Monday, December 29, 2014

"It's The Pictures That Got Small" Lines on lInes

The Happiest Couple in Hollywood--lines on lines

"It's the Pictures That Got Small" is a Joan Crawford line quoted by Joey Arias in the drag musical Christmas with the Crawfords; it's also the title of a book consisting of diary entries by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder's writing partner, reviewed by Frederic Raphael in the week-end edition of The Wall Street Journal Books section that I read just now courtesy my neighbor proscratinating to do the laundry but that I can't forward on FB since I don't have an online subscription. If the 422-page book is as spicy as the review it's well-worth putting a hold on at your local public library. As well as an assessment of a stellar collaboration, as you might expect it's full of historical tidbits about the partnership, the films they worked on and the social none too politically correct Hollywood climate of the times. Writes Frederic Raphael when he met Billy Wilder in person: "His apartment on Wilshire Blvd was filled with an art collection that testified to a refinement not always evident in his conversation." He probably saved his best lines for his scripts. LB

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas with the Crawfords [After the Final Curtain]

Connie Champagne as Judy Garland Photo Liza Béar

Flotilla Debarge as Hattie McDaniel Photo Liza Béar
           Christmas Eve 1944 at the Crawfords Set Designer Andrea Purcigliotti Photo Liza Béar

Friday, December 19, 2014

Two Days One Night: Dardenne Brothers Interview

Typically working with new or non-professional actors, in their latest film, Two Days One Night,  Belgian filmmaking brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne cast an international star, Marion Cotillard, as Sandra, a working mother just fired from a solar energy plant. A recent management scam has placed the onus of downsizing on workers, who are offered a bonus if they vote to operate with one less employee, resulting in Sandra’s dismissal. As might be expected,  with her customary precision, Cotillard delivers an astute, nervy performance that oscillates between anxiety and determination as she tries to get her job back.  
While, in a very different context, unemployment was also the focus of Rosetta, the Dardenne's break-out film—it reportedly aided  the passing of a labor bill, Rosetta’s Law, to protect young people—Two Days One Night tersely dramatizes  the issue of worker solidarity in a toxically competitive world. In 1999, Rosetta won the Palme d'Or by unanimous vote at Cannes. 
Interview, introduction, transcript and translation by Liza Béar.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A dialogue with Agnes Varda: Interview Magazine

Never mind the ravages of time. Filmmakers seem to be exempt. In her winsome, haunting self-portrait, The Beaches of Agnès, which is released theatrically on July 1, French director Agnès Varda has retained all the vitality, humor, and sheer cinematic inventiveness that has marked her films since 1954's seminal La Pointe Courte, which she made on a shoestring budget at the age of 25. She'd always wanted to sail to Paris-well, in Beaches, she does. We see her coolly navigating a small dinghy under the Pont Neuf along the Seine. She treats the film as an opportunity for playful wish fulfillment as well as for analysing her life experiences, her filmic hits . . . and the odd miss.Hailed as a precursor to the Nouvelle Vague, La Pointe Courte, her black-and-white debut feature, was a neorealist love story with parallel subplots set in a Mediterranean fishing village. She revisits that location in the new film, providing a moving tribute to the locals who, in acting out their life stories, had helped launch her career. The appreciation is mutual. In Sète, they've named a street after her.

Introduction, interview, transcript, translation and edit by Liza Béar.
Pitched to and assigned by then-editor Glenn O'Brien

(c) copyright Liza Béar 2009 All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sonic Weapon Used on Peaceful Protesters Today

Happening NOW: The NYPD just used a LRAD sound cannon, which can cause permanent hearing damage, to disperse a small group of peaceful protesters on 58th Street. SHARE to spread their SHAME!
via US Uncut

Saturday, December 6, 2014

VIDEO: Reckless Police: Grief and Anger

Filmed in Times Square on November 25 after Grand Jury verdict on Michael
Brown, 18,  Ferguson  and on December 4 on Bleecker Street and Bowery, New York City, 
after Grand Jury verdict on Eric Garner,  43, Staten Island. Both juries returned
non-indictments in the death by rank-and-file police officers of unarmed black citizens engaged in low-grade misdemeanors. In neither case did the jury consider a charge, de minimus, of reckless endangerment. Why on earth not? Filmed by Liza Béar.

Friday, November 28, 2014

In the heat of the moment, the officer who was packing heat.....

In the heat of the moment, Darrell Wilson,

the officer who was packing heat--the officer

wasn't thinking clearly. In this his first

use of his "weapon", it sounds like he was

quite flustered. Whether or not his testimony

about Brown trying to seize his gun in the

vehicle is credible--there are no witnesses

for that part of the narrative--even giving

him the benefit of the doubt .... But I

suspect that once you start shooting, the 

urge to continue shooting until your target 

falls takes over. It's as though he were a 

hunter and shooting game. It's as though his

gun were making the decisions for him 

instead of his brain. That's not in the 

least to excuse his conduct, far from it, but

an argument against cops on the beat having

lethal weapons. Especially young cops.

Perhaps a stun gun would be sufficient to

 do his rounds? Even that seems excessive.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ferguson Non-Indict Decision: Protests in New York City

Activists assembled at Union Square at


 7pm and marches branched out in several directions. 7th AVe & 49th St around 10:30pm on Tuesday Nov 25, the day after the Grand Jury decision not to indict Darrell Wilson in the killing by gunfire of 18-year-old high-school graduate Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. as the result of an altercation in which Brown was unarmed. Photos: Liza Bear

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Danette Chavis: Stop Police Brutality

New York, October 22--Danette Chavis tells it 
like it is at a Union Square rally, part of 
the National Day of Action to Stop Police Brutality. 
At least 261 people have been killed by NYPD 
since Amadou Diallo; 129 since Sean Bell. 
After the rally, a permitted march 
proceeded westwards along 14th Street 
to Sixth Avenue and north to Times Square.. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Circle's Ernst Ostertag and Robi Rapp at the Swiss Consulate, New York

New York, November 12 2014--A reception was held this morning for award-winning film The Circle, directed by Stefan Haupt, at the Swiss Consulate. The film, a blend of documentary and re-enactment, is about the lives of Ernst Ostertag (Matthias Hungerbühler), a teacher, and Robi Rapp (Sven Schelker), a cabaret dancer and female impersonator, and their fight for gay rights in Switzerland throughout decades of repression. Ostertag met Rapp in the mid-fifties when he joined the then secret gay organization DER KREIS (The Circle). By the age of 73, in 2003--the year the film was made-- they were to become the first gay couple to form a civil union in Switzerland. The Circle is Switzerland's nomination for the Oscar Foreign Film category, and opens theatrically in New York on November 21. Photos: Liza Béar

Robi Rapp, cabaret dancer ; female impersonator, The Circle
Ernst Ostertag, teacher, The Circle

Stefan Haupt, director, The Circle

Friday, October 24, 2014

Vicky Gholson [Dr G.] Life Celebration (Excerpts)

New York Sculptors Jackie Winsor and Mary Miss

October 19, 2014--Jackie Winsor and Mary Miss outside the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum,  Ridgefield  Ct, at the opening of Winsor's mini-retrospective, one of several shows celebrating the Aldrich's 50th anniversary.
Photo: Liza Béar

Friday, October 17, 2014


You have forgotten that spring
once mated
in your blood,
that your hands
were wild with sap,
that the milk of enthusiasm
boiled in your veins,
that the peach of your heart
was drunk,
that happiness floated
like a stag through your body,
that the entrails of trees
were tough as ropes,
that gardens galloped over horizons,
that fish were blue
and kicked in the sky,
that smells had not yet
sunk into the bogs.
You have forgotten that your thoughts
once walked upright.

------------------------------ ----------------------------------------------
Original Norwegian
by Halvor Roll
translated by Judith Jesch
from Twenty Norwegian Poets (bilingual edition)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cuban Diner near MoMA Queens

Cuban Diner, Exterior, Queens. Photo Liza Béar 2010
Cuban Diner, Interior, Queens. Photo Liza Béar 2010

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mike DeCapite: "And Yet--Score One For the Artists Against Death"

New York, October 11, 2014-- Mike DeCapite reads an excerpt from his chapbook, Creamsicle Blue, at The Enclave, a longstanding reading series organized by Jason Napoli Brooks and Jim Freed. "Life is a language that I'm starting to forget," deCapite writes, yet life as mindfulness is what's brilliantly recaptured in this brief excerpt--fragile sentiments expressed with such nuance in a piece of virtuoso, affirmative writing. Creamsicle Blue may be obtained from. the author at, from Amazon or possibly from Spoonbill and Sugartown in Brooklyn. The Enclave 
@enclavianmatter is held at the Cakeshop, 152 Ludlow Street, Manhattan, New York. Filmed by Liza Béar. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Blue Room: interview with Mathieu Amalric

Mathieu Amalric and Stéphanie Cléau star in an adaptation of The Blue Room. They co-wrote the screenplay and Amalric directs. A passionate affair on the wane morphs into crime in this taut, sensual thriller that closely follows the non-linear structure of Simenon's roman dur.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Twisted Elms of Tompkins Square

Photo Copyright Liza Béar 2006

Photo Copyright Liza Béar 2006
Photo Copyright Liza Béar 2006

Different Strokes for Different Sheep

Ram in pick-up truck en route to a wedding, Aegean, Turkey, Photo: Liza Béar Oct 2011
Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh: three lambs grazing in the cemetery of St Patrick's Cathedral, Mulberry Street, New York,October 2014 Photo Liza Béar