A Russian poet who came of age in tricky political times, but did his best to find a vein for expression, a vein that allowed his voice to be heard by young Americans whose curiosity was peaked by rumors that Russian poetry readings were, at the time, the equivalent of arena rock concerts. Yevgeny Yevtushenko passed yesterday in Tulsa where he taught; if memory serves, this picture was made at The Bottom Line in about 1975.
My buddy Ed Levine's elder brother Michael has passed. His memorial service was at Yale where he ran the School of Management, he had also run airlines, turning around Northwest and NYAir where he insisted that each flight serve a high quality fresh bagel. Michael was known for finding the sweet-spot between the theory and practice of deregulation and for being creatively argumentative, a characteristic that was appreciated by his intellectual peers, at least those who attended the service. They were quite an impressive lot, his peers, at least to a impressionable young photographer who appreciates fine minds attached to nimble tongues . More pictures of the event can be found here.
Viola Davis at The Academy Awards: "There's one place that all the people with the greatest potential are gathered. One place and that's the graveyard. People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies. Exhume those stories. The stories of the people who dreamed big and never saw those dreams to fruition. People who fell in love and lost. I became an artist—and thank God I did—because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life.
So, here's to August Wilson, who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people."
I was honored to work with Mr Wilson as production photographer on "Nat Turner's Come and Gone". Here are more theater images.
A formidable couple, Stefan Collignon and his wife Judith Collignon: He was born in Germany and is a political-economist teaching at prestigious universities in Europe and America. She grew up in a non-practicing Jewish family on Long Island and is now a practicing psychologist in Paris. I met Stefan in 1996 at a Zen Peacemakers retreat in Auschwitz where he had the courage to appear as (nearly) the sole representative of his native land. Born after the war, he assumed full responsibility for his cultural inheritance, he likened his own life's role to that of a Greek column holding up the roof of the temple. Stefan went on to become a high ranking civil servant in the German Ministry of Finance. Stefan later invited me to fly to Hamburg to photograph a small dinner with Chancellor Schmidt and his European colleagues. It took the full strength of my professional training TO NOT SPEAK UP at that stimulating table.
Alison Hawthorne Deming is my sister from another planet. We know one another from Grand Manan where we explore together extreme tides and cheap Canadian wines, but met this night on Manhattan Island where she came to read from her new book of poetry, STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN. She also read new poems from her recent trip to The Galapagos Islands with her grandson Lincoln Bliss, a literary guy whose day (night) job is to serve drinks to young Wall Street buckeroos in the East Village. Lincoln (above) sits in the front row of the packed Cornelia Street Cafe.
"Sittin' by the ocean, nothin' but perpetual motion, how much truth can a man stand?"
Mose Allison 1927-2016
Hale is a family-member and a gifted actor who for ten years has been living the familiar life of actors: auditions leading to callbacks and more auditions, big rolls in small plays, small rolls in small movies, catering jobs; repeat twice, keep your ego and your body healthy and audition again. But now Hale has a "real job", he is THE KING OF FILLORY on SyFy's, THE MAGICIANS from the series of books by LEV GROSSMAN. We recently walked around the block together in Greenwich Village and encountered this fantastic new mural at Houston and Bowery. It was painted by Spanish artists Pichi & Avo", the space is creatively curated as a legacy of Tony Goldman, a Soho real estate pioneer, it changes regularly. As do we all.
P.T. Barnum responds to the American election: he is offended by being compared to Donald Trump and advises Hillary Clinton on the subtleties of showmanship. (an excepted 5 minute version is here)
Written and performed by Ara Fitzgerald
Directed by Peter Cunningham
Click the arrow and go, lower right, full screen.
Rwandan Senator Jean de Dieu Mucyo meeting in April 2010 with Fleet Maul of Zen Peacemakers. At the time he was Minister of Justice, there are those who think he was bound to become the President of Rwanda. He impressed me as a real prince, a man who stood up for principles of justice, but also a man who had his feet firmly planted in reality in a country that had suffered through genocide 16 years before. He suddenly died today at age 55 falling down stairs at 9 am in the Rwandan Senate.. The nation is in shock. More pictures here.
October 3, 2016
These are two spreads from my unpublished two volume set, "SOMEDAY WE'LL LOOK BACK ON THIS AND IT WILL ALL SEEM FUNNY" in which I pair performers with others I think they might have enjoyed sharing a stage with. In this case Leonard shares a spread with Bob Dylan and another with Neil Young. I truly loved photographing singer-songwriters, my current work is heavily influenced by their artistry.
Though not for sale, the previews of these books can be seen under this "LINKS" dropdown on this page, top right. Open them full screen and enjoy.
It is also noteworthy that Leonard died on election day, he was never conscious of this new reality, lucky bastard!
Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio hosts a fund-raiser in New York for former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland who is running for the Senate and Senator Michael Bennet who is running to retain his seat in Colorado. The night before, the senators had stayed up late with Senator Cory Booker supporting Senator Chris Murphy's filibuster in favor "sensible gun regulations" in the wake of the Orlando abomination. It was a pleasure to see these fairly "normal" guys operating as a team, It's a team I'm happy to support. June 16, 2016
Referencing the Berlin market truck killings, Peter Binart in The Atlantic notes this: Team Trump’s statement was utterly different. It described the victims as members not of a nation but of a religion. Its statement about the Berlin attack didn’t refer to the victims as Germans. (It didn’t mention the words “German” or “Germany” once.) Instead, it defined them as people killed “as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday.” The Obama team’s statement made no assumptions about the victims’ faith: It simply noted that the attack had occurred at “a Christmas Market.” The Trump statement, by contrast, implied that the victims all celebrated Christmas. And it linked those killed in Berlin to other “Christians” who “ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter … in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad.”
Are the Trumpists really trying to start a religious war? At least Bush realized his "CRUSADE" language was dangerous and withdrew the remark shortly after this headline hit the street fifteen sad years ago.
Grandparents kiss. Kent Island, August 2016
THE STRATHLORNE, a HERRING CARRIER, is destroyed. I’m told that a buyer was nearly found, one who wanted to convert her to a pleasure boat, but the stern was too rotted to restore. I’m also told that the reason it rotted was that the STRATHLORNE was the first of the fleet to be fiberglassed, but they hadn’t yet learned to apply it in such a way as to avoid the wood “sweating”. That lesson was learned and the other boats in the line have avoided the problem. In fact, 7 herring carriers are currently in the Ingalls Head compound (outside the window where I’m trying this) - they are freshly painted, ready and waiting for the herring to come inside and find them. With herring, one never know, it might happen any day now, in fact, those of you who haven’t put twine on your weir are going to feel mighty silly!
Billy Small, master of the art of the big machine, saved the name-plank. It’s in the safe hands of a former captain now and I’m told it may surface again in some yet-unknown new creative form. The mystery of the STRATHLORNE continues onward.
Grand Manan, June 30, 2016
Later on..... you can see in the bottom picture the creative resolution. We have subsequently proposed that the island actively save the name plates off boats that are destroyed in the future and that we rename the island trails with these memory-laden souvenirs of history.
THE FACTS OF THE CASE: “In 1965 Connors Bros decided on a new line of sardine carriers big enough to service the growing seining fleet. There were 7 Strath boats built by the company between 1960-70. All 65 feet long (except the first of the line which was the STRATHLORNE at 54 feet that could carry 55 hogsheads) with high sides so they coldly "brace up against" the seiner in all kinds of weather, square sterns and could carry 75 hogsheads. The STRATHLORNE, the first of the “Strath” line, was built in 1965 in Black’s Harbour. -from John Gilman, HISTORY OF SARDINE CARRIERS AND BOATMEN
A party on Bleecker Street. J.J.French, leader of TWISTED SISTER, wonders what I'm doing out there. Check out their new documentary featured on Netflix.
Top: The 80th anniversary celebration of THE ABRHAM LINCOLN BRIGADE arriving to fight against fascism in the Spanish civil war. ALBA and The PUFFIN FOUNDATION gave awards to journalists Lydia Cacho and Jeremy Scahill. and songs of the period were performed by Velina Brown and Barbez; a record will be released next year. Japan Society, May 7, 2016
Dress rehearsal on John Jesurun's set at St Mark's Church for the upcoming Juliette Mapp Dance Space project entitled "Luxury Rentals". Note: Juliette and Dan Kaufman, featured on guitar to the right, are married and raising a young child in Greenpoint, they both have major openings in New York this week. They are a HOT NYC COUPLE both operating in fields that don't pay very well if at all. As my Wesleyan classmate, Steve Mantin wrote about Lower East Side street basketball, they're in it because, "Don't Nobody Love The Game More Than Me".
May 10, 2016
On The Bowery where ICP is reopening, one kind of symbol of meaning covers another which lies next to yet another. Palimpsest. May 6, 2016
William Levine and his Grandfather William Bijur on the Upper West Side, 2016. The portrait was made by Arnold Newman; Will is an aspiring agent in Hollywood.
A student of projection design is projected upon in a DADA exhibition at Yale March 23, 2016. Just as this picture was made we were kicked out by a guard (nicely) for lying down on the artwork (aka, "the floor"). Dada indeed.
top:Janis Ian appears in the "American Songbook" series at Jazz at Lincoln Center February 5, 2016. This is the view out onto Columbus Circle and Central Park South.bottom: Reflections of The Bowery in the front window of The International Center of Photography (ICP) as it prepares for reopening downtown in June 2016
Top: The first day of Spring 2016 at DeCordova Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Mass.
Bottom: My basketball buddy Doug opened an evangelical church in Arlington,Mass, the space was filled with a wide variety of local citizens and recent immigrants. Across the street lay the graves of previous immigrants whose remains had apparently fertilized the growth of giant trees which in their own time had come to the end of their years. Endings need beginnings.
Top: Canada Day in Seal Cove, 2015
Bottom: Grand Manan High School students explore The Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island in New Brunswick in July 2015
The picture at the center of the series to the right: Myhron and Eunice Tate in 1948, the photo is by my father, Bob Cunningham.
Eunice Tate holds a pictures of herself and her husband Myhron in the Grand Manan Nursing Home, 2016. Inside, Myhron, in the nursing home in 2003, holds a picture of the two of them in 1999 in which they are holding a picture taken by my father Bob in 1948. The original they are a young couple kissing in front of an old Plymouth. I was one year old at the time.