Do You Forgive Me? Well, I Forgive You Too.

Do You Forgive Me? Well, I Forgive You Too.

I really meant to post this piece about The Rose some time ago, and I’m sorry for being so late. Do you forgive me? Well, I forgive you too.

The Rose is the acclaimed 1979 dramatic musical film that tells the story of a self-destructive 1960s rock star, who struggles to cope with the constant pressures of her career and the ruthless demands of her business manager. The film is a fictionalized documentary based on the tragic life of singer Janis Joplin; it was nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Actress in a Leading Role (Bette Midler).

The following two music videos from the film comprise the beginning and end segments of The Rose. If you never get the chance to watch the whole movie, these videos will show all that you really might need to know.

Bette Midler: Midnight in Memphis (The Rose, 1979)

Bette Midler: Stay With Me Baby (The Rose, 1979)

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The Rose: When the Night Has Been Too Lonely

Bette Midler: The Rose (1979)

Janis Joplin (1967/68)

The Rose: When the Night Has Been Too Lonely

It’s the dream afraid of waking
that never takes the chance,
It’s the one who won’t be taken
who cannot seem to give,
and the soul afraid of dying
that never learns to live.

In the 1979 movie The Rose, Bette Midler played Rose, a role that was a fictionalized biography of Janis Joplin.  For her outstanding performance, Midler was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 1980.  She was named Best Actress by BAFTA in 1981, and received the 1980 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress.  The Rose follows Rose’s career during her last tour.  Her rock and roll lifestyle and constant touring led her to an inevitable breakdown; she gave and gave and gave, until she had nothing left to give.

Bette Midler: The Rose (Music Video)

Bette Midler: The Rose (Extended Trailer, 1979)

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Irving Penn Dies at 92: Pioneer of Modern Fashion, Portrait and Still-Life Photography

Irving Penn, 1960s

Kate Moss, 1996

Kate Moss, 1996

Vogue, Fashion Photograph (Café in Lima), Peru, 1948

Salvadore Dali, New York, 1947

Truman Capote, New York City, 1948

Collette, Paris, 1951

Jean Cocteau, Paris, 1948

Nicole Kidman, Vogue Magazine, May, 2004

Irving Penn Dies at 92: Pioneer of Modern Fashion, Portrait and Still-Life Photography

Irving Penn, a renowned master of American fashion photography whose more simple aesthetic, combined with an often startling erotic sensuality, defined a visual style that he applied to such varied subjects as  fashion design, celebrity portraits and everyday objects, many of them now-famous photographs owned by leading art museums, has died at the age of 92.  In 1943, Penn started contributing to Vogue magazine, becoming one of the first commercial photographers to cross the schism that had separated commercial from art photography.  He did so in part by using the same technique no matter what he photographed: isolating his subject, allowing for scarcely a prop and building a work of graphic perfection through his printing process.  Art critics considered the results to be icons, not just images, each one more artistically powerful than the person or object in the frame.

A notorious perfectionist, he traveled widely, carrying his own studio to the ends of the earth to photograph Peruvians in native dress, veiled Moroccan women or the Mudmen of New Guinea.  Despite his appreciation for the art and craft of beautifully designed fashion, Penn later reached outside of the unreachable world it represents.  To escape or perhaps contest it, in the late 1960s he started photographing crushed cigarette butts and street debris.  He shot the cigarette butts in the same manner that he often photographed fashionable designer dresses, close up, with an intense graphic precision, against a white background.  He then built his negatives into “platinum-palladium” prints, a meticulous and expensive process that involves repeated printings of a negative on one piece of paper to create an extraordinary sense of depth and richness.  New York’s Museum of Modern Art found the cigarette butts exhibit-worthy in 1975. Far-sighted reviewers praised Penn’s ability to turn discarded objects into art, but the contradictions in his work still bothered some critics.

In 1950, while in Paris he went from a session of photographing the Italian sculptor Alberto Giacometti to photographing French butchers.  His collection of more than 250 photos of butchers, bakers, street workers and others in the series entitled The Small Trades, was acquired last year by the J. Paul Getty Museum and is on view now through January 10th.

A Tribute: The Photography of Irving Penn

Slide Show: Irving Penn/A Pioneer of Modern Fashion, Portrait and Still-Life Photography

(Please Click on Image to View Slide Show)

Readers can read more about the life and accomplishments of Irving Penn in The New York Times here, and in The Los Angeles Times here.

Reader’s can access a wonderful audio-slide show of Irving Penn’s series entitled The Small Trades, which is presently on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum here.

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Solitude: Visual Interpretation of an Epic Song Not Yet Written

Music Audio: Janis Joplin/A Woman Left Lonely:

Solitude: Visual Interpretation of an Epic Song Not Yet Written

Photography by: Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

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Decades of Musical History: A Tribute to Legendary Musicians

Sly Stone with Reel-to-Reel Tape Player

Johnny Cash Deep in Thought

Most of the photographs of the legendary musicians in this video, representing decades of musical history, might be familiar to a number of music fans: Johnny Cash deep in thought in 1959, Bob Dylan sitting at a piano wearing his Ray-Ban sunglasses in 1965.  Others have rarely been seen, including the 1973 picture of Sly Stone in front of a tape player and the dramatic 1963 photograph of Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, recording his spoken-word album I Am the Greatest! Photographs of other major musicians that are included in this music video include pictures of Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the late folk-singer Steve Goodman, Willie Nelson and many others.

The music accompanying the video is The Band’s Tears of Rage.

Decades of Musical History: A Tribute to Legendary Musicians

Music by The Band: Tears of Rage

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Photos of the Day: Pieces of My Heart

A Chelsea Rhapsody: Chelsea Mournings

A Chelsea Rhapsody: Chelsea Mournings

Jedd Giles has published a long article on Ed Hamilton the legendary blogging chronicler of the life and times of the Chelsea Hotel, and about the continuing demise of The Chelsea Hotel on West 23rd Street in today’s edition of The New York Times, which begins:

“The Chelsea Hotel describes itself as a rest stop for rare individuals, a euphemism that still manages to pass the truth-in-advertising test if you take “rare individuals” to mean artists and addicts, and “rest stop” to mean possible death. Have sober, productive people ever bedded down for the night at the famous ghost ship on West 23rd Street? Have they even moved in permanently? Of course. One of the strangest rumors to emanate from the place over the decades is that some people actually raise children there. Still, it’s not the upstanding folks whose stories have echoed down the years and drawn generations of tourists and bohemians, it’s the legacies of giants who could barely stand up.

The Chelsea is where Dylan Thomas was living when he fell into a fatal, whiskey-induced coma. Where William Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch. Where Leonard Cohen rolled around with Janis Joplin, he recounted her kindly ministrations in his song Chelsea Hotel No. 2, and where drug-addled Sid stabbed drug-addled Nancy, then couldn’t remember if he had done it or not.”

The Chelsea Hotel on West 23d Street in Manhattan is an elegantly shabby Victorian-Gothic hotel, which is registered as a national historic landmark. The Chelsea has a long history of serving as a sanctuary for the the avant-garde. Through the years, those who lived at the Chelsea have included Jack Kerouac, Thomas Wolfe, Arthur Miller, Sam Shepard, Tennessee Williams, Edith Piaf, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Jean-Paul Sartre, Leonard Cohen, Willem de Kooning, Jane Fonda, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Milos Forman, Jimi Hendrix, Dennis Hopper, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, Vladimir Nabokov and Wes Klein. Dylan Thomas drank 18 straight whiskies there. His last. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while living there.

Recently, a corporate-style management team has taken over running the Chelsea, and its artist-residents are worried that the hotel will be transformed into a posh New York “boutique” hotel. A national grassroots protest is underway, and this posting is in support of that protest. This article presents a recent documentary about the hotel prepared by Michael Maher of the Australian Broadcasting Company, a music video of Rufus Wainwright (a former resident) performing Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel #2, and a beautiful photo-gallery that presents photographs of the Chelsea, as well as of some of the artists and celebrities who have lived there.

Living With Legends: A Documentary on the Chelsea Hotel by Michael Maher

Rufus Wainwright Sings: Chelsea Hotel #2

To learn more about The Chelsea Hotel, please visit: Living with Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog

Also see this brief article from today’s edition of The New York Observer here.

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