon - nu te plictistesti, nu te enerveaza toata naivitatile si ingrosarile, nu te enerveaza didacticismul evident - in primul rand pentru ca ritmul viguros al filmului nu iti da o clipa de ragaz. Iar David Wark Griffih trece genial dintr-o poveste in alta, are grija sa le evolueze in acelasi tempo - si are siguranta trecerii de la filmarea de departe la close-up - si are mai ales geniul scenelor de masa - furnicarul de oameni aia care se misca apoi in Potemkin si in Octombrie, se misca magistral mai intai aici, in Babilonul inchipuit de Griffith - si are suflu, nu si-l pierde, exact cum Eisenstein va avea acelasi suflu peste zece ani - respiratia unui atlet, a unei locomotive, vigoare.
Iar scena marii piete publice din Babilon, filmata de sus, cu miscarea oamenilor peste tot, pe scari (scarile din Potemkin sunt deja acolo, in Babilonul lui Griffith), pe marele platou, pe balcoanele palatelor - poate ca este cea mai extraordinara scena de masa din toata istoria filmului. Sigur ca Griffith isi imparte meritele cu cameramanul, Billy Bitzer.

Marea scena de pe platoul BabilonuluiTrei mari regizori care au avut alaturi de ei trei mari cameramani: Griffith cu Billy Bitzer, Eisenstein cu Eduard Tisse, Wong Kar-Wai cu Chris Doyle. Ei au creat acele cateva momente esentiale care marcheaza istoria cinematografului.
Da, Intoleranta este un film esential. Se gaseste pe web, impartit in trei bucati de cate o ora - partea intaia, a doua si a treia.

(Filmele Avangardei)


Filmele avangardei

Image from Things to Come

The image is from Things to Come; the movie was made in Great Britain in 1936. Alexander Korda was the producer, the director was William Cameron Menzies, and Herbert George Wells wrote the screenplay, based loosely on one of his novels.

I saw some scenes at the Exhibition of Modern Art that was some time ago at the Corcoran in Washington DC. Later I found the movie on the web.

I am passionated for the movies of the Avant-Garde of the twenties and thirties and I looked for them on the web; I bought also a lot of DVDs: I'll start here on the blog with a forerunner, Griffith, then Eisenstein will follow, then Vertov and Ruttmann, Protazanov and Lang, Kirsanov and Epstein, Ralph Steiner and Eggeling, Leni Riefenstahl, Man Ray, Hammid; though before all of them I should mention Ivens, with his masterpieces, De Brug and Regen.

Some of them were persuaded by the musical structure of the cinematic language (and this in the epoch of silent); some others were persuaded by the rapport between plot and camera; some others had an extraordinary sense of the rhythm in telling the story; some had that particular balance in telling the story, a secret that only great poets posses.

They would be followed by other generations: the unique Maya Deren, then Stan Brakhage.... Ozu... De Sica... Parajanov... Hou Hsiao-Hsien... Kim Ki-Duk... Wong Kar-Wai...

It is the place to name some great cameramen: Bitzer... Tisse... Chris Doyle...


(Avangarda 20)

Nicolae Dobrin

26 august 1947, Pitesti - 26 octombrie 2007, Pitesti

marele virtuos al fotbalului nostru

Povestesc intotdeauna cu emotie intalnirile mele neasteptate cu Romani - de data aceasta este o veste care ne fulgera pe noi toti, pentru ca toti l-am iubit. A fost un mare vrajtor cu descantece numai de el stiute, cu care fereca si desfereca mingea, si o facea sa fie unde nu te asteptai.

S-a dus in locul acela din Paradis unde sunt toti vrajitorii buni, cei care au stiut sa ne farmece ca pe niste copii - pentru ca in fata vrajitorilor buni redevenim copiii care am fost odata.

Am citit despre Dobrin o amintire - la un meci international, Raducanu a gafat si a primit un gol. Dobrin l-a batut pe umeri cu simpatie, lasa, nu te supara, si apoi a marcat un gol splendid cu capul.
Acesta a fost Nicolae Dobrin.

(Intalniri neasteptate cu Romani)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Tarkovskian Landscape

Tarkovskian Landscape

(Around Fairfax Circle)

Old Cartoon

And when the car goes round a curve
You begin to swerve,
Grab for a strap, fall in some woman’s lap,
Clang, clang, watch your step.
That’s the trolley car swing!
(Old tune preceding PC era)

Old Cartoon
Hei Tramvai,
Cu etaj si tras de cai,
Hei Joben,
Ce umblai la Mon Jardin,
Hei Bunic,
Cu monoclu erai sic,
Hei Cancan,
Cu picioarele-n tavan...

Toate acestea-au fost candva,
Ceva exagerat,
Anii au trecut in zbor,
Si lumea le-a uitat...
Corina Chiriac - Phoenix - Vremuri (versurile lui Nicolae Covaci)

(Looking for the Old Trolley)