Wednesday, August 10, 2016

1951 Tangier: Archival Family Photo

Summer 1951--My mother Eliane, father Robert, brother Pierre age 4 
and me age 9 deplaning 
from Air France at Tangier airport on a visit to my grandmother who lived 
in an apartment with a terrace overlooking la Corniche. We were living in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, England at the time. Photographer unknown. August 9 is my parents' wedding anniversary. In 1941, during WW11,they were married in a small village in Haute-Savoie in unoccupied France. My father was a liaison officer in the Free French Army. According to family history he was a translator at a meeting between Eisenhower and De Gaulle.

Erdogan Supplant Ataturk? Fat Chance.

Erdogan Supplant Ataturk? Fat Chance. At least, not in New Jersey.  Ataturk, hero of modern Turkish secular state. After firing, jailing or torturing his critics and suspected Gullen sympathizers, will RET now go after Ataturk admirers? Photo Liza Béar,
Greenwich Village, New York City.

97 Days To Election: Techies Talk IT

August 2, 2016--Techies Talk IT in City Hall Park, New York. Photos Liza Béar
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Monday, July 4, 2016

Curbside Anecdotal: The Officer & The Cyclist

New York, June 27--The blue-eyed metropolitan 
beat officer, perhaps of Irish descent, leaned 
against the hood of his patrol car. He watched 
as I locked up my bike outside MacDonald's on 
Eighth Avenue midblock between 34th and 35th. 
Went through the motions, that is, threading 
the cable between the spokes and around the bus stop, hesitating for a second.
I thought he was going to tell me that locking 
my bike to the bus stop wasn't allowed or, as many strangers do, ask me if anything was wrong,
b/c I tend to move unhurriedly compared to normal pedestrian traffic. But he did neither and 
just said "Hi".
On the Fifth Avenue Pride march that I filmed on Sunday, mostly the cops had been good-humored and cordial, even stepping aside to get out of the frame. It's 47 years
 since Stonewall, and quite a large NYPD contingent marched, so this bonhomie, rather than brusqueness 
or wolf-in-sheep's clothing-iness, may have been a 
carry-over from the Pride spirit. Whatever the reason, being of a naturally curious disposition, I struck up a desultory conversation, not unsuited to a hot summer afternoon.
First, I asked the policeman whether an NYPD vehicle 
was always parked in front of this MacDonald's.
"Always," he confirmed. "There's a lot of crime here."
"Dealing?" I suggested.
"Not only," he said with a wry smile.
"Stuff I'd rather not hear about, I suppose," 
I said, not  wanting to get too specific.
"All kinds," said the officer. "The other day there
 was a stabbing."
I asked him how long he'd been there without shade. 
Eight and a half hours, he answered, hugging his 
bottle of Poland Spring. Usually, but not today, 
he brought a sandwich from home. He considered a
ll the food at MacDonald's inedible.
"Even the salads?" I ventured.
"Absolutely. The salads too."
"What about the yogurt parfait?"
"The yogurt parfait is okay."
By this time the cable was securely fastened. 
To stabilize the bike, I gave the kickstand a 
sharp little kick to release it. I decided to 
take a chance and spring for a Macyogurt 
before undertaking the long ride home. 
(The elevator was being repaired at the 
34th Street subway.)
With my yogurt I perched on a stool at a 
high counter, joining three young dark-haired 
tourists, a woman and two men, speaking a 
not easily recognizable foreign language. 
But my trip to Istanbul was only five years
past, so to my table companions’ amazement,
I correctly identified it as Turkish.
I hope they got home safely.
(c) Liza Béar 2016

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Photo (c) Liza Béar 2016

The man with two blue buckets
One inside the other, a snug fit
Strapped to the back of his rickety
hard-to-start motorbike

For a paint job he said

A few minutes later down the mountain road
In the same shot without a cut
Now stands with his feet in one bucket
The other over his head
Dolefully counting numbers in Mandarin

The thugs who locked his bike
Stole his binoculars
Have sped off with a roar
Perhaps like the motorcyclists 
Courted by Drumpf in Washington DC

You see
it’s hard to forget that image
in a comic strip of Grand Union
Let’s see . . Buffalo ...1973
Dancer Barbara Dilley says
I'm bucketed

She stands in a bucket
Hers an improvisational choice

On the bike path from the Metrograph
Under the leafy boughs spilling
Over the fence on Chrystie Street
I ride past
       stop, and turn my head
a jaunty gorse yellow taxi cab, parked
Not one of the ubiquitous funereal Uber limos
Its For Hire light on

Facing Mecca flat on the ground
At an angle in front of the cab
A fringed, vividly purple prayer mat
The driver is standing at one end
Then crouches down in prayer position
But not for long gets up again
Up down  up down  repeating the ritual
For fear of losing a fare

© Liza Béar 2016

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Never Underestimate Procrastination: Text & Photos

 Photos Liza Béar
New York, April 2, 2016--Never underestimate procrastination. Returning hoome from a late Saturday afternoon prowl through the Union Square farmer's market--this week devoid of Bernie grassrooters , because registration to vote closed last Friday--reluctance to climb my building's intransigeant stairs and the proximity of that building to a prison-turned movie theatre, led me to cross the avenue instead and to catch Samuel Beckett's recently restored, wonderful silent 22-min b&w FILM: starring Buster Keaton, shot by Boris Kaufman, directed by Alan Schneider. Anthology Film Archives is screening FILM for free at 7pm every night through April 7. This very positively titled work precedes the new feature-length literally-titled documentary NOTFILM at 8pm (regular admission). Whether NF transcends its title I haven't yet been able to determine. In the meantime, the unavoidable ascent and the fading light yielded these photos.

Monday, February 15, 2016


SARTORIAL AND ANECDOTAL During the coldest New York City night in 20 years, they say, the boiler's motor suffered a...
Posted by Liza Bear on Sunday, February 14, 2016

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Storm or no storm, an elephant never forgets. Willoughby would have been 80 today. 
Photos: Liza Béar  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Carol Lipnik Performs Mr Rabbit (traditional)

January 3, 2016--Singer-songwriter, vocalist extraordinaire Carol Lipnik and Matt Kanelos, piano, performed Mr Rabbit as part of their first anniversary concert at Pangea, a rich and inspiring experience full of sly humor and soaring melodies.
An East Village bar-restaurant at 178 Second Avenue, Pangea--the name means "all earth" in Greek-- doubles up as an edgy alternative cabaret. Lipnik and Kanelos will continue Sunday evening performances at 7:30pm through January.
Filmed by Liza Béar.